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 
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, spoiler free

S4S – Favourite Childhood Video Games


When I did my favourite video game post it got me thinking about how much my taste in games changed over time and the games I used to play when I was younger and then maybe grew out of so this weeks Six for Sunday post is all about some of my favourite video games I played while I was growing up.

1. Pokemon
I think my generation was the first to really grow up with Pokemon and I’ve lost count of how many games and Pokemon there actually are now. When I think of Pokemon I remember being able to name all 150 and watching the very first episode of the animated show and being confused that Ash was a boy and that I had been pronouncing Pikachu’s name wrong. I can’t even imagine the amount of hours I spent playing these games as a kid or playing the trading card game etc, it was a great time and it was one of  the first gaming experiences I’d had that involved friend and gave me something I found I had in common with others my age.

2. Warcraft 3
Warcraft 3 was the very first video game I played on the PC. My dad had downloaded it after discovering Age of Empires, which I liked watching him play (and would later lose countless hours in making up stories about Joan of Arc…) and he asked if I wanted to play it, I wasn’t sure but said yes becasue there were elves in it apparently. I started playing through the story campaign and was just totally and completley enthralled, I’d never played anything like it and I loved that it was stratgeic, you had specific goals, all the characters were voice acted and it just completley sucked me in to this new world. This was about the time my parents decided to give me time restrictions after falling asleep at the computer after trying to stay up and play later (nothing has changed, I still do this now). Warcraft 3 is a game I still love to play today and Blizzard is relaucnhing it with Warcraft 3 “Reforged” this year and I’m beyong excited.

3. Guitar Hero etc
I wasn’t too sure about putting this one but actually it fits into the favourite game when I was a kid category in much the same way as the others it’s just a fairly different kind of game. For those who may have never heard of or played guitar hero it came with a plastic guitar with coloured buttons on the frets and you had to play them in time to the song you were playing in the correct order displayed on screen, think dance mat but with your fingers on a plastic guitar. Its seriously additctive. I’m not even sure where our copy of guitar hero 3 came from but my and my little brother started playing it in the evening of one Christmas day years and  years ago, we played the “story mode” and realised we didn’t have a memory card so just decided to keep playing until we were done. If memory serves we finshed around 4 the next morning and when we finally looked away from the screen everything kept moving. I love karoke and for some weird reason at school I loved performing in any way shape or form and for me this was another version of that and I think the primary reason I learned to play bass guitar.

 4. Xena: Warrior Princess 
This was the first video game I ever completed. I am not a completionist by any means, heck I’ve never finished a Final Fantasy game and in the two years since Andromeda came out I STILL haven’t finished it so this feels like it was a pretty big thing for me. It’s one of the earliest video games I remember playing that I really got into and I loved that I could be Xena, who, along with Sailor Moon I was obsessed with. The graphics although somehow bearable then are painful to look at now and it was a little repetative but I loved every moment of it and really enjoyed the different tactics you had to use to defeat certain bosses and that it usually took a little skill instead of just button mashing to do so. I think this game might have really had a massive impact on the games I went on to play as an adult.

5. Hercules
This is another silly one that I played the life out of. I think we got a demo disc with a few levels on that me and my brother played to death before our parents brought us the full game (probably becsue they were sick of us playing the same level over and over). I ADORED the disney Hercules film (at one point I knew every single damn line) and this mostly side scroller type of game was the same story and you had to play through it. It had the same voice actors (mainly becasue all the lines were taken from the film), all the songs, clips from the film and all the level music was taken from and inspired by what was already in the film. It was such a fun game and I’ll always remember it.

6. Diablo 2
Ah another Blizzard game, I’m sure this shocks no-one. I think this was another one my Dad may have downloaded (the days of napster and limewire were hell for our poor old computer because my dad would just download ALL of the games. I did later purchase W3 and Diablo 2 legitamatley though and do not encourage pirating games in any way!) and I remember not being keen on it at first becasue it seemed too dark and gritty for me but for some reason I ended up playing it anyway and it turns out I find dungeon crawlers REALLY addictive. I liked the idea of collecting loot and then constantly updating and improving your items as you went along with the honest to gods goodness of just mashing that mouse button to death and when you really got some traction going it feels like you’re unstoppable. This game also featured a lot of things I enjoyed from other games as well as a phenomenal soundtrack, an interesting story, a degree of character customisastion (you could choose your class), fun and challenging boss mechanics AND it was insanely replayable. I was over the moon when Diablo 3 was announced and although I play that when I have a Diablo itch to scratch now I’ll always love Diablo 2.

Do you have any favourite games you can remember from when you were younger? Do you have any favourites? Do you still play any now?

book reviews, spoiler free

Before the Storm Review

36467381Before the Storm by Christie Golden

Rating: XXXX

Published: June 12th by Titan BooksTitan Books

“… but we cannot go back to happier times. We can only live in the present, and right now that present is painful.”
Taking place after the climactic events of Shadows of Argus, World of Warcraft: Before the Storm tells the story of what awaits the heroes of the Horde and the Alliance in the wake of their struggle against the demonic Burning Legion.
Anyone who knows me knows I play the video game World of Warcraft and have done for over ten years. In August the game will be getting another new expansion and as is tradition this means we get a new book before hand to tie together the end of events at the end of the previous expansion (Legion) and the new (Battle for Azeroth). As I always am for these books I’ve been super hyped, but even more so with the promise of a POV from the current Warchief of the Horde, The Dark Lady herself, Sylvanas Windrunner, a character who has always been intriguing to me. Not to mention this book is written by Christie Golden who’s work I absoloutley adore so this book was an insta buy no questions asked buy.
As I thought would happen I completley devoured this book. In World of Warcraft you choose one of two factions and even though I started Alliance I moved over to Horde to play with my friends but with recent in game events have been leaning back towards the alliance which is a fairly big change, this book has totally added to my ingame experience and thoughts on my faction which is one of my favourite things about these books that are linked to a video game, they enhance what you already get with the game while being good books in general. As far as I’m aware the book leads up to the content will we get in game on July 24th (today) so I knew I wanted to read it beore then turns out I finished this in a couple of days because I couldn’t put it down.
Before the Storm focuses very much on it’s characters more than it’s events (although there is a very important one) which is great for a look into their motivations and thoughts. In the case of Sylvanas it seems she is going down a route we all knew in our hearts she was taking but now getting a front row seat to it is painful but I think the logical path for her arc. I am glad that we’re seeing some more light (haha…you’ll get this if you’ve read the book) shone on the Forsaken (undead) characters as it’s a race I’ve never been interested to play much in game and I think they’re important to know more about, especially with the events in the upcoming expansion cinematic we’ve seen.
I was super happy that we got to see inside The Netherlight Temple as well, the Priest class order hall taken direct from Legion and addressing the fact that both factions work together peacefully which was something I enjoyed seeing in the last expanion and something that needed explaining as this next one is about the opposite, instead of workin together to fight the Legion we are back at each others throats. The one thing I will say that bothered me however is that even after this book I still don’t know why war breaks out between the factions again. We see events that could strain the relationships yes but certainly not enough I feel to reengage in a war that neither side want and I assume the events we will begin to see in game from today will explain.
The book was thougherly enjoyable but unlike some of the other books I don’t feel it completely stands on its own, this may be becasue of the lack of actual events happening or maybe the speed I read it but it felt a bit more like a short story or noevella than a novel (but no less enjoyable for it). This book acts as a great insight however into the minds of our faction leaders and other notable characters as well as some utter world changing events that happen towards the end of this book. Before the Storm acts as a perfect prequel to the events to come ingame in a few days and although it didn’t completley tear my heart out like a lot of Christies other novels I had a great time reading it and would reccomend it to anyone who plays World of Warcaft without a hesitation.
P.S Christie Golden I better see a certain Goblin and Gnome somewhere this expansion!