Book Review- The Hidden Oracle

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The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Published by Disney-Hyperion on May 3 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Mythology, Fantasy, Adventure
Pages: 376
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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.

After not really loving the Magnus Chase books (click here), I was scared that I would never find another Rick Riordan book that I loved as much as the Percy Jackson books. And while that still remains true, The Hidden Oracle got pretty close.

This book, which follows a disgraced now-mortal Apollo was light hearted and funny. I found myself laughing out loud on several occasions, and despite the narrators voice being very young, it was hilarious. The Hidden Oracle was a very fast, light read, and it left me feeling pretty good.

In this book, I got to see a return of a few of my favorite characters from the PJ books (including Percy Jackson himself!) which is always fun. The characters in this book weren’t that complicated, but they were all interesting and fun to read about. Everything about this book was just fun. There was no epic quest or anything, but it was still exciting and made me feel like a little kid again, reading the Percy Jackson books for the first time.

I was really happy with The Hidden Oracle, and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is a Rick Riordan fan. And, to anyone who hasn’t read any Rick Riordan, first of all, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR????????, and second of all go start with the original Percy Jackson series. You’ll get here, don’t worry.

I am going to give The Hidden Oracle four out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

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Book Review- The Hammer of Thor

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The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #2) by Rick Riordan
Published by Disney- Hyperion Books on October 4, 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Young Adult, Middle Grade
Pages: 471
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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.

Once again I was disappointed by Magnus Chase. This book picks up a few months after the first one ends. It started off pretty well, and I almost thought that this book would be a little more clear with it’s plot and not have so many sub-plots. Not that I don’t enjoy a good sub-plot, it’s just that the first one had so many I began to loose sight of what the main point actually was.

But yet again, our heroes jump through world after world completing a series of tasks that make reading the book a bit tedious. It almost feels as if Riordan tried to stuff as many Norse stories as he could into one book, and forgot to refine it when he was finished. I would have been much happier with a Percy Jackson sized book that had a killer plot and not quite so much going on.

It also felt like this was a repeat of the first Magnus Chase. The same events happened with slight variations, and I found it pretty hard to keep focused on what was going on. It took me a lot longer than it should have to get through this one.

It could be that I’ve outgrown this type of story (which is sad to think about), but the more likely scenario is that by pumping out the volume of books that he is, the quality of Riordan’s writing is beginning to slip.

I know that review seemed kind of harsh, considering I am giving this book three hearts, but I feel like it all needed to be said. On a happier note, the book did have some funny and unique parts, and I still love the diversity and individuality of each of the characters.

So, The Hammer of Thor gets three out of five hearts from me.

♥ ♥ ♥

Book Review- The Sword of Summer

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The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1) by Rick Riordan
Published by Disney- Hyperion Books on October 6, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Mythology, Young Adult, Middle Grade
Pages: 499
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Amazon

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

I’ve always been a huge fan of Rick Riordan. I love his ability to bring mythology to life in a modern era and create unlikely heroes out of unsuspecting teens. But when I read The Sword of Summer I felt let down. It felt to me like Riordan was trying to recreate Percy Jackson in the Norse world, and cram too many adventures into one plot.

Magnus is a likable character, and it is certainly entertaining to read from his point of view, but the whole book felt too familiar. It was like having a long lasting Deja vu. What I also found frustrating about this book is that straight from the beginning it includes Annabeth Chase, a Greek demigod, which makes it seem like this book really is trying to use the success of Percy Jackson to gain fame.

However, despite my disappointments, the book was a fun read. It retold a lot of Norse stories I heard as a child and brought them to life yet again. The characters were diverse and unique, and each had their own struggles, hopes, and dreams. They each were distinctly their own person, which is much appreciated.

I wouldn’t call The Sword of Summer a “must read”, but if you love the world that Riordan has created, this is a great way to delve into a new part of it while still seeing cameos of the older characters.

I am going to give the Sword of Summer three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

Greek Mythology Book Tag

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I saw the Greek Mythology tag over on The Girl Who Read Too Much. It looked like such a fun tag so I knew I would have to do it! I grew up reading and hearing stories from Greek mythology (yes, long before Percy Jackson), and I have always loved it! So here are my answers for the Greek Mythology tag!


Zeus; God of the Sky and Thunder/ King of Gods

Favorite Book (choose your own category)

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Of course tags always have to start with a hard question! Agh! I have read so many good books (especially lately) that it hurts to choose. But, seeing as I have to choose one, I am going to say Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. It has been my favorite for a long time… and I talk about it a lot. It really is an amazing book.

Second and third place for this category definitely go to The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti (read the review here) and Beyond the Rising Tide by Sarah Beard (red the review here).


Poseidon; God of Seas and Earthquakes

A Book that Drowned you in the Feels

41zlOSzTsuL__SX331_BO1,204,203,200_There are SO MANY books I could choose for this. Gosh, this might be an even harder choice than the first one. Hmmmmmmmm.

Okay, so after much thought I decided to go with Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. You can read my review of the book here. I chose this book because there were so many different types of feels that by the end I really did drown in them. It was just so emotional and heartfelt and beautiful and amazing. I also think I cried at least three times while reading it, so if that doesn’t qualify as drowning in the feels I don’t know what does.


Hades; God of the Underworld

Favorite Book with a Dark/Ominous Plot

18805623I would say Anna Dressed in Blood, cause you know, murderous ghost and all… but seeing as I already chose the book for something, I am going to go with The Tenderness of Thieves by Donna Freitas.

This book definitely has a dark side, along with a story I couldn’t put down. The whole book had this dark feeling to it, and that really made it a great read. You can read my review of the book here.

It is a really great young adult romance/thriller, especially for someone like me who doesn’t read a lot of thrillers.


Hera; Goddess of Marriage and Family

Cutest Fictional Couple

jjjGahhhhhh. All these favorites! How can I ever choose? Hmmm. I am going to have to go with Kai and Avery from Beyond the Rising Tide by Sarah Beard.

These two met for the first time when Kai died saving Avery’s life. There’s not much I can say without giving away the plot of the book, but they both make a huge sacrifice for one another in the end that kind of solidifies their status as most-in-love-perfect-adorable couple and I wish someone would love me like Kai and Avery love each other.


Athena; Goddess of Wisdom, Handicraft, and Strategic Warfare

Series with the Best World-building

Gryffindor_bannerThis is the easiest question yet. My answer to this is obviously going to be Harry Potter.

So yes, I know that there are flaws to the Harry Potter universe, but lets be honest here. Who doesn’t want to live in the Harry Potter world? I would trade anything (well, almost anything) to be a witch at Hogwarts and learn to do magic, and play quidditch.

Oh, and as you can see by the banner, I am a Gryffindor. Yes, AM. I AM. Don’t argue with me on this. My letter just got lost in the mail. Silly owls.

**Update: seeing as I’m North American, and would be at The Ilvermorny School, I thought I should add in that I am in the Horned Serpent house!**


Aphrodite; Goddess of Love and Beauty

Most Beautiful Cover on a 2016 Release

28220701And we’re back to the hard questions. TBH this year seems to be the year for absolutely stunning book covers. Don’t ask my why, cause I don’t know. But seriously, every time I go on twitter or booktube I see a new cover that is just too beautiful to even be allowed to exist.

I think I’m going to go with The Infinity of You and Me by J. Q. Coyle. This book’s expected release is November 8, 2016. I am really excited to read it.. the synopsis sounds amazing! And just look at this cover art. It is stunning.


Ares; God of War and Bloodshed

Most Violent Book you have ever Read

29097229Umm, TBH I don’t really read a lot of violent books. I think the most violent and all around disturbing book I’ve read is Autobiography of a Serial Killer by Travis d. Bickel.

This book is literally a written account of what goes on inside a serial killers mind. It was extremely disturbing and graphic. I didn’t enjoy the book at all (and I definitely do not recommend reading it), but it was very violent and disturbed, so I’m going with it. If you want to read my review of the book click here.

Honestly if you can come up with a more violent book than this one I’d be surprised….


Hephaestus; God of Blacksmiths and Fire

Scorching Hot Swoon Worthy Character

Percy_Jackson_PortraitOh man, oh man. It seems like in every good book there is a character who is worthy of this title. Gosh. Just thinking about all the hotness is making my face red. Gahhhh, why are all these questions so hard!?

Because this is a Greek Mythology book tag, I am going to go with a character from my very favorite Greek books…. yup! You guessed it (probably), The Percy Jackson Series!

Okay, so I started reading these books back when I was in middle school, and I have ALWAYS had a crush on Percy. I’m not ashamed to admit it. So there. Although his water powers might put a damper on the whole fire thing… but still. I chose Percy. Oh, and I love Logan Lerman (even though I hated the PJ movies). So that’s an added bonus.


Artemis; Goddess of The Hunt and Virginity

Favorite Kick-Ass Heroine

8d4120fb1eeff89c61483b3e83c940ceThere are some pretty kick-ass ladies out there, but I’m going to go with Cassie from The 5th Wave.

So, although I have an eBook copy of the book sitting in my phone, I haven’t actually read the book yet. I’m basing my choice on the movie version of Cassie, and just kind of assuming that it will match up with book Cassie.

I chose her because unlike other heroines, she doesn’t rely on others. She knows what she has to do and she goes for it, not caring if she has help or not. And yeah, she’s scared, but she’s brave. There is nothing more kick-ass than that.



Apollo; God of Light and Healing

Sequel Book that Redeemed its Series

I honestly can’t think of one. If I’m not dying to read the sequel to a book I don’t, so maybe I just haven’t given any books the chance to be redeemed by their sequel. Oops. But if you have one please tell me. I’d love to know.


Demeter; Goddess of Fertility and Agriculture

Favorite Book Setting

23209941Hhhmmmmm. This is tricky. I would say Harry Potter if I hadn’t already used it for one of my answers. I would then say the Percy Jackson universe, but again I used it… and as you can probably tell I don’t want to use a book/series/world more than once.

So I am going to go with Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski. If I were in the class (or any class really) that got a tainted shot and was able to read minds, that would be awesome. Or disastrous. But if I hated it I could always wear dark sunglasses and my troubles would be fixed.

Another perk to this setting is besides social shunning, there is nothing threatening anyone’s life. Ya know, there’s no imminent threat.


So that is the end of the Greek Mythology Book Tag! I will admit that there were 3 god/goddesses that I skipped, mostly because this book tag is already hella long… but if you guys liked it and want me to do more just tell me in the comments below and I’ll do those three and maybe some of my other favorite Greek gods.

So do you agree with my answers? What books and characters would you pick?

I am not going to tag anyone in particular, but if you want to do the tag you are more than welcome, and put a link down in the comments so I can check out your answers!

Author Q&A- Jessica Dall

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing the amazing Jessica Dall. With her first book in the Order and Chaos series out, and a second coming, she is not one to miss! Read the Q&A below.
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Q: How long have you been writing?
A: My mom will tell you that I’ve been “writing” since before I actually knew how. I would scribble loops on paper in a way that I thought looked like cursive and write “stories.” As far as actual writing, well, I wrote some fan fiction in middle school and then finished my first novel in high school (which is now safely buried away on my hard drive and only comes out when I need to remember I have actually improved over the last decade-plus). I’ve been noveling ever since.
Q: What inspires your writing? Do you have a muse?
A: All sorts of things have inspired my writing–pictures, music, quotes… I’ve never had a lack of ideas. I’ve just never had enough time to write them all!
Q: Tell me about your book, Raining Embers. What was the original idea behind it?
Raining Embers is a historical fantasy novel set in a world loosely based on Renaissance Italy with a bunch of ancient Greek/other mythology thrown in for good measure. The actual story has been through so many iterations that most of the original parts of it has likely been lost to red lining at this point, but the original spark actually came from an art history lecture I went to years ago. The lecturer put up a picture of the Vatican library–and all the beautiful artwork decorating the walls in one of the rooms–and the idea of a similar library in the middle of a battle began to percolate. That original scene is still a small part of chapter one.
Q: What plans do you have for the next books in the Order and Chaos series? How many books are you planning to write?
A: Book Two–currently titled Graven Idols–should be coming out later this year and is currently in edits. It starts a few months after the end of Book One and directly continues the story with all the main characters trying to deal with how their lives have changed. I’m working on writing Book Three right now and have a rough outline for Book 4. If all goes as planned, things should be done at that point–but who really knows until everything is written?
Q: You did a “virtual book tour” hosted by Sage’s Blog Tours. Tell me exactly what that means. What happened on this blog tour?
A: A month after Raining Embers came out in November, my publisher–Red Adept Publishing–partnered with Sage’s Blog Tours to host a virtual book tour. Mostly that means a series of blog take overs/reviews/other things related to the release all taking place over a couple weeks. There are a number of reviews and guest blogs and author/character interviews still floating around cyberspace from December for anyone who’s interested in tracking them down.
Q: Are you working on any writing projects now besides the Order and Chaos series?
A: I’m currently in the research phase for a historical fiction novel that’s planned to take place in 18th Century Portugal–which is really a lot of fun, since it’s entirely not my area. I’m trying to see if I can work out a trip to Lisbon at some point for research (and because Portugal is supposed to be a beautiful country). Whenever I need a break from Order and Chaos I pop over there for a bit to try to clear my head.
Q: What is your favorite thing to do while writing?
A: It entirely depends on my mood at the time. I’m one of those lucky people who is able to write pretty much anywhere any time. Sometimes music helps, sometimes silence, sometimes I’m sitting with my laptop on the couch with a glass of wine. Whatever it is, I’m just glad to be writing most of the time.
Q: Who are your favorite authors? If you could meet one (alive or dead), who would it be and why?
A: On top of being an author, I’m also an editor, so I’m actually pretty lucky that I’ve gotten to meet a lot of brilliant authors from working on their books. For one author that I would still love to meet, though, that would be J. K. Rowling. On top of just seeming like a wonderful person from everything I’ve heard about her, Harry Potter is definitely part of what got me writing years and years ago (see that middle school fan fiction…) Partially I’d just want to say “Thank you.”
Q: Where is the strangest place you have ever come up with an idea?
A: Man, that’s a tough one, since my ideas tend to pop up just about anywhere I am. One strange one would have to be watching my husband play Assassin’s Creed. I’m not a huge video game person myself, but Assassin’s Creed has an amazing range of craziness that has sparked some equally crazy ideas.
Q: What is something you want the world to know?
A: I love talking to readers. It’s always a ton of fun to hear what people think, and I’m happy to answer questions if anyone wants to catch me on Twitter or my blog. And remember, if you like any author’s work, leave them a kind review on Amazon/Barnes & Noble/wherever. Good reviews help authors get through days when picking up scorpion petting seems more attractive than going over rewrites for a seventh time.
Find Jessica Online:

Author Q&A- Kendare Blake

Today I had the honor of interviewing one of my favorite authors; Kendare Blake! When she agreed to let me interview her, I screamed with excitement. My brothers thought I was crazy (just kidding, they love Kendare too). She is the author of several amazing books, including Anna Dressed in blood, which I must have read at least ten times. But in all honestly, everything she writes is amazing.

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Q: How long have you been writing? Why did you start?

A: I’ve been writing with the hope of publication since I was about…twelve. I loved books so much, and really wanted to tell stories. The first book I wrote was about wild horses. Of course it was crap. I wrote several more crappy books after that before I found a good one.

 

Q: What inspires you to write? Do you have a muse?

A: Different things inspire me with every story. I never know where inspiration is going to come from. There are things I’m intensely interested in that never spark-off anything original. And there are things that I only notice in passing that end up spinning into the next thing I work on.

 

Q: What was the first novel you wrote? What inspired it?

A: I already talked a little about those wild horses, so I’ll talk instead about the first novel that was published: Sleepwalk Society. It’s a coming-of-age college story about three best friends and how they and their relationship changes after high school. Since I wrote it when I was going through a similar time, I imagine that’s what inspired it. Lots of confusion about the future and the desire to work it out on paper.

 

Q: If you could give advice to yourself before you became a published author, what would it be?

A: Don’t be hasty. When you’re trying to “break in” everything feels like a race. Like someone will beat you and take your place but that’s not true. Do good, thoughtful work, and do not waste time on anything you do not want to be writing.

 

Q: What is your favorite book? Why?

A: Can’t possibly answer this. Too many favorites. My favorite coming out soon is April Genevieve Tucholke’s WINK POPPY MIDNIGHT. Favorite recent horror is Joe Hill’s NOS4A2. Favorite classic…. today I’ll say Jane Eyre. I just read The Sad and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton and that was great. Read I’m most looking forward to: The Festival of Insignificance by Milan Kundera.

 

Q: If you could spend one day inside one of your books, which one would it be?

A: None of them! They’re fairly brutal places, and I’d probably get insta-killed. Plus, I spend so much time in them already, on the page and in my head, I feel like I practically live there.

 

Q: You have written books in several genres, including horror, contemporary, and mythology. Which is your favorite to write? Which is the hardest?

A: Still can’t pick a favorite. I love them all. The only genres I don’t think I’ll ever write are hard sci-fi (too lazy for the research) and mystery (not tricksy enough). So far, my fantasy book has been the hardest, but I probably only think that because I’m working on it right now. Everything seems easy in hindsight.

 

Q: What are some of your favorite things outside of writing?

A: Animals. Food. I like going to museums and learning new things, learning about wine and beer at tastings, learning about cheese in cheese flight tasting, hiking, playing bad tennis, seeing films and of course reading, reading, reading.

 

Q: What bad habits do you have that you want to get rid of?

A: None, actually. I like my bad habits. I embrace my bad habits.

 

Q: What is one thing you want the world to know about you?

A: Not anything in particular. Just what they can learn by reading my fiction. The work is what matters.

You can find Kendare Blake online:

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