Book Review: The Mark of Athena

The Mark of Athena (The Heroes of Olympus, #3)The Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ick. Well, that's not really fair, I guess. The story kept me reading and sucked me in like all the other stories about Percy and his friends. However a lot (A LOT) of the dialog was inauthentic and whenever Rick Riordan tried to appeal to teen readers with his writing it was awkward, weird, and just difficult to read. The "romantic" scenes felt particularly forced.

However. I am DYING to read the next book and still really love and am interested in all of these characters. The action, pacing, and intrigue were as good as ever. Three stars because of the awkward dialogue being balanced out by a lot of great things.

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Blog Tour: A Holiday Miracle

Welcome bloggers and blog readers!  I am excited to once again participate in a blog tour for Cedar Fort.  This time was particularly fun because I am definitely thinking a lot about Christmas and feeling ready for the Christmas season to get started.

This is June McCrary Jacobs.  Isn't she cute?  I just wanna hug her.
This is June's book.  Love the cover.  LOVE.  So Christmas-y and romantic and absolutely pretty.

This book was an ultra quick read (which is perfect when you want to read a little romance and feel a little boost of Christmas spirit, but you don't have time because, you know... life).  The story moved quickly and didn't leave time for the reader to be bored.

This book was clean -- squeaky, blessedly clean.  Love it!!!  I have read some "clean" romances that aren't exactly clean, but this one definitely was.  I am always so grateful for that.  I hate having to constantly be on my guard when it comes to the content of books.  I hate having to skip paragraphs or pages.  I definitely didn't have to be on my guard with this book.

This book told a lovely story... a story about a little girl and her family going through something difficult and traumatic and their community that comes together to make a difference.  What a heart-warming and sweet way to remind us of the good we can do when we step outside ourselves and love our neighbor.

Thank you, June and thank you Cedar Fort for letting me be a part of this blog tour.  I am grateful to be reminded ahead of time that I should love and serve more, especially at Christmas.

Happy day and [early] happy Christmas!!!


Blog Tour: Carla Kelly's Christmas Collection

Carla Kelly's Christmas CollectionCarla Kelly's Christmas Collection by Carla Kelly
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Welcome Carla Kelly fans... new, old, and soon-to-be... I am glad to be participating in this blog tour. A big thanks to Cedar Fort for giving me the opportunity to read this book and be a part of this.

I am now in a Christmas-y mood.  What fun!  I usually put my tree up the day after Halloween... I know that'll bug some people... but I love it! So, no hating. ;)

So, this book is comprised of four short stories.  The first three were, to me, the most Christmas-y.

The first story is about a father looking for the right husband for his bookish daughter.  He has someone in mind, but so does his son. And so does his other daughter.  The man he has picked is scholarly and scatterbrained and just a bit... oblivious. He sticks his foot in his mouth a lot. A lot, a lot.  The pick by her brother is everything a woman might seem to wish for: handsome, important, wealthy, worldly... and a little bit pompous.  The final candidate is not so much spoken about other than that he is lame.  Misunderstandings, confusion, and all around chaos ensues.  It was fun and a little silly with a sweet romance mixed in.

The second story is about a small town with a crummy choir.  Mrs. Chard (The Dowager Lady Wythe) is determined to change that.  It is also about Peter Chard, a single father with two children, Will and Emma.  Somehow Peter gets roped into recruiting new singers for the choir.  Along the way he meets a beautiful, if slightly common, woman.  She is pregnant and a widow... living with her late husband's family and quite unwelcome.  Yet another lovely love story that made me want to snuggle up and drink cocoa.

The third story is about a sea captain who loses his first mate  in a battle with the French. He is battle weary and hardened by all he has seen.  His ship is broken and will require some repairs.  After holing up at Portsmouth he is surprised to meet the niece and nephew of his late first mate... they've come to him with nowhere else to go.  Since he is dead our lovely sea captain takes them under his wing for Christmas -- returning to his estranged mother and brother.  A lovely story that talks about how events can change us for better or for worse and how the worst events can still make us strong and good people.  It also broaches the topic of attitude in adversity.  I quite appreciated the deeper moral here.  The love story was also sweet and the protagonists were flawed, but likeable.

The final story is about a girl, Sarah Comstock, fleeing French-occupied Spain.  She meets up with an old friend of her brother's (her brother was shot and killed while trying to copy some old letters concerning Columbus).  The friend she meets up with ends up just kind of... disappearing, which was a little strange.  This friend left her in the care of Colonel Sotomayor.  After some trouble from the French, Sarah and the colonel find themselves separated from the other soldiers and being hunted for some as yet unknown reason by the French.
Because this is set in Spain they talk about the way the Spanish celebrate Christmas.  It feels well-researched and authentic.  It doesn't entirely feel Christmas-y, but that is a small thing.

Overall, I really, really enjoyed this collection of Christmas stories.  I want to purchase the paperback just so that when I feel like being in a Christmas-y mood I'll have a good, cozy book to snuggle up with and get lost in for a moment.

I don't feel as though I wasted my time at all and, like I said, I feel like buying this book -- an indication of my approval.

Here it is, October 8th... Christmas will be here before you know it.  If you are like me and can't hardly wait, then get this book now and read it!  If you like waiting until after Thanksgiving, then make sure you get this book and have it ready... the day after Thanksgiving will arrive and this book will definitely put you in a very holiday mood.  It is a lovely, festive read that will touch your heart and make you smile.

Thanks for stopping by and... Happy (early) Christmas!

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