Blogmas Book Review: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia

fullsizeoutput_238b

GoodReads Summary:
Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he’s going to spend on his grandparents’ farm in Alabama, where he’s being sent to heal from the tragedy. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie’s journal. Tristan chases after it-–is that a doll?-–and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature’s hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world. Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left black American gods John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky. But bartering with the trickster Anansi always comes at a price. Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves?
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1)Review:
I’ve only really started getting into middle-grade books this year. I’m so happy that I have because I’ve found some absolutely incredible books. Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky is one of those books.
We follow Tristian Strong as he falls into a world where all the myths he was taught growing up, actually exist and live. His entrance into their world had caused some pretty bad things, so he must stay and help fix them before he can figure out how to get back home.
I loved this. I loved Tristian, and I loved seeing him learn that all the stories are true. I also really loved all of the Gods and characters we meet. Specifically, Gum Baby. Gum Baby absolutely was the best part of this story. She was hilarious and sassy and I loved her so much. I really loved learning about African mythology that I’ve never known previously. They were just fascinating.
This story was action-packed. Every time the squad finished their latest task, something else goes wrong. I really enjoyed that because this book was almost 500 pages long, but I felt like it flew by. I was paced well and I didn’t want to put it down because so much was going on.
Overall, I cannot wait to read the next one. I loved the mythology this story is based on. I loved the messages brought up. I thought it was well written and more than entertaining. Also, I loved Gum Baby. I also really liked that this book can stand on its own as a whole story. There will be another book, but even if there wasn’t. This story had an ending that was good enough for this to be a standalone.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Everneath by Brodi Ashton

GoodReads Summary:
Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath, where immortals Feed on the emotions of despairing humans. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her friends—before being banished back to the underworld… this time forever.
She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.
Nikki longs to spend these months reconnecting with her boyfriend, Jack, the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s a problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who first enticed her to the Everneath, has followed Nikki to the mortal world. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back- this time as his queen.
As Nikki’s time grows short and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she’s forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s…
Everneath (Everneath, #1)Review:
I have to start this review by saying that I have read this book before. I know that I have read it, but I didn’t remember any of the story while I was rereading (which is the whole reason I reread it). Everneath was a very run of the mill 2012 paranormal YA fantasy story. I think the concept was better than its execution, but for a debut novel, it could have been much worse. I don’t want to talk too negatively about this book because I had fun while I was reading it but there were definitely some issues.
The pacing was pretty good. Each chapter started with a certain about of time left until her ‘return.’ But there were also flashback chapters that counted down until when she first vanished. I thought this was a fun way to tell the story.
There were a few things that I thought could have been further explained when it came to the world-building. I understand that we only got to know as much as Nikki knew, but I still think there were certainly more opportunities to fill out the world. I was left with too many questions.
The love triangle was…weird. It wasn’t really a love triangle because it was clear who Nikki really cared about. It was a little annoying too with Cole constantly trying to tell Nikki that he loved her, but never really showed it. I liked all the characters well enough, but I think the best friend Jules could have been further developed. I’m hoping we will get that in the next books.
Finally, I wish the author had shown more than told. There were a few times within chapters where there were mini headings that stated the location. Times that could have been shown to us rather than told in this way. There were a handful of other parts of the story that were told when they could have been shown.
Overall, this was a book that I enjoyed despite the things I didn’t love. It was a pretty average read for me. I will continue the series because I own all three books and I’m still a bit curious as to how things will turn out for our stubborn little Nikki.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

Summary:
Zane Obispo spends every day exploring the sleeping volcano in his backyard. “The Beast,” as he calls it, is the one place where he can escape other kids, who make fun of him because he has a limp and walks with a cane.
After a twin-engine plane crashes into the Beast, a mysterious girl named Brooks shows up at Zane’s doorstep insisting that they meet at the volcano, where she will reveal a terrible secret. Zane agrees, mostly because beautiful girls like her don’t usually talk to him. Brooks tells him that the volcano is actually a centuries-old prison for the Maya god of death, whose destiny is directly tied to Zane’s.
No way, Zane thinks. He’s just a thirteen-year-old nobody, and destiny or no destiny, he wants nothing to do with any of it, especially some god of death. But Brooks opens his eyes to the truth: magic, monsters, and gods are real, and Zane is at the center of an ancient prophecy that could mean the destruction of the world. Suddenly finding himself entangled in a web of dangerous secrets, Zane embarks on a quest that will take him far from home and test him to the very core.
Feisty heroes, tricky gods, murderous demons, and spirited giants are just some of the pleasures that await in this fresh and funny take on Maya mythology, as rich and delicious as a mug of authentic hot chocolate.
The Storm Runner (The Storm Runner, #1)Review:
The Storm Runner is a book that follows an unlikely hero on a quest to save the world. Where have I heard that one before? There were things I liked about this book and I wouldn’t say that there were things I didn’t like; I just think that this book didn’t hit the mark for me.
I liked the mythology that we learned about in this story. I thought it was the most interest part of the story. I would have liked to have more vivid and descriptive settings though. Zane finds himself in some pretty interesting places, but I think they could have been built up a little more.
I didn’t find myself connecting with the characters as much as I have with some of the others I’ve read that are middle-grade books. I’m not sure if that’s due to my reading so many middle-grade books that focus on mythology or that I’ve really loved the others that I’ve read.
I don’t want to say that there was anything wrong with The Storm Runner because there certainly wasn’t. It was fun to read. It was fast-paced, but not too much so. There was adventure and mystery. I just didn’t connect to the story in the way I expected to.
Overall, this was a fun story but it was average for me. I think it’s definitely worth reading. The mythology was fascinating and we follow the main character who has a physical disability. I liked this book and will be continuing the series without a doubt.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

Summary:
All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows.
While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.
In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy’s sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate.
The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #5)Review:
This final book in the Percy Jackson series was everything I wanted and more. Though I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending, I’m alright with it because I know there are more books with the characters I’ve come to love so much.
My feelings on Percy haven’t changed. I still admire and adore him. His bravery is like no other. The same goes for Annabeth. I adore her so much. She’s clever and loyal. She never backs down from a fight. I’m so happy their relationship finally developed further and it’s not a minute too soon. Grover has grown so much and I love that too. He’s fulfilled his dreams and continues to work hard and help as much as he can. I love the whole cast. I loved seeing them all work together and save the world.
I cannot say enough how much I really enjoy the way Riordan brings the mythology alive and into the modern world. I think he does it so well. He gives these characters life and history and I enjoy reading about them so much.
Overall, I was happy with this final book. I didn’t love the ending because it didn’t really give closure. It left kind of open ended as if there was just going to be the next book in the series. I know there is more books following these characters, but I thought there would be a little bit more closure of the series. I still enjoyed reading it. I’m so glad I finally managed to read this series.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Amanda’s Mythathon TBR

Hi, lovelies! Yes, I am here with another TBR post today. There are just so many good readathons happening this month! So this particular readathon is called Myth-A-Thon and it’s hosted by the always wonderful Jesse from Bowties & Books. This is a month-long readathon with four different teams. Each captain has been cast as a mythic God and associated with the four elements. I’ve chosen to be on Team Hades – Fire because I am a Leo and it is Leo season and also I love Hades a lot. So this was the perfect team for me. There are a few challenges for this months reading so let’s get to it!

Hades is the God of flame: Read a hotly anticipated book

How to Make Friends with the Dark by Kathleen Glasgow

Hades famously possesses an invisible cap: Read a book about a protagonist who is invisible to society

The Storm Runner by J.C. Cervantes

Hades also owns a chair of forgetfulness: Read a book you’ve been shelving for far too long 

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

Hades collects subjects for his kingdom and won’t let them leave: Read a book where the main characters must escape an immoral rule

These Rebel Waves by Sara Raasch

Read the group book

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer
I’ve already read this so I’m going to read another BATB retelling:
Beastly by Alex Flinn

This is what I’ve come up with for Myth-A-Thon! I’ve tried to mix a few books here and there from my two other TBR lists so that I can manage to share books for all the different challenges I’m going to attempt to complete this month. Let me know what you’ll be reading this August below!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Twitter
Instagram
GoodReads

The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan

Summary:
Percy Jackson isn’t expecting freshman orientation to be any fun. But when a mysterious mortal acquaintance appears at his potential new school, followed by demon cheerleaders, things quickly move from bad to worse.
In this latest installment of the blockbuster series, time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half-Blood grows more vulnerable by the minute as Kronos’s army prepares to invade its once impenetrable borders. To stop the invasion, Percy and his demigod friends must set out on a quest through the Labyrinth – a sprawling underground world with stunning surprises at every turn. Full of humor and heart-pounding action, this latest book promises to be their most thrilling adventure yet.
The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #4)Review:
The last line of this book’s summary says it all. The Battle of the Labyrinth was funny as hell and had my heart racing at every turn. I think this was my favorite book in the series so far. We will have to wait and see if the final book in the series can beat it.
I could not put this book down. I read it in two sittings.
Percy was our brave and clever hero, as usual. I grow to love him more and more as I get further into the series. The same goes for Annabeth. Except the dance that these two are playing where they can’t seem to talk about their feelings. That drives me a little crazy. But I love and admire their bravery. They make a really good team and I enjoy reading about their adventures so much.
I completely adore the way Riordan brings mythology into the story. Getting to see Calypso was really interesting to me. As well at Daedalus and his Labyrinth. He has such a talent for bringing the myths into the modern world. His world building probably my favorite thing about this series.
Overall, I still adore the characters. Riordan has a special way of bringing them to life and making you care about them even when they’re being annoying. The world building was phenomenal. The Battle of the Labyrinth was fast paced and absolutely thrilling. I cannot wait to finish this series and see what ends up happening to some of my favorite heroes.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Titan’s Curse by Rick Riordan

Summary:
When Percy Jackson receives an urgent distress call from his friend Grover, he immediately prepares for battle. He knows he’ll need his powerful demigod allies, Annabeth and Thalia, at his side; his trusty bronze sword, Riptide; and…a ride from his mom.
The demigods race to the rescue, to find that Grover has made an important discovery: two new powerful half-bloods whose parentage is unknown. But that’s not all that awaits them. The Titan lord, Kronos, has set up his most devious trap yet, and the young heroes have just fallen prey.
Hilarious and action-packed, this third adventure in the series finds Percy faced with his most dangerous challenge so far: the chilling prophecy of Titan’s curse.
The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #3)Review:
I am sad to say that this has been my least favorite of the series so far. While I enjoyed the story, as per usual, the characters just annoyed me. The Titan’s Curse was fast paced and exciting. We got to see new gods and other various mythological creatures and players. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story. I love the way Riordan teaches about mythology and makes it fun. Some myths can be so dry and boring, but Riordan makes it interesting and exciting.
As for the characters, I loved all the usual ones. Percy was the same lovable doofus as always. He’s brave and loyal, caring and thoughtful. He’s such a great hero. Grover was also the same as usual. Helpful and underrated. He’s the best friend Percy could ask for. Annabeth was sadly missing for most of the story and honestly, that’s probably why I didn’t like this one as much as the others. She’s definitely my favorite character in this series. Then there’s Thalia. I was so excited when she turned back into a person, but she was really rude to Percy and I did not like that at all. I really wanted to like her but she was so mean and I just couldn’t. I really hope she changes in the next book.
Overall, I enjoyed this book. I cannot wait to get into the next in the series. Rick Riordan really knows how to make me love some characters and how to send them on some wild adventures.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.