Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Unbroken - Laura Hillenbrand

Title: Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
Author: Laura Hillenbrand
Hardcover: 473 pages (my version ebook)
Publisher: Random House
Published date: 2010
FTC: Check out eBook from the library

Wow. I had been meaning to check out this book now for a long while but it seriously ALWAYS has a hold at the library and being a stay at home mom, let's face it, I'm cheap right now.  Finally. FINALLY, I got on the waiting list for the eBook and I had 14 days to read it.  I literally sucked this book down and it's one of those reads that make books afterwards just kind of pale in comparison. If I was a writer, this is how I'd want to write. Seabiscuit, the book or movie hasn't really interested me (never seen or read) but now I am going to have to read it because she wrote it.  I am also going to have to see Unbroken the movie but I'm sure I'll end up saying the book was much better.  Have you read the book or seen the movie?

Back of the book:

On a May afternoon in 1943, an Army Air Forces bomber crashed into the Pacific Ocean and disappeared, leaving only a spray of debris and a slick of oil, gasoline, and blood. Then, on the ocean surface, a face appeared. It was that of a young lieutenant, the plane’s bombardier, who was struggling to a life raft and pulling himself aboard. So began one of the most extraordinary odysseys of the Second World War.

The lieutenant’s name was Louis Zamperini. In boyhood, he’d been a cunning and incorrigible delinquent, breaking into houses, brawling, and fleeing his home to ride the rails. As a teenager, he had channeled his defiance into running, discovering a prodigious talent that had carried him to the Berlin Olympics and within sight of the four-minute mile. But when war had come, the athlete had become an airman, embarking on a journey that led to his doomed flight, a tiny raft, and a drift into the unknown.

Ahead of Zamperini lay thousands of miles of open ocean, leaping sharks, a foundering raft, thirst and starvation, enemy aircraft, and, beyond, a trial even greater. Driven to the limits of endurance, Zamperini would answer desperation with ingenuity; suffering with hope, resolve, and humor; brutality with rebellion. His fate, whether triumph or tragedy, would be suspended on the fraying wire of his will.

In her long-awaited new book, Laura Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid narrative voice she displayed in Seabiscuit. Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, Unbroken is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

 My thoughts:

I think it would be so hard to write a really interesting and good non-fiction story. Often they can be pretty dry and boring. Either that or the author has to turn the story into fiction just to liven it up.  I think this was the perfect non-fiction book.  The author put in an astonishing amount of research and work into writing this interesting and fluid story. The story was equally amazing and unbelievable. One of those truths are often more strange and interesting than fiction.  Take any part of this story and it would be an amazingly good tale on it's own: poor delinquent becomes Olympic track star, man survives plane crash and survives on raft for over a month, man survives POW cruelty. It is truly an amazing story.

It's hard to write something new about this book. I mean I'm sure you've heard all about it. But I now know why you'll probably never find a used copy. If I had bought one it would be lent out to quite a few people and I'm still debating buying copies for my sister, mom, husband, brother...you get the picture. It's that good. I wish my dad was alive to read this one. He was an amazing runner and was a history and WWII buff.  I am sure he had heard of Louis Zamperini since Mr. Zamperini wasn't an unknown until Ms. Hillenbrand's book.

Enough of me blathering. Buy this book.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Interview with Katherine Reay & Giveaway!

I am so excited to introduce Katherine Reay to A Library of My Own's readers.  I absolutely adored her two novels Dear Mr. Knightley and Lizzy & Jane and am eagerly awaiting her next novel -- more about that at the end of the interview!

So grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea and enjoy!

Welcome to A Library of My Own. I am so excited to have the opportunity to interview you because I recently read and loved both of your books Dear Mr Knightly and Lizzy & Jane.  

I love books that incorporate different senses into the writing and Lizzy & Jane is definitely one of those books. I actually tabbed some of Elizabeth's recipes to try later - like the Greek chicken salad she made Nick. How did you do your research to write through Elizabeth's foody perspective?

That was the best research project ever – enlightening and yummy. It took a three-prong approach to capture all I wanted to learn. I dug into literature, looking at all the references I could find in Austen, Hemingway and other writers for ways food was used as reflection of character and relationship. Simultaneously I scoured cookbooks for healthy eating ideas and tips for people struggling with cancer, compromised immune systems, allergies and other heath-related concerns. My daughter has some dietary issues and my husband and I run a lot, so that was familiar reading. And finally I picked through some of my favorite cookbooks and family recipes, playing on familiar and comfortable themes. We love to cook in our house and everything Lizzy made is a variant of a family favorite. I must remember that for future books – make your research tasty.

One of my favorite passages in Lizzy & Jane is when you wrote "Great writers and my mom never used food as an object. Instead it was a medium, a catalyst to mend hearts, to break down barriers, to build relationships." I noticed your love of literature, not just Jane Austen, all through the book. Ernest Hemingway, Cold Comfort FarmA Year in ProvenceThe Wind in the Willows.  It reminded me of how I love the smells and tastes in Sarah Addison Allen's books or Erica Bauermeister's The School of Essential Ingredients.  Do you have other favorite food or sensory books? 

Great question… Food books: Recently Christa Parrish’s Stones for Bread had me pulling French loaves apart and Hillary Manton Lodge’s A Table for Two compelled me to bake cakes. I also love Dickens’s breakfasts; the stark cold feeling from the sparse fare laid out in Wuthering Heights; the opulent culinary texture Peter Mayle gives us in every book; the full sensory experience emanating from The Life of Pi; the rich flowers that permeate the air when reading The Language of Flowers; the sights and smells suggestive of 1940s Seattle in The Hotel at The Corner of Bitter and Sweet and even the acrid, dead scents captured in Dracula, which kept me awake a few nights last month.

As writer, I haven’t mastered this area; but as a reader, it’s important to me to feel absorbed within a story on multiple levels. And such absorption in sight, smell and texture, fit Lizzy’s character so I worked to keep her close to all her senses.

One of the main reasons I picked up Lizzy & Jane is because I love books about sisters.  I have an older sister and it's such an important relationship. Obviously even Jane Austen thought so too. Do you have a sister and what was your inspiration for writing about this relationship?

I do have a sister. She is eight and a half years younger (same distance between L & J.) and her name is Elizabeth. Now before you think Lizzy & Jane is in any way autobiographical, I need to assure you it’s not. Like L & J, however, our age difference meant that Elizabeth and I were not terribly close as children. Unlike L & J, my sister is now my beloved confident, first reader and closest friend.

Perhaps our relationship was part of the inspiration for Lizzy & Jane, but not entirely – Sibling relationships are always fascinating. One can look at a sister or a brother and in a single heartbeat feel love, annoyance, jealously, bitterness, betrayal and a fierce loyalty – and that’s in one moment. I wanted to play upon that depth of emotion and explore it and felt sisters gave me the greatest latitude in both pulling and pushing a relationship.

Lizzy & Jane really resonated with me because like Elizabeth, I lost my father to cancer when I was 17 years old. I empathized with her age and also the fact that no matter what, losing a member of the family is tough on everyone and leaves such a scar. But I also loved that while you wrote about such a serious topic the book is filled with optimism and hope. What made you decide to use cancer as the center of conflict between Elizabeth and Jane?

I’m so sorry you experienced that. Thank you for letting me know that Lizzy’s experience and perspective wasn’t too off-the-mark. It breaks my heart that cancer is such a reality in our lives and in our families, but it is. As I began to think about using cancer as a canvas for Lizzy and Jane’s struggle, I asked others about their experiences. I didn’t find a single person who hadn’t traveled the road either personally or beside a family member or friend. These conversations definitely revealed the pain that cancer and life can bring, but they also revealed how much hope and strength and beauty exists within our families and our faith during such times.

As I think back to the very beginning, I’m not sure I can separate Lizzy’s character from her journey with cancer. It was simply part of her story and make-up from the first moment she and I met.

I am a Christian and I loved how subtly you incorporated Elizabeth's faith into the story. For instance I love the passage "I knew I could no longer justify my existence. No work could accomplish that. And if it couldn't, then it meant that I was more. I could be more, live more, give more - live large and thankful and with no regrets."  Do you consider your novels to be Christian fiction? How do you balance your writing knowing more than just Christians will be reading your novels?

Ah… That’s an interesting question. Clearly my novels come from a Christian world-view. It’s my worldview. But it’s not my intention to let readers grasp that too easily. Rather, I believe I write best when I let the characters wrestle issues to the ground in their own fictional situations, even leaving some questions and concerns unanswered all together.

Whether one is a Christian or not, or one talks about such things aloud or not, we all struggle with the same big eternal issues: Who am I? What’s my purpose? Where do I belong? I love examining those and if a reader glimpses something true, beautiful and affirming in my story then I’m more than delighted.

Last question, I read a brief synopsis about your next book and think it sounds awesome. Could you tell my readers what it's all about? When do you think it will be published?

Okay, you’ve just hit upon a great weakness. I’m horrific at the Elevator Pitch – that elusive one sentence description that captures a story’s totality in a fresh and tantalizing way.

My next book doesn’t have a name yet. Left to me, I’d probably title it something dreadful like Two Women on an Exciting Journey through England. It involves a young computer hacker, an octogenarian former thief, lovely books, London, Yorkshire, interior design, great clothes and a huge diamond. And I love the story… And before it releases in October 2015, it will have a fabulous title and a pithy Elevator Pitch!   

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all my questions and I'm looking forward to reading your next novel!

Amanda, Thank you very much. I so enjoyed your questions and loved being here today. All the best, KBR


Also super excited to let you all know that Katherine Reay recently unveiled the title of her next book via her Facebook page. I am so excited!

The Giveaway has ended, February 23rd - the winner is LEEANN!!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Lizzy & Jane - Katherine Reay

Title: Lizzy & Jane
Author: Katherine Reay
Paperback: 339 pages (my version ARC)
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published date: October 2014
FTC: Received ARC to review

When I got an email asking if I wanted to review Katherine Reay's novel Lizzy & Jane, I jumped at the chance. I had heard raves about her first novel Dear Mr. Knightley (my review) and I absolutely love this cover. When I read the synopsis I knew I'd like it.  I read Dear Mr. Knightley first, loved it, and then devoured this one.  When the publisher asked if I wanted to interview Ms. Reay I said YES!

This is going up there as one of my favorite novels. The writing is great but more importantly it really hit me - it's about sisters and cancer and figuring out who we are and where we belong. I am going to make my sister read this one too.

Big note:

Right now the Lizzy & Jane eBook is on sale at Amazon and Barnes & Noble for .99 cents so download it now!

Back of the book:

At the end of a long night, Elizabeth leans against the industrial oven and takes in her kingdom. Once vibrant and flawless, evenings in the kitchen now feel chaotic and exhausting. She's lost her culinary magic, and business is slowing down.

When worried investors enlist the talents of a tech-savvy celebrity chef to salvage the restaurant, Elizabeth feels the ground shift beneath her feet. Not only has she lost her touch; she's losing her dream.

And her means of escape.

When her mother died, Elizabeth fled home and the overwhelming sense of pain and loss. But fifteen years later, with no other escapes available, she now returns, Brimming with desperation and dread, Elizabeth finds herself in the unlikeliest of places, by her sister's side in Seattle as Jane undergoes chemotherapy.

As her new life takes the form of care, cookery, and classic literature, Elizabeth is forced to re-imagine her future and reevaluate her past. But can a New York City chef with a painful history settle down with the family she once abandoned...and make peace with the sister who once abandoned her?

My thoughts:

There is just so much I loved about this novel. Just like Elizabeth in the story, my father passed away from cancer when I was 17.  She was 17 when her mother passed away from cancer and left a gapping hole in the family dynamic.  Her older sister left, her father engrossed himself in his work, and Lizzy took off to college and set up her life as far from Seattle as possible in New York City. In my life, my older sister and brother were off in college while I still had a year in high school and a gapping hole in our hearts and family.  To say the book resounded is an understatement.

Now you'd think a story about loss and cancer would be a sort of a downer of a book...but it wasn't. I loved how Katherine Reay wrote the whole story, full of hope, love, and eventually reconciliation. It was honest too. No one was completely right or wrong, the sisters didn't become best friends, and very often Elizabeth didn't make the best decisions. But that's what made it work and made it real.

I absolutely loved the literature in this book. Elizabeth and Jane's mother obviously was a fan of Jane Austen and Jane finds comfort in Austen's classics to escape the chemo reality. Elizabeth uses her culinary skills to incorporate the tastes and smells of Austen's time period and local to create home cooked foods that appeal to Jane despite the cancer treatments.  There were elements of literature from Dickens to Hemingway and I just absolutely loved that she mixed literature with food. I mean, how cool is that. It reminds me of how some book clubs incorporate cooking, baking, cocktails, etc with their book choice.  I loved this quote in Lizzy & Jane:

Great writers and my mom never used food as an object. Instead it was a medium, a catalyst to mend hearts, to break down barriers, to build relationships. Mom's cooking fed body and soul. She used to quip, "If the food is good, there's no need to talk about the weather." That was my mantra for years - food as meal and a conversations, a total experience.

Just like her first novel Dear Mr. Knightley, Elizabeth's story in Lizzy & Jane is a modern coming of age story where Lizzy has to learn to mend old wounds and face her past so she can face her future.  There is a bit of a love story between Elizabeth and an awesome neighbor and friend of Jane's but really the story is about Elizabeth discovering where she belongs. It is a beautiful novel.

And More!

I will be posting the interview and a giveaway on Valentine's Day. Check back!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Dear Mr Knightley - Katherine Reay

Title: Dear Mr. Knightley
Author: Katherine Reay
Paperback: 317 pages (my version eBook)
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Published date: 2013
FTC: Checked out ebook from library

Towards the end of last year I was sent an ARC copy of a book that had been on my to-read list. It was Katherine Reay's second novel Lizzy & Jane.  I loved the premise and for some reason the covers just captured me. I had remembered reading about Dear Mr. Knightley and that it had received great reviews and I liked the Jane Austen homage in both books.  I decided I had to check out her first book first before I could read Lizzy & Jane.

I am so glad I did because I am now a Katherine Reay fan.  -- Which is awesome because I was offered the chance to interview her AND have a giveaway.  Through miscommunication I was hoping to have it around Christmas but I think these books would be perfect gifts to give a bookish person for Valentine's Day.

Stick around for my review of Lizzy & Jane, the interview with Katherine Reay, and a giveaway!

Back of the Book:

Dear Mr. Knightley is a contemporary epistolary novel with a delightful dash of Jane Austen.

Samantha Moore survived years of darkness in the foster care system by hiding behind her favorite characters in literature, even adopting their very words. Her fictional friends give her an identity, albeit a borrowed one. But most importantly, they protect her from revealing her true self and encountering more pain.

After college, Samantha receives an extraordinary opportunity. The anonymous “Mr. Knightley” offers her a full scholarship to earn her graduate degree at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. The sole condition is that Sam write to Mr. Knightley regularly to keep him apprised of her progress.

As Sam’s true identity begins to reveal itself through her letters, her heart begins to soften to those around her—a damaged teenager and fellow inhabitant of Grace House, her classmates at Medill, and, most powerfully, successful novelist Alex Powell. But just as Sam finally begins to trust, she learns that Alex has secrets of his own—secrets that, for better or for worse, make it impossible for Sam to hide behind either her characters or her letters.

My Thoughts:

I absolutely loved how Katherine Reay wrote this novel as a series of letters.  For the most part they are diary type reflections sent from Sam to her unknown patron who asks for anonymity and goes by Mr Knightley.  I thought it was insightful of Reay to make Sam unleash her thoughts in diary/letter form. Her character is so introverted due to her background but since she would lose herself in books and wanted to be a writer, it was the perfect venue for her. Some might think that it wouldn't be plausible for someone to divulge diary type feelings to someone they don't know but I think that was the point. She was writing to someone who wouldn't respond, would never meet, or hear back from.  

I really connected with Sam as the heroine of her story. She had such a rough background that she sheltered herself by living through books. Almost literally.  When nervous she'd quote from books and compare real life people to characters in her book. This was definitely a wall she put up around herself to protect herself from reality.  I read some reviews on Goodreads who didn't like Sam or thought her introverted and sort of sheltered viewpoint wasn't realistic. I totally disagree. I thought her defense totally plausible and loved that she was flawed. She was irritating a lot, made mistakes, and was completely self-focused a lot.  But she grew. And isn't that what we want when we read? I also liked that she was a runner, which totally fit her character. Running can be a solitary sport where a lot of people (myself included) can spend time thinking and unraveling thoughts. It made sense that this aspiring writer who was so trapped in her head would enjoy running.  While there is a love story involved, I enjoyed that the novel was really a coming-of-age tale where Sam has to get over letting her past define herself and come to know who she really is. 

While the novel has a Jane Austen's Emma reference (which totally makes sense when you read the book) it's actually a modern re-telling of a book written in 1912 by Jean Webster called Daddy-Long-Legs. I've heard this is a really amazing book and I'm going to have to check it out. I've only ever seen the old Fred Astaire/Leslie Caron movie. 

When I finished Dear Mr. Knightley I immediately picked up Lizzy & Jane which is a modern story of two sisters.  Yep. I'm a Katherine Reay fan.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Legend Series - Marie Lu

Move over Hunger Games and Divergent and make way for Legend.  If you haven't checked out Marie Lu's Legend series you must pick it up. I really enjoyed The Hunger Games (my review) and Divergent (my review) ...BUT...I had tiny problems with both. I was a little let down by the last book in The Hunger Games series - although I am loving the movies so maybe it'll make up for that. And Divergent - if there's a series that makes you want to chuck a book it's the last book in that series. Seriously.  So I was a tad skeptical to get sucked into another series that would let me down. Marie Lu definitely doesn't. I adored and loved all three of the books in this series.  And the fan art! Check out Marie Lu's Facebook page or Pinterest page for the series and you can find some pretty coolstuff.  I would love to see this series as a movie. I can not wait to read her new series The Young Elites.

Legend (Book One)

Back of the book:

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

My Thoughts:

I would totally love to do a re-read of this series. I just fell for June and Day. What an awesome hero and heroine Marie Lu conjured up.  June - the soldier and Day - the rebel. I liked the back story - realistic enough to understand and believe but not really necessary to divulge a whole lot to the back story. (More info is filled in later in the series.) 

Prodigy (Book Two)

Back of the Book:

Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic's most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots - a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

My thoughts:

You know how sometimes book two just kind of...disappoints? Well not in this series. It wasn't a rehash of book one and it definitely progressed the story in a necessary way.  No worries. I won't give away any spoilers but it's one you will definitely be reading after Legend, gobbling up, and then grabbing the third book.

Champion (Book Three)

Back of the Book:

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position. 

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything. 

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

My Thoughts:

The ending? Perfect. Well done Ms Lu.  It wasn't realistic and disappointing (ahem Hunger Games series) because let's be honest, I'm reading a dystopian YA and I don't want reality.  It wasn't tragic (ahem Divergent series) because I want, well, not a happy ending but something happy right?  Without spoilers, the perfect way to have a happy ending without having one. You'll just have to read it.

Friday, December 5, 2014

A Sudden Light - Garth Stein

Title: A Sudden Light
Author: Garth Stein
Ebook: 400 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published date: September 2014
FTC: I requested to review from NetGalley

Wow. This is one of those books I've been meaning to review and what I gave a solid five stars on GoodReads. I thoroughly enjoyed Garth Stein's novel The Art of Racing in the Rain (my review) and one of my husband's all-time favorites.  I even liked Raven Stole the Moon (my review).  But you have to check out the novel A Sudden Light. Such a beautiful coming to age novel with such atmosphere I'd except to see in Neil Gaiman book.  While the story is part ghost-story, I love that it's paranormal aspects are subdued. Anything more blatant I would call out as ridiculous while Stein makes this story believable. It's definitely my cup of tea.

Back of the book:

In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant, whole trees, and is set on a huge estate overlooking Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch Grandpa Samuel—who is flickering in and out of dementia—to a graduated living facility, sell off the house and property for development into “tract housing for millionaires,” divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.

But Trevor soon discovers there’s someone else living in Riddell House: a ghost with an agenda of his own. For while the land holds tremendous value, it is also burdened by the final wishes of the family patriarch, Elijah, who mandated it be allowed to return to untamed forestland as a penance for the millions of trees harvested over the decades by the Riddell Timber company. The ghost will not rest until Elijah’s wish is fulfilled, and Trevor’s willingness to face the past holds the key to his family’s future.

A Sudden Light is a rich, atmospheric work that is at once a multigenerational family saga, a historical novel, a ghost story, and the story of a contemporary family’s struggle to connect with each other. A tribute to the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, it reflects Garth Stein’s outsized capacity for empathy and keen understanding of human motivation, and his rare ability to see the unseen: the universal threads that connect us all.

My thoughts:

I absolutely gobbled up this story of Trevor Riddell of whom from the very beginning I felt such an empathy towards. His mother and father are taking a separation in their marriage, they just lost their home his father is tasked with taking Trevor back to Riddell House - the mansion where they are to figure out how to talk his senile grandfather into selling the family estate.

I just adored the atmosphere the Garth Stein created. The author is from and familiar with the Pacific Northwest and what a setting. I also loved that he set the story in 1990, not in modern times. I think it works for the story's time-line but also because Trevor Riddell isn't able to plug into an ipod or smart phone and ignore the world and his problems. (Yeah yeah he could have a walkman or whatever but you know what I mean.)

The story is told with ghostly attributes but also with definite flashbacks to the stories of his ancestors who first built the house and digs into their secrets. While it might not be everyone's cup of tea, I love this because I am such a history geek but I also think that relationships and people are interesting and sympathetic whatever the time period. I also love how he made the house almost like the center character. It really reminded me of Sarah Waters very atmospheric story The Little Stranger (my review) where the English estate really a pivotal character.

While I really enjoyed Garth Stein's previous novels, especially The Art of Racing in the Rain, I think A Sudden Light is my new favorite novel of his.  Definitely worth checking out.

Here's Garth Stein talking about A Sudden Light:

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

2015 Sci-Fi Experience

I absolutely love Carl V's annual Sci-Fi Experience. I've been really needing something to jump start me back into blogging.  This last year has been crazy raising two active boys and moving a couple of times. We are now settled in the beautiful state of Arkansas and it's amazing how much I already feel it is home.

When Carl's challenge popped up I was excited because I've just started reading Ender's Game and I was wanting an excuse to read Maria Doria Russell's novel The Sparrow.  I also read Abaddon's Gate a long while back and never reviewed it and need to get my hands on Cibola Burns. If you've never read James S.A. Corey's amazing Expanse series - you need to now. Especially since it's going to be a TV series soon so hop to it!

What I love about the Sci-Fi genre is that it really is such a wide genre and there really is something for everyone. For instance, Connie Willis is one of my favorites but it's no wonder since it's also really historical fiction too. If you like detective or mystery stories then you should really check out the first Expanse novel Leviathan Wakes.  I am excited to see what everyone else reads and recommends. Head over to Carl's review site to it all out!