BOOK REVIEW ROUND UP // VOLUME 2 ISSUE 13

A review and rating of the last 5 books I read and a look into my TBR list for books to come

Project Hail Mary
Author: Andy Weir
Publication Date: May 2021
Genre: science fiction
Method: audiobook via Audible

This book feels so special to me, and likely always will, as it’s the first book Kyle and I have ever read together AND because it’s a book we listened to in the car during our 3 month road trip. I was hesitant to start this because I was concerned it was going to be too similar to The Martian, but wow was I wrong. I really loved Ryland Grace as a main character and was so happy with the voice actor selection, Ray Porter. It’s rare that I feel attached or actually care about a character, but I genuinely needed Ryland to have his happy ending.
I loved how the story was told in flashback moments and how unexpected they were, at least in the audiobook. Present day Ryland would be mid sentence or mid thought then BAAM, flashback! I will admit I was slightly confused the first time or two while listening to the audiobook, but we quickly caught on.
I’d never read a book before which included a component of language creation and found that to be really fascinating and satisfying. Another element I unexpectedly loved was the journey Ryland takes to learn everything about Rocky, from his origin, to his language, to his physical properties and chemical makeup. Overall, PHM was smart, witty, and IMO, ended perfectly. Like honestly, I cried at the end. Kyle can confirm.

The Summer of Broken Rules
Author: K. L. Walther
Publication Date: May 2021
Genre: romance, contemporary
Method: ebook read on Nook

This was cute and adorable, a perfect summer romance read! Was it predictable? Yes, of course, but still so enjoyable and a quick read. Lots of characters to keep track of and families to keep straight, including alliances. The summer game ‘Assassins’ weaved throughout the story was entertaining and heart felt. Overall, cute! Would recommend to friends, but likely won’t reread.

The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Publication Date: February 2014
Genre: science fiction
Method: audiobook via Audible

This was a reread for me, but the first time listening to the entirety of the audiobook, which we started just days after finishing Weir’s newest book, Project Hail Mary. Kyle was hesitant at first – he wasn’t sold on Wil Wheaton as the narrator, but Mark Watney’s charm and humor quickly won him over.
I didn’t think it was possible to like the story more the second time around, but I found myself laughing out loud. Some jokes definitely land better on audio, e.g. the Fonz moment with NASA.
Even more than the story, I really enjoyed the discussions we had after finishing both The Martian and Project Hail Mary, getting to compare and contrast main characters and overall storylines.
The only criticism I have is that I hated the epilogue that concluded the audiobook. I did some digging and it seems the epilogue was added later and wasn’t printed at original publication, but somehow made it’s way to the Audible audiobook. Not a fan, would not recommend the epilogue, TBH.

In a Dark, Dark Wood
Author: Ruth Ware
Publication Date: April 2016
Genre: mystery, thriller
Method: audiobook borrowed from TPL

Ugh. I keep coming back to Ruth Ware hoping to rediscover the magic that was The Death of Mrs. Westaway. But, this wasn’t it. Couldn’t really stand the main character, Leonora. Personally, I’m so sick of an unreliable main character or narrator, it just feels so overdone to me. Granted, I didn’t know when I snagged this audiobook that would be the case. Even so, unimpressed. I still have the literal highest hopes for The Turn of the Key, which I expect to read by the end of the year.
Buzzword Readathon: September selection

The Break-Up Book Club
Author: Wendy Wax
Publication Date: May 2021
Genre: fiction, women’s fiction, chick lit
Method: ebook read on Nook

I will unashamedly admit I picked up this book solely based on the cover. And I’m not mad about it! The Break-Up Book Club follows the lives of four different women and their experiences regarding love and romance, all tied together through one common interest – weekly book club. I loved the age range, ethnic diversity, and LGBT+ inclusivity in the main and supporting characters. The story itself hit a little to close to home at times e.g. familial drama regarding marital deception and cheating. But in the same way, it felt comforting.
This book solidified my love for stories told in multiple perspectives by a group of women and has me excited to revisit The Joy Luck Club (hopefully sooner rather than later). Also, I’m not usually one for like an enemies to lovers romance, but when it comes out of nowhere??? Yes, please. Overall, loved the multiple female perspectives, diversity and inclusivity in characters, and the exploration and discussions surrounding grief, loss, new beginnings, self discovery, and the importance of friendship.

What’s up next on my TBR

Until next time, Meryn


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