The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan Book Review

Since their mother’s death, Carter and Sadie have become near strangers. While Sadie has lived with her grandparents in London, her brother has traveled the world with their father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane.

One night, Dr. Kane brings the siblings together for a “research experiment” at the British Museum, where he hopes to set things right for his family. Instead, he unleashes the Egyptian god Set, who banishes him to oblivion and forces the children to flee for their lives.

Soon, Sadie and Carter discover that the gods of Egypt are waking, and the worst of them —Set— has his sights on the Kanes. To stop him, the siblings embark on a dangerous journey across the globe – a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and their links to a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

 

I spent my childhood going to museums and my favorite exhibits were always the ones about Egypt. When I found out one of my favorite authors was writing a series about Egyptian mythology I was ecstatic! I couldn’t wait to see how Rick Riordan would weave his story.

 

Here are a couple of things i enjoyed about The Red Pyramid(very minor to minimal spoilers ahead):

  • The world building was phenomenal! I loved how Riordan blends his stories with realism and mythology.
  • The character building. The way the author writes his characters and makes you become attached despite your best attempts to not become attached because let’s be honest here, Mr. Riordan is not the kindest when it comes to characters. He can enjoy seeing them suffer.
  • The fact that incest is actually addressed.  There is a lot of incest in Ancient Egyptian history.  It actually makes learning more about the culture of the pharaohs a little difficult. The way Mr. Riordan handles it is graceful and leaves no doubt in your mind that there is no incest in his books.
  • I have always enjoyed how the love story is not a big deal in Riordan’s books.  It helps us keep in mind that the character are in their young teens.  No young teenager needs to worry about being in love and finding the love of their life. There is plenty of time to do that when they are older.
  • In Chapter 9 she says ‘My dear, i’m a cat everything i see is mine’.  I have always loved cats i have 3 of them. They are simply the most precious and sassy animals in the world.
  • Not many authors are comfortable about addressing race in their books but something Riordan has always done well is talk about the realities of being one race or having a specific belief.  In The Red Pyramid the relationship between PoC(in particular African American men) and the Police. He is very open and honest and states things exactly how they are. He does not gently blow this topic off(which would be difficult since one of the main characters is a PoC)
  • One of the final things I appreciated in this book is the fact that Riordan makes little references to his other books. In particular he references the Percy Jackson Series. If you have not read the Percy Jackson books you won’t understand the reference but if you do you will immediately be saying to yourself ‘I see what you did there’.

This book is perfect for anyone who wants a story that has an adventure but isn’t all consumed in romance. I feel like most adventure books are more absorbed in the romance and use that as a point to move the plot along but in my opinion none of Riordan’s books do that.  This book is technically middle grade so it is also very easy to read.

Overall I give this story 4.5 Bards!

The Kane Chronicles, Book One: The Red Pyramid


Kindle Edition: Check Amazon for Pricing Digital Only

Book Review: Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it? She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home”—no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted—and their unborn child—to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But who really knows the real Mary?

Release Date: January 24, 2017

I think one of the best things about the movement in young adult literature to include diverse authors and own voice narratives is that stories like Tiffany D. Jackson’s will become popular. This novel has all the things that make a good crime novel wonderful, it has a likable yet maybe untrustworthy narrator, a vicious and questionable crime, interesting family dynamics, insight into the criminal justice system when it comes to teenagers, and the dynamics of a group home.

Now, I realize that this is still a fictional narrative but there are a lot of similarities between this Mary’s story and that of the real life child murderer, Mary Bell.  Jackson doesn’t really delve into that in this novel, but she does have a secondary refer to Mary as Mary Bell in one interaction, so I thought it would be interesting to point out the similarities between the character and her real counterpart.

Mary Bell was around 10 years of age when she murdered two toddlers, she had a known strange relationship with her mother (who attempted to kill her a few times), it was an extremely sensationalized case, with her only receiving a minimum sentence since she was a child with diminished responsibility (much like our character).  Another part that is taken directly from reality is the last name of the victim, Richardson. Now, the average Young Adult reader probably wouldn’t be aware of these similarities, but I just happened to read a true crime book a few years ago that brought this up.

I applaud Jackson for bringing a story like this to the forefront, because as awful as it is to kill a child in a narrative, it is something that happens.

Jackson did such a great job of keeping the reader in the dark about certain aspects of the crime and of Mary’s life prior to the death of the child.  I think that the questions about Mary and her Mother really provide more mystery than the death itself.  It’s an interesting commentary on emotional abuse and the desperate relationship between these two characters, plus is raises the question of just how far you’d go for family.

In addition, Jackson was amazing at including linguistic representation of accents.  I find it lacking when an author sometimes just mentions that a character has a type of regional accent without showing this to the reader in dialogue. Bravo for including this, I loved it and it really put me IN those characters’ voices.

I’m giving this novel 4 Bards.  There is a very upsetting scene with an animal in this and violence between characters that doesn’t involve the murder of the child, so please be aware of this when purchasing it for your teen.

Hello, I Love You Blog Tour: Excerpt/Review/GIVEAWAY

helloiloveyouGrace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.

She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can’t stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can’t deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.

Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she’ll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process.

 

katiestoutAbout the Author

Katie M. Stout is from Atlanta, Georgia, and works for an international charity that sends her to fun places like Spain and Singapore. When she’s not writing, you can find her drinking an unhealthy amount of chai tea and listening to Girls’ Generation, Teen Top, and all her other favorite K-pop tunes.

Connect to Katie on Social Media:

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Excerpt

We finish our study session around eight and head out of the library together. He unlocks a bike from the rack as I make to head back to the dorms.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” I say. “Wait, are you walking back?”

“Well, I’m not sleeping at the library tonight.” He doesn’t take the bait. “I’ll give you a ride.”

I imagine what it would feel like to sit behind him on the bike, my arms wrapped around his waist. That now-familiar heat radiates through my body again. How is it that Jason has turned me into the blushing type of girl?

“Don’t worry about me.” I wave my hand in dismissal. “I’ll be fine.”

He straddles the bike’s frame. “I don’t mind. Get on.”

I hesitate a moment, but when I see that he isn’t budging, I step up to the bike. “Uhh . . . how am I supposed to ride this thing?”

He pats the metal rack on the back of the bike, made for hauling inanimate objects.

“You’ve got to be kidding.”

“I’m not going to kill you. Just trust me.”

Trust. Such a small word. Which implies so much. I lost my trust in boys when Isaac cheated on me, then lied to my face about it.

Jason’s gaze softens just a hair. “Come on, you’ll be fine.” Biting my lip, I straddle the bike, stomping down any fear

that threatens to grow in my chest.

Jason turns around to look at me. “Sit sideways, like riding a horse sidesaddle. More comfortable.”

I follow his instructions, not sure how I’m going to balance myself. When I rode with Sophie, I was more afraid of falling and cracking my head open on the pavement, but with Jason, my fear lies more in my body’s response to being so close to him.

Blowing out a slow breath to ease my nerves, I settle onto the metal rack behind his seat and pull up my feet. I knot trembling fingers in the fabric of his T-shirt, which hangs away from his body. But when he pushes the bike into motion, on instinct, I grab onto something more substantial. My eyes snap closed, and it takes me a good thirty seconds to realize my fingers are digging into his sides.

Though the wind that blows against us chills my skin, I’m so hot I feel I might spontaneously combust. Every time I attempt to let go of him, the bike teeters to the side.

“Hold on tighter,” he says over his shoulder.

I spend the entire ride in my own personal Hades, torn be- tween fear of falling and fear of Jason.

When he pulls up to my dorm, I jump off the bike so fast I stumble. He grabs my arm to steady me, and it takes an excruciating amount of effort not to rip myself away from his grasp. Memories of us dancing, of him leaning against me in the limo, flash through my brain, and a fresh stab of longing cuts through my chest. Seeing him sitting there, it seems like Saturday night wasn’t even real.

“Grace?”

My heart sprints. “Yeah?”

He picks at one of the bike’s handlebars in one of those rare instances of discomfort. “Do you want to go with us to the music video shoot next Friday?”

“What?”

“I’m sure Sophie would have asked you, anyway,” he adds. “But I just thought you should go. So we can work on the song some more.”

“The song. Right. Umm . . . sure.” I wait for the fog to clear from inside my head, but it lingers. “I guess I’ll see you tomorrow in class. For the test.”

“If my legs can get me home. You were heavy to carry here.” I gape at him until I realize that was his idea of a joke. Jason

just told a joke.

He gives an awkward wave. “Good night, Grace.”

“Wait a second.”

He pauses with his foot ready to peddle. “What?” “Does this mean we’re . . . friends now?” “Friends?”

“Yeah. You tutoring me, and me helping with the song. Going to the shoot next week. Are we friends?”

Why does my breath hitch at the thought?

The scowl I’ve come to associate with him reappears on his face, and arrogance drips from his voice when he says, “I’ll think about it.”

But even in the dark, I can see his scowl has transformed into a smile.

 

Review

There is a such a huge push for diversity in young adult literature that I feel like Hello, I Love You will attract a fair amount of readers.  The entirety of the novel takes place in South Korea, most of it at a isolated private school, but some of the narrative involves the characters visiting the capital city of Seoul.

I’m going to go ahead and address something that I’ve noticed is being brought up in most of the reviews I’ve read so far for this novel: racial and culture insensitivity.  I understand that there are those readers who feel that Hello, I Love You is just a basic example of a snobby American going to a foreign country and looking down upon their customs, food, traditions, etc.  I want to challenge this because they are not taking into account the metaphysical journey that Grace goes through over the course of the narrative.  At the beginning Grace really is just a basic spoiled American teenager, and yes she does “turn her nose up” at the seven types of formality in Korean language, eating pigs feet, and KPOP, but she also learns to understand and accept these things.  I feel that this is exemplified well during the chapters where Grace’s mother comes to visit and she is forced to realize how inappropriate her behavior was when she first arrived.  Grace’s story  is one of growth and I think that her adaptation to life in South Korea and her increasing knowledge of the culture over the course of the novel is an excellent example of how to show readers how to NOT react in a new environment.  It’s a form of adaptive teaching in a narrative. Anyway, that is my peace on that. Back to the rest of the novel.

Grace has suffered a lot.  Sure, we don’t exactly know what she has been through or what the exact details are concerning the reasons she decided to leave her cushy life in Nashville behind, but she is a very convincing narrator and stubborn to boot.  I think one of the other strengths that readers will find in this novel is how strong Stout’s characterization is of the cast of characters as a whole.  Even the secondary characters, like the members of Jason’s band, have distinct personalities and backgrounds, which is something I adore in a good novel because it really helps round out the storyline.

I think another really good aspect of Hello, I Love You is the use of music as a whole.  Not only does Stout use American classic rock and a shout out to our favorite country turned pop star, Taylor Swift, but she goes into a few different genres of Korean music as well.  I honestly had not listened to any KPOP or Korean rock music prior to this, but I went on YouTube after finishing the novel to get a taste of the music!  I found the love story to be somewhat predictable in this book, but it didn’t make it much less enjoyable.

Overall I think that this was an excellent debut novel and I look forward to seeing what else Stout has to offer.

4 Bards.

fourbards

 

 

 

 

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