Review: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Project Hail MaryProject Hail Mary by Andy Weir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Ryland Grace awakens from a coma, he discovers he is on a spaceship. He doesn’t know why, or how, in fact, he can’t even remember his own name.

Checking his surroundings, Ryland quickly determines he is alone; the other two crew members evidently not making it out of their comas. Well, shoot, not good.

Figuring he has nothing but time, Ryland sets about investigating his surroundings in the hopes he can determine his purpose for being where he is.

As his memories slowly return, he understands the importance, and improbability of his task. He’s on a solo mission to save Earth from an extinction-level event. So, no pressure.

I absolutely adored this story. I am one of the few people left on the planet who hasn’t read, The Martian yet and after reading this, I’m disappointed in myself.

This was incredibly well-written; fast-paced, clever and hilarious. I loved Ryland’s character so much. His analytical, yet humorous nature, truly made this story shine.

As a longtime Sci-Fi fan, I can honestly say, this is one of the best books I have read in the genre. Everything about it was gripping from start to finish.

The way Weir constructed the mystery of it all and then plotted the reveals, chef’s kiss!!!

I highly recommend this, even if you don’t tend to read Science-Fiction, I believe this story can be enjoyed by Readers of all genres.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Ballantine Books, for providing me with a copy to read and review. It was a remarkable reading experience, one I will remember for a long time!!

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Catalyst (Star Wars): A Rogue One Story by James Luceno

Catalyst (Star Wars): A Rogue One StoryCatalyst (Star Wars): A Rogue One Story by James Luceno
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Catalyst: A Rogue One Story, while admittedly not my favorite, was still a good story. I can appreciate all the fine details it adds to the larger picture.

It’s probably my fault for picking this up directly after, Dark Disciple, which I absolutely loved!!!

This is a prequel novel to the Rogue One film.

Basically it follows Orson Krennic, part of Chancellor Palpatine’s Death Star Project, along with brilliant scientist, Galen Erso and his family.

This had a lot more technical details and political maneuverings than character work and drama, but as I said, it was still good.

I’m glad I read it as it provides a solid backdrop for the events of Rogue One, an immediate prequel to A New Hope; probably only necessary, or interesting, to hardcore fans.

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Review: The Phantom Menace (Star Wars Novelizations, #1) by Terry Brooks

The Phantom Menace (Star Wars: Novelizations, #1)The Phantom Menace by Terry Brooks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars**

This is a fantastic novelization of one of my go-to flicks, The Phantom Menace. Terry Brooks did a phenomenal job bringing the action and political intrigue to the page!

Admittedly, I am slightly obsessed with the movie The Phantom Menace. Poke fun at me if you must.

I’ve watched the movie a zillion times, so I figured I should probably check out the novelization.

It was only then that I discovered it was adapted into book form by the renowned Fantasy author, Terry Brooks!?

If you’ve seen the movie, there will be no great surprises here, but as with most book/movie combos, you can find a lot more additional information in the book.

I feel like the book allows more space to build out some of my favorite characters in the entire universe, like Anakin and Qui-Gon.

I think if you are a fan of Star Wars, this is definitely worth a read; consider it supplemental to the movie.

I am definitely going to pick up the other novelizations in this prequel trilogy. Attack of the Clones was written by R.A. Salvatore, so I am actually really looking forward to starting that one soon!

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Review: Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries #3) by Martha Wells

Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3)Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Rogue Protocol is the third book within The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells.

I picked this series up on a whim last year and quickly fell in love with Murderbot and Martha Wells’ humorous writing style. It draws you in right away!

In this installment we rejoin Murderbot on its continued hunt for answers regarding its violent past.

It ends up on another mission, this time heading to a terraforming facility once run by the mysterious and sinister GrayCris Corporation.

More humans are involved; there mucky things up for our beloved Murderbot, yet again. It also needs to befriend, or intelligently influence, another AI. This time a tragically adorable, human-form companion robot named, Miki.

Miki’s entire personality was exploding with cute. I loved their interactions; so pure.

As usual, there was a lot of action, more betrayals and corporate cover-ups. It also ended much too quickly, although this one definitely crushed my heart a little bit there at the end. Not going to lie.

Why did I have to be listening to it before I had even had my first coffee of the day?

Sadness aside, I can’t quit Murderbot! I’m excited to continue on with their story.

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Review: Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2) by Martha Wells

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, #2)Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Artificial Condition, the second installment of The Murderbot Diaries, we reunite with everyone’s favorite Sec Unit, Murderbot.

Murderbot is curious about its past, having been involved in an incident at a mining facility, which left a lot of humans dead. It has only vague recollections of that time and has a strong need to know more.

Recently setting out on its own, with no ties to any human, it now has the time to seek answers.

Making a new acquaintance, an AI, who it calls ART, the two, when not binging media shows together, set to work preparing Murderbot for the next steps.

It alters itself a bit, in order to pass as a human, and accepts an assignment as a security consultant. Its new clients are a group of computer scientists, who had their work stolen from a previous employer.

They want to negotiate to get it back. This assignment will take Murderbot exactly where it wants to go.

Yet again, it struggles with, dare I say, emotions where its human charges are concerned. It is the most soft-hearted Security Unit in all the galaxy; although it can definitely slay when it needs to.

There’s corruption, there’s evil entities, there’s action, there’s humor and whole lot of heart.

I adored the interactions between Murderbot and ART. Just the sweetest moments.

If I wasn’t so terribly frightened of the possibilities for AI, I would want one myself.

Overall, this was a highly entertaining novella and I cannot wait to carry on with this series.

Martha Wells has an incredible style and I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a fun, fast-paced Science Fiction series!!

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Review: Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)Obsidio by Amie Kaufman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am over the moon in love with The Illuminae Files. I certainly consider it to be ground-breaking and if this doesn’t gain Classic status, the world will suffer for it.

I’m sure AIDAN would see to that.

As Obsidio is the third and concluding book in the series, some mild spoilers are ahead. I will not be hiding them.

You have been warned.

After Hanna, Nik, Kady and Ezra, survive the attacks on the Heimdall Station, they find themselves crammed aboard the Mao, with 2,000 other desperate refugees.

The only choice for those aboard the Mao is to return to Kerenza, the site of the initial BeiTech assault. They’re not really sure what they’ll find there, but it has to be better than drifting through deep space, eventually running out of supplies, including oxygen.

On Kerenza, Kady’s cousin, Asha, has survived and joined the underground resistance, fighting against BeiTech’s continued presence on the small mining planet.

When her ex-boyfriend shows up, among the ranks of the enemy, she cannot believe her eyes, but perhaps she can use their prior relationship to their advantage.

The narrative alternates back and forth between the situation on the Mao and that on the ground of Kerenza. There is a lot of drama and a whole lot of action!

I loved how this brought everything together, including the style of the Files themselves. It all becomes clear and frankly, is just brilliant storytelling.

It’s hard not to fall in love with these characters, as you are with them through every step of the battle. I became so connected to each and every one of them.

There were moments when I had to step away. The ending got pretty hairy. I knew Kaufman and Kristoff weren’t looking to spare my feelings, so absolutely anything could happen to any one of our heroes at any time! It was intense, to say the least!

I’m so happy that I finally saw this series through to the end. I even read Gemina twice, which turned out to be my favorite book in the series upon reread.

Of course I am a little sad that it is done, but feel like it is a story I could revisit. For now, Hanna, Nik, Ezra, Kady, Ella and AIDAN, will live on in my heart; strong, funny, fearless and smart, just as they’re meant to be.

I highly recommend this series to everyone in the Universe!!!

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Review: Into the Dark (Star Wars: The High Republic) by Claudia Gray

Into the Dark (Star Wars: The High Republic)Into the Dark by Claudia Gray
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Into the Dark is a 2021-Canon release set within the era of The High Republic; known as the golden age of the Jedi.

The events in the three recent High Republic books all take place concurrently in the year 232 BBY.

As you discover in this novel, this is the year of the Great Disaster, an event that caused numerous ships galaxy-wide to be suddenly launched out of hyperspace.

It also destroyed moons and created a great amount of debris causing further problems for ships and navigators.

To be clear, the events in this book take place before any previous media you may have watched or read.

We’re talking all new Star Wars goodness! Now with that little bit of timeline info out of the way, let’s get into the review, shall we?

Jedi Padawan, Reath Silas, dreams of days spent pouring through the archives versus deep space adventures. He’s comfortable in Coruscant, known to be the center of the Core System and home to the Jedi Temple.

When his Master, Jora Malli, gets assigned to the new space station, the Starlight Beacon, in the Outer Rim territories, he has to go with. An assignment he’s not happy about.

Malli takes off early, leaving Silas to travel aboard The Vessel, a civilian transport ship, with three other Jedi: Master Cohmac Vitus, Orla Jareni and Dez Rydan.

The only other passengers aboard The Vessel include its Captain, Leox Gyasi, Co-Pilot, Affie Hollow, and Navigator, Geode.

It’s during their journey to Starlight Beacon that the aforementioned Great Disaster occurs, virtually ejecting them from the hyperspace channels and stranding them in deep space.

As you can imagine, that’s not good.

The group discovers an ancient space station, the Amaxine, that seems to be abandoned. Unfortunately for the intrepid crew and passengers of The Vessel, they aren’t the only ones to discover the station and not everyone is friendly.

Making matters worse, the dilapidated Station may not be as abandoned as it appears.

Claudia Gray, surprising no one, did an exceptional job bringing this story to life.

It was an absolute joy to read and learn about this earlier era of Star Wars history. The characters were incredibly well done. I loved their interactions with one another and getting to read from all of their perspectives.

My favorite character was obviously Geode. If you read the book, you will quickly discover why. He was the best and I loved every scene that he was in.

There is a ton, a ton, a ton of action, with some very serious baddies that need to be stopped. A lot of the action focuses on some ancient idols that were discovered on the station, thought to have been left there by the Sith.

I would highly recommend this story to any Star Wars fan, or really even someone who is just looking to get into the books. This is the literal beginning. What better place to start?

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney LucasFilms, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. It was one of my most anticipated releases of the year and it did not disappoint!

I cannot wait to pick up the rest of The High Republic materials!

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Review: The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

The Echo WifeThe Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

Oh wow, you really brought this full circle, didn’t you, Sarah Gailey?! You clever, clever, clever human.

I read the majority of The Echo Wife in one sitting today and I had so much fun with it. There are a lot of great themes and ideas to think about with this one.

This is the first novel I have read by Sarah Gailey, but absolutely will not be the last. I have already added three of their other books to my TBR.

This novel follows Evelyn Caldwell, who is an award-winning research scientist in the field of genetics; more specifically, her work deals with genetic cloning.

We hear this entire story through Evelyn’s perspective, which personally, I found quite refreshing actually. It seems like most novels I read are multiple perspective, so it was nice to just sit with one narrator the whole way through.

Evelyn’s husband, Nathan, has betrayed her with another woman who just so happens to be a clone of Evelyn.

Essentially, he has replaced her with a version that will be more compliant with his wants and needs. More docile in their relationship, something Evelyn never was.

When Nathan ends up dead, Evelyn’s clone, Martine, suddenly becomes a very real problem for her. One that could end her career as she knows it.

Evelyn needs to get control of the situation, and Martine, before everything she has worked for is taken from her.

As Evelyn and Martine begin to work together, Evelyn is shocked when she begins having actual feelings for the clone; like she is a real person.

This novel explores so many fascinating, and frankly, frightening topics. Set in the not too distant future, it examines the ethical issues that arise when you are involved in cloning and cloning research.

What makes something human? What are the parameters that should be followed in this type of research? What if something goes wrong, or a clone goes rouge? Who has the authority to decide the clone’s fate?

In addition to the fabulous scientific elements, I really enjoyed getting to know Evelyn Caldwell. I felt she was such a well-developed character.

We learn how Evelyn’s parent’s relationship shaped the woman she would become. Her parents had quite a contentious relationship and Evelyn was the silent observer to it all.

Her Father was brilliant, he taught Evelyn so much and set her on the career path she ends up on, but he also was a raging tyrant.

Her Mother taught her another set of skills entirely. While she viewed her Mother as mild and cowardly, her experiences with Nathan and Martine caused her to re-evaluate those beliefs.

While this is just a subplot to the greater story, it contributed quite a bit to my enjoyment. I felt it added a lot of depth to Evelyn’s character and allowed me to better understand her choices and motivations.

I really connected with Evelyn. I’m sure many will find her cold, but I think she is more determined and driven than uncaring. Choices she made, if made by a man, would probably be viewed differently by a lot of people.

Overall, this is an extremely intelligent and well-constructed story. My one very small negative, was that I was pitched Thriller and was expecting that. To me, this really isn’t much of a Thriller even though it is quite compelling.

I do highly recommend this. I think it would make an incredible Book Club selection, or Buddy Read, as there are a ton of deep issues to discuss.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I cannot wait to pick up more titles from this author!

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Blog Tour: The Mirror Man by Jane Gilmartin

Hi, book friends! Good morning! Happy Sunday and start to Halloween Week! The most wonderful time of the year.

Let’s chat about The Mirror Man by Jane Gilmartin. This fast-paced, Sci-Fi Suspense novel explores the ramifications of a near future, illegal cloning experiment.

Our protagonist, Jeremiah Adams, works in the marketing department for ViGen Pharmaceuticals. He’s surprised when he is offered the opportunity to take part in a top-secret scientific experiment, for which he will be generously compensated. We are talking millions of dollars.

What does he have to do? It’s pretty simple, he agrees to allow ViGen to create a clone of him that will then go out and live his life, while he is secluded in a luxury apartment for a full year.

Just to be clear, this means, the clone, who will have Jeremiah’s memories basically uploaded into its head, will then go and live at Jeremiah’s house with his wife, Diana, his teenage son, Parker and their dog, Louie.

Jeremiah agrees. He’s been having a rough go of it at home lately, anyway, and could use a break.

As part of his agreement, Jeremiah will be required to watch the clone go about his life for a minimum of 4-hours a day, via carefully placed video cameras. Another employee of ViGen, Brent, is to be his companion during these viewing sessions. They’re trying to determine if the clone veers at all from Jeremiah’s normal pattern of behavior.

He also must meet with a psychologist to discuss how the whole process is making him feel. Other than that, his only contact is with the two heads of the experiment, Drs. Scott and Pike.

I am currently 71% of the way through this novel. I have been flying through it. The narrative style is very addicting. It’s a solid Techno-Thriller and would definitely make a good movie.

I was impressed with how quickly the action kicked off. There’s no pages and pages of background filler on the experiment. The opening scenes are the clone getting its finishing touches before heading out into the world, and just like that, Jeremiah is enclosed in his room.

It’s mere moments before you can feel a sense of dread starting to seep in. Like when Jeremiah realizes the exterior door of his apartment doesn’t have a handle on his side. He is literally a prisoner at the mercy of the few ViGen employees who are actually privy to the experiment and know of his whereabouts.

As you continue turning pages, the true sinister nature of the story begins to reveal itself. I am loving the relationship between Jeremiah and Brent, right now. Brent brings a lot of much need humor. Although some of the plot is predictable in a 1990s-Techno-Thriller way, it’s still fun and engaging.

According to my e-Reader, I have under two hours left. So, I am going to go finish it up now and then I will circle back here with a full review. Right now my star rating is hovering between a 3.5 and 4. Stay tuned to find out more!!!

Review: To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

To Sleep in a Sea of StarsTo Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Originally, I was planning to give To Sleep in a Sea of Stars 4.5-stars and round up.

After having some time to reflect on my reading experience, however, I can give this nothing but 5-stars. I CANNOT STOP thinking about it.

This novel is quite the accomplishment for Paolini. If I am remembering the Author’s Note correctly, he worked on this project for nine years and it shows; as close to perfection as you can get.

In the beginning of the story, we meet and follow Kira Navarez, a xenobiologist, who discovers an alien relic while on a survey mission to an uninhabited planet.

The relic isn’t as dormant as it first appears and ends up contaminating and binding with Kira. This event has lasting repercussions, leaving her feeling responsible for some negative events that follow.

This is a story of first contact. I wasn’t aware of that going in, although it says it directly in the synopsis, I missed it somehow.

I love first contact stories. It’s actually one of my favorite subgenres of Science Fiction. It is so well done here, you can definitely tell that Paolini is a Sci-Fi fan himself.

This story is so vast, it is hard to give brief plot points that would sum up the entirety of this novel’s scope. There is so much that happens from the first time Kira comes in contact with the alien suit to the stunning conclusion.

Reading this, I became so attached to her and the other characters as well. The crew that Kira travels with, defending the Universe, are the perfect rag-tag group of lovable rebels.

I loved how Paolini incorporated humor and witty banter into this story. It made the characters seem so real; they were reacting how you expect people in real life to react to such crazy and dire circumstances.

I was so engaged throughout my time reading this. It did not feel like a close to 900-page story. I got through it way more quickly than I had anticipated.

I would note this is straight-up, good old-fashioned Science Fiction. If you are thinking this will be more SFF, based on Paolini’s past works, you could be disappointed.

If you do not normally enjoy Science Fiction, you may not like this. If you are a fan of Sci-Fi though, you will eat this up. The delicious science bits are woven throughout. Start-to-finish, the details are incredible.

Also, if you do pick this book up, be sure to read through the Appendices at the end. There’s definitely a lot of interesting supplemental material there.

My favorite being a timeline of events that lead up to the world as we find it at the beginning of the story. It basically fills in the blanks between our current world through Kira’s time. It’s not very long, but I found it to be a thoughtful addition to the story.

The audiobook is fantastic as well, if you think that would be a good option for you. At first, I was thinking, why didn’t they go full cast, as there are quite a few characters. After getting into it, however, I never thought of it again.

The narrator, Jennifer Hale, did an absolutely tremendous job bringing this story to life. She is such talented voice artist and I was shocked to learn that this is actually her first audiobook. Talk about coming out swinging!

I am going to be thinking about this story for a long time to come and would love to read it again someday.

Highly, highly recommend!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Tor Books, for providing me with both an e-book and audiobook copy of this release to read and review.

I had so much fun with this story and hope Paolini continues to write Science Fiction for a long time to come!

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