Review Special – The Blood Of Olympus

WARNING: THIS REVIEW IS RIDDLED WITH SPOILERS

Title: The Blood Of Olympus (Heroes of Olympus #5)

Author: Rick Riordan (From Website: Pronounced Rye’-er-dan. (Rhymes with fireman, sort of.)
About the Author:
Rick Riordan is the #1 New York Times bestselling
author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the Kane Chronicles, and the Heroes of Olympus. He is also the author of the multi-award-winning Tres Navarre mystery series for adults.

For fifteen years, Rick taught English and history at public and private middle schools in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Texas. In 2002, Saint Mary’s Hall honoured him with the school’s first Master Teacher Award.
While teaching full time, Riordan began writing mystery novels for grownups. His Tres Navarre series went on to win the top three national awards in the mystery genre – the Edgar, the Anthony and the Shamus. Riordan turned to children’s fiction when he started The Lightning Thief as a bedtime story for his oldest son.
Today over forty million copies of his Percy Jackson, Kane Chronicles, and Heroes of Olympus books are in print in the United States, and rights have been sold into more than 37 countries. Rick is also the author of The 39 Clues: The Maze of Bones, another #1 New York Times bestseller. 
Rick Riordan now writes full-time. He lives in Boston with his wife and two sons.
Author Website: http://www.rickriordan.com/home.aspx

Publisher: Puffin
Genres: Fantasy, YA, Adventure, Mythology.
Release Date: October 7th 2014
Pages: 514
Where Acquired: A Birthday present from my Parents
Buy at Amazon Here
– Best Book Price: £6.37 Kindle Price: £5.99 (as of when posted)

Book Merchandise I Love from Etsy.com:

PERCY JACKSON Heroes of Olympus Necklace
A Heroes of Olympus Necklace. You can buy it for £10.52 HERE
The Heroes of Olympus/Percy Jackson Inspired Glitter Christmas Ornament
A Very Festive HoO bauble for £8.53 that you can buy HERE

A Camp Half Blood Necklace for £9.86 that you can buy HERE
A Camp Jupiter Necklace for £9.86 you can buy HERE
CAMP HALF BLOOD half-blood  t-shirt tee
A Camp Half Blood T-Shirt for £8.54 you can buy it HERE
Ladies Camp Jupiter SPQR Purple T shirt
A SPQR Camp Jupiter T-Shirt for £9.85 you can buy it HERE

UK Cover:
22740196

Covers From Elsewhere:

18705209
USA
23592030
Indonesian

23751050
Dutch

Goodreads Description:
Though the Greek and Roman crew members of the Argo II have made progress in their many quests, they still seem no closer to defeating the earth mother, Gaea. Her giants have risen—all of them—and they’re stronger than ever. They must be stopped before the Feast of Spes, when Gaea plans to have two demigods sacrificed in Athens. She needs their blood—the blood of Olympus—in order to wake.

The demigods are having more frequent visions of a terrible battle at Camp Half-Blood. The Roman legion from Camp Jupiter, led by Octavian, is almost within striking distance. Though it is tempting to take the Athena Parthenos to Athens to use as a secret weapon, the friends know that the huge statue belongs back on Long Island, where it “might” be able to stop a war between the two camps.

The Athena Parthenos will go west; the Argo II will go east. The gods, still suffering from multiple personality disorder, are useless. How can a handful of young demigods hope to persevere against Gaea’s army of powerful giants? As dangerous as it is to head to Athens, they have no other option. They have sacrificed too much already. And if Gaea wakes, it is game over.

My Review:
Rick Riordan is by far my most favourite author. I own all of his YA books minus a couple of the graphic novels and I will continue to buy all of his books for as long as he keeps writing them. He is a sassy and witty author who is not afraid to put his characters in difficult situations that are both heart-wrenching and exciting at the same time. He is one of those authors you can love with all your heart but hate at the same time for the evil cliffhangers and heart pounding scenes.
The Blood Of Olympus was not an exception to these traits i have written above. It was stock full of drama, excitement and scenes that made me cry – from both sadness and laughter. Some scenes I was laughing so much that I think my family probably assumed I was just crazy. 
I am going to spilt this review into parts; first I am going to comment on each of the main characters. The first image is the official artwork released for the books and the second image is the fan art I think looks most like my idea of the character.
Percy Jackson
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Percy Jackson has always been there from the beginning even though he did have a smaller role in this book so the other characters can stand out a little more but his sass and wit still managed to come through. I love his and Annabeth’s ending when they get to stay together and live monster free at camp Jupiter. Percy is powerful and cute a great combination and he will always been one of my favourites. I love all the percybeth moments in this book especially when they both reach Athens and kiss to prove a point that children of Poseidon and Athena can be together. However Percy’s reaction to Nico’s confession of having a crush on him just killed me though, literally killed me I was laughing so hard! It had to be my favourite Percy moment of TBOO
Annabeth Chase
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Annabeth has also always been there since the beginning so I love her for that. She grew so much as a character in this book especially when she was in Sparta fighting with Piper when she had to forgo knowledge for emotion. She is so wise, smart and clever; a great role model for girls all over the world. She did take a back seat a little in this novel again however to help the other characters stand out. I loved her ending but I was really really wishing for a percybeth wedding as I ship them both so much! The scene where Annabeth and Percy accidentally woke Gaia broke my heart but I was so glad when no one blamed them for what happened. I really love Annabeth’s friendship with Piper and at the end Reyna it was very sweet!
Jason Grace
http://vignette3.wikia.nocookie.net/olympians/images/8/8b/JasonHOO.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20101019093350https://i2.wp.com/images6.fanpop.com/image/photos/36000000/The-Heroes-of-Olympus-image-the-heroes-of-olympus-36092368-500-625.png
Jason is a powerful character, I loved the scene when he first met his father in his greek form. He wasn’t afraid to stand up to his father when he needed to either and that made me love him more. Jason did take a back seat in the novel letting characters like Nico, Leo and Piper to take charge but some of the action was written from his point of view still. The scene where he had to face his mother was so heartbreaking it nearly broke me right from the start!
Jason’s ending was one of my favourites, he got the position of a priest and got to go between camps making sure all gods are worshipped and no one is left out – it is such a noble cause and he can then go between camps and see all of his friends still. And he is still with Piper and they can live happily ever after aww!
Piper McLean
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Piper has to be one of my favourites! She was an underrated character before but now as she came into her powers she became incredible! Her charmspeak was one of the best weapons used in the novel – maybe other than her horn of plenty. Piper was the source of most of my laughs in the battle scenes, some of her fighting tactics were just hilarious and random and this made me love her! She became one of the best characters in this novel and one of the most powerful.
Hazel Levesque
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Hazel wasn’t in this novel as much as she was in the others but it was her relationship with Nico that stood out so much. I love Nico and it’s lovely seeing that he has some family again. Hazel was Incredible when she grew into her powers however, her control of the Mist helped with the quest more than she realised.
Frank Zhang
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Frank also took more of a backseat but his ability to turn into an animal was used in the most hilarious ways. All I can now think of when his name is mentioned is him as a Rhino knocking 20 foot Giants over! Haha! I was glad him and Hazel had a happy ending going back to Camp Jupiter to live their lives out, leading the Roman legions together.
Leo Valdez
http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/olympians/images/6/60/LeoHOO.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20101023090729https://i0.wp.com/fc03.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2012/192/d/d/leo_valdez_and_festus_by_spidiman-d56ts31.jpg
Leo has always been my favourite character in HoO his Witt and bravery made me fall in love with him. He was one of the main characters in this book and his plans were near enough worthy of Athena and his bravery worthy of a Hero. His sacrifice had me crying my eyes out, I honestly believed he had died in his quest to save everyone and this made me love him more. I was devastated seeing his friends all miss and cry for him and thinking of Calypso left alone on the island waiting for Leo to return. However I was screaming for joy when Leo’s name appeared above the next chapter and it had turned out that Festus had saved him!! I was even happier when it turned out that he rescued Calypso and was going to return to his friends – I would have loved to have been able to read a chapter about his return. He is so brave and lovely and ahhhh *dies*
Coach Hedge
https://i1.wp.com/images5.fanpop.com/image/photos/31800000/Coach-Gleeson-Hedge-the-heroes-of-olympus-31856859-1071-1600.jpg
Coach hedge is there for amusement mostly – especially when Buford the Table was set to imitate him. I found it so sweet that he had to race home for his wife though to get home in time to see his son being born awww. And just the thought of Clarisse as a birthing partner/godmother just left me laughing.
Nico Di Angelo
http://vignette4.wikia.nocookie.net/olympians/images/e/e7/Nico_di_Angelo.jpg/revision/latest?cb=20140315004259https://i2.wp.com/fc05.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2013/175/e/9/nico_di_angelo_by_aireenscolor-d5gyje1.jpg
First off I hate the official art work of Nico, wrong hair colour, wrong eye colour and that expression *shudders*. I love Nico, he is so full of pain and anger but deals with it so well, he is strong and courageous and always knows when to get involved or when to stay away. It was his growth of characters that I noticed most in this novel. He discovered more he could do with his powers and he overcame the feelings he had for Percy. His confrontation with Percy regarding his feelings was hilarious and I am really shipping him and Will – I would love a novella surrounding them both! I have always liked Nico and always will, like all of Riordan’s characters he is very well developed and my heart ached along with his for the majority of his chapters. When Nico decided to stay at camp half blood it really warmed my heart – seeing he was wanted and loved and seeing him more open to having friends; even letting people hug him just made me melt!
Reyna Avila Ramirez-Arellano
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Reyna surprised me in TBOO, She never used to be my favourite but in this book I begun to like her a lot. She is strong, very, very strong and courageous. I loved reading about her history and relationship with her sister and her friendship with Nico made me like her even more! When she fought Orion towards the end is when my feelings for her solidified even more however. I would love to read a Novella centred around her as I am really intrigued to find out who she will fall in love with as she was told it would never be a demi-god, that would make a great read.

The enemies in this book were formidable, I had no idea how any of the heroes were going to pull through – I mean how do you destroy the earth, dozens of 20 foot tall Giants, hundreds of earthborn and legions of monsters at the same time as uniting warring camps, overthrowing a crazy roman, carrying a statue half way across the world and all without the help of the gods who were too busy fighting themselves…..Hmm…. This book is nothing but full of drama!
The massacre of the Amazonians and Hunters of Artemis killed me slightly though, I was so sad as I always appreciate a strong, independent woman in my books! However this book had enough humour to counter the dire and desperately sad plot lines therefore being very well balanced and making it an incredible read. I couldn’t have loved the ending of this series more – i was hoping beyond hope that the camps never merged and stayed separate; my wish came true with the bonus of regular holidays between camps which I loved as it meant all the main characters in the book could continue to see each other and continue to be friends. I also appreciated the idea that everyone could chose what camp they live in and swap camps at any time to get the best of both worlds. This series has always been incredible, and will be one i re-read time and time again. This is a Goodbye to both the old Percy Jackson series and a Goodbye to heroes of Olympus I will truly miss it – but at least there are the crossover novels and mythology guides from Percy’s point of view to still look forward to! But it is still very sad to see it end, I grew up on these books…
Goodbye – I will miss you – you will forever be in my heart!

Quotes:

Buford The Table “The intercom crackled. Buford’s Mini-Hedge yelled over the speakers, “PUT SOME CLOTHES ON!”

Coach Hedge “I have orders to bring Reyna in alive to stand trial for treason. I have no orders to bring you in alive, or the faun.” “Satyr!” the coach yelled. He kicked a skeleton in its bony crotch, which seemed to hurt Hedge more than the redcoat. “Ow! Stupid British dead guys!”
Nico “For a long time,’ Nico said, ‘I had a crush on you. I just wanted you to know.’ Percy looked at Nico. Then at Annabeth, as if to check that he’d heard correctly. Then back at Nico.
‘You –’
‘Yeah,’ Nico said. ‘You’re a great person. But I’m over that. I’m happy for you guys.’
‘You … so you mean –’
‘Right.’
Annabeth’s grey eyes started to sparkle. She gave Nico a sideways smile.
‘Wait,’ Percy said. ‘So you mean –’
‘Right,’ Nico said again. ‘But it’s cool. We’re cool. I mean, I see now … you’re cute, but you’re not my type.’
‘I’m not your type … Wait. So –’
‘See you around, Percy,’ Nico said.”
Reyna “This is for Pheobe,’ she snarled in his ear ‘ for Kinzie. For all those you killed. you will die at the hands of a girl.’ Orion thrashed and fought, but Reyna’s will was unshakable. The power of Athena infused her cloak. Bellona blessed her with strength and resolve. Not one but two powerful goddesses aided her”
Frank “Frank run out of arrows. He changed into a rhinoceros and leaped into battle, but as fast as he could knock down the giants they got up again”
Hazel “Oh, no!” Hazel wailed. “Popcorn! Our fatal weakness!”
Jason “We were surrounded by thirty-foot-tall giants who were about to kill us. Then the sky opened up, and the gods descended.”
“Grandad,” the kids said, “you are full of schist.”
“I’m not kidding!” he protested.”
Piper “And why shouldn’t Piper intimidate them? Aphrodite was the most ancient Olympian, born of the sea and the blood of Ouranos. She was older than Poseidon or Athena or even Zeus. And Piper was her daughter.”
Percy “So this is where the rivalry started,” Percy said.
“Yeah.”
Percy pulled Annabeth close and kissed her….
When Percy pulled away, Annabeth looked like a fish gasping for air.
“The rivalry ends here,” Percy said. “I love you, Wise Girl.”
Annabeth “Annabeth, I never ignore your advice.’ Piper kept her voice soothing. ‘But this time I have to. We can’t defeat this place with reason. You can’t think your way out of your emotions.”
Leo “Leo smiled nervously. Maybe he and Percy did share something else – a stupid sense of humour. ‘Yeah, I bet that would totally be against her sponsorship deal. THOSE ARE NOT THE OFFICIAL SHOES OF THE OLYMPICS! YOU WILL DIE NOW!’  

About Leo “Hazel rolled her eyes. ‘You’re both impossible.’
“Commander Tool Belt” Jason said.
“Bad Boy Supreme” Piper said.
“Chef Leo the Tofu Taco Expert.”
They laughed and told stories about Leo valdez, their best friend. They stayed on the roof until dawn rose, and Piper started to believe they could have a fresh start. It might even be possible to tell a new story in which Leo was still out there.
Somewhere…”
About Gaia “That is correct,” Zeus said. “The blood of Olympus was spilled. She is fully conscious.”
“Oh, come on!” Percy complained. “I get a little nosebleed and I wake up the entire earth? That’s not fair!”


Rating:

However It is not truly devastating that HoO is finished as coming next Autumn is Magnus Chase!
 
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword Of Summer!


Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers. One day, he’s tracked down by an uncle he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. His uncle tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god. The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years. When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision. Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

 

Have You Read This Book? 
How Did You Find It? 
Why Don’t You Leave Me A Comment, Or a Link To Your Own Blog? 
I Would Love To Hear Your Views! 
-The Reading Rose

Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Bringing me This Year.

http://www.brokeandbookish.com/2014/04/top-ten-gateway-booksauthors-in-our.html
This is a weekly Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish Where Fellow Book Bloggers Share Their Top Ten of The Given Subject.

Top Ten Books I Wouldn’t Mind Santa Brining Me This Year

1. Hidden – House of NightP.C & Kristin Cast
2. Retribution – EarthfallMark Walden
3. Austenland – Shannon Hale
4. The perks of being a wallflower – Stephen Chbosky
5. The Cage – Megan Shepherd
6. Rick Riordan Graphic Novels
7. Sinner – Wolves of Mercy FallsMaggie Stiefvater
8. Finale – Hush HushBecca Fitzpatrick
9. Nyx in the House of Night – P.C Cast
10. The Kill Order – The Maze RunnerJames Dashner

10 Question Interview with Dominique Butler

Author: 
Dominique Butler

Book In Question:
Tabloid Teacher

Author Biography:
Dominique Butler is currently a Special Education teacher with a Bachelors in psychology and a Masters in Early Childhood Special Education. She has written stories for educational purposes and is now writing fiction to entertain. She currently resides in Miami, FL with her two teenage daughters, three dogs and other assorted animals.

Description:
Sam Saunders finally has a quiet life. After years of unexpected pregnancies, two marriages and subsequent divorces she is unnerved by how routine life has become. Her life is stable, her kids are happy, so why does she have a nagging feeling that everything is about to change? When she finds herself at the center of a practical joke involving her favorite movie star proposing to her, she finds it hard to keep herself grounded. Could this be the change she had sensed?

Jake Jameson has made a career out of romantic comedies, but his love life is far from it. He’s going through the motions and everyone knows he’s lost his spark. After his fake proposal is televised, he finds that having a family could be what he’s been craving. Will the media scare off his fake fiancé before he figures out what he wants?

INTERVIEW

1. Hello, Can you tell us more about your book please?


Tabloid Teacher is about a single mom, Sam, who meets her favorite movie star, Jake. Sam leads a simple life full of polo school shirts and khaki pants. She’s busy working and taking care of her kids. She’s worried that life has become too boring indicating a storm is brewing somewhere. While she prepares herself for the worst, a tiny coincidence lands her favorite movie star next to her at a football game.
Jake is a confirmed bachelor whose married friends suspect may have commitment issues. Jake makes a bet to prove he’s not afraid to commit and proposes to the unsuspecting Sam.
Their two worlds collide in a big way. The proposal is televised. Jake tries to play off the proposal as real to save face before a movie premiere and Sam agrees to play along to liven up her routine, temporarily.
The two get a lot more than what they bargained for. Jake is faced with kids and Sam is faced with paparazzi documenting every faux pas.

 2. Out of all the characters, who was the most fun to write and why?

I would say I had the most fun writing Jake. He’s a confirmed bachelor who is suddenly faced with the prospect of children and a family. He’s a bit clueless about women in some ways and even more so about children. However, he is considerate and I think that’s the best quality a man can have.

3. How did you come up with the idea of the book?

The idea for the book came from Tabloids. Matt Damon met his then future wife in South Beach. So I had a small blog on MySpace recruiting help to try to meet Matthew McConaughey. My friends would read what I wrote and comment. I had a blast coming up with ways to try to meet him, not that I ever really tried. What made it fun was the back and forth interaction with my friends. Matthew McConaughey met his now wife and the blog died. However, I kept writing in the form of a book.


4. What tips would you give to any of my readers who are aspiring to be authors?

Tip 1: Write. I have so many ideas, but by the time I start one I have another then I want to start that. If I keep writing something get finished, eventually.  So, keep writing.

Tip 2: I think the biggest problem I have with writing is actually letting other people read what I write. I feel like it’s similar to reading a book and then seeing the movie, especially if the casting does not fit what I’ve envisioned. I don’t want other people to ruin what I enjoyed because it doesn’t fit what they enjoy.
My point is there are all types of books and all types of writers. There’s an audience for everyone. Not everyone will like your genre or appreciate your voice, but someone will. Be yourself, write what entertains you and someone else will be entertained, too.
Personally, I think we live in an amazing time where everyone’s voice can be heard.

5. What projects do you have planned for the next year?

In Tabloid Teacher, Sam watches a DVD about a sex therapist who accidentally exchanges laptops with a computer guy. I’ve been working on that story. I’d also like to write the sequel to Tabloid Teacher and another story about a bored mom.


6. If you were on a desert island which 3 book characters from any series would you want with you?
Hmmm, a deserted island. Oh, the possibilities. After much deliberation, I decided I would want Luna Lovegood, because she wouldn’t bring me down. Hermione Granger, because she could figure out a magical way off the island. Finally, Christian Grey, because I would need something to do to pass the time.

7. What is your favorite childhood book and why?
Harold and the Purple Crayon. I remember really liking that book, perhaps it was that Harold could create an entire world with just a crayon that kept me intrigued.

8. What inspired you to become an author?
I’ve always liked to write, but I think I like to read more. When I get a chance to pick up a book I read it cover to cover. Sometimes, it takes me a few hours, but other times I pull all nighters to finish a book. After I read something, I want to write. So it’s actually a vicious cycle. Read, write, write, read. Besides, imagining problems with fun solutions can be a lot more entertaining than real life. It’s an escape from my friends issues, my issues, and the news.

9. What do you like to do in your free time?

Free time? If I had some free time that wasn’t immediately commandeered by my kids, dogs, or family, I would enjoy it by sailing with my boyfriend. I’d also read some funny books. I’d rollerblade by the beach. Sit and watch the waves roll onto the shore. Breathe in the fresh air. Camping sounds like a fun thing to do with free time. I’ve tried it but chickened out before spending the night. Hiking seemed like a good idea too, until I got lost. So doing those things with experienced people rather than two teenage girls sounds like fun.


10. What inspired your book cover and what do you love most about it?

The credit for the cover art goes to Sarah Foster. I think the book cover is inspired mostly by the fact that Sam gets a sunburn and wears sunglasses when she first meets Jake. She also prefers to live a life that’s a bit more hidden. I love that it’s a bit whimsical and captures the spirit that the book is written to entertain. I hope people read it and laugh.

10 Question Interview With Richard Heket

Author: 
Richard Heket
Book In Question:  
Bella Gioconda

Author Biography:
Richard Heket is a published writer of poetry and short fiction in a variety of periodicals.

He is also a competent artist in oil, acrylic, ceramics and freelance graphic design. He has completed several novels of historic fiction of which, Bella Gioconda, is the first to be published.

Richard was raised in Los Angeles, California and attended Brigham Young University on a writing scholarship. After a full career in manufacturing quality management, working in the U.S. and twenty-one other countries in North America, Western Europe and Asia, Richard is now fully devoted to writing novels, poetry and children’s illustrated stories.
 
Description:
Five hundred years can confuse identity. An old chalk drawing of a girl, Maria, the daughter of a Chianti vintner leaves a Swiss art collector, Claude Beauvin entangled in a Renaissance love story from the past. The drawing is currently owned by a reclusive young widow, Andrea Garibaldi-Chase, who puts the drawing up for auction. With smoldering rumors that Leonardo da Vinci is the artist of the portrait, history is set on fire by a New York art dealer, an art history professor, and an intellectual property crimes investigator from INTERPOL who are all caught up in the drawings history. It’s not until after the auction that Beauvin learns who the girl really was, what influence she had over da Vinci and the centuries since, and how his growing feelings for Andrea transcends time and identity.

INTERVIEW 
Questions have been modified from the original

      
1. Hi, Richard, are you able to tell us a little more about yourself?


I have always loved words. I am fascinated by language and have made an extended study of the ability to acquire language and how words can evoke emotion while providing clarity of thought. Thought is, after all, refined by words, whose intent is to be communicated to others to understand not only the rational sense of words — or their irrationality! — but also a translation into emotion, which is almost always irrational..

I am a visual learner and have developed a love of artistic expression that allows me to translate words into graphic images, and back again.
I am fluently bi-lingual (French) and lived in France for two years at nineteen. I have also studied Greek and ancient Egyptian (hieroglyphs).  I have traveled for business to twenty-two other countries in North America, Western Europe and Asia. These travels have provided the seeds for many stories that can be told from the perspective of these cultures. I appreciate the creativity of the human condition to proliferate in countless directions of language, food, dwelling, clothing and behaviors.
I am retired from business and can devote my full time to my preferred occupation.

    2.    Why is art such a huge hobby in your life?

I consider art as another language that transcends the languages of words, which are, unfortunately, restrictive and separative. Art is ubiquitous; a completely shared human experience without borders.

   3.    Other than art, what other interests do you have?

I love cooking. I love creating recipes, or modifying someone else’s recipe. I love flavors and enjoy blending unusual flavors. With my experiences in so many countries, their culinary influence is unavoidable. I cook over 90 percent of the family meals. I love reading. With a book at hand (and I am rarely without one) I am never alone. I love listening to music and often write to music. I love vegetable and fruit gardening. I am fascinated by planting seeds and harvesting the bounty of the work of my hands, all while recognizing and appreciating that these bounties are the gifts of God from whom I take a personal responsibility of stewardship.

    4.    Were you a reader as a child?

Are there trees in a forest? Absolutely, I read as a child. My favorite gifts for birthdays and Christmas were books, beginning with Golden Books, but I read Melville’s Moby Dick as a pre-adolescent and was hooked on novels. I was also a writer as a young child. My first effort of memory was writing a story when I was six or seven about being a seed.

   5.    Can you tell us your list of must-read books?

In no particular order, Moby Dick must be on the list. I also include Shakespeare; tragedies in particular. Umberto Eco is my favorite author, whose Foucault’s Pendulum is my preferred novel. He supplanted Aldous Huxley as an adolescent favorite, preferring Ape and Essence above others. Sun Tsu’s Art of War is on the list. Clive Barker’s Galilee is my kind of fantasy, and his Thief of Alwayscontains the best first line I have ever encountered. Plato’s Republic is a must. It was my oldest brother’s favorite (Bella Gioconda is dedicated to him). Finally, I must include Jesus the Christ, by James E. Talmage; the ultimate and most spiritual read on that subject.

    6.    Tell us about your novel, Bella Gioconda.

Bella Gioconda is a historic fiction in the Italian Renaissance era at the end of the fifteenth century. It also involves modern characters who become embroiled in the confusion of five hundred year-old indentities. There is an old chalk and ink drawing of a girl, Maria, the daughter of a Chianti vintner. The drawing is sought by a modern Swiss art collector, Claude Beauvin, who becomes entangle in a Renaissance love story. The drawing is currently owned by a reclusive young widow, Andrea Garibadli-Chase, who auctions the drawing in New York City. With smoldering rumors that Leonardo da Vinci is the artist, history is set on fire by an art dealer, an art history professor, and an Interpol intellectual property crimes investigator. All are caught up in the drawing’s history. Only after the auction, Beauvin learns who the girl was, what influence she had over da Vinci, and the centuries since, and how his growing feelings for Andrea transcend time and identity.

    7.    How did you come up with the idea for it?

It was pure serendipity. In 2009, the Bella Principessa, the drawing that is the subject of my novel, was offered in auction in New York, purchased by a Swiss art collector for $14,000. He proceeded to prove it was a lost da Vinci portrait and its value increased virtually overnight to over $100,000,000. I was already trying to find a subject for a historic fiction in a Renaissance setting when the above story flashed across my Internet search. Much like modifying a chef’s recipe, I added characters and a complete Renaissance-era plot to weave into the real story, made the art collector a fictitious character and added a romantic intrigue with a fictitious current owner of the drawing, who just happens to have a Renaissance genealogy with a twist. Voilà, a fiction that may have happened just as written.

    8.    Leonardo da Vinci plays a role in your novel. Can you tell us what inspired you to write about him? Also, which artists have inspired you in your life?

As I mentioned earlier, I dedicated Bella Gioconda to my brother’s memory, who died in 2008. And as I mention in the dedication, I can say with pride that he was the only polymath I ever knew. Once I knew that I wanted to write a story featuring the Bella Principessa drawing, Leonardo became the obvious central character as its creator. However, as I began to develop Andrea’s fictitious character, to whom the Bella character is linked, it became obvious that these women were the tandem primary characters while Leonardo took a supporting role. I chose Leonardo because of his historic stature as a true polymath who was one of my brother’s favorite historic figures.
Michelangelo heads the list of artists who have made an impression. Picasso follows. My favorite piece of his is Guernica,the gigantic 8×5 meter monochrome painting. It hangs in the Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain. A few years ago, I had an opportunity to travel to Madrid on business, and purposefully chose a hotel close to the museum in order to see my favorite painting. On arrival, instead of witnessing Picasso’s masterpiece, there was a small yellow post card on the wall announcing that the painting was on tour in the United States. ****!!!

    9.    If you were given a choice to live in one of your novels, would you? Why?

There is no doubt that as I write a historic novel, I have to be a resident, though I have not yet ever become a first-person character. I came away from the scenes in Bella Principessa with regret that I was not alive in that period.
In a current project I am completing as we speak, a sequel to Bella, I have inserted my present reality so far into the Renaissance, and back, that I have prepared two separate dishes dating from that era; roasted pork loin and an ice cream. Both feature clove as a flavoring ingredient. I discovered in my research that clove was frequently used as a substitute for salt. At that time, salt was heavily taxed and seldom used just for seasoning due to its excessive cost.

     10. Are you planning anymore novels? Can you give us a little bit of a hint?

Just mentioned above is the sequel, Seek & Find,another historic fiction set in the Renaissance era. It begins 10 years later, in 1503, and features Leonardo da Vinci as he is completing Mona Lisa while Michelangelo is concurrently completing the David. Here is my current commentary for the book:
History paints Leonardo and Michelangelo as sacred and profane rivals. In 1503 Florence, Leonardo da Vinci, fifty-two, was painting his iconic image, the Mona Lisa. Michelangelo, half his age, was creating his watershed sculpture, the David. Enter one of history’s most politically manipulative men of any age, Machiavelli, whose politics turned to art to successfully negotiate a contract for the two rivals to meet, face-to-face, to paint battle frescoes on two opposing walls in a single chamber. It is the most majestic, competitive artwork never to exist. But what if history was completely wrong about the rivalry and the art? What and where are the clues held by Renaissance art collectors, Claude and Andrea Beauvin, by virtue of her family ancestry? Why was the contest never waged; or was it, but not in a manner anyone expected? How did Leonardo and Michelangelo’s proof of a lie scandalize history with a secret held to this day? Enter the fresco by the artist-historian, Vasari, whose work contains a clue to a secret urging to be found. History gave the clue, an obscure, green battle banner with white lettering, “CERCA TROVA” (seek and find). Fiction offers the clue’s solution, but where does history end and fiction begin? Or did history end at all? 

Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

http://www.brokeandbookish.com/2014/04/top-ten-gateway-booksauthors-in-our.html
This is a weekly Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish Where Fellow Book Bloggers Share The Top Ten of The Given Subject.

Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

1. Alliegent – Veronica Roth
2. Daylighters – Rachel Caine
3. The Killables – Gemma Malley 
4. The Goddess Test – Aimee Carter
5. The Selection & The Elite – Kiera Cass
6. Goddess of Light – P.C Cast
7. The Iron King – Julie Kagawa 
8. The Staff of Serapis & Blood of Olympus (even though I havn’t finished reading it just yet… It still deserved to be on this list) – Rick Riordan 
9. Endure – Carrie Jones 
10. Destined – Aprilynne Pike

Top Ten Tuesday

http://www.brokeandbookish.com/2014/04/top-ten-gateway-booksauthors-in-our.html
This is a weekly Meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish Where Fellow Book Bloggers Share The Top Ten of The Given Subject.

Top Ten I Missed & Todays!

Top 10 Of 02/12/14 and 09/12/14

 

December 2nd Top Ten Books I’m Looking Forward To In 2015
This one is difficult as many of my favourite series ended in the past year.. So I will have to research. 
1. Magnus Chase – Rick Riordan
Yess!! Riordan is starting a new series! I’m so excited for this! There are already hundreds of speculations about this book. I think the one that says Magus is related to Annabeth Chase! Why does this book leave me waiting until October? Evil…..

2. Frostfire – Amanda Hocking

3. The Cage – Megan Shepherd
4. (Untitled) Salted #3 – Aaron Galvin
After that cliffhanger Aaron left me on, I just really need the sequel now please so I can find out what happens…?
5. Nobody’s Goddess – Amy McNulty
6. Scripted – Maya Rock
7. Mindwalker – A.J Steiger
8. Freaks of Nature – Wendy Brotherlin
9. The Fire Sermon – Francesca Haig
10. The Leveller – Julia Durango

December 9 Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014
I’m glad it was only a Top Ten as out of the 60 odd books I read most of them were Authors I’ve loved for years!
1. Kiera Cass – The Selection
2. Stephen King – Under The Dome
3. Andy Coffey – Sacred Wind
4. Gemma Malley – The Killables
5. Julie Kagawa – The Iron King
6. Jane Austen – Pride and Prejudice
7. Shannon Hale – The Storybook of Legends
8. Christopher Paolini – Eragon
9. Amanda Hocking – Wake
10. Aimee Carter – The Goddess Test

5 Question Interview With Aaron Galvin

Author: 
Aaron GalvinAuthor Picture:
https://i2.wp.com/www.aarongalvin.com/uploads/2/4/6/8/24683312/4585466_orig.jpg 

3 Other Books By Author: 
– Salted
– Taken With A Grain Of Salt
– Salem’s Vengeance
Book In Question:  
Taken With A Grain Of Salt
 

Book Cover:
23513216
Goodreads Description:
Anyone can be taken – a simple truth for Salt folk, a stark reality for innocent teens Garrett Weaver and Kellen Winstel. Kidnapped by Selkie slave catchers and dragged into the realm beneath the waves, both teens must adapt to their new surroundings if they hope to see the shore again. Yet even if they escape their captors, both will need to embrace their fears. For darker things than Selkies lurk in the Salted depths and not all of them have pure intentions for the innocent ones brought down into their watery world.

INTERVIEW

1. Who is your favourite character and who was the most fun to write in Taken with a grain of salt?

Oi. It’s tough to narrow down my favourite because I like most of them for different reasons. I’d lean toward Lenny though. He might seem jaded, but I love his toughness and inner struggle. Plus, he’s a wise guy.

2. What other projects do you have planned? bookish and non bookish?

I’m currently writing the second book in my Vengeance trilogy about the Salem witch trials. I like to bounce back and forth between my two series to keep things fresh.

As for non-bookish plans, it’s my hope to create investor packets for the upcoming year and obtain funding for a film adaptation of Salem’s Vengeance. It’s probably a crazy pipe dream to believe I can pull something together that soon, but, as I always say, “Dream big or go home.”

3. What inspired you to invent the world of the Salt?

My mom.
I had written a different book that received numerous rejections from agents and publishers. Naturally, I moped about it.
Mom told me to suck it up. Write something new. For about an hour, she gave me various prompts. “Wizards!” she’d say. 
“Yeah…” I’d reply. “Not sure if you know, Mom, but there is this series called Harry Potter…”
“Vampires! Werewolves!”
“Twilight, Mom.”
Finally, she said, “How about mermaids?”
I didn’t have an answer for that suggestion. Not one to give in easily, I tried the argument that mermaids were for girls and, come on, what guy wants to be seen reading mermaid books? They weren’t cool!
Then Mom said something I’ll never forget. “Find a way to make them cool…Find a way to make mermaids cool so that guys like you will want to read about them.”
That changed everything. I’m a pretty competitive person. Suddenly I had a challenge. How could I make mermaids interesting for guys like me? How could I make them different? Unique? 
My Salt series is the result. I like to think I accomplished Mom’s challenge of making mermaids cool for guys to read about. Readers will decide if that’s true.

4. If you were washed up on a desert island which three book characters (any book!) would you most like with you and why?

1) Dumbledore from Harry Potter. He could rescue me/bring us back to the mainland whenever we wanted. Plus, I think it’d be cool just to talk with him.
2) Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia. I always wondered what the Pevensie children must have felt standing next to him, or how cool it would be to run my fingers through his mane. Plus, he’d make me feel safe no matter where I was.
3) Arwen from The Lord of The Rings. If I’m stranded on a desert island, might as well have something pretty to look at. It doesn’t hurt that she can hunt too. Also, I’ve always wanted to meet an elf.

5. What inspired you to become a writer and have you got any tips for any of my readers who are aiming to become writers themselves.

I love that you asked about inspiration directly after the ‘pick three characters/deserted island’ question above because *they* are my inspiration. Theirs are the stories I loved growing up, and still love today. I want to see if I can imagine and write worlds and characters as diverse and wonderful as those before me to continue the bond between storyteller and reader.

As for tips, I think most authors will tell aspiring writers to both read as much as possible and also write something everyday. Both are certainly relevant and important. Something else I always tell those I speak with about writing is to let the voices in your head breathe life into your characters. When you hear a voice whispering about a story, engage it. Have that conversation with the anonymous voice and see where it wants to go. Yes, if anyone saw you they might think you’re crazy, (maybe all of us writers are), but if you can’t converse with that voice, or picture yourself journeying alongside them, why should your readers?

You have to *go there*.