Guest Post: A Casino for Gods by David E Dresner

Hello!

Today we have a very special guest post from David E. Dresner, the writer of ‘A Casino for Gods’ the third book in ‘The Allies of Theo’ series. I hope you enjoyed David’s words as much as I did!

Things That Have Inspired Me

My collective experiences tell me the common denominator in all of life’s important events, the positives and the negatives, are people. I’ll present those people who have impacted and inspired me from my earliest years to the present.

Earliest Mentor.

The earliest mentoring began from my father, Frank Dresner. Frank was a young immigrant arriving in 1910 from Hungary at age one. Adjusting to a new country was demanding.

His birth certificate’s first name was ‘Geza’, a tenth century king in his region of Transylvania. As he adjusted to being an American, he wisely changed from Geza to Frank.

Based on his many challenging adjustments he instilled in me the importance of believing in yourself. I clearly remember him telling me, at various points in my young life, “David, you can do anything you set your mind to do.” These early votes of confidence made a lasting impact.

Community Mentor

I grew up in a small, rural community in northern Ohio called “Howland Corners’.  Howland was founded in the late 1700’s. Howland had one school with grades one thru twelve, there was one church. We’re talking small here.

The church was a non-denominational community church. Robert, the minister, taught that people are all the same regardless of labels. He invited guest Sunday speakers including rabbis, Catholic priests, and various Protestant ministers.

Robert’s perspective on people served me well. In business I worked easily with people of all backgrounds including Buddhists, Jews, Hindus, and Muslims. I benefited from all these diverse peoples and cultures thanks to Robert. I always viewed people as Robert would have, as individuals with unique talents, drives, and personalities.

Two Business Mentors

Fresh out of a top graduate business school, my early self-confidence was quickly tested. I was hired by the number one firm in the Fortune 500 ranking. I lasted less than a year before being fired. I was in the wrong job and never debated the firing; in fact, I was relieved. I still believed in myself.

My business fortune changed when I stumbled into my subsequent professional career. I joined a small local consulting firm with a goal of becoming an accredited actuary.  

My first boss, Russ, was a World War II veteran as well as being an actuary. Russ hammered into me the importance of being ‘right’ in our work. At the end of each month, we determined the pensions for retiring city workers. I did the pension calculations and Russ would separately do them. We would then compare results for each retiree. We had to agree to the penny. Of course, Russ was always right. I never wanted to disappoint him so I would triple check my work. A word of praise made my day.

Russ moved to New York and I joined a national firm in Philadelphia. My second boss, Bob, was my age. When I initially interviewed with him, I thought he was a sourpuss. I was wrong. Bob and I became friends outside of work but never brought friendship into the office.  

Bob was brilliant, a master of our profession. He spent a lot of time mentoring me in applying the complex mathematics underlying our profession. Like Russ, he demanded we be ‘right’ in our analysis. He taught me how to ‘prove’ mathematically our numbers were correct. Due to Bob’s training, I became a competent professional, confident in my work.   

I Become a Mentor and Again Benefit

My lifelong experiences of benefiting from mentors motivated me to do the same for others.

In business, as well as life, people are emotionally reluctant to admit their shortcomings. Mentors know this and first establish trust. Following trust, the mentor can proceed to address shortcomings in a manner that permits understanding, acceptance, and ultimately progress. Many of my young charges have gone on to strong careers.

After retirement I taught, pro bono, middle school math, including algebra, for grades six, seven, and eight. Too many students self-labeled themselves as ‘dumb’ in math. While they needed instructional help, more importantly they needed self confidence that they could master the difficult subject. I helped them build that confidence.

We had many success stories working together. Students were surprised at their improved performance on standardized exams. While the students were justifiably proud, the biggest beneficiary was me. I knew I had made a difference in young lives, much the same as others had made in mine.

Blog Tour: Poisoned by Jennifer Donnelly

Thank you to the publisher for a free copy of this book, in exchange for a honest review.

Synopsis

Beautiful Sophie with lips as red as blood, skin as pale as snow, and hair as dark as night, is about to come of age and inherit her father’s throne. But Sophie’s stepmother wants rid of her – beautiful she may be, but too weak and foolish to reign. And Sophie believes her, as she believes all the things that have been said about her – all the poisonous words people use to keep girls like her from becoming too powerful, too strong.

When the huntsman carries out his orders of killing Sophie, she finds a fire burning inside her that will not be exstinguished, and sets off to reclaim what was taken from her.

Jennifer Donnelly turns her feminist eye to this most delicious of fairy tales and shows Snow White as she’s never been seen before.

Book Information
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Genre: YA
Publication Date: 20th October 2020
Page Count: 432
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Review: 4/5

Review

Fairy tale retelling, feminism and ferociously cute animals, if they’re what you’re looking for in your next read then look no further! I, for one, am a sucker for a good fairy tale retelling, I simply can not get enough of them. They’re always so imaginative in the ways they twist the stories and develop the characters and this book is no exception. Snow White is my least favourite princess, I find her very irritating and utterly insufferably, however, Sophie is strong in both mind and soul and I was constantly rooting for her throughout. She still has some traits of the original Snow White such as her tremendous good looks, caring nature and a need to always to the right things but she has so many more. Gone are the helpless princesses who wait around to be rescued and always lost in their own little world of animals and perfectness, instead we have resilience, sacrifice and a lot of mud.

An aspect I really enjoyed about this book was the deep-rooted feminism throughout. In any form of story, it is always the men who are in charge and the women who just to lay around looking pretty and being polite and no one ever addresses it, but this book does. A favourite line about this is: ‘
A prince poisons a mutinous noble. A bishop burns a man at the stake because his God speaks English instead of Latin. It is not murder, like the history books say, but execution. Done to preserve the peace. Distasteful yes, but necessary. […] There was one abomination no king, no prince or no pope could forgive. A woman who wears a crown’.
It recognises the things wrong with not just fairy tales but history itself and uses them to develop characters and story and it just gets me so pumped to see something refreshingly different and highly important. Because in reality, women are just as capable as men at doing everything, we’ve just been oppressed and put down for so long.

Of course there are plenty of male characters in this book and some of them are perfectly splendid, and although some of the usual tropes appear, such as Sophie waiting for a prince to come rescue her, but the books leads her to a point where the prince isn’t coming to save her, therefore she has to save herself. Because we don’t all have beautiful princes on stallions that save us from peril, the only person we can wholeheartedly rely on is ourselves, and that is what Sophie does!

An interesting aspect of this story is that you can’t quite pinpoint who the villain is. There are several characters that could qualify for the role, such as the Stepmother – who we all know is evil -, the man in the shadows, even the society in which they live in, that makes it impossible for a woman to hold any title or source of power without being seen as vain or cruel. Each element is added together to create a world in which Sophie has to be wary of everything – her surroundings, everyone she meets and every decision she has to make. It is a very suspenseful book with so many cogs of suspension turning.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the book and everything it highlighted, I wouldn’t have necessarily say it blew me away which is why it isn’t a 5/5 stars, I’m just very stingy with my 5/5 star ratings, I’m sorry! However, if you’d like a read that inspires you to do whatever you want to do or simply love a retelling like I do, I would wholly recommend this book.

I hope to see you all again soon,
Zoe

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50271319-poisoned
Amazon link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50271319-poisoned

‘Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble. Magcial Poems’ Chosen by Paul Cookson and Illustrated by Eilidh Muldoon Book Tour

Than you to the publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis

From magic carpets and wands to unicorns, potions, creams and lotions, Paul Cookson’s brewing a spell of fantastically magic poems.
On this tattered magic carpet
You can choose your destination
For nothing’s quite as magical
As your imagination
Beautifully illustrated by Eilidh Muldoon, this enchanting anthology brings together works from a range of classic, establishes and rising poets. Whether you’re in the mood for a haunting or a spell gone wrong, this collection of mesmerising poems will have you betwitched from beginning to end!
Poets include: William Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Benjamin Zephaniah, John Agard, Valerie Bloom, Matt Goodfellow, Joshua Seigal and A.F. Harrold.

Image preview

Book information
Title: Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble.
Chosen by: Paul Cookson
Illustrated by: Eilidh Muldoon
For ages: 7+
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Review: 4/5

Review

Spooky season is finally upon us! Autumn has arrived and with it has brought crisp, cold mornings, dark, eerie nights and a want for all things spooky and cosy. This book encapsulates spooky season perfectly, with an array of both spooky, funny and magical poems, it is the perfect book to get you in the mood for the season ahead.

I adored every single poem in this book, even the Shakespeare one, they were witty, charming and downright magical. Considering this book is aimed at people much younger than I am (I am 24), I thoroughly enjoyed it. Usually I am not the biggest fan of poetry, (novels and drama are way more up my alley), but this was definitely an exception. This is perfect for anyone of any age really, especially if you’re like me and love this time of year, but it is exceptionally good for children/younger people too. It is a fun way to introduce them to different forms of writing and encourage them to read and with all the wonderfully drawn illustrations, I’m sure they won’t have a hard time getting into it.

This book is the perfect spooky season read, and is great for getting you into the autumnal mood. Light some candles, eat some gingerbread and delve into the world of magical poems!

Happy spooky season everyone!!

Blog Tour: The White Phoenix by Catherine Randall

Synopsis

London, 1666. After the sudden death of her father, thirteen-year-old Lizzie Hopper and her mother take over The White Phoenix – the family bookshop in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral.

But England is at war with France and everywhere there are whispers of dire prophecies. As rumours of invasion and plague spread, Lizzie battles prejudice, blackmail and mob violence to protect the bookshop she loves.

When the Great Fire of London breaks out, Lizzie must rescue more than just the bookshop. Can she now save the friend she wasn’t supposed to have?

Book Information
Title: The White Phoenix
Author: Catherine Randall
Release Date:28th August 20202
Genre: MG
Page Count: 213
Publisher: The Book Guild Publishing
Rating: 3.5

The Review

This book was several firsts for me, it was the first middle grade book I have read and also the first book I have read surrounding the topic of The Great Fire of London. This book has everything you could ever want, a rebellious child, historical London, topics of importance such as the ideologies of women and the working class and a bookshop.

With the book being middle grade, admittedly it wasn’t hard to read, but I simply couldn’t put it down – throughout I was engrossed with the drama and the history, constantly empathising with the characters and their struggles and imagining ways to hurt the books antagonist, Master Pedley, who is one scheming, mean man who believe a woman simply can not run a business without a man – honestly, the worst type of person.

There was never a moment where something wasn’t happening, whether that be The Great Fire of London, the plague, the prejudices against the French and Catholics or someone, mainly Lizzie being on the brink of trouble. At every page something new and worrying was happening, but wasn’t written in a way that it was overwhelming, they all seamlessly intertwined together to create a huge climax. As I said, with it only being a middle grade book it wasn’t the most amazing piece of literature I have read, I thoroughly enjoyed it nonetheless and I’m pretty certain that younger people will do also. It’s very important to teach the age group about the history of London and the attitudes towards women and foreigners and how much things have changed, but it does it in an enjoyable way.

I adored the character of Lizzie and very much admired her consistency of wanting to do right who and what she believed in, and going against the ‘norms’ of the society and she knew they were wrong. I think she’s a great character for younger people to read about it as she inspires compassion and doing the right thing, even if sometimes she doesn’t do as she’s told.

If you would like to add this book to your Goodreads, click here.

If you would like to purchase this book on Amazon, click here.

Blog Tour: Midnight Twins by Holly Race

Synopsis

Fern King is about to uncover a place that she could not have imagined in all her wildest dreams. Annwn is the dream mirror of our world, a place where Dreamers walk in their slumber, their dreams playing out all around them. An enchanted, mysterious place that feeds our own world – as without dreams, without a place where our imaginations and minds can be nourished, what kind of humans would we be?

But Annwn is a place as full of dangers as it is wonders: it is a place where dreams can kill you. Annwn and its Dreamers are protected by an ancient order known as the Knights – and when Fern’s hated twin Ollie is chosen to join their ranks, Fern will have to do whatever she can to prove she is one of them too.

But the world Fern discovers in Annwn, in this dream mirror of her London, is a fragile one, threatened by vicious nightmares. Nightmares that are harder and harder for the Knights to defeat. Something dark is jeopardising the peace and stability of Annwn, something that must be rooted out at all costs. And gradually, Fern realises that the danger lurking inside our sleep is more insidious and terrifying than any nightmare. Because if you can influence someone’s dreams, you can control their thoughts …

Book Information
Title: Midnight Twins
Author: Molly Race
Release Date: llth June 2020
Genre: YA
Page Count: 432
Publisher: Hot Key32 Books
Rating: 3.5

The Review

Hello and welcome to my stop and the final stop on the blog tour for Midnight Twins by Holly Race. When I was asked if I wanted to be apart of this blog tour I was so excited, fantasy books are where my heart lies and I was very intrigued about a world like that existed when we were soundly asleep at night, a world created by our imaginations and in our dreams. It is a very interesting concept and one that was portrayed wonderfully – it was well-written, very imaginative, and I am not lying when I say that I had goosebumps 90% of time reading this.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I did have a few issues with it. One of the major one being that it did has a few plot holes/story lines that just didn’t really make sense. I thought that in some aspects the main characters, Fern and Ollie were a little unobservant as obvious things would be present but i’d take them a while to figure it out – this may be because they are only 15, but sometimes you couldn’t help but think, “really you didn’t notice that until now?” This also applies to a lot of the characters, wherein if they just thought a little outside of the box or thought a little harder then everyone’s problems would be solved much easier and much quicker. Additionally, one aspect of fantasy novels, that occur frequently, that I am not a fan of at all is when an ordinary person is thrust into something spectacular and completely unimaginable and they seem completely ok with it after a short while and not astounded by this recent discovery.

Despite these issues, I did overall really enjoy this book as I was able to overlook the things that niggled at me as it was so jam-packed with action. This book is in the genre of YA but it introduces aspects of so many more – it is a mixture of fantasy, adventure and mystery. I adored the urban-fantasy setting and the alternative London of Annwn and how key monuments and buildings were weaved into the setting, such as St Paul’s Cathedral being the base for the Knights – the people that protect us from our nightmares and the things that could kill us in our dreams. If I had read this book when I was a lot younger, I would not sleep easy at night. I was very intrigued by Annwn and left me longing for more information on the place, eager to see how people’s imaginations have shaped the world we know, hopefully we get more in the sequel.

Fern and Ollie are twins and are very different people. I couldn’t quite decide whether I liked either of them – they both had major flaws and had a long list of problems, but that is what makes them so great. In most books the protagonist is flawless, yes they may have made a few mistakes over the years but overall there is nothing overtly bad about them. Fern and Ollie on the other hand, they’ve made mistakes, they have a few shit personality traits, they’re impulsive and at some times selfish, but that is what makes them human and like a real life actual person. You could see that there was so much more to them that what they was displacing and revealing and in enticed you to read more and discover more about them. We wasn’t just taken on a journey through the story line but also through emotion.
I really enjoyed the juxtaposition between Ollie and Fern. Ollie being the cool, handsome twin who everyone adores and Fern being the ‘odd’ looking one with no friends and a total outcast in the real world, but once they enter Annwn, these personas are almost switched, shoving them into each other’s shoes and it was really fascinating to read and see how their personalities developed by these alternate experiences.


A major aspect I enjoyed whilst reading this book is that the plot took me to places I didn’t think it would. Yes, some aspects you could’ve guessed, but it was so well written that I enjoyed it just as much if it was a surprise. A slight warning though, this book is not for the faint-hearted, some times it can be very gruesome and deals with very important and present topics such as corrupt politicians, death of a parent, bullying and isolation. It highlights what it’s like to be an outsider, unlike the people around you and the emotional and mental toll it can take on you, which I think is very important for people to be aware of and include in books and those of us who do feel like an outsider, it reminds us that we aren’t in fact actually alone, there are others like us out there.

I’m not sure whether or not this was intentional, but I felt like, at times, this book got very political and I loved it. It highlights how those in power put on a facade, pretending they’re like us and that they care, but behind it all they are all simply power-hungry. This is exactly what the antagonist of this novel is and does – he pretends he is for the people, with his charm and elegance, but inside, just like every politician, he only cares for himself. This book really does highlight privilege of both status and power and considering this is a book aimed at young adults, I think it is very important to convey this message and make them aware.

Is this book perfect? No. Are there issues with it? No doubt. But did I enjoy it? You bet I did. I had my duvet pulled high the entire time despite the warm temperature as I was constantly covered in goosebumps. I thoroughly enjoyed the adventure, the mystery and the fantasy throughout this entire book; it always revealing something more exciting and spectacular along the way. I have many questions regarding many things but I am so excited about what is next to come. This book had my name written all over it and I am honoured to have been a part of this blog tour!

If you would like to buy this book on Amazon, click here
OR
If you would like to add it to your Goodreads page, click here

Black Lives Matter

Presently, throughout the world, there are protests for Black Lives Matter – protests that stemmed from the murder of an innocent black man by three cowardly, murderous police officers. This event happened in America, but the mistreatment of black people happens all over the world. And although the murder of George Floyd is what prompted the protests, he is not the only victim or reasons as to why these protests are happening. Black people have been discriminated against for centuries for simply having a darker complexion than white people. They have been murdered, abused, let down by society and treated differently by everyone surrounding them for no other reason than existing. And it has to stop.

We as a world are standing together to fight off oppression, the mistreatment of black people and general police brutality that has been happening day in and day out for far too long. We as a species can not allow our fellow humans to be treated so poorly any longer. White supremacy is and always has been present and it is disgusting. No one should be less or more of a human being because of their upbringing, their birthplace or the colour of their skin. We do not have a ‘superior’ or ‘inferior’ race we just have a human race and we are failing. Years of propaganda and negative depictions from our ‘leaders’, those with a large voice, movies and so-called history (all bullshit) have painted a negative image of anyone who has a different skin colour other than white.

The protests have been happening for nearly 2 weeks now and although there has been bad to come out of (ongoing police brutality, white supremacists and more death) there is also positives that have come from it – people are beginning to wake up to what is happening right in front of us. People are receiving repercussions for their actions, murderers are being treated for what they are, laws are changing and statues that glorify slave traders and colonialists are being torn down. All this has happened and still there is so much more that needs to be done. People have still not had justice for their love ones being murdered in cold blood, their murderers walking the street acting as if they don’t have blood all over their hands; prominently occupied black communities still require more funding; the police force needs a whole overhaul of education, polices and defunding – using that money where it is needed most. But none of this can happen if we stop.

We mustn’t stop.
We must keep having our voices heard.
We must keep fighting for our black friends, using our white privilege for good.
We must donate if we can.
We must sign as many petitions as humanly possible.
We must support black owned businesses and artists and writers and anyone trying to make it in this world where they won’t get a second glance because of the colour of their skin.

This can only happen if we stand together and keep standing together. Educate yourselves and get your voices heard. The media is propaganda and our voices must outshine theirs.

Black lives matter now, black lives mattered then and black lives will always, always matter!

For information of where you can donate, petitions to sign, resources and general information about the current happenings of the movement, then please visit: https://blacklivesmatter.carrd.co/

Sims 4 Build: Suburban Family Home

Hello and welcome to another Sims 4 speed build commentary. I really enjoyed the last so I have decided to grace you all with some more wonderful Sims 4 content.
The new expansion pack, The Sims 4: Eco Living is now available, but I built this house before that was released therefore does not showcase it all. I’ve been a bit slow on The Sims content currently. I am the worst.

Now without further ado lets get into the build. Below you can find the video that was originally posted on Youtube channel and the commentary underneath!

I struggled fairly with the layout of this house (although you can’t see it because I cut it out of the video) and had to redo do it a good few several times. However, i’m pretty with how it came out in the end. I tried to keep it as open plan as I could and really utilize the space, although at time I did struggle finding things to fill in the space, that is why you are hit in the face with a grand piano as soon as you enter the living area. This house features a pretty large kitchen, equipped with an island, a separate laundry room, dining room, office, 2 master bedrooms and a children’s bedroom furnished for 2 children and 3 bathrooms. It is very much a family-friendly house with plenty of space for kids to run around, bookcases and skill building objects around the place and remnants of mess less behind by little fingers.

I wasn’t really sure as to what style I wanted to make this home – at first I was trying to go for a very homely, wooden kind of vibe but as I was building it just became a fairly generic, yet homely kind of house. It’s nothing too special but I think it’s perfect for any family, little or large.
Whenever I furish houses I always try and have a family in mind that I am building for, which in this case is two parents their twin children who love games and adventure and their teenager daughter who is artistic and shares her bedroom with the families beloved pet cat. I did use a fair amount of the packs in this house and unlocked the career mode items to get that beautiful sunflower bed – a bed which I don’t use nearly half as much as I wish because I always forget its there!

I did build the house fairly large and the plot isn’t the biggest so the back garden isn’t the biggest or the best but we have all the necesities – a BBQ, a table and chairs, plenty of trees and flowers and activities for the kids. I even included a bird feeder, because you know, you’ve got to care for the wildlife!
I am very fond and proud of this house – I don’t usually build houses of this size and although it was a challenge, I had so much fun building and furnishing it. Next time I’m definitely going to make a smaller house, but it was nice to step out of my comfort zone for a while.

I have previously stated, I am not generally a builder in The Sims 4, most of my time is usually spent exploring the game play features and doing continuous rags to riches challenges, but I can’t exactly speed build that! If you would like to download this house it is on the gallery, my ID is zoeplant96.

Thank you so much for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed another Sims 4 inspired post.

Again Again by E. Lockhart

I was supposed to do be doing a review of this book today, but unfortunately the book hasn’t arrived in the post and I didn’t have time to finish the book on my Kindle that I only obtained a few days ago (I don’t really like reading ebooks so it’s taking me some time, I’m sorry!!). I’m so sad I’m not able to have a review ready, as I love being apart of blog tours and I was so very excited about reading and reviewing this book, because it sounds like a really interesting and immersive read. Although I haven’t read any of E. Lockhart’s books before, I know a lot of people who have and love her work. So instead, I’m going to use my spot on the blog tour to tell you a little about the book and post my review, at a later date, when I finally finish the book.

Summary

In this novel full of surprises from the New York Times bestselling author of WE WERE LIARS and GENUINE FRAUD, E. Lockhart ups the ante with an inventive and romantic story about human connection, forgiveness, self discovery and possibility.

When Adelaide Buchman’s younger brother succumbs to a drug overdose, she saves his life. In the aftermath, looking for distraction, she becomes a stylish, bright charmer who blows off school and falls madly in love – even though her heart is shattered.

Adelaide is catapulted into a summer of wild possibility, during which she will fall in and out of love a thousand times while finally confronting her brother, their history, and her own strength.

A raw and funny story that will surprise you over and over, Adelaide is an indelible heroine grappling with the terrible and wonderful problem of loving other people.

About the book

Title: Again Again

Author: E Lockhart

Genre: YA

Publication Date: 2nd June 2020

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52305282-again-again

Amazon Link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Again-Lockhart-ebook/dp/B07ZZCZ7G6

Who is E. Lockhart?

E Lockhart is the author of many novels including the bestselling WE WERE LIARS, a New York Times bestseller, and GENUINE FRAUD; also THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS, a Michael L. Printz Award Honor Book, a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Cybils Award for Best Young Adult Novel; FLY ON THE WALL, DRAMARAMA, and the Ruby Oliver quartet: THE BOYFRIEND LIST, THE BOY BOOK, THE TREASURE MAP OF BOYS, and REAL LIVE BOYFRIENDS. She co-authored HOW TO BE BAD with Lauren Myracle and Sarah Mlynowski. Her latest book is AGAIN AGAIN. Visit her online at: emilylockhart.com

Website: http://emilylockhart.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/elockhart

Instagram: http://instagram.com/elockhartbooks

Blog Tour!

Even though I do not have a review of my own at this current time, this book is currently on a book tour where lots of amazing bloggers have reviewed this book, so please check out their reviews!

The Sims 4 ‘Grandma’s House’ Speed Build

A Brief Introduction

Alright there my lovelies? Welcome to another Sims 4 themed post. You will be seeing a fair few of these from now on, because if you didn’t know, alongside books, The Sims franchise is another great love of mine. I’ve been wanting to do a Sims inspired Youtube channel for years but never had the confidence – I have created an account and plan to post speed builds on there, but after years of people telling me my accent is ‘very Mancunian’ and that I should ‘speak properly’ I have discovered I am very self-conscious about it, therefore I will not be doing voice overs. (yet)

Whilst I was trying to sleep the other night, I came up with a solution – why not do the commentary as a blog post? So here we have it. An experiment if you will. I’ll post the video and write up a full commentary about the build. If you’d like to subscribe to the Youtube channel you can here. Might be a flop but it’ll be fun for me.
Now, on with the show!!!

Grandma’s House Speed Build

There are two things that are understated in The Sims 4 and that is the elderly and children/toddlers, so I wanted to make a house for both of these things. My idea was that the child’s parent passed away, therefore it was left for the grandmother to care for them.

I aimed for this house to be modest, but still spacious enough that it wasn’t cramped for the both of them. It features 2 bedrooms and 2 full bathrooms, a kitchen/dining combo and a decently sized side garden that the grandmother uses to grow her produce. In my mind the grandmother loves plants nature and the theme of this house pertains to that, as well as keeping an ‘old-timely’ feel with the flower wallpaper and dated furniture.
I did skip a little of the build as roofing isn’t my strong point and I was very indecisive when planning the kitchen and dining room with it not being a large space. I loved how the kitchen turned out though, as I think it gives off a country-style feel and can imagine a little old lady baking in it at the early hours of the morning.

A lot of the children/toddler’s stuff is kept to their bedroom as I didn’t want the house to be overrun. Although the child lives here, it is still grandma’s house and I feel like she’d like things just so. However, I did put down a few items to indicate the presence of a child as I’m a family gal and believe children should run free. I’m not an animal. There is a kiddie pool outside which I absolutely adore, the toddlers look so sweet when they’re in their swimming costumes splashing around, in addition to a highchair in the kitchen (the kids got to eat), in addition to a few decorative items around the place. I even added a cat tree, litter-box and bowl, because what is a home without a pet?

I’m far from a builder, I am much more of a player (if I do say so myself), but I’m really happy with how this house turned out. I think it’s really sweet and suits the characters I had in mind (you can see them at the beginning of the video). I’ve played in this house with these characters and it worked a dream. The grandmother had a beautiful garden, overflowing with fruit and flowers and the toddler thrived in the spacious home. Landscaping is not one of my strong points, in my mind, the more flowers I add the better it will look and you can’t go wrong with hedges. I tried my best ok!

The house costs 57,791 Simoleons and is placed on a 30×20 lot. You will need to enable the ‘bb.moveobjects on’ cheat before placing this build and some things may get deleted. I built this house in Windenburg, the Queen of the worlds in my opinion and it fits in so nicely. This house is on the gallery if you want to download it, my gallery ID being: zoeplant96 . I hope you enjoyed this style of post. I promise they will get better in the future, practice makes perfect! I did forget to put screenshots in the video so I’m going to insert them here instead.

Screenshots

Blog Tour: The Engima Game by Elizabeth Wein

Synopsis

Britain, 1940.
When her mother is killed in the Blitz, Louisa Adair feels she has lost everything. The country she has called home since her family left Jamaica is not a friendly place for an orphaned girl with brown skin. She finds work looking after an old lady at a pub near an airfield in Scotland. There she meets Ellen, a drive for the RAF, and Jamie, a pilot – two other young people just as exhausted by the war and just as desperate to fight back.

Then the impossible happens. A German defector lands at the airfield carrying a precious package, and Louisa, Jamie and Ellen find themselves hiding a code-breaking machine that could alter the course of the war. But there are powerful people hunting for the machine, and soon Louisa and her friends are playing a deadly game that threatens everything they hold dear.

Book Information
Title: The Enigma Game
Author: Elizabeth Wein
Genre: YA Historical
Publication Date: 14th May 2020
Page Count: 424
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Rating: 4.5/5

The Review

Hello and welcome to my stop on the blog tour, discussing the wonderful book that is ‘The Enigma Game’ by Elizabeth Wein. Before I get into the review and start telling you how wonderful this book is, I would just like to point out a few trigger warnings as this book deals with issues surrounding the war, racism, death, WW2 and a hint at suicide.

I must confess, I’m not usually one for historical fiction, unless it involves witches, medieval or the Greek gods, but reading this has definitely opened my eyes to a new genre that I love reading. Throughout we follow three protagonists: Ellen, Jamie and Louisa as we see the world through their eyes and how each one experiences and is affected by different aspects of the war. Despite all being from varying backgrounds: Louisa being brought up in Jamaica, Jamie from a wealthy ‘posh’ family and Ellen a traveller, all three characters create a bond that is untouchable, through life-threatening secrets, trauma and respect. I loved each one of these characters equally, and would protect any one of them as if they were my child.
I loved that although we got the point of view from each of the characters, information was left out about each persons situation to be revealed later by another one of the protagonists, which really helped the flow of the book and progressed it whilst still keeping it interesting. I never longed to reach another characters POV, something that rarely happens with a book that has multiple protagonists.

Although this book is categorised as a YA novel it deals with such traumatic and unthinkable things that you almost forget how young the characters are. I liked how Louisa was thrust into such a terrible situation as it showed how many young people, during the war, were forced to grow up way before their time and experience the most horrific things. Despite this, Louisa still came across as a 15 year old girl. It is common for YA novels to give a character an age but never let them act like it. Louisa wasn’t just scared about the war, she was excited by it – eager to get involved and help anyway she can. Her excitement arose from both the big things and the small and much like Ellen and Jamie, although all three are incredibly strong characters they all have their vulnerabilities that remind you how young they actually are. Neither of them have the luxury to act their appropriate age, but each still maintain some of their childish charm (some more than others) such as curiosity and adventure.

I was very much surprised at the lack of romance in this novel and was thrilled when it failed to show up. A common trope of YA novels, despite their attaching genre, is a romance of some sort and god forbid, a love triangle. Romance was touched upon ever so lightly, but it came and then it went because it was not needed. The story and the characters knew what was the most important thing and that the discovery of the Enigma Machine, brought by a rogue German to intercept the oppositions messages. This isn’t to say that romance didn’t play a major role in the war, because it did, love brought a lot of people home and kept them going even in their final moments, but for this story is wasn’t necessary. However, a particular characters love for their dogs was beautiful.
It was refreshing to read a book where the protagonists are all young and attractive and not have one of the main storylines following the premise of the usual ‘will they or won’t they’ scenario.

Much like the war, things seemed to happen quite quickly in this book. One second everything is fine and the next, without any warning, all hell has broken loose and there’s no stopping it. You feel helpless and want to help the characters you love but all you can do is read on and hope that everything resolves itself. It really did encapsulate the chaos of war and how literally anything can happen.

I truly enjoyed and cherished this book and I can’t wait to read more historical fiction and novels by Elizabeth Wein.

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