The group has survived their encounter with the Vikings, even made friends with them. They are still on the run from Loki, though he is the least of their problems right now. A heart hungry god and blood thirsty Aztecs are staring them in the face. Can they survive? If they do can they ever get home?
(This is a review for the second book in the series. Naturally there will be spoilers for the first book at times).
I remember how much I loved Christopher in these books and I am glad to see that I still love his character. His is witty, he is funny and he is the one that I thought sounded most like a teenager. He doesn’t have a beyond-his-age view of life, like Jalil. He is your average guy just trying to make it through this adventure with his head and heart in one place.
I also found it interesting that Christopher has a good family. A lot of times the comedy relief character comes from a broken home. They use humor as a defense mechanism. This is different though. Christopher has a great family. His parents are still together and he has a brother he loves. He is just a funny guy who is trying to find his way. I liked this characterization because it makes me want to see how he progresses, since it is not a usual character type. I feel like I don’t know where his character will go.
I also found it interesting and a testament to the writing that in this book I was very annoyed by David. Reading about him from Christopher’s point of view made me want to shake him. In the last book I understood where David was coming from, I understood why he was obsessed with finding Senna and risking all their lives.
In this book I was right onboard with Christopher and just wanted him to get his crap together. I was annoyed that he was always putting them all in danger. I was irritated that he could not think beyond Senna. Applegate does a great job of making you feel the story from the P.O.V character. I thought it was really interesting how this changed in this book. I am eager to keep reading to see how I view Christopher from April or Jaili’s P.O.V.
There was also a bit of call back to first book scenes in this book. In the first book David remembers hearing a coach berate a player, using some horrible terms and destroying this kid’s self-esteem. Then in this book there is a moment where the gym teacher is quite cruel to Christopher. You realize it is the same man. She makes sure to keep things in line and in order here. Someone is mentioned in one place they appear in another, there is no discontinuity which I appreciate.
I felt like all the action in this book appeared n the first half. They are fighting the Aztecs and trying to escape. Then they do and they are just wandering around for a bit. We meet some new players in the story, (Merlin and the Coo-Hatch), but it slowed down considerably in the last half. I think it would have been better to keep that momentum through to the end.
I am still eager to read the rest of the series but I didn’t race through the end like I did in the first book.
I am still enjoying my re-read. I haven’t come onto anything that feels out of sorts or thrown me out of the story. Even at almost 30 I can still relate to this story and am finding new aspects to it.
I gave this 4 stars out of 5 on Goodreads. I am eager to see how the character progress I just wish the end was a bit more exciting.
“There was nothing human here. Man’s god and demons and monsters were always mostly human. Distorted in form or power, but mostly human.” (pg. 110) (I found this interesting because it is very true. We tend to make all our gods and demons close to us, creatures we can relate to in some fashion).
They thought it was going to be a bad day because they broke up. For Erza and Kady that became the least of their problems when their home is destroyed. Now refugees on two separate spaceships they are out to find out what really happened. Can they discover all the secrets, right the wrongs and save themselves before time runs out?
I have seen reviews about this book and heard about it in a number of a places. I initially didn’t pick it up because of the plot (more on that in the next section) but the format peeked my interest. The idea of a whole book told through “found” footage was fascinating to me. I have not seen it done before and I wondered how it could change the reading of the story.
I thought the whole concept was done really well. I really loved the way the story was told through all these pieces of information. You get email messages, security footage summaries, mayday calls, and so many other ways of telling the story. It made the story seem interactive. I felt like I was in the spaceship going through all the files, desperately trying to figure out what was going on.
The sense of urgency that you got from this book is astounding. I felt panicked at times and I wonder if I would have felt the same way reading the story in a regular novel format. Would I have felt like I was running with them? Would I felt the panic as the ship closed in to destroy them if I didn’t have the countdowns around me? I don’t think I would have.
I also loved that the format used pictures to describe the ships. I think sometimes descriptions of these type of spaceships can get difficult. You have to be very specific and detailed because it is something that people don’t see every day. We all know what a car looks like but a control room in a spaceship is not the same. I liked that we didn’t get bogged down in that. Instead we got to continue with the story and move the plot along.
I was impressed at how connected I felt to the characters as well. I was worried that this format would leave me feeling disconnected. I thought without descriptions of the characters or moments dedicated to them alone I would feel like I was on the outside. I didn’t. I felt like I was right beside them with every move they made.
Kady and Aiden’s characters were my favorite. Kady was a tough ass. She didn’t take any crap. She didn’t back down. She was not going to be played with. I loved her fighting spirit. She knew something was wrong and she was intent on fixing it.
Aiden the A.I. was fascinating. It was so lifelike that many times I forgot it wasn’t human. I thought it was interesting the way it connected to the human and how it could logic things out. I am curious to see how it returns and changes throughout the series.
I am gong to be honest the plot wasn’t anything that particularly astounded me. I felt it was very simple and pretty easy to predict. They get attacked, someone is hiding something, mysterious sickness takes over and then they run for their lives. It is a pretty set plot.
It is the format that makes this book. Without the format I think it would have taken much much longer to finish the story and I am not sure I would have gone onto the other books. In a normal novel format this would have felt done before. In this format it felt fresh and new.
I wasn’t very impressed with Ezra’s character. He was pretty simple. I felt like he was two dimensional throughout the story. I hope that his character grows throughout the rest of the series. I want to see him get to the same level of being a badass as Kady.
I think in the middle things slowed down a little because much of the content was the same type of instant messages back and forth. I think that portion could have been broken up a little bit. Something different thrown in. I got a little bored reading that format but in the end it didn’t harm the story at all.
I gave this book 4 stars out of 5 on Goodreads. I loved the found footage feel, the mystery of it is what kept me reading.
“Point is, I had no idea how safe I was because I’d never been unsafe.” (pg. 103)
“Too young to know failure and the fear it brings.” (pg. 279)
“Perhaps bravery is simply the face humanity wraps around its collective madness.” (pg. 302)
It is that time again to see if I can take some books off my TBR list. I added a few from last time but I don’t think I added too many. I enjoy doing these posts mostly because it reminds me what I have on my list and sparks my interest in some things I may have forgotten about.
This was originally created by Lost in a Story and seems like a good way to go through some of my TBR on Goodreads and see what is there and what I can get rid of or push me to start reading.
Links will be on the titles for the books Goodreads page. (I am going to do ten for this round of this tag).
It works like this:
- Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
- Order on ascending date added.
- Take the first 5 (or 10 or 15 or 20, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
- Read the synopses of the books
- Decide: keep it or should it go?
- Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next time!
Current TBR 259
Regeneration X (Regeneration Chronicles #1) – Ellison Blackburn – I like the idea of regeneration but the summary sounds very generic. I like these ideas but you have do give me a bit more than just; she is going to restart life but it isn’t what she thinks life will be.
Accidental Death – Jill Thrussell- I love the premise but the summary is not written well. It has run on sentences and repeated phrases over and over again. It makes me think that is how the book is written and that worries me.
A Crucible of Souls – Mitchell Hogan – Again the premise is alright, I love sorcery, but it seems very generic. He is out to find someone to teach him, learn about his past and the world may end. I need something new and different.
The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) – Patrick Ness – Now this peaks my interest. I love the idea of hearing others thoughts. I always thought that would be seriously annoying. I am curious about this one. (I also have the sequels on my list. I will keep all for now)
The Leprechaun Delusion – Leviak B. Kelly- I have zero idea of where this book came from. Something about atheism and a group of people being fooled in how they think? I can’t quite get what it is about. I don’t even know if it is fiction or not. I mean I do like the idea of reading about how people decide on following a religion or not but this has a weird feel, like it is going to be mocking and I am not a fan of that.
Genesis – Andreas Laurencius – Again no idea where this came from. Seems to be nonfiction trying to answer the questions of life and the universe. I do find that interesting but I also tend to want to research the person and see if they are studied or just someone talking. This isn’t just opinions apparently there is “evidence” of all of it. Plus the cover doesn’t fit the material.
Alex + Ada, Vol. 1 – Jonathan Luna – I seriously do not remember adding of these books. Again super generic sounding. Meets a robot and realizes he is more.
Decision: Remove (I have other volumes here so I am removing all of them)
Shallow Graves – Kali Wallace – A murder victim who comes back from the dead and can sense people who have murderous intentions? Now that is interesting.
Symptoms of Being Human – Jeff Garvin – A story that sounds like a true look at being genderfluid. I am extremely interested.
None of the Above – I.W. Gregorio – A story about being intersex, exploring the trials of being defined as one gender or the other and not fitting either. Again I am super interested.
Current TBR: 246 (I removed a series and I also noticed that there were about 5 books that should have been on my Read shelf. No idea why they weren’t. I transferred them over which shortened the shelf some)
What do you think of the books I decided to keep or remove?
One minute four strangers are standing on the bank of a lake. They are all watching a girl they know by name, but don’t truly know. The next moment they are pulled along with her into another universe. A universe where gods rule, giant wolves chase you down and nothing is impossible. Now the search is one to find Senna and return to their real lives.
I was in love with this series when I was in high school. I read it over and over again. I loved the concept but I mostly remember loving the characters and the dialogue.
The dialogue was my main pull to this series. It was one of the first times I remember hearing characters that sounded real, like people I met every day.
I recently finished reading Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman and I kept thinking of this series as I read it. I remembered this series uses all kinds of mythology and I found myself wanting to re-read these books again.
I was worried. Worried that the magic would disappear from these books. As someone who is almost 30 I thought I would not be able to relate to the characters. I thought I would feel like it was clunky or not well written. I wondered if this was a series I should just leave on my shelf for nostalgia purposes.
I am glad I began reading it again. In this first book I felt the same love I did when I was 16. I love the characters. They still feel real to me. They still talk like teenagers talk. There is no forced dialogue or weird sounding sentences. Too many times teenagers are written to sound like adults and that always annoys me. Here they use jargon, they makes stupid jokes and they all sound different.
I found myself liking David’s character more in this book too. I don’t remember liking him much before. Now I see his point of view better. He doesn’t want to live in a world that dictates every move. Much like myself he has serious problems with the pre-planned life that so many people seem to think you need to live by. He doesn’t want to do the path of graduate, job, marriage then kids. He wants something different and new.
I also noticed in this reading that there are much deeper storylines then I picked up on before. In this book were get hints of abuse in David’s life. I didn’t realize how dark this series was. I am curious to see how it progresses and how I pick up on how these elements shape him throughout the story.
I remember this series making use of a lot of different mythologies and legends. I am eager to see how they play together now that I know more about them. I like in this one that I understood the Norse mythology references. I think I will have a deeper appreciation for this world now that I have more knowledge about the source material.
The sentences in this book are quite short. Many of them are one or two words long. I am okay with the sometimes but I do feel like it may be overused here. It works when the character is in panic mode. But it isn’t necessary all the time. I think it slows things down a little bit too much.
I also noticed there are a lot of things mentioned that date this book. David talks about Blockbuster and Borders. It doesn’t harm the story at all. It just is interesting because I don’t feel like this is happening now. I know this was the past even if there is no date and time associated with the story. Just an interesting idea to think about the way things can date a story or change the timeline even if you don’t mean for them too.
As of this book I don’t have anything that is really throwing me out of the story. I still feel connected to the characters. I understand the world and I am still eager to continue on with this adventure even though I know how it ends.
I did take my rating down from 5 to 4 stars on Goodreads for this book. It is fun and exciting but I do think I am not as connected to it as I was when I was younger.
“But being scared was one thing. That was normal. How you acted once you were scared – that’s what mattered.” (pg. 33)
“‘Maybe dreams aren’t in your head. Maybe dreams are memories of another universe.'” (pg. 144)
Last month the Harry Potter books came out with new covers for the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter books. I couldn’t afford the whole series but I did get the third book and the sixth book, my two favorites of the series. I recently re-read the third book so I decided to re-read the sixth book this time.
The reason the sixth book is my second favorite is because of the back story given to Voldemort. I am the kind of person who likes the villain of the story to have a story. I have a problem when the antagonist is just there to cause trouble but we never find out why. I believe a story gets stronger when we can understand why a person makes the choices they make.
The look into Voldemort’s past is fascinating to me. I loved seeing when he was as a child to the moment when he started figuring out how to become immortal. It is interesting because we see that he had several opportunities to turn around. We also got to see the resentment and anger that resided in him since he was a child.
When I first read the series I just saw him as this evil man who had no morals and no reason for doing what he was doing. In this book we got to see the reason. We got to see why he might have turned that direction. He was raised without any love or affection. He was forced to grow up quickly and take care of himself.
Now not every person who grows up parentless turns into a murderer (i.e. Harry) but this book gave us a way to understand the man behind the evil actions. Part of me felt bad for him. I remember reading the first time feeling upset that he was left with this route. But then you look at Harry and see what choices he could have made.
Harry grew up without parents too and yet he was the complete opposite of Voldemort. Which then raises the question of nature versus nurture. Harry’s parents died protecting him, Voldemort’s abandoned him. Does that change things? Some very fascinating questions are raised throughout this story.
One of my favorite scenes is in this book. After Harry and Dumbledore look at the memory about the Horcruxes we get a speech that is very significant for this series. Harry doesn’t understand how love can be the power he has that will win him the final battle. He can’t see past what the prophecy says. He is stuck until Dumbledore makes him understand.
This whole speech is so interesting and important, not only for this story. Seeing Harry come to realize that his heart is what he has that has kept him whole his entire life. His heart and his love for those around him is what matters. Voldemort never allowed himself the ability to love. He closed that door when he was a child. Harry never gave up trying to find that comfort and love. He didn’t turn to the darkness for comfort. Instead he allowed people in, allowed them to take care of him when he needed it. We see what happens when you don’t give up, no matter the darkness that seems to surround you.
This book was also the first time I read a book where a main character died. Sirius’s death was tragic for me because I loved his character, but Dumbledore’s death was traumatizing in a sense. He seemed so important, so significant that I thought there was no way he would die. I had never read a book where someone like that died. That didn’t happen in younger books.
Dumbledore dying was the moment you realized that anything can happen. No one is immune and anyone can be gone tomorrow. I already knew this but this book hit that point home. The end makes you realize how important it is to say what you need to say to those around you.
Lastly I loved the very end of this book where Harry is trying to convince Ron and Hermione to allow him to search for the Horcruxes alone. Hermione reminds him that when they were in their first year he gave them the chance to turn back, to leave him. They decided to stay. Throughout five years they stayed by his side and they were not going to abandon him now.
The true power of friendship shown through this book. You see in this moment that those people who have stood at your side for years, through it all, are not going to disappear at the tough moments. If they had chances to turn back in the past and didn’t, then trust them to be there throughout it all.
What lessons have you learned from you favorite books?
I have been struggling for quite a while to find my inspiration for writing. In college I wrote all the time. I wrote fan fiction as well as my own original pieces. I was always eager to write. (Now this might be because in my first two years I was lonely and had a lot of time on my hands).
After I graduated I spent a lot of time editing and working on self-publishing my book of short stories, Is There More? Once the book was completed I found myself struggling with picking up my pen and writing again.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to write. The stories chased themselves around my head, all the time. I had ideas piling up on my phone and in notebooks. It was just as soon as I put my pen to paper, the words were stuck. I couldn’t translate my ideas in any real way. They would sound chunky and out of order. The stories themselves started to sound contrived and boring. I just felt like I was barely treading water.
I worked on a novel, wrote two drafts but never felt connected to it. I always felt like I was pushing against a wall and the wall was winning. I began to wonder what I was doing wrong or what I needed to do again.
During this time I was also struggling hard with finding a job. My schedule was all over the place and my mental health was not the best. January I found a full-time job that I love. I don’t come home stressed. I feel accomplished, wanted and needed. I feel the most in control of my life than I have in a very long time. But writing was still so difficult for me and I could not figure out why.
On August 4th I went to a writing conference in my city that was held by a local nonprofit. It was free and it was big. I had heard about it for a long time but never could manage to get there. I was finally able to do it this year and I am so thankful that I did.
I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t know if I was going to meet a bunch of people, hear great talks or just feel comfortable in a realm that I knew. I was worried that it might not be what I wanted it to be, that I would leave feeling lost and disappointed. When in fact the opposite happened.
It was simple yet it was exactly what I needed. I didn’t meet anyone new and I was okay with that. It was interesting because it was a conference for writers, who are usually introverts, everyone kind of did their own thing. No one forced a conversation to “network.” Everyone there was friendly but there was no forced ice breakers. For me I felt comfortable because I wasn’t being forced to talk, just to talk. I didn’t feel out of sorts or like an outcast. I felt like I belonged there, which is a super important feeling for me.
The talks were awesome. I felt connected to the subject matter. I sat in on a talk about after the first draft, what publishers think when reading your first page and social media for writers. I felt connected to all the subject matter and it was useful. Not stuff I knew already. It was information that I could and will use.
I expected a younger crowd. I am not sure why but I was expected a crowed from 20-35. Where in reality it was actually more like 35-60. I found that inspiring as well. I think part of my problem has been that I feel like the older I get, time is running out to make my writing matter. Seeing the older age range here made me realize that isn’t true. I knew it deep down but it pushed that thought to the surface and that was helpful.
I am so excited now to write. I found a journal that I want to submit to. I feel like I have an idea of how to go about working on my novel. I feel the old excitement that I felt in college. I also plan on joining this group that is the local literary group and hope that will give me a push that I need. I am so excited again and that is thrilling.
How have you overcome a creative block?
This month started out at a normal pace and then somehow sped up at lightening speed. The last two weeks flew by and I have no idea why. I didn’t have much going on. In any case I ended up reading 4 books this month. I am still 9 books ahead of schedule on my Goodreads challenge. As long as I stay ahead of schedule I am happy.
I was pretty good about book buying this month, only bought two. I am trying really hard to save money for the books that are coming out over the next few months and not fall into a book buying hole. I have plenty on my shelves right now.
As for writing that was kind of on pause for the month. Again I am not sure why but I wasn’t very motivated. I felt busier and more tired then I was. I did manage to write a short story that I am proud of. I am currently typing it up then going to edit it. I plan on spending some of August going through an outline of a novel I want to work on. Though August isn’t going to have a lot of extra time available so we shall see.
Books I read:
Hidden Figures – Margot Lee Shetterly – This was fascinating and prompted me to want o read more about little known historical figures.
Darkest Warrior – Gena Showalter – This was not my favorite. I don’t quite understand some of the choices made. I finished it because I do enjoy the series and hope the rest of the series is better.
Smoke and Iron – Rachel Caine – I really enjoyed this installment in the series. It set up a lot and I can’t wait to see how the whole series ends.
Norse Mythology – Neil Gaiman – I loved this. I learned so much about these myths and I also am eager to reread a series I loved from when I was a teenager to see how things compare.
Running with Lions – Julian Winters – Review
Beneath the Sugar Sky – Seanan McGuire – Review
Hidden Figures – Margot Lee Shetterly – Review
The Darkest Warrior – Gena Showalter – Review
Down the TBR Hole #7
Book Blogger Insider Tag
Top 7 Harry Potter Characters (I am just now seeing that this post is a mess for some reason. I will be fixing it so the it doesn’t look so all over the place.)
Smoke and Iron – Rachel Caine – Review
Book Blogger Memory Challenge
Note about posts: I have caught up on my back log of reviews which means I will be doing some other type of posts, such as tags and about writing, more frequently. I am always reading I just am not the fastest reader so I will have to balance things a bit.
I only bought two books this month and that is because the special 20th anniversary edition Harry Potter books with cool covers came out. I can’t afford to buy the entire series so I bought my two favorites, Prisoner of Azkaban and Half-Blood Prince.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I haven’t reread any of the books in a little while. I love the way this one looks at Voldemort’s history. I wanted a comfortable and welcoming read for a bit.
Went to see Incredibles 2 with my dad and brothers. It was my dad’s first movie in like 15 years. It was really good. Had an interesting message about technology and screens and was just fun. I highly enjoyed it.
Favorite thing of the month:
In a small town in my city there is a Harry Potter festival. They have done it for 3 years and this year was the best year yet. I bought way too many things but had a lot of fun as always. Best way to end the month!
What was your month of July like? What were some of your favorite books you read? Favorite movies? Favorite moments of July?
Odin is the all-seeing father. Thor is the lightening god with the magic hammer. Loki is the trickster who is out to help himself. They are all waiting for the end of times, when they will fight and die only for the world to be reborn again. Dive into the stories of these heroes and myths and find out their origin stories.
I am a huge fan of mythology. I fell in love with it back in middle school when we studied Greek and Roman mythology. I thought the stories were fascinating and was even more fascinated by how they connected to our time today. You could see how they influenced people and then see how those influences changed over time.
I knew a tiny bit about Norse mythology but not a ton. I knew who Odin, Thor and Loki were but that was really where my knowledge ended. When I picked up this book I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I didn’t know if it was a generic retelling, a story that used Norse mythology characters or a reworking of the stories. In the end it is a collection of Norse myths that Gaiman compiled and made his own.
I really enjoyed the collection because I felt like it gave just enough about the myths. I didn’t tell them all but it told the important ones (as far as I can tell). You got to hear the origin stories, the adventure stories and more about Ragnarok. It did a good job at giving me a crash course in these myths.
I think I felt like I could connect to the stories because he modernized the language a bit. I felt like he didn’t use the vernacular from that time and gave it a modern twist. I felt a bit like in portions I was reading about the versions of Thor and Loki from the movies. I liked this because I felt like I could sink into the tales a bit more because I wasn’t spending as much time trying to figure out exactly what they were saying.
One of the book series I loved as a teenager was called Everworld by K.A. Applegate. It was a quick read but I remember it involving a lot of different myths and legends. As I read through this book I started remembering some of the characters like Hel. I remember them from that series and now I want to reread that series to see how things compare.
At the beginning of the book Gaiman mentions that he took a few liberties with the stories. He talks about how he rearranded bits and combined stories. At the back of the book he quickly tells where he got each story from but nothing much about what he might have changed or altered. He quickly mentions some but I wanted a bit more.
As I stated I have very limited knowledge about Norse mythology and I wanted to know a bit about what he changed or what he kept the same. I think it would have been nice after each story to have a one pager thing stating what he changed and maybe why. Would have just been interesting to know.
I can’t think of anything that I wanted to change. It kept my attention. I was able to follow everything and I felt like I learned quite a bit.
I gave the collection 4 stars on Goodreads. I had fun growing my knowledge of this type of myth.