#HolidayBookTubeAThon 2016: Update 2 & Mini-Review

Rick Riordan//Percy Jackson & the Greek HeroesJUST FINISHED: Percy Jackson & the Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan.

A collection of tales about Greek heroes, re-told through the hilarious voice of Percy Jackson, á la Percy Jackson & the Greek Gods. Highlights include: Perseus & Medusa, Jason & the Argonauts, Theseus & the Minotaur, almost 100 pages on the trials of Hercules… along with several others. My particular favourite was probably the story about Psyche & Eros, if only because it was one of the few stories that ended happily, and Hera (who the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series has already conditioned me to dislike immensely) makes for a truly beastly villain.

I didn’t enjoy this book quite as much as Percy Jackson & the Greek Gods, however, and I think that was mainly because some of the stories tended to drag… I already mentioned that the Hercules chapter was almost 100 pages long, but it could also be quite repetitive at times, and many of the other stories the same flaw. This is for an obvious reason: while Greek Gods was divided up into individual stories, Greek Heroes was instead divided by character, and many of the heroes of Greek mythology did a great deal of adventuring.

That said, this was still a fantastic book, full of great stories told in a fresh, and very witty way. Riordan’s characterisation was really great, as well, and although I was already familiar with a lot of these stories, I found myself often looking at the characters in a different light than I had previously (especially Jason, who came across as something of a sweetheart in this, even if he makes some colossally stupid mistakes).

4 stars

CURRENT READATHON STATUS: Probably going to finish up my readathon here, as I have various things to do tonight other than reading. I’m happy with these results, though, so all is well. ^^’

Books Completed: 2
Pages Read: 610
Challenges Completed: 0/4

#HolidayBookTubeAThon 2016: Update 1 & Mini-Review

Marie Rutkoski//The Winner's CurseJUST FINISHED: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski.

Kestrel is the only child of Valoria’s most distinguished general, and as such, she is expected to go far in her country’s military, but she’s always preferred to fight her battles through subtler means: politics and influence; reading people, and effecting their reactions. Arin is a Herrani slave, bought impulsively by Kestrel when she recognises – and identifies with – a defiant streak in him. In purchasing Arin, however, she may have brought the winner’s curse upon herself, paying more than she ever intended, or even imagined was possible.

Before picking this up, I’d heard some pretty rave reviews, but passed them over, since nothing in the book’s description really grabbed me, and I’ve definitely been burned a few times before by the hype machine. That said, I’m really glad that I finally did decide to pick up The Winner’s Curse, because it was fantastic. I expected to find that the story was all about Kestrel’s conflict over the inevitable choice that she’d have to make between marrying a man she doesn’t love (the man she does love being a slave, and therefore not a viable marriage option) or joining the army, but while there was an aspect of that, the plot was mainly composed of building social tension in the first half, and really interesting demonstrations of the different ways to fight a war in the second (after a climax that came much sooner than I was expecting).

The slow-build in this book is something that I really appreciated, as it gave ample time for character development and world-building – the two things I value most in stories – as well as an interesting and engaging plotline. And both of these were done incredibly well. I really loved both Kestrel and Arin, and the almost-but-not-quite friendship they managed to build up in the first half of the book made for an incredibly dramatic second half (in the best possible way). In terms of world-building, Rutkoski did a great job of creating an absorbing, believable setting, without resorting to massive info-dumps, and while this book took place almost entirely in one city, its ending left me with a great deal of hope that we’ll be able to explore the wider empire in the next two books – something I look forward to immensely.

I’ve seen this book compared a lot to series like Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, but the comparison that really struck me while I was reading was to An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (probably one of my favourite reads of the year), and I feel that fans of that book will definitely like this one, and vice versa.
5 stars

CURRENT READATHON STATUS: Ready for bed, but I’ll definitely be taking my next book – Percy Jackson & the Greek Heroes – to work with me tomorrow. 😉

Books Completed: 1
Pages Read: 359
Challenges Completed: 0/4

#HolidayBookTubeAThon: TBR!

Happy Christmas, everyone! It’s (almost) time for the Holiday Booktubeathon once again, which means that I will be spending next weekend reading away. 🙂 I’m not really going to be sticking to the challenges – which you can find in the official announcement video – too closely, as I’m going to be surprisingly busy over the Booktubeathon period and I don’t know how much reading time I’ll be able to fit in, but I do still have a tentative TBR:

Rick Riordan//Percy Jackson & the Greek Heroes1) Percy Jackson & the Greek Heroes by Rick Riordan. I started reading this today, and I’d like to have finished it before the Booktubeathon starts, but if I haven’t, then this’ll be my first priority. A collection of Greek heroic myths, hilariously re-told by the one and only Percy Jackson

Marie Rutkoski//The Winner's Curse2) The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski. The first book in the Winner’s trilogy, which was super-popular a little while ago, & which I’ve heard fantastic things about. I picked this up today in the 12 Days of Kindle sale (along with way too many other things ^^’ ), and I’m super-excited to read it, even though I don’t know too much about the story.

Wild Lily//K.M. Peyton3) Wild Lily by K.M. Peyton. If I manage to finish both of those, then I’ll be picking up Wild Lily next, a new book about aeroplanes from the author who first made me love aeroplanes. This will also count for a challenge (a book that was a gift), so I suppose there’s a small chance that I might manage to complete one of them this year! 😛

I haven’t previously bothered with mini-reviews for the Holiday Booktubethon, since there’s always so much else going on, but I will be making an attempt at it this year, so keep an eye out for updates (if you think they’re something worth anticipating 😉 )!

#HolidayBookTubeAThon: TBR!

The Holiday (née Christmas) Booktubeathon challenges were announced yesterday, and of course I jumped right on them! 😀 I’ve been looking forward to this readathon for several months now – basically since the last readathon ended. 😉 Information on the readathon and the challenges can be found on the official announcement video, but for today, I thought I’d share the books I’m planning on reading for each of the challenges!

Marissa Meyer//Winter1) Winter by Marissa Meyer. The fourth and final book in the Lunar Chronicles series, which I’m already almost halfway through – so I’m not too worried about finishing this, even though it’s over 800 pages long. 😮 I’ve been really into sci-fi this month (and I recently read Fairest and loved it!), for some bizarre reason, so I’ll be counting this book for the second challenge: A follow-up to something you enjoyed this year.

Emma Mills//First & Then2) First & Then by Emma Mills. A contemporary novel that’s been pitched as Pride & Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights – a concept that has me intrigued, as I love Pride & Prejudice, and I have a weird fondness for stories with sporty settings (though usually in the form of manga/anime…). This will count for both the first challenge (a book with white on the cove) and the third (a book you received as a gift)!

Ali Smith//How to Be Both3) How to Be Both by Ali Smith. Just in case I manage to finish both my other books, I’ve also picked this out so that I can round my reading total up to three books (which is the fourth challenge – though actually this could also count for either of the challenges that I picked First & Then for). I doubt I’ll actually get to this one (and I don’t even really know what it’s about), but I’m looking forward to reading it soon regardless. 🙂

Christmas Booktubeathon: TBR!

Hi everyone! I haven’t been reading all that much for the last couple of days, as I’ve been far too busy playing Pokémon with Chloë, and doing touristy things in Hong Kong! I’m having a lot of fun (and Chloë, who knows me all too well, has taken me to several bookshops…), but hopefully my book-free time will be over soon, as the Christmas Booktubeathon has just been announced, to take place from Friday 19th – Sunday 21st December!

As it’s just a three-day readathon, there are only a few challenges to complete, and they are as follows:

1) Read a book with red and green on the cover.

2) Read a book that you really wanted to read this year.

3) Read a book that somebody gave or recommended to you.

4) Read at least three books.

That last one I very much doubt I’ll be able to complete, as I’m sure I’ll be busy for most of the weekend, but I should be able to manage the other three, so here’s my TBR list:

Alexandra Bracken//Brightly Woven1) Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken. At the beginning of the year, I started to really get into Booktube, and everyone seemed to be talking about the Darkest Minds trilogy. Unfortunately I only had my kindle with me in Beijing, and the only one of Alexandra Bracken’s books that was available in the UK kindle store was Brightly Woven, her debut novel. I read the synopsis and liked it, and I remember being impressed by the ratings, too – I probably would have read it then, except that (as usual), I had too many other books that I also wanted to read. So this is going to count for challenge no. 2, but it’ll also count for no. 1, as the cover (may be predominantly blue, but) has both red and green on it. I should be able to read most of this on Friday, as Chloë will be at work, and I am not particularly prone to wandering by myself…

2) The other book I’ve decided to read is called Studio Ghibli Layout Designs: Understanding the Secrets of Takahata and Miyazaki Animation, and was published earlier this year as part of the Hong Kong Jockey Club series. It was given to me (by Chloë) as an early Christmas present when I arrived here, and seems to essentially be a catalogue for the Studio Ghibli exhibition that was on here during the summer (and I was incredibly jealous that Chloë got to see it before it ended… 😦 ). You can find more information about the exhibition here if you’re interested, but I haven’t been able to find the book on Goodreads (and my camera sucks), so I can’t show you a picture of it. The book itself is quite small, so I should be able to finish it over the weekend despite the fact that I’ll be with more touristy stuff (and also packing). It also has a lot of pictures, and is written bilingually in Chinese and English, so only about a third of the book is made up of words that I am able to read, so that helps, too. 😉 This will (obviously) count for challenge no. 3.

If you’d like to find out more about the readathon, then the best place to start is with this announcement video, and to keep track of future Booktubeathon plans, be sure to subscribe to the youtube channel and/or the Booktubeathon twitter account.