Book 53: Stone Mattress – Margaret Atwood

Atwood, Margaret - Stone MattressAtwood is an incredible writer and story teller and there’s really not much more that needs to be said, so when I saw her newest collection of short stories I knew I had to request it! I received a copy from the publisher, in return for my honest opinion:

Spectactular.

That would be a little cruel, to leave it just at that even though it would still describe it perfectly. Below, you’ll find a one-to-two sentence review of each of the nine tales and a single quote from each.

On a different note, if you haven’t heard Margaret Atwood is the first author of the future library! This is a project where authors are asked to write a work and it won’t be read for 100 years. This makes me both incredibly happy, as she writes such fantastic speculative/near future fiction, but also sad that I won’t be able to read it! It’s a fascinating project and I could go into it in detail, but really you should just read about it at The Guardian.

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Book 52: Chocolat (Chocolat #1) – Joanne Harris

Harris, Joanne - ChocolatThis book has been on my to-be-read shelf for so long it took quite a while to trace where and when I bought it! I apparently picked it up way back in October 2012 when I helped out at the Somerville Public Library book sale! I’m glad I grabbed a copy. I own a copy of the film, but for some reason I never realized they adapted it from a novel!

Add in that when random.org selected it as my next book and I prepared to read it I found out it was a trilogy, my mind was BLOWN! I was a little grumpy at first, because I had a plan worked out to read more of my to-be-read shelf and was trying really hard not to add more in between the books, but I do love a good trilogy! I plan to read two and three, The Girl With No Shadow and Peaches for Father Francis, in the next few weeks and am VERY excited about them!

Now on to the story and my response!

Book 46: The Hangman’s Revolution (W.A.R.P. #2) – Eoin Colfer

Colfer, Eoin - W.A.R.P. #2 - The Hangman's RevolutionIf it weren’t for the strength of the last book and Colfer’s series in general, the opening line of this novel might’ve made me turn back! I originally requested a copy of this from the publisher and you can read about my issues here (last paragraph under Books and Bookish – yes I’m naming and shaming now).

However, given the opening lines “meh” and the fact this is a second book in a series (almost always “meh”) this book turned out to be almost as good as The Reluctant Assassin the first of the W.A.R.P. series.

Part of the struggle, for me, with this novel is that the first one came out early last year and I’ve read so many books since then! Add in that this book starts in an alternative present and it took a few chapters to really start remembering characters and what happened in the previous book. I’m not sure if every book will be like this and I’m pretty sure not with the way this ended but there was a Chekhov gun introduced that I’m assuming will span the series (or at least another book)!

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Book 72: The House of Hades (The Heroes of Olympus #4) – Rick Riordan

Riordan, Rick - The House of HadesIn this, the penultimate novel of The Heroes of Olympus, Rick Riordan sets the scene for a HUGE finale in the last and final book. I’ve had my name on the wait list for this book since I finished The Mark of Athena back in February or whenever the library first let me add my name to the list and I will do the same thing with the final installment, The Blood of Olympus.

This book picks up right where The Mark of Athena left off and keeps filling up details and providing more and more tension before everything snaps between Gaea and the demigods and gods. To be fair the series could end with this book and I wouldn’t be mad as there was a pretty succinct ending to this novel versus many of the other cliff hangers I’ve read before like that at the end of the last novel. This one although much sadder, the characters and readers of the series are growing up, was much more encapsulated.

THERE WILL BE SPOILERS so if you plan on reading these books, I would not recommend reading after this point. There might not be any for this book, but there may be for earlier books in the story, but no promises – this is the fourth book in the series.

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Book 69: The Demigod Diaries (The Heroes of Olympus) – Rick Riordan

Riordan, Rick - The Demigod DiariesThis is the second collection of short stories Riordan released in his Greco-Roman young adult series. I actually preferred this collection to the first, The Demigod Files, but I think that comes from the length of the stories and the inclusion of the final story in this selection by Riordan’s son, Haley. In addition this was the 18th library book I’ve read this year, which is pretty impressive for me and I’m excited to be supporting the library more and more these days.

The four short stories in this collection are The Diary of Luke Castellan, Percy Jackson and the Staff of Hermes, Leo Valdez and the Quest for Buford and Son of Magic. Each one of these stories stands out and included different characters which I think is why I enjoyed this collection better than the first, but as mentioned above Son of Magic is what made this collection.

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Book 67: The Demigod Files (Percy Jackson & the Olympians) – Rick Riordan

Riordan, Rick - The Demigod FilesThis was a super short collection of short stories and various add ons to the Percy Jackson universe and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m picking up the other short story collection for The Heroes of Olympus series Riordan wrote and can’t wait to read it.

There were three short stories in this book: Percy Jackson and the Stolen ChariotPercy Jackson and the Bronze Dragon, and Percy Jackson and the Sword of Hades. Each one had characters from the Percy Jackson universe that you love, or love to hate and the writing was just as creative and humorous as that in the full length novels. In addition to this, the book is set up as a how-to/introduction guide to Camp Half-Blood and included add-ons about some of the campers, a map of camp, a packing list (diagram) and brief bios of many of the campers and key gods of Olympus.

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Book 64: The Serpent’s Shadow (The Kane Chronicles #3) – Rick Riordan

Riordan, Rick - The Serpent's ShadowMy thoughts still stand from the first two novels. This series is not as great as the other two of Riordan’s series, the publisher really should have invested in a better copy editor and I’m still not convinced about the ‘transcription’ part of the story (it brought the author into the story in a way that Percy Jackson didn’t). Aside from that, this was a great ending to a mediocre trilogy.

The Serpent’s Shadow picks up right where The Throne of Fire ends. Looking back on my reviews of it and The Red Pyramid, I’m not sure what holes in the plot I referred to were but it didn’t feel like there was anything missing from this third book from the second. A lot of the characters that I remembered and enjoyed from the first two books made appearances in this novel and there were even a few introductions of new characters, although fleeting. Riordan seemed to have mastered the Sadie/Carter duality in this novel so that was great and I enjoyed their love interests although the parallel of the two was a bit weird and could be misconstrued as lazy.

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