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review 2019-01-15 18:44
Review: A House for a Mouse
A House for a Mouse - Rebecca Westberg

The story of the two mice is a sweet one. Though it really does not really have much of a story to it. The story is how to get a house for a mouse. I like it but it not much of a story. The author does a wonderful job with the pictures in telling the story to a point.

The pictures could be down a bit more. There is not much of adventure to this story. The development of the characters is not there much. This need some work. This is best for children under the age of 7. Children that can read will be able to read it. It good for young children a bit for the picures for children under 5.

The author would have told the story as how the owner of the home came about and then found the mice or mouse and had a bit more of an adventure to how it ends. I say this book would have gotten a better rating. It an okay book to me. Maybe to you it will be better for you. You decide if you want it for your children or not. Like I said it an okay book. Great for children.

Source: nrcbooks.blogspot.com/2019/01/book-review-house-for-mouse.html
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review 2019-01-13 20:16
Arrows of the Queen (Heralds of Valdemar #1; Valdemar #1)
Arrows of the Queen - Mercedes Lackey

This is the first book in the Valdemar series and it has a lot going for it, but it falls short of what I expect out of story. The good news is it's not another Tolkien ripoff trying to pass itself off as something original. The bad news is it's the first in a series, and I think even the first book Lackey wrote, and it shows. The other good news is that for a first book, this shows a lot of promise, and I'm willing to go along for the ride and see how Lackey improves as a writer over the course of the series, especially as I'll be reading this is publication order.

 

This book introduces us to the world of Valdemar, so named after its first ever king, and a young Herald by the name of Talia. She's the classic Hero archetype, pulled from the fringes of society from a miserable life to discover that she's something more than she dreamed possible, landing into a world of adventure. Eventually. After she gets trained and goes to school and all that boring stuff. ;) Along the way, she meets several friends, helps with a conspiracy to unseat the Queen, and gets a magical horse. 

 

I like Talia for the most part. She comes across a bit Mary Sue-ish at times, but that appears to be a hazard of the Heralds in general, since they're Chosen by their Companions, who somehow can sense the people who will have all the qualities necessary to be good Heralds: goody-two-shoes with some form of Gift and with hearts of gold no matter how awful their starts in life might have been. In other words, no one from Slytherin is getting onto this team. Not that they're perfect, and that saves Talia from being a true Mary Sue. She has faults and she pays for them, and she struggles to fit in and find her place in the Collegium. Her growth through the book was quite well-done.

 

Of the other characters we get the most page time with, I really liked Skif and Jadus. Skif was a street rat and still has many skills handy for sneaking about - and getting into trouble. Jadus becomes a mentor to Talia, and later to Skif. Elspeth, the queen's heir, is a horror child when we first meet her, and I can just imagine the tough love approach taken to tame her would be frowned upon by some. 

 

The world-building is sprinkled throughout the book and doesn't overwhelm at any point, but I would've liked to see more of the day-to-day goings on of the Collegium, more training sessions, more classes, more equestrian training, anything at all with the Council. The various other side characters also don't get as well developed as the ones I mentioned and are there mostly for support. There's also a lot of head hopping that I'm sure would annoy some readers, though it was never confusing whose head we were in at any point.

 

I also wanted more of the conspiracy.

Since most of the book was from Talia's POV, and she understandably isn't allowed into the inner workings of the kingdom, we miss nearly everything about this conspiracy. If Lackey was going to head hop anyway, I don't see why we couldn't get those scenes with the queen discussing them with her Council. Being left in the dark for this, when it drives so much of the plot, feels like a huge misstep. We don't even find out the name of the people who were arrested.

(spoiler show)
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review 2019-01-12 17:23
My Family and Other Animals
My Family and Other Animals - Gerald Durrell

If I have to describe this book with one word, it would be delightful. Gerald Durrell´s anecdotes about his family and their life on Corfu are funny, cozy and heartwarming. And even though I suspect that not everything has been as shiny and happy as it has been described in this book, this doesn´t take anything away from my reading experience. It still remains a sweet story that I see myself revisting in the future.

 

The perfect book whenever you feel down and out and you need a read that will cheer you up. 

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text 2019-01-05 06:08
Reading progress update: I've read 26 out of 320 pages.
My Family and Other Animals - Gerald Durrell

"Ah, Spiro!" they would say, and smile at him affectionally as though he were a naughty but loveable child. They respected his honesty and his belligerence, and above all the adored his typical Greek scorn and fearlessness, when dealing with any form of governmental red tape.

 

As he demonstrates when a custom official holds back cases of Mrs. Durrells and the customs official points out that this is his duty to do so:

 

"I know you, Christaki, sos donts you go talkings about dutys to me. I remembers when you was fined twelve thousand drachmas for dynamitings fish. I won´t have any criminal talkings to me about dutys."

We rode back from the customs in triumph, all our luggage intact and unexamined.

"thems bastards thinks they owns the islands," was Spiro´s comment. He seemed quite unaware of the fact that he was acting as though he did.

 

This is fun and the characters seem to be quirky in a non annoying way. At least I´m not annoyed by them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2019-01-05 02:00
More people should be reading Shaun Tan
Tales from the Inner City - Shaun Tan

Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan reminds me why I'm always telling everyone that Shaun Tan is my favorite illustrator. His illustrations are beautiful and his prose is wonderfully written. Organized by different animals, the chapters explore various aspects of humanity with short essays (and in some cases poems) accompanied by full page color illustrations. I broke down a few of the stories to my mom who thought they were rather dark and bleak but I explained this is how Tan gets his meaning across. This book looks at life in the inner city through the eyes of animals as a way to explore humanity both its cruel, despairing underbelly and its hopeful, optimistic fur (this analogy got away from me). For example, one story features a secretary who walks into the boardroom of the company she works for only to find that all the members of the board have inexplicably turned into frogs. She goes panics (including going back to her desk to play a few hands of computer solitaire) and worries she will be blamed and possibly fired before deciding the best course is to take these frogs home and care for them as if they were her pets. It turns out that this suits both herself and the frogs equally well because they were tired of being burdened with the troubles of being human. And here we thought all frogs wanted to be turned into handsome princes!

 

Tan shines a light on the darker aspects of humanity like cruelty, thoughtlessness, divisiveness, and greed because he wants to show that this isn't all that we are and we can strive for so much more. His work is considered sci-fi/fantasy because the scenarios themselves are 'unrealistic' like men turning into frogs or pigs that can survive even if you're hacking into them piece by piece over several weeks. But haven't you thought about what it would be like to walk away from all of your responsibilities and have someone else take care of you without any design or nefarious intention? What if you lived in a place where almost everything was industrialized and you were simply a cog in a giant machine slogging away in a factory hating your day to day? And what if the only bright point in your life happened at the end of your shift when you and your fellow employees climbed onto the back of the last surviving (ginormous) yak?  That seemed pretty believable up until that very last line didn't it? That's because there's a touch of reality mixed in with the absurd making this one of the loveliest things I've read in quite a while. If you've never read Tan before pick up Tales from the Inner City and then pick up everything else he's ever written because you'll be hooked. 10/10

 

The corporate frogs. [Source 3x3 Magazine]

Source: 3x3 Magazine

 

Source: BookTrust

 

 

What's Up Next: Dear Sister by Alison McGhee & illustrated by Joe Bluhm

 

What I'm Currently Reading: ???

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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