Friday, February 10, 2017

book(ish) review: amazing animal facts postcards by maja säfström

This review is a little different! It's not exactly a book review, but it's not exactly not one, either. Confused yet?

Awhile back I fell in love with Maja Säfström's book, The Illustrated Compendium of Animal Facts. So, for a couple of reasons, I jumped at the chance to check out her Amazing Animal Facts postcard set! First off, the postcards contained within are based off the aforementioned book, which I loved. Also, I had the fun idea of framing some of the postcards for the twins' nursery and/or our kiddos' playroom. Perfect way to see these cute, quirky illustrations and fun facts all the time!

Well, after looking through this postcard set, I was not disappointed and I definitely plan to frame some of the cards for the nursery. I really like the keepsake setup of the box, and the fact that the black-and-white postcards are colorable. The material they're printed on is sturdy, but perfect for coloring. I'm not sure whether I'll go that route or if I'll just mat them with bright colors to make them pop. Either way, Avery is going to love looking at the different animals, and the twins will, too, later on!

(I think the owls are my favorite.)

I highly recommend checking out these cute postcards from a really great artist. Especially if you have kiddos--they'd love looking through all the amazing animals!

For more on Maja Säfström, her artwork, and her books, check out these links:

**Disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. However, all opinions are my own!

book review: the lost hero (heroes of olympus, book I) by rick riordan.

I've been meaning to start this series for ages, and I finally did it!

(The Heroes of Olympus series)
by Rick Riordan
Disney-Hyperion, 2012
4.5/5 stars

From the publisher:

Jason has a problem. He doesn't remember anything before waking up on a school bus holding hands with a girl. Apparently she's his girlfriend Piper, his best friend is a kid named Leo, and they're all students in the Wilderness School, a boarding school for "bad kids." What he did to end up here, Jason has no idea-except that everything seems very wrong.

Piper has a secret. Her father has been missing for three days, and her vivid nightmares reveal that he's in terrible danger. Now her boyfriend doesn't recognize her, and when a freak storm and strange creatures attack during a school field trip, she, Jason, and Leo are whisked away to someplace called Camp Half-Blood. What is going on?

Leo has a way with tools. His new cabin at Camp Half-Blood is filled with them. Seriously, the place beats Wilderness School hands down, with its weapons training, monsters, and fine-looking girls. What's troubling is the curse everyone keeps talking about, and that a camper's gone missing. Weirdest of all, his bunkmates insist they are all-including Leo-related to a god.

Rick Riordan, the best-selling author of the Percy Jackson series, pumps up the action and suspense in The Lost Hero, the first book in The Heroes of Olympus series. Fans of demi-gods, prophesies, and quests will be left breathless--and panting for Book Two.

As I mentioned, I've been meaning to read The Heroes of Olympus series for a long time. I really enjoyed the Percy Jackson series--not without some criticisms, and not without favoring some books in the series over others. But as a whole, I thoroughly enjoyed the series as the fun, funny, adventurous romp that it is, populated by colorful characters against the backdrop of Greek mythology painted with a light, humorous, modern touch. So, of course I've intended to dive into the follow-up series at some point. It's been a few years, but here I am, back to the world of the demigods!

The Good:

  • I think if I had read this right after finishing the Percy Jackson series, I would've been disappointed in the switch to shifting points of view, because it's not Percy and because it's a big difference from the previous series. But having waited quite awhile, I actually really enjoyed the switch up.
  • Just a great, solid story from Riordan! Tightly woven, wonderfully plotted, exciting and engaging. It pulled me in immediately. This guy does epic adventures well.
  • I love the subtle way this story takes a step toward being more grown up than the original Percy series. Longer, more epic, more complicated, older characters...but young, avid Percy fans could jump in and not be out of their depth by any stretch. The writing style is basically the same, even if just a bit more mature with the distance from Percy. Because, let’s face it, he's not the most mature demigod!
  • The characters were great. Jason maybe fell the most flat, but with no memories, that's kind of forgivable. Piper and Leo were nicely fleshed out and quite relatable and likable.

The Bad:

  • I don't have any serious criticisms. This solid series opener was better written than some of the Percy installments, in my opinion. If anything, you could argue that it was almost too much of the same, but...if you finish the Percy books and are ready to dive into the Heroes series, you're probably not looking for something wildly divergent from the demigod adventures you know and love.

The Unexpected:

  • Not much to report here, either. The story pretty much played out and read how I expected it to based on my Percy experience, if not a little more maturely (see the good above).
  • As far as finer points go, there were some pretty juicy twists and reveals that surprised me! But I can't spoil them for you, sorry! ;)

The Takeaway:

Loved it! I was not disappointed. I'm ready to dive into the rest of the series, which I hope continues strong with the momentum of The Lost Hero. If you enjoyed the Percy Jackson series, I think you'll love this one, and if you haven't read Percy yet and you enjoy fast-paced, funny fantasy-adventure, you've got a lot of catching up to do!