Thursday, November 29, 2012

Quote of the Day


"Live in such a way that if anyone should speak badly of you, no one would believe it."
                                                                                                            -Unknown




Image found here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Quote of the Day


"The trouble is, you think you have time."
                                                                              --Buddha


Image taken from here.

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Book Review: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen



Things to know up front...

Recommended to: young readers, lovers of survival stories, kids that don't usually read

Rating (as a Children's Book): 7.5/10

Rating (as just your average book): 5/10

Content:

  • Near the beginning a man has a heart attack, which leads up to a plane crashing. It's possible that this could be intense for some young readers.
  • Someone attempts to take his own life. However, this is glossed over; there were maybe five sentences used to talk about it. 
  • There's a pretty gross description of a dead body. Even grosser is the fact that a character pukes while underwater after seeing this, and then sucks some of it back in. Ew. 
  • No profanity.
  • No sexual content whatsoever. 
  • Easy to read; few examples of challenging vocabulary. 
  • Overall, it's a suitable read for any age of young readers, as long as they have the reading skills to match. 
Hatchet tells the story of Brian Robeson, who is stranded in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash. He is forced to fend for himself and deal with the many obstacles that nature and his own mental state throw at him. 

The Positives:

-The writing style. I know that the endless fragments drive some people batty, but I appreciated them. They gave the book a little bit of "oomph" and make it stick out. In addition to this, it just seems like writing style that matches the thought process of a teenager, especially a stranded one. 

-The survival story. All in all, it was pretty believable. Paulsen never gave Brian too much of an advantage when it came to tools, other than the hatchet, which his mother gave him before he left. Obviously she's a little off her rocker. The way that Brian came to grow his survival skills also seemed natural; I liked that Paulsen didn't make him some former boy scout who would know what he was doing and instead gave us a typical kid that didn't know much beyond the basics. 

The Negatives:

-Brian. Honestly, the kid defines the term "static character", even though he supposedly "changed" after a certain incident. Yet, do you think I saw that in the story? Nope. I was told that, and never really convinced of it because there's nothing to demonstrate this change. The only change I really saw in Brian was that he sucked less at catching food. Riveting. 

-The ending. Let's just say that things get ridiculously convenient after they already get ridiculously convenient. I didn't like that there wasn't a speck of delay between said events. 

-"The Secret." Brian mentions The Secret a handful of times near the beginning-ish of the book, and then any allusions to it kind of taper off--but hold on!--because Paulsen is going to mention it in the very last sentence, making it feel very significant! And I don't mean to spoil the experience for you, but inside your head you're going to be thinking, O-kaaay. Now why was that important? I think this was an attempt at depth, but it failed miserably. Stick to what you're good at, Gary, writing in fragments.

-The timeline (or better yet, lack thereof). I had no idea when anything was happening. I could barely tell whether or not something happened in the second week in, or the second month. Seriously, did First Meat happen early on, or later? I believe that the story takes place across a span of 54 days (or something like that) and it felt like two weeks because events were just strung together and never given much order! Gah!

-It was BORING. Look, it's still a quick and easy read, but just isn't very interesting. The reason you keep turning the pages is because they take like 2 seconds to get through. I think that perhaps the monotony is due to the lack of emotional connection to Brian's actions, but hey, I'll just drop it. 

Overall

Well, I didn't really like it. However, this would be a great book for elementary aged students, and even older students that aren't huge fans of reading. Or, you know, if you're like me and sometimes you just read a book to, say, help complete your Goodreads reading goal expand your reading horizons, and you just want something easy, go ahead a pick it up; I hope you enjoy it more than I did!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Quote of the Day

Gee, maybe I ought to change this to "Quotes When I Feel Like It." I think that has some potential.

Anyways!


"I used to think that the worst thing in life was to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone."
                                                                                                                     -Robin Williams

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Quote of the Day




 "Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle."
                                                         --Christian D. Larson 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Quote of the Day

So folks, I've decided to start a Quote of the Day! Expect some to be a little inspiring, a little funny, a little sappy, and a little bit geeky! 

So, without further ado, we'll kick off the very first Quote of the Day with a quote from my very favorite:

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” 
                                                                  --Oscar Wilde


Thursday, November 22, 2012

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Book Review: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie



Things to know up front...

Recommended to: mystery fans, Agatha Christie fans

Rating: 11/10 10/10

Content:
  • It's basically a murder mystery, and a twisted one at that. It isn't necessarily what you'd call gory or graphic, but it is a bit disturbing, especially since it is continuous murder, and not just a murder and then an investigation.
  • A few utterances of "damn" and its derivatives. 
  • No sexual content. There are a few references to "loose" women and one character recalls an acquaintance with a former servant who was "immoral" and had gotten pregnant outside of marriage. These instances are very brief, and not something that's likely to stick out to you. 
  • Overall, it's something that can be enjoyed by a wide variety of age groups probably starting around middle school age and up. 
And Then There Were None tells a tale of ten strangers, all summoned to the well-known Indian Island under different pretenses that they ultimately discover to be false. As they all wait for the arrival of their host, they are surprised by suddenly hearing all of their names rattled off, along with a past misdeed that ended in someone dying. Almost immediately, one of them dies from cyanide poisoning. They conclude that all of them were not drawn there for the reason that they thought, and all of the rest begin to get picked off one by one in similar ways as found in the nursery rhyme "Ten Little Indians":
"Ten little Indian boys went out to dine; 
One choked his little self and then there were nine.
Nine little Indian boys sat up very late;
One overslept himself and then there were eight.
Eight little Indian boys traveling in Devon;
One said he’d stay there and then there were seven.
Seven little Indian boys chopping up sticks;
One chopped himself in halves and then there were six.
Six little Indian boys playing with a hive;
A bumblebee stung one and then there were five.
Five little Indian boys going in for law,
One got in Chancery and then there were four.
Four little Indian boys going out to sea;
A red herring swallowed one and then there were three.
Three little Indian boys walking in the Zoo;
A big bear hugged one and then there were two.
Two little Indian boys sitting in the sun;
On got frizzled up and then there was one.
One little Indian boy left all alone;
He went and hanged himself and then there were none."

After searching the small island, they come to the conclusion that the murderer must be one of them, but who? What follows is a mystery that keeps glued in your reading spot until you've finished it and discovered the shocking end. 

The Positives:

-It keeps you guessing. I can honestly say that I had no idea what was going on until the very end. I had several ideas in my head about how and why things went down, but I turned out to be wrong on every count. Nothing is ever what it seems in this book, and that's just plain awesome. 

-It's a pure adrenaline rush. My heart was pounding through the last 30 pages! Even after I finished it, I sat there for awhile, and about jumped out of my skin when I heard a gunshot outside because I was still so jazzed...Oh, and it might be necessary to mention that I live in the country, and baby, it's gun season, thus making a gunshot not very alarming (:

-It's exactly the right pace and length. It wasn't some long, dragged out affair, but it wasn't rushed through, either, though those 275 pages still flew by, let me tell you!

-It's riveting. On the third day of my reading this, after two evenings of just reading until I quickly went to sleep, I started out on about page 70, and finished it in two more hours of reading. I was reluctant to even get up to eat! 

-The writing. It's not poetic or flowery, and that's exactly how it should be. Agatha Christie never tried to distract from the plot with some deep and out of place passage. Instead, she keeps you in this crazy good murder story, which is exactly where you want to be. It's not until after you've finished the story that you realize the subtle underlying question: who gets to judge the right and wrongs that go unnoticed, and who gets to dole out the punishment? 

-The way the murders match up to the poem. It's not so literal that you'll go "Oh, come on," but the link to it is still maintained very nicely. And those ten little porcelain Indians that disappear with each new murder? Just bone-chilling, eerie perfection.

-The ending. Can I tell you all about it? Yes, of course I can. Will I? No, of course I won't. However, I will inform you that it is cuh-razayyy. 

The Negatives:

-Sometimes the way the characters handle themselves seems a little ridiculous. I mean, you just had several people die in the past couple days, and you're still asking if anyone wants a cup of tea? Shouldn't you be crying hysterically and rocking in the corner instead? But then again, that's just me nitpicking. 

-There is a minor plot hole near the end. But I'm not gonna lie to you, I didn't realize it until I read something online about it. It's the only real flaw in the plot. 

Overall

It's spectacular! It's even better than Murder on the Orient Express! I feel convinced that this is a book that, even though I now know the ending, I will come back to several more times. I'm even going to mentally add this to my list of favorites! I will recommend this high and low, and I certainly recommend it to anyone that gets stuck at home for a day! Put in a few hours of reading for it, and I promise you won't regret it! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein 


Things to know up front...

Recommended to: animal lovers (furthermore, lovers of philosophical animals), deep thinkers, and anyone that wants a touching read.

Rating: 7.5/10

Content:
  • A few inexplicit sex scenes. Everything is described through the eyes of a dog, so he can't exactly give all of the racy details. There is, however, a scene where an underage teen comes onto an adult male. Nothing happens, but it's still a very mature scene in nature. 
  • Quite a few smatterings of bad language, including some f-bombs. 
  • There are several serious issues dealt with in the story, such as illness, depression, and custody battles. 
  • Overall, it is what it is: adult fiction. It's not meant for young readers, and young readers may not enjoy it that much. This is a book that is probably best for those in their upper teens and on. 
A Warning: this book will make you wish that your dog could talk. As if "Up" didn't already do that to you.

The Art of Racing in the Rain is a story entirely narrated by a dog named Enzo, who reflects upon his life with his beloved owner, Denny, on the night that he will be put down. Enzo leads us through the happiness and tragedy that he has seen firsthand in a lovable, honest, straightforward way that only a dog could manage.

The Positives:

-The narration. While I was very intrigued by a non-human narrator, I was also a little apprehensive about how good it would end up being. It turned out, my doubts were completely unnecessary because Enzo is not just your typical lovable and loyal dog; he's so, so much more. He's a dog that hopes to reincarnate to a human after his death; he sees the world around him with a clear and observant eye; he's funny; he's smart; he's completely honest. He makes this entire story because that itself is nothing extraordinary. There are plenty different books out there with a very similar formula, but Enzo makes this book something worthwhile.

-It's neither too tragic, nor too sappy. Where other stories seem to fall into one extreme, or the other, The Art of Racing in the Rain finds the all-important middle ground. There are definitely some things that are going to tug at your heart strings, and maybe even make you shed a few tears, but there are plenty of happy moments, too. It just comes out feeling very natural and very real.

-The writing style. It was nice and simple. Not once did I find myself thinking that a sentence or a description just didn't fit, or that anything came off sounding unnatural. While I wouldn't say it quite qualifies as beautiful, it was very well done, and that is something that can be hard to find.

-This quote:
"To live every day as if it had been stolen from death, that is how I would like to live. To feel the joy of life, as Eve felt the joy of life. To separate oneself from the burden, the angst, the anguish that we all encounter every day. To say I am alive, I am wonderful, I am. I am. That is something to aspire to."

The Negatives:

-Denny. Look, it's not that I don't love Denny (Enzo's master), it's just that sometimes I got frustrated with how perfect he seemed. It's not that he doesn't make a few mistakes, he does, but a mistake is not the same thing as a flaw, and all characters need flaws. It even says in the book (and is obviously making a comparison Denny), "The true hero is flawed." Now tell me, where is Denny's flaw? It then goes on to say, "The true test of a champion is not whether he can triumph, but whether he can overcome obstacles - preferably of his own making - in order to triumph.”  Now that bit about the obstacles makes sense; Denny faces many obstacles, but having a loved one get a brain tumor, or having to decide between staying with your family and racing are just that: obstacles. Not flaws. I just want one flaw. One little flaw. Even if it's just that he's a mouth-breather.

-The hype. Okay, okay, I know what you're thinking right now; this has nothing to do with the story itself. And you're right. But I just think that it should be mentioned that I read all of the great things that critics and readers alike said about it, and I was expecting to be blown away. I wasn't. Seriously, a blip on the back cover from the Portland Oregonian said that it was "One of those stories that may earn it's place next to Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, and Yann Martel's Life of Pi." Alright, so I confess that I haven't read those first two, but Life of Pi! I adore Life of Pi! It's one of my favorites! It absolutely boggled my mind! You can't just compare a book to Life of Pi and think that I'm going to have incredibly high expectations for said book! Obviously the Portland Oregonian did this just to get my hopes up; that stupid tease!

Overall

It's a pretty good read. I wouldn't call it amazing, or even "really good", (obviously since I just called it "pretty good") but it certainly is unique and worth your while. I give you my blessing to try it out. I'd recommend it for whenever you want to feel some un-fictional emotions stirrings for a fictional story, or for whenever you want a quick and easy, but engaging read. So go ahead, pick it up if you've got the time!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

So I saw Breaking Dawn tonight...


Yeah, I admit it, I saw it with a friend this evening. Am I a little ashamed? Yes. Was it worth it? Oh yes. 

Seriously, if you, like me, went through your OHMAHGODTWILIGHTTTTT stage like me, and then one day realized, "My god, this is garbage. Let's ban this book in every country just because of how godawful it is," go see it. In fact, take some time and watch all of them. You'll find yourself harboring a little bit of affection for them simply because of how much you can ridicule and make fun of them. And this one is certainly not disappointing. I almost peed myself when they were running in the beginning. Oh bad special effects, how I love thee. And the sex scene? Oh my. Not only is it very...um...oddly done, but there's special effect glitter involved. 

Or, if you happen to be a true fan, go see it, too. I bet you'll really enjoy it. 

And that wasn't an insult, even though it sounded like it. I did genuinely feel that this was one of the best of the films. For me, it still wasn't so good, but it was better! 

Now, let all of we haters and lovers of Twilight mutually agree that this video of Robert Pattinson hating on the Twilight franchise, is hilarious. Enjoy. 




This kind of redeems him as a human being for me.

As of 11/17/12...

Currently Reading:


Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.

I recall this being huge when I was, like, in the third grade, but a certain someone in a certain class of mine seems to think that this a good example of Modern Literature, and so I'm being forced to read it. I shan't complain too much though, because, hey, at least it's easy. Although, may I say, holy fragments. Eek.


The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. 

I can't say I know too much about it, other than that it's narrated by a dog. My sister gave it to me and told me it was good, so I'm trusting that it will be just that. But I can already tell by those cute little doggy eyes on the cover that I'm gonna cry. Curses. 

Reviews to come soon!

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Book Review: Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie


Things to know up front...

Recommended to: Anyone that loves suspense or mystery, Anyone that wants a quick read, Newcomers to Christie, and/or ANYONE AT ALL. 

Rating: 10/10

Content: 
  • Well, it's about murder, and if that's something you would wish to prevent younger readers from gaining access to, then I understand. However, it needs to be said that this is not a novel that goes into graphic detail; we don't get a sickening description of the body, or anything like that. Everything of that nature is mentioned in more of a matter-of-fact manner rather than an emotional one. 
  • There isn't much bad language besides the rare and passionate "damn" and there is not a single element of a sexual nature. 
  • It's not an especially difficult read, though it can be a little confusing at parts, since it is in fact a Mystery. There are also many quick phrases slipped in that are in French. It probably depends on the version you got, but mine did not translate, though that was hardly a big deal, since understanding them is not synonymous with understanding the novel as a whole. 
  • Overall, it's a quality read that I'd say is good for anyone ranging from teen-age to adult, and I'm sure that there are many preteens that could handle it as well.
As Hercule Poirot is making the jump from one case to another, he is caught on The Orient Express, on which he is present when a dead body turns up in one of the compartments. He, along with two companions (who, as far as I can tell, were there to emphasize what a genius Poirot is), must looks past the too-tidy alibis and unbelievably odd details to eventually puzzle out who the culprit is.

The Positives: 

-The invaluable element that is true mystery. Christie succeeds in an area in which many mystery novelists don't: you truly aren't sure how the events transpired until the end. At the same time, I don't doubt that people (who are obviously much more clever than I am) could put together the gist of the truth. However, if you are like me, you will stay absolutely baffled until the very last pages when all is revealed (which I enjoy much more). And oh buddy, when it finally is revealed, you're gonna freak. It's bonkers. 

-The characters. Oh, what a colorful bunch they are. Even better, they are even more colorful behind their lies. I can't go into too much detail about them because there is just too much potential to give the whole plot away. 

-Hercule Poirot. Okay, okay, I know he's technically a character, too, but he's just way too awesome to not earn his own positive! He appeared in the other Agatha Christie novel that I've read, The Clocks, but he plays a much bigger part in this story, and I am so glad for that. What a brilliant, brilliant character! Not only is he a genius, but he's a genius that doesn't mind everyone knowing it. I consider those to be the very best kind (at least in fictional stories)! 

-The ending. Yes, this is referring to more than just the final reveal. I wish I could say more about it, but alas, I cannot! 

The Negatives:

There are none! For awhile, I thought there was a minor flaw, or rather, a minor personal bother, but then it came to be in the end that it all played into the plot. So, in other words, I hate to sound like a broken record...but I can't tell you anymore about it. It's killing me.

Overall:

So there you go; it was spectacular! I highly recommend it to everyone, and furthermore, I'm going to start highly recommending Agatha Christie to everyone! So go ahead, pick this one up, or any other by Christie, and I'm sure you'll enjoy!

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory

Book Review: The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory


Things to know up front...

Recommended to: Fans of Historical Fiction, Fans of Philippa Gregory, Elizabeth Woodville Haters, Those looking for Richard III's redemption

Rating: 8.5/10

Content: Appropriate for nearly all ages. It is a bit of a challenging read, as all historical fiction tends to be, so that in itself may provide an age limit, but there isn't bad language, nor are there any of the sex scenes found in Philippa's other books. The most mature element found in this novel is simply the conniving cruelty that was an English court. **Edit** There is one scene in which a character goes into labor, and the baby has to be forcibly removed. While this doesn't necessarily make it any more inappropriate it is disturbing, and frankly, icky. 

A Warning: I will refer to Philippa Gregory by first name only many, many times in this review. I just can't help it. I feel like I know her, or she's my best friend in another universe that lives right next door and has lunch with me all the time something. 

The Kingmaker's Daughter follows Anne Neville, second daughter to Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, better known by the nickname "The Kingmaker." If you've read Philippa's other books in The Cousin's War series, you may remember the Kingmaker (you know, the loony that switched loyalties about seven billion three or four times?). We see Anne progress from a pawn in her father's schemes to a woman that is very capable of her making her own schemes. And once again, Gregory brings us to that point where we realize just how little glamour there is in being a royal/noble, and furthermore, a royal/noblewoman, which I have always had a strange amount of affection for.* You may remember part of Anne's timeline if you've read the other books in this series, and even if you're new, it becomes easy after awhile to catch on, even though her life was kind of a hot mess.

Well, might as well jump right into it now, eh? So allons-y.

What I mainly found so interesting in this book is that somehow I, who just adored Elizabeth Woodville in The White Queen, really grew to scorn her and her rise to power in this book. It seemed perfectly natural in The White Queen that she would bring her family to power and titles along with herself, but then as you look at it from the other side, you see why this looked so bad to everyone that wasn't a Rivers. You even see how it would have looked like she had an unnatural and improper power of persuasion over the king. I could understand why Anne hated and feared this cold and beautiful woman; I could see how all of her actions that seemed so innocent in TWQ didn't seem that way from the opposing view. In fact, the queen was a genuinely frightening character. It no longer amazes me that she wasn't so popular in her day.

I loved the relationships that were created in this story as well. Anne and Isabel were a pair I found to be especially well executed. They were similar to the relationship shown in The Other Boleyn Girl between Anne and Mary Boleyn in that they were constantly vying to get the power that would make their father/family proud. There was affection between them, more so than the Boleyn sisters had, but that jealousy and competition was like second nature to them and ready to appear at the slightest provocation. Another relationship that I found fascinating was that of Anne, Isabel, and their mother. It amazed me how little love was shown to those two by their mother, who is shown as such an unfeeling and calculating character who was always right on track with her husband's power-lust. I was straight up shocked to read in one scene, while the family is sailing through a ferocious (Elizabeth Woodville-caused?) storm and Isabel is going into labor, that mother does not once express an emotion. Not one, except maybe a little bit exasperation at the inconvenience that is the tempestuous storm raging around them. When she tells Anne to go get towels and such, she simply tells her to make sure she hangs on to a crew member so that she doesn't get swept overboard. There wasn't even an ounce of worry for Anne's well being or safety, just a sense of what had to be done. She was such a mystifying character. Even though I understand she is not a huge player in this series, I would love to learn more about her and what it was that made her so very...frigid.

And may I say that I love the way Richard III was presented? It seems like every portrayal of Richard, even in this series, casts him as a figure of pure evil and malice, as someone quite without compassion or feelings, as someone that only cared for power. I was really pleased to be shown another side to this character. While he is still a cold and slightly devious character, he's lovable. In fact, I dare you to read this and not have a little bit of a crush on young Richard. But beyond that we see that he was intensely loyal to Edward and originally had a very strong sense of what was right and chivalrous, or wrong. We see that he loved Anne and risked very much to be with her. Even as we move on to the point were Richard takes the throne, I could never dislike him. Only his undefined relationship with Princess Elizabeth really bothered me.

I also really liked Anne. In other Philippa novels, I haven't found all too many heroines that I really grow to admire, but Anne has emerged as one of the few. At first I was just like, Another powerless young girl. Yippee, but then as she grows up and she finally takes her life into her own hands, I couldn't help but love her. I mean, you have to admit that her life must have been something. To be put behind your older sister whom your parents have decided to put all of their efforts into making a future queen, and then be married to the heir of a king your father once helped dethrone, and then to have that young boy die and leave you a widow at about fourteen years old, then to have your father die, and then to be imprisoned in your own sister's home, then to marry Richard III,  AND THEN to become queen? Can you say bananas? Truly, I think she is one of, if not the, greatest character of Philippa's ever, in terms of a fascinating background...which is a little ironic when you think of how little is known about her.

Can you yet tell how much I adored this? I'm racking my brain right now, and I just can't come up with many negatives! Really, the only thing that bothered me, and it really is a small thing, is that Anne seemed to have too many "imaginings" of the queen doing her sorcery, which are dead on to what we are told she did in The White Queen. But this is honestly the only thing that really nagged at me.

Overall, Philippa really did a wonderful job on this one. The way I understand it, there is very little information known about Anne Neville, and to write a complete novel in first person about such a character must be absolutely grueling, especially when you have to think about how that person would be shaped by the numerous, confusing events that occurred in this time period. I don't know that just any historical fiction writer could have produced a believable character from that mess (so kudos, Philippa, you've made yet another amazing thing). I would highly recommend this to any historical fiction fan, or any fan of Philippa's. This is definitely a match in terms of quality for The White Queen, and it is loads better than The Lady of the Rivers. Be sure to pick it up for yourself and tell me what you think!

*There is a specific paragraph from TKD that I know I just adored because it really hit on the head just how much power men had over women, and I noted it just so I could share it, but then I lent the book to my sister *facepalm*. Once it's returned to me in what will be a ridiculously extended amount of time, I'll be sure to share it with you.

Another important end note: please realize that in the spots that I have used absolutes to describe characters or actions, such as the bit about the Boleyns, I am not basing this so much on actual facts about these people/things as much as the impressions I have gotten from Philippa's other books.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

Book Review: Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan**

Rating: 6/10
Recommended to: Kids, Adults/Older Teens that like YA

In MoA, the third book the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan, the seven selected heroes venture to Rome, where they hope to defeat the evil Gaea in her attempts to bring down the gods and everyone with them. They encounter several obstacles including monsters, unhelpful gods, monsters, Romans, and even more monsters that slow their progress on the Argo II.  Did I mention monsters? Furthermore, their clashing loyalties and beliefs constantly create rifts and conflict within the group, especially for Annabeth, whose mother Athena didn't turn out to be well-loved in Roman form. 

Let me start by saying that I really enjoyed the first two books in this new series; I thought they were funny (as Rick has a talent for), light-hearted, entertaining, interesting, and full of lovable characters. Unfortunately, MoA lacked many, if not all of these aspects. 

For starters, it just wasn't very humorous. There were a lot of points where it seemed like Riordan was trying very, very hard to insert some of that kid-humor that can make just about anyone crack a smile, but it all seemed to fall flat. I can remember exactly once instance where I laughed out loud (and by that I mean a hard exhale through the nose), whereas in the other books, I usually have quite a few of those moments. 

I also really had a hard time with the characters. I've always felt like Riordan has had problems giving his narrators distinct voices (not that that's such a huge issue in a YA novel), but in this particular book especially, it seemed like a more noticeable struggle. Furthermore, I found myself not caring about most of the narrators, or even just the characters in general. Characters that didn't have their own chapters, such as Frank, Hazel, and Jason just didn't matter to me. In fact, all of them drove me a little nuts. Piper annoyed the living daylights out of me with her incessant focus on Jason throughout her chapters, and Leo made me feel nothing but indifference. I enjoyed Percy and Annabeth's chapters, but I suspect that's probably just due to my affection for them leftover from the Percy Jackson Series. Although, I did have some major beef with their love story...just stop trying to go in depth with them Rick, you suck at it! 

In general, the story lacked any truly interesting factors, which is probably the greatest problem the book has. I kept catching myself skimming through pages to try to find something that actually mattered, or had any exciting action. While there are a few good, action scenes, most of the story just feels boring and uninteresting. And you know what else? It makes me sad to say it, but I just wanted it to end. Not just the book, the whole series. But no, even though midway through, it seems like Rick could possibly give us a tidy ending, he drags it out. Hopefully in the next book, he delivers not only a better story-line, but the much needed ending. I can't handle anymore disappointments. 

Not that the book was all negatives. As always, Riordan delivered on his Greek and Roman mythology. If you really know your stuff about mythology, it will probably entertain you to see his twistings and interpretations, or drive you nuts, but if you're pretty ignorant of it like me, you'll enjoy learning a little bit more about it. I found his mentions of how the Greek and Roman gods/goddesses differed to be especially interesting, as well as the gods that didn't quite translate to both sides. 

Riordan finally brings some things full circle for us, too, such as just how Leo and Hazel are connected, why The Doors of Death were opened, and what this even means. If you're like me, this will all be a huge relief for you because I know that I found the Leo/Hazel aspect to be absolutely baffling.

Finally, Rick managed to maintain that special little something that makes these books readable and accessible to a variety of age groups. Though it's definitely weaker, it's still present. 

Overall, it was really just okay. I would recommend that any fans of this series whether they be kids, teens, or adults to walk into this with lowered expectations, and they might enjoy it more.  

He also maintained that special little something that makes these books readable and accessible to a variety of age groups, though it's definitely weaker, but still present. 

**I finished MoA about a week ago, but I still remembered enough of the details to write this review. It's probably better that I wrote this now since it would have been heavily layered with my disappointment had I written it immediately, which may tell you more about this book than the entire review did.



Let's all take some time from our day to fawn over this dog picture...


It's called a golden cocker retriever and it stays looking like a puppy forever. Forever.

It's a dream come true. It's like my life makes sense now. 

Who doesn't want a dog that stays looking like a puppy forever? Only someone without a soul that's allergic to this much adorable. Just look at those paws. Big puppy paws that they will never grow into...they're killing me. 

I want one so badly. I will empty my savings account for it if I have to.

Just look at the effect it's having on me; look at all those strike-throughs. It's madness. Madness with floppy puppy ears and a widdle wagging tail...gahhhh. Seriously, is anyone else dying? 

But I need to look away. I must look away. I will look away. After five more hours.

Holy strike throughs, Batman. 

Now feel free to move on with your day, all the while thinking about how so very much you want one (:

Picture originally from GoAww, where you can find plenty more examples of impossible and completely distracting cuteness. Proceed with caution.



Saturday, November 10, 2012

As of 11/10/12

Currently Reading


Thanks to a lovely trip to my local book store, I now have more books! I picked up Murder on the Orient Express, And Then There Were None, and The Body in the Library, all by my new found love, Agatha Christie, as well as The Kingmaker's Daughter by Philippa Gregory.

Now let's move aside for a miniature rant on the beauty of buying used books. If I had bought all of these beauties at their regular list prices, I would have spent over $40, which really isn't that bad considering that would average out to be about $10 per book. But I know you're all sitting on the edge of your seats waiting to hear just how fantastic this bargain is, and I won't tease you any longer...$14.31! That's right folks, let it soak in; I only spent a grand total of $14.31 on four books, one of them (TKD, which also cost the most at $8.50) having just come out in August! Seriously, if you don't already shop at a bookstore that offers used books, find one. It's almost like that moment in Beauty and the Beast when the Beast (why doesn't he have a name?) gives Belle that library. Almost.

Any who.

I've decided that I'm going to take The Kingmaker's Daughter and Murder on the Orient Express on first, with hopefully some book reviews to follow them shortly!


Don't Judge Me; I'm a Newb.

Well, as you can see, these here are just the beginnings for Read It and Geek. I hope to have it fully functioning and ready to be explored and adored by the masses very soon! 

I'm going to apologize up front for what will seem like very poor blogging skills right now, but just look at the title of this post, I don't know what I'm doing! However, I can promise that all of this poor blogging will be done with enthusiasm and a ridiculous amount of charm, as well as a ridiculous amount of strike-throughs. 

So thank you for the visit, and come back soon to bear with me as I attempt to throw ups some book reviews, as well as a variety of many other things, most of them probably geeky.