Final Fantasy XV is Finally Here!


Platform: Playstation 4, XBOX One

Rating: T

Genre: Japanese Role-Playing Game

First Released: November 29, 2016

Part of a Series? Yes and No. You don’t need to play any previous Final Fantasies to understand anything in FFXV, but all the others are super fun, and you will be able to catch some throwbacks to previous games (creatures such as moogles and chocobos).

There is also an anime (which can be found on crunchyroll for free), Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV, and a movie: Final Fantasy XV: Kingsglaive. The anime gives some insight into the backstories of the four main characters: Noctis, Prompto, Gladiolus, and Ignis. The movie (which we own!) is a prequel to the game and gives you further backstory on what’s happening.

None of these things are necessary, they only further enhance your enjoyment of the game!

Brief Synopsis:

“Out on the road with his closest friends, Prince Noctis hears unsettling news: his homeland has fallen to the empire, with his father, his fiancee, and he himself reported dead. Unsure of what to believe, he knows only one thing-he must make his way home and take back what is rightfully his.”


As of writing this, I’m about an hour or so into the game and oh man is it fun! Unlike most Final Fantasy games, it is not turn-based! It’s a real time battle system where you can attack enemies at will without having to wait for turns and such (think Kingdom Hearts).  One of my favorite things to do is a “warp strike” where you throw your weapon, and Noctis immediately warps to where your dagger landed. It’s great to use for dodging to higher ground, or dealing serious damage to foes.

The world is also GINORMOUS, without the in-game map, it would be super easy to lose your way while exploring. Luckily, there is always an arrow on the HUD (heads up display) reminding where you need to go next when you’re ready to move on for some story.

If you need help figuring out any of the new mechanics and want tips and tricks, click here!

Check it out today!

Fandoms, Fandoms, and More Fandoms

This month’s book displays here in the Vortex have inspired me!  

Our large display features books about music and musicians – both fictional and real.  Our smaller display, though, is all about the fans – those hordes of ridiculous, screaming, out-of-control lunatics that keep the musicians, actors, writers, performers, and other artists in business.  

Whether you consider yourself a Fan, Geek, Potterhead, Otaku, Trekkie, Whovian, Scooby, Browncoat, Twihard, Brony, Furry, Jedi, Sherlockian, Throner, Gamer, Sports Fan, or just a person who likes a thing, we all have that thing we obsess over that makes our life just a little bit shinier.

Image result for kaylee shiny

I confess: I too am a fan.  Here is a short list of the People and Things Who Make Me Squee.

Image result for jim hensonJim Henson and anything he created –

From the floppy-mouthed proto-Kermit of his early coffee commercials to his amazing avant garde graphic novel, Tale of Sand, from The Muppet Show to The Dark Crystal, Jim Henson’s art has always had the ability to grab my imagination and my heart and not let go.

Neil Gaiman –

Coraline.  The Graveyard Book.  American Gods.  Stardust.  Anansi Boys.  Sandman.  Good Omens.  Dr. Who episodes….  Squee, Squee, SQUEE!  Neil Gaiman is a hilarious, well-spoken, intelligent bloke with an amazing talent for the macabre and bizarre!

Amanda Palmer –

Amanda Palmer is a musician, performance artist, and author.  She is amazeballs.  Her heart-wrenching lyrics and the gut-wrenching emotion she displays while pounding away on a piano or shredding a ukelele remind me that there is still something real and pure and beautiful in the world.  (Fun Fact: Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman were married in 2011

Image result for ursula vernon kevin sonneyUrsula Vernon – 

I don’t even know how to describe Ursula Vernon.  She’s an artist and author and the characters she creates are both cute and cuddly and strong and powerful.  Actually, that’s a pretty good way to describe Ursula herself.  I have had the honor of meeting her several times and even going out to dinner with her and her husband.  She’s brilliant.  Seriously, go read her stuff.

Star Trek: The Next Generation –

Image result for cast of st tngST:TNG was my gateway fandom.  I started watching it in middle school and it took me from being a quiet, bookish kid to being a full-on Fan.  It was my entryway to other science-fiction like Star Wars, Dr. Who, Ray Bradbury, Babylon 5, Isaac Asimov, Firefly, and so many phenomenally geeky fandoms!  Despite its flaws, I will always have a special place in my heart for the crew of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701 D).

Image result for steven universeSteven Universe –

“Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl… AND STEVEN!”  Steven Universe is kinda wacky, kinda random, kinda bizarre, and 100 % fabulous!  I love the music, the joy, the epic battles, the pink lion, the crazy creatures,  and especially the characters!  (Tara +Amethyst=BFF!!  <3)  I even did my very first cosplay as Steven!


If you like these fandoms, AWESOME!  Come talk to me in the Vortex and we can swap stories!  If you like other fandoms, that’s great too!  Come talk to me in the Vortex and we can still swap stories!





The Trials and Tribulations of Making Cheesy Hash Browns

As promised, here’s my update on the cheesy hash browns I made last Wednesday for Thanksgiving!

Let’s start with the most important information: they were delicious!


They took much longer to cook than expected. (They were still so worth it!) The recipe said to cook for about an hour at 375 degrees, but for my oven, it took approximately two hours instead.

I also recommend not skipping out on the onion (I didn’t feel like running to the store to get onions…), because that may have been the partial cause to the higher cooking time. According to a friend who’s more well versed in cooking than I, the extra moisture from the onions can make a big difference! Who knew! (Not me, that’s for sure).

Either way, they were wonderful! Try them if you dare! (Seriously, try them, you won’t regret it.

Book Recommendation – Tell Me Something Real

tell-me-something-realTell Me Something Real
by Calla Devlin
Place a hold.

“Three sisters struggle with the bonds that hold their family together as they face a darkness settling over their lives in this masterfully written debut novel.

There are three beautiful blond Babcock sisters: gorgeous and foul-mouthed Adrienne, observant and shy Vanessa, and the youngest and best-loved, Marie. Their mother is ill with leukemia and the girls spend a lot of time with her at a Mexican clinic across the border from their San Diego home so she can receive alternative treatments.

Vanessa is the middle child, a talented pianist who is trying to hold her family together despite the painful loss that they all know is inevitable. As she and her sisters navigate first loves and college dreams, they are completely unaware that an illness far more insidious than cancer poisons their home. Their world is about to shatter under the weight of an incomprehensible betrayal.” — Summary provided by

Thanksgiving Favorites

Since this Thursday is Thanksgiving, it’s the perfect time to talk about everyone’s favorite topic. FOOD!

Everyone has their fave Thanksgiving dish whether it be cranberry sauce, stuffing, or sweet potatoes! Or all of the above! Nom! (Oh no, now I’m making myself hungry…)

What’s my favorite dish? That’s easy! My aunt’s cheesy hash browns! They are to DIE for. One of these days I need to get that recipe from her, but until then, I found something similar on Allrecipes! (It’d be hilarious if that’s where she got it from)  As I plan on making it myself this year, I’ll try to make an update after the holidays to let you guys know how it turned out!


Look at it in all its delicious glory.

And before I go, fun Thanksgiving fact! Everyone thinks it’s the turkey that makes you fall asleep after dinner. Actually, it’s not true at all! It’s just all the food you ate in excess! Now you can enjoy your food coma with SCIENCE.

Gobble gobble! Happy eating everyone!


Transgender Day of Remembrance

November is Transgender Awareness Month and yesterday, more specifically, was Transgender Day of Remembrance. It’s a day to honor those in the trans communities who have had their lives cut short by ignorance, bigotry, and violence. Here is an article that details and names victims of hate violence in 2016. While it’s important to remember those we’ve lost, it’s vital to look forward and make changes that will shape the future of transgender lives. A great site for trans* youth, their families, and their friends is Gender Spectrum. They offer resources for trans* teens as well as ideas for allies.

As you know, the library is a great place to learn about the world and people around you as well as yourself.  So, whether you identify as transgender or cis-gender, gay or straight – whether you even know how you identify or are still piecing it together, educating yourself through reading is the first step.  Here are five novels for those who want to empathize with queer characters and five fact-packed non-fiction resources to help you figure it all out.

Symptoms of Being Human

Symptoms of Being Human
by Jeff Garvin
Place a hold.
Riley, a gender-fluid teenager who struggles with identity while trying to fit in at a new school creates an anonymous blog on the topic that goes viral.  When someone discovers their real identity, Riley must decide whether to keep their secret or embrace their gender identity.

If I Was Your GirlIf I Was Your Girl
by Meredith Russo
Place a hold.
Amanda Hardy only wants to fit in at her new school, but she is keeping a big secret, so when she falls for Grant, guarded Amanda finds herself yearning to share with him everything about herself, including her previous life as Andrew.

The Art of Being NormalThe Art of Being Normal
by Lisa Williamson
Place a hold.
David Piper, always an outsider, forms an unlikely friendship with Leo Denton who, from the first day at his new school wants only to be invisible, but when David’s deepest secret gets out, that he wants to be a girl, things get very messy for both of them.

The Other BoyThe Other Boy
By M. G. Hennessey
Place a hold.
Twelve-year-old Shane Woods is just a regular boy. He loves pitching for his baseball team, working on his graphic novel, and hanging out with his best friend, Josh. But Shane is keeping something private, something that might make a difference to his friends and teammates, even Josh.

If You Could Be MineIf You Could Be Mine
by Sara Farizan
Place a hold.
In Iran, where homosexuality is punishable by death, seventeen-year-olds Sahar and Nasrin love each other in secret until Nasrin’s parents announce their daughter’s arranged marriage and Sahar proposes a drastic solution.


The Transgender TeenTransgender Teen
by Stephanie Brill
Place a hold.
Explore the unique challenges that thousands of families face every day raising a teenager who may be transgender, gender-variant or gender-fluid.


Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out18166920
by Susan Kucklin
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Author and photographer Susan Kuklin met and interviewed six transgender or gender-neutral young adults and used her considerable skills to represent them thoughtfully and respectfully before, during, and after their personal acknowledgment of gender preference.

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) TeenBeing Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen
by Jazz Jennings
Place a hold.
Teen activist and trailblazer Jazz Jennings–named one of “The 25 most influential teens” of the year by Time–shares her very public transgender journey, as she inspires people to accept the differences in others while they embrace their own truths.

Some Assembly Required: the Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender TeenSome Assembly Required: The Not-So-Secret Life of a Transgender Teen
by Arin Andrews
Place a hold.
Seventeen-year-old Arin Andrews shares all the hilarious, painful, and poignant details of undergoing gender reassignment as a high school student in this winning teen memoir.

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender CommunityTrans Bodies, Trans Selves
by Laura Erickson-Schroth
Place a hold.
There is no one way to be transgender. Transgender and gender non-conforming people have many different ways of understanding their gender identities. While trans people share many common experiences, there is immense diversity within trans communities.


This list is meant only as a starting point.  There are tons of great books at Fountaindale, at other libraries, elsewhere on the web that can help you on your journey.  If you want more recommendations, ask your librarian or email me (Tara) at fountaindaleteen at fountaindale dot org.  Everybody deserves to be represented in the books they read.  Everybody deserves to feel included in validated.  You are not alone.



Teen Open Mic Night

Calling all Poets, Musicians, Actors, Dancers, Essayists, Vocalists, Jugglers, and Other Performers!


Come show off your talents at the library’s Teen Open Mic Night on December 12, 2016!  Whatever your art or your skill level, we’d love to hear and see you shine!  

You can perform a piece that you’ve written or created yourself or it can be a favorite from a published artist.

Bring your friends, bring your families!  We have plenty of room in the audience!  This program starts at 6:30 p.m. and goes until 7:30 p.m.  It will be held in Meeting Room A next to the cafe.  

We’ll supply a microphone and a podium.  Performers must furnish all other equipment they wish to use.  Light refreshments will be available for the performers.  


 Register NOW!