Quick Review: The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir is one of those books that you embarrass yourself talking about with everyone you meet because it’s just so good you can’t not talk about it.

The Martian - Andy WeirThat’s what happened to me, anyway. Maybe you have more self-control. I wasn’t even finished with the book before I called my mother, who is also an avid reader, and started gushing about this one.

The thing about The Martian is that it surprises you. It’s an unassuming book, with a fun but predictable “man versus wild” / “man against nature” theme that we’ve all read plenty of times before, and yet … it’s not.

I knew within the first five pages that this was a special book for me and it turned out I was right. I devoured this book in one morning because once I started reading it, I couldn’t quit.

The Martian is a simple story. Mark Watney is an astronaut who gets trapped on Mars, left behind, left for dead, and since he isn’t the kind of man to just give up, he has to figure out how to survive, alone, until the next Mars mission brings a rescue—assuming there’s going to be a next mission.

That’s where the story opens and the book is the story of how Mark deals with his deadly and outrageous predicament. Where it goes is somewhere wonderful, making The Martian one of my favorite books of all time.

I highly recommend you get your own copy of The Martian if you haven’t read it yet.

 

TBR List: Newest Additions

I have a huge TBR list. Most of you probably know exactly what I’m talking about. My problem is that I do hope to someday get to most of the books on my list, but the fact is that I’m probably going to be lucky to crack the spines (or the virtual spines, in most cases) of one percent of all the books I already know I want to read someday.

That, however, doesn’t stop me from adding new books to the list every chance I get. ;)

Here are some of the newest additions (and some of these books are most certainly not new, but they’re new to me).

  • Proxima by Stephen Baxter
  • Joy in the Morning by P. G. Wodehouse
  • Trust No One by Jayne Ann Krentz
  • Serpent by Clive Cussler
  • Star Bridge by James Gunn
  • Falling Sky by Rajan Khanna
  • Sex and the Single Earl by Vanessa Kelly
  • The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
  • Goliath by Richard Turner
  • Psion by Joan D. Vinge
  • Claimed by Evangeline Anderson
  • Burglars Can’t Be Choosers by Lawrence Block
  • The Burglar in the Closet by Lawrence Block
  • The Charnel Prince by Greg Keyes
  • The Mystery Woman by Amanda Quick
  • The Sword of Bedwyr by R. A. Salvatore

Some of these books are quite old, but since I’ve never read them, they’re still new to me. :)

Revisiting Old Favorites: Amanda Quick’s Mischief, Affair, and Deception

I have a weakness for Amanda Quick’s historical romance novels, especially those from before her paranormal phase. Ravished, MistressMischiefDeception, Affair  these are five of my favorites and I had a chance to read MischiefAffair, and Deception for the umpteenth this past week or so and I had a great time doing it.

Mischief - Amanda Quick Affair - Amanda Quick Deception - Amanda Quick

I have a difficult time sometimes putting into words why I liked (or didn’t like) a book I’ve read, but I’ll see what I can come up with for these three books.

Mischief

Mischief is a fun book, and I liked the fake romance (that of course turns into a real romance right away). And then there’s the treasure map and the fact that it couldn’t be clearer these two belong together. I won’t spoil the fun, but it’s obvious in the first ten pages why. I don’t know what it is in particular that makes this book stand out from some of the others, but it does, and it remains one of my favorites. Get your own copy of this book.

Affair

I’ve always thought Affair had an especially strong opening. It plops me right into a compelling story that I can’t resist. Note to self: don’t read the first chapter of any of these books if I don’t have any time I can devote to reading, because if I do, I’ll end up reading the entire book. That’s what happened with my reread of Affair. I read an excerpt of chapter one at the end of Mischief and ended up having to read this entire book again. It is definitely a great book and was well worth reading just one more time. Get your own copy of this book.

Deception

Deception is my all-time favorite Amanda Quick book after Ravished. The pirate angle is charming and I adore Jared Chillhurst … and his pocket watch. In fact, this entire book works so well that I have a hard time not wishing Ms. Quick would discover some distant relative of Jared’s and write a story about him. I simply adore this book and I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve read it because I lost count years ago. If I had to recommend only two Amanda Quick books to someone, this one would be one of those books. Get your own copy of this book.

Quick Review: A Talent for War

A Talent For War by Jack McDevitt was an intriguing read that I enjoyed quite a bit, not so much for the science fiction, but for the mystery.

Jack McDevitt - A Talent for War

If I had to label this book, I’d call it science fiction mystery. There are plenty of intriguing sci-fi elements present in the book, but the fact is, the mystery is what propels the story onward.

A Talent for War is book 1 of the Alex Benedict series.

This was a good story, one that kept me intrigued up until the end. I’m definitely interested in reading the follow up books in the series.

From Amazon:

The acclaimed classic novel and fan favorite—the far-future story of one man’s quest to discover the truth behind a galactic war hero.

Artful by Peter David, my June choice in the Kindle First program

Artful - Peter David

I chose Artful by Peter David this month from among the choices in the Kindle First program for Amazon Prime members.

There were other books to chose from, but I enjoy fantasy, and this cover appealed to me. The description also caught my attention. :)

Oliver Twist is one of the most well-known stories ever told, about a young orphan who has to survive the mean streets of London before ultimately being rescued by a kindly benefactor.

But it is his friend, the Artful Dodger, who has the far more intriguing tale, filled with more adventure and excitement than anything boring Oliver could possibly get up to. Throw in some vampires and a plot to overthrow the British monarchy, and what you have is the thrilling account that Charles Dickens was too scared to share with the world.

From the brilliant mind of novelist and comic book veteran Peter David, Artful is the dark, funny, and action-packed story of one of the most fascinating characters in literary history.

With vampires.

How could I pass this one up?

Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakely-Cartwright

Red Riding Hood - Sarah Blakely-Cartwright - Movie Tie-In

If you love Red Riding Hood tales and stories, like me, I suggest you get your hands on Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakely-Cartwright. It is absolutely amazing. This book is one of my favorite books of all time. It puts a spin on the classic tale. I love this book so much.

There are a lot of bad reviews on this book talking about the missing ending, but there is an ending! All you have to do is go to a website to read it. The link is in the book. The book is worth it.

The description below is from Amazon.com. Enjoy!

Valerie’s sister was beautiful, kind, and sweet. Now she is dead. Henri, the handsome son of the blacksmith, tries to console Valerie, but her wild heart beats fast for another: the outcast woodcutter, Peter, who offers Valerie another life far from home.

After her sister’s violent death, Valerie’s world begins to spiral out of control. For generations, the werewolf has been kept at bay with a monthly sacrifice. But no one is safe. When an expert wolf hunter arrives, the villagers learn that the creature lives among them – it could be anyone in town.

It soon becomes clear that Valerie is the only one who can hear the voice of creature. The Wolf says she must surrender herself before the Blood Moon wanes . . . or everyone she loves will die.

Follow the link above to get this book at Amazon as a paperback, Kindle book, or an audio book.

The Odd Thomas Movie

I’ve had Odd Thomas in the sidebar for long enough that anyone who visits here should know I really like Odd Thomas. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that the movie was finally available.

Odd Thomas - Movie

I watched it on Netflix, but it’s available at Amazon.com and several other places, on DVD or streaming. I thought the movie did a great job of recreating the first Odd Thomas book. Since the movie apparently never opened in theaters (or opened widely, not sure), I doubt there’ll be more of them, but this one was a great hour and a half of entertainment.

Check it out if you can.

The Iron Druid Chronicles Series

Hounded by Kevin Hearne Hexed by Kevin Hearne Hammered by Kevin Hearne Tricked - Iron Druid Chronicles 4 - Kevin Hearne Trapped - Iron Druid Chronicles 5 - Kevin Hearne Hunted - Iron Druid Chronicles 6 - Kevin Hearne Shattered - Iron Druid Chronicles 7 - Kevin Hearne

UPDATED.

[Original, Nov. 2011] I recently ran across a series I hadn’t read before, The Iron Druid Chronicles fantasy series by Kevin Hearne. I downloaded the free sample available (for my nook, but there’s a free sample for the kindle too) and read it. I now know that I’m going to read this book, because the sample of chapter one that I read was excellent. The writing was crisp and the story entertaining. Atticus is a hero I want to spend some time getting to know, so the Iron Druid Chronicles has just made it onto my must-buy list.

The Iron Druid Chronicles is about a long-lived Druid who has made a home in Tempe, Arizona running an occult shop. Atticus O’Sullivan is 2,100 years old and has made a point of staying out of the way of certain other unpleasant magical beings but in Hounded, he’s just been found by Aenghus Óg, the Celtic god of love, who wants Atticus’s magical sword.

[Updated] This is an urban fantasy series that includes 7 books to date. Each book follows Atticus and a myriad of trials and troubles. The books seem to have a wide appeal and lots of readers who enjoy the humor and fun, along with the excellent writing. I loved Hounded.

The Iron Druid Chronicles Books

Click the title for the book info at Amazon, to read reviews, or to buy the books.

  1. Hounded
  2. Hexed
  3. Hammered
  4. Tricked
  5. Trapped
  6. Hunted
  7. Shattered

These books are available in multiple formats: audio book, paperback, and ebook.

There are also some short stories around and two novellas: Grimoire of the Lamb and Two Ravens and One Crow.

I recently finished reading Hounded and have moved on to Hexed because Hounded was such a fun read.

After Daybreak by J.A. London

After Daybreak - J. A. London - Darkness Before DawnThis book perfectly ended the Darkness Before Dawn trilogy by J.A. London. I never wanted this trilogy to end, but with this book ending it I was very happy with the way it did.

The description for the book from Amazon.com is below. Enjoy!

After Daybreak brings J. A. London’s romantic dystopian Darkness Before Dawn series to a thrilling conclusion.

Dawn grew up behind a wall, terrified of the vampires outside who controlled the lives of humans and demanded their blood. But when she became a delegate for her city and met Victor, she realized that not all vampires were the same, that maybe one could be trusted.

Now Day Walker Sin is infecting his followers with a disease that turns them into mindless killers. Dawn and Victor will have to convince humans and vampires to band together to stop him, because alone they will all die.

After Daybreak is perfect for fans of the YA series Morganville Vampires and the Vampire Diaries.

You can find this book at Amazon in paperback or as a Kindle book: After Daybreak: A Darkness Before Dawn Novel

Blood-Kissed Sky by J.A. London

Blood-Kissed Sky - J. A. LondonThis book, the sequel to Darkness Before Dawn, is amazing. It definitely exceeded my expectations. J.A. London went above and beyond with this book. In my opinion, the second book is usually not even close to being as good as the first, but this book is just as good as the first, if not better. This is a must-read for YA romance lovers. This book has just the perfect amount of romance and action so there is never a boring spot.

I put the Amazon.com description below!

There’s nowhere left to hide.

I thought vampires were our enemies—they controlled our lives, isolated our cities, and demanded our blood—until I met Victor. With Victor taking over as the new Lord Valentine, things were supposed to get better. Instead, they’re worse than ever.

Day Walkers, a new breed of vampires who can walk in the sun, are terrorizing the city. Blood supplies are low, and if Victor’s vampires don’t get enough, they will become infected with the Thirst—a disease that will turn them into mindless killers.

To stop it, I must journey across the desolate wasteland to the very place where the sickness began. I can only hope that the answers that await me are enough to save us all . . . before it’s too late.

Get this book at Amazon: Blood-Kissed Sky

This book is part of a series. Previous book in the series: Darkness Before Dawn