Blood of Olympus Tour Dates

For those of you that read the Heroes of Olympus series, I’m sure you know that Blood of Olympus release date is just a week away. If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy yet, stop slacking and get to it. I’m unbearably excited to get my hands on it and devour 528 pages of pure epic storytelling.

And with his book release, Rick Riordan is of course going on a book tour. He isn’t visiting anywhere close to me unfortunately, but if you are lucky enough to go and see him, get a signed copy for me.

Tuesday, October 7th: Boston/Cambridge-Brookline, MA

Wednesday, October 8th: Toronto, ONT, Canada

Thursday, October 9th: Atlanta/Decatur, GA

Friday, October 10th: New York, NY

Saturday, October 11th: Chicago/Downers Grove, IL

Sunday, October 12th: Boulder, CO

Monday, October 13th: Austin, TX

Tuesday, October 14th: Santa Barbara/Ventura, CA

Wednesday, October 15th: San Francisco/Menlo Park, CA

For more information about the tour, just click here  I hope some of you guys can make it!

Goodreads Giveaway: The Body Electric by Beth Revis

If you happen to be on Goodreads, you can enter 22642971to win a copy of the new novel by Beth Revis, titled The Body Electric. The giveaway ends on October 1st and 3 copies are being given away. Unfortunately, this giveaway is limited to people in the US only.

Just click here to enter:

https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/106981-the-body-electric

Summary: The future world is at peace.

Ella Shepherd has dedicated her life to using her unique gift—the ability to enter people’s dreams and memories using technology developed by her mother—to help others relive their happy memories.

But not all is at it seems.

Ella starts seeing impossible things—images of her dead father, warnings of who she cannot trust. Her government recruits her to spy on a rebel group, using her ability to experience—and influence—the memories of traitors. But the leader of the rebels claims they used to be in love—even though Ella’s never met him before in her life. Which can only mean one thing…

Someone’s altered her memory.

Ella’s gift is enough to overthrow a corrupt government or crush a growing rebel group. She is the key to stopping a war she didn’t even know was happening. But if someone else has been inside Ella’s head, she cannot trust her own memories, thoughts, or feelings.

So who can she trust?

New Norse Mythology Series by Rick Riordan

Rick Riordan has finally announced his new Norse mythology series under the title, Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard. The first book of the series is expected to be released in October 2015, and the title will be announced in the back of The Blood of Olympus, the final book in the Heroes of Olympus series that comes out October 7, 2014.

Annabeth Chase is one of the main characters in Riordan’s Percy Jackson series and we all can’t help but doubt that the identical last names is a coincidence. Whether Annabeth and Magnus are related has yet to be revealed but there is little doubt on everyone’s mind.

The only other information we’ve been given so far is that he is planning for this to be a trilogy and it’s set to take place in Boston.

Now for those of you that haven’t read the Percy Jackson series, then the Heroes of Olympus series following that, you are severely missing out. Rick Riordan is master writer, weaving mythology, humor, adventure, and a cast of truly unforgettable characters into a series that I believe everyone should read.

This announcement really excites me because I love Riordan’s writing and I love the way he ties in mythology to our world. I honestly never really got into The Kane Chronicles but I have a lot more interest in Norse mythology than Egyptian and I’m hoping that Magnus Chase’s connection to Annabeth might bring in some of the characters from the Percy Jackson books.

I’m definitely going to keep my eyes peeled for any news about this series, and once I devour The Blood of Olympus on next Tuesdays, I’ll be sure and share the title of the first book.

Review: Graceling

Title: Graceling (Graceling Realm #1) 3236307

Author: Kristin Cashhore

Publisher: Harcourt

Publication Date: October 8, 2008

Summary: Deadly Grace

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight–she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graces as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po’s friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace–or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away…

 

 

 

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I know, this is an old one. But I finally (two years late) got my hands on Bitterblue and decided it was time to reread all the books. And I got a request to review this series so I figured why not kill two birds with one stone.

For those of you that have read Graceling, you all know what an awesome book it is. And for those of you that haven’t read it yet, you’re really missing out. This book is full of wonderful, well developed characters, original world, and an intriguing story line. The romance isn’t half bad either and the best part is that it doesn’t take away from the story. Fucking hallelujah.

Katsa is honestly one of my favorite heroines of all time. She is such a bad ass, as her grace makes her, but not only is she physically strong,  she is mentally tough too. Once she finally stands up to Kind Randa and escapes from his grasp, she swears to never let another man own her. And she doesn’t. She is fearful of having a relationship with Po, in case she loses herself. She is afraid that inside she truly is the animal King Randa treats her like. She is afraid she will never be able to do enough good to make up for all the bad. I love seeing such a vulnerable side to someone who could literally beat the snot out of anything in her path. There was such a balance of internal conflict and personal strength and confidence, Katsa is a beautiful character.

More than anything, I love the message that Katsa sends. She is a strong young woman, who can easily protect herself, but still has emotions and can show love for the people she cares about. She despises her long hair, having to wear dresses and jewelry, which is a little overused for “strong” heroines, but she never flaunts this as a reason that she is better than other women. It’s simply how she feels. Katsa is with Po intimately, but knows she doesn’t want to belong to a man, she doesn’t want to be a wife or have children. And she doesn’t give that up for anyone, not even the man she loves.

Po, also known as Prince Greening Grandemalion (what the hell?) is on a quest to find his missing grandfather, someone else with a ridiculous name, and runs into Katsa. They become friends and train together since Po is a mysteriously good fighter, the only person Katsa has ever met that is somewhat a match to her awesome skills. The thing I love about Po is that he really softens Katsa a shows another side of her, a vulnerable, fun side. He is usually lighthearted and kind, protective over those he cares about and willing to fight fiercely for them.

The story itself was fairly predictable at times, but not in a way that was necessarily annoying, since I still liked reading all the different characters. I have to say though, the ending twist still gets me. I am sad though that we didn’t get to read more about King Leck, who we got a ridiculously limited amount of information about. I liked all the different lands, but there was really much back story on anything. No beliefs or religions, not much on the different cultures, and no history of any sort. While I love the idea of people being graced, that’s about all there is to make this world unique. There is a lack of purpose or reason behind the bad guys motives other than they are just jerks with power. Also, not to sound like a whiner, but what the hell is up with all the goddamn weird names? It honestly got on my nerves, especially since Katsa always made me think of katsup and Po made me think of Kung Foo Panda. So in my mind, it was more like a badass bottle of ketchup and a fat panda go on an adventure together and fall in lurve… Yeah, it definitely bothered me.

Still though, I really like this book. There are definitely better fantasy books out there, but I love Katsa and Po and they really care this book for me. I’ve already started Fire which I know happens in a different land, but I’m hoping we might get to see the couple again in Bitterblue.

RATING:  

Review: Ruin and Rising

Title: Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) 14061957

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

Publication Date: June 17th, 2014

Summary: The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

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This review is going to be full of spoilers so if you haven’t read Ruin and Rising yet, you have been warned.

It’s been a while since I read the previous two books and I didn’t have time to reread them before I got this one. So going into this, I was trying to remember who all the secondary characters were and what all happened, and it slowed me down a little bit.

The main thing I have to say is that Leigh Bardugo does not mess around. I mean, she just kept kicking us while we were down and I loved it. There was lots of death and horrible awful things happening to lots of people and my heart wanted to die. At one point in the book, I’m pretty sure I let out an inhuman wail of misery and sadness. It scared my cat half to death.

To start with, Alina is down in the White Chapel, hiding underground with all these crazy religious wackos and unable to summon anything. She has The Apparat (who I imagine looking like an older, crustier version of Rasputin from Anastasia) forcing her to stay underground and help build an army of religious fanatics who all believe she is a saint. But her, Mal, and the rest of their ground manage to escape and are on a quest to find Nikolai and the Firebird to take down the Darkling. And we have our book.

The character are great, like always. I feel bad because I remember that I disliked Mal a lot in the last book and was pissed knowing that she would end up with him. C’mon you guys, we all know it. But in this book, he was actually tolerable and helped Alina a lot and kept their band of misfits together. I felt like he really stepped it up when it mattered most. However, I still did not want him and Alina to end up together. I was team Darkling all the way, and then team Nikolai last book. It’s so hard to love more that one guy, I feel like such a traitor bouncing back and forth between the two of them.

Alina really grows in this book. I love her as a character because she isn’t ashamed to admit that she wants power and likes wielding it and has, and will continue to do, some bad things. She is honest and strong, even when she is weak, and I like that. She isn’t like most other heroines who are so pure and good that the thought of hurting someone is unimaginable and they refuse to hurt because it’s bad. Alina feels sadness and regret over hurting people but realizes the necessity of it in war and gets a bit of thrill out of using her power.

My poor baby Nikolai had such a rough time in this book. I love him, I have a thing for sassy, witty boys and he is definitely up there. He is trying his best to fight back against the Darkling but ultimately he needs Alina and when she comes to him, they are ready to fight together. Which would have been awesome if the Darkling hadn’t swooped out of the sky, killed a bunch of people, and turned Nikolai into a monster. Yep, you heard me. He turned my baby into a goddamn monster, with fangs and claws and a taste for human flesh. I honestly got tears in my eyes when it happened. He was such a good person, and the Darkling did the one thing that would hurt him more than anything else. I wanted Nikolai and Alina to get married and pop out some cutie babies and live happily ever after. Although Nikolai does get turned back, him and Alina still don’t hook up, which was almost enough to make me rip the book in half.

Mal being the last amplifier was a twist that I didn’t see coming. I mean, I obviously knew something was special about him with his sixth sense when it comes to tracking, but I never would have guessed what he was. Even after Baghra told her story, I didn’t piece it together. But I like that it wasn’t predictible. My only problem is that I feel like I was a little cheated in the end. I always kind of hate books where they kill off the love interest, but then they magically come back to life. Not that Alina didn’t give up enough already, but it’s just anticlimactic for me because as the person is dying, at this point I just always expect they will be revived. Not to sound like an evil person, but war has it’s casualties and it stinks, but sometimes the person should just stay dead and we can all cry over it.

Alina losing her power in the end was unexpected as well. I like that she gets to start over with Mal and a new life, but I find it sad that she doesn’t have her powers anymore or her connection to the Darkling. I would have liked for her to still have that piece of darkness in her, even while serving the kingdom as a saint and queen. But being free of it all was probably a blessing in disguise to her.

One of the only complaints I have is that I wish we had gotten more of the Darkling in this book. Which I know, I’m only saying because I love him as a character, but I wanted more of him before he died. I love the dark passion between him and Alina and I love how lonely and tormented he is. He is such a complex character that I really have to give Leigh Bardugo kudos since it’s not often an author makes me truly love and sympathize with the bad guy.

The story itself moved at a great pace. I blew through it in like four hours so it went quickly, but I was never bored. I really loved the religious aspects of this book and how all the people thought she was a saint, I found it really interesting and fairly original. Anything to do with Morozova was super intriguing. I almost wish they would publish his journals or a story about him so we could read more about his experiments and ideas. And I have to say, these books have been getting a lot of criticism about all the inaccurate Russian stuff, but coming from someone who knows basically nothing about it, I never had a problem with it. I like the Russian undertones, accurate or not, and I find it almsot unfair for everyone to nitpick at it. I know as an author, it’s their job to do their research, but this is still a fantasy book and certain liberties can be taken. I was never bothered by it, I’m more annoyed seeing everyone posting stuff about correct Russian surnames and the alcohol content of kvas.

I really enjoyed this book over all. The pacing, characters, story line, and twist were all great, and I thought it was a very successful conclusion. I just wish maybe the ending hadn’t been so happily ever after, with a book that had so many dark undertones, I was hoping for an unexpected, maybe more realistic and sad ending. I would say this was a pretty successful series and I’m actually sad to see the characters go. Especially my baby Nikolai.

RATING:   

Review: Sea of Shadows

Title: Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends #1)

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Author: Kelley Armstrong

Publisher: HarperTeen

Publication Date: April 8th, 2014

Summary: Kelley Armstrong, #1 New York Times bestselling author, takes an exciting new direction with this big, breathtaking blend of fantasy, romance, horror, and pulse-pounding action, perfect for fans of Graceling and Game of Thrones.

In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court–one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

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This book claims to be “perfect for fans of Graceling and Game of Thrones” but speaking as a fan of both, I have to disagree. Graceling and Game of Thrones are both full of complex characters, action, interesting fantasy, great world building, the list goes on. While this book does have some action, it’s not really engaging, the fantasy elements and world building that go with it are a little bland and the characters aren’t particularly memorable. I read some of Kelley Amrstrong’s other books a few years ago and remember enjoying them (although my taste back then was questionable at best) but this book was very disappointing.

So Moria and Ashyn are a couple of hot, strawberry blonde twinsies with polar opposite personalities. Moria is hotheaded and bold and idiotic while Ashyn is calm and collected and overly sympathetic. It’s like a two-for-one cliche package deal. Woo hoo. They are in charge of putting spirits to rest and keeping there village safe. A job they apparently suck at. Ashyn fails to put the spirits to rest and Moria does nothing to protect the village as everyone is slaughtered by swirling death shadows. So Moria of course gets pissed and Ashyn just feels terrible because it’s possibly her fault so they set out to try and save the children left and warn everyone. And what ensues is actually a bit of a snore-fest.

It’s not that I hated Moria and Ashyn, it’s just that they were both huge cliches. It’s bad enough having one in a book, but now we have two. Moria is constantly being retarded and rushing into situations without thinking, a “warrior”. Ashyn is constantly feeling sorry for herself and crying over other people and being a damsel in distress. They are supposedly special with their Keeper/Seeker powers but that only comes into play in the beginning and like one other part where they hear spirits whispering to them. I was really hoping that their abilities to communicate to the spirits would come into play, like to help them escape places or help them during fights or anything. But it’s virtually non existent through the story. And with every couple of chapters going to the other girl’s point of view, I felt like you don’t really get enough time with either girl to get to know them, let alone each love interest too.

Speaking of love interests, Ronan and Gavriel really missed the mark for me. They are both fairly interesting characters, but we never really get time to get to know them, Ronan especially. Gavriel got a little more time because he was more important to the story, but I never felt like I knew them as a character. They were just names on the page, playing their parts and that was about it. It was like the story itself was slow but the characters were rushed. Ronan was just kind of constantly popping ion and out of Ashyn’s story line, doing sneaky thief things and saying mushy stuff to make Ashyn’s romantic little heart leap. Then Gavriel was being a sulky poop, fighting off guys with his big man muscles, keeping mysterious secrets (which I knew almost immediately what they were) and popping boners over Moria wiggling in his lap while hiding from bad guys. There was a lack of depth, more so when it came to Ronan.

The book started off okay. People were being taken to the Forest of the Dead and left to die, hopefully at the hands of unimaginable horrors. Then people in Ashyn’s party start dying and there is lots of blood and hearts impaled on branches, and I started to get excited. After that though, things started to go downhill. The girls start to travel separately through The Wastes and it slows down. The back and forth of the point’s of view really took away from the sense of urgency for either character and it was just boring. In a few chapters, party one makes it through to the nearest city. Oh, but wait, now we go back to party two and they have to make it through to the city. Okay now back to party one facing crap in the city. Wait, back to party two also facing crap in the city. It made me angry and tired at the same time. And the whole thing with all the beasts and monsters from legend coming back could have been really cool. I was excited to see what attacked them but we got a giant acid spitting worm and a big bird. Which were taken care of with a few slices of a sword. Then everything was all good. Yawn.

Another problem is that a lot of the elements of this story just don’t seem to connect. There is some random Japanese stuff thrown in with family names and things, but I never really get a Japanese vibe. There are all sorts of different skin tones being described but everyone seems like they were living relatively close to each other so I’m not sure how all the different races got where they were and what separates them. Then some things just don’t make sense, how spirits are known to be real, but shadow stalkers or possession or god forbid, sorcery are absolutely positively impossible. There isn’t really any world building or history or politics that would make a lot of this make sense. Instead, you just feel confused.

I really had high hopes for this book. It has a cool summary but the execution is terrible. Everything is either too rushed or drags on way too long. Characters are bleh, romance is bleh, world building is basically non existent. I was engaged during certain parts of this book, so it wasn’t terrible. I’m just not sure if it’s worth your time. Maybe if you are a fast reader and don’t mind skimming a lot of chapters. Otherwise, I wouldn’t bother.

RATING: