Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Sword of Summer

The Sword of Summer
by Rick Riordan

For two years, Magnus Chase has lived the life of a homeless kid because that's what he is. Two years before, Magnus's mother was killed by wolves in their apartment in Boston. She sacrificed herself to save her son and he's lived on the streets ever since with the help of Blitz and Hearth, two other homeless men who keep Magnus safe and teach him the tricks he needs to survive.

When Magnus's uncle suddenly starts searching for him, two years after he became homeless, Magnus learns that he's more than just some random homeless kid; he's the son of a Norse god and his destiny is greater than he could ever have believed.

Of course, destiny can be a real pain in the... Anyway... Destiny causes Magnus quite a bit of pain; the first pain being the pain of dying.

Yes. Magnus has to die to face his destiny. But dying is only the first step.

Final thoughts: I liked this one, but it honestly lacked the flow of some of Riordan's other books. Someone mentioned in another review of this book that it's like an information dump, and that sounds about right. With Percy Jackson, most people started reading that series already knowing the basics about Greek mythology, so the story could just flow without much help regarding the history. However, Magnus Chase is the son of a much less well known Norse god and the stories of Norse mythology are not nearly so prolific. Much of this book is filled with hints of stories or outright retellings of those myths. More than once, I found myself putting the book down to go look up a myth or mythological character, so that didn't help much with the flow of the story, either. Additionally, as has been pointed out by other reviewers, Magnus's voice is very similar to Percy's. Their histories are pretty similar, as well, so it can get frustrating that they sound the same. Not all teens are snarky with witty comebacks, even if those comebacks are only in their heads and indicated to the readers. Can we have a different kind of teen, please? Let's have a voice change.  All that being said, the story is solid and the building of the worlds is kind of cool. Special kudos to Riordan for his portrayal of Loki. You, Mr. Riordan, actually had me believing him and feeling sorry for him.

Rating: 3/5

Monday, January 25, 2016

Scent of Magic

Scent of Magic
by Lori L. Clark
Three sisters who are constantly moving each time someone decides that their handmade fragrances are signs of witchcraft move to a town and immediately begin making fragrances that people say are infused with witchcraft.

Final thoughts: I can't like this book. It's like an extended storyboard or outline for a book, but not really a book itself. It also can't seem to make up its mind. In the beginning, there seems to be the implication that the girls aren't really witches, but rather people with extrasensory perceptions. However, later it's revealed that they have a huge spell book handed down from generation to generation and kept in a safe. Make up your mind, please. Business is down one moment and then booming the next. Time flies sometimes and then crawls at others. And would someone please DESCRIBE something?!?! I have no idea what anyone looks like beyond hair color. I just can't really seem to care about these outlines of characters because there is nothing beyond that outline. Everything, including the plot, is superficial. Avoid this one until the author actually deigns to write it completely.

Rating: 1/5
ARC Courtesy of NetGalley

Monday, January 11, 2016

Dirt on the Ninth Grave

Dirt on the Ninth Grave
by Darynda Jones

Lost and confused in Sleepy Hollow, NY, Jane Doe has no idea where she comes from or who she is. All she knows is that it has been a month and no one has come to find her even though she wears a HUGE diamond on her left finger.

Seriously! A guy wanted her badly enough to put a very possibly million dollar ring on it and he then just ignores the fact that she's gone?!?! Who does that?

Though she doesn't know who she is or where she comes from, she does know quite a bit of pop culture, which is weird considering the amnesia and all. She also names her furniture and body parts, and she seems to get into dangerous situations without even trying.

And while she doesn't know who her past friends may be, she does have quite a few who have shown up in her life, including the VERY hot (both literally and figuratively) new short-order cook at the restaurant where she's working.

She also sees ghosts. A LOT of ghosts. They are kind of everywhere.

Even with amnesia, Jane knows that she's not supposed to see the dead; but there they are!

Now if only she could get her memory back and maybe jump the bones of the hottie in the kitchen while she's at it.

Final thoughts: Charley may not know who she is, but she is still the same spunky, strong-willed character she ever was. She also finds herself in quite a bit of trouble with a creepy police officer who seems to think she's dating him and an antiques dealer who seems to be danger. There are still plenty of clever remarks and witty comebacks, as well as a complex story, but it was a little annoying to have one of the bad guys from previous books return (kind of). We learn something about Charley that kind of feels like Jones is setting up for future deus ex machina type saves, but it doesn't hurt this particular book. Good read and good continuation of the series.

Rating: 4/5

ARC from NetGalley


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