Tales of the Peculiar by Ransom Riggs

Title: Tales of the Peculiar

Author: Ransom Riggs

Publisher: Syndrigast Publications 2016

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 160

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Popsugar – With pictures; I Love Libraries

Wealthy cannibals who dine on the discarded limbs of peculiars. A fork-tongued princess. These are but a few of the truly brilliant stories in Tales of the Peculiar—the collection of fairy tales known to hide information about the peculiar world, including clues to the locations of time loops—first introduced by Ransom Riggs in his #1 bestselling Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series.

Cute little collection stories briefly mentioned or alluded to in the Miss Peregrine series. I loved the little asides and commentary from Millard. My favorite story was the first story “The Splendid Cannibals.” It was such a weird story, but I loved it. Overall a good collection of stories.

Miss Peregrine:

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

Title: The Colour of Magic (Discworld #1)

Author: Terry Pratchett

Publisher: 1983

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 288

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Perpetual (The Fantasy Project; Discworld); Discworld; Mount TBR

The beginning of the hilarious and irreverent series that has more than 80 million copies worldwide, The Color of Magic is where we meet tourist Twoflower and wizard guide Ricewind, and follow them on their always-bizarre journeys.

I finally finally finally started the Discworld series. J has been bugging me to start this for years now. And so, I read the first novel that published. I’ve decided to read the series in chronological order as opposed to subseries order. I really enjoyed The Colour of Magic. Rincewind is such a great character. I loved following him through parts of the Discworld encountering random side characters and going on adventures. My favorite side character is of course Death. And in my head Death sounds like Christopher Lee because Christopher Lee is Death. That simple. Beyond Rincewind, this book is really about world building. We see Pratchett give the reader hints as to other places, characters, and stories on the Discworld. I imagine some of those side characters will appear in books down the road. A very successful start to hopefully a great series.

The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling

Title: The Cursed Child

Author: J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany

Publisher: Pottermore 2016

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 320

Rating: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Mount TBR; Popsugar – Multiple Authors

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.”

I am very conflicted about this one. I was very excited to read this as I loved the original Harry Potter series. And so I finally started reading, and I was thoroughly disappointed. Most of the storyline is just a rehashing of the original Harry Potter series. Albus is just experiencing the same angst as his father. And it’s super boring… The good parts of the play revolved around Scorpius and Draco. I would have loved to read more about their complicated relationship. I think Draco’s growth throughout the original series and beyond is fascinating. I would have loved to read that play. Unfortunately, that’s not the story we got. Therefore, I give this one 3 stars.

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

The_Scorch_Trials_coverTitle: The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner #2)

Author: James Dashner

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 361

Rating: 3/5 stars  Movie: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Perpetual (NPR YA, 100 YA); Book to Movie

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end.

Thomas was sure that escape from the Maze would mean freedom for him and the Gladers. But WICKED isn’t done yet. Phase Two has just begun. The Scorch.

There are no rules. There is no help. You either make it or you die.

The Gladers have two weeks to cross through the Scorch—the most burned-out section of the world. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Friendships will be tested. Loyalties will be broken. All bets are off.

There are others now. Their survival depends on the Gladers’ destruction—and they’re determined to survive.

I didn’t have super high expectations for this sequel, but I was still disappointed. There’s too much misdirection and confusion. I didn’t feel that the characters grew at all. We just get nonstop action for 361 pages. Overall, I just wasn’t interested in the book…

51X7lZhpUkL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Scorch Trials: The Graphic Novel Prelude

Author: James Dashner

Publisher: kaBoom 2015

Genre: YA Fantasy, Comic

Pages: 96

Rating: 4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Graphic Novel

Randomly saw this on the shelf and grabbed it. The volume contains a few different short comics about people and events before The Scorch Trials. I loved the story centering on the creation of WICKED and the big players. Plus we get some interesting insight into Brenda and Jorge. I actually liked this volume more than The Scorch Trials.

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J and I finally watched the movie last night and basically picked it apart the entire time. I’m so not impressed with the movie. They changed a ton of major events and added some characters. I was so confused the entire time. And the victims of the Flare? Atrocious! The filmmakers went all Resident Evil with them when I saw them more like Reavers from Firefly… As J said, “by tomorrow, I will have forgotten the entire movie.” Yep, my thoughts exactly…

 

The Maze Runner

  • #0.5 The Kill Order
  • #0.6 The Fever Code
  • #1 The Maze Runner
  • #2 The Scorch Trials
  • #2.5 Thomas’s First Memory of the Flare
  • #3 The Death Cure
  • #3.5 The Maze Runner Files

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The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

9780525427216Title: The Magician’s Land (Magicians #3)

Author: Lev Grossman

Publisher: Penguin 2015

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 416

Rating:  5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Read My Own Damn Books; Finishing the Series; 52 Books – W25

Quentin Coldwater has been cast out of Fillory, the secret magical land of his childhood dreams. With nothing left to lose he returns to where his story began, the Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. But he can’t hide from his past, and it’s not long before it comes looking for him.

Along with Plum, a brilliant young undergraduate with a dark secret of her own, Quentin sets out on a crooked path through a magical demimonde of gray magic and desperate characters. But all roads lead back to Fillory, and his new life takes him to old haunts, like Antarctica, and to buried secrets and old friends he thought were lost forever. He uncovers the key to a sorcery masterwork, a spell that could create magical utopia, a new Fillory—but casting it will set in motion a chain of events that will bring Earth and Fillory crashing together. To save them he will have to risk sacrificing everything.

Finally Finally Finally dove into this one. J read it awhile back and warned me that I should reread the first two before tackling the conclusion. I’m glad I did. There were lots of little things that I forgot about that come back int he third book. But overall, so brilliant! This volume has a much better pace than the first two books. Plus we get some great twists and turns that I totally didn’t see coming. And we encounter all the old characters as well as a few new ones. I loved the switching between Quentin’s story and Eliot and Janet. It was nice to return to Fillory and see how the storyline ultimately played out. I would have finished the book in 4 days, but the toddler kept stealing my iPad to play games and would subsequently run the battery down. So It took me more like a week and a half.

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The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

BLOOD_OF_O_final_cvrTitle: The Blood of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus #5)

Author: Rick Riordan

Publisher: Disney Hyperion 2014

Genre: Children’s Fantasy

Pages: 528

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Read My Own Damn Books; Finishing the Series; 52 Books – W19

Though the Greek and Roman crewmembers of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen-all of them-and they’re stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood-the blood of Olympus-in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it might be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea’s army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.

Such a great end to the Heroes of Olympus series. I loved coming to the end of this great epic story. Seeing all the demigods come together to battle Gaea was great. My favorite is still Annabeth, but I have to say this book made me love Nico. Riordan has a great way of switching between the characters for the narrative, but still allows the reader to dig into each character. This volume dove right into the story, but kept the nice character driven moments for growth. After reading this series, I’m curious to start some of Riordan’s other series. I’m thinking the Kane Chronicles next to cover some of the crossover stories and then the new Magnus Chase series.

Heroes of Olympus:

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The Iron Warrior by Julie Kagawa

51NrCIPc0uL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Iron Warrior (Iron Fey #7; Call of the Forgotten #3)

Author: Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Harlequin Teen 2015

Genre: YA Paranormal (Fey)

Pages: 330

Rating:  4/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Fairytale Retelling; Finishing the Series; 52 Books – W18

Waking after a month on the brink of death, Ethan Chase is stunned to learn that the Veil that conceals the fey from human sight was temporarily torn away. Although humankind’s glimpse of the world of Faery lasted just a brief moment, the human world was cast into chaos, and the emotion and glamour produced by fear and wonder has renewed the tremendous power of the Forgotten Queen. Now she is at the forefront of an uprising against the courts of Faery—a reckoning that will have cataclysmic effects on the Nevernever.

Leading the Lady’s Forgotten Army is Keirran himself: Ethan’s nephew, and the traitor son of the Iron Queen, Meghan Chase.To stop Keirran, Ethan must disobey his sister once again as he and his girlfriend, Kenzie, search for answers long forgotten. In the face of unprecedented evil and unfathomable power, Ethan’s enemies must become his allies, and the fey and human worlds will be changed forevermore.

A fitting end to the Iron Fey series. I can’t say it was my favorite book from the series, but it was good. The last book left the read with one hell of a cliffhanger. I’m glad this one picks up basically where that one left off. We get to see the final confrontations play out. We see growth in relationships. And Ethan and Keirran finally find their places. I’m glad I stuck with the series to see the end. But I must say that Grimalkin and Puck are still my favorite characters. Too much fun!

The Iron Fey

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The Lost by Sarah Beth Durst

512e+CxwFML._SX305_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Lost (The Lost #1)

Author: Sarah Beth Durst

Publisher: Harlequin 2014

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 350

Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Library; Popsugar – First book you see in a bookstore (library); Women Authors

It was only meant to be a brief detour. But then Lauren finds herself trapped in a town called Lost on the edge of a desert, filled with things abandoned, broken and thrown away. And when she tries to escape, impassible dust storms and something unexplainable lead her back to Lost again and again. The residents she meets there tell her she’s going to have to figure out just what she’s missing—and what she’s running from—before she can leave. So now Lauren’s on a new search for a purpose and a destiny. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll be found….

Against the backdrop of this desolate and mystical town, Sarah Beth Durst writes an arresting, fantastical novel of one woman’s impossible journey…and her quest to find her fate.

This was the first book I saw at the library last week and something about the cover drew me in. I picked it up without really thinking yesterday and somehow finished this book in a day and a half. I was immediately pulled into Lauren’s story. More than anything I was fascinated by Lost. The place becomes a character itself. I loved the visual details especially elements like the ocean and the train. Overall, I sped through the book on the edge of my seat waiting to see if Lauren would be able to figure out what she lost and the conclusion of her relationships with Peter and Claire. I loved this book until the very last page. The volume leaves the reader on a huge cliffhanger. I did some digging into the series, but it seems like the rest of the books aren’t being released anytime soon. Oh well… Leaving off that last page, I loved the book.

The Lost

  • #1 The Lost
  • #2 The Missing
  • #3 The Found

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A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin

Title: A Dance with Dragons (Song of Fire and Ice #5)

Author: George R.R. Martin

Publisher: Bantam 2011

Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 1152

Rating:  5/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Perpetual (NPR Scifi/Fan); Read My Own Damn Books; 52 Books – W14

In the aftermath of a colossal battle, the future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance once again–beset by newly emerging threats from every direction. In the east, Daenerys Targaryen, the last scion of House Targaryen, rules with her three dragons as queen of a city built on dust and death. But Daenerys has three times three thousand enemies, and many have set out to find her. Yet, as they gather, one young man embarks upon his own quest for the queen, with an entirely different goal in mind.

To the north lies the mammoth Wall of ice and stone–a structure only as strong as those guarding it. There, Jon Snow, 998th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, will face his greatest challenge yet. For he has powerful foes not only within the Watch but also beyond, in the land of the creatures of ice.

And from all corners, bitter conflicts soon reignite, intimate betrayals are perpetrated, and a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves, will face seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Some will fail, others will grow in the strength of darkness. But in a time of rising restlessness, the tides of destiny and politics will lead inevitably to the greatest dance of all. . . .

It took me almost two weeks, but I finally finished the last book that’s been published in A Song of Ice and Fire. And it was amazing! I was concerned at first because the beginning moved fairly slowly. Once I fully dove in, I was hooked. I loved catching up with Dany and Jon and Tyrion. They were always my favorite characters in the series. Plus we get to see more story from Aria and Davos and some other great characters. Martin has a way with crafting a compelling storyline and characters. I couldn’t even predict what was going to happen in the story and that’s why I loved it. Martin surprised me at every turn. And that ending was one hell of a cliffhanger. I cannot wait until The Winds of Winter.

A Song of Fire and Ice:

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The Maze Runner by James Dashner

51xp9nphNQL._SX335_BO1,204,203,200_Title: The Maze Runner (The Maze Runner #1)

Author: James Dashner

Publisher: Delacorte Press 2009

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 374

Rating: 3/5 stars  Movie: 3/5 stars

Reading Challenges: Perpetual (NPR YA; 100 YA); Popsugar – Recommended by Someone You Just Met; Books to Movies

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.

Nice to meet ya, shank. Welcome to the Glade.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Everything is going to change.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.
 
Remember. Survive. Run.

I feel like I would have really liked this book if I was a 13-year-old boy. (In fact, maybe I should give it to the twins to read this summer…) As I am not a in fact a 13-year-old boy, this book felt a bit tired and predictable. It definitely has a big influence from Lord of the Flies. And it reminded me of The Hunger Games series. Which isn’t to say that it’s a bad book. I just think I’ve read too much to be blown away by it. Other than the predictability, my biggest complaint is with the lack of characterization. I wanted to get more from the characters and their motivations. Unfortunately, the books glosses over a lot of that in favor of lots of action. Oh well. I’ll keep reading the series. Now I want to know more about WICKED and the trials.

The_Maze_Runner_posterMovie:

J and I both agree that the movie was better than we excepted, but it still wasn’t that good. I understand most of the changes from the book. They make sense for the movie. And I did enjoy the visuals for the maze. Nice to see it up close and personal. I wasn’t a fan of how they changed the grievers. I like their design in the book much better. I still have issues with some of the character motivations and the entire premise of the series. But that’s to be excepted. We have the second movie sitting on the server, but I would like to read the second book before watching the movie.

The Maze Runner

  • #0.5 The Kill Order
  • #0.6 The Fever Code
  • #1 The Maze Runner
  • #2 The Scorch Trials
  • #2.5 Thomas’s First Memory of the Flare
  • #3 The Death Cure
  • #3.5 The Maze Runner Files

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