Friday, March 23, 2018

Out Of This World Fiction/Nonfiction Mini-Reviews

Ask an Astronaut: My Guide to Life in Space by Tim Peake (2017)

Tim Peake is a British astronaut who spent 6 months living on the International Space Station.  In Ask an Astronaut, Peake answers pretty much any question you could think of related to astronaut training and life on the ISS.

Peake has an easy-to-read, upbeat writing style and explained some difficult concepts pretty well.  I don't know much about the ISS or even the United States' own space program, beyond the major events, so I feel like I learned a lot.  Some of the questions he answered were serious, while others were in good fun.  I was amazed by the sheer amount of training that goes into a mission to space, literally years, including Russian lessons.   I also learned that the ISS is so massive, it was assembled in space, as various pieces were bought up.  One thing I was disappointed to learn, though, was that there is no official protocol if the ISS encounters aliens!

The book also contains some fun diagrams and several beautiful photographs that Peake took from space.    4 stars

The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett (2017)

After a deadly virus wipes out most of humanity across the galaxy, Jamie decides to try to find her partner Daniel, back on distant Earth.  She meets others along the way, and the survivors try to figure out what's next for themselves and humanity as a whole.

Jamie is not the most likable or consistent of main characters.  She's quick to judge and quick to anger; she has spent most of her life keeping her family and Daniel at arm's length, needing her space, yet at the same time she's very comfortable holding hands (and more) with people she's just met. 

I think this book suffered a little from trying to do too much.  It's character-driven, but it's also a bit post-apocalyptic with some romance thrown in there, too.  The world-building within the story is pretty decent; we get glimpses of how Earth's population has exceeded its limits and how colonies were established on other planets.  There were some points in the book that I thought would offer some great action and tension, but the author moves past them quickly and too neatly.  I think the story could have benefitted from expanding on some ideas more and leaving other scenes out entirely.  Thankfully, one big twist at the end helped bring the story more to life for me. 3 stars

26 comments:

  1. Great reviews! The Space Between Stars is already on my TBR list, but I’m going to add the other book. Space is so weird and interesting.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, weird, interesting, and totally terrifying!

      Delete
  2. Yay nonfiction! Ask an Astronaut: My Guide to Life in Space sounds like a book I would enjoy, I think. I'm glad you mentioned that there are photographs in it, then if I happen to come across it somewhere I will definitely pick up a physical copy of it. Pictures are always better in real books than e-books, in my opnion.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The pictures were very cool, it's very cool the level of detail they are able to get in photos.

      Delete
  3. As an Astronaut looks like a fun read, was always curious about ISS. Did not know they had it in pieces.

    Sorry the second book did not work for you, I still want to read it D: worried how I might feel

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know, you may like it a lot! It could just be me.

      Delete
  4. Great post! I love sci-fi books, but I'm always lacking on NF books to read. The autobiography of an astronaut sounds interesting!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was really cool, and easy to read, since it was Q&A format.

      Delete
  5. Ooh! These both sound so interesting. I think I'll skip The Space Between the Stars though based on your review. Thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, it had such potential, but missed the mark for me!

      Delete
  6. I have The Space Between Stars, but have put it off for so long, and now after reading your review, I am not rushing to read it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, I hope when you do get to it, you enjoy it!

      Delete
  7. I love the premise behind Ask an Astronaut! Though I hear you, there should be some alien meeting protocol lol

    ReplyDelete
  8. Ask an Astronaut sounds like it would fascinating and The Space Between Stars does too. Glad you enjoyed them both.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The first one sounds really interesting! Sorry the second one had some character issues, but sounds like it still wasn't too bad overall!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, The Space Between the Stars wasn't bad, just not what I was expecting!

      Delete
  10. I don't read much nonfiction, but Ask An Astronaut actually sounds quite interesting and fun. Sorry to hear that The Space Between the Stars wasn't a better read for you. I think I had taken that one off my TBR a while back because I read some mixed reviews. Disappointing since the premise of the book sounded good, but I'm pretty sure I'd have an issue with the same things you did.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I was bummed out by The Space Between the Stars. I had been looking forward to it for so long and my library finally got a copy. It just wasn't what I expected.

      Delete
  11. I have The Space Between The Stars on my list. I've been a bit indecisive with whether to read it or not, because I have high expectations for it and don't want to be bummed out :/

    Cam @Camillea Reads

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was kind of a middle-of-the-road book for me, but hopefully it will be better for you!

      Delete
  12. The space among the stars sounds good. I love reads about viruses. Adding this to my tbr.

    ReplyDelete
  13. What a fun pairing! Ask An Astronaut sounds fascinating.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! It really was such a fun book.

      Delete

I'm so glad you stopped by, and I would love to hear your thoughts! Comments are always greatly appreciated!