It's been a while since I've posted about books, so here's a round-up of some of what I've read lately! (My book total for this year is 61 so far. Not sure what it will be by the end of the year, since I still have a few days to go!)
A Dangerous Inheritance: A Novel of Tudor Rivals and the Secret of the Tower by Alison Weir
I've been on a historical fiction kick this year, but this is my first of Weir's fiction books. (I read her The Six Wives of Henry VIII earlier this year and enjoyed it). I got an advanced copy via Net Galley back in July, but then didn't get around to starting it until I only had a few days left before the ebook expired, so I rushed through it a little more than I normally would.
The story is split between the perspectives of Katherine Grey (sister of Jane Grey) and Kate Plantaganet. It's a little confusing to jump between the stories as you switch chapters, especially since Katherine's is in first person and Kate's is in third, as well as the fact that the stories take place about 100 years apart. Philippa Gregory uses multiple narrators in a lot of her novels, too, but those tend to be a little easier to keep straight since they're covering events that take place at the same time. (This would actually be the perfect book to read right after Gregory's The White Queen, since that tells the opposite side of Kate's part of the story.)
The main reason I was interested in this book is because it covers two stories I find fascinating- the mystery of the princes in the tower (Wikipedia article is here if you need to brush up on history) and Jane Grey, who was queen for a whole 9 days, although her story is seen through the eyes of her sister. In short, English history is crazy-go-nuts, y'all.
Other than the slight confusion of keeping up with two very similar protagonists, my only real criticism is that at 537 pages, this book felt about 100 pages too long. Even though I was invested in the story, by around 400 pages I was definitely thinking "Get on with it!"
Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void
You probably best know Mary Roach from her book Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers. This book, about space travel, is almost as interesting as Stiff, but with a MUCH lower "eww" factor. I was totally fascinated by all of the considerations that have to be figured out for space travel that have just NEVER crossed my mind! This is a fun, fairly quick read, and you'll learn a lot! I really like Mary's writing style, and I want to read Bonk, her book about sex, but haven't been able to find it at my library, so I may have to suck it up (possible awful word choice there) and order a used one!
I picked this book up at the recommendation of someone I don't even remember now. I don't read much YA (heck, I don't read much fiction), but it's a fun change every now and then when I want something to de-stress with. I guess this series has been talked about a LOT, and there's a movie coming out about this, the first book, next year. Some people are thinking it's going to be the next Twilight kind of thing in terms of blowing up in popularity, so I guess we'll see where all that goes. When I checked out reviews on Goodreads, they seemed to be super split- people are either obsessed with it or really disappointed. I enjoyed reading it, and I might pick up the next book in the series if I come across it, but I'm not obsessed with it or anything. It did have that definite fault that you see in a lot of first books of a trilogy or series where they try to pack in WAY too much establishing background info in a small space. I'd give it a solid 3.5 stars- something above "meh", but not something I'm suggesting to everyone I know, either. I have to say- I looked up the movie's cast, and none of them look at ALL like I imagined.
What have you guys been reading lately? Any recommendations?