• books,  product review

    Book review: ‘The Martian’, by Andy Weir

    (Disclosure: I received a copy of this title from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.)

    The Martian, by Andy Weir

    The Martian, by Andy Weir (paperback, 369 pages). 2.5 out of five stars.

    I think that some books can be just okay, or even kind of good, but not truly “great” unless you’re a hardcore fan of their given genre. The Martian was definitely one such book–it was pretty decent, but unless you’re a hardcore “real science” sci-fi fan, you’re probably going to struggle with the text.

    It’s not that the book is draggy, or dull, or that the main character is unlikable. Quite the opposite, in fact! I picked this up based on a recommendation from a friend, even though it didn’t really catch my eye as being my “type” of book, and I was surprised to find how much I enjoyed it. The plotting and pacing was great, there was plenty of humor sprinkled throughout, and you’re really never sure if Mark will make it back to earth or not.

    So why only 2.5 stars? Because as good as the story was, the heavy focus on Mark’s scientific endeavors started to wear on me. I ended up skimming through the last 100 pages or so because my eyes were starting to glaze over. Sci-fi is one of those genres that can be tricky if you’re not a dedicated fan, and I personally don’t get into “real science sci-fi” quite so much as hypothetical sci-fi (think Fringe). This book reads like a literal manual of How To Escape Mars in 364 Easy Steps (or something like that). If you love this particular branch of sci-fi, then you’ll be thrilled, but for myself it started to feel a little tedious.

    Overall, it’s great for hardcore genre fans, and a good “borrow” title for the rest of us.

  • books,  Top Ten Tuesday

    Top Ten Tuesday: top ten bookish problems I have

    Top Ten Tuesday

    Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week we’re talking bookish problems, and boy, do I have plenty. Because this is a very serious topic (other book lovers will understand) I’ve enlisted the aid of Ryan Gosling to explain it all. Take it away, Ryan!

    1. I stay up way past my bedtime reading. I know I’ll be sorry later. But I do it anyway.

    2. I buy new books to read even though I already have a staggering TBR list. I need them all.



    3. I jump into new books before finishing the ones I’m currently reading. I can’t help myself.


    4. I get emotionally attached to the characters in book that I’m reading and once the book ends, I fall into a state of semi-depression that they’re gone.


    5. I become rather hermit-ish when I’ve got a new book to read. What can I say, when it comes down to the choice between reading and a social life, reading wins every time. Sometimes I’m forced to go out and be social and it’s such a drag.


    6. I get personally offended when people say they don’t like reading.


    7. I’m often disappointed by the mega-popular books that everyone else seems to like. They almost never live up to the hype. Especially when people say that something is “the best book ever” and it turns out to be really…mediocre. I always wonder what I’m missing.


    8. It’s hard to talk to new people if they’re not also obsessed with books. Though if they are = insta-friend.

    9. There’s never enough time to read. Never.


    10. That age-old dilemma: keep reading? Or stop and fix food? Or…starve a little longer? Pizza isn’t always at hand. Sometimes cereal has to do.


    Any bookish problems that you suffer from? (Or are you quite happily plagued?) Or maybe you don’t have problems with reading per se, but issues with certain books or certain genres? Tell me in the comments!

  • books,  Top Ten Tuesday

    Top Ten Tuesday: things I love/hate about romance novels

    Top Ten Tuesday

    Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week we’re discussing our favorite things (and biggest pet peeves) in the world of romance novels! I don’t actually read romance as a genre per se, but I have read a lot of YA and other genres in which romances feature prominently in the plot, and there are definitely some things I love and hate about the romance in those books. So here you go:

    1. I HATE insta-love. I think this is going to be a common complaint this week. YA seems to be the worst offender for this one. I get having a spark or being instantly attracted to someone, but love takes time to grow…even if you’re 16 and trapped in a dystopian novel. (Or perhaps especially in that situation.)

    2. I LOVE the slow burn that takes forever to build. The first thing that leaps to mind is actually not a book, but a TV show: Fringe. I know some people hate waiting forever for two people to get together, but I love seeing how a relationship slowly progresses. And it makes it all the sweeter when they finally admit their feelings to each other. See also: Brooks and Braun from The Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences. I’m sure a lot of people are peeved to go through multiple books and still not see these two hook up, but I like that things are moving slowly. I think it would be out of character for Eliza to rush falling in love.

    3. I HATE one-sided love triangles. You know the kind I mean: where it’s really really stinkin’ obvious who will win the heroine’s heart. Biggest example that leaps to mind: Gale/Peeta/Katniss in The Hunger Games. (And I do love those books, I really do. But come on. You know Peeta is going to win in the end!*)

    4. I really HATE cheesy sex scenes. I mean, c’mon, if it’s going to be in there, make it good. I stumbled over all the really cringe-worthy scenes in the last Outlander tome. It felt like the author was getting bored and didn’t know what she was writing.

    5. I HATE, HATE, HATE controlling boyfriends in books. Why is this considered sexy? The worst one I read was Hush, Hush (see the full review here). I just don’t get it. Someone who is controlling or physically threatening to you is not a good pick for a mate.

    6. That said, I do LOVE me some bad-boy boyfriends. Think about Damon from The Vampire Diaries. He’s basically an asshole. But he’s hilarious about it. And when the chips are down, he quits joking around and gets serious. Also, I like that he’s protective of Elena without being a controlling jerk. There’s a fine line there.

    7. I HATE characters that are considered desirable solely based on looks. Sure, being attractive in a physical sense is going to catch someone’s eye, but when that’s all the MC thinks about…even after several chapters or several books? Does this person not have a personality? Or do you just not care about it because you’re too focused on their body? I just can’t fall in love with someone based solely on their looks–I need that person to be smart, funny, etc.–so it’s hard for me to buy into a romance and get emotionally invested in it if all I know about the love interest is that they have really great hair.

    8. I HATE it when characters change as soon as they fall in love. I think you do change a little bit for the person you’re with (as in, you pick up your socks off the floor and don’t tell dirty jokes in public), but characters–especially slightly villainous characters–who suddenly become mushy and soft once they’re in love drive me nuts. That person I liked so much to begin with is now gone.

    9. I HATE heroines that constantly need to be rescued by their love interests. Why can’t they be evenly matched? Why can’t she save herself once in a while? Helpless girls drive me nuts.

    10. I LOVE love. I can’t help it! I love love. I love shipping characters. I love cheering for them to overcome their struggles and be stronger on the other end. Books without are fine, but I do love seeing characters meet, fall in love, and develop as they go. I may love villains and dark mysteries, but the softer side of me loves a sweet, sappy ending, too.

    What are your biggest love/hate points for romance novels? What are some of the best romance novels you’ve read, or novels in other genres that featured really great love stories? Leave me a comment and let me know! (And if you did TTT this week, leave me a link so I can check it out!)

    *Apologies to anyone living under a rock for the past several years for whom this revelation was a spoiler. Sorry.