Flame of Olympus
Middle Grade / Juvenile / July 28, 2017

Pegasus #1. Author: Kate O’Hearn. Summary: When Pegasus crashes onto a Manhattan roof during a terrible storm, Emily’s life changes forever. Suddenly allied with a winged horse she’d always thought was mythical, Emily is thrust into the center of a fierce battle between the Roman gods and a terrifying race of multiarmed stone warriors called the Nirads. Emily must team up with a thief named Paelen, the goddess Diana, and a boy named Joel in order to return Pegasus to Olympus and rescue the gods from a certain death. Along the way, Emily and her companions will fight monsters, run from a government agency that is prepared to dissect Pegasus, and even fly above the Manhattan skyline—all as part of a quest to save Olympus before time runs out. (Published Summary) My Thoughts: Flame of Olympus is definitely on the lower end of middle-grade age ranges. It was too simplistic and obvious on all counts to really appeal to me; I saw the plot twist coming within about two sentences of the first lead-in, and all the character development was laid out very explicitly. More, while I do enjoy a good story with Greek/Roman mythology, I didn’t really appreciate all…

The Chaos of Stars
Young Adult / March 18, 2017

Author: Kiersten White. Summary: Isadora’s family is seriously screwed up—which comes with the territory when you’re the human daughter of the ancient Egyptian gods Isis and Osiris. Isadora is tired of living with crazy relatives who think she’s only worthy of a passing glance—so when she gets the chance to move to California with her brother, she jumps on it. But her new life comes with plenty of its own dramatic—and dangerous—complications . . . and Isadora quickly learns there’s no such thing as a clean break from family. (Published Summary.) My Thoughts: The Chaos of Stars is a fun, light-hearted read for when you need something fluffy. There’s nothing amazingly inventive or new about the presence of Egyptian god/ess parents, but they do add humor. The thing you have to accept is that this is actually a story about Isadora making real friends, exploring her passion (interior design. How awesome is that?) and falling in love. There’s theoretically a save-the-world theme running behind the scenes, but it doesn’t really work; recurring nightmares through six-sevenths of a book, then an abrupt final bad-guy reveal and subsequent defeat, are not enough to make that an actual plot arc. Overall nothing special,…

The Sword of Summer
Middle Grade / Juvenile / August 30, 2016

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1. Author: Rick Riordan. Summary: Magnus Chase is a homeless kid who’s mother is dead. He’s doing pretty well, surviving by his wits and a pair of friends, but everything goes wrong one day. First his uncle is trying to track him down for the first time in years, then a fire-god attacks him, and the next thing he knows he’s dead. Things just get weirder from there when he finds himself in Asgard. Content Review: Sexual content: Once a character wakes up to someone knocking on his door and hastens to open it before realizing he’s in his underthings. Language: 1 d***, a couple of uses of the exclamation “gods”. Violence: High. Too high to go into details; not very detailed or graphic, but there’s a lot of fighting and stabbing, and due to the nature of the story there’s a good bit of ‘killing’ of ghosts who just come back. Other issues: The main character is homeless, admits to having stolen before. The story is about Norse gods being real, and he interacts with them after dying.