Project Hail Mary – A Book Review

Today I bring to you the joyous news of a review for a book that I did, indeed, finish!

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir!

I’m going to be honest and say I’m a big Andy Weir fan. I loved The Martian and I really enjoyed Artemis (even though it wasn’t as good as The Martian) and I knew I was going to be picking this book up. I just wasn’t sure whether or not I was going to be waiting for it to come out as a paperback. Barnes & Nobel’s 50% sale on Prime Day made up my mind for me.

I’m a girl who likes a sale.

I also happen to be a girl who likes sci-fi.

This book is about Ryland Grace, who wakes up on a space ship, with no memory and two dead crewmen. Oh, he also happens to be humanities only hope of solving an extinction level event having to do with the sun.

So why beat around the bush, I loved this book. I read it in two days. Would have been one but I got distracted by The Golden Girls.

I know, I got side tracked by a thirty year old tv show. Go me.

You’re moved back in forth through time as Ryland regains his memories. This happens slowly over the course of the book. And it’s great to see how that pays off. And the memories themselves are full of colorful characters. Although Andy Weir still can’t write women very well (this was a problem in Artemis, which has a female main character) he has improved, so he gets points for that.

I enjoyed Ryland’s time in the Hail Mary. I loved the ship, how they traveled, how they got artificial gravity, the lab, all of it. The author writes complicated science jargon in a way that makes it easy for everyone to understand, it’s part of the reason I enjoyed the the time ship so much.

There is a lot in this book to love. From the character interactions to the actual puzzle of why the sun was dimming. As is typical of the authors books, I did laugh, a lot. Andy Weir like to remind you that even stressful situations can have humorous moments. It works.

Basically, pick this one up if you love great sci-fi! I gave it 5 stars.

January 2021 New Releases I Want

So I skipped last month’s new releases. I just didn’t want anything last month. Go figure.

It happens.

This month I found a few books.

Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor, January 19

The day Fatima forgot her name, Death paid a visit. From hereon in she would be known as Sankofa­­―a name that meant nothing to anyone but her, the only tie to her family and her past.

Her touch is death, and with a glance a town can fall. And she walks―alone, except for her fox companion―searching for the object that came from the sky and gave itself to her when the meteors fell and when she was yet unchanged; searching for answers.

But is there a greater purpose for Sankofa, now that Death is her constant companion?

I loved Binti and am excited to read another short story by this author. Lets do this!

The Mask Of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick, January 19

This is your past, the good and the ill of it, and that which is neither . . .
Arenza Lenskaya is a liar and a thief, a pattern-reader and a daughter of no clan. Raised in the slums of Nadezra, she fled that world to save her sister.

This is your present, the good and the ill of it, and that which is neither . . .
Renata Viraudax is a con artist recently arrived in Nadezra. She has one goal: to trick her way into a noble house and secure her fortune.

This is your future, the good and the ill of it, and that which is neither . . .
As corrupt nightmare magic begins to weave its way through the city of dreams, the poisonous feuds of its aristocrats and the shadowy dangers of its impoverished underbelly become tangled—with Ren at their heart. And if she cannot sort the truth from the lies, it will mean the destruction of all her worlds.

A fantasy book with female protagonists? Yup, sounds like my kind of book. Also “corrupt magic”!

The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner, January 12

Dellaria Wells, petty con artist, occasional thief, and partly educated fire witch, is behind on her rent in the city of Leiscourt—again. Then she sees the “wanted” sign, seeking Female Persons, of Martial or Magical ability, to guard a Lady of some Importance, prior to the celebration of her Marriage. Delly fast-talks her way into the job and joins a team of highly peculiar women tasked with protecting their wealthy charge from unknown assassins.
 
Delly quickly sets her sights on one of her companions, the confident and well-bred Winn Cynallum. The job looks like nothing but romance and easy money until things take a deadly (and undead) turn. With the help of a bird-loving necromancer, a shapeshifting schoolgirl, and an ill-tempered reanimated mouse named Buttons, Delly and Winn are determined to get the best of an adversary who wields a twisted magic and has friends in the highest of places.

This sounds great! I love the idea of bad girl turning to the good guys, however reluctantly.

Outlawed by Anna North, January 5

In the year of our Lord 1894, I became an outlaw.

The day of her wedding, 17 year old Ada’s life looks good; she loves her husband, and she loves working as an apprentice to her mother, a respected midwife. But after a year of marriage and no pregnancy, in a town where barren women are routinely hanged as witches, her survival depends on leaving behind everything she knows.

She joins up with the notorious Hole in the Wall Gang, a band of outlaws led by a preacher-turned-robber known to all as the Kid. Charismatic, grandiose, and mercurial, the Kid is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan that may get them all killed. And Ada must decide whether she’s willing to risk her life for the possibility of a new kind of future for them all.

This is more of an alternate history, historical sci-fi book than fantasy. But the premise of a woman running away before she can get hanged and joining up with a gang of outlaws? Yes please. Also, this is my Book of the Month pick this month. So, happy me, I already get this book! Hooray!

Lore by Alexandra Bracken

Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals. They are hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.

Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory after her family was murdered by a rival line. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man—now a god—responsible for their deaths.

Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek her out: Castor, a childhood friend Lore believed to be dead, and Athena, one of the last of the original gods, now gravely wounded.

The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and a way to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to rejoin the hunt, binding her fate to Athena’s, will come at a deadly cost—and it may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.

Greek mythology stories make me happy. So this is one that I am looking to pick up.

And there you have it, the 5 books I am looking forward to for January. I may not pick them up in January, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting them.

My Favorite Reads of 2020

Happy New Years everyone! Did you have a good evening of safe, stay at home, fun? In a move that should shock no one, I stayed home, watched Star Wars, and played Animal Crossing.

All night.

It was wonderful.

But you aren’t here for my New Years adventures (or lack thereof), you are here for the books! Without further ado, I present to you my top 8 books of 2020!

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall

A retelling of Sherlock Holmes if Holmes was a woman and a sorceress. Oh, and did I mention the queer romance? I loved this book to the point that I despaired when it was done because there wasn’t more. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars because I couldn’t give it 7 stars.

Recursion by Blake Crouch

A mysterious plague of lives never lived sweeps the Earth. This book put me through it. 5 out of 5 stars.

The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

Patricia’s life was normal, until the vampire moved in down the street. I loved this book. My book club loved this book. It’s a really great book. 5 out of 5 stars!

Hyperbole and Half by Allie Brosh

It’s a graphic novel of a web-toon based on the authors life. She details her childhood, her struggles with depression, and her fight with a goose. I might have lol’d a few times. 5 out of 5 stars.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

A woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever but everyone she meets forgets her. 300 years later, someone finally remembers her. I cannot say enough about this book. I loved how it ended. 5 out of 5 stars.

The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn

This is exactly what it say in the title, the story of Santa told from his point of view. It was so wholesome and heartwarming. It definitely gave me the warm fuzzies. 5 out of 5 stars.

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Imagine a world were a hero failed to defeat the darkness. And then that darkness reigned for 1000 years. The hubs loves this book and has been trying to get me to read for forever. I finally did it and I loved it. 5 out of 5 stars.

To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

Humans have conquered space flight, and Adriene O’Neill is documenting her work as one of those travelers. But what has happened to the world left behind while they are gone? I only gave this book 4 stars, but the ending to this novella really stuck with me even now. I had to add it to this list.

What were your favorite reads of 2020?

2020 Review Round Up

So no one asked for this, but I thought I’d do it anyway!

Especially since I haven’t reviewed all that many books this year.

The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall

This was the first book I reviewed in 2020. I loved it. A fun, quirky retelling of Sherlock Holmes if Sherlock was female…and a sorceress. I gave this book 5 stars.

Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips

Imagine the ancient Greek gods are alive and well in modern London. Now imagine they are just as terrible now as they were in ancient Greece. This book was just a solid meh. 3 stars.

Spy, Spy Again by Mercedes Lackey

A book with magic, demons, spies, and assassins? This Heralds of Valdemar book got 4 stars from me on Goodreads, though that may have been due to nostalgia. But still, 4 stars!

Thin Air by Lisa Gray

In this Jessica Shaw thriller, Jessica, a PI, heads to California to investigate why a photo of a missing person at three years old looks like her. I gave this book 4 stars on Goodreads, but because I listened to the audiobook, well, just read the review.

Faith publish by Valiant Comics, written by Jody Hauser

Faith is a Trade Paper back of the first few issues of the Faith comic book which centers around a plus sized superhero. I really wanted to like this alot. But I ended up with solid meh feelings about it. 3 stars from me.

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

This is the story of Bree, a high schooler, who after a personal tragedy, stumbles across the Legendborn at the college she is attending. I enjoyed this book. I gave it a 3.75 out of 5 stars.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

The story of two black sisters who grow up in the Jim Crow south, this story focuses on a lot of heavy themes, and it does it really, really well. I gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

A dragon is set to rise after a thousand years, and it wants to destroy the world. Can Queen Sabran survive her court long enough to stop it? This book was interesting, and a little to heavy on the political side for me. 3.75 out of 5 stars.

A Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix

A new neighbor moves in. Patricia just has to convince the rest of her book club that he is, in fact, a vampire. To say I loved this book is an understatement. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars.

Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

This is the story of Yadriel, a transgendered teen who just wants to prove to his family that he can be a real brujo. He never really counted on summoning Julien. This book was such a fun read. I gave it 4 stars.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Addie makes a Faustian bargain to live forever, as a result, everyone forgets her. Until one days, someone remembers her. I cannot stop raving about this book. For sure my favorite of the year. 5 out of 5 stars.

The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn

This is the story of Santa Claus. No really. It says so on the cover. This book was so heart warming and cute. I will be reading this every Christmas, for sure. 5 out of 5 stars.

Christmas Book Haul 2020

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah! I hope you had a wonderful holiday no matter how you celebrated it this year.

Especially this year.

My husband and I usually celebrate with family, but, like so many this year, we felt it safer to stay at home due to Covid. As a result, this year we spent the day in our pj’s watching the new Wonder Woman movie and eating all the yummy food. A nice, relaxing holiday.

Still missed our families though.

But I thought I would share the books I got/bought with gift cards for Christmas. This is a thing bloggers do, right?

From my amazing mother-in-law I received the following:

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

I love the premise of this. What happens when two ordinary college students get super powers? They don’t become the heroes in this book.

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

January is the ward of Mr. Locke, feeling much like one of his artifacts. Until she finds a mysterious book. I love the way this book sounds, and asked for it on the recommendation of a friend. I hope it’s as good as she made it sound!

Time’s Convert by Deborah Harkness

If you like the All Souls trilogy by Deborah Harkness, you will love this. It’s the story of Marcus, set both in the past at the time of his being turned into a vampire set to the backdrop of the American Revolutionary War, to the present, where his lover is starting her own journey to immortality. I have already read this book, but I didn’t own it, and now the All Souls universe is complete again! Mwah ha ha ha.

From my bestie I received a gift card with which to purchase what I wished. And what I wished for was, naturally, books. I also received a gift card from that most wonderous of humans, my husband! His was so I could purchase books. Because he has met me.

Here are the books I bought with those gifty cards!

Peace and Turmoil by Elliot Brooks

Thirty years of peace have reigned over the lands of Abra’am. That may soon come to an end. I’m not gonna lie, I saw this on booktube and became intrigued. It sounds intriguing.

House of Dragons by Jessica Cluess

Five people compete, to the death, for a chance at the throne. Plus, dragons! Let’s be honest, they had me at dragons. But this kind of competition for the throne thing sounds interesting.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

When Laia’s brother is captured, she makes a deal with some rebels. They’ll get him out of prison if she agrees to go undercover and spy for them at an elite military school. Elias is attending that school, though he doesn’t want to. This book has been raved about, so I picked it up to see what all the excitement was about.

Artifical Condtion: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

It has a dark past—one in which a number of humans were killed. A past that caused it to christen itself “Murderbot”. But it has only vague memories of the massacre that spawned that title, and it wants to know more. I loved the first book and I am looking forward to seeing what this novella has in store for me.

Paradise Planet by Jesse Lonergan

To survive after crash landing on an alien planet, a vacationer must battle against a hostile environment, killer lizards, corporate bureaucracy, and the pessimism of her sole companion, the drug-addled captain of the ship. This graphic novel sounded interesting when I added it to my list of books I wanted back in November.

The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso

Deep within Gloamingard Castle lies a black tower. Sealed by magic, it guards a dangerous secret that has been contained for thousands of years. I loved the first two books I read by this author, so I had to pick this one up too.

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

People lived because she killed. People died because he lived. They both seek the same prize. This also came with all the acclaim, so let’s hope it lives up to the hype!

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Rosemary joins up with the crew aboard the spaceship Wayfairer. Then they get hired for a job tunneling wormholes to a far distant planet. After reading To be Taught, if Fortunate by the author I knew I had to pick this up. It just had to happen!

This Place: 150 Years Retold by Various

Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators. These stories are journeys through Indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact. This looks so cool! How could I not pick it up?

Point B (a teleportation love story) by Drew Magary

Set in a science fictional universe where climate change is fixed but people get killed via teleportation, a young woman named Anna Huff has to navigate her adolescence and a murder mystery. I liked The Postmortal enough to give the author another look. And I like what I see in this book.

This last book was given to me by my book club Secret Santa.

Lucifer’s Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

The gigantic comet had slammed into Earth, forging earthquakes a thousand times too powerful to measure on the Richter scale, tidal waves thousands of feet high. Cities were turned into oceans; oceans turned into steam. It was the beginning of a new Ice Age and the end of civilization. Sounds like just the apocalyptic book I need!

What books did you get for Christmas?

What To Read-December 2020 TBR

Well, since I failed lasts month TBR by one book, lets see what I can do with this month’s TBR.

Maybe make it shorter?

Maybe read more books?

Maybe both?

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Mistborn tells basically asks the question: What happens if the hero fails? 1000 years have passed since that happened and a new rebellion is rising, but will they succeed? This is one of the Hubs’ favorite books and he is excited for me to read it.

The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guin

Jeff writes a story about Christmas, and he gets some of it wrong. To the point where a very important person from up north wants to chat with him. One of my book clubs is reading this book this month, and it sounds adorable!

Dune by Frank Herbert

This classic sci-fi story has been around for a long time. The story of Paul Atreides, the planet Arakkis, and the Spice. Because, as you know, “he who controls the spice controls the universe”. This is another book club pick. But I’m only supposed to read half of it for the month, which suits me just fine, since I didn’t really like it the first time I read it.

How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse by K. Eason

Rory was supposed to inherit the throne, but her father was assassinated and her mother gave birth to a son. Now Rory is betrothed to a prince and uncovers a plot to overthrow him. This book sounds like a fun space opera read.

And I think those are all the books I’m going to put on my TBR this month. Lets see how I do. Hopefully I’ll do better this month than I did in November!

November 2020 Book Haul

Well, so much for No Buy November.

Also, Amazon and Book Outlet were having sales so it’s not my fault. It’s theirs.

Though does it count if I don’t have the books yet? Because I don’t have the Book Outlet books yet. Those should count for December, right?

Right?

Dune by Frank Herbert

“Whoever controls the spice controls the universe”. It’s a classic sci-fi tale that is much beloved and I didn’t like it the first time I read it. So why, you may ask, did I buy it? Well, because one of my book clubs is reading it and I thought I might like it more now that I am older. So yeah, here’s to second chances!

From a Certain Point of View (Star Wars) by various

These are tales set in the Star Wars verse told by different authors. All feature a different and unique perspective, for example, the trash compactor monster. If I like it, I will probably purchase the sequel that just came out.

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

The winter solstice is a time for celebration in Tova. Ships captain Xiala is hired to bring a man described as harmless to the city. I was hooked by the premise. Then I was hooked by the sale!

The Night Country by Melissa Albert

Alice escaped the Hinterland and is trying to live a new life without magic in it. But something’s stalking the Hinterlanders in New York. I’m excited to get my hands on it. The sequel to The Hazel Wood looks to be pretty good.

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Aurora was in cyro sleep for two centuries. When she wakes up the world has changed and she finds she may start a war. Can she and a ragtag crew of ne’er-do-wells stop it? This sounds interesting, so here’s hoping!

A Queen in Hiding by Sarah Kozloff

Orphaned, exiled, and hunted, Cerulia, Princess of Weirandale, must master the magic that is her birthright, become a ruthless guerilla fighter, and transform into the queen she is destined to be. I was on the fence with this one. But Book Outlet’s sale made me say yes. So yeah.

The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood

Csowre is supposed to be a sacrifice to the gods, but along the way there she meets a mage who will change her path. But the gods remember. This book sounds so cool. Doesn’t it sound cool?

Trail of Lightening by Rebecca Roanhorse

A post apocalyptic story featuring a Navajo monster hunter. I’ll take it.

Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor

After reading Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, I knew I needed to read more by this author. And this post apocalyptic tale sounds both terrible and wonderful all at the same time. I’m really hoping to enjoy it.

The Autobiography of Santa Clause as told to Jeff Guinn

Another book club pick. Jeff writes an article for his paper about Christmas and is soon whisked off to talk to someone to set the record straight. This seems like it will be a heart warming tale that I will love given my, well, mild obsession, with Christmas.

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

When Casiopea accidentally freed the Mayan god of Death from a box in her Grandfathers house, she gets sent on quest to help him free his throne from his brother. I love a SFP (strong female protagonist) and this sounded right up my alley and the price dropped right before Thanksgiving, so naturally, I had to pick it up.

And there you have it. All the books I bought in Novemeber. Which is small potatoes to what I have been buying over the last few months. I’m not saying I have a problem, but I think I might have a problem.

Yeah, I have a problem.

What to Read-My November 2020 TBR

Well, it’s that time of the month again. The time when all good book bloggers sit down and decide what books they are going to read for the month of whatever.

This month I have chosen five contenders for the top spot. Or just five books I know I want to read over the course of the month.

What joy! What rapture! What a relief I stopped at five!

Our first two book are sequels to books I read last month.

Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire.

This is the story of Liir. The mystery surrounding his life is still unanswered. Is he the Wicked Witches’ son? He sets out on a quest to answer this and other questions in an OZ that is under new and terrible management.

The Defiant Heir by Melissa Caruso

Amalia and her bound Falcon Zaria must go behind enemy lines and use every bit of wit and wisdom they have to prevent war, or both nations may burn.

Cursed by Thomas Wheeler and art by Frank Wheeler

A story about Nimue, who becomes the legendary Lady of the Lake. I’m down for anything King Arthur related.

The Postmortal by Drew Magary

John Farrell is about to get “The Cure.” Old age can never kill him now.
The only problem is, everything else still can . . .

The Road Not Taken by Susan Rubin

Suddenly widowed at 50, a woman is shown all of SpaceTime by the Lost, a species that has been on Earth since the cool down.

And that’s the list of books I am hoping to get through this month. I hope I can do it/remember to read them all!