172 Hours on the Moon Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“In space, no one can hear you scream.”

Genre: Science Fiction, Young Adult, Supernatural, Horror

Author: Johan Harsbad

Published April 5th 2012 by Atom

Pages: 368

Rating: 4/5

Originally written and published in Norway, 172 Hours on the Moon is a Scandanavian thriller which is downright terrifying. Despite the extremely slow start to the novel, it quickly picks up pace by the second half of the book to the point where is it difficult to put down. The timing of when I read this book is something I have to point out since its quite hilarious . . . and embarrassing for me lol I actually started to read this before my first solo trip to Italy and the events in the book completely paralleled closely with what happened in my life which made it even more creepy. Because here, we have characters who are leaving their homes to a place where they are all alone and have no one else close to them which did resemble my situation so I ended up putting this book aside to give my heart a break. Not to mention I was reading this at night because I’m a crazy like that 🙂

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Summary:

172 Hours on the Moon is a science fiction thriller where three teenagers win a week long trip to the moon with NASA. This is the organization’s attempt to increase the public’s interest in space travel and also create some sponsors for the program. In terms of my criticism, I found the whole premise of the story line to be a bit far-fetched since the idea of placing kids in outer space seemed unbelievable. Even astronauts require years of training before they can fly to outer space but the kids had to undergo a couple of months. I find that a bit strange. And why did it have to be teenagers? I think it would have done well even if the characters were adults. I assume the age range for the three main characters was probably small since this was targeted to be a young adult book. I also did not find myself having any interest for any of the main characters since I did not find them to be relatable at all. There was also a small romance aspect within the book which I thought was completely unnecessary since it did not progress so there was no need.

Despite these flaws. the only reason as to why I kept reading was because I knew from other book reviewers that the plot does not become interesting until they land on the moon. With that being said, if I did not know anything with regards to the book when I picked it up, I probably would not have finished reading it. But once they do land on the moon, things start to escalate pretty fast and so much to the point where I thought I was reading a completely different book!

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Coming to the actual core plot of the novel – this was absolutely fantastic. I am not sure why the author prolonged everything just to come to the moon since I found the prologue to be quite dull. I have noticed that the author had done a bit of research for this novel and it was even more evident through his interview in the last few pages of the book. For example, I loved how he incorporated a bit of the Japanese folklore into the story since it ties in very well within book, especially towards the end. Oh my gawd . . . THAT ENDING THOUGH!!! Still get chills thinking about it!

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All in all, I think the entire thriller/suspense aspect of the story made up for the lackluster character development. I did manage to finish this book after my trip from Italy of course. Overall, in terms of ratings, I gave this book 4/5 stars!

Have any of you read 172 Hours on the Moon? What were your thoughts on it? Let me know below!

Until next time, keep reading and I will see you all soon!

 

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Incriminating Dating Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Rebekah L. Purdy

Published April 10th 2017 by Entangled Crush

Pages – 189

GoodReads

Rating – 4/5

I am so excited to be part of the Blog Tour for Incriminating Dating! Thank you to Entangled Teen for providing me a copy on NetGalley for an honest review and including me within this tour! 

GoodReads Summary:

Ayla Hawkins is ready to stand up for change in her high school. But winning the election for class president against popular Jenna Lee will be impossible without a miracle. When she stumbles upon Mr. Perfect Luke Pressler defacing public property and catches it on camera: cue miracle. Ayla’s got the dirt she needs to get Luke on Team Ayla—in the form of her new fake boyfriend.

One mistake. All Luke wanted was a night to goof off, to blow off steam. The pressure of maintaining the perfect facade when his reality was crumbling around him had become too much, and next thing he knew, he was pretending to date Ayla Hawkins. But his little blackmailer turns out to be kind. Honorable. Opinionated. And just the breath of fresh air he didn’t even realize he was suffocating for. But Luke and Ayla come from different worlds, and once the election is over, their fauxmance will be, too.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book features adult language, sexual situations, and plenty of girl power. Reading may result in swooning, laughing, and looking for a Luke of your own.

 

Characters:

Ayla – Editor-in-chief of the school newspaper; Passionate for Drama Club –  I personally enjoyed reading from Ayla’s POV since I immediately loved her from the start. She is so fun, bright and very passionate about key issues within the school and society and is strong enough to bring them into the light. The fact that she had such nerdy interests (Doctor Who, Zelda, and Minecraft) and an obsession with Pizza made her even more adorable!

Luke – Star Basketball Player; Despite the image that he builds for himself in school, Luke is a teenager who is going through some tough situations at home and it is discovered through his relationship with Ayla that there is a lot more to him than what is initially known. He is a very complex character but that is what makes him so interesting. Side Note: I adored his little brother Landon – he was such a cutie! 🙂

 

My Thoughts

I personally enjoyed reading this novel and the characters truly helped make this such a fun read. While it is true that this novel is within the contemporary  genre and therefore, is a cute fluffy romance, it was still an enjoyable read since you see the character relationships grow in a decent pace which added to a realistic flow to the story. I also felt that the connection between Luke and Ayla was so genuine and real and you couldn’t help but root for them throughout the book.  Luke would give Ayla the confidence she needs to face her fears at school and Ayla is Luke’s pillar of support who always keeps him grounded and pushes him to make the right decisions.

Purdy also did an amazing job with her writing since it was so engaging and the alternate POVs had a clear distinct voice for each main character and it was not confusing when switching between the parts. Overall, the story did flow naturally from chapter to chapter and it did highlight some significant themes within our society. I would definitely recommend this if you would like a sweet, spring read! 🙂

 

About the author:
Rebekah was born and raised in Michigan where she spent many late nights armed with a good book and a flashlight. Shes lived in Michigan most of her life other than the few years she spent in the U.S. Army. At which time she got a chance to experience Missouri, Kansas, South Carolina, and California. Rebekah has a business degree from University of Phoenix and currently works full time for the court system. In her free time she writes YA stories, anything from YA Fantasy to YA Contemporary Romance. Rebekah also has a big family (6 kids), she likes to consider her family as the modern day Brady Bunch complete with crazy road trips and game nights. When not hiding at her computer, Rebekah enjoys reading, singing, soccer, swimming, football, camping, playing video games, traveling, and hanging out with her family and gazillion pets.

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Excerpt:

Before the football game got started, the announcer came over the loudspeakers to tell the fans about the booth. Hoots and hollers went up through the crowd, and soon we had a long line of students waiting for their turns.

I stood near the booth, making sure to thank everyone for coming out and to actually talk to them. Surprisingly, they seemed receptive to me and my ideas.

“I’m so glad you’re running,” a girl named Brooklyn said. “It’d be nice to have someone normal as president, you know. Someone who cares about the art programs.”

I smiled. “Thanks. I promise, I’ll be fighting hard for those things.”

When halftime rolled around, we still had students lined up. Partially because Stacy promised to post pics on our school newspaper’s social media pages, and partially because I think people liked the idea of taking crazy photos with the popular kids.

The volleyball team left to take their places on the field, and I trudged to one of the chairs behind the booth. I so wasn’t ready for this. Chloe sat next to me. Thank God I didn’t have to do this alone.

“Here, put on some red lipstick. You want to stand out, you know.” She laughed, dabbing my lips. “Now smack them together.”

Trying to ignore the small group standing around us, I did as she said. A few guys hopped into Chloe’s line for a pic, but mine didn’t have anyone yet. And of course the girls were lined for Brady and Jack. I glanced around nervously. This was kind of embarrassing—no one wanted to be seen with me. Did I have something stuck on my face? Maybe I wasn’t pretty enough. Then someone came to stand in front of me. My gaze slid up to find Luke. He held up a twenty-dollar bill, then put it into the can. What was he doing? I knew he didn’t have that kind of money. But my thoughts quickly turned from his money to the fact he was paying to take a picture with me.

“So, what do we want to wear in our photo?” Luke said, reaching for a pair of dark shades and a ridiculously large cowboy hat.

“Um, I’ll take this…” I grabbed a large purple boa and wrapped it around my neck, pulling on a pair of long, lacy white gloves.

We stepped inside the booth…and lined up in front of a computer screen that Chloe’s dad let us borrow, which showed both our faces on it.

“I think we ought to make this a really memorable picture, don’t you?” Luke’s voice sounded deeper.

He moved toward me, his breath warm against my cheek. He wasn’t even looking at the camera. Then it dawned on me what was about to happen. Holy shit. My first kiss. And it’d be with Luke. Freaking. Pressler.

Fangirl Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“I’m the kind of girl who fantasizes about being trapped in a library overnight.”

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Published September 10th 2013 by St. Martin’s Press

Pages: 445

GoodReads

Rating: 4/5

I think I might have found my new favorite contemporary book! : )

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From the very first few pages, I was automatically grasped by the story since it was so reminiscent of my early college days. The characters also made the story so enticing and I yearned to learn more about them as the novel progressed. I truly saw myself in Cath, our main character, because I too was highly introverted and I also had a fear of being placed into a social gathering since at that time in my life, I was going through some social anxiety due to my past experiences. But like Cath, when you do meet people who are willing to understand and respect your personality, that is when the walls that you built start crumbling down and you realize that the world may not be as scary as it seems.

Summary:

Cath’s world practically revolves around Simon Snow and her endless pages of fan-fiction and when she was young, she was able to share this love with her twin sister, Wren. Now that the two girls are beginning a new life at college, Wren is ready to let go of the fandom while Cath cannot help but hold on to it. Despite being so close when they were young, Wren decides not to be roommates, leaving her sister all alone. Cath is now surrounded by a brash roommate and her charming boyfriend, a skeptical professor, and a classmate who also shares her love for writing. While being suddenly thrown into this new environment, Cath is forced to learn how to live her own life without having to rely on her sister. With the addition of complex relationships, class struggles and worrying for her Dad, the path towards succeeding in college and life may not seem as easy as it seems.

 

Characters:

Cath – Fanfic writer; Social Anxiety; Cares for Dad/Sister – Cath was someone I could easily connect with since I pretty much shared her experiences when I was in college. The fact that she tends to avoid social situations leads to her snarky and sometimes sarcastic comments which had me amused at certain points. Despite that, she does have a soft side since she was very much attached to her father and would always check up on him since he would be home alone.

Levi – Very Sociable; Next Door Boy personality – Levi is male character who looks and feels so realistic to a normal person. I liked the fact that Rainbow Rowell did not have to make him be this typical YA bad boy who is oozing with sex appeal. He is pretty much the average, sweet guy who every girl would want to meet and have a relationship with. That is not to say he is completely perfect since he does have his own flaws. However, I admire the fact that he is willing to accept and take responsibility for any mistakes he has done.

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Wren – Bold; Outgoing – Wren’s lifestyle is college was the complete opposite of Cath and through her we got to see a complete different side to the life on campus. Although she is not the main character, Rainbow Rowell did do a great job in developing her story arc to highlight some important issues we face in college.

Reagan – Blunt; Straightforward – The dynamic between Cath and Reagan was so much fun to read about. I loved the friendship that grows between them and how Reagan was able to bring Cath out of her shell and help her adjust to college life.

My Thoughts: 

If you have been following my blog, it is no secret that I typically do not reach for contemporary books since I generally prefer sci-fi/fantasy novels since they are the ones which provide an escape for me. Nevertheless, I still enjoyed reading this novel since there were so many moments which I found to be truly relatable. Some examples, existed within the college lifestyle such as the initial fear of being in a new place, having to make new friends, living with a roommate, stressing about classes/exams, etc. I love the fact that Cath would hide a bunch of protein bars in her room to avoid going to the dining hall which is kind of what I did but the only difference was that I basically lived off of ramen 🙂

The only issue I had with this novel which prevented me from giving it a perfect 5/5 was that I felt the ending did not seem as complete or resolved as I would have liked it to be. This could be because there was not much of a direct goal which had to be accomplished by the end of the story or that Rainbow Rowell did not want to drag the book out to make it longer than it needs to be. I did appreciate that we saw some growth in Cath since she is able to speak up for herself and does not shut everyone out like she initially had done from the start of the novel. The romance was beautifully developed and both Cath and Levi just seemed right for each other.  ship.gif

Overall, if you are looking for a fun and light contemporary read, you should definitely pick up Fangirl! 🙂

Fun Fact: I was living on campus for my first year of college and during the final exams of my first semester, I actually overslept and woke about approximately 15 minutes before the start of the exam 😦 The main issue was the lecture hall where we the exam was scheduled was on a separate campus and I has to take the bus to get there. This was probably the day (and may be the only day) where I broke the record for the fastest time I have ever gotten out of bed and gotten ready to go out.

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P.S – I surprisingly did make it there and managed to finish the exam on time hehe

Did any of you guys read Fangirl? What were your thoughts on it?

~Ash~

Swinging At Love – Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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Author: Kendra C. Highley

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Release Date: March 13th 2017

Pages: 191

Rating: 3/5

GoodReads

Thank you so much to Entangled Publishing for providing me an e-ARC of this book on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review! 

Summary:

Alyssa and her family are facing a potential shutdown of their batting cage while Tristan has completely lost his swing for the game. A lot of things are on the line for him: being the potential captain of his team next year and that his entire team is counting on him to help them win the upcoming championship. When things seem to worsen, he decides to step away from his teammates for awhile and practice in a small center, known as Swing Away and this is where he meets Alyssa. Impressed at her technical expertise at the game and her softball skills, the two of them manage to grow close right away. What seems to be a very simple relationship grows to become even more complicated as time progresses.

Characters:

  1. Alyssa – Responsible, Independent, Bold; I was impressed with Alyssa’s character from the first chapter. She is so knowledgeable yet she never gets too arrogant about her skills and her sense of responsibility towards her familial issues was something to applaud at her age.
  2. Tristan – Charming, Passionate for Baseball, Swoon-worthy; Tristan was definitely a sweet character who had me squealing at some scenes 🙂 He does have his issues which he needs to solve but I did wish there was more depth to his character – a little more depth and development and I would have loved him even more 🙂
  3. Dylan – Hilarious; Dylan was the comic relief in this book for sure, there were scenes where he had me giggling at his ridiculous dialogue.
  4. Lauren – A bit spoiled but a good friend to Alyssa. She does have her flaws which she manages to realize at the end and eventually grows from it.

My Thoughts:

If you are looking for a cute contemporary read, then this will be perfect for you. Although this is the second book of the series, you do not have to read the first one in order to read this book since they are more of companion novels than actual sequels. Some of the previous characters include Faith, the dancer, and Kyle, the Senior Captain of the Baseball team, do play a part in this novel and we see how their relationship progresses after the first book. To be honest, after reading a few of Kyle’s scenes in this book, I actually want to read the first novel just to see more of his laid back and sometimes cocky personality.

The only few issues/critiques I had with this novel is that I wished the writing could have been a bit more intricate and in terms of plot, I felt that a few of the issues were resolved too quickly and almost easily. It could be because this was a very short novel but if the trials and character complications were given more depth, I feel that it would added more heart and emotion into the story. Overall, this book was a cute and romantic contemporary read and I would recommend it if you are looking for an easy read to get out of a reading slump since I pretty much raced through this book in a few hours. I think I might even pick up the first book of the series! 🙂

Until next time, keep reading and I will be back with another post soon!

~Ash~

The Bone Witch Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“There is no greater strength than the ability to understand and accept your own flaws.”

Author: Rin Chupeco

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Release Date: March 7, 2017

Rating: 3/5

GoodReads

Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire publishing to providing me this arc for review on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

Summary:

The Bone Witch starts off with a girl named Tea who accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead and upon doing so, she learns that she has a special talent for necromancy. This type of gift is super rare in society but Tea is taken in by her mentor, Lady Mykaela, to train as an Asha  for a few years. Here, she learns of dark forces which are lurking nearby and how she is might hold the key to resolving the danger around them.

My thoughts:

When I first saw this book on the upcoming releases on goodreads, I was automatically intrigued by the description due the inclusion of necromancy. How awesome is that? It was so interesting and in a completely different genre that I normally read so I was so excited when I was offered a copy on Netgalley! First of all, can we talk about how gorgeous this cover is? I love the colors: royal purple with a hint of gold intricate patterns which almost gives it a divine look. The skull in the center no doubt adds a bit of a chilling and creepy aura to the book which fits perfectly with this paranormal genre.

To start off with the positive aspects of this book, I will say that the writing is beautiful and the world building/ setting is brilliantly done. For example, I did like the incorporation of heartglasses through which you could read a person’s emotions based on the color.I also did enjoy the spark of diversity which the author added through the incorporation of an Asian inspired setting.

However, I did feel that the descriptions of the world overshadowed the plot to the point where it felt like very little happened in the novel. This was what I was disappointed about because there was so much potential for a great storyline and character arc but in the end, this book ended up falling short of my expectations. I do feel there is room for expansion and further development of the plot so perhaps we might see something better in the second book?

In terms of the main character, I felt that Tea was intriguing at the start due to her unique talents and strengths at necromancy but as we moved through the story I saw that there was not much character development and for this reason, she ended up becoming quite bland. I would have liked to see her face more challenges and obstacles in her path where she had to make tough decisions (good or bad) and learn from them but we did not get to see much of this in the book.

Overall, I thought that this was a great book in terms of world building and writing but it did not perform well in terms of plot. If any of you decide to read this book, please let me know your thoughts below!

~Ash~

Caraval Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”

Author: Stephanie Garber

Publication: Flatiron Books

Pages: 407

Rating: 5/5

GoodReads

OMG The amount of twists and turns in this book was insane! Despite my feelings scrambling all over the place and my heart nearly jumping out of my chest at certain points, I REALLY enjoyed this book. A serious roller coaster of emotions and messing with my FEELS. Stephanie Garber is definitely one talented story teller and I am really looking forward to reading the next book in this series!

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Summary:

Ever since they were young, two sisters by the name of Scarlet and Tella wanted nothing more than to attend the world’s most spectacular event called Caraval. Fueled by the magical stories they heard from their grandmother, Scarlet begins to send letters to the Master Legend in order to somehow gain entry to their performance. Within a few years, she finally gets the chance to attend Caraval but through a certain turn of events, her sister is kidnapped. Now, she needs to enter into Caraval and find her sister before the “game” is over or else she will disappear forever.

Characters:

Scarlet – Naive, Cautious; From the start of the novel, you can easily tell that Scarlet is the most cautious of the two sisters and in some instances it almost seems to be bit overbearing; however, you can understand why her personality is like that due to her current situation with their abusive father. I really did like that Scarlet was very clear on her goals (finding her sister) and made it her priority throughout the game. Her character growth was remarkable and you see her grow to become a stronger person by the end.

Julien – Mysterious, Playful; Julien definitely did have mysterious and dangerous vibe to him at the start of the novel which is one of the reasons why you couldn’t help but be curious about him. The romance does not overshadow the plot line of the book and I appreciated that aspect of the novel. And I love the way he calls her Scarlet “Crimson” lol

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Tella Bold, Reckless; Tella is very much different from her sister in the fact that she is bold enough to do the unthinkable and plunge into situations without having to give it a second thought. This is one of the reasons why Scarlet is quite protective of her since she fears that she may do something that would get them both into all sorts of trouble with their cruel father. However, she does care for her sister very deeply and would help her no matter the costs.

My thoughts:

From the entrance to Caraval, you can already start to sense the ominous and mysterious aura throughout the event: everything from the performers to the intricately designed world. It almost feels as though you are in a completely different universe. Though there are elements of magic used within this world, there is also a bit of darkness as well.

What made this story enticing was the fact that it was a story about sisters and this was something I could relate to since I have a younger sister. Stephanie also does a great job in slowly tying the threads together which helps provide clues to the readers as to what is actually happening. In its entirety, I would describe this novel to be a mystery since there are times when you are not really sure what is going on. In some cases, you may think the story is going one way and then suddenly things flip and you find yourself in a different situation than before. I loved that it always kept us guessing. And this is probably what made the book so addicting that I pretty much flew through it!

Overall, I would highly recommend this book if you love books with adventure, mystery, and magic. Have any of you read Caraval? What were your thoughts on it?

~Ash~

Percy Jackson and the Olympians – The Lightning Thief Book Review (Spoiler Free)

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“Even strength must bow to wisdom sometimes.”

Author: Rick Riordan

Publisher: March 1st 2006 by Disney Hyperion Books

Pages: 377

Rating: 5/5

GoodReads

I think it is safe to say that you should never judge a book by its movie. Although I love Logan Lerman . . . I mean look at that face:

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I have to say that the movie did not do this book justice. There was just so much missing from the story line as well as the actual characters themselves. Coming back to the actual book, I will say that I enjoyed reading this and I will most definitely be continuing on with the series. Thank you to Annabeth @ annabethchasesite for recommending this to me 🙂

Summary:

Percy Jackson is a twelve-year-old kid who is struggling to focus in boarding school with his ADHD and Dyslexia. Things seem to get more complicated when he realizes he is a demigod and that the Gods of Mount Olympus and mythological creatures may no longer be only words in his textbook and that they are very much REAL. To make things worse, he soon finds out that he may have angered one of them: Zeus. The God’s master lightening bolt had been stolen and Percy is the prime suspect. Together with his friends from his new home at Camp Half Blood, they have ten days to return Zeus’s stolen property to prevent a war between the Gods on Mount Olympus.

Characters:

Percy Jackson – OMG if I had read this series before being consumed by Harry Potter, I am pretty sure my 10 year old self would have developed a serious crush on this kid! Percy is just so snarky, I love it! I was laughing out loud nearly every moment he couldn’t keep his mouth shut and just had to say something sassy. Brilliant!

“You want to gargle with toilet water again, Clarisse? Close your mouth.”

OHH SNAP!!!

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Annabeth – I think she maybe one of my favorite female characters of all time. She did remind me a bit of Hermione but I feel that Annabeth has a good balance between actual physical strength and wisdom. She is the daughter of Athena after all 🙂

Grover – In comparison to the film portrayal, I appreciated that we got to see more of Grover’s character and his back story. I also loved the focus Rick Riordan placed on the friendship between him and Percy.

My thoughts: 

I was honestly very surprised by this book! I was debating about starting this since it was a middle grade fiction but it turned out to be quite refreshing to read. I loved the incorporation of Greek mythology into the novel since it added such a unique premise to the book. I was surprised about the amount of knowledge you gain regarding the Greek Gods while reading as well.

The pacing of the book was very well done. It also had the perfect dose of action and suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat. Since this was a middle grade novel, the writing was not too intricate but it was well balanced in terms of description so you could picture the world around you and understand the plot. For this reason, I would recommend this book to both adults and young readers!

Memorable Quotes:

Gabe: . . “Maybe if the kid apologizes for interrupting my poker game.”

Percy: Maybe if I kick you in your soft spot . . and make you sing soprano for a week.

– – –

“I’d made water shoot out of the bathroom fixtures. I didn’t understand how. But the toilets had responded to me. I had become one with the plumbing.”

OMG PERCY! I CAN’T WITH THIS KID! 

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Have any of you read the Percy Jackson series?

Come fan girl with me!

~Ash~