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!

 

 

 

book reviews, spoiler free

The God Game

Book Review

50275977._SY475_The God Game by Danny Tobey

Rating: XXXX

Published January 9th 2019 by Gollancz

“So said God, or at least the first artifical intelligence bot claiming to inhabit the persona of God.”

You are invited!
COme inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It;’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smouldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.

But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?

And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?

As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.

God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.

Towards the end of last year, the Stevie from Gollancz offered two ARCS out to people chosen at random and then each of those got to choose another person each to receive the same arc. I missed out on the first try but then the lovely Rebecca from ReviewsFeed chose me to receive a copy of The God Game with her! I finally managed to get around to reading it this month and I have been absolutely hooked the past few days. It sounded like it was a mix between Ready Player One and the more recently released Ctrl +S both of which I enjoyed immensely so I was fairly confident I would enjoy this and let me tell you if you enjoyed either of the books I’ve mentioned you will love this. I will say though that The God Game has a lot more sinister of a plotline than Ready Player One and there isn’t that 80’s nostalgia high to add to it (unless you count the War Games feel to parts of it) but it shines in its own completely different way and I’m so very here for it.

I’d also like to add there are definitely some content/trigger warnings some should be aware of, such as suicide and suicidal thoughts, bullying and minor drug use (I think I’ve covered them all but if I’ve missed any let me know and I’ll make sure to add them to my review.). 

To begin with, I sighed at the seemingly stereotypical set up in The God Game, the group of “nerdy” boys with the “token” girl that one of them is probably in love with and that stereotype is definitely here to a degree but in a way that is done really well. It’s not over the top or in your face and is barely mentioned but when it is it is done so to an organic way that’s hard to explain without spoilers so I won’t say any more but just wanted to give a heads up to those who might pick it up, read the first page or two and put it down because of that very overdone trope in these kind of books. This book is more than what it seems to begin with I promise. It’s fast-paced, well interconnected, full of tension and it keeps you guessing at every turn.

So we start with these stereotypical characters and over the course of the story we inevitably get to know them better, they each have hopes and dreams, even if some of their aspirations aren’t obvious even to them, o begin with. The character progression is interesting in this because we are naturally treated to more information about each of them as the story progresses and this is done very well, facts and histories are organically placed in the story and the progression to a degree is very much just seeing what was there in the first place but hidden, sometimes on purpose and sometimes not even known to the character. I found the whole process fascinating and the mortality and choices characters are faced with in this book feels very close to home in that they are easily decisions that feel visceral and real. The story itself is obviously interesting and I’ll get to that next but for me, it’s absolutely the characters, their choices and actions that make the God Game.

The plot for The God Game is not a new one but it is a good one. The idea of an A.I with a warped sense of perceived morality is something we’ve seen before in tv shows, films, books and video games and is an interesting concept because of the different takes on it and as with a fair amount of science fiction thrillers, the ease with which it can be imagined. It makes sense and true A.I’s feels like a step that the human race will eventually make or at least be able to and that brings so much more into the discussion although there’s not much of that in this book as our main characters are more worried about the consequences a bit closer to home than whether it should have been created or not although we get a little bit of background on “G.O.D” that is both interesting and vague enough to perhaps be a kind of urban myth itself. 

I could honestly go on about this book for ages, it was really thought-provoking in a lot of ways that I’m still thinking about almost a week after finishing it and that I think will stay with me for some time to come.

 

#SixforSunday, spoiler free

S4S – Books I want to be written

Happy Six for Sunday for a new month! The general theme for this months prompts by Steph at a Little but A Lot is Bookish Wishes and this weeks prompt is “Books I want to be Written” which at first I thought would be hard, I mean how do I know the books I want haven’t already been written? Then I realised I was over thinking it and I got on with it because my answers don’t need to be thought-provoking and groundbreaking and heck, maybe some of them already exist which is brilliant because then maybe someone can recommend them to me? Anyway, I hope you enjoy because I had fun thinking about them (and will forever daydream about at least half of them).

More Illuminae Books

This is probably fairly predictable for me (in fact I think most of these are) and usually, I’m of the belief that once a series is done that’s it but after reading Memento (the Illuminae novella) I realised that I don’t think I’ll ever get enough of that damn series. I understand that the main story is done with but I’d love to see the group grown up, maybe a kid or two of their own or something and just getting into trouble, I’m easily pleased it could be boring as hell and I’d probably still love it lets be honest.

Middle-Grade Newt Scamander Books

I want what I thought we were getting with the Fantastic Beasts films, precious, lovely, soft and sweet Newt Scamander – maybe at Hogwarts getting into innocent mischief with his creatures. I think it would really suit a middle-grade voice, maybe first-year Newt is apprehensive about leaving for school and leaving behind the creature friends he’s made at home but then finds his own place at Hogwarts? Obviously, there needs to be a little conflict to keep it interesting but that could maybe be someone might find out about one of his more misunderstood creature friends? Maybe someone does but then they become friends!? Please just give me lovely little Newt Stories.

Overwatch tie-in novels

My son discovered Overwatch recently (Me and Chris played at release and then for about a year after so we didn’t just go out and buy a shooter game for him but that’s another story) it had more variety and has a much more cartoony feel than Apex which after seeing Chris play he was determined he wanted to play too. Anyway, the point is seeing him play with the different characters (and there are LOADS) makes me really want to know more about each of them and their in-game “law.” There are brilliant animated shorts and have been some good comics but what I really want are some canon, game tie-in novels to go with it. Overwatch isn’t anywhere near as popular as it was now (understandably, it’s been out a while and there are FTP games that are very similar everywhere now) but something I would still love.

YA Greek Mythology short story collection

This might seem like a bit of a weird one that I won’t explain well (and it quite likely already exists). There are loads of myth retellings out there but after reading some sweet Hades and Persephone short stories recently I realised I would really like to read more Greek myths with the YA treatment as it were. Or maybe even some of them turned around like we’ve seen with a lot of Disney franchises over the past few years, I’d really love a new tale about Medusa. Maybe Athena helps Medusa kick Poseidon’s butt when he tries to assault her in Athena’s temple, perhaps Medusa chooses to have snakes for hair for herself that can turn all men who look upon her to stone and then she marries Athena? Maybe I just want a queer, feminist-friendly greek mythology short story anthology? WHO KNOWS?!

More Mass Effect tie-in novels

Again this isn’t a fully formed idea in any way but I will honestly read just about anything set in the Mass Effect universe. In magical Christmas land, a choose your own adventure style ME book would be AMAZING but also super difficult and probably turn out badly. I just want my Shepards story. *Cries* I actually really like the way the books have managed to not mention Shepards gender etc in the books so that it can easily be imagined as your own, hence why they could never be the main character in any of the stories. Maybe we could have more tales about the rest of the crew like we go in the Foundation comics?

Anything about Lucien Vanserra  (from ACOTAR)

So there’s a rumour that we’ll be getting a book about Lucien and the Autumn Court from Sarah J Maas. I would like that, please. I’ve been a big Lucien fan girl since reading A Court of Thorns and Roses (my first and favourite D&D character is literally named and modelled after him) and although I wasn’t keen on a lot of aspects of ACOWAR I did like the amount of Lucien development we got and I need more. SO much more, please.

Another one I came up with I decided absolutely had to exist already so I’m hoping if anyone knows of something that fits these criteria but hear me out – Six of Crows – in space. Admittedly I’ve still not finished actually reading Six of Crows but I would absolutely love to read something in that style set in space and if I can’t find it I’ll just try and write it so help me out and save me from obsessing over another WIP.

In-fact speaking of writing I feel like I could solve most of the problem of wanting to read all of the above by just writing lots and lots of fan-fiction. I guess I better get started…

 

 

 

#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!!