‘Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief’ by Rick Riordan

 

377p

2005

Disney Hyperion

Borrowed

516tbavfpvl-_sx324_bo1204203200_Twelve year old Percy Jackson, diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD, has always considered himself to be unusual. Expelled from multiple schools, he has a bit of a reputation as a trouble maker. But in a shocking turn of events, he discovers that he is the son of a Greek god, and his whole world is turned completely upside down.

Living a normal life is no longer possible as he’s exposed to many dangers, so he goes with Grover, his friend, who turns out to be his special protector, to Camp Half-Blood, where many other half-blood children and teens from around the world live. There, the half-god, half-humans stay in relative safety from the monsters and evils that would seek to harm them. While there, they train and learn techniques that can help them survive to in the outside world.

When Percy is accused of stealing Zeus’s lightening bolt, he, Grover and their new-found friend Annabeth go on a mission to clear his name. They need to find out who stole the Lightening Bolt, while avoiding all the many life-threatening foes along the way.

My 13 year old brother Kieran positively raves about Rick Riordan’s books- he owns all of them- so I figured it was about time I gave them a try. Kieran recommended that I read Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief; it’s the first in the 5 book Percy Jackson series and the one that got him hooked.

The plot is fast, funny and full of surprises, and there’s loads of facts about the Greek gods- you really learn a lot about the myths surrounding them. The characters are so engaging, pulling you into the story, and Kieran says that because of the way the series is written, he truly believes in the story. 😉

Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief is a great book perfect for any reader and it’s a fab series as well, although I’d suggest that you read them in order. Rick Riordan has also written stand-alone books, centring on the myths about the gods, as well as other series, which Kieran recommends, though I haven’t read them yet: Trials of Apollo (Greek and Roman gods); Kane Chronicles (Egyptian gods); Heroes of Olympus (Greek and Roman gods); and Magnus Chase (Norse gods).

A Fresh Start

It’s been almost a year since I last blogged (eesh!) and despite quite a few attempts, I have never actually posted anything else. And when better to (re)start a new venture then the new year? I have decided that I’m going to get back into blogging, with weekly posts, and more new features as I go along.

I’m feeling pretty excited about this, and with more organisation and self-motivation, I believe I can actually make a go of this. Blogging is something that I really enjoyed doing; sharing my love of all things bookish, interacting with a lovely online community, and it’s also a great thing for me personally to focus on and work towards.

While The Never Ending Bookshelf is primarily a book blog; with reviews, round ups, and author interviews, I’d also like to share more of the things that books make me think about and feel, or stationary I love, or a great movie adaptation of a book.

So, I’ll be posting every week from now on… watch this space!

What I Read in March

419w-wio50l-_sx299_bo1204203200_Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

I’ve always loved this book. It was one of my very first ‘big’ books and I remember feeling so grown-up when I sat down with Mom to read it together. A couple weeks ago, I was thinking about it, and felt so keen to read it again (it’s been about two years since I last read it.)

The four March sisters have always been my friends, and I could never decide who I liked best. Each sister has something that I can relate to, and the story-telling is so beautiful. There’s a reason why this book is a classic.

51dv0nlj2b4l-_sx324_bo1204203200_Private Peaceful, by Michael Morpurgo

I’ve read quite a few of Michael Morpurgo’s books, but this has to be the best so far. The story-telling was so powerful and at the end of the book I was sobbing. I’ve cried reading a few books, but never have I been so moved that I was forcefully crying.

Private Peaceful is a book that I would tell everyone, no matter their age, to go read. It’s so poignant, and also sheds light on the brutal treatment of British soldiers who were court martialed in WWI.

511bfscxkal-_sx323_bo1204203200_The Potion Diaries, by Amy Alward

The Potion Diaries is a book that I’ve come close to buying on several occasions, but never got until my mom bought it as an Easter present. I devoured the book in one day, while happily munching on chocolate, and I seriously didn’t want it to end. But I have to wait until July for the next book in the series!

The mix of magic with present-day normalcy in the story was unexpected, but surprisingly well done. It was a fun, exciting adventure, which I definitely enjoyed. Great read.

51vuk3o1qgl-_sx316_bo1204203200_Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

After reading Little Women, I was thinking about how I hadn’t read any classic books in ages, and when my eye hit upon the Laura Ingalls series, I knew what I’d be reading next. I loved the illustrated books for kids when I was little and eventually grew into the more adult versions, before watching the TV series as well! I’m a bit of a fan, if that hadn’t already been obvious.

The stories are so much fun to read, and I really like all the details from the 1800s-early 1900s, as there were many interesting changes occurring in America at the time. I’ve gone through the entire series of ‘Laura’ books now, and am now reading the series of books about her daughter, Rose Wilder… it’s been fun!

51l2uvmzicl-_sx323_bo1204203200_The Songbird Cafe Girls: Aurora and the Popcorn Dolphin, by Sarah Webb

After enjoying the first two books in The Songbird Cafe Girls series (see reviews here and here) I was thrilled when the third book came out in early March. I thought that this was such a great read, and will be posting a review very soon…

‘Did I Mention I Love You?’ by Estelle Maskame

320p

2015

Black and White Publishing

Received as a Gift

51x34awbjkl-_sx323_bo1204203200_When 16 year old Eden goes to LA to spend summer vacation at her dad’s, she’s not exactly thrilled to be staying with a guy she hasn’t seen in three years. And knowing that he’s moved on from her mom and now has a new wife and three step-sons, she can’t help feeling annoyed about how he suddenly wants to be back in her life.

Upon her arrival, Eden is quickly taken under the wing of older neighbour Rachel, who introduces Eden to her group of friends. When they first meet, Eden and her 17 year old step-brother, Tyler, immediately clash, but as Tyler also hangs out with Eden’s new-found friends, they establish a shaky truce. Eden is shocked to find out that Tyler does drugs and alcohol, as a way to distract himself from his major issues, and doesn’t know how to help him.

But when Eden and Tyler realise they have feelings for each other- that run much deeper than any step-siblings feelings should- they are faced with a devastating decision. Add a blackmailing girlfriend, family troubles, and the difficulties of fitting in, and you have the perfect story.

Did I Mention I Love You? is in one word, addictive. I just wanted to keep reading this story of forbidden love forever- and it isn’t a small book! The characters are very relatable, but they all have complex backgrounds and issues, which are carefully explored throughout the course of the book. Estelle Maskame has written an intricate plot that is absolutely amazing (or devastating, depending on how you look at it!) that kept me guessing until the very end.

I’ve actually ordered the second book in the trilogy, Did I Mention I Need You? which I’m eagerly awaiting, and then I’ll have to wait until April for the final book. *wails dramatically and sobs*

As a side note, my grandparents were actually step-siblings and met as young teenagers- just like Eden and Tyler! (Though apparently it wasn’t love at first sight!) It was interesting imagining how it must have been for them in early 1950’s Dublin.

I would probably recommend this book to readers 12+, as there is some mature content, but I think that it is such a fabulous, funny, and heart-wrenching read. Loved it!

‘The Boy Who Drew the Future’ by Rhian Ivory

254p

2015

Firefly Press

Library

51qbfpxhq2bl-_sx352_bo1204203200_Ever since he was little, Noah has had the impulse to draw. He draws the future. His parents want to keep his unusual ‘talent’ a secret, and all Noah wants is to be normal.

When Noah and his parents move yet again, this time to the small town of Sible Hedingham, Noah hopes that this move might be different from all the others. He just wants to focus on his blossoming relationship with Beth, and fitting in at his new school. But despite his trying to resist the urge, Noah unhappily finds himself drawing even more.

Blaze is an ex-workhouse orphan in the 1860’s, who is secretly living in a garden shed, with only his pet, Dog, for company. Drawing the future of anyone who pays him, the people that are meant to be helping Blaze are the very ones that are threatening to alert the authorities to his presence.

Both of these teenagers in different centuries, with the same unique gift. Can they change the futures that they draw?

I thought The Boy Who Drew the Future was such a great book. Narrated by Noah and Blaze in alternating chapters, the plot moved along swiftly and I couldn’t put the book down. I loved the whole concept of the story; the idea of these two boys in different centuries both able to draw the future. I thought it was very well written and I enjoyed the details included in the story about life in a small village in the 1800’s.

I have to say that Beth was definitely my favourite character, and I thought the romance between her and Noah was so sweet. The way it was written wasn’t over the top, giving consideration to the age group, but it was enough to make you notice it and smile inside.

The relationship between Noah and his parents was also wonderfully portrayed. His parents don’t understand Noah’s ability to draw the future, and just keep hoping he’ll ‘grow out of it’ and Noah struggles with that fact. Although he doesn’t want to draw, he does it subconsciously, and when he draws things, he doesn’t always immediately grasp what the drawing means until it’s too late, which is something he feels guilty about.

The Boy Who Drew the Future is a fabulous book, and I enjoyed reading it very much. I will definitely look out for more of Rhian Ivory’s books!

What I Read in February

51o73qlwmol-_sx320_bo1204203200_The Assassin’s Blade, by Sarah J. Maas

This book is a compilation of the novellas leading up to Maas’s Throne Of Glass series, and WOW they are good.

I couldn’t put the book down; the plots were fabulous, each short story weaving into the next, and I loved Celaena’s exciting life as an assassin.

I’ve got the Throne of Glass eBook on request at my local library and I can’t wait to read more in this thrilling, girl-powered series!

51xkwge2ayl-_sx322_bo1204203200_Ink Heart, by Cornelia Funke

This story is absolutely fantastic. The plot pulled me in and the eloquent writing was just magical.

There was one line which I loved: ‘…books have to be heavy because the whole world’s inside them,’ It really rang true with me, and it’s such a beautiful quote.

I didn’t want to put Ink Heart down, and I’m now desperate to get my hands on the next two books in the trilogy.

51xk3dd1oml-_sx310_bo1204203200_Silence is Goldfish, by Annabel Pitcher

This book really gripped me, practically forcing me to keep turning the pages. The writing made it feel like a completely different world at times, and then at other times the story felt as real as anything; in a way, the contrast made me like the book all the more.

Tess Turner was an interesting character, and her sarcastic comments to herself and ‘Mr Goldfish’ cracked me up. I will definitely look out for more of Pitcher’s works.

61urnu6emkl-_sx336_bo1204203200_The Wolf Wilder, by Katherine Rundell

The Wolf Wilder is a must-read for everyone. The plot, the characters, and the amazing illustrations by Gelrev Ongbico all came together to make this one of the best books I read this month.

I was transported to a snowy Russia, and felt like I was roaming across the countryside with Feo, Ilya and the wolves.

It was just such a magical book, and I loved every second of it.

5165qwthp7l-_sx311_bo1204203200_Love, Lucie, by Marita Conlon McKenna

I had grabbed this one from my local library without reading the blurb; just going on the fact that it was by Marita and I loved her Irish famine series. I was not disappointed!

The story was told by Lucie, writing letters to her dead mother as a way of expressing herself and dealing with her mom’s recent death. The story was so sweet and poignant, and the way it was written through letters made it really personal.

I may have shed a tear or two at the end, and I really grew to care for Lucie and her family. It was such a wonderful book.

‘Finding Audrey’ by Sophie Kinsella

280p 2015 Penguin Random House Library

41r2t6m2bsdl-_sx326_bo1204203200_14 year old Audrey has struggled with depression and anxiety ever since she had a mental breakdown due to bullying months ago. She’s terrified of making eye contact with anyone, and consequently always wears dark glasses, even though she barely leaves the house. With a slightly chaotic family, Audrey tries to just disappear into the background, but when her brother’s gamer friend, Linus, tries to talk to her and start a conversation, she has no idea what to do.

Each time he comes round, friendly Linus persists in talking to her. They start writing notes, and Audrey gradually begins to relax around him, realising that she may also have deeper feelings for him. Linus encourages her to leave the house, and slowly, Audrey begins to feel confident that she’s beating her illness, despite warnings that she might go downhill again.

But with her mom on the warpath, and other family problems, will Audrey always be on the way up?

Finding Audrey is a very special book. It effortlessly covers the serious topic of mental illness in teens, but Sophie Kinsella kept the story light and witty, which consequently had me giggling all the way through. The characters were wonderfully written and Audrey’s descriptions of having a mental illness made me realise, and understand a few more things about what it is like to suffer from the condition.

The plot moved along quickly, and I liked the way that Audrey ‘talked’ straight to you, like in a video blog. She didn’t immediately divulge all her back-story, as if she was getting to know you and becoming comfortable with telling you stuff about herself. It made her relatable and it felt like she was a real person.

Finding Audrey is a great read, and an important one too. I would definitely tell everyone to put it on their TBR list- now!