Sunday, March 28, 2010

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Demigod Files

This is a cute companion book to the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. It presents itself as a "wow, we're sorry you're a demigod and look at all the horrible stuff you're going to face now" guide to being a half-blood. It has a few short stories about other adventures that Percy and his friends had in between the other books that are meant to give the new demigod an idea of the kinds of adventures he can expect with this bad turn in his life. It also has a map of Camp Half-Blood, some charts telling who the gods are and what they do, puzzles and other things one needs to know to be a demigod. It was fun and entertaining.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Twilight: The Graphic Novel: Volume 1

I figure most everybody knows the Twilight story so I'm just going to talk about the graphic novel in particular. The illustrator is Young Kim and she does a wonderful job. The characters seem almost magical in the drawings. She also has a very selective use of color that I find very interesting. I was also impressed with how well she told the story with so few words. I didn't feel like anything was missing or left out. I say if you're a Twilight fan, give the graphic novel a try. Although I must warn you, it doesn't cover the whole book. Looks like a second volume isn't too far down the road.

Book Five in the Graphic Novels Challenge.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Wesley Smith is an English professor at an average college in America. As his girlfriend breaks up with him, she grabs the book he's reading out of his hands, tosses it across the room and asks him why he can't read off the computer like everyone else. Out of spite, Wesley buys a Kindle but his Kindle isn't normal. First of all, it's pink. Secondly, it gives him access to much more information than he imagined. 

UR is the most recent short story/novella by Stephen King. Leave it to Stephen King to take a normally harmless everyday gadget and make it wicked (Christine, anyone?). This short story was narrated by Holter Graham and he did a pretty good job. It wasn't outstanding or terrific but it wasn't bad either. That's about my description of the book. I became addicted to Stephen King's stories at one point in my life and found his horror stories to be mesmerizing; however, it seems as if his stories have lost that it quality that they had before. I think the main reason is King doesn't really write horror stories anymore. It's kind of freaky to think that I could order a Kindle that would access different worlds but it's not that "I've got to stop reading because I'm too scared to go any further" type of scary. Guess I'll get off my soapbox now.

UR is a good short story just don't expect to be scared.

Story One in the Short Story Reading Challenge.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My Soul to Take

Kaylee Cavanaugh knows there is something wrong with her. Maybe she's even dying. She can definitely tell when people around her are about to die. Unfortunately, all she can do when she senses their imminent death is scream at the top of her lungs. And now, Kaylee's caught the attention of the hottest guy in school and she can't even enjoy it because teenage girls are dropping dead all around her.  I won't go into exactly what Kaylee's powers are so that I don't spoil it for anybody who decides to listen.

I just finished listening to this book and really enjoyed it. It's definitely a teen book but it was fun. Once the story got to going, I wanted to sit in the driveway and keep listening to the book. It's narrated by Amanda Ronconi. She was fantastic. I think half of what made this such a good listen was her narrating skills. 

Book Nine in the 101 Fantasy Challenge.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Coraline is an explorer and after she and her family move to a new house, Coraline finds a door that leads to a secret pathway to another house. This other house is eerily similar to Coraline's new house, it even has another mother and father. The problem is they want Coraline to stay there and be their daughter and to make sure she does, they have kidnapped her real parents.

I have heard a lot about this graphic novel and even started the movie once but I never finished it. Then I bought the book on an impulse buy the other day and I'm really glad I did. It's a wonderfully drawn book and at times it was downright scary. I was surprised at how much fear could be conveyed in so few words and pictures. At the same time, there were parts that were absolutely hilarious (most of those involved a cat). Anybody read Gaiman's Sandman? I'm thinking of adding it to my "books to read" stack.

Book Four in the Graphic Novels Challenge.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Last Olympian: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Book Five

Also known as the last book. The Last Olympian finds Percy and his friends fighting the battle of their lives. The Titans have risen and are making their march on Mount Olympus. The gods are fighting battles elsewhere and the demigods are left to protect Olympus and Manhattan on their own. If Percy and his friends are not able to save Mount Olympus, then there will be dire consequences not only for the gods but also for the mortal world and all of humanity.

I have flown through these books. And I must admit, they're not Harry Potter (but very few books are). But I did enjoy them greatly. They were fun. I loved all the mythological stuff and imaging what the gods' personalities would have been like in today's world. And I had to see how that darn prophecy was going to unfold. I also appreciated the way Riordan brought more personality to the minor characters in comparison to most authors. He also allowed them to play important parts and didn't always have his hero be the hero of the story. It kind of gives the little nerdy kid with glasses that everybody picks on hope that, even though he's not the star, he could save the day.

I think Rick Riordan did a wonderful job with these stories and I want more of them. 

Book Eight in the 101 Fantasy Challenge.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The Battle of the Labyrinth: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Book Four

In the fourth Percy Jackson book, the great battle between the Olympians and the Titans is drawing near. A weakness in Camp Half-Blood's magical borders has been discovered. Once again, in order to protect the camp, Percy and his friends must embark on a dangerous quest. This time, they need to solve the mystery of Daedalus' labyrinth buried deep underground in order to find the help they need. Oh, and manage to avoid all the deadly traps and monsters protecting the labyrinth.

Each one of the Percy Jackson books is better than the one before it. I consider that to be a good sign when the author keeps improving on his prior work. I like the way that Rick Riordan develops the main characters more in each book but at the same time introduces new characters that, although we never really get to know them, we see enough of them to empathize with them and care when something bad happens to them. I must admit, I am hooked on this series and a little sad that there is only one more book and then I'm done. On the other hand, I hate that I have to work tomorrow and can't spend the morning reading that last book and finding out if Percy fulfills the prophecy (wonder if Percy will manage to fulfill the prophecy yet live the same way that Harry Potter did?).

Book Seven in the 101 Fantasy Challenge. 

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The May Queen: Women on Life, Love, Work and Pulling It All Together in Your 30s

The title of The May Queen is pretty self-explanatory. This is a collection of essays written by women in their 30s talking about how they learned that turning the big 3-0 wasn't the end of the world and how their lives really came together in their 30s. I'm not exactly sure how I felt about this book. I had very high hopes for it. I am in my 30s. When I saw this book in a magazine, I thought it was a great idea so I got it on inter-library loan to read. I had hoped to be inspired by the book but the essays left me a little flat. It's not that the essays were bad. In fact, they were very well written and entertaining for the most part. I just couldn't relate to the essays. Most of the women that contributed essays to the book found their happiness by getting married and having children in their 30s. My road doesn't travel down that direction right now. As a matter of fact, I can't see myself as getting married with all the other things going on in my life. But that doesn't mean that my life is unfulfilled because I'm in my 30s and haven't settled down with a husband and children.

I've learned a lot in my 30s. I quit my job and went back to college in  my late 20s, graduated in my 30s. In that time, I learned a lot about people and starting over. I moved away from  my family and learned to stand on my own two feet. I lived alone and learned how to live with myself and not be afraid to have myself over for dinner. Moving to a strange town on my own forced me to face my fears, let down my guard a little and let others in even if my heart got a little bruised along the way.

When a medical tragedy struck my family, I learned just how important that family back home was and how powerful of an emotion familial love is. Together my family has learned to lean on one another. We've learned to be grateful for what we have. I've learned that, even though we might argue and fight, my sister is an amazing woman (who turned 29 for the first time this year) that will be there for me when I need her. Together, she and I can tackle any obstacle put before us. I've also found out that God gave me some pretty amazing friends that love me and accept me for who I am (what's more they listen to my endless theories about Lost and what I heard on such-and-such podcast and my undying love for a certain Firefly captain).

I'm 34 years old and what I've learned most in my 30s is to trust in myself, my family and friends, to stand on my own two feet, that succeeding in life isn't about making the most money or possessing things, and mostly I've learned that every once in a while, I've got to trust in others to take care of me.

The essays weren't bad, I just wish the editor had worked harder to find essays that reflected women being strong and "pulling it together" without relying on a man or children because I know I'm not the only woman out there that's found other pathways to happiness.

The Titan's Curse: Percy Jackson & The Olympians: Book Three

In The Titan's Curse, Percy Jackson sets out on another quest with his friends to rescue the goddess, Artemis, and his friend, Annabeth, who have been kidnapped by Luke and another mysterious monster known as The General. On top of that, two new demigods of unknown parentage have been found.

This is easily my favorite of the Percy Jackson books so far. It was much more fast-paced, the characters were much more developed and it was plain fun. I enjoyed the twists at the end regarding the prophecy. Only two more books to go and I will have finished the series!

Book Six in the 101 Fantasy Challenge.