[Review] The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

The Son of Neptune
Rick Riordan

Publication Date: October 4th 2011
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Format: Hardcover, 513 pages

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.

Percy is confused. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn’t know much more than his name. His brain fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa tol him he is a demigod and trained him to fight with the pen/sword in his pocket. Somehow Percy manages to make it to a camp for half-bloods, despite the fact that he has to keep killing monsters along the way. But the camp doesn’t ring and bells with him. The only thing he can recall from his past is another name: Annabeth

Hazel is supposed to be dead. When she lived before, she didn’t do a very good job of it. Sure, she was an obedient daughter, even when her mother was possessed by greed. But that was the problem – when the Voice took over he mother and commanded Hazel to use her “gift” for and evil purpose, Hazel couldn’t say no. Now because of her mistake, the future of the world is at risk. Hazel wished she could ride away from it all on the stallion that appears in her dreams.

Frank is a klutz. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes and can be anything he wants to be, but he doesn’t see it. He doesn’t even know who his father is. He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery – although not good enough to win camp war games. His bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially infront of Hazel, his closest friend at camp. He trusts her completely – enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart.

Beginning at the “other” camp for half-bloods and extending as far as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment of the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and features other remarkable creatures, all destined to play a part in the Prophesy of Seven

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Wow.
I seriously don’t know where to start my review or what words would give justice for the feelings I have towards this book or how I would even manage to write them without any hints of being an obsessive fan-girl.
The book was amazing.Seriously.
InThe Lost Hero, it was Jason’s story of his struggle in discovering his identity, this one is just exactly the same, but this time its about the humor-filled son of Neptune, errr I mean Poseidon: Percy Jackson, in his journey of unveiling the shroud that’s covering his memories and discovering the gods’ tricky mission while slicing off monsters together with the Roman Camp–Camp Jupiter.
At the first few pages, I cannot deny my excitement as Ive again read Percy’s sarcastic-fun thoughts!But I couldn’t deny the maturity I’ve noticed in his character. And by that, it made everything a whole lot better. He is more focused and determined and a hundred times more amusing!
Percy hated tests. Since he’d lost his memory, his whole life was one big fil -in-the-blank. He was ____, from _________. He felt like ____________________, and if the monsters caught him, he’d be ____________________.
Then he thought about Annabeth, the only part of his old life he was sure about. He had to find her.
Needless to say, Rick Riordan had once again hit it. My toes curled with delight as I read his familiar words. The way he writes our protagonists’ lines could make the readers curious and baffled and left laughing for days!
Frank said, “Just keep moving! We’re almost there.”
“Almost where?”
Juno chuckled. “All roads lead there child. You should know that.”
“Detention?” Percy asked.
Ofcourse, the books’ chapters were all adventure-packed! Somehow I still cannot imagine how the author had put up all these Greek and Roman craze in one book with lots of twists and unexpected revelations. Also, the love-o-meter in this series had rocketed into a higher level. The new characters he’d added were more involved with one another that it could make your mind burst upon predicting they’re purposes and what their actions could possibly mold one event to another; There’s this girl who makes jewels appear wherever she goes, and actually has a strong link to our favorite characters in the previous books . There’s this awkward buffy dude who is always with the girl and is yet to discover of what he’s made of.  Another one is a weird camp augur who glares at Percy a lot and uses stuffed animals in his rituals. And lastly, ‘the’ Reyna who worried Piper as Jason’s “something” in the last book,and is now leaving the readers puzzled whether Annabeth would have a little competition against her in the next series.
The ending was a big “BAAAAM!” that it made me beat up my pillows harshly. Why? Well… just go and read it right now cause I swear in the river of Styx that if you don’t, you’d miss half of the true essence of reading real good fiction books!
And yea, here is a littlesneak peek for our heroes’ next quest:
“Wisdom’s daughter walks alone,
The MARK OF ATHENA burns through Rome.”
RATINGS
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BOOK TRAILER
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rick Riordan is an American author from Texas famous for his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series (The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, The Last Olympian). He attended The University of Texas at Austin in 1986, where he double-majored in English and History He also wrote The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles) and, most recently, The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus). He also wrote the Tres Navarre series for adults and helped to edit Demigods and Monsters, a collection of essays on the topic of his Percy Jackson series. He also wrote book one of the 39 Clues (The Maze of Bones) and co-wrote book eleven (Vespers Rising) published by Scholastic Corporation.

Official Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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[Review] The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

The Girl of  Fire and Thorns
by Rae Carson

Publication Date: September 20th 2011
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Format: Hardcover, 423 pages
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who needs her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

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Beneath all those blabbering of her highness being the “chosen one” and myexpectations of her being all hunter-like, boy was I surprised to find out something that made this heroine different among the rest!All rise as I introduce you to Princess Lucero-Elisa de Riquezawho is loved for her unwavering faith and large consumption of food!

For those novels that tend to create model-like characters for the sake of supplementing our imaginative minds with perfection, this one is quite a contradiction. At the first few pages, the author had meant for it to scream into her readers’ faces a hidden message: “Meet our girl protagonist; sixteen, beautiful eyes, bearer of the mighty Godstone, and the bride of the handsome king of Joyad’ arena! Yes, the one who looks like a sausage in her pretty bridal gown?”Suddenly, all your visions of her as Wonder woman blurs.And from that moment, I decided to read the rest.

What I like about this book is that the author knows how to form the situations and the settings to crazy fast-paced events that could somehow challenge your curiosity upon what would happen next.The location of her story could drag you away from reality and place you in the dessert that you could actually feel the heat and danger lingering along its pages. Also,Carson could trigger the readers’ queries of whether her characters were really playing as the people whom you thought they were or if they would betray your assumptions in the next chapters.

And hernot-so-skinny main chick?Oh you would find her easy to love! You’d laugh on her hilarious thoughts and get hookedon the story as you read her struggle of fighting for goodness,handling her relationship with her new husband, dealing with the bad guys, and managing issues of her liking towards her kind captor (in a non-stockholm syndrome-ish way).

“You didn’t tell me you were married.”
“I’m not in the habit of revealing state secrets to kidnappers,” I snap. “Of course I said nothing. And see? You’re angry.”
“No. I just feel . . . foolish.”
I stare at his profile. “Why? I don’t think you’re foolish.”

He finally returns my gaze. “I thought that maybe, when this was all over, maybe you and I could . . . which is stupid, because you’re a princess and I’m a traveling escort. See? I’m foolish.” He jumps up from our boulder, shoving the rest of his jerky into the sash at his waist.

That was just a bit. Lots and lots of unexpected twists and turns would still happen. (Yep, definitely more twists and turns!) You better read the rest now!

RATINGS
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UNOFFICIAL BOOK TRAILER

The Girl of Fire and Thorns – Book Trailer from Hilly and Hannah on Vimeo.

RAE CARSON TALKS ABOUT THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I write books about teens who must do brave things. I’m originally from California, but I moved to Ohio to marry my husband, who is the smartest and therefore sexiest man I know. We live in Columbus with my teenaged stepsons, who are awesome. My books tend to contain lots of adventure, a little magic and romance, and smart girls who make (mostly) smart choices. I especially love to write about questions I don’t know the answers to.

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[Review] Stolen: A Letter to My Captor by Lucy Christopher

Stolen: A Letter to My Captor
by Lucy Christopher

Publication Date: May 4th 2009
Publisher: Chicken House
Format: Paperback, 320 pages

Sixteen year old Gemma is kidnapped from Bangkok airport and taken to the Australian Outback. This wild and desolate landscape becomes almost a character in the book, so vividly is it described. Ty, her captor, is no stereotype. He is young, fit and completely gorgeous. This new life in the wilderness has been years in the planning. He loves only her, wants only her. Under the hot glare of the Australian sun, cut off from the world outside, can the force of his love make Gemma love him back? The story takes the form of a letter, written by Gemma to Ty, reflecting on those strange and disturbing months in the outback. Months when the lines between love and obsession, and love and dependency, blur until they don’t exist – almost.

-Goodreads

Two thumbs up!

When I read the plot in goodreads all I had in mind was how typical it was. Yes I’ve gone through those you-kidnap-me-cause-you’re-inlove-with-me-and-i-don’t-know-why-but-I-think-i-love-you-too for a million times in lots of stories online but I decided to give this book a shot.

Reading its first few pages made me crave for the rest. There was this thrill factor about it that you just wanna know what would happen next. There is simplicity in its narration but with the way the characters deliver their actions and lines, you could definitely feel the force of its situation.

The novel was written in Gemma’s point of view and is in a form of a long letter directed to Ty, her captor, who has temper, but is very caring of his victim and is likeable. With the circumstance given of being alone with each other, Ty gets to tell Gemma his sad stories and shows her his somewhat vulnerable part that would make you go like c’mon Gemma fall in love with him already. And you know what, between all those attempts of escaping from his grasp, she kinda did. But what’s smart about the girl protagonist is that she sensed the wrongness behind what she felt—like a helpless kidnap victim who looks at her kidnapper in a positive manner. Uhuh, hello Stockholm syndrome!

“Let’s face it, you did steal me. But you saved my life too. And somewhere in the middle, you showed me a place so different and beautiful; I can never get it out of my mind. And I can’t get you out of there either. You’re stuck in my brain like my own blood vessels.”

It could’ve been funny if you wouldn’t get to sense the emotions it brings. Yep, the tricky part is that you get to feel everything Gemma experienced, and it would make you think how strange it would be to let yourself develop attachment towards the one who caused you all those sufferings. Lucy Christopher definitely knows how to let you get into the girl protagonist’s shoes; she lets the readers feel doubt, confusion and fondness through her fitting usage of words that it could make you think everything was real.

 At the very last page, I couldn’t help myself from spilling tears as I was as bewildered as Gemma was. And also, at that moment, all that I could ever think about was that this book is the bomb.

Rating:


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Book Trailer


About the Author

“Let me tell you a little bit about me. I’ve lived a pretty varied life, having lived in three different countries (two of them twice!) and about twenty four different houses. I started off living in Wales, in the UK, but eventually found myself in Melbourne, Australia, where I went to school and University (and lived most of my life so far!). I moved back to Wales when I was 22 in order to study an MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University. And I’m still here (despite initially saying I was only going to stay for a year cos it’s sooo cold!). Doing my MA at Bath Spa is where life really took off for me … well….my writing life anyway. I seriously don’t think I would be a published writer today if it weren’t for this MA. Before this MA, I did stuff like trying to be an actor, a barista, a waitress, and a nature guide. The MA is when life focus started to slot into place, and I had the first glimpse that maybe…one day…I too could be a published writer!

There were four fantastic things about doing this MA. First, it got me a distinction (always nice), second, I met my wonderful mentor and friend Julia Green through it, third, it got me teaching work at the University of Bath Spa after I finished, and finally, it made me write my first book. Back then, this book was called The Long Flight and it was about a boy called Adam and a strange, flightless whooper swan. Six years later, a gender change of the main character, and a genre change of the book, and this book became Flyaway, my second published novel with Chicken House. It’s now about a girl called Isla whose Dad gets sick, and so, with the help of new friend Harry, she tries to make him feel better again through teaching a swan to fly. My work as a nature guide with the RSPB really helped me to write this book, and I’ll always be grateful to this wonderful charity for giving me the chances to learn about all things wild.

My first published book, Stolen, was also influenced by my life and the things I did. Thankfully, I’ve never been kidnapped, but when I was nine years old and moving from Wales to Australia, it felt like a bit of a kidnapping. Suddenly I was in a new country I didn’t understand; a place that was simultaneously beautiful and terrifying. I’ve always been fascinated by wild Australian land and, when younger, my favourite memories are of camping in the bush and exploring the overgrown creek at the back of our first Melbourne house. But this landscape scared me too, and I didn’t feel like I fitted in. I used these feelings of being simultaneously entranced and repulsed by something in order to write Gemma’s feelings for both Ty and the landscape he takes her to.

I’m now working on another teen novel for Chicken House due for publication in 2011.

In between writing, and talking about writing, and teaching writing, I do lots of other things! I am finishing a Creative Writing PhD, working on the critical part that talks about how Stolen compares to other novels about vulnerable girls in wild Australian land. I also spend a lot of time riding a grumpy chestnut mare called Topaz, and having adventures around the world. My favourite country to visit is South Africa, and I have volunteered there several times as a writing mentor and as a field guide. One thing I’ve never done but always wanted to is go in a hot air balloon. Oh, and camels make me smile.

I am represented in the UK by Greene And Heaton Literary Agency, and published by Chicken House. In the United States and Australia, I am published by Scholastic. For a full list of where my books have been published and by who, please visit the Chicken House website on http://www.doublecluck.com”

[Review] Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist




by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Publication Date: May 23, 2006
Publisher: Knopf Books
Format: Hardcover, 192 pages

So you’re a guy; you’re at a band show and your ex, the girl who dumped you, walks in with the new guy. Looking for a safe exit, you ask the girl you happen to sitting with to be your girlfriend for five minutes . You’re a girl; you’re at a get-together and your least favorite female strolls in. The stranger sitting next to you asks you to be his five-minute date. So what do you? You lock lips . Nick and Norah’s instant connect begins a roller-coaster “first date” that takes them through Manhattan and into themselves. A novel concept that works.
-Goodreads

My Thoughts?

If you’re looking for a thrill on a club filled with hot rockstarwanna-be’s don’t go out, just read this book. 
At first I thought this book is so dramatic that the author decided to put up a playlist for its entire emotional breakdown. Now that was me basing on the title (and I didn’t really read the plot at first).Now what made me read the book? The movie. No, I wasn’t able to watch it. Then why? Inside my head I have this equation: Movie Industry Decided To Make Movie Out of Book = Book Must Be Awesome. And so I gave it a shot. Now, on with my review.
 
Reading the first few pages, ive proved myself wrong. The novel is very far from emotional that it made me read its plot in goodreads. Though the synopsis above brought the most cliché information about the book, you’d be surprised if you would really find time to read it. Sure, boy meets girl in a disco bar where hormonal teen agers often meet. Sure, boy kisses girl to make ex jealous and girl is now into boy. Sure, they would hook up with each other. Then what? Now, this is where the book tells its story; a not so typical aftermath after the whole typical scenario. 
 
The writers did a creative job of connecting all the characters–stitching them together with events, tearing them apart with usual teenage indecisiveness and patching them up again with compromising lovey doveygesrtures. Despite the spiraling minds of the protagonists, the writers were able to expose the meanings behind their actions with clarity that you could feel the doubt and risk of making or breaking of a new relationship (in which im sure everyone can relate to). 
Though the story is a bit too much fast paced, it makes you wonder on what will happen next and what both teenagers had surprise choices for themselves; itswhat makes you keep on reading it—the oh-so-crazy heart-leaping events that could happen in one night!


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[Review] The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night Circus

by Erin Morgenstern 


Publication Date: September 13th 2011 
Publisher: Doubleday 
Format: Hardcover, 400 pages 

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night. 


But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands. 

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead. 

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.


-Goodreads


My Thoughts:

Magical. That’s one word I can appropriately describe how this book was written. The whole novel is weaved with mystery and sprinkled with mind twisting events that could somehow make you go curios and not put it down.

The description of the sceneries that Morgenstern is trying to let the readers visualize is very enchanting. I like how she thought of putting up the rainy streets of London to the words she used on how it felt to be in the circus as if you are being placed in a wonderland. Letting yourself watch a Tim Burton film would be a great equivalent of how it felt like reading it, except that there’s something about it, may be its the wordings of this book–they make you feel like you’re moving with it.

“…the thrill of being surrounded by something wondrous and fantastical only magnified and focused directly at her. The feel of his skin against hers reverberates across her entire body, though his fingers remain entwined in hers.”

The characters are easy to grow fond with especially in the alternate past and present settings of the novel. Its like actually watching them hitting maturity and facing decisions and choosing their own destinies. Each has their sense of importance, and everything they do has relevance in the story; each of them is a piece of one big jigsaw puzzle that the novel is trying to narrate.

And the protagonists–I love how Celia and Marco cunningly interact with each other in a decent yet edgy manner; like how they keep on beating each other with illusions and masterpieces, but also realizing that they are each other’s source of inspiration. Their words linger with teases and revelations that it could make you crave for more.

“Do you remember all of your audiences?” Marco asks.
“Not all of them,” Celia says. “But I remember the people who look at me the way you do.”
“What way might that be?”
“As though they cannot decide if they are afraid of me or they want to kiss me.”
” I am not afraid of you,” Marco says.

A Night Circus is an enthralling read you should definitely check out!


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[Review] Falling For Romeo by Jennifer Laurens

Falling For Romeo
by Jennifer Laurens
Publication Date: May 1, 2011
Publisher: Grove Creek Publishing
Format: Paperback, 204 pages


John can have any girl he wants. Jennifer’s never been kissed. Everybody thinks he’s perfect. She’s got issues with pride and jealousy. They were best friends-once. Now, they’re playing Romeo and Juliet. Virgin lips Jennifer must have her first kiss on stage with John, the guy every girl in school wants. The pressure and tension build along with each staged kiss. Both are shocked when feelings bloom. Can either tell which kisses are real and which are for show?

-Goodreads


My thoughts?

If you want a break of reading those vampire-werewolf-human love affairs and is in the mood for the real deal Romeo and Juliet scheme, then this book is the best for you. It literally portrays the whole star crossed-lover drama, except that their families are like bffs and its the protagonists who are denying their feelings for each other and they have this dilemma of who’s going to spill it first. 

John Michaels the male protagonists has this perfect social status as leader of the track team, VP of the supreme student body, the chick magnet, the friendly dude, and well, he’s the one that almost everybody worships in school. Why just ‘almost’? Because there’s Jennifer Vienvu. Now that he’s also invaded the theater, which is actually her territory, she wants to prove everybody that she’s good and she doesn’t want to live behind his shadow because she knows he isn’t perfect and that somehow the guy has flaws. Oh she knows, alright. They are neighbors, they were childhood best friends and their room windows are practically facing each other’s.

With both sides giving hints and getting each other into cat fights led by their pride and cockiness, the novel narrates us the typical girl-boy story in which I could almost tell that its cliche (and I did hope that the writer wrote a lot more complicated rather than just having the two protagonists jumbled up their feelings in between the play and in their real life situations). But its texts and descriptions are well constructed and delivered even for an overly used plot, and I must say it didn’t fail to tickle the side of me who’s still in for that typical romance story.

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[Review] Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay


Juliet Immortal

by Stacey Jay


Publication Date: August 9, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages


“These violent delights have violent ends And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume.”
—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

The most tragic love story in history . . .

Juliet Capulet didn’t take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn’t anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she’s fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she’s forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love. 

Goodreads


My thoughts?

This book made me cry.


At the first few pages of reading the novel I was like “nyeeeeh”. I feel like its messing up the oh-so-romantic-and-tragiclove story that Shakespeare created (im a sucker for the whole Romeo andJuliet, yes), but at the same time, for unexplainable reasons, I felt drawntowards it.

The main focus of the book was Juliet; heremotions, her miseries,her hopes, her what-ifs and her being torn betweenthen-sweet now-bitter Romeo and new-found darling, Ben. The novel was so smartlyand creatively written that it could make you wonder and think. Even I myselfwas contemplating whether to believe she’d gone enough trouble for her oldhubby and vote for the new prince charming of her life or just stick with myoriginal dude.

As I went with my reading I felt reallyhooked with the magic of its story, of the reactions it caused me–the fury andadmiration I have for the bad bad Romeo, the puzzle of Juliet’s confusion and questionsand feeling myself liking the new man, Ben. The events were wonderfully spunthat the battle between the good (Juliet’s side), the bad (Romeo’s), and thecore of the story’s revolution (hello Ben) were able to produce a super uniquelove triangle filled with thrilling moments, creepy scenes, and humorousdialogues between mockeries.

Romeobeams as if Ive handed him his life, “You wont regret this, Juliet. You arestill the light in my darkness, the only beasuty I’ve…”

“Stop.”

Helaughs. “A man has to try.”

The last part of the tale Stacey Jay hadwritten was the most spectacular. Its like you’re in a movie where all thoseevents are crashing into one big boom–Juliet accepting her inner regrets, themystery that’s haunting all of them, and the epic drama of sacrificing for truelove.

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