[ARC] Under the Midnight Sun by Lore Graham

IMG_20180806_080538_085

3stars

Title: Under the Midnight Sun
Author: Lore Graham
Release date: August 15th 2018
Good things about this book: It has a lot of potential and a very nice main character.
Bad things about this book: It’s too shorts everything is rushed and forced.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I’ll give it a chance if I were you.
Rate: 3/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

As much as I enjoyed it with all the myths and likeable characters, it felt rushed. Too many things unexplained. Too many things just happened, just like that. The steamy scenes were a bit weird to read; there aren’t many penises synonymous and the ones used sounded funny in that explicit context. They made me laugh, breaking the atmosphere of a promising naughty scene.

The book was too short. I think that with some adjustments and some more chapter between some scenes, this could be a great book. A solid 4-star, maybe even 5! It has a lot of potential but I feel it was left unfulfilled.

The love story, as sweet as it was, felt forced when it began. I loved how Otto was starting to feel his heart longing for someone after being in mourning for three years, but then things just happened. Not many words said and they were already madly and nakedly in love. It felt weird given how grumpy and borderline rude Lukas was to Otto from the beginning.

Loved their freedom of loving whoever they wanted, and the society not having problems with who you decided to be with. It was refreshing not witnessing the usual hiding ones attraction because it’s forbidden or illegal or looked as unnatural. Felt good.

It was an enjoyable book, if short, that I didn’t want to put down even if it was somewhat predictable so it didn’t make me worry about the characters’ wellbeing. Still, I’m glad I requested this book and read it.

firmablog

Advertisements

The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan

20180510_124929

That could be my life motto, I thought: He takes a lot of damage.

Title: The Burning Maze
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: The Trials of Apollo #3
Number of pages: 448 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: I love mythology so I loved this book!
Bad things about this book: After you read it, you’ll know it.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I have been postponing this review because I honestly didn’t know what to say. I don’t know if I can write one thing without sounding like I’m trying not to reveal a spoiler but by being evasive, it’ll be only too easy to spot the spoiler. The fact that I read a major spoiler before starting the book doesn’t mean I want other people to know it in advance. I like my reviews as clean as possible.

Apollo is in California with Meg and Grover to find and free the third Oracle. We’re meeting the third member of the evil triumvirate and it’s one I know from my high school days but that I have to admit not remembering much about. Once again, after a long time, our heroes and Lester, are venturing into Daedalus maze, one part that it’s burning by some mysterious energy force. They have to find out what that is, defeat it, find the oracle, free the oracle, listen to the new prophecy and proceed with their quest. Easy, right?

There’s never nothing easy when it comes to Riordan’s books but this time I was unprepared for what was to come. New friends and old friends, happy times and sad times, everything is put there to play with our heart because why make it easy to get from point A to point B? We have to suffer every step of the way.

I loved the oracle and the way she told her prophecies. It was original and so unnecessarily complex. I loved it to pieces! I’m a fan already. Hope to see more of her in the future. So now we have a new prophecy and the promise of old friends coming along on the quest against the triumvirate. The emperors are all there, all sadly alive, and we have only two books left to fight them, defeat them, and save the world. What can go wrong?

firmablog

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

20180106_124046

5stars

“Is Sun Wukong a good guy or a bad guy?”
“He’s an anti-hero,” said Quentin. “He doesn’t play by anyone else’s rules.”
“He sounds like a tool,” I said.

Title: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo
Author: F.C. Yee
Number of pages: 336 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: It has fights, demons, gods, twists, everything!
Bad things about this book: Nothing.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I really do!
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

I love mythology. Everything about mythology always makes me pay more attention. I love watching documentaries about it, watching movies inspired by it, and I love reading books with stories inspired by the so many myths in existence. I was attracted to this book by its cover; it captivated me. Then I read what it was about and I was sold, boxed, and shipped. I didn’t know much about Chinese mythology and I was so ready for it!

“Genie Lo, you are unquestionably, undeniably human,” he said. “You just…have a whole bunch of other stuff going on as well.”
“Tell me about it.”

Genie is a high school student, struggling a little bit with Ivy League colleges admissions’ essays and also with her unusual height. One fateful day she saves an attractive short guy from bullies, starting a chain of reaction that will change her life forever. That guy she saved is no other than the Monkey King, Sun Wukong, or how he is called now, Quentin. Genie, along with Quentin, are going to be very busy sending a group of demons, who escaped from Hell, right back where they belong, or else the entire city is going to suffer dire consequences. Genie must find the inner strength she is told she has, and fight with all her might to save the city, and the world.

Genie Lo, caring about strangers, bearing the weight of the world? No one was more surprised than me.

Genie was a delightful character, flaws and everything. She is young and found herself thrown into something super weird. I think how she reacted was medal worthy. Quentin and his cluelessness of the human world were adorable; he was cute and funny, and made me smile a lot. I also loved how every single person was eyeing him like some kind of gourmet meat. Drooling like pros, I respect that. Overall the book had a lot of very funny parts and also badass fights.

“He’s bite-size. Doesn’t mean he’s not tasty.”

I enjoyed this book so much. I knew I was going to like it because it has all the elements I usually love in books, but the fact that I also learned a little bit more about Chinese folklore made the whole experience better. I must admit that I don’t remember all the names but now I have this new curiosity inside of me that it’s going to push me into reading more and more about the Gods and Demons I read about in this book. And if this isn’t one hell of a positive thing a book can do for you, then I don’t know what is.

firmablog

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

20171030_170019

5stars

The world will end. The big picture cannot be changed. But in the meantime, as Loki once said, we can choose to alter the details. That’s how we take control of our destiny.

Title: The Ship of the Dead
Author: Rick Riordan
Series: Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #3
Number of pages: 423 (hardcover edition)
Good things about this book: Funny, intriguing, mysterious.
Bad things about this book: The lack of fluidity of Alex seemed done on purpose. I didn’t like it very much.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I always recommend a Rick Riordan.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

As soon as I read this was going to be the last book of the Magnus Chase series I knew my book was going to be late because I’m lucky like that. I placed a pre-order that was mysteriously refunded a couple days before the release and that was the beginning of “The Epic Journey of Kristel and the missing Magnus”. It took it one whole spoiler-avoiding month to get here and now that I’ve read it my mind is trying to come to terms with what happened and is going to happen in the next Apollo book. I’m scared!

Magnus and friends are set to sail towards the place where they know the ship of the dead, made of toenails, is, defeat Loki, his undead army, and stop Ragnarok from starting. Sounds easy, right? No, it doesn’t, and it’s not even only those things they need to do. How do you defeat a god? How do you stop an army of zombies when you don’t have a plan? You wait for godly advices and try your best not to die in the meantime. That’s the plan; wing it until you win it.

My first task was my favourite one – getting out of the way.

As usual I loved Magnus, everything about him and his inner monologues. I also loved the whole set of characters accompanying him on this almost impossible quest; we get to know more about all their background stories, the way they died as heroes earning them a place in Valhalla. Each one of them has so much to give to this quest and each one of them is essential for this quest to be a success. I always love how the story is never about a single hero who magically wins everything: this is a team effort and I wouldn’t have loved it as much as I did otherwise.

Alex Fierro, Sam’s green-haired gender-fluid half-sibling chaperone of doom.

One thing I didn’t like was the Alex situation. Alex is gender fluid, right? So if you give us a character that is fluid then you have to allow them to be fluid, on page. When Alex was male it felt through the pages, he was different and I couldn’t wait to get to know him better. I have read books with gender fluid characters and their fluidity was wildly shown and we got to see every aspect of what made them the wonderful beings they were. Instead with Alex we got three scenes with him as a male, three scenes, two right at the beginning then the issue was kind of forgotten! With more scenes it will have shown us more about how Magnus felt about Alex as both male and female. It will have given him and us more info about who he was more interested in. If the whole fluidity was shown off-page, I don’t think I’m okay with it. Give us representation the way we deserve it. All things said, I love Alex and I hope we’ll see more of them, even just a tiny mention, in future books. I’m hoping we get a short story. That’ll be nice!

I will have given this book a 5++ rating if it wasn’t for the Alex situation but The Ship of Dead is still one hell of a book. It has everything I like. It was entertaining, full of mythology, diverse characters, originality, and it has The Lord of the Rings references. Who doesn’t love pop references, right?

My friends were all dressed like me, in white wool, so we looked like a secret society of very clean monks – the Fellowship of the Bleach.

I think it’s time for a Lotr marathon. I just need almost 10 free hours, maybe double if I also want to watch The Hobbit. I will do the re-watch while anxiously waiting for the next Apollo book. I think bad things are going to happen and I will never be ready for those! Please, Rick, don’t kill anyone; make them lose a leg, an arm, but not their lives, I’m begging you! We’ll just have to wait and read, I suppose. Patience is not always a virtue I’m fond of.

firmablog

The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo #2) by Rick Riordan

20170531_160237

5stars

“The longer you live, the weirder the world gets.”

Title: The Dark Prophecy (The Trials of Apollo #2)
Author: Rick Riordan
Good things about this book: I loved everything so maybe you will, too!
Bad things about this book: I would love to see again old characters but that’s not really a bad thing.
Do I recommend it? Yes, I always recommend a Riordan.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

If there’s a certainty in my life is that any book Mr. Riordan writes is a book that’s not going to disappoint me. So far it has never happened and I’m positive it’s not going to happen anytime soon. I may be 31 years old but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to like stories about teenagers saving the world. Add mythology to the mix and you got me hooked for life.

Apollo is still very human and very mortal and he has to go on quests to get his father, the mighty Zeus, to make him a god again. This time he is flying to Indianapolis with Leo and Calypso riding the metal dragon Festus. I loved these quest companions! I already loved Leo from the Heroes of Olympus’ books and now we get to know the half titan Calypso, newly freed from the exile on the prison island Ogygia.

“Don’t test me, Valdez. When I am a god again, I will make a constellation out of you. I will call it the Small Exploding Latino.”

Apollo is starting to understand how is it to be human a little better than in the previous book but he still has a very long way to go. In order to become a god again is pretty obvious that he has to start seeing things the way demigods and mortals see it. He has to understand sacrifice. He has to understand love. He is starting to see it but it’s still not enough. Well, there are still 3 books to go so I guess we’re going to see funny and frail human being Lester Papadopoulos fight against powerful immortal emperors for a little bit longer.

“It’s not how long you live that matters. It’s what you live for.”

There is a new set of amazing characters that are involved in this quest, and there are also old friends we already knew and surely missed. Hunters, former hunters, a headless cheddar-colored ghost, demigods, griffins, ostriches, a sweet elephant called Livia, and many others. There weren’t plot twists but the story unfolded a little at a time and mysteries were revealed when they were supposed to be revealed.

I guessed the name of the new Emperor they were facing this time because I am a little familiar with roman history, living in Italy and having studied like a good student back in the day. I have to say that I may have not paid much attention in class because a lot of things were new to me; it was nice learning new stuff. I have to admit that my knowledge may have come from movies. A lot of my knowledge nowadays comes from TV shows, movies and books. That’s me, always quoting The Simpsons in everyday conversations!

His eyes gleamed with confidence as if to say, That’s right. I just crawled out of a tunnel, and I still look gorgeous.

As usual, the diversity in Riordan’s books is a breath of fresh air. I love to imagine a world in which no matter who you love, the gender you identify with, the color of your skin, or where you come from, you are not object of hate and violence from ignorant people. The world is a melting pot of human beings and we cohabitate in a world that is amazing. Less hate and lots more of love doesn’t have to be hard to achieve, it has to come naturally like it’s supposed to.

I sighed inwardly. First it had been the zoo at first light. Then the Canal Walk at first light. Now the caverns. I really wished dangerous quests could start at a more suitable time, like perhaps three in the afternoon.

That being said, I just loved how Apollo was a lot more flirtatious with the boys in this book, and hearing about his past love stories was nice; I’m sure there are a lot more stories to be told. I love seeing Apollo, the narcissistic, egocentric, and hilarious god I obviously adore, becoming a better person; I just can’t wait to see this different version of him on Mount Olympus dealing with the other gods and his daddy.

Have I said something to spoil the story? I hope not. Things happen, there are a lot of carrots to peal, dishes to clean, toilets to scrub, monsters to kill and enemies to fight; no time to rest, our heroes are going to be pretty busy.

firmablog

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

20170515_142118

5stars

“Believe,” said the rumbling voice. “If you are to survive, you must believe.”

Title: American Gods
Author: Neil Gaiman
Good things about this book: Everything (Shadow!).
Bad things about this book: I can say it was very long but then you finish it and you think that maybe it wasn’t long enough.
Do I recommend it? Yes, of course.
Rate: 5/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

Shame! I am ashamed! So ashamed! It took me almost a month to finish this book and it took me years to take it from my bookshelf and open it. SHAME! The TV show made me finally read it and I’m so thankful because it’s a beautiful book, something very different to what I’m used to read.

A story so detailed you believe it’s real. You start believing alongside Shadow that these Gods, old and new, are part of our everyday reality. These characters are interesting and each one of them is put there to capture your attention, some sort of misdirection from the big picture happening in the background: the big storm. It may not seem important at first but just you wait and you’ll be surprised by how much is going on that you are not really seeing.

This book is really long and everything I want to write about it is part of something bigger and it’s hard to tell you a detail without spoiling you what all of that means for the developing of the story so I’m going to analyze a little bit the two main characters of the book.

Shadow is a marvelous man, all abs and inner (and so much outer) strength. He is enjoyable from the very beginning. The choices he make, the words he says, his inner monologues, everything appears to be well thought and in character. I was surprised I never got angry with him, not even once; I liked him from the first page to the very end.

Wednesday is a flawed character, one that you like not really understanding why; a very old God afraid of being forgotten and to disappear from the world. He is very peculiar and you understand after a little while that he is not entirely honest with anything so you start questioning everything he said. There are so many layers to Wednesday and even after finishing the book I’m still wondering so much about him.

There are so many Gods introduced throughout the story, many well known to me, others only heard a few times and a lot completely unknown but that I wish to learn more about. I can’t start mentioning the gods or I’ll be here writing until august; each one of them is particular, has depth and importance to the story. The new gods has names that are a bit ridiculous and are made fun of in the book so it’s fun to laugh with Shadow and co. I am fond of mythology and I am also very fond of books that know how to mix reality and myth into a well-developed urban fantasy.

People believe, thought Shadow. It’s what people do. They believe.

This a very well written book, there’s not doubt, but often well written doesn’t mean it’s also fast paced and enjoyable. It can lose track of the story and become boring. This is not the case. American Gods has everything and everything is in its rightful place. It’s worth your time and it’s worth to be read at least once in your life before it’s too late. So, come on, go get the book and start believing!

firmablog

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

20170321_160439

4stars

“The Norse myths are the myths of a chilly place, with long, long winter nights and endless summer days, myths of a people who did not entirely trust or even like their gods, although they respected and feared them.”

Title: Norse Mythology
Author: Neil Gaiman
Good things about this book: Really well written and interesting stories.
Bad things about this book: Maybe too short, if I really need to find something bad in it.
Do I recommend it? Yes, who doesn’t love mythology?
Rate: 4/5

Read the summary and add this book on Goodreads: here

There are storytellers and then there is Neil Gaiman. The way he retells these norse mythology stories is sublime and I had so much fun reading and learning. I already knew a few things thanks to my own curiosity, watching Vikings, and reading Rick Riordan’s Magnus Chase books. Norse gods have always got my interest and of course I was going to read a book about them and if it’s a book by Neil Gaiman, even better!

Gaiman writes the stories of the gods from their birth until Ragnarok, the apocalypse that is also the beginning of new things. The stories are all interesting and, needless to say, extraordinarily well written. The modern feeling of how the gods are introduced doesn’t bore you and it keeps you glued to the pages. Even knowing about how gross some of the gods were is interesting if written the way Gaiman does it. They drank the spit and blood of some god to become wise. Gross! And that story with Odin having sexy times with a giant was a surprise: who would’ve thought that old fox had that in him?

I knew Thor wasn’t the smart one among the gods but knowing also how much he could eat, drink and how much he knew how every single bad thing happening was always Loki’s fault, made me like him even more than I already liked him and his Marvel version. Thor of the long blonde hair is dreamy. Thor of the red beard maybe isn’t as dreamy but he has a special place in my heart nonetheless.

Tyr, Thor’s brother, is also one my favorites now. I didn’t know him at all and it surprised me how much involved he was in everything. The part between him and Fenrir wolf made me emotional. As much as I knew how dangerous the wolf was and was going to be, I didn’t like what the gods did to him.

“Because,” said Thor, “when something goes wrong, the first thing I always think is, it is Loki’s fault. It saves a lot of time.”

Loki, well, is just like I imagined him. Not the Hiddleston Loki I was used to and neither Riordan’s version, but just like I pictured the mischief blood brother of Odin. Something bad happened? Loki’s fault and, guess what? It indeed was his fault. It was like he wasn’t even trying to hide his guilt; it showed all over his glowing with pride face! You’ve got to love Loki, his monstrous children and his shape shifting abilities.

The book is short and it’s easy to read and that’s always a plus. I finished it and I wanted to know more and I think that’s beautiful. I admire Gaiman and I curse myself because I haven’t read many books by him. That’s something I promise to do!

firmablog