Book Review: The Lightning Thief

My rating:  4 out of 5 stars

So way back when in 2010 (wow has it only been 7 years), I watched The Lightning Thief movie, and while I liked it, I told myself I needed to read the book because the books are almost always better than the movie. It took me a couple years to get the series and then a few more years passed before I finally got around to reading this book. Another reason why I waited so long to read the book, is that I wanted to details of the movie to fade from memory, so it was like walking into the book with a clean slate. I had only the most vague of memories of a few things that happened in the movie, so now was the perfect time to read it.

Right from the beginning I was pulled into the story. I like how the book started with a confession from Percy, which really helps to set everything up. It makes you intrigued about why he wouldn’t want to be a half-blood. From then on the story just keeps getting better.

The flow of this story is fantastic. There aren’t any noticeable slow points, sure there are moments where the action has died down but they don’t feel like a lull in the story, more like the calm before the storm. The mix of characters in this story is great as well. Obviously most of them are half-bloods, with a good dose of Greek monsters and Gods mixed in, along with a plentiful dash of mortals to finish it off. I have to say I really liked Annabeth’s character, which they were all great in their own way, but for some reason her character stood out to me the most.

One thing I thought was interesting is how the perspective of mortals changed when viewing half-blood and monsters. For example, a sword fight looks like a gun fight to mortal eyes. They never see what is truly going on, which os course can work both for and against the characters as they make their journey across America to get to their ultimate destination.

Really my only complaint, and it’s a small one, is that we didn’t get to see a lot of the Gods in this book. I get why, the focus isn’t on them, but on their kids. I just wish there had have been more. I’m hoping that as the series progresses that they will have a bigger role and influence in the books.

Overall, I found this to be a really good book and a great start to a series. I am really looking forward to continuing on with their series to see what else the characters must endure throughout their years at Camp Half-Blood and beyond. I also look forward to seeing my son read this book, and hope that he enjoys it as much as I did.

Book Review: Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I can’t even tell you why I originally bought this book. But considering it has a price sticker from a used book store on it, I’m assuming that I saw it during a book shopping trip and thought “Why not, it could be interesting” and so I bought it.

Though the first chapter felt a little off, the rest of this book flew by. I managed to get through it in just a few hours and while most of it slipped away almost immediately upon finishing it, I’m glad I gave it a chance.

The one thing that I had an issue with was how quickly the story jumped between the four friends. Even at the half way point I still couldn’t keep track of who was who, which made it difficult to feel any connection to any of the characters. So by the end of the book I was left thinking, wait what happened with that girl again? It’s strange to have the contents of a book fade away so quickly. In fact, I wrote this review immediately after finishing the book and I’m seriously grabbing at straws here to put anything down, that’s how much of it I remember. But I know the few details I do remember will inevitably fade more and I will be left with nothing to write.

Overall, this was a quick read, but since it didn’t stick with me, I can’t really say much else about it. I was just one of those okay books. I know there are people out there who have really enjoyed this book, so if you are curious about the story, I would recommend checking it out.

Book Review: The Giver

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I picked up The Giver a while back because I was intrigued by it. I had seen it on a number of book blogs and everyone seem to have enjoyed it, so I figured I give it a shot because it was a short book.

When I first started reading this book, I was pretty confused. It felt like I had already missed something, like there should have been either another book before this or that there was a prologue needed to better explain things. But I keep reading because I was also curious about everything and figured all the information would come if I just kept going.

After that first chapter, I was absorbed into the book. I found the world so strange and interesting. The vast amount of rules that everyone had to follow, and the way the society functioned as a whole was really what made me keep reading. Sure, the characters were interesting enough, but only a few were featured throughout the entire novel that I felt we were missing some aspects of life there. Even so, I couldn’t put the book down, devouring it in one sitting, which was easy given that it was less than two hundred pages long.

I realize this is quite a short review, but I really don’t see a way to talk more about what I liked about the book without giving a lot of it’s content away. So it’s just going to leave it at that.

I did feel like the ending left something to be desired. There was closure in one way, yet there were so many more questions left unanswered. I can only assume that they answers will come with the rest of the books in this series, which I will likely read at some point. Overall, I really liked this book. It was a quick yet fascinating look into a possible future of humanity. If you haven’t read this book, then I would recommend you do so.

Book Review: Catch Rider

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I had been eying Catch Rider since it came out mid-2013, however I never went to the effort of buying it whenever I was at a book store or book shopping online. Then a few months back I happened upon a copy of it at the dollar store, which reminded me that I still haven’t bought or read it, and figured now was as good of time as any. Then it inevitably ended up sitting on my shelf collecting dust for a while. I decided not long ago that I would finally read it.

The book started off pretty good, a little slow, but it was more of a setting up everything and introducing characters kind of slow. After the first chapter things picked up. It’s not often you find a young adult novel that focuses on horses and so this was a nice change of pace.

I liked Sidney’s character. She had a hard life, and while she sometimes let it get to her, she also never truly lost sight of her dream, she was just simply forced to take a different path to achieve it. Wayne was another good character, though I didn’t see as much character development in him as I did Sidney. I did find it strange that Sidney called her mother by her first name, even though it was explained that she had done so since she was a young child. Every time her mother was mentioned, I just couldn’t accept it fully.

I found the pace of the book was fairly decent. There were times when things seemed to slow down and I feel that was more the writing ebbing than anything else. The writing in this book went from well done to feeling very amateur several times throughout the story. I also found that there were moments when the author went off on a tangent that only distracted from the main story and never really truly added anything. Outside of these moments, I felt the book was pretty good.

Another thing that stood out to me was the lack of romance. There was a hint of something, but it wasn’t the main element of the story, which also makes this book stand from all the romance laden young adult novels out there. It is refreshing to get something so atypical and yet enjoyable from the genre.

Overall, I am glad that I read this book. I feel like this author has good potential if she decides to write more books like this and I would gladly read them if she did. If you want something from the young adult genre that doesn’t fit into it’s usual mold then Catch Rider is for you. This is also a great book for young horse lovers.

Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Sometimes you read a book that really stands out to you at the time, it sucks you in and holds your attention right to the end. Then a couple of weeks later, you can’t remember any details from the book, including why you liked it. This is what happened when I read Thirteen Reasons Why.

I was pretty quickly absorbed into the story. I was intrigued as to the exactly reasons behind each persons link to Hannah’s death. Some had less of an impact than others. I was curious as to how Hannah found enough blank tapes to pull this whole thing off through, especially in this day and age. Cassettes are petty much ancient technology at this point, so where the heck did she find enough to record all that she needed to.

One important detail, is to read the couple of pages before the first chapter. At first I wasn’t sure if I should or not, as it wasn’t labeled as a prologue, but I did anyways, and I’m glad I did as it sort of set the tone for the rest of the novel.

I think I would have liked it more had we been able to see at least some of the reactions to the others listening to the tapes. I realize that would likely make the book horrendously long, and there were a couple of those people making appearances throughout, adding a little bit to the story. But it was this lack of outside influence that made the book seem a bit flat at times.

Overall, the book was fairly good. It does do a good job of pointing out how one should be careful of what they say or do to others, because you never know what they are going through, or how your words and actions can affect them in the long run. If you think you might enjoy this book, then go ahead and pick it up.

Book Review: Lost Stars

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Originally I hadn’t planned on reading this book at any point. I figured a young adult Star Wars novel just wouldn’t hold up to the adult books in this ever growing series. But I kept seeing it, and it kept luring me in until I finally bought it. But it would be a few months before I got up the courage to actually read this book. And boy was I glad that I did.

Though I wasn’t instantly pulled into the story, it did not take me long to want to keep reading, to find out what would happen next and to not put the book down until I was done. While this book spans quite a number of years, the flow of the story is very good. It doesn’t feel like there are sometimes months or years between events, as there is a smooth transition from one to the other.

The thing that stood out the most to me were the main characters. Ciena and Thane were fantastic characters that showed a lot of growth throughout the whole book. They also had plenty of obstacles to overcome, and some acted more as setbacks that anything else. It was also interesting to watch them progress from friends, to enemies, to friends again and then more. The shift from their old lives on their home world, where they were already so different from each other – one growing up poor, the other rich, and then into the life of an Imperial trainee to officer was fantastic.

Another great addition to this book was the presence of some characters from the Star Wars franchise, like Darth Vader, Grand Moff Tarkin and others who are most notably known for their roles in the original movies. This combined with a few key lines said during those movies really helped to solidify this books involvement in those and other events within the Star Wars timeline.

The only thing that I found a bit disappointing was the ending. Sure it gave a good bit of information regarding The Force Awakens, namely in regards to Jaku, but there was something missing. It was like something was unresolved at the end, a small bit of Ciena and Thane‘s story was missing. Because of this, I really hope that another novel comes along soon to pick up were this one left off, or shortly there after, so that I can get some complete closure on the story or at least find out for sure what happened with a few key moments. Otherwise, I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it to Star Wars fans and non-fans as well.

Book Review: Titans

My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Alright, I’ll admit that I almost didn’t read this book at first. I had found there was a lot of hype before it was even published and it continued after it was released. That may sound like a silly reason to not read a book, but in my experience, that has often led me to very disappointing books – the bigger the hype, the worse the book. But eventually I caved and bought the book because dang it, it’s about mechanical horse racing and has no romance in it – how often do you find that in a YA novel? Almost never. So I thought, what the heck let’s read this and see what happens.

There’s not a lot I can say without giving away too much of the book. However, one of the things I really enjoyed about this book, was the old characters that played a major role in the story. It’s not surprising that most characters in Young Adult novels are teens or in the early adult years, with some adults such as parents, filling in the gaps, but rarely do we see truly older characters who play a significant part in the overall story arc. Rags and Barney were a great addition to the book and it certainly wouldn’t have been the same without it.

The friendship between Astrid and Magnolia was also great. Friendship often plays a role in novels like this, but in Titans, it plays such a bigger aspect. They’ve been through a lot together, and continue to endure various struggles throughout the book. The friendship between the two girls and the old guys was also an important part and added an extra element to things.

The Titans and the races were also great. It takes normal horse races and adds more excitement and interest. Horse racing is great as is, but making the horses mechanical beasts and tracks that are designed to stop the riders and their Titans at every turn, is just magical.

I think the one thing that stopped me from liking this book more was that I went into it thinking it would be similar to The Scorpio Races by Maggie Steifvater. This led me to expect things from the book that I shouldn’t have, and when they didn’t happen I was left a bit disappointed. Had I gone into this book without assuming it would be like another book, I feel as though I would have liked it more. Even so, it was an enjoyable read and I feel as though this is a book that many people will enjoy.