Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review: A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix

Title:  A Confusion of Princes
Author:  Garth Nix
Genre:  YA science fiction
Pages:  337

Rating:  D

Synopsis from  Garth Nix, bestselling author of the Keys to the Kingdom series and Shade's Children, combines space opera with a coming-of-age story in his YA novel A Confusion of Princes. Superhuman. Immortal. Prince in a Galactic Empire. There has to be a catch.... Khemri learns the minute he becomes a Prince that princes need to be hard to kill--for they are always in danger. Their greatest threat? Other Princes. Every Prince wants to become Emperor and the surest way to do so is to kill, dishonor, or sideline any potential competitor. There are rules, but as Khemri discovers, rules can be bent and even broken. There are also mysteries. Khemri is drawn into the hidden workings of the Empire and is dispatched on a secret mission. In the ruins of space battle, he meets a young woman, called Raine, who challenges his view of the Empire, of Princes, and of himself. But Khemri is a Prince, and even if he wanted to leave the Empire behind, there are forces there that have very definite plans for his future.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This book was just blah all around, which is why it was torture to force myself to finish it even though I'd just gotten The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter and Scarlet by Marissa Meyer yesterday.

A Confusion of Princes had an interesting concept, but it was poorly executed.  The first half of the book spent way too much time explaining this futuristic universe and all of its sci-fi gadgets, and therefore the second half of the book was incredibly rushed.  The romance, personal character growth, and "epic" final battle were so quick and anticlimactic.  The book would probably have made a much better trilogy, rather than a stand-alone.  The first book could have been about introducing Khemri, his universe, and the journey he has to undertake.  The second book would have been about the journey itself, meeting and falling for Raine, and Khemri's personal growth and maturing.  And the final book could be about Khemri's final epic battle with the other Princes for the position of Emperor.

The main character Khemri is another reason I couldn't stand this book.  He's an arrogant, selfish, whiny jerk who I couldn't wait to stop reading about (honestly I only skimmed most of the last 150 pages).  And of course, because of how rushed the second half of the book was, his romance with Raine was ridiculous insta-love.  He barely knows her at all, and then poof! he's in love with her, and this love has changed his personality from a self-centered brat to a courageous, self-sacrificing man.  At least the book was a little more honest than some by showing that Khemri's feelings start out as lust, but it changes to love so quickly, I felt like I had whiplash.

I know a lot of people love Garth Nix's writing, and I read a lot of reviews from his fans that this is one of their least favorites of his books.  This was my first experience with his work, and if it hadn't been for those reviews, I would probably never read another of his books because I disliked this one so much.  But since Nix's other books are supposedly better, I'll give him another shot.  D

P.S.  Now I'm going to torture myself more by waiting even longer to start Scarlet and The Goddess Inheritance, because I still have two more books from the library to read before I can start my new books.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Book Review: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Title:  Something Wicked This Way Comes
Author:  Ray Bradbury
Genre:  Fantasy/Horror
Pages:  215

Rating:  A

Synopsis from  A masterpiece of modern Gothic literature, Something Wicked This Way Comes is the memorable story of two boys, James Nightshade and William Halloway, and the evil that grips their small Midwestern town with the arrival of a “dark carnival” one Autumn midnight. How these two innocents, both age 13, save the souls of the town (as well as their own), makes for compelling reading on timeless themes. What would you do if your secret wishes could be granted by the mysterious ringmaster Mr. Dark? Bradbury excels in revealing the dark side that exists in us all, teaching us ultimately to celebrate the shadows rather than fear them. In many ways, this is a companion piece to his joyful, nostalgia-drenched Dandelion Wine, in which Bradbury presented us with one perfect summer as seen through the eyes of a 12-year-old. In Something Wicked This Way Comes, he deftly explores the fearsome delights of one perfectly terrifying, unforgettable autumn.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Opening Line:  "First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys."

That opening line had me hooked.  From the moment I picked it up, Something Wicked This Way Comes kept me glued to its pages.  It's both a coming-of-age horror story and a poetic & philosophical allegory about life and love.  With beautiful writing, some good characters, and a suspenseful story, this book was definitely worth losing sleep over.

The main characters of the story are Will Holloway and Jim Nightshade, and even though the story's mostly about them, Will's father Charlie plays a very central role too.  Each has an interesting and unique personality, and each represents a different type of person.  Will is essentially the good guy and the representation of contented youth.  When the "carnival" comes to town, he feels a slight temptation towards it and what it offers, but for the most part, he recognizes its evil and tries to avoid it.  His friend Jim is severely tempted by it though.  He represents the youth who wants to grow up, who wants to experience life and take risks.  It's his actions that essentially get the boys into the mess they're in.  And Charlie is the old man longing for his youth back.  He's the voice of reason and wisdom.

The three of them get caught up in an exciting plot that kept me on the edge of my seat.  Lots of suspense and "monsters" and magic.  The narrative was for the most part fast-paced and full of action.  There were moments, however, where the story dragged a little because Charlie talks a lot and what he says is deep and philosophical.  Some people could get bogged down with all of his talk (even Jim and Will comment on it), but I enjoyed it... most of the time.  There was one chapter towards the end, when the suspense was killing me, that Charlie talked a bit too much, and I just wanted him to shut up.  But that's my only complaint.

But I think the one thing that really won me over was Bradbury's writing.  His style is so descriptive and poetic; it's easy to forget you're reading a scary story since the writing is beautiful.  I just wanted to get lost in this little town of Will and Jim's and smell the cotton candy and hear the calliope and run through the streets with them.  Bradbury just made everything come to life through his writing.  My favorite passage in the whole book is when he talks about the town library.
The library deeps lay waiting for them.  Out in the world, not much happened.  But here in the special night, a land bricked with paper and leather, anything might happen, always did.  Listen! and you heard ten thousand people screaming so high only dogs feathered their ears.  A million folk ran toting cannons, sharpening guillotines; Chinese, four abreast, marched on forever.  Invisible, silent, yes, but Jim and Will had the gift of ears and noses as well as the gift of tongues.  This was a factory of spices from far countries.  Here alien deserts slumbered.  Up front was the desk where the nice old lady, Miss Watriss, purple-stamped your books, but down off away were Tibet and Antarctica, the Congo.  There went Miss Wills, the other librarian, through Outer Mongolia, calmly toting fragments of Peiping and Yokohama and the Celebes.
Something Wicked This Way Comes is my kind of scary story.  Suspenseful, interesting, beautifully written, and containing a deeper meaning.  Now I just want to pick up more of Bradbury's books and bury myself in them.  A

Top Ten Tuesday #13

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is the top ten authors you have on your "auto-buy" list.

This topic turned out to be kind of depressing for me, because apparently a lot of my favorite authors died during the last few years - Madeleine L'Engle, Anne McCaffrey, Brian Jacques, Dianna Wynne Jones, and Ray Bradbury.  I think there's someone else I'm forgetting, but you get the point.  So I had to rethink my list of authors, and here's what I came up with:

The Top Ten Authors on My "Auto-Buy" List
  • John Green because...
    • The Fault in Our Stars
    • Hazel & Augustus
    • Paper Towns
    • An Abundance of Katherines
    • The vlogbrothers and nerdfighters
  • Rick Riordan because...
    • The Percy Jackson series
    • The Kane Chronicles
    • Percy & Annabeth
  • Robin McKinley because...
    • Beauty
    • Spindle's End
    • Rose Daughter
    • Chalice
  • Terry Pratchett because...
    • The Discworld series
    • The Wee Free Men
    • Death
  • Patricia C. Wrede because...
    • The Enchanted Forest Chronicles
    • Mairelon the Magician
    • Dragons!
  • Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman because...
    • The Dragonlance Chronicles
    • The Dragonlance Legends
    • The Raistlin Chronicles
    • More dragons!
  • Suzanne Collins because...
    • The Hunger Games
    • Peeta
  • Caragh M. O'Brien because...
    • Birthmarked
    • Prized
    • Leon
  • Veronica Roth because...
    • Divergent
    • Tris & Tobias
  • Kaitlin Bevis because...
    • The Daughters of Zeus series
    • Hades & Persephone retelling
    • Crazy cliffhangers!
And I know technically he shouldn't be included because he falls under the "Authors I Love But are Dead" category, but I'm including him anyway because his son keeps publishing his works posthumously.
  • J.R.R. Tolkien because...
    • The Lord of the Rings... enough said.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Book Review: Promised by Caragh M. O'Brien

Title:  Promised
Author:  Caragh M. O'Brien
Series:  Birthmarked trilogy #3
Genre:  YA dystopian
Pages:  304

Rating:  B

Synopsis from  After defying the ruthless Enclave, surviving the wasteland, and upending the rigid matriarchy of Sylum, Gaia Stone now faces her biggest challenge ever.  She must lead the people of Sylum back to the Enclave and persuade the Protectorat to grant them refuge from the wasteland.  In Gaia's absence, the Enclave has grown more cruel, more desperate to experiment on mothers from outside the wall, and now the stakes of cooperating or rebelling have never been higher.  Is Gaia ready, as a leader, to sacrifice what--or whom--she loves most?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I was both anticipating and dreading this final book of the Birthmarked trilogy.  Part of me was so excited to see where Leon and Gaia's romance would lead, while another part of me was reluctant to have the series end.  And even though Leon & Gaia's romance is awesome in this book, overall Promised disappointed me.

As soon as I picked up Promised and saw how much thinner it was than the previous two books, I was nervous.  Usually a series' final book is bigger than the previous ones because there's so much to include, so many ends to tie up.  O'Brien's finale seemed so short and choppy and rushed.  The beginning half of the book felt like it was building up to something more dramatic, but then it felt like the author ran out of ideas and threw together an ending.  It was just too abrupt.

The characters, rather than the plot, were the real draw to the story.  Gaia's brother Jack returns, and their other brother "Pyrho" is introduced.  It was really nice seeing them as a family unit.  Gaia frustrated me at times though.  She just made some of the worst decisions, and sometimes she acted like a spoiled little girl.  She seemed to have forgotten how to be a good leader.  Her relationship with Leon was perhaps the one thing that kept me connecting with her.  It was pretty much the only part of the book that I really enjoyed wholeheartedly.  (Mostly because I love Leon!)  But the way the author handled how things ended between Peter and Will and Gaia was such a cop-out.

I also thought that the addition of the "baby factory" plot-line could have provided tons of interesting story ideas, but it fell flat.  The synopsis led me to believe that it was a huge deal to the story, but it was nowhere near as dramatic or as integral to the plot as it originally sounded.

As the final book of a trilogy, Promised should have been way more climactic, with more action, intrigue, and drama.  The only thing it really delivered on was the romance.  And even though I did enjoy reading the book, of the three books in the series, this is my least favorite.  B

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Random Thoughts - February 21st

Have you ever noticed how well food and books go together? 

Pick up almost any book, and it's bound to have food included in it somewhere.  Whether it's in a travelogue or memoir describing the delicious and exotic foods the author experienced, or a fantasy novel with its own unique fruits and vegetables and dishes that are unlike anything in the real world, food is an integral part of our lives, and therefore, it has invaded even our reading.  Just look at the title of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love.  It's the first part of her story.  Or Marlena de Blasi's A Thousand Days in Tuscany.  That book is both a food-lover's and a book-lover's dream.  Besides telling the story of Marlena and her husband's move to a new place and the friends they make there, it also includes enticing descriptions of the food they ate, along with the recipes.  And venturing outside of non-fiction, there's the lembas waybread of The Lord of the Rings, the lamb stew in the Hunger Games, J.K. Rowling's butterbeer.  The food in these novels (and TV shows) have inspired their own unofficial cookbooks.

I think part of the reason why food is such an integral part of many stories is because it's a universal common denominator.  Every culture has its own unique traditions and history, and while the flavors might be different, food is one of the few aspects that crosses culture divides.  When reading Chocolat by Joanna Harris, some people might not connect to the culture of the gypsies or the rural French villagers, but they all understand the chocolate and cravings and sumptuous meals, whether they actually like the sweet or not.

Another way that food and books combine well is simply through enjoying a meal or snack while reading.  How amazingly comfortable is it to curl up with a good book and some delicious food?  In the winter, I love to read books about warmer climates or seasons while sipping some hot cocoa.

Eating while reading can also help us experience a story in an entirely different way.  When I'm reading Jane Austen or Georgette Heyer novels, I just have to have a cup of tea beside me, and sometimes even some tea cookies.  It provides another layer of depth to the connection I feel with the characters and settings.  I'm obviously not the only person who's felt this way, or the book Tea With Jane Austen wouldn't exist.

If you share these feelings about reading and eating, or if you simply like books, then there's a restaurant you need to check out.  Traveler Food and Books in Union, Connecticut is a small cafe/travel stop that caters to book-lovers.  While the food hasn't been called spectacular (it's your typical diner fare), the atmosphere and free books more than make up for it.  That's right; I said "free books."  The restaurant is filled with books; bookshelves line the walls and separate the tables.  Diners are encouraged to browse for a book they'd like to read while enjoying their meal.  And when the meal is over, you can take up to three free books home with you.  Any more than three, and there's a charge of course.  And if you can't find anything in the dining room upstairs, there's a small bookstore downstairs that you're welcome to peruse.

So these are my random thoughts for the day.  Part of what inspired it is that I was thinking of what to make for dinner and to bake for work tomorrow, while also trying to figure out when I'd have the time to finish Promised and read The Return of the King to Siobhan (both books actually make me thirsty).  And the other half of my inspiration was the totally awesome picture below, which I found when researching the 2013 Food Book Fair in NYC.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #12

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is top ten characters in X genre.  But which genre to choose?  I'm very sure I can think of way more than 10 characters for fantasy.  And part of me wishes that I read more contemporary YA just because I want to talk about Augustus Waters!  But instead, I'm going to go with my new favorite genre- Dystopian.

Top Ten Characters from the Dystopian genre
  1. Peeta Mellark (The Hunger Games)  -  Team Peeta!  Honestly, he's half the reason I read the trilogy.  Strong, supportive, and sweet, he's the perfect balance to Katniss's hard-edged personality.
  2. America Singer (The Selection)  -  I love America because she's straightforward and honest and independent.  She's also very compassionate and thinks of those around her first, even during scary situations.
  3. Leon Grey (Birthmarked)  -  I'm so in love with Leon!  He's strong, confident, and sexy, as well as a little rough around the edges.  Plus, he sacrifices his freedom to help Gaia, and then goes through hell just to be with her again.  Super romantic!
  4. Gaia Stone (Birthmarked)  -  Gaia is a great character because she's not afraid to stand up for her beliefs or for her family.  At one point, she seems to lose her way for a bit, but she eventually finds herself again and grows more as a character.
  5. Four/Tobias Eaton (Divergent)  -  I think I love Tobias for almost all the same reasons that I love Leon, with the added advantage of having sexy knife-throwing skills.
  6. Tris Prior (Divergent)  -  At first, I didn't really like Tris, but as her character grew in the book, I started to like her more and more.  You can see both her strength and her vulnerability as she adjusts to a completely new lifestyle.  And she's great for Tobias because she's strong where he's weak, and vice-versa.
  7. Day/Daniel Altan Wing (Legend)  -  My main reason for loving Day is his obvious love for his family and friends.  He's willing to go to extreme lengths, practically killing himself in the process, to protect his little brother and his traveling companion.
  8. Nick, Cas, Trev, & Sam (Altered)  -  So I really love these characters as a unit, rather than individually (although each one is pretty awesome on his own too).  Each guy has a unique personality and set of skills that they bring to their group, and their differences balance each other out and make them a great team.
  9. Ky Markham (Matched)  -  Ky is so intriguing I can't blame Cassia for being drawn to him.  He's sweet, dependable, and completely trustworthy.  He has all the qualities of the boy-next-door with some quiet mysterious thrown in.
  10. Guy Montag (Fahrenheit 451)  -  Guy's emotional journey and personal growth make an amazing read.  You can feel his inner conflict as he struggles with the book-burning society he's a part of.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Book Review: Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien

Title:  Prized
Author:  Caragh M. O'Brien
Series:  Birthmarked trilogy #2
Genre:  YA dystopian
Pages:  400

Rating:  A-

Synopsis from  Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but her baby sister, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime.  In order to see her sister again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code, but how can she deny her sense of justice, her curiosity, and everything in her heart that makes her whole?

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Well, I finally did it.  I made myself pick up Prized, the second book of the Birthmarked trilogy, after putting it off forever.  I'm so glad I read it, but now I'm almost done with this trilogy, and I don't want it to be over.

First, the romance!  I'm so head-over-heels in love with Leon!  I don't know how Gaia could have resisted him.  I mean, he crossed a wasteland and endured prison to be with her.  Seriously, Gaia, what more could you want from the man?  In the beginning of the book, I admit Leon wasn't the nicest guy, but I honestly couldn't blame him, since he was just reacting to how Gaia had handled their situation.  And he wasn't too thrilled with the whole love-square going on.  Brothers Will and Peter both want Gaia, and they're both pretty awesome too.  But I'd still pick Leon.

I also thought the new setting/Dystopian society of Sylum was really interesting.  A society ruled by women in a population that's mostly male, that's dying off due to the sheer lack of females.  The hierarchies of this new society were a big contrast from the Enclave of the first book, and those differences created some good storylines and conflict, especially between Gaia and the ruling Matrarc.

One of the things I didn't particularly enjoy in the book was Gaia's wavering on her principles (even if I don't agree with them).  Eventually she figures out how to be strong and to stand up for what she believes in, but not before having the fight kicked out of her for a while.

Now I need to start the final book, Promised, and I'm dreading it, simply because it's the final book.  I'm hoping it's as good as, if not better than, Prized, because I really loved this book.  A-

Book Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

Title:  The Girl of Fire and Thorns
Author:  Rae Carson
Series:  Fire & Thorns #1
Genre:  YA fantasy
Pages:  423

Rating:  A

Synopsis from  Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The Girl of Fire and Thorns was a great read, with all of the best parts of the fantasy genre - adventure, romance, battles, magic, prophecies.  The plot wasn't always fast-paced, but it was still so exciting and interesting that I didn't mind the parts that slowed down a bit.

One of my favorite aspects of the whole book was the main character, Elisa.  She's definitely an atypical fantasy heroine.  Elisa starts out her adventure as a shy, overweight bookworm who doesn't feel ready for her new marriage or for the act of service she's been chosen to do.  She's a reluctant heroine from the very beginning.  I love how her character grows throughout the book, as she deals with political intrigue, war, and romance.

I thought the author did a very good job incorporating her world's religion into the story without it ever getting either preachy or anti-religious.  The setting is similar to Old World Spain in the days of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, and the religious aspect of the story seems to match the Spanish Catholic church of that age, minus the Inquisition and the magic/sorcery of course.  After all, in real life, God never put big jewels in the belly-buttons of those He chose to be His prophets.

There was some romance in the book as well.  Considering what happens during the book, I honestly think poor Elisa should just not fall in love ever.  It doesn't seem to work out well for her.  Although, I think I have a feeling where the series is heading as far as Elisa's love life is concerned, but I may be wrong.  Especially since I wasn't expecting the way the romances in this book turned out at all.

Overall, Girl of Fire and Thorns was a great first book to a series with lots of excitement and adventure, as a well as a nice balance of politics and romance.  And best of all, the story has a main character who isn't a perfect Mary-sue; she's imperfect and honest about who she is.  Definitely looking forward to the next book.  A

Friday, February 15, 2013

Library Haul - February 15th

Recently, I started going back to my local library.  In the past, I usually just bought the books I wanted or thought looked interesting, simply because my library is very small and doesn't have a huge selection.  And even though they have a county-wide sharing program with other libraries, I still can't get my hands on a lot of books.

But now a new dilemma is preventing me from continuing my book-buying ways - a decided lack of money.  I'm not even willing to buy myself new clothes, despite the fact that all my current clothes are too big.

So back to the library I go.  Last night, I took my Valentine's "date", my little sister, to the library (before going home to bake cupcakes and read The Return of the King aloud), because she loves to read as much as I do.  She even reads super-fast like I do, so I'm sure she'll be coming with me on my next trip to the library too.  While I was there, I picked up four books that I'm definitely looking forward to, and which inspired me to start a new feature - the Library Haul.

This week's Library Haul:

Friday Finds - February 15th

FRIDAY FINDS is hosted by Should Be Reading and showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (They're not necessarily books you purchased.)

Here are this week's finds:

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Book Review: Underworld by Meg Cabot

Title:  Underworld
Author:  Meg Cabot
Series:  Abandon Trilogy #2
Genre:  YA mythology retelling
Pages:  318

Rating:  B+

Synopsis from  Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn't dead. Not this time.

But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey. Her captor, John Hayden, claims it's for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they've come back as Furies, intent on vengeance... on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves.

But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there... and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies. And unless Pierce is careful, this time there'll be no escape

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

What an improvement!  Underworld is so much better than Abandon, which is what I'd been hoping.  It still wasn't the best-written book I've ever read (Show; don't tell!), but so many of the things I disliked in the first book weren't in this one.

First, we got a little more character development for the other characters, besides Pierce.  In the first book, all the development went to Pierce, and everyone else was kind of flat.  This time, John and Kayla and Alex all get some much-needed background stories and personality.  It made me much more invested in their characters and stories.

Second, John and Pierce were much better characters overall.  They weren't nearly as annoying, they worked well together, and their romance got a little more depth.  That doesn't mean that Pierce didn't still say or do stupid things, because she did.  Or that John stopped overreacting, because he did that too.  But it was on a much more normal, smaller scale.  And their relationship, while I'm still so mad that it started as an insta-love, had its ups and downs like any typical relationship.  If by typical, you include Furies trying to kill you and spending eternity in the Underworld.

Third, like Abandon, Underworld had some really good plot twists.  Once again, Cabot surprised me with the ending.  The book wasn't action-packed, but the pace was fast, and there was enough happening to keep me engaged.

There were some things that bugged me.  I really hate Richard Smith and his lectures.  His whole point of being in the story is simply to fill in the blanks on how the Underworld and death deities work in almost encyclopedia form.  At the same time, there were parts that felt like they didn't get enough information, and I was left wondering what I'd missed.  But what annoyed me most was Cabot's writing.  There were some moments of dialogue that sounded so over-the-top and melodramatic, I laughed when I read them, which I'm sure wasn't the emotion Cabot was trying for.

Still, Underworld definitely seemed like a huge step up from Abandon.  With more character development, a more realistic relationship drama, and a fast-paced plot, this second book was a great read, and now I'm really looking forward to the final book of the trilogy, AwakenB+

Book Review: Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Title:  Tiger Lily
Author:  Jodi Lynn Anderson
Genre:  YA fantasy/retelling
Pages:  292

Rating:  C

Synopsis from  Before Peter Pan belonged to Wendy, he belonged to the girl with the crow feather in her hair. . . . Fifteen-year-old Tiger Lily doesn't believe in love stories or happy endings. Then she meets the alluring teenage Peter Pan in the forbidden woods of Neverland and immediately falls under his spell.

Peter is unlike anyone she's ever known. Impetuous and brave, he both scares and enthralls her. As the leader of the Lost Boys, the most fearsome of Neverland's inhabitants, Peter is an unthinkable match for Tiger Lily. Soon, she is risking everything--her family, her future--to be with him. When she is faced with marriage to a terrible man in her own tribe, she must choose between the life she's always known and running away to an uncertain future with Peter.

With enemies threatening to tear them apart, the lovers seem doomed. But it's the arrival of Wendy Darling, an English girl who's everything Tiger Lily is not, that leads Tiger Lily to discover that the most dangerous enemies can live inside even the most loyal and loving heart

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I usually love retellings and revampings of classic stories, but I definitely did not love this one, even though I really wanted to.  Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson is not just the story of Peter Pan told from a different point-of-view.  It's a complete overhaul of the original story; the characters, Neverland, the plot - everything is changed.

I did like a few things about the story.  Two of the secondary characters were my favorite.  Nibs, one of the Lost Boys, and Pine Sap, a friend of Tiger Lily's, were both great characters; their kindness and compassion made them likable.  And even though I know most people disliked the fact that the story is narrated by Tink, I actually enjoyed it.  It was interesting getting inside her head and seeing things from her perspective.

Unfortunately, Tink's narration could have been better had the writing been better.  So many cliches, so much heavy-handed thinking.  Almost all resemblance to the original story has been removed; there's no magic, no flying, no John & Michael.  And there wasn't a lot of action or really much of anything to grab my interest and hold it.  I can usually read a book this size in a morning, but it took me three days to read because I kept putting it down.  I just couldn't get into this book.  Another good reason for that was the characters.  With the exception of Nibs and Pine Sap, I thought most of the characters were annoying or wooden.  I especially disliked Peter and Tiger Lily; Peter for being such a needy jerk and Tiger Lily for having no personality at all.  And the inconsistencies throughout the book drove me nuts.  Tiger Lily's tribe was perfectly okay with a man who wanted to be a woman, but how dare Tiger Lily not act more like a girl?  They're so open-minded about transgender people, but also perfectly okay with forcing a young girl into marriage with an abusive, womanizing slob.  And finally, I wish these authors would keep their political/social agendas out of fantasy novels.  I pretty much expect to find that kind of thing in contemporary fiction, but seriously, in a story about Tiger Lily and Peter Pan?

If the writing had improved during the book, or there had been more action, or the characters not been so unlikable, this would have been a better book.  C

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #11

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish.  This week's topic is your top ten favorite romances in books.  First off, how to choose?  Do I only want to include the most recent romances that I've fallen in love with, or just the classics that I've loved forever?  I guess the best compromise is do to some of both.  Second, I'm scared to read other people's lists.  I have a lot of catching up to do with my reading, and I really don't want to read any spoilers.  But at the same time, I want to see what other people have to say.  So torn!

My Top Ten Eleven Favorite Romances in Books
  1. Elizabeth Bennett & Mr. Darcy from Pride & Prejudice  -  This couple will probably be on a lot of people's lists, but honestly, it makes sense.  The sparks, the tension, the banter.  These two laid the foundation for what all good romances should be.
  2. Jane Eyre & Mr. Rochester from Jane Eyre  -  Yes, I realize that their love story is a messed-up one.  The whole crazy-wife-in-the-attic thing is definitely a problem.  But I love Gothic romances, especially ones that are as passionate and real as Jane and Edward's.
  3. Sir Percy Blakeney & Marguerite from The Scarlet Pimpernel  -  Speaking of passion, Sir Percy and Marguerite are an amazing example.  Because of something in Marguerite's past, Sir Percy puts distance between the two of them.  But he never stops loving her; he just refuses to let her see it.  I mean, the man loves his wife so passionately that after she leaves the room, he kisses the ground where she walked.
  4. Arabella & Robert Beaumaris from Arabella  -  I love Georgette Heyer romances, and this couple is one of her best.  Arabella is so open and charming and different from the other debutantes that Robert Beaumaris can't help falling for her.  But not before wreaking some havoc in Arabella's life as payback for a moment of silly pride.  The adventures that ensue are funny and sweet and romantic.
  5. Lord Carlyon & Elinor Rochdale from The Reluctant Widow  -  Another Georgette Heyer romance, and perhaps the best of them all.  Lord Carlyon & Elinor have the most awesome conversations.  They're both witty and sarcastic, and they drive each other absolutely nuts at times.  Their banter is amazing; I just love the two of them together.
  6. Ron & Hermione from the Harry Potter series  -  I think everyone had the same reaction when Ron & Hermione kissed in the final book - "Finally!"
  7. Peeta & Katniss from The Hunger Games  -  I'm not even sure if it's the couple I love or just Peeta.  But I knew for sure that I didn't want Katniss to end up with Gale; the two of them were both so hotheaded, they would have killed each other.  Peeta was just what Katniss needed - strong but even-tempered.
  8. Percy & Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series  -  Another "finally!" couple.  And their relationship gets even better in the new series.  That ending to Mark of Athena?  Well, if Annabeth didn't know how Percy felt before that, she most certainly knows now.
  9. Hazel & Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars -  I can't even talk about how much I love this couple because if I do, I'll start bawling.  Their story is both beautiful and heartbreaking.
  10. Tris & Tobias from Divergent  -  Definitely the most recent romance I've added to my favorites list.  I love these characters together, because they balance each other out; where one is weak, the other is strong.
  11. Persephone & Hades from Persephone (& other retellings)  -  I have said it multiple times, but I'll say it again.  I heart this couple.  I've read so many retellings of their myth, and one of my favorites is Persephone by Kaitlin Bevis.  Her account of Hades & Persephone's relationship is passionate and intense.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Random Thoughts - February 11th

Besides Disney World, I think bookstores are my favorite places in the whole world.  Not big chain stores, like Barnes & Noble or Borders (although they have their merits), but the unique ones, whether they're hole-in-the-wall used books shops or large outside-of-the-box bookstores.  This year, I have three weeks of vacation, and while two of them are already planned, the third is wide open for ideas and planning.  So I decided to look for some fun bookstores to visit.  And these were my favorites.

Ler Devager in Lisbon, Portugal

Atlantis Books in Santorini, Greece

Plural Bookshop in Bratislava, Slovakia

Cook & Book in Wulowe-Saint-Lambert, Belgium (my absolute favorite; each genre has its own room, decorated to match).

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Book Review: Cinders & Sapphires by Leila Rasheed

Title:  Cinders & Sapphires
Author:  Leila Rasheed
Genre:  YA historical fiction
Pages:  400

Rating:  Incomplete (didn't bother finishing it)

Synopsis from  Rose Cliffe has never met a young lady like her new mistress. Clever, rich, and beautiful, Ada Averley treats Rose as an equal. And Rose could use a friend. Especially now that she, at barely sixteen, has risen to the position of ladies’ maid. Rose knows she should be grateful to have a place at a house like Somerton. Still, she can’t help but wonder what her life might have been had she been born a lady, like Ada.

For the first time in a decade, the Averleys have returned to Somerton, their majestic ancestral estate. But terrible scandal has followed Ada’s beloved father all the way from India. Now Ada finds herself torn between her own happiness and her family’s honor. Only she has the power to restore the Averley name—but it would mean giving up her one true love . . . someone she could never persuade her father to accept.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Ever read a book that you just knew was going to be awful, after only reading the first three pages of the prologue?  I read the first couple of pages of Cinders & Sapphires, and I didn't even want to finish the prologue.  The prologue!  But I forced myself to keep reading.  After all, there was a chance it could get better, right?  Wrong.  I gave up on page 174.  The terrible writing, the flat characters, and the practically stolen storylines from Downton Abbey - I just couldn't make myself read it.

Leila Rasheed both tries too hard and not enough with her writing.  She loves the flowery descriptions, often going crazy with her adjectives.  It just feels like she must have had a thesaurus open next to her the entire time.  On the other hand, there were times when her writing felt cliched and juvenile.

And the characters had no depth to them at all.  Two-dimensional and stereotyped, they were bland and boring.  I didn't care if Ada never made it to Oxford or ended up with her insta-love Ravi.  I didn't care if Rose discovered the scandalous secret of her parentage.  Honestly, I couldn't connect with any of these characters because they had no personality to draw me to them.

But what irked me most of all was the fact that this book, described as "Downton Abbey for teens", is pretty much nothing more than a blatant rip-off of the TV series.  When I first heard about this book, I was super excited because I love Downton Abbey.  The intertwined lives of the upper class and their servants has led to some amazing books and TV shows in the past, ones that I have really enjoyed.  But none of them was an obvious copycat of another show or book.  Don't waste your time with Cinders & Sapphires; if you love Downton Abbey like me, then just stick to the show.  Incomplete

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Book Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

Title:  Prodigy
Author:  Marie Lu
Series:  Legend #2
Genre:  YA dystopian
Pages:  384

Rating:  A

Synopsis from  June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.  But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Why are these authors doing this to me?  First, it was Aimee Carter's Goddess Interrupted, and now it's Prodigy by Marie Lu.  These authors are killing me with their cliffhangers!

I didn't love this book as much as the first, but I still loved it.  I think the biggest reason I didn't love it quite as much as Legend was because of Tess and Day.  Tess's character in the first book is great; she's sweet and innocent, and you can see how much Day cares about her.  Now that's she's a little older and has been separated from Day for a while, she's grown a little bitter, especially about June.  I just don't like her at all in this book.

Besides that one complaint, I really enjoyed Prodigy.  The plot had plenty of action and some unexpected twists that I didn't see coming.  And of course, I love that the story switches narration between June and Day, each with their own font.  Like the last book, Day's writing matches the cover so this time it's blue, instead of yellow.  And it was really exciting to see more of Lu's dystopian America.  This story took place outside of Los Angeles, so you get to see how other parts of the country have changed.

Honestly, I thought a lot of the material in this book was the kind of stuff you'd find in the final book of a series, not the second.  I'm really intrigued to see where Lu is going to go with the final book, Champion.  Based on the ending, I know a big part of it is going to be about Day & June's relationship.

And about that ending?  Unbelievable.  I don't want to wait a whole year for Champion.  I need to know what's going to happen between Day and June now.  A

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #10

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish.  This week's topic is your top ten bookish memories.  I feel like my life has always (or at least from 5th grade) had books at its center, so it was really hard to choose which of my memories are the best.

My Top Ten Bookish Memories
  1. Reading aloud with my family  -  When I was around 8-years-old, my mom read the first book of the Unicorn Chronicles by Bruce Coville to my brother and me.  It was so much fun, and she'd always stop right when the story was getting good, so that there'd be a cliffhanger every night.  When the next book came out years later, I read it aloud to my brother and younger sister.  And now, I'm reading the Lord of the Rings aloud to my youngest sister.  It's so much fun to watch people's reactions when you read them a story, and it's also a great bonding experience (which is awesome since my youngest sister and I are 15 years apart).
  2. My 5th grade teacher reading aloud to the class  -  Mrs. Stender would use whatever free time we had, whether it was the last ten minutes of school or a rainy recess, to read books out loud to our class.  At that time, I liked books, but I didn't really love them, until she recommended more books like the ones she read to us.  She was the first person to inspire me to read more, and I will always appreciate that.
  3. Reading Little Women  -  One of the books my teacher recommended was Little Women, and I loved it.  It was the book that started my reading obsession.  I've read it a hundred times since then, and I could pick it up again today and love every minute of reading it.
  4. Book club with my best friend  -  In high school, my best friend Mary and I were part of a book club called T.I.G.E.R.- teenage independent girls enjoying reading.  It was run by the girls who were in the club, so each month a different person picked which book we'd read next and what activity we'd do based on the book.  It was so much fun, and we read tons of good books and played awesome games.  One of my favorite times was the first meeting, which Mary ran.  We read Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli and made our own homemade porcupine ties.
  5. Reading I Capture the Castle  -  This book is one of the major reasons I want to be a writer.  As soon as I read that opening line - "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink" - I fell in love with the story, the narrator, the writing.  I wanted more than anything to write a book like this one, a book that stays with you long after you've read it.
  6. Deciding to be a writing major  -  When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to major in, where I wanted to go in life, one constant remained the same - I wanted to write.  I love so many different things, and I probably would have been just as happy majoring in education or political science or history or psychology.  But no matter what I chose, I knew that I also had to write.  So it seemed that the best course of action was to major in what I loved so much.  And despite the fact that a creative writing major doesn't guarantee a bestseller or even a decent job, I do not regret my decision at all.
  7. Self-publishing a poetry chapbook  -  In college, I took a poetry class, and part of the class was writing and then publishing a small book of poetry, using the college's editorial/print center.  That first book was not my best.  Some of the poems were really good, but most were blah.  Then for my independent study, I decided to do advanced poetry, specifically concrete poetry or image poetry.  The chapbook I made for that is probably my best work, and it was incredibly satisfying to see it actually printed and in book form.
  8. Starting this blog  -  I started this blog at the suggestion of one of the homeschooling moms I'd known since my mom started homeschooling me in 7th grade.  She also attends the same church as me, and one Sunday after worship, we were talking about my future.  It had been two years since I'd graduated college; I was working for the newspaper but not in a writing capacity; and I hadn't written anything in a long time.  She told me that I should start a blog about anything I wanted; I just needed to do it to keep writing.  And so I did, and I love blogging, even if I'm not always great at keeping up with it.
  9. Attending the Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows release party  -  My friends had ordered their copies of HP7 and were picking them up at the Barnes & Noble midnight release party in Palisades Center.  I hadn't ordered the book, but they invited me to come, and we had a great night.  We had dinner at one of the mall restaurants, got our faces painted, and just had fun hanging out together.
  10. Reading The Fault in Our Stars  -  This book has reaffirmed my desire to be a writer.  I've been out of college for almost six years now, and I cannot remember the last time I actually wrote anything.  It was really discouraging to think about, and then I read this book (and an awesome email from a coworker), and now I can feel that passion again.  Books like TFiOS are not only beautiful, but also inspirational, and I know that even if it's not tomorrow or next month or even this year, I am going to write that story/book.
And technically, I know this really doesn't count since it hasn't actually happened yet, but I'm so excited for it and I know it's going to be an awesome memory...
  • Attending BEA 2013  -  When I first heard about BEA, I was in college and couldn't attend.  Then when I graduated, I didn't think there was any way I could go since I was working for a food store at the time.  Now I'm both an employee of a media/publishing company and a book blogger.  I have made a promise to myself that I am going this year.  I'm purchasing my ticket this week (after payday), and I cannot wait to meet other book lovers and bloggers and authors and publishers.

Book Review: Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter

Title:  Goddess Interrupted
Author:  Aimee Carter
Series:  Goddess Test #2
Genre:  YA mythology retelling
Pages:  304

Rating:  A-

Synopsis from  Kate Winters has won immortality. But if she wants a life with Henry in the Underworld, she'll have to fight for it. Becoming immortal wasn't supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she's as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he's becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate's coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans.

As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.

Henry's first wife, Persephone.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

GAH!!  That cliffhanger!!  How could you do this to me, Aimee Carter?!  Even if I'd hated the book (which I didn't), I would have to pick up the third one to see what happens next.  Thank goodness, The Goddess Inheritance comes out this month, so I don't have to wait too much longer.

So much drama!  Let it be known that all of the crazy relationship tension in this book could have been avoided if A) Henry & Kate actually talked to each other in the beginning or B) Henry actually opened up about his feelings or C) the two of them hadn't been so dense.  Obviously this crazy relationship drama had to happen, or the book would have been cut in half, but sometimes this couple frustrated me, especially Kate.  Seriously, Kate, stop comparing yourself to Persephone and stop expecting Henry to just forget her in the blink of an eye.  But Kate can't take all the blame.  Henry is equally to blame at times; he cannot expect Kate to read his mind to figure out how he's feeling, and while he obviously needs time to let go of Persephone, he also shouldn't be putting her first when Kate's in the same room.

That being said, I still really loved the book.  The plot, while not action-packed, is still fast-paced.  I never lost interest or felt like the story was dragging.  During the book, Kate travels through the Underworld with Ava and James, and it was really interesting to see how Carter handled the setting.

Calliope is back as the villain, but this time she has a much more powerful ally - the titan Cronus, who's been imprisoned in the Underworld and is thirsty for revenge.  They made great antagonists; I mean, you could feel the hate coming out of Calliope.  The other smaller characters didn't have as much time to shine in this book; the main characters were still Kate, Ava, Henry, and James.  And I have to say, the more I read about James, the more I dislike him.  They did introduce Persephone, and I was definitely not a fan of her.  She wasn't terrible, but overall, I couldn't wait for her to go back to her perfect little afterlife with Adonis.  I think my favorite new character is Ingrid, the first girl who attempted the goddess test.  She's sweet, smart, and practical; she gives Kate great advice too (if only she'd listen).

But the most awesome part of Goddess Interrupted was that cliffhanger!  I cannot believe the book ended that way, and it is driving me nuts that I have to wait to read the final book.  A-

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title:  Divergent
Author:  Veronica Roth
Series:  Divergent #1
Genre:  YA dystopian
Pages:  487

Rating:  A+

Synopsis from  In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I cannot believe it took me this long to finally read Divergent.  This book was so amazing; it is an incredible young-adult dystopian novel that I would place on the same level as The Hunger Games.

I loved the plot and the concept.  The idea of society being split into five factions based on personality preferences was creative, and it got me to thinking - "Where would I end up?"  The five factions are Dauntless (bravery), Amity (love/peacefulness), Abnegation (selflessness), Erudite (knowledge), and Candor (honesty).  When a teenager turns sixteen, they take an aptitude test to discover where the tests say their paths lie.  Someone who has a strong passion for learning would be told they're an Erudite, or someone who's very brave would be a Dauntless.  But the teenagers don't have to follow the test results; they're allowed to choose whichever path they want.  Tris grew up in Abnegation, where she's taught to put others first before herself, but she realizes that she wants to be somewhere else.  And it's when factions transfer that the tensions begin to start.  It definitely makes me wonder where I would be.

The best part of the book is the characters.  The main character, Tris, is believable as a girl struggling to find her place in this factioned society.  When she learns that she's different, a Divergent, she still chooses the path she intended to, but constantly lives in fear of being discovered.  Her fight to be accepted in her new home and to earn her place among her peers is gritty and real.  I was a little nervous at first, because I wasn't sure if I liked Tris in the beginning.  But as her character grew more and more comfortable with her surroundings, I started to like her more.  Her mentor, Four, is a great character as well.  He's strong and hard and proud of being part of the Dauntless faction, but he still holds onto his ideals and his vision of bravery and selflessness.  There are so many secondary characters; my favorites were Uriah, Will, and Christina.  Because there are a lot of characters, I was worried the secondary ones would seem flat, but each one gets enough character development and personality to make them seem as real as Tris and Four.

The romance in this book was awesome, because it wasn't insta-love.  It built slowly and believably over time.  Tris and Four are my new favorite dystopian couple since Katniss and Peeta.  

The setting of dystopian Chicago was brilliant.  I've never been to Chicago, but I really felt like I was there.  I could picture the Sears Tower, or the Hub as they called it, and the surrounding suburbs.  I'm really intrigued to read more about it in the next books since the story takes place in only a few parts of Chicago.

I think that Divergent is one of the best dystopian novels I have ever read.  With great characters, an incredible setting, and an intricate plot, this book was an extremely satisfying read that left me wanting more.  Now I just cannot wait to get the sequel and see what happens to Tris and Four next.  A+

Friday, February 1, 2013

Friday Finds - February 1st

FRIDAY FINDS is hosted by Should Be Reading and showcases the books you ‘found’ and added to your To Be Read (TBR) list… whether you found them online, or in a bookstore, or in the library — wherever! (They're not necessarily books you purchased.)

Here are this week's finds (I was too lazy to include cover art this week):
  • Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne  -  A post-apocalyptic novel about a group of kids trying to survive on their own.  Sounds pretty cool.
  • Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox  -  A girl stumbles on a valley filled with children who can do magic, and it turns out she can do it too.  While it's not really an original premise, I still think it could be interesting.
  • Tides by Betsy Cornwell  -  I love mythology retellings, especially myths that aren't popular or well-known.  This book deals with selkie folklore, which I don't know a lot about, so I'm definitely intrigued.
  • Seeking Persephone by Sarah Eden  -  Technically this is historical fiction, but it's following the same storyline as the Hades/Persephone myth.  And that's my favorite myth, so I'll absolutely be picking up this book soon.
  • The Wicked & the Just by J. Anderson Coats  -  A historical fiction novel focusing on both the privileged and the servants set in the 13th century.  Sounds like a medieval Downton Abbey.
  • The Son of Sobek by Rick Riordan  -  I'm geeking out so much over this book!  A crossover of Riordan's two mythology series, The Kane Chronicles and The Olympians.  Cannot wait!!

Official Riordan Crossover

Rick Riordan has written an official crossover of the Kane Chronicles and Percy Jackson!  **happy dance**

One of my favorite things in the Kane Chronicles were the little mentions here and there that hinted at Percy and the Olympians.  Like in The Throne of Fire, Carter swears he sees a pegasus.  Or in The Red Pyramid, when Amos tells Carter & Sadie to stay out of Manhattan because it has its own gods.  I kept hoping there would be a moment where they met, or that maybe the final book of both series would combine.  So when I read on Entertainment Weekly's website that Riordan was going to do a crossover, it took all my self-control not to SQUEE (I don't think my coworkers would appreciate it).

Read the EW article here, or below:

Rick Riordan announces 'Percy Jackson', 'Kane Chronicles' Crossover
by Tara Fowler, Entertainment Weekly

Rick Riordan fans, the impossible is finally coming true. The author has written a crossover story featuring both Carter Kane and Percy Jackson!

Titled “The Son of Sobek,” the short will be published as part of the paperback edition of Riordan’s third installment of the Kane Chronicles, The Serpent’s Shadow. “There are a lot of gods and a lot of characters in my books,” Riordan told Publisher’s Weekly. “I picked two that I know very well. Percy and Carter are my touchstones.”

The author also addressed the news on his blog, explaining why now is the perfect time to give fans what they’ve been clamoring for. “My publisher Disney-Hyperion was looking for something fun to add to the paperback version of The Serpent’s Shadow … something to encourage folks who haven’t yet tried the Kane Chronicles to pick up the series. I decided what the heck. Let’s throw Carter and Percy together in a Greek-Egyptian dilemma and see what happens. The result was SO much fun to write.”

But what if you already own the hardcover edition of The Serpent’s Shadow? Don’t worry! “The Son of Sobek” will also be available to purchase separately. “Disney will be releasing it a little later in the summer as an e-single and audio, read by yours truly — the first time I’ve ever narrated the entire audio for my own story,” Riordan revealed. “The e-single will be priced accordingly, and I hope you find the adventure worth it. I certainly had a blast mixing up the Egyptian and Greek worlds.”
“The Son of Sobek” hits shelves with The Serpent’s Shadow on May 7.

Are you excited to see Percy and Carter meet?