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We review movies, games, books and shows on a weekly basis. During special events, we post daily. Upcoming special events include zombie week, flash games week, and short films week. We accept requests via twitter and email.
Blog Tags: movies - books - games - shows - reviews - critics
Blog Added: October 02, 2014 11:14:34 AM
Audience Rating: General Audience
Blog Platform: WordPress
Blog Country: Canada   Canada
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Blog Rating: 2.81
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Diablo III: Reaper of Souls (UEE)

*note: I played as a Demon Hunter on the Playstation 3 When it was first released by Blizzard Entertainment back in 2012, Diablo III was not received well. However, when it was re-released in August of this year, it made a remarkable comeback. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – The Ultimate Evil Edition redeemed itself...

*note: I played as a Demon Hunter on the Playstation 3

When it was first released by Blizzard Entertainment back in 2012, Diablo III was not received well. However, when it was re-released in August of this year, it made a remarkable comeback. Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – The Ultimate Evil Edition redeemed itself and got the Diablo franchise back on its feet.

In the game you choose from six classes (Barbarian, Demon Hunter, Witch Doctor, Wizard, Monk, or Crusader) and embark on your quest to save the world of Sanctuary from the evil that plagues it. The story is spread over five acts and as you progress you face a greater and greater evil. Over the course of the five acts your character grows stronger and stronger and you become more and more skilled at playing. There are a vast amount of difficulties to choose from, and as you improve you can alter the difficulty to fit your playing style. I normally play on the medium difficulty, as I feel that is how the game was intended to be played, but for Diablo I felt that as I improved the game became too easy, so I had to hike up the difficulty when I felt my character was suitably fit to tackle greater challenges.

Diablo’s story is your typical epic fantasy adventure. Filled with cheesy fantasy names that follow the format ‘_____ of ______’ and stereotypical archetypes, it isn’t the most imaginative story. But the world of Sanctuary has a deep and detailed lore that is interesting to learn about as the game goes on.

Diablo is visually appealing. They put so much effort into the world design. There are so many different places to go in this game and so many little dungeons to explore. Within the same area there is some repetition of background design, but on the whole it is very diverse. The same thing goes for character equipment. Armour and weaponry sometimes varies from class to class and sometimes suits of armour look the same as others, but there is so much differentiation between others that you barely notice.

One of the game’s greatest features is its cutscenes between acts. The graphics are absolutely phenomenal, the scripting is fairly well done, and the content is just so damn cool. The way the creators portray giant demons and demented angles is one of the greatest things I have ever experienced. Other than these, the cutscenes thrown in throughout the rest of the game are short and not all that awe inspiring.

The voice acting is not great, at least, not the female Demon Hunter. Each class in each gender has a different voice actor so finding twelve good ones would be a difficult job. I tried each of the characters quickly and none of them were awful, but none of them were great either. This isn’t a huge issue, but it is something I feel needs to be addressed.

The online multiplayer is a little bit confusing at first, although you get used to it. The first time I tried playing online I replayed a random quest and then couldn’t figure out how to get back to the quest I was on playing single player, but that was probably just me being a flake. I wouldn’t recommend doing new quests on multiplayer as the story is something that your companions may skip. However, it is useful for gaining XP and finding new loot while replaying old missions.

Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – The Ultimate Evil Edition is a game I quickly fell in love with. It combines quick action with beautiful world design, and where it lacks in story it makes up in gameplay. I give it 4.6 schlond poofas out of five.

4.6



Sword Art Online

Sword Art Online is an anime that follows Kirito, a teenager who is trapped, along with ten thousand others, inside a virtual reality fantasy game. Each player (in the real world) is wearing ‘nerve gear’, a headset that allows them to control their characters with their minds. The creator of the game has made it...

Sword Art Online is an anime that follows Kirito, a teenager who is trapped, along with ten thousand others, inside a virtual reality fantasy game. Each player (in the real world) is wearing ‘nerve gear’, a headset that allows them to control their characters with their minds. The creator of the game has made it impossible to log out, and whenever a player is killed within the game or has their nerve gear forcibly removed it kills them (in the real world). The only way to be released is to complete the game.

Although the concept of a person dying in a game causing them to die in real life has been done before, Sword Art Online tackles it in a way that is original and incredibly entertaining. Through beautiful animation and pretty great scripting, it’s a show where you can turn off your brain and just watch*.

The world building is phenomenal. The realm is huge, but it is organized in a way that is easy to grasp and because you are so absorbed in it, it becomes familiar. The music and sound effects are also brilliant. From an epic battle score to birds chirping in the background to icecubes sloshing around in a glass, every single sound (apart from the overabundance of gasps in typical anime fashion) serves to heighten to the atmosphere and envelope you in the world that is Sword Art Online.

Overall, the pacing is seriously out of whack. In the beginning it’s not so much of a problem. There is the occasional time leap, but it’s necessary and doesn’t cause that much of a headache. It’s fast paced demon slicing anime action, and it’s good. However, towards the middle it starts to slow down and it gets boring. You’re struggling to finish the next episode, but you have to in case the next one gets back to super crazy sword slinging madness. Eventually it does, but after that it jumps all over the place.

There’s also the issue that, towards the end of the season, it gets pervy. We’re talking lots of boobs and large pink tentacle monsters. It’s unnecessary and, quite frankly, very unsettling. At the very end they step up their game again, turn away from the adolescent perviness and turn more to justified, horrific scenes that express evilness at its core.

The first half of the season could have been easily expanded to fill the entire season without drawing things out too much. This, in our opinion, is what should have been done. They had something great going, and for some reason they decided to end it. Our advice to you is to stop watching at episode fourteen. That way, you’ll get maximum action and minimal creepiness. The great animation, world building, soundtrack, and script make up for most of the flaws in this series, and we’d recommend watching the first part.

   We’re giving Sword Art Online 3.5 schlond poofas out of five. If you stick to the first half, you’ll spare yourself quite a bit of hardship.

3.7


*I kind of lied, you do have to keep your brain on if you’re watching it with subtitles, which I strongly suggest you do because the dubbed version is… grody to the max.



Come Along With Me

Come Along With Me by Linda Lee Schell is a short children’s novel that follows the adventures of Gracie, a dwarf kangaroo from a different universe. Gracie is bored of the perfect world she lives in and wants to go on an adventure, specifically, an adventure to St. Petersburg, Russia. But when something goes wrong...

Come Along With Me by Linda Lee Schell is a short children’s novel that follows the adventures of Gracie, a dwarf kangaroo from a different universe. Gracie is bored of the perfect world she lives in and wants to go on an adventure, specifically, an adventure to St. Petersburg, Russia. But when something goes wrong with the Time Warp Travel Machine she ends up in a small farming town in the United States. There she befriends a cat and a farmer’s eight-year-old daughter. We don’t know how to describe what happens after this.

When we first read the description of this novel, we were a little confused. It looked incredibly strange, and while reading the first chapter, we figured our first impressions would be accurate. However, as the book went on and we got used to the writing style, we were able to see some clever and positive aspects of the book that made it far more entertaining than not. This book was definitely interesting, and we enjoyed reading and reviewing it.

The first thing we noticed was the over abundance of unnecessary adjectives, adverbs and flowery language; as if the author was looking through a thesaurus every second word. This, especially for the first part of the novel, distracts from what is actually happening in the story. It all sounds excessive when read silently, however, when read aloud (as it may have been meant to be) it is much more interesting. Towards the end, the author appears to lighten up on the flowery language, greatly improving the writing.

The way the plot works in this story is a bit strange. We start out thinking that Gracie is going to have all of these adventures travelling throughout the universes in her time machine, but that is not the case. The author spends so much time describing where Gracie came from and how she got to earth, yet most of this is irrelevant by the end of the novel. Instead, we’re given a relatively simple story. We still don’t really know how to explain what happens, especially since the focus of the novel tends to change.

There are a few clever parts of this book. There is a moody bull named Bergeroff (as in, bugger off. But a burger, because he’s a bull. Get it?) and two skunks named Stinko and Stanko. Of course, there are more than three characters in the novel, but these three have the best names. Throughout the novel there are occasional sentences that jump out at you. Either because they are well written, funny, or they just brighten up an otherwise adjective-filled paragraph. “Bratwold belched. Eastman passed gas. They waited.” This sentence is an example of good writing. There are no unnecessary words, and in a book full of excess, this is gold.

For a children’s novel, there are parts of the book that seem like they would not be appealing to children. There is language that even we can barely understand, as well as scenes that are just a bit too creepy or strange. For example, there is an entire, unnecessary scene where the beheading of a chicken is described in detail. This just doesn’t seem that child friendly. The book either seems like it’s for small children or adults, there is no in between.

In the end, this book was strange. It was filled with flowery language and excess adjectives, and there were points when it just didn’t make any sense whatsoever. However, it was interesting to read. Despite all of its flaws, we’re giving Come Along With Me 3.3 schlond poofas out of five. Because, when you can see through the haze of unnecessary language, it really is quite entertaining.

3.2



The Maze Runner (The Movie)

As you may know, we have done a review of the book this movie was based on. If you haven’t already, reading that may give you some useful context, as much of this will be a comparison. (click here for the book review) Otherwise, let’s get going. The basic plot of this film is identical...

As you may know, we have done a review of the book this movie was based on. If you haven’t already, reading that may give you some useful context, as much of this will be a comparison. (click here for the book review) Otherwise, let’s get going.

The basic plot of this film is identical to that of the book. Thomas wakes up in The Glade, a clearing in the centre of an impossible maze. He doesn’t remember who he is or where he came from. They’ve been trying to find a way out for years, but Thomas turns the others’ usual methods upside down.

First of all, this film was ten times better than the book. Many of the problems we had with the novel (the writing style, plot holes, overall crappiness, etc.) were fixed, and were replaced with a decent soundtrack and special effects. The maze itself was very well done. It was imposing and grand and had the perfect balance of mystery and terror. The Grievers were much more frightening than their pathetic slug cousins in the book. The way sounds and shadows were used helped heighten the atmosphere and create suspense.

Of course, ten times better than shit doesn’t equal a master piece. This movie was suffused with amateur flaws, one of those being the excessive use of unnecessary dialogue. The amount of times the phrases “come on” or “let’s go” were used was horrifying. This sheer amount of obvious dialogue is cringe-worthy, and distracted from the fast pace and thrilling air the film was trying to create. It was also, plain and simply, unrealistic.

Despite most of the major plot holes in the story being fixed, there were still a few things that didn’t make sense. For example, the Grievers in the film were stealthy and lethal. There are close calls in every action movie, and they’re part of creating suspense, however, due to the lethality of the Grievers, everybody who encountered them should have been dead. They are robots who can hear and move incredibly well, yet one didn’t notice a group of a dozen boys hiding behind a easily destructible wall talking loudly.

One imbecilic trait that carried from the book into the movie was naming things that already have names. Having to learn a new word for something that already has a well known, established name every five minutes is not a fun thing. Especially when they are stupid names.

In terms of acting, no one did a phenomenal or horrible job. However,  two people did stand out for us. Alby (Aml Ameen) and Newt (Thomas Sangster) both performed very well. In terms of character development… meh. The actors did what they could with what they were given and in the end it turned out decent.

   If you’ve read the book and you have nothing better to do, check out this movie. It’s one of the few adaptations that is a great improvement on the book. If you haven’t read the book and do have better things to do, the movie isn’t worth it. We’re giving it 3.8 schlond poffas out of five.

3.8



The Giver

“The Giver” is based off of Lois Lowry’s famous children’s book. The basic concept is the same: in the future, everything abstract or emotional has been deleted from the world. Now, euthanization of the weak is regular practice, everything is uniform and logical, and family units are not actually comprised of families, but rather, ideal...

“The Giver” is based off of Lois Lowry’s famous children’s book. The basic concept is the same: in the future, everything abstract or emotional has been deleted from the world. Now, euthanization of the weak is regular practice, everything is uniform and logical, and family units are not actually comprised of families, but rather, ideal matches. Humans can’t see colours, and all of the memories of before this perfect world are possessed by one person: The Giver. Jonas is slated to become The Giver’s successor, but when he experiences the memories, he realizes that this “perfect” world is missing everything wonderful.

From both an adaptation and stand-alone movie point of view, The Giver was mediocre. In the book, our protagonist and his friends are twelve years old. In the movie, however, they are sixteen. Making this change makes sense in a few ways: young adults are much more likely to rebel against the government and question their world than a trio of children. Giving the youth jobs at sixteen instead of twelve also makes much more sense. However, it seems more like they made this change solely so that they could add some unnecessary romance. Yes, Jonas figures out what love is while experiencing the memories, but this doesn’t mean a poorly developed, rushed romance with his best friend is essential.

The best parts of this film were the “memories” themselves. Memories are scenes from history, both the wonderful and the traumatic, that only The Giver can remember. He uses these memories to give advice to the government, so that they can avoid doing anything that would cause history to repeat itself. The cinematography and soundtrack in these scenes is stunning, reminding us just how beautiful and terrible the world is. We spent pretty much the entire movie looking forward to these scenes and being disappointed when they ended. They were stunning. The way the film gradually switches from black and white to full colour throughout (just like how Jonas is beginning to see more and more colours) is another awesome aspect.

Everything else about this movie was okay; the cast, the effects, the plot in general. The book is definitely unique, especially considering when it was published, but all of the confusing and unexplained parts made their ways into the movie. Some of these are remedied by the age change. However, the ending, which has never made sense to anyone, remained the same. After trekking through desert and mountains for days, Jonas is about to freeze to death when he comes across a sled. Then he sleds down a mountain to a house. We are left with more questions than we had at the beginning. Does this black and white, dystopian society exist at the same time as today’s society? Is Jonas dead, and this is heaven? What the hell is going on?


The Giver was a mediocre film with a couple of high points, but a strange and unnecessarily confusing ending. Because of the beautiful, somewhat redeeming “memory” montages, we’re giving this film 3.2 schlond poofas out of five.3.2



Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (written by Jesse Andrews) is written from the point of view of Greg, a senior in high school who has managed to slip through life without getting too involved with any typical school-social crap. At least, that is, until his mother tells him that one of his old middle...

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (written by Jesse Andrews) is written from the point of view of Greg, a senior in high school who has managed to slip through life without getting too involved with any typical school-social crap. At least, that is, until his mother tells him that one of his old middle school girlfriends has been diagnosed with leukemia. Greg barely ever knew this girl but he is forced to befriend her. He and his best – and only – friend Earl try to cheer up a dying girl.

From reading the synopsis of this book, you probably think it’s going to be some beautifully written work of art where the main character learns the meaning of life and the dying girl lives her life to fullest before coming to terms with her imminent death. Well, you would be entirely wrong. Greg Gaines isn’t exactly a compassionate, empathetic, or kind person. All he wants to do is get through his last year of high school without being noticed. This whole situation ruins his plan, and that is pretty much all he cares about. You wouldn’t think you’d be able to relate or even come to love a main character that is such an asshole, but somehow, it just works.

Despite the somewhat depressing premise of the book, it is incredibly funny. You will actually laugh out loud, something which is incredibly difficult for an author to accomplish. The situation isn’t exactly humorous, but the writing certainly is. The book is essentially the unfiltered thoughts of a teenager, which makes both the language and the sub-plots minor and relatable. Successfully writing from the point of view of a morally ambiguous character is a feat for any author, and Jessie Andrews has certainly accomplished this.

Now, we wouldn’t recommend this if you are easily offended or can’t stand vulgarity, due to the book’s offensive and vulgar nature. However, this may be part of what makes it so real. Greg expresses those thoughts that we would normally never say out loud or even allow ourselves to think because they are disrespectful, inappropriate, or offensive. The writing style is also quite rambly, though Jesse Andrews manages to pull this off as well. Greg’s writing follows the same format as our thoughts, trailing off constantly, not always deleting the things that should probably be deleted.

One problem we had with this book is the fact that the author was constantly recognizing the fact that it wasn’t your average ‘cancer book’. This is obvious from the beginning and was unnecessary. Otherwise, we really had no gripes with this book. It was hilarious, relatable, and managed to get us to root for a protagonist who’s a horrible person. Not to mention, the cover is pretty eye-catching and perfectly suits the tone of the book. We’re giving this book 4.3 schlond poofas out of five.

4.3



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