Book of the Week-The Abandon Trilogy

Today’s Book of the Week post is a little more unique than the others. Instead of reviewing just ONE book, shop I’ll be reviewing three, approved an entire trilogy.

I’ve done that once before with the Matched trilogy by Ally Condie because I was determined to get people past the slower second book to reach the really good third book.

But I wanted to do the entire Abandon trilogy because the third book, order Awaken, came out this past Tuesday, the 2nd, and I sat down and devoured the entire thing in a matter of hours. So, instead of doing a review of just Awaken, I decided to do a post about the entire trilogy.

This is also a special post because it is part of the Meg-A-Readers blog hop. Mandy from The Romance Bookie and Diana from Little Miss Drama Queen came up with this idea of having a couple of months of all things Meg Cabot. They would get a bunch of blogs involved and people would just write all about different things for Meg Cabot: reviews, how they met her, how they found her books, ANYTHING.

And I definitely had to be a part of it because she’s one of my absolute favorite authors since I first picked up The Princess Diaries when I was 12 years old, 13 years ago.

You can find out more about Meg-A-Readers here.

But let’s move on now, to the actual review!

The Abandon Trilogy by Meg Cabot

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Abandon, Underworld, Awaken

Genre:

young adult, paranormal, romance, fantasy

Part of a Series:

In the charming words of Severus Snape, “Obviously”

You May Like if You Liked:

Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series, Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy

Plot Summary:

All summaries are taken word for word from Amazon. 

Abandon: Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can’t help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she’s never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back. But now she’s moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid. Only she can’t. Because even here, he finds her. That’s how desperately he wants her back. She knows he’s no guardian angel, and his dark world isn’t exactly heaven, yet she can’t stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most. But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

Underworld: Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera isn’t dead. Not this time. But she is being held against her will in the dim, twilit world between heaven and hell, where the spirits of the deceased wait before embarking upon their final journey. Her captor, John Hayden, claims it’s for her own safety. Because not all the departed are dear. Some are so unhappy with where they ended up after leaving the Underworld, they’ve come back as Furies, intent on vengeance . . . on the one who sent them there and on the one whom he loves. But while Pierce might be safe from the Furies in the Underworld, far worse dangers could be lurking for her there . . . and they might have more to do with its ruler than with his enemies. And unless Pierce is careful, this time there’ll be no escape.

Awaken: Death has her in his clutches. She doesn’t want him to let go. Seventeen-year-old Pierce Oliviera knew by accepting the love of John Hayden, she’d be forced to live forever in the one place she’s always dreaded most: the Underworld. The sacrifice seemed worth it, though, because it meant she could be with the boy she loves. But now her happiness — and safety — are threatened, all because the Furies have discovered that John has broken one of their strictest rules: He revived a human soul.If the balance between life and death isn’t fixed, both the Underworld and Pierce’s home back on earth will be wiped away. But there’s only one way to restore order. Someone has to die.

The Bad:

The only beef I have with the entire series is that Abandon takes some time to get into. I remember reading and going, okay, Meg, you’ve never let me down before. Don’t let me down now. I think because I am unfamiliar with the tale of Hades and Persephone and Fates and Furies and THAT aspect of Greek mythology. I love Greek myths but I have always been fascinated by Artemis (I wanted to name my cat Artemis when I was like 13 but my mom wouldn’t let me…). I’m wondering if that’s why I wasn’t able to get into this series as quickly as I was able to get into her others. This series is also very different (in a good way, of course) from her other series, so it also could have been that it was not what I was expecting out of a Meg Cabot book. However…I continued to read the series and I love it. Its one of my favorites. I probably say that about all of her series but she’s just so great.

I won’t go on and on about her, because that’s not the point of this blog, but I did write about how her Heather Wells series changed my life and you can read that here.

The Good:

Now on to alllllll the good stuff that is here. I love these books because of the unique storyline that they present. I’ve seen books about Greek myths, about Hades, Persephone and the Underworld but this is the first series that I read and really liked of it. I loved diving into myths that I wasn’t so familiar with. I think Hades gets a bad rep sometimes and this story, with John Hayden as the lord of the Underworld, as someone who once lived and breathed like any other human, and was shouldered the responsiblity of running the Underworld, as a person who cares and loves, really gives you an entirely different perspective.

I also like Pierce as Persephone. I don’t know much about Persephone and whether she was a badass or not, but Pierce? Definitely a badass. She’s in love with the LORD OF THE UNDERWORLD, who has all these intense powers and has one of those super fun death glares and she still does what she wants, when she wants it, being brave and risking herself and doing all sorts of things that John thinks is completely detrimental to his goal of protecting her. I love that. I piss off my own boyfriend probably a lot, but I don’t stand down. I’m not going to be one of those girls that agrees with their boyfriend 100% of the time, just because they don’t want to start fights. I like that Pierce is strong and has her own opinion and does what she feels she needs to do.

That being said, I do like the build up and the relationship of Pierce and John. Its very realistic (as much as a relationship between a regular person and the Lord of the Underworld can be), in that they fight and bicker and disagree but they have fun together and make each other laugh. I love that when they do fight, its not the end of the entire universe like it is in other books. Its realistic. I love it.

Plus, these books make me laugh. No matter what she writes about: princesses, girls who can talk to ghosts, girls who get struck by lightning and are psychic, girls who date the reincarnation of King Arthur, whatever, she always, always, always makes me laugh. Her humor no matter what the situation is makes her such a great novelist. Her way of writing like a teenager, of writing the book in that sort of conversational manner, is fantastic and I think is why she is so popular and remains so. I find myself shaking my head, smirking or full out laughing out loud because she just makes me laugh so hard. She’s so funny, and she brings a realism and a humor to all her novels, including this series.

Rating: 

Abandon: 4 out of 5 stars

Underworld: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Awaken: 5 out of 5 stars

Recommended or Not:

Definitely. Easily. I recommend anything by Meg Cabot. I think a lot of people are wrapped up into the fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi/paranormal worlds of YA right, and Meg Cabot’s Abandon trilogy is up there with all those other books. She’s written other paranormal/sci-fi stuff like The Mediator and Vanishes series.

But yeah, definitely read these books. They’re going to make you laugh, and clutch the pages with anticipation, as you power through those pages, wondering what is going to happen to next with Pierce and John and the fate of the Underworld. Anyone who is NOT reading these books are seriously missing out on the wonderful charm that is Meg Cabot.

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I hope you enjoyed this special edition of the Book of the Week.

Don’t forget to stop by The Romance Bookie and check out other Meg-A-Reader posts!

And you can see past book reviews for the Book of the Week here!

Happy Reading!

Fandom Friday-Percy Jackson

The Fandom Friday is a weekly feature, approved with each blog post written by a new contributor.

This is the weekly post where either myself, pharm or a guest blogger, talks about a new fandom. See, I’ve had the experience in my life where I’ve been made fun or put down about my particular fandoms. And that has made me feel pretty crappy. But I’ve also put down other fandoms as well.

So I’ve decided to change that. I’m opening my world up to new fandoms, and the best way to do that is to bring people in to write about various fandoms. I’m very excited about this segment.

If you guys are interested in becoming a guest blogger for the Fandom Friday, feel free to email me at whatanerdgirlsays at gmail.com or contact me HERE

I am SO excited about this week’s Fandom Friday guest blogger. Her name is Erin Albert, and she is an up-and-coming young adult author, whose debut novel, The Prophecy, is coming out in November of this year.

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Erin Albert is an author and fitness trainer.  Since she picked up Morris the Moose Goes to School at age four, she has been infatuated with the written word.  She went on to work as a grammar and writing tutor in college and is still teased by her family and friends for being a member of the “Grammar Police.”  In her free time, Erin enjoys acting, running, kickboxing, and, of course, reading and writing. 

Today, Erin is going to delight you all with her take on the very popular Rick Riordan series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus.

Check it out!

Rick Riordan and Percy Jackson

About the Series

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For those unfamiliar with the awesomeness that is Percy Jackson, let me tell you a bit about the series (good news—there are actually two series).  The first is entitled Percy Jackson and The Olympians, and it includes five books:  The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian.  Percy starts out as a twelve year old and progresses to the age of sixteen by the final book.  Thankfully, readers didn’t have to say goodbye to Percy because Rick Riordan, the author, wrote a second series called Heroes of Olympus.  It is still being written but currently includes:  The Lost Hero, Son of Neptune, Mark of Athena, and (coming in October) House of Hades.

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When The Lightning Thief begins, we meet Percy Jackson, a twelve year old dyslexic, ADHD troublemaker.  He soon finds out he’s a demigod, meaning he’s part human and part Greek god.  Shortly after receiving that hefty news, Percy learns he’s “Suspect #1” in a crime against the king of the gods, Zeus.  He collects a loveable group of friends throughout the story:

1) Annabeth, daughter of Athena with a chip on her shoulder

2) Grover, a hapless satyr tasked with Percy’s protection

3) Chiron, a centaur in charge of training the demigods.

He also manages to pick up his fair share of enemies as well:

1) Clarisse, the combative daughter of Ares.

2) Dionysus, a god sent to watch over the demigods as punishment.

3) Hades, god of the Underworld and castigated brother of Zeus

4) Ares, god of war with a short temper

3) The typical list of Greek oddities:  Furies, a Minotaur, Medusa, and an Echidna

In the other four books, Percy goes on numerous adventures—makes more friends, and plenty more enemies—all while trying to save the Greek gods from an attack by the Titans.  Just your everyday demigod stuff…   J

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Heroes of Olympus picks up with a whole new cast of characters, the Roman demigods.  Though the Greeks and Romans worshipped basically the same gods, they appreciated different aspects of the gods’ personalities.  Thus, the gods behave one way in Greece and another in Rome, and they keep their demigods separated as a result.  Someone creates a way for the Roman and Greek demigods, natural enemies, to meet with calamitous, often amusing, results.

How I Discovered It

My friends told me I simply “had” to read this fun, engaging series called Percy Jackson and The Olympians.  I asked them to describe the story.  When they mentioned the MC was only twelve, I tuned out.  I LOVE young adult fiction, but I don’t often get into middle grade fiction.  These friends insisted that I would enjoy the series and, despite Percy’s age, I had to read it.  One day at the library, I saw The Lightning Thief and picked it up on a whim.  I honestly did not think I would like it.  From the first page, I took off with Percy on his epic adventure.  I went from someone only half interested to someone completely absorbed in the world.  I couldn’t read the books fast enough.  When I finished The Last Olympian, I had a major book hangover.  The thought of not traveling on another adventure with Percy saddened me more than I thought possible.  Then, my friend Danielle delivered outstanding news…Percy and his band of demigods would make a comeback in a new series!  I snatched up each book as soon as it got released, and I’m willing October to come faster so I can rejoin the group again for another thrill ride.

Why I Love The Percy Jackson Series

 

First and foremost, Percy makes me laugh.  He’s got this super snarky attitude.  Some snarks can be downright rude, but others use sarcasm to their advantage.  Percy falls into the latter group.

Sidebar (forgive me, I can’t help myself):  In the YA writing/publishing/reading world, debates have arisen about the use of first person verses third person.  I personally don’t care which way the story is told, just tell me a good one.  LOL!  There are benefits to both styles, but I think Rick Riordan made the best possible decision when he wrote the original series in first person (the second series is in third person).  Living inside Percy’s head and hearing his thoughts are part of what make the series so outstanding.  Percy’s thoughts often made me laugh harder than the words he spoke out loud—although those were hilarious too.

While Percy is completely hysterical (and I do mean com-plete-ly…), he possesses a great number of other endearing characteristics.  One of his most swoon worthy qualities is his desire to do the right thing and fight for the underdog.  His own experiences shape this aspect of his personality.  All his life, those in positions of authority underestimate Percy and bring him down though he is actually quite smart and witty.  His acceptance of his role as demigod highlights his quick thinking and clever problem solving.

When asked, women often say the characteristics they most want in a man are humor and loyalty.  Percy has both.  His loyalty to his friends and family really defines his personality.  Yes, he’s snarky and temperamental, but he always has his friends’ backs.  So, yeah, when he becomes “legal,” he’s a total catch!  J

In addition to Percy, I really loved the supporting characters.  Each character had loveable, annoying, and quirky traits—just like real people.  Percy’s mother, for example, ate as much blue food as she could find after someone told her blue food didn’t exist.  Annabeth had complicated family issues, and Grover wanted to belong.  Riordan uses all of his characters to explore different feelings and situations that many readers can relate to in their own lives.  Sidebar:  Leo, a character in the Heroes of Olympus series, is the second coming of Percy Jackson.  I literally spit out my drink a few times laughing at him.  Love Leo!  J

Let’s go for the obvious one here—who doesn’t love Greek mythology??  I remember sitting in school, bored out of my mind, but if my teacher told a tale from Ancient Greece, my head popped up!  Greek mythology ignites the imagination.  It’s a world where so many things are possible.  I love how Rick Riordan merges that world with the modern day one.  All these mythical beings and grand gods and goddesses spring to life right on the page.  I feel like I “know” Zeus, Athena, Poseidon, Medusa, etc. in a way I never did as a child hearing their stories.  Books transport us to new place, and Rick Riordan (through the voice of Percy Jackson) makes an excellent tour guide.

Thank you again, Sara, for having me on your site!  I’m honored to serve as guest blogger and to gush about my love for all things Percy Jackson and Rick Riordan!!

If you want to know more about me and my upcoming book, The Prophecy, you can like me on FB (Erin Albert Books), follow me on Twitter (@ErinAlbertBooks), or subscribe to my blog (www.erinalbertbooks.com).

Until next time,

Erin

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Thank you SO much Erin for contributing to the Fandom Friday!

Please visit Erin at her website, which is linked above, and keep an eye out for The Prophecy in November!

Don’t forget to check out previous Fandom Fridays!

And stay tuned for more awesome to come!

Meg Cabot: This is Teen Live Chat Transcript!

I love Meg Cabot. She is easily one of my favorite authors and is definitely the author that got me so into and supportive and passionate about young adult literature. I eagerly wait each and every book that she puts out. This summer she is putting out the third installment of her YA paranormal romance Abandon trilogy, see Awaken, store and the fifth book in her Heather Wells series (adult romance contemporary), mind The Bride Wore Size 12.

She had a live chat tonight on Facebook with This is Teen and she answered a TON of questions. I know that not everyone gets to be a part of these so I wrote out the entire conversation so everyone could see the questions that she answered!

Check it out!

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Live Chat:

Moderator: We had some great questions from Twitter, here’s one: “Do you ever experiene writer’s block and how do you deal with it?

Meg: Of course! I take a break and do something else, like take a walk or ride my bike. Or even watch TV. But the best thing to do is just put the project on the back burner for a while and do something else. It will come to you!

Fan: Ms. Cabot, I love your work. How did you get started in the industry?

Meg Cabot: Hi Wendy! I actually got my start writing historical romances under another name. It took many years and rejection before I got published. But I just kept trying! Don’t ever let rejection keep you from doing the things you love.

Fan: What was the inspiration for your book “Abandon”?

Meg: I love the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades. I love the idea of there being a place and a person for everyone even if it’s the Underworld and the hope of spring time.

Moderator: Let’s get another Twitter question! Jennifer writes “What are you working on next. Any new upcoming YA series?”

Meg: “Awaken” will be out in July and then there will be a new Heather Wells book, “The Bride Wore Size 12” on September 10th. After that, stay tuned.

Fan: The Abandon series is based on the myth of Persephone. Is it easier or harder to write a series based on existing material?

Meg: That’s a good question! In some ways it’s easier because the characters and storyline are somewhat established. But you also want to make it your own. So in that way, its more of a challenge.

Fan: What are you reading now?

Meg: I read Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick and really enjoyed it! I’ve been reading the new John Le Carre. Good stuff!

Fan: Ms Cabot. Do you get nervous when you publish a book?

Meg: Well, I’ve been doing it for a long time but, yes, I still get nervous and I hope people like it!

Fan: Who is your favorite love interest out of all the books you’ve written?

Meg: Its hard to pick! I really like the ones I’ve just written about. So, right now, I really like John Hayden from “Awaken”. He looks so good on the cover. One of the best days was when I got to pick the model to play him!

Fan: When you come up with a new idea, how do you begin to craft it into a story? Do you outline, or just jump in?

Meg: When I get an idea for a book, I usually do write up a brief story synopsis. Then I start to write. For inspiration, I make up a music playlist.

Fan: My daughter and I love your Ally Finkle series! Any plans for another book in the series?

Meg: Thank you! Allie Finkle was inspired by my experience in 4th and 5th grade and all my real life friends. We’ll have to see if there will be more adventures. I sure hope so!

Fan: What is your favorite part about writing the Abandon Trilogy?

Meg: I love writing about Pierce and John and the growth of their relationship. I also enjoyed writing the dramatic setting of the tropical island versus the Underworld!

Fan: Do you have plans do visit Brazil one more time? We miss you!

Meg: Obrigada! I love Brazil! I look forward to my new novella, “The Model and the Monster” in the Princess anthology that will be coming out in the end of June for Brazilian readers only! And hopefully I will be visiting there soon!

Fan: Could you give advice for the teens out there since we think you’re the writer who understands girl’s hearts?

Meg: Awww, thanks Claire! I think its important to remember that you are very special and never let anyone treat you any other way. Always have pride in yourself and remember that everything is going to be all right!

Fan: How long does it usually take for you to write a book? Have some of your books been easier to write than others? 

Meg: It can take as long as a year or two or as short as a few months. It depends on the book and sometimes there are many revisions that have to be done. But revisions are very important as you want the book to be the best it can be for your readers!

Fan: If you could put one of your characters from one book into another book (like putting Em Watts in Abandon or Allie Finkle in Princess Diaries or Mia in Airheads), who would it be and why would they be there?

Meg: That’s a great question! There may be a crossover in a future book that’s coming out soon…you have to wait and see!

Fan: Hello Meg! So happy to be chatting with you! My daughter loves your books and is an aspiring writing. She is in the 6th grade. What advice would you give a young writer.

Meg: Great chatting with you, too! I think an aspiring writer should read every day; write a little something every day even if it’s just an email. Write what you love to read and don’t let rejection get you down! It took me years to get published but it was worth the wait.

Fan: It seems like you had to spend a lot of time in the Underworld writing the Abandon books, did that change how you see OUR world?

Meg: LOL! Yes! In the Underworld, the Fates serve meals magically to the permanent inhabitants and I kept wishing someone would do that for me during the writing process…although I have to say my husband is a very good chef!

Fan: How’s the new book from the Mediator series coming? Also I love your books. 

Meg: Thank you! It is coming along nicely. I definitely appreciate all of the support from the readers and having the series be optioned by FremantleMedia has helped with the inspiration as well.

(There is going to be a new Mediator book! OH my god, I didn’t know this but its my FAVORITE series by her so I am so excited!)

Fan: What is your favorite love story?

Meg: That’s a hard one! I have to say I love Lizzie Bennett and Mr. Darcy! And Ron and Hermione, of course! They are so cute. I do love them!

(Two of my favorites as well!)

Fan: What is your inspiration for The Princess Diaries?

Meg: The inspiration for The Princess Diaries came from my mom dating one of my teachers. It was so gross! But now they have been together a long time and I’m very happy for them. But I did write about it in my diary. And that story became the inspiration for The Princess Diaries. This is why I encourage everyone to keep a diary. You never know what can happen!

Fan: How many hours a day/days per week do you write?

Meg: I try to keep a regular schedule, like a 9-5 job. But it never works. It’s usually more like 11-11, right before the book is due :)

Fan: Talking about food, whats your favorite thing to eat? What are you good at cooking?

Meg: I’m good at making popcorn! My husband is a very good chef. He went to cooking school. Thank goodness! I love pizza but I have to be gluten-free because I have Celiac disease.

(Is it just me or is everyone getting this disease nowadays…I swear, everyone is gluten-free…)

Moderator: Here’s another question from Twitter, Tema asks “Which book are you the most proud of so far?” 

Meg: Like a good mom, I love all my children the same :) But I always am especially proud of the newborns, like “Awaken”!

Fan: What is the most strange gift that you have ever received?

Meg: I received a life-size papier mache Fat Louie. That was quite odd. But I loved it and still have it!

Fan: Who is your favorite Sesame Street character?

Meg: I love Big Bird, of course!

Fan: Did you ever have a mentor or an idol that inspired you?

Meg: Yes! I had so many great teachers who were so encouraging of my writing, especially my 4th and 5th grade teachers, Mrs. Hunter who is featured in the Allie Finkle books. I didn’t even change her name! I also had a great school librarian who encouraged me to branch out in my reading.

Fan: Did you ever get to meet an author you admire?

Meg: Of course! I got to meet many authors that I love but I was always too shy to go up and talk to them. Even now, I get very tongue-tied around authors I admire. Don’t be like me! If you meet an author you love, tell him or her how much you like his or her books!

Sara (ME!): Meg! I ask all the authors I meet/talk to: Who is your favorite fictional crush?

Meg: Spenser, as in the detective by Robert B. Parker. I love him! I want him to be my boyfriend but he’s taken. But so am I :)

Fan: You mentioned a playlist before. What kind of music do you like? Who are your favorite bands or singers?

Meg: The problem with playlists inspired by books is that the book chooses the playlist. I like all kinds of music. When I wrote “Awaken”, I listened to the Black Keys, The New Radicals, Owl City, and much much more.

Fan: If there was ever a Princess Diaries TV show, who would be your ideal Mia?

Meg: I will never pick actors for a show or movie because if someone else gets cast later, their feelings might be hurt :( That’s actually happened. So I like to keep my opinion to myself so no one will feel that they were ever a second choice!

Fan: Love, love, love so many of your books. Thank you for becoming a writer :D What do you do when your procrastinate (instead of writing)?

Meg: Thank you so much! I love to swim, lay on the beach, read mysteries, watch TV, go to the movies, eat–all the regular stuff that a lot of people like to do :)

Fan: I love how you write some of your books in the non-traditional format of diaries/emails/etc. They’re so much fun to read! What gave you that idea? Do you feel like it fits better with certain characters/stories?

Meg: Thank you! I love epistolary novels. I especially loved the book “Up the Down Staircase” and I wanted to try writing something like that using modern technology. I would love to try to do some more but it does depend on the story. Hopefully I’ll do another one someday.

Fan: You have written a lot of stories for short story collections. Are they just as hard to write as a whole novel or are they easier because they’re shorter?

Meg: Short stories are even harder to write for me than the novels. You have to be so concise and you have such a short page count. It’s very hard for me but I love the challenge! And usually the proceeds go to charity so it’s totally worthwhile!

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They also released the FIRST THREE CHAPTERS  of the last book in the Abandon Trilogy, Awaken, which is out July 2nd! 

You can check those out here.

Thanks Meg for chatting with all your fans, and answering our questions. I can’t wait to read Awaken and The Bride Wore Size 12 this summer!