Plants vs Zombies VS Plants vs Zombies 2

Plants vs Zombies is an online game you can play for free on PopCap. Basically you plant a variety of plants that have the ability to shoot peas, have chompy teethy mouths, or stand still and b e eaten, etc to decapitate and kill zombies that are trying to make ti across the lawn to your house. If you don’t kill the zombies before they get to your house, you loose the level and they eat your brains. The original version is fun, and I learned about it several years ago, but never really got into the game. Then the other day I was bored and decided to find out if I could down load it to my phone.

Of course I could. My phone is a tiny computer that sits in my hand and lets me connect to some waves in the air and play games when I don’t have anything else to do. It’s like magic.

pvz2_logo_v2

I discovered that Plants vs Zombies 2 exists and it was free! So I downloaded it. Aaaand I’m addicted. Now, I play it until my battery is running out and I’m sitting next to a wall plugged in and my phone is hot in my hand. The different levels don’t just have different plants to use against the zombies, there are also different puzzles and strategies. For example, one of the boards has a bunch of pots on it that you break open. Some of the pots have good things in them and some have zombies. Which is a different strategy then from when they are yards away and you know how much sun is filling up to plant more of the seeds you know are in your queue. One level just has the plants roll by at the top of the screen, you grab them off and plant them as strategically as you can before they disappear. One level is won only if you kill the zombies with only 14 plants on the screen at any given time. The coins that you collect can buy you temporary boosts. If you need more coins you can purchase them for real money. Which I have not done, because I don’t really understand why I would pay real money for fake coins. But that is just me.

vase breaker

Vase Breaker Board

But one of my favorite parts of Plants vs Zombies 2 is my little zen garden where I grow plants that give a boost to my levels. If you use the diamonds that you collect you can make them grow faster, or you can wait the sometimes 2 days while the plants mature. I’m not sure why planting fake plants in a fake zen garden is so much fun. Maybe it’s because I like to plant and maybe its because the real plants I planted this spring have been killed off by an evil squirrel. But I do love my zen garden.

Plants-vs.-Zombies-2 zen garden

I never got very high in the levels of Plants vs Zombies, the original, and I even went back and tried to play some levels to do a true comparison to the 2nd version. I also played it on my husbands computer to compare it to using a phone. I only got to about six levels and got bored and frustrated. Bored with the levels because the strategies are so similar for each of the early levels in the original that I just couldn’t force myself to continue. And frustrated because my husbands computer’s swipe mouse caused so much frustration that I lost a couple of levels due to lack of a good mouse. So I hopped back onto my phone and the 2nd version and completed like four more levels. Because. I’m addicted.

All this much excitement from the 21 levels on the Ancient Egyptian world and there are five more worlds to unlock and explore!!! What? Like, wooo! If you have a little of extra time, or a lot (coughcough), Plants vs Zombies 2 is a fun way to spend that time and also make your brain hurt a bit with strategic thinking.

Book Review: Among Thieves

Among Thieves is the first book in Douglas Hulick‘s series Tales of the Kin. Drothe is the main character in Among Thieves and the book is told from his first person perspective. Drothe is a nose, among the Kin (think lower class caste), the person who hears from the Ears (spies/eavesdroppers) , avoids the Mouths (people with magical  ability), and puts everything together like a puzzle and then reports to the boss. In Among Thieves, Drothe is thrown into the middle of political intrigue as the Grey Princes (middle class caste) begin to move pieces on the chessboard of life in relation to their views on the Emperor (take a wild stab here).

I shall sniff out yonder clue and later pick my nose with my sword

Blurb:

But when his boss orders Drothe to track down whoever is leaning on his organization’s people, he stumbles upon a much bigger mystery. There’s a book, a relic any number of deadly people seem to be looking for—a book that just might bring down emperors and shatter the criminal underworld.

A book now inconveniently in Drothe’s hands…

Among Thieves is mostly a historical novel about thieves and scoundrels who possess magic. Some of it is street magic pulled from the ether and some of it is imperial magic pulled from deeper places of the world. Hulick’s debut novel was intriguing, gripping, and a really good mystery set in a fun historical time period. I liked that the story was told from Drothe’s perspective, so we learned things as he learned them. I liked reading about a historical moment in time I haven’t read much about. I really liked the use of magic in this book. The universe seems to be well thought out and I was really happy with how the characters developed and moved through the story.

I have two slight complaints. I know, I know. One is that there is a lot of swashbuckling and magic handsing. OK that’s not a thing. What I mean is that Hulick takes a lot of time to describe every fight scene in great detail. I’m not so hung up on know who sliced whom and where exactly.

Though, there are days I want to stab my computer and keyboard so that the keys fall off to the ground screaming- Noooooo……

So I skip a few paragraphs.

More fighting.

Main character getting beat up.

Victor walks away thinking totally beat up main character.

Main character limps away.

Groovy. I told the fight scene in four sentences. This is why I write reviews and not sword fights. But my point remains. Every fight was similar, almost every fight ended with me not happy, and every fight was written in excruciating detail.

Now there are those who are going to read this review and be happy to read every sentence of those four fight paragraphs. Kudos. I can choose to dislike reading those paragraphs. I have to be the one to live through nightmares of snakes swarming my bed and choking me. If I don’t want to read about being knifed, then I’m not going to. This, does not make me stupid. It makes me opinionated. And sometimes it makes it difficult to fall asleep at night.

My second not really fault but oddity that kept happening was that I thought I was reading about a woman. Then, every time Drothe touched his beard I was like, Woa, but I’m a woman. Then I thought, maybe Drothe was going to actually be a woman living like a man to gain some status in society. But then I had balls being crushed in one scene and I was like, I’m definitely a man. But no, I’m a woman. Then I was convinced I was reading about how a man thinks from a female writer, but that is not the case. Sorry Hulick. I don’t know why this kept pulling me out of the story, but my brain is weird and this probably wont happen for another single person.

I really enjoyed this debut novel. I think it had all the elements of a great story. Characters that are multidimensional who discover new things and grow and learn. A mystery that only partially gets solved and goes deeper than I originally thought. History wrapped up in magic, as history generally is. A well thought out universe that will hopefully have great continuity in books to come. I’m looking forward to reading the second book in the series.

If you aren’t sure about this book, you can read an excerpt from first chapter for free here.

Read another review here and here.

Nodds & Nends: Love Letter, Vampires, and Doctor Who

Read a love letter to Doctor Who that is full of swearing. Though I have a minor disagreement with Topless Robot commenter, in that I really hope that Amy gets an on screen death. I think it is the only redemption for her character which has become kind of whiny and non-existent. Or bring back hard ass older Amy or something, give the girl something more than being a kiss-0-gram. Sheesh.

An article on vampires of the non-sparkly variety. I love vampires of all varieties, but it is fun to be reminded of some older versions that existed before Stephanie Meyers became popular.

I may need to become a gamer and move to the U.K. so I can play Doctor Who on the playstation. Or maybe just get the computer game that is about to come out.