I read this so fast that I'm afraid I kinda sorta skimmed it. Don't worry, I'll read it again soon. But for now, it was amazing. And I ugly cried. TheI read this so fast that I'm afraid I kinda sorta skimmed it. Don't worry, I'll read it again soon. But for now, it was amazing. And I ugly cried. The end....more
The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielson (#1) Pages: 342 Release Date: April 1st, 2012 Date Read: 2012, April 27th-May 1st Received: Library Rating: 4/5 staThe False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielson (#1) Pages: 342 Release Date: April 1st, 2012 Date Read: 2012, April 27th-May 1st Received: Library Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 11+
SUMMARY - Sage - orphan, thief, troublemaker. Rebellious. Never taking orders. But when his antics get him noticed, Sage is in for something bigger than anyone could have guessed. He and three other boys have been taken in, forced into a game of deceit, a plan full of lies. Who will win the prize? Who will live and who will die? Sage finds himself caught int he middle of a huge conspiracy, and he is the only one who can stop it.
MY THOUGHTS - Boy, I enjoyed this book one heck of a lot! Written beautifully, masterfully crafted...Nielson has some new talent that everyone should read and love. Intrigue! Romance! Conspiracy! Princes! Secret passageways! Secrets - lots of secrets! (And I hear Alan Tudyk saying, "Pain! Lots of pain!")
I had my ideas about the plot from the very beginning (which I usually avoid). A lot of them came to pass, which normally does not happen, those very few times I venture to guess, and which is why it felt a bit too predictable. Some things never happened and a few I ended up discarding because, no, there's no way that could be the case! Well, at least I was surprised where it counts, right? Beautifully twisted. My gosh! I just sat there with my mouth hung open. I laughed, incredulous. It's amazing.
Sage is quite a catch. He's 14(ish), totally cocky, and beyond a doubt brilliant. He is without a doubt one of the most original MC's I've ever come across. BUT. (Yes, there is a "but".) He broke my trust, and my heart. When I meet a character as vivid and personal as Sage, I throw my very hart and soul into the mix. So while that one very spoilery twist shocked me and amazed me, I couldn't help feeling a bit betrayed. It goes along with Sage's character in a way, but still! After that, I didn't trust him like before and found myself pulling away from the story a bit. Besides that, I loved Sage, the story, the shocking twist that once seemed impossible, and the rest of the cast. I can't wait for more of Sage's story and to see what affect Roden, Tobias and Imogen will have on the story!
This book reminds me of... Gold crowns (the kind you wear on your head...you know, take a look at that gorgeous cover) Rascal boys Oliver Twist, The Prince and the Pauper, Scaramouche, and The Count of Monte Cristo (of which the latter two just happen to be two of the most brilliant books ever written) Young love Brillian boys who are undeniably attractive Quick speed read
The Humming Room by Ellen Potter Pages: 192 Release Date: February 28th, 2012 Date Read: 2012, January 14th-16th Received: ARC from NetGalley Rating: 4/5 sThe Humming Room by Ellen Potter Pages: 192 Release Date: February 28th, 2012 Date Read: 2012, January 14th-16th Received: ARC from NetGalley Rating: 4/5 stars Recommended to: 11+
SUMMARY - Roo Fanshaw is small for her age, and very shy. Her father, a man who dappled in illegal activities for a long time, has just been murdered, leaving Roo alone and in the custody of whoever will take her. When she is taken from her home to her eccentric Uncle's house on an island, Roo finds this harder to bear than almost anything else. When she arrives at her Uncle's mansion, what used to be a hospital for ill children, Roo finds herself drawn to the nature and the river on the outside - as well as the Humming that comes from the walls of the west wing. There are secrets here, and Roo is determined to uncover them. Can she unlock the mysteries of her family and heal her broken heart?
MY THOUGHTS - This story is incredibly sweet - and also very powerful. I remember watching "The Secret Garden" movie a few times when I was younger, but I never got around to the book. I wanted to read this even before I knew it was a retelling - and finding that out just made me even more excited.
I really like Ellen Potter's style. She uses words and sets pace very gracefully. Her writing style creates very clear imagery, very strong and interesting characters, and a touching, heartfelt story. I'm honestly really impressed by how beautiful this book is.
CHARACTER NOTES - Roo Fanshaw is the quirky, realistic and vivid character I think everyone wishes they could write/read about all the time. She's the kind of character I always loved most growing up - the one you can relate to, but who has different struggles and a very realistic and unique personality. Roo had me eagerly awaiting her every action. Her personal struggles are deep; her endeavors - in the garden and with the boys she meets - are very touching. In this story, Roo's life is turned upside-down: she changes (and still stays very consistent), and she changes others around her.
I really liked Violet's character - funny, talkative, and full of laughter. She brightened teh story a lot; without her it would have been a bit too dark.
The Faigne and the other boy, Philip (I won't say anything in case you don't know much about the original story), were very different and both absolutely necessary to the story. Part of me wishes there had been more of both of them, but then again, it was great as it was.
STORY NOTES - The Humming Room is a pretty darn intense story. Not like action-packed, but...eerie. Roo's adventures in her Uncle's dark castle, and in the almost fairytale-like land around it were riveting. Cough Rock was the perfect backdrop to the mystery and discovery in the story.
For the most part, all the events and conversations were very well-placed; everything about the story was emotionally gripping. The two things that bothered me, the reason for 4 instead of 5 stars, were these: the part of me that wishes there was more development about the boys, and the end scenes. Those last two or three scenes were good, but not great like the rest. They came to a close a little too quickly, like they could have been stretched out maybe 15 more pages. Roo's Uncle Fanshaw could have been brought into things more as well.
But overall, everything really was fantastic. From the garden to the Faigne; from the despair to the joy - I can't wait to have this one on my shelf and let my friends read it!
SUMMING IT UP - The Humming Room is simple, yet so intricate as well. It was a really great read and I'm ecstatic to read Potter's previous book, The Kneebone Boy, which I've wanted to read forever but haven't found the time to. Now it's on my priority list, because Potter's work is just too good to pass up!
This book! THIS BOOK! What the flip!! Riordan, how do you manage to be so brilliant about everything? Just, stop. Ok? Actually, don't stop, because itThis book! THIS BOOK! What the flip!! Riordan, how do you manage to be so brilliant about everything? Just, stop. Ok? Actually, don't stop, because it's all too wonderful. GUYS! THIS BOOK!! I mean....WHAT?! THAT ENDING. I'M STILL IN SHOCK AND AMAZED AND TOTALLY IN LOVE. Percy Jackson. I love him.
Princess of the Silver Woods (#3) by Jessica Day George Pages: 304 Release Date: December 11th, 2012 Date Read: 2012, Oct. 11th - Nov. 9th Received: ARC vPrincess of the Silver Woods (#3) by Jessica Day George Pages: 304 Release Date: December 11th, 2012 Date Read: 2012, Oct. 11th - Nov. 9th Received: ARC via NetGalley Rating: 3/5 stars Recommended to: 11+
SUMMARY - At sixteen, Petunia is the youngest of the twelve children in her royal family: all are girls, and all have had adventures. Petunia is not expecting an adventure of her own, however, when she is attacked in the woods on the way to the Grand Duchess's estate. She thinks she has things under control, but her captor, Oliver, turns out to be more than meets the eye. When she discovers his plight, she decides to help him - and finds herself in a world where wrongs must be righted and old spells must be strengthened, before her whole world falls apart and she loses those she loves most.
MY THOUGHTS - I really wanted to love this book like the others - I really did. I went into it hoping and praying. I did enjoy it, don't get me wrong, but it was lacking in many ways. Still ultimately adorable, but not the brilliant fairytale JDG has been known to give.
CHARACTER NOTES - Petunia is one spunky girl. For the most part I really enjoyed her, although I wish there had been more development for her. Sometimes she felt like "just another sister", not an MC. In any case, I found her to be charming and adorable and, eventually, a cute match for Oliver....
....who started out fantastic and swoon-worthy, and who turned into kind of a meh love interest and an okay hero. He just didn't do enough. And when he did stuff it was mostly impulsive and illogical. However, I still enjoyed him, and I'm glad he was a part of the story.
Still, even to this day, Galen rocks my world. He and Rose are magnificent, well-defined and utterly charming. I just love them! Especially Galen. He is SUCH a man, from head to toe, and full of bravery, grand ideas, and lots of love. Basically, he's my #1.
The villains in this story, to me, were incompetent. As a personal rule, unless it is done VERY well, I HATE when dead and gone villains are brought back into the picture. The King Understone and his brothers are back for this adventure; and while I enjoyed some aspects of this, most of it wasn't done right. It felt like the same old, same old.
STORY NOTES - I wish the story had been based around a different antagonist. Something new. The King Understone was new the first time. Princess of Glass had an entirely new scenario. Silver Woods seemed like it had a new premise, but it was like Midnight Ball all over again. For that, I was seriously bummed out.
However, I did like: the wolves (I wish there had been more), Grigori, The Grand Duchess... I liked the escapes and the end scenes were marvelous! (Mainly because of Galen... *swoon*) I enjoyed the dynamic the invisibility cloak, the old crone, Walter, and the Bishop brought to the table. Overall, it was a fun story with a little something for everyone.
SUMMING IT UP - A cute story! Could have been much better, but worth a read all the same, especially if you're a die-hard JDG fan!
For the Parents - Nothing! Refreshingly clean children's book. Recommended 11+
Pages: 541 Release Date: August 30th, 2011 Date Read: 2011, September 21st-28th Received: Own Rating: 3/5 stars Recommended to: 11+
Summary - The day Mac was kidnapped started out as a good, normal day. But when the murder of crows descended and Prue watched as they lifted her baby brother off the ground, her day went from good to bad. And then from bad to worse when they disappeared into the Impassable Wilderness, a place where no one ever goes. Prue can't possible tell her parents what has happened - she can't quite believe it herself! - so she knows immediately that she must venture into the Impassable Wilderness to find her brother, never suspecting what new friends and ugly terrors might lay in those woods.
My thoughts - As Colin Meloy is a favorite singer/songwriter of mine, I was naturally ecstatic when I discovered he was coming out with a book. Colin's stories in his songs have never been anything but fantastical, and I've always wanted him to write a book. I got my wish - but things didn't end up quite as 5-star-he's-a-genius as I'd hoped.
For the record, I enjoyed myself. There were many scenes that had me riveted and were quite original and/or funny. However...
For one, the descriptions were lengthy. Too lengthy, in my opinion. At first they were beautiful and everything was perfect; but then he just kept going with them, a lot about plants and trees, and I'm thinking, "It's the Impassable Wilderness. There are tons of plants. Plants everywhere. And there are pictures, too, that show tons of greenery. So, does he really need to keep describing?"
So the beginning was great. The middle was slow. All the plant details and lots of getting from on place to another. More details. Then, the end. It was a fun end, well-crafted, and had a great battle. A few secrets were let out and it was all a great hurrah! (Well, besides that lame end to Curtis's story. I hope he's in the second one to make up for that?)
Character notes - Prue and Curtis were, seriously, great characters. I loved them, and found that I connected with them. I noticed a small glitch in Prue (she started out as an indifferent teenager and suddenly became a grateful and super loving and protective older sister), but I could only enjoy her company throughout the novel. She was quite a catch and very willing to do the right thing, as was Curtis.
While Meloy's descriptions sometimes got out of hand, they were never more enjoyable than when he was describing characters. The humans, the land animals, the birds... It wasn't hard to picture them at all, with all their differences and strange clothes and/or funny character handles.
Story notes - This story is bizarre, with a fascinating air of originality and a dark undertone. It had the feel I'd wanted, but was a bit slower than I'd hoped. I very mournfully contemplated giving it a break about twice. (I'd have picked it up again later...) But I'm glad i finished it all the way through. It could have been cut down at least fifty pages, and I wish the battle scenes had been more personal, instead of a lot of general action, but it was so fun nonetheless.
In many ways it reminded me of the Chronicles of Narnia, what with the talking animals, one character being deceived by a witch, and a magic forest, but it was also very much it's own story. I was able to appreciate it, even when I was disappointed that I didn't fall madly in love.
Summing it up - Descriptive - great, good, and bad. I definitely enjoyed myself and would like to read Meloy's next book in the Wildwood trilogy - although this time I probably won't spend $17.00 on it; I'll go buy his CD's instead.
For the parents - Violence and excessive drinking among the coyotes. Parents may want to take a look at the violence for themselves, because not every 11-year-old likes scary witches. 11+...more
Catherine's mother has just died - and her father is a pirate. Dealing with grief, Catherine must convince her father to allow her to go on his next cruise with him. He is the only hope she has left; she doesn't want to be left with her Aunt. She has wanted adventure all her life, and this is finally the chance. And then there's the question of the man who was prowling around their house the night before her mother died. He'd gotten in, looking for something, and Catherine barely managed to scare him away. If she stays, something like that could happen again. So when her father accepts, Catherine is thrilled. But pirate life is not what Catherine - now Charlie - bargained for. And the danger of her request may cost her the lives of those she loves. ______________________________________________
My thoughts - If this book hadn't been so short, I would have put it down half way through. Or maybe, if it had been longer, it would have been better, with more meat and substance and intrigue. But the fact of the matter is: it was short, underdeveloped, and even stupid. I know Eve Bunting was trying to create a pirate world that was based off reality more than romanticism, but I'm sorry, it just didn't work. There was nothing working in her favor here. The events were real, perhaps, but not beneficial to the story. Things must happen for a reason, or else all falls apart. Writing a realistic story does not mean having characters die for no reason. (Well, if there was a reason, I must have missed it...) With that said, here is a little explanation for why I finished this book (it's not much, I can assure you; how did I manage?!): 1. I liked the writing. 2. It had potential. By potential, I mean I was able to, in my mind, picture things the way I wanted them to be or to go. Other than that... Yah. That's pretty much it.
Character notes - There was very little character development. Charlotte was a sweet girl who meant well and learned a lesson, but she fell flat. William was the best character, but he was so underdeveloped it was sad...I wanted to get to know him more. The rest of the characters felt forced and unnatural. Like, maybe Bunting was trying to create interesting and unusual characters. Maybe trying too hard. Because basically, it lacked. Someone's distinct, strong, and disgusting smell should not be his only distinguishable character trait.
Story notes - I was so looking forward to a story about pirates that's actually good. (The other one I read was Steel by Carrie Vaughn. Come on, people! Step it up a notch!) Unfortunately, I discovered not too far into this story that that was too much to ask. I felt like there was seriously no adventure. Danger, maybe a bit. Lots of talking and explaining. Quite a bit of useless details and hurried explanations packed into tiny sentences. Within seventy pages or so, she was already on the ship. At seventy-five pages or around there, William figured out she was a girl. Wait, there are only 125 pages left - how's she going to tie up everything and finish it off well, when not much as actually happened?! Truth is, she didn't. She didn't let the suspense build and explode in the end. Instead, she'd let you think about some mystery for twenty pages or less and then explain away the suspense.
Summing it up - Flat. Boring. Fast. Too fast. Too short. Too uninteresting. I wish it had been more, but unfortunately it wasn't.
For the parents - Recommended to ages 11+. But it was stupid because at the end it was implied that Catherine and William have sex on the beach where they're marooned, after they've practically starved for two weeks. It was weird to say the least - they hadn't even developed a relationship! Ugh!
So, basically I'm looking for a good, solid, realistic and still romantic pirate story. Anyone have any suggestions?...more
The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (The Heroes of Olympus #1) Pages: 557 Release Date: October 12th, 2010 Date Read: 2011, October 14th-20th Received: Own RatinThe Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (The Heroes of Olympus #1) Pages: 557 Release Date: October 12th, 2010 Date Read: 2011, October 14th-20th Received: Own Rating: 5/5 stars Recommended to: 11+
SUMMARY - When Jason wakes up on a bus headed toward the Grand Canyon, he has no memory. What he does have is a beautiful girlfriend named Piper and a best friend named Leo. They are a part of a school for troubled children; everyone knows who Jason is and has memories about him - except their coach. Then things get even worse - the school hottie turns into a monster, and storm spirits attack them on the Grand Canyon. Jason knows he has training for this, but from where? They barely defeat the storm spirits when a chariot pulled by flying horses appears on the scene to take them to Camp Half-Blood, where demigods reside. The girl, Annabeth, needs Jason's help. A very special Hero has disappeared, and Jason is the one to lead the Quest to find him.
MY THOUGHTS - Oh, Rick Riordan, you have quite tortured me with this book. First you steal away my first and an only true demigod love and put him in possible danger - again! And then you create a new demigod who comes to a close second and make me love him! Oh, it is just too much!
What drew me in from the first was that my dearest Percy Jackson was missing, and I must go on a quest to save him! But I learned - this book is more than that. Riordan has created a new series, yes, but it is a continuation of the story of the Olympians, and I believe big plans are in store. (If you haven't read Percy Jackson and the Olympians, you don't need to in order to read this book. But honestly, I'd start there. If I hadn't had the knowledge I did, or loved the characters I loved, it would have come across as less amazing, in my personal opinion.)
It was very interesting to read Riordan in third person, as well as from three new perspectives (Piper, Leo, and Jason). But he nailed it. Really nailed it. I'm incredibly impressed.
CHARACTER NOTES - Let's start with Jason. He was wonderful. Kind of hardened by a past he doesn't remember, by his frustration, but he still made an effort to be a friend and help the camp. And when I found out whose son he was, I about died of excitement. Over the course of the book, I found myself more and more drawn to him. By the end, I was hooked. I want more Jason! I also want romance between him and Piper. It's mandatory.
Speaking of Piper... Dang, I love that girl. She's a heroine who is drop-dead gorgeous and kicks butt. I don't want to compare or anything but I liked her better than Annabeth. Of course, Annabeth is the perfect other half for Percy (who is my one true love), so for that I love her, but I was able to relate to Piper more as far as personality and real-life-outside-of-camp go. (Definitely not the drop-dead gorgeous/kick-butt stuff...haha!) She made my laugh, she was strong, and she loves unconditionally, even when she has to make hard choices between friends.
Leo definitely amazed me. He possesses great skill, is sensitive to those around him, and has a past he wants to bury. He was a crack-up and had the funniest one-liners of the group. He made the team on the quest complete!
The other characters were all up to par, especially the hilarious Gleeson Hedge, wise Thalia, and adorable Mellie. I want more of all these fantastic characters!
STORY NOTES - This is a crazy story, in all the best ways. Nonstop action, intense physical and emotional struggles, and a lovely new budding romance. Then there's the mystery of the new villains, and how to defeat them. Who's behind it all?! I also really like how the POV changes added to the atmosphere, giving a different perspective to everything and everyone.
There are quite a bit more visions, dreams, and prophecies in this book, which I really enjoyed. new gods are introduced, some good, some funny, some evil. I loved the Roman aspect of the story (brings up a lot of questions); Roman/Gladiator training = definitely amazing. It's a great way to learn mythology, even the lesser known stories. Let's just say - I love Heroes. Wanna know who my favorite is? Duh! Percy! :D
SUMMING IT UP - Lightning. It's fast, bright, and awe-inspiring. (And let me give you a sneak peak at my review for #2, Son of Neptune: it was even better than this one!!) I'm already impatiently awaiting book three, The Mark of Athena, due out this fall. You really can't go wrong with Rick Riordan!!...more
Nico's plan is crazy, but it may be the only plan that will effectively work to save Olympus - and the rest of the world. So Percy Jackson, son of Poseidon, follows Nico and does the unthinkable - something only two other men have undertaken. But now Olympus is under attack, and only the demigods are available to fight. The gods themselves have left their thrones on Olympus to battle Typhon, the most powerful Titan, as he barrels his way across the U.S. Percy is chosen to lead the demigods and every other stray group he can pull together. This kid has got a lot on his mind: the prophecy, which has now been revealed to him; the many opposing voices and opinions that surround him; the lies that would be so easy to believe; Annabeth and Rachel; and now this whole army. It is up to him, and him alone, to make to the choice that will save Olympus - or bring the whole world tumbling down to Tartarus. _________________________________________
My thoughts -
My thoughts? My thoughts?! My feelings, more like it! I'm so sad because the series is over...and yet totally happy because the end was so satisfying. It left me in amazement and awe as I set down the final installation to the insanely good series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
At the beginning of this series, I would never have thought I'd feel this way. The first three books are good, and enjoyable and fun and adventurous. But when book four came around, I realized, "Holy moly, I'm attached to these characters and I didn't even realize it - and now the series is almost over!"
The Last Olympian took me by surprise. I had no idea, until the moment it happened, what was going to happen. The prophecy hung over the story. Percy was going to have to make a decision that would alter the fate of Olympus. Many people were going to die. Either Kronos or the gods would rule once Percy had made his decision.
It was insane. Packed to the brim with adventure, magic, and mystery - along with that lovely sarcastic sense of humor that makes Percy who he is - the last Percy Jackson book delivered. More than delivered. The end was perfect and exactly what I was hoping for. It made me clap and laugh and it filled me with excitement.
Favorite character (character notes) -
I always choose Percy as my favorite character, and this time is no exception. However, this time I am unable to choose a supporting character that I prefer over the others. They were all so amazing this time - really, I was surprised. Nico had a great part in this story, a memorable one. Annabeth was awesome, Grover, Silena, Chiron, the gods, and all the rest of the demigods... It was as though they all made their grand finale performance - and all were memorable in some way.
One thing I must add is that I LOVED the new characters introduced (whether for only a moment or for a few chapters). I don't want to say any names because it might give something away...just know it was an amazing last addition to the cast and I was thoroughly impressed! (I got to meet one of my favorite Greek heroes - it was amazing!)
One last note on Percy... Over time he has changed and grown and become a young man. But in this book you see him as stronger, more intense - and yet still more tender than ever before. It's hard not to totally respect and adore him. Favorite aspects/scenes -
There is so much to love about this book. It was, in every way, the grand finale to a grand series! Favorite scenes include the River Styx, Hudson and East, the scenes with Morpheus (oooohh morpheous...), and, of course, the last scene in the second to last chapter, which made me giggle with joy!!! (It had some of the best one-liners, which I will always remember!)
Other aspects about this novel that I love: Rick Riordan is a master at tying up loose ends. He is a master of delving into the language of a teenager and making Percy a realistic boy in the 21st century. I love the way he re-introduces the characters and how he sets up the premise of the story so quickly. I love the atmosphere of The Last Olympian, among all the other books. It was dark, chaotic, and yet almost dreamy. Almost moist, like after a giant storm. But really, the storm had yet to come. And there is that sense of humor, that sarcasm that always prevails. There are humorous situations that could be really cheesy - but Rick Riordan manages to make them hilarious, like laugh out loud hilarious! There are some absolutely incredible heart-pounding edge of your seat battle scenes. Each satyr, half-blood, and any other kind of creature fighting for the gods had his own part to play and affected the story in his own way. They all worked together to bring this story to a climactic, unforseen ending that will leave you gaping.
I mean, really. It doesn't get any better.
One word to sum up this book (and final thoughts) -
I would describe this book as phenomenal. Seriously, I was so impressed. If you haven't read this series yet - you should. They are rewarding, well-written, quality pieces of literature with a fun twist on Greek mythology. They definitely deserve a round of applause. And I can't wait to someday re-read them, because I know what amazing stories are behind those covers....more
Percy Jackson is back at Camp Half-Blood – and there is yet another problem. Or rather, the continuing problem of Kronos and his growing army. When another oracle is revealed – this time to Annabeth – the daughter of Athena chooses three inhabitants of the camp to go with her: Percy, Grover, and Tyson. The three set out on the dangerous mission of finding Ariadne’s string before Kronos’ monsters can find it, but it turns out there is more to their quest…and that it is all the more dangerous. With Grover still wanting to find Pan, and Annabeth desperate to accomplish this quest – even though it seems someone will die in the end – Percy must once more use his wits and the power of Poseidon to help his friends and prevent Kronos from being able to navigate Daedalus’ deceitful labyrinth.
Ummm…can I say, “WOW”? Because that’s how I feel right now – and have felt since I finished this book. I will start by saying this is my favorite Percy Jackson book so far. It had a tone that was a bit more serious than the others, but its contents are fascinating to no end. Not kidding, I was ten times more hooked than in the last three, and I really really liked those!
Percy is altogether a likable guy. If I was in the story, I’d have a major crush on him… He’s smart, kind, reliable, and has faults to make him more human. And more likable, I say. When I’m reading these books, especially this one, I feel like I’ve grown up with him. He started out as a 12-year-old who thinks he’s a mortal with ADHD and dyslexia. Now he’s almost sixteen and has skills like none other, and fights demigods and monsters – and sometimes gods. He’s like the Hercules of our time. You can’t help but love him! And just when you think he’s pulled the coolest stunt in the series so far, he does something else that’s even cooler. The fight scene in chapter 14, “My Brother Duels Me To The Death”, has got to be one of the best fight scenes I’ve read in a long time…maybe in all time.
Annabeth’s character was altogether more developed in this book, I felt. Because she had to lead a quest, you see and hear more of her decisions. It was really neat to get close to her character like never before….to get inside her head a bit.
The other characters, of course, are awesome. They accent the story perfectly; no one is out of place. And I love the writing. I can tell Rick Riordan has a fun time writing these books – because the reader has fun reading them! Percy’s voice is unmistakable and (again) likable and interesting to read. So far, the story has built up perfectly. It started out with just a little bit about Kronos in the first book, then a little more in the second, then more, and now this – a full battle! It feels so natural.
Favorite character -
This has been established: Percy. However…there is another that tied pretty closely who is only in this book. That would be Daedalus. He. Was. Amazing. The twist in the story that revolved around his character was SO fascinating!
Favorite aspect -
Percy and Annabeth’s growing relationship/friendship (call it what you will). Their friendship has always intrigued me and I feel it has developed well over these four books. I can’t wait to see what happens between them in the next and final book!
One word to sum up this book (and final conclusion) -
This book is a maze. Really and truly. Not only are the characters stuck in a multi-thousand year old maze for most of the time, but the story events are just like it – twisting and turning and totally surprising. Highly recommended to everyone…seriously. This book just topped off an already good series. And I heard from the kids I babysit that #5 is super duper surprising and that I “won’t guess in a million years what happens!” They tried many a time to tell me what happens…I had to plug my ears and make loud noises until they stopped screaming and getting all excited about it…and still they were jumping up and down. They had me all excited and squealing! And when I finished The Battle of the Labyrinth, it had me squealing with excitement and clapping my hands and dropping my jaw over and over again, trying to say something worthy. (Nothing worked…) So what am I going to do now? Dive into The Last Olympian, of course! I’m sure many wonderful and surprising adventures await me there! ...more
Ella of Frell has never really known her father. She and her mother are best friends living a happy life with their Cook, Mandy, for cYearning to Read
Ella of Frell has never really known her father. She and her mother are best friends living a happy life with their Cook, Mandy, for company. But Ella is not your typical girl. She was given the gift of obedience as a baby from a fairy who never gives good gifts, even when she has the best of intentions. This gift means Ella must obey any and all orders - whether it be to sweep the floor, hop like a rabbit, or cut off her own head! After Ella's mother dies, Ella must deal with her grief alone - for not only is her mother gone, but her father is sending her to finishing school with the two most horrid girls in the world - Hattie and Olive. She wishes she could stay in Frell, enjoying the menagerie and her new friend Prince Charmont, but her father, who knows nothing of her curse, has ordered her to go. But Ella is not one to shy from adventure, or to bend the rules of her obedience charm. Ogres, elves, stepsisters, and possible true love wait in her future. If only she could find the fairy who gave her the curse in the first place... ___________________________________
My thoughts - At first, it was hard not to compare this book to the movie, which I've seen about ten times. I still watch it every so often with my sisters to laugh and relive childhood memories, as silly as the movie is. I wanted the book to be different but...the same. Same characters, same order of events, same climax and turnout.
I got something completely different, and was at first surprised by this. I wasn't sure how much I liked it - it lacked the action and intensity I was expecting. But I soon got over this and found myself in a fluffy, light, floating fairy-tale that involves more silly magic and character development than action. And then I was hit with the climax - and I went to my sister, who had already read the book, laughing and giggling and bursting about the story with her, while she tried to get me to stop hugging her with joy... ;)
In any case, I was so happy, by the end, to find how different and how much better this was from the movie, which I don't know if I'll ever watch again. How could they have ruined such a beautiful story?!
Character notes - I really loved all these characters. They were three-dimensional and full of life and so different from each other. I admired Ella (even though I thought she cried a lot), despised Hattie, and said, "Poar Olive" every once in a while to get a good laugh. (Yes, I meant "poar".)
Prince Char, where to begin? He started as a boy, and grew into a man, lovable, tender, and loving. He lived up to my standards and definitely deserved this story's heroine!
Story notes - Like I said before, I wasn't too happy with the lack of action and suspense...but it was hard to stay disappointed. I found myself enjoying the story just as much as I'd been hoping, just in a different way. It focused on Ella and how she came to be a woman, so whether this involved taming ogres or sewing for finishing school, it became an adventure. A few of the scenes weren't as well written or executed as the others, but the turnout of those scenes always made up for it.
My favorite scenes involved the love letters. Love letters always add the most touching and tender side to a story. I'm so glad this story had many!!
Summing it up - Lively - like skipping by a lake in the cool spring breeze. I'm so glad to have gotten to know Ella, her friends, and even her enemies. I want to read more of Levine's novels now!
I won this ARC copy of Words in the Dust from the Goodreads Firstreads giveaway program.
Zulaikha lives in modern Afghanistan, when the Taliban have beI won this ARC copy of Words in the Dust from the Goodreads Firstreads giveaway program.
Zulaikha lives in modern Afghanistan, when the Taliban have been brought down and the Americans are still making progress in her country. She lives with her Baba (father), her Madar (mother…but not her birth mother), brothers and sister. Her father and older brother are welders and work hard to provide for the family. Zulaikha would live a very normal life…except for one thing. Her mouth. Her ugly, cleft lip, her twisted teeth, and her disfigured nose. But then the Americans show up, offering a free surgery to fix Zulaikha’s mouth. And her sister, Zeynab, might be married to a man of wealth and prestige. Could Zulaikha get the happy ending she and Zeynab had always dreamed about since their Madar-jan died?
I fell in love with this book from the opening words. Literally. ”I traced the letters in the dust with my finger, spelling out my name: Zulaikha“
But after that, the story blossoms into a whole world, the world of life in Afghanistan in the aftermath of a war, the world of an every-day-life Afghanistan family. The culture in this is so rich, the characters so well-developed, that you cannot help but believe that it is real.
This is Trent Reedy’s first novel, and he did a most excellent job. Telling from Zulaikha’s perspective could have been hard, but Reedy was talented enough to pull it off with incredibly smooth writing, characters that grow, a setting that is so different, and hardships that almost everyone can relate to.
Favorite character: It’s a tie between the sisters, Zulaikha and Zeynab. I loved Meena for her part in Zulaikha’s life; and even though I hated her guts, I thought the girls step-mother had a very important role.
Favorite aspects: The way Zulaikha interacts with her family…she is truly an amazing girl. And the way the reader watches Zulaikha grow is just beautiful… I honestly felt like I was growing with her, every step of the way. The poems were so beautiful and so was the way Zulaikha related to the characters in the poems.
One word to sum this book up: I would have to say a few words: sweet, heartbreaking, and lovely. Trent Reedy really has pulled off something amazing here and I can’t wait to see whose story he tells next! (This story was based off a girl named Zulaikha who the writer met while serving in Afghanistan who had a cleft lip. The Americans fixed it and he swore to her that he would tell her story… If that isn’t a touching story, I don’t know what is.)
I think the movies spoiled me. They were my rock growing up. While the book and movies were nearly word-for-word, the book lacked all the spark and coI think the movies spoiled me. They were my rock growing up. While the book and movies were nearly word-for-word, the book lacked all the spark and color of seeing it on screen. Oh well....I can say now I've tried! :)...more
Percy has been through everything a kid can imagine – and much more. For a while he was fatherless, but after an accident, a big move, and a revelatioPercy has been through everything a kid can imagine – and much more. For a while he was fatherless, but after an accident, a big move, and a revelation, Percy discovers that he’s the son of the sea god, Poseidon. Now, after a summer of adventures and his first school year to stay in one school all year, his mom, and those at Half-Blood Camp, want him to stay put (although some may want it just because they want the glory for themselves). But when his best friend sends Percy messages in dreams about the trouble he, Grover, is in, Percy must defy camp orders to save his friend – or die.
I honestly don’t know why I waited a whole six months to read this second book to the Percy Jackson series!
Seriously, the first thing I want to do when I think about this book is laugh. I laughed soooo hard reading this book, not kidding. It was full of sarcasm, wit, and unexpected humor in unexpected places. The first book was funny, but this one made me laugh out loud (really hard) – within the first thirty pages I was getting strange glances from my family because I was laughing so loud. One of my favorite scenes (I had two) was one of the most hilarious scenes I’ve read in a long time. It’s the scene in Chapter 3, We Hail the Taxi of Eternal Torment. (PLUS, if you don’t know this, the chapter names are histerical!) You’ll have to read the book to know what I’m talking about. (Oh, and I have another favorite scene, but this one’s more serious… Chapter 13, Annabeth Tries to Swim Home. A powerful scene, not something you would normally expect from these books, so it was a really neat. It created a bond between Annabeth and Percy that wasn’t there before, that I hadn’t been expecting, and that I loved.)
I’m really glad I read this book. It’s funny (see, I just have to say it again), satisfying, and just fun. It’s written well and has fun new characters, and the usual, wonderful old ones. This book promises a lot more for the future with a VERY surprising ending and more talk of the “secret” prophecy that involves Percy…so I think it’ll be less than six months before I read the third one.
Favorite character: Percy. I think he’s fantastic.
Favorite aspect: Grover wearing a wedding dress. Don’t ask, just read.
One word to describe this book: hilarious…because I just want to establish this one last time before I go.
Here is just one (one of the many) paragraph that I really enjoyed:
"My fingers trembled. Even before I opened it, I could tell it was from my father. I could sense his power in the cool blue paper, as if the envelope itself had been folded out of an ocean wave."...more