Friday, December 30, 2011

"The Singer's Crown" Book Review

"The Singer's Crown" by Elaine Isaak. (Also posted on the Amazon listing, where you can read the synopsis).

This was something that had been catching my eye for a while at the library and finally decided to check it out. I think this is one of the faster reads I've had in a long time. Possibly under 24 hours spread across three days.

It starts out kind of dry, but usually I try to give a book a few chapters to get warmed up before giving up and in this case, I'm glad I did.

If you like light-hearted fantasy stories like The Princess Bride; full of cult high fantasy stereotypes and predictable arguments, then you might want to give this a try. It's not quite as funny, but it's amusing. The princess is bratty and childish to expectations, but the prince is smitten with her anyways. There are schemes and plots layered one on top of another. Some of it is cheesy and Disney-esque, but it's a fun story. It could be better, but it's not bad.

I've seen some reviews describing the story as a romantic fantasy. I wouldn't really call it that, unless you call Princess Bride a romantic fantasy as well, which it is and it isn't. There are also opinions on the maturity and supposed lack of manliness of male characters. . . The main character is 18 at the close of the book. Boys will be boys. Has someone not figured this out yet? He's also a boy who's been snipped and passed along as property time and time again when his previous owner finds a better use for him, with only one consistent companion for most his journeys. It's not exactly a lifestyle that nurtures a confident go-get-em manly man ready to take on the world. I personally didn't question the actions of the male characters. Strength in a male character does not require an iron fist, nor is it effeminate for them to show a soft side.

The biggest con: the characters more or less all talk alike and thus are rather flat.
The biggest pro: the story itself is very intriguing and has a few interesting twists to make up for the con.

Text is clean, PG level violence (when it does show up, it's not graphically described), no modern cussing.

Recommendation: try your local library first, but it's worth a read through if you enjoy the genre.

Stars: 3/5

Friday, May 13, 2011

PS3 Remote Control

So, I was on the fence about whether or not to get the Sony PlayStation 3 Blu-Ray Disc Remote
(linked in the name, but it's showing up weird...) as I have two already for the tv and cable and am short on space. As a result, I decided to try to find out how to use the controller that came with the my PS3 as a remote instead and see how that went before buying the remote. Didn't find a whole lot, so I pieced it together by experimentation.

Decided not to buy the remote as all the features I really need are available with the controller. I wrote them all down for quick reference while I'm still getting used to it, but really, if you can learn button sequences for a game, this is easy as pie (AND there's no stop button to worry about, for those griping about it! ;) ).

Here's the list that I made if you want to try it out for yourself before you decide on what you want/need. I have this posted in a couple other places, incase you run into duplicates and are wondering. :)

Triangle- options menu
X- Play/pause. Stops fast forward/rewind actions and begins play.
Square- DVD menu
O- quit/cancel menu

R1- skip forward chapter
R2- fast forward
L1- skip back chapter
L2- rewind

Right arrow- fast forward
Left arrow- rewind
Up/Down arrow- nothing

Select- chapter info
Start- play/pause
PS- quit menu

Left stick- fast forward or rewind, moving left and right only.
Right stick- pull in any direction to hold pause. Release to play.

Arrow keys and left stick can be used to navigate menus.