Book Review

Book Review: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Sci-Fi
Length: 476 pages
Author: Andy Weir
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: May 4th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission–and if he fails, humanity and the Earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.

Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian–while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.

ONE OF MY 2021 FAVORITES.

I can’t believe I had to have multiple people tell me to read this book before I did because OH MY GOSH I LOVED IT SO MUCH.

SO DANG MUCH.

READ IT.

And if you can get your hands on the audio book, HIGHLY recommend that avenue. The audio was one of the best I’ve ever listened to.

I’m trying to stay purposely pretty vague because it’s more fun going in blind on this one.

This book starts off wild and doesn’t let up. I loved moving back and forth between the present and the moments that Ryland started to remember what was happening. It’s intensely scientific and at times I felt smarter and dumber all in the same sentence, and I loved that.

Not to mention how much I loved the progression of the story and THAT ENDING. Apparently some didn’t love it? I couldn’t see it ending any other way for multiple reasons and thought it gave Ryland the right kind of conclusion. I felt even a little teary about it because it just clicked that well.

This book is laugh out loud funny. I couldn’t help myself with the laughter, it is spot on. I loved how this balanced out the heavy topics and things happening around Ryland. It was the perfect juxtaposition and wow I can’t give this book enough stars.

If I keep going I might spoil things, so trust me, if you got this far, READ THIS BOOK.

Overall audience notes:

  • Science Fiction
  • Language: some
  • Violence: small depictions of blood
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: discussion of suicide methods, apocalyptic scenarios, near death experiences

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Book Review

Book Review: One Way or Another by Kara McDowell

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Kara McDowell
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: October 6th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The average person makes 35,000 decisions every single day. That’s about 34,999 too many for Paige Collins, who lives in debilitating fear of making the wrong choice. The simple act of picking an art elective is enough to send her into a spiral of what-ifs. What if she’s destined to be a famous ceramicist but wastes her talent in drama club? What if there’s a carbon monoxide leak in the ceramics studio and everyone drops dead? (Grim, but possible!)

That’s why when Paige is presented with two last-minute options for Christmas vacation, she’s paralyzed by indecision. Should she go with her best friend (and longtime crush) Fitz to his family’s romantic mountain cabin? Or should she accompany her mom to New York, a city Paige has spent her whole life dreaming about?

Just when it seems like Paige will crack from the pressure of choosing, fate steps in — in the form of a slippery grocery store floor — and Paige’s life splits into two very different parallel paths. One path leads to New York where Paige falls for the city . . . and the charms of her unexpected tour guide. The other leads to the mountains where Paige might finally get her chance with Fitz . . . until her anxiety threatens to ruin everything.

However, before Paige gets her happy ending in either destiny, she’ll have to face the truth about her struggle with anxiety — and learn that you don’t have to be “perfect” to deserve true love. 

MOSTLY CUTE.

This was a nice quick holiday read.

I liked the anxiety rep in here. Even though it stressed me out (because I would have some of the exact same thoughts as Paige), it was relatable in a way I could really feel. I appreciated her journey and finding safety and help from her loved ones as she recognized its impact on her life.

Fitz was sweet. I liked him much more towards the end. I didn’t like the dual timeline aspect. It made some of the drama (and love triangle) feel a bit forced. I guess there might not have been enough without it, though I can see that this could have been a great novella length read too.

The Christmastime vibes were there and its a good, true young adult book. Not overall note worthy, but it fit that spirit of the season I was looking for.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: head injuries
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: many depictions of severe anxiety

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Book Review

Book Review: The Great Hunt (The Wheel of Time #2) by Robert Jordan

Rating: ☆☆☆1/2
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 600 pages
Author: Robert Jordan
Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: November 15th, 1990
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The Wheel of Time turns and Ages come and go, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth returns again. In the Third Age, an Age of Prophecy, the World and Time themselves hang in the balance. What was, what will be, and what is, may yet fall under the Shadow.

For centuries, gleemen have told the tales of The Great Hunt of the Horn. So many tales about each of th Hunters, and so many Hunters to tell of…Now the Horn itself is found: the Horn of Valere long thought only legend, the Horn which will raise the dead heroes of the ages. And it is stolen.

LONG.

That’s what kept chanting in the back of my mind. This felt long. Almost, do I want to continue this story after? kinda long. Though I give it up to Jordan. By that ending I finally felt invested in the characters. And at long last, necessary pieces of the plot started clicking too.

I think that’s the downfall with long series sometimes. You have to give them grace to lay out the details, but also hope to be captivated by each installment. The hunt for the horn left me following a traveling trope (one of my least favorites) wishing for something more.

The entire cast is growing on me. I liked getting to know them better and seeing more solid story line foundations building for everyone. I’m curious to see how this series keeps expanding.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: some flirting
  • Violence: physical and magical altercations, some blood/gore depiction, loss of loved ones

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Book Review

Book Review: Castles in Their Bones (Castles in Their Bones #1) by Laura Sebastian

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy + Romance
Length: 514 pages
Author: Laura Sebastian
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: February 1st, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A spellbinding story of three princesses and the destiny they were born for: seduction, conquest, and the crown. Immerse yourself in the first book in a new fantasy trilogy from the author of the New York Times bestselling Ash Princess series.

Empress Margaraux has had plans for her daughters since the day they were born. Princesses Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz will be queens. And now, age sixteen, they each must leave their homeland and marry their princes.

Beautiful, smart, and demure, the triplets appear to be the perfect brides—because Margaraux knows there is one common truth: everyone underestimates a girl. Which is a grave mistake. Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz are no innocents. They have been trained since birth in the arts of deception, seduction, and violence with a singular goal—to bring down monarchies— and their marriages are merely the first stage of their mother’s grand vision: to one day reign over the entire continent of Vesteria.

The princesses have spent their lives preparing, and now they are ready, each with her own secret skill, and each with a single wish, pulled from the stars. Only, the stars have their own plans—and their mother hasn’t told them all of hers.

Life abroad is a test. Will their loyalties stay true? Or will they learn that they can’t trust anyone—not even each other? 

THAT ENDING SAVED THIS.

Let me start off with some audio comments. This is one of those few times where I’m going to say: skip the audio. All of the main characters (and their love interests around the same age) sounded closer to 10-12 year-olds than 17/18. I struggled with that (didn’t affect my overall rating though).

A lot of this was intriguing! The magic system is kind of cool with the stardust components and how stars actually fall from the sky?? Wild and I love it. I also love a good sister story and these three push and pull each other, but they clearly care for one another. It’s a heavy political fantasy and at times that did drag the plot.

I definitely needed some better world building initially. I was very much confused as to who was where and what that separate nation was like for almost half the book. A friend sent me the map/family tree and that helped tremendously.

The ending saved this book for me. It was fast paced, full of action, and I am still SHOCKED at some of the final scenes. Was it true?! I have questions and I will be seeking answers in book two.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: mild blood/gore
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: sexual harassment, poison, loss of loved ones, executions

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