The Hidden Oracle

Caution: You might want to read the entire Percy Jackson and the Olympians (The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, The Last Olympian) and The Heroes of Olympus series (The Lost Hero, The Son of Neptune, The Mark of Athena, The House of Hades, The Blood of Olympus) before proceeding.

It should come as no surprise that I love Rick Riordan’s latest offering. The Hidden Oracle, book one in the new Trials of Apollo series, is as wonderful as everything else I’ve read by this amazing author. It takes readers back to Camp Half-Blood, but the approach is a bit different in this book. As you may have surmised from the series title, we’re seeing the action from Apollo’s perspective.

You may know Apollo as the Greek god of the sun, music, prophecy, archery, poetry, and so on, but there’s a bit of a hiccup in the life of this deity. After the events of the war with Gaea, Zeus is kind of upset with Apollo and decides to punish him. What does dear old dad do? He makes Apollo human, of course, and that is where our fun begins.

What could have been so bad for Apollo to deserve such a fate? Now mortal and stuck in the body of a flabby, acne-ridden sixteen-year-old known as Lester Papadopoulos, this once-perfect specimen must find a way back into Zeus’ good graces. That might prove difficult given that someone is trying take advantage of Apollo’s weakness and kill him.

Unexpected help comes in the form of one Meg McCaffrey, a strange girl–obviously a demigod–who fights like few Apollo has ever seen. Meg’s assistance, however, comes with a price.  Apollo is bound to serve Meg and complete a series of trials to earn back the favor of Zeus. No biggie, right? Yeah…nothing is ever that easy when it comes to Greek gods.

After a rather harrowing beginning in the streets of New York City, Apollo, Meg, and a familiar face make their way to Camp Half-Blood. Surely Apollo can get some sort of help at this refuge for demigods. After all, who wouldn’t want to help him? He’s clearly awesome.

Things at Camp Half-Blood, though, aren’t exactly rosy. Campers are disappearing, communication lines are down, there have been no new prophecies in a while, and no one really knows what’s going on or what to do about it. It’s clear that something major is happening, but what?

Who’s responsible for all this madness and mayhem, and what could Apollo, a once all-powerful, now virtually powerless god, possibly do to remedy the situation and prevent catastrophe from striking Camp Half-Blood? Who will help–or hinder–him in his search for a solution? And what could all of this mean for the future of Camp Half-Blood…and the world as we know it?


Yeah…this post, like so many before it, doesn’t even come close to capturing how fantastic this book is. It’s peppered with snark and sarcasm, like Riordan’s other books, but this book also has something we haven’t seen before from this author–haiku. Each chapter begins with a haiku, written by Apollo, that foreshadows what we’ll encounter. It’s awesome, and I hope that it encourages many readers to write their own haiku, the more ridiculous the better.

In addition to the fabulous haiku, Apollo’s voice in this book–and I’m guessing the rest of the series–is equally exceptional. Just what does a god made human think of himself? Well, wonder no more. At the beginning of the book, Apollo, though humiliated at being made mortal, is also extremely impressed with himself. Sure, there are things he’s done that he’s not 100% proud of, but those don’t give him much pause. Or do they? As the story progresses, we see that Apollo does have regrets and that he’s at least trying to make amends. Is he successful? Well, that’s really for the reader (and Zeus) to decide.

Before I give too much away, I’m going to end this post. Suffice it to say that The Hidden Oracle is exactly what we’ve come to expect from Rick Riordan…and so much more. I can hardly wait to read more of Apollo’s exploits, but waiting is what I’ll have to do (as usual). Book two, The Dark Prophecy, won’t be out until next May.

In the meantime, you might want to learn more about all of Rick Riordan’s fabulous books on his website. You may also want to check out Disney Books’ hilarious, spot-on book trailers for The Hidden Oracle. I’ve included two of them here. There’s one more, focusing on the sun, that I couldn’t get to work.

The Crown of Ptolemy

Notice: Read everything Rick Riordan has ever written before proceeding. Seriously.

So, last night, I finally made time to read the third Percy Jackson/Kane Chronicles crossover novella, The Crown of Ptolemy. (For some reason, I didn’t post on the first two. Read them anyway. They’re awesome.) This story takes place after all of the action in The Blood of Olympus and The Serpent’s Shadow, and it’s told from Percy Jackson’s point of view…which basically means it’s full of sarcasm and snark.

The Crown of Ptolemy begins with Percy and Annabeth encountering some weird flying serpents on Governor’s Island in New York. These pests are hovering around Setne, an Elvis look-alike and Egyptian magician who’s trying to combine Greek and Egyptian magic in order to make himself immortal. Should be easy enough to stop, right? Yeah…not so much. Nothing ever seems to be easy when ancient magic is involved.

Percy and Annabeth call on Carter and Sadie Kane to help out with this mess before things get out of hand. Well, things kind of get out of hand anyway. Setne is on his way to uniting the two crowns of Egypt, becoming a god, and taking over the entire world.

The fearsome foursome of Percy, Annabeth, Carter, and Sadie must combine forces if they have any hope of stopping Setne. They’ll need to use every tool at their disposal–and some they didn’t even realize existed–to defeat Setne and prevent him from ripping the world apart.

Can Greek demigods and Egyptian magicians work together to stop this crazed madman? What unpleasantness will they encounter along the way? Find out for yourself when you read The Crown of Ptolemy!

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I love that this story was written from Percy’s perspective. Even when things got super-serious, he greeted the situation with his trademark humor and snark. Percy’s voice is so refreshing, and I really hope that we’ll see more of him in future books, novellas, whatever.

I also enjoyed the interactions between the four characters in this story. Percy and Sadie found kindred spirits in each other, and the same was true of Carter and Annabeth. Impulsive rule-breakers vs. methodical rule-followers. Each of them had their own way of doing things, but every member of this group, boys and girls, contributed equally (in my opinion) in their quest to defeat Setne, and that in itself was kind of magical.

Given how this particular story ended, I have high hopes that readers will see more crossover stories from Percy, Annabeth, the Kanes, and even the other heroes in Riordan’s books (both past and future). It seems the lines between all of these “mythologies” may be blurring, and I’m thinking that everyone may need to work together to battle what’s coming.

For those of you who, like me, are kind of obsessed with Rick Riordan‘s work, never fear! There are a couple of his books coming out soon. Percy Jackson’s Greek Heroes will be out on August 18th (and that reminds me that I still need to read Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods). The Sword of Summer, the first book in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series, will be released on October 6th. And I haven’t even mentioned the graphic novel adaptations of Riordan’s books! This should keep us busy!

The Blood of Olympus

So, the final book in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series, The Blood of Olympus, was released on Tuesday. As you may have guessed, I rushed to the nearest book store immediately after work and picked up several copies–one for me, one for my library clerk, and a few for my school library. (Honestly, if I’d gone to work on Wednesday without this book, a couple of my students probably would have rioted. Luckily, I was able to avoid that.)

I started reading The Blood of Olympus as soon as I got home. I would have liked to finish the book in one sitting, but, alas, my job and the need for sleep got in the way once again. At any rate, I finished the book two days ago, and I’ve been processing what happened ever since.

I’m not going to go into a lot of detail in this post because I want to avoid spoilers at all costs. I will say, though, that The Blood of Olympus delivered on all counts. It was action-packed and full of twists and turns, it contained a fair amount of the snark and humor I’ve come to associate with Rick Riordan, and it even tugged at the heartstrings a bit. I think fans of this series will be totally satisfied with how things concluded for Percy Jackson and the other heroes we’ve come to know and love. I know I was.

I’m pretty sure the first of my students to check out The Blood of Olympus probably finished it this weekend. I am really looking forward to geeking out with them about what happened. I’m also hoping that other students will see us getting so excited about this book, and they’ll want to see for themselves what the big deal is.

Since I’m not going to give any plot details away here, I’ll go ahead and start wrapping things up. If you’re reading this and wondering what’s so special about this series…well, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Here’s a handy reading list to get you started!

For more information on The Blood of Olympus, the thrilling conclusion an amazing adventure, from Rick Riordan himself, check out the video below…and read this book. You won’t be disappointed!

Still want more? Click here for all things demigod!

Sweet Legacy

Caution! It is absolutely essential that you read the first two books in Tera Lynn Childs’ Medusa Girls trilogy (Sweet Venom and Sweet Shadows) before proceeding to the third and final book, Sweet Legacy. As a matter of fact, go ahead and read them over again (or at least skim) before starting the finale. I wish I had. I spent way too much time trying to re-familiarize myself with the events of the previous two books, and that had a big impact on my reading.

Well, it’s not often that it takes me seventeen days to finish a book, but that’s just what happened with Sweet Legacy. (If you read the warning above, you can probably figure out why.) It’s not the book’s fault. If I had read the books in this series back-to-back, my reading would have gone much more smoothly. As it was, I had a hard time remembering what happened in the previous two books, so, when I found myself totally confused, I had to revisit the previous books to refresh my memory. (Ah, the perils of loving books in a series!) This was rather time-consuming. Add this to my job responsibilities, spending time with family, keeping a semi-clean house, and other stuff, and my reading of Sweet Legacy didn’t go nearly as fast as is normal for me.

Once I finally got into Sweet Legacy (and remembered everything I needed to), the story was rather engrossing. It picks up the story of triplets Gretchen, Greer, and Grace, modern-day descendants of Medusa, and their quest to either close or open the door between the monster and human realms. (This may seem like a simple decision, but it’s really not…as you’ll see.)

Grace, Greer, and Gretchen, sisters who didn’t even know each other just days ago, are doing everything within their considerable power to set things right in the world. But what is right? That’s not always clear, and when both monsters and gods are set on killing you to prevent you from fulfilling your destiny, it muddies the waters even more.

The sisters travel through the abyss, through the halls and dungeons of Mount Olympus, and even through their fair city of San Francisco looking for help in finding the lost door between the realms. They will find help among monsters, gods, gorgons, and humans alike (including a trio of guys that do their part to muddle the girls’ thoughts), and all of them will be tasked with fighting in the battle ahead. Ultimately, though, destiny resides in the hands of Greer, Grace, and Gretchen, three young girls being asked to determine the fate of the world as they know it.

Will the sisters seal the door to the abyss forever (and trap all monsters, good and bad alike)? Will they open the door and let whatever happens happen? Or will they truly fulfill their purpose as descendants of Medusa and claim the legacy that has been foretold for centuries? What do the Fates have in store for Grace, Gretchen, and Greer? Discover the answers for yourself when you read Sweet Legacy, the thrilling conclusion to Tera Lynn Childs’ Medusa Girls trilogy!

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Even though it did take me longer than I would have liked to get into this book, I will say that, once I did, I was impressed with how action-packed it was. Truly, there was never a dull moment, and the strength of the sisters was awesome to behold, especially since their strengths manifested in very different ways. Each of the girls presented a role model that embraced not only her strengths but her flaws as well. The sisters experienced growth throughout the series, and they also grew closer to each other and young men who didn’t try to make them fit into a mold of the perfect teen girl. The sisters are loved as they are, fangs and all.

I would definitely recommend this series to middle grade and young adult readers. Those who’ve enjoyed any of Rick Riordan’s books will likely find something to enjoy in this series, and it’s also kind of interesting to compare the mythologies in both authors’ works.

If you’d like more information on the Medusa Girls trilogy or other books by Tera Lynn Childs, I encourage you to visit the author’s website at http://teralynnchilds.com/. I’ve read almost everything she’s written at this point, and there’s not a stinker in the bunch!

Goddess in Time

Warning! You MUST read Tera Lynn Childs’ Oh. My. Gods. and Goddess Boot Camp before reading Goddess in Time! And if it’s been over three years since you read the last book, a refresher may be in order. (Seriously, I spent the first couple of chapters really confused, and I had to look to previous blog posts, Goodreads, and the author’s website to re-familiarize myself with the main characters.)

If you’re still reading, I’ll assume you’re caught up with the Oh. My. Gods. series. Goddess in Time, a 14-chapter novella, kind of continues things with Nicole’s story. (If you don’t remember, Nicole is one of Phoebe’s best friends, and may be best known for getting into trouble and her sarcastic manner.)

When Nicole was a child, she and her friend Griffin (now Phoebe’s boyfriend) did something that altered their lives forever. One tiny prank on Mount Olympus, and everything changed.  As punishment, Nicole’s parents were stripped of their powers and banished, and Griffin’s parents were smoted. Seems harsh, right? Well, not when you’re dealing with the Greek gods, especially when one of those is Hera.  If only there were some way for Nicole to make things right…

Well, Nicole may have stumbled across something that could work. It’s something that no one has tried for centuries. Chronoportation. In other words, time travel.  It’s dangerous and highly illegal, but this power could be just what she needs to undo her mistakes.  She’ll need to travel to the palaces of Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades, and contact her godly ancestor to make this happen, but Nicole is determined to right her wrongs and bring her parents back where they belong.

But things may not be quite as simple as Nicole had hoped. (They never are when in comes to Greek deities!) Nicole will come face-to-face with her own past on this journey, and she may not be totally prepared for what she finds. What will Nicole learn about her heritage and, more importantly, about herself in this quest for justice? Discover Nicole’s secrets when you read Goddess in Time, an Oh. My. Gods. novella by Tera Lynn Childs!

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Even though it took me a little while to step back into this world, I did enjoy Goddess in Time. (It could be because I’m a little time-travel crazy right now. The Doctor Who 50th anniversary special is just two days away!) Nicole learned a lot about herself in this story, and she’s just an all-around fun character to read about anyway. (I do enjoy my fair share of snark and sarcasm.)

If you want even more stories from the Oh. My. Gods. series, check out Tera Lynn Childs’ website at http://teralynnchilds.com/. There are three more really short, sweet stories right there on the site:  Phoebe’s Fair Valentine, The Twelve Days of Stella, and Nicole’s Labyrinth.  I read them all last night, and, from what I could determine, all of them take place after Goddess Boot Camp but before Goddess in Time. Enjoy!

The House of Hades

Even though I’m not going to give too much away here, before you read The House of Hades by Rick Riordan, you MUST read the entire Percy Jackson & the Olympians series and the first three books in the Heroes of Olympus series.  These books, in order, are:

Seriously, read them all! 

Last night at exactly 11:06, I finished reading The House of Hades, the fourth book in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series. (I should have finished it sooner, but life got in the way. At any rate, I’m done now.) I then proceeded to dream that I was a demigod all night long. I’m kind of exhausted today, but I’ll do my best to provide just a little information on this intense fourth installment without giving too much away.

When last we saw our beloved demigods, Percy and Annabeth had plunged into the depths of Tartarus, and the remaining members of the quest were on their way to Greece in an attempt to stop Gaea from rising. Now, Percy and Annabeth are facing unspeakable horrors in an effort to close the Doors of Death from the abyss, and Leo, Hazel, Frank, Jason, Piper, Nico, and Coach Hedge are traveling through the ancient lands and trying to close the Doors from the mortal world.

Both groups are facing terrors that they couldn’t have anticipated, but there is hope. Help comes to them in some unexpected forms, and every member of this quest will find inner strength that makes them more powerful than they could have ever realized. But are they strong enough to perform the daunting task in front of them? What new obstacles will they face along the way? And can they find a way to complete their missions while keeping Greek and Roman demigods from destroying each other?

Everything will come to a head at the House of Hades. Who will be victorious? What comes next? I’ll leave that for you to discover…

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So, yeah…I haven’t told you much. I didn’t want to. The House of Hades is a book that fans of this series (and the Percy Jackson series) must experience for themselves, so I didn’t want to post any blatant spoilers. I will say, though, that the ending didn’t make me want to hurl the book across the room like Mark of Athena did. (A lot of the action in this book was projectile-worthy, but the ending was borderline satisfying. That’s as much of a spoiler as I’m going to give you.)

There’s still, however, a lot of story to be told. (Will Gaea wake? What will happen when/if she does? Can a few demigods defeat the flippin’ Earth Mother? Will all of them survive? Will Leo ever find true and lasting love? Will Annabeth and Percy ever get a rainbows-and-fairy-dust happy ending?) Luckily, we have at least one more book in this series to give us some answers. The Blood of Olympus will be released next fall, and judging by the title, things are going to get much worse for our favorite demigods if before they get better.

If you’d like more information on The House of Hades, check out Rick Riordan’s website. You can also follow the author on Twitter @camphalfblood.

Sweet Shadows

Warning:  Read Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs before proceeding. If it’s been over a year since you read Sweet Venom, it’s probably a good idea to reread it (or at least the last couple of chapters) before proceeding!

As you’ve no doubt gathered, I first read Sweet Venom, the first book in Tera Lynn Childs’ Medusa Girls series, quite some time ago. (October of 2011, to be precise.) For whatever reason, I waited until Sunday to begin reading the second book, Sweet Shadows. That was not smart. Maybe if I’d read it sooner, I wouldn’t have spent so much time trying to remember what happened in the first book. Luckily, I did have my blog post for Sweet Venom, but that didn’t exactly provide me with tons of details or how the book actually ended. It did give me a starting point, though, and I flipped through the first book when I needed to fill in any blanks. (That happened a lot when I first started reading Sweet Shadows. My memory sucks lately.)

Sweet Shadows picks up immediately where Sweet Venom ended. Gretchen, Grace, and Greer have barely had time to come to terms with the fact that they’re triplets, descendants of the Gorgon Medusa, and their destiny is tied to a divine prophecy that puts their very lives in danger. Despite their rather obvious differences, these reunited sisters will have to work together to determine just what it going on and what it means for them. They may have some help along the way, but can anything really combat the war that is brewing?

As Gretchen, Grace, and Greer continue to face horrible monsters and unanswered question, new dangers also await them. Exploding apartments. Disappearing mentors. Training to fight. Diving into the abyss. Boys. (Some of these are, obviously, more dangerous than others!) In the midst of it all, the sisters are learning more about themselves, each other, and what their destiny really means.

Destiny, though, may not be as straightforward as they once thought. Keep the monsters in the abyss. Should be a no-brainer, right? Yeah…not so much. It’s a little more complicated than that and may involve actually allowing monsters out of the abyss to walk and live among humans…as they once did. It’s all about restoring balance and is clear as mud to Gretchen, Grace, and Greer. They’re not really sure what they are supposed to do, but they do know only one place–the abyss itself–holds the answers (and the people) they need. Are any of the sisters courageous enough to brave this dark chasm? If so, what will await them?

While it is clear that lots of people (and monsters, gods, etc.) want the sisters dead, there may be others who would seek to aid them in fulfilling their destiny. The question is…who is ally, and who is enemy? Who can these sisters ultimately trust? And what will happen if that trust is misplaced?

Fate, destiny, life–whatever you want to call it–is about to come crashing down on Gretchen, Grace, and Greer. Keeping this dangerous, barely believable existence separate from “real life” is quickly becoming impossible. Is there any way for these girls to hold onto some semblance of normalcy while staying true to each other and the destiny they are attempting to fulfill? Is success even possible? Can these sisters control their own fates and bring light to the shadows in their lives? We’ll just have to wait and see…

While it took me a little while to get invested in this story (which was my own fault), once I got going, I was totally enthralled. Sweet Shadows, like Sweet Venom, is action-packed, and readers will be eager to discover just who these girls can trust and who might be hiding a secret identity. (I still have some ideas about that.)

I also enjoyed seeing how the sisters grew closer together in this second book. Yes, they’re all still very different, but I think they’re learning now that those differences can make them stronger, both individually and as a group. They begin to learn from their diverse experiences and backgrounds, and that’s always a good thing.

The final installment in the Medusa Girls series, Sweet Legacy, is scheduled to be released on September 3rd of this year. Hopefully, I can make time to read it as soon as it comes out! I’m eager to see how the story resolves for Gretchen, Grace, and Greer. Here’s hoping these three sisters get the happy ending they deserve!

For those book cover nuts (like me), here’s the gorgeous cover for book three, Sweet Legacy.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  Tera Lynn Childs’ books, particularly her mythology-based works (Oh. My. Gods., Goddess Boot Camp, Sweet Venom, and Sweet Shadows), are a perfect fit for Rick Riordan fans looking for some strong female characters (kind of like Annabeth from the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series). Ms. Childs’ books might be a little shorter, but they still pack quite a punch.

If you’d like more information about Sweet Shadows and any other books by Tera Lynn Childs, check out her website. This page also has links to the author’s Goodreads, YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter pages.