New Year; New Challenges, Episode V

So here we are near the end of January and I’m only just now getting around to posting my annual “New Year; New Challenges” post. I received a promotion at work right around Thanksgiving and have been trying to deal with the change to my schedule. Having a job with irregular hours can sometimes throw off my schedule outside of work. I’m trying to find my balance between work, life, and blogging, and I appreciate you all sticking with the blog as I figure it out.

With all of that being said, here is my goal for 2015: 140 books. Since I successfully completed reading 100 books in 2014, 10 more books gets added to my goal. (2011 = 100 books, 2012 = 110 books, 2013 = 120 books, 2014 = 130 books, etc) As per years past, you can keep track of my reading progress and what books I’ve read here.

In no particular order, here are some of the books releasing in 2015 that I’m looking forward to reading!

  1. Fairest by Marissa Meyer
  2. Bound by Flames by Jeaniene Frost
  3. Picnic in Provence by Elizabeth Bard
  4. And I Love Her by Marie Force
  5. The Heir by Kiera Cass
  6. Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan
  7. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (This is an exclusive collector’s edition!)
  8. The Seven  Sisters by Lucinda Riley
  9. When A Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
  10. Murder at Beechwood by Alyssa Maxwell
  11. Dearest Rogue by Elizabeth Hoyt
  12. Tiny Little Things by Beatriz Williams
  13. One Night with a Billionaire by Jessica Clare
  14. Lady Maybe by Julie Klassen
  15. A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer

Well readers, what are your reading goals for 2015? What titles are you excited to read?

SUCCESS!

It is with GREAT pleasure that I announce I’ve succeeded in completing my goal of reading 100 books this year!  I’m a bit behind on posting my reviews, but I promise you within the next week I’ll complete them and get on track for the new year! Since I’ve completed my goal of 100 for the year I’ve thought about increasing my goal for 2012 and am thinking of upping the goal to 110.  I’ll post my definite plans tomorrow in my kick-off post, similar to what I did last year.

2011 has been a pretty amazing year of reading for me.  Looking back I’ve read some fascinating memoirs, heartbreaking fiction, and  suspenseful mysteries among other things.  My top ten for the year with links to their reviews are as follows:

  1. Jane Eyre
  2. One Day
  3. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
  4. The Hunger Games
  5. Stardust
  6. The House At Riverton
  7. Lunch in Paris
  8. A Wife For Mr. Darcy
  9. Eat, Pray, Love
  10. Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian/The Silent Governess

It was SO difficult to come up with a top ten for the year; I have to pat myself on the back for choosing such a wide array of excellent reads.  I do hope that you’ll tell me what you’ve enjoyed reading this year! There is no better recommendation to read a book than a recommendation from a fellow reader!

In terms of the challenges I signed up for this past year I completed the Historical Fiction Challenge and the Page to Screen Challenge with flying colors.  The Chunkster Challenge continues through January 31, 2012 so I still have a month to finish my last two “mega-chunkster” books.  My Austen challenges I did not do so well on.  I only completed 2 of the Jane Austen mystery novels, and completed 50% of the Sense and Sensibility Challenge.  I’m disappointed that I did so terribly on them, but I guess the light at the end of the tunnel is that I still completed my 100!  I’ve already begun to sign up for 2012 challenges, so make sure you head over to my challenge page to track my progress.

I hope that you will all enjoy the holiday today, checking back in tomorrow to join me on my journey of reading in 2012.

Happy New Year, and happy reading!

Life and 100 Films – Charlie’s Film Review of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Today’s review is of Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, which many refer to as just Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief.  It’s a 2010 fantasy-adventure film directed by Chris Columbus (of Home Alone and Harry Potter fame), who in my eyes was the perfect choice to bring this story to life on the big screen.   The film is based on the book, The Lightning Thief, which is the first story in the five book Percy Jackson series by author Rick Riordan.  It stars Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson, in his first leading role that has since sent him on the journey to becoming a young superstar.  I am particularly excited for his next film because it is based on a novel that I would like to read, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. (In all honesty Emma Watson is my actual motivation for being excited)  The film is rounded out by a variety of cast members, both newcomers and veterans, which include Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario (HOT), Jake Abel, Rosario Dawson, Steve Coogan, Uma Thurman, Catherine Keener, Kevin McKidd, Sean Bean and Pierce Brosnan.

I have always been someone who was fascinated and interested in Greek Mythology, which is a major reason I really enjoy this story.  It follows the adventures of twelve-year-old Percy Jackson, as he discovers that not only is he is a demigod (half god, half human), but he also happens to be the son of the Greek god Poseidon.  Percy and his friends embark on a journey to prevent a war between the Greek gods Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades that is fraught with battles and tests their abilities to stay alive.

This film series may have gone unnoticed by moviegoers since it may look like it’s a kid’s movie, but in actuality it really is fun for everyone.  If you are a fan of Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, etc this is something you should check out as they were clearly used for inspiration.  The mix between the modern-day world and the world of the Gods is what makes this series special and intriguing in my eyes.  It adds that extra bit of originality that allows this to feel fresh and lets you enjoy those feelings of growing up in a mythical sort of way.

I highly suggest you check this film out if you are into the fantasy genre, especially if you dig franchises.  Also, if you are into Greek Mythology, this is a must view.  (Kim also adds that the books are a must read. Links to her reviews are here: one, two, three, four, five)  While this may not have had as much success as some of its counterparts in the genre, Fox saw enough in this original story and its leading man to warrant it a sequel, which not all epic book series have the luxury of getting. (Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters is to be scheduled for release on March 27, 2013)  It’s a sleeper hit in my opinion, and I think you should check it out.

4 out of 5 Stars

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (2010)
Fox 2000 Pictures
PG, 118 Minutes

#70 A Review of The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #5) by Rick Riordan

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For those following along at home, we’ve come to the exciting conclusion of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians (Camp Half Blood) series by Rick Riordan.  We’ve seen Percy battle gods and demigods on his quest to rid the world of Kronos and his evildoers and protect Mount Olympus from his attacks.  Filled with adventure and excitement, Riordan’s final work was just as explosive as I expected it to be.

Once again we follow Percy and his misadventures as he attempts to stave off an attack by Kronos and his followers as they attempt to lay siege to Manhattan, more specifically Mount Olympus.  At the onset, Percy and Beckendorf try to take out the Princess Andromeda (Kronos’ ship) in a stealth mission.  Kronos is prepared for the attack, however, and Beckendorf sacrifices his life to destroy the ship.  Injured in the attack, Percy wakes up in his father Poseidon’s underwater palace, and meets his cyclops half-brother, Tyson.  Although he wants to stay and help his father fight off an attack by the Titan Oceanus, Poseidon sends Percy back to Camp Half Blood, where he soon leaves to receive a blessing from his mother and bathe in the River Styx.  Percy then travels to Manhattan, where they must defend the opening to Mount Olympus (conveniently located at the Empire State Building).  They face an enormous onslaught from Kronos’ massive army, and are pushed back to the entrance of Mount Olympus itself.  What will happen to Percy?  Will he be able to protect the other gods from Kronos and his minions?

Riordan has REALLY outdone himself with The Last Olympian.  The last third of the book is one of the most epic battle sequences I’ve ever read.  The demigods have really come into their own and show it.  It’s amazing to read how well they’ve honed their skills and how they fight against the oldest monsters on Earth.  Their dedication to the fight, to the gods, and to good is astonishing.  Percy has yet again matured, this time into a leader instilling hope into not only the demigods, but the gods themselves.  He is able to convince those you’d least expect into believing that he and the demigods are capable of saving Olympus.

While the subject matter of the novel is serious and at times very dark, Riordan finds a way to add humor and lightness to the story, in the form of the party ponies.  The party ponies are groups of centaurs from across the US that get together for conventions and just party.  Chiron convinces them to join the demigods’ fight against Kronos, and they really help turn the battle back in the demigods favor.  The dialogue that is written for them is hysterical, especially reading about some of them battling the Titans and calling them “dude”.  I’ve come to expect this subtle humor from Riordan’s writing.  It breaks up the darker pieces of the novel and allows the reader to breathe and regroup from the sadder portions of the novel.

I can’t imagine a better ending to this series.  Riordan has made the reader become so invested in the lives of Percy, Annabeth, Grover, and all the other characters, and given them an ending we can be proud of.  More importantly, this ending is satisfying.  If you still (after all of my reviews) have NOT picked up this series, then you are seriously missing out.  Tell every young adult you know about this series and get them to read it.  It’s intelligent, fast-paced, fun, thought-provoking, and so much more.  I’ve been told that Riordan has already published two more books delving into the next chapters of Percy’s life.  You can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be reading those ASAP. 

5 out of 5 Stars

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
Disney Hyperion (2011)
Paperback 416 pages
 
For links to the first four books in the series click the following: Book One, Book Two, Book Three, Book Four

#67 A Review of The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #4) by Rick Riordan

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Have you missed your usual dose of Greek mythology lately from the blog?  Well have no fear, as today’s review centers on The Battle of the Labyrinth, the fourth installment of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan.
 
We begin our story with Percy enduring yet another attack by mythological creatures (this guy just can’t catch a break, can he?)  This time Percy narrowly avoids being killed by two empousai, which are vampire-like daughters of the goddess Hecate.  After fending them off, Percy returns to Camp Half-Blood, where he learns of the Labyrinth, a section of the palace of King Minos of Crete.  This particular labyrinth is special as it provides an entrance into Camp Half-Blood, and upon mistakenly finding an opening to it, Percy finds out that Luke, his archenemy from book one, plans to march his army through it and destroy Camp Half-Blood.  The Labyrinth is always changing however, making the task of navigating it extremely difficult.  What follows is an amazing tale of mythology that leads to some surprising twists and turns, including Percy making Mt. St. Helens erupt!  We also get introduced to a mortal character who comes to Percy’s aid, and we witness another epic battle scene.  Not too bad for the life of a teenage kid (I mean demigod).
 
All throughout this series I’ve been fascinated with the incredible amount of Greek mythology that Riordan has managed to squeeze into the stories.  I know you’re probably saying well Kim, it’s a series about demigods and mythological creatures , what did you expect?!  What I’m trying to say is that with so many mythological creatures and myths it’s amazing that Riordan is able to weave so many of them into Percy’s story.  The labyrinth was a great plot device, giving the reader the opportunity to meet many more gods, demigods, and mythological creatures than they did in the first three novels in the series.  My favorite minor god that we were introduced to was Janus.  Janus has two faces and is the god of beginnings and transitions.  His two faces are to look to the future and the past, thus also making him the god of time, doorways, and decisions.
 
Riordan’s strongest suit is his character development.  We have seen strong characteristics that continually develop in each of our main characters throughout the series.  For Percy, we see him become a type of seer.  What started in book one as dream-like memories have now become full-blown premonitions that begin to play an important role in the quests that Percy and his friends sign on for.  It’s character development like this, that started in book one and continues to grow, which makes Percy, Annabeth, and Grover fascinating and quirky characters to follow.
 
Riordan is a master storyteller and The Battle of the Labyrinth is yet another novel to add to his ever-growing successful career.  If you have yet to try out this action packed, fast-paced, kick-ass adventure then you’re sorely missing out.  This is one of the best young adult novels that I continuously recommend to others for its intelligent writing and subject matter.   
 
4 out of 5 Stars
 
Disney Hyperion (2009)
Paperback 384 pages

#62 A Review of The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #3) by Rick Riordan

Cover ImageRick Riordan is back with the third book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Titan’s Curse.  Based on Greek mythology and the Olympic gods, Riordan’s series chronicles the life of Percy Jackson, the son of Poseidon and a mortal.  This time, Percy finds himself on yet another quest from the Oracle and provides us with another action packed adventure.
 
Kronos is getting stronger and stronger thanks to Hermes’ son Luke’s recruiting.  The satyrs are being sent all over the country to try and find new demigods to help protect Camp Half-Blood and Mount Olympus.  Grover sends an urgent message to Percy asking for his assistance in bringing two new demigods back to camp for training.  It’s during this rescue mission that things take a turn for the worse, causing Annabeth to disappear.  The God Artemis shows up with a group of immortal young women, known as the hunters, to try to help in this demigod rescue.  During the attack, Artemis realizes that there is a plan to release a very large and ancient mythological monster, and that she must track it down and kill it before it can destroy Olympus.  Will Artemis stop this monster in time, or will she become just another victim in Kronos’s plan?  Will Percy and Grover be able to rescue their two new demigods, and will they ever find Annabeth?

The Titan’s Curse is definitely the game changing book in this series.  The characters are all starting to mature emotionally, physically, and mentally.  Percy especially is shedding the rash decision-making that made up so much of who he was in the first two books.  He’s starting to look at how his decisions affect others and is learning to take that into consideration.  We also see him begin to come to terms with his feelings for Annabeth and what hiding those feelings could result in.  Annabeth as well is learning what hiding her feelings could cost.

The other great thing about The Titan’s Curse is the new glimpses we get at the Gods.  The meeting held up at Olympus introduces us to all the Gods at once, and as such gives us a bit more information on each of them.  Each book seems to give us a meeting between Percy and another God, expanding the mythology lessons we get.  Artemis, Apollo, and Aphrodite are the big three we meet here.  We learn about how Artemis and Apollo got their duties with the Sun and Moon (the importance of these tales come into play in the later books).  Altogether, this interesting and pertinent background in mythology combines with the excitement of Riordan’s action scenes to make a wonderful third book in this series.  It definitely made me excited to try the next book (so much so that I made Todd go out and get me the next two books).  I highly recommend getting  the young adults in your life hooked on this series; there’s much to gain from it.

4 out of 5 Stars

The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan
Disney Hyperion (2008)
Paperback 336 pages
ISBN: 9781423101482

#34 A Review of The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #2) by Rick Riordan

Cover ImageAbout 5 months ago I was introduced to the world of Percy Jackson.  I was extremely excited when I first began reading the series, for it contained two things I love: a good adventure story and Greek mythology.  I was a huge fan of the first novel in the series (see my review here), and I was interested to see what else Riordan had in store for Percy and his friends.  I really love how Riordan brings Greek mythology into the spotlight, as I feel that it isn’t touched upon enough in today’s media even though the stories hold important lessons in life and morality.
 
Life has been going great for Percy Jackson.  He’s made it through a full year in one school, he’s made a friend, Tyson, and he’s headed back to Camp Half-Blood where he’ll continue his training as the son of Poseidon.  All seems to be going well until three Laistrygonians (enormous fire wielding monsters) show up and begin attacking Percy and his schoolmates.  After narrowly escaping the attack, Annabeth appears and helps Percy and his friend Tyson get away to Camp Half-Blood.  During the trip Percy realizes that Tyson is a cyclops and sees that Annabeth is incredibly uneasy around him.  Their arrival at Camp Half-Blood brings sorrow as they find that Thalia’s tree (an important piece of the camp’s protection) has been poisoned, and as it dies it slowly drains the protection of the camp away.  Will Percy be able to figure out a way to save the camp?  Will Annabeth reveal secrets of her past to make Percy understand her uneasiness around Tyson? 
 
The Sea of Monsters is an awesome follow-up to The Lightning Thief.  Riordan does a fantastic job at introducing mythological creatures and stories in a way that makes them fresh and interesting.  He is revitalizing the world of Greek mythology for a new generation.  For example, The Sea of Monsters is heavily influenced by Homer’s The Odyssey.  Percy must cross the sea of monsters, and at one point encounters the Sirens much in the fashion that Odysseus did.  Percy also faces a run-in with the same cyclops that Odysseus outsmarted.  Hopefully these references will make teens want to read Homer’s work, and spark a rebirth in interest in classic literature.
 
I really enjoyed seeing the friendship and trust grow between Annabeth and Percy.  After their dealings in the last book, it was a good choice on Riordan’s part to begin taking their relationship to the next level.  I was also really happy that he found a way to include Grover in the story.  Upon completing the first in the series I was nervous that Grover wouldn’t be appearing in the later novels due to the plot line his character was a part of.  It’s good to know that Riordan will be keeping our old favorites around while including them in new ways.  My only complaint was that I wish we had more time to spend with Hermes.  Hermes comes up to Percy while still at Camp Half-Blood and tries talking to him about his son Luke.  (Those who read book one will remember Luke as the main villain).  It was fascinating to read Hermes discuss his feelings on the subject of his son, who had gone rogue.
 
All in all the book was a stellar follow-up: jam-packed with action, adventure, monsters, and the bonds of friendship and family.  There is something to be learned from each of the books in the series, and for that reason I highly recommend that parents encourage their kids to read them.  If I’m 25 and eagerly anticipating the third book.  If that doesn’t tell you the books are good, I don’t know what will!
 
4 out of 5 Stars
 
The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
Hyperion/Miramax Kid Publishers (2006)
Paperback 304 pages

My Top Ten…Villains (Part I)

Many apologies for the delay in my top ten list this month!  Everyone loves a good villain.  Well maybe not everyone, but this blogger does.  I love a villain whose characterizations sometimes beat out the protagonists. My top ten list this week is composed of my top ten most memorable villains! Enjoy!

10.) The Volturi from The Twilight Series

Dark and foreboding, the Volturi are the major ruling family of the vampire world in the Twilight series.  Originally appearing disinterested and detached from those whom they rule in the beginning of the series, they soon show their might and anger when finding out that Bella knows the inner workings of the vampire world.  Ruthless and efficient, these villans are especially dangerous because they employ humans to go out into the world and bring additional humans back to the Volturi as a food source.  Now that’s blood chilling!

File:Cronos armé de la faucille (harpè) contre son père et divers médaillons pierre gravée crop.jpg9.) Kronos from The Percy Jackson Series

According to Greek Mythology Kronos was the leader of the first group of twelve Titans that overthrew their parents: the leaders of the Golden Age of mythology.  Kronos and the other Titans were then overthrown by Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades and locked away in Tartarus.  He is usually pictured with a scythe, which he used to kill his father Uranus!  In the Percy Jackson series Kronos is responsible for coordinating plans to take down Zeus and the Gods on Mount Olympus.  It’s up to Percy to figure out the plans and keep Kronos in his prison in Tartarus.   This villan has it all: a classic tale, lofty ambitions, and mythic tales.  You could call him the father of all villans!

8.) The Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland

Any character whose motto is “off with their heads” deserves to be on this list in my eyes.  The Queen of Hearts is an absolute crazy bitch!  She orders everyone around, forces people to do her bidding, and abuses animals so that she can play croquet!!  Her dominance over the kingdom is absolute, and her evil cunning is unmatched.  However, her dark sense of humor provides some respite from her cold heart and makes her all the more memorable as a top villan.

7.) Wickham from Pride and Prejudice

Wickham is an absolutely horrid person.  He is a gambler, cheat, womanizer, liar, and so much more.  He leaves debt behind him  and sullies women’s reputations wherever he goes.  In Pride and Prejudice, he lies about the type of person Darcy truly is to make the residents of Meryton like him and give them his sympathy.  He is one of the worst types of villans, one who hides his true identity behind a face of compassion that changes at the last moment possible.  The fact that Wickham got most everyone to trust him except for Darcy shows how sly this fox really is!

6.) Grendel from Beowulf

For those of you who have never read Beowulf do it! Grendel is an enormous monster beast that has been terrifying and destroying the kingdom of He0r0t.  He eats soldiers, destroys buildings, and is just a royal pain in the butt.  Although his motives aren’t explicitly stated, a general need for revenge and greed drive Grendel to be the angry monster that he is.  Eventually killed by Beowulf, Grendel puts up quite a fight and is just a generally disagreeable monster.  His mom is also a pretty worthy adversary for Beowulf a well, but you have to read the book to find out about her!

Join me tomorrow for my top five villains!! Until then, happy reading!

My Top Ten….Books I Wish I Was A Character From (Part II)

As promised in yesterday’s post, here are my top five books I wish I was a character from!!

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5.) Robert Langdon – The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown

Robert Langdon has to be one of the most brilliant characters ever created.  The amount of knowledge the man has is insane.  The best part about him is that he is completely normal!  He swims every morning, is a teacher, and lectures amongst other things.  His knowledge of symbols and their deeper meanings are astounding.  His abilities to put together puzzle after puzzle is admirable.  Of all the books that Dan Brown has written with Langdon as a character, Da Vinci Code is the one I chose to want to be from.  I’d love to be taken all through Europe on a quest for the holy grail.  Being a puzzle lover myself, I can only imagine what it would be like to get to take a crack at the codes that he gets to solve.  How cool would that be?

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4.) Elizabeth Bennet – Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

With Pride and Prejudice being my all time favorite book is it really that shocking that I’d want to be Elizabeth Bennet??  Elizabeth is a woman after my own heart. She’s witty, passionate, fiercely loyal to those around her and isn’t afraid to speak her mind.  She is a bit of a modern woman stuck in old times.  Now, the real reason I want to be her?  Mr. Darcy of course!!! Is there any woman who has read Pride and Prejudice and NOT fallen in love with Mr. Darcy??  Mr. Darcy sees Elizabeth for who she really is and falls in love with her.  He sees that she’s not a cookie cutter woman who throws herself at a man simply so that she can have a house and income to survive on.  She turns down two marriage proposals, wanting to rather be penniless than to marry for anything but the strongest of true loves.  She gets just that in the end, and it’s for that reason I’d love to be her. 

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3.) Percy Jackson – The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson has quite an interesting family tree.  On a school trip to a museum he finds that not only is he the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, but that he is under attack by evil forces which wish to destroy him and all the other children of Greek gods and goddesses.  Apart from the whole defending your life portion of being Percy Jackson, it would be incredibly awesome to wield his powers.  The ability to control water as if it was a living object under your command is incredible, and Percy finds that his powers don’t stop there.  He has a natural ability to lead and defend his friends, and he becomes a great warrior.  Who wouldn’t want to be this guy?  Additional perks would include having a bunch of other Greek god and goddess children as friends and spending Christmas with uncle Zeus.  Not too shabby, huh?

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2.) Charlie – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

I challenge you to find a child that grew up in America that does not know the story of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  From Gobstoppers to Three-Course dinner chewing gum, Dahl created a world of crazy candies and impossible sights and sounds.  Being Charlie would be like being a kid in a candy store, literally.  Imagine turning into a blueberry or being shrunken down to miniature size, driving a rootbeer-powered car, flying because of fizzy drink, or being able to lick wallpaper that tastes like candy.  These are all things Charlie got to see and do in the pages of one of my favorite children’s books.  The chocolate river, the oompa loompas, the candy that grows on trees: these are all things that I wish could be real.  Being Charlie, just even for a day, would allow me to indulge in that childhood dream, and would allow me to forget all my worries and cares.

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1.) Harry Potter – The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Magic?  Check.  Flying?  Check.  Witches and wizards?  Check.  A hidden world of adventure, danger, and unbelievable sights and sounds that can’t be explained?  Of course.  This is the world of a wizard known as Harry Potter.  Ever since I’ve read the first novel in the series, I’ve had a serious itching to play Quidditch.  I would also love to be able to change an inanimate object into an animal, and to send letters via my owl.  As Harry Potter, I would have the ability to do all of this and more.  Often people dream of magical worlds, but the world that Rowling creates is beyond anything I could imagine.  I honestly would love to be able to go to Hogwarts and get lost in the magical world.  It seems so honest and removed from the stress and trials of ordinary life.  To escape to this world would be the ultimate experience, and out of all the books that I wish I was a character from, this is my top one!

Well readers, what books do you want to jump in the pages of?  Why?  Do you agree with my choices? Disagree?  Let me know in the comments section below!

#6 A Review of The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #1) by Rick Riordan

Cover Image Bored one Saturday night, Todd and I found the film version of The Lightning Thief on HBO and were very impressed with it!  Knowing that one of my reading  challenges for 2011 was a page to screen challenge, I had a perfect excuse to check out the book. 
 
Rick Riordan is the author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, as well as its sequel series The Heroes of Olympus.  He has also written the Tres Navarre series, The Kane Chronicles, and has contributed to the children’s series The 39 Clues.  Riordan has become incredibly successful at creating interesting series for both young adults and adults focusing on Greek mythology, Texas private eyes, and Egyptian mythology.
 
Percy Jackson’s life is crap.  He has ADHD, dyslexia, is about to get kicked out of yet another boarding school, mythological creatures are chasing him, and he’s just found out that his entire life has been a lie.  Percy finds out that he is a demigod, meaning his father is one of the twelve Olympians from Mount Olympus. (Yes, they really exist!)  Upon Percy’s discovery that he is a demigod, he is brought to camp Half-Blood (a camp for other demigods) by his friend and protector Grover, who is a satyr.  He is told that Zeus’s lightning bolt has been stolen and that he is the main suspect.  Percy speaks to the Oracle and is told he must leave camp and go on a quest to retrieve Zeus’s stolen lightning bolt, as well as stop the war between Zeus and Poseidon.  Before leaving for his quest, Percy undergoes some training at camp and meets Annabeth, a daughter of Athena.  During a game of capture the flag Percy finds out that he has special powers in relation to water and that water acts as a healing agent for him.  At the end of the game it becomes known which god is Percy’s father.  (You won’t be finding out from me though, it’s a surprise!)  With some basic training under his belt, Percy, Grover, and Annabeth leave camp and begin their trek from Long Island to find the missing lightning bolt.  They are thrust in the paths of Furies, Medusa, Hades, Zeus, Ares, and many other mythological creatures and gods along the way.  Percy must figure out why he’s being framed as the lightning thief, what his strange dreams mean, why his father has claimed him as his son only now, and how he’s going to survive each challenge being thrown his way. 
 
So Percy Jackson was awesome.  As a huge fan of Greek mythology I loved reading about all of the Greek gods, the mythological creatures, and the stories about the gods.  This book/series is an excellent way to introduce young adults into the mythology realm.  For parents who are iffy about letting their kids read about vampire love stories or zombie books, this is a great way to introduce them to something both educational but filled with a clean age appropriate adventure.  Riordan’s writing style is very eloquent and educated, and he makes the sometimes confusing world of Greek mythology interesting, easy to understand, and the reader wanting more. 
 
For those who have seen the film, while the plots are similar, there are major differences between the two.  In my opinion, the book was filled with more conflicts and challenges for Percy and his friends to overcome which truly tested their resolve and abilities to become “heroes” (i.e. Hercules).  I would definitely encourage those that have seen the film and enjoyed it to check out the book as well.  I think they’ll be pleasantly surprised at the differences. 
  
4 out of 5 Stars
 

This is my second completed review for the Page to Screen Challenge

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Hyperion/Miramax Kid Publishers (2006)
Paperback 377 pages
ISBN: 9780786838653
 
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