Blog Tour–This or That with Medusa from Goddess Girls: Medusa the Mean!

[Manga Maniac Café] Hi, Joan and Suzanne!  Thanks for dropping by!

[Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams] Hi, Julie! Thanks so much for hosting our Goddess Girls 8: Medusa the Mean blog tour!

Medusa insists on speaking for herself in your Character This or That. We hope that’s okay.

[Manga Maniac Café] Perfectly fine! I am not about to argue with a girl who has snakes for hair! 

Hi, Medusa!  Welcome to This or That! Would you like a cup of tea before we get started?

[Medusa] Don’t forget the cookies.  It’s a long journey from Mt Olympus.

[Manga Maniac Café] Of course!  Here you are, and let’s start This or That!

[Medusa] I guess…

[Manga Maniac Café] Water or Sand

[Medusa] With a sea monster mom and a seahog dad, I can swim like a fish. So, water! Definitely.

[Manga Maniac Café] Blue or Red

[Medusa] Hmm. Blue is pretty close to my favorite color, green. And red is the complement of green. So, neither. I choose green.

[Manga Maniac Café] Sun or Stars

[Medusa] Stars, like the ones I have in my eyes when I look at my supercrush, Poseidon.

[Manga Maniac Café] Walking or Running

[Medusa] Running. I’m a mortal at an immortal school. I’ve got to move it to keep up. At times, it’s hard for me. But that’s my little secret.

[Manga Maniac Café] Birds or Fish

[Medusa] Fish, because I can swim like one. And Poseidon is godboy of the sea. Duh. We are so perfect for each other. Why can’t he see that?

[Manga Maniac Café] Hot or Cold

[Medusa] Cold. It’s better for my pet snakes. I have a dozen on my head. Did you notice? I used to think they were a pain, but now they’re my pets. I even gave each of them names.

[Manga Maniac Café] Food or Drink

[Medusa] Drink, because it reminds me of water, which reminds me of swimming, which I’m good at.

[Manga Maniac Café] Singing or Dancing

[Medusa] Dancing. If I win a chance to be in Principal Zeus’s wedding, I’m going to dance the night away!

[Manga Maniac Café] Naughty or Nice

[Medusa] I never play nice!

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you, Medusa! 


Goddess Girls: Medusa the Mean is available now!  You can order a copy from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below:

Thank you {teen} Book Scene for arranging this meeting with Joan, Suzanne, and Medusa!

Review by Elsa–The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

 

Title: The Son of Neptune

Author:  Rick Riordan

Publisher:  Disney Hyperion

ISBN: 978-1423140597

 

{ED. Here is another review written by my young friend, Elsa.  Good work, kiddo!}

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Percy is confused. When he awoke after his long sleep, he didn’t know much more than his name. His brain-fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa told him he is a demigod and trained him to fight. Somehow Percy managed to make it to the camp for half-bloods, despite the fact that he had to continually kill monsters that, annoyingly, would not stay dead. But the camp doesn’t ring any bells with him.
Hazel is supposed to be dead. When she lived before, she didn’t do a very good job of it. When the Voice took over her mother and commanded Hazel to use her “gift” for an evil purpose, Hazel couldn’t say no. Now, because of her mistake, the future of the world is at risk.
Frank is a klutz. His grandmother claims he is descended from ancient heroes and can be anything he wants to be, but he doesn’t see it. He doesn’t even know who his father is. He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery—although not good enough to help the Fifth Cohort win at war games. His big and bulky physique makes him feel like a clumsy ox, especially in front of Hazel, his closest friend at camp. He trusts her completely—enough, even, to share the secret he holds close to his heart.
Beginning at the “other” camp for half-bloods and extending as far north as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment in the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and features other remarkable creatures, all of whom are destined to play a part in the most important quest of all: the Prophecy of Seven.

Review:

I wanted to read The Son of Neptune because I have read the Jackson Chronicles before. It was an exciting, action packed fiction book. The book taught you that the importance of believing in what you want, sticking by your friends’ side and standing your ground were key. When I read “The Lost Hero”, the book before the Son of Neptune, I knew that Rick Riordan was a great author and I would love all of his books. Also, like the Hunger Games, it has the power to make you realize what you want in life.

I liked Percy as the protagonist. He was definitely gutsier in this book than the rest. I can say that I liked everything and I didn’t hate anything. Rick Riordan is another author that I am officially obsessed with.  I had such a hard time putting his books down and stepping away from Percy.  Would he survive the pressure?  Would something worse happen to Frank and Hazel? I need to read the rest of Rick Riordan’s books!

Hope you like my reviews so far and try to catch the next one coming soon!!!!

~Elsa

 

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Interview with Jessica Therrien, Author of Oppression

Jessica Therrien is the author of Oppression, her debut YA novel and the kick-off of her Children of the Gods series.  I am a sucker for anything based on Greek mythology, so I excited when  Jessica dropped by the virtual offices to discuss her new series.

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Jessica Therrien] I’m a closet goofball, T.V. addict, pajama lovin’ YA book fanatic. I married my crush. I’m 26. I enjoy writing and singing in the shower.

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about Oppression?

[Jessica Therrien] OPPRESSION tells the story of Elyse, a seemingly young woman with an extraordinary ability and a unique destiny. Elyse ages five times slower than the average human, which means that even though she appears to be almost eighteen, she’s nearly a century old. When her parents died, she believed herself to be the only one in the world with such a condition. But after moving to San Francisco, determined to keep herself hidden and alone in the middle of the big city, she quickly discovers she’s not alone. On the contrary, there’s a whole society of people just like her, who age five times slower than normal people, and who have strange, almost magical abilities.

Overall it’s a love story full of heartbreaking conflict and that last shred of hope.

[Manga Maniac Café] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Jessica Therrien] The concept was just an intriguing thought I had after realizing that some of the places in Greek Mythology are actually thought to exist. What if other parts of mythology were real? What if there was some explanation for the myths, like the Greek gods were never really gods, just a supernatural race of people whose abilities were embellished?

The characters started off being based on people I know. I was falling in love with my husband as I was writing Oppression, so he was my inspiration for William. Once the book got going, though, the characters developed into themselves and my creative brain just sort of took over.

[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing the story?

[Jessica Therrien] Editing was the hardest part for me. I had to do some re-writes. It was extremely difficult for me to tear into my manuscript after I had already considered it “finished.” Little did I know, I had yet to write the best parts. The rewrites were well worth it.

[Manga Maniac Café] What are three things Elyse would never have in her backpack?

[Jessica Therrien] A ball gown. Make up. A banner that says, “I’m going to save the world.”

[Manga Maniac Café]  What are your greatest creative influences?

[Jessica Therrien] Most of my creative influences are people….My mother and sister, my husband, my critique partner Holly, Molly the Magnificent (as I call her) with ZOVA Books. Also, amazing authors such as JK Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, & Moira Young.

And…I really have to say the writers of The Vampire Diaries T.V. show. They are masters of plot.

[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Jessica Therrien] I need to be in the mood to write, and that’s it.

I’ll write on a napkin in a noisy restaurant if an idea strikes. Eventually, I do need my computer so I can put it all in my manuscript, but that’s obvious.

[Manga Maniac Café] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Jessica Therrien] Harry Potter. I had never read anything so fast in my life. It officially started my eternal search for the next suck-me-in-go-without-sleep kind of book.

[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Jessica Therrien] Watch T.V. J That’s mostly because I’m tired after a long days work. If I had more time, I would concentrate on my other hobbies: playing guitar, sewing, making jewelry, scrapbooking…I know, basically I’m a grandma trapped in this 26-year-old body.

Thanks for a wonderful interview!!

[Manga Maniac Café] Thank you!


You can learn more about Jessica by visiting her at the following websites:

GoodReads

Blog

Twitter

Facebook

Oppression is out now!  You can order a copy from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below:

 

Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She’s been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, that she ages five times slower than average people, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she’s closer to eighty. Second, that her blood has a mysterious power to heal. For Elyse, these things don’t make her special. They make life dangerous. After the death of her parents, she’s been careful to keep her secret as closely guarded as possible. Now, only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability. Or so she thinks. Elyse is not the only one keeping secrets. There are others like her all over the world, descendants of the very people the Greeks considered gods. She is one of them, and they have been waiting for her for a long time. Some are waiting for her to put an end to centuries of traditions that have oppressed their people under the guise of safeguarding them. Others are determined to keep her from doing just that. But for Elyse, the game is just beginning – and she’s not entirely willing to play by their rules.,

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Review: Oppression by Jessica Therrien

 

Title: Oppression

Author:  Jessica Therrien

Publisher: ZOVA Books

ISBN: 978-0984035045

 

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

Elyse knows what it means to keep a secret. She’s been keeping secrets her whole life. Two, actually. First, that she ages five times slower than average people, so that while she looks eighteen years old, she’s closer to eighty. Second, that her blood has a mysterious power to heal. For Elyse, these things don’t make her special. They make life dangerous. After the death of her parents, she’s been careful to keep her secret as closely guarded as possible. Now, only one other person in the world knows about her age and ability. Or so she thinks. Elyse is not the only one keeping secrets. There are others like her all over the world, descendants of the very people the Greeks considered gods. She is one of them, and they have been waiting for her for a long time. Some are waiting for her to put an end to centuries of traditions that have oppressed their people under the guise of safeguarding them. Others are determined to keep her from doing just that. But for Elyse, the game is just beginning – and she’s not entirely willing to play by their rules.

Review:

I love Greek mythology, so when I first saw Oppression, I immediately added it to my TBR.  Jessica Therrien is a debut author, which added even more weight to my desire to read the book.  I love discovering new titles and new authors, so I was definitely eager to start reading this.

I love the premise.  Elyse is a Descendant, a race of people once considered gods.  She ages much slower than normal humans, and her blood can heal.  Since the death of her parents, she has been alone, keeping her abilities a secret.  Her only friend is Anna, a woman she has known since childhood.  Elyse knows nothing about her background or her people.  All she knows is that she is different.  When she meets William, a mysterious and handsome young man, she is suddenly thrust into a strange and dangerous new world.  William is also a Descendant, and he holds the answers that Elyse is desperately seeking.

While I liked Elyse, I did not feel much affection for William.  He knows all about Elyse, and at first, he refuses to divulge his knowledge.  There is a scary girl stalking her, so I thought that telling Elyse what was going would have been the gentlemanly thing for William to do.  But, no, William flat out refuses to tell her.  He throws little tidbits of information to her throughout the book, which put him in a position of power over her that I did not like.  I did not think he was cute or sexy, and I was hoping like heck that some other guy would suddenly appear and treat her like an equal, instead of like a child.  No such luck.  I can’t tell you how irritating it was for me when he called her “adorable”  because she was confused and apprehensive about her safety.  It didn’t endear him to me. It was mean and patronizing, and it made me wish that Elyse would fall for some other guy.  This particular trope is used far too often in YA, and it drives me batty every time I encounter it.

Other aspects of the story did work for me, though.  Elyse must keep her bloodline and abilities a secret, and she can never help ordinary humans.  This causes one heck of a dilemma for her when her best friend, Anna, is diagnosed with an illness.  Should she use her powers to cure her? Will the Council, the group of individuals who rule over the Descendants, let Anna live if she does cure her friend? 

Over time, the Council has become cruel and corrupt, and they don’t hesitate to severely punish anyone who goes against their rules.  They have taken enormous interest in Elyse because of a prophesy, and they want to keep her firmly under their control.  Kara, the scary stalker girl, works for the Council, and she has been charged with keeping an eye on Elyse and reporting back with every little thing she does.  Kara is even more frightening because she can read minds.  There are no secrets safe from her, which Elyse quickly discovers.  I thought that was an unfair advantage that the bad guys possessed, but, hey, I guess all is fair in love and war.  The Descendant Kara works for is freaky, too.  He’s from the line of Ares, and he is brutally violent.  He takes pleasure in making others suffer.  He is a super scary guy, and I came to dread his entrance into scenes with as much trepidation as Elyse.  Ugh! I kept hoping he would just DIE!  While he was one-dimensional, he was still fun to hate.

While certain story threads didn’t work for me, I am interested enough in the ones that did to read the next installment of the Children Of The Gods.  I think that fans of Bree Despain and Lauren Kate will feel right at home here.

Grade: Waffling between a B and B-

Review copy provided by author

 

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Interview with Madeline Miller, Author of The Song of Achilles

Madeline Miller is the author of The Song of Achilles, a retelling of the Iliad.  I love Greek mythology, so I was delighted when Madeline dropped by the virtual offices to tell us more about her book.

[Manga Maniac Café] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Madeline Miller] Teacher, writer, director, reader, in any order. Flusterable yet determined, a hang-on-I-need-to-think-about-it type. Adventure lover.

[Manga Maniac Café] Can you tell us a little about The Song of Achilles?

[Madeline Miller] The Song of Achilles is a retelling of the myths around the Greek hero Achilles, narrated by his closest friend and lover, Patroclus. The story begins with the two meeting as boys and continues up through the events of Homer’s Iliad and beyond.

[Manga Maniac Café] What drew you to Patroclus and made you want to tell his story?

[Madeline Miller] What initially got me interested in Patroclus wasn’t the man himself—he’s actually a very minor character in the Iliad—but Achilles’ intense and shocking reaction to his death. The great hero, when he hears that Patroclus has been killed, is plunged into utter, grief-stricken despair. I was very moved by that, and also intrigued. Why does Patroclus mean so much to Achilles?

The more I learned about him, the more interested I was. He is a fascinating person, from his disastrous childhood, to his devotion to Achilles, to his characterization as “always gentle.” I became determined to give him the chance to speak for himself.

[Manga Maniac Café] Did you feel any apprehension when you started to tackle this project?

[Madeline Miller] I should have! But at the time I was too entranced with the story. I felt almost like a scribe, sitting down to take Patroclus’ dictation. Little did I know that it would be ten years of writing and re-writing before I would be finished.

[Manga Maniac Café] What was the most challenging aspect of writing The Song of Achilles?

[Madeline Miller] Finding Patroclus’ voice. From the beginning Patroclus’ personality and perspective were very clear to me—they were the bedrock of my story. But figuring out his diction and speech patterns was very challenging. I actually wrote a full draft of the story and ended up throwing it out and rewriting it from scratch, because I wasn’t happy with how I had him speaking. Finally, after lots of blundering around, I found something that felt right.

[Manga Maniac Café] Why do you think Homer’s works have endured over the centuries?

[Madeline Miller] Homer is timeless because his work is built on the universal truths of human experience. Take away the trappings of divinity and royalty and his characters emerge as utterly real—just like us in their flaws, follies and virtues. And, of course, they are also great stories, full of adventure and action.

[Manga Maniac Café] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Madeline Miller] Though I do sometimes jot down a sentence or two on paper, I need my computer for serious writing. My longhand isn’t fast enough to keep up with my thoughts, but my typing is!

I have never been one of those people who can listen to music while I write. I need total quiet to be able to hear my own thoughts.

No internet. If my browser is open, it’s so easy to fall down the internet rabbit-hole rather than work. I do best when I just turn off the house’s wifi for a while.

[Manga Maniac Café] Other than The Iliad and The Odyssey, can you share some books that turned you on to reading?

[Madeline Miller] I absolutely loved and read to pieces this old series of books by Walter R. Brooks called “Freddy the Pig.” I cannot recommend it highly enough—they are amazing.

Reading “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” in eighth grade was a revelation. I am sure that most of it went right over my head, but what I did understand completely wrecked me.

One of my favorite books of all time is “Watership Down.” The Iliad and Odyssey and Aeneid with Rabbits.

In high school, discovering Lorrie Moore’s books was a life-changing experience for me as a reader and writer both. Ditto, Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar.”

My senior year of high school, I picked up “Moby-Dick,” expecting it to be terrible and boring, and was shocked to find it not only totally engaging but hilarious as well. That will teach me to judge a book by its ponderous reputation! I just had a similar experience a year ago when I started reading “Middlemarch.” Why hadn’t anyone told me George Eliot was so funny?

[Manga Maniac Café] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Madeline Miller] I like to be active—taking walks or hikes, exercising, even just puttering around the house. Visiting with friends, playing games, traveling. And, of course, reading!

[Manga Maniac Café] Thanks!


You can learn more about  Madeline by visiting the following websites:

Website: www.madelinemiller.com

Twitter: @MillerMadeline

Facebook: Madeline Miller

Facebook: The Song of Achilles

The Song of Achilles is available in print and digital format.  You can order a copy from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below:

Teaser Tuesday–Above World and The Song of Achilles

Jenn Reese’s Above World is a compelling Middle Grade read.  I like both protagonists, and I am worried about their continued health and  safety.  In order to save their people, they are willing to take dangerous risks even the adults of their city refused to undertake.  So far, they are not having an easy time, either!

Aluna scowled at the mention of etiquette, but didn’t fuss.  She’d put up with far more than social humiliation in order to train with the hunters back home.  Warrior training!  Suddenly, being a prisoner didn’t seem like such a bad fate after all.

 

I love Greek mythology, so I had an attack of giddy anticipation when I saw that Madeline Miller wrote a book about Achilles and Patroclus.  I love these characters, and could hardly wait to dive into the book.  I only just started it, but I am already hooked.  (The picture is from the UK cover – I like that one better than the US version)

I waited for him to make a joke out of it, some witty jape about my disgrace.  He did not.  Perhaps, I thought, he is too stupid to.

He rolled onto his side to face me.  A stray lock of gold fell half into his eyes; he blew it away.  “My name is Achilles.”

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

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