The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan

In my mission to catch up on Rick Riordan books I have started the Kane Chronicles. As these books came out before the Heroes of Olympus I figured this was the best one to start next.

Carter and Sadie are siblings live apart, Sadie with their grandparents and Carter with their dad. They reunite for a project however pretty soon after it all goes wrong and their dad is taken by a god and the kids end up with powers.

I think because I read 5 PJO books it feels weird to read Riordan’s style with different characters. I wasn’t a massive fan of our two main characters, but maybe that’s because it’s the first book and I haven’t got to know them yet.

I love Egyptian mythology so this was right up my alley, though I have to say I was slightly disappointed , I’m not sure I like how it was done. But again I feel like I can’t quite make a judgement on this.

I wasn’t sure about the way it was set up at first as well as the chapters are told in first person perspective and I think through a tape recorder and its written as if the siblings are taking the mic from each other. I came around to it after a while but it did feel a slight bit juvenile, and I know this is a Middle Grade but still.

Now all these things I’ve said made it seem like I didn’t like the book, which I did, I just wanted a little bit more from it.

Amazon | Book Depository

Follow me:

Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram

Advertisements

The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez

Thank you to netgalley and Viking Books for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Ok so this is an adorable book about a mixed race girl not knowing where her place is in the world. Malu has to move for her mum’s job meaning she won’t get to see her dad for a while and her dad is her best friend. Malu struggles in Chicago, her school sucks and she feels like her mum just doesn’t understand. She deals with all this by making zines and forming a band.

Malu is such a tough cookie and adorable and she’s so passionate. Her voice was so real and I loved reading from her perspective. She made some mistakes but she’s a kid so you expect that and she’s just a sweet bean. She reminded me of myself back when I was younger and super into rock music. I loved that Malu didn’t like coriander (Cilantro if you’re American) and was so adamant about it because I also hate it and it made me laugh a lot.

I really enjoyed reading from the perspective of a young girl who is super into rock and punk music. It was refreshing, not something that you find much in middle grade books, or to be honest books in general, even though we all had a goth phase.

I’ll be honest, the zine part of it kind of bored me but that’s just me. If you are interested in zines then you’d probably love it but I was just a bit meh about it.

There’s not much else I can say about this book as it is first and foremost about Malu, the plot is kind of an afterthought. I think if you are a mixed race latina who struggled a lot with where you fit in life when you were younger this could be super relatable for you. But I’m white so I may be wrong.

Book Depository

Follow me:

Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

I don’t know if there is much for me to say about this book that I haven’t previously said about the novels in this series.

This was a solid finish for the series and I think tied up a few ends of this series to feel like it ended but left some loose too so that you know there is more of the story to tell in the following series in this world.

This whole book is mainly focussed on battles and whilst they were super fast paced and I felt like I was totally in the scene I did occasionally feel like they were a bit too fast paced and things were over quickly. I imagine this is because it’s a middle grade book and Riordan didn’t want to get too bogged down in the details but sometimes I just wanted a little bit more.

I really enjoyed the end of this novel. There was a lot of ways it could have gone that I don’t think I’d have liked but it didn’t. So much came together in such a wonderful way and it made me happy that I finally read the series after having it on my shelf for so damn long.

Book Depository

Follow me:

Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

I felt like with this novel Riordan really kicked it up a notch for the Percy Jackson series. There was confusion, there was intrigue, and there was so much to it.

I really loved that we see Percy’s relationships with all his friends get so much stronger. You can see pairings that aren’t often put together with the group and it was so nice to see that.

This novel was kind of the first of the series that felt truly fast paced, that I was scared to put down. Throughout the novel you can feel the sense of doom building, knowing the Kronos is rising and that it’s all about to kick off, similar to how it felt in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

I loved the labyrinth and how it linked to the whole world, as a concept it was really interesting and I think will bring a lot of different developments for the rest of a series now that it has been introduced to Percy and the reader.

Percy has really grown up so much and you can see this so much in this novel. He has a lot of contemplative moments and he really has to think and act on great problems that are going to plague the whole world. He deals with a lot of difficult stuff that no kid his age should deal with but he takes it all in stride and I’m really beginning to see why people love him.

Follow me:

Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram

The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan – Everything’s Kicking Off

Annabeth has gone missing and it’s all kicking off. Percy and the newly awoken Thalia need to go find her with some new friends added to the mix.

I liked the change up in this novel of it not being set in the summer, it made it less repetitive. I don’t mind when novels are over the same period just a year later every time but sometimes it can get annoying.

I really enjoyed getting to know a few other demi-gods. For example we meet Thalia, Zoe and Nico who all were really well developed characters.

My one complaint with this book and generally with the PJ books as a whole up to this one is that I sometimes feel like things happen very quickly. The novels are quite short and they are made for 10-12 year olds so it’s totally fine for them to be like that. But sometimes I just wish things would last a little longer. Like some big dramatic scenes or fighting scenes are over pretty quickly, and whilst the threads are all tiedI just want more.

Overall I’m pretty happy with where this book went and I could feel the tone changing between this and the first couple. You can feel like this is the novel where you know it’s going to go pear shaped soon. Kind of like how I felt with the third Harry Potter. There was a slight change to the overall tone and I put this down and was excited to see what was going to happen next.

Book Depository

Follow me:

Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram

See You In The Cosmos by Jack Cheng

Thank you to netgalley and for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This was an interesting little book. The style was really easy to read and I enjoyed what I read but it’s a middle grade book and I think some of the themes in this weren’t exactly suitable for children.

All Alex wants to do is send his iPod into space so that aliens can learn about life on Earth. He goes to a space festival over a weekend with his dog but suddenly things start to change which stops him from returning home and suddenly he’s on an adventure that he never expected to be going on.

I found the adults to be a bit out of it? Like I don’t understand how Zen just went along with the plan to find the dad in Las Vegas, I don’t feel that’s very responsible. I completely get that the mother has a mental problem which is why she didn’t care that her son went away on his own for a weekend but it really bothered me that the older brother knew that things weren’t right at home but continued to work in a different state and didn’t check in very much.

For sure this book is about people’s mental health, their relationships and adults not being very “adult” and I completely understood that point but it just angered me a lot of the time.

I really loved Terra. Even though she barely knew Alex she really cared, more than most of the people in his life already did.

This book was easy to read and if you want a middle grade book with some diverse characters by an author of colour then maybe add this to your TBRs, but I will warn you there’s some triggers to do with mental illnesses and parents not caring etc but if you’d like to ask me more about it I’m always here to answer questions.

Book Depository

Follow me:

Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram

George by Alex Gino

I’m cis so I’m sorry if I say anything offensive in this review by mistake, as with all reviews please let me know.

When I become a teacher this is one of the books I’m going to recommend to all my children. I think it perfectly summed up what being trans is for a child’s mind. And it really came at gender from a point of view that so many children won’t be exposed to.

All George wants is to play Charlotte in their school’s production of Charlotte’s Web but her teacher tells her she can’t because she’s a boy and Charlotte’s a girl and that would be too confusing for he audience. Instead George’s best friend gets the role and George feels incredibly downhearted.

The thing that really stood out to me was from the beginning the author called George she, there was no transition moment where it went from male pronouns to female pronouns or anything like that and I imagine it’s because the book is own voices. I think that was really good at explaining what being trans or non binary is, you don’t suddenly wake up and feel different, that’s who you are. Which I know, and I’m sure you know, but this is a middle grade book and for kids who might have never heard of being trans before it would be a lot more understandable for them and could be a gateway into learning more.

It’s a short book and a quick read so if you’re looking for a positive Trans read then this will get you feeling emotions in a short space of time.

George was the sweetest character and he relationships with both her brother and her best friend made me so happy because they were so understanding. I was brought to tears by her interactions with these characters sometimes. But then I was also brought to tears at interactions with George’s mother, who wasn’t understanding. It was important to be shown both sides of the coin though because too often trans kids don’t have any support from anyone.

As I’m not trans I can’t speak for the representation in this book but I felt like it was pretty spot on and from the reviews I’ve seen people seem to be happy with it. I hope you all find time to read this book because I think it is incredibly important.

Book Depository

Follow me:

Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram

Mini Reviews #3

28195785

Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell

Oh man I loved reading this. I’m a Star Wars fan, though not to the extent o the people like the ones in this book, so reading this was so fun for me. I’ve never queued for a Star Wars film and I doubt I ever will but I loved reading about the experiences of these characters. I liked that the MC was Vietnamese as well, you don’t read many books with Vietnamese characters, though Rowell hasn’t had a good history with writing Asian characters, see numerous reviews of Eleanor and Park, this one was ok I think. I have however queued for bands so some of this definitely resonated for me.

 

32942666

Princess Saves Herself in this One

Thank you to netgalley and Andrews McMeel publishing for sending me a copy in exchange for a review.

I’m not a massive poetry person, I struggle to understand poetry often but I really liked this collection. It was a 4 star read for me until the last section, there are 4 sections, and the final section just really stood out to me, I cried for a little bit. Now if you don’t like tumblr post style poetry this isn’t for you, there’s a lot of disjointed sentences. I really loved the formatting at times because it was dragged across pages and sometimes there was huge gaps, so it really worked in making you feel things. I would also give a trigger warning for self harm and suicidal thoughts.

 

The Lightning Thief and The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

I read these books a few years ago, like 6 maybe, and I genuinely can’t remember any of it but I wanted to read the series and the rest of Riordan’s books so I knew I had to reread them. They’re so much funnier than I remember. I also really struggled with The Sea of Monsters when I read it, that was kind of the beginning of the 5 year slump so reading it now was a much more enjoyable experience. I’ll be writing individual full reviews for the rest of the books in the series as they will be fresh first time reads.

 

32146161

Coffee Boy by Austin Chant

This book was so wonderful. It would’ve been one of my favourite books of the year had it been longer. I desperately wanted to read more after the characters got together but it just ended. The MC is both a trans man and gay so he faces a lot of prejudice in his new work space but his boss is very keen on making sure that everyone treats Kieran with the respect he deserves.

I think because this was own voices it felt all that more authentic and genuine. The experiences the MC faced felt like real life experiences, the things he felt read really well and made me feel even more sad about the way trans people are treated because it gave me insight into the mind of a trans person. Kieran also had to work at a place where he wasn’t out so had to dress as the gender he was assigned at birth and it was interesting to read.

Follow me:

Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram

The Cubit Quest by Trevor Leck Blog Tour | Author Spotlight and Review

Summary

Twelve-year-old Charlie Watkins could have inherited his dad’s massive intellect.
He got his massive feet instead.

Perhaps if Charlie had that intellect he might have been able to figure out why so many men in suits were suddenly following him or where his dad hid the Cubit – a mythical object that men have sworn to protect and even more have died trying to possess – before his so-called accident.

If starting yet another new school wasn’t bad enough, Charlie meets Mr Leopold, a disfigured, mind-reading lunatic and discovers that he alone must find the Cubit if he is to save his dad. The Brotherhood, however, have other ideas. Led by the ruthless Draganovic, they will stop at nothing to get their hands on it. With the help of Mr Leopold and fellow new boy Elvis, Charlie sets out on The Cubit Quest.

Hunting for the Cubit, playing football, lessons with the dreaded Funeral Face and unsuccessfully avoiding school bully Grimshaw by day, Charlie finds his nights no less complicated. Stalked in his dreams, he’s soon immersed in a world of power struggles, battling dragons and duels to the death. With the Brotherhood hot on his heels and as the bullets begin to fly, there are no guarantees that Charlie, or anyone else, will make it to the end in one piece.

Author Spotlight

Well, they say that everyone needs a hobby, but whilst sat in a tent listening to fighter jets scream overhead in a foreign land, I realised that I needed something else: a distraction.  Writing was the perfect solution; even if writing about military life wasn’t.  I was much more interested in writing about action-packed adventures that was bristling with the likes of bullying, crunching tackles and great goals on the football pitch, the afterlife, mythical creatures, fate, destiny and the obligatory arch-villain hellbent on world domination.  Hence my foray into the world of young adult writing began. You could say that I was always going to be less Andy McNab and more J.K. Rowling.

They also say that you should write about the things you know, and even if I was writing about twelve-year-old boy Charlie Watkins, who suddenly found that he had more enemies than hot dinners, or super-powerful and deadly adversaries, or hobgoblins, I wanted people to believe it.  Therefore, I needed a real place to set my semi-fantasy world. The town of North Shields, in the northern corner of England with a view of the River Tyne, the place where I grew up, provided the perfect backdrop for my first novel The Cubit Quest.  After all, the place really does have it all – great buildings, great parks, great coastline, and even greater people.  I hoped to do the place justice – I didn’t.

The reason for this was relatively simple: I wasn’t very good at it.  Four years down the line and The Cubit Quest was still more a figment of my imagination than a reality.  The ‘Ian Rankin style’ of writing, namely you have a rough idea of where you’re going and let’s see how it pans out, was hugely successful – for Ian Rankin that is!  For me, the process was an unmitigated disaster – four years and no end product proving testament to that fact.  But that didn’t matter.  Other than my lovely wife, nobody knew I was writing and nobody was going to read it anyway – right?

The process also highlighted something that I, and anyone who meets me will figure out soon enough: I have the world’s worst memory.  The places in The Cubit Quest were all real, Ralph Gardner High, Charlie’s house, Elvis’s house, Sonia’s house, all of it – ‘were’ being the operative word.  The story is therefore a mismatch of eras, some present day, some straight from my very poor memory.  The result is less Dan Brown, whereby every detail is correct at the time of writing and more John Grisham – never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

Having a second crack at it – it was my secret hobby after all – I knuckled down to some serious planning and eleven months later I had a first draft, a completed novel at last!  Of course, perhaps I should have mentioned that it wasn’t The Cubit Quest, it was the follow up, which takes up immediately where The Cubit Quest leaves off.  It was an odd situation, even I’ll admit that, to have the second part of what I envisaged to be a four-part series and no first part in existence.

All that remained, was to complete that first novel – and complete it I did!  It was a behemoth by the time I’d finished, large enough to give a sci-fi epic a run for its money.  Having visited the fabulous Warner Bros Studios to spend a very enjoyable day living and breathing the equally fabulous world of Harry Potter there is an opening address by J.K. Rowling in which she says that the Philosopher’s Stone was a product of good editing.  I didn’t appreciate this fully – but I did by the time I’d whittled the book down to a more palatable word length – eight edits, ouch!

I was recently asked what short response I’d say to someone who had a passing interest in The Cubit Quest. My response: buy a ticket, strap in and enjoy the rollercoaster ride of an adventure!

Review

This book was a weird read, but something a bit different. It was advertised to me as YA but I’d say it’s that middle ground between Middle Grade and YA.

There was a lot of little references in this book, which I absolutely adored, like Charlie went to the Library to pick up a copy of a Garth Nix book, there was characters with names that were references to things. It made my read more fun when I picked up on them.

At times it did border on a bit silly, but I think that’s mainly because Leck seemed to want to keep the reader in the dark about what was going on in the same way that Charlie was. It was generally a bit awkward at times because it would go from the fantastical elements to kids playing football in the space of a few sentences.

The formatting wasn’t really great either, there wasn’t enough line breaks to tell you when you’d moved into a different POV or a different time. Like it felt like it needed more paragraphs or general transitions.

This was set in South Shields (I think) which was quite nice to read for me as my Gran lives in the Tyneside area and the place she lives was actually mentioned at one point.

I occasionally found some of the fantastical elements of the plot a bit confusing, I eventually got my head around it but I felt there maybe could have been a bit more of an explanation to what was going on.

I liked that this was still set in a school. What I mean by that is that too often in books of this nature kids find out that they have powers and have to go on an adventure leaving their school and family life behind. Whereas this book was still set at home and the MC still had all his childhood problems.

Living in Telford, Shropshire, Trevor Leck has been dabbling in writing for over fifteen years. Always a fan of gripping adventure stories he has taken inspiration from his favourite authors, including John Grisham and J K Rowling, and the towns and cities he grew up, especially North Shields, to create his Young Adult series.

Amazon | Goodreads

Thank you to Rachel Gilbey for arranging this tour!

Follow me:

Twitter
Goodreads
Instagram 

The Copper Gauntlet by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare

I love the Magisterium world I really do. They’re such fun, quick reads for me.

I don’t know if I would say that I enjoyed this one as much as The Iron Trial, as it was a lot faster paced and there was less about the Magisterium itself. There was a fair bit of world building in the first book and it felt more about the school and the learning whereas this was more about the kids and chasing the bad guy. Which would be fine but it happened over a very short period of time but the whole book is to count towards their second year in the school. I would just really love to see more of their learning being spoken about. Everything felt rushed.

What I thought was adorable was seeing Call’s first run in with romantic feelings towards someone. It was written in a really sweet way, like him being uncomfortable and nervous at the same time and all those wonderful, awkward feelings you feel when you have your first crush.

As with the first book, the writing is seamless, I couldn’t tell who was writing what. The descriptions were perfectly written and the action scenes made me feel like I was in them. I may have seen the “twist” coming but I think it would be pretty obvious to anyone who pays attention.

I’m not going to lie, there are many similarities with Harry Potter, but there are also a lot of differences. It does give me some nice throwback to reading HP for the first time feelings. I am intrigued to see where the rest of the books go as some loose ends were tied up but now there’s so many things that could happen or go wrong.

Follow me:

Twitter

Goodreads

Instagram