Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Live Blogging The House of Hades: Chapters 51-60

Hi, all! So, super sorry that there has been such a long wait for this set of chapters, but I hope it'll have been worth the wait! I'm pretty much the reason that the rest of the chapters for The House of Hades haven't gone up, but it happens. Life has been seriously crazy for me. I'm having a lot of trouble managing my time with all my work. (And let's not even talk about sleep. I don't know what that is.) But now that the production I was working on is done (I admit I'm a bit saddened by that), I am back to reading a bit more! I'm also planning on rolling out a new feature in the near future - hopefully within a week or two! So without further ado, chapters 51 to 60!

So we start off with Leo stranded on a very special island! Can I just say how excited I was when I realized what island this was? I almost died. And also, I SHIP IT SO HARD. It's seriously ridiculous how much I ship this right now. Leo adorableness WILL charm someone in this series some book, and I'm hoping that book is this book.

I have to admit that Leo has some stupid thoughts sometimes though. One in particular: "What surprised Leo most was the surge of anger he felt. It wasn't just annoyance or jealousy. He was mad at Percy for hurting this girl." Ok, Leo. I know you're a softy and all, but Percy had some serious world saving to do. This whole scenario? DEFINITELY WOULDN'T HAVE HAPPENED IF PERCY STAYED ON THE ISLAND. OBVIOUSLY, LEO. GET WITH IT. Of course, Leo must be forgiven because Leo.

If you haven't figured out what mystery island Leo is on and who the mystery girl who lives there is yet, then I'm not sure why you're reading this because it is spoiler filled! But also, it's Calypso! That's right, Odyssey and Sea of Monsters Calypso. Broken hearted, stuck on Ogygia, cursed by the gods Calypso. Yea. And she is a bad bitch. The way she warded off Gaea... damn.

And onto more Leo brilliance! Fire proof pouch? I SEE WHAT YOU'RE DOING, LEO. YOU ARE A GOOD FRIEND. And also the crystal? YES. SO MUCH OF MY YES. UGH. If only all the characters were this brilliant. I mean, they are in their own ways, but LEO VALDEZ. I seriously forgot how much I loved him in the year between The Mark of Athena and The House of Hades.

Awh. So, Leo's chapters end with a bit of a bittersweet moment, but hopefully everything will get better! I mean, it's good, but awh. Aaawwwwwwwhhhhhh.

Anyway, onto Annabeth! The costume designer in me pretty much freaked out at the description of Nyx: "Her dress was void black, mixed with the colors of a space nebula, as if galaxies were being born in her bodice." UGH. I'm so going to attempt drawing this. Someday. If it ever happens, I'll post it, but I wouldn't hold my breath on that. But wow, Annabeth is the cleverest demigod ever born. It hurts. Tartarus tour? Brochure. Stop. Just stop. Rick Riordan, you are a genius. I bow down to your genius *bows*. Well, continuing on, Night certainly has some temper. I mean, is that really necessary? Really? I mean, I GUESS she's kind of a big deal, but still. Percabeth doesn't deserve this. Percabeth rarely gets what they deserve. But going back to the whole Annabeth is a genius thing... she's also a psycho crazy person who is crazy. I mean, I guess if you're in Tartarus, why not just do crazy things. I mean, it can't really get worse...

So some more craziness happens with Percabeth and then we're back to Jason's point of view. This section picks up with what happened to the Argo II after the wind bomb exploded in Piper's chapters. Can I just say that I love Nico in chapter 57?! Nico is perf. Ugh, poor baby. Although Jason isn't one of my favorite characters, I like where the story went with him as a developing character. I thought the whole idea of Jason not waiting for other people do let him do things was a great message.

So during Jason's chapters, we meet back up with Leo. Yay, Leo!!!! Except Leo is super depressed because Calypso and all that. Poor baby. When Frank said that Calypso's original home was somewhere near Malta it almost made me feel like she was meant to go with Leo and it kind of broke my heart a little. Sob. Caleo. I ship it.

And this is the end of my post for chapters 51-60! I know it was super delayed, but share your thoughts on these chapters in the comments! I'd love to hear what you thought of this action packed section!

- Kiersten

Monday, October 28, 2013

Review: Angelfall - Susan Ee


Susan Ee
Series: Penryn & the End of Days #1
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Straightforwardly Fantastic
On Goodreads

Okay let's take a break from House of Hades (just kidding, House of Hades is life). But seriously, Kiersten is out of commission for the weekend, so I have come to the rescue with this lovely tale of romance. I did, after all, promise a review of this.

Alright, so, Angelfall. Positives: this book can be very, very driving. It's ridden with emotion, dappled with lots of wit and humor and it has a strange aura of being magical around it; maybe it's the fantastic diction that Susan Ee lays down:
He kisses me with the desperation of a dying man who believes the magic of eternal life is in this kiss. (Page numbers are worthless with ebooks, worthless.)
Unf. That's pretty romantic. And I love that. It represents the romance that you literally have to fight for in your head because Susan Ee does her level best to have Penryn despise Raffe. But you know it's going to happen. You want it to happen. So it must happen. Not even a spoiler, it's a damn romance, okay? There's even a slight decoy when our characters are captured. But that decoy is nothing in comparison to my loves. It's the typical I hate you I hate you I hate you, no please don't go, okay I think I love you. And Ee pulls it off magnificently by nearly making us snap.

More positives: the characters are thrilling. We've got two protags, Penryn the damningly short and Raffe the damningly gorgeous. Both are on missions, stuck together because of mutual need (though Raffe would never admit it.)

This is Penryn:
"Oh. My. God." I lower my voice, having forgotten to whisper. "You are nothing but a bird with an attitude. Okay, so you have a few muscles, I’ll grant you that. But you know, a bird is nothing but a barely evolved lizard. That’s what you are.” (The Middle of the Beginning)
And this is Raffe:
“My friends call me Wrath,” says Raffe. “My enemies call me Please Have Mercy. What’s your name, soldier boy?” (I don't like my epub reader)
What's odd is that I love these characters even though they're mostly static. Their changes are very, very gradual. Penryn is hardened by her time post-apocalypse, and she takes it out on Raffe. She tortures him, she berates him, distrusts him, and the book is, in the beginning, about using him. That is because he's an angel . . . but he's different. He's very arrogant, witty, cunning, doubtful (doubt is a good thing, people; doubt means you trust and require evidence), determined, and miserable. He's a bit damaged, too so it's difficult to see the person behind his mask. Ooh goodies.

Unfortunately, this novel suffers from an exceedingly limited and linear plot. It's a fine plotline, but it's almost boring. It seems like a staircase, each step leading toward a better understanding of the text . . . but that leaves little space for mystery and too much space for suspense. In fact, there are just about zero plot twists ever, and all the mystery is found in why the angels invaded and what they're doing, nothing very far beyond initial contemplation. Sure, Raffe, who is an angel, is agnostic . . . but you can tell this text has simple dynamics so even that's probably going to be eradicated with some lame moment of miracles the same way Penryn's faith grows. I hope World After strays away from this kind of construction because Ee is such a good writer otherwise.

Anyway, read this book damnit.

- Marlon

If the world was ending, what would be the most important thing to you?
Let us know in the comments!

Friday, October 25, 2013


Hey everyone! Instead of my regularly scheduled review, I'm going to be doing something a bit different. As many of you may know, Veronica Roth's book Allegiant came out Tuesday, October 22nd 2013. This book is very special because it's the final book in the Divergent series (exciting, right?). The series has become a very popular YA series and so the release of the final book also marked the beginning of a book tour. A book tour that kicked off in New York City the day the book was released. A book tour that I had the pleasure of attending.

And now that I have fangirled and freaked out in New York, I felt that it was my duty to share the fangirling and freaking out with you lovely people.

I took the train into New York with the intention of arriving at the venue at 5. (The even started at 6, and I would have gone earlier, as the seating was general admission and earlier meant better seats, but this was the earliest time I had transportation to the train station.) After a series of subway rides, and a short walk down the busy city streets, I arrived at the venue. The line stretched around the building, and by the time the doors opened, there were so many people behind me, I couldn't even see where it ended.

Finally, the doors opened and we were filed inside. People headed in two directions: to either find a seat or purchase a book (you had to either have brought a book with you or purchased one there to get it signed, it wasn't included in the ticket price). Normally, I would have bought my copy as soon as physically possible, but I sadly live on a college campus where freshman aren't allowed to have cars. Getting to the train station was enough of a hassle, trying to get to a book store would have been pushing my luck. So I stood on a line to buy a copy of Allegiant, along with a horde of other people.
The line was long but I was near the front, and I quickly purchased a copy and rushed inside to find a seat.

There was to be a discussion from 6:00 to 7:00, and then the book signing right after.
A few minutes after I sat down, the discussion started. First, there was a Q&A session. It started out with Veronica Roth being asked questions by the interviewer, and then there was an audience Q&A part.
Some of the questions were standard questions you would ask an author.
"How many drafts did you write?"
"Did you base any characters off people you know?"
"Which death was the hardest to write?"
"What was your creative process?"
I learned quite a bit about the series, like the fact that Tobias's name is based off of a character in Animorphs and that Tris's mother is a lot like Veronica Roth's own mother, who was sitting in the audience that night.

Then there were some strange questions, from audience members.
"The release date is 10/22/2013. Did you plan that 2+2 add up to four and 2+0+1+3 add up to six?" (She didn't.)
There were also quite a few questions about the
movie. She talked about how she really liked the way it was coming along and she mentioned that Shailene Woodley and Theo James actually scaled an actual Ferris wheel for one of the scenes. She was also asked what faction certain people would belong to. (Shailene: Amity. Beyonce: Dauntless. Lady Gaga: Also Dauntless). And there were some other fun questions, like "Coke or Pepsi?" or "Roller coasters or Ferris wheels?" or "Do you ever meet people and automatically place them into a faction in your head?"
The Q&A session was definitely really entertaining and the responses Veronica Roth gave were generally either really insightful or really funny.
After that, they decided to show us a "very special trailer."

 First, they showed us this trailer-like video with the actors talking about their characters and what they thought of the movie. They played some shots of them acting and trying to replicate certain scenes. After that, they showed us the actual trailer, which was super awesome and badass.
And then the special guests came out and they turned out to be actors Ansel Elgort and Christian Madsen, who play Caleb and Al, respectively.
They talked about filming the movie and working with all the other actors, and how much fun they had on set and how close everyone got to each other. They shared some stories (one of them involving a pair of ripped pants) and there was a mini Q&A session with them, too. They answered how they met Veronica and  Shailene, and how the filming process went altogether. They seemed like such funny, genuine people and listening to them talk was extremely enjoyable. I loved the stories they told and I really can't wait for the movie to come out.

Finally, the event was over and there was a mad dash to go outside and form a book signing line. Through some black magic and awesomeness, I was towards the very front of the line. Not only did this mean that I only had to stand outside in the cold for a very short time, but when a photographer told everyone to smile for a picture for the official Facebook fan page, guess who made it into that photo?
Look, there's me in the middle, wearing pink!

When we entered the room where she was signing, we weren't allowed to take photographs, which was understandable because Veronica Roth has mentioned her anxiety problems and a constant flash going off probably wouldn't have helped with that. She was being very kind and asking everyone a warm "How are you?" as she signed each book. When it was my turn, I exploded into an incoherent mess of "Hi, I'm great, I'm so excited that I finally get to read Allegiant and that I'm actually meeting you and I really love you and your writing and I'm sorry I'm speaking at a million miles an hour, I'm just really happy." She laughed and told me that I probably wasn't speaking as fast as I thought I was and that she was glad I liked her work.

With that, I was on my way, with the inside of my book signed by the one and only Veronica Roth. I'm still not completely over the fact that her words and her marker and her fingers have touched my book.

Basically, it was an awesome night and I had a great time. Because I have two other books I need to read for school, I'm only about a hundred pages in to Allegiant, but so far I think it's great and I cannot wait to finish it and have a review up for it. Okay, time for me to go read and have my emotions ripped out by a novel once more. Farewell!

- Noor

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: Trust in Me - J. Lynn

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm waiting on Trust in Me by J. Lynn.

Trust in Me
J. Lynn
Series:  Wait For You, #1.5
Release Date: November 26th, 2013
Publisher: HarperCollins
Waited on by: Amrutha
On Goodreads

Cameron Hamilton is used to getting what he wants, especially when it comes to women. But when Avery Morgansten comes crashing into his life – literally – he finally meets the one person who can resist his soulful baby blues. But Cam’s not ready to give up. He can’t get the feisty and intriguing girl out of his head.

Avery has secrets, secrets that keep her from admitting the feelings Cam knows she has for him. Will persistence (and some delicious homemade cookies) help him break down her barriers and gain her trust? Or will he be shut out of Avery's life, losing his first real shot at the kind of love that lasts forever?

I AM SO EXCITED TO READ THIS BOOK. The previous novel in the trilogy, Wait For You, was quotes possibly one of the worst books I have ever read. Cheesy, overdramatic, predictable, cliche, annoying, and down right awful. I did a review of it before here

Now you may be wondering: why is Amrutha eagerly awaiting the sequel to a terrible book? The answer is simple - THESE BOOKS ARE HILARIOUS. They're literally so bad that they are laugh out loud hysterical. Cannot wait to see Cam's version of waiting for Avery to sleep with him.

- Amrutha

What are YOU waiting on?
Let us know in the comments!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Live Blogging The House of Hades: Chapters 41-50

Piper XLI - XLIV

Oh girl, oh girl. Piper and her Sexy-sense can tell Nico and Jason have had some beautiful adventures together. I mean, holy Hades I DID NOT SEE THAT COMING.
Anyway, fangirling over (just kidding). Piper begins her bit with a quiet, chilled introduction that is a relief after the action and reflection of the last couple of chapters. She's on edge, and so is the weather. So our abolish their meeting and nothing really gets done in the way of planning. As usual.
On the other hand, Jason shows concern for Nico, who shows affection for Hazel (woah) and Piper/Hazel have become best friends. Things are looking up in terms of character bonding! But of course Piper has to bring in the future and make our original gang (Pipes, Leo, Jason) nervous. Leo is awesome and uses the word copacetic but other than that, things turn pretty dismal as Piper gleans from her evil knife that one of her friends is going to die trying to bring down Gaia.
And then shit goes down. I won't say who comes back, I'll only mention that she's ultimate bitch number five hundred and three and she should stop existing ugh I hate her so much. Bitch hurls Leo off the boat, makes Jason a sculpture, and forces Piper to make herself useful. Piper steps up to the challenge, combining an Annabeth-like delay tactic coupled with a bit of magic to pull of a sexy rescue of the boat.
Also, Festus is my favorite.


I'm with Amrutha on this, THESE CHAPTERS ARE NOT OKAY. I love them to Thanatos, trust me. They exemplify the most intense kinds of emotions and development and force our characters to reflect on their lives and know what pushes them forward. But oh gods it hurts to watch. We can't even have a few minutes of peace. Soon after leaving the swamp, Percabeth are swamped with despair and soreness and Percy tries to think of good things. At least we've got Bob, who is the best Titan ever.
Hold up, Percy is in hell, literal hell, and he thinks, "Man, Annabeth was awesome. For a moment, Percy actually remembered what it was like to feel happy. He had an amazing girlfriend. They could have a future together." They could have a future together. Percy deserves an Optimist of the Century Award, along with a mountain of BAFTAs.
Anyway, we're at Akhyls's gloomy field of gloom and despair and pointlessness. Let me take a moment to commend Riordan's mastery of the English language as he describes Akhyls. That bitch is sad. And the aphorisms and quoteables that arise in this chapter? They're not all comforting of course but hey, they're true.
Now Percabeth have got to go to the end of Tartarus, near the Void to acquire the Death Mist. Somewhat reminds me of Percy's journey in the Styx to gain invulnerability. Akhyls leads them there but Bob is left behind. Which sucks. Bad. Without Bob, these chapters degrade to utterly beautiful misery.
Percabeth turn into mist. They look at each other and tear up because they look dead. After all this time, they still care about that. UGH.
A lot of weird and vile things happen all at once and suddenly Percabeth are facing the penultimate manifestation of all creation. Night. The one and only baby.
Also, let us note that Rick Riordan has used the words, "LOL, NOOB!" in a serious text. Thanks.


Leo's a damn genius This is known fact but let's run through a few things just to reiterate:

This scrawny motherlover gains consciousness thousands of feet in the air and is making jokes about it on the way down.
He's got a tool bet and magic ball and two minutes til it's over. He gives a grand total of zero shits about this.
Motherlover builds a (semi) working helicopter in those two minutes and safely crash lands on a beach.

Unfortunately he has to deal with a very annoyed girl (whose name I cannot disclose) that I am SO glad makes a cameo in the book. I had hoped this character's story would be tied up and I predict it finally will be. Thank the gods for Leo, eh?
She's majorly pissed off and takes this out on Leo. Thus, Leo's stuck and must try to build himself a way out.
These chapters are so incredibly funny and thankfully detatched from the rest of the world. Finally, we have Leo alone with a bit of reflection here, a ton of humor there, a kind of deep, beautiful sadness interspersed between, and ugh so much more that I can't begin to convey in such few words. I love these chapters
Also, I ship it so hard even though she makes it very hard, I totally understand her point of view, the never-ending punishment and I ship it so hard. Did I mention that.
Well anyway, we're rounded off by Leo being told he can never leave this place.
But let's face it, it's Leo Valdez.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Live Blogging The House of Hades: Chapters 31-40

what the hades is even going on in my life anymore???

Chapter 31 continued in Percy's POV, and as much as I love Percy, this whole section of the book made me sad. PERCY WAS SO HURT AND ANNABETH WAS SUDDENLY BLINDED AND THERE WAS SO MUCH STRESS ON MY POOR POOR HEART. Every time Bob the Titan comes to the rescue it makes me love the sweet guy even more.

Also like what the eff Rick like lines like this are not okay: "Annabeth took his face in her hands. She kissed him and tried to wipe the dust and sweat from his eyes."  like uhm EXCUSE YOU RICK that kind of percabeth shit is only okay when they're happy and safe. If you do it like this, it is so heartwrenching it hurts. Halt with this immediately please.

And then, we got to Jason.

Jason is one of my favorite and also one of my most frustrating characters in this series. While he's great and kind and a fabulous fighter and flier, HE'S NOT WITH REYNA, WHOM I LOVE DEARLY. I don't want to give a lot of spoilers for this section but let me just tell you IT WAS A SHIPPER'S ELYSIUM. oh gods. I am not even kidding you when I tell you I went "OOOOOOOOOH" out loud while reading this part. I don't even care that I sounded like a 12 year old guy. Those are the feels.

Annabeth rounded out these last few chapters with more percabeth that made me want to sob and beat Rick Riordan to a pulp for making them suffer. Percy and Annabeth are always full of boundless wit, which is what got them so far through Tartarus, and it continues to help them. Their ridiculous taunting of Damasen the giant saves their lives yet again. Go percabeth. In these few chapters, Percabeth, Bob, and Small Bob (a cute kitten they found in the depths of Tartarus) found a cozy place to stay and rebuild their energies after yet another attack. Thank the gods for warm cozy huts and food in Tartarus.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Review: Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

Before I Fall
Lauren Oliver
Series: N/A
Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Decent
On Goodreads

I read Before I Fall because I happened to see it at a bookstore and almost glossed over it before seeing the name Lauren Oliver and thinking "Hey, she wrote Delirium, so I might as well give this book a go." I don't have a copy of the book in my dorm so I can't pull quotes to show you what I mean, but you can always read it and see for yourself.

Overall, this wasn't really the greatest book ever but it's definitely worth a read and it makes me happy to see that Lauren Oliver has grown so much as a writer when comparing this -- her first novel -- to her more recent work.

I didn't like the main character, Samantha Kingston, at first, but she grew on me after a while. Her character also went through a HUGE change as a person, which is probably why I like her at the end a lot more than I do at the beginning. You see, Sam Kingston keeps dying. She keeps reliving the same day over and over, and every time, she dies at the end of that day in a car crash coming back from a party. And she's the only one who keeps remembering what happened "last night." And every day she does something different to try and fix whatever is happening that's making her relive this day. So this novel progresses by describing the different ways Sam is going through that day and how she's trying to understand what she did to make this happen and how she needs to "redeem" herself to make this happen. At the beginning of this book, Sam is Cady Heron when she is a full on mean girl, and her best friend Lindsay (who I hated) is Regina George. By the end, however, Sam is a much nicer person and understands how she needs to change her ways in order to achieve piece. One of the characters I liked was Juliet. She annoyed me a bit at one point that I cannot say for major spoilery reasons, but overall I was intrigued by her and thought she was an interesting character.

As for the plot, I thought it was a pretty interesting story. It wasn't the most original storyline, but Lauren Oliver pulled it off really well the way she did it, and I liked the resolution of the conflict. I thought it was really fitting and I'm glad she wrote it the way she did. I don't want to give away too much but I feel like it ended the way it needed to. I also liked seeing exactly how Sam progressed in her way of thinking as the day of her death kept repeating itself over and over again. Reading the story, I learned that she's a lot smarter than she outwardly appears.

The writing style of this book was pretty similar to the way she wrote Delirium (which, on a side note, you should TOTALLY read if you haven't already.) It was very straightforward and to the point. She didn't use overly florid language or go too descriptive. For this book, I thought it worked because she was speaking from the perspective of a teenage girl and a vapid, shallow one at that. It would have seemed out of place for her to speak with flowery diction and tear-jerking language. After reading her newest book, I know that Lauren Oliver definitely has some awesome writing skills that have made me stare in awe, but they just weren't as developed in this novel.

My final verdict? This book was okay, and it wasn't boring or unreadable, but her other works are DEFINITELY better and I probably wouldn't reread it for the hell of it or anything. As a first novel, it was a good start and a solid foundation for growth. 

So basically, this book is wonderful, and you should read it, and it will definitely be worth your time, and it's a pretty short read, and you will not be disappointed.

- Noor

Is there a day in your life you would relive if you could?
Let us know in the comments!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Live Blogging The House of Hades: Chapters 21-30

Oh gods. If you want to keep your sanity just stay away from the rest of this novel . . .

So I pick up after Frank has his super dynamic shift from wah I'm useless to wah I killed demon cows and I'm sexy which is a beautiful improvement, let me tell you. I love the guy and I understand his POV and I'm thankful he's stepping up but he's in the way of Leo and that is something that should never happen.


Annabeth XXI - XXIV
Right, so we're Percabething across Tartarus and things are looking down. Very down. The only direction in Tartarus is down, after all. Riordan has done an incredible job by elaborately describing Tartarus, and an even better job at carving pieces into Percy and Annabeth's psyche. At this point in their lives, Annabeth and Percy find it hard to trust anyone, and Annabeth takes it out on Bob. I love Bob, and still I understand her anxieties. Something that's left intentionally in the dark: in one scene Percy leaves Bob to a choice, to kill or not to kill a monster, and Annabeth can't get a read on Percy, whether his intentions were cold and calculating or he was just being trusting. War does that. I can't blame them. It's worse than hell for these demigods, who have been through literal rivers of pain. And they don't give up. Not on each other, not on their friends. Annabeth even manages to fashion a plan out of thin air to try to get a message back topside. Percy and Annabeth still care about what's going on up above, even while trekking on the embodiment of the pit, the body of Tartarus, and for that they deserve their New Rome dates. All of them. I'm rooting on you, Percabeth.
The Percabeth chapters could be called Chronicling the Degradation of All that is Good in the World (Minus Leo Valdez).
This bit ends with the curses arriving.

I absolutely love the contrast between the story lines and the construction. At once, our narrators seem to be in completely different worlds. Yet, at the same time, this novel is about coming to terms with the self and with the world around you. So comes the cutting distrust that is so rampant, aimed especially aimed at Nico and Jason. It's for reasons that demigods should be able to get over, but everyone manages to work together well enough, even without Annabeth on board.
Unfortunately, it's not enough because of course, it wouldn't be a proper day unless there was a massive ass turtle trying to bite into the Argo II and a treasure-thirsty pirate that put our heroes in their places (i.e. at his feet). Hazel manages to finally woman the fuck up and gains a new power. Achievement unlocked, as Leo would probably say.
Of course, Leo is the one who really saved the day, jetting the crew away from the massive ass turtle in the first place. Hazel just put the cherry on top of Leo's deliciously awesome cake.
These chapters really highlight the five younger demigods trying to figure themselves out and work with each other. The bonds that are created here are very powerful, as they form under tense, tense situations, so I assume by the end of this, even Frank and Nico, who are hemispheres apart from contacting each other, will do so. Hazel doesn't trust Jason in this bit, and yet he still backs her up, doing what Jason does best and supporting where he can.
And of course Leo and his Archimedes sphere. I ship that so hard. Leomedes.

Percy XXIX - XXX
Oh gods. Must I?
This is just cold.
Even in the worst sort of I'm gonna put my characters through psychological torture, Riordan still manages lines like: "I appreciate the offer . . . but my mom told me not to accept curses form strangers."
But this is cold. Every monster that Percy and Annabeth have slain, all those vengeful last breaths, are on them now. But that's not the worst. Percy can handle that. The monsters were, because I lack another word, evil.
But then they become alone. Bob's left in the dark, ruminating on the past that is revealed to him, meanwhile Percy is suffering from guilt that could literally kill him. Innocent souls have cursed him, too. Percy Jackson, our hero, has to deal with some pretty Dean Winchester-y shit.
This bit ends with rage-killing.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Live Blogging The House of Hades: Chapters 11-20

HI GUYS :))))

I know I haven't posted in what seems like absolutely forever, but I swear I've been swamped in college apps and homework and the campaign and whatnot. I've barely had any time to read, but I will always have time for Rick Riordan and his fantabulous series, The Heroes of Olympus.

Today (although I am posting a bit late), I will be continuing the live-blogging review of The House of Hades that Kiersten began yesterday.

Chapter 11 continues on in Leo's point of view, and although Leo isn't one of my favorite characters, I love how he is completely realistic. He makes backhanded comments and thinks that other people's girlfriends are pretty - he also feels intense guilt and self doubt. Leo spends the rest of his point of view hunting down the dwarves Kiersten mentioned: he and Jason go trapezing around Italy, only to have the dwarves thwart them. Leo is still ever the bomb builder, and I was amazed by his awesome ability to string together explosive devices out of toothpaste and charcoal.

BUT THEN PERCY'S POINT OF VIEW CAME ALONG AND I ALMOST MELTED AND WENT TO TARTARUS MYSELF. Ugh. Percabeth is my fav. I'm one of those proud shippers of Percabeth since The Lightning Thief. However, I internally boo Rick Riordan for sending my babies Percy and Annabeth to Tartarus and making them so unhappy :'( . Watching them make their way around monsters and snuggling when they could was so heart wrenching. AND UGH THEY MAKE CUTE COMMENTS TO EACH OTHER AND KISS EACH OTHER ON THE FOREHEAD TO MAKE SURE THEY DON'T LET THEIR SPIRITS DOWN LIKE WHO DOESN'T SHIP PERCABETH I DONT EVEN KNOW. While Percy and Annabeth battle an old foe, a Titan comes out of nowhere to help them. Bob is great.

Enter Frank! Frank is probably my least favorite character. He's whiny and annoying and why are you even with him Hazel WHY. He always feels bad for himself and even goes so far as to call himself the "LVP - Least Valuable Player." Like please shut up Frank you are so frustrating like okay. I was pretty interested when the group encountered the cows, but Frank was the least interesting part of that :/ Maybe his character will improve soon? Chapter 20 ends with Frank talking to Ares/Mars and the farm god. I'm interested to see what happens after Frank's crazy killstreak in the city.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Live Blogging The House of Hades: Chapters 1-10

Hello, all! Welcome to out first post of live blogging The House of Hades by Rick Riordan! I'm posting this a bit late today (normally I'd post at 9 AM) because I've been working backstage crew for a musical as part of one of my classes and I've barely had any time to read! It's disappointing that I have less time to read, but I'm really enjoying being part of the process with so many talented people! Anyway, on to the book!

So, the first thing I read was Rick Riordan's preface... HAHAHAHAHA, no. That was cruel, even for him.

Then, we get to our first chapter from Hazel's point of view! I was slightly disappointed that we started with Hazel because she's not one of my favorite characters, but what ensued was definitely interested. I thought the part with Hecate showing Hazel the paths at the cross roads was really cool. And when Hazel just sassed out on Hecate, that was just great. Sassy Hazel is sassy. One of my favorite lines from Hazel's chapters: "... Hades (or Pluto, as the Romans called him; or as Hazel liked to think of him: the World's Worst Absent Father)."

I was kind of conflicted about the next part. On one hand, I was like, "Yay, Percabeth!" and on the other hand, I was like, "No, Tartarus!" So Percy and Annabeth are stuck in Tartarus, which is totally not cool, obviously. The worst part is that Annabeth only had like... 3 or 4 chapters so far and they've already almost died several times. Le sigh. On the bright side, Annabeth is one smart demigod. If Annabeth wasn't as well versed in her mythology, they'd be so dead.

Now enter Leo Valdez! Leo is convinced that the Athena Parthenos has some sort of awesome power. Since he's probably right, I'm excited to see exactly what power it holds. Then Leo has a crazy dream about a giant and a sorceress. Oh, these characters have a hard journey ahead of them. At the end of chapter 10, we leave the characters being attacked by strange dwarves. I'm interested in this treasure thing.

Well, that's it for me and chapters 1-10!
Check out Amrutha's post on chapters 11-20 tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: World After - Susan Ee

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, I'm waiting on World After by Susan Ee

World After
Susan Ee
Series:  Penryn & The End of Days
Release Date:  19th November 2013
Publisher: Hodder & Stroughton
Waited on by: Marlon
On Goodreads

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

Angelfall was one of those books I just picked off of Amazon's recommendations list after buying Insurgent and I didn't read it until I found myself lacking in physical books but with plenty of e-books to spare. I started it and finished it along with HOUSE OF ZUEZDAMN HADES but that's literally a different story altogether.

That story goes like this: 

But seriously if you have a couple of hours just go. Angelfall right now. Because I need more people to wait on this book with me, I'm so hyped. Or maybe that's just chapter three of House of Hades . . .

Right. So. What made the last book amazing was the simple fact that it runs just like a YA novel about angels and monsters and starving teenage girls with sisters to save. But it also had this aura about, like when you read a book and you can't just help think it's a little bit more magical than you expect a string of letters to be. It's actiony, romancy, paranormally, thrillery goodness and you should check it out.

Oh, and there's apocalypse-ridden plgoodness. Susan Ee is my spirit animal and I will be definitely reviewing later for more details but anyway. The ending to Angelfall was kind of maddening. I still haven't decided if it was good or not and I seriously need to know what happens thereafter. Dear Poseidon, is that too much to ask for? Can authors these days give us straightforward endings? Nah, that's too lame.

What I'm trying to say is, House of Hades - I mean World After is going to be amazing to anyone who appreciates decent YA fantasy thrillery nonsense (with a smidge too much in the way of witty comments).

- Marlon

What are YOU waiting on?
Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The House of Hades "Live-Blogging" Introduction

Hello, all! If you didn't already know, today marks the release of The House of Hades, the fourth installment in Rick Riordan's Heroes of Olympus series. Here at We Live and Breathe Books we are very excited. Marlon, Amrutha, and I have been awaiting the release of The House of Hades since we finished The Mark of Athena last October. Knowing that we'd all want to read and review this book, we decided to do a "live-blogging" of the book. So, instead of writing normal review posts for the next few weeks, Marlon, Amrutha, and I will be posting reactions and thoughts on chunks of the book as we go. The idea is that any of our followers who are also reading The House of Hades can comment and discuss the book with us.

For those who may not be interested in The House of Hades, Noor will still be doing her regular weekly reviews since she has yet to read the Heroes of Olympus series. In addition, we'll still have Stuffed Animal Saturday and Waiting on Wednesday posts every other week.

We hope that you'll enjoy our chapter by chapter reactions and join in to the discussion!
Look out for my first reaction post on Saturday for chapters 1-10!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Review: American Gods - Neil Gaiman

American Gods
Neil Gaiman
Series: N/A
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Adult, Science Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: ErmygerdNeilGaiman
On Goodreads

When I was consulting a friend about this, I proposed it wouldn't even take five minutes to sell this book to almost anyone who has read anything ever. So this will be short, centering on Neil Gaiman's command of language, winding, almost architecturally sexy plot structure, and, let's not forget, his cast of incredible characters.

The most difficult to display is his plot structure. American Gods is not one story. It's not about our too-calm, too-passive, and often-silent protagonist, Shadow. This story is like the depiction of the World Tree on the cover (of my version), but in reverse: a plethora of branches funneling into one large trunk. There is the divine Hunger Games running through as one branch; a dead wife and a live ghost with a secret; a mad road trip; ostensibly irrelevant and cast aside gods who've become whores and prisoners; a game played by two cunning gods with Shadow struck in the middle with a classic outcome that represents no classical ideas; the Men in Black, the Media, and all the rest that present themselves as antagonistic and yet aren't at all. I urge you to read this novel more than once. It is difficult to fully grasp the underlying themes, factors, and analyses all at once. Shadow experiences everything so passively, as if they weren't happening to him, that the reader experiences the novel as such (though we are given intimate knowledge of Shadow's thoughts). Until the big moments, when Shadow realizes his dynamic and chooses to act, chooses to change, and the novel begins to explode all in your face and you are rendered into a ball of fangirling mess:

Le plot.
And you.
This might not accurately describe anything at all but this is what most people I know have felt and therefore it is so obviously right. Heh . . .

This novel is enormous and tiny all at once, soaring and plummeting, suspenseful and slow and yet incredibly fast flowing. Growing and shrinking in on itself, this novel is a journey where you don't move an inch and yet you travel hundreds of miles. Gaiman's command of language in this novel lies not just in his stunning description around a constantly arresting narrative – as if lines like "the house smelled musty and damp, and a little sweet, as if it were haunted by the ghosts of long-dead cookies" weren't enough! – it lies in his deliverance and juxtaposition of ideas:
I can believe that things are true and I can believe things that aren't true and I can believe things where nobody knows if they're true or not. I can believe in Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny . . . I believe that all men are just overgrown boys with deep problems communicating and that the decline in good sex in American is coincident with the decline in drive-in movie theatres from state to state. I believe that all politicians are unprincipled crooks and I still believe that they are better than the alternate . . . I believe that mankind's destiny lies in the stars. I believe that candy really did taste better when I was a kid, that it's aerodynamically impossible for a bumblebee to fly, that light is a wave and a particle, that there's a cat in a box somewhere who's alive and dead at the same time . . . I believe in a personal god who cares about me and worries and oversees everything I do. I believe in an impersonal god who set the universe in motion and went off to hang with her girlfriends and doesn't even know that I'm alive. I believe in an empty and godless universe of causal chaos, background noise, and sheer blind luck.
To exemplify my love of the characters:
The bird turned, head tipped, suspiciously, on one side, and it stared at him with bright eyes."Say 'Nevermore,'" said Shadow."Fuck you," said the raven.”
Our cast of characters is vast and filled to the brim with character: The Technical Boy, who is most relavent to us now . . . is the god of computers and progress and the prevail of new gods over old gods. In a nonconformist vs. conformist society like ours, The Technical boy takes on the antithetical role to Mr. Wednesday (Odin); however, the characters are not just their representations in society but what they embody. The novel's weird, often three-layered, and dynamic (Odin, though, is tirelessly stubborn, though, and Gaiman establishes a nice balance between static and dynamic characters). As many of the characters are created and upheld by people's belief in them, most are exaggerated forms of human desires and consciousness, and pitting these against each other is like playing Twister with my brain, or this:

So yeah, if you're still reading this and not American Gods, I have nothing else to say to you because these aren't Neil Gaiman's words and therefore are not worthy of being read at the current moment, seriously why are you even still here?
- Marlon

How much are your cultural beliefs a part of your identity?
Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Stuffed Animal Saturday [5]

Stuffed Animal Saturday is a meme that we post here at We Live and Breathe Books every two weeks to showcase the book we're currently reading with one of our favorite stuffed animals and discuss our stuffed animal's opinion (well, it's really our opinion, but that's besides the point). We hope you enjoy our quirky feature as much as we enjoy writing it!

Hey everyone! This is Jeremy, who was hand-made by our very own Kiersten and given to me as a graduation present. He has followed me to college and we are reading The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch. We picked it up when we went to Target with some of our friends and naturally gravitated towards the book section. A call of "Noor, hurry up, we don't have time for you to look at books all day" quickly resulted in the impulse grabbing of two books that seemed worth a read.

So Far: Jeremy has been super busy with college (getting a degree isn't easy when you're faced with the stigma and prejudice of being a stuffed animal) so he's only a few chapters in, but so far he seems to like it. He says that it's very interesting and the author does a good job of providing details while still being vague enough that the reader wants to read more and find out what happens next and why their world is the way it is. He particularly likes Stephen and he also thinks the writing style is A+.

A Sneak Peek: 
"The thunder pounded constantly, atomic blasts of it, following blue-white flares of lightning."
This little fragment of description just really stood out to Jeremy and he thought it'd be nice to share. It gives a pretty good idea of how the rest of the story is narrated.


Are you and your stuffed animal reading anything interesting? 
Let us know in your own Stuffed Animal Saturday!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Review: I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader - Kieran Scott

I Was a Non-Blonde Cheerleader
Kieran Scott
Series: Cheerleader Trilogy, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Lighthearted
On Goodreads

I read this book a few years ago and once again stumbled upon it recently; thus, a review was born. Let's get to it, shall we?

This book can best be described as "cute." It's not a super eloquent, mind-blowing read that'll leave your emotions in shambles at the end or anything (which is what I am quite used to when reading books) but it's worth a read nonetheless. This is one of those books you pick up on a lazy day and finish within an hour or two and appreciate but don't really internalize as a super impactful read. Or it's a book that you read after you've finished something emotionally traumatizing and you want something light to read before you embark on the next heart-tugging novel.

It centers around Annisa Gobrowski, a teenage girl who moves from New Jersey to Florida and ends up going to a school where she is the only brunette. Seriously. According to Bethany, the first friend Annisa makes and who is the only other non-blonde at the school (her hair is purple), "even the mice in the bio lab are blonde." Annisa, who was a cheerleader back in New Jersey and makes the squad at Sand Dune High School, must deal with her fellow teammates ostracizing her, the most popular girls in school hating her guts, and having a massive crush on her hot new neighbor who just so happens to be dating one of the cheerleaders.

I really liked Annisa, mostly because she was funny and slightly awkward. A lot of the comments she made throughout the book made me laugh, although I mostly found her internal musings funnier than the things she actually said out loud.
One of my favorite thoughts of hers was:
"The party was like a scene from a movie. More because I was sitting in the corner, munching on popcorn and watching it happen, than because it was so wild."
The other characters were all interesting to read about, too. I feel like Kieran Scott only gave some of the girls personalities and made the rest of them clones of each other, but it wasn't particularly a hindrance to the book, because the characters that Annisa actually interacted with were shelled out quite well. I really enjoyed reading about the girls at her new high school and the things that made them who they were.

While the narration and style of the book were very well done, I think the conflict got resolved a little too abruptly. I won't give anything away but I feel like it happened very suddenly. That being said, it seemed appropriate to do it that way for a sweet and light book like this one, so that didn't take away from it too much.

Overall, three stars for being an enjoyable lazy-day read with a cute story and characters, perfect for that afternoon where you have nothing to do.

- Noor

Have you ever stuck out like a sore thumb?
Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Release Day Review: Wild Cards - Simone Elkeles

Wild Cards
Simone Elkeles
Series: Wild Cards, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Meh
On Goodreads

As I have mentioned before, I am a diehard romantic. I was immediately excited by the prospect of Wild Cards as it promises plot twists in its title – and it came through. Wild Cards is filled unexpected turns that flowed together into a fantastic book. Despite the fact that the way it was written was mediocre, the plot was phenomenal, as were the characters.

The book alternates between the two main characters’ points of view: Ashtyn Parker and Derek Fitzpatrick. I liked Ashtyn from the beginning: she was just voted captain of her football team, where she is the only girl. Not only is she sufficiently modest, she is also courageous, and takes on the challenge of leading a team without self doubt. She even tries her hardest to make things right with her boyfriend, Landon, who is the team quarterback and was expected to get captain. She did everything right while Derek, the other half of the dynamic duo, begins the novel by getting kicked out of his high school in California. They’re staged to be opposites, and of course, they clash.

Derek is the stepson of Brandi, who is Ashtyn’s older sister (yes, this means our two main characters are technically family: Ashtyn is Derek’s step-aunt). They remind me a lot of the Disney show Life with Derek, and not only because of the lead male’s name. Instead, Ashtyn and Derek seem to share the same chemistry Casey and Derek did on the show – although both pairs are related through marriage, they both possess the spark of an OTP relationship. Dasey has finally met its Deshtyn.

Since the Ashtyn and Derek first meet (in a pretty surprising turn of events actually) they butt heads. They argue incessantly and make jibes at each other every which way, but in a way that’s really cute. Unfortunately, this is where the writing style takes the hit – Elkeles had the opportunity to make their banter a lot funnier than it was. The beautiful thing is though, through their banter, we get to see how both Derek and Ashtyn are three dimensional. Ashtyn is not only the fearless football captain we meet in the first few chapters: she is also an insecure girlfriend, a loving daughter and aunt, and a lonely teenager. She has her flaws, and Derek brings out both the best and worst in her, and vice versa. Other than being the bad boy who gets expelled from school, we learn a lot about Derek – we learn of his loyalty, his unwavering love for his mother, his need to protect those around him, as well as his regular horny teenage boy mentality. They are both casted as sensitive teenagers who are completely realistic, and honestly, that is what makes the story so great in my eyes.

Because there are so many plot twists in this book, I’ll end this review without giving much away. This book is one I would certainly recommend – I will be waiting eagerly for the next book in this series, as I can’t wait to see where Deshtyn goes next.

- Amrutha

How do you feel about step family romantic relationships?
Let us know in the comments!