Heroes of Olympus ~ series review

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The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan 

As promised, my thoughts on the Heroes of Olympus series. Oh, and there may be spoilers. If you haven’t read the series or any of the Percy Jackson books, I’d advise waiting to read this review.

I started reading the Percy Jackson books about the time The Last Olympian came out. They enthralled me and made me want more, more, MORE! I talked about them with my friends, (sparking a long-standing inside joke with my best friend who I tormented about the series.), and generally all around enjoyed them. When I heard Mr. Riordan was coming out with a new series, a continuation of the old one, I nearly jumped out of my skin in excitement. As soon as The Lost Hero came out, I bought it and had it read in two hours. Then I had to wait a whole year for the next book. It was sheer torture at the time. This cycle repeated itself three more times. I’m not sure what changed, but recently I lost interest in many of the series I formerly loved. It may or may not have had something to do with the horrendous movies made…

Anyway, that’s the back story. I’ve loved Percy Jackson since the beginning. He is such a great character in the original series. Loyal, kooky, not really sure what’s going on sometimes and relying on Annabeth to steer him straight, a total smart-mouth, and not to mention downright hilarious, he was and still is my hands-down favorite character. I loved Annabeth and Grover and Tyson and all the other characters.

{SPOILERS APPROACHING!}

But guess what? Percy isn’t even in the first book aside from a few mentions. Yeah! I know! I was furious. Seething. And flat-out annoyed. Hey, Mr. Riordan! I payed to read about Percy Jackson, not Jason, Piper, and Leo! But I held out hope that the next book would have Percy. And I was right! But oh, look, Percy has lost his memory. Darn you, Mr. Riordan, you just can’t make it easy for our heroes, can you? But if he did, then there wouldn’t be any story… Hmmm….

Point taken, love. {Spoilers mostly done for now}

I suppose I became more and more disappointed as the series went on. The whole style of writing seemed to have changed. There was still the smart-mouthing, the quips and dead-pan comments, and Percy not knowing things, but splitting the narration between three and sometimes four different people was confusing. Mr. Riordan also introduced five new main characters. Okay, that’s four too many, even for me. I utterly loathed Jason and Piper, enjoyed Hazel and Frank, and flat-out howled with Leo.

I think that was the problem. The series became too complicated. Too, too, too much going on. I like a good convoluted plot every now and then, but dude, don’t mess with my Percy Jackson loving. By the time Blood of Olympus‘s release date rolled around, I barely noticed. Instead of, AH! NEW PERCY JACKSON BOOK! SQUEE LIKE A FANGIRL!, it was more along the lines of, Oh, okay, cool. I’ll read it when it comes into the library. Blood of Olympus was also the end of the series. I was expecting something awesome and dramatic that would leave me happy by the time I turned the last page. Something that gave our beloved heroes closure, because you know I’m big on that.

{More minor spoilers!}

I was deeply underwhelmed. The big battles, that had been building up for four books, were over in four chapters or thereabouts. It was disappointing, to say the least. I had been let down by one of my favorite authors! *dramatic gesture* And I was sad, too. I don’t know if there will ever be a continuation of Percy’s story. There was no closure, at least not for me. Rick Riordan, you have let me down.

Okay, I know what you must be thinking by now. ‘Wow, she seems really down on the series, maybe I shouldn’t read them.’ Please don’t think that, dears. They are good books overall. They just aren’t great. I enjoyed them for a time, and I’m sure I’ll go back and reread them, but I’m no longer obsessed. Maybe that’s a good thing…?

So yeah, there you have it. My long-winded thoughts on The Heroes of Olympus series… I hope I didn’t lose you halfway through. 🙂

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the Hobbit~ book and movie review

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The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

As I’m sure you can tell, this post was supposed to go up around Christmas time. It didn’t happen, but that’s life. I reread The Hobbit a few months ago and watched the movies about the same time, so I hope they are still a little fresh in my mind.

The Hobbit is a classic, beloved and enjoyed for years. It’s the prequel to the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Lighter and more whimsical than the trilogy, it seems to be more of a fairy tale than a history.  The hero of the story is as unexpected as his journey. Bilbo Baggins is a fusspot, to put it simply. He’s fond of the comforts of home and good food. He is a Hobbit, after all. But when a wizard shows up with a gaggle of dwarves, how can he not go with them?

Now, I’m not sure how this happened, but Peter Jackson managed to squeeze three 3 hour movies out of a book that’s about three hundred pages long, if that. I enjoy the movies, don’t get me wrong. Yes, there are many, many things that drive me over the edge sometimes, but they are still good movies.

What I liked:
The story was fleshed out more. The book seems to be the bare bones of what happened. Where did Gandalf go? What does a Hobbit hole look like? You know, little things like that.
I love the lushness of the landscape and the story. It’s so sweeping and dramatic.
I liked seeing the Dwarves and their wild, mad behavior.
Richard Armitage as Thorin Oakenshield. ‘Nuff said.
And Bilbo. Ah! I love him. His funny twitches, his loyalty, his bravery, and just him. He rocks, he really does.

What I didn’t like:
The whole Azog storyline. No, just no.
The Battle of the Five Armies. Again, just no. My eyes were raw after. Never again.

RKLW {reading, knitting, listening, watching}

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{A once-a-week post about what I’m reading, knitting, listening to, and watching.}
{Joining Ginny for YarnAlong.}

Reading: Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan. I’ve been reading the Percy Jackson series for years now. I’m sad to say, the final installment left me pretty…underwhelmed. I’ll go more over that later.

I’ve been having trouble finding something new to read. If you have any suggestions, I’ll gladly take them! Just leave me a comment with your recommendation and I’ll be sure to look into them.

Knitting: I finished my Hugs by Post and it turned out so cute! Very dainty, which is a look I like. I also started a pair of the most eye-searingly bright socks in the history of eye-searing. I’m using Reiga Fluormania in the Neon Beach colorway and my normal sock pattern. Let’s see, what else? My Bofur socks, of course. I’m also knitting my April socks a bit early, using the Show-Off Stranded stitch pattern and my normal sock numbers. I recently ordered a bunch of gorgeous yarn from Knit Picks which got here on Wednesday! I’m fighting castonitis, since I want to cast everything on! Lots of knitting happening around here, y’all.

OH! And let us not forget a project that was influenced by other knitters in the blog sphere. The sock yarn blanket. I have never had any great desire to knit one. Then I saw Kristin’s post. And Andi’s. It was all over after that. Oh, yeah, I got sucked in. I cast this on at 10pm one day. Finally! Justification for knitting socks. Okay, I don’t need justification for knitting socks. Maybe for buying sock yarn…

Listening: Music. It varies from day to day. I’ve been loving me some Lindsey Stirling, Ivan Torrent, and Adrien von Ziegler of late.

Watching: Still finishing Call the Midwife and I managed to find Season 4 of Downton Abbey from the library. After Season 5 is over, of course…

Wow, this is a link-rich post. Be sure to click on them if you’re interested.

What are y’all reading, knitting, listening to, or watching?

it’s gloriously ugly

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Look, I got a new bookshelf.

It is gloriously ugly. Kind of like the primary colors just blew up on it.

It’s kinda growing on me.

And I paid $2 for it. No complaints there, thank you.

It holds almost all my novels comfortably. Except my collection of Star Wars books which, *cough, cough* a picture of will never see the light of day so I don’t get declared a nut job even though I already know I am, *cough, cough*.

So yeah. New shelf. Love it.

RKLW {reading, knitting, listening, watching}

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{A once-a-week post about what I’m reading, knitting, listening to, and watching.}
{Joining Ginny for YarnAlong. And drinking lots of tea.}

Reading: Walden by Henry David Thoreau. It’s boring my brain.

Knitting: Okay, so you’ll notice that there are two pictures for this week. The first one I took on Monday and the second one today. Since Monday, I’ve finished my first March sock, Burning Rings of Fire, cast on the second one, and started another cute shawlette, Hugs by Post. The pattern is so cute and easy, I’m surprised more people haven’t knit it. There are only nine other projects. I’m using some baby acrylic from the stash. And I love the Burning Rings of Fire pattern. It looks odd on the needles, but amazing once on. 🙂 I nicknamed this pair Bofur’s socks, since the yarn looks like the colors from Bofur’s scarf. Yeah, I do crazy things like that; nickname socks and plop them on my head and… Oh, did I say that out loud?

Listening: A new favorite song: The Empire by Jason Munday. It’s the story of Episode Five: The Empire Strikes Back condensed down into a song. LOVE. Another nerdy heart love. 🙂

Watching: Call the Midwife, a new to me BBC drama. So far, it’s enjoyable, although there are a few episodes and circumstances I didn’t like. In the middle of season 2.

What are y’all reading, knitting, listening to, or watching?

Ranger’s Apprentice~ series review

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Ranger’s Apprentice Series by John Flanagan

I love this series. It’s the kind of love that makes any of them a comfort read. I’ll grab any of the series to read when I’m kind of at a loss for what to read. That’s a comfort read for me. 🙂 The series follows Will, a young orphan from the Kingdom of Arulen, as he becomes a Ranger’s apprentice and grows up. I’m really not sure I can do this amazing adventure of a series justice with my small words, but I want to, since it makes me happy.

For me, what makes a good series or story are the characters. They can make or break the story. If they don’t have depth or connectability, I don’t love them. However, I love Will. His optimism and joy for life stays with him through good times and bad. He is so likable and so human. Despite being a Ranger, (kind of like a secret agent slash Special Ops slash archer slash a couple other things), he stays grounded with a twinkle and a snappy comeback. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention that the series is set in a medieval  precursor of Europe.

Will’s teacher, Halt, is…I’m not even sure how to describe him. He’s like Obi-Wan Kenobi, but sharper, more sarcastic, WAYYY more sarcastic, funnier, and with the driest sense of humor ever. He and Will have the best relationship, with Halt kind of adopting the younger man. Almost every time Halt says something, I want to howl with laughter. He’s just so great. Of course, there are other characters in the series. Horace is another of my most favorites. He and Will are best friends who really have each other’s backs and look out for each other, no matter what.

There are girls, of course. Because what kind of story would this be without a little romantic angst? Emphasis on little. It’s really more of an action-adventure, brotherhood and bonding, with a bunch of danger, bad guys, fighting, and snarky quips tossed in there for good measure, shaken, and served up. And I love it. It’s kind of like an Errol Flynn movie, come to think of it. Like, Errol Flynn playing Robin Hood. Ahh…. Ahem! Sorry!

The series has twelve books and let’s see if I can list them in order off the top of my head. 😉 Here goes:

The Ruins of Gorlan
The Burning Bridge 

The Icebound Land
The Battle for Skandia
The Sorcerer of the North
The Siege of Macindaw
Erak’s Ransom
The Kings of Clonmel
Halt’s Peril
The Emperor of Nihon-Ja
The Lost Stories (kind of a filler, since book 10 was supposed to be the last one, I think)
The Royal Ranger

Yes! I rock! 😉 Anywho, I love them all, except The Royal Ranger. No, nein, non. We doesn’t like it, Precious. It kind of lost the feel of the rest of the whole darn series. I won’t get into why, but yeah. Me no like.

Strange but true; I now mentally associate The Kings of Clonmel and Halt’s Peril with the song Hello Seattle (remix) by Owl City. Listening to the song makes me think of the books and reading the books makes me hear the song playing in my head. The only way I can explain this strange phenomenon is that I listened to Hello Seattle on repeat the whole time I read the two books for the first time. So yeah. Good stuff, y’all. 🙂 Read them…you will love them…