Thursday, April 9, 2015

March: Greek Mythology Twists (YA and MG)

Greek Mythology Twists (YA and MG)

March's Topic of the Month is officially Greek Mythology Twists (Ya and MG)!  To kick it off, we have posted a few Greek mythology based books that may interest you.  If you have any suggestions let us know!  Hope you enjoy!  (Click on the covers to go to the books' GoodReads pages!)


Read by: H, C, and B
Here is the GoodReads summary of the book:
Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can't seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper.  And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse - Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him.  When Percy's mom finds out, she knows it's time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he'll be safe.  She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea.  Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends -- one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena -- Percy sets out on a quest across the Untied States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

The rest of the books in the series:

28186    561456    2120932    4502507


Here is the GoodReads summary of the book:
Every girl who had taken the test has died.  Now it's Kate's turn.
It's always been just Kate and her mom -- and her mother is dying.  Her last wish?  To move back to their childhood home.  So Kate's going to start a new school with no friends, no other family, and the fear that her mother won't live past the fall.
Then she meets Henry.  Dark.  Tortured.  And mesmerizing.  He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld -- and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Katie tries to pass seven tests.
Kate is sure he's crazy -- until she sees him bring a girl back form the dead.  Now saving her mother seems crazily possible.  If she succeeds ,she'll become Henry's futre bride and a goddess.
If she fails...
The other books in the series:

12637490    10838776


Here is the GoodReads summary of the book:
Three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful Gorgon maligned in myth, must reunite and embrace their fates.
Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school.  The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it's also a tiny bit scary.  It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.
Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, but what can she do?  Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt.  She never expected  to run into this girl who could be her double, though.
Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much.  But that all tilts  sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters...

The other books in the series:

12025637    13479267


Here is the GoodReads summary of the book:
When Phoebe's mom returns from Greece with a new husband and moves them to an island in the Aegean, Phoebe's plans for her senior year and track season are ancient history.  Nows she must attend the uber exclusive academy, where admission depends on pedigree, namely, ancestry from Zeus, Hera, and other Greek gods.  That's right, they're real, not myth, and their teen descendants are like the classical heroes: super smart and super beautiful with a few superpowers.  And now they're on her track team!  Armed only with her nikes and the will to win, Phoebe races to find her place among the gods.

The other book in the series:



Here is the GoodReads summary of the book:
Greece in the age of Heroes.  Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia.  Here he is nobody, just another unwanted boy living in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles.
Achilles, 'best of all the Greeks', is everything Patroclus is not - strong, beautiful, the child of a goddess - and by all rights their paths should never cross.  Yet one day, Achilles takes the shamed prince under his wing and soon their tentative companionship gives way to a steadfast friendship.  As they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something far deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles's mother Thetis, a cruel and deathly pale sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.
Fate is never far from the heels of Achilles.  When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name.  Seduced  by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause.  Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear.  And that, before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of Fate.
Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.


Here is the GoodReads summary of the book:
How do you defy destiny?
Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is - no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket.  And it's getting harder.  Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust.  At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.
As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that myths are more than just legend.  But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together - and trying to tear them apart.

The other books in the series:

12995284    7849034


Ready by: B
Here is the GoodReads summary of the book:
After pulling a magical thunderbolt from a stone, ten-year-old Zeus goes on an adventure of a lifetime in this thrilling start to a brand-new series!  The Terrible Titans - merciless giants who enjoy snacking on humans - have dominated the earth and put the world into chaos.  But their rule is about to be put to the test as a group of young Olympians discover their powers and prepare to righteously rule the universe...
Zeus gets his wish - and a lot more than he bargained for - when he is kidnapped by dangerous, giant Titans! In self-defense, Zeus grabs the first thing he sees - an actual thunderbolt he pulls from a stone that is covered in mysterious markings.  Zeus is the only one who can decipher the markings, and sets off on a quest to rescue his fellow Olympians from the evil Cronus.  Armed with his trusty thunderbolt (named Bolt, of course), Zeus is on an adventure of a lifetime - and a journey to fulfill his destiny as King of the Gods.
Several other books in the series: 

13547151    15801135    16074860


Here is the GoodReads summary of the book:
Where there is love and power, there is always . . . betrayal.
At seventeen, Cordelia is an ordinary teen with an extraordinary and frightening secret.  A secret that induces vivd dreams in which she not only experiences true love, but crippling fear while barely escaping with her life each night.
After a life altering event, Cordelia has an unexpected encounter with Evan, the mysterious boy from her dreams, who reveals who and what she is, a descendant of the Greek gods.  At that moment everything she knows of her world is a lie, and she must leave the present and go into the past to assume the role she was put on this earth for, safeguarding her ancient empire amidst evil forces that toil hastily to destroy it.
In a race against time, Cordelia must decide is she is truly a part of this dangerous world, or risk defying the gods, and ultimately lose the boy who has put a claim on her heart.

Other book(s) in the series:



Read by: B
Here is the GoodReads summary of the book:
The Fire Thief hilariously reimagines the myth of Prometheus, the Greek demigod who stole fire from the gods and gave it to the human race.  To escape the gods' revenge, Prometheus travels through time to Eden City in 1858.  There, he befriends a young orphan, actor, and petty criminal named Jim.  When Jim runs into trouble with the law, Prometheus is torn - if he uses his powers to get his friend out of trouble, he will betray his hiding place to the gods.  Terry Deary masterfully interweaves two plots, with action jumping at a whirlwind pace from Mount Olympus to the seedy taverns and elegant mansions of Victorian Eden City.  Packed with puns, wisecracks, and sarcastic footnotes, The Fire Thief turns Greek mythology into a laughing matter.

Other book(s) in the series:

1678247    1285223


Read by: B and C
Here is the GoodReads summary of the book:
Dad's gut was so big that it wasn't crowded, even with the five of us down there.  Of course, every once in a while, we got on one another's nerves.  Poseidon was always trying to organize swimming meets.  Hestia was always tidying up the place.  Hera was the bossy one, always telling the rest of us what to do.  But Demeter was definitely the weirdest.  She was always going on and on about wanting to plant a vegetable garden.  But, hey, we were family.
We all grew up in Dad's belly together.
When Hades and his siblings were born, their father, Cronus, Ruler of the Universe, swallowed them whole - just because of a prophecy that said one of his children would be mightier than he was.  Can Hades and his brothers and sisters overthrow their big, bad dad and take over the universe?  It's sure to be a hot time, Hades!

Other book(s) in the series:

725944    1913178    1583529      1024890

Monday, April 6, 2015

Regrets Tree on Fire (The Cousin Cycle #3) by Jean Stringam

This review was written by: B
Received: GoodReads First Reads
Publication Date of Book: August 2014
Pages: 240 (paperback edition)
Stars: 3/5

But I've learned that you can get to the same right places from different directions.
               From: Regrets Tree on Fire

Please note that I received a free copy of this book through GoodReads First Reads, and I would especially like to thank the author for the opportunity to read and review her book.

Bill and his father haven't been getting along lately.  In fact, they haven't for awhile.  When he was little, Bill was forced to live with his grandparents due to his mother's mental state.  As time went on, he became fairly comfortable and keen to the idea of living with his grandmother and grandfather forever.  Then his parents suddenly came back into his life, ripped him from the familiar, loving environment that he'd known for years, and was forced to live in the same house with his mother and father once again.  Since then, things have been a little rocky but not to the point where things seem hopeless.  Bill still has his two best friends Devon and Howie, after all.  Of course, these two boys have their own problems.

Howie lives with his rich parents who do nothing but ignore him.  They could care less about their son even though parents are supposed to be the ones who love their children the most.  Devon has medical parents who are trying to help him learn about life.  Devon also has an addiction that he's trying to get over.

The latest school year brings many old and new experiences to the table.  These include chess, girls, first loves, and much more!  Unfortunately, bullying also comes into the picture.  The strong and independent Howie is receiving detrimental text messages that ridicule and degrade him completely, day in and day out.  The only people who he can talk to about this are Devon and Bill, seeing as his parents wouldn't care, but what can his friends do anyway?  As the story progresses, the story elaborates on the three boys' lives and what happens when a person is subjected to bullying.  As you'll find out, bullying doesn't just affect the victims, but it also  affects those around them.

Maybe I could have done something different, changed something about myself that wold have made a difference.  But lives don't work that way, no matter how many regrets we might have.
      -Regrets Tree on Fire

My thoughts on the book:
The first thing that I want to mention about this book is that I really enjoyed how it covered a large range of different yet important topics that I feel should be included in today's YA literature.  There was death in the family, first relationships, love, religion, and (of course) bullying.

Bullying, as I have previously mentioned in some of my reviews, is an epidemic, especially among younger people.  Now, there is also Internet or cyber bullying to contend with.  In this book, though, there is a specific reason for the bullying, or, more specifically, the people behind it.  Jean Stringam came up with a brilliant and absolutely unique idea on who would possibly want to invest in bullying, and I was definitely impressed.  I also feel compelled to mention that she dealt with the subject matter extremely well.  As the reader, I vividly saw what bullying can do emotionally, socially, and physically to a person and their friends.  Bullying is no joke nor is it something to laugh about.  You can't just hope it will go away because you don't want to deal with it.  Someone has to take a stand against it and comfort the victims.  If we let bullying go, as seen in this book, terrifying consequences can ensue.

Bullying can drag a person down and pull them into a dark and seemingly hopeless place.  Howie was no exception.  Jean's writing conveyed that despairing feeling expertly.  The tone and mood of the novel when it was dealing with this issue was heavy and true in nature.  There was no sugar coating anything.  It was honest and true.

I also loved the idea of a regrets tree.  The thought of the characters writing down their regrets and seeing them go up in flames appeared to be a huge relief and outlet that was unique.  I have never heard of this and believe that this really set a great scene in the book!

There were many life experiences that occurred and were elaborated on in detail during the entirety of Regrets Tree on Fire.  The story was told in Bill's voice, and I found this to be fairly intriguing.  However, this book was rather hard for me to get into.  While I can't quite my finger on why this happened to me, I feel as though it might have been the writing style.  It took me a loooooooong time to be invested in this story, but once I put the book down for a day or two, it was once again very hard to get back into the swing of it.  I found myself reading the book in small increments during my spare time.  I also decided to read other books while reading this one because it just didn't scream at me to finish it.  However, there was a point when I couldn't help but keep turning the pages, and it was around the middle of the novel.  The only way to describe the rest of the book is to say that it almost felt like a chore having to read it.
This book just might not have been for me during the specific time that I read it.  However, I greatly urge you to give it a try if it seems interesting to you.  There were many redeeming qualities, but it just didn't do it entirely for me.  I am interested in reading more the books in the The Cousin Cycle series, though.      

If you enjoyed this book, you may also like:

10577871    22613695    1217100    12125