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Failure is Not an Option by Gene Kranz

Published September 26, 2021

Failure is Not an Option by Gene Kranz

What a fabulous memoir this is. Gene Kranz talks of his early days but the bulk of the book is a play by play of every NASA mission he was involved with, from the very early days of Gemini, the tragedy of the first Apollo mission, and the success of returning Apollo 13 to earth. Through it all, Kranz is happy to admit where the teams did things right or wrong, and has that clear scientific analysis of each adventure. Occasionally, it’s a little too technical and I lost a sense of exactly what was going on, but you soon get pulled right back in when the drama and bravery of these incredible missions hits you.

A River in Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa

Published August 12, 2021

A River in Darkness by Masaji Ishikawa

There are a few books that detail the author’s escape from the brutal regime in North Korea, and although it’s a similar story, the details of each story are so different. I hadn’t realised that people ended up going to North Korea voluntarily, on the false promise of a better life that ended up being so much worse than they could have imagined.

The Brethren by John Grisham

Published December 23, 2019

The Brethren by John Grisham

I think we all know by now that John Grisham’s books are hit and miss - the older, legal-based thrillers seem to work slightly better than the newer stuff, and then there’s that wobbly period in between. This book wasn’t one of my favourites but it was very readable.

A Perfect Evil by Alex Kava

Published August 7, 2019

A Perfect Evil by Alex Kava

The end of this book is designed solely to get you hooked on reading the next one. There’s a kidnapping/murder mystery at the heart of the novel, and two believable, courageous and mostly likeable protagonists to try and unravel what’s been going on and who’s behind it. I quite liked the twists and turns although it felt a bit weird that we knew all along who it was and that is who it turned out to be. Also, the fact that Timmy was kidnapped was not even slightly a shock, I don’t know if it was meant to be.

The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson

Published November 27, 2018

The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson

Every time I read a Jacqueline Wilson book, I always start out wracked with guilt that I’m far too old to be reading them but then get sucked into the story and finish it up anyway. This one was aimed at slightly older readers, which was better, although it did mean the story took some dark turns here and there. The bit with the paint, goodness me!

Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Published November 27, 2004

Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

With a struggling family to feed, Griet is forced to work as a servant in the house of an artist and his family. She gets closer and closer to the man of the house, whilst becoming less and less popular with the family. Eventually, he asks her to pose for him and you just know it’s going to cause trouble.

Playing the Moldovans at Tennis by Tony Hawks

Published November 5, 2004

Playing the Moldovans at Tennis by Tony Hawks

Tony makes a bet that he can play and beat the whole National football team of Moldova at tennis. He goes to Moldova and finds it a lot harder than he first thought it would be, and he wasn’t exactly expecting an easy ride! He’s spurred on by the thought that losing the bet means naked singing.