Nancy Drew Message in a Haunted Mansion

I’m on a Nancy Drew video game streak! I played this game right after playing through Nancy Drew Alibi in Ashes. I was looking for a creepier game with more jump scares. I still haven’t found a Nancy Drew game that’s scarier than Ghost of Thornton Hall. Nancy Drew Message in a Haunted Mansion wasn’t one of my favorite games as I found the gameplay convoluted at times.

In this adventure, Nancy Drew is asked to come to a mansion outside the San Francisco area. As she’s staying at the mansion, she interviews Rose Green who plans on turning the mansion into a bed and breakfast. The mansion has been plagued with several accidents which worries Rose. Rose has asked Nancy to help investigate as she’s on the verge of abandoning her efforts. Nancy is always willing to help and she begins exploring the mansion to uncover what’s going on.

In this game, Nancy has to rely on time. Each suspect she can interview is only available at the mansion from a certain time. This allows Nancy a limited window to interview or explore certain areas. Once I memorized the schedule, this didn’t become an issue. I did mention how the gameplay was a bit convoluted. Some of the next steps in the game didn’t unlock until I talked to everyone. For example, I was told to find this man’s briefcase and I couldn’t find it in the room. It wasn’t until I had a dialogue with one of the other characters that when I re-entered the room, the man’s briefcase was there to unlock. Without the help of a walkthrough, I would have been stuck.

I was hoping for more jump scares in this one. There was a ghostly figure wandering around the mansion and creaks as Nancy ascended the stairs, but that was about it. There also weren’t any mini-games either. The mini-games are fun and I find they often make a Nancy Drew game memorable. I felt this game was a bit boring to play at times.

Overall, I’m glad I played this as my goal is to complete all the Nancy Drew games, however, this one wasn’t the best. It was a bit boring and the gameplay left me feeling stuck at times where I felt I needed to use a walkthrough to get through the game. The next Nancy Drew game on my list is Nancy Drew Shadow at the Water’s Edge.

Vintage 90s Comics Haul

My fiance’s manager hosted a garage sale. Among the usual garage sale goods, there were three full cardboard boxes of random comics. My fiance knows how much I love comics, so he asked if he should pick them up for us. For three full boxes of comics, it was $20. Of course, I said yes because I wanted to see what was inside. As I dig through the boxes, I wanted to share the comics inside and what I have read so far. With three full boxes of comics, I suspect I will create a couple of posts as I read through these comics.

Wolverine Season One – Ben Acker, Ben Blacker, and Salva Espin

Wolver Season One isn’t a vintage comic but was included in the box. Wolverine Season One is a re-telling of Wolverine’s origin story. In the first few pages, Wolverine is seen fighting Wendigo in the wilderness. Gravely injured, Wolverine is rescued by couple Heather and James Hudson. They both work for Department H and look to recruit Wolverine to be the Canadian “Captain America” This story features Wolverine fighting the Hulk and Sabretooth along with detailing how Wolverine met Professor X.

I thought that this graphic novel was good, but it didn’t introduce anything compelling to Wolverine’s story. Wolverine’s backstory is so well known that I think it’s difficult to introduce a new take. Some critiques found this story to be too tame and not gory enough. I didn’t feel this way. Wolverine is a violent anti-hero, however, I think his complexity revolves around his moral compass.

Wolverine Season One would be a great graphic novel for new comic readers wanting to dip their toes into the X-Men. I rated this three stars on Goodreads.

X-Men Lost Tales Issues #1 & #2

I’m finding that there are a lot of X-Men comics in these boxes. Each issue of X-Men Lost Tales features four individual stories featuring one of the X-Men or the foes of the X-Men. My favorite story in issue #1 was the one that featured Magneto. This story details Magneto’s past, and how Magneto saves a family in a fire. Magneto is one of my favorite comic book villains because of his backstory and his complexity.

In issue #2, my favorite story was the one featuring Wolverine. I did have high hopes for the Jean Grey story, but it ended up being extremely disappointing.

I would rate both issues #1 and #2 three stars.

X-Factor Special Prisoner of Love Jim Starlin and Jackson Cuice

The last X-Men comic in this listing. This story features Beast as he’s walking around downtown NYC. He meets a woman who needs his help. After Beast helps this woman, he falls deeply in love with her which also transports him to a dimension in which he has to save this woman from a demon.

This story was uninteresting and confusing to follow. It’s my least favorite comic in the ones I have read thus far. I would rate this one star.

Avengers West Coast #86

This issue is the final issue of the “Spider-Woman at the Mercy of DeathWeb and The Manipulator” story. This features a mind-controlled Spider-Woman fighting Spider-Man to save her daughter from DeathWeb and the Manipulator. I’m not a fan of mind control in comics, so this issue didn’t interest me all that much. I liked seeing the appearance of Scarlet Witch, although she didn’t play a big role in this. I would rate Avengers West Coast #86 three stars.

Ms. Marvel Halloween ComicFest #1 2018 – Wilson, Alphoona, Herring

This was the last issue I read out of the boxes of comics. I was first introduced to Ms. Marvel when I played Marvel’s Avengers the video game. The game was mediocre, however, I did find Ms. Marvel as one of my favorite heroes to play as. Kamala Khan is a fan-fiction writer, Avengers superfan who dreams of being a hero. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Kamala breathes in blue gas. This blue gas is terrigen mist which turns Kamala into a hero with powers, thus Ms. Marvel is born.

I liked this issue a lot. Kamala is such a fun character to read and I love how light-hearted she is. Comics can be very dark to read, and this is such a breath of fresh air. I do want to read more of her story and this was a nice introduction issue. I would rate Ms. Marvel #1 four stars.

I’m still barely through the first of three boxes. Once I read another couple of issues, I will write another post about what I read. It’s going to take me a long time to get through all of these, however, I’m up to the challenge.

Roleplaying in Person – Vampire the Masquerade

Before the Covid pandemic hit, the last roleplaying session I played was Vampire the Masquerade. It was a one-shot hosted by my friend. I didn’t know then that Covid would hit and quarantine would begin. I tried playing role-playing games hosted on roll20, discord, or Zoom, but it wasn’t the same. I felt let down after a session because I didn’t enjoy the virtual aspect of it. I decided to take a break entirely from roleplaying until I could play in person. This finally happened!

I am a part of the Facebook group Dungeons & Dragons Minnesota This group allows for anyone in Minnesota to find players, a DM, or post about their campaign. I found a group nearby me playing in a Vampire campaign. I was immediately intrigued. After meeting the DM before playing, he helped me come up with my character. The DM was super nice and not judgemental as I asked questions about the rules. I have played Vampire before, however, I’m not an expert. Once my character was created, we set a date to play.

My character is named Luella “Lou” Montgomery. She’s a twenty-seven year old art student living in Minneapolis. She is a Malkavian which means she’s a mentally ill Vampire. She carries around a teddy bear that she has named Mr. Waffles and she often talks to him. In creating Lou, I was inspired by the little sisters from the video game, Bioshock. Lou possesses this child-like quality about her, although she can easily transition into being more adult which aids in her creepiness.

I thought the first session went well! Our characters didn’t die, and the session kept me entertained throughout. Our first session took four and a half hours. I couldn’t believe we played for that long without a break. The session was fast-paced with a mix of dialogue, investigation, and our showdown at a creepy house.

Our next session will be in August. One reason I was able to commit to this campaign was meeting once a month. Weekly DnD sessions can be tough for me to meet, so monthly is a lot easier. I’m looking forward to playing my character and seeing her develop.

How has your experience been roleplaying during the pandemic? Are you back to in-person sessions? Let me know in the comments below!

Do Outgoing Introverts Exist?

In any personality quiz, I have taken, it always asks if I’m an introvert or an extrovert. This is always tough to answer. I like being social and hanging out with my friends. However, I need to recharge. If I’m too social or have too many jam- packed social weekends, I find myself mentally exhausted. Both introvert and extrovert doesn’t seem to fit my personality. After reading Donovan’s blog post “It’s Time to Get Rid of Introverted and Extroverted” I wanted to talk about my experience with labeling myself as either an introvert or an extrovert.

High School Mariah wearing a Band t-shirt. circa 2011

In high school, I was shy. I was insecure about every single part of myself. I wasn’t sure who I was and I didn’t feel confident in how I looked. I still needed a social recharge now and then. I would often stay home on Fridays and watch movies with my mom because I needed a break from socializing at school. When I reminisce about this part of my life, I would have labeled myself as a shy introvert. I always thought that someone’s personality can’t change throughout their life, but this isn’t something I still believe in.

Freshman year of college – Fall 2012

Once I graduated from high school, I went to college. Going off to college is where I was able to shine. I was able to fully explore hobbies, meet new friends, and confront some of my insecurities. I dated someone who wasn’t right for me, and after realizing this, I ended things with that person. It was empowering for me to take control of my life and recognizing what I fully wanted from a partner. I started meeting friends with similar interests to me and this led me to become more social in college. While in high school I labeled myself as a shy introvert, now I would rank myself as an outgoing introvert.

Some find the use of labels comforting, but I’m the opposite. Trying to fit introvert, extrovert, shy, outgoing, etc. into my personality feels a bit overwhelming. I’m a unique person where I feel opposite terms apply to me. I wish we would get rid of introvert and extrovert because I think they aren’t full-encompassing personality terms. I feel very similar to Donovan and how they describe these terms. I would highly recommend reading their post that I have linked above because it resonated with me enough to write my post.

Do you think introvert or extrovert are labels you use? or do you think that these are wholly unnecessary?

Nancy Drew Alibi in Ashes

Animal Crossing New Horizons is devoting all my gaming time. I’m still nowhere near done with decorating my island, although I wanted to play other video games simultaneously. I wanted to play a video game with a start and an endpoint. This led me back to Steam to play through another Nancy Drew game. The latest Nancy Drew game I finished was Nancy Drew Alibi in Ashes.

Alibi in Ashes starts with Nancy receiving a note to go to the town hall in River Heights. As she investigates why she was sent there, she’s locked in a room where a fire starts. After escaping the town hall, she’s questioned by the local police leading to her arrest. Alibi in Ashes is a unique Nancy Drew game as Nancy spends the majority of her time in jail. As the player, Nancy can switch to either her boyfriend Ned, or her friends Bess and George. Nancy can send her allies to various parts of River Heights to look for clues, play mini-games and gather evidence.

I liked being able to switch between Nancy’s friends. I found myself relying on Ned for the most part because certain situations required him to talk to the NPC’s. While I liked being able to play as Nancy’s friend, I thought the mechanics could have been better. To switch characters, Nancy would call her friends. However, I couldn’t switch from Ned to Bess for example, I would use Ned to call Nancy who then had to call Bess to switch the game to her. If they are all friends, why couldn’t I seamlessly switch between Nancy to Ned to Bess without having to go through Nancy? I didn’t think this was a big deterrent to playing the game, although it was a bit of a nuisance at times.

Each Nancy Drew game is known for the puzzles or the mini-games. There was a fun antique box mini-game that can be played in the antique store in River Heights. The box opens with various numbers on the screen. In the game, you have to click numbers 1 – 41 at a certain time. I think I spent about thirty minutes playing this mini-game over and over again. Out of all the Nancy Drew games, I have played, this mini-game was the most enjoyable and addicting.

Towards the end of the game, it’s revealed early on who is the one who framed Nancy. The climax of the game is having to prevent the suspect from revealing incriminating information about Nancy. I enjoy the Nancy Drew games where it’s more of a jump scare of who the evil villain is. It didn’t distract from the game, but I felt a little let down with the villain reveal.

Nancy Drew Alibi in Ashes is a solid Nancy Drew outing. It’s a fun take on the other Nancy Drew games by allowing other playable characters and being able to navigate around Nancy’s hometown of River Heights. Out of the thirty three Nancy Drew games out there to play, I only have twenty eight more to go!

All my post game awards – including playing the clock game too much

Which Vox Machina Character Am I?

I’m a sucker for quizzes. I have taken numerous personality tests and Buzzfeed quizzes on numerous topics. As I’m typing this post, I’m listening to Critical Role. This made me think about whether there’s a quiz regarding which member of Vox Machina I am. Sure enough, I went looking for one and found Geek & Sundry’s Critical Role Character quiz. I decided to take a full post dedicated to which character I get. I have attached the link above, so you can take the quiz for yourself.

If I Could Live Anywhere in the World, Where Would I Live? (Options are: Hawaii, Seattle, New York, Tokyo, Iceland, and Scotland).

My first choice was going to be Scotland. However, I would miss my family too much and they live in the states. I’m not much of a beach person, so realistically, I picked Seattle. I’m a fan of rainy days and while I love New York, it’s a bit too populated for me. Seattle it is.

What Always Puts Me in a Good Mood? (Options are: Animals, Money, Hiking, Music, Movies, Legos, Happy Hour or Dinner)

Out of all the options, my top three would be animals, hiking, or dinner. I think I’m going to pick animals because nothing cheers me up more than being sent a cat video by my fiance.

Team Cap or Team Ironman?

Team Cap forever and always

When I Get Paid, The First Thing I Spend it on Is. . . (Options are: Necessities, Food, Books, Toys, Liquor, Music, Shopping in General)

This was an easy choice for me. I would spend my money on books. I live five minutes away from my local bookstore and every time I stop by, I end up purchasing a new book to read.

What Makes Me Angry? (Options are: Abandonment, Self-Doubt, Rejection, Betrayal, Everything, Can’t Tell You)

I picked Betrayal. I’m a loyal person meaning I will always have my friend’s back or my fiance. Any betrayal whether it’s a lie or cheating would hurt me deeply. I think honesty is always the way to go especially if it involves another person and their feelings.

What Luxury Do I Have in my Home? (Options are: Gym, Hidden Room, Wine Cellar, Workbench, Shrine, Library)

I would love a library. It would be a dream of mine to have a room in my house where all my books can be found.

I got Keyleth! (played by Marisha Ray) It must be my love of books as Keyleth is constantly reading to learn new spells for the group. I’m a sweetheart and I’m a bit awkward, I would agree with that.

As mentioned above, I did link the quiz, so feel free to take it for yourself to see who you get.

Aquicorn Cove – Review

Last year, I read Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill. I was blown away by the art along with how Katie can write heavy topics with a bright artistic style. Once I read Tea Dragon Society, I had purchased Aquicorn Cove, another book written in the same world as Tea Dragon Society. It’s no surprise that Aquicorn Cove was a graphic novel I would adore. This story focuses on the loss of a family member and ocean preservation which are two topics that are drastically different, yet Katie can focus on both topics equally.

Aquicorn Cove stars a young girl named Lana. Lana goes on a trip to her father to visit her Aunt Mae who lives by the sea. Lana would visit Mae when she was younger with her mother. Unfortunately, Lana’s mother is killed in a boating accident when Lana was young. As Lana visits Mae, Lana discovers a young, injured Aquicorn which resembles a Tea Dragon seahorse. Throughout the story, Lana realizes that Mae’s actions may have damaged the ocean and led to the injury of the Aquicorn. This forces Mae to recognize that her actions have consequences.

I see the struggle Lana faces as she visits Mae. Lana is struggling with memories of her mother. As someone who has lost a parent at a young age, I felt Lana’s pain. She is coming to terms with the fact that these memories will preserve her mother in her mind, although, it’s painful to think that her mother is gone. This is all illustrated by Katie O’Neill across the pages of the story.

Katie’s imagery in this is breathtaking. The sea is bright, the sky is sparkling, and the aquicorns are cute creatures living in the sea. Each panel was interesting to look at. While this book is about 100 pages long, I found myself taking longer to read it because I kept looking at each panel.

Aquicorn Cove is a beautiful story of life, loss, and reflection. I would recommend reading Tea Dragon Society first because I think it sets the tone for this story. Both Tea Dragon Society and Aquicorn Cove can be purchased on Oni Press‘s website or through your local book store.

My TV Watch List

I have a bad habit when it comes to watching TV. I can’t make up my mind on what I want to watch and I watch multiple TV shows at once. I start shows before I finish watching them. I’m currently watching six different shows on four different streaming platforms. My goal would be to finish what I have started before watching another show. I wanted to share what I’m juggling through watching and my goals for what I want to watch next.

Youtube

Critical Role

I have talked about Critical Role multiple times. I’m surprised at how invested I am in this campaign. I’m still on campaign #1 Vox Machina. I’m on episode #26 during the Briarwood Arc. Many fans of Critical Role started watching campaign #2 Mighty Nein, however, I’m a completionist. I wanted to start from the beginning to see how Critical Role has developed into the popular series it is today. I have become a big fan of this series and how each character serves a purpose in the group. I would love to finish campaign #1 by the end of 2021, although with each episode being 3-4 hours long, I’m not sure if I will accomplish this.

Disney+

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

I have tried to watch Star Wars: The Clone Wars multiple times but never got past the first season. This time, my fiance agreed to watch with me. I’m happy I tried to re-watch this series again because now that I’m in the middle of season #2, I’m enjoying this show. I found season #1 to be slow to watch. Me and my fiance are in the Mand’alor story arc which plays nicely into The Mandalorian. This is another series I hope to complete by the end of 2021.

X-Men Animated Series

Earlier in the year, I started watching the X-Men animated series from the ’90s. I’m loving this series! It’s rejuvenated my love for the X-Men. I’m still in season #1 when Cable has been introduced. My favorite characters have to be Jean, Storm, or Gambit. I’m excited to keep watching especially because the Dark Phoenix story arc appears later on in the show. I’m inspired to reach more X-Men comics since I have started watching this show. I’m excited to finish this series.

Hulu

Scandal

I started watching Scandal back while I was still in college. I ended up getting to season #5 before moving on to another show. With Scandal off the air, I was determined to finish the show. Similar to my first time watching the show, I watched seasons 1-4 quickly and I’m stuck on season #5. If I don’t get through season #5 by the end of 2021, I will call it a loss and say that I lost interest in this show and be done with it.

Netflix

Hollywood

Hollywood is a series created by Ryan Murphy detailing the drama of Hollywood in the 1950s. I was looking for something steamy to watch and Netflix recommended this series. This didn’t disappoint and it was exactly what I was looking for.

Schitt$ Creek

This show doesn’t need an introduction. Almost everyone I know has watched this series and raved about it! When I was visiting a friend, she put on the first season. I don’t have anything to add. This series is phenomenal. The humor is witty especially when it comes to Moira and David. I’m struggling to watch this because I’m not in the mood for a sitcom of sorts. Eventually, my friend is going to give me shit for not finishing this show, so I do need to finish this.

Those are all the shows I’m watching! My goal would be to cut down on all the shows I’m watching by not starting anything new and finishing the shows I’m on. Once I cut down on the shows I’m watching, I can finally use my Funimation subscription and add anime to my watchlist.

Golfing at Top Golf

My fiance has been getting back into golf. He used to golf when he was younger, and he realized how much he missed it. This led to my fiance planning a bridal party/groomsman social at Top Golf. Top Golf is an outdoor driving range with a restaurant and bar. This social was a blast! I was happy to mix our friends and have us all hang out. If there’s anything I have learned from planning my wedding, it’s that I’m so fortunate to have my friends.

At Top Golf, we reserved two bays. Each bay can host up to six people. Top Golf is a driving range, not a full course. To help keep golfing interesting, there are various game options to help keep things competitive. Additionally, Top Golf has left-handed clubs! I’m left-handed and I have tried playing right-handed, but it’s too awkward for me. As a beer drinker, we ordered a couple of pitchers and took turns golfing and drinking all day.

Overall, the day was a blast! It was a fun, summer activity. It was perfect for mixing everyone especially since it was two completely separate friend groups.

Mid-Year Comic Freak Out Tag

I have seen the Mid-Year Book Tag floating around the internet both on blogs and Youtube videos. I wanted to shake it up because this year I have read so many comics. Having a pull list has created an obligation to go to a comic book store at least twice a month. This is my take on the “Mid-Year Book Tag” except with comics instead.

Best Comic I’ve Read So Far in 2021

Earlier in 2021, Marvel had launched their King in Black crossover event. This teams up the Marvel heroes to battle Knull, the god of the symbiotes. I had several series I was interested in, but none captured my attention like Black Cat. Each issue was equally entertaining and action-packed. Black Cat has quickly become one of my favorite Marvel heroes to follow. This was so good and quite possibly might be my favorite issue I have read in 2021.

Best Comic Sequel I’ve Read in 2021

Witchblood is another comic series that I’m thoroughly enjoying. On the cover is the main protagonist, Yonna. She is a witch traveling in the Western United States. While traveling, her motorcycle breaks down and she stumbles upon a group of vampires. These vampires are hunting for an artifact that belongs to Yonna’s witch mentor. Yonna realizes she can’t let these vampires collect this artifact and now she’s on an adventure to stop them.

Witchblood is a comic I would recommend for anyone new to comics.

New Release I Haven’t Read Yet

I backed the third volume of For Goodness Sake by K. Lynn Smith. Additionally, I was able to pick up the second volume as well. I believe it technically will be released this year? or sent to me in the mail this year, so I thought it counted.

For Goodness Sake tells the story of Rayne, a young woman traveling throughout the US in her makeshift camper. She stumbles upon Thatcher. Thatcher was cursed and now he appears as a relative to the devil. Rayne is determined to rid Thatcher of his curse and find who cursed him in the first place. Rayne and Thatcher’s friendship is adorable to read about.

Most Anticipated Release for the Second Half of the Year

I’m a big fan of any of the YA Teen Titans books. This one features Mandy, the daughter of Starfire. She’s nothing like her, yet she’s constantly compared to her. As Mandy figures out her plans post-high school graduation, Starfire’s past comes back to haunt her. Does Mandy help her mother? or is this her chance to break free?

I’m a big fan of Teen Titans anything, so I’m going to read this. As a side note, this book is getting a lot of negative press on Goodreads, and I’m not sure why since it’s not out till August. I’m still planning on reading this.

Biggest Disappointment

Hollywood Trash #1 was probably the worst comic I have read this year. I’m a big fan of Mad Cave Studios, however, this series wasn’t for me. The story was hard to follow and I didn’t find it that interesting. I encourage everyone to check out Mad Cave Studios, but not this series.  

Newest Favorite Character

Logan McBride is a character I thought was intriguing to follow. She’s one of the main characters in Destiny NY by Pat Shand. I like reading about Logan because I think her actions seem realistic to me. She is going through a bad breakup and calls out her ex for treating her badly. She takes comfort in working at a coffee shop and petting her cute kitty. She also happened to fulfill her destiny at a young age and now struggles to find what’s next in her life. She’s a young woman who doesn’t quite know who she is yet. I think that struggle reminds me of me a couple of years ago.

Destiny NY is another great comic series I would recommend.

Book That Made Me Happy + Beautiful Book I’ve Bought

Aquicorn Cove is such a lovely story about family, loss, and ocean preservation. Aquicorn Cove takes place in the same world as Tea Dragon Society both written and illustrated by Katie O’Neill. Aquicorn Cove centers on Lana who visits her aunt by the sea. Lana’s mother passed away when Lana was young and she finds the sea has awakened memories of her and her mother. As storms constantly rock the land, Lana finds an Aquicorn that’s been damaged by the pollution in the lake. This promotes Lana’s aunt to revisit why she does the things she does and how her actions have caused damage to the ocean.

This is such a beautiful story. Katie O’Neill has a way of telling a story about heavy topics while still making this light-hearted. I want to save these books for my children and read these stories to them.

This cover is gorgeous which is not unexpected considering how Katie O’Neill illustrates this lovely world.

Currently, I have read 63 books and/or comics this year. I have surpassed my goal and I’m excited to see what my reading number will be at the end of 2021. What comics have you read this year that you have loved? Let me know in the comments below.