It’s Monday! What are you reading? (5/16/16)

This past week, I finished:

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo, #1)The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was super fun. Apollo is a great narrator because his arrogance is beyond belief, yet he’s also kind of likable because he is hilarious. To wit, this is a thing he actually thinks: “If she could do it, then so could the brilliant, fabulous Apollo.” And that’s AFTER his character has exhibited some growth. So.

Lots of laugh out loud moments and two of my favorite characters in the whole series showed up (as well as Percy Jackson, naturally).

View all my reviews

Last week, I posted:

[wrap-up-posts week=”19″ year=”2016″ listtype=”ul”]


As of today, I’m reading:

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson are both selections for my summer book club. I told myself I would give any of the book club choices 50 pages to grab me before moving on. I just started both today so have no real opinions on either yet. But I have heard good things about both of them, so I’m hoping I enjoy them.

So far Brown Girl Dreaming reminds me of Woodson’s picture book Show Way, which is amazing if you haven’t read it.

Hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. Children's lit version hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts & Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers.
Hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. Children’s lit version hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts & Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers.

Happy reading, everyone!


It’s Monday! I finally finished Necessary Endings!

This past week, I finished:

Demigods & Magicians: Percy and Annabeth Meet the KanesDemigods & Magicians: Percy and Annabeth Meet the Kanes by Rick Riordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Even though I didn’t finish The Kane Chronicles, I really like Carter and Sadie, so it was nice to spend some time with them without all the extra that comes with their series. It’s always fun to see characters from different stories interacting with each other, and seeing the similarities of Percy to Sadie and Annabeth to Carter was extra fun. So yeah, I really liked this.

View all my reviews


Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move ForwardNecessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward by Henry Cloud
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Me: I have been reading this book forever. I am going to finish it today because I am sick of saying I’m still reading it.

Mom: Sounds like you need to make a necessary ending on that book.

Me: Yes, exactly.

There is a lot of really useful and helpful information in this book, and I got a lot out of it. Most of it is stuff I had already learned, but I did learn some new strategies and think about some situations differently, both in the NE group I was in that made me decide to read the book and in the book itself. For example, I learned that I didn’t actually hate my job; I was just burnt out so needed to end some of the practices around it. I also had to make a personal necessary ending, which I probably wouldn’t have cast in those terms before. So, you know. Useful.

I think it took me so long because the writing is kind of dry and I kept reading it right before bed. Also, I lost the book for about a week, which didn’t help with the whole finishing it part. But it’s done now, and that’s all that matters.

If you’re trying to figure out how to end something you know you need to but don’t know how, this book may be helpful to you and I recommend it.

View all my reviews


Last week, I posted:

More A to Z!

[wrap-up-posts week=”16″ year=”2016″ category=”Blogging A to Z” listtype=”ul”]


As of today, I’m reading:


I’m still making my way through Furiously Happy which is funny so far, and I can see why it strikes a chord with my daughter. I started Alex + Ada Vol. 2 today and should also be getting to Scrum later this week. Of course this is my insane grading week (end of term! finals!) so we’ll see how far I get with any of those.


Hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. Children's lit version hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts & Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers.
Hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. Children’s lit version hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts & Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers.

Happy reading, everyone!

Book Review: The Blood of Olympus

The Blood of Olympus by Rick RiordanWell, that was just delightful.

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan is the last book in the Heroes of Olympus/Percy Jackson series, and while I will miss the characters, I did enjoy this last installment.

There was much to like here! BUT. I will concede that the final battle was a smidge rushed, and I do wish we had seen a little bit more from all of the narrators. However, I know the latter would have been pretty impossible, and I do feel as though all of the characters’ journeys/narrative arcs were sufficiently wrapped up and satisfactory.

So, here is what I did like a lot:

– Reyna. I love her. She is proud and strong but also a little lonely.

– Leo. Of course. I love him. This is well-documented.

– Piper. GUYS. THIS IS HUGE. I spent most of the books in this series totally annoyed by Piper, and I actually really liked her in this book. I LIKE PIPER NOW. I am confused but also happy.

– Annabeth and Piper’s relationship. There’s a whole scene about how sometimes logic is best and other times going with your gut/feelings is best, and so the two girls learn to work together and trust one another and then they’re FRIENDS and COMRADES, and it gives me a happy.

– Oh, and also Reyna, Annabeth, and Piper get to pow wow and be amazing together as well. YAY FOR FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS! Yay for varied levels of badassery and acknowledgement of the different ways one can be a total badass.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Blood of Olympus”

Graphic Novel Adaptation: The Red Pyramid

I listened to The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan a while ago, and enjoyed the book but found it a little long and fairly complex. So I was really interested to see how the book translated to the graphic novel format.

To start, the illustrations (by Orpheus Collar) are gorgeous. GORGEOUS. The colors are rich and detailed, and the characters look pretty much exactly as I expected. The pictures/colors also match the mood of the story: dark when appropriate, hazy and dream-like when appropriate, and, of course, bright and fun when appropriate.

The action scenes in the original novel are fairly complex, so they are well served by the graphic novel format. Events that take pages and pages of description are finished in one or two pages. The same applies with magical transformations or acts. They took a lot of description in the book but only a few panels in the graphic novel.

So that was great.

See? That scene took probably five pages to describe in the original.
See? That scene took probably five pages to describe in the original.

While I enjoyed reading this as a graphic novel, I found that the racial politics of the book were lost in translation, and that was a huge letdown.

There’s no ignoring that Sadie and Carter are brothers and sisters who, on the surface, don’t look alike. (He’s brown-skinned and she can pass for white.) This is a point of real tension in the original novel that is only briefly touched on in the graphic novel. In fact, it only comes up once when their dad introduces them to someone he works with at the museum.

In the book, that difference is a much bigger deal. For example:

  • Carter thinks his grandparents rejected him in favor of Sadie because she looks more like them.
  • Carter’s dad makes a very big deal about how Carter should dress, which causes Sadie to make fun of him for dressing as an old man.

In the graphic novel, those details are lost. There is zero mention of Carter’s relationship with his grandparents and/or how he feels rejected by them. At the end of the book, Carter mentions his dad would think Carter is dressed “like a hoodlum.” However, there’s zero mention of why, nor is there any mention of why that’s a big deal.

The Red Pyramid by Rick RiordanAnother huge part of the story is that Sadie and Carter have lived apart for a long time, and they’re very wary of each other and have to learn to trust each other. They’re jealous of each other’s relationships with the other members of their families, and they both find each other tiresome in very complicated ways–mostly because they don’t know each other very well. Those complexities, too, get lost in the adaptation.

Oh, and a lot of the humor was lost. So, that sucks.

I feel like this review is reading negatively, and that’s not my intent. I really did like the graphic novel. However, I did read the original first, and it’s hard not to notice that so much of what I liked about the novel is missing here.

That said, I think the graphic novel is an awesome introduction to the characters and the series, but I would definitely recommend that anyone who enjoys it also check out the original novel as well. All in all, the graphic novel is a solid adaptation because the general outline of the story and the excitement are there. But, for nuance and humor, the original really is superior.

Source: Library

Book Review: The Mark of Athena

Seriously, these monsters and gods were thousands of years old. Couldn’t they take a few decades off and let Percy live his life?

Mark of Athena by Rick RiordanI’m saying, though. Poor Percy. Finally reunited with Annabeth and, of course, the stupid gods and monsters are ruining everything. Typical.

So, Mark of Athena! Third book in The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan! In list form!

  1. The title is an obvious tip-off that this book would heavily feature Annabeth and feature her it did. It was so, so nice to get a glimpse inside of her head. I love Annabeth. She’s so great.
  2. LEO! Leo is one of the point of view characters. As has been well-established, I love Leo. A lot. He’s underage, but since he’s fictional, I am upgrading him from cute adorable kid whose cheeks I want to pinch to literary boyfriend. Because if I were a 15/16-year-old girl, I would be so in love with Leo. Therefore, he is now a literary boyfriend.
  3. Leo’s interactions with Annabeth are A+. First, he thinks of her as the scary blond girl, which is just fantastic. Because we all know you don’t want to mess with Annabeth. Second, they get along well with their love of gadgetry and figuring things out. So even though Annabeth is the scary blond girl, they are actually friends.
  4. I liked the focus on the gifts the kids have that aren’t superpowers. I mean, yes, Jason can fly, Percy can manipulate water, Leo, Frank, Hazel, etc. But Annabeth’s mother is the goddess of wisdom and military victory. Sooooo, no superpowers there. Same with Piper. Her mom is the goddess of love and beauty. Sure, she can charmspeak, but she can’t talk her way out of everything. So Riordan shows how Annabeth and Piper can use their gifts (wisdom and love, respectively) to their advantage in battle. A nice touch and a way to remind kids that you don’t have to have superpowers to win or be effective.
  5. Okay I had a whole bunch written up about how annoying Piper is but WordPress ATE IT, and I don’t have it in me to recreate all that awesome commentary. So suffice it to say that Piper is still annoying, and my daughter and her friend agree with me.

In conclusion, this book is a solid entry in the series. I’m interested to see what happens next.

Book Review: The Demigod Diaries

You know what Rick Riordan’s The Demigod Diaries confirmed for me? My love for Leo Valdez is not in vain. That kid is awesome.

Oh, and Percy’s alright, too, I guess.

I was going to end the review there, but the picture looks stupid with so little text, so I guess I’ll continue. I GUESS.

I also loved seeing the pictures of Thalia, Piper, Leo, and Jason. Plus, while I’m here, I should talk about Luke’s story and how I can totally see why he would fight against the gods. Dude had some bitterness deep in his soul–and with good reason.

You know what’s cool? That Riordan included a story by his son in the collection. You know what else is cool? The story fits the mythology and is well-written. Some of Alistair’s powers seemed more in line with The Kane Chronicles, but I’ll trust that they have some basis in Greek mythology. The plotting in Haley’s story is fast-paced, and the characterization is sharp.

All in all, the collection was a nice companion to the other books set in Percy Jackson’s world.

Source: my daughter’s

Mini Reviews

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix: I really wanted to like this book because I love Cinderella stories, and the thought of exploring Cinderella’s not-so-happily ever after really intrigued me. I just had a hard time caring about Ella. I found her self-absorption kind of astonishing as I did her lack of foresight/thinking. She got better by the book’s end, but I found the tale a bit too simplistic for the pretty heavy themes it was dealing with. If the relationships had been more developed, I would have liked it more.

Source: own it

Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors: I do enjoy Suzanne Selfors’ work, and this book was a nice, breezy read. I enjoyed the romance, and I enjoyed Cupid’s tale. What I really wanted, though, was to see more of Alice’s relationship with her neighbor Realm. Oh, and I really, really loved the emphasis on the surrogate family. Great characters.

Source: Library

Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot: I liked learning more about Tania and Jordan. Also, this is one of Cabot’s books that deal with a pretty heavy issue (domestic violence), and I tend to like her books with darker themes. She handles the issues well without being preachy and while imparting some pretty good wisdom. All in all great bus read. Too bad I never remembered I was reading it when I was off the bus.

Source: Library

The Alfred G. Graebner Memorial High School Handbook of Rules and Regulations by Ellen Conford: More Ellen Conford! And why not? She is amazing. This novel is more interrelated short stories following one character and all related to how she experiences her high school. Lots of fun stuff, especially because it’s so reflective of the time it was published (1976). Great characters, of course. Lots of humor, too.

Source: Library

The Enchanted Truth by Kym Petrie: I’m not really sure how to talk about this book. It was a fast read with an interesting, though underdeveloped, premise/theme. Also: wow, was it super preachy. Kind of hard to enjoy it with all the preaching going on.

Source: Netgalley

Book Review: The Son of Neptune

Multigrain fighting is not allowed!

Oh, gosh I just loved The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan. LOVED. The second book in the Heroes of Olympus series, it picks up with Percy (YAY PERCY!!!!) and the kids at Camp Jupiter.

There is nothing about this book that I didn’t like, so a few highlights of why I loved it.

– Rick Riordan wears the hat of cleverness! The Amazons run an online business that specializes in low prices and fast shipping. (Can you guess which one?)

– Love all of the characters. All! Even Ella the harpy who mostly talks in book quotes and Terminus the armless boundary god.

Also, even though these characters are just as tragic as the ones in The Lost Hero, they are more fun and less, well, annoying. I mean, I loved all three narrators whereas last time I just loved Leo.

– Loved the inclusion of Chinese mythology here with Frank’s character. Also, he’s Canadian! In fact, I’m a big fan of the diversity in this series overall. Two thumbs up.

– Oh, and Frank has a badass grandma and those are the best. THE BEST.

– The title, again, works on levels.

– Obviously, I loved seeing Camp Jupiter and all the ways it’s different from and similar to Camp Half-Blood.

– Riordan introduces his readers to The Art of War by Sun Tzu. There’s just a mention of the Tzu’s book at the end of the novel, but you know some kids are going to seek it out.

– The humor is spot on. Just so great.

Oh wait, there is one thing I hated about the book. The cliffhanger! But that’s only because I want to read the next book now, now, now.

Apparently, I’m not the only person who had that response. From Riordan’s blog:

In the meantime, sorry about the cliffhanger in The Son of Neptune . . . wait, no I’m not! I always do cliffhangers. I’m just evil that way.

Yes. Yes, you are.

I can’t believe I have to wait basically a whole year for the next book. I wonder who the narrators will be.

YA Challenge: 40; POC Reading Challenge: 25

Audiobook Review: The Lost Hero

“Love is the most powerful motivator in the world. It spurs mortals to greatness. Their noblest and bravest acts are done for love.”

My daughter wanted me to read The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan, the first book in his Heroes of Olympus series. I got the audiobook (which is narrated by Joshua Swanson) from the library when we went on a road trip so we could listen to it together. All I have to say about the book is: Rick Riordan, how are you so great???

You know, I’m really starting to appreciate his work and not just because I am some superfan of his books. Because no, that’s not it. What he does that’s so brilliant (besides making mythology completely accessible) is create these fantastic characters who are so interesting and fully formed. I mean, can I tell you how much I love Leo? I love Leo SO VERY MUCH. I want to bake him cookies and watch iCarly with him (because you know he secretly watches it and admires Spencer’s handiwork). Then, he and my daughter could build fun stuff together. He’d be the son I never had and the big brother she always wanted. THAT IS HOW MUCH I LOVE LEO. I would feed him actual food.

Other Things I Liked

– The introduction of Native American mythology/beliefs. Having Piper as a character allows Riordan to explore some of the similarities (and differences!) between not only the Roman and Greek gods but also allows for space to talk about Native American stories. So great.

– Seeing Camp Half-Blood from new characters’ perspectives and especially reading about the different cabins was ace. So fun seeing Butch from Iris Cabin, Clovis from the Hypnos cabin, and inside the cabins the main characters belonged to. (DEAR J. K. ROWLING, DO THIS WITH THE HARRY POTTER WORLD, PLEASE!!!!)

– I still love Rachel Elizabeth Dare. I would read a whole book about her.

– The title works on ~levels~.

What I Didn’t Like

Unfortunately, the narrator was not that great. He had a very robotic reading voice and read almost all of the characters (except Leo and Coach Hedge [LOVE COACH HEDGE]) and some of the minor characters) and their dialogue with these odd pauses. I mean, he’s not worse than the Percy Jackson narrator, but even that dude read Annabeth with some spirit.

Also, he pronounced Hera and Gaea wrong. It drove me NUTS. My daughter and I would correct his pronunciation every time. That’s not good.

Thankfully, the story overcomes the narrator. I had to know what would happen. So, kudos to Mr. Riordan. I really wish they would find worthy narrators for his books, though. (Kane Chronicles, thankfully, does not suffer from this issue.)

In conclusion: AWESOME book, so-so narrator. The book is definitely worth the read, no matter which version you procure.

Support Your Local Library: 36; YA Reading Challenge: 32; Audiobook Challenge: 4/6; POC Reading Challenge: 21

Audiobook Review: The Red Pyramid

I guess it started in London, the night our dad blew up the British Museum.

The Red Pyramid is Book One of The Kane Chronicles, Rick Riordan’s take on Egyptian mythology. Much like Percy Jackson, the two main characters, siblings Carter and Sadie Kane, discover that they have magical powers and are descendants of gods.

The audiobook is narrated by Kevin R. Free and Katherine Kellgreen.

What I Liked

– Awesome characters. AWESOME characters. You know the author is doing something right when you love a baboon that only speaks in grunts. Seriously.

– Speaking of awesome characters, I love Sadie and Carter SO MUCH. Just so much. I love their relationship and how they’re jealous of each other, but how they grow to love and trust each other. Not only that, but the way Riordan handles their personalities is A+.

– I also really appreciate the way race is handled in this novel. The kids are mixed (black dad/white mom). Carter looks like their dad, and Sadie looks just like her mom (i.e., she can pass). So part of the tension is that people doubt their authenticity as brother and sister or even that Sadie is a member of their family (mom is dead).

What I really appreciate, though, is that Carter deals with things black boys have to deal with–especially when it comes to appearance. His father is highly educated and talks to Carter a lot about the importance of how he presents himself through dress and speech. Carter also notes moments of being uncomfortable in stores and–not in these words–shopping while black. What I’m saying is Carter is an authentic black teen.

Sadie is, well, British. Her concerns are white British girl concerns. It’s fun having two such different characters.

– Riordan knows how to drop some knowledge/facts without being boring. I learned a lot about Egypt and Egyptian mythology but didn’t feel like I was being taught a history/mythology lesson.

– I loved Kevin Free as a narrator for Carter. Kathleen Kellgreen was mostly good as a narrator for Sadie. I mean, she’s sufficiently British, so that really helped to differentiate the voices, but…see next section for more.

What I Didn’t Like

– As I hinted at above, I liked Kellgreen as a narrator–mostly. However, sometimes Sadie sounded completely frantic for long stretches of the narrative. I mean, yes, the stakes were high and things were moving quickly, but I don’t want my narrator to actually sound like she’s dialed up to 10 the entire time.

I listened to this with my daughter, and she pretty much hated Sadie’s parts and couldn’t wait to get back to Carter’s sections in the book.

– This book is TOO LONG. I love that Riordan packs so much in, but the book seriously started to drag in the middle. Yes, a lot happened; yes, it was exciting. But it was exhausting. The good news is that the book picks up again near the end. However, I still felt the need to take a break from it and wanted to hurry up and get to the end.

In conclusion: I did like this book a lot, but the length and some of the narration kept me from loving it. That said, I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.

Support Your Local LIbrary: 30/30; YA Reading Challenge: 27; Audiobook Challenge: 3/6; POC Challenge: 17