I really think I'm physically incapable of giving Ben Hatke's books anything less than 5 stars. The reasons for this being that Hatke continues to creI really think I'm physically incapable of giving Ben Hatke's books anything less than 5 stars. The reasons for this being that Hatke continues to create such memorable characters and beautiful artwork. After reading all of his works, I totally consider him an auto-buy-author for me.
Not only are his books enjoyable for myself as an adult, but my kids absolutely love his works too. What makes Hatke's books stand out for me the most is that each of his main characters have been of different races. Sometimes it can be difficult to find this in childrens' books, so you have no idea how good it feels when you hear your daughter say, "Hey! She looks just like me!" Tears, guys. Tears.
Not only do his books feature diverse characters, but they feature strong female heroines who have super fun adventures like traveling through space, imaginary creatures, and the newest edition: a female mechanic!
But on to the review! Little Robot is a charming story about friendship and accepting differences. Our heroine is a very capable kid who doesn't exactly fit in with other kids her age. She enjoys fixing objects and creating new and improved versions things. Meanwhile, there is a little robot who has escape an assembly line and somehow their paths cross. And, thus, two unlikely friends become the best of friends. Through the book, their friendship changes. Our characters learn boundaries and how to deal with disagreements and acceptance.
In fact, I really loved the friendship between the characters because it was an issue my own kids could relate to. They could easily keep up with the pace of the story and tell when a character was "being mean" or "not being very nice," according to my kids. The simple, yet candid storytelling was an instant hit for us and provided a good discussion on what it means to be a good friend.
The illustrations in Little Robot is nothing short of breathtaking. But this is no surprise to me as I've been a huge fan of Hatke's art for a long time now. What I loved best were the full spreads with vivid colors. It was a great way to tell the story without actual words -- something that is great for my 5-year-old since he is not yet a reader. (The one thing my kids did seem to notice right from the start was the main character's lack of pants! Hehe.)
It kept him interested and we'd frequently stay on those pages and just admire the artwork. Likewise, the text was very simple and is perfect for early readers. My 7-year-old was able to read the entire book on her own.
All in all, this is another fantastic book from Hatke. If you have little readers in your home or enjoy picture books yourself, I would definitely recommend this one!
Review copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review.
- It was dull as dirt - It was waaaaaaaay too long - I was so tired of the angst, no matter how justified it was - RoReasons why I didn't like this book:
- It was dull as dirt - It was waaaaaaaay too long - I was so tired of the angst, no matter how justified it was - Rowan is overrated. There, I said it. - I fell asleep listening to the audiobook over 15 times. 7 alone for the last 10%. - The chapters with the witches felt SO POINTLESS. (BTW, the king outlawed magic, but witches are okay? dafuq? Oh well, I don't care.) - I feel like each book follows the same plot: Celena trains. Celena fights with cute guy. Mysterious monster is killing people. Celena kills monster. Fin.
This was equal parts boring and horrible. Mead essentially relies of the readers' knowledge and perception of Asian culture because there is absoDNF.
This was equal parts boring and horrible. Mead essentially relies of the readers' knowledge and perception of Asian culture because there is absolutely no world building to be found. I was excited initially for this because it seemed like Mead was branching out. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a complete waste of time and words can not express how disappointing this was. I hate to sound harsh, but it really felt like this was written overnight aimlessly. I kept trying to power through to the end, because maybe it would get better. Sadly, no. It just became a chore and more mentally painful with each page I read. Sometimes you just have to know when to quit.
I keep looking for the magic I felt while reading Shadow Kiss (her best book IMO), but I'm beginning to think that was a fluke. In any case, Soundless is not her best work, not by a long shot.
Thoughts before reading:
Someone in marketing must have fallen asleep at their desk, because how did I not know about this until now?! Richelle Mead is one of my all time favorite authors and I'm so excited to see her do something totally different! I must acquire this book. ...more
I'm not entirely sure about a rating yet. I liked it, but didn't love it.
Thoughts: I think this would be a great read for younger readers or those whoI'm not entirely sure about a rating yet. I liked it, but didn't love it.
Thoughts: I think this would be a great read for younger readers or those who are not huge fantasy readers. The world building is simple and enough to give the reader a feel for the fantasy world without confusion. However, I couldn't help but crave more from it. I'm not sure if this was the book or if it's just the fact that I read it while I've been listening to the Outlander series, where Diana is famous for taking 300 pages to describe a blade of grass. Hard to say. I'll come back to this review later. ...more
Final books are hard. Readers dive in with so many expectations, hopes and fears, and let's not forget the ships. I suspect it must be at least a littFinal books are hard. Readers dive in with so many expectations, hopes and fears, and let's not forget the ships. I suspect it must be at least a little daunting for an author to want to give their readers everything and stay true to their story. Friends, for me, Marie Rutkoski has done just that. This story has taken me on a remarkable journey, capturing my heart and and melting my emotions in one fell swoop.
The Winner's Kiss is a perfect conclusion to an expertly crafted series. And as always there are many familiar reasons to love the final installment as much as its predecessors while containing quite a few twists that kept me anticipating the turn of each page. Our protagonists, Kestrel and Arin, experience a lot of growth as previous choices finally reach shocking, climatic consequences, many of which I was unsure how they'd move past. I definitely didn't expect the changes Kestrel underwent; she is both the same and vastly different, exploring physical and mental strength of female characters.
You don't need to be gifted with a blade. You are your own best weapon.
The unpredictability of this novel is its greatest weapon as Rutkoski clearly shows she's not afraid to make you beg for your favorites' survival. She's heartlessly brilliant like that.
What I didn't expect was how much I enjoyed Roshar's character. I give his sarcastic, witty remarks an A++ and loved how he reminded me of a rougher version of Sturmhond from The Grisha series. It was smart for him to have as much page time as he did since The Winner's Kiss contains romantic tension to the max with a few scenes causing me utter desperation—moments where I was throwing buckets of water out of my ship, lest it sink, screaming "Noooooooooo!" fiercely at my ceiling.
I still admire the writing and how it manages to convey so much more than is actually written. It's made me re-think my stance on 3rd person narration, usually my least favorite. But the fact that I, too, now feel as though I can translate Kestrel and Arin's Epic Starring Contests, Roshar and Arin's Bromatic Body Language among a host of other tells, just goes to show you the quality of writing. No words are wasted, and always feel so carefully deliberate while still maintaining its raw honesty.
Perhaps what The Winner's Kiss succeeds at the most is its ability to straddle that fine line between a character driven and plot driven novel. Neither side took over the other, out-shining or lacking in development. The relationships were given the proper amount of time and dignity. Not only is there a focus on Kestrel and Arin's, but also of another that's made very clear it's just as important, and maybe even more so. And, yes, in case you were wondering, this book does indeed pass the Bechdel test, something which I'm always pleased to see in a YA novel.
The plot was excellent. Surprisingly detailed battle scenes, strategies and political maneuvers are at the front without making my eyes glaze over with confusion. And I loved that Arin's cultural religious beliefs along side Kestrel's disbelief was handled with a great amount of respect and love. It really highlighted an ongoing theme of tolerance and respect of others' differences, and that is so incredibly relevant. And, of course, I really enjoyed how the novel began and ended with A Winner's Curse, bringing the entire series full circle. Nice touch.
I am fiercely in love with all things Kestrel and Arin. Their relationship struggle in the novel was so real. Finally a YA book where it's not the fantasy world keeping them apart, but actual real relationship bumps that plagues us all: break down of communication, acknowledgements of individual changes and growth, trust issues, accepting faults along with strengths, understanding personal struggles, guilt of hurting the one you love the most, forgiveness, and above all, mutual respect.
"He changed us both." She seemed to struggle for words. "I think of you, all that you lost, who you were, what you were forced to be, and might have been, and I—I have become this, this person, unable to—" She shut her mouth. "Kestrel," he said softly, "I love this person."
It's sad for me to come to the conclusion of a favorite series, one that I never expected to adore so much. But I loved every minute of this ride and can't wait to revisit.
Excellent series is excellent.
An ARC was provided by the publisher. No monies or favors were exchanged.