And again, I return from Rick Riordan’s world of myth and monsters to fangirl about.... *ahem* review his beautiful, wonderful, downright ...

And again, I return from Rick Riordan’s world of myth and monsters to fangirl about.... *ahem* review his beautiful, wonderful, downright amazing Heroes of Olympus series. Specifically the fourth book.

Summary: House of Hades begins shortly after the cliffhanger ending of Mark of Athena (thanks for that, by the way, Rick). With Percy and Annabeth gone, the other six demigods race to Epirus, desperate to rescue their friends and close the Doors of Death before Gaea’s army rises completely. But with the earth goddess and her cronies thwarting them at every turn, monsters and giants and ill-tempered immortals making every day difficult, every fight near-impossible, how will they ever reach the Doors in time?

Review: Forget stars; I’m just gonna give House of Hades five constellations: the Leo, the Perseus, the Pegasus, the Centaurus, and the Huntress. Maybe a supernova, too. Or heck, even a planet: Venus, Pluto, Neptune, Jupiter...

But enough with the stupid puns.

At the risk of sounding like a fangirl (which I totally am), I’m in love with this book. I’m in awe of this book. The feels in one chapter alone are enough to judo-flip you like Annabeth did Percy in Mark of Athena.

Plus, the plot was pure awesomeness. Filled with Riordan’s signature hilarity, House of Hades was engrossing, intriguing, and action-packed. Though it’s not technically a mystery, there was a ton of suspense, too, whatwith the POV switches at the most inopportune moments, and not knowing if certain characters were all right, or even alive, for twenty or thirty pages. But, no matter how terrified I was that my favorite heroes were about to meet horrific ends, Riordan always slipped a spark of (often hilarious) hope in the darkness.

I tell you, this man is a genius.

Even though I hated the not-knowing (and would often skip ahead to make sure my babies were OK), the book’s pacing was pretty good, carefully building up to the epic climax, final battle, and sad, but beautiful ending.

No, I'm not tearing up. Not even a little bit.

Now for the characters: OH MY GODS is all I have to say.

The End.

OK, not really. I actually have a lot more.

I love that these books are about more than one person; there are so many characters, so many to love, yet I don’t feel overwhelmed, or like the story is lopsided, focusing too much on only one. My heart just swells with enough adoration to go around.

Of course the more people I love, the more Uncle Rick has to kill off and break my heart, but Im willing to take that chance.

I think.

Like the other books, I felt that each character came alive, almost like they could be real people – if, you know, Greek gods and such existed. They each had their own strengths, weaknesses, secrets, and complexities, the sweet little quirks in their personalities that made them deeper, better characters.

At the same time, I’ll admit that in previous books, some of them felt slightly less like real people (read Jason, Piper, and Leo) than others. I don’t know; I just never liked them as much as Hazel, Frank, Nico, Percy, Annabeth, or even Reyna.

But in this one, they were all awesome. Leo was freaking boss. Don’t wanna give any spoilers, but holy stinking Hephaestus. This kid has skills. Serious skills.

Piper stepped up and actually did stuff in this book. Not to say that she was useless before (because, so not), just that she felt like a background character sometimes in Mark of Athena. I liked her, but... eh. It just wasn’t the same.

But nope, she definitely did her share of shining in House of Hades.

I still say Jason’s too perfect for his own good, but I also liked seeing his indecision (that sounds great doesn’t it?) as he struggled to balance his Roman side with his newfound Greekness. Seeing the golden boy have some difficulties made him more relatable than he was before.

Sorry if that sounds mean, but it’s the honest truth.

Found on DeviantArt. By Dropletx1
Now for the characters I always loved: everybody knows Percy Jackson is wonderful. Really, nuff said. But he also took a slightly darker turn at one point, and seeing that other side of him was interesting to say the least. I’m curious about how that develops in Blood of Olympus, as well as how he and Annabeth deal with their trip through (spoilers!) and coming back.

Speaking of Annabeth, we all know this girl is as much a genius as Athena herself, but her strategy for defeating Nyx was stinking, hysterical genius. I died laughing. There was other awesomeness from Annabeth, of course, but that was my favorite. I totally officially love her. Well, I did before, but now I officially love her more.

I’m fangirling, aren’t I? Well, I did kinda warn you.

Moving on...

Frank and Hazel have had the most beautiful character developments of anybody in the series. Going from shy, quiet followers intimidated by their peers (Frank especially), to pretty much saving the day in this book, I just fell in love with how far they’ve come. The way he takes charge in the last battle, the way she stands up to a goddess, defeats a powerful witch, and protects her friends at the same time, I was just like “You go! Be awesome, hons, be awesome!” I mean, Frank freaking becomes praetor and commands a legion of dead people, while Hazel outwits an immortal sorceress, using her own trap against her.

These two are straight-up phenomenal.

Even Coach Hedge was pretty cool, with his “shoot first, apologize later” attitude, and even his character had some secrets, deeper reasons for acting the way he did. 

Theyre all just beautiful. Just wonderful. And I’m just sitting here like, “I LOVE YOU ALL!!!”

I could go on and on about others, like Reyna, Bob, Small Bob, Damasen, and of course Nico (if you’ve been reading for a while, you know how I... care deeply for the son of Hades {JUST LET SOMEBODY LOVE YOU, DARLING}). But for now, I’ll close by saying this: my sweetie smiled. And possibly laughed.

With that, I rest my case: this book is beast. Read it, read it now.

But, seriously, check out the other books first.

What have you been reading lately? If you’ve read this series, what do you think of it?

Oh, and heres a link to my Pinterest board for the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series. That first picture is just about perfect for the seven.

For the second Monday in a row, I am not talking about The Supernatural Projects. Nope, no Jesse-and-Leiah pics today. I do still love tha...

For the second Monday in a row, I am not talking about The Supernatural Projects. Nope, no Jesse-and-Leiah pics today. I do still love that story and I am still working on it, but for my Monday posts, I’ve decided to branch out a little.

“Everything’s An Illusion” is another sad song, but it’s even more so than last week’s because there’s not a drop of hope in it. Though “The Call” is totally heart-wrenching, it also has that promising element of, “I’ll come back when you call me;” whereas “Everything’s An Illusion” is straight heartache, heartbreak, and melancholy.

I made that song sound really good, didn’t I? Oh well, oh well.

In all seriousness though, it’s actually awesome. Trust me and try it.

My brother introduced me to Mayday Parade several years ago, and thanks to him, I became a fan of their music. When the album Mayday Parade came out in 2011, I listened to it, heard this song, and loved it for its sorrowful qualities.

But now, the main reason I like “Everything” is that it perfectly describes the beginning of my 2013 NaNo Novel, Mirage. Long story short, Mirage is about 17-year-old Ryker Ashton, who loses someone very close to him. The grief sparks an insane level of schizophrenia (which he’d been battling for months, but tried to control) and Ryker pretty basically goes insane. Until, well...

Let’s just say, “Everything’s An Illusion” only describes the beginning of the book, and Mirage ends on a more hopeful note. Right now, anyway. Haven’t really edited yet, so you never know how that’ll change things.

Closest I could find to a picture of Ryker.

Speaking of NaNo, I’ve heard some people are already preparing for this year’s. I don’t plan to start planning until October (got more than enough writing on my plate at the moment), but does anyone else have something to share?

Today, I get to fangirl about one of the best series of all time, T he Chronicles of Narnia. More specifically, the fourth installment, Pri...

Today, I get to fangirl about one of the best series of all time, The Chronicles of Narnia. More specifically, the fourth installment, Prince Caspian.

And because I’m talking about the movie more than the book, these two get to make an appearance.

While Susan was never my favorite character (that place in my heart belongs to her younger siblings), I’ve always liked her. Out of all the kids in all the books, she’s the most like me: the caring, responsible, older sister, the one who tries to be logical all the time, the step-back-and-think-it-through kind of girl. Plus, she’s a mean shot with that bow and arrow (I’ve wanted to try archery for forever) and Father Christmas himself said “she has no problem making her voice heard.” That’s me all over, you guys.

I felt like Caspian was kind of dumb in the movie (him and Peter, I mean honestly, boys. The fate of the world is at stake, and all you can do is bicker). Still, Caspian was cool when he wasn’t being a bonehead, and even cooler when he finally stepped up and started acting like a king.

I know a lot of people didn’t like them as a couple because they weren’t in the book, and, at first, I was one of those people. I was all, “Ew! Kissing in Narnia? Hollywood ruins everything!” But now, several years later, I think it was a cool addition. It is a bit weird since romance was never big in the Narnia series, but I still say theyre totally sweet together.

I mean, who can look at this and not go “Aw!”
As for the story as a whole, well, it’s Narnia. Nuff said. It was amazingly awesome, and I loved it. This book and the others in the series are some of my favorite stories ever, right up there with Star Wars, Tiger’s Curse, Lord of the Rings, and (at the moment) Heroes of Olympus. Though that last one teeters on who, if anyone, dies in the last book. 

But that’s another post for another time.

Aaanyway... Back to Narnia.

My favorite character has always been Lucy, but I couldn’t tell you exactly why. Excepting the fact that I’m imaginative like she is, we aren’t much alike. As I said above, I’m the logical, think-it-through type, not a trusting, little-kid-at-heart kind of girl. Still, Lucy was my favorite when I read the series as a kid, and she still is today.

Though she now shares that place with...

Now here me out on this one...
For a long time, I wasn’t a big Edmund fan. But after seeing the Prince Caspian movie and realizing just how awesome he is, well... I kinda sorta, maybe-a-little-bit fell in love with him. Seriously, after he returned from the dark side, Edmund was downright wonderful. I mean, he’s the one who destroyed the Witch’s wand and he destroyed her, kept her from coming back in the second movie/fourth book when Prince Caspian and Peter were totally taken in by her spell. Plus, he had some of the best one-liners in Prince Caspian (“I know, you had it sorted. I’m older and I don’t think I want to understand.).

Seriously, after this kid got his act together, he was epic.

Well, I’ve talked about all three of his siblings, so I guess I oughtta mention Peter, too. Don’t hate me anybody, because I do like him. Honest. I just... don’t like him as much as the others. I don’t have anything against him; he just didn’t stand out to me the way Edmund, Susan, and Lucy did. He was a good king, though, and he tried hard to protect his family. I can respect that.

Overall, I love Narnia: the country, the creatures, the conflicts, everything from the lamppost to Cair Paravel and beyond. Everything that is Narnia, I adore it. And I’m still looking for a way in: knocking on the backs of wardrobes, pulling on some yellow and green rings, whatever works. And if I do find a portal, I promise to blog about my experience when I come back.

Was Narnia a big part of your childhood? How much did you enjoy the series?


In other news, Im switching these shipping/fangirling posts to once (maybe twice) a month. With my current schedule, it’s been difficult to write three posts a week, so I knew I had to cut something; and honestly, I’m running out of couples. So starting next month, I’ll do the Shipping posts on the first Saturday and the Monthly Linkup on the third. If I have time, I might do an extra shipping post on a second or fourth Saturday. No promises, though, I’ll have to see how things go.

Until Monday, then!

Today, I’m doing something a bit different: my first post in the new linkup, A Good Story . About a week ago, one of my writer friends,...

Today, I’m doing something a bit different: my first post in the new linkup, A Good Story.

About a week ago, one of my writer friends, Mariella, suggested a monthly linkup, where we’d share snippets of stories – nano-fiction, blurbs, page-long beginnings – that never got the attention they deserved. That, for whatever reason, we never expanded on. I thought it was a great idea (chance to share my unhailed genius, you know), so here I am participating.

I came up with this piece about two years ago, based on a prompt for a GoTeenWriters contest. Unfortunately, I submitted another story and got disqualified because I messed up the prompt sentence (there’s some genius for you). On the bright side, though, I did gain a cool story idea:


“I would like you to call me if anything happens to Mackers,” Aunt Jenny said, slipping her arms into the ugly, black trench coat, prim airs rolling off her and doing nothing for my mood. I rolled my eyes behind her back; what in the world did my aunt think could happen to her stupid hamster anyway? The most he did in an hour was run on his wheel and eat celery, and the only thing he was good for was scraping said vegetables off my plate and into his mouth.

When Aunt Jenny had finally left, headed to yet another auction, I turned, surveying the living room with yet another sigh. There wasnt a screen in sight – no TV, no computer, no video game consoles, not even a cell phone, except the ancient flip thing in my pocket. Even the windows were shuttered  yes, shuttered. I didn’t even know houses came like that anymore.

But there were antiques aplenty, from paintings to vases (vaw-ses, according to Aunt Jenny); from French art and Renaissance costumes to African masks and Native American dreamcatchers. And little Mackers, too, sitting in his cage in the corner, fast asleep.

I decided the hamster, stupid though he might be, was onto something. So with nothing better to do, I collapsed on a couch as old as Adam himself and fell asleep.

When I opened my eyes to see the gigantic Mackers staring over me, I definitely did a doubletake. Mouth wide open, I stared at the massive version of the once-tiny rodent. He rolled his jaw in a sort of chewing motion, and I think I let out something like a strangled scream.

For whatever reason, Mackers didn’t try to take a chunk out of me, so I had a sec to let my eyes dart around the living room, with all of its no-good-for-weapons antiques and the now-broken cage in the corner. A cage which definitely did not contain a hamster anymore.

I looked back at Mackers, blinked, and rubbed my eyes. Surely, I was seeing things. A boredom-induced hallucination. Or perhaps a very vivid dream.

But Mackers the Not-Hamster-Anymore stayed right where he was, staring at me with wide, black eyes, blinking them every couple of seconds. He just sat there, looking at me looking back at him, like he was waiting for something. 

Though painfully weaponless and thoroughly terrified, I stayed surprisingly cool for the situation, scrabbling my fingers around in my pocket for my cell phone. Aunt Jen replied in seconds. “Yes, Louis?” she asked, sounding slightly annoyed. “What is it?” 

Opting for the honest approach, I went ahead and said it: “Mackers isn’t a hamster anymore.”

I expected her to laugh. I expected her to call me crazy. I expected her to be ticked, to fly off the handle, and yell at me not to bother while she was doing important things  like spending a crap-ton of money on some dead dude’s painting.

What I didn’t expect was the next four words, “Of course he isn’t.”

My eyes bulged. “Of course?”

“15,000 dollars!!!” She yelled, and I nearly jumped into Mackers’s nose  which was now as big as my head  before realizing that Aunt Jen probably wasn’t talking to me. While my heart was still slowing from a thousand miles an hour to a hundred, she replied, “Well, yes, didn’t your mother tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

“Oh dear.” She sighed, like I’d just said we were out of ice cream. “I knew Ray-Anne didn’t like the Morphers, but I didn’t know she wouldn’t tell you anything. Oh well. I’m nearly finished here, so I’ll be home in a little, hon. Don’t worry about a thing. 16,000 dollars!

And just like that she hung up. 

I stared down at the phone in my hand, then slowly raised my eyes to the ginormous rodent bearing down on me. “Don’t worry,” she’d said.  How the heck was I supposed to not worry?

I heard a shuffling noise, and kicked desperately, propelling myself back into the couch. Which in hindsight was quite useless, but then again, I had nowhere else to go. 

It didn’t matter anyway because Mackers the Not-Quite-Hamster seemed to have tired of me and was turning slowly around, shuffling in the opposite direction towards the kitchen. I wondered if I ought to do something – he might eat everything in the pantry or knock over some million-dollar Madagascan mask. But then I took another look at the former-hamster, which was now the size of a small car, and decided it would be best if I stayed out of his way.

For such a large rodent, he didn’t do much damage. Most of my aunt’s antiques were hanging up, and those that weren’t were on tables or pushed up against the walls, creating a clear path for Mega-Mackers. He lumbered through as if he walked it everyday, not bumping into a thing.

When he finally squeezed through the wide arch leading to the kitchen, I breathed a deep sigh and flopped back onto the couch. All the adrenaline had drained from my body, leaving me a scared, shivering mess. 

Looking around the room once more, listening to the very large rodent shuffling through the house, I wondered if this was why Aunt Jenny didn’t have a TV: She was afraid Mega-Mackers would knock it over.


Whaddya think? If it’s dumb, don’t be afraid to say so; I adore constructive criticism! Also, don’t forget to check out the others in the link-up!
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