Tag Archives: percy jackson

March, April, May, June…

24 Jun

… are all the months I haven’t written about books! How dreadful. I apologize for my disappearance. Life got in the way of things, as it does. So, here’s a catch up post on what I’ve been reading:

 

Rebecca Skloot – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Goodreads stars: five
I don’t typically read a lot of nonfiction, but this was a wonderful book. Skloot managed to worm her way into the lives of Henrietta Lacks’ family members and she became good friends with her daughter, all for the pursuit of information for this book. I thought the story was compelling and Skloot did a wonderful job of presenting scientific information in a way that anyone can understand and enjoy.

William Landay – Defending Jacob
Goodreads stars: four
Mystery and detective novels are other genres I also don’t delve into much, but I thoroughly enjoyed this. The ending was a little drastic but I think it fit well enough. The juxtaposition of narrative with court records worked very well.

Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl
Goodreads stars: five
I liked the other mystery novel so well that I read another one! This book was intriguing. I liked that it used more than one point of view. At the end of every chapter I just wanted to keep going.

Pittacus Lore – The Rise of Nine (Lorien Legacies, #3)
Goodreads stars: three
I think three stars is generous on this one. Here’s my review from Goodreads: “I’m not sure why I thought this series was a trilogy but it definitely impacted how I read it. It wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t great either. Keeping up with whose POV it is gets rather tiring and I hope they don’t do that in the next (and hopefully last) book.”

Rick Riordan – The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5)
Goodreads stars: four
This wasn’t my favorite book in the series but it was a really great conclusion. On Goodreads I stated that I wished I could have given it a 4.5 but now I can’t recall why. This is what happens when I wait this long to do book reviews!

A. C. Gaughen – Scarlet
Goodreads stars: four
The premise of this book is about a girl and her merry band of thieves; it’s the story of Robin Hood told from a female’s perspective. It was a fun, YA adventure book and it was really interesting to read it from another POV. I’m on a fairy tale retelling kick right now and this was a great way to start it. It’s a bit gruesome though, which I enjoyed, but it might be too graphic for younger readers.

Suzanne Collins – Gregor the Overlander
Goodreads stars: five
This is Collins first novel, before she wrote The Hunger Games, which I absolutely love. And here’s my Goodreads review, “what a wonderful book! it reminded me a lot of the Percy Jackson books. it’s a great adventure and the characters are so likable, especially adorable Boots. I would recommend this to anyone of any age.”

David Benioff – City of Thieves
Goodreads stars: five
I had little interest in reading this book at first, as it was chosen for my book club, but two chapters in and I was hooked. The story is about a young Jewish man (Lev) in Leningrad who becomes unlikely friends with an aspiring writer (Kolya) while they go on a journey to find eggs for a high-ranking officer’s daughter’s wedding cake. I found myself picturing Benedict Cumberbatch as Kolya and I believe it’s because of his snark, wit and humor. I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it was amusing, graphic and sad all at the same time.

Rick Riordan – The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus, #1)
Goodreads stars: three
I had high hopes for this book. It’s the continuation of Percy Jackson but the main characters are new campers. The multiple POVs were interesting but it made the story far longer than it had to be. I felt like 100 pages could have been cut and it would have been miles better. Sometimes it felt like a wild goose chase and some of the dialogue felt forced. I’d like to see how the story turns out but I won’t be buying this series like I did the last. Unfortunate.

And currently, I’m reading Beastly by Alex Flinn. This is another retelling of a classic fairy tale, Beauty and the Beast to be specific. It’s from the POV of Beast, specifically. I’m eight chapters in and so far it’s a quick read. It’s mildly enjoyable but I don’t have high hopes. I’m not in love with the writing style, to start with, so we’ll see how it goes.

 

What are you reading lately? Any great, quick summer reads that you’ve enjoyed?

February and March Book Reviews

3 Apr

Happy Wednesday everyone. The week is almost halfway over. Huzzah! And for that, I’m giving you the gift of book reviews. I haven’t posted any since January, so I’ve got a good chunk of literature to talk about.

I am Number Four (Lorien Legacies #1), Pittacus Lore
Goodreads stars: four

This was a super fun read. I had some issues with it though: first, it was written by a collaboration that includes James Frey. I hate James Frey (in a literary capacity, of course). Secondly, there were quite a few noticeable inconsistencies that makes me wonder how well it was proofread. But, this book was exciting. It’s a great teen adventure read and I think it was adapted into a movie, which I haven’t seen. One of the major pieces of this book is a romance between the main character, John (or Number Four), and a girl he meets at school, Sarah Hart. The language and interactions between them are too contrived. Having already read the second book, I can see how Sarah is an integral part of the story, but I think it could have been written better. Having said all this, if you go into this knowing it’s just going to be a fun read, you’ll be fine. I wouldn’t use it to write your grad thesis or anything (unless you were writing your thesis on authors that like to sell “memoirs” that are 95% untrue and are really not that great at writing).

The Titan’s Curse and The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3 and #4), Rick Riordan
Goodreads stars: five and four, respectively

I’ve posted about these books here before. I love them. They are part of one of the most fun adventure series I’ve ever come across. Riordan’s humor is what really makes it, because there are multitudes of teen adventure books out there, but his wit really sets him apart. I think these books are great for any age. The Titan’s Curse is probably my favorite out of the first four, but they are all super exciting and hilarious and I can’t wait to finish the series!

The Year of the Flood (MaddAddam Trilogy #2), Margaret Atwood
Goodreads stars: four

This is the second in a trilogy by Atwood, that began with Oryx and Crake, one of my all-time favorite dystopian novels. I discovered Atwood in undergrad and have mostly been a fan. The Handmaid’s Tale is a classic but The Tent left me wondering what the hell I just read. The Year of the Flood was a great sequel and I enjoyed learning about the parallel stories that match up with the plot lines in its predecessor. What I love most about Atwood is that she takes problems that we have today, say, medical corporations exploiting the sick, and she exacerbates the issues that they create, and bases a dystopian afterworld on it. She is very creative, and I’m already itching to read the third, even though it has yet to be written.

This is How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz
Goodreads stars: four

This book was chosen for the book club that I’m apart of, The Reading Rainbow Society (I know, we’re super cool, right?). The lot of us had some trouble reconciling who was who and who was telling what story and when, but for the most part we were able to come to a concession on what was going on. Diaz sets up this novel as a set of stories about immigrants, mostly based around love and relationships, between lovers, friends and family. There’s a good amount of Spanish slang in it, so if you don’t understand Spanish, you might miss some of the biting cuts, but you will still understand the book overall. Some parts are rather graphic but it was a great read. I would definitely read another book by Diaz.

Ready Player One, Ernest Cline
Goodreads stars: five

I’m going to go ahead and say it… this is my favorite book so far this year. The Goodreads summary starts as such: “Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.” Sounds super cool, right? It’s like the SIMS but there are entire universes you can explore. But when the creator of OASIS dies, he leaves Easter Eggs behind in the simulation for one lucky boy or girl to win his entire legacy. Wade is the one that plans to win it. Throughout the novel, Wade has to find ways to discover these eggs. The creator was an avid fan of the 1980s and Wade must wade (pun definitely intended) through hours upon hours of movies, music videos and other research from the 80s to get leverage against other players. I had so much fun reading this book, even though I’m not a big video game player. I highly recommend it!

Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy #2), Deborah Harkness
Goodreads stars: three

Only three? Yeah, only three. I love Harkness’ writing style. She knows how to bring history to life. But this novel was just so long-winded. It took me awhile to get through it because I found myself not caring whether or not I picked it back up. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the story, because I did. It just felt like there were a lot of unnecessary detours. I still plan to read the third, whenever she writes it.

A Game of Thrones (Song of Fire and Ice #1), George R. R. Martin
Goodreads stars: five

I’ve heard all the hype. I’ve heard this series is amazing. And it is. It absolutely is. It starts out a little confusing, considering how many characters there are, and how many POVs Martin uses to tell the story. I printed out a character map that I actually kept notes on. But it is such a great story. Martin gets your hopes up, dashes them, and then breaks your heart; he stomps on your heart until you don’t think you can go on… and then you do, because you need to know how it continues. I can’t wait to continue reading the series, even though I know I’m going to keep getting my heart broken.

The Power of Six (Lorien Legacies #2), Pittacus Lore
Goodreads stars: four

Basically everything I said about the first book. This one was a little more action-packed though, and had less inconsistencies. I’m glad that there was less interaction with Sarah, but John’s sometimes near-constant droning on about her gets annoying. Learning more about the other Garde was interesting though. I’ve requested the third book in the trilogy from the library, and I expect that once I get it, I’ll finish it in a couple days like I did with the others, and then move on with my life, never looking back.

January Book Reviews

28 Jan

Hello, fellow literature lovers! I’m back with some book reviews, and I’ve been reading a lot. The grand total for the month of January will be 7 books, if I finish the book I’m reading now before Thursday (which I definitely will, do you even know me? :)). So here are reviews on the past five books that I’ve read.

 

Deborah Harkness – A Discovery of Witches
Goodreads stars: four

I can’t give half stars on Goodreads, so I’m going to do that here. I give his book 4.5 stars! I loved this book. It is wonderfully written, but the first half is a little long-winded. It took awhile to get into the good stuff. I also think the first half is geared towards a certain crowd (people like me that enjoy literature about literature). The protagonist, Diana, is a witch. But she tries to suppress her witchiness by becoming a scholar. But she realizes, after meeting a stunningly handsome vampire, that she’s been practicing magic all along.

This novel reminded me a little of Twilight (yes, I’ve read Twilight. I was curious; we’ll call it scholarly interest. And yes, I hated it), because of the mingling between different creatures in the supernatural world. Of course it is a hundred thousand times better and Harkness writes very well. She tells a better story, too (I mean, that’s not hard to do; Stephenie Meyer writes like a high schooler in a mandatory creative writing course).

When I finished this book, I wanted to immediately read the next one. But I was warned that the third one isn’t out yet. I looked at Harkness’ website and she said it’s not even finished! Oh my. So, I decided against immediately devouring book #2. I am very much looking forward to reading the rest of the series, though.

 

Rick Riordan – The Sea of Monsters
Goodreads stars: four

This is the second novel in the Percy Jackson series. It was another really fun read. I’m drawing a blank on anything more analytical than this. It’s just a great series and I already have book #3 lined up in my queue. One great thing about these books, they’re really cheap ebooks. They’re all between $4 and $6 (roughly).

 

Paula McLain – The Paris Wife
Goodreads stars: five

This has probably been my favorite book this month. I had no idea what it was about, but I knew it had great reviews. To my most certain pleasure, it’s a fiction piece (based very closely on real-life events) about Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley, told from her point of view. I’m a big fan of early 20th century American novelists, so this was a great read. Hadley meets and becomes friends with a few major literary stars of this time period, like Gertrude Stein and her partner, Alice B. Toklas. They travel all over Europe, sometimes on a whim, and Hadley goes through the pain and torment of loving an artistic soul. The way that McLain describes their love is beautiful and heart wrenching. This was one of the few novels ever that has made me cry.

 

Ally Condie – Crossed
Goodreads stars: three

This is the second book in the Matched series. I wasn’t as impressed with this book as I was with the first one. The first half of the book felt like a lot of wasting time, not much happening, just running through deserts and canyons. And I’m not impressed with Condie’s prose. It seems like she’s trying too hard to be poetic. I’ll still read the third one though, to find out how it culminates.

 

Gail Carriger – Soulless
Goodreads stars: four

I just finished this one yesterday and I’m torn. Carriger has a way with words, that is certain, but sometimes her prose is cloying. When I first picked up the book (figuratively – I have a Nook), I had trouble getting into it. It felt like her words just didn’t flow, especially considering some of the character’s names, like Lord Akeldama or Miss Ivy Hisslepenny. If a character has a strange name that I have trouble saying, then I tend to just glaze over it and have a difficult time keeping track of that person.

Overall though, the story was great. It was a really fun read once I was able to pick up on her style. I like that she involved a person without a soul, with a man that’s a werewolf. It was great that by the end of it, one knows that being soulless doesn’t necessary mean one is without soul. The main character, Alexia Tarabotti, is a firecracker who speaks her mind, which I love. I definitely plan to read further into the series, but this book definitely took some time to become invested in.

 

I am also currently reading the first installment of the Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore (or, James Frey and Jobie Hughes), I am Number Four. So far, I like it, but there are a lot of little contradictions in the story that I’m having trouble getting past. That’s all I’ll say on that one for now 🙂

Tell me: what are you reading?

Catching Up and November & December Book Reviews

2 Jan

(FYI, this is going to be a rather long catch-up post. You’ve been warned!)

I have been such a bad blogger and I apologize for that. But the holidays are for spending time with family and friends and I was a busy little worker getting gifts ready and well… working. This week still feels like the holidays since a lot of people took the whole week off from work. So, I figured, it’s quiet and slow enough right now that I can start the year off with talking about something I love. Books, of course 🙂 Did you have any doubt?

I was fortunate enough to receive the new Nook HD for Christmas from my mom. I don’t work for Barnes & Noble (anymore) so I am certainly not a spokesperson but this is a wonderful device. I did work for B&N for a while and left last year around February. I worked specifically at the Nook desk for a solid 5 months so I gained a lot of knowledge on the product and found that, objectively, it is superior to the Kindle. I know people have Kindles and they love them and all that, but overall, the Nook just has more options. You can add an SD card for extra space and you can read ePub formats on it, as well as many other awesome things along those lines that the Kindle doesn’t support. Not to mention the fact that I had a Kindle a few years ago and found it to not be what I wanted it to be, if that makes sense.

Secondly, I’ve been using the Overdrive app. A friend turned me onto it and at first, I was a little confused, and therefore frustrated because it wouldn’t work the way I thought it should. But eventually I figured it out and couldn’t love it more. It allows you to borrow eBooks from your local library; you just need a library card and a PIN that you set up at your library or on their website. It works just like the library does but you do everything on your phone or tablet, including searching for a book, requesting it, downloading it, reading it and returning it. You can keep it for 21 days and then it gets returned and sent to the next person. I highly recommend the app for anyone that reads as much as I do and doesn’t have the money or space to support buying up to 5 new books a month.

Veronica Roth – Divergent
Goodreads stars: four
Taken from my Goodreads review: “I really enjoyed this book. I was feeling like some teen fiction and this fit the bill. There’s action, love, friendship and it’s all set in a dystopian Chicago. I think a lot of people could relate to the characters Roth has created. I especially enjoyed the bonus material in the back. Including each faction’s manifesto made it all a little more cohesive.”
As I was reading, I felt like I was there with the characters. My heart leapt when Beatrice jumped off the roof into the net. I felt the wind rushing through my hair when they rode the trains. All in all, this was a great read. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a little action, a little dystopia and some danger.

Chris Cleave – Little Bee
Goodreads stars: four
This book was heart-wrenching. The way Chris Cleave weaves words is marvelous. At times I had a hard time following the story, but overall, it was a great read. If you want to be really sad, read this book.

Tim Wise – Between Barack and a Hard Place
Goodreads stars: four
If you’re interested, this is some great non-fiction, racial theory. I read Wise’s White Like Me in grad school and he is a fantastic writer. He’s able to take an objective viewpoint about hotly debated topics and relate them to you in a way that anyone can understand. I heard him speak at California State University, Sacramento, where I went to grad school, and it was like his words were coming to life. This book is specifically about racism in the time of Barack Obama, the time of the first black president. He writes two essays that compose the short but difficult-to-get-through book and discusses what he calls two different kinds of racism: Racism 1.0 (or good ole fashion racism) and Racism 2.0 (or racism in that people think there is no racism anymore because whites elected a black president). I would recommend reading White Like Me first as it is a little easier to get through than the essays, but both are worth the time if you’re at all interested in how racism really affects everything.

 

Richard K. Massie – Catherine the Great
Goodreads stars: four
Wow, this book! I had started reading it when I worked at B&N but only got through about 80 pages and definitely wanted to pick it up again. This was the first book I read on the Overdrive app and it took me quite a long time. It is an absolutely wonderful read, though, even if it is incredibly long. Massie writes in so much detail that it feels like I could have been friends with Catherine myself. The only issue I had with it is that he writes chronologically but also, not. If a new character emerged in Catherine’s life, he would go back to the beginning of that character’s lifetime and discuss his or her background, which I sometimes found confusing. It makes sense though instead of introducing everyone at once, but I felt like he got sidetracked at times and told other plot lines in great detail that just included too much information that only informed a small piece of Catherine’s story.

Ally Condie – Matched
Goodreads stars: four
After a long-winded biography, a nice little YA fiction was exactly what I needed to cleanse my proverbial palette. I had seen this series at B&N and the cover turned me off, but I’m not sure why. After reading a brief description of it, it sounded like something I might like. Ally Condie seemed to take a few notes from Lowry’s The Giver and Levin’s This Perfect Day, both of which were great reads. It is set in a place called Society where everything is simplified. All wear the same clothes and get assigned jobs and are even “matched” with their perfect counterpart, based on science and biology to basically create the most perfect human race. Of course there are snags in their system which is what makes it a great read.

Rick Riordan – The Lightning Thief
Goodreads stars: five
I had requested all sorts of YA fiction from the library to read on my Overdrive app and the library sent me a few, rapid fire. I had no preconceptions about this novel going into it; I had only read a very brief synopsis of it. Long story short, I loved it. This is one of the greatest YA novels I’ve ever read. Not only was it an enjoyable read, but I learned so much about Greek mythology. The gist of the story is that Percy Jackson, 12 years old, finds out he’s a half-blood, meaning he’s half Greek god. And it turns out someone stole Zeus’ lightning bolt and made it look like someone else did it, and Percy has to restore everything to its normal order. I had so much fun reading this book and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. I think it’s a great read for anyone, any age.

Philip Pullman – The Golden Compass
Goodreads stars: four
This was another great YA fiction novel. I had a slightly harder time following it because of the inventions that Pullman adds into the mix but it was still a fantastic read. The protagonist is a bit younger but I don’t think it is as youth-friendly a novel as The Lightning Thief. Some of the scientific concepts felt like they were almost over my head, but then again, I don’t have a head for science or math, so that shouldn’t be surprising. This book also felt a bit long for being a youth series. I still had a ton of fun reading it, but it might not be suitable for audiences that are around the age of the protagonist.

Emma Donoghue – Room
Goodreads stars: four
I started this novel on December 29th or 30th, I think, but I finished it yesterday, so I’m counting it towards my Goodreads goal of 50 new books for the year.
The story is told from the viewpoint of a 5 year old boy named Jack. He has lived his whole life in one room with his mother who was taken captive 2 years prior to his birth and locked in a shed in a man’s backyard to be kept as a sex slave. But because it is from Jack’s viewpoint, you see everything as he would, and you must infer what is actually happening. If any of you have read or heard anything about the Jaycee Lee Dugard story or any stories like it, you will have a pretty good idea of what is going on that Jack doesn’t totally understand. I read the Q&A provided at the end of the book and Donoghue took a few cues from stories such as this and stated that she did too much research. There are some things in her book that she did take from actual accounts and statistics. While it is a totally fictitious novel, she does a great job of sucking you in with the harrowing details.
Another interesting fact: I read a book in high school that I loved and lost a copy of, called Slammerkin, about a young girl in 18th century England that gets turned out of her house and becomes a prostitute; and it turns out Emma Donoghue wrote it. She is such a fantastic writer that she can cross genres and do it very well, which not a lot of authors do.

What are you reading right now? Do you have any great recommendations you’d love to share? I can’t wait to see what kind of great novels 2013 comes with!