The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

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I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to read the conclusion to this fantastic series! For my birthday, I got a coupon for a discounted book and I hauled myself all the way to the bookstore in an ice storm to buy it. Probably not my best idea. Also now you know how long it’s been since I’ve read it. Oops.

Rating: [4/5]

Reading Challenge: A book from an author you love but haven’t read yet

Summary: In this conclusion to Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series, the demigods prepare to face Gaea and her armies. Reyna, Nico, and Hedge are tasked with getting the Athena Parthenos back to Camp Half-Blood in an attempt to ally the Greeks and Romans against a common enemy. Meanwhile, the rest of the group goes to find Nike, Apollo, and Artemis to gather the tools they need to win the war. As the clock ticks down to Gaea’s rising, a grim reminder remains: one of them must die.

Likes: I really enjoyed the pacing of the book compared to the last two. There was a lot of action and even though the book is long, it didn’t seem like it. I’m glad Riordan chose to focus on only a couple of characters, rather than pulling in all of them. Mainly, I enjoyed the characters in this book. Especially Nico. I really enjoyed his arc and development throughout this book.

Dislikes: The foreshadowing is a little too obvious. The big twist in the plot didn’t seem like that big of a twist to me because of how obviously it was foreshadowed throughout the entire book. Plus, the ending itself seemed rather abrupt. All of the sudden, it was just over.

TL;DR: I definitely liked this book better than some of the other ones in the series. I recommend it to anyone who’s read the rest of the series or who enjoyed the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Or just if you like mythology in general.

Henry IV Part 1 by William Shakespeare

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This is another play for my Shakespeare class this semester. It’s a part of the second historical tetralogy, which includes Richard II, Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2, and Henry V. Even though it’s the second of the two historical cycles, it comes first chronologically. Think Star Wars.

Rating: [3/5]

Summary: After securing the throne from Richard II, Henry IV faces a new nemesis in the form of Hotspur, the leader of a new rebellion. While Henry IV has his hands full dealing with the blossoming rebellion, his son, Henry V, spends his days drinking and partying with peasants and outlaws. However, once the battle begins, Henry V has the chance to prove himself to his father and his people.

Likes: I really enjoyed all of the scenes with Henry V and Falstaff. They’re so funny and their friendship dynamic is so interesting to me. The ending with the two of them was especially likable.

Dislikes: It seemed like everyone had a hundred different names that they went by and it took me forever to figure out who they were talking about usually.

TL;DR: Of the history plays I’ve read so far, this one is pretty enjoyable.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

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As the finale to Stephanie Perkins’s trilogy, this book does not disappoint. My friend and I each bought this book over Spring Break to read together. We completely devoured it in the span of one weekend. The whole time, we texted each other back and forth with lots of exclamation points and general excitement. Basically, it was good. really good.

Rating: [4/5]

Reading Challenge: A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit

Summary: Isla has always liked Josh, ever since freshman year. But she’s too shy to talk to him, so mostly she just admires him from afar. However, after she has her wisdom teeth out over the summer, the drugs give Isla the bit of courage she needs to approach him. After that, it seems like everything changes for Isla, and once school starts again, they start growing closer to each other.

Likes: This book is different from the other two in the series, but not in a bad way. Unlike the other books, Isla doesn’t have plans for the future and part of the plot involves her trying to figure out what she wants from life. It’s always quite, shall we say, steamier than the other books. As always, I love the author’s vibrant characters and picture-perfect settings. This book also represented high-functioning autism in a very accurate and tasteful way, which was a pleasant surprise.

Dislikes: There really wasn’t much I disliked about this book. I wished we could have seen a little more of Cricket and Lola, since Lola and the Boy Next Door had so much of Anna and Etienne, but that’s just a personal preference.

TL;DR: I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes contemporary YA, romance, or who’ve read the other books in the series. I would also recommend this series to anyone who’s looking for something light or fluffy to read.

In Retrospect by Robert S. McNamara

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I had to read this book for my Post 1945 US History class. Believe me, I would not have picked this up on my own merit. I may have enjoyed it more if I didn’t have to read the whole thing over one weekend.

Rating: [1/5]

Reading Challenge: A book with more than 500 pages

Summary: This book is a memoir by the former Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara. He was the longest-serving Secretary of Defense in American history, serving both the Kennedy and Johnson presidencies. The memoir covers his early life and his involvement with the Vietnam War under both presidential regimes.

Likes: There were a few really interesting personal anecdotes about how the public reacted to the Vietnam War and how his family handled the situations. Those are the kinds of things you don’t normally learn in history books.

Dislikes: The book was incredibly long and not that interesting. Most of it was all about how everyone was confused about what to do.

TL;DR: Read this book if you really like history or have a special interest in the Vietnam War.

 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

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My mother is absolutely obsessed with Mark Twain. She has the leather-bound copy of his collected works from Barnes and Noble, a 900 page biography, and a vintage edition from the 1800s that she keeps locked away somewhere. She loves the quirkiness of the characters and the portrayal of the Deep South.

Rating: [1/5]

Reading Challenge: A book your mom loves

Summary: Huckleberry Finn fakes his own death and gets caught up in an adventure with Jim, a runaway slave. Together, they seek to get Jim to a free state and encounter a lot of crazy people and situations along the way. It’s a classic story of American realism of life on the Mississippi.

Likes: Honestly, this book was really hard for me to get in to. There were some parts that were really funny, but overall, I just could not get into the story.

Dislikes: This book is incredibly controversial because many people consider it to be racist. Others think it’s a satire. I’m very uncomfortable with some of the material in the book, and not just the racial slurs. I’m still on the fence about whether it’s satire or not, but even if it was satire, I still found it difficult to read.

TL;DR: This book is a classic and a definitive part of the American Realism movement. However, I personally found it difficult to enjoy because of the racist elements.

 

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

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I only ever watched a minimalist performance of this play. The whole time, I was really confused about where everyone was and who everyone was. Reading it made the play make a lot more sense.

Rating: [2/5]

Reading Challenge: A book you were supposed to read in high school but didn’t

Summary: After a tense battle, Macbeth meets three witches, one of whom predicts he will become Thane of Cawdor and one who predicts he will become King of Scotland. He doesn’t believe them at first, but after he is announced as the new Thane of Cawdor, he and his wife concoct a plan to murder the current king.

Likes: I really liked all the scene with the Weird Sisters. They’re really amusing and were only in the play because King James thought witches were cool.

Dislikes: I personally had a difficult time following the story and getting into it.

TL;DR: I know this is one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays but I’d probably pick up Hamlet if you’re wanting to read a classic where everyone goes crazy and kills each other.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Cage

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature over at Breaking the Spine. Check them out. They have some really great stuff. 

Author: Megan Shepherd
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

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Goodreads Description:

The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in this gripping new series about teens held captive in a human zoo by an otherworldly race. From Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of The Madman’s Daughter trilogy.

When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn’t know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn’t alone.

Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora’s past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren’t from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.

As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer—though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so . . . what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?

I love this kind of book: dystopia with a sci-fi twist. It’s one of the things I loved about the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld, which this book is compared to. I’ve been looking to add more current dystopian books to my list, and this one is on it!

What books are you waiting for?

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books on My Spring TBR List

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature over at The Broke and the Bookish. Check them out. They have some really great stuff.

My TBR list is probably two miles long at this point and isn’t getting any shorter. Even though these books aren’t necessarily Spring-themed, they’re the books I’m planning on reading next.

  1. Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
  2. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
  3. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  4. Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind
  5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  6. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  7. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  8. Solitaire by Alice Oseman
  9. The Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  10. The Princess Bride by William Goldman

What books are you planning on reading this Spring?

Summary Sunday: 3/9-3/15

This past week was pretty hectic school-wise because this upcoming week is Spring Break! In between all the midterms and projects, I still managed to find time to read and watch stuff. Because we all know the best time to binge-watch a show on Netflix is the night before a midterm, right? I’m kidding please don’t do this.  I also went out with my bestie for her birthday and exchanged gifts, since our birthdays are so close together.

Started

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Made Progress In

Henry IV Part 1 by William Shakespeare

Finished

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan (review forthcoming)

Watched 

Parks and Rec (series finale)

New Girl (Season 4)

Modern Family (Season 6)

Pushing Daisies (Season 1)

Agent Carter (Season finale)

Saw

Cinderella

Played

Dragon Age: Awakening

What books, shows, movies, or games were a part of your week?

Five Fandom Friday: My Fictional BFFs

Five Fandom Friday is a weekly feature over at The Nerdy Girlie. Check out her blog. She has some really great stuff.

This week’s topic is a bit difficult. It’s one thing to just list five of your favorite characters and be done with it. But would I actually be best friends with most of my favorite characters? Probably not. So here are some characters I could actually see myself being good friends with.

  1. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)
  2. Cather Avery (Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell)
  3. Bilbo Baggins (The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien)
  4. Annabeth Chase (Percy Jackson and the Olympians/The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan)
  5. Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer)

Which fictional characters would be your BFFs?