[Mini Reviews] The House of Hades & Allegiant

I have been putting off writing reviews for these books because 1)I didn’t have time 2)I was too lazy 3)I was pretty much speechless and I had no idea how to write more coherent reviews. My feels were all over the place >_< Now that I’ve calmed down… here they are!

The House of Hades
(Heroes of Olympus #4)
by Rick Riordan
MG – Fantasy, Greek Mythology

House of Hades…boy you are definitely not a disappointment. This is, people, what I call a perfect balance between plot progression and character development. *HUGS BOOK*

Let me just go straight to the point. Compared to the previous installment, House of Hades has the most character development. It was, in fact, the book with the best character development I have ever read. I am not exaggerating but when you do read the book, you can’t help but to notice the changes that are happening to the characters.

Percy, the boy we have known as the loyal and kind type, seems to gain some darker sides. Piper has learned to kick some serious ass. Annabeth is showing some vulnerable sides and Jason is starting to discover himself – his identity. Hazel has a pretty important role in this one and Frank has matured SO MUCH! There are also Nico and Leo but I AIN’T TELLING ABOUT THEM ASDFGJKL:GFSDFGH AND >_< The main characters are all three-dimensional and each stands out in their own way. The spotlight isn’t focused to only certain character but everyone has the same chance to be the hero.

Additionally, there were moments that made me laugh, moments that made me relieved because the characters are okay, moments that made me terrified and worrying about the characters’ safety, moments that made me almost shed tears and obviously moments that made me swoon! SO. MANY. FEELS. I feel like I am not doing this book’s justice through this review but I just wanna say:

If you haven’t started this series…I URGE YOU TO DO SO <3

***
(Divergent #3)
by Veronica Roth
YA – Dystopia
A few days right after the release date, there were so many backlashes toward the book the average rating for Allegiant was actually around 2 stars and that made me so nervous and hesitant to read the book. And later I accidentally saw spoilers about the controversial ending and I was sure that it was the cause of the low rating. However, I am so glad that I decided to dive into this book with an open mind and you know what? I love the ending. I love the relationship between Four and Tris.
To be honest, I wasn’t impressed at first. The beginning was okay but I was having a hard time getting into this book. But when I picked it up again, the monotonous writing didn’t bug me anymore and I just went with the flow. Sure, the revelation of the worldbuilding was confusing as hell but what I loved the most in Allegiant is how Tris’s character has matured so much since Insurgent.

The second half of the book was very thought-provoking and it gave me a lot of things to ponder on. Each chapter builds up into the painfully magnificent ending. It was truly the most powerful ending I have ever read and it shows just how much Tris has grown since the first book. I don’t think there’s a better conclusion other than THAT and I genuinely respect Veronica Roth, for being such a Dauntless since there aren’t many authors who are willing to go to that direction.

***SPOILER AHEAD***

Although the ending had been spoiled to me, it didn’t take away my enjoyment or reduce the pain at all. I really liked how Tris and Tobias eventually trust each other and oh my god when Tris says, “I didn’t want to leave him,” or something like that I was like ASDFGFDSDGFKD T_T  

And Tris’s last moment with Caleb was sooo touching my face my eyes they were like a freaking waterfall — it was totally impossible to hide the tears from my mom. And then post-Tris Tobias is trying to live without her and until the last page of the book I couldn’t stop crying literally *sniffles* 

I first cried when Uriah is announced unrecoverable. It was another pool of tears when they unplug him.

***END OF SPOILER***

Overall, Allegiant left me thinking a lot, about the meaning of sacrifice, forgiveness and moving on. I know this book has its own flaws but considering what an emotion explosion the last 100 pages was, it will definitely be very memorable for me.

***
Oh man, I just realized that my mini reviews are actually quite long .__. Blahh I am too lazy to write separate reviews so anyway, I hope you don’t mind! 😀

[Mini Review] Demigods and Monsters

by Rick Riordan (and various authors)
MG – Essays Fantasy (Greek Mythology)

Which Greek god makes the best parent?
Would you want to be one of Artemis’ Hunters?
Why do so many monsters go into retail?
Spend a little more time in Percy Jackson’s world—a place where the gods bike among us, monsters man snack bars, and each of us has the potential to become a hero.
Find out:
Why Dionysus might actually be the best director Camp Half-Blood could have
How to recognize a monster when you see one
Why even if we aren’t facing manticores and minotaurs, reading myth can still help us deal with the scary things in our own lives
Plus, consult our glossary of people, places, and things from Greek myth: how Medusa got her snake hair extensions, why Chiron isn’t into partying and paintball like the rest of his centaur family, and the whole story on Percy’s mythical namesake.

Mini Review

Being a PJO/HoO and Greek mythology fan, I felt that I would love this. So I finally finished it and honestly I thought it was boring. Sure there were essays that I liked (such as Jenny Han’s Eeny Meeny Miney Mo(m): Picking Your Very Own Godly Parent) but I felt that reading this was like a chore or school homework I had to finish.

Well, I did finish this book.

However…I dragged my ass and skimmed through the second half.

This book is a collection of essays from other authors about PJO series. It wasn’t THAT bad, really. In fact, I learned cool stuff about Greek mythology through this book and I found some parts to be really funny. But I thought the Greek mythology sorta backfired and it started to get very tedious reading about all of them it was impossible for me NOT to skim. I doubt younger readers would find this fascinating enough…

Thank you Smart Pop Books and Netgalley for sending me the galley, this doesn’t affect my opinions at all.

Rating

2 Cakes!

[Review] The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

This review is of a re-read, I originally read this book in 2012.

The Mark of Athena
(Heroes of Olympus #3)
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Publication Date: October 2nd, 2012
Pages: 586 (Paperback)
Genre: MG – Adventure, Fantasy

Annabeth is terrified. Just when she’s about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon masthead, Leo’s fantastical creation doesn’t appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.

And that’s only one of her worries. In her pocket Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving demand: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close— the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?

Annabeth’s biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he’s now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader, but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side.

Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare…


Review
Oh, man. Seriously, Rick Riordan? THAT ending… This is the second time I read The Mark of Athena but that cliffhanger never fails to frustrate me. Good thing that The House of Hades is coming out in a few months and the cover will be revealed this week! Okay, onto the review.

Rick Riordan does it again. He has crafted this book (or this series) masterfully that you can’t help but being thrilled and basically all sorts of emotions while reading the seven demigods’ adventure to stop Gaia and her minions from destroying the world. The Mark of Athena has no less (or maybe more) action, humor and mystery than the previous books, but I have to admit this book has more romance than its predecessors since Percy is reunited with Annabeth, Piper and Jason are together now and Leo, Hazel and Frank are caught in a love triangle. The plot undoubtedly has no dull moments cause they keep facing dangers throughout their journey. I mean, once a problem is solved and the characters have a breath of air, another problem appears and that keeps happening until the end of the book. So. Many. Actions.

Now, let me talk about the characters cause I love them so much.

Percy is still Percy. I love him. He’s funny and protective. I enjoyed his POV. However, now he has to adapt to the fact that he’s no longer the “spotlight” — or leader or whatever you want to call it — in the group cause Jason is also a natural-born leader and some of them haven’t even met Percy before. In the beginning their relationship might be a little bumpy but gradually they start to trust each other more and work together well when facing enemies. Percy also develops a fear after his last bad experience with the Earth in The Son of Neptune and I think it adds another layer to Percy’s character, which is good cause it shows that he’s not that perfect after all. I like characters with flaws.

We finally get Annabeth’s POV! She’s one of my favorite characters from PJO series (I have quite a lot) and this time we get to see the world from her eyes. In this book, Annabeth has a really important role to unite the camps and heal her mother’s grudge toward the Romans. Annabeth has to follow the Mark of Athena to its source and her succeeding could change the course of war against Gaia, making this book has two plots (?): one about the seven’s journey to save Nico who is trapped in Rome, and the other about Annabeth following the Mark of Athena. I always know that she’s brave, smart and determined. But here she proves that she can overcome her fear and you don’t have to win by muscle, you can win by your intelligence.

I remember that I wasn’t a fan of Piper and bored with every of her chapters in The Lost Hero. But here she seems to improve a lot. I think I like her more. Although she’s not that good in direct combat, she saves the crew a few times thanks to her great strategies and now she earns my respect. I’m looking forward to her future development cause to be honest, I think she’s the least developed character of the seven.

Leo… Ah, my baby Leo. Probably the only guy who is funnier than Percy in this series. He never fails to make me laugh with his good sense of humor and never fails to make me sympathize with him. I think he’s an awesome character — apart from his unique ability — but he just doesn’t realize how great he is. He always feels like an outsider and I felt like giving him a hug at some point. I hope he’ll build himself confidence in the future and won’t blame himself for every problem. And he seems to have a tendency of falling in love with a girl he has no chance with. Rick Riordan, you’d better let him get a girl.

Speaking of Leo, he’s caught in a love triangle with Hazel and Frank. I really like Hazel and Frank but I’m really confused with whom Hazel should end up with. She’s cool and mature for her age. I’m a huge fan of Leo but after I re-read The Son of Neptune a few weeks ago, my love for Frank is growing as well. Rick Riordan better give a good resolution to this triangle. Perhaps get Leo a girl so Frank and Hazel can be together??

Same as Piper, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Jason in The Lost Hero. In this book I guess I started to like him more. Maybe because he can be funny and reliable sometimes even though he gets knocked out quite a lot in the beginning. And Coach Hedge! I kinda miss Grover (where the heck is he?) and the other character from Camp Half-Blood, such as Clarisse. But Coach Hedge gives a good entertainment and a few set of giggles throughout the book with his silly attitude.

Honestly I thought The Mark of Athena is the best of the series so far. Narrated by Annabeth, Leo, Piper and Percy, it has actions, humor, romance, mystery and heart-pounding moments. Of course, I can’t wait for The House of Hades, especially because of THAT ending and I’m sure Nico will have an important role ahead, assuming the title and his promise to Percy.

Rating:
5 Cakes!

[ARC Review] Paparazzi Princesses by Bria Williams & Reginae Carter (with Karyn Folan)

Paparazzi Princesses
Author: Bria Willams & Reginae Carter (with Karyn Folan)
Publisher: Cash Money Content
Publication Date: June 4th, 2013
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Genre: MG – Contemporary

Money and designer clothes. Fame and red carpet events. Front row concert tickets and expensive parties. 

That’s the good stuff . . . but being the daughter of a music mogul or a famous rapper isn’t easy. Step inside the lives of Kayla Jones and Promise Walker. As the daughters of two legends of rap music, trips, cash, designer labels and famous friends are just business as usual for Kayla and Promise. But so are the high expectations of super-successful parents, the drama of having two-faced friends, the not-always welcome glare of constant media attention and the hurt of nasty gossip. Add to that the ugly reality that some people would do anything to take their parents down—and Kayla and Promise face a daily struggle to figure out who to trust when everyone is blinded by their dad’s power. To make matters worse, sometimes, they’re not even sure of each other!

Review
You know, when I first read the synopsis for Paparazzi Princesses, I immediately thought of 52 Reasons to Hate My Father and how much I enjoyed that book. I’ve been wanting to read something light – basically not dystopia – and Paparazzi Princesses seemed right up my alley.

Paparazzi Princesses follows the story of Kayla and Promise as they face the challenges of being celebrities’ children. Told in Kayla’s and Promise’s point of views, at first I found it was easier to sympathize with Kayla. But as the story progresses and we get to know more of them, Promise grew on me and eventually I was rooting for her too. Their characters develop throughout the story and I liked that in the end they aren’t as shallow as they were in the beginning.

If only I could say the same about the supporting characters. Well, the parents are okay but I never liked Kayla’s friends and Promise’s too. They are annoying and they just wanna gain benefits from their friendship with the girls. Seriously, they’re the definition of fake friends. But that’s part of the girls’ challenges too and ultimately I was pleased with how Promise handles it. This book was predictable for me, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it. I think it is well written and suitable for middle grade audience because the language choice isn’t that complicated and easy to devour.

Paparazzi Princess is a fairly enjoyable and drama-filled read that tackles the challenges of being celebrities’ kid, why it’s important to be honest and stay true to yourself and figuring out who to trust might not be easy.

Huge thanks to Simon & Schuster and Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review this book!!

Rating:
3 Cakes!

[Mini Reviews] The Son of Neptune & Requiem

Hey! I re-read The Son of Neptune a couple weeks ago and haven’t written a review for it. I just finished Requiem last Saturday but I was too lazy to write a proper review so that’s why I wrote mini reviews for them!

(Heroes of Olympus #2)
by Rick Riordan
MG – Adventure, Fantasy
Percy is confused. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn’t know much more than his name. Somehow he has managed to make it to a camp for half-bloods, but it doesn’t ring any bells with him. The only thing he can recall from his past is another name: Annabeth.

Hazel is supposed to be dead. When she lived before, she didn’t do a very good job out of it. Now, because of a mistake she made back then, the future of the world is at risk. Hazel wishes she could rise away all on the stallion that appears in her dreams.

Frank is a klutz. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes, but he doesn’t see it. His bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially in front of Hazel, his closest friend. He trusts her completely – enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart.

Beginning at the “other” camp for half-bloods and extending as far as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment in the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and feature other remarkable creatures, all destined to play a part in the Prophecy of Seven.
Review
This is the second time I read The Son of Neptune and it was still amazing. In fact, I think I loved this book even more after re-reading. I liked Hazel and Frank more. I actually felt for Hazel, when she had those flashbacks, and her character developed well until the end of the book. I appreciated her bravery and her determination to protect the ones she loves. I sympathize with Frank and what I liked the most from him was his commitment to put duty first before his own life. He also became more confident in the end as he accepted his weaknesses and realized that he, too, has a gift. Before, I thought that Percy was the highlight of this book but now I realized that Hazel and Frank are as important as he is. Each character has his/her own moment to shine. The plot was unquestionably full of actions and I thoroughly enjoyed this book despite knowing the ending and all. I got to pick up the little things I missed and I was struck when I spot a few quotes that might foresee the future in the next books. And that made makes me scared. 🙁 But this book also gave me a good amount of humor. 🙂

5 Cakes!

***
(Delirium #3)
by Lauren Oliver
YA – Dystopia, Romance

As her country erupts in open rebellion, Lena fights for the resistance and must make a heartbreaking choice between two loves.
After saving Julian from a death sentence, Lena escapes with him and other members of the resistance. But as she embraces her love for Julian, a boy from her past returns and causes her to question everything.
In the meantime, Lena’s best friend, Hana, is engaged to Portland’s young mayor and is living a safe, proscribed, loveless life. The story is told from both Lena and Hana’s points of view.
As Lena struggles to save the people she loves, everything comes to a head in this exciting finale to Lauren Oliver’s epic trilogy. Requiem is a sophisticated, wide-ranging novel that explores the large issues of society, government, and resistance, and of course, there is romance.

Review
I really loved Delirium. And I thought Pandemonium was not as good as Delirium, but still loved it anyway. As for Requiem… You could say that I was disappointed. There were still elements that made me fall in love with this series in the first place (for example: beautiful writing). But there were also things that made Requiem less enjoyable for me. I felt the pacing in the beginning was slow to the point I almost wanted to throw this book away and do something else instead. Requiem is told in Lena’s and Hana’s POVs. I could distinguish who is who, but at times I thought the multiple POVs were useless. I would rather have a single POV, although Hana’s POV was quite interesting sometimes. The love triangle didn’t really work for me. The love interests were likable in the previous books but in this… I didn’t feel anything for them until the end I was leaning towards Alex (again). Speaking of the ending, most people thought it was disappointing. However I, surprisingly, was quite satisfied by it. I mean, when I first reached the ending I was like, “What?? Did it just end? That was the ending?” *checked the pages afterwards and found nothing other than the acknowledgement* Lots of questions popped up on my mind but not long after that, I actually felt pleased. 🙂

3 Cakes!