We are now halfway through June so I can accurately say we are halfway through the year. It’s time to check in and see how we are doing with our reading challenges. This year we decided to split up our Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Reading challenge into two different. One for authors and one for narrators. I’m doing the Narrators and I have to say, I’m doing pretty well. Now, I think there may be a few arguments over some of my books but who doesn’t love a good debate? Going off my list of the books I’ve read, I discovered that there were a few things we should have discussed before setting the challenge out. For instance, can you use the same book for different categories if they have more then one Narrator? I’m going to go with yes because you are getting different perspectives from different characters. So here we go.
Book with a Queer Narrator: The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan. Narrator: Apollo. Ok, so this maybe a stretch because as Kate asked me Can we apply modern categories of sexuality to ancient Gods? Well I don’t know, but in The Dark Prophecy, Apollo is currently exiled to Earth as a mortal and while being on Earth has shown equal interest in both Men and Women. So, in the context of the book, I’m counting it.
Book with a African American Narrator: March Vols. 1-3 by Congressman John Lewis. Narrator: John Lewis
Book with characters from various socio-economic backgroundsSilver Stars by Michael Grant. Narrators: Frangie, Rainey and Rio
Books with Asian American Narrator: Always and Forever, Lara Jeanby Jenny Han and The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. Narrators: Lara Jean and Daniel. I decided to count both since they are both Asian Americans but they have very different perspectives on growing up in America. Lara Jean is definitely your more typical middle class teenage girl who grew up in the suburbs. She’s also mixed because of her Dad is white so she straddles both sides. Daniel grew up in New York City and is the son of two immigrant parents. (I thought about using Natasha from The Sun is also a Star as my African American Narrator but technically speaking she’s not American as her family was living in the US illegally)
Book with a Narrator who has survived abuse: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. Narrator : Feyre. I really could have picked any character in this book but since it’s all from Feyre’s point of view she gets the top billing.
A Book with a Mexican Narrator: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Narrator: Cristina. I admit I maybe stretching it a little thin with this one. Cristina is one of six narrators in Lord of Shadows and not one of the two main characters but she is an important to the story as a whole so for now I’m counting it but it might change before the year is out.
I keep waiting for Rick Riordan to write a bad book. The Dark Prophecy is not that book. He just keep coming up with fresh and different ideas of making these old stories relevant and fun. Whoever is the God or Goddess of story telling, Rick Riordan is their son. When we last left Apollo, he’s reeling from the betrayal of Meg, a new prophecy sending him to Indianapolis and the reappearance of Leo and Calypso. That’s a lot for a former God turned mortal teenage boy to handle but handle he must. When Apollo, Leo and Calypso arrive they are greeted by some very polite monsters because of course the monsters that inhabit the Midwest would be polite. they are rescued by two former Hunters of Artemis Emmie and Josephine who tells them that their daughter is missing. She had gone to the dark oracle for help from the second Emperor who has made Indianapolis his home. Of course this Emperor Apollo has personal history with making everything more awkward. As the crew tries to figure out how to defeat Emperor Commodus and get the next prophecy without going crazy they experience the same mythic hi-jinks of the other books. Yes, these book can at times feel be formulaic but it never feel feels like that. They are just fun, witty and refreshing. Rick doesn’t shy away for the more uncomfortable stories from Greek and Roman mythology or tries to wash them out either. Many of these stories are not happy or fun but then again neither is life and yet Rick never lets it get to dark. He is always able to find the absurdity in them. Bring on the next one.
The month of May has a lot of great new books coming out and of course I’m already behind in my to-read list. Sigh. Anyway, here’s a list a few books that I’m definitely going to try to get to in May. Let’s see how I’ll do.
So 2016 is almost over. Thank God or Oh No. Who knows what 2017 will bring but we do know it will bring plenty of good books. Here are 10 I’m really looking forward too.
Pyromanticby Lish McBride. – I was lucky enough to get an advanced copy of this one and it was everything I hoped it would. I can’t wait for it to come out in March so I can read again.
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas – The second book was one of my favorite books of this year and the way it ended makes me even more excited for it. Feyre is back in the Spring Court with Tamlin but this time she knows who she is and who he really is.
Always and Forever, Lara Jeanby Jenny Han – I didn’t even know this was even in the works when I read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and it’s sequel P.S. I Still Love You earlier this year. I found the two books to be very charming and sweet. I loved Lara Jean and Peter and I thought their story was over but I guess not. I’m still holding out for Kitty novel.
The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon – This is another book I got an early look at and for all of you still waiting, it’ll be worth it. I’m going to re-read The Bone Season and The Mime-Order again before this one comes out.
King’s Cageby Victoria Aveyard – Mare gave herself up to Maven and who knows what that sadistic bastard has planned for her. Will Cal save her or will she save herself? Will Farley forgive her? The rebellion continues
Carve the Markby Veronica Roth – This Veronica’s first book since the Divergent series ended. No matter how you felt about Allegiant you have to admit that Roth is one brave storyteller.
Strange the Dreamerby Laini Taylor – If her last series, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, is anything to go by this one is going to be a real crowd pleaser!
The Ship of the Deadand The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan – Rick Riordan has been on a winning streak lately with both his Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard and The Trials of Apollo series’. Not only are they imaginative they are truly fun. Riordan hasn’t been afraid to take on tough subjects and bring a diverse cast of characters to his books and make them both relatable and accessible. It’s going to be a busy year for Percy Jackson.
Silver Starsby Michael Grant – In this revisionist history story we met three brave women who are fighting in World War 2. The end of the last book saw our three heroines have all survived their first battle but the war is still a few years from ending. There are more battles to be fought before our heroines get to go home.
What books are you looking forward to reading in 2017?
2016 was a mix bag of a year but let’s focus on the positives,shall we? This year was a banner year for us at Stacks. In the last weeks of the year we are going to take a look back of some of our highlights. So here are our most viewed posts of the past year.
Review: Half Lost by Sally Green Who knew this was going to be such big crowd pleaser? This book really broke my heart. The ending was so beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. I originally reviewed this back in January but we are still getting views.
Preview of the Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan So this post is originally from 2015 but the excitement over Riordan’s new book carried over into 2016. It’s views more then doubled my review of the book. I’ll try not to read too much into that. 😉
Discussion: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater Part 1 My excitement over the The Raven King was subtle. Okay, not so subtle. This was the first of a week long celebration of Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle series. I examined different aspects of the series and tried to predict what was going to happen in the final book.
Review: Endure by Sara B. Larson Another surprising addition to the list. This review from January about the final book in Sara B. Larson’s book was a pretty good series.
Since Kate posted her update, I figured I should do mine. I’m doing much better on the Meduim/Genre/Industry Sub-Challenge then the other 2. So far I have read Captain Marvel for my Graphic Novel with a superhero, Nimona for Graphic Novel without a superhero. The Hidden Oracle for a book meant for Children and Cravings a cookbook by Chrissy Teigen for a book from a genre I’ve never read. Half Lost, a book with a Queer Character. To All The Boys I’ve Loved, a book with an Asian American Character. And finally Endureby Sara b Larson for a book by a Woman author. To be honest, I could have picked almost any book I’ve read this year for that last one because so far I have only read 3 books written by a man.
So that brings my total up to 7 out of 30. Yikes, that’s not great but it’s 1 better then Kate. ;-).
If you haven’t read The Blood of Olympus, the last book of the Heroes of Olympus series, then stop reading now!
Now that we got that out of the way. Rick Riordan’s new series, The Trials of Apollo we follow the God Apollo who is being punished for his role in the rise of the Giants in the last series. What’s his punishment? Zeus has made him mortal. This is something that Zeus has done to Apollo before so once again, Riordan has taken directly from the myths and created his own world. We first meet the mortal Apollo in an alley in New York in January, a couple months after the end of the The Blood of Olympus. (For those who’ve read, Riordan’s Norse series with Magnus Chase, the first book in that series also took placed in January. So both of his current series are happening at the same time which may mean there may be some crossover coming) Apollo is as you expect him to be. He’s vain, arrogant and totally can’t believe that Zeus would turn into a human. Again. He is quickly introduced to a new demigod, named Meg who he is now pledge to serve until he completes his trials and Zeus says he can be called a God again. Things are rough for Apollo. 1. His mortal name is Lester. 2. He has none of his godly powers. In archery he only hit the dead center. He only made one person cry when he played the guitar. 3. He has acne. 4. He has no idea of why he’s being punished for one of his son’s role in the rising of the Giants and Gaea. That’s totally not fair but then again when has Zeus ever been fair. With the help of some familiar faces, *cough* Percy Jackson *cough* Apollo is taken to Camp Half Blood where he finds that the sins of his past are coming back to haunt him and also it turns out that not everyone loved him before. With the help of the demigods, Apollo must face the trials to prove his worth and take down probably the biggest threat to humanity so far. No big deal. For those who miss characters from previous books, some show up here and we get updates on a few others and hints that others will be making appearances in later books. But what I like the most about Riordan’s writing is how he incorporates tough subjects into his stories without be heavy handed. Like how he handled Nico’s coming to terms with his sexuality. Here, we have one character deal with emotional abuse. It was heartbreaking to read and I feel it will only get worse before it gets better but no less important to talk about. I also love his sense of humor. Apollo isn’t as sarcastic as Percy or as sassy as Magnus but he is not without a sense of humor. Even when he isn’t in on the joke. All in all, this was a very promising start to the series and I can’t wait to see what happens next when Apollo aka Lester takes the show on the road.
My to-read pile is going to get a little bit of work out in the next couple of weeks. Not only is the The Raven King finally coming (just in case you haven’t heard) but several other books I’ve been waiting to read are also coming out. Apparently May 3 is the day to release books with four books on my list. It’s also the time for series to end with The Raven Cycle, The 5th Wave, The Selection, and the Taking series are all coming into their conclusions. It’s strange how so many of my series are ending this year but I guess that’s just the way it worked out. This is all great but I wish they all were spaced out a little bit. I can only read so much at a time.