Book Review: Percy Jackson and the Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson and the Greek HeroesGoodreads Synopsis\

Who cut off Medusa’s head? Who was raised by a she-bear? Who tamed Pegasus? It takes a demigod to know, and Percy Jackson can fill you in on the all the daring deeds of Perseus, Atalanta, Bellerophon, and the rest of the major Greek heroes. Told in the funny, irreverent style readers have come to expect from Percy, ( I’ve had some bad experiences in my time, but the heroes I’m going to tell you about were the original old school hard luck cases. They boldly screwed up where no one had screwed up before. . .) and enhanced with vibrant artwork by Caldecott Honoree John Rocco, this story collection will become the new must-have classic for Rick Riordan’s legions of devoted fans–and for anyone who needs a hero. So get your flaming spear. Put on your lion skin cape. Polish your shield and make sure you’ve got arrows in your quiver. We’re going back about four thousand years to decapitate monsters, save some kingdoms, shoot a few gods in the butt, raid the Underworld, and steal loot from evil people. Then, for dessert, we’ll die painful tragic deaths. Ready? Sweet. Let’s do this.


I felt like I was entering a reading slump so I turn to one of my favourite authors because he’s helped me before. I’d started having flashbacks of The Sword of Summer from the beginning of the book already and of that I wasn’t a fan. At all.

I love Percy Jackson’s narrating style. It will always be one of my favourites. I definitely got that familiar feel, like this is a legit Rick Riordan book that I can get behind. Percy has a way of making the story a lot more interesting and that’s always a plus.

I really enjoyed the second story, especially because I read a Destiel fanfic a while ago that I was based on it. The third story was shorter and thank goodness for that because it wasn’t all that. Otrera’s story was great because yes to women empowerment and taking a stand. I did wonder why she was included since she isn’t a goddess or anything like that but her feats alone were worthy.

Daedalus’ story did contradict Percy’s adventures with the inventor but as he said, he was going with the original myth. Theseus’ story was definitely my favourite out of them all. I laughed the most during this one and it was as if each word was soaked in humour. This was where I felt Percy’s presence the most.

I absolutely loved this book. I took a mere 3 days to finish it and that makes me so happy. I’m glad I read this book now because it certainly helped where the reading slump was concerned. Percy’s POV of it all really added a lot more to the book. It made what could’ve been boring stories a lot more interesting.

I now feel like I can conquer 10 more books.

Read: 31 January 2018
Rating: ★★★★

Publication Date: 7 August 2015
Publisher: Puffin Books
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Rick Riordan

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Book Review: Give Me Five by Meg Cabot

Give Me Five (The Princess Diaries, #5)Goodreads Synopsis

Princess Mia is dreaming about the prom – and contending with a hotel workers’ strike – in the fifth, supremely hilarious episode of Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries. This time, Mia’s in the pink about the upcoming Albert Einstein H.S. prom, and she’s crossing her fingers that Michael will ask her to go. (They’re in love, so why wouldn’t he ask her, right?) But during Seven Minutes in Heaven at her b-day party, Mia learns that Michael is not the prom-going type. Good grief, what’s a princess to do? 

To make matters worse, Grandmere has gotten a busboy fired due to a mishap with her pooch, Rommel, at a swanky restaurant, so when all of the city’s busboys go on strike, it causes a chain of events that result in Grandmere crashing at Mia’s mom’s place, her pal Lilly Moscovitz picking up a picket sign, and the prom being brought to a screeching halt. 

Thankfully, staunch yet boy-wise Grandmere has a plan to change Michael’s mind and put everything back on track, making Mia the happiest “prom princess” on this side of the Atlantic – and readers more starry-eyed than Molly Ringwald in her prettiest pink frock. 


It’s been ages since I’ve read the fourth book and I was so excited to continue this series. From the beginning already I was enjoying this book. There were times when the book lagged but then it picked up and I don’t know where the time went.

Once again it seems that Mia is overthinking a situation that could be easily sorted out if she ignored everyone (except Lily’s) advice. Really, hasn’t she heard that being direct is the best route to take?

It took me six days to finish this book and that was a bit of a disappointment since I usually speed through these. I really enjoyed this book and while we can’t say much about character development, this was quite funny. It felt like more of a humorous filler novel which was a bit of a difference from Mia’s constant fretting about the most mundane thing. She still fretted but only every two pages or so.

I am a lot more eager to read Sixsational now though. I’ll try not to take nearly a year long break again.

The Writing as always was amazing and I’m seriously thinking of looking into other works by Meg Cabot.

As I said, no character development took place but that’s asking for a lot since this book took place over a two-week period. One thing is for certain, there’s never a dull moment with Mia Thermopolis.

Read: 28 January 2018
Rating: ★★★★

Publication Date: 2004 (First published 1 September 2003)
Publisher: Macmillan
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Meg Cabot

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Wrap Up: January 2018 (and February TBR)

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Afflicted Damage (2017-) #1 Give Me Five (The Princess Diaries, #5) Percy Jackson and the Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan

Afflicted by Susanne Valenti

I took way to long to actually read this book but once I was in the zone, I was in. The. Zone! My rating for this isn’t very high but that doesn’t take away from the overall enjoyment. Looking forward to continuing this series. See review here.

Damage #1 by Robert Venditti

This issue gave enough information for me to be sure that I want to continue this series. I can’t wait to see how Ethan fights the monster he knows he’s not, but everyone thinks he is. Not to mention the actions that kind of proves it. Review to come soon.

Give Me Five by Meg Cabot

I really enjoyed this one! I hope I never get annoyed by this series and Mia’s tendency to obsess on one thing for almost 300 pages because I still have six more books to go so that would suck. Onward we go to Sixsational! Review to come soon.

Percy Jackson and the Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan

I LOVED this! After reading The Sword of Summer I was a bit reluctant to read another Rick Riordan book so soon (I know it’s been a year but come on) but I’m glad I decided to ignore that voice in my head and finished this book in a whopping 3 days. That hasn’t happened in a while. Percy is the man! Review to come soon.

Total Read: 4 Books


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The Girl on the Train The Graveyard Book Life of Pi Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1) Me Before You  (Me Before You, #1)  Invader Zim Vol. 1 

ARCs

Sleight The Weight of a Wing (The Stolen Wings, #1) Heartborn Loving Ashe: Book 1 of the Celebrity Series Soothsayer: Magic Is All Around Us (Soothsayer Series #1) Ever Shade (A Dark Faerie Tale, #1) Unseen (Breaking Free Book 1)  Jaeth's Eye (The Agartes Epilogues, #1) Demolition Love The Labyrinth Eve The Soul Reaper The Tower's Alchemist (The Gray Tower Trilogy, #1) Can't Buy Forever

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Book Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Between Shades of GrayGoodreads Synopsis

Lina is just like any other fifteen-year-old Lithuanian girl in 1941. She paints, she draws, she gets crushes on boys. Until one night when Soviet officers barge into her home, tearing her family from the comfortable life they’ve known. Separated from her father, forced onto a crowded and dirty train car, Lina, her mother, and her young brother slowly make their way north, crossing the Arctic Circle, to a work camp in the coldest reaches of Siberia. Here they are forced, under Stalin’s orders, to dig for beets and fight for their lives under the cruelest of conditions.

Lina finds solace in her art, meticulously–and at great risk–documenting events by drawing, hoping these messages will make their way to her father’s prison camp to let him know they are still alive. It is a long and harrowing journey, spanning years and covering 6,500 miles, but it is through incredible strength, love, and hope that Lina ultimately survives. Between Shades of Gray is a novel that will steal your breath and capture your heart.


 

  • Thieves and Prostitutes

The synopsis is what drew me to this book and that was the build up for the story because from the first page, there was no rest, no break. In other words, it started with the action. This story takes place in 1941, in the time of Joseph Stalin, when the Soviets were in Lithuania. This was all before Hitler did what he did.

Late one night, Lina and her family are taken by the NKVD because they are on the list. They are being deported. Lina and her younger brother, Jonas, don’t fully understand what’s going on and that makes sense given that no one tells them anything.

Lina is quite a spirited young girl and it’s clear from the beginning that she has a brain in that head of hers. She has ideas and opinions and that’s great and all but not when the Soviets can come knocking on the door at any time.

“You stand for what is right, Lina, without the expectation of gratitude or reward.”

Lina and Jonas along with their mother are separated from their father and they’re thrown into this carriage that’s meant for cattle. They form a sort of bond with the other people in the carriage and they end up looking out for one another.

Lina would describe what it looked like outside every time the train stopped and she mentioned how the guards would remove the dead from each carries as the journey wore on.  With the image of the dead bodies piled up, I was reminded of the poem Vultures by Chinua Achebe and that poem fits with this book because it talks about roughly the same era.

By the end of this section I was wishing that everyone in the carriage stayed together. They’d experienced hardships together and it was difficult to think about the fact that they might be separated again.

“I had no idea how quickly it was to change, to fade. If I had, I would have stared at my reflection, memorising it. It was the last time I would look into a real mirror for more than a decade.”

  • Maps and Snakes

The group are put to hard labour and believe it or not, are faced with even harsher conditions. We get more insight into what it going on in the world and what Stalin is doing to the people. In history class I always paid more attention to Hitler’s operation than Stalin’s so I’m a bit rusty in my knowledge.

This section of the book takes place over a ten month period. The group become even closer because now they’re not in their own country anymore. They have no one else who understands them so they stick together and find the time and opportunity to have celebrations even when their worlds seem like it’s crumbling down around them.

There are moments when the characters seem so happy that even I as the reader forget that there’s a war going on in the background but then something happens that bursts that bubble. These people had to build their defences so strong that no one could get through and break their will. Their memories and hope was all they had and they had to hold tight on to it.

“Don’t be scared. Don’t give them anything, Lina, not even your fear.”

What I liked about this section is that the harder the guards tried to break the people, the harder the people fought back. There were obviously a few who broke down but that was to be expected. Some had to do unseemly things to get by and that’s understandable because the main goal is to survive and get through today so that there is a possibility for tomorrow.

I can’t imagine how these people felt, being torn away from their families in the middle of the night, finding a new family, only to be torn away from them as well.

  • Ice and Ashes

At this point in the book you’d think that it was finally over. The worst that could happen had happened and their suffering was over. This wasn’t the case though because with every hill they climbed over, a new one waited in the distance.

These people knew they were going to die. The only thing was that they didn’t know when. Would they die today, tomorrow or would they live to see what old age looked like. The sadder thing is that for some, this was their life and they knew nothing else. They didn’t get to live long enough to see freedom. Some forgot what that even was.

“You think of nothing but yourself. If you want to kill yourself, what’s keeping you?” I said. Silence sat between our stares.

“Fear,” he said.

There was nothing perfect about this ending and this book in general except the writing. Ruta Sepetys’ writing style really drew me in from the first page and it was so informative, I learnt quite a lot. The fact that this was sort of based on true stories told to the author makes it scarier because this really happened but also opens our eyes to what the world was like and in certain case, still is like. I’m glad I decided to pick this book up. It made for an excellent read and definitely did not disappoint.

“In 1991, after fifty years of brutal occupation , the three Baltic countries regained their independence, peacefully and with dignity, They chose hope over hate and showed the world that even through the darkest night, there is light.”
-Ruta E. Sepetys

Read: 21 November 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Publication Date: 1 April 2011
Publisher: Puffin Books
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Ruta Sepetys

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Book Review: Geek Girl by Holly Smale

Geek Girl (Geek Girl, #1)Goodreads Synopsis

Harriet Manners knows a lot of things. 

She knows that a cat has 32 muscles in each ear, a “jiffy” lasts 1/100th of a second, and the average person laughs 15 times per day. What she isn’t quite so sure about is why nobody at school seems to like her very much. So when she’s spotted by a top model agent, Harriet grabs the chance to reinvent herself. Even if it means stealing her Best Friend’s dream, incurring the wrath of her arch enemy Alexa, and repeatedly humiliating herself in front of the impossibly handsome supermodel Nick. Even if it means lying to the people she loves. 

As Harriet veers from one couture disaster to the next with the help of her overly enthusiastic father and her uber-geeky stalker, Toby, she begins to realise that the world of fashion doesn’t seem to like her any more than the real world did. 

And as her old life starts to fall apart, the question is: will Harriet be able to transform herself before she ruins everything?


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Imagine opening a book and reading it and feel like it’s the most familiar thing because you’re reading about yourself. That how I felt while reading Geek Girl. I connected with Harriet on a personal level and I can only wonder why it’s taken me so long to discover this book, this series.

Harriet Manners is a geek and she has absolutely no problem with this. She likes knowing things and she takes pride in the knowledge that she holds.While out on a school trip she’s spotted by a modelling agent and since being a model is a her best friend’s dream, Harriet is against this completely. Of course high school gets to the best of us and maybe being a geek doesn’t help Harriet’s popularity status. Harriet uses this modelling opportunity to reinvent herself so that she isn’t the brunt of everyones jokes all the time. So starts the long list of lies Harriet tells as well as the even longer list of people who ‘hates’ her.

To be honest I thought that Harriet was super gorgeous and that’s why she was spotted but the more I read I found out that she’s just your average girl and the fact that she was geeky was precisely why she was chosen as a model. She was different, something the modelling world had never been seen before and that made her perfect.

I must admit that while reading this book I got a few Princess Diaries vibes here and there. I didn’t mind too much though because I love that series and the fact that this reminded me of it ended up being a bonus.

“You need to stop caring what people who don’t matter think of you. Be who you are and let everybody else be who they are. Differences are a good thing. It would be a terribly boring world if we were all the same.”

I finished this book in a day. Because of my new schedule it’s been months since I managed to finish any book within a day but Geek Girl was so addictive I kept saying ‘just one more chapter’.

You know what this book has that I don’t like? Short chapters and for once I didn’t despise it. I liked it quite a bit actually because with as much information Harriet was handing out, one needed a bit of a break. I liked everything about this book; the plot, the characters, the writing style. This is such a relatable book…apart from the being spotted part of course.

I liked the moral of the story though and that the author really milked the proverbial cow for all it was worth. An amazing book which I’m sure is part of an amazing series. I can’t wait to get my hands on Model Misfit and continue Harriet’s story.

Read: 20 September 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Publication Date: 28 February 2013
Publisher: Harper Collins
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Holly Smale

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Book Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artifices, #2)Goodreads Synopsis

Would you trade your soul mate for your soul?

A Shadowhunter’s life is bound by duty. Constrained by honor. The word of a Shadowhunter is a solemn pledge, and no vow is more sacred than the vow that binds parabatai, warrior partners—sworn to fight together, die together, but never to fall in love.

Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?

Their only hope is the Black Volume of the Dead, a spell book of terrible power. Everyone wants it. Only the Blackthorns can find it. Spurred on by a dark bargain with the Seelie Queen, Emma; her best friend, Cristina; and Mark and Julian Blackthorn journey into the Courts of Faerie, where glittering revels hide bloody danger and no promise can be trusted. Meanwhile, rising tension between Shadowhunters and Downworlders has produced the Cohort, an extremist group of Shadowhunters dedicated to registering Downworlders and “unsuitable” Nephilim. They’ll do anything in their power to expose Julian’s secrets and take the Los Angeles Institute for their own.

When Downworlders turn against the Clave, a new threat rises in the form of the Lord of Shadows—the Unseelie King, who sends his greatest warriors to slaughter those with Blackthorn blood and seize the Black Volume. As dangers close in, Julian devises a risky scheme that depends on the cooperation of an unpredictable enemy. But success may come with a price he and Emma cannot even imagine, one that will bring with it a reckoning of blood that could have repercussions for everyone and everything they hold dear.


There might be spoilers for Lady Midnight for those who haven’t read it yet. You’ve been warned.

I got this book the day it came out and I started it not too long after and it took me quite a while to finish it. I wasn’t worried because while I find Cassandra Clare’s work addictive, I always seem to take years to finish one book. I also had to put the book aside for a while because of studies but once I picked it up again, I couldn’t put it down again nor did I want to.

Lord of Shadows picks off roughly where Lady Midnight ended so we don’t miss anything. Major things happened in the first book and we were sent in blind, not knowing what awaited us around the corner. It’s like a jar tipped over and all its contents fell out and it made a mess of everything. That was Lady Midnight. Lord of Shadows focuses on putting everything back in but taking stock of each item as it’s returned. That doesn’t mean that it’s over though. It seems that we’ve barely scratched the surface and by the end of this book I was searching to see when The Queen of Air and Darkness is coming out. Thank goodness it’s been moved forward to 2018, so no more two year wait.

Once again I’m glad that Cassandra Clare doesn’t focus on the love aspect of the series too much because that does become distracting at times. Of course this all revolves around Emma and Julian’s feelings for each other since their love is forbidden and I am curious about why that’s the case. But, even though that is what the motivation is for some of these situations, there’s a bigger picture here that’s being painted and I’m eager to see what exactly that is.

“I want you to know what it’s like. To be tortured all the time, night and day, desperately wanting what you know you should never want, what doesn’t even want you back.”

Christopher ‘Kit’ Herondale has been added to the mix and we’re seeing the Blackthorn family from an ‘outsider’s’ POV. All this we’ve seen them through Julian and Emma’s view and there are so much that can be learnt. Kit blended in so easily with the crew, it’s as if he’s always been there. His constant battle of whether he wants to be a shadowhunter or not was…refreshing. With the characters in The Shadowhunter Chronicles, you either are or you aren’t. He could choose if this was the life he wanted and I think that’s a big deal because not everyone loves what they’re born into. *Note: we’re not looking at Simon here. He’s a special case.

There was so much action that went on in this book. I don’t remember where we had a moment of peace to just regroup before the next hunt was underway. I loved it though. As I mentioned before, I couldn’t put this book down. I was constantly at the edge of my seat anxious about what was about to happen next. From book one, there has definitely been some major character development and that’s always a good thing.

New enemies have been made and maybe they’ve been waiting in the shadows for a long time. Old enemies have come to the light and in short…a war is coming. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows were buildups to the climax that hasn’t happened yet. More is coming but my heart’s already been ripped out, sides have been chosen, I’ve cried and ached with these characters. I do know that even though I’m impatiently waiting for the next book, I am not ready.

“Break my heart. Break it in pieces. I give you permission.”

This quote can’t be more true. Cassandra Clare, there you have it. Do with my heart what you will because I’m here for all of this.

All the characters in this book are a team whether they’re aware of that fact or not. The good guys are at least. Bad guys are just the enemy. Cassie Clare has once again joined them and we know that it starts with a small few. I have to admit that each series within the Shadowhunter Chronicles have become a bit repetitive but they have their differences even if history does seem to be repeating itself over and over again.

I’ll be honest, I cried while reading this book. Of course it’s no secret that there are themes, some major, of LGBTQ in the Shadowhunter Chronicles and I’m all about any kind of positive representation. I felt so happy that the community is a part of this and I had to take a moment to compose myself.

Let’s talk about that ending though. Like, how dare you Cassandra Clare rip my heart out like that? It’s already been broken and stomped on. I did not need that extra punch to the gut. I want to know what that was all supposed to achieve. Oh well, I guess we’ll find out in the next book.

I did rate this book 5 stars yes, but I won’t gloss over the fact that there were a few things I disliked in and about the book. The constant POV changes…it made the book read like a movie and it got confusing at times. Just as the scene got really interesting, we’d jump over to someone else. So many POV’s. I understand that Clare wanted us to be in the loop about what was going on everywhere but at times it seemed like a bit too much.

I don’t want to end off this review on a bad note though. I definitely enjoyed LoS a lot more than I did Lady Midnight. I felt that there was a lot more action and plot to this book and I loved the constant need to know more. My curiosity was piqued and sated. Once again, Clare wrote an amazing book and I was hooked from page 1. I’ll go find a corner to sit in till the release day of The Queen of Air and Darkness.

 

Read: 12 September 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Publication Date: 23 May 2017
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Link to Author’s Goodreads Page: Cassandra Clare

  • My review for Lady Midnight here.
  • My reviews for other books in the Shadowhunter Chronicles here.

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Book Review: The Field Guide by Holly Black & Tony DiTerlizzi

The Field Guide (The Spiderwick Chronicles, #1)Goodreads Synopsis

The Field Guide sets up the story of the Grace children—13-year-old Mallory and 9-year-old twins Jared and Simon—who with their mother move into the dilapidated Spiderwick Estate only to quickly find themselves sucked into a dark and fascinating world of faeries.

***


I’ve been wanting to read The Spiderwick Chronicles for years and I saw my opportunity to get the book when one of the local bookstores was having a sale. I loved everything about this book. It was a quick and fun read and my only regret is that it’s such a short book. I wish that I’d gotten the next book as well because I’m completely addicted.

The Grace family children have recently moved and turned a new leaf in their lives and ended up in an old decrepit house that belongs to their great-aunt Lucinda.

From the get go things take a turn for the weird and it’s one person’s story against the other. These children are thrown into a world of faeries and monsters and they don’t know the trouble that awaits them. They have been warned. So much happens in this tiny book that it’s hard to believe it’s barely 100 pages, including the ones with illustrations. So much action takes place in the sense that we’ve moved forward in regards to the plot.

This was a solid introduction not who the characters are and a great preview of what’s still to come where the world of faeries is concerned. Jared, Simon and Mallory are quite curious and while curiosity killed the cat, they’re opening up their minds to something that’s so much bigger than you and me. I’ve watched the movie years ago so I do have an idea where the story’s going to go but I’m still excited to actually to reading the series.

Tony Deterlizzi and Holly Black joined together and wrote what I think was an amazing book. I’m eager to read The Seeing Stone and see what other trouble the Grace kids get into.

Read: 15 September 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Publication Date: 1 May 2003
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Link to Authors’ Goodreads Pages: Holly Black | Tony Deterlizzi

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