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review SPOILER ALERT! 2019-08-05 08:19
The Last Astronaut by David Wellington
The Last Astronaut - David Wellington

TITLE:   The Last Astronaut

 

AUTHOR:  David Wellington

 

DESCRIPTION:

"Mission Commander Sally Jansen is Earth’s last astronaut–and last hope–in this gripping near-future thriller where a mission to make first contact becomes a terrifying struggle for survival in the depths of space.

Sally Jansen was NASA’s leading astronaut, until a mission to Mars ended in disaster. Haunted by her failure, she lives in quiet anonymity, convinced her days in space are over.

She’s wrong.

A large alien object has entered the solar system on a straight course toward Earth. It has made no attempt to communicate and is ignoring all incoming transmissions.

Out of time and out of options, NASA turns to Jansen. For all the dangers of the mission, it’s the shot at redemption she always longed for.

But as the object slowly begins to reveal its secrets, one thing becomes horribly clear: the future of humanity lies in Jansen’s hands.
"

_______________________________

REVIEW:

 

An action-packed, adventure novel of alien first contact, as well as human social dynamics in space and under stress. The beginning starts off slowly, but the pace picks up.  Some of the characters I loved, others I felt needed to be shoved out the nearest airlock.  The alien was very alien and also (in the end), not so very strange.  The ending was poignant.

 

The one thing I wasn't particularly thrilled about was the format of the book.  The imaginary author is writing an in-world book about events after they have happened.  This author has interspersed the main story with little side commentaries/thoughts/confessions from various characters who where talking to NASA at the time.  These little interludes tend to interrupt the flow of the story.  I didn't have much luck with the audiobook, but the text version was much better.  I think this is why the audiobook didn't work for me.  It's easy to separate interludes from the main narrative since they are in italics.  In the audiobook they tend to run into the main narrative and cause confusion.  The narrator also didn't separate characters very well - they all sounded the same, despite attempts at different male/female voices.

 

A fun, entertaining reading experience.

 

 

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review 2019-07-27 01:00
THE LAST ASTRONAUT by David Wellington
The Last Astronaut - David Wellington

THE LAST ASTRONAUT took all my thoughts about "First Contact", (I'm a Trekkie), and turned them on their heads.

 

This book deserves a better review than I have time available to give right now, so I must keep it brief. This was science fiction with a bit of humor and a big bunch of tension. It was fast-paced, with well drawn, deep and fascinating characters. I especially loved Sally Jansen. This woman was one of the bravest characters I've ever read about it. She wasn't perfect and everyone knew it, which is what I think made her so special to me.

 

I'm a bit of a space nerd, so all the science was fun and interesting to me. The situation into which these astronauts were placed was such a tough one the odds were heavy on their failure. Being that this year is the 50th anniversary of our landing on the moon, my respect has risen for all those who ever took that chance in real life, whether or not they made it. They are all winners to me, the real men and women, and those in this book.

 

All I can say is that I'm so glad I'm friends with readers who read and appreciated this book. If it were not for all of their rave reviews, I'm sure THE LAST ASTRONAUT would have passed under my radar. Thanks to all of you guys, you know who you are.

 

My highest recommendation!

 

*Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-03-03 11:30
Reading Anniversaries: First in a Series & Singles–January Edition

 

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on March 3, 2018.

 

2012

 

9166877

 

The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross

 

I don't much remember what went on in this book, except there being a plot to replace the Queen with an automaton clone. Must have made an impression on me because I rated it 4 stars on GR. Oh, and the covers in the series are beautiful! I recently and reviewed the second book in this series.

 

 

6286042

 

Must Love Hellhounds by Various Authors

 

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GR tells me that I loved most of the stories from this anthology. Must have been a good collection. I remember trying it out because it also included a story by Ilona Andrews -- a favorite author couple of mine.

 

 

6416702

 

Frostbite by David Wellington

 

If you don't yet know that an awesome vampire series by David Wellington's exists, then you haven't been paying attention. Like the Laura Caxton series, this one is creepy AF. My GR review tells me I recommend it to:

 

                         people who like werewolves without the romance and cheesiness

 

I loved it and I don't even like horror much! Here, let my gushing adoration convince you that you need to try Wellington's books.

 

793399

 

Stray by Rachel Vincent

 

When I first read it, one of the most annoying things about this series was its heroine. She was a whiny, selfish brat who didn't care about the consequences of her action. One of the best things about it, as I continued to plod along, is how she changed! By the end of the series, the events have transformed her into the alpha her father always knew her to be. If that doesn't float your boat, maybe stay for all the violence and the gore? Oh, and did I mention that the series is complete? You can binge read it!

 

 

9532302

 

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan

 

Maybe I have a soft spot for tortured, lonely werewolves or maybe it's something else. Either way, I just completed this series. While the first had impressed me, the second and third fell short. All I'm saying is that even with the cliffhanger at the end of the first one, it can easily be read as a standalone.

 

2013

 

375802

 

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

 

I have had much to say about the second book in this series on this blog. All good things, I promise. Therefore, it won't come as a surprise that I loved the first one, as well! The ending blew me away even when I have become so jaded about last-minute twists that change everything. Check this one out!

 

 

  15765487

 

He was a Hero, He Shouldn't have Died by Kenneth Mugi

 

If you asked me to describe this book in a word, I'd probably say weird. But wait, this is what I said in my review:

 

I got this book for free, in exchange for an honest review from Making Connections. Get your copy here.

 

This book is very different from the plethora of Paranormal novels out there- it turns the idea of Dorian Gray’s picture on its head.

 

What I really liked about it was that the touch of fantasy/paranormal elements didn’t overwhelm Kasumi’s story.

Another thing to like was that if the new edited version had any errors, I couldn’t find them.

 

There is enough humor to balance the darkness in the story.

 

I would have liked to see more of Morgan but watching Kasumi grow into her powers would be exciting too.

 

Hoping that there are some fight scenes in the next book!

 

This book isn’t for everybody but if you’d like to read something unique, give this one a whirl.

 

13491299

 

The Gods Among Us by D.C. Belton

An old read, an old review:

 

The author was kind enough to give me a free review copy.

You know those books that you just don't wanna put down? Not because there's something exciting happening in the story or it is a good story...not only that but mostly because the writing flows and the story is being told so smoothly that you just read on and on. This book was such a book.

 

The parts I loved the most began when Pallas is aboard the ship and meets the crew. Their humor, lightheartedness and loyalty towards each other made them lovable.

I also liked that we're set up to hate Elena in the beginning of the story but we find out she has more depth and understands political intrigue much better than her younger sisters give her credit for.

 

Othello, I feared and hated just like I was supposed to. Even when I laughed at his antics, I wasn't less creeped out by him!

 

description

 

About the gods and their machinations: a) I'm not yet sure if they're actually deities and not humans who know what opposable thumbs are, b) they just don't care whose life they ruin, do they? Even Pallas who claims not to believe in gods & goddesses can't escape their schemes!

 

Pallas keeps mentioning how her father must miss her and I couldn't shake the feeling that there's something wrong there. Poor Pallas!

 

What would have made the book even better was a little more world building, maybe? Or a map, so we could understand what this world is like even better.

 

13526165

 

Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple

Lovely, fun at times and sad at other times, quirky as heck read. I liked it, maybe you would too?

 

Well, those were my faves from the past years. You can also find reviews of books from 2018 that stuck with me. 

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review 2017-10-03 20:17
Frostbite
Frostbite - David Wellington
I don’t typically read books with this subject matter so I was surprised how much I enjoyed this novel. There wasn’t any specific character I liked the best, I liked how the story progressed, how the author explained things, and the excitement the novel provided. There was closure at the end of the novel yet I see that this is the beginning of a series for the author. I can see where the novel might be headed in the future though and I might pick up the rest of the series next month.
 
The novel begins with Chey out in the forest, making her way through the dense trees, when a flash flood comes barreling her way. She loses most of her belongings as the water tumbles her about. As she gets her bearings, she finds herself staring at multiple sets of glowing eyes behind the trees. Climbing a nearby tree for safety, she realizes that she is surrounded by wolves and begins to wonder what her next step will be. A howl rings through the trees, a chilling and unique howl, which sends the wolves running. As she watches the scene unfold, Chey sees another animal circling her tree. With white fangs, the silver and black animal gazes up at her before he begins to reach for her. She tries to be beyond the animals reach but it isn’t long before the animal has found blood, he has finally reached her and left his mark. Later, as Chey climbs down from the tree, she smells hope. Slowly making her way towards the smell, Chey comes upon Dzo cooking over a fire. Dzo is one unique individual and the more I read, the more I found out about Dzo’s past and who he really is. Dzo brings her to Powell’s cabin so he can tend to her needs. Located in an isolated part of Canadian wilderness, these two men are comfortably living separate lives with a shared secret. Chey thinks she is safe now but this feeling is short-lived when she hears the men talking. Everyone has a history and eventually the author gets around to sharing each of the character’s pasts with me. I loved how the novel all came together and I enjoyed the little twists that the author revealed slowly as the story intensified. They had each thought that their lives were difficult but now as they meet each other, it is only going to get more complicated. The Canadian wilderness is entering turbulent territory.

 

Using this novel for Halloween Bingo 2017 for the werewolf square.

 

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text 2017-01-21 08:58
First Book Loot for 2017!

 

 
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New Arrivals at appear Midu Reads as the new year starts. I have 3 nonfiction books in the pile & am really excited about those! You can also see Assail by Ian C. Esselmont, a Joe Abercombie, Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson, and  Monster Island by David Wellington--all of which are going to be awesome. There's also Dragon Horse by Peter Ward, which I bought because a) shiny, b) hardcover, c)it had the words, epic, fantasy, & China written on it!
 

Book Synopses

 

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1. Dragon Horse by Peter Ward

 

"Set in ancient China, two brothers fight the classic battle between good and evil as the Shadow-without-name attempts to break free from eternal imprisonment by utilizing the strength and power of the famed dragon horses. Rokshan and An-Lushan are drawn into this centuries-old struggle, along with a young girl destined to become the Spellweaver of her nomadic tribe.
 

As An-Lushan is pulled towards the dark, Rokshan must embark upon a dangerous journey and learn the innermost secrets of the dragons."

 

6
 

2. Assail by Ian C. Esselmont

 

"Tens of thousands of years of ice is melting, and the land of Assail, long a byword for menace and inaccessibility, is at last yielding its secrets. Tales of gold discovered in the region's north circulate in every waterfront dive and sailor's tavern, and now countless adventurers and fortune-seekers have set sail in search of riches. All these adventurers have to guide them are legends and garbled tales of the dangers that lie in wait -- hostile coasts, fields of ice, impassable barriers and strange, terrifying creatures. But all accounts concur that the people of the north meet all trespassers with the sword. And beyond are rumoured to lurk Elder monsters out of history's very beginnings." Read more.

 

 7

 

3. Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson

 

"Cryptonomicon zooms all over the world, careening conspiratorially back and forth between two time periods--World War II and the present. Our 1940s heroes are the brilliant mathematician Lawrence Waterhouse, crypt analyst extraordinaire, and gung-ho, morphine-addicted marine Bobby Shaftoe. They're part of Detachment 2702, an Allied group trying to break Axis communication codes while simultaneously preventing the enemy from figuring out that their codes have been broken. Their job boils down to layer upon layer of deception. Dr. Alan Turing is also a member of 2702, and he explains the unit's strange workings to Waterhouse. "When we want to sink a convoy, we send out an observation plane first... Of course, to observe is not its real duty--we already know exactly where the convoy is. Its real duty is to be observed... Then, when we come round and sink them, the Germans will not find it suspicious." Read more.

 
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4. The Fruit Hunters: A Story of Nature, Obsession, Commerce, and Adventure by Adam Leith Gollner

 

"Tasty, lethal, hallucinogenic, and medicinal – fruits have led nations into wars, fueled dictatorships, and even lured us into new worlds. Adam Leith Gollner weaves business, science, and travel into a riveting narrative about one of earth’s most desired foods." Read more.
 

 2

 

5. A Buzz in the Meadow: The Natural History of a French Farm by Dave Goulson

 

"In A Buzz in the Meadow, Goulson returns to tell the tale of how he bought a derelict farm in the heart of rural France. Over the course of a decade, on thirty-three acres of meadow, he created a place for his beloved bumblebees to thrive. But other creatures live there too, myriad insects of every kind, many of which Goulson had studied before in his career as a biologist. You'll learn how a deathwatch beetle finds its mate, why butterflies have spots on their wings, and see how a real scientist actually conducts his experiments." Read more.
 
 
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6. Half a King by Joe Abercrombie

 

Betrayed by his family and left for dead, Prince Yarvi, reluctant heir to a divided kingdom, has vowed to reclaim a throne he never wanted.


But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself - all with only one good hand. Born a weakling in the eyes of a hard, cold world, he cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he has sharpened his mind to a deadly edge.


Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast, he finds they can help him more than any noble could. Even so, Yarvi's path may end as it began - in twists, traps and tragedy...

5
 

7. An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield

 

In An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth, Col. Hadfield takes readers deep into his years of training and space exploration to show how to make the impossible possible. Through eye-opening, entertaining stories filled with the adrenaline of launch, the mesmerizing wonder of spacewalks, and the measured, calm responses mandated by crises, he explains how conventional wisdom can get in the way of achievement-and happiness. His own extraordinary education in space has taught him some counterintuitive lessons: don't visualize success, do care what others think, and always sweat the small stuff. Read more.

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8. Monster Island by David Wellington

 

It's one month after a global disaster. The most "developed" nations of the world have fallen to the shambling zombie masses. Only a few pockets of humanity survive — in places rife with high-powered weaponry, such as Somalia. In New York City, the dead walk the streets, driven by an insatiable hunger for all things living. One amongst them is different; though he shares their appetites he has retained his human intelligence. Alone among the mindless zombies, Gary Fleck is an eyewitness to the end of the world — and perhaps the evil genius behind it all. From the other side of the planet, a small but heavily-armed group of schoolgirls-turned-soldiers has come in search of desperately needed medicine. Dekalb, a former United Nations weapons inspector, leads them as their local guide. Ayaan, a crack shot at the age of sixteen, will stop at nothing to complete her mission. They think they are prepared for anything. On Monster Island they will find that there is something worse even than being undead, as Gary learns the true price of survival.
 
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