Saturday, January 30, 2021

REVIEW: RE:Play (OEL manga, vol. 3) by C. Lijewski

RE:Play is a short OEL fantasy manga. It was originally published by Tokyopop, so it looks like paper version of all three volumes are out of print, but they can still be purchased relatively cheaply. The series is also available digitally for those who don't mind that format. My copy of this volume was purchased used.

This review contains spoilers.


Izsak's encounter with a woman who seems to know him makes Cree jealous, but in the end the incident brings the two of them closer. Unfortunately, Rail is at his breaking point where Izsak is concerned - he's still nursing a secret crush on Cree and can't stand to see her and Izsak together. They fight, and before they're able to talk it out and make up, Cree is kidnapped by Niji and Laurent, the people who've been stalking Izsak. 

REVIEW: RE:Play (OEL manga, vol. 2) by C. Lijewski

RE:Play is a short OEL fantasy manga. It was originally published by Tokyopop, so it looks like paper version of all three volumes are out of print, but they can still be purchased relatively cheaply. The series is also available digitally for those who don't mind that format. My copy of this volume was purchased used.


It's been two months since Izsak ran off after Rail confronted him about what he thought was evidence that Izsak had murdered someone. Since then, Rail has learned that, although someone did murder that woman, it wasn't Izsak. 

Niji, one of the people who's been following Izsak, convinces Izsak to go back to Cree. Things seem happy for a while, until Izsak is approached by a woman who seems to know him.

There are various flashback scenes and chapters: Rail's POV on the talk his dad had with him when he was a kid, the one that convinced him to start watching over Cree more; the death of Niji's parents, as well as her and Laurent's first meeting (or at least I think that was Laurent); and the day Rail and Char first met, back in high school when Char was bullied by homophobes. Flashback chapters begin about two thirds of the way through the volume, and non-story related bonus content takes up almost a quarter of the volume. 

REVIEW: RE:Play (OEL manga, vol. 1) by C. Lijewski

RE:Play is a short OEL fantasy manga. It was originally published by Tokyopop, so it looks like paper version of all three volumes are out of print, but they can still be purchased relatively cheaply. The series is also available digitally for those who don't mind that format. My copy of this volume was purchased used.


I originally reviewed this back in 2010, but my style was a lot different back then, and my feelings about this volume are less gushy than they originally were. I decided it'd be worth writing a new review.

Cree is looking for a replacement bass player for her band when she stumbles across Izsak, a homeless guy, doing an amazing job playing one of her mother's songs. She convinces him to come home with her and be part of her band in exchange for a place to stay. She also convinces her fellow bandmates to accept him - some, like Rail, take a little more convincing. However, Izsak has more going on than Cree initially realizes. He has no memory of his life prior to five years ago, he has some kind of mysterious illness, and Rail thinks he might even be a murderer.

REVIEW: Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki (manga) original story by Mamoru Hosoda, art by Yu, character design by Yoshiyuki Sadamoto, translated by Jocelyne Allen

Wolf Children is a fantasy manga adaptation of the original movie directed and co-written by Mamoru Hosoda. I bought my copy brand new.

This review includes some spoilers.


When Hana is in college, she finds herself thinking a lot about a mysterious fellow classmate who eventually reveals to her that he's the last descendant of the Japanese wolves thought to have gone extinct a hundred years ago. He has the ability to transform from a human into a wolf and back again. None of that scares Hana, and the two of them eventually have a couple children, an energetic daughter named Yuki and a quieter and somewhat sickly son named Ame.

Unfortunately, Hana's beloved wolf (whose name is never mentioned) doesn't come home one day, and she discovers that he has died. That leaves her to raise two rowdy wolf children on her own, constantly afraid that someone will discover their secret. It's especially hard in the city, so Hana decides to take a big and risky step and move her little family out into the country, where Ame and Yuki will have the space and freedom to grow up and decide for themselves how they'd like to live their lives.

Friday, January 29, 2021

REVIEW: The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye (book) by Nancy Springer

The Case of the Gypsy Good-bye is the sixth and final book in Springer's Enola Holmes historical mystery series. I bought my copy brand new.


Dr. Ragostin is hired to find Lady Blanchefleur, a delicate flower of a young woman who disappeared shortly after being convinced to help an old woman enter the Baker Street Underground and find her train. One of her ladies-in-waiting accompanied her but lost track of her. There has been no ransom note, and no sign of the old woman who lured Lady Blanchefleur down there in the first place.

Of course, it's not Dr. Ragostin doing the investigating, it's his supposed assistant, Enola in her "Ivy Meshle" disguise. And unfortunately for Enola, Dr. Ragostin wasn't the only person hired to find Lady Blanchefleur - Sherlock Holmes was as well. As usual, he wants nothing more than his younger sister's trust and safety, but now he has an additional reason to want to find her: a strange message from their mother.

Considering how good the previous book was, I was really looking forward to this final one. Sadly, I thought it was just so-so. The mystery was weak and relied heavily on an incredibly convenient appearance by a character introduced early on in the series. I was somewhat disappointed, but not really surprised, that poor Enola still didn't get an actual visit from her mother, just another coded message. And while the scenes in which Sherlock, Mycroft, and Enola tried to figure out how their version of a "happy family" might work were very nice, I wish there had been more. My favorite bit, I think, was when Sherlock and Enola waited to see how long it would take Mycroft to recognize her (weirdly, Mycroft not recognizing her didn't bother me nearly as much as Sherlock repeatedly not recognizing her in previous books), although the gathering at the very end was also great.

It's clear that Springer really, really doesn't like corsets, because the whole "tyranny of the corset" thing kept popping up and this final volume pushed it hard. I was okay with parts of it because I could definitely see the health repercussions of the way one character wore hers, but Springer seemed to think that all socially acceptable corset-wearing involved tightlacing, and from my understanding that wasn't the case.

I'm still not entirely sure how I feel about Enola's mother's message. On the one hand, I liked the recognition that women like Eudoria Holmes exist, that having children doesn't automatically make women stereotypically loving and motherly. On the other hand, some aspects of her message came across as unintentionally cruel, as well as potentially as restrictive as societal expectations if Enola really took it all to heart.

I'm glad that Springer opted to give this series a proper ending rather than dragging it out forever, although I admit that one more book, perhaps featuring all three of the Holmes siblings working together, would have been nice.


For some bizarre reason, this ended with an excerpt from the first book in the series. I really do not recommend reading this series out of order, so hopefully everyone who reads Book 6 has, at the very least, previously read Book 1.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

REVIEW: Goedam, Season 1 (live action TV series)

Goedam is a live action Korean horror series. I watched it on Netflix.


Goedam consists of 8 episodes that are only 7-15 minutes each. They apparently draw from folklore or urban legends - I didn't know enough to be able to recognize any of the story details.

The first episode features a tense girl, one of her class's top students. In the second episode, a taxi driver picks up a terrifying passenger. The third episode focuses on a livestreamer. The fourth episode has a creepy doll. The fifth episode seems to take place in the same classroom as the first, although it has no other connection to that episode - it stars a girl who seems to have taken the death of one of her classmates badly. In the sixth episode, a cop investigates an urban legend about an elevator that's supposed to be able to take you to another dimension. In the seventh episode, a husband doesn't listen to his wife's request that he not remove the talisman hanging above their bedroom door. The final episode deals with a shaman who kidnaps and starves children and then kills them so that she can use their souls.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

REVIEW: The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline (book) by Nancy Springer

The Case of the Cryptic Crinoline is the fifth book in Springer's Enola Holmes historical mystery series. I bought my copy brand new.


When Mrs. Tupper, Enola's landlady, asks her for help with a cryptic message she recently received, Enola can't refuse. What information does this person think Mrs. Tupper has, and what is the connection to Scutari, the British headquarters in Turkey during the Crimean War? All Mrs. Tupper can say is that when she was younger, she and her husband journeyed to the Crimea so that her husband could sell goods to the soldiers there. Mr. Tupper died horribly of Crimean fever, and Mrs. Tupper survived with the help of the nurse who tended to her husband in his last hours. 

Mrs. Tupper swears she doesn't know who sent the message or why they sent it, but whoever it is believes she must know something, because Enola returns home one evening to find that she's been kidnapped. Suddenly this case is a matter of life or death.

Monday, January 25, 2021

REVIEW: The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan (book) by Nancy Springer

The Case of the Peculiar Pink Fan is the fourth book in Springer's Enola Holmes mystery series. I believe it's aimed at Middle Grade audiences. I bought my copy brand new.


Secure in the knowledge that Sherlock and Mycroft haven't tracked down her Ivy Meshle identity yet, Enola works on a few of the fictitious Dr. Ragostin's cases, the latest one involving a missing war memento. She hasn't been putting too much effort into it, so when she accidentally encounters Lady Cecily (from The Case of the Left-Handed Lady) her attention is easily snagged. It's clear that something is wrong, but Cecily only has time for a brief coded communication using a pink paper fan before two ladies who seem to have some control over her lead her away. She manages to leave the fan behind, so it's up to Enola to use it to figure out what's going on and how she can help. 

Sunday, January 24, 2021

REVIEW: Battle Royale: The Novel (book) by Koushun Takami, translated by Yuji Oniki

Battle Royale is a dystopian thriller. It was originally published in Japan in 1999. VIZ's English translation was published in 2003. The copy I read was the 2009 edition featuring an interview with the director of the movie adaptation and an afterword by the book's author.


In an alternate history Japan (now "the Republic of Greater East Asia"), the government randomly selects 50 third-year junior high classes per year for something called "the Program." Each class is confined to an island and forced to fight until one survivor is left. Each student in the Program is made to wear a tracking collar that not only keeps track of their vital signs and location but is also set to explode if they leave the island. They're each given a little water and food, a map, a compass, and a randomly selected weapon of some sort. The map and compass are handy, because every couple hours one new section of the island becomes a forbidden zone. The tracking collars are set to explode if they're in forbidden zones. They're also set to explode if no one new has died in the past 24 hours, so students can't simply agree to not kill each other. Program survivors are given a pension and are instructed not to tell anyone about their experiences.

Shuya thinks his class is just going on a regular trip. He and the others fall asleep on the bus and wake up to find themselves in an unfamiliar classroom. They all have some general knowledge about the Program, of course, but none of them expected they'd actually end up in it. A man named Sakamochi tells them the rules and kills a few people to underscore that, yes, this is happening and there's nothing any of them can do about it. Then he sends them out one by one: the game has begun.

REVIEW: How to Be Ace: A Memoir of Growing Up Asexual (nonfiction graphic novel) by Rebecca Burgess

How to Be Ace is a memoir in graphic novel form. I bought my copy brand new.


(Note on pronouns: I used they/them pronouns for the author because that's what the bio on the back of this volume uses.)

This deals primarily with the time before Burgess knew asexuality existed (high school, college). Burgess worried about not feeling the way everyone else seemed to feel and initially tried to "fix" it by forcing themselves to do things that everyone else seemed to consider normal and natural - dating, kissing, touching - even though they didn't really want to and, in fact, sometimes became incredibly anxious while attempting those things. Although Burgess did eventually end up in a relationship with an asexual woman, they learned to stop thinking that relationships were some kind of ultimate goal that had to progress in a particular way. This memoir also touches on the author's struggles with OCD and anxiety, as well as job hunting after graduating from art school during the recession. 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

REVIEW: Emma: A Victorian Romance, Season 1 - English dub version (anime TV series)

Emma: A Victorian Romance is a historical romance anime.


When William Jones, a member of the gentry, finally goes to visit his former governess, he ends up falling head over heels for Emma, her maid. His feelings only grow stronger with time, and even Emma finds herself beginning to forget the distance between them - the difference in their stations in life. However, their relationship doesn't blossom in a vacuum. William's father is trying to cement the Jones family's position by setting up a marriage between William and Eleanor Campbell, the daughter of Viscount Campbell. Eleanor mistakes William's friendliness for romantic interest, which only makes the situation more awkward. What chance does a romance between a maid and a member of the gentry have?

Monday, January 18, 2021

REVIEW: The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets (book) by Nancy Springer

The Case of the Bizarre Bouquets is a Middle Grade historical mystery, the third book in Springer's Enola Holmes series. I bought my copy brand new.


Enola is frozen with indecision, wondering what new identity to create for herself now that she thinks Sherlock might soon uncover "Ivy Meshle," when an article about the disappearance of Dr. John Watson catches her eye. No one, not even the famed detective Sherlock Holmes, knows what has happened to him. Although it puts her at risk of being captured by her older brothers, Enola knows she must do all she can to help Watson.

Readers know from the start that Watson has somehow been mistaken for someone else and committed to an insane asylum. The question is how it happened, and whether Enola, Sherlock, or both can find and free him.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

REVIEW: The Chaos of Now (book) by Erin Jade Lange

The Chaos of Now is YA contemporary fiction. It's basically an "issues" book focused on bullying in general and cyberbullying in particular, as well as suicide and survivor guilt.


Like a lot of kids at Haver High, Eli will never forget the day Jordan Bishop walked into the cafeteria, soaked in gasoline, and lit himself on fire. Cyberbullying was widely cited as the cause of Jordan's suicide, and lots of internet restrictions, particularly ones focused on teens, popped up after his death.

A year after Jordan's death, Eli is just focused on his goal of being the best coder he can be, with the hope of maybe striking it rich with some kind of app after he gets out of high school. He had no intention of going to college. He didn't really know Jordan and sees the way his high school focuses on Jordan's death as some kind of tragedy porn.

Then one day he gets a message that leads him to two other kids at his school, Mouse and Seth. They want him to be part of their American Cybersecurity Competition team - to take the spot that Jordan, their friend, would have filled. The catch is that their real world project is going to be kind of illegal: an unregistered website designed to mock all of the internet restrictions that were supposedly inspired by Jordan's death but that Mouse and Seth know he would have hated. However, it isn't long before the website begins to morph into something meaner and more dangerous than Eli originally intended to be involved in.

REVIEW: Paradise Killer (game)

Paradise Killer is an open world sci-fi murder mystery game with slight visual novel elements.


You play as Lady Love Dies (LLD), an immortal investigator who was exiled a million days ago due to an incident involving a god. LLD is brought out of exile in order to investigate a heinous crime, the brutal murder of the entire Council just prior to the destruction of corrupt island 24 and the move to "Perfect 25." There is one obvious suspect, a Civilian named Henry Division who is known to be possessed by a demon and who was found at the crime scene with a belly full of the Council's blood. Was he the killer or was he framed for a crime he didn't commit? You decide, as you explore island 24, looking for clues and talking to the Syndicate members who have been forced to stay there until a trial has been conducted and the investigation has been declared complete.

You are aided in your investigation by your trusty Starlight computer, which sorts any evidence you find according to whichever suspect and crime it applies, and which can also (after some upgrades) crack other computers on the island.

REVIEW: Hypnospace Outlaw (game)

Hypnospace Outlaw is a combination OS simulator and point-and-click mystery game.


In an alternate universe where Microsoft and Apple don't exist (I think), a guy named Dylan creates HypnOS, an operating system that allows you to access Hypnospace, a sort of Internet you use while you sleep. It's 1999, and you're working as one of Hypnospace's "Enforcers," people who scour Hypnospace and report various violations (copyright infringement, harassment, malicious software, etc.). As you work, you learn more about the various Hypnospace users and eventually gain the ability to dig deeper and find hidden pages. It isn't all just violation reporting, though - there's something bigger and nastier plaguing Hypnospace, and it's up to you to figure out what's going on and collect evidence.

Saturday, January 16, 2021

REVIEW: Fracture (book) by Megan Miranda

Fracture is YA paranormal fantasy.


Delaney and her friend Decker are walking across an iced over lake when the ice cracks under Delaney's feet. She falls in and is under for 11 minutes. By the time Decker and a few other friends manage to drag her out, Delaney is technically dead. Even if she were to come out of her coma, she would have severe brain damage.

But she does come out of her coma, and despite some headaches, a weird pulling sensation in her mind, and hands that occasionally shake, she seems fine. But she's not. She finds herself looking at the people around her differently, and she eventually learns what that pulling sensation is: she can feel when someone is about to die.

REVIEW: Alpha and Omega (audio novella) by Patricia Briggs, narrated by Holter Graham

Alpha and Omega is urban fantasy with romance aspects. It's technically the first work in Briggs' Alpha & Omega series, although the first full novel is actually Cry Wolf and Briggs' Mercy Thompson series, which is set in the same world, came first.


When Anna spots a particular newspaper article, she realizes that her pack may have murdered someone and should be reported to Bran, the Marrok. Ever since she was turned into a werewolf against her will, Anna's life has been a struggle - her pack abused her, and her pay is barely enough to feed her and cover the money she's required to give to the pack - so she isn't sure the Marrok will listen, but he does, and tells her that Charles, his son and Enforcer, will deal with the problem and protect her. 

Monday, January 11, 2021

Hades game, 8 hours in

I am indeed terrible at this game. I managed to encounter Megaera for the first time about 3 or 4 hours in and have seen her several times since then, but still haven't beaten her, although I survive a little longer each time. I'm just not agile enough with keyboard and mouse (in my defense, I've learned that I have to wear braces on both hands rather than just my mouse hand in order to avoid being in pain after playing this game, and the braces do inhibit movement some). I'm thinking of a giving a controller a shot, and if that doesn't result in any noticeable improvements I may just have to accept that it's time to turn on God Mode, because the NPCs have started repeating themselves and I'd like the game to start giving me more story soon.

On the plus side, I'm still enjoying myself, even with all the dying. I suppose I could just keep going and see if collecting more Mirror upgrades helps. I just unlocked a new weapon - "Twin Fists of Malphon," which looks terrible for me since it doesn't appear to have any long-range capabilities, but I may try it anyway and just accept my certain death. So it's not like I've run out of new things to explore yet.

REVIEW: The Black Gryphon (audiobook) by Mercedes Lackey, narrated by Gary Furlong

The Black Gryphon is fantasy, the first book in Lackey's Mage Wars trilogy but only one book out of her much larger Valdemar series. I checked this out via one of my Overdrive accounts.


This takes place during the war between Urtho and Ma'ar, which began for reasons I can't recall (because Ma'ar wants world domination?). Most of the book is focused on life in one of Urtho's army's camps, far enough away from the fighting that no one there is in immediate danger but filled with humans and nonhumans healing from injuries and dealing with PTSD.

Urtho used his magic to create gryphons to help him in the war, and Skandranon (Skan), the "Black Gryphon," is one of the best of them. His closest friend is a human named Amberdrake, a kestra'chern (an empath/healer who uses a combination of methods to heal others emotionally and physically). The book follows their life and the development of their relationships in the camp, as Urtho attempts to figure out how to turn the tide of the war against Ma'ar.

REVIEW: Three Complete Novels: Daring to Dream, Holding the Dream, Finding the Dream (book) by Nora Roberts

This is an omnibus edition of Nora Roberts' Dream trilogy, originally published back in 1996-1997. The books are contemporary romance, although the trilogy framing storyline (Seraphina) has the slightest hint of the supernatural to it. I'm pretty sure I bought this book used, ages ago.

This review includes potential spoilers.


This was technically a reread, although I first read this trilogy long enough ago that I could only remember a few scenes here and there.

I'll start by talking about the trilogy as a whole, and then cover each book individually. As is usual with Roberts' trilogies (or at least the older ones - I haven't read many of her newer works), each book features a different couple, although the trilogy as a whole is held together by a particular framing story. In this case, I suppose there are two framing stories: first, the story of Seraphina, a young woman who jumped off a cliff in 1846 after learning that her soldier lover had been killed; and second, the story of Laura Templeton, who once dreamed of having a fairytale marriage like her parents.

The Templetons are rich, but Roberts assures us that they're the good kind of rich: they view their staff as family and don't let them go just because they're getting older (unless they wanted to retire - but it seems that no one who works in the Templeton household ever wants to do that), they donate generously to charity, and they take good care of each other and those they love. The first book deals with Margo, the Templeton housekeeper's daughter, who was practically treated like Laura Templeton's sister. The second book deals with Kate, who was taken in by the Templeton family after her parents were killed in an accident when she was eight. The third book deals with Laura Templeton. All three women are very close friends, and their friendship is given a prominent place in the narrative and is one of the reasons why I wouldn't recommend reading this trilogy out of order.

Monday, January 4, 2021

ER billing "fun"

Content warning for blood and medical issues.

During the weekend just prior to Thanksgiving, I had the worst nosebleed of my life and went to the ER to try to get it stopped. It looked at first like their efforts worked, although my sinuses felt alarmingly sloshy when I left. Unfortunately, minutes after getting home, the bleeding started up again, just as bad as before, so I went back to the ER. Several hours and some vomited blood later, they finally packed my nostril and I was actually able to go home and get some rest.

Fast forward a few weeks, and the bill from the ER arrived. It was more than I'd have liked to pay but at least less than my rent, and the itemized version I hunted down (or thought I hunted down) made it look like it covered both visits. Just this past weekend, I unexpectedly got yet another bill. After some checking, it seemed like it was the physician's bill (which is apparently separate from the ER bill, because US medical billing is awful).

I decided to make a few phone calls to my insurance and the ER just to double check things, though, and it turns out it's even worse than I thought. Those first two bills were just for the first ER visit. There are another two claims for the second ER visit that insurance has currently denied - the ER has sent them stuff to convince them that, yes, it's a second visit and they didn't mistakenly send two claims for one visit.

So I can definitely expect another couple bills, and there's currently no way to know if they'll be approximately the same as what I've already been billed, or more. Either way, it's looking like I'd owe a lot less if I had just refused to leave that first time until I was sure the sloshy sensation wasn't going to get worse (it literally took only 20 minutes for the bleeding to start right back up again).

At this point I'm thinking that anyone who's against moving the US to a single payer healthcare system has never had to deal with this kind of thing. And also that anyone who blows off COVID-19 as no big deal hasn't considered that if they end up in the ER, they'll probably have medical debt for the rest of their life (you know, assuming they don't die - but I guess if they die it'll be their family on the hook for the debt). A simple nosebleed is going to cost me at least half a month's paycheck, if not more, so I can only imagine what a hospital stay for COVID-19 must cost.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

REVIEW: Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever! (graphic novel) by Stephen McCranie

Mal and Chad: The Biggest, Bestest Time Ever! is a Middle Grade graphic novel featuring humor and time travel. It's the first in the Mal and Chad series.


Mal is an elementary school student who doesn't want anyone to find out that he's secretly a genius, because then he might be forced to go to college. He wouldn't have time to be a kid anymore, and he definitely wouldn't get to see Megan, the girl he likes.

So he lets his mom think he's just off playing when in reality he's trying out his various inventions with Chad, his best friend and pet dog, who he taught how to talk. You'd think a secret genius might have an easy time, but unfortunately he has to deal with Zachary, who makes fun of him and thinks he's smarter than everybody, the possibility that Megan thinks he's a dork, and an essay assignment about what he wants to be when he grows up.

REVIEW: The Magnolia League (book) by Katie Crouch

The Magnolia League is a YA paranormal fantasy. My copy is an ARC (a very old one, since this was released in 2011).

This review includes slight spoilers.


Alex has lived her entire life at the RC, a hippie commune in California, helping her mother grow medicinal herbs. Sure, the RC grows a little marijuana, but Alex's mother's medicines are what really make the RC famous.

Then everything changes after Alex's mother dies in a car crash. The rich grandmother she didn't even know she had sends a lawyer to pick her up and take her back to Georgia, ripping her away from her new boyfriend and the only life she's ever known. Suddenly she's supposed to be part of something called the "Magnolia League," a sort of club for Southern debutantes. Except that Alex has dreadlocks, is chubby, and has no intention of trading in her t-shirts for designer dresses. However, she might not have much of a choice. Once you become a Magnolia Girl, you're one for life.

Saturday, January 2, 2021

Hades game comments, a little further in

Yeah, I'm still nowhere near escaping - in fact, I haven't even encountered the first boss yet, and am still just basking in the glow of finally having figured out how to more effectively use one weapon (the shield) and not get killed by the Inferno-Bombers. Let's see if I can do it a second time. At the moment, I'm reserving God Mode for whenever the fighting starts to feel more frustrating, or if I run up against a noticeable wall when it comes to getting to know the NPCs in between runs.

I'm still loving the dialogue and characters, as well as collecting new items and boons and the thrill of figuring out how to do something just a little better. The developer has made the game welcoming for multiple types of gamers - God Mode is described in a way that recognizes there are lots of reasons someone might want to use it, and one of the NPCs even brings it up in a guilt-free way (this may be dialogue that only comes up if you've died a certain number of times early on in the game - what can I say, I'm terrible at this). 

I will say this, though: the Steam Discussions area can be disheartening. The game is as judgement-free as possible, so various commenters do their best to take up the slack and look down their noses at people whose runs take longer than X number of minutes, have died more than X number of times, or who can't beat whichever boss after however many tries. And of course they treat using God Mode like a mark of shame. ::sigh::