A fun little story about the Schiphol robot trying to return a lost suitcase to its rightful owner. In doing so, the robot does a tour of a number ofA fun little story about the Schiphol robot trying to return a lost suitcase to its rightful owner. In doing so, the robot does a tour of a number of the various types of people working in Schiphol (pilots, baggage handlers, firemen, etc), showing the young reader the different types of jobs you encounter at the airport....more
An important message about urbanisation, and the loss of woodland, that can be applied not just to Australia, but to the world over. This book focusesAn important message about urbanisation, and the loss of woodland, that can be applied not just to Australia, but to the world over. This book focuses on the rainforest in north eastern Australia, near the Great Barrier Reef.
I’m torn about the book. Here’s why: • The text is, simply put, uninspired and uninspiring. The images allow for a lot of imagination, but the text restricts that. It’s very basic, and it doesn’t really motivate much of any kind of emotion in me. It’s the kind of text that will only appeal to the very young at best. • The illustrations, while being absolutely superb, are far too busy and too advanced for the very young. So the text and the illustrations appear to be aimed at different readers....more
My husband works at an airport and loves air travel. He's hoping to share that love with our little one so any children's books about airports / aeropMy husband works at an airport and loves air travel. He's hoping to share that love with our little one so any children's books about airports / aeroplanes that we come across are an automatic buy.
This book allows young readers to explore the different parts of the plane and their function. It also implies a message about how it's good to be helpful towards others (in this case, returning a forgotten (lost) belonging).
The characters are koalas, so we've had some fun practising our Australian twang when we read the text....more
For me, the illustrations in this book are absolutely beautiful. They're very tranquil, focusing on shades of light blue and green. For the baby, theFor me, the illustrations in this book are absolutely beautiful. They're very tranquil, focusing on shades of light blue and green. For the baby, the colours aren't vivid enough to capture his attention, but maybe that'll come as he gets older.
A good message about how anyone can help, even if others try to make you think you're not tall enough / strong enough / etc.
My only gripe is that Little Lamb was born the same day as all the events in the story. Couldn't she have been a bit older than that?...more
I'm not sure what I expected going into this, but it certainly wasn't what the book actually is.
First of all, I feel it's important to state that theI'm not sure what I expected going into this, but it certainly wasn't what the book actually is.
First of all, I feel it's important to state that the author has a really interesting idea that she's running with here. It's a bringing together of all types of myths and legends (this book relying heavily on Greek mythology) and more recent stories (Alice in Wonderland), and has the potential to be a very broad and intricate world.
However, it is so shallow that there was no way this was going to work for me.
It's also horribly chatty. I dislike narratives that are so informal. It doesn't take itself seriously, as evidenced by the fact that Calypso is here essentially the avatar of water, hundreds of thousands of years old, mother to everything in the sea... yet she's become obsessed with "losing her virginity". She also keeps saying things like "hawt", supposedly words she's picked up from another character, yet whenever we see that character, she never speaks like that. Contradiction much?
All in all, it just wasn't for me. It wasn't necessarily bad, but it wasn't for me....more
I read and really enjoyed Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns trilogy a couple of years ago, so I was interested in reading more of what the author had to ofI read and really enjoyed Rae Carson's Fire and Thorns trilogy a couple of years ago, so I was interested in reading more of what the author had to offer.
Walk on Earth a Stranger is completely different to The Girl of Fire and Thorns, though. Based on actual historical events (the California gold rush, and people making their way through America's vast wilderness), Walk on Earth a Stranger sets a very different tone. There are still little bits of fantasy woven into the story, mostly in the form of Lee's ability to sense gold, but the historical aspect is the important one here.
I went into the book expecting to actually see some of what was going on in California at that time, but it turns out that that's being held for the second book. The first book is all about the journey from Georgia to California.
At the start of the story, Leah Westfall is living in Dahlonega with her parents, when the residents of the town hear about the California gold rush. Though her interest is piqued, she has no intent of actually going there. Following the murder of her parents, and her uncle's suspiciously timely appearance in her life, she feels she has nothing left to keep her in Dahlonega, and California offers an escape from her uncle's machinations.
Her best friend already left in the pursuit of a better life on the other side of the country. She'd turned him down when he'd asked her to join him, but now she's desperate to find him again. So she sets off after him. Of course, she cannot travel alone as a girl, so Leah becomes Lee, and she heads west.
The bulk of the story revolves around Lee's caravan of mismatched travellers as they make their way through the treacherous American wilderness. Staying true to history, not all who set out on the trip will make it to California, and not all threats come from the outside.
Despite the story not being quite what I'd expected, I really enjoyed it. The only big problem was that there were a lot of secondary characters in the caravan, and they weren't developed enough that I actually cared about them. Other than this, the story was very good, and I'm looking forward to reading books 2 and 3 later on this year....more
A few years ago I discovered Sherry Thomas when I picked up The Burning Sky. I adored it. Even when the final book of the trilogy took sappy to new leA few years ago I discovered Sherry Thomas when I picked up The Burning Sky. I adored it. Even when the final book of the trilogy took sappy to new levels, I still adored it. So when I saw that Sherry would be starting a new series in 2016, I decided to go for it.
For some reason, I went into this thinking it was YA. It isn’t. It opens with Charlotte Holmes becoming embroiled in a scandal when she is caught in flagrante delicto with a married man. She’s ruined now, of course, but she never wanted that life in the first place. So she sets out to find herself a job so she can have the means to support herself and two of her sisters in the coming years.
Charlotte is very intelligent. Intelligent to the point where she has trouble understanding the actions of “normal” people and cannot relate to them. But her intelligence also offers her insights into little puzzles. Insights that would otherwise have been overlooked. Insights like the connection between the three members of the aristocracy who recently all met their ends in a manner that could have been natural. Or it could have been murder.
I enjoyed Charlotte’s character. She’s hard to relate to, simply because she’s different. She’s sweet, and she’s willing to put everything into going after what she wants, even if it is sometimes to her detriment. She understands that life can’t only give you ups, and that there’s no point in being paralysed by the downs. You just have to keep taking steps forward.
The supporting characters were also very entertaining. Charlotte’s sister Olivia was a particular favourite of mine, though I also enjoyed the eccentric older lady who steps in to help Charlotte in her time of need - a certain Mrs John Watson. There are also a number of other characters who will certainly be of interest in the next books. I expect Lord Ingram in particular to play a bigger role in the next book, though I’ve not yet decided how exactly I feel about him. And the ending of this book introduces a new name that will surely also make a reappearance later on.
The whole narration is a little disconnected, which doesn’t always work for me, but I feel that that suits Charlotte’s personality very well. I'm looking forward to the next instalment!...more
The cover caught my eye first. And man, what a pretty cover!
Then I read some good reviews, and I thought to myself that I quite fancied an alternate hThe cover caught my eye first. And man, what a pretty cover!
Then I read some good reviews, and I thought to myself that I quite fancied an alternate history / fantasy read. So I went for it.
This story has all the necessary ingredients to produce a plot that I’ll be head-over-heels for. There’s an interesting and well-developed alternate history, enough information is given that at times I had to try to sift through what was fictional and what was based in reality. The magic system was interesting, if flawed (it just didn’t seem fully fleshed out to me, like there was something missing that would provide the final piece to the puzzle and it would all make more sense). I really liked the concept of the Hidden Ones, mythical beings with powers that haven’t yet been fully explored. There’s still plenty to come there, and they certainly piqued my interest.
It goes out of its way to tick a lot of other boxes too: a mixed-race heroine, Japanese and Chinese characters, a transgender man. The story tackles racism and sexism, though it seems to forget that those were the norms back in 1906.
However, the heroine is most definitely not at all a product of her time, which made her stick out like a sore thumb. The same can be said of her romantic interest. They were both so forward-thinking as to affect my reading. They just didn’t come across as people who could really have been walking the streets of San Francisco a century ago.
The insta-romance between the two characters didn’t allow me the time to become invested in their relationship, and that affected my interest in it. I much prefer when an author takes the time to develop a romance, rather than just tell the reader it’s there and expect them to just accept it.
Some of the characters were very interesting. I especially liked Lee and Fenris, both of whom could end up playing more important roles in the next books.
It took me a long time to read this book. I think it just didn’t succeed in keeping my interest very well a lot of the time, and I think that was more to do with the characters than the setting. For me, it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great. However, I can quite imagine that it will really appeal to some readers who are looking for different things in a story than I am....more
At the start of the year, this was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016. I’d become very invested in the first two books of the trilogy, and I wasAt the start of the year, this was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016. I’d become very invested in the first two books of the trilogy, and I was impatient to find out how it would end. And then I saw some negative reviews, and I got scared. So I put off reading the book for a while. But every time I went upstairs, there it was. Looking at me. Waiting. Calling my name. Eventually, the curiosity became too much, and I cracked it open.
I’m so glad I did.
It’s true that the story in this final book isn’t the same as in the first two. The Kiss of Deception was light-hearted for the most part. The second half became more serious, but it was still working on the setup. The Heart of Betrayal was darker, but it was also very limited by its own fixed setting. But the big difference is that both of those books put quite a lot of weight into the romance. The Beauty of Darkness plays with the romance for the first third or so of the book, but then it focuses on Lia’s quest to save Morrighan, rid the world of the Komizar, and to improve the lot of the population of Venda.
At times I did feel the story was dragging where it could have moved a little faster, and at others I wished more attention had been paid to a certain plot point or another, but overall I was happy with the story as it was. Sometimes I wanted to slap some sense into the characters, and sometimes I wanted to cheer them on for actions that went against what they wanted but were for the good of the many.
The ending is understated, but it worked well. Even though I’m sad to be saying goodbye to these characters, I’m happy with the way things ended....more
My baby is still very young, and likes to look at colours and contrasts. This book offers some very nice illustrations of animals in bright colours thMy baby is still very young, and likes to look at colours and contrasts. This book offers some very nice illustrations of animals in bright colours that capture his attention.
There is no story here at all, but since the baby doesn't actually understand anything yet, that doesn't matter so much. I just describe the picture on each page....more
We have some troublesome teeth that just will not break through the gums. Since they're causing so much trouble, it felt like the perfect time to be reWe have some troublesome teeth that just will not break through the gums. Since they're causing so much trouble, it felt like the perfect time to be reading this book.
The baby enjoys looking at the pictures. They're nice, bright, and not too cluttered for him.
As Titus is running around the farm, there's plenty of opportunity to make silly animal noises, and the baby finds this hilarious....more