5 stars · fiction · mythology · young adult

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan: Percy is back and I’M SO EXCITED

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The Hidden Oracle

The Trials of Apollo #1

author : rick riordan

pages : [hardcover] 376

memorable quote :

Yep, that pretty much describes my life: because Poseidon.

favorite character : percy

summary :

How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favour.

But Apollo has many enemies – gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go . . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

review :

Rick Riordan has managed to create one of those worlds, and capture one of those literary voices, where I always find myself wondering if his new series will manage to captivate me or if it will disappoint. I have a good feeling that The Trials of Apollo (trilogy? series? I don’t even know how many books to anticipate anymore) is going to blow my mind.

The Hidden Oracle takes place after Riordan’s last book in the Heroes of Olympus series (which you should read if you haven’t yet!) and seems to take place parallel to his new Magnus Chase debut (Norse myth and equally awesome) if the hints Percy drops about Annabeth’s whereabouts fall into the right timeline.

Oh, yes. Did I just casually mention Percy? Because he’s back and better than ever. Actually, he’s back and scarily mature, because he needs to deal with terrifying things like SATs and Annabeth threatening his life if he dies while she isn’t around to save his butt. Apollo narrates the entire book, but Percy’s sass and mystifying ability to survive anything comes through better than ever. We also get to see familiar faces like Niko and Will who are incredibly adorable together.

As I mentioned, Apollo is the narrator. One thing that really stuck out to me is bisexual Apollo. I love that Riordan remained true to myth here, because some people don’t realize that most of the well-known gods have had their love affairs with both men and women (and more complicated mythical creatures, but I’m not even going to get into that). Apollo is turned mortal by Zeus for mysterious reasons, though of course Apollo insists that he’s done absolutely nothing wrong. But he soon finds himself as a mortal teenager, with plenty of hormones ramping up, and he manages to give a thorough assessment of which guys and gals he’d date (if he wasn’t so old–or young, now?) every time he encounters someone new in the book. Because of course Apollo is sure that any sane mortal would love to romance him.

I honestly thought that his ego was going to get in the way of me enjoying this book but it was more entertaining than anything else. New character Meg, on the other hand, took so long for me to get used to. For a majority of the book I felt like Apollo, wishing that she’d just flit away from the action. But I have a feeling I’ll like her more as she matures and grows throughout the series.

On a personal note, I was freaking out a little when I realized that one of the demigods in the book is named Kayla. She doesn’t have the biggest role in the world, but every time she popped up again my heart was happy to know that I have a namesake out there in the PJ universe.

I could ramble on about this book for ages, but suffice it to say that it was amazing. A little different from the other books, because there was so much character building there was a little less action. The action is definitely ramping up for even bigger and better trials to come!

5/5 stars

5 stars · fiction · series · young adult

Loki’s Wolves by K. L. Armstrong & M. A. Marr

Loki’s Wolves

The Blackwell Pages #1

authors : k. l. armstrong & m. a. marr

pages : [paperback] 358

favorite characters : laurie & fen

summary :

In Viking times, Norse myths predicted the end of the world, an event called Ragnarok, that only the gods can stop. When this apocalypse happens, the gods must battle the monsters–wolves the size of the sun, serpents that span the seabeds, all bent on destroying the world.

The gods died a long time ago.

Matt Thorsen knows every Norse myth, saga, and god as if it was family history–because it is family history. Most people in the modern-day town of Blackwell, South Dakota, in fact, are direct descendants of either Thor or Loki, including Matt’s classmates Fen and Laurie Brekke.

However, knowing the legends and completely believing them are two different things. When the rune readers reveal that Ragnarok is coming and kids–led by Matt–will stand in for the gods in the final battle, he can hardly believe it. Matt, Laurie, and Fen’s lives will never be the same as they race to put together an unstoppable team to prevent the end of the world.

review :

I loved this book so much! I’m a little reluctant to read most middle grade books now that I’m older, not just because they aren’t written with my age group in mind but because most of them seem to be redundant. Loki’s Wolves is anything but that, reminding me of the Percy Jackson series because of its band of kid protagonists and its plot is rooted in mythology. Yet this book can stand on its own as well without a comparison to a series as popular as that one. It has its own adventure and fun atmosphere as well as wicked fight scenes and others that will pull at your heart.

I think that this book is great because it was rooted in Norse mythology . . though it actually took me a little way into the book to realize that the setting was in America! All of the characters have their little flaws, especially the main ones. Fen and Matt dislike each other because their ancestors were Loki and Thor, respectively, and it seems like each has inherited a few abilities from his ancestor. Now that the world is at stake they need to suck it up and work together or risk everybody dying or else sending the world into another ice age. I loved seeing how their relationship changed and developed throughout the course of the book.

Laurie was definitely my favorite character in the book. She doesn’t seem to have any particular abilities which made the boys want to protect her but she forces her way through to stand on her own. I love how she doesn’t want to let anyone take care of her to the point where it isn’t like she can handle anything for herself. Her relationship and friendship with Fen was so sweet because I could really see how the two have cared for each other as they’ve grown up together.

I don’t know much about Norse mythology so I’m looking forward to learning more as this series continues. I’m hoping that it does for me what other book series have shown me about other myths. I’d recommend this for anyone looking for a book with a great cast of characters and a new take on old myths.

5/5 stars

If you love this book you might also like The Red Pyramid or The Thief

3 stars · Fantasy · fiction · romance · young adult

Discord’s Apple by Carrie Vaughn

Discord’s Apple

author : carrie vaughn

pages : [hardcover] 299

favorite characters : evie & sinon

memorable quote “Have you thought about going insane?” It would seem like a reasonable thing to do, given his circumstances.

“Did once. Got boring, so I snapped out of it.”

summary :

When Evie Walker goes home to spend time with her dying father, she discovers that his creaky old house in Hope’s Fort, Colorado, is not the only legacy she stands to inherit. Hidden behind the old basement door is a secret and magical storeroom, a place where wondrous treasures from myth and legend are kept safe until they are needed again. The magic of the storeroom prevents access to any who are not intended to use the items. But just because it has never been done does not mean it cannot be done.

And there are certainly those who will give anything to find a way in.

Evie must guard the storeroom against ancient and malicious forces, protecting the past and the future even as the present unravels around them. Old heroes and notorious villains alike will rise to fight on her side or to undermine her most desperate gambits. At stake is the fate of the world, and the prevention of nothing less than the apocalypse. In the same month, along with this all-new hardcover, Tor will publish a new novel in Carrie Vaughn’s popular, New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series featuring werewolf talk radio host, Kitty Norville. Kitty Goes to War will be the eighth book in this successful mass market series.

review :

I was really excited to start reading this book because I loved the concept so much! There is an untold amount of mythology involved in this book from the Trojan War, to Greek gods, to fairy tales, and King Arthur! I didn’t know that so much would be involved when I started reading and that immediately addicted me to the story. Carrie Vaughn has a fantastic storytelling style that seems perfectly fit to the legends and old tales that she incorporated into her novel. Yet I feel like it was really missing something, despite all of the corresponding elements that I usually love to see in books.

While there were several great ideas presented in the book, it started to jumble together as the reader is brought through the modern day, as well as individual tales about Evie’s ancestors and how they dealt with the storeroom, and the story of Sinon’s past. It felt like there were several different book ideas conflicting throughout the majority of the book because it was just too much to take in all at once and these great, wonderful ideas Vaughn presents rarely have the chance to reach their full potential because they are fighting against other plotlines to gain enough focus to be seen through to the end.

That was something that really bothered me. Not even the modern-day lines seemed to go anywhere and the ending didn’t help that at all. I went and looked to see if there was a sequel to this or any kind of companion in the works but, no, this is it and I wasn’t satisfied with it. I’d recommend reading this just for the beautiful writing and the stories; it’s enough to spark the imagination and be thought of fondly, but with the confusingly large set of characters that go largely unexplored and the potential that is wasted, this would-be favorite of mine has been turned into a simply okay novel, nothing more.

I really hope to read more by Vaughn, though, just because of her beautiful writing style, and I hope that perhaps in her other novels her ideas come through more completely and in a more satisfying manner.

3/5 stars

5 stars · Fantasy · fiction · romance · series · young adult

Tiger’s Destiny

Tiger’s Destiny

The Tiger Saga #4
Book 1: Tiger’s Curse
Book 2: Tiger’s Quest
Book 3: Tiger’s Voyage

author : colleen houck

pages : hardcover : 464

memorable quote “You are my home, Kelsey. Wherever you are is where I belong.”

favorite characters : durga & ren

summary :

With three of the goddess Durga’s quests behind them, only one prophecy now stands in the way of Kelsey, Ren, and Kishan breaking the tiger’s curse. But the trio’s greatest challenge awaits them: A life-endangering pursuit in search of Durga’s final gift, the Rope of Fire, on the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal.  It’s a race against time–and the evil sorcerer Lokesh–in this eagerly anticipated fourth volume in the bestselling Tiger’s Curse series, which pits good against evil, tests the bonds of love and loyalty, and finally reveals the tigers’ true destinies once and for all.

review :

I love the Tiger Saga and I’ve been both anticipating and dreading the moment this day would come: Reading the fourth and (supposedly) final book of the series. There’s a fifth book in the works, but I don’t know if it’ll ever be published or not, though I’d definitely read it immediately if it comes to be. Until then, I’ll keep myself happy with this conclusion, because it was everything I expected and then some.

Unfortunately, Kelsey hasn’t completely grown up, or started acting as I really wanted her to, but she’s kept within her character so there’s that much to go for her. I wasn’t sure what would happen with the love triangle in this book. While it wasn’t completely predictable, it was still easy enough to figure out, though I liked how it all fell together. I won’t give any spoilers because I know that this is one of the most anticipated parts of the series!

The battle for good and to complete the quests in this book all take on another level more intense and interesting than any of the other three books. Each succeeding book has been a step up from the one before, which I’ve loved; when a series can build on itself like that, it only gets better. Although there were a few parts of the novel that I considered slow, overall I genuinely enjoyed it and couldn’t put it down. The new characters introduced-which I loved so much!-just added to the new taste of this book.

Tiger’s Destiny is all fans of the Tiger Saga want and then some. There are things to cry over and quips to laugh at, situations that leave you on the end of your seat and kissing scenes that will make you melt. If you haven’t started this series, you should start!

5/5 stars

5 stars · Fantasy · fiction · romance · series · young adult

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce

Sisters Red

Fairytale Retellings #1
Book 3: Fathomless

author:
Jackson Pearce

pages : [hardcover] 324

memorable quote :
How could I possibly try to pretend the sunlight doesn’t exist, now that it’s taken so much of me?

favorite characters : silas & rosie

summary :

Scarlett March lives to hunt the Fenris–the werewolves that took her eye when she was defending her sister Rosie from a brutal attack. Armed with a razor-sharp hatchet and blood-red cloak, Scarlett is an expert at luring and slaying the wolves. She’s determined to protect other young girls from a grisly death, and her raging heart will not rest until every single wolf is dead.

Rosie March once felt her bond with her sister was unbreakable. Owing Scarlett her life, Rosie hunts ferociously alongside her. But even as more girls’ bodies pile up in the city and the Fenris seem to be gaining power, Rosie dreams of a life beyond the wolves. She finds herself drawn to Silas, a young woodsman who is deadly with an ax and Scarlett’s only friend–but does loving him mean betraying her sister and all that they’ve worked for?

review :

I don’t know why it took me so long to read this book! With my current fixation on all myth and fairy tale retellings, this caught my eye and held it there for a while. But I was hesitant to read it, mostly because I didn’t want to be disappointed by another book that looked promising and didn’t really know what an author could do with Little Red Riding Hood. A few days ago I finally took the plunge and I’m ever so glad that I did.

Rosie and Scarlett were such awesome characters to read about. They were so different, yet still felt a strong connection with each other that could never be broken, and avoided being too cliché. Always a plus. Silas, Scarlett’s longtime hunting partner, was awesome as well. He seeks some balance with normalcy as does Rosie and Scarlett thinks that doing anything but hunting is a waste of time. Why do something like that when other lives could be put in danger? It makes a horrible sort of sense but doesn’t make for a healthy way of living. This is highly dealt with in the plotline along with so much action you’ll never know what’s coming next.

. . . Despite that, some things were really, really predictable. Even major, key point of the novel. But there were little twists incorporated at the end to balance that, I suppose, so all wasn’t completely lost. I was still totally emotionally invested by the end, which I always want but love to hate because then I get so dang worried over the characters. And these guys are literally throwing themselves to the wolves. All. Of. The. Time.

I really, really loved this book! I like how it’s stand alone as well because I haven’t read many of those lately and this was perfect. Action, adventure, romance, fighting, different problems, relationship issues, memorable characters. Scary villains! Check this book out!

5/5 stars

3 stars · fiction · romance · series · young adult

Underworld by Meg Cabot

Underworld

Abandon Trilogy #2
Book 1: Abandon

author: meg cabot

pages [hardcover]: 336

memorable quote: “This is exactly why Patrick and I chose not to have children,” he muttered. “So we would never have to have conversations like this.”

favorite characters: henry & john

summary:

Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead.
Not this time.
But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey.
Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance…on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.
But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there…and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies.
And unless Pierce is careful, this time there’ll be no escape.

review:

I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. Only I just couldn’t bring myself to. I’ve loved Meg Cabot’s writing ever since I first started the Princess Diaries, so many years ago. Since then I’ve read most of her YA books and a few of her adult ones and have liked every one of them. Until this trilogy came along. I’m not sure what it is, but I can’t bring myself to care very much about what is going to happen with Pierce and John.

I think part of that might be the fact that he brought her down to the Underworld, against her will, and plans on keeping her trapped there for all eternity. And she’s understandably upset by this, yet she doesn’t do much to try and fight him on it or try to get herself out of it. She seems to accept her fate. Within the span of a day. And keeps going on about how it’s alright because he loves her, he just wants to protect her, etc. If I had a guy doing things like that, where I needed to wheedle to get him to let me visit the surface for five seconds to save someones life, I’d run away from him as fast as I could. No matter how misunderstood she might insist he is, or how nice his intentions might be.

Phew. Okay. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I like John as a character, not exactly as a love interest. He has a great, complicated past that’s not too corny. He’s manipulative and tricky and is true to himself. Awesome. But he lies to Pierce all of the time. And she accepts that. Not awesome.

I liked the concept of the Underworld, though some parts of the book were confusing and made little to no sense. I liked the entire celebration of Coffin Night and how her uncle was incorporated. But a lot of the characters seemed changed from the last book, for no reason. I did like Kayla . . . not that I’m biased toward her because of her name, or anything. ^^

I don’t recommend this book for those who like twisted myths, because this is about the only one I’ve read that I haven’t liked. But if you like mysterious bad boys,  complicated YA romance, or creepy storylines, this might be one for you.

DISAPPOINTINGLY DREARY. 2/5 stars

Fantasy · fiction · romance · young adult

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Forgive My Fins

Author: Tera Lynn Childs

Pages [hardcover]: 293

Available now!

Memorable Quote: He’s a little boy who doesn’t like other people playing with his toys.

Favorite Characters: Shannon and Quince

Summary:

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it’s not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you’re a normal teenage girl, but when you’re half human, half mermaid like Lily, there’s no such thing as a simple crush.

Lily’s mermaid identity is a secret that can’t get out, since she’s not just any mermaid – she’s a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn’t feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she’s been living on land and going to Seaview high school ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems – like her obnoxious, biker boy neighbor Quince Fletcher – but it has that one major perk – Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren’t really the casual dating type – when they “bond,” it’s for life.

When Lily’s attempt to win Brody’s love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistaken identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily-ever-after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

Review:

Wow, being a mermaid is complicated. Sure, Lily can have human legs or a mermaid tail whenever she wants, but she’s also the princess of her kingdom and so has to find love before her 18th birthday-or lose her claim to the throne forever.

I don’t think I’ve ever read a mermaid book. I’ve never watched a mermaid movie other than The Little Mermaid. But though this novel teetered on the brink of becoming terribly corny, it never fell off. The cute fishy sayings and the quirks that come with the whole mermaid thing make up for it. Plus I love one of the main male characters, Quince. 😀 He’s so snarky.

When I heard that Lily was a mermaid princess, that almost turned me away from the book. Don’t let that happen to you! She still whines to her Daddy like any teenage girl, has temper tantrums, and is forced to deal with her own mistakes.

This book seemed like it would end several times, each with hundreds of pages left until the finish. I thought that was odd, and detracted from my enjoyment. It acts like it’ll nicely wrap up but then I notice there’s fifty pages left. Obviously something else will happen.

I didn’t know this was going to be a series, but now I’m glad! I love these characters and want to read about them again! There isn’t a hint that there’ll be a sequel until the last chapter, which I thought was odd. But, oh well.

Forgive My Fins gets 4/5 stars.