Review: The Mothers

The Mothers
The Mothers by Brit Bennett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There was a lot that I liked about this book. I enjoyed the developing and changing relationships between Nadia, Aubrey, and Luke. The other characters in the book added a lot but didn’t take over in any way. I thought the writing was very good and I loved that, unlike most mainstream books I’ve read, being Black was the norm and the only time the race of an individual was mentioned it was to introduce a white character. It was refreshing.

I wish the book had ended differently and I wish the narrator of the audio book had sounded more natural for the parts of Nadia and Aubrey. The dialogue in those sections was great but the narrative was stiff and the words were over-enunciated.

I certainly enjoyed the story and would even think about reading it again at some point, but with my eyes.

View all my reviews

On the Table: Battlelore Second Edition

Continuing in our quest to get through the stack of games we got at the Asmodee holiday sale, we took on the two-player game Battlelore. In preparation, I watched a few videos and every time I heard “it’s a fantasy Memoir ’44” the more excited I got. I love me some Memoir ’44. And so does my wife so I knew she’d be eager to play which, of course, is a huge bonus.

When we opened up the box, there were a couple broken pieces but Asmodee very quickly replaced them. My limited experience with their customer service has been great. Very quick responses and shipping. To be completely honest, they missed replacing one of the two pieces but the one that wasn’t sent was only missing a small part of the tip of a sword. Not a big deal at all and it didn’t reduce our enjoyment of the game play.

Initial set up takes a little time but not as much as Memoir ’44. We played two games of the learning set up – which I highly recommend for new players. By only playing with the basic rules and only two unit types per player, we were able to get a great feel for the different phases and how the dice rolls affect play. Like most – maybe all? – Fantasy Flight games, the use of a rule book that has all the info you need to get playing quickly as well as a reference book for getting more info on specific things makes getting into the game quick and fairly easy. New players aren’t bogged down in pages and pages of information that they don’t really need. It makes playing games with lots of pieces and options much less intimidating.

Battlelore definitely lived up to the hype for us. We had a great time playing and can’t wait to get it to the table again. I love the idea of each player creating their own scenarios, armies, and terrain. Having the unit layouts remaining a secret adds even more excitement.

As much as I enjoy Memoir ’44, the fantasy miniatures, the variability of scenarios, and the addition of lore (magic) make this my family’s new go-to two-player war game. There are also so many expansions to keep it fresh and exciting.

You can slap the base game on your Amazon wishlist and watch for sales. It can be a bit pricey.

On the Table: Kanagawa

My two main hobby passions are books and games. They tend to take all of my non-work time and too much of my money. In both cases, I love collecting them as much as using them for their intended purposes. One of the biggest challenges I have is finding games that will hold my wife’s attention long enough to get through learning and actually playing. Through lots of research, I’ve found plenty of games that fit the bill and now my wife is much more willing to step out of her comfort zone. And our collection has grown even more because now she’s got her own wish list. Win-win as far as I’m concerned.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve obtained close to a dozen games so we’re working through learning and playing them. Last night, we played our first game of Kanagawa. I watched a couple videos that gave me a good idea of how to play and then read through the short manual once. I was able to completely explain the game to TJ, my wife, in just a few minutes and then we were off.

The first thing that grabbed us about the game is the quality of the components and the beauty of the art. We’re suckers for gorgeous games and this one definitely falls into that category. The brushes, grand master, and apprentice are wooden, the starting cards, storm tokens, and diplomas are thick, sturdy cardboard, and the tiles are firm card stock. My only real complaint is that sliding the tiles under the existing ones can be a pain in the butt. Card sleeves will likely help with that.

Game play is very quick unless you or another player suffers from Analysis Paralysis. This is a problem at our table but it afforded me extra time to refill drinks and get our son off to bed.

There are lots of ways to get victory points – called Harmony Points – so if one route doesn’t go the way you hope, there are plenty of other options. I ended up changing my strategy after taking cards I didn’t really want in order to throw a wrench into TJ’s plan. And it paid off because I won by a point.

We both had a great time playing and this will likely be a regular to the table. It’s nice to look at, easy to teach and learn, and quick enough to either play a couple of times or to be used as a warm-up game. It’s also not going to break the bank to add to your collection or to give as a gift. I could see this as a definite gateway game for those of you looking to recruit. 🙂

You can add Kanagawa to your wishlist or pick it up by clicking here.

Unboxing November’s Science Fiction PageHabit Package

I get pretty excited about books. Books have been a very big part of my life since I was old enough to read. For the past decade of so, I’ve been consuming almost solidly non-print books – ebooks and audio – but I do miss holding and smelling a physical book sometimes. My issue is having the time to indulge. With ebook and audio books, I can listen (text-to-speech apps for ebooks) so I can read anywhere while doing lots of different tasks. And then there’s the issue with reading small print in books… But for the coming year, I’ve made a promise to myself that I’m going to get back to reading print books. I’ll never read as many books with my eyes as I do my ears but maybe one book a month will be doable.

Gearing up for some good eyeball reading, I decided to give PageHabit a try. I’m a sucker for getting packages in the mail and bookish things so it seems like a perfect treat for myself. And some of the money goes to charity so there’s a nice bonus! I did a quick unboxing video if you’re interested in what I received.

If you’d like to give PageHabit a shot, you can use this link and we’ll both get something out of it. You’ll get $10 off your first box and I’ll get $10 off my next one.

Peaceful Tuesday Morning

Been working out again with my brother. This morning we decided to do something fun outside of the gym. Hard work but in a beautiful setting. What a great way to start the day!


Celebrate International Tabletop Day!

Most of my friends and close family members know that I’m a tabletop game junkie. I’ve always enjoyed playing games like backgammon, rummy, and Magic the Gathering and never much cared whether I won or lost. My enjoyment came from spending time with others and sharing an experience. Tabletop gaming has grown over the years into something very different from the board games of my youth like Monopoly, Sorry, Payday, and Life. Now there are so many different types of games that everyone can find something that keeps them coming back to the table, even if they’re the only one playing.

I stumbled upon modern tabletop gaming while cruising around on YouTube. There I found a show called, appropriately, TableTop. (Here’s a link to one of the shows that inspired me to get the game being played: I binged for hours while making lists of games to buy, many of which have become family favorites. I wrangled my son into watching with me and he immediately became a huge Wil Wheaton fan and we’ve watched just about every episode together, along with an RPG show he created and GM’d. But back to gaming…

My interest in tabletop games has grown into a monthly gaming group and I’ve successfully gotten a few other folks hooked, as well. I feel pretty good about this! While many of the games can be expensive (see Mansions of Madness or The Fury of Dracula) and take hours to read the rules and learn to play, loads are affordable and easy to learn. There’s also a huge online community of gamers just waiting to help others learn and find a perfect game.

In celebration of International Tabletop Day, I want to spread the love. According to the Geek & Sundry post that I nabbed the image from, this year’s theme is focusing on how tabletop gaming has changed our lives. Personally, it’s brought me closer to some of my friends and it’s given my wife, son, and I a new way to bond and spend quality time together. Now I want to give someone else the opportunity to discover the happiness that gaming can inspire.

Simply leave a comment on this post on or before April 23rd letting me know what the last game you played was. If you’ve never played a tabletop game or it’s been so long that you can’t remember, let me know that. I’ll pick someone and send a new game that should arrive in time to play on ITD.

To steal the line Wheaton uses to close his show, play more games!

A Flash Mob Choir At The Women’s March Turned This Unknown Song Into An Anthem

Reblogging because holy shit, this song!

“Quiet,” by the Los Angeles-based singer MILCK, goes viral after a group of women perform it a capella during the weekend protest in Washington, D.C.

Source: A Flash Mob Choir At The Women’s March Turned This Unknown Song Into An Anthem

*Here’s a link to purchase the song to support the artist: