Review: The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2)


Title: The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2)
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Source: Purchased
Release Date: April 1, 2006
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

The heroic son of Poseidon makes an action-packed comeback in the second must-read installment of Rick Riordan’s amazing young readers series. Starring Percy Jackson, a “half blood” whose mother is human and whose father is the God of the Sea, Riordan’s series combines cliffhanger adventure and Greek mythology lessons that results in true page-turners that get better with each installment.
In this episode, The Sea of Monsters, Percy sets out to retrieve the Golden Fleece before his summer camp is destroyed, surpassing the first book’s drama and setting the stage for more thrills to come.

Review:

I liked this book, though not as much as the first one. Percy was on his own in much of this adventure. I missed the way he interacted with his friends.

However, I love Homer’s Odyssey, so I loved the similarities between that and this book. Percy goes on his own Odyssey to find the Golden Fleece. The Odyssey is a huge part of Greek mythology, so I was glad to see it represented so faithfully in this book.

We also learn more about their camp and the people who run it. Percy’s story is further developed in this story.

I enjoyed this book and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series!

My review for The Lightning Thief can be found here.

Review: The End We Start From


Title: The End We Start From
Author: Megan Hunter
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: November 7, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

An indelible and elemental debut–a lyrical vision of the strangeness and beauty of new motherhood, and a tale of endurance in the face of unimaginable change. In the midst of a mysterious environmental crisis, as London is submerged below flood waters, a woman gives birth to her first child, Z. Days later, the family is forced to leave their home in search of safety. As they move from place to place, shelter to shelter, their journey traces both fear and wonder as Z’s small fists grasp at the things he sees, as he grows and stretches, thriving and content against all the odds. This is a story of new motherhood in a terrifying setting: a familiar world made dangerous and unstable, its people forced to become refugees. Startlingly beautiful, Megan Hunter’s The End We Start From is a gripping novel that paints an imagined future as realistic as it is frightening. And yet, though the country is falling apart around them, this family’s worldof new life and new hopesings with love.

Review:

 

I read many good reviews for this book on other book blogs, so I wanted to read it too. It is a very original story.

It reminded me a lot of Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. The world is in an unidentified crisis. The narrator’s house has been flooded and supplies are limited. There is no more internet. Everything in the world unravels around her but she stays grounded through her son.

I like how the story shows the woman’s tough journey through motherhood that coincides with this new world. Though she is always comparing things to what she used to know, her son, Z, will only know this new world.

This story has a beautiful lyrical quality to it. The narrator’s voice is interspersed with excerpts of human origin stories from mythology or religion. It reflects the way that this is her son’s own origin story, in this new world.

I really enjoyed this story. I recommend it if you want to read something short and poetic.

Review: An American Cage


Title: An American Cage
Author: Ted Galdi
Publisher: Precipice Books
Genre: Thriller
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: October 16, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

An American Cage follows Danny and his two escape partners over a twenty-four-hour period as they struggle to cross Texas to freedom in Mexico. On this dangerous adventure, Danny has to evade the rabid Texas authorities, and even worse, the schemes of one of his closest allies, who isn’t who he seems.

The second novel by Amazon #1 bestselling author and multi-award winner Ted Galdi, this psychological thriller is packed with suspense, twists, and grit, all while having heart. The story follows its protagonist on a journey of self-discovery and redemption as he weaves through a rocky landscape of family issues, guilt, betrayal, and questions about the nature of good and evil.

Along the way, he encounters an eclectic supporting cast, including a renowned psychology professor, a car thief, a young female hitchhiker, the leader of a biker gang, and a small-town Texas detective with big ambitions.

This gritty thriller culminates in a surprise ending sure to leave readers both stunned and satisfied.

Featuring vivid descriptions of Texas’s places and personalities, An American Cage adds to the rich history of Southern crime fiction while maintaining a universal appeal to any lover of an edgy thriller.

Probing the dynamics of deceit, this police chase book is just as much a psychological manipulation book as it is a piece of popular crime fiction. With echoes of the upmarket novels of writers like Dennis Lehane and George Pelecanos, An American Cage goes deep into its characters’ psyches while remaining fast-paced, gripping, and wildly entertaining.

Review:

I really enjoyed this story!

The story starts off with a bang when the convicts escape from prison. I was hooked right from the beginning. It was very fast paced and exciting!

Each of the convicts had a distinct voice that reflected their backgrounds. For example, Phil spoke eloquently while Monty used a lot of slang. This helped to differentiate between them. 

I was surprised at how this story played out. When it opens with the prison escape, I wondered what would happen for the rest of the story. It turned into a wild roller coaster ride, as the three prisoners journey to their freedom. 

There were so many twists and turns, I never knew what was going to happen next. This is a great, thrilling book. 
 

Review: Wonder Woman


Title: Wonder Woman, Volume 2: Year One
Author: Greg Rucka, Nicola Scott
Genre: Graphic Novel
Publisher: DC Comics
Source: Purchased
Release Date: May 9, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

A part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

New York Times best-selling writer Greg Rucka continues his return to Wonder Woman! The team of Rucka and artist Nicola Scott weave the definitive and shocking tale of Diana’s first year as Earth’s protector.

Paradise has been breached, Ares stirs, and the Amazons must answer with a champion of their own…one who is willing to sacrifice her home amongst her sisters to save a world she has never seen. Wonder Woman’s journey begins in this epic origin story!

Review:

I really enjoyed this graphic novel!

I liked it much more than the first in this series. It gave a great introduction to Wonder Woman and her background. 

The first volume was very mysterious, and it was hard to tell what was real most of the time. This one gave the origin story for Wonder Woman. I wish this one was the first volume instead. It would have made much more sense. 

The graphics in this series are beautiful. They are very realistic. I love the natural settings. It’s a beautiful graphic novel. 

I’ll be reviewing the third volume before the fourth is released later this month!

Mary Anne Saves The Day (Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novel #3)


Title: Mary Anne Saves The Day (Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novel #3)
Author: Ann M. Martin, Raina Telgemeier
Genre: Graphic Novel, Middle Grade
Publisher: Scholastic
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Release Date: September 29, 2015
Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Who would have guessed that when the BSC girls get in a HUGE fight, it’s shy and quiet Mary Anne who manages to save their friendship?

When a terrible fight breaks out among the four BABY-SITTERS CLUB friends, Mary Anne is left to her own devices. She has to sit by herself at lunch, make new friends, and deal with her overprotective father without advice from the BSC gang. But the worst part is when she faces a terrible baby-sitting predicament, and she can’t find any help.

Luckily, Mary Anne rises to the occasion. Not only does she handle all her problems with aplomb, she also manages to get the BSC back together again.

Review:

The members of the Baby-Sitters Club have a huge fight. They stop speaking to each other. The next day at school, Mary Anne sits by herself at lunch and she is joined by a new girl, Dawn Shaffer. They start hanging out while Mary Anne isn’t speaking to her other friends. Meanwhile, the Baby-Sitters Club continues, but since they aren’t speaking to each other, they can’t have meetings together. They each take turns being at the meeting place to take the calls for their jobs. It all culminates when they have to work at a child’s party together. They have to decide if they make up or if the club is over.

I loved this graphic novel. It’s so nice to see my favourite stories brought to life by these illustrations.

I liked that the baby-sitters faced a major problem in this story. They had to get past their differences to continue together in the club.

I’m excited to see the rest of the series adaptated into graphic novels.

Review: The Diabolic


Title: The Diabolic
Author: S.J. Kincaid
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire…

Review:

This book far exceeded my expectations!

I was pleasantly surprised at this unique story. So many YA fantasy books follow the same storyline: a girl from a low class family ends up going to the main city/castle and meets the prince; then she ends up competing to be the prince’s suitor, and she overcomes her low status to become the future princess. Even though this one has hints of a Cinderella story for Nemesis, it isn’t predictable. 

This story addresses issues of sexual power. Many people in power use their position to exploit people below them. This is very relevant today, since celebrities are constantly being accused of sexual assault. 

Since I’m reading this book after the sequel has been released, I had an idea of what was going to happen. I guessed that s someone would become an Empress in the second novel, since it’s called The Empress. Even though I had this bit of a spoiler, I really enjoyed the story and I found it very surprising. 

I’m so excited to read the sequel in the next couple of weeks!

Review: Practical Magic


Title: Practical Magic
Author: Alice Hoffman
Publisher: Penguin
Genre: Fantasy
Source: Purchased
Release Date: June 13, 1995
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Owens sisters confront the challenges of life and love in this bewitching novel from New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman.

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape.

One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back–almost as if by magic…

Review:

I picked up this book because I received an ARC of the prequel that just came out, called The Rules of Magic. 

I enjoyed this story. It was very character driven. I usually don’t like stories that are character driven, but a strong plot emerged in the latter half of this book that brought all the characters together. 

I really liked the duos that are in the book. There are three sets of two sisters. There are also dueling kinds of magic. The Owens have a natural kind of magic, while Ben likes doing magic tricks. Ben is also the science teacher, and science is kind of a magic in itself. 

I loved the ending of this story. It felt complete. I like it when all (or most) of the loose ends are tied up by the end. 

Now, I’ll have to watch the movie adaptation!