Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo Book 1) by Rick Riordan

The Hidden Oracle is the first book in the new middle grade Greek mythology series, The Trials of Apollo, the follow-up series to The Heroes of Olympus. Following the defeat of Gaea, Zeus blames Apollo for the war because his son is Octavian, and he played a big role in starting the war. Zeus punishes Apollo in one of the worst ways possible- he makes Apollo mortal and takes his powers. He is exiled from Olympus and lands in New York.

He is immediately beat up by some people on the street, defenseless. Just in time a young demigod named Meg, daughter of Demeter, saves him. Apollo can redeem himself by serving a demigod, and Meg happens to be the one. They travel to Camp Half-Blood to get help from his children and discover that an enemy that he fought long ago is taking control of the Oracles, and as the god of prophecy, he might be the only one who can stop it. 

I love Rick Riordan, and I was very excited to read this book. I was not disappointed! I love the idea of telling the point of view of a god, especially my favorite one, Apollo! He is the god of music, archery, prophecy, medicine, the sun, and poetry. The book was very funny and entertaining, especially how he freaked out when he looked at himself! (Apparently, gods have never heard of acne.) Apollo finally experienced the feeling of guilt, which was very interesting and important. It was great to learn more about the family of the gods and their experiences. 

I was also really happy to learn more about the events that happened after the ending of The Heroes of Olympus series. A lot of the things I wanted to know were answered, and I was really happy to learn what happened to Leo. He was my favorite character in that series, and I am really happy that readers get to see more of him in the coming books. 

I highly, highly recommend this book for fans of Rick Riordan and mythology! Unfortunately, readers have to wait a long time for the other books. There are five books that will be in The Trials of Apollo series, and the second book, The Dark Prophecy, comes out sometime in 2017. The third book will be out in 2018, the fourth book will be out in 2019, and the last book won't come out until 2020!!! (Why, Rick Riordan, Why?) Four years might be the longest I have ever waited for a book, but I am very much looking forward to it!!!

The Hidden Oracle is the follow-up series to The Heroes of Olympus, which is the follow-up series to Percy Jackson and the OlympiansClick here to read my series review of Percy Jackson and the Olympians.

Title: The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1)
Author: Rick Riordan
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 376 pages
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars

Monday, July 25, 2016

Will to Survive (The Rule of Three Book 3) by Eric Walters

Will to Survive is the final book in the YA dystopian series, The Rule of Three. In order to protect his family and save his life, Adam had to take action. It had to happen, but that has changed Adam. Watching and doing are two different things, but he has to be brave.

In addition, Brett got away. He is out to get Adam and destroy the neighborhood, and he knows all their secrets. Adam has to conquer his fear and face him once again.

Adam, once again, was an incredible character, and I was hooked on how he would react and the decisions that he would make. Adam had to act to protect himself, but it made Adam irritable, upset, and depressed. He was under a lot of pressure and was scared. I loved how his friends helped him, and I liked how he manipulated his enemies.

I would have liked there to be more happy moments, as this book's mood was sad. The cover art is very detailed, which I liked, and it really captures the idea of the story line.

I enjoyed knowing about the city and other developments. That information helped me to make predictions. The ending was sad, but the last sentence of the book was what I was looking forward to. While I wish there could be a fourth book, Will to Survive was a satisfying conclusion to the series.

I recommend that you read this series!

Title: Will to Survive (The Rule of Three Book 3)
Author: Eric Walters
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Pages: 320
Series: Yes, Book 3
Rating: 4 Stars

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Strike (The SYLO Chronicles Book 3) by D.J. MacHale

Strike is the third book in the YA dystopian series The SYLO Chronicles. When Tucker and his friends are taken prisoner of the air force, they see the opportunity to get some answers. They sneak in the dome and learn that the air force is from the future of 2324. They want to wipe out the 21st century to move in, since the future Earth is nearly destroyed.

With this mind-blowing realization in mind, their only way of survival is to team up with the Sounders, also from that time who don't believe in mass genocide. Their goal is to get help from SYLO to secure the dome on the outside while the Sounders set off a nuclear bomb inside to destroy the "Bridge", a link between the past and the future. This plan guarantees the Sounders' death- but this is their last chance to save the world.

I did not think about the future, and that did not occur to me at all. That was cool, and it makes sense with events before. The author did an amazing job hiding that. I also liked the change in Captain Granger. It was good to see him being nice. There were also funny ironies that you don't realize until the end.

However, the timeline stuff was super confusing and hard to interpret. I did not understand at all how come the butterfly effect didn't happen, or really anything about timelines in general. The author did not give any information about how the 21st century played out afterwards.

I recommend you read this series.

Read my review of the first book in this series, SYLO.

Read my review of the second book in this series, Storm.

Title: Strike (The SYLO Chronicles Book 3)
Author: D.J. MacHale
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 448
Series: Yes, Book 3
Rating: 4 Stars

Friday, July 15, 2016

Storm (The SYLO Chronicles Book 2) by D.J. MacHale

Storm is the second book in the YA dystopian series The SYLO Chronicles. Tucker and his friends have escaped from Pemberwick Island, and they went to the main land, looking for people to tell about the horrible things on the island. Unfortunately, there are worse things to worry about. 3/4 of the whole population is wiped out. A plane has the logo of the U.S. Air Force. This means that the second Civil War is happening- the Navy (SYLO) against the Air Force, with weapons powerful enough to vaporize their opponents.

Tucker and his friends are shocked about the mass genocide, and everywhere they go leads to more questions. They want this to end, but are not sure what side to be on. Tucker knows that everything they encounter are somewhat evil- it's just the best of the worst.

Storm's pace was not consistent, and the story line changed a lot. It was hard sometimes to follow along with the book when the events changed so fast. However, I liked the mystery and all the "why" questions. The betrayal stuff was hard to predict, and it was not who I thought it would be. 

Tucker is my favorite character, and he is the most influential. The others look to him as the leader, and his decisions are not always the best due to his grief and anger, but I think that the emotions are just what made him survive. All the characters are different, and I disliked Kent. Olivia was interesting and kind of annoying about wanting to go to relax at the beach in Florida, but it lightened up the mood when things got stressful. 

I recommend that you read this book, and I can't wait to read the final book in this trilogy, Strike.
Title: Storm (The SYLO Chronicles Book 2)
Author: D.J. MacHale
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 496
Series: Yes, Book 2
Rating: 4 Stars

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Facts About Me

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the Broke and the Bookish blog, and any blog can participate. For information on how to participate, click here. I am excited to share these ten facts about me!

1. I love to sing! I sang in the school talent show and took part in the musicals.

2. I love acting, and I played Ms. Darbus in High School Musical!

3. I had a lot of wonderful teachers who made a difference in my life. My all-time favorite teacher is Mrs. Link!

4. I want to be a teacher when I'm an adult. When I'm hopefully a teacher, I would like to teach middle school and teach English.

5. I love random facts! For example, lightning strikes the Earth 6,000 times every minute! Another one is that hummingbirds are the only bird that can fly backwards!

6. I love quotes! One of my favorite ones is "When something goes wrong in your life just yell 'PLOT TWIST', and move on." -Molly Weis (Thanks Mrs. Link for sharing that one with me!)

7. The first book I learned how to read was Hop On Pop by Dr. Seuss.

8. My favorite book that I read in elementary school was Holes by Louis Sachar.

9. Cats are my favorite animal. Although I don't have one, I really want one.

10. My favorite food is peanut butter!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel by Diana López

This is my 100th blog post, and what a perfect way to celebrate by reviewing a great middle grade book that I have read nearly 100 times! Erica's mom is diagnosed with breast cancer, and she doesn't know what to do. She makes a promesa to God in exchange for help for her mom, but it is harder than she thought.

On top of the pressure of cancer, her genius sister is skipping two grades, and won't stop counting everything in sight. Erica has so many emotions that she uses a mood ring to keep them straight. When she falls extremely behind in school, she must face the fact that sometimes it is okay to ask for help.

I have read this book so many times, and it is great every time! The book has many different story lines, and I thought that the author balanced them very well.

Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel is very inspirational. Erica is a very hard worker and motivated to save her mom. She takes responsibility for everything. The book shows elements of family, friendship and leadership, as well as teaching that asking for help is not a bad thing. Erica does not get good grades in math, and I liked how she stepped up.

I liked the determination in Erica. I admired how she handled herself. When Erica got sad or upset sometimes, she wrote in her diary, which is a good way of coping. A character that I liked is Gumwad. He is so nice and sweet, even when Erica did not realize it. He was a good friend, and friends are important to her.

I recommend that you read this incredible book!

Title: Ask My Mood Ring How I Feel
Author: Diana López
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 352
Series: No
Rating: 5 Stars

Friday, July 8, 2016

Fight for Power (The Rule of Three Book 2) by Eric Walters

Fight for Power is the second book in the YA dystopian trilogy, Rule of Three. Adam is a changed person. Flying an airplane in battle zones and seeing dead people have changed him, and he doesn't like it. When he sees other people, especially kids, he tries to help. When there are attacks in the outside world, the community is left with hard choices. Adam wants to be nice and trust people, but sooner or later he is going to have to learn the hard way to be careful about who you trust- especially when the real enemy is actually inside your walls.

I feel bad for Adam in Fight for Power. He is having a really hard time in this book. He is being underestimated by Herb and the other people. He wants to continue being human and help people every chance he gets. He has to decide if it's worth harming others to be safe. Unfortunately, he doesn't get that say.

This book is definitely more sad than the first one, but I sort of liked that, as the mood fit the situation. I did enjoy the plot and the pace. It flowed perfectly and I liked that this book was more about surviving. Survival is complicated, and it was a very suspenseful story.

However, I did want them to try to investigate more about the cause of the electromagnetic pulse and how to get everything back to normal. They just were fixating on fighting and preparing for the rest of the future. Well, if they fixed the power problem, then they wouldn't have to worry so much about the future! I thought that the characters had no hope for things returning to normal. I also thought there was too much fighting.

I did not like this book as much as the first book, but I do recommend reading it, and I look forward to reading the final book, Will to Survive.

Read my review of the first book, The Rule of Three.

Title: Fight for Power (The Rule of Three Book 2)
Author: Eric Walters
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Pages: 352
Series: Yes, Book 2
Rating: 3 Stars

Thursday, July 7, 2016

SYLO by D.J. MacHale

SYLO is the first book in the YA science fiction series, The SYLO Chronicles. Tucker Pierce likes his life on Pemberwick Island, Maine. He likes being on the bench as a backup player on the high school football team. Life is calm and normal in his little town until the starting player, Marty Wiggins, drops dead after a game because he overdosed on a crystal called the Ruby, which makes you stronger and faster.

Not soon after, SYLO, claiming to be part of the U.S. military, shows up and quarantines and cuts off the island from the rest of the world, saying that a deadly virus is going around. But there is more to the story, and Tucker, Tori, and Quinn have seen mysterious things, and seen the SYLO hurt people trying to leave. Their parents aren't telling the whole truth, either. The three teens must discover why they are really here, and what they can do to rescue their island and possibly the whole world from SYLO.

I enjoyed the mystery in this book. It was a very suspenseful book with a lot of things you didn't see coming. SYLO had a huge range of characters and personalities. The "heroes" are just teenagers, the curious and suspicious ones on the island who pay attention to detail. It was funny how many coincidences there were, especially the way they were brought together. 

I also liked the little things, like how the TV just turned on randomly. It is these little details that put the book together. I liked the ending, and how much of a cliffhanger it was. Every chapter was a cliffhanger, which was good. The cover art is also amazing. It screams to me, "Read this book!" 

I highly recommend this book, and I cannot wait to read the next book, Storm.

Title: SYLO
Author: D.J. MacHale
Publisher: Razorbill
Pages: 407
Series: Yes, Book 1
Rating: 5 Stars

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books We Enjoyed That Have Under 2000 Ratings On Goodreads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the Broke and the Bookish blog, and any blog can participate. For information on how to participate, click here. This is my first time participating, and I am excited to connect with other book bloggers.

While looking on Goodreads for books with less than 2,000 ratings, I saw that most of the YA and middle grade books I have read with low numbers of ratings are realistic fiction. This list is organized in order of least ratings to most ratings. I enjoyed all of these books and recommend them. Be sure to read the fourth book in my absolute favorite middle grade series, Keeper of the Lost Cities.

1. Dead Batteries Tell No Tales by Ian Thomas Malone
This new book sets a record low with only two ratings, one of which is mine! (Can anyone top that?)

2. Where I Belong by Mary Downing Hahn

3. Losing It by Erin Fry

4. Losers Take All by David Klass

5. The Tragic Age by Stephen Metcalfe

6. Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron

7. Threatened by Eliot Schrefer

8. Adrift by Paul Griffin

9. Firebug by Lish Mcbribe

Sunday, July 3, 2016

How to Beat the Bully Without Really Trying by Scott Starkey

How to Beat the Bully Without Really Trying is an easy middle grade book that I have owned for many years since my fourth grade teacher gave it to me as a gift. Rodney Rathbone is scared of everything, and he freely admits that. He was bullied constantly in New York, and while he is excited to leave Rocco's bullying, he is scared of moving to Ohio. On his first day, Rodney encounters Ohio's version of Rocco- Josh.

However, luck is on his side. Just when Josh is going to beat him up, a baseball comes flying in and knocks out Josh. Everybody thinks that Rodney did it! Soon he is the most popular kid in school. He must try to live up to his new reputation.

One thing that I enjoyed was how funny the book was! All the random things that happened were very funny to read, as well as to see the reaction of the people he beat! However, I thought that Mrs. Lutzkraut's character was exaggerated. 

I also thought that there were a lot of coincidences that were surprising. There were a lot of twists and turns in the book, but it still flowed nicely and was still focused. I think that the approach to the bullying that was taken was more amusing than serious. I would advise readers to not approach handling bullying in the way that this was. I was disappointed that the adults in the book were not helpful in the situation.

I recommend that you read this book! The Call of the Bully is the sequel to this book, and Revenge of the Bully is a follow-up.

Title: How to Beat the Bully Without Really Trying
Author: Scott Starkey
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Pages: 272
Series: Yes, book 1 of 3
Rating: 4 Stars
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