What I Read (2): Aaron

What I Read

What I Read is a semi-regular guest feature in One More Page allows them to talk about what the title says: what they read. I believe that every reader has a unique reading preference and no reader is exactly the same. What I Read explores that idea, where I let the guests talk about their favorite, genre preferences, pet peeves and everything else in between. :)

On my second What I Read feature, I am very honored to have one of my closest book club friends on the blog today. I can’t remember exactly who added whom first in Goodreads, but I met him in person in 2010, back when I joined the second Goodreads Filipino group meet up. Our only link back then were YA books, and I remember we talked so much about The Hunger Games and The Mortal Instruments when we were at Cafe Breton before that meet-up ended. Soon enough, I started calling him the Mighty Evil Overlord (because he is mighty and he can be evil and he is kind of an overlord), and then eventually my adopted little brother because we are on the same wavelength for  a lot of things. That, and I tend to spoil him for some reason — case in point: Christmas 2010, I got him for my Book Blogger Holiday Swap and then also got him for our book club’s exchange gift. Talk about giving too many gifts to one person, yes? :P

Anyway, even if we don’t have the same tastes in YA books, I know that a book will be good if he recommends pushes it to me. If you think I nitpick a lot, well, you haven’t met him. But trust me, his reviews (when he has the time to write them) very trustworthy. He’s one of the few people who can demand me to read a book sooner than I want to (case in point: Paper Towns) and (since we’re on the topic), he’s also probably the biggest Nerdfighter in the Philippines. Probably the biggest Doctor Who fan, too. He’s the blogger behind Guy Gone Geek, although that blog’s a little silent lately, but you can check him out on Twitter, Tumblr and Goodreads. :)

So, let’s give it up for my adopted brother, the Mighty Evil Overlord and my friend (who is celebrating his birthday seven months from now, woot!), Aaron. :)

Aaron (and Zombies) at Alabat Island

Aaron (and Zombies) at Alabat Island

In ten words or less, what kind of books do you usually read?

I seek extraordinary adventures and believable characters when I read.

Continue Reading →

The Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson and the Olympians # 2: The Sea of MonstersThe Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson and the Olympians # 2
Miramax, 279 pages

Percy Jackson’s seventh-grade year has been surprisingly quiet. Not a single monster has set foot on his New York prep-school campus. But when an innocent game of dodgeball among Percy and his classmates turns into a death match against an ugly gang of cannibal giants, things get . . . well, ugly. And the unexpected arrival of Percy’s friend Annabeth brings more bad news: the magical borders that protect Camp Half-Blood have been poisoned by a mysterious enemy, and unless a cure is found, the only safe haven for demigods will be destroyed.

In this fresh, funny, and hugely anticipated follow up to The Lightning Thief, Percy and his friends must journey into the Sea of Monsters to save their beloved camp. But first, Percy will discover a stunning new secret about his family — one that makes him question whether being claimed as Poseidon’s son is an honor or simply a cruel joke.

It’s been ages since I read the first Percy Jackson book. I should have picked the next one up immediately, but I guess I was waiting until I acquired all the books before I do. Unfortunately, though, I only got to buy up to the third book, and then books 2 and 3 sat pretty on my shelf, wondering if I would ever get around to reading them.

And so I finally did. I was kind of wary because I couldn’t remember much of what was in The Lightning Thief, but I had no time to reread it. I figured Wikipedia should be enough, right? Well, Wikipedia did help me a lot, but I don’t think it was that hard for me to get into the second book since I still had memories (albeit vague) of the important details in the first book.

In The Sea of Monsters, we find Percy almost done with the school year in a new prep school. It was the first time he’s gotten through a year without expulsion, and he was very much looking forward to spending another summer in the only place where he truly felt home, Camp Half Blood. But of course things don’t go the way he planned — an innocent game of dodge ball becomes a game of life and death against fierce cannibalistic giants which ended up with his friend Annabeth’s unexpected arrival. Together with Percy’s seemingly slow friend Tyson, they travel to Camp Half Blood and realize that things are not so fine and dandy: someone has poisoned the magical borders that protect the camp, and the safety of the campers are at stake. As if that wasn’t enough, Percy keeps getting dreams of Grover being in trouble, and he knows he has to find a way to save him, too.

I absolutely forgot how much fun I had reading the first book in the series. Which was just as well, because the second book was also so much fun as — maybe even more than — the first one. As the first one, the Greek mythology elements were woven cleverly into the plot. There was still the feeling of impending doom, of course, but it was lightened up with the wittiness of the dialogues. I loved the idea of the Sea of Monsters, too, and their journey to get there. Some of my favorite scenes include the sirens and Annabeth’s encounter with them, as well as the entire saving Grover scene. Somehow, it reminded me of a scene from that Nickelodeon show, ChalkZone. Anybody familiar?

The new revelations to the overall story arc was also very interesting, and it definitely opened another bunch of possibilities for the next book. It wasn’t exactly surprising because I somehow had an inkling that their quest is not what it seems. Still, it was interesting enough, and I’m curious to know what would happen in the next book. Which probably means I should get to it sooner than later.

Oh, and you know what who I really loved in this book? Tyson! He’s such a loyal and darling “friend” (and I use quotation marks because there’s a revelation for his character in this book, too) to Percy, and he just made me go “awww” several times. :) I sure hope there’s more of him in the future books?

I really enjoyed reading The Sea of Monsters. It’s fun and witty and magical and I think it’s a good follow up in the Percy Jackson series.

Rating: [rating=3]

2011 Challenge Status:
Required Reading – September

My copy: paperback from Fully Booked

Cover and blurb: Goodreads

Other reviews:
Literature Young Adult Fiction

Required Reading: September

(I promise to write that book-related trip post soon; I just have to prepare the photos :D)

So, I was kind of doubtful that I would reach my August Required Reading goal, given that I was traipsing all over Europe at the second half of the month. But I guess I shouldn’t underestimate myself and long plane/train rides because surprises! I actually finished reading all the books I set to read in August. :) Unfortunately, no reviews up for them yet because I’m terribly behind. Eeep!

  1. Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto – I actually finished this weeks before I left. I wasn’t exactly a big fan of The Time Traveler’s Wife, so I was kind of wary of the story for this one. I liked the European setting a lot, though, even if I didn’t really get to visit any of them. :P
  2. Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly – Oh, this book. I was intimidated by its 8o+ chapters, but it turned out to be a very quick read. Plus it made Paris come alive to me, and I couldn’t help but squeal a bit every time I see familiar places I read about in the book while we were touring the city. Bastille! Palais-Royal! Eee. :D
  3. No and Me by Delphine de Vigan – This was cute, but also not so much in a totally unexpected way. I think I understand what made people like this book so much, with its charm despite its sort of broken ending.

Like I said, never underestimate 11-13 hour plane and train rides. It gives you good reading time when you’re not sleeping. :D

Required Reading: SeptemberNow here we are on September. I’m back on night shift, but I don’t really know if that is helpful with my reading (July was awesome, though, so maybe?). I was thinking of a theme for this month yesterday and I honestly couldn’t come up with anything. I was just trying to remember the reading buddy things I’ve promised to do when I return, and that’s when a theme hit me. Kill [n] birds with one stone, right? Or something like that.

So September’s Required Reading theme: sequels/spin-offs!

I’m not a big fan of sequels, because they’re really a hit or miss, but I love spin-offs, especially for other characters in a book. :) The thing with me and sequels/second books/spin-offs is, I don’t really pick it up immediately after reading the first book because…well, I’m not sure, except maybe I didn’t want the story to end just yet. Haha. I figured it’s time to get myself reading those books I’ve put off long enough now, right?

So the list!

  • The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness (Chaos Walking # 2, the second book after The Knife of Never Letting Go)
  • The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta (spin-off to Saving Francesca)
  • The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan (second book of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series — took me long enough to finally decide to read this)

Just three books for now. I kind of need to take it easy since I’m still reeling from my trip. :) Thank goodness my job isn’t as demanding as some Network Engineer Jobs out there.

Joining this month’s challenge? Leave a link to your entry so I can list you here! There’s no need to follow my theme, just pick books from your shelf that you need to read or get out of your TBR and try to finish them within the month. :)

Happy September, everyone!

The Red Pyramid (Rick Riordan)

Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a “research experiment” at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them–Set–has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe–a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

Popular young adult protagonists seem to rise in turns. In the span of a decade or so, first, there was J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, and then there was Stephenie Meyer’s Bella Swan. While both obviously retain their popularity, the next to step up to the plate was young demigod Percy Jackson. While he isn’t as popular as the first two, Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series gained enough attention to be on bestseller lists, and among YA and middle grade readers around the world. Last year it achieved that milestone that shows a literary character has “made it”: the Hollywood movie. Now that Percy’s adventures are over–at least for now–fans of Riordan ask: What’s next?

From Ancient Greece, Riordan brings us to Ancient Egypt, in a whole new fantasy adventure series for young adults entitled The Red Pyramid, the first book from his new series, The Kane Chronicles. Siblings Carter and Sadie Kane grew up barely knowing each other after they were separated when their mother passed away. While Sadie lived a normal life with their maternal grandparents, Carter tagged along with their archaeologist dad and travelled around the world. One Christmas Eve, during their yearly visit to Sadie, their father brings them to the British National Museum, to “make things right.” Something goes wrong, of course, and their dad disappears, but not before releasing five ancient Egyptian gods, including Set, the god of storms and chaos. Rescued by their magician uncle Amos, Carter and Sadie learn the truth about their identity: they come from a family of powerful Egyptian magicians, and they in particular are strong because of their combined bloodlines. This starts their journey all over the world to save their father, stop Set from destroying North America, and figure out both the extent of their powers and the mysteries of their past–all within four days.

If you think the story’s similar to Percy Jackson, well, you’re not wrong. In fact, The Red Pyramid not only reminded me of the young demigod, but also of another series by Riordan, The 39 Clues. Riordan seems to have stumbled on a very successful formula to sell children’s books: (1) take away something important from your young protagonist; (2) place them in a larger-than-life adventure; (3) have them learn something about themselves in the process. We see this formula at work again in The Red Pyramid, and while some readers were put off about this, I didn’t think it was so bad. At least Riordan wasn’t deriving from anyone else but himself – why mess with a good formula? Nevertheless, while I’m fine with thematic similarities between the books, my hope is that he doesn’t become too repetitive with his story arcs–like say, Dan Brown–to the point that I can draw upon his previous plots to solve any mysteries by the middle of the book. Click here to read the rest of the review.

Rating: [rating=3]

2010 Challenge Status:
* Book # 51 out of 100 for 2010

My copy: paperback, Php459 from National Bookstore

Cover image: Goodreads
Blurb: Back of the book

→ Rick Riordan’s website

In My Mailbox (1)

I don’t know how often I’ll be able to do this, but I thought I’d try whenever I do have a stash to blog about. In My Mailbox is a weekly book meme hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren, where bloggers post about what books received that week, be it via  mailbox, library or store.

Here’s what I got this week:

Table for Two by Marla MinianoTable for Two by Marla Miniano

A corner table at a cozy coffee shop witnesses many things:

A long-time couple about to break up after college graduation. A young teacher accepting a dare from her teenage brother to quit dating for two months. A wedding photographer trying to convince his best friend not to get married. A boy meeting up with the girl he never quite got over. And a girl sitting alone, reading romance novels, wondering if today is the day she will stop being lonely.

Do their lives intersect and intertwine — spiraling them through an obstacle course of love and loss and hope and heartbreak? And can they each find the happy ending they so desperately want?

I’ve already finished reading this book and I thought it was positively charming, and it has a lot — and I mean a lot — of quotable quotes. I’ll be posting a review of this book soon.

Amazing Grace by Tara FT Sering

Pre-school teacher, Grace Lim, thinks that she has finally found her man at age 27. Mr-Blind-Date-No.-7, Mike, has turned out to be everything that she s ever wanted, dreamt about, and more!

With a marriage proposal in hand, Grace thinks that she s set for life. Trouble begins to stir in paradise when Mike informs Grace that he is re-locating from Manila to sunny Singapore because of work.

But the conveniences of modern technology aren t enough to bridge the distance between Mike and Grace, and what of Mike s colleague Kaela who appears in every photo that Mike s uploaded online?

So Grace decides to give Mike a surprise visit in Singapore but is she ready for what she will find?

This is one of the new Asian chick lit published here by Anvil. I’ve seen this about a month ago but only got around today to buying myself a copy. A friend said it’s a good read, and I like that it’s thicker than the other local chick lit which makes the Php 150 (around $3-4) feel more worth it. The story is told in second person, though, and I’m really curious about how that works out.

The Red Pyramid (Kane Chronicles #1) by Rick Riordan

Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a “research experiment” at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them–Set–has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe–a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family, and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

I saw this last week and I didn’t mean to buy it today (I meant to buy Ever by Gail Carson Levine), but I realized I should get this one because this would be a more relevant book to review since it’s just out. Egypt and such adventures — should be fun. Funny because I haven’t even finished reading all Percy Jackson books yet, and here’s another Riordan. Funny, though, I’m trying to remember if I read any of his books before Percy, and I remembered: 39 Clues #1.

That’s it for my mailbox this week. I’m still kind of wary about buying actual books because I have no storage space yet. And impulse buys — eeep. Maybe when my room gets fixed, I’ll be more into impulse again? That won’t be too soon, though. :)

Don’t forget, Philippine residents, I’m giving away a copy of Feed by Mira Grant — you can enter until June 30! Have a great Sunday, everyone!