Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This weeks topic is favorite bookish couples.  

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1) Percy Jackson and The Olympians/ The Heroes of Olympus- Percy and Annabeth

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2) The Infernal Devices - Will and Tessa  

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3) The Infernal Devices - Jem and Tessa 

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4) The Book of Ivy - Ivy and Bishop 

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5) The Mortal Instruments - Alec and Magnus 

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6) The Immortal Descendants - Saira and Archer 

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7) Defy - Alex and Damian 

Friday, February 8, 2019

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Image result for the wicked deepAge Range: YA
Pages: 320
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: 03-06-2019
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Paranomal

Rating: 3 Stars

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.

My Thoughts:

I picked up this book because the synopsis gave me Hocus Pocus Vibes. Well, and because the cover is GORGEOUS. I was so ready to love this book but unfortunately, it just didn't hit the mark for me.  I enjoyed reading the book, but I felt like a book that I had read before.  The plot, the characters, the setting all felt predictable and something that I have seen before and will probably see again.

The book started out strong,  I was very intrigued by the Swan season and the town of a sparrow. Even the characters were interesting at first, but as I read I felt like so many of the characters were bland cliches and, at least to me, felt very one-dimensional.  As much as I wanted to, I just couldn't make myself care about the characters. Even the main character, Penny, while barrable was not a particularly memorable character.  I just didn't find myself connecting and rooting for her in the way that I had wanted.

The plotline was my other issue for this book.  I found the book utterly predictable. I was able to guess the entire plot from about 35 pages in.  I felt like there was this huge build-up to a big reveal that I was able to guess it from a mile away.  With that being said, I didn't hate the book.  In fact, I did have an enjoyable reading experience I just felt that the synopsis was so strong, I had hoped for a stronger more unique plot. If you have been wanting to read it, I suggest you try it. While I didn't love it, I did enjoy my reading experience.  However, I would suggest maybe getting it from your local library or a thrift store, because we all know books can get expensive, and if you are like me and don't love the story you are not out as much money.

The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus #2) by Rick Riordan

Image result for the son of neptune audiobook narratorAge Range: Middle Grade/YA
Pages: 513
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion Books
Publication Date: 4 October 2011

Rating: 5 Stars

Percy is confused. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn't know much more than his name. His brain fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa told him he is a demigod and trained him to fight with the pen/sword in his pocket. Somehow Percy manages to make it to a camp for half-bloods, despite the fact that he has to keep killing monsters along the way. But the camp doesn't ring any bells with him. The only thing he can recall from his past is another name: Annabeth. 

Hazel is supposed to be dead. When she lived before, she didn't do a very good job of it. Sure, she was an obedient daughter, even when her mother was possessed by greed. But that was the problem—when the Voice took over her mother and commanded Hazel to use her "gift" for an evil purpose, Hazel couldn't say no. Now because of her mistake, the future of the world is at risk. Hazel wishes she could ride away from it all on the stallion that appears in her dreams. 

Frank is a klutz. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes and can be anything he wants to be, but he doesn't see it. He doesn't even know who his father is. He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery—although not good enough to win camp war games. His bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially in front of Hazel, his closest friend at camp. He trusts her completely—enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart. 

Beginning at the "other" camp for half-bloods and extending as far as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment of the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and features other remarkable creatures, all destined to play a part in the Prophesy of Seven.

My Thoughts:

I loved this book, but this was no surprise to me.  I have yet to read a book from Rick Riordan that I did not like.  However, I was a little surprised to find that I liked this book even more than the first book.  I attribute most of this to the fact that Percy returns in this book! Percy is a character that I already know and love, and throughout much of the first book, I found myself hoping that Percy would return.  I love his quirky personality and his sense of humor.  I have said it before and will continue to say it, Percy is one of my favorite perspectives to read from. He never fails to make me laugh.

Rick Riordan simply has a way with characters.  I love all the characters he introduces.  Frank and Hazel were no exception. Frank is such a cute little klutz and Hazel was so sweet to Percy when he had amnesia, I ended up loving them both right away.  Riordan always has a way of writing such great chemistry between characters.  I love reading the way the characters interact with one another, and how the friendships and cute but awkward romances progress.

I will say that the book felt a little long and at times it felt a little slow, but for some reason, I did not mind.  Maybe it is the fact that I know the story is building up to an even bigger plot and that I know that many of the characters I love will be returning in this series, or maybe it is simply that I love the characters and the world so much that the slower plotline did not bug me.  Either way, I still loved this book and would recommend anyone who has read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians definitly NEED to read this as well.

My Thoughts on the Audiobook:

The narrator for this audiobook was Joshua Swanson.  He also read The Lost Hero, and I thought he did an excellent job on both books.  He has great pacing and inflection.  He really brings the characters to life, without it feeling overdramatic or corny. I also did not find inconsistencies in the pronunciation like I did with the narrator for the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. If I had to recommend one format to read this book in, I would definitely recommend the audiobook.  The narration and the different voices just really makes the story come to life in a way that I personally really enjoy.  It also means you as a reader do not have to try and figure out how to pronounce all the Greek and Roman names which is always nice.  😂

Monday, February 4, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This weeks topic is upcoming releases I am on the fence about.  I almost hate to admit this, but I do not follow new releases that closely so this is a hard one for me. Of the releases I am aware of, the following are the ones I am on the fence about.  

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On the Come Up by Angie Thomas - I have The Hate U Give and am dying to read it, unfortunately, the synopsis doesn't really sound like something I would enjoy.  I think whether or not I buy and read this will come down to how much I end up liking The Hate U Give.

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Two can Keep a Secret by Karen McManus - I am intrigued by the synopsis, but I have heard mixed reviews for One of Us is Lying which makes me wonder if I really want to pick up this book.  
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Romanov by Nadine Brandes - I am actually really excited about this one, but also very nervous. I am a huge history buff and historical fiction can go one of two ways for me: I love it or I hate it. 
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Bloodleaf by Crystal Smith - It sounds interesting, but I don't know if it is interesting enough for me to add another book to my TBR. 

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These Witches Don't Burn by Isabel Sterling - It sounds interesting but maybe a little too juvenile for my reading tastes.  

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The Antidote by Shelley Sackier - I think this sounds really promising, but I have seen mixed reviews which makes me unsure if I want to pick it up.

Friday, February 1, 2019

The Hazel Wood (The Hazel Wood #1) by Melissa Albert

Image result for the hazel woodAge Range: YA
Pages: 368
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: 30 January 2018
Genre: YA/Fantasy/Fairytale

Rating: 3 Stars

Welcome to Melissa Albert's The Hazel Wood―the fiercely stunning New York Times bestseller with seven starred reviews everyone is raving about!

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

My Thoughts:

I really expected to love this book.  I really wanted to love this book. I was so excited by the synopsis.  I love retellings and fairytale based stories, and this one sounded like the kind of book I could lose myself in. Between the synopsis and all the hype in the bookish community, I had high expectations for this book.  Unfortunately, this book fell flat for me.  That is to say, I found the story enjoyable, but I did not love it in the way that I had hoped I would.

I felt like this story could have had better pacing.  I really wanted more fantasy and fairytale elements.  I really enjoyed the sections of the book that were set in the Hinterland, such as the fairytale chapters dispersed throughout the book, if there had been more of the story set in the Hinterland, I feel like I would have liked the story much more, but instead, the majority of the book was a road trip that I at least found rather boring.

It also did not help that Alice is one of the least likable characters I have ever read.  She was so rude, selfish, and ill-tempered.  She constantly talked about her anger issues, and it often felt to me like she was making excuses for her behavior instead of trying to learn from her behavior and fixing it.  I understand that her behavior is an important aspect of the story, but it did not make her character any more bearable.

Then there was the way that she treated Finch.  She was so rude to him, it really irritated me.  This person is helping her, and yet she was so ungrateful. I felt like she so stuck in her own pity party that she didn't notice or understand her privilege and the inequality around her.  What was worse for me there seemed to be very little growth in this aspect.  I wanted a good redemption arc, I wanted realization of her privilege and her selfishness.  Unfortunately, I did not get that.

I feel like this is one of those polarizing books that people either really love or really dislike.  I personally fell in the middle I enjoyed it, but I didn't love it. I felt like it this was over-hyped, at least for my reading tastes. This book does have good aspects to it and I can see why some people really loved this story.  It just wasn't for me.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  This week's topic is Ten Most Recent Additions to your TBR Pile.   This one is a bit of stretch for me,  I have really been focusing on my current TBR and haven't been adding a ton to my TBR pile recently. 

Dry by Neal and Jarrod Schusterman 
Princesses Behaving Badly by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
The Other Tudors King Henry VIII's Mistresses and Bastards by Philippa Jones 
Legendary by Stephanie Garber 
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi 
Grim Lovelies by Megan Shephard 
To Kill a Kingdon by Alexandra 
A very Large Expense of Sea by Tehereh Mafi 
One Crow Alone by S.D. Crockett 
Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts 

Saturday, January 26, 2019

The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus #1) by Rick Riordan

Image result for the lost heroAge: Middle Grade to Young Adult
Pages: 577
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication Date: 5 January 2011
Genre: Middle Grade-YA/ Mythology/ Fantasy

Rating: 4 Stars

Jason has a problem.
He doesn’t remember anything before waking up in a bus full of kids on a field trip. Apparently he has a girlfriend named Piper, and a best friend named Leo. They’re all students at a boarding school for “bad kids.” What did Jason do to end up here? And where is here, exactly?

Piper has a secret.
Her father has been missing for three days, ever since she had that terrifying nightmare about his being in trouble. Piper doesn’t understand her dream, or why her boyfriend suddenly doesn’t recognize her. When a freak storm hits during the school trip, unleashing strange creatures and whisking her, Jason, and Leo away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood, she has a feeling she’s going to find out.

Leo has a way with tools.
When he sees his cabin at Camp Half-Blood, filled with power tools and machine parts, he feels right at home. But there’s weird stuff, too—like the curse everyone keeps talking about, and some camper who's gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist that each of them—including Leo—is related to a god. Does this have anything to do with Jason's amnesia, or the fact that Leo keeps seeing ghosts?

My Thoughts:


Anyone who knows me or has read my reviews knows that I am a huge fan of Rick Riordan's books. This book was no exception. It had everything I have come to expect from his works: a great plot, lots of humor, intricate tellings of mythology, and a fantastic cast of characters. This book is over 500 pages and a managed to read, or rather listen to, the entire book in a matter of a couple of days.

When I was told that this series would feature Roman gods, was a little skeptical of how he would pull that off, but he did and did so well.  Not only does he present the Greek and Roman counterparts in a way that makes sense, but he also does it in a way that, for myself as a reader, I found very intriguing.  I am very excited to see the differences in the personalities of the Greek versus Roman Gods and Goddesses, and how this will affect the Demi-gods and the world as a whole.

While I liked many of the characters, Leo was by far my favorite.  He was witty and humorous, all the chapters from his point of view made me chuckle.  I really enjoyed that he was not cocky, he had self-doubt, but he always managed to find a way to prevail. Not to mention his back story was so sad, it made me want to hug the poor thing.  Honestly, I just want a book written entirely from Leo's point of view.

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I really enjoyed Piper's character as well.  She is the child of Aphrodite, and I really enjoyed getting to see a child of Aphrodite being more than a pretty face. In the Percy Jackson series, the reader doesn't see much of the children of Aphrodite and when we do they are usually described as putting on makeup or as very vain. In many ways the Aphrodite cabin seemed, to me at least, to be written off.  The one exception being Selena Beauregard, but she was a minor character who didn't have a ton of Character Development until the final books in the Percy Jackson series. 

Then there was Jason.  Honestly, I don't know how I feel about his character yet. I really wanted to love his character but, but I didn't.  Don't get me wrong, I liked him enough.  I didn't find him to be a bad character, he just didn't compare to Percy.  Jason was just kind of bland at times, and I found myself wishing that Percy was in the book.

This book was told from all three of the main characters perspectives, which is a writing style that is hit or miss for me, however, I actually enjoyed that this book was told from all three perspectives.  Since I didn't really enjoy Jason's character, I don't know that I would have really liked the book if it was told completely from his perspective.  By adding in Piper and Leo, the book gained a lot of depth and comic relief that, in my opinion, were vital to this book.

One thing that really surprised me was the ending of this book.  Usually, Rick Riordan has a pretty strong resolution to his stories. That is to say, he tends to tie up the stories in a nice little bow at the end with maybe a small tidbit of what is to come in the next book.  He did not take that approach with this book.  Instead, he went out with a bang and left it on a cliff hanger, and to be honest I really liked the ending.

In total, I really enjoyed this book.  The reason that it did not receive a full five stars is two-fold, I didn't love Jason's character and I really wanted to see more of the characters from the Percy Jackson series. Based on the ending, I think I will get that in the next book, and I cannot wait!

My Thoughts on the Audio Book:

I was not a huge fan of the Narrator for the Percy Jackson and the Olympian's series and was very happy to find that I really enjoyed this narrator. Joshua Swanson was the narrator for this book, and I think he did a really amazing job.  He had really good rhythm and inflection to his voice.  I never felt bored by his voice.  I really enjoyed the voices he did for the book.  They were all very unique and made it easy to tell one character from another.  It never felt cheesy or over the top.  Overall, if you are wanting to listen to this story, I  would definitely recommend the audiobook.