Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fun Stuff for the Labor Day Weekend (More Blasts from the Past)

Hey everyone, it's Iron Guy Carl, blogging at you from the end of summer. Yes, summer's over. It's always a little tough getting back to the grindstone, but, mercifully, the grownups created something to make  reentry less painful.  And that is the Labor Day weekend!! A big three-day weekend to kick up some fun before settling back into the routine. Some guys like to go to the beach over this weekend, some play or watch sports and some like to hang out. But all the readers of this blog like READING. With that in mind, let me give you a few favorite reads from the past. These will be good for those car trips or the times spent chilling out around the homestead. These books are picked randomly but every one of them is great fun for a Labor Day weekend and all of them are guy-proven great reads. (If you want to find out any more about them, click on the tab under this post--for instance, click on the "Alvin Ho" tab if you want to learn more or read reviews)

Any of the Alvin Ho books

Funny, funny, funny!!! The tales of a second-grader who's afraid of everything. Guaranteed to make you hold your sides--because, if you don't, you'll split them laughing!

The Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld

Walking war machines vs fabricated animals in an alternative history of World War I. Lots of adventure, action and things that blow up.Great reads!

The 39 Clues series

Most of you probably know about these books, but if not---go get one right away!! They pull you in and won't let go!

 How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

One of the great guy books of all time that asks the question, "Could you eat 15 worms in 15 days?"

The Brixton Brothers mysteries

Mystery, fun, and excitement as Steve Brixton (he has no brother--he just thinks it sounds cool) unravels criminal plots. Besides, where will you find out that all librarians know 9 forms of martial arts?

All right, guys, go out there and have a great weekend. And be sure to tell us what you read (or listened to, if you love audiobooks) when you get back!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan

Hey and how-de-do to all you fans of reading! The Iron Guy has been extremely busy lately. Life at the library gears up for summer and, after the big season hit, I went into hyperdrive.You've probably noticed that I haven't posted any of my own reviews for a while and that's because I've been so busy--which is good because that means so many kids are out there reading! (And I really appreciate reader guys like Michael and Sammer and mphuff who have taken up the slack) But, no matter how busy things getI always make time for a Rick Riordan book. I'm a HUGE fan of his stuff and was very excited when The Serpent's Shadow, the third and final volume of The Kane Chronicles series, fell into my eager hands. I finished it during the summer and enjoyed it. A lot of you have probably already read it, but some of you haven't. If you haven't, then pay attention. If you have, write and tell us how YOU liked it.
In case you don't know what these books are about, here's the lowdown--Carter and Sadie Kane are the son and daughter of a famous Egyptologist, who just also happens to be a powerful magician. Through a series of adventures too complicated to relate briefly, Carter and Sadie find themselves as the only two humans to stop Apophhis, the giant Chaos Serpent from rising from his ancient prison and swallow the sun. In this book, they finally discover a way to banish Apophis, but it's a tremendous risky task--they must find his shadow and cast an execration spell right to his face!
This book has all the Rick Riordan trademarks that we guys love so much--the action, the humor, and the vivid and believable otherworldly settings. This story moves right along, keeps your attention, and makes you laugh often along the way. I enjoyed it but, to tell the complete truth, I didn't feel the incredible suspense that I found in all the other Rick Riordan books. This is not a criticism because I enjoyed this book very much; it's just that I knew somehow that the characters would come out all right, even when the had to go face-to-face with Apophis. Maybe it's because I've read so many RR books that I just knew Carter and Sadie would make it.I didn't get that feeling in, for instance, The Last Olympian. There you really felt that Kronos might actually destroy the world and Percy along with it.But don't let me stop you from reading this book--like all of Rick Riordan's books, this is a good read. Maybe some of you have read it and disagree with me. If so, write in and tell me!
I have one mild criticism, though. I love his humor, but there may have been a little too much here. That sounds weird, I know. I enjoyed the insults and the quick quips all through the book but it seemed that Sadie and Carter were always hurling witty insults at each other, even in the most dangerous moments. it got a bit annoying. BUT--criticizing Rick Riordan is like critiqueing Michael Jordan. Or Babe Ruth. Or the Beatles. Rick Riordan is still one of the giants of guy writing and I cannot wait until The Mark of Athena, the final book in the Heroes of Olympus trilogy. (PS--you can read the first chapter here!)