rhian_of_oz Reads in 2020 - January to June

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rhian_of_oz Reads in 2020 - January to June

1rhian_of_oz
Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 28, 2020, 9:13am

I'm Rhian and this is my second year in Club Read. My reading goal for this year (like last year) is to make a dent in my TBR pile, however unlike last year I now have a target (based on 2019) that more than 25% of the books I read in 2020 must have been owned pre-2020.

I need to consider how I go about my book reviews - they take me ages which cuts into my reading time, as a result I am quite behind on 2019 reviews because I prioritised reading over reviewing.

Currently reading:
Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
The Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Next up:

Potential TBR from CR:
Poverty Castle by Robin Jenkins (AlisonY)
An Assembly Such As This by Pamela Aidan (shadrach_anki)
Enchanted Islands by Allison Amend (BLBera)
The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary (RidgewayGirl)
Mudlarking by Lara Maiklem (wandering_star)
The Thing Itself by Adam Roberts (avaland)
The Eighth Life (For Brilka) by Nino Haratischvili (rachbxl)
My Mother, Your Mother by Dennis McCullough (kidzoc)
Into the Fire by Sonia Orchard (Simone2)
Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte (Simone2)
American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett (dukedom_enough)
Jhereg by Steven Brust (Bragan)
Smoke by Dan Vyleta (torontoc)
The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste (rachbxl)

3rhian_of_oz
Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 28, 2020, 9:18am

Quarter 2

April

  1. A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

  2. A Trail Through Time by Jodi Taylor

  3. Persepolis Rising by James S A Corey

  4. The Plastic Magician by Charlie N Holmberg

  5. The Huntress by Kate Quinn

May
  1. Someone Like Me by M R Carey

  2. The City and The City by China Mieville

  3. Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier

  4. Blue Moon by Lee Child

  5. Mary Russell's War by Laurie R King

  6. To Be Taught If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

June
  1. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M Miller Jr

  2. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

  3. Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts

  4. The Margarets by Sheri S Tepper

  5. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow

QTD
Books owned pre-2020: 8 (50.00%)
Books purchased in 2020: 7 (43.75%)
Books gifted in 2020: 0 (0%)
Borrowed books: 1 (6.25%)

YTD
Books owned pre-2020: 24 (63.16%)
Books purchased in 2020: 12 (31.58%)
Books gifted in 2020: 0 (0%)
Borrowed books: 2 (5.26%)

4rhian_of_oz
tammikuu 4, 2020, 8:15am

Why Did You Lie? by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Helgi, Heida, Toti and Ivar are stranded on a pillar of rock (Thridrangar) off the south coast of Iceland. Nina's life is at a low point where her husband Throstur lies in hospital on life support and she's in career purgatory after filing a complaint against a fellow police officer. Noi, Vala and their son Tumi are settling back into their home after a house swapping holiday in Florida.

An event 30 years prior links these seemingly unrelated groups of people.

What I liked
  • The prologue. What a great start!

  • The way the three story strands are woven together.

What I didn't like
  • The exposition at the end. The killer confesses all to their mother. Such a disappointing end.

  • Loose ends untied. I know this reflects real life but is not something I'm entirely happy with in a murder mystery.

Points worth mentioning
  • The three strands take place in slightly different timeframes (a matter of days). I ended up having to write them down to keep them straight in relation to each other.

  • There are plot holes. The only good part about this is that they're only apparent during the "exposition".

  • A lot of reviews refer to a 'twist' at the end but it is quite apparent from about half way through whodunnit and that the person the police believe is responsible is not the one who is. It's only a twist in that the character responsible is unlikely (see above reference to plot holes).

Why I read this
BB from rachbxl.

Summary
I had such high hopes after reading the prologue, which came crashing down after the first couple of chapters because it felt like what I was in for was a story about people whose lives were terrible. It seems this may be a feature (rather than a bug) of Nordic noir to build atmosphere. After the "introductory" chapters the tone seemed not so gloomy (or I adapted to it) and I got caught up in the story. I was thoroughly enjoying it until the last dozen pages - such a bad way to end.

I'm glad I read it but I am unlikely to search out other work by this author.

5ELiz_M
tammikuu 4, 2020, 8:44am

>1 rhian_of_oz: Welcome back! I enjoy the format of your reviews and your varied reading. I hear you about reviews cutting into reading time -- my review writing rarely makes it past June. No solutions, just commiseration.

6rhian_of_oz
tammikuu 4, 2020, 10:35am

>5 ELiz_M: Thanks! The key for me I think will be writing notes as I read. At this stage I'm still determined to finish my reviews from last year for my own benefit but we'll see how that goes :-).

7rhian_of_oz
tammikuu 5, 2020, 12:47am

Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Mr Gawande discusses aging and dying and explores the idea that just because medical intervention is possible it may or may not be desirable.

What I liked
  • Everything.

Why I read this
BB from shadrach_anki and auntmarge64.

Summary
This book could be morbid but it isn't. It could be salacious but it isn't. Mr Gawande successfully navigates a balance of human stories and empirical evidence. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

It's not quite "live each day as if it's your last" but there's certainly the idea of knowing what is important to you when making (in this case) medical decisions. I found the sections about elderly parents particularly interesting. My parents-in-law are in their mid-80s, in pretty good health and still in their own home and we are keen to keep them there as long as they want to stay. I'm tempted to lend this book to my siblings-in-law to ensure that when decisions are made we take into account happiness as well as safety.

8dchaikin
tammikuu 5, 2020, 1:27am

>7 rhian_of_oz: I like what you liked and completely agree.

>1 rhian_of_oz:, >6 rhian_of_oz: I enjoy following your reviews, but of course also hope they’re rewarding for you to write them. Lois (avaland) once said she roughly thinks about what she would want tell a friend over a cup of coffee (or something like similar, I’m butchering it) and that guides her review. For better or worse that’s a mindset I strive for because I find it simplifies the process a great deal and I still say what I want to say. I’m mentioning it in the hope that it’s helpful, especially in case you get overwhelmed with reviews and get to a point where you just want to toss a few thoughts out there and be done with it. But, of course it’s not the right advice for everyone and please ignore if it sounds repellent. (Also, note that I’m certainly not trying to discourage you from taking notes while reading!)

9rachbxl
tammikuu 5, 2020, 5:47am

>4 rhian_of_oz: As I said elsewhere, I was looking forward to reading your thoughts on a book I know I read last year but of which I have no recollection at all (quite rare), as I thought you might jog my memory. Nope, the names of the characters ring bells, but I’ve let it go completely. Still, judging by your review, that’s something I can live with!

10NanaCC
tammikuu 5, 2020, 12:35pm

>7 rhian_of_oz: I have to read this one. I started it a while ago, but timing wasn’t right. I’ll have to try again.

11rhian_of_oz
tammikuu 6, 2020, 9:05am

>8 dchaikin: Thanks for your thoughts. I do enjoy writing reviews. I like thinking about what I did and didn't like, both for myself and as a guide for others. I just need to organise my time better so that review writing doesn't come out of my reading time :-).

12rhian_of_oz
tammikuu 6, 2020, 9:09am

>9 rachbxl: It was mostly good but of course a bad ending tends to have more weight (rightly or wrongly). Would it jog your memory of I said that the event 30 years ago was three children witnessing a crime and being threatened into remaining silent, and that their murderer is the son of the man killed in the past?

13rhian_of_oz
tammikuu 6, 2020, 9:12am

>10 NanaCC: I look forward to hearing what you think if you get around to reading it.

14rocketjk
tammikuu 6, 2020, 11:40am

I've got Being Mortal up next after I'm done with the book I'm currently reading (The Rescue by Joseph Conrad). My wife loved it and enthusiastically encouraged (to put it mildly) me to move it up to the front of the To Be Read queue.

15AlisonY
tammikuu 6, 2020, 11:58am

I also am in the Being Mortal fan club. I found it to be a very important read - it definitely gave a lot of food for thought on the 'right' decisions to make towards the end of life, which aren't always the ones we'd most instinctively grasp.

16kidzdoc
Muokkaaja: tammikuu 8, 2020, 2:21pm

>7 rhian_of_oz: Nice review of Being Mortal, Rhian. I'm also a huge fan of the book, and Atul Gawande is an absolutely brilliant author, thinker, and physician.

17rhian_of_oz
tammikuu 8, 2020, 11:54pm

I'm having to restrain myself from recommending Being Mortal to everyone I know!

18lisapeet
tammikuu 11, 2020, 8:51am

Also a fan of Being Mortal. Gawande hits the note right between important and compassionate.

19markon
tammikuu 11, 2020, 7:55pm

>1 rhian_of_oz: I struggle with keeping up with reviews. I try to do a few in depth ones & comment on the rest. Emphasizing ones that impress me or that I'm ambivalent about, as well as titles that don't already have tons of LT reviews.

20rachbxl
tammikuu 14, 2020, 2:48am

>12 rhian_of_oz: Um, kind of, but I still can’t put any flesh on the bones you’ve given me! I’m sure I generally remember more than that.

21rhian_of_oz
tammikuu 14, 2020, 9:28am

>19 markon: I like your approach and think I might adopt something similar.

22rhian_of_oz
tammikuu 16, 2020, 8:10am

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

As the title suggests, Evelyn Hardcastle is murdered and it's up to our narrator to discover whodunnit.

What I liked
  • The use of amnesia as a means of delivering information to the reader by requiring other characters to explain things to our narrator.

  • The story starts with a bang (not literally), slows down a little to allow the reader to start to get a bit of context, and then picks up speed like a boulder rolling downhill.

  • I thought the pace of "reveals" was spot on.

Points worth mentioning
  • There are a lot of characters and I occasionally had trouble keeping track. Thankfully there's a handy list of characters at the front of the book.

  • A lot of reviews mention fat-phobia/fat-shaming. I understand what they're talking about and I don't disagree but for me it didn't overwhelm the point of the book (though that may be because I believe that I am fat-phobic)(I'm trying not to be).

Why I read this
Recommendation from my book dealer.

Summary
I liked this a lot. It's a classic murder mystery with a difference and I think the difference is well done. It can a bit hard to keep things straight, but I was happy to just go along for the ride. I am interested to see what the author does next.

23mabith
tammikuu 16, 2020, 8:43am

>17 rhian_of_oz: Being Mortal is one everyone needs to read anyway, so good to recommend it widely!

>1 rhian_of_oz: I've had a lot of periods where I was very behind on reviews, but started to giving myself permission to write incredibly brief ones. This helped particularly for books I didn't have strong feelings about.

24rhian_of_oz
tammikuu 27, 2020, 6:22am

Any Ordinary Day by Leigh Sales

Leigh Sales is a well-respected Australian journalist. When she was eight months pregnant with her second child she suffered a uterine rupture. In the aftermath she became constantly worried about another catastrophe occurring. She decided to meet her fears head on by talking to people who had experienced catastrophic events and investigating the latest research on how the human brain copes with such events.

Why I read this
I saw Ms Sales speak at a festival.

Summary
I really liked this - if 'like' can be used to describe a somewhat sombre book. Ms Sales uses well-known Australian events and people to explore various topics of how humans (both those involved and those observing) experience and cope with unimaginable tragedy. This isn't an arm's distance clinical exploration though, Ms Sales also shares her own experiences as a person and a journalist. This could've been salacious and voyeuristic but it wasn't - it was thoughtful and respectful.

25rhian_of_oz
tammikuu 28, 2020, 9:19am

Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe (our narrator) is the daughter of sun god Helios and naiad Perse. She is an outcast within her family and in her loneliness discovers she has the power of transformation. When she uses this power in defiance of the gods she is exiled by her father in a deal with Zeus to keep the peace.

This is the story of her life on Aiaia.

What I liked
  • Almost everything.

What I didn't like
  • Penelope. I was expecting more from her based on Odysseus' portrayal to Circe, but in the end she was disappointing. I was hoping that the replacement of Telemachus with Telegonus to go with Athena was her plan all along.

  • The ending. Sigh. Sailing off into the sunset? Really?

Why I read this
BB from multiple people.

Summary
I don't have a lot of familiarity with the classics so I hadn't heard of Circe and didn't know the "official" story of her life. I'm glad I resisted the urge to look her up before reading this because it meant I didn't have any expectations about what was going to happen.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. I liked the way Ms Miller flipped things about - showed the peccadilloes of the heroes and showed sympathy to the monsters. I found Circe to be an interesting character as she wasn't perfect or always good. I will definitely read other work by this author.

26valkyrdeath
tammikuu 28, 2020, 5:54pm

>25 rhian_of_oz: Circe was definitely a book that lived up to the hype. I loved Miller's Song of Achilles too. It'll be interesting to see what she does next.

27rhian_of_oz
tammikuu 31, 2020, 4:50am

Every Note Played by Lisa Genova

Richard is a successful pianist when he contracts ALS (motor neurone disease). Karina is his estranged ex-wife who ends up becoming his primary caregiver.

What I liked
  • The insight into what having ALS is like from the person living it.

What I didn't like
  • Richard and Karina's relationship. I don't understand why it had to be so hostile.

Why I read this
Fan of the author.

Summary
Ms Genova's strength is in providing an insiders view of various conditions/diseases. The components of this book dealing with ALS - the ongoing deterioration of Richard's body, the implications of his limitations from a caregiving perspective, and the things that need to be considered (e.g. voice banking) - were really well done. But I thought the melodrama of Richard's relationship with Karina and their daughter Grace was unnecessary (other than to pad the book out). Very made-for-television movie of the week.

I thought Still Alice and Left Neglected were excellent so I'm not sure if I'm being overly harsh because this book is not them and I'm especially disappointed.

28rhian_of_oz
helmikuu 9, 2020, 12:36am

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for Parable of the Sower.

Parable of the Talents by Octavia E Butler

The book commences five years after the establishment of Acorn (the first Earthseed community) in an America that is continuing to disintegrate. Lauren Olamina (the Earthseed leader) is trying to work out "what next?" when a fundamentalist Christian is elected president.

Can Earthseed fulfill its Destiny?

What I liked
  • Butler's seeming prescience. This was written in 1998 and in it there is a president who uses the phrase "make America great again". There were other elements that were shiveringly close to what I perceive as modern day America.

What I didn't like
  • Asha. Completely, totally, illogically unfair to her mother. Claims that her mother chose Earthseed over her however Lauren didn't even find out her daughter was alive until Asha was 34. I understand that she is a foil to balance out the positive view we may have due to the first book being all told from Lauren's POV but at least make the criticisms valid.

  • The bit I was most interested in i.e. Earthseed growing large enough to travel into space gets squeezed into the last 10 - 15% of the book and pretty much happens in the background.

What I'm ambivalent about
  • The diary format. Occasionally it didn't work - it read more like a narrative due to the amount of detail it contained.

  • Diary entries from Taylor Bankole (Lauren's husband) and Marcos Duran (Lauren's brother). While it was interesting to have other POVs, given the brevity of them (both in numbers and length) it feels like it was a token effort at best.

Points worth mentioning
  • The theology of Earthseed is ... earnest.

  • There are lots of characters but we don't really get to know (and therefore become invested in) most of them.

  • A portion in the middle contains many occurrences of violence and rape.

Why I read this
Bookclub.

Summary
Even though there is technically no single "disaster" that occurs this still reads like post-apocalyptic to me. And in that sense I don't think it has anything particularly new or original to add to that genre. Having said that, I don't think that's necessarily the point of the book but then I'm a little lost to what its purpose is.
Don't get me wrong, it is well written and easy to read (from that perspective) but I felt vaguely dissatisfied once I'd finished.

29rhian_of_oz
maaliskuu 8, 2020, 7:01am

The Wall by John Lanchester

Kavanagh (our narrator) begins his two-year compulsory service on the National Coastal Defence Structure, a ten-thousand kilometre Wall surrounding the UK built in the aftermath of an undescribed ecological disaster to keep the Others out.

What I liked
  • The beginning does a really good job of describing the monotony of guard service.

  • The worldbuilding. A number of reviewers believe there wasn't any but I think there was - it possibly wasn't as explicit as people are used to.

  • It's mostly introspective but there's also sufficient 'action' to make me want to keep reading.

What I'm ambivalent about
  • The ending. I had a bit of a sense of 'oh is that it', and yet it is also kind of fitting.

Why I read this
BB from Simone2.

Summary
This book is understated in a lot of ways, and an unsubtle dig at current-day UK in others. It's dystopian but doesn't contain the standard tropes of that genre. I mostly liked it I think (endings have such an impact on my perception of a book).

30rhian_of_oz
huhtikuu 2, 2020, 4:37am

The Binding by Bridget Collins

Emmett (our narrator for most part) is a farmer's son who has been very ill for a long time when he involuntarily becomes the binder's apprentice. In this world a binder takes people's unwanted memories and binds them into a book.

What I liked
  • The idea of books being people's actual memories rather than simply made up stories. And the fact that you could get rid of bad memories by having them bound into a book.

  • The exploration of how this function could be used for ill.

  • I thought the book was plodding along on a fairly obvious arc and then about a third of the way through it took a hard turn that I wasn't expecting.

What I didn't like
  • There is no real attempt to explain how binding works. How then can one teach it to an apprentice? One can't.

What I'm ambivalent about
  • The ending and therefore the point of the book. It's not bad (though it is predictable) but it's not what I was hoping for overall.

Why I read this
I can't recall where I first heard about this.

Summary
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. It was easy enough to read, but I think my ambivalence about it is that it doesn't live up to the implied promise in both the name and the blurb. What it is then is essentially a love story - which I'm not opposed to per se, just not what I was expecting.

Ms Collins has written a number of YA books and this is described as her first adult novel, but to me it reads as right on the borderline.

31rhian_of_oz
huhtikuu 2, 2020, 5:03am

Golden in Death by J D Robb
This is the 50th (geddit?) instalment in the Eve Dallas series.

A doctor and family man is killed by an airborne, unknown toxic substance. Eve and co need to determine whether this is a practice run for a large-scale terrorist attack or something more personal.

Why I read this
Long time fan of the series.

Summary
These are comfort reads for me - I know what I'm going to get. At this stage this series is definitely for fans.

32rhian_of_oz
huhtikuu 3, 2020, 5:20am

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Now that the Antichrist (AKA as Adam) is eleven it's time he fulfilled his destiny and brought about Armageddon. Aziraphale (agent of Heaven) and Crowley (agent of Hell) have gone rogue and are working together to try and avert the end of the world.

What I liked
  • There were lots of threads that came together quite nicely at the end.

  • Adam and his gang, the four apocalyptic horsepeople, Aziraphale and Crowley.

What I didn't like
  • The silliness. I have to be in the mood to read silly humour and most of the time I'm not.

Why I read this
I saw Neil Gaiman speak as part of our summer arts festival.

Summary
I really liked American Gods and absolutely loved The Ocean at the End of the Lane but ::whispers:: I'm not a fan of Terry Pratchett. So I'm really torn about this book because there are bits I liked and bits I loathed (I'm looking at you stupid footnotes).

I'm glad I read this even though I didn't love it. I'm not at all inclined to watch the TV series.

33rhian_of_oz
huhtikuu 6, 2020, 5:47am

Rosewater by Tade Thompson
This is the first in the Wormwood Trilogy.

The book's 'present' time and place is 2066 in Rosewater, a fictional town in Nigeria that surrounds an alien biodome. Kaaro (our narrator) is a sensitive whose "day job" is working for a bank to repel psychic incursions and who also works for a secretive government agency.

Sensitives are dying and Kaaro needs to work out why before becoming the next fatality.

What I liked
  • The story is told in multiple timelines which fills us in on how we get to the 'present' without being too obviously "expositiony".

  • The world built is really interesting.

  • Kaaro. Not necessarily likeable but that's what makes him a good character.

Points worth mentioning
  • Some reviewers found the multiple timelines confusing but I found it easy enough to follow because the chapter headings tell you where and when.

  • If you prefer your narrator to be likeable/sympathetic then this may not be the book for you.

Why I read this
SantaThing present.

Summary
I thought this was excellent. There is a lot in it because as the first in a trilogy it has a lot to set up. By the end of this instalment many questions have been answered but enough remain to want to know what happens next. I will definitely be reading the next book.

34markon
huhtikuu 20, 2020, 8:44pm

>33 rhian_of_oz: Glad you liked Rosewater! I think it is an excellent beginning to the trilogy.

Hope you're doing well and staying sane these days.

35rhian_of_oz
kesäkuu 6, 2020, 10:09am

Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

This was a BB from many CRers last year due to their reading of Olive Again.

I didn't realise that this was a collection of short stories rather than a novel, but it was easy enough to adjust once I realised.

I find it very satisfying when reading a prize-winning when I can recognise why it won. This is quietly excellent.

I don't know how to feel about Olive, at times incredibly insightful and sensitive, and other times clearly bad-tempered and mean. I suppose this complexity is what makes her a great character.

I will definitely be reading Olive Again as well as Ms Strout's other works.

36dchaikin
kesäkuu 6, 2020, 11:56am

Just catching up here. Glad you enjoyed The Wall. I haven’t read Good Omens yet (i did watch the first episode, but I’m much a tv watcher, so stopped there), but i still plan to get there and expect i’ll come from an opposite perspective - I like TP a lot, but am lukewarm on Gaiman. Interesting about Olive.

37rhian_of_oz
kesäkuu 7, 2020, 4:40am

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M Miller

Written in 1959 this is made up of three short stories.

The first, Fiat Homo, takes place approximately 600 years after the Flame Deluge (nuclear war) where the Albertian Order of Leibowitz is dedicated to preserving whatever writings and knowledge they can (the Memorabilia) from before the collapse of civilisation.

The second, Fiat Lux, takes place approximately 600 years after the first. Civilisation is returning with the Order now not only preserving the old knowledge but starting to understand it and make it available to scholars.

The third, Fiat Voluntas Tua, takes place around 600 years after the second. We've returned full circle with two world powers on the brink of nuclear war. The Order is working out how it can continue to preserve knowledge in light of this new threat.

I read this for bookclub and initially my thoughts were that it was okay. It's described on the back as satirical but I failed to see the satire - I think because many things in the book that Mr Miller probably thought were ridiculous have come to pass (e.g. rejection of Science).

As our discussion progressed I realised there were many parts of the book that I really liked, and I also realised that there was much I missed by not having a great knowledge of history, or of Catholicism/Christianity. For example, there's a scene at the end about knocking dirt out of sandals whose import I completely missed because I'm unfamiliar with the New Testament.

I occasionally found the language clunky (which were primarily the bits reflecting religious thought), and there was heaps of Latin which was just annoying. But the characters were well-developed, and the story interesting, albeit a bit depressing.

I'm not unhappy I read it but I'm not inclined to read the sequel.

38ELiz_M
kesäkuu 7, 2020, 8:20am

>37 rhian_of_oz: I read this a few years back and loved the first section, but not realize it was structured as three linked stories, did not forgive the author for jumping to a completely new time-frame for the second and third sections.

39rhian_of_oz
kesäkuu 11, 2020, 5:44am

To Be Taught If Fortunate by Becky Chambers

Aridane O'Neill (our narrator) is one of a crew of four on a mission to undertake an ecological survey of habitable worlds around a red dwarf star 14 light years from Earth. This novella is a message back to Earth for reasons that become clear at the end.

I really enjoy Ms Chambers' work though it's a bit hard for me to pin down *why* I love them so much. But let's try.

I find her work easy to read, not in the "light and fluffy" sense but the way words flow into sentences that flow into paragraphs that flow into chapters. There's no needing to reread something to try and understand what she's trying to say.

I feel like her work is a lot about exploring people (which doesn't necessarily mean humans) and in some ways that doesn't require those people to be in space, but in other ways being in space allows her to delve into scenarios that wouldn't occur on a planet.

More than once (both in this book and others) her characters think or behave in a particular way that have made me go 'huh I would never have thought of that'. I'm not sure where her worldview comes from but she's certainly expanded mine.

Like her other books this one is not action packed, it's more introspective. Don't get me wrong, things happen (it's space after all) but this is not The Martian.

I liked this a lot, especially the ending, and definitely recommend it. I can't wait to read her next book.

40raton-liseur
kesäkuu 11, 2020, 6:03am

>39 rhian_of_oz: Interesting review, for an author I did not know. I like SF authors who do not write SF for the sake of SF, but use it to develop interesting characters. If Becky Chambers is one of those authors, I might try to find her books.
And, believe it or no, I had not heard about The Martian. Interesting as well, in a totally different way!

41rhian_of_oz
kesäkuu 11, 2020, 11:17am

>40 raton-liseur: I'll be interested to hear what you think if you end up reading any Becky Chambers.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Martian. I ended up seeing the movie twice - I liked it better the second time when I wasn't continuously grumbling to myself about how it was different to the book. :-D

42rhian_of_oz
kesäkuu 12, 2020, 10:42am

Blue Moon by Lee Child

This is the 24th instalment in the Jack Reacher series.

At a rest stop on his current bus journey Reacher helps out a fellow passenger and ends up in the middle of a turf war between Ukrainian and Albanian gangs.

Sigh, what to say about this? If you're a fan of the series then you know what you're in for - Reacher standing up for the helpless and winning against the odds. As usual there's an unlikely sex (it's definitely not romantic) interest, though this time Reacher assembles himself a bit of a posse.

If you aren't already a fan then this is not the novel you should start with. I have enjoyed these immensely but with this one my suspension of disbelief was severely strained and in fact I'm pretty sure I rolled my eyes more than once.

I'm a little dismayed to see that the next Reacher title is co-written with another author. I will still read it but based on my reaction to this one I'm wondering if my "relationship" with Reacher is coming to an end.

43rhian_of_oz
kesäkuu 18, 2020, 10:58am

Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts

After a year of being the chief suspect for the murder of his estranged wife, Eli moves to Whiskey Beach to look after his grandmother's house while she recuperates from a serious fall. There he meets Abra, a woman with many strings to her bow, who is a survivor of a brutal assault.

Eli's past catches up with him in the form of a PI, and a number of mysterious break ins call into question his grandmother's fall being accidental.

I don't read a lot of romance novels any more, but it's exactly the way I wanted to spend a wintery Saturday afternoon.

Ms Roberts is one of my go-tos for romance (though not her really old stuff) as I like her characters and scenarios. She usually includes a bit of mystery/intrigue though they're not very hard to work out.

Recommended if you like contemporary romance and you're looking for a cosy couch or beach read.