Posted in Uncategorized

Readability – Helping kids with reading comprehension!

This blog post has an affiliate link which if you use and make a purchase will supply me, the owner of Books-and-Games.com a percentage of sales which will go to continuing to pay for the use of this website.  You can find further information on my affiliate usage here: https://books-and-games.com/affiliate-disclosure/

As someone who grew up coping with dyslexia I can say for sure, that reading, or learning to read can be pretty difficult for a child. Thankfully there are plenty of tools to help with that these days. One of those is Readability. 

Readability is a fantastic application that turns your phone or tablet in to an amazing way to increase your childs reading skills and comprehension. Your child will learn with interactive questions and answers as well as real time tracking to help you keep an eye on your child’s ever growing skills. The application also helps your child with pacing and pronunciation. 

Now these are just a few of the benefits you can take advantage of using Readability with your kids. Check out the link here for full details! 

#1 Reading Program App for struggling young readers
Posted in Books, Horror, Paranormal, Review, Reviews

Separated By Evil by J.M. Hart – ARC Review

Separated by Evil is the newest addition to J.M Hart’s Chronicles of the Supernatural series. A fantastic book series and probably my favorite current series, following the adventures of a group of young people striving the save the world from the very forces of hell. A huge expectation for anyone, let alone teenagers. This series has always been an emotional ride, and this newest addition to the work is no different, in fact Separated by Evil seems to be the most emotionally packed of the series so far.

Bringing us back to the estate to focus on the adventures of Casey and Sophia, after the last two books, focused on the adventures of other members of their group. We are walked through the spiritual bond of the characters as they do their best to help a group that they seem to be led to aid by the will of God. Though demonic and paranormal difficulties, the pair strives to save the people in need.

So what did I think of it? Oh boy, this newest addition to J.M Hart’s amazing serious was hard to get through. Not because it was bad, far from it, but because of the emotional wreck the characters go through, which, after reading the entire series, I have become attached to. So watching the pain and death that strikes the characters at every angle leaves you both exhausted and excited to see what happens next. In that line, the climax of the story leaves one stunned, and for me at least, in tears and wondering what will happen next in this exciting series.

So is Separated by Evil worth reading? That would be a big yes! Much like the rest of this series, Separated by Evil is a fantastic read for fans of paranormal and horror novels. I have said it before and I will say it again. Pick up this series!

Posted in Affiliate, Handy tools, Reviews

ProWringAid – A useful tool

This blog post has an affiliate link which, if you use and make a purchase, will supply me, the owner of Books-and-Games.com a percentage of sales which will go to continuing to pay for the use of this website. You can find further information on my affiliate usage here: https://books-and-games.com/affiliate-disclosure/

So there are a few products that I use religiously. ProWringAid is one of them. ProWritingAid is very similar to other grammar checking products with one major difference. It actually tells you why you are making the edits! After all, we aren’t all English majors. 

Naturally knowing what you are fixing and why can not only help you improve as a writer but also help you decide if you want to ignore that grammar rule. It all depends on how you like to write after all. 

I use ProWritingAid to edit all of my work, including this little affiliate post! If you spend a good portion of your time constantly writing different documents that you need to edit, ProWritingAid is a great product for you to try. Feel free to check out ProWritingAid at this link for more information!

Try ProWritingAid for Free!
Posted in FPS, Games, Horor, Review, Zombies

Back4Blood – A beta test review

I was lucky enough to get in to a recent Back4Blood beta and a brief look at the game. A fun game that resembles its predators, Left4Dead in game play but also differing enough to make the game feel like something new. Like the former games, you can play a co-op campaign game where you rush around slaughtering your way through zombie masses.

Beyond the game place, the characters you can play as are pretty entertaining, each has benefits that support the group in some way. I took a particular liking to Hoffman. I had to pick him up because the initial characters I wanted to play were taken by friends. (You know who you are!) But he ended up being my favorite, and I will probably continue to play him once the game comes out fully. I might dabble in others, but to be honest, once I find a character I like, I tend to stick to it.

Now, moving we have the particularly original, (at least for this type of game) deck building system. As you play, you gain points which allow you to unlock cards which you can make into decks. These decks have a variety of benefits for yourself and the people you are playing with. I had a lot of fun putting ammo benefits in to my deck.

So there is a lot more to Back4Blood, but I really think you should play the game to try it out yourself. And in case you could not tell with that suggestion, if you love a good zombie game, you will want to pick up Back4Blood once it goes live!

Posted in Fantasy, Games, Interview, Review, RPG, Uncategorized

Paladin Dream – A Review and Interview

Paladin Dream is a turn based RPG in the style of all the old favorite classics. You play as a Paladin going on a journey to find out the meaning of a dream he has been having repeatedly over the years. He leaves the abbey where he has spent his entire life and heads out to find the reason for his dream.

The game was made with RPG Maker, which I know, can leave you questioning how good it really is. But Paladin Dream is a pleasant surprise. With about five hours of gameplay and original music composed by the creator, Paladin Dream stands out where many RPG Maker games may leave you wonderful what the heck you just spent money on.

With an original soundtrack composed by creator Matthew Myers, the music alone is enough to make one want to continue the game. 

So is Paladin Dream worth playing? If you enjoy a classic turn based RPG feel with a nice story? Sure is! I would suggest you pick it up sooner rather than later.

I was lucky enough to be able to get some questions answer by the creator of Paladin Dream. Here is the Q&A I had with Matthew via email!

Tawny: How did you come up with the concept for Paladin Dreams?

Matthew: Creatively, Paladin Dream(singular, not plural) was inspired by a short story in high school during a King Arthur unit in English class. There are some significant changes and expansions from that story, but the concept of the dream duel to motivate the heroic quest is much alike. The main character, Josiah, is loosely inspired by personality traits of Christian athletes I was around at a job I had living in Texas. The areas he explores are influenced by my experiences traveling in Italy, which included cathedrals, castles, walled cities, mountains, fields, farming villages, and religious art.

When the COVID quarantine era around March 2020 started, I realized I wouldn’t be going anywhere for awhile, and took the opportunity to try something I wanted to do for years, which was to make an RPG. I also had family members who were sick at the time (they recovered, fortunately) so it was a stressful time when I was looking for an imaginary escape. The rest was learning, planning, and asking for help.

Tawny: What did you use to make it

Matthew : I used RPGmaker as an engine to develop the game. RPGmaker is a great tool for (surprise) building RPGs, where you can easily create exploration and combat systems without having to do any programming. It allowed me to immediately focus on what I was excited about, which was telling the story and building the world around it.

For me RPGmaker is a wonderful storytelling platform, even when the subject matter isn’t necessarily a medieval fantasy like Paladin Dream. Before this project, I was inspired by Super Columbine Massacre RPG!, which is essentially an RPGmaker-made documentary game about a real-world American tragedy. I appreciated the way that game handled mature themes while being truthful, and felt that if someone can turn a school shooting into an emotionally powerful RPG then anything is possible.

Tawny: How much of this game did you make yourself?

  Matthew: I conceived the story and wrote close to 8000 words of dialog, designed more than 100 maps, devised the combat logic featuring over 50 enemies, and composed all the music myself. Before Paladin Dream, I served as a music composer and producer professionally for numerous games spanning a 15-year career. I also did all the bug fixing and other thankless tasks. I can’t take any credit for building the engine, the many modification plugins I used, or the art assets (whether licensed or commissioned), or the sound fx. I also (obviously) didn’t sing the female vocals in those songs.

With the RPG genre, it seems inevitable that people will compare it to something enormous like The Elder Scrolls, and there’s no way one person in their spare time can do the work of a huge team with millions of dollars. For me telling a short but polished story was more important than churning out hours and hours of quests both as a developer and in terms of what I’d want to play. To that end I was inspired by Dragon Quest 4 in particular, which features a few small adventures that feel like they could be their own small game.

Tawny: Being a turn based RPG, it’s easy to guess you may be a fan of that genre what’s your favorite video game?

Matthew: I’ll answer this question with a shout-out to an obscure title I grew up fascinated by, which is Tunnels & Trolls: Crusaders Of Khazan. Imagine something like the original Final Fantasy on NES, but with more of an open world and more effort placed on the writing. The encounters featured prosaic passages of text like a visual novel, and the combat system was wonderfully deep. The graphics were generally primitive, but the incredible lore and logic breathed life into the world. Sometimes the best graphics are the ones you imagine in your mind, right?

Tawny: Were there any particular influences when you deigned Paladin Dream?

Matthew: I lived in Boston when Bioshock became popular, so Irrational Games creative force Ken Levine was a big influence on my game design philosophy. Comparable to Bioshock, Paladin Dream has no cut scenes to passively watch, everything that happens in the story is a playable event. Also similar is that the player explores a relatively small region of a world rather than a full globe. My favorite Levine quote which I’ve taken to heart is “If you want people to follow your plot, then it has to be really f***ing stupid.” If you watch Indiana Jones and pause the film at any moment, Jones is looking for the ark. Similarly, if you ask what Josiah is doing at any moment in Paladin Dream, he’s looking for the meaning of his dream. 

Tawny: Do you intend to make anymore games?

Matthew: I am still under publisher contract to provide support and updates for Paladin Dream for a number of months, so I’m trying to keep focused for that reason. I have several other game ideas that would be cool, so we’ll see what happens in 2022. 🙂

Posted in Books, Historical Fiction, Review

Web Of Humanity – A review

Web of Humanity follows Anna Venu as she tries to make sense of her grandmother’s complicated and unknown family past. On the death of her grandmother, Anna’s grandfather finds an old birthday card with a child’s handwriting. This card from an unknown person opens a floodgate of curiosity that sends Anna on a jet setting tour of Austria, Germany, and France where she encounters family, love and moral conflict.

Web of Humanity is one of very few books that can be said to be genuinely hard to put down. From the very start of this novel you find yourself wondering the answers to the questions posed. And even when those answered are given, you find yourself, much like Anna, posed with even more. The answers to these questions pour in slowly as memoirs written by Anna’s relatives, carefully filling each hole in the story until you have presented with a wonderfully equal tapestry of history and fiction to sit and consider.

The author Maria Turchin has combined what is, to many, little known historical fact, alongside her own wonderfully created tale surrounding her characters. The tie between history and fiction is done seamlessly allowing you to enjoy the story without the complications that often come with a work of historical fiction. There are no large holes leaving you wondering how characters are connected, as Turchin has made sure to tie up all the loose ends perfectly. The historical individuals covered in this novel are well researched, and if you are the type that needs to, can be easily fact checked to see the author did her research. The fictional characters in Web of Humanity are another wonderful aspect of the story. Each one is wonderfully described both physically and regarding their personality, making them easy to imagine as you read through their tales.

There is one trigger warning, there is a short rape scene mention in one of the memoirs Anna reads, though it makes perfect sense historically and to the development of the character it involved, it could make some people uncomfortable.

All in all, Web of Humanity is a wonderful novel, and any fan of historical fiction should pick it up. This is a wild ride of emotions you feel with Anna as you travel with her.

You can find out more about Web of Humanity here. https://reedsy.com/discovery/book/web-of-humanity-maria-turchin#review

Posted in Affiliate, Handy tools, Reviews, Uncategorized

ShareASale – A great place to get Affiliate merchants

This blog post has an affiliate link which, if you use and make a purchase, will supply me, the owner of Books-and-Games.com a percentage of sales which will go to continuing to pay for the use of this website. You can find further information on my affiliate usage here: https://books-and-games.com/affiliate-disclosure/

So it can be hard to make a living doing what you love. In my case, this would be blogging about books and games. And if you are a regular reader, you know I try to do so as often as possible. I have been lucky enough to be able to put ads on my WordPress site, but it takes a lot of ads to be able to get a payment out. So, like many people, I decided to go looking for ways of gaining affiliate partnerships! In doing so, I found ShareASale!

ShareASale has hundreds of merchants you can get affiliate partnerships with. This site makes it easy to apply to different merchants as well as keep track of the various links you need to be able to share and promote the merchandise. As well as keep track of sales! I have found it particularly handy to have an easy view of all the information I need to know how well the links I post are doing, instead of having to search through various websites and find the information!

You can check out ShareASale here for more information! https://shareasale.com/r.cfm?b=47&u=2915328&m=47&urllink=&afftrack=

Posted in Affiliate, Handy tools, Reviews, Uncategorized

Readability

This blog post has an affiliate link which, if you use and make a purchase, will supply me, the owner of Books-and-Games.com a percentage of sales which will go to continuing to pay for the use of this website. You can find further information on my affiliate usage here:

As someone who grew up coping with dyslexia, I can say for sure that reading, or learning to read, can be pretty difficult for a child. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools to help with that these days. One of those is Readability. 

Readability is a fantastic application that turns your phone or tablet in to an amazing way to increase your child’s reading skills and comprehension. Your child will learn with interactive questions and answers and real time tracking to help you monitor your child’s ever growing skills. The application also helps your child with pacing and pronunciation. 

Now these are just a few of the benefits you can take advantage of using Readability with your kids. Check out the link here for full details! 

Turn your phone or tablet into a professional virtual reading tutor

Proven to Increase Reading Level in 90 Days

Posted in Books, Reviews, Science fiction

Resistance – Book Review

Resistance is a science fiction novel following the adventure of Major Brett Johnson as he follows the extremely difficult to follow requests of the Space Force and Federalist Worlds to infiltrate the hivemind of Oceania. The hivemind comprising a large portion of the planet’s inhabitants. These hiveminds, or overminds, have a questionable history and maybe believe they need to be ended.

So first, Resistance is a story that will make you think a bit. Brett goes from being insanely against the idea of the hivemind, fearful that he will lose himself, to embracing this. There is a variety of reasons, and I will certainly not go in them all for fear of spoilers, however you leave the book thinking. Did he really change his mind himself? The people are him do seriously influence his views. 

Now, I somewhat think that his opinion changes a bit too quickly and a little drastically. I also felt the initial romance felt a bit forced. However, as the book continues, it starts to feel a bit more natural as the characters actually get to know one another.

So is Resistance worth reading? Most certainly! It is a solid science fiction novel any fan of the genre should pick up!

Posted in FMV, Games, Horor, Review

NIght Book – Video Game Review

Night Book is an interactive full motion horror video game. A choose your own adventure movie where every action you make has some sort of effect on the outcome of the story. Think of it as playing through a horror movie with fifteen different endings! 

Now full motion games have been around for a very long time. There were dozens of them back in the 90s. I will not go through listing them, but if you google FMV games, you will find a list you can work your way through. Many of them are horror.

Night Book follows a pregnant interpreter dealing with an apparently mentally ill father while working night shifts. From there, how she comes in contact with a cursed book having its contents read out loud can vary depending on what choices you make. Which allows for this game to have a lot of replay value. I have played this game a lot, and each time has been a little different.

Now the real question. Is this game worth playing? If you enjoy horror and interactive fiction, I would have to say yes. Though because of the type of game this is, it is certainly not for everyone. But like most games, I say you should at least try it! And if horror is not your thing, the company that made this game has similar ones of different genres!