Unique Blogger Award

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A huge, HUGE thank you to both Maxine @ The Rogue Storyteller (who tagged me back in March) and Empress @ Empire of Starlight for nominating me for The Unique Blogger Award! Maxine has some very thoughtful book reviews and awesome recommendations so go check her blog out! Empress also has some great book reviews and she’s just a wonderful person inside and out so go check out her blog too!

Rules:

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.
  • Ask them three questions.

Maxine’s Questions

  1. What’s your favorite retelling of a story/folktale? This can be in the form of a book or movie.Oooh, my favorite retelling. I guess I’d have to say the Lunar Chronicles because I haven’t read many retellings I liked. Out of the Lunar Chronicles, Winter (Snow White retelling) is probably my favorite.
  2. Are there any characters that you think deserved a better ending than they got?You mean ALL OF MY BABIES WHO DIED?? YES! SO MANY! (I’d also like to not spoil anything for anyone so let me refrain from actually making a list of characters who deserved very much to live).
  3. If you could be any book character for a day, who would it be and why?
    Image result for kamala khanThis is such a hard question! As much as I’d love to be any of the Six of Crows crew, I’d kill myself and the team in seconds. I’m actually going to go with Kamala Khan (aka Ms. Marvel), she is still trying to get used to her newfound superpowers, we have similar family backgrounds and I think her powers are super cool.

Empress’ Questions

  1. If you could have any fictional power, what would it  be and what would you do with it?Related imageI’ve always liked force field manipulation/creation the best. I don’t think I’d do anything special with it really, just learn how to reach things with my field so I wouldn’t have to go get it, maybe use a force field to levitate myself, protect myself from a nuclear apocalypse, etc. etc.
  2. What is your favorite/most hated YA trope?Favorite: The Chosen One trope, I just love the whole your destiny is blah blah blah story line for some reason.

    Most hated: insta-love. No, just no.

  3. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life what would it be? 

    I… would rather not read for the rest of my life than choose among my children. I cannot and will not do it.

My Questions

  1. If you could bring any book character from their world to yours so you can be friends, who would you pick?
  2. What hobby would you like to pick up that you haven’t already?
  3. Do you like happy endings or sad but realistic endings?

I Tag You

(I’m going to tag some blogs I found recently that I loved. If you’ve already done the tag, feel free to disregard.)

 

Should novel length fanfiction count towards your Goodreads goal?

fanfiction

I have always loved reading fan fiction so I can stay in a book world I love longer, to follow the characters’ lives or just see how other fans interpret and expand the book. There have been an ongoing argument on Goodreads on whether or not fanfiction should be added and counted on Goodreads as a book.

I recently finished a novel length Harry Potter next-generation fan fiction. It was better written than a lot of novels I’ve read, a good size (would be at least 300 pages if put to paper), and had a complex story expanding on the ideas in Cursed Child (here is the link if you’re interested, I thought it was fantastic). So my question obviously is, can I count this towards my Goodreads goal?

I know as book bloggers, there are what we call real books which are published books and then there are other reading material that aren’t published books. But there’s also the fact that there are many fan fiction that are published books: Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro, even Harry Potter and the Cursed Child since it wasn’t written by Rowling. So if a printed fan fiction can count as a book, does that mean all fan fiction can count as a book? (I am speaking specifically of novel length fan fiction, short ones obviously do not count).

What’s your take on this? Do you think long fan fiction should count towards your Goodreads goal?

November OwlCrate Box!

I know I’m posting pretty late since the November box came towards the middle of the month but most of you probably know by now that I’m anything but punctual. Well, I have my good days. 🙂

I subscribed to OwlCrate on a whim. I heard the November box’s theme was Wonderland and I knew Heartless by Marissa Meyer was coming out in November so I assumed that was going to be the book. And I’m SO HAPPY I got it. I am very satisfied with this month’s box, I loved every item! (Well, almost every item anyway).

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List of items that came in the box:

  • An exclusive hardcover edition of Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  • A handwritten and signed letter from Marissa Meyer about Heartless
  • A quote card from Heartless 
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Alice in Wonderland bookmark to match the book
  • Alice in Wonderland postcard and pin
  • Alice in Wonderland magnet that says “Imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality”
  • Exclusive Wonderland tea in a lovely collector’s tin box
  • An absolutely beautiful brown metal bookmark that looks like a small looking glass

I think I got more than enough for my money’s worth. The only problem I had with this box was the tea. I am a tea addict, and I’m not saying tea addict because I just happen to love tea but I am literally addicted. That said, I couldn’t drink this tea. Something about the flavor just did not appeal to me. I’m definitely going to be using the box it came in though, it’s BEAUTIFUL.

Overall, I would say this box deserves a five out of five stars.

**If you’re planning on subscribing, use the code WELCOME10 to get 10% off of your first OwlCrate box! Next month’s theme is EPIC and will feature goodies related to Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings and Narnia.

Are you subscribed to OwlCrate or are planning on subscribing? If you are, did you like the November box?

The Book Life Tag

Wow, it’s been a while since I posted something. Nine days. That seems like a lot though in retrospect, it really isn’t. What better way to start off again than a book tag? I was tagged by the wonderful Stellah @ The Little Book Nerd’s Life. Check her out, she’s awesome!


Who would your parents be?

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I would say Dante’s parents from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamis Alire Sáenz. They are both hilarious, very supportive and just overall loving people.


Who would be your sister?

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I already have a younger sister and I’ve always wanted an older one. Honestly, I would love both Jane and Lizzy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen as sisters. Jane’s kindness and Lizzy’s witty intelligence are exactly what I need in sisters.


Who would be your brother?

I would absolutely love having Nico diAngelo from the Percy Jackson series as a little brother. Also Ender from Ender’s Game except his intelligence will always make me self-concious. I guess we’ll just go with Nico then.


Who would be your pet?

Church! From the world of Shadowhunters. That cat is immortal I tell you. He’s been in all three Shadowhunter series so far.


Where would you live?

Ooo… hmm…. the Wizarding World after Harry defeated Voldemort. I feel the need to specify the after. 


Where would you go to school?

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Well, I guess the obvious answer would be Hogwarts. Though now that I just finished The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater, Aglionby Academy is now up there on the list. If only I was privileged, rich and a guy.


Who would be your best friend?

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This one is hard. I think I’ll go with Cath from Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. She’s a little quirky, a bookworm, super shy and writes fanfiction. We’re essentially the same person.


Who would be your significant other?

I know I’ve named Pride and Prejudice already but I can’t just NOT say Mr. Darcy. Because, MR. DARCY!! And following close behind is Will Herondale from the Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare.


This was fun! Does anyone have the same answers? Do the tag if you haven’t already!

Review: “The Hidden Oracle” by Rick Riordan

26252859~o~Rating~o~
4 tp

Warning: The following contains spoilers for its two prequel series Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus both by Rick Riordan. This is the first book to the Trials of Apollo series. 

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favour.

But Apollo has many enemies – gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go . . . an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

~o~Review~o~

Do you have to read the other two series to read this? No, not really. But it would help with your understanding of the book so it is highly recommended. And wouldn’t you rather know the full history behind these characters?

**Note: Again, spoilers for the first two series coming up. Not major ones but beware anyway.

I am SO glad I liked this book. Because, well, Blood of Olympus was horrible. I refused to consider that book a true conclusion so I was very excited for this chance to revisit my favorite characters. I kept my expectations at bay because after BoO and Magnus Chase (which was another disappointment), I didn’t have much hope left. I was not disappointed!

Back to first person point of view! Honestly, the third person of HoO wasn’t working out very well. Apollo’s pov is nothing like the usual sarcastic-jokester Riordan protagonist. Apollo is whiny, self-centered and egocentric and I LOVED it. His mortal name? Lester Papadopoulos. Any other character who acted so pathetic would bother the Hades out of me but this is Apollo. He gets a freebie.

Meg was a wonderful addition to this world. She is a fierce twelve year old demigod living in the streets. She rescues Apollo right after he, quite literally, falls from Heaven. Apollo and Meg have a pure friendship and it seems like this is the first time two main characters won’t be in a relationship in these series.

To those who are wondering if you see Percy and gang. Kind of. You definitely see Percy. And SOLANGELO IS CONFIRMED! It is no longer a thing of fanfiction!

Four stars because as much as I liked it, it didn’t have enough WOW factor to make me love it. And I wish it was longer. Only 361 pages? That’s not nearly enough.

~o~Spoilers Alert!~o~

Since I can’t help myself, here are some of my favorite scenes.

“Yep,” Percy agreed. “That pretty much describes my entire life: Because Poseidon.”

Percy is just so done with this world.

“But the truth is we gods are a little in awe of you mortals. You spend your whole lives knowing you will die. No matter how many friends and relatives you have, your puny existence will quickly be forgotten. How do you cope with it? Why are you not running around constantly screaming and pulling your hair out?”

Apollo gave me a serious existential crisis.

And I love all the jabs Riordan makes at, dare I stay it, stupid people.

At this point, you may be wondering how I felt seeing my son with Nico di Angelo. I’ll admit I did not understand Will’s attraction to a child of Hades, but if the dark foreboding type was what made Will happy…

Oh. Perhaps some of you are wondering how I felt seeing him with a boyfriend rather than a girlfriend. Is that’s the case, please. We gods are not hung up about such things. I myself have had… let’s see, thirty-three mortal girlfriends and eleven mortal boyfriends? I’ve lost count.

The casual he talks about homosexual relationships in a middle grade book is honestly one of the greatest things I’ve ever read. Hats off to Riordan!

“Nico,” I said at last, “shouldn’t you be sitting at the Hades table?”

He shrugged. “Technically, yes. But if I sit alone at my table, strange things happen. Cracks open in the floor. Zombies crawl out and start roaming around. It’s a mood disorder. I can’t control it. That’s what I told Chiron. “

“And is it true?” I asked.

Nico smiled thinly. “I have a note from my doctor.”

Will raised his hand. “I’m his doctor.”

“Chiron decided it wasn’t worth arguing about,” Nico said. “As long as I sit at a table with other people, like … oh, these guys for instance … zombies stay away. Everybody’s happier.”

Will nodded serenely. “It’s the strangest thing. Not that Nico would ever misuse his powers to get what he wants.”

“Of course not,” Nico agreed.  

Every Solangelo scene in was just too perfect! I’m glad I read this at home because I would just start squealing whenever they came up. A few more of these and I’ll put them above Percabeth! (Well… maybe a tie).

Nero waved dismissively. “But the Christians were terrorists, you see. Perhaps they didn’t start the fire, but they were causing all sorts of trouble.”

As a Muslim, I found this contrast absolutely hilarious.

“Eh,” Leo said. “We took Gaea in, like, forty seconds. This’ll be easy squeezy.”

I seemed to recall that the lead-up to the fight with Gaea had involved months of suffering and near misses with death. Leo, in fact, had died.

Who trolls their readers better than Riordan? I believe this was a jab to all those (including myself) who complained about the BoO end scene to be too short and anti-climactic. And that none of the heroes died, which was actually great.

Other random thoughts:

Percy studying for the SAT’s just so he could go to college with Annabeth. If that’s not true love, I don’t know what is. Especially since we know, Percy Jackson hates studying.

Austin and Kayla were pretty great and I’m glad we finally got to know them a little more.

Little Harley is so cute!

Leo and Calypso are going with Apollo! Not going to lie, I’d much rather have Will and Nico go but Leo is good too.

That Percy and Calypso reunion! I wish Annabeth was there.

I did not see the Meg thing coming! She’s Nero’s stepdaughter! This is one of the first times a Riordan book actually surprised me.

 

Review: “The Sword of Summer” by Rick Riordan

 ~o~Rating~o~
3 tp

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

~o~Review~o~

“Myths are simply stories about truths we’ve forgotten.”

I tried, guys, I really tried. I mean, after Blood of Olympus, my expectations weren’t even that high. But… Magnus Chase really did just seem like Percy Jackson with a different name and heritage. The connection we felt with Percy in the beginning of Lightning Thief wasn’t there at all. Maybe this is just me being biased, since I pretty much grew up with the Percy Jackson books, but in comparison, Magnus Chase felt too predictable and boring.

Magnus’ character wasn’t developed very well. He keeps bringing up the fact that he was homeless for two years but it just doesn’t fit with his personality. I understand that Riordan uses humor as a teaching method but it was just too much. Towards the middle of the book, I ended up just skimming the pages because I couldn’t wait for the book to be over.

PROS:

Annabeth! I wish she was in the book more. I honestly only continued the book in the hopes of seeing her.

Finally a Muslim character in a Riordan book! One of the three stars up above is just for having Samirah. Even though some of the plot around her doesn’t quite add up (the fact that she is a Valkrye for Norse gods yet she’s Muslim. And that she takes off her hijab whenever she wants to in front of other men… usually, you either wear it or you don’t). But minor issues aside, the diversity made me really happy.

Review: “Glass Sword” by Victoria Aveyard

23174274~o~Rating~o~
2 tp

Warning: This review contains spoilers for  the first book in the series Red Queen.

~o~Goodreads Synopsis~o~

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.
But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

~o~Review~o~

After being horribly disappointed with the first book, I don’t know why I continued reading this series. Actually, I do know. I just can’t stay away from people with cool powers no matter how tiring the story is. The first book had potential so I guess I wanted this series to get better. Where did that leave me? Horribly disappointed again. I don’t understand why people are so obsessed with these books.

Most of Glass Sword was just plain boring. So many new characters were introduced but none of them were given any depth. The descriptions were heavy and there was a lot more telling than showing. Details in a book are generally good but huge information dumps are just confusing and… well, annoying. Even the action scenes seemed to drag on to the point where I would just start skipping paragraphs of unnecessary description.

And then comes my hatred for Mare. It’s not even a strong dislike anymore: I seriously hate this girl. She’s a whiny brat who thinks she is the only person in the world who understands pain. She treats all her friends like background characters, using them when needed and leaving them behind when she didn’t. She doesn’t trust anyone but expects everyone to trust her to make the “right” decisions. She just makes me angry!

Unless I’m completely out of books, I will definitely not be continuing this series.