Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The Mark of Athena

The Mark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus, #3)

The Mark of Athena is the third book in The Heroes of Olympus Series by Rick Riordan.   The first being The Heroes of Olympus, which was really an introduction to Jason (who appears with no memory of his past), Piper and Leo, but also included Annabeth.  The second book, The Son of Neptune returned to Percy who was now at  Camp Jupiter among the Romans, with no recollection of who he is.  In book two, we are introduced to Hazel and Frank and the "Great Prophecy"  is revealed,
"Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall,
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death."  Book three opens with all of the Demigods being reunited and the Harpy Ella reveals a prophecy, "Wisdom's daughter walks alone.  The Mark of Athena burns through Rome.  Twins snuff out the angel's breath, Who holds the key to endless death.  Giants' bane stands gold and pale, won through pain from a woven jail."  Thus begins the quest for each of the Demigods.   This story is really about each of the Demigods overcoming obstacles and using their powers to help each other.  They each take on the role of leader as they try to find Nico de Angelo, but come to see that none can succeed without the assistance of each others skills.  Most of what I love about Riordan's books are how the chapters are told in alternating point of views among the various characters.  He does a remarkable job of keeping the plot exciting with the various twists and turns and I really got a sense for what the various Demigods talents are in this book.  Its nice to see that everyone had their moment to shine during the story.  Seeing as this is book three out of a five book series, it ends on a cliff hanger with the next book The House of Hades scheduled to be released on October 2, 2013.  Overall a five out of five book for me.   My copy came from the Public Library.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Creature From The Seventh Grade

The Creature From the seventh Grade: Boy or Beast Twelve year old Charlie is a down on himself kid from Stevenson Middle School.  If he had to rate himself, he would be a zero.  Charlie is a part of the Mainframes (with friends Lucille and Sam) but aspires to be a part of the Banditoes clique. Charlie is however unpopular and Craig Dieterly, who has been terrorizing him since preschool, will never allow him to be a member.  One day during the middle of science class, Charlie finds himself turning into something from his favorite classic horror movies, a giant dinosaur.  With this new change, Charlie's life will never be the same.  The question is will things now be better or will he be stuck as a Mainframe for the rest of his life?

The story tries to tackle the message of bodily changes in middle school via a humorous transformation into a mutant dinosaur.  There is also the messages of excepting ourselves, fangs and teeth and all. Charlie to me seems overly preoccupied with cliques and scoring points in popularity to the determent of his friendship with Lucille and Sam.  The hardest parts of the book for me were that everyone treated Charlie normally after his transformation, well with the exception of his dog who apparently had the hardest time with it.  Also, somehow he was now cool and even drew interest of the popular group.  It seemed unrealistic that Charlie would tolerate Craig's continued bullying (he so would have been squashed like a bug) and I thought kids reading this book would see right through this. I however, can see how the cover, title and interior illustrations can be attractive draws to the book.  There are some nice references to movies like The Fly, Star Trek and even the Creature From the Black Lagoon, an OK 2/5 stars. Sink or Swim is the second book in the Creature from the Seventh Grade series with an expected release in 2013. 

Just for the record, copy of the book provided by Penguin publishing and won at Charlotteslibrary.blogspot. A big thank you to both 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

In A Glass Grimmly

In a Glass Grimmly 
I was first introduced to this author in 2011 with his book A Tale Dark and Grimm. ( If your interested my review of that book is here): http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7825557-a-tale-dark-grimm.  I liked the first book, but can't say that I loved it.  

Now we come to Adam Gidwitz's new companion book, In a Glass Grimmly and Wow, and I sincerely mean Wow what a wonderful book. Once upon a time, there were two cousins, and well a frog who has three-legs instead of four, because of well an unfortunate accident.  You see these two cousins get themselves in a little predicament when they swear on their lives that they can retrieve a glass that has been lost for a very long time.  It's a good thing that Frog comes along and they have some help from three ravens, otherwise things would be really grim.   Their journey will take them through some famous fairy tales, nursery rhymes with some legends and poems weaved in as well.

I loved the flow of the story with the plot moving along seamlessly. The overall messages weren't preachy but came in the form of  words etched onto the Glass and in the three ravens message to Jack and Jill about being "con-fused."  Another strength for me was the character development with Frog being one of my favorite.  The narrator in the first story was more intrusive with all of his warnings about the gruesome things to come, and in this one was more subtle and well, absentminded at times and way more amusing when he forgot certain things that he wanted to warn about.  The result, is a book that for me was remarkable, humorous and a 5/5 book.  I also loved the authors notes at the end of the book telling the reader where the different stories came from in the book.  Bonus  it also introduced me to my new favorite word...the tunnel turned "precipitously."  Plus the quote "I'd say that all mirrors are magic, or can be. They show you yourself, after all. Really seeing yourself, though -- that's the hard part." (p. 310)

Just for the record, copy of the book provided by Penguin publishing and won at Charlotteslibrary.blogspot. A big thank you to both

Monday, January 7, 2013

"Just around the corner lurks the beginning of your story."

Of Giants and Ice 

Summary from Goodreads: 

 This first installment of The Ever Afters series reimagines classic fairy tale characters in a modern context, merging familiar fantasy with the everyday realities of middle-grade existence.When Rory realizes fairy tales are the real deal at Ever After School, she embarks on a classic quest to fulfill her destiny.  Rory Landon has spent her whole life being known as the daughter of a famous movie star mom and director dad. So when she begins a new after-school program and no one knows who her family is, Rory realizes something is different. And after she ends up fighting a fire-breathing dragon on her first day, she realizes the situation is more unusual than she could have imagined. It turns out the only fame that matters at Ever After School is the kind of fame earned from stories Rory thought were fictional. But as Rory soon learns, fairy tales are very real—and she is destined to star in one of her own.

The first part of Giants and Ice is getting to know Rory and her family and an introduction to the Ever After School (EAS).  Rory is in the sixth grade, her parents are divorced and both her parents are movie stars.  Being from famous parents, she has always felt like she never really had true friends plus it's hard to get to know anyone when your moving from place to place all the time.  The Ever After School (EAS) is an after school program designed to assist the students with their "tales."  An interesting concept where everyone is a character in a fairy tale and they are waiting for their tale to begin.  This part of the story kinda got bogged down for me.  Rory seems to worry a lot, worries about making friends, having her own tale, will she be able to complete it and there is quite a bit of bickering between her and Chase.  There's one big action scene at the beginning and even some mysterious dreams that Rory doesn't seem to understand but more alluding to what is to come.
The second part of the story is where things get imaginative and creative, Rory's friend Lena is given a tale.  Not just any tale, but Jack and the Beanstalk and she chooses Rory and Chase to be her companions.  This is where all the action happens and Rory begins to grow as a character.  There are some great scenes between Rory and Chase and I hope they will continue to be prominent in the second book in the series. I really like the balance of Rory who has a strong desire to do well, and Chase who can be infuriating, with the brainy Lena who is very smart but also makes mistakes as well.   Most of all, I really enjoyed the twists with the fairy tale characters, the giants were certainly different then what I recall but quite amusing.   4/5 story for me.  

Review copy provided by authors agent and won as a giveaway from literaryrambles.com.  A big thank you to both.