February is a pretty quiet month in my life. It’s still pretty chilly in Minnesota, so I find myself cuddled indoors. Since I have more free time, I tend to devote more time to my hobbies. I wrote about trying to get back into cosplay, so I figured I’d share an update on where I’m at. I’m currently working on Harley Quinn and having everything put together.
The first essential part of Harley Quinn in The Suicide Squad is the red dress. I ordered the red dress from Amazon from a company called Rubie’s.Rubie’s is a costume shop that sells on Amazon whether it’s a Halloween costume or costumes that can be used for cosplay. I have ordered many of Rubie’s costumes and they usually are pretty decent. I ordered a medium in the Harley Quinn red dress and it fits me perfectly! It’s a little loose-fitting, but I figured I could wear something underneath to help take up any extra space. The only thing I noticed when I tried on the dress is that the white layer underneath sometimes shows. I’m thinking I could buy a red tutu to wear underneath the dress to give the dress more volume.
Besides the dress, the wig is another Harley Quinn essential. I bought this wig also from Amazon. The wig is comfortable to wear, but the two blonde parts of the wig are a little awkward. I might have to style the wig right before I wear it. Another thought I had was to tuck the ends of the blonde wig into the braid to make it more natural. The wig itself I think was worth the purchase as it seems like a good quality wig for the price. The only other thing that I have left to do is figure out the makeup. Harley Quinn’s makeup shouldn’t be too challenging, but I’m also not very makeup savvy. I’m going to watch a few makeup tutorials to get some ideas for Harley’s look.
I’m excited to put everything together! It’s been fun making cosplay more of a priority instead of a last-minute project.
When it comes to sitting down and watching a movie, I tend to lean toward action or adventure films. After reading romance books in February, I found myself wanting to watch a rom-com. As I was scrolling through Hulu and Netflix, I found Set It Up starring Glenn Powell before his Top Gun Maverick fame. I figured why not watch it because even if the movie wasn’t that great, the movie can still be fun to watch. Set It Up was cute and better than I was initially expecting it to be.
Harper Moore (played by Zoey Deutch) is an assistant to sports journalism editor Kirsten Stevens (played by Lucy Liu). Harper has always dreamed of writing sports articles that move people, but she hasn’t found the time to actually write. In the meantime, Charlie Young (played by Glenn Powell) is an assistant to venture capitalist Rick Otis (played by Taye Diggs). Charlie is hoping for a promotion, so he doesn’t have to be an assistant for too much longer. Both Harper and Charlie bond over the fact that they are constantly busy being assistants. They decide that if they tried to pair up Kirsten and Rick, maybe they would have more time to devote to themselves. Harper and Charlie work together to set Kirsten and Rick up while also falling in love with each other.
Set It Up falls into the trope of a “quirky girl falls in love with the hot guy” Harper is a sports fan, but the way she expresses herself along with her personality falls into the trope. She’s goofy and doesn’t take herself too seriously. Charlie is the “hot guy” who likes quirky Harper and they fall in love. I can’t help it, but I love this trope in romance. For any fan of romance in general, I think everyone has that trope that they love and this is one of them for me. Another theme in rom-com is the cast. The cast can either make or break a movie. I thought Zoey and Glenn had great chemistry together. I wasn’t expecting Pete Davidson to play Charlie’s best friend, so I thought that was a nice surprise.
Set It Up was a cute rom-com and I’m glad I watched it.
I’m always looking for simple board games to play in between my more complex games. I played Unstable Unicorns first and I loved the art on the cards and how easy it is to teach other people the game. I purchased a copy of Llamas Unleashed as Unstable Games / TeeTurtle were tabling at a convention I went to. I had the game on my shelf for about a year and a half before finally being able to play it on a game night. Llamas Unleashed is so simple, cute, and filled with dad jokes.
Llamas Unleashed and Unstable Unicorns are essentially the game. The goal of Llamas Unleashed is to have the most Llamas, Goats, Rams, or Alpacas in your stable while also sabotaging other players’ attempts to do this as well. Each turn, a player will draw a card, play a card and then pass it to the next player. There are animal cards that can be placed in a stable, magical animal card where there are special powers associated. There are upgrade cards to help your stable along with downgrade cards that can be played in another person’s stable. There’s a lot of variety of what can be done on each turn.
If you’re not a fan of dad jokes, you probably won’t enjoy this game. There are so many puns on all the cards. My uncle would laugh whenever he drew a new card because it was centered on some pun. I imagine what the writing table at Unstable Games would be like as they come up with the wording on the cards. That would be a fun business meeting to be a part of I’m sure. As mentioned, this is a simple game. It’s easy for me to explain the rules and for my friends to pick up on the game quickly. This would be a fun game to bring to a brewery because there aren’t a lot of setups required and it doesn’t take that long to play.
I would definitely play Llamas Unleashed again. The game is cute, easy to learn, and an overall relaxing game to play.
If there’s one thing I’m looking forward to with attending conventions this year, it’s planning a new cosplay. It’s been a while since I have spent months preparing a new cosplay for a con. I usually figure something out last minute and it looks okay, but I’d rather have something ready to go. I have two big cons that I’m attending in March: Planet Comic Con and C2E2. This gives me about four full weeks to get everything ordered and ready. I wanted to share how I get inspiration for cosplay and the steps that I take to have the cosplay ready.
The first thing that I like to do is go to Pinterest. I have a cosplay board where I will pin cosplays that I like or that I want to complete someday. I have recently gone through my board and deleted any pins of cosplays that I’m not interested in. This is to help consolidate what types of cosplays I want to complete and when. Once I did this, I start searching different fandoms or characters to get an idea of what could be done versus what might be too complicated. I don’t cosplay professionally, it’s more of a hobby, so I’m not interested in doing any body paint or any massive art project for a cosplay. Once I get a few ideas, I have to figure out how to purchase or put together the look.
I’m not sure why I didn’t do this earlier, but I created an Amazon wishlist titled “Cosplay”. This is where I have been saving clothes, wigs, jewelry, or anything else I need to cosplay a character. I created this wishlist a few days ago and it’s helped to keep me organized. With cosplay materials, it can take weeks to ship on Amazon, so if I can have the items saved to order ahead of time, that would be ideal. I have two cosplays saved in my Amazon wishlist and I plan to order some of those items this week.
This leads me to the two cosplays I’m leaning towards. The first is Harley Quinn from The Suicide Squad specifically the red poofy dress with the combat boots. Harley Quinn is one of my favorite characters to cosplay as because she has so many different styles throughout her appearance in video games, comics, and movies. The red poofy dress is such an aesthetic and it fits Harley’s personality. The second cosplay I’m thinking about is a splicer from Bioshock. Splicers are enemies with wrenches or a fish hook that attack you throughout the game.
I’m excited to start putting more of my energy into cosplay! It makes me look forward to future conventions because I will have a new cosplay ready to go.
I have been trying to go through all my board games and play any that I haven’t played yet. One of those games was Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective. My brother bought me the game as a birthday gift a few years ago and I kept forgetting to bring it to a game night. Last weekend, I finally got to play the first two mysteries in Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective and I wish I had played this game earlier. Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is an easy-to-learn, detective-solving game that can be played with friends, family, or by yourself.
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective has ten mysteries to solve. Each mystery has a case file for that particular mystery. This booklet will also have information on leads that can be gathered to help solve the mystery. Besides the case file, there’s a newspaper that’s dated on or near the date of the crime which might also contain leads to follow up on. The goal of the game is to be able to collect enough information to answer the questions in the case. Once the questions are answered, the solution can be revealed. There’s a scoring system to see if you or your group can score more points than Sherlock Holmes. If you score more points than Sherlock Holmes then that’s worth bragging about!
As mentioned, our group completed two case files. The first case file seemed a lot more straightforward. We had to solve the murder of Courtney Allen, the owner of a gun company who was murdered behind his office. There was evidence that was collected at the scene along with his notebook which indicated dates and phrases that weren’t clear right away. As our group put everything together, we ended up guessing correctly who killed Courtney Allen. We were a little off about why he was murdered, but our group felt proud that we figured it out. The second case also featured a murder of a prominent general. Unlike the previous case, this case was a little bit convoluted. We weren’t sure who killed the general as it seemed like we were missing information. Interestingly enough, there was information in the first newspaper from the first case that helped us with this one. I loved that each newspaper from each case built off of the other.
Another reason I liked Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective was the amount of gameplay in the box. There are ten mysteries to solve and our group completed two of them. This leaves eight mysteries that still need to be solved. I kept comparing the Hunt a Killer box to this game as Hunt a Killer only had one case while Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective had ten. My brother told me that there are expansions to Sherlock Holmes which provide additional mysteries besides the ten included in this game. I like the ability to be able to replay a game over and over again versus playing it once and not seeing a reason to play it again.
Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective is a game I would play again because there are still mysteries to solve. I like that this game can be played alone as there aren’t that many games out there that are single-player. I can’t wait to go through the other mysteries and hopefully score more points than Sherlock Holmes.
In 2021, I started to prioritize reading romance books in February. I noticed that when I set aside months out of the year as a theme of what to read, I end up reading more. I love saving my romance books for February because it gives me something to look forward to during winter. My romance “to be read” (TBR) pile is ambitious because I have a lot to read. I wanted to share my Romance TBR along with keeping myself on track for next month.
All The Feels by Olivia Dade
Alexander Woodroe is an actor on one of the most popular TV shows, God of the Gates. After it’s released to the tabloids that he got into a bar fight, his future on the show is uncertain. Lauren Clegg is an ER therapist that’s assigned to keep Alexander on track after his previous bad behavior. As they spend time together, they start to fall for each other and Lauren has to decide if dating Alexander is worth it, especially with being an actor and being followed by paparazzi.
I read the first book in this series, Spoiler Alert, a few years ago and I remember liking it. I like the “God of the Gates” show being the background to the series. It’s refreshing to read a romance book with a protagonist that doesn’t have the stereotypical body type. For example, I read Ali Hazelwood’s books and all her characters are skinny women, so it’s nice to read something different.
Well Played by Jen DeLuca
Stacey has been working at the local Renaissance Faire for several years and finds herself wanting more. She has her eyes on Dex MacLean, a performer in the group “The Dueling Kilts”. Throughout the past year, Stacey thinks she has been sending messages to Dex, but maybe it’s actually someone else. Stacey may not be looking for love, but it might catch up to her anyway.
This is the second book in the “Willow Creek Renaissance Faire” book series. I read Well Met last year and I loved it! I read reviews of Well Played and a lot of readers didn’t like the catfishing part of the story. I’m not sure how I will feel about that, but I still want to read this book as the other books that come after Well Played are highly rated.
The Love Con by Seressia Glass
Kenya Davenport is a gamer, cosplayer, and Anime fan. She has always wanted to turn her passions into a full career. She auditions and joins the cast of a reality TV show called Cosplay or No Way which will test her cosplay skills. There’s a specific challenge on the show where Kenya enlists her friend, Cameron Lassiter to help assist her. While Kenya and Cameron are good friends, they end up pretending to date on the show. Will Kenya’s feelings for Cameron become a reality even if it means that their friendship will be forever changed?
I had no idea that this book existed until I saw it on a shelf at Barnes & Noble. As a cosplayer, I love the idea of a Project Runway meets cosplay romance book. This book I believe is a “friend to lovers” type of romance which I like to read.
Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Nora Stephens is a successful literary agent who thrives in the publishing industry. She’s convinced by her sister, Libby, to travel to Sunshine Falls, North Carolina to get away for a little bit. As Nora explores the area, she runs into Charlie Lastra, an editor that Nora isn’t a big fan of. Nora has a carefully constructed view of herself and maybe Charlie is the perfect person to break down the wall that she’s built.
Everyone has raved about Emily Henry’s books and I haven’t read a single one. I added this one to my list because I want to see what all the hype is about. I love the setting of this book as it takes place in North Carolina which is such a beautiful part of the US.
Lore Olympus Volume #1 by Rachel Smythe
Lore Olympus is a graphic novel centered around the Greek Gods interacting with each other. Most of the story is centered on Persephone and her budding romance with Hades. Lore Olympus was a Webtoon comic that I started reading and ended up falling behind on. Once I realized that there would be graphic novels being released, I decided to hold off getting caught up on Webtoon and instead buy the graphic novels. One of the best things about Lore Olympus is the art. The art is gorgeous and I love the contrast between Persephone’s bright pink versus Hades and the dark blue Underworld that he calls home.
I’m excited to start reading romance this month! I look forward to it every year. Once the month of February is over, I’ll write a recap post that will feature all the reviews for the books I read and whether I read everything on my list. I’ll have that post written and published in the first few days of March.
Legends & Lattes was one of the most hyped books that I had on my TBR. Every person who read this book described it as if Animal Crossing met Dungeons & Dragons. This sounds right up my alley. I received my copy of Legends & Lattes for Christmas this year and was saving it for January, so there was something I could look forward to in my least favorite months of the year. Legends & Lattes didn’t disappoint, it was the coziest Fantasy book I have ever read.
Viv is finished with her adventuring days. After collecting bounties, she wants to retire to a more peaceful career; building and maintaining a coffee shop. She hires several citizens from Thune who provide their different talents and areas of expertise to grow the business. Although Viv wants to retire, her old adventuring crew won’t let her go that easy.
It should be no surprise that I loved Legends & Lattes. I loved Viv. She’s an orc, so she gives off an intimidating presence no matter where she goes. Once Viv opens this coffee shop, she seems to let down her guard and helps create an open atmosphere in Thune. I liked learning about all the regulars who come to the shop. There’s Pendry, the bard who plays music. Hemington, the college student. Amity is a dire-cat who sleeps in the shop and acts as a protector of sorts. Besides the customers, there’s Tandri, Cal, and Thimble who all play a role in building Legends & Lattes. Each of the characters fit into the story and was easy to keep track of.
While I liked Legends & Lattes, it felt like there wasn’t a driving plot. Each chapter was about Viv expanding her shop, learning a new beverage, or Thimble creating a new recipe. There was conflict throughout the later half of the book, but it sometimes felt a little slow. I think I was hoping for a perfect blend of a coffee shop cozy atmosphere and a driven plot throughout the book.
Legends & Lattes would be a perfect book recommendation for those who are wanting to get into reading Fantasy but don’t want something complex. I loved the scenery throughout the book and can’t wait to see if Travis Baldree will expand on this in any future books.
I have talked quite a bit about Dungeons & Dragons as I’m in a long-term campaign now, but one of my other favorite roleplaying games is Vampire the Masquerade. I first played Vampire the Masquerade at Gen Con and I was immediately intrigued. While browsing through Steam, I found these Vampire the Masquerade visual novel games. I played Vampire the Masquerade Shadows of New York back in 2021 without realizing that there was a game that took place before Shadows of New York. I carved out time to play Coteries of New York and I loved how this game ties into Shadows of New York.
I noticed that in Vampire the Masquerade Coteries of New York, I was able to choose my clan. The three options were: Brujah, Ventrue, and Toreador. Each clan has different personality characteristics. I opted for Ventrue to start even though I usually favor the Toreador. In most of my campaigns, I pick the Toreador clan for my character. Since there are different clan options, the game has a different start. For Ventrue, my character talks about her corporate life and how it’s a grind. She’s asked to go to a work meeting at a fancy bar. She awakes with no memory of the meeting and with a burning hunger. After feeding on a waiter, she’s rescued by Q’adir al-Asmai, a sheriff who resides in New York. After being brought in front of a trial, she’s taken under the wing of Sophie Langley, a prominent figure, who wants to teach our character how to act and behave in vampire society.
First of all, I felt that there is a lot more replayability in this game versus Shadows of New York. There are numerous side quests to interact with and the game is set up where there isn’t enough time to meet everyone while the main story unfolds. There are still several side characters who I wasn’t able to interact as much with. The side quests vary such as investigating a serial killer to confronting a reporter who’s gathering intel on Sophie. I do plan on playing through the game at least two more times with the other clans. There might not be that much of a difference in the story, but I want to unlock the steam achievements.
With Coteries of New York coming before Shadows of New York, this game sets up the next game perfectly. I wish I played them in order because I do think it would have been much more satisfying. I do recommend playing the games in chronological order as it interweaves the games together and you see the same side characters pop up in both games.
As always, Coteries of New York is visually stunning. The way worldbuilding is explained in the Vampire the Masquerade rules, your character sees the world through a darker lens. The games match that tone. Each scene is darker and the shapes in the background will move. For example, I was in a parking garage, and out of the corner of my eye, I would see a shadow move through a window. It’s unsettling.
I loved playing through Coteries of New York. I think I liked this game more than Shadows of New York, but I still liked playing through them both. Both games are developed by Draw Distance and I hope the studio would consider making more Vampire games.
Since I have been regularly playing roleplaying games, I have been trying to keep up to date on any news or game releases coming from the TTRPG (Tabletop Role Playing Game) community. As one would have it, there has been a huge piece of news that I have seen being discussed everywhere. It relates to Wizards of the Coast (WotC) / Hasbro and their OGL (open gaming license) stance. At first, I wasn’t quite sure what the controversy was, but now that I have dug into it more, I can see why fans were angry. I wanted to delve into this a bit more as I think this is something that everyone should be aware of if they play Dungeons & Dragons on a regular basis.
To start off, an Open Gaming License is a copyright license where players can stream, discuss, and play Dungeons & Dragons without fear of violating copyright laws or being sued. I think about Not Another DnD Podcast being able to exist without WotC coming to them for using their game without their permission. While many Dungeons & Dragons streamers play the game using the rules created by WotC the worlds that are created are entirely built by the streamers. It makes it complicated to try and regulate that since a lot of this world-building is original.
If the above is true, who cares? Why is this a bad thing? My first thought on this is that it doesn’t make sense to me. In my opinion, if players buy roleplaying books, those books and any creations from the books are owned by the players. I think one of the biggest ways to help invite or welcome new players is for people to see the game being played in pop culture. This in turn can help increase profit for WotC since new roleplayers will buy the books. Another thought that occurred to me is how greedy this feels. 25% royalty may not seem like a lot for those making above $750,000, but it still equates to $187,500 that WotC would collect. The streamers who do make that much in profit are often trying to do this as a full-time job, so they would need to pay taxes on the profits they make. Based on all this, it feels more like a punishment than a good thing coming from WotC. Another fear that I had in reviewing all of this is how this could change. If WotC made this change and it was accepted, they could, in theory, lower the dollar threshold. They could make an amendment and say that anyone who makes $10,000 in profit would now be included. This wouldn’t go over with fans, but it could happen if this change to the OGL was successful.
If you’re still left with questions, I’ll link a few additional articles that I was reading through when I put together this post. In summary, I think WotC shouldn’t enact these changes as it would impact content creators.
For the past two weekends in a row, I have been able to devote time to playing through a Nancy Drew game. In general, most of the Nancy Drew games take me 4-5 hours to complete, so it’s been nice having that time to set toward each game. Playing Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower, this might be one of my least favorite Nancy Drew games I have played thus far.
Nancy is on a ski vacation in Wisconsin. As a side note, who goes to Wisconsin for skiing? This isn’t important to the game’s plot, but I thought it was kind of odd. Anyway, Nancy is snowed in her resort and is told that the library was broken into and vandalized. Additionally, Nancy is alerted to treasures and secrets in the tower which prompts her to investigate.
I mentioned how this was one of my least favorite Nancy Drew games that I have played. First of all, there isn’t a journal in this game. In my previous post, I mentioned how in some games, Nancy has her journal that tracks her tasks. This game doesn’t have this, so it was more for me to keep track of what Nancy had to complete or figure out. Another slightly annoying part of this game was the alarm clock. In some of the Nancy Drew games where Nancy is isolated in one location, she can only meet with certain characters at certain times. This means that Nancy has to go to her room, and set her alarm, so she can wake up and talk with the characters. I found myself spending much of the game navigating back to her room and setting her alarm. I found this to be repetitive and time-consuming. The final thing I wanted to add was how I found this game to be more boring than the other Nancy Drew games. Nancy was often doing errands for the characters instead of solving puzzles or playing mini-games. It felt like I was grinding through the tasks versus actually enjoying how the tasks came together.
There was one moment in the game when I couldn’t but laugh. Earlier on, Nancy finds fake passports in one of the character’s bags. Nancy brings it up to that character and that character laughs it off. That character ended up being the culprit. I laugh because if you were to find fake passports, that’s a red flag. It’s funny because in some Nancy Drew games, I end up predicting who the culprit is and this was one of them.
While Nancy Drew: Treasure in the Royal Tower was okay, it still puts me closer to completing all the games. I have one more Nancy Drew game in my library before I have to buy the next bunch. As mentioned previously, all the Nancy Drew PC games can be purchased on Steam.