17. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Fantasy, Fiction, Teen Books · Tags:

The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton, 368 pages, read by Angie, on 08/17/2014

The old gods walk among us in the United States of Asgard. They are real and they are everywhere. Soren Bearskin is pledged to Odin as a berserker. It is a family legacy he does not want and fights against. Astrid Glyn is a seether pledged to Freya. She reads the future through visions and prophecy. When Balder the Beautiful fails to rise Soren and Astrid team up to find him and bring him back to the world. Their journey will take them all over the United States of Asgard. They find Baldor but he is not the god they know. They have to take him to find Idun’s apple orchard so he can remember the go he was. Their journey is not without its dangers and they are not prepared for the end. 

I really like books that bring mythology to the modern age and this one doesn’t disappoint. It is an interesting if sometimes confusing new world. I like that the Norse gods came to America and pretty much took over and made it their own; however, there wasn’t enough world building for me in this book. I wanted to know how they came here and when and how the United States of Asgard was formed. I truly enjoyed Soren and Astrid’s journey and Baldor was a hoot. I think this is a good start to a series, but I hope the future books explain a little bit more about the world other than giving places new names. 

05. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction · Tags: ,

Odin's Ravens by K.L. Armstrong, M.A. Marr, 342 pages, read by Angie, on 08/04/2014

Odin’s Ravens picks up right after the events of Loki’s Wolves. Matt, Fen and Laurie are headed to Hel to bring back their dead friend Baldwin. They hope that this mission will stop Ragnarok since Baldwin’s death is to start the apocalypse. In Hel they find Viking zombies, a river of acid, giants and Aunt Helen who agrees to help them. Once back in the real world they find that Ragnarok has not stopped and things are still progressing at a dangerous clip. Owen (Odin) enters the picture and decides to help them even though it limits his knowledge. Matt needs to find Mjolnir (Thor’s hammer). There are Valkyries, more Viking Zombies, wolves and battle goats! Seriously there are battle goats! It is an exciting time to be the living embodiment of a Viking God.

I think this series is a lot of fun. It is definitely for fans of Rick Riordan’s books and actually reminds me of them a lot. There is a lot of action and adventure, but you really learn about Norse Mythology. I like how the mythology isn’t shoved down the reader’s throat through a lot of exposition, but comes up naturally throughout the story. It is fun and fast-paced and I really can’t wait to see where the final book goes. The ending of this one was a bit of a slap in the face and I really want to see that resolved. 

20. October 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, Fantasy, Fiction · Tags:

The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus #4) by Rick Riordan, 597 pages, read by Angie, on 10/20/2013

Oh Rick Riordan, how you break my heart and put it back together in a completely different way. I have been reading basically everything Riordan has written and I am never disappointed. I will admit that when starting House of Hades I had pretty much forgotten everything that happened in Mark of Athena. Don’t ask me why, but I can’t remember that book. Doesn’t matter because House of Hades was AWESOME!

First of all, this was the character book. Sure lots of things happen but they all led to character development for all of our seven heroes, which I loved.

Frank basically becomes a man instead of a pudgy boy. He takes charge, bulks up, kills an army of poison-gas cows, then leads a ghost legion army. Jason names him praetor and Frank becomes “The Man”.

Jason has been mister rule-follower, goody-two-shoes, but we actually get more from him. Turns out he doesn’t want to follow the rules; he is all about change and making things better. And he decides he would rather be Greek!

Leo has always been one of my favorites and that didn’t change. Leo is crazy inventor man and does all kinds of things in this book (like building a personal helicopter while falling from the sky). The best thing he does is fall in love. That’s right…Leo and Calypso are going to open Leo and Calypso’s Garage: Auto Repair and Mechanical Monsters. They are too cute for words and I hope Riordan brings them back together soon.

Piper became kind of a bad ass instead of comic relief. She is always shooting things from her cornucopia (muffins anyone?), but her magic hasn’t ever been strong as some of the others. Then she wakes up Festus with charmspeak and defeats a goddess. She still loves Jason and her and Hazel become besties.

Hazel learns to control the Mist. She can now trick gods and goddess and mortals alike. I loved how she learned magic, with a little help from a farting weasel (there was a lot of gas in this book!). She is also seriously digging on the new and improved Frank. Hazel is basically the one to lead them to the Doors and Death and save the day. Go Hazel!

That leaves us with Percy and Annabeth who took a wonderful vacation tour of Tartarus. Tartarus is basically as horrible as the brochure promised. They have to drink fire water to stay alive and fight monsters every time they turn around. Thankfully, they have tour guide Bob the Titan and his skeleton kitten Small Bob to help them out. Bob and Small Bob might have been my favorite characters in this book and I really hope they come back.

Those are our main seven questers, but lets not forget Nico. He might not be a member of the quest but he is along for the ride and his revelation was a pretty big one. Turns out he is grumpy because he is in love with Percy and having trouble dealing with it. I loved how Riordan handled this revelation. Nico is hiding his feelings mainly because they are unrequited and he doesn’t know how his friends will handle it. But Jason is super supportive and accepting and I think the rest of them will be too. It is great to have a character like Nico in children’s books so that kids reading it who are feeling the same thing know they are not alone. I loved Jason’s line about how Nico can’t help how he feels or who he is. Basically, he needs to decide how he is going to go forward. Nico has always been kind of a shadow character and I think this explains a little bit why he sets himself apart. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book with him.

I really enjoy the fact that these characters are not really kids any more. They are older teens and they are starting to become the heroes they will be as adults. They are forming relationship and they are much more mature than in previous books. I wish I could say I have grown up with these characters, but unfortunately I am a little old to make that statement. I have really enjoyed watching the progression of this series however. Riordan writes awesome characters and stories. I love the mix of mythology and adventure. I love that I feel like I learn something as I am reading these books. He is always throwing in minor gods or monsters that most people haven’t heard of. Reading these books is like getting a really entertaining Greek/Roman mythology lecture. Can’t wait to see what happens in The Blood of Olympus.

31. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Tammy · Tags:

Hammered by Kevin Hearne, 326 pages, read by Tammy, on 12/30/2012

Book 3 of the Iron Druid series. Not my favorite of the stories so far. Very little time was spent with Oberon or the widow next door, so less humor in this book than the first two. Despite warnings from two other deities about dire consequences if he continues on his current path, Atticus keeps his word to Leif, his vampire lawyer, to transport Leif and several others to Asgard. Leif and his friends want to kill Thor (yes, Thor the Norse god of thunder)for crimes he commented against them. Each member of the traveling party tells the story of why he is on this revenge quest to the rest of the group and a lot is learned about each one, but especially Leif.

Will Leif get his revenge? Will any of Atticus’ party survive the journey?

16. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Classics, Fiction, Literary Fiction, Poetry, Tammy · Tags:

The Death of King Arthur: A New Verse Translation by Simon Armitage, 301 pages, read by Tammy, on 09/15/2012

A new translation of the alliterative poem written in Middle English around 1400 AD originally known as The Alliterative Morte Arthure. Simon Armitage who recently received acclaim for his translation of the classic alliterative poem, Sir Gawain and The Green Knight turns his talent to this classic. He follows King Arthur’s bloody conquests across Europe until his bloody fall, with many of his loyal knights, through a poignantly described burial scene. The language is still lyrical and moving in spite of being a translation.

15. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Graphic Novel, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags: , , ,

Mesoamerican Myths by David West, 48 pages, read by Tammy, on 09/14/2012

A brief introduction to Aztec and Mayan mythology with a couple of creation stories and details and information on other mythological deities in the Aztec and Mayan culture. There are serpents, gods, and heroic and magical twins.