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. 🙂

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes~ review

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The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes- Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is an anthology published in 1892. It contains the following stories:

A Scandal in Bohemia
The Red-Headed League
A Case of Identity
The Boscombe Valley Mystery
The Five Orange Pips
The Man with the Twisted Lip
The Blue Carbuncle
The Speckled Band
The Engineers Thumb
The Noble Bachelor
The Beryl Cornet
The Copper Beeches

There weren’t very many of the mysteries that I enjoyed. Most of them were a little creepy and odd. I did like The Red-Headed League (I have a couple of red-headed friends) and The Blue Carbuncle (poor goose!). I had a hard time figuring out the solution to most of the mysteries, but I did hazard a guess in The Beryl Cornet and The Five Orange Pips. The Engineers Thumb was scary and The Noble Bachelor was silly. I would like to find the other anthologies at some point.

On another note, isn’t that the ugliest cover ever?

What is your favorite Sherlock story? Do share, if you feel so inclined.

The Hound of the Baskervilles~ review

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The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sherlock Holmes is at it again. Dr. James Mortimer has paid him a visit with a wild-sounding tale of the Curse of the Baskervilles. Sir Charles Baskerville apparently died of fright after seeing a giant hound, the so-called Hound of the Baskervilles. His death leaves his estate to his nephew Henry, the only known heir. Holmes is intrigued with the tale, but is unable to go with Dr. Mortimer and Sir Henry back to Baskerville Hall. He sends Dr. Watson in his place. But could Sherlock Holmes, world’s greatest detective, really leave a case alone? Of course not!

The Hound of the Baskervilles is the first Holmes mystery I’ve read. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Most mysteries all seem to be pretty similar, but Conan Doyle’s stand in a class of their own. I had the wrong person picked as the criminal! But that didn’t upset me too much. There are a couple of subplots that sort of throw you off the scent for a bit before being resolved. I love how Holmes sums everything up at the end. It’s closure, something I like in books. Sir Arthur’s writing style is simple and easy to follow, though how Sherlock manages to deduce so many things just by looking still stumps me. I think I understand how Watson feels!

After reading THOTB, I had to find more Sherlock. The stories are so very exciting, thrilling, and addictive! He has definitely made a comeback recently. I can see why, with the stories being such classics. I found The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and I’m working my way through it. So far, it’s enjoyable. I had checked out a biography of Conan Doyle a few months ago, but I was unable to finish it before having to return it. How aggravating. I’ll get it again and review it for you sometime. It’s called The Man Who Created Sherlock: The Life and Times of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle by Andrew Lycett, in case you were wondering.

Movie-wise, I’ve only seen Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows starring Robert Downey, Jr. I would like to watch the first movie starring him, and the BBC mini-series with Benedict Cumberbach and Martin Freeman. Have you seen them? Any thoughts, comments, fan-craziness?

Any other Holmes stories (book or movie) to recommend? Tell me in the comments!

The Pelican Bride~ review

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The Pelican Bride-Beth White

Genevieve Gallain is grateful to have left the dangers of 18th century France behind. Being a Huguenot, or Calvinist, was dangerous in the times of Louis XIV. However, she might be trading one danger for another. Genevieve and her sister have traveled on the ship Pelican to what would become Mobile, Alabama, to become mail-order brides. Tristian Lanier, an exiled cartographer, isn’t looking for a bride. But there’s something about Genevieve Gallain that attracts him to her. But will the secrets of Genevieve’s past threaten their happiness and the safety of the fort?

The Pelican Bride is one of the first books I’ve read about mail-order brides, but the issues touched on in this book go much deeper than that. Genevieve is a member of a denomination that was illegal in France. The British were attempting to take over France’s holdings in America. The book showed how the Native Americans were either wary of the French or firm allies. Some of the authority figures were corrupt. The story was a tangled web of loyalties, politics, religion, and love.

Brief history lesson: At that time, Louis XIV had revoked the Edict of Nantes, against the advice of the Pope. The Edict gave Protestants the freedom of worship and equal political rights with Catholics. Louis had seen the Protestants as a serious religious and political threat. They were ordered to become Catholic or leave France. Louis XIV wanted to be the Supreme Head of the Church in France, just like the King of England. Pope Innocent XI remained firm and Louis never dared take France into schism.

I was disappointed in Beth White’s handling of her Catholic characters. They were lukewarm believers in name only.  Her writing style also left something to be desired. The dialogue and pacing seemed disjointed and ran on oddly. There were too many secrets between the characters and I couldn’t connect to any of them. I don’t think I would ever read The Pelican Bride again, even if the cover is very pretty.

A Sister’s Hope~ review

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Sisters of Holmes County: Book Three- A Sister’s Hope by Wanda E. Brunstetter

Young Amish woman Martha Hostettler is bewildered and very worried about continuing attacks on her family. The attacks have varied between seemingly harmless pranks to real, life-threatening dangers. She is determined to find out who the culprit is before something even worse happens. Among the suspects is the man Martha has fallen in love with, Luke Friesen. Luke is determined to prove his innocence, not only to Martha, but also to Martha’s father, who is determined to keep them apart.

I really enjoyed this book. I literally could not put it down. A Sister’s Hope is the first book that’s kept me up till the wee hours of the morning (okay, 11:30) for a looong time. It was so gripping and page-turning. Yes, it’s the third book in the series, but I can’t complain. It was a free book from the library. Me + free books = happiness.

I was surprised by how much I liked the book. I’ve read a couple of Wanda E. Brunstetter’s books and wasn’t blown away. The writing in  A Sister’s Hope was so much better. The characters were engaging, much more than her other books. And don’t get me started on the mystery of who the attacker was! There’s no definite clues until almost the very end. I was shocked and a little horrified by the identity of the attacker. I’m glad everything turned out well in the end. All in all, I was very happy with this free book.

Have you read any of Wanda E. Brunstetter’s books? What did you think of them?

Guarded~ review

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Book Review 

Guarded by Kirsten Lasinski

Emily Blyton is a forty year old divorcee living alone in her hometown. All her life, she struggled with accepting herself and being loved, rejecting the idea that God could love her or that He even exists. She had a poor relationship with her critical father that contributed to a poor relationship with her daughter. Emily’s life changes when she learns she was adopted. Already struggling with self-worth, the news is crushing. Desperate to find out who she is, she takes a risk and leaves her home to find her family. What she finds changes her life for the better.

Guarded is a gripping read that sucks you in from the first page and keeps you turning the pages. Kirsten Lasiski’s descriptions are amazing and so detailed. It feels like you are really in Murray, Colorado. The story line is interesting but disjointed in many places. It seemed like there should’ve been more definition between a memory and the present. Throughout the story, there are many characters have been wounded by men who’ve abandoned them or rejected them. At times, that can be overwhelming and hard to read. It was intense and not quite what I was looking for. There were aspects of Guarded that I really enjoyed, but others I didn’t. I’m not a big fan of contemporary Christian fiction. I prefer historical fiction. If you read it, be prepared because you won’t want to put it down.

Have you read Guarded? What did you think of it?