Audible for April/May 2017.

So, after a little struggle with my 2 audibooks per month for the last 3 1/2 years, I (finally) really got back into the pace I had in the first 3 years.

In the last month and first 3 weeks of this month, I’ve been on an audiobook binge in various fantasy and scifi genres. I finished up John Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire, P.N Elrod’s Blood Circle, Bernard Cornwell’s The Flame Bearer, Cormac McCarthy’s No Country For Old Men, Stephen King’s It, Mass Effect Andromeda: Nexus Uprising by Jason M. Hough and K.C. Alexander, and I’m currently listening to Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys.  I am about half-way through Anansi Boys, which I am really enjoying because of the great story and interesting characters, as well as the excellent narration by Lenny Henry. Henry’s provides a great range of voices and is very consistent with them, it really adds the listening experience and really adds a lot to the story. I picked up Anansi Boys because it was on an Audible Daily deal for 3.95$ USD, about 5.45$ CAD, and it was well worth it. I’m not usually one to buy anything on a daily deal of any sort, especially on a whim, but Anansi/Mr. Nancy in Gaiman’s American Gods was such an interesting and compelling character that I thought it would be worth it. It was also well recommended on the various subreddits I lurk on or comment in.

I’ve already gave my thoughts on Scalzi’s The Collapsing Empire in a previous post, however, I will reiterate how much I enjoyed it and how good Wil Wheaton’s narration was.

For Blood Circle by P.N. Elrod, book 3 in the Vampire Files series, there was a change in narrator for this book and it was jarring at first but it grew on my as I finished it. This is a series I will be jumping in and out of, as it is a 10 book series, because there are a lot of other books in my audible wish list that I wish to listen to based on my mercurial listening habits. I’m hooked into anything with a decent story and interesting characters, doubly so when it involves Vampires and Werewolves, and the Vampire files series has a very interesting characters with a good story with vampires. Overall, I enjoyed the book and so far the series hasn’t disappointed me on any front, I look forward to jumping back into the series when I can.

The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell was extremely well done both in story and characters, as well as top-notch narration by Matt Bates. I’ve read the entire series since I’ve watched season 1 of the Last Kingdom on Netflix, with season 2 nearly over as well. I can totally see how this series influenced A Song of Ice and Fire in some respects. The series over all is great and well worth listening to as all the books are well narrated despite a couple of change in narrators over the series. I’m probably mistaken in calling this a finished series, but I since I’ve finished in the last book in the series so far, I consider it done for moment. At least until I hear or read something that says otherwise. With the BBC/Netfilx series, The Saxon Stories or The Last Kingdom Series is well worth checking out if you are checking out the TV/Netflix show adaptation. The audiobooks are in the 10-12 hour ranged, something I consider in between light and moderate length.

No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy, is about 7 and 1/2 hours long, and if you watched the movie you basically got the what the entire book is like. The movie is an extremely well adapted from the novella and manages to get a lot of the book into a 2 hour movie. After listening to this, it made me want to check out Blood Meridian. However, if I didn’t pick this up on an audible daily deal, I probably would not have listened to this audiobook.

Mass Effect Andromeda: Nexus Uprising by Jason M. Hough and K.C. Alexander. This was my first tie in to videogames spawning a book, and I was impressed by it. It had all the elements of what I consider best in a mass effect game, namely good characters and a decent story. Fryda Wolff, who voices Sara Ryder in the game, narrates the story extremely well and proves a good range of voices for the different characters in the book. I thought the book would be a decent one, but impressed me enough to want to check out more of the 2 authors other work. I’ve already was extremely impressed with Hough’s Zero World, so I added his series Dire Earth Cycle books to my audible wish list all of which are narrated by Simon Vance, who has narrated some of my favorite scifi audiobooks (Dune, 13/Blackman.) Unfortunately, I could not find any of K.C  Alexander’s books on Audible.

It by Stephen King narrated by Steven Weber, this was well worth the purchase because it’s a great story with good characters and Weber, aside from a few clipped sentences here and there, did an excellent job narrating. Weber did an amazing job proving a good voice for the dialogue for all the characters.

With my 2 audible credits this month I picked up N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season and Jean Hegland’s Into the Forest, I’ve been looking forward to checking Jemisin’s Broken Earth series because I’ve heard she drew some inspiration from the mage/templar conflict from the Dragon Age Series and Into the Forest because I watched the excellent movie starring Ellen Page and Evan Rachel Wood and only realized it was an adaptation a book after watching the movie. I will most likely start listening to both in May because I’m currently listening to the Anansi Boys.

what I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for April 2017.

Every hour wounds. The last one kills.

It’s actually a motto that used to be carved into sundials, but the first time I heard (I listen to audiobooks a lot) it was in Neil Gaiman’s American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition (A Full Cast Production). I’m gonna dare to be different here and start off with I’m looking forward to, which is the debut of American Gods this month on the 30th.

There are a lot of TV’s shows I’m interested in checking out, too many to be honest. For example, The Expanse, an extremely good scifi show based on, from my reddit lurking, some very good books. I’ve watched 5 episodes and I enjoyed every bit of it but to watch it all means I’m missing out on other shows I’m hearing, or reading, good things about. At the moment, I’m watching the very good season 2 of The Last Kingdom on netflix, I’m extremely glad I read the books because I’m enjoying seeing how effectively it’s being adapted.

There was a lackluster trailer for Game of Thrones season 7, that despite it being lackluster did enough to rekindle my interest, the show has massively overtaken GRRM and the Books, and I’m curious to how it’s gonna play out for the show. I will still most definitely read the books, if/when they are released because GRRM packs a lot of detail and layers into his stories, something the show lacks sometimes.

The trailer for IT was amazing, and it is the reason I used an audible credit to pick up the book. I get a lot of enjoyment in seeing how something is adapted, especially from books, into a movie. And I really wanted to check out this book since I started using audible 4 years ago, and that trailer was what got me to pick it up. Can’t wait to listen the book later this month and I’m hyped to watch the first part of the adaptation for the IT movie later this year.

Last month, I finished the Witcher series by listening to the Lady of the Lake. It is an extremely good book with a good story and great characters. Peter Kenny narrated the series very well and gave all the characters a unique voice, which some narrators have problems doing. After listening to the series, I can see why Sapkowski is kinda salty about his story and his characters being usurped by the CD Projekt RED and the Witcher trilogy of games, and by usurped, I mean that most people will see them as they are from the games and not the books. And for some, surpassing the books.

I think The Witcher series, the books, is one of the better finished series out there, with a great individual stories and an even better overall story. The characters are memorable and compelling, with interesting development throughout the series. The narration by Peter Kenny for the audiobooks is quite good and remains consistently good throughout the series. Lady of the Lake is easily my favorite of the series, with the Last Wish and Sword of Destiny being excellent character stories despite being classified as related short stories. I would definitely recommend to anyone wishing to get into the Witcher series, start off with the Last Wish and Sword of Destiny. I hope the english translation for Season of Storms is quick, as I definitely want to listen to more of the Witcher series.

I also finished the audiobook for The Aeronaut’s Windlass: The Cinder Spires, Book 1, it was a worthwhile purchase because I enjoyed the story and there is just something extremely cool about air ships and air ship battles. Personally, I felt like I was listening a Final Fantasy like story, which is good for me because Final Fantasy is something I spent an inordinate amount of time playing and enjoyed. I liked the characters, which is in my opinion, on of Jim Butcher’s strong suits. I found the story compelling and interesting, I found the Air Ship combat parts exceedingly enjoyable.

I am nearly finished the Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, which is narrated by Wil Wheaton. Wheaton is an excellent narrator and is really adding a lot to an already good and exceptionally compelling story by Scalzi. I was not expecting Collapsing Empire to be this good, the story and characters are great, the world/universe building is also quite good, and I’m loving the dialogue. It’s refreshing, to me at least, that dialogue can be raw and rough in language, yet still be effectively compelling and entertaining. It recalled strong memories and comparisons to the excellent dialogue of Deadwood. In other words, this was an especially fucking good story, with great fucking dialogue, and compelling as fuck characters. If it offended your extremely delicate fucking sensibilities, I am sincerely fucking sorry and I can only hope you managed to survive and fucking grow as a person from this. Some might ask me. why do you casually swear so much and do you have to? I would probably reply with What the fuck are you talking about.

As soon as I’m finished with The Collapsing Empire, I will start on Stephen King’s It. Something that I’m looking forward to for obvious reasons. It was one of the books I wanted to listen to 4 years ago when I started up my subscription to audible but it continually got pushed back due to series like the Dark Tower, The First Law, The Dresden Files, A Song of Ice and Fire, Kingkiller Chronicles, Gentleman Bastards, Old Mans War, Takeshi Kovacs trilogy, The Witcher, The Owner trilogy, The Hunger Games, and Harry Potter. So now I can finally check it out, and when I do see the movie, I can get my weird and inexplicable enjoyment comparing and judging the adaptation from book to movie.

I still have to finish The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell, which I will probably start after listening to Stephen King’s It. Unless something catches my capricious fancy between now and when my audible credits come in.

As you may have guessed from my last few posts, I have played a lot of Mass Effect Andromeda. 116 hours so far, and started my second playthrough with a new game plus, this time with Scott Ryder. I thought it was a remarkable feature to be able to start a new game plus as the other Ryder twin. Another feature done extremely well by Bioware Montreal. Definitely a good game with some flaws, well worth a purchase.

I’m also playing Diablo again, season 10 just started up and since I skipped out on season 9 due to playing WoW super hard-core I decided check it out. D3 is great for listening to audiobooks or podcasts and is fun to play, at least during seasonal play.

Rogue One is out on bluray on the 4th, and I’m definitely picking it up. It is easily my favorite star wars movie, I have written about it in a previous post, and even though this release is screaming a Double Dip, I want to buy it anyways. I’m hearing it’s light on the special features and has no commentary, which is disappointing but since I love the movie, it’s not a deal breaker for me.

I plan on checking out Assassin’s Creed despite the negative reviews and rants, as there are many movies I’ve enjoyed that were either panned by critics or the general public. Movies like Passengers, Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, and the Last Witch Hunter, just to name a few. So I do plan on watching Assassin’s Creed and judging for myself it was worth it or not. I usually don’t have any expectations when watching or listening or playing something, and because of that very few things are disappointing to me or is something I don’t enjoy.

 

What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for March 2017.

Damn, these months going by so fast.

Anyways, I’m gonna start with gaming because it’s my primary interest and this month, Mass Effect: Andromeda is gonna be released. I caved and ordered it, after watching the gameplay vids. Specifically, the combat and talents video. Can’t wait to play it. Preload starts on the 17th, which makes it as good fucking omen to me, as it’s the same day as my birthday.

At the moment, I’ve been playing a lot of Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, I’m liking it so far as all the changes have been, for the most part, positive ones. The combat was kinda weird at first, but I liked it after some play time. The combo finishers are a little finicky, as is tool combos, but still it’s decent. The game seems rather short, both storywise and length wise, and it’s filled with a lot of side missions and collectibles that are at best, just barely above meaningless. Still, while the collectibles and side quests were mediocre and some times tedious, I ended up doing them anyways, which makes them sufficient enough to hold my interest. I can finish the game at anytime by doing the short story missions but I like exploring London, I also like that there is a small part of WW2 London to explore. So it was well worth the sub 40$ price I paid for it, I even got all the DLC on a sale for cheap too. The Last Maharaja was rather short and only slightly interesting. Dreadful crimes was a nice contrast the typical gameplay of Assassin’s Creed, I’m a sucker for detective type gameplay, so I ended up liking it a lot. I haven’t got around to the Jack the Ripper stuff yet, so no opinion on that right now but I’m looking forward to it.

I straight up quit playing WoW. For the same reason as most do, are at least a similar reason many do, my/their friends. My reason is that my friends moved away from doing Mythic Plus dungeons, something I enjoyed and was able to keep up Ilvl wise and DPS wise with heroic raiders. But really, no one ever quits and its usually just a matter of time before going back but at the moment I have no desire to play and I haven’t played a single minute in the last 3 weeks. I still have gametime, up until the end of March, but I really don’t seeing myself playing WoW anytime soon.

Onto audiobooks now, I used my 2 audible credits to get The Lady of the Lake by Andrzej Sapkowski (the last book in the Witcher series) and The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi, they will be released on the 14th and 21st respectively. I’m looking forward to both, but more excited to listen to the Lady of the Lake as it will complete the series for me and I’ve been waiting over a year for it.

I finished The Story of Your life and others by Ted Chiang and Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman last week.

I immensely enjoyed Gaiman’s North Mythology and his extremely good narration. I was already familiar with most of the north myths and gods from the Saxon Stories/Last Kingdom series, but I enjoyed the re-telling of the myths and Gaiman’s short introduction to the stories. It was definitely worth pre-ordering and was something I was looking forward to listening to for months now, and it surpassed my expectations. So far all the Neil Gaiman stuff I’ve picked up has been great, and his narration is quite good.

The Story of Your Life and Others, was excellently narrated by Todd McLaren and Abby Craden. However, the short stories were hit and miss for me, although it was more hit than miss. I picked it up to listen to the short story that Arrival was based on and was not disappointed at all, it was a good story with very interesting points to consider. I particularly enjoyed Tower of Babylon, Understand, and Division by Zero, those were especially good and were very intriguing concepts to consider while listening to a compelling story. I thought the last 3 stories were uninteresting and rather boring stories, which were The Evolution of Human Science, Hell Is the Absence of God, Liking What You See: A Documentary, but they did provide some interesting ideas to consider.

I am currently listening to The Aeronaut’s Windlass: The Cinder Spires, Book 1 by Jim Butcher, narrated by Euan Morton. I am about 7 hours in and very much enjoying the story and characters so far. I was hesitant about it and worried that I would not like the this book but I find the story, world, and characters quite compelling. I especially like the ship combat so far. I am only 7 hours into the 21 hour audiobook but I am definitely liking everything so far. The narration is good so far as well, that was my biggest concern so far and I am happy that my initial worry is not an issue.

I still have Lifeblood + Bloodcircle by P.N. Elrod and The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell to listen to but I’m confident I’ll finish them by next month. It’s been nice to just pick up a new series or jump to a new book when ever I like or care to, it’s reaffirmed my desire to listen or read at least 2 books a month again.

I got around to watching Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, as well as Inferno, this month. I thought Fantastic Beasts was a solid and enjoyable movie but something I’ll probably only ever watch once. Inferno was decent movie as well, it made me want to check out the books even more. I have this thing where if a movie is based on a book, I like to read/listen to the book version and see how well adapted it was. I’ve already read The Da Vinci Code but that is the only book in the series I’ve read. After watching Inferno, I was compelled to add the Langdon books to my audible wishlist.

I also picked up Arrival on bluray, well worth the money to me, as I loved the movie. And having read the short story is was based on, I like it even more. The special features are pretty good, it really shows that Denis Villeneuve has a great eye for talent. I was also intrigued that many of the people he worked with on Sicario also worked on Arrival. Both of which are favorite movies of mine.

I’m picking up Dr. Strange on blu ray this week and I am looking forward to watching it again, I just hope there are some decent special features for it as that is really what makes picking things up on blu ray worth while or not.

Assassin’s Creed is out on the 21st on blu ray this month and it’s something that I may pick up as well.

Star Wars: Rogue One is available on streaming services this month as well, I’m hoping it will be on the canadian version of Netflix. I’ll pick up the blu ray on April 4th for sure.

I binged watched 5 episodes of the Expanse last week, it is an extremely good show and I can’t wait to finish season 1 and then get into season 2 which is current airing now. I will definitely pick up the audiobooks, probably within the next few months.

Like I said at the start of this post, I am extremely looking forward to playing Mass Effect: Andromeda later this month. I am also hoping that John Wick 2 and Logan are released on blu ray quickly as I really want to watch both.

what I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for February 2017.

So, another month quickly gone by. I’ve already posted the movies I’ve watched in a post cleverly called “Some Movies I saw last week, part 2” (the first part being like a moth to flame for random spammers to make comment posts for some reason.)

Anyways, gonna start out with movies because I always start off with audiobooks or games, so I finally picked up The Star Wars Complete Saga Bluray edition and the Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Bluray, literally years later. I picked up star wars because Rogue Fucking One was good enough to make it my favorite star wars movie, above the original trilogy, well past the prequels (of which I do not hate like most people do), and definitely more than the Force Awakens (although it is pretty good.) I know you are gonna make me rank this shit, so let me do that right now. Save your flustered mouth sounds, or as Ari Shaffir calls it “the sound of white injustice”, until the end of the list.

  1. Star Wars: Rogue One
  2. Star Wars: the Empire Strikes Back
  3. Star Wars: A New Hope
  4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
  5. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi
  6. Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
  7. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
  8. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace

Ok, now you can make your flustered sounds and mutter to your screen about how wrong I am.

I picked up picked up The Lord of the Rings Extended edition because it was only 39$, which I thought was a pretty fucking good price and I was tired of watching it in DVD Quality. I also made the conscious decision to pick it because I did not want to wait around to get in 4k or 4k with HDR, both of which are although cool as fuck are crazy niche right now. 4k and HDR are have such little content and so little people have both or even one that it qualifies being categorized as esoteric.

So, with both series, I will be doing a re-watch, starting with Star Wars Original trilogy first, then the Prequels, then the Force Awakens, then into the Lord of the Rings, followed by the Hobbit trilogy that really should have been 2 movies (although still decent, not hating on it.) Also, a leaked time frame for Rogue One bluray release date is around the end of march, which seems pretty fucking early but I sincerely hope it is because I wanna re-watch it so bad right now.

On the audiobook side of things, I am currently listening to P.N Elrod’s very entertaining “Vampire Files.” I was kinda hesitant picking something up completely new and little research done on but I was pleasantly surprised by it. It has everything I like: a decent story, compelling or interesting characters, decent dialogue, and Vampires. Mostly Vampires though, it can’t be just anything with vampires though, it has to be vampires done well or at least interesting (that means no twilight for me, I’m more of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel dude.) I liked the story enough in the first one and liked the Jack Fleming character enough to get the next two books in the series.

I also had a Jules Winnfield type moment of clarity, I don’t have to read every book in the series before moving onto the next one. Which is of course what I’ve been doing so far, I read (listened to rather) all but the last book in the Saxon Stories/Last Kingdom series (which is pretty good, Uhtred of Bebbanberg is such a good character and it’s refreshing to see a non romanticized or idealized historical take on Christianity.) I have the last book in the series so far, The Flame Bearer, but was craving something different so I jumped into the Vampire Files. From there I had my Jules Winnfield “moment of clarity” about reading or listening to audiobooks in a series. It’s a big change for me because up until now I fucking devoured every series I picked up and read/listened until I finished every book in a series before jumping into something new or different.

This approach is a refreshing change because I was kinda losing interest in keeping up with my 2 books read or 2 audiobooks listened to per month new years resolution I made a couple of years ago, and this sort of renews my interest as I will probably just listen to what I like or please to in the future. The timing on the “moment of clarity” is also fortuitous as Neil Gaiman’s new book “Norse Mythology” is out on audible next week, I am extremely looking forward to listening to it. It also lets me check out some other stuff I’ve been looking at for a while like from this reddit post from Joe Abercrombie, some other related books or series based on Abercrombie’s recommendations (like Richard Matheson’s  Shadow on the Son or Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Chronicles), why am I doing this the long way lemme just link my audible wish list. Out of the all the books in my wish list, I am looking forward to checking out the Expanse the most, it will probably be next series I will jump into.

Gaming wise, I’ve been slacking on my 1 week in or out shit, as I should probably already finished Assassin’s Creed Syndicate by now, but I’ve been gone for a couple of days on a trip this month, being sick the last few days of and currently still a little under the weather. I’ve played about an hour or so of AC: Syndicate and liked it so far, it’s crazy how long it took ubisoft to make a female assassin playable and a main character.

WoW has been taking up the majority of my time, as usual, because the changes in 7.1. I was able to level a Demon Hunter to 110 and get my artifact knowledge up to 25 quickly because of the catch up mechanics and also get an Ilevel of 874 in less than a month or so, which is pretty crazy because my it’s the same Ilevel as my rogue which I have played for months now. My Death Knight is approaching geared levels as well thanks to mythic plus 10’s.

I’m gonna start watching The Expanse season one soonish, as soon as I’m done my re-watches mentioned above, I had to stop at episode 2 because my internet was pretty shitty at the time and could barely stream with out multiple buffering  and quality shifts. My internet is more reliable now and I’m looking forward to continuing with the Expanse.

The Arrival is expected to be released on Feb 14th, and I am extremely looking forward to picking up and re-watching it, I may even pick up the short story it was based on by picking up this from audible.

What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for January 2017.

Totally have check and re-check if I correctly put 2017 as the current year now.

I’ve been listening to the Last Kingdom/Saxon stories the last couple days, really it started immediately after I finished the re-listen to the Dark Tower series just around December 20th. I am nearly finished Death of Kings, and that leaves me The Pagan Lord, Empty Throne, Warriors of the Storm, and The Flame Bearer left to listen. Each book is about 10-12 hours in length, and usually narrated well, however, the narrator changes nearly every books and is quite jarring. It looks I’m in for 2 more narrator changes but at least it looks consistent for the last few books.

I’m hoping to finish off the series by 15th or so, earlier the better, so I can listen to The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher and Bloodlist by P.N. Elrod. Both books are something I’m looking forward too as a change from historical fantasy. If Bloodlist is something I like, I will probably use my credits to pick up the following books in the series, as I am hooked into anything decent that involves Vampires and Werewolves.

During the christmas/new years steam sale I picked up Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on a pretty good deal. Definitely looking forward to playing that, I really liked Human Revolution aside from the mess up with the boss fights and I hope Mankind Divided has similar gameplay and playstyles.

The next game in my queue is Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, of which I have low expectations and hope it is better storywise than Unity was. I will probably go back to my tried and true 1 week on and 1 week off playing time for games in my queue.

I’m playing The Division again, the changes since 1.1 have been for the good and I like new modes of play. I also got back into WoW and leveled my Demon Hunter to 110. I’m going to leave it to let my artifact knowledge get higher before trying to gear out.

I also picked up a new Monitor, a 2560×1440 resolution monitor with a refresh rate of 144hz, and Headphones, Beyerdynamic DT 990 premium 250 ohm. The headphones are very good, I’m using them primarily for gaming but it’s also good for movies and music/audiobooks. I thought my ROG Xonar Phoebus would have a hard time driving the headphones but I was pleasantly surprised that it drives them just fine. I got DT 990’s for 219$ CAD, which is about 60$ off the normal price, I feel like I got a good deal and some good headphones.

This month I will be watching the rest of The Expanse, I’ve only watched the first episode so far and what I saw I liked. It was impressive enough that I will definitely start picking up the audiobook versions of the book series.

I’m looking forward to my trip to Vancouver and watch some good movies.

This is a smaller post than usual because I’ve already posted some lengthy posts detailing what I’m reading/listening/playing/watching.

Anyways, hope you have a good 2017.

 

My 2016 year in review. Books/Audiobooks.

Like last year, I really did stick to my at least 2 books/audiobooks per month read or listened to resolution from 2o14. Although it felt like my focus was more on gaming this year as I read/listened to about 26 books this year compared to around 30 or so last year. I’m not counting rereads or I should say re-listens, if I did the number of books would be at least 50. The First Law series, the Dark Tower, and various Neil Gaiman books would be the bulk of the re-listens.

My favorites of the books that came out in 2016 or re-released in 2016 is as follows:

  • The Fireman by Joe Hill, narrated by Kate Mulgrew – The narrations was top-notch, Captain Janeway narrates extremely well and I thought Joe Hill’s writing was compelling and nicely done. The Story was inspired by Hill’s father’s The Stand and it really had interesting characters, it was not was I expected especially after the more supernatural/paranormal N0S4A2 and Horns, and I could not easily guess how the story would unfold. Although it was heavily inspired by the Stand, it really does “stand” on its own without being in the shadow of his father’s classic book.
  • End of Watch by Stephen King, narrated by Will Patton. This is the final book in the Bill Hodges Trilogy and it has a cool X-files type vibe to the story. The Hard boiled type detective story and it’s characters who are extremely well done are the best part of the book, as well as the narration which was nicely done. King continues to be a prolific writer and continues to create interesting characters and tell compelling stories.
  • Sharp Ends by Joe Abercrombie, narrated by Steven Pacey. This short story compilation of various First Law related tales was great and the narration is also excellent. I extremely enjoyed the stories and characters of Shev and Javre. The stories that are “prequels” to characters like Glotka, Logen and Bethod, as well as Cosca  were also well done and provided some nice insight and details into some the best characters in the First Law trilogy.
  • The Audible re-release of the Steven Pacey versions of Best Served Cold and the Heroes, written by Joe Abercrombie. Best Served Cold is my favorite of the stand alone books followed extremely close by the Heroes, and Pacey doing the narration was excellent. The Michael Page versions I had previously were also well done but to me The First Law is all  Steven Pacey, like the Dresden Files are James Marsters.
  • The Tower of Swallows by Andrzej Sapkowski, narrated by Peter Kenny. I am thoroughly hooked into this series as I am for the video game adaptations by CD Projekt Red. I enjoy the characters of Ciri, Triss, Geralt, Yennefer, Milva and Regis. I am extremely looking forward to getting Lady of the Lake when it’s available on Audible and completing the series.

My favorite books in the very wide “new to me” category or the late to the party are:

  • Zero World by Jason M Hough, narrated by Gideon Emery. This was a book I picked up based solely on the recommendation of Felicia Day, I read a tweet from her and then read her good reads review and went all in. The story and characters were great, the narration was also very well done. I hope this turns into a series and continues the story. A very well done story with compelling characters and an extremely interesting premise.
  • The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan, narrated by Robin Sachs. Seriously, I am the type of dude who will go all in on anything involving Werewolves and Vampires in a modern setting, and this is an excellent story with the best narration I’ve heard this year. Robin Sach’s narration is what really blew me away and the story was compelling as fuck. Too bad the sequel was such a let down.
  • Mr Mercedes and Finder’s Keepers by Stephen King, narrated by Will Patton. I love a good detective story and I enjoy good characters, and Stephen Kings hardboiled type story was very well done.
  • The Gentleman Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch, narrated by Michael Page. My favorite trilogy of the year, the first two books were great and the third was good.  There is some debate about it as the first book “the Lies of Locke Lamora” is extremely good and many people think the series goes down from it, I enjoyed the second and really liked the pirate setting. The third book is a change-up from the first two as it tells 2 stories and it isn’t as compelling as the other 2.
  • The BBC adaptations of Neverwhere and How the Marquis got his coat back – An extremely well done cast and abridged version of 2 Neil Gaiman books. Definitely worth checking out.
  • A Knight in the Seven Kingdoms by GRRM, narrated by Harry Lloyd. The stories of Dunk and Egg narrated extremely well by Mr. Don’t Wake the Dragon himself, Viserys Targaryen. Well worth checking out if you are even the slightest bit interested in the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

If I had to pick one book this year as my absolute favorite, I’d totally fucking choose 2 because fuck you and your rules. It would easily be Zero World and The Last Werewolf.

As I said before, my focus this year was more into gaming and my overall count is lower than last year, so I wasn’t able to finish off The Last Kingdom series by Bernard Cornwell, I was sidetracked by World of Warcraft Legion, Tom Clancy’s The Division, Overwatch and The Witcher 3: Blood and Wine. I am currently right in the middle of Death Kings, with the Pagan Lord, Empty Throne, Warriors of the Storm and the Flame Bearer to read.

Also in my “To be read” pile, as in books I picked up this year but did not read yet, are:

  • The Aeronaut’s Windlass: The Cinder Spires, Book 1 by Jim Butcher.
  • Bloodlist by P.N. Elrod
  • No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper.

This turned out to be bigger post than I thought it would be, so I will make this my 2016 year in review for books/audiobooks, with versions for gaming, movies/TV/streaming to follow.

If you read all the way to end, I hope you have a great 2017.

What I am playing/listening to/watching/reading/looking forward to for December 2016.

Time seems to really pick up its pace in the later months of the year. December, already. Soon I’ll have to do an end of the year wrap up.

On the Audiobook front, I’m still one my re-listen to the Dark Tower Series, I’m on Salem’s Lot at the moment (the last half of it.) I’m going to be skipping Wind thru the Keyhole because Stephen King narrating it is pretty bad, that’s too strong a description for it but it’s bad in comparison to how well Frank Muller and George Guidall narrate the series. So I’m gonna jump right into The Wolves of the Calla after Salem’s Lot. I enjoy Callahan’s arc of redemption as well as Balazar and Andolini returning as big coffin hunters to battle Roland’s Ka-tet.

I have about 7 novels to finish off the Last Kingdom/Saxon Stories, I’ll be using 1 credit to pick up the last book in the series The Flame Bearer, the novels are fairly short (about 10 hours each) and I should be done by the end of the month. I’m extremely looking forward to finishing off the series because I already have the next series ready to go, it’s P.N. Elrod’s Vampire Files series. I’ve been wanting to find a good vampire or werewolf series (that isn’t Paranormal Romance or the more heavily erotic Urban Fantasy, and it’s pretty difficult to find) and the Vampire Files is the one I settled on. The series I would have prefered to get into is M.L. Brennan’s Generation V but that series does not have any audiobook version.

On the games front,  I picked up Battlefield 1, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Far cry Primal, and the Season Pass for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (also picked up the Dreadful Crimes DLC, which wasn’t included the season pass.) Only paid full price for BF1, I got the rest on pretty good sales from Steam and Uplay. I’ve had my eye on picking up the new Tomb Raider as well as Far cry Primal and to get them for less than 35$ CAD each. I picked up the DLC for AC:Syndicate because I’ve been enjoying playing through the AC series so far, I’m liking the look and feel of Unity and enjoyed the story for Rogue. My only dislikes so far are the story gated skills for AC: Unity, and the emphasis on doing Co-op missions to unlock all the skills and for AC:Rogue the short story length.

At the moment, I’m near the end of Unity, and I’m doing the collectibles, side missions. I’ve already completed the Dead Kings DLC, which I thought was okay, it definitely rewarded some good gear though.

This month I picked up a subscription for CraveTV, mostly for The Expanse but it also allows me access to Penny Dreadful, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Battlestar Galactica, Carnivale, and the Flight of the Conchords.

Also, how fucking good is Westworld? If this is HBO’s replacement for when Game of Thrones eventually ends, then they have a damn good show already and HBO won’t miss a beat when GoT does end.

I picked up a subscription for Google play Music, and I’m liking it so far except that they don’t have some songs I would like. I’m also displeased with the amount of “my interpretation” of whatever song that shows up when I do look for a song.

What I’m looking forward to is going on a trip to Vancouver next month to be able to watch the following movies: Star Wars Rogue One, Doctor Strange, Assassin’s Creed, Arrival, Fantastic Beasts and where to find them, and Live by Night.