The Dark Prophecy (Trials of Apollo #2) by Rick Riordan

dark prophecyTitle: Trials of Apollo: The Dark Prophecy
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Published: 30th April 2018
Format: Paperback
Pages: 528
Price: $17.99
Synopsis: The second title in Rick Riordan’s Trials of Apollo series – set in the action-packed world of Percy Jackson.
The god Apollo, cast down to earth and trapped in the form of a gawky teenage boy as punishment, must set off on the second of his harrowing (and hilarious) trials.
He and his companions seek the ancient oracles – restoring them is the only way for Apollo to reclaim his place on Mount Olympus – but this is easier said than done.
Somewhere in the American Midwest is a haunted cave that may hold answers for Apollo in his quest to become a god again . . . if it doesn’t kill him or drive him insane first. Standing in Apollo’s way is the second member of the evil Triumvirate – a Roman emperor whose love of bloodshed and spectacle makes even Nero look tame.
To survive the encounter, Apollo will need the help of a now-mortal goddess, a bronze dragon, and some familiar demigod faces from Camp Half-Blood. With them by his side, can Apollo face down the greatest challenge of his four thousand years of existence?

~*~

As I work my way (slowly, mainly due to other commitments) through these four books after being sent the latest by the publisher after the publication date, I’m finding the way the author includes mythology and ancient history in the modern world amidst modern issues interesting. It is first and foremost the mythology that I am interested in, and as I was sent book four late last year, decided to read the first three so I knew what to expect and what was going on.

There are some series that I find easy to read out of order, as they tend to be their own singular stories that are linked through a theme, genre or character. However, there are some that I do feel need to be read in order, and this one is one of those series. As Apollo moves through his tasks to earn back his immortality from Zeus, he keeps running into Meg, and is accompanied by Leo Valdez and sorceress Calypso as they journey across America in pursuit of Nero and those who are trying to stop Apollo.

Apollo often references all kinds of literary and musical highlights and has a running commentary about how good he is – and how he is responsible for certain bands and songs. This is secondary to the ongoing plot, and Apollo’s godlike mind and memories is at constant odds with what his mortal teenage body is capable of.

The combination of Greek and Roman elements makes sense as the Romans would eventually usurp the Greek society and culture and assign their own names to the Greek gods, goddesses and heroes. As someone who loves reading about Greek mythology, I find the way it is used in contemporary literature interesting, as each retelling and reimagining is unique, and some are very cleverly done. At the very least, this series makes it accessible to new readers and this will hopefully spark an interest in Greek mythology beyond this series.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Ravenclaw Edition) by J.K. Rowling

ravenclaw goblet of fireTitle: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Ravenclaw Edition)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Published: 23rd January 2020
Format: Hardcover, Paperback
Pages: 640
Price: Hardcover: $32.99, Paperback: $21.99
Synopsis: Let the magic of J.K. Rowling’s classic Harry Potter series take you back to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This Ravenclaw House Edition of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire celebrates the noble character of the Hogwarts house famed for its wit, learning and wisdom. Harry’s fourth year at Hogwarts is packed with more great Ravenclaw moments and characters, including the return of Moaning Myrtle, who – with typical Ravenclaw intelligence – helps Harry solve a crucial clue in the Triwizard Tournament.

Each Ravenclaw House Edition features vibrant sprayed edges and intricate bronze foiling. The Goblet of Fire blazes at the very centre of the front cover, framed by stunning iconography that draws on themes and moments from J.K. Rowling’s much-loved story. In addition to a bespoke introduction and exclusive insights into the magical paintings of Hogwarts, the book also boasts new illustrations by Kate Greenaway winner Levi Pinfold, including a spectacular portrait of master wand-maker, Ollivander. All seven books in the series will be issued in these highly collectable, beautifully crafted House Editions, designed to be treasured and read for years to come.

A must-have for anyone who has ever imagined sitting under the Sorting Hat in the Great Hall at Hogwarts waiting to hear the words, ‘Better be RAVENCLAW!’

When the Quidditch World Cup is disrupted by Voldemort’s rampaging supporters alongside the resurrection of the terrifying Dark Mark, it is obvious to Harry Potter that, far from weakening, Voldemort is getting stronger. Back at Hogwarts for his fourth year, Harry is astonished to be chosen by the Goblet of Fire to represent the school in the Triwizard Tournament. The competition is dangerous, the tasks terrifying, and true courage is no guarantee of survival – especially when the darkest forces are on the rise. It is the summer holidays and soon Harry Potter will be starting his fourth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry is counting the days: there are new spells to be learnt, more Quidditch to be played, and Hogwarts castle to continue exploring. But Harry needs to be careful – there are unexpected dangers lurking.
~*~

The 20th anniversary editions of the Harry Potter books are being released in house colours – red for Gryffindor, yellow for Hufflepuff, blue for Ravenclaw and green for Slytherin, often with additional house information and information about characters in that house who are side characters, such as Garrick Ollivander in the Ravenclaw edition, Rubeus Hagrid in the Gryffindor edition, Cedric Diggory in the Hufflepuff edition and Voldemort in the Slytherin edition. I received a hardcover Ravenclaw edition to review from Bloomsbury, and it’s beautifully put together – the story is there, but it is the additional information that is interesting, as well as revisiting the story.

The additional information also gives insights into Moaning Myrtle and indicates that she was in Ravenclaw when she was alive. Moaning Myrtle has a key part in one area of The Goblet of Fire, and it is always fun to see characters we have met before return, like Dobby. I love reading the books because I think the movies miss out on so much and presume a lot of their viewers – that they’ve read the books, and can they fill in the gaps. Perhaps this is where knowing the books helps fill in those gaps, and why I prefer the books. I remember the time this book came out – it was the year I met my best friend, Laura, and it was Laura and her mother who got me into the books, and for that, I am grateful and that is what makes them special to me – Laura and Liz are in those pages for me.

In the Goblet of Fire, we are at the midway point of the series – where everything changes. Up until now, there have been hints at Voldemort coming back, but not quite, and now, the threats are real, and slowly, across the novel, build up to the darkest ending so far, and starts a new death count of significant characters in the series. It is a turning point for everything and hurtles our once innocent characters into a stage of their lives where they are in more danger than ever before, and nobody knows who will survive what is to come, and who won’t.

A nice addition to a collector’s series of the Harry Potter books.

 

My 2020 Reading Challenges

2020 Reading Challenge

In 2020, I have decided to take part in four specific reading challenges, and one overall challenge. The overall challenge will be my total books read between these four challenges, reviewing and my work as a quiz writer, and I am aiming to read 165 books in total. Below are the other challenges I am taking part in. Many categories will be easy to fill and I have books in mind that will fill multiple categories, though as usual, will aim as much as possible to read something different for each one, even if this means I end up with multiple entries for some. Some categories, like the audiobook one, may not be met, as I typically don’t read audiobooks – I tend to let anything I listen to like radio, music or podcasts fade into the background whilst working and I fell this would happen tenfold with an audiobook and I would not get much out of it.

Below are the blank lists and cards for the challenges, ready for me to start filling in from tomorrow. It should be interesting, as some are quite broad and others very specific whilst some fall somewhere in between. I’m sure I’ll fill as many as possible, as I did this year, 2019, and will aim to review as many as possible.

My December, yearly wrap and 2019 challenge wraps will appear during the first week of 2020.

My challenges:

 

modern mrs darcy

The Modern Mrs Darcy – signed up via a blog and will aim to read as many as I can off of this list of twelve. Instead of doing the PopSugar one this year, I have opted for this and another as the PopSugar one is getting very, very specific and I fear that I would struggle to find some of the necessary books, and I’d rather do a challenge where I can fit the book I read to a category in a more general way, rather than trying to force it too, or not being able to find the right book to fit a category. This only has thirteen categories, so will be easier and some may end up with multiple reads.
THE MODERN MRS. DARCY
2020 Reading Challenge
a book published the decade you were born:
a debut novel:
a book recommended by a source you trust:
a book by a local author:
a book outside your (genre) comfort zone:
a book in translation:
a book nominated for an award in 2020:
a re-read:
a classic you didn’t read in school:
three books by the same author:
1.
2.
3.

The Nerd Daily – this one has a few more specific categories, but they can likely be stretched and will align with other challenges. The good thing with this one, with categories like New York Times bestseller, is that it doesn’t specify a year, or genre, so is open to interpretation. I like challenges like this, as it gives freedom to read without worrying about anything too specific and also, it allows me to fit in my review and work reading into these challenges, which helps when trying to fit a book to a category that can seem overly prescriptive, but is often easier than it seems.

2020-Reading-Challenge nerd daily

The Nerd Daily 2020 Challenge
1. Author Starting with A
2. Female Author
3. Purchased on Holidays
4. 2020 Film Adaptation
5. Fantasy or SciFi
6. Recommended by Us (Group)
7. Under 200 pages
8. Six Word Title
9. Written by two authors
10. Mystery/thriller
11. Green Cover
12. Recommended by a friend
13. Set in the past
14. 2019 Goodreads Choice Winner
15. A book you never finished
16. Protagonist starting with H
17. Reread
18. Non-fiction
19. Released in February
20. Part of a duology
21. New York times best seller
22. Recommended by family
23. Over 500 pages
24. An award-winning book
25. Orange cover
26. Bookstore recommended
27. A number in the title
28. An audiobook
29. Debut author
30. Inspired my mythology/folklore
31. A retelling
32. A one-word title
33. Bought based on cover
34. Author starting with M
35. Start a new series
36. A book released in 2019
37. Male author
38. 2020 TV Adaptation
39. A book gifted to you
40. Author with a hyphenated name
41. Released in September
42. Purchased years ago
43. A standalone
44. Author with the same initials
45. Told from two perspectives
46. Romance or thriller
47. A protagonist starting with S
48. Two-word title
49. Set in a foreign country
50. Animal featured in cover
51. Written by your favourite author
52. Based or inspired by a true story

Australian Women Writers Challenge – I’ve done this every year for the past three or four years and am also the Children’s/YA editor – which means I collate the monthly and yearly reviews into a nice little reporting post for each month throughout the year. In 2020, we will be combining the two, so I need to find a work around to include at least four of each. As this is an area I studied and work in now, I enjoy putting these together, and writing my own reviews on the books.

AWW2020Australian Women Writers Challenge – 25

Book Bingo – 2020 marks the third year I’ve done book bingo with Theresa and Amanda. On 2018, I managed to fill out two bingo cards – I was overly eager and didn’t want to forget to add anything, so I had at least fifty books that year in book bingo. Last year, we had 30 squares to fill – which meant a few double ups throughout the year. Both of those years, we were posting every second Saturday in each month to make sure we filled the card. This year, we’ve gone sparkly and fancy – and have twelve very general categories (after certain debacles and issues with overly specific categories, we decided to do it this way). So one post a month, on the second Saturday of the month so we can keep on top of this, our other challenges and work.

 

Book Bingo 2020 clean.jpg

Themes of culture
Themes of inequality
Themes of Crime and Justice
Themes of politics and power
About the environment
Prize winning book
Friendship, family and love
Coming of age
Set in a time of war
Set in a place you dream of visiting
Set in an era you’d love to travel back in time to
A classic you’ve never read before

So those are my 2020 challenges! I hope to fill in as many as possible and will aim to post updates throughout the year.