Monthly Wrap up

January 2020 Wrap Up

Monthly Wrap up

Somehow we’ve finally made it to the end of January and is it just me or did it feel more like three months as opposed to one? Things have somehow been crazy busy here but I’ve still read a few books, watched a few shows here and there so it’s time for the first wrap up post of the year!

Currently reading. 
The Unspoken Name by A.K Larkwood. I was so incredibly lucky to receive an ARC copy of this from the lovely Jamie-Lee at Tor UK and let me tell you I am loving having an Orc heroine! It’s early days yet but I’m enjoying to so far!

Books I’ve read. 


The God Game by Danny Tobey
This was a great and interesting read that kept me on the edge of my seat, I really enjoyed it.
Someone give this heart a pen by Sophia Thakur
My first poetry read of the year and certainly not my last, a powerful and inspiring book.
Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman
I feel so blessed to have been able to read this early, I adored this book and I can’t wait for its official release so you can all love it too.


The Stars we Steal by Alexa Donne
Jane Austen in space with a dating competition of sorts, yes, please. Another great book that I really liked, review to come next week!

Changes from monthly TBR? 
I definitely think I was a little over-ambitious with my January TBR. I ended up reading some different books as well. Time caught up with me and I realised I had Harley in the Sky to get read asap and so that joined the list too and was probably my favourite read this month, maybe on par with the Stars we Steal. I then started an online “how to make a poem” course with future learn and decided since it had been a while since I had read any collections it would be a good time to read this powerful book gifted to me by Walker Books, I also did start The Unspoken Name while I waited for The Stars we Steal to arrive and will get back to it first thing next month.

Books I’ve brought/received. 
The end of December and beginning of January kind of blurred together so this may not be entirely accurate.


The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
Star Wars: Myths and Fables by George Mann
Stars Wars: From a certain point of view by various authors
The Stars we Steal by Alexa Donne -Gifted from Titan Books
Bone Silence Alastair Reynolds – Gifted from Gollancz
Magicat by Jennifer Gray and Amanda Swift – Gifted from Barrington Stoke
Library of the Unwritten by A.J Hackwith – Gifted from Titan Books

Shows I’ve seen 
Picard 
I’m more into Star Wars and my husband is more into Star Trek but we do both share a love of  Star Trek Voyager and Star Trek Discovery so we figured we’d try Trek spin-off show Picard out despite both of us never having seen a huge amount of The Next Generation (he’s seen a lot more of it than me though) and I’m really glad we did. The production alone was breathtaking and I find the story intriguing (if perhaps a little confusing for me at first). I love the characters and I’m really excited for the next episode already.

Films I’ve seen 
No new films this month I don’t think (or at least not any memorable for me to remember that we watched them apparently).I

Games I’ve played
Fitness Boxing
 I’m using Fitness Boxing to work out every day and it’s both hard work and really satisfying, I love that it keeps track of your daily streak and seems to be really tailored to the type of workout you want. I wish I’d got it on sale but am still happy with it and hoping to keep at it as I don’t really have the time to go to the gym or pool much right now.

Stardew Valley  
Got back into Stardew Valley this month after quite a while away and I’ve been sucked right back in! I forgot how much I missed this damn game and just how easy it was to get pulled back into playing it for hours on end, especially when you have friends to play it with.

Warcraft III Reforged 
The original Warcraft III was one of, if not, the first game I ever really got into on the PC (yes, even before Diablo) and when they announced at Blizzcon a couple of years back in 2018 that they would be releasing a new and graphically improved version, including new missions and features I was incredibly excited. It only officially released a couple of days ago so I haven’t played a huge amount of this yet but I’m already loving being back in the lore and playing one of my favourite games that drags me back to my childhood.

Pokemon Shield 
After deliberating if I would even be purchasing this at any point, I finally caved and got Pokemon Shield last week. I kept telling myself I probably wouldn’t enjoy it because it’s the same thing and the same story over and over again, not to mention that the new Pokemon are getting a little ridiculous now. Months after its release, however, I found myself still pinning after the damn thing and after some gentle persuasion I just decided to the damn thing. I finally started playing it last night and OH MY GOSH it is absolutely gorgeous and it’s just come on so far from the last time I properly played on of these games (Pokemon Pearl I believe) that I can’t help but be charmed by it and I think I’m going to be sinking a lot of hours into this game over the next month or so, definitely enough to tide me over until the Animal Crossing release in March I think.

Anything else?
After discovering a live performance of “Ex-Wives” from the new musical “Six” this month I finally checked out the full album as it was on Itunes Music and I am utterly obsessed with it. I listen to the whole thing at least once a day and am hoping to see it live at some point later this year.

So, that was my January; I hope you’ve had a good month too and that you enjoyed the new format I’ve decided to go for in regards to my wrap-ups now that I’ve brought them back. I know we all love books and hey this is primarily a book blog after all but I know we all have other interests as well and I thought it would be fun to share my favourites. Tell me in the comments, one thing, bookish or not, that you enjoyed this month!

 

 

 

#SixforSunday, Uncategorized

S4S – Favourite Video Games

Happy Sunday! I know I usually follow the Six for Sunday prompts from A Little but a Lot and after this month I will continue to do this but the prompts for this month are all based around kid lit of which I don’t think I know anywhere near enough about to write four posts on. I look forward to reading everyone else’s posts and learning more about it but for me personally this month I will be writing about Games: Video games, board games, tabletop RPG’s etc. I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and obviously I’m still a book blogger but I thought a little change would be nice for the month (at least it’s not another full week of Star Wars posts right?) So for this week and the first Sunday of the month I will be telling you about nine of my favourite video games of all time.

1. Mass Effect 2 and/or 3
I refuse to pick between these two as they are both my number one game (none of the others are in order but I couldn’t not list these first). I came to Mass Effect a little later than some, playing the second game first and then replaying all three in order once three was released. I completely fell in love with the style of storytelling and the mix of that with combat. I have never loved any other fictional characters as much as I love my crew in these games. I’m not good at a lot of things but luck would have it if you play over 400 hours of any given game you tend to not suck too bad at it…

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2. World of Warcraft
Probably no surprise but even though the current version of the game is not it’s greatest self right now I’ve had a lot of good times playing WoW, with friends in-game and out. I love the rich lore and the little details hidden all over the world. I love so many of the stories the games tell and there have been some pretty iconic moments and characters that will stay with me forever as well as the memories like doing my first run of the Icecrown Citadel and defeating the Lich King sitting at the top of the stairs in my parents house as that was the only place with a decent enough WiFi connection to keep me logged in, the time that my mum decided to play too and thought she was being attacked but actually drowned or didn’t realise that as a mage she could use spells until she was level thirty…the world seemed so big when me and my friend started playing over ten years ago and now I know every corner of it and this game will always hold a special place in my heart.

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3. Skyrim
I don’t know many gamers who have played Skyrim and not loved it. Although its a game not many people play much more now it’s mainly because we have done every single side quest possible and have actually run out of things to do in game. It’s a brilliant, open world game the likes I hadn’t really seen before. I loved spending my nights as a newly turned vampire just running around picking flowers and working through my caseload as an assassin of a shady organisation. Another game filled with fantastic memories and a lot of hours sunk into it that I would happily go back and play again and again.

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4. Animal Crossing Wild World
I love pretty much all of the Animal Crossing games but unlike with the others where I’ve liked multiple iterations of the games in the series I know that Wild World is my favourite Animal Crossing game. It features the great parts that make it an Animal Crossing game and the same key ideas but there’s just so many great little extras that I love, my favourite of which is the observatory on the second floor of the museum ran by Celeste (blathers sister) where you could create your own constellations which you would then be able to see at certain times and dates in your world. It’s also featured in let’s go to the city too but I still prefer Wild World.

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5. Diablo 2/3
This was a hard one to pick because I couldn’t decide between Diablo 2 or Warcraft 3 which are both some of the first PC games I played when I was younger and love them both dearly but I decided to go with Diablo and also include 3 as I’ve played so much of it the past five or six years (at least) that it’s been out, heck I went into labour while doing a speed run of Diablo 3 so I figured it had earned its spot on this list. I love the dungeon crawling, loot finding, demon killing, scenery smashing, button mashing goodness that are the Diablo games. I know the third isn’t popular with some and I understand why but I loved it and played it to death almost as much as Diablo 2, if not more so now. Can we have Diablo 4 already, please? (Immortal doesn’t count…)

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6. Fable 2
Although the main story in these games didn’t blow my mind as much as the Mass Effect the utter freedom in these did. I loved that depending on how you acted and how you treated others would change how they treated you, you could form relationships, have families, buy a home etc all while going about your adventures etc. The Fable games are games I could honestly just play forever because they’re so much fun and I really love the quirky art style, huge array of brilliant voice acting across the board and the soundtrack that to this day I still love and remember most of.

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I’d also like to give shout outs to Warcraft 3, Dragon Age 2, Torchlight, Portal, Bioshock and Stardew Valley that didn’t quite make the cut but came close.

Let me know what your top six favourtite games are!!

book reviews, spoiler free

Anyones Game – Cross Ups 2

40512258Anyones Game by Sylv Chiang (and illustrated by Connie Choi)

Rating: XXXXX

Expected publication: September 11th 2018 by Annick Press

What’s up with Cali? Why does she keep changing her gamer tag?

It’s summertime, and even though his good friend Cali moved to another city, Jaden can connect with her online almost every day to play their favorite game, Cross Ups. His mom has loosened her rules on how often he can play, and he has an amazing new controller that will make him even better at tournaments. But then he gets roped into a dorky summer camp with his buddy Hugh, and Cali starts acting really weird . . . So when a last-minute tournament spot opens up in Cali’s city, Jaden jumps at the chance to go.

But things go badly from the start. Jaden loses his controller on the train, and his reunion with Cali is awkward. She’s unhappy, and Jaden can’t figure out why, especially when she’s getting better and better at Cross Ups—and may even win the tournament.

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“from Tournament Trouble and Anyone’s Game © 2018 Sylv Chiang (text) © 2018 Connie Choi, published by Annick Press Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission.”

I was so excited when Annick press sent me an advanced readers copy of Anyones Game in exchange for an honest review. I loved Tournament Trouble and I feel like some of the issues focused on in this book are very relevant right now in the gaming community and many others, some of which have affected me personally. That and I couldn’t wait to see what Jaden and his friends did next.

Sylv Chiang returns with her brilliant pacing, relatable characters and sometimes conflicted and confused narrator Jaden who feels like he could just jump out of the page, alongside talented artist Connie Choi who’s artwork once again really helps to illustrate events, this time things are a little more serious but Connie and her enjoyably distinctive art style are a feast for the eyes as ever while also really catching the emotions in those moments as well. I wouldn’t have thought the first book could be improved upon but I have never been more pleased to be proven wrong.

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“from Tournament Trouble and Anyone’s Game © 2018 Sylv Chiang (text) © 2018 Connie Choi, published by Annick Press Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission.”

Characters have already been established in the first book but we get nice little short reminders throughout about who everyone is and what events have previously transpired which I think is great in any sequel but especially so in books for younger children. When I was younger a year felt a lifetime away and I could barely remember what happened the month before, let alone a year before with any great detail, (I’m not much better now). These little refresher sentences also makes Anyones Game a good jumping on point for new readers and even easier to pick up and read straight away.

In Tournament Trouble we see how Jaden does at his first tournament and the kind of things he experiences as a gamer, in Anyones Game we see that Cali, as a girl has quite a different experience from him because of her gender. I won’t go into too much detail because being a female gamer myself I could probably write an essay on it but this book will hopefully make young boys think about the way they and others treat their female friends and classmates etc. I think it’s possibly a much harder book for young girls to read because of the way Jaden, his friends and others treat Cali, they begin to ask themselves important questions about their actions later on but even as an (almost) thirty year old woman I was pretty angry about some of the things they said and inferred. As an older woman who has read a lot of books now I understand that these moments like Jaden being upset about his friends knowing he was beaten by a girl or writing off creepy, hurtful messages from people online as just your average “trash talk” are meant to be examples we can learn from but I would worry they could be a little hurtful towards someone much younger. That being said it is refreshing to find older characters in this who point out where Jaden and others are being hurtful and help them to learn to be better people and better friends, I believe this book could help young boys to recognise hurtful behaviour in themselves and those around them and combat it. For young girls I feel that it shows they’re not alone when these bad things happen to them and that they shouldn’t just have to write these behaviours off as nothing. This is something I feel very strongly about and the main reason I think this book spoke to me. I would however have liked to have seen some of the story more from Cali’s point of view, maybe in book three?

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“from Tournament Trouble and Anyone’s Game © 2018 Sylv Chiang (text) © 2018 Connie Choi, published by Annick Press Ltd. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission.”

Despite some of the more serious lessons to be gleaned from Anyones Game it still carries the same light and fun energy the first book did but with just a little more conflict and food for thought but written in such a way that it doesn’t drag the overall story down or make it too heavy. A great sequel and I can’t wait for the next book!