Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Martian by Andy Weir, read by R.C Bray

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

We went on a trip to see my in-laws so my husband and I decided to listen to a book. He likes science fiction and his sister had recommended this book. We both really enjoyed it. There's a lot of cursing which is fine for us but with the kids in the car we both cringe a little. Luckily they were mostly watching their cartoons in the back anyway.

This book is really funny. The narrator does a great job alternating between Mark Watney and the other POVs in this book. I enjoy science fiction but sometimes the science is too much for me but this book didn't have that problem. The science part was very understandable and interesting. The way the author has Mark explain how he is going to do things and how he survives on Mars seems achievable and clever if not impractical. We still haven't seen the movie but I really want to now. This is definitely a book that I'll read or listen to again.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Weekly Round-Up 1/6

Weekly Round-Up is my wrap-up of last week's activities and includes what I'm reading this week, reviews I've posted, books in the mail and anything else of interest plus From the Library, my weekly listing of what I've checked out from the library.
Right now I'm reading Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan.
I started my son on the Harry Potter books when school started last year so we are listening to Order of the Phoenix (performed by Jim Dale). And I'm listening to The Martian by Andy Weir, narrated by R.C. Bray

Friday, January 8, 2016

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

This book was recommended to me by a coworker with the words "I wish this book had been around when I was a teenager."  I can't say it effected me as profoundly but I did really like this book.

I liked Willowdean. She is sassy and confident but also insecure and slightly petty. She wants to be "good" and to do right but sometimes cannot reconcile with her own insecurities. Because she is judged only on how she looks by so many people, she can't understand people who see her for herself. I like that most of this book was about Willowdean and her coming to terms with herself and with her body. It's a hard thing that most struggle with well into adulthood and for a teenager is extremely difficult.

I'm glad it wasn't just a fat girl in a beauty pageant book. This was an outsider type book. Or someone who cannot get past their own self to see what others see type book. It was about a girl who wants to be loved but doesn't know she deserves it type book

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

As much as I love Rainbow Rowell and her books, I wasn't sure if I was going to read this one. I loved Fangirl but was less interested in the fanfic that Cath writes than in the story itself. But since I've loved every other Rowell book I thought, why not? It's a fairly meta book. Meta meta even. Because it's a fanfic of a fanfic of fictional book in another story entirely. But you don't need to have read Fangirl to love this book. It probably helps but it stands on its own too. 

I loved this book. I loved Simon and Baz and Penelope and even Agatha. I think most of the backstory was there. You really don't need to have read the "Simon Snow" books to know what is going on. Because in the end this is a love story. It's not actually about the villain and the hero. It's about two boys who fall in love despite having not having reason to. It's about destiny and how it is not always what you think is. It's about friendship and loyalty. It's about love.