Books and Brews Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

I have to be honest….Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children took me a little longer to read then usual for me. It wasn’t because I didn’t enjoy it. It was because the novel was different from anything I’ve read in a long time. I wanted to enjoy every minute.  It has the elements of horror and fantasy all rolled into one throughly entertaining read, and it brought me back to my childhood. I’m well past my young adult days of Fear Street and Christopher Pike, but I found Ransom Riggs’ novel a fun read no matter what your age.

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When I first discovered the novel on Goodreads, I thought the photos throughout the book might come across as juvenile. I enjoy imagining the people and places within a story myself, which is why I always try to read the book before seeing the movie.  I thought the photos might take away from that a little. However, the integration of the photos are a great addition to the book as the plot stems from those very photographs. The photographs also add a certain creepiness to the story that I don’t think would be present without them.

The story begins with the typical awkward teenage boy, with no friends, save for the one that he essentially hires to be his friend through tutoring. Jacob, has a very close relationship with his Grandpa Portman, who had a panache for telling tall tales. The stories Grandpa Portman told of his escape from Poland during the war to an orphanage intrigued Jacob. The orphanage was home to children that were quite different. An invisible boy. A girl that floats. A boy with bees in his stomach. A girl with a second mouth in the back of her head. And Grandpa Portman had pictures of them all and more. But as Jacob grew older, he began to doubt the truth behind the tales and the photographs.

Without spoiling too much, Jacob winds up on an adventure on a remote island off the coast of Wales to trying to track down the orphanage and its occupants. The story that follows is fantastical and entertaining, and much better than the movie. If you’ve seen the movie, you know most of the story. The movie does follow the book quite closely as the story goes, but the certain characters are switched around and the ending, well, not the same at all. It is a fun read for both adults and kids.

Short’s Brewing Company is based out of Bellaire, Michigan. I tried on of their seasonal brews, Double Magician, a double London-style Red Ale. It is a medium bodied brew, but I found it a bit on the heavier side and a little bitter. The description of the brew mentions flavors of toffee and raisins. Maybe my palette is as refined as it once was, but I didn’t get any of those flavors. It’s also on the higher APV at 8.1%, so a sipping brew for sure. If you enjoy ales and a hoppier beer, I would recommend. Myself, I wouldn’t get this one again, but I will definitely try out their “regular” Magician.

The Game I Hate: Race for the Galaxy

I love playing board games. However, there are games we have bought and played that never really kept our interest beyond a few games. Smash Up is one I can think of that both Evil Husband and I both didn’t really enjoy. There are games that Evil Husband loves that I just have had the hardest time getting into. Race for the Galaxy is one of these games. I really didn’t want to play this game at all. But, I did say I’d play the game I hate, so I had to live up to my promise. So, I gave Race for the Galaxy another try.

I disliked Race for the Galaxy for various reasons, but the biggest one is I just didn’t get the point of it. It’s a deck building game where players are racing to build galactic civilizations, but there is something lacking that I have never really been able to put my finger on. I have to admit though, a few of the times we tried playing in the past, cocktails were involved and this is definitely not drinking and gaming type of game.  When you are presented with a double sided card on how to play and a “starter” hand, alcohol shouldn’t be involved until you really know how to play.

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Front Side
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Flip Side

Each player is given a set of cards that represent each of the phases of round and at the beginning of each round, players secretly and simultaneously select which phase they wish to play.  Players can choose to explore (draw more cards), develop (place a card on their tableau), settle (place a world card on their tableau), consume (consume powers by discarding “goods”), or produce (place a “good” on a world.) Selecting one of these phases at the beginning of every round, each player is given the chance to perform that phase’s action. Only player who has chosen the phase gets a bonus that applies only to them as shown on the Round Summary card.

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In addition to the phase cards, players are given a set of random cards consisting of settlements or developments to play on their tableau. Below are examples of various settlement cards and development cards.  The numbers indicated in the diamond or circle indicate the number of cards to be discarded in order for that card to be played in the player’s tableau.

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Midway through game play (face down cards are “goods” to be consumed.)

The game ends when either one player has 12 cards on their tableau in front of them or all of the victory point chips are gone. Victory point chips can be awarded through out game play during the “Consume” phase where players can trade in the “goods” (cards placed face down on a world) for either more cards or points.  At the end of the game, the chips are totaled up, as well as the cards laid on the tableau and each card has an assigned victory point as indicated by the smaller secondary number on each card.

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End of game. I lost.

Final verdict: Despite my protests, I played this game again with an open mind and a full cup of coffee. It really wasn’t as bad as I thought and I kind of want to try playing without the starter hand. Because I’m pretty sure that’s all we’ve ever played. If you enjoy deck building games, you will enjoy Race for the Galaxy.

My next hobby is letterboxing. It is similar to geocaching, however involves stamps and journals. If you are unfamiliar with both of these hobbies, they both are real world “treasure” hunting using GPS or compass coordinates to find a box left behind by someone.

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The Versatile Blogger Award

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I began this blog as one of my recreational hobbies that I thought might end up just like  other new hobbies I’ve started…forgotten. I have spent way more time than I ever imagined I would on this blog and trying to fit in all the hobbies to have something to write about has been challenging. But, I am determined to follow through. That is why I’m incredibly humbled & thankful to be nominated for The Versatile Blogger Award by Luna of GamersUnitedGG Blog, a really awesome gaming and geeky news blog. Luna’s blog is definitely worth checking out if you’re a gamer or a geek as she covers everything from video games to WWE and awesome reviews of Netflix series.  In order to accept the award, there are some rules to follow:

The Rules:

  • Display the award on your blog.
  • Thank the blogger that nominated you & provide a link to their blog
  • Share 7 facts about yourself
  • Nominate 10 bloggers for the award & provide links to their blogs.

7 Facts About Me:

  1. I’m a mom to a wonderful 8.5 year old girl, aka Unicorn Girl.
  2. My two favorite hobbies are video games & reading.
  3. My favorite author is Stephen King.
  4. My favorite T.V. shows are Game of Thrones, Walking Dead & iZombie.
  5. My favorite weekend past time is going to used book sales at local libraries. Evil Husband has cut me off from buying more books recently.
  6. I love dogs. I have two and if I had room for more, I’d own a shelter.
  7. I love all things Disney. I have a storage bins of toys and snow globes I collected in the early 1990s’s of The Little Mermaid, Beauty & The Beast, Aladdin & Lion King. I may have allegedly cried once in a Blockbuster Video when learning that The Little Mermaid had gone back into “The Vault” and was no longer available to rent or purchase.

My Nominees:

  1. Later Levels ~ A fun, geeky blog for adults that like to play video games.
  2. Midwest Simple Living ~ A simple living blog focused on everything from gardening to canning to home brewing.
  3. When Do I get the Manual ~A witty & entertaining blog about the joys of being an adult.
  4. Mary Contrary ~ A fun blog about food trucks & music.
  5. Endiyvor ~ A DIY blog focused on trying out all the random crafty things you see on Pinterest.
  6. The Tattooed Book Geek ~ Book reviews & poetry blog. If you enjoy fantasy books, definitely follow this blog!
  7. Brilliant Viewpoint ~ A great story blog featuring a different idea or viewpoint every post. I learned some really cool things from following this blog.
  8. The Crafting Geek ~ A wonderful geeky & crafty blog.
  9. Claire93 ~ A sewing/crossstitching/crafty blog. I definitely checked out her blog when I started cross stitching!
  10. The Thoughtful Gamer ~ A board game review blog. Honest & very detailed reviews of board games.

There you have it the Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you again to Luna for nominating me!