Monday, August 17, 2015

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan | Review

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1) by Rick Riordan | ReviewThe Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) by Rick Riordan
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians #1
on June 1st 2005
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 377
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school... again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus' master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus' stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.


I can’t tell you how many people have told me to read the Percy Jackson series.  I also can’t tell you how many times I’ve put off reading the series.  I honestly don’t know why, I just did.  The urge finally hit me to actually sit down and give this one a shot and I’m very glad I did.  This seems like the start of a series that I’m going to enjoy.

First off, things were a little odd for me with this one because I’ve read the graphic novel and I’ve also seen the movie.  Yes, the movie is very different but it still felt a bit like deja vu while I was reading.  I didn’t mind though because there was enough new content for me that I found it enjoyable.  Sure there wasn’t so much mystery about how things were going to end but that didn’t slow me down at all.

This series is very much middle grade, at least for now.  Percy is only 12 years old at the beginning of The Lightning Thief and while I knew that, I still found it a little off putting.  I’m so used to reading about older teens that getting used to Percy was difficult.  He was not very mature but what 12 year old boy is?  Some of his concerns seemed trivial to me but otherwise I liked him and I enjoyed watching him grow throughout the course of the book.  He went through a lot in a short period of time and he handled it really well, especially for someone so young.  I was impressed by that.  As for the other characters, Annabeth and Grover were awesome.  Annabeth was a little snotty at first but she came around eventually.  Grover was, by far, my favorite.  He was hilarious.  Grover was definitely the comic relief here but he also played a huge role in the quest.  He was funny but that wasn’t his only purpose and I appreciated that about him.

The Lightning Thief incorporates a ton of mythology.  I can see now why so many people love this series.  It’s full of stories that people of any age can enjoy.  I lost track of all the myths that were included in The Lightning Thief.  Even if it was just a brief mention, I caught so many gods, goddesses, and myths.  I think I really appreciated this now because I just finished a mythology in literature course and I was able to catch so many references that I might not have before.  It was fun trying to figure out all the myths and people as I went along.

The story itself is pretty straightforward but I can tell it’s going to tie into something much bigger as the series goes on.  The theft of Zeus’ lightning bolt is the main storyline in The Lightning Thief (obviously) but it all ties into something that doesn’t get wrapped up at the end of this book.  While I wouldn’t call the ending a cliffhanger, it’s definitely enough to get me to keep reading.

The writing style is simple and I enjoyed that in this case.  Rick Riordan’s writing is nothing fancy, that’s for sure, but I think that works with the type of story this is.  Like I said, I knew a lot of what was going to happen in The Lightning Thief but it never got boring and the style of writing really helped move things along at a good pace.

Overall, The Lightning Thief wasn’t absolutely amazing but it’s definitely earned the hype that surrounds it.  The Percy Jackson and the Olympians series is one that I will be continuing.

What others have to say about The Lightning Thief:

Fantasy Book Review’s review: “A fantastic book for sure that has me thanking the gods I bought the series.”

Shae Has Left the Room’s review: “The story itself was also a joy to read.”

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Jessica Darling’s It List: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection by Megan McCafferty | Review

Jessica Darling’s It List: The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection by Megan McCafferty | ReviewThe (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection by Megan McCafferty
Series: Jessica Darling's It List #1
Published by Little Brown on September 3, 2013
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 223
Format: ARC
Source: BEA
Buy on Amazon
4 Stars

Move over, Dork Diaries! Jessica Darling, star of Megan McCafferty's bestselling Jessica Darling series for adults, is back in a hilarious new series perfect for tween (10 to 14) girls.

I hadn't even gotten to homeroom yet and I'd already discovered five hard truths about junior high:

1. My best friend had turned pretty.
2. She didn't know it yet.
3. It wouldn't be long before she did.
4. That knowledge would change everything between us.
5. And there wasn't a thing I could do about it.

It's the first day of seventh grade. Is Jessica Darling doomed for dorkdom?

New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty's hilarious series opener will have you laughing, cringing, and cheering for Jessica Darling as she learns that being herself beats being popular, pretty & perfect any day.


The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection is a fabulous start to Jessica Darling’s It List series. Fans of the original Jessica Darling series will love this glimpse into pre-teen Jessica’s life and mind!

Jessica Darling’s It List series is very much middle grade. The writing is simple, the humor is aimed for younger readers, and the characters are not very mature. However, it totally works in this case. It’s set in junior high and Jessica Darling and her friends are exactly how you would expect them to be. Megan McCafferty really captured the feel of junior high with this book.

Jessica Darling is probably one of the most awkward characters I’ve ever read about. It’s probably what makes me love her so much. She recognizes her awkwardness and while it does bother her sometimes, she embraces it most of the time. She’s remarkably self-assured for a pre-teen girl. She cares very little about what everyone else thinks and worries only about what she thinks. She’s a great heroine for young readers to look up to.

Her friends aren’t so awesome. Bridget, Manda, Sara, and Hope are quite a crew. Bridget starts off as a nice girl but that quickly changes once she realizes how pretty she is and how she can use it to her advantage. I didn’t like her at all. Manda and Sara were even worse. They considered each other friends but they were terrible to each other. And everyone else. Hope was the only one I liked and I felt like there was very little of her in the book. I look forward to learning more about her throughout the rest of the series.

The story is nothing special. It’s Jessica’s first year in junior high and let me tell you, she goes through some crazy stuff. There’s friend troubles, boy troubles, cheer team, woodshop, and so much more. I’ll just put it this way; everything that could go wrong, did. It’s a quick read that definitely made me think of my own days in junior high.

Overall, The (Totally Not) Guaranteed Guide to Popularity, Prettiness & Perfection is perfect for fans of the original Jessica Darling series or for readers looking to start it. Middle grade readers should greatly enjoy this one and I definitely recommend checking it out!

What others are saying about Jessica Darling’s It List:

Alluring Reads’ review: The IT List was funny, sweet and incredibly authentic for the age group.”

Mostly YA Lit’s review: It’s a prequel that delivers many of the things that I feel like I probably needed to know at age ten to twelve, but it’s also so wonderful as an adult fan of the series to be able to revisit these characters, and to see how they got their roots.” 

Reading the Best of the Best’s review: The snarky, hyper observant, opinionated Jessica Darling we first met in Sloppy Firsts is back but this time as a soon to be 7th grader and she’s just as fantastic, except younger!”