Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer

New Riordan! And a brand new series, it’s really exciting! And it’s Norse mythology, which I know very little about (only stuff from American Gods, cause I haven’t seen the Thor movies… or really read into it before). So I’m quite excited to learn more about the mythology (not that the books are perfect, but still pick up a few things). Further excitement is that I have a signed edition!


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Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods – Plus Son of Sobek

So while I wait for the library to finally get in The Blood of Olympus, so I can finish off the series, I found Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods. Which you can probably guess is Percy Jackson narrating Greek mythology, and it’s awesome! I really commend Riordan for making Greek Mythology interesting and fun for both children and adults. Whether or not it is 100% accurate is besides the point, it’s ancient mythology there’s going to be unknowns and theories.

The Council of Gods by Raphael
The Council of Gods by Raphael

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The Blood of Olympus

The finale of the Heroes of Olympus series, and perhaps (who knows) the end of the road for Percy Jackson (though we do know that he will ‘narrate’ the Greek Heroes book coming out on August 18, which I can’t wait for), and it’s been a long road, with 10 books, a number of side-books, and a whole lot of monster fighting. I’ve loved the series, and I think I started reading it in 2011 (I know I read the first Heroes of Olympus book in 2011 as attested by this post, so presumably the first series was sometime that year), which isn’t as long as some people, and I wasn’t as young as some people when they first started, but it still has been a long while (the first was out in 2005!). And I’m very excited for Magnus Chase! Despite all this, The Blood of Olympus wasn’t as good a finale as I hoped.

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House of Hades – Rick Riordan

The penultimate book in the Heroes of Olympus series. I had been waiting to read this book since it came out mid-2013 but it took a while to get a copy from the library so I’ve only just read it. It was worth the wait. As with all of Riordan’s work it’s captivating, jam packed with twists and turns, cliff hangers and of course, mythology. We pick up pretty much straight where we left off in The Mark of Athena, with Percy and Annabeth tragically tumbling down into Tartarus, and the others left with the impossible challenge of having to stop the evil Gaia from rising again and enslaving the world. While we don’t see the culmination of the series in this penultimate book, we still see a heck of a lot of action!

Continue reading House of Hades – Rick Riordan

What have I been reading lately?

I haven’t done this in a while (I think the last one I did was back in April!), so I thought I would fill you in on what books I have been reading lately. You can of course check out my Goodreads profile, which you can find on the side, to check out what I’m reading, and where I’m up to, as well as ratings, and ‘reviews’ on the stories I have read. I did say that this would come yesterday, and I was going to do that, but then I realised that I didn’t think I would have time to write a post for today as well, so you get this instead! The Stone Key will begin (with an introduction, analysis of cover, etc) tomorrow!

So I think there is quite a list, so I don’t know how much I’ll talk about each one

The Without Warning Series by John Birmingham. This includes Without Warning, After America and Angels of Vengeance (and no matter how many times I write this or read it, I immediately think Angles of Vengeance, those would be some nasty angles!). As you can tell by the second title, something has happened in America. This isn’t a spoiler since it happens pretty much straight away. Everyone within America (basically) vanishes. They seem to liquefy. This is alternative history, so it happens just before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Now as you can imagine this has huge consequences on the world, some of which are devastating. The point of view changes, and it encompasses a whole range of people who are struggling to come to terms with the events. All three books follow the perspective of pretty much the same people, and even once things have ‘settled down’, there are still huge issues, which are left unresolved. I haven’t finished Angels of Vengeance so I can’t tell you how it ends. But there are plenty of shocks and action along the way. Now all three books are formidable, as they look like huge tomes. They are lengthy, but their detail is one of its strengths. Well worth a read, maybe if you live in America, it would be too shocking to comprehend an event like that, but alternative history is a genre I haven’t gotten into, but is very interesting.

I’ve recently finished a book titled: “Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too” written by blogger Beth Terry. Now as the title suggests, this is a non-fiction, environmental book. About how to reduce the amount of plastic you use, come into contact with, and throw away. There are more than just environmental reasons for following this book, including health, economic and even spiritual. It really makes you think just what plastics might be doing to our bodies, through the chemicals they leach into our food and drink. To some people it might be alarmist thinking, but if you go with an open mind, you’ll pick up some really good tips on how to avoid plastic. And in the process you can save money, and get out of the consumerism cycle. Beth has been trying to live plastic free since 2007, so she knows what works and what to do. If you don’t want to read the book, take a look at her blog, where you can find more great tips, and stories of her journey (be warned there are a LOT of posts to get through!). You can find Beth here:

I finished off the Kane Chronicles with The Serpent’s Shadow, written by the great myth writer, Rick Riordan. I’ve spoken about Rick and The Kane Chronicles (as well as The Heroes of Olympus and Percy Jackson) previously, and nothing has changed. He is still an amazing writer, who can do mythology and fantasy so well. I was gripped from the first word, and the action is continuous and there are so many twists, turns, shocks to keep you entertained. Rick’s work is always worth a read, they are pretty light-hearted, as they are intended for ‘youth’ but don’t let that stop you! I mean how light-hearted can you be when you are facing off against the God of Chaos (Egyptian in case you were lost)!

Another book series intended for youth is The Billionaire’s Trilogy, by Richard Newsome, now, I re-read the first two books in preparation for the final book. The series consists of The Billionaire’s Curse, The Emerald Casket and The Mask of Destiny. They are a very interesting idea. What would you do if you inherited Billions? Okay it is a little like a fantasy, but they are enjoyable, as there is clearly something more going on than meets the eye. Again quite light-hearted. Plenty of action, though, honestly, definitely for younger readers. It doesn’t pull off as well as Rick’s work, but still give it a go. The trilogy has actually become a quadrilogy (?) or quartet (apparently tetralogy) of novels, with The Crystal Code released this year. I haven’t read it, and if I can find it and I have time, I might give it a go.

The final book to mention is Good Omens, a collaboration between two literary greats, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (who has written more books, that several authors combined!). This is yet again, light hearted. But how strange is that, when we are facing The Apocalypse! Yes, The Apocalypse! Seriously hilarious, with great references, and a fantastic pace. Has a lot of great footnotes, and it is just perfection! Seriously, find a copy, and prepare yourself for the end of the world! Best standalone book I have read!

I did also read Macbeth, but that is such a well known book, it needs no explanation. You either love Shakespeare or you loathe him. Especially if you hated studying him in High School. I quite happen to like his work, but I’m definitely not fantastically inspired in his work, as some English teacher seem to be…

That’s all for now! I do seem to be on a borrowing frenzy from my local library (get behind them, they are amazing!). I actually have Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank on loan, and I cannot wait to read it. Such a well known story, I am looking forward to seeing just what it is all about. I’ll let you know about more books, next time!

Some more books I’ve read recently!

Well for my last post for around 2 weeks I shall share some of the books I have read.

The Hunger Games

As I mentioned earlier in the week I re-read the first book in The Hunger Games trilogy. And boy is it addictive, edge of your seat stuff! There are cliff hangers, twists and turns at every corner, so if you are one of those people who are tossing up whether to read the book, DO IT! The movie is a good adaptation but nothing can substitute a book.I’d also recommend buying or borrowing all three books at once, because you won’t want to wait for the next one, and you’ll get through the books in record time!

The Kane Chronicles – Throne of Fire

The second instalment of The Kane Chronicles, which is based on Egyptian Mythology, by the ‘myth-master’ himself, Rick Riordan, is a book that doesn’t disappoint. We return to Brooklyn with Sadie and Carter Kane and once again they need to save the day or the world will end. Actually nearly all of Rick Riordan’s books are based around this point, but I personally do not care, because each time it is different and there are new aspects of mythology and new characters, so it never feels jaded and overused. There is one final book, which is coming out early next month, that completes the trilogy, and this books sets up a nice final showdown. I don’t really want to talk about the plot, because I’d give away important things, so read it for yourself, and you might learn a thing or two that you didn’t know before.

Heroes of Olympus – The Son of Neptune

We return to the world with Percy Jackson (who was absent in the previous book of ‘Heroes of Olympus’) and this time Rick Riordan explores Roman mythology, with our old Greek mythology thrown in, because the two cultures and mythologies are closely linked. It was an amazing book, and was very engaging. It actually surprises me that this book is actually teaching you things, and that you are learning when you read it. There is plenty of action, and lots of twists, turns and foreshadowing to future events in the next three books! If you are a fan of the Rick Riordan’s previous works, then of course you are going to love this book. I think the book can appeal to a wide audience, sure it is more a ‘kids/teen/young adult’ orientated market, but I’m sure adults can enjoy the books too because they aren’t in your face serious, but aren’t too afraid to deal with tough situations and emotions. I was actually so annoyed when I got to the end, because it ended just as about something BIG was going to happen, and I thought that there were more pages left (because there was a glossary) so I was caught by surprised when it ended! And we have to wait until ‘Fall’ this year for the next one (or spring if you actually live in the Southern Hemisphere!) and there are many plot details left to unravel, so the next couple of books shall be exciting and intense!

So have a nice Easter (if you celebrate it) and if you are on holidays at all, have safe travels! See you all in (around) two weeks!

A couple books I’ve read recently – The Kane Chronicles, Sarah Thornhill and To Kill a Mockingbird

Just a little break from The Book Thief, Part Eight will return tomorrow, I’ll drag out the suspense a little longer! Instead I thought I’d give everyone an update of the books I’ve read recently, that I haven’t blogged about. It gives me a chance to talk about more books than I would ever be possible to blog chapter by chapter about, so enjoy!

The Kane Chronicles – The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

I’ve mentioned Rick Riordan before with the Percy Jackson & Heroes of Olympus series, which are both amazing, and the latter I am still in the process of reading (they are not all out yet, which gives me things to look forward to). But this time we move away from Greek gods and demi/half-bloods and away from Camp Half-blood. And we move this time to the realm of Egyptian gods. It still has the same sort of idea, kids who think they are normal are thrust into the world of the gods (this time Egyptians) even though we are in the modern day, and they discover new powers and their world is changed forever (this like applies to nearly every fantasy book there is, but they are all amazing, mostly, and it doesn’t even matter that they are kinda similar). Now I don’t like spoiling things, so I won’t say what happens. But I love it, just as much as the last books from Riordan, he has an amazing style, one that is quite humorous, and fast paced (just saying some of the books are over the period of less than a week) and really detailed, I mean the amount of research about Egyptian (and previously Greek) gods and lifestyle and various weapons, legends, myths, and things, would be immense, and it could easily have been overwhelming, but Riordan introduces things easily and we can understand what we have to understand, and are easily pulled into the worlds where gods are real. Sure his books could be passed as more a book for children, I disagree. These books aren’t just for kids, and there is a depth and detail that make it interesting for older readers, but there is action and adventure and all the things kids (big and small) just love. I just have to mention, and it kinda is spoilerish, but I can’t not mention it, I loved the little mention in this book of Riordan’s other work, it was just slightly hidden, and wasn’t important at all, but it was a sort of nod to all his fans that have read his previous series (Percy Jackson) and kinda made me laugh. If you don’t’ understand then read both series, and you probably should, and if you can’t be bothered than read this by highlighting the seemingly blank section, it’s not really a big spoiler, it’s just you might like to experience this for yourselves, and I don’t want to take away you finding this by yourself, I mean I was pretty excited to find it. In the Red Pyramid it mentions just once Manhattan, the location of Greek Gods world (Mt Olympus, I hope) and says after one of the children asks if they can’t live in Manhattan because it is on the east side, and in Egyptians times people only lived on the west side (where Brooklyn is) of a river and Amos replies with ‘Manhattan has other problems. Other gods. It’s best we stay separate.’ And he is referring to the Greek Gods, and I found this really amazing that Riordan decided to do this, and connect the two worlds into one, I just love the ‘other problems’ part because yeah Manhattan did have other problems. I wonder if they ever meet paths, or if Riordan decides to do this ever, or maybe includes some other realm of gods, because that would be amazing. So yeah, go out and find a copy of any of Rick Riordan’s work, I’m sure you won’t regret it.

Sarah Thornhill – Sequel to the Secret River by Kate Grenville

I previously mentioned Kate Grenville in my final post of 2011, gosh that actually feels like a long time ago, I guess having a holiday can distort your sense of time, and her book Lillian’s Story, well just recently I read another of her books called Sarah Thornhill. This is officially the sequel to The Secret River, and is apart of the loosely connected trilogy including The Lieutenant. And all three books are based in colonial Australia, just years after settlement, so somewhere between 1788 and possibly 1810’s (not sure on the exact dates, but I do know that Sarah Thornhill is a number of years later than the other two). I have to give credit to Kate Grenville because she is absolutely amazing at creating the world, with the language, the ideas, the scenery, everything you’d expect in the 18th century, Grenville has executed it, and perfected it. Her works are beautiful, a word I wouldn’t normally use to describe a book, but this is so appropriate. Her works are elegant and are intriguing, and don’t be fooled though, she deals with a few dark elements that were prevalent at the time and there is drama and action, all in all they are a really great read. Her books aren’t the normal genre I would read, I much prefer fantasy, but I enjoy her books. I don’t want to discuss the plot points and how I reacted to them, because this is a review of the book, in the hope that someone might be interested in reading them, so I’d rather let you find out the finer details for yourself.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

A story that nearly everyone body has heard about, because it is such a renowned classic, so I’m not going to go through what happens, everyone must know by now! It seriously is a book that everyone has to read at least once in their lives. And for me this is the second time that I have read it, and it was even better the second time around, I picked up so much more detail than I did the first time around. If you cannot be that bothered reading, at least watch the movie, even if it is in black and white, at least then you will get a sense of the importance of the book, I myself have not seen the film, and endeavour to do so as soon as possible! It is a pity that Harper Lee has not written another book, I guess one great idea is enough. She is definitely an interesting character, she doesn’t often appear in public, doesn’t do speeches, interviews. Which is both disappointing, but inspiring. We would all like to hear more from this inspiring writer, and would love another novel, but she nearly acts as if TKM never happened. Which is quite impressive, not many authors would just write one book, and then no more (at least Harper Lee might be writing, but not for the public) and she sounds so humble, that she doesn’t want to go out and do interviews, and even when she has won awards, often she refuses to speak. Which I guess makes us cherish the single book she has written, and all her other ‘essays’ and interviews as rare treasures, that are made better by their rarity. I would just really love to know if she were to write a second book, and I’m sure she has thought about this, many times, what would she have written about? We will probably never know what great stories are locked up with her, that will be lost forever, but you cannot deny that Harper Lee is an amazing author and inspirational woman!