The Hidden Oracle and The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan | Mini Reviews

The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan. The Trials of Apollo, #1.

My copy: Disney Hyperion, May 2016. Hardcover, 361 pages.

Source: Library.

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Synopsis:

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.


Thoughts on The Hidden Oracle:

  • We get an Apollo haiku every chapter. I can die happy, because Apollo haikus are so atrocious they’re brilliant.
  • Apollo is hilarious. He’s a mighty god stuck in the form of a flabby, pimply teenage boy. The stuff he spews out of his mouth is gold sometimes. He’s so gloriously full of himself, but not in a “want to smack you upside the head” kind of way.
  • I wish that Meg was a little bit older, 12 seemed kind of young, but she was a trip.
  • I loved all the references to characters and past events from Rick’s other two Greek and Roman series. Also there was a sweet reference to the Magnus Chase series.
  • I couldn’t keep up with all the Camp Half-Blood campers. Everyone had a name but I never really felt that attached to the minor characters when something happened, because there were just too many. (Also, how is everyone not dead?)
  • I appreciate the diversity in Rick’s books. People of all backgrounds are represented, and even Apollo is bisexual!
  • The story is still formulaic as ever, but it works, and I love seeing how Rick incorporates myths and gods he hasn’t written about yet.
  • But really, Camp Half-Blood seems to be located in the worst possible place EVER.
  • The return of Percy! I like how Percy is in The Trials of Apollo and Annabeth is in Magnus Chase.
  • Will + Nico = ❤
  • PEACHES! ♦


The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan. Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, #2.

My copy: Disney Hyperion, October 2016. Hardcover, 459 pages.

Source: Library.

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Read my review of The Sword of Summer, book #1, here.

Synopsis:

Thor’s hammer is missing again. The thunder god has a disturbing habit of misplacing his weapon–the mightiest force in the Nine Worlds. But this time the hammer isn’t just lost, it has fallen into enemy hands. If Magnus Chase and his friends can’t retrieve the hammer quickly, the mortal worlds will be defenseless against an onslaught of giants. Ragnarok will begin. The Nine Worlds will burn. Unfortunately, the only person who can broker a deal for the hammer’s return is the gods’ worst enemy, Loki–and the price he wants is very high.


Thoughts on The Hammer of Thor:

  • Ah, I love how convoluted Norse mythology is. (I mean, all mythology is pretty convoluted, but Norse mythology can be pretty complicated.) It felt good to be back.
  • Jack the sword killed me. Talking weapons are my new favorite thing.
  • Hooray for more diversity! Not only do we have persons of color, but also an elf who is deaf, and Alex the gender-fluid child of Loki. The crew is pretty awesome.
  • Book 2 was kind of a chore at times. There was so just much side-tracking. I know this is Rick’s formula for quests and stuff (“we have to go to A to pick up this thing B needs in order to tell us how to get to C but our ultimate goal is like G”), but at times it did get pretty ridiculous.
  • The pop culture references are very funny, but in the future this book will be very dated.
  • Sam is one strong gal. Total bad-ass, but also very vulnerable. Respect. ♦


Have you read The Hidden Oracle?
How about The Hammer of Thor?
If you haven’t, would you be interested to?
What’s a world mythology you’d love to read a new series about?
Comment below letting me know!

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Teddy & Co. by Cynthia Voigt | Book Review

Teddy & Co. by Cynthia Voigt, illustrations by Paola Zakimi.

My copy: Knopf Books for Young Readers, November 2016. ARC (review copy), 179 pages.

Source: Courtesy of my local bookstore.

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Synopsis:

Teddy is a thinking kind of bear. Of all his friends, he does the most wondering. He lives with a ragtag group of lost toys—a very hungry snake, an elephant who likes to bake, two charmingly silly pigs, and a reclusive penguin—and they all bump along happily together. But their peaceful world gets shaken up when new toys arrive—first a rabbit, who is not as soft and floppy as he looks, and then a beautiful doll with royal ambitions. Will the newcomers learn to fit into the community? Or will the community be forever changed by them? As Teddy the philosopher would answer: Yes.


Teddy is a stuffed bear without legs whose mode of transportation is a red wagon his elephant friend pulls around. Hooray for the representation of disabled characters in books for young people.

This book is a cute little tale about a bunch of toys and their day to day adventures when two new toys show up unexpectedly: a douche-y rabbit and a bratty doll who decides she’s going to be Queen of everything.

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Waiting on Wednesday [#40] — Want by Cindy Pon

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine.


What book am I eagerly anticipating at this moment? Why it just so happens to be…

Want
by Cindy Pon

Releases June 13th, 2017 from Simon Pulse

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Synopsis:

From critically acclaimed author Cindy Pon comes an edge-of-your-seat sci-fi thriller, set in a near-future Taipei plagued by pollution, about a group of teens who risk everything to save their city.

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart?


I loved Cindy Pon’s Silver Phoenix, though I never got around to reading the sequel, or the start of her second series Serpentine. Still, I always look out for books based on Asian culture with Asian characters by Asian authors, so I was uber-excited to learn of Cindy’s newest novel. Want is set in a futuristic Taipei, Taiwan, and from the synopsis, it sounds like an intense plot to reveal the greed and corruption Jin Corp and the wealthy are bought into. Can’t wait!


Are you looking forward to reading Want?
What can’t you wait to read right now?

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Zodiac by Sam Wilson | Book Review

Zodiac by Sam Wilson.

My copy: Pegasus Crime, February 7th, 2017. ARC (review copy), 446 pages.

Source: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Pegasus Books!

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Synopsis:

A starting new thriller with one of the most original concepts in years, where the line between a life of luxury and an existence of poverty can be determined by the stroke of midnight.

In San Celeste, a series of uniquely brutal murders targets victims from totally different walks of life. In a society divided according to Zodiac signs, those differences are cast at birth and binding for life. All eyes are on detective Jerome Burton and astrological profiler Lindi Childs—divided in their beliefs over whether the answer is written in the stars, but united in their conviction that there is an ingenious serial killer executing a grand plan.

Together, they will unravel a dark tale of betrayal, lost love, broken promises and a devastating truth with the power to tear their world apart…


I haven’t read a good thriller in a while. I forgot how much I enjoy the tension, action, and fast pace. Zodiac sometimes meanders, but everything is there for a reason. The chapters are short and snappy, and the information given is all fascinating. It’s a mind game to find a murderer, and while the victims seem pretty random at first — they couldn’t be more darkly connected.

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New Years Resolution Book Tag!

Tags, Awards & Challenges

So, um, I was tagged a whole year ago, and just never got around to completing the tag. But now it’s a new year, so I thought I’d answer the questions. Thank you Nora, for tagging me. Sorry it’s so late! (This tag was originally created by Emily from Embuhlee Liest and Shivii from Brown Eyed Musings.)


1. Get in shape – name a book that doesn’t quite fit correctly on your shelf.

Looking at my shelves now, one of the many books is Inkspell by Cornelia Funke. I have a shelf dedicated to my favorite fantasy series, and they all fit… except for Inkspell, which I’ve been forced to lay on top of the row.

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Splintered by A.G. Howard | Book Review

Splintered by A.G. Howard. Splintered, #1.

My copy: Amulet Books (ABRAMS), January 2013. Hardcover, 371 pages.

Source: Library.

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Synopsis:

This stunning debut captures the grotesque madness of a mystical under-land, as well as a girl’s pangs of first love and independence.

Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Alyssa might be crazy, but she manages to keep it together. For now.

When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests, including draining an ocean of Alice’s tears, waking the slumbering tea party, and subduing a vicious bandersnatch, to fix Alice’s mistakes and save her family. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.


Thoughts on Splintered:

Pros:

How deliciously fantastical and twisted Wonderland is. It’s everything we all love about Lewis Carroll’s colorful world plus more. Lots more. It’s mad and overwhelming and always exciting.

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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley | Mini-Review

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley.

My copy: Daily Lit email installments.

Source: Daily Lit.

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Synopsis:

Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.


Thoughts on Frankenstein:

I’ll admit, it took me a bit to start liking this story, but once the monster was animated, I started to enjoy it. The monster’s experiences and questions about life and living were fascinating to read about, and the themes about responsibility, dangerous knowledge, and power of creation were prevalent throughout.

I’ll admit, I skimmed from time to time, especially toward the last third of the book. (I was just trying to finish it because I’d been reading it without much forward momentum for so long.) But it was not hard to read at all, like some classics can be. The structure was a little all-over-the-place with prose and letters mixed together, and I was hardly scared by this “gothic horror” novel.

I never really felt for any of the characters, although I was very moved by the monster’s beautiful and eloquent speech. His story about observing a family and interacting with them was heartbreaking. Often when I read classics, there is a single scene or a few scenes that really grip me and make me appreciate the writing that has stood the test of time. That was the part of Frankenstein I really liked and will remember. ♦


Have you read Frankenstein?
If you haven’t, would you be interested to?
What’s the last classic you read?
Comment below letting me know!

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What I Read In 2016: Part Four — All the graphic novels, comics, and manga!

Lists & Such

A 2016 Wrap-Up Post!

Check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3!

First of all — Happy New Year! 2016 was kind of a terrible year, but there were a few good things that happened.

Like… I read a ton of graphic novels, comics, and manga in 2016! Like, so many! Enjoy the last part of my 2016 reading wrap-up posts! Without further ado, here are the books. (Click on a title to read my review. I didn’t review every book, though.)

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What I Read In 2016: Part Three — Odds n’ Ends (Nonfiction and a random Will Shakespeare’s Star Wars)

Lists & Such

A 2016 Wrap-Up Post!

I did Part 1 and Part 2 of the novels I read in 2016. Check those out, because I’m sure you’ll find those posts much more interesting than this one. Anyway, here are the nonfiction books I read this year. Well, except for William Shakespeare’s Star Wars, but I lumped it in this category because it’s not exactly a novel.

Click on a title to read my review! Books aren’t listed in any particular order; there’s only 8 of them, after all.

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