Book Review: Violet Grenade

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Oh this book. I don’t even know what to say.

Initially, I was fairly excited about this book. It sounded so intriguing when it was first introduced by the author months ago. Then I was lucky enough to get an early copy to review.

When I started reading this book, I was sucked into it pretty quickly. I didn’t want to put it down, and I wanted to know all that would happen. I read most, if not all of it, in one sitting. There were times when it felt repetitive, mostly involving things in the house, but otherwise, I still enjoyed it. I didn’t really fully understand Domino’s character at times, but I figured it would all make sense the further into the story I got.

Then I got to the end of the book and…hell, I don’t know what happened, but almost as soon as I finished the book, all the details of the books faded from my memory. I couldn’t remember most of it and honestly couldn’t tell you why I liked the book so much while I was reading it. I can’t explain it. I still don’t understand it myself, even a month later. I guess it’s just one of those books that doesn’t stick with the reader.

That’s it. Can’t really talk more about it since I honestly don’t remember the details of the book. If you haven’t read it and are curious about the story, go ahead and read it. You might like it, you might now, but you’ll never know until you read it.

Monday Progress Report

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Bird & Squirrel by James Burks

What I did Last Week

Read

It wasn’t the best week for reading. I ended up adding two books to the dreaded DNF pile. I tried to finish Lord of The Flies, but I just couldn’t be bothered with the second half of the book, which is disappointing because that was the one book that stuck with me from high school. Then, I started The Devil Wears Prada, made it about half way and had no desire to keep going.

Watched

I didn’t watch much last week. I watched three or four episodes of The Golden Girls. As far as movies go, I ended up watching Ocean Waves, which was alright, but not as good as I was hoping for.

Life

I played far too much World of Warcraft last week. Honestly, beyond that I did pretty much nothing because almost all of my waking hours were spent playing the game.

What I Plan To Do This Week

Reading

I started Cress on the weekend. I am a little but further than quarter of the way through it and enjoying it quite a bit so far. My plan is to focus on finishing this one over this week.

 

 

 

Watching

I don’t have any plans to watch anything specific this week. I will likely watch more of The Golden Girls and hopefully get around to watching some things on the PVR so I can delete them.

Life

The boy starts soccer this week, so my week will be full of games. On top of that, hubby is away hiking, returning at the end of the week, just in time for my parents to arrive for a week long visit. So, I will be once again cleaning the house unnecessarily just to make the visitors happy and give the illusion of a perfect life and home. Of course, I will also be playing World of Warcraft.

Book Series Review: Bird & Squirrel

                                                                        

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Back in January, my son got Bird & Squirrel On The Edge from one of his friends on his birthday. My son is not a reader, so seeing the excitement over the book told me this was something special. Then the fact that he read this book as soon as we got home from the party, instead of playing with the toys he got, I knew this was a great book. That same day we went online and ordered the other three books. A week later, we had the full series and my son eagerly started reading them as soon as he got home from school. Then as soon as he was down he brought them to me and asked if I wanted to read them. Seeing how much he loved these books, I knew I had to, plus I was curious about the books.

I read all four in one sitting. They were fast, fun reads. I can certainly see why my son enjoyed them so much. I have to say that between the friend heavy story line and the artwork, this was a wonderful collection of books. I won’t go into too much detail, but I will say that I think these are excellent books for kids, that show the value of friendship and the joys of adventuring with that friend, even if it is very unexpected.

Like my son, I do hope that there are more books coming out in this series, because it would be great to continue to see the friendship of Bird and Squirrel evolve with each book.

Book Review: The Sea of Monsters

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The second book in the Percy Jackson series is just as good, if not better, than the first. I won’t go into a lot of detail, mainly because I find it hard to talk about books part way into a series without giving away something important to the plot. And yes, I understand that most people have probably already read these books, but for those that haven’t, I want to keep this spoiler free.

I really enjoyed this book. It picks up almost a year after the first book, yet there is no gap in the story. Right from page one I was hooked and could have easily read this entire book in one sitting, had life not gotten in the way of course. The characters have come a long way since they were first introduced to us, and even throughout this book, there is good character development. Of course they still have a ways to go, but hey it’s only the second book in the series, so more growth will come with time.

This story has a nice fast pace to it, with something always happening. There were some good twists in the plot that made it all come together wonderfully. I can’t think of a single thing I didn’t like about the book. I love how the new characters introduced throughout this book helped and hindered the heroes in various ways. Some of this characters had unexpected affects on Percy and the quest he found himself on.

Overall, this was a great book. I think Rick Riordan does a wonderful job of melding the present day with ancient Greek myth. I cannot wait to continue on with this series and see what Percy and his fellow half-bloods must endure and overcome next.

Book Review: In Shade And Shadow

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

In Shade And Shadow is the first book in the second series in the Noble Dead Saga. Having recently finished the first series, I was eager to continue on and see what the second series had in store.

This book has a huge hump at the start. Honestly, I really struggled through the first hundred pages of this book. I just couldn’t get into it. The pace was so slow it wasn’t even funny, there were so many new characters being introduced I couldn’t keep track of all of them, and most of all, I found the lack of Magiere and Leesil to really hamper things. Wynn had always been a, I hate to say it, somewhat pointless character in the first series, and with this series focusing on her, I worry it will drag through all three books.

I nearly gave up on this one. If it had have been any other book, or any other series, I would have tossed into into my did not finish pile and moved on. However, I really want to read this entire series, so I can be done with it, and to get the the third series which focuses back on Magiere and Leesil. So, I slogged through it, telling myself that it would get better. Hoping that I was right.

Luckily, it did pick up. After that one hundred page hump, things started to get more interesting. I still couldn’t keep half the characters straight in my head, but at least the pace was picking up and the plot seemed to actually be going somewhere. It still didn’t have the appeal of Dhampir, but at least I didn’t want to throw the book across the room anymore.

One thing that annoyed me was all the special terms for everything. I get that authors want to give their book something that makes them unique, so they aren’t using the same terminology as every other book, especially when it comes to the fantasy genre, but oh my goodness, I couldn’t keep up with all the special names for everything. Not only were they hard to read/pronounce, there were so many of them that, like so many of the characters names, I couldn’t keep track of what was what. I wasn’t sure if I was reading about the city guards or a branch of the sage guild or something else. Sometimes, it’s better to just call them guard than trying to get fancy – especially when everything else has a fancy name.

I’m still not sure how I will feel about this series. It didn’t have the strongest start, but perhaps it will continue to pick up as it continues. Wynn’s character certainly has a long way to go to break out of her boring character bubble and become someone who I care about. Overall, this book was just simply okay. I will keep reading the series and hope that it does get better.

Book Review: The Empty Throne

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

So, after reading another Xena novel, Prophecy of Darkness by Stella Howard, I was eager to read more. Luckily, I had bought a few others at the same time, and so I dove into this one.

To say I was disappointed was an understatement. These books were so vastly different it was disturbing. Yes, they were written by different authors, so I expected them to be a bit different in the writing style, but where as Howard’s book felt like a written version of an unaired episode, Emerson’s was like a really bad fan fiction.

There was a lot that bothered me about this book. All too often, Xena was referred to as “The warrior”. Okay, fine, she’s technically a warrior, but why use that label more as a name than anything else. Also, Argo, Xena’s trusty palomino mare, was never referred to by her name. In fact, I can’t even recall the author stating that she was a mare. Anytime the horse was mentioned it was much like Xena, only ever being called “the horse”. Only, I can’t recall a single time when the horses color was even mentioned. I realize that is a small detail, but one that any Xena fan would expect to see in the story. I was honestly surprised that Gabriel wasn’t called “the sidekick” throughout the book given how things were going.

Add into the fact that the story line seemed to go no where. I realize that there isn’t always a direct line to the end and that sometimes things have to happen outside of a heroes initial quest in order to full move things along, but ugh what a slog this book was. Even half way through I felt like Xena, or should I say ‘the warrior’, was no closer to getting anything done that at the beginning.

To continue my list of unpleasantries. Let’s talk about Xena’s weapons. She has a sword, sometimes a whip and this thing called a Chakram. Unfortunately, time and time again, the author spelled it Chakra. Close, but not quite. It’s little missteps like that that really dragged the book down. I don’t know is she half-assed her or just never watched an episode of the show, but nothing felt right about this book.

Really the only reason I gave it two stars is because, in the end it is a Xena novel, as bad as it was, and it was mercifully short. If your a Xena fan, you can read this one if you want, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I really hope her other books are better, because I own two more.

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.