Review: The Martian by Andy Weir .. best book of the year so far.

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Martian came well recommended and I decided to give the audiobook a try. I’m glad I did, as it’s a highly, HIGHLY entertaining story I loved listening to and hated to finish. Even so it’s utterly ridiculous and basically a superhero story even while being technically outstanding, both in writing and realistic detail. The events depicted are logically and scientifically not only possible, but also probable. What makes the story utterly ridiculous is that all of the knowledge, capability, and ingenuity rely on one person. Not even MacGuiver would have figured out everything presented in this book. Though no doubt I totally aged myself with that reference. Anyway – the point is that the book is exceptionally entertaining while being a fabulously well-written science fiction novel. It’s just not likely to have happened that way. Does this matter? Probably not, ymmv. Continue reading

Throwback Review: Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy audio – Liked but didn’t love it like last time

Tigers and Devils (Tigers and Devils #1)Tigers and Devils by Sean Kennedy

My old rating: 5 of 5 stars
My new rating would be: 3.5-4 out of 5 stars

DSP is a black hole for audiobooks. I just can’t seem to stop listening to them. It’s a nice way to revisit old favorites and I’m taking full advantage. On that quest when I saw Sean Kennedy’s fantastic T&D on audio I wasted no time getting it. It’s interesting that in the 5 years or so since I had read it my tastes have somewhat changed. Not entirely and SK is a great author but I found myself less forgiving of the main narrator this time around. You can read my full review below but here are some updated thoughts about the audiobook and re-read.

The narrator should have been Australian. Since Australia is basically a main character of the book I was disappointed the narrator was so generic. He does a good job but he makes Australia sound like some alien world he has no connection to, which is kind of unfortunate. Beyond that the story is just as engaging though it hit some of my dislike buttons hard. This time around I found Simon really annoying. He’s so insecure, petulant, and off putting that I kept asking myself why Declan put up with him. I still appreciated that the book showed 2 years of a relationship with both the highs and lows but I had a hard time getting them as a couple. I didn’t understand what Declan saw in Simon, especially since the narrator (Simon) kept asking the same question. Simon is so prickly, needy, and truthfully a wanker that it was hard to sympathize with him on occasion. I also struggled with Rodger and Fran’s alienation during the fight between Simon and Rodger as I was firmly on Simon’s side, but friendships do have ups and downs as well.

I almost quit listening a couple of times when Simon’s behavior made me want to drop kick him into the river never to be found. He’s so melodramatic and over the top that I wanted someone to tell him to calm down. He’d be an incredibly difficult person to live with and be in a relationship with, yet, I also felt as if he got shafted near the end with the big miscommunication. It seemed out of character for both men and frankly I was wondering how much rejection Simon was supposed to take from Declan and still keep trying. They do make up of course but the story shows very little of this before ending and I’d have liked to see them solidly happy again.

Overall it’s a good book, still an entertaining and engaging story but I didn’t “omg love” it like I did on first read. This is why I’m so hesitant to re-read favorites but that said, I’d still recommend it even now.

Old review but still valid!

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Review: Flux Orbit

Flux Orbit
Flux Orbit by Emily Veinglory
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s really rare that I can’t put a book down and it’s even rarer that I stay up late to finish a book. That hasn’t happened in over a year but I literally would not put this book down until I finished. I basically read it in a day and while I didn’t love the ending, or every part of the book, I think it’s fair to say I really loved reading this one. It’s not what I consider a five star/incredible but it’s 4.5 stars that I’ll round up since it’s that good. Although it started slow, once Kell was in contact with the Coil, the book took off like a shot. I knew Veinglory was a good writer but this book made me really appreciate her imagination and sense of adventure. I really respect an author that isn’t afraid to make daring choices. Continue reading

Review: Chance Assassin: A Story of Love, Luck, and Murder

Chance Assassin: A Story of Love, Luck, and Murder
Chance Assassin: A Story of Love, Luck, and Murder by Nicole Castle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

I don’t remember what made me pick up this book but damned if I didn’t love it. The editing is atrocious with misspelled words, missing words, and wrong italics littering the pages, but after a while I was so into the story itself I didn’t care anymore. I do think the book would benefit greatly from a decent editor and even a copyeditor, so for any picky readers that are sticklers for such things this book can drive you insane with all its flaws. Thankfully, the story itself engaged my attention to such a degree that I could not only forgive but also overlook such problems. The strong, stoic, morally bankrupt assassin protagonist usually works for me and Chance Assassin played him so very well. I think this will work well with fans of this type of protagonist. Continue reading

Review: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know I’m late to this party – but I seriously loved this book, and not because it’s about cancer. I have drunk the Kool-Aid and I do think this is “omgthebestbookever.” It’s not necessarily realistic because teenagers don’t speak or act that way, nor do adults even. It’s more like the way you wish someone would speak with endless witticism and clever comebacks that roll of the tongue of those who can’t possibly be that articulate and well read. I honestly didn’t care though because I loved the dialogue and prose. I didn’t mind that the teenagers act and talk in ways that are in no way realistic. To me the story isn’t even attempting to be realistic. It’s pure fantasy in contemporary setting and I could go with that. Continue reading

Review: Mistborn: The Final Empire

Mistborn: The Final Empire
Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

While Mistborn is not the best fantasy book I have ever read, I think the world building and magic descriptions are definitely some of the best ever written and for that I bump this up to 5 stars. The author has done such an amazing job creating a world where nothing is a surprise. Oh it is to the reader, but I was confident the author had planned every single last detail of the plot, magic use, and world building. This is definitely not a world where the author gets backed into a corner or didn’t prepare for the outcome. It’s a stunning creation that is actually better than the characters and story itself. I’d recommend this for fantasy fans or anyone that enjoys meaty world building and magic. There’s definitely a little bit of every genre thrown in – mystery, political intrigue, science fiction, some love story. I actually listened to the audiobook (so any spelling/naming mistakes are mine since I don’t have the book for reference) and the narrator is very good, which helps because the pacing is quite uneven. Overall I was impressed and blown away by the author’s level of detail and imagination so I’ll easily continue with the series. Continue reading

Review: The Eye of Minds

The Eye of Minds
The Eye of Minds by James Dashner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I keep meaning to read The Maze Runner books and haven’t yet but they’re at the top of my list now. I absolutely loved The Eye of Minds. I thought it was interesting, engaging, with several twists and turns that can be chaotic. I’m not sure the ending really worked though I loved the twist of it and the never-ending danger of the virtual world wore on me a bit but I still finished the book with a happy sigh and wanted to read it all over again immediately. I’m impressed with the writing and handling of such complex plot lines while giving relatable and engaging characters. I can easily recommend this book and I’m very much looking forward to more in the series. Continue reading