January 2018

After a very busy 2017 I’ve decided the 2018 is going to be a quieter one for me. I’m going to cut back on reading goals and hopefully find a little more time for some gaming. I also need to seriously address my health and weight this year, and I’d love to get back to some regular running. I’m also hoping to get some words down on a story idea I’ve been thinking about on-and-off for a while…

Books Read

6 books read in January, which is nice because it’s my monthly target for 2018:

  1. The Rise of Io by Wesley Chu – the latest in Chu’s Tao setting, and while somewhat connected to that previous trilogy, this one is designed to be approachable to new readers. It works well, and while not as good and the Tao books, it certainly has some interesting characters, both human and quasing.
  2. Fool’s Gold by Jon Hollins – what a fun book! Seriously, this managed to tick all my boxes, and then some more I didn’t know about. Essentially humans vs dragons with a good helping of witless heroes, lucky escapades, and a battle hungry lizard-man. Hollins has managed to deliver a story that is both interesting, enjoyable, and fun, and he hasn’t skimped on the characters and world-building either.
  3. Terminal Alliance by Jim C Hines – I’ll be writing up a full review of this one, but Hines has given a humourous sci-fi story that is genuinely laugh-out-loud funny while also raising plenty of questions to keep the pages turning. However, it’s not entirely as successful as I’d have liked.
  4. 23 Years on Fire by Joel Shepherd – the fourth novel in Shepherd’s Casandra Kresnov books, and it hits the ground running with its action set pieces and thoroughly engaging characters, all the while dealing humanity and what it is to be human. Probably not the place to jump on with this series though.
  5. Points of Impact by Marko Kloos – here’s Kloos’ sixth Frontlines novel and, if I’m being honest, somewhat of a disappointment. After a couple of novels that moved the plot forward, Points of Impact seems to stall and doesn’t really give much new for the reader to enjoy, other than some shiny new ships and pieces of equipment. I love Kloos’s writing, and this series has been so much fun, but this one had very little substance to it, unfortunately.
  6. Dark Intelligence by Neal Asher – I missed the finale to Asher’s Transformations trilogy last year and, after having re-read his Cormac series and The Technician, I decided to re-read the first two books first. Dark Intelligence is the first, and while I enjoyed it on my first read in 2015, this time around I found it to be even better. Perhaps because The Technician was so fresh in my mind (and it does influence this book quite heavily) I absorbed the story and made all the connections I missed on the first read. Or maybe it was just fucking amazing. Who knows!

Reviews Posted

No reviews posted this month, but you can check out my Top 10 Books of 2017, or a full list of What I Read in 2017.

Movies Watched

The Man from Earth and its sequel, The Man From Earth: Holocene, were two movies I came across online while looking for something to watch while suffering from a horrendous man-cold. Fortunately these caught my attention and I watched then both back-to-back. While the first movie is better, the sequel also gives plenty of food for thought. It’s a great idea done well.

I gave up on the Saw films around the third or fourth, but quite fancied Jigsaw to see if it could do anything different as a standalone in the franchise. Spoiler alert: it didn’t, but it was quite good.

Beyond Skyline is a sequel to a pretty poor film (Skyline), but it manages to take that uneven foundation and deliver a damned good film. True, the last quarter went down a little, but on the whole well worth watching.

Logan Lucky was a redneck Ocean’s Eleven, and while okay, it didn’t do anything particularly amazing.

I also caught two adaptions of King’s works: Misery and Gerald’s Game. Misery was very good indeed, and while I didn’t expect much from Gerald’s Game I was pleasantly surprised. Both get the thumbs up from me.

TV Shows Watched

Halt and Catch Fire season 3 – this show seems to go from strength to strength with each season, and the performances by the cast are great. I like the character growth, but it’s the background that keeps me hooked. I also know that this show has now been cancelled, which is a shame, but I’m looking forward to get to season 4 pretty soon.

Billions season 2 – another show I’ve really enjoyed, and this one is not usually the type I go for. Still, each episode has kept me glued to the screen eager to see what happens next.

Games Played

World of Tanks – my uncle is to blame for getting me into this after a visit earlier in the month led him to show me the game and let me have a taste. Believe it or not, this is my first venture into online gaming in any form, and while I’m still getting to grips with it all, I’m enjoying what’s on offer. My main issue is my built-in desire to run headfirst into a battle without any sort of strategy rather than take my time and hang back. I’m learning, slowly!

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