The Martian by Andy Weir

Has anyone been paying attention to new movies coming out? Have you heard of The Martian with Matt Damon? Well, if you haven’t, you need to take a minute to look it up. Do it now, I will wait….

Did you look it up? Good!

themartianmovieThe movie is being released on Friday October 2nd. That is just two short days from today. Once I decided to read this book I had a very short window to read this book before the movie came out. And I really wanted to watch this movie as soon as it comes out.

The book The Martian was written by Andy Weir and was published in 2011, and I honestly had never heard of it, but even if I had, I probably wouldn’t have picked it up on my own. A book called the Martian isn’t exactly the type of book I typically read

Amazon’s spoiler free description is as follows:

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

My fiance was the main reason this book was added to my must read list, and I am not ashamed to give him full and complete credit. If you have been following this blog from the beginning, one of my first posts was about how much I hate spoilers, and watching a movie before reading a book is a HUGE spoiler to me. Rob wants to see this movie, but he had to read the book first. After he completely busted through the book in two days, I knew it was going to be worth my time, so I downloaded the kindle version and got started.

This book is gripping. A story told in short log entries, where every chapter moves the plot along, definitely keeps you glued to the pages. Nothing is overly exaggerated, no scientific knowledge is necessarily expected to be understood by the readers, and everything is told in a reader friendly format that has me feeling like a science buff after finishing the novel.

When Mark Watney gets stranded on Mars, he knows he is totally screwed, but of anyone on that crew he was the most likely to survive the situation he was put in. Watney was the resident engineer and botanist. He has the skills to fix anything that breaks, as well as figure out how to grow the food that will lead to his survival. His biggest problems are the fact that he has no way of telling NASA that he is still alive, and the next manned mission to Mars isn’t for four years. How is he going to survive that long? Not easily, what with human error, radiation, and sand storms all trying to kill him.

themartian1

The most surprising and heart warming part of this book was the tremendous idea that the world gathered together to bring Mark Watney home, and everyone worked together to try and make it happen, no money or time was an issue, everyone did everything they could to make it a success. They had to bring him home.

If it were up to me everyone would read the book before they sit in those comfortable movie theater seats to see this movie. And boy is this movie going to be amazing!! I am so glad I don’t have to wait too long before I can enjoy a bucket of popcorn and this amazing movie. But as it always is, I am 99.9% sure the book will be better than the movie, don’t let yourself get caught in the spoilers the movie will absolutely be. Get this book, read it, THEN see the movie!

Or just go see the movie, and enjoy a Matt Damon fest. What really can I do to stop you?

Happy Reading,

Katie

P.S. below is one of my favorite quotes from the movie. SO true in life!

ducttape

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2,000 + pages later

The Harry Potter Series was 4,224 pages of amazing, magical wonderment.

The Hunger Games was 1,153 pages of sheer excitement and suspense.

In the past two weeks I have hunkered down and read 2,112 pages of the most fascinating and engaging pages since Harry Potter, and it is only half way done.

The Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas currently have 4 books published, the most recent being published earlier this month. The hype surrounding the newly published book, made me more interested in picking up this series. I have to admit, the covers were a sort of turn off for me, they made me think it would be a book leaning towards the childish, and held off picking them up, but when I got an email from bookbub.com telling me that the first book was only $0.99 I decided to give them a chance. I did like A Court of Thorns and Roses, so hopefully I would like this series that all the blogs are talking about.

I not only devoured these books, they devoured me. How many times, in the last few weeks has someone been calling my name, but I didn’t respond because my mind was in the book? Sarah Maas is an amazing storyteller, and it was simple to get lost in the world she weaves for you in these books.

My fiance is fabulous at making connections early on in books like this, and I will be pushing these books under his nose as soon as I possibly can, but for me, I was gasping and shocked at every turn. Ms. Maas gives you just enough information to link together the plot as she wants you to, no sooner, no later. Her characters are developing and growing as each new blow hits them.

I want to cheer from the rooftops about this series! SO good. It is soooo good.

I would love to give each book its own review, but if I am being completely honest with you, the books are blurring together because I read them so close together.

So instead of going through the plot of each book, which might create spoilers for anyone who hasn’t read this series before I will instead give you some basic descriptions, and hope that you all trust me enough to take my advice and go get started this series. Be warned though, there are three more books in this series, and the most recent book came out this month, so you are looking at at least a year before you can get your hand on the next installment. I would say try and stretch these books out, but I don’t know if it will be physically possible, after seeing how I devoured them.

These books are a mix of Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, mixed in with assassins, witches, and wyverns. Celaena Sardothien is to be the kings champion, she was dragged out of the slave camps and brought to the glass castle for that one purpose alone, but she must prove herself and beat 23 other hand picked challengers to gain the title, and with it her eventual freedom. But that isn’t the only thing going on in the castle, something dark and mysterious is murdering champions, leaving their corpses strewn across the stone hallways, missing organs, and strange symbols painted in blood the only clues. Some say magic, but magic has been struck from the land for ten years, and no one knows why or where magic has gone.

These books follow Celaena on a path no one would assume, as she faces her own personal demons, the fears and mistakes she has made, and the person she became through all of the dangers she faced. She must choose who she wants to be, and how she will get there. She makes friends, loses them, find power and strengths within herself beyond her wildest dreams.

Every character is searching for something, and I hope in the end they will all find it.

My favorite aspect of these books is that each book has its own story arch, and each novel has a sort of conclusion that satisfies you. The overall plot still have things that remain unknown or events to happen, but overall, you feel complete at the end of a book, no left hanging with no literary satisfaction. That is the worst! Especially with  multiple books left to be written/published. (who knows how many books she has written, waiting to be published!)

I am going to leave this picture here, so you can find the order of the series, and I hope that at least some of you pick up the books if you haven’t already!

throne of glass seriesbook 4 pic

I have a feeling I will be jumping back in to the life of Harry Desden soon, so if you are a fan of magic detectives, do I have a super long series for you! Ill tell you all about that one next!

Happy Reading!

Katie

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

storied life

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

How had I never heard of this book before? I feel like I must have been living under a rock or something. Or maybe the title/cover art wasn’t supremely appealing, and I judged it too harshly based on its cover. What a fool I was!

A friend from college recommended this book to me on goodreads, and she had never done that for me yet, so I was intrigued about a novel that had her so excited she would HAVE to share it with me.

Also in Mr. Fikry’s favor was that it was available on kindle unlimited 😛

This book can only be explained as a book lovers dream. I wish I had counted how many different times the author name dropped or references a book or author, but it was like sharing a secret every time I caught a reference. It makes a person feel good when they can understand an inside joke or nuance mentioned by the author.

A.J. Fikry is a bookstore owner who lost his wife in a car accident 2 years ago, and ever since he has been slowly drinking himself into a stupor. He even has his retirement all planned out, he is going to take his rare copy of Edgar Allen Poe poems to auction, and live off the sale. Since it is worth about $400,000, it would be quite a comfortable life indeed. Too bad someone steals it.

The next thing he knows a baby is left in his bookstore, and her mother is found washed up on the shore day later. What is he going to do? Does this sweet little smarty pants girl go in to the system? Or does he take the opportunity presented to him, and keep her?

From that day on, his life is different. Slowly, he begins to live again. The small town of Alice rally’s around him, and even his business begins to become steady again.

There is a love interest, but to call this book merely a romance is putting too big of a label. This is the story of A.J.’s life, and what it took for him to learn to appreciate it again.

His daughter Maya grows up to be, in his words, the most fantastic nerd. She is raised in and among books. She wants to become a writer, and enters competitions starting early, and she loves to learn. When she doesn’t know what to do, or how to approach a situation, her Dad gives her book recommendation that may help her figure it all out. When she is stuck writing, he tells her that the best way to get unstuck is to read, learn, explore, but there is one thing that she never truly seems all that interested in learning about, and what she doesn’t want to know is anything about her mother. Why did her mother leave her in a bookstore? It doesn’t matter, and since she had been there, her life and A.J.’s have been better for it.

A novel like this has innumerable quotes that I loved, but here are just a few that really stuck with me.

storied life quote

paragraph quote

ajfikry quote

I greatly enjoyed reading about the world that A.J. Fikry lived in. I fell in love with his little family, and the townspeople that graced his store. His life was not one without great tragedy, but he also had great joy. After reading this book, I am grateful that his story was shared.

Hope some of you decide to pick this one up someday soon.

Happy Reading,

Katie

Labor Day Weekend Reads

Hey you lovely readers you!!!

So as I have been getting settled in to my new job, I have been trying to keep up on my reading!(not the easiest thing to do, but its helping with my sanity) This Labor Day weekend gave me some much needed time between the pages!

I read two books this weekend, both of which deserve a little time on this blog of mine. 😉

The first was Modelland by, Tyra Banks.

modelland

If you know me, this is not exactly the type of book I would normally pick up, but one of the students at my new school checked it out of the library, and I told her that I would read it with her. I am all for supporting students reading, and if having me read the same  novel is motivation for her? I am all for it!

It follows a girl name Tookie, through a magical, frightening, and empowering experience through Modelland. Every year 100 girls are chosen to join the elite location at the top of the mountain, Modelland, where if they do as their told, and succeed beyond measure, they can become an Intoxibella. A top of the top fashion model, leading the world by storm.

Tookie is not what you would typically call beautiful, and neither are her 3 friends. But that doesn’t stop them from rocking their bella lessons! Each girl has powers of her own, and the ability to shine in this magical land, so what if they aren’t textbook beautiful, they are fierce and every girl on the mountain has her own demons to struggle with. Even the most beautiful girls have insecurities.

This book was strange, overly themed, and just generally odd. But it has an amazing heart. If you have a love of fantasy and fashion, and you happen to be an insecure girl in her teens, this book will probably do you some good. It has a strong, love thy self theme, as well as not bowing down to “traditional” beauty. With all the “effyourbeautystandards” going on, This book is right up the alley with all those other ideals.

In the end, I didn’t really like it, but I respected it. Now all I have to do is see if that student comes back with it finished!

The other book I read, was also a student recommendation, but it was a series that I had been meaning to pick up anyway, so I was excited to have a reason to get started.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

throne of glass

My first exposure to Sarah J. Maas was her new series A Court of Thorns and Roses, and if I remember correctly, I gushed about that book after I read it…. It is the same with this one! *gush-gush-gush*

Ms. Maas is such a wonderful writer that I think I will be adding her to my “must read” list, any book she writes from now on, I will definitely be on the look out for! Thankfully I have some catching up to do, so hopefully I wont have to wait too long for her next release from the Court of Thorns and Roses series.

This book, Throne of Glass, had everything, action, magic, revenge, love, and rebellion.  Celaena Sardothien is an infamous assassin, we first meet her after she has been living in a slave compound in the salt mines. She has survived for a year in a place most people don’t live to see for a month. But now the crowned prince has come to bring her back to the palace. The King is hosting a competition to find his champion, and if she can beat 23 other criminals, murderers, and thieves, she can work towards her freedom.

Celaena is such an amazing character, she is strong willed, and knows what she has to do, but she hasn’t lost her soul through all those years as an assassin. You wouldn’t think that you would grow to love a murderer, but how could you not, when its Celaena. The crowned prince, and the Captain of the guard, most certainly agree with me…

Magic plays its part as well, the King has banished all magic, but he can’t rid his kingdom of every kind, Wyrdmarks are found surrounding the castle, and champions are being found dead in the halls. Something is going bump in the night, and unless Celaena or the Captain of the Guard can figure out who is killing these people, no Champion is safe.

I read this book from start to finish. I was trying not to let myself get too involved and sucked in to the story, because you know, chores and a fiance that I need to give my attention to, but I definitely gave this book most of my Sunday. And if my short summary makes you interested at all in reading it, I would DEFINITELY recommend it to you. It’s cheap right now too! I got this book on amazon kindle for $0.99!

Let me know if you guys pick up any of these books! I would love to talk about it with you.

Happy Reading,

Katie

Book Trailers? How COOL! An Ember in the Ashes Reviewed

When did people start making book trailers? When did publishers start making book trailers??? I feel like I am so behind with this book trailer thing!! I had no idea that was popular now! How cool! (this is cool because I found one for a new book that I completely devoured)

An Ember in the Ashes

Sabaa Tahir

Book received- bought through Amazon.

an ember in teh ashes

I was reading a new book that was recommended to me by a friend, An Ember in the Ashes, By Sabaa Tahir and when I was googling the book to get more info about it, I came across a trailer. It got me hooked and convinced me it was time to pick up the book, and definitely did not disappoint!

The friend who recommended this book, is not one to offer up a bad book, so as soon as I heard about it, I ordered a copy on amazon. (you should too, now that you have read this) But it sat on my self for a few months while I read other things. I knew I had something that was going to be really good, but I didn’t know much about it so I kept pushing it aside when I went to the book shelf. Now that I got through it I wish I had picked it up sooner!!

Essentially this is a novel from the point of view of two characters, Elias, a member of the Empire, head of his graduating class, and a deadly mask, and Laia who is a scholar, her family killed,with only her brother to fight for. She must do everything she can to save her remaining family from the Empire. Set in a Romanesque world, The Empire has conquered the Scholars, and made them slaves. Before the scholars were educated peaceful people, now their libraries are destroyed, and knowledge is forbidden. A Scholar is not supposed to know how to read, and yet Laia does…  Laia must put her life in danger to save her brother, while Elias must decide where his loyalties lie, and figure out for himself what is right or wrong.  After Laia’s brother is imprisoned, she searches out the resistance for help in getting her brother out. In trade, they promise to help him escape if she will spy for them in the Commandant’s house as a slave. If Laia thought her life was difficult before, she has no idea what she is getting into, working for such a vile and cruel woman as the Commandant. Elias was hoping to leave behind the Empire after graduation, but events lead him to another path, a competition to decide the next Emperor. If he competes, with his best friend Helene, he will have to opportunity to truly be free of the Empire once and for all.

That is a poor summary of this book, honestly, but I really don’t want to give too much away if this is your first taste of it. Tahir has written so beautifully , I felt like I was immersed in the story. This was a book I kept in  my hands from start to finish. I was gasping, and aww-ing at every page. Whoever had to listen while I was reading must have thought I was in pain myself. This book puts you through the ringer emotionally, you come to care for everyone, or hate certain characters so passionately, you practically wish them ill from your side of the pages. You will not want to put this book down.

Many YA novels now a days have a caveat for me. I have to remember that these characters are young and flawed. They have to grow into the people you want them to become. But with Elias and Laia, I loved who they were, and the personalities they had developed before I ever opened the pages. They stayed true to themselves, and that in itself is a breath of fresh air.

If you still aren’t sold, take a look at the book trailer that I linked below, After you watch it, read it! Do it for me. So I can have more people to talk with about this book.

AND! good news, This book was supposed to be a stand alone novel, but because of the response it got after its release it has a sequel coming! Plus, the movie’s rights have already been purchased! There are many  more exciting things coming from Tahir that I cannot wait for!!

An Ember in the Ashes Book Trailer- Penguin Teen

Happy Reading Friends!

Katie

Big BIG things are happening!

Yes, yes I know… I pretty much let this blog go for the summer. To anyone who was keeping up with me, I am so so sorry!!

But the truth is, this summer was HUGE for me. In June, I got engaged!!! and in July I got a new job! Starting this fall I will be a librarian! I cannot tell you guy just how excited I actually am to be working in the library. This job came about pretty quickly, and I am going to miss all my old coworkers, but this is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up! SO! Hopefully I will be able to share even more book knowledge with all of you, because I will be right in  the thick of it all! (also, I am ecstatic to be sharing the rest of my life with the amazing man that I love so dearly) (wedding planning, wedding planning, wedding planning….)

This summer went by so quickly!! I wanted to read so many different books, but with the wedding to plan, and summer school that I taught, i didnt read as much as I had hoped, but! There are a ton of books that I got my hands on, that I will start reviewing as soon as I can. They include…

An Ember in the Ashes

Isle of the Lost

This Raging Light

Oh. My. Gods.

Goddess Bootcamp

Night Circus

And I am sure a few more, I just don’t have my books right in front of me.

I also took full advantage of the amazon prime day, and bought a new kindle! I was an iPad user before, but the back light was hurting my eyes, I am loving my new kindle though, and it is so light and easy to read!!

I hope you all have been doing well, I missed you!

I’m sure you will be hearing from me again soon, I have lots of things to keep you updated on! School starts tomorrow, so any students or teachers out there… Good Luck! this year is going to be a great one. I can feel it!

Happy Reading,

Katie

Summer reading slump

I was so excited for summer, I have a giant TBR pile, and a comfy couch calling my name. But for some reason, I just haven’t been in the mood to read! I keep grabbing books off my shelf, taking them with me to places, like my parents house, work, and appointments. But I just haven’t gotten the mood to strike! What’s wrong with me?? Normally I would be burning through my summer reading material, multiple books being read each week, but this year all I have been interested in doing is lounging on the couch watching Netflix, or playing silly games on my phone. I know, these moods strike people, but this isn’t me. I always have a book going, but it’s been a few weeks since I have had any interest to read… Do you have any tricks up your sleeves to help me get out of this slump? 

Also notice, this hasn’t been preventing me from buying new books, just actually READING them…. 

Hope you are all having a fabulous summer! I wish lots and lots of reading for all of you!!

Happy Reading, 

Katie