Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir (Review)

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Blurb

A lone astronaut.

An impossible mission.

An ally he never imagined.

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 crew mates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it’s up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery-and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he’s got to do it all alone.

Or does he?

Review

I have finally got around to reading this as I let my husband read it first. I was so excited to read this as I absolutely love The Martian and have read it more than once as I just love the humour in the book.

I love how this story begins because we as the reader know exactly as much as Ryland Grace and we start to get all the facts as Grace finds them out or remembers them himself. You also soon realise that Grace is quite amusing and the humour reminds me a lot of Whatney from The Martian. This book made me laugh a great deal I must admit. I also loved how Grace names everything. I also name everything; my printer at university was called Vinnie. 

Stratt is a scary character but a woman of power and I do find her highly amusing and intimidating. She stands no messing and will do anything and everything to make sure Project Hail Mary is a success. I also really like how Stratt and Grace interact and what other people think of their relationship. 

My favourite character is Grace’s ally Rocky. I won’t say much about Rocky as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone but Rocky is adorable and I think he is wonderful and funny. He really is a fascinating character and I would happily read another book all about Rocky. He is extremely clever and can build or fix anything. 

The book has diagrams of the space ship at the beginning of the book and this is really helpful for understanding certain things that happen in the book. I also really enjoyed the science experiments in this book and that Weir was not afraid to give all the details in the book rather than skipping over the details. This is a really good science fiction novel and I couldn’t put it down. I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Andy Weir built a career as a software engineer until the success of his first published novel, The Martian, allowed him to live out his dream of writing full time. He is a lifelong space nerd and a devoted hobbyist of subjects such as relativistic physics, orbital mechanics, and the history of manned spaceflight. He also mixes a mean cocktail. He lives in California.

Have you read this book? I would love to hear your thoughts, please drop me a comment.

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The Unhappiest Lady in Christendom by Alison Weir (Review)

The Unhappiest Lady in Christendom by Alison Weir

Blurb

Henry VIII’s third queen is dead, leaving the King’s only son without a mother and the country without a queen. And as preparations are being made for Queen Jane’s funeral, her stepdaughter, the Lady Mary, laments the country’s loss.

But, only a month later, the King has begun his search for a new wife. Will Mary accept this new queen, or will she be forced to live in the shadows of Queen Katherine, Queen Anne Boleyn and Queen Jane for ever?

Review

I have read all the main novels from the Six Tudor Queens series but I have still got the short ebooks to finish off. This little short kept me occupied whilst I sat and waited after my second vaccine. 

This book begins at the death of Queen Jane and is told from the perspective of Lady Mary. Lady Mary loved Queen Jane because Queen Jane welcomed her and reunited her with her father and was a Catholic so when Queen Jane died Lady Mary was very upset and also felt sorry for her baby brother Prince Edward. 

Through this short book we see Mary work through her grief but also see her worry about what will happen to her next, now that Queen Jane is no longer there to be her friend at court. We also see that Mary’s health is not great in this book and that she is plagued by tooth ache. 

The main books from this series are all based on the wives of Henry VIII so it is nice to have a small book based on Lady Mary and to see her thoughts and feelings of her life as the daughter of Henry VIII. Her father hasn’t made life easy for her but Mary still loves him and wants to spend time with him but now she has a new worry in the form of a possible new step mother.

I really enjoyed this short story and I would love Weir to write a full book for each of the children of Henry VIII. I just really wanted this story to be longer. I give this book 3 out of 5 Dragons.

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About the author

Alison Weir was born in 1951 and is a British writer of history books, and latterly historical novels, mostly in the form of biographies about British Royalty.

The Weekly Brief

Hello!

I hope everyone has had a great weekend.

The blog has been left behind a bit this week sadly, but hopefully I will do better with the start of a new week.

Posts this Week

Currently Reading

Finding this very funny and hard to put down.

So there is another week on the blog.

I hope you all have a wonderful week. Please drop me a comment if you want to chat about books!

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

Cibola Burns by James S. A. Corey (Review)

Cibola Burn by James S. A. Corey

Blurb

The gates have opened the way to thousands of habitable planets, and the land rush has begun. Settlers stream out from humanity’s home planets in a vast, poorly controlled flood, landing on a new world. Among them, the Rocinante, haunted by the vast, posthuman network of the protomolecule as they investigate what destroyed the great intergalactic society that built the gates and the protomolecule.

But Holden and his crew must also contend with the growing tensions between the settlers and the company which owns the official claim to the planet. Both sides will stop at nothing to defend what’s theirs, but soon a terrible disease strikes and only Holden – with help from the ghostly Detective Miller – can find the cure.

Review

I will be honest I always find the beginning of The Expanse books a little slow but once I get into them and the story starts to get moving and I simply can’t put the book down. Cibola Burns proved to be exactly the same.

As usual the book is told from a few characters’ points of view and the characters that we had this time were Holden, Basia, Elvi, Havelock and The Investigator. The prologue is from Bobbie and the epilogue is by Avasarala. Each chapter is told by a different character and shows us each scene and situation from the point of view of that character. 

Holden we know really well by now, captain of the Rocinante and a man who always tries to do the right thing but does have a habit of inadvertently causing conflict between people. Holden is sent with his crew Naomi, Alex and my favourite Amos through the gates to help mediate the situation between the Belters and RCE on the new planet Ilus. Both the Belters and RCE claim the planet is theirs but the Belters were there first and they will do anything they can to make sure they can keep it and the mining rights. 

Basia is one of the Belters on Ilus and he lives there with his wife and two children but Basia has fallen in with the wrong crowd and makes some questionable decisions which land him in hot water. However, he is a good man and a dam good welder who will do anything he can to help his family.

Elvi is one of the scientists who arrive with the RCE ship and I must admit she is rather annoying. Yes, she is clearly a genius and is very useful for the story but the way she follows Holden around like a lost puppy is rather annoying and she can be rather heartless sometimes with the things she says. She forgets people have feelings sometimes.

Havelock we have already met as he was Miller’s partner at one point. Havelock is now working for the security of RCE and is trying to keep a ship full of scientists calm. Havelock is a character who always tries to do the right thing. He is understanding and tries to keep everyone happy but sadly he has a rather different boss who makes him do things he is not keen on or embarrassed about.

The Investigator was actually my favourite point of view and I found it rather fascinating and I was frustrated that we did not see more of The Investigator. I will not say more as don’t want to spoil the character. 

Overall, this story touches many points, immigration, major corporations crushing the little people, love, terrorism and much more. I particularly liked seeing how the intruders on the planet were effected by the natural ecosystem of the planet. I give this book 5 out 5 Dragons. 

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

James S. A. Corey is the pen name of fantasy author Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, George R. R. Martin’s assistant. They both live Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Reviews of previous Expanse books

Leviathan Wakes

Caliban’s War

Abaddon’s Gate

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The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien by Georges Simenon (Review)

The Hanged Man of Saint-Pholien by Georges Simenon

Blurb

On a trip to Brussels, Maigret unwittingly causes a man’s suicide, but his own remorse is overshadowed by the discovery of the sordid events that drove the desperate man to shoot himself.

Review

I found this story so sad especially at the beginning. At the beginning we find Maigret following a man who is clearly very poor and troubled and for some reason Maigret has decided to follow the man because Maigret finds his behaviour intriguing. However, because of Maigret’s actions the man commits suicide and this really disturbs Maigret so Maigret decides to find out what drove this poor man to his actions. I must admit I was rather angry with Maigret at the beginning because of his silly actions causing a suicide. They were a bit childish for me and it was like Maigret was bored so decided to follow this poor man. 

This story takes place in France, Belgium and Germany and Maigret has to move from country to country to find the answers he requires and there is considerable danger involved for Maigret as well. 

This story is so atmospheric and full of drama you were never quite sure what would happen next. There were also some very suspicious and creepy characters involved as well which you just know are wrong. People try to prevent Maigret from finding out the truth but Maigret in his terrier like fashion hunts down the facts that he needs to build the picture and find the truth.

Overall, I found this story very sad. I was sad for the man who committed suicide and sad for the hanged man of Saint Pholien. I could not put this book down once I started it because I needed to know what happened in the past. I give this book 5 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Georges Simenon (1903-1989) was a Belgian writer who published nearly 500 novels and many short stories. Simenon is best known as the creator of the Maigret stories.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

The House Party: A Short History of Leisure, Pleasure and the Country House Weekend by Adrain Tinniswood (Review)

The House Party: A Short History of Leisure, Pleasure and the Country House Weekend by Adrain Tinniswood

Blurb

A delightful journey through the glamorous story of the English country house party by the bestselling historian.

Croquet. Parlour games. Cocktails. Welcome to a glorious journey through the golden age of the country house party – and you are invited. 

Our host, celebrated historian Adrian Tinniswood, traces the evolution of this quintessentially British pastime from debauched royal tours to the flamboyant excess of the Bright Young Things. With cameos by the Jazz Age industrialist, the bibulous earl and the off-duty politician – whether in moated manor houses or ornate Palladian villas – Tinniswood gives a vivid insight into weekending etiquette and reveals the hidden lives of celebrity guests, from Nancy Astor to Winston Churchill, in all their drinking, feasting, gambling and fornicating. 

The result is a deliciously entertaining, star-studded, yet surprisingly moving portrait of a time when social conventions were being radically overhauled through the escapism of a generation haunted by war – and a uniquely fast-living period of English history. 

Review

We bought this book when we visited Croome last month and it has been tempting me to read it ever since. I could have easily read this book in one sitting as I found it so interesting but I made it last two days instead.

The book begins at the beginning of house parties starting from when Queen Elizabeth I used to visit and stay at people’s houses when she was travelling through the country to when eventually the traditional house party died out. 

This book is filled full of glamour, wealth, luxury and everything you can imagine that happened in fine country houses during house parties. 

I loved how the book described every detail of the house party from the invitations to what food and drink would have been served and the activities people would have partaken. The stories told in this book about different house guests and their hosts were hilarious. I particularly liked the house guests who brought their own thermos flask with cocktails in to have in their room because they knew their particular hosts didn’t hold cocktails before dinner. 

There were a lot of little stories in this book and a lot of famous names mentioned. However, for such a short book I think too many stories were mentioned and maybe just a few famous houses should have been focused on. To be honest I would have loved a much longer book as I could have happily read another 200 pages about the famous houses and their parties. I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragons and I will definitely be reading more of Tinniswood’s work.

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Purchase Links

Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

About the author

Adrian Tinniswood has worked as an author, broadcaster, lecturer and educational consultant for nearly 30 years in both Britain and the United States. Tinniswood studied English and Philosophy at Southampton University and was awarded an MPhil at Leicester University.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

June 2021 Wrap Up

Hello!

I hope everyone has had a good June. My reading wasn’t great in June but to be honest I’m doing a lot of research at the moment so I am reading just not books I would blog about. I am also in the mood for reading longer books at the moment which is slowing me down as well.

Statistics

Only 5 books this month and it was nearly 4 but I managed to squeeze in a short book yesterday. One of the books also does not have the page info listed so didn’t show up on the statistics so I should have had 2 books in the 500+ range.

Books

Pages: 576

Format Read: Hardback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲🐲

Review

Pages: 176

Format Read: Paperback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲

Review

Pages: 272

Format Read: Paperback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲

Review

Pages: 633

Format Read: Paperback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲

Review

Pages: 144

Format Read: Hardback

Dragon Rating: 🐲🐲🐲🐲

30/70 Goodreads Challenge

Another month down and I am still 4 books behind on my Goodreads challenge but I am confident I can soon catch up once studying calms down.

Please drop me comment if you want to chat about books.

Happy Reading.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

The Weekly Brief

Happy Sunday!

I hope everyone is having a good weekend so far.

Here is what I have been up to on the blog this week.

Posts this Week

Currently Reading

Thoroughly enjoying this so far.

So there is my week on the blog.

Happy Reading

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you

These Violent Nights by Rebecca Crunden (Review)

These Violent Nights by Rebecca Crunden

Blurb

Once upon a time, inhabitants of another world tore a hole through the universe and came to Earth. They called themselves Suriias, and rivalled humans in knowledge and skill with one great exception: they had magic.

War followed. Humanity lost. And three hundred years later, humans are on the brink of extinction.

Orphans Thorn and Thistle live in hiding. They are the last of their families, the last of their friends. They scrape by, stealing to survive and living on the streets or hiding in sheds. But even under the brutal regime of the Suriias, there are places where humans can mingle in secret with magical sympathisers, and one night Thistle gets an unexpected offer of marriage from a Suriia with high standing and friends in all the right places. For Thistle, it’s a chance at safety and comfort; for Thorn, it’s a chance to find the ones who killed her parents.

And so the pair move into the capital city of Courtenz. An urban monstrosity of magic and might, false friends and flying cars, drones and death tolls, the new city promises a fresh start – and new love – for both. 

But if there’s one thing Thorn knows for certain, it’s that dreams can swiftly turn into nightmares.

Review

Firstly, a massive thank you to Rebecca Crunden for gifting me a copy of her wonderful book These Violent Nights in exchange for an honest review.

This is rather a substantial book and I was a bit worried about the size of the book when I first started reading it because I struggled to get into it to start with. However, thankfully I kept reading because I was soon hooked and was pleased at the size of the book because I did not want to leave the characters and finish the book. 

Thistle and Thorn are humans who live in hiding from the Suriias who are magical beings from another world. Thistle and Thorn have a very sad past and this has left both of them scarred both emotionally and physically. When Nithin who is a Suriia proposes to Thistle, Thistle and Thorn move in with Nithin and his best friend Kol. Thistle is overjoyed to be safe and living in wealth and comfort but Thorn only sees it as an access to find the murderer of her parents.

I really felt sorry for Thorn during this book. She is forced to live with the very species she fears and hates and even though Nithin and Kol support humans and are fighting for the humans’ rights Thorn struggles to trust and believe them. At the same time Thorn sees her best friend slowly slip away from her and change. Thorn feels alone and angry with everything and no matter how much Kol tries to help her she still resists. I completely agree with the character Lucien who says that Thorn has never had a chance to breathe. 

Thistle annoyed me and made me rather angry at times because she hurt Thorn so much. Yes, Thistle wanted to start living life and enjoy her new found freedom and wealth but she forgot her best friend at times and didn’t see just how much Thorn was suffering.

I loved the concept of this book and I loved how in the end humans and Suriia had to work together and overcome each species’ difficulties. I also loved the different romances that occurred within the book and how they crossed species. This book was brilliant and I will definitely be reading more books by Rebecca Crunden. I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Waterstones

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie (Review)

The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie

Blurb

An urgent cry for help brings Poirot to France. But he arrives too late to save his client, whose brutally stabbed body now lies face downwards in a shallow grave on a golf course.

But why is the dead man wearing his son’s overcoat? And who was the impassioned love-letter in the pocket for? Before Poirot can answer these questions, the case is turned upside down by the discovery of a second, identically murdered corpse . . . 

Review

This is the second full length Poirot novel I have read and I will be honest it kept me on my toes. This book is so full of red herrings I was never sure of who the murderer was until Poirot explained all at the end. 

The more I read the Poirot stories the more I realise just how amazing he is and far better than the TV version. Poirot is funny, eccentric, cheeky and quite naughty at times. Hastings is his usual useless and silly self, always jumping to the wrong conclusions and getting into trouble. 

In this book Poirot and Hastings rush off to France to help a man who has written begging for Poirot’s help as he believes his life is in danger. However, when they get there they realise that they are too late and instead of protecting someone they have a murder to solve instead. 

Poirot has competition in the form of the young French detective Giraud. Giraud believes Poirot is a dinosaur and believes that Poirot will never solve the murder because his methods are old fashioned. Giraud rather amusingly spends most of the time on his hands and knees crawling around for clues and generally not finding them. 

There are so many things that do not add up in this murder but Poirot uses his little grey cells to work them out and also finds time to sort out Hastings’ love life. I also loved how Poirot sometimes called himself Papa Poirot to Hastings. 

I really enjoyed this book and I loved learning more about Poirot’s character but did find Hastings very annoying at times. Christie is so clever at writing a murder plot with so many different aspects you never see what is really happening until the end. I give this book 4 out of 5 Dragons.

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Purchase Links

Book Depository | Foyles | Waterstones | Wordery

(All purchases made using one of the above affiliate links gives a small percentage of money to myself with no extra cost to yourself. All proceeds go towards the upkeep of this blog. Thank you ever so much, your support is gratefully received.)

About the author

Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was an English writer known for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections. She also wrote the world’s longest running play, The Mousetrap. She also wrote 6 novels under the name Mary Westmacott.

If you enjoy reading my blog and would like to make a donation I would be very grateful. Thank you