Friday, February 16, 2018

Mini Reviews [2] Argyle Fox, The Song of Achilles & Binti

Argyle Fox by Marie Letourneau
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Argyle Fox, with his signature style, wants to play outside on a springtime day, but the wind is wreaking havoc with his fun and games. As soon as he builds a card tower, climbs into a giant spider web, or takes up his pirate sword, here comes the wind: Woosh!

Mama Fox tells grumpy Argyle that if he thinks long enough, he will come up with something to do. Following his mother’s suggestion and inspired by her knitting, he works all the pieces of his day together and creates the perfect solution.

The story of Argyle teaches that failure is often a path to success and celebrates perseverance, creative thinking, and an old-fashioned springtime activity. 

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

I read this with my son and we both really enjoyed it! I love that the story allows Argyle Fox to make mistakes and learn from them. His mother cautions him in the beginning, but (like most children) he's determined to try despite her warning. 

We're always telling our son to think about things. We ask a lot of questions to try and encourage him to find his own solutions. Why did that happen? Where does that come from? It's so fun to watch his little mind come up with answers. Mama Fox doesn't just give her son a solution, but tells him to think of one, which he eventually does.

I did have two minor issues with the book, but only because they didn't really make sense. One of the examples was a soccer ball being blown into a tree by the wind, but I've personally never experienced a spring breeze with such force. The other illustrations were more believable. The second thing was Argyle Fox wrapping his new idea and labeling it "Top Secret." The next page has him running outside with the package, but then it's open and he's using it, so why wrap it at all?

It's an incredibly cute story about a child that needed to fail in order to succeed. 


The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller,
Frazer Douglas (Narrator)
Synopsis (via Goodreads): The legend begins...

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career.

"No man is worth more than another wherever he is from."
When I think of Achilles, I think of Brad Pitt and his exposed buttocks. I know, right? It's literally the only thing I can remember about that movie. 😅🤷 

I love reading books that contain elements of Greek mythology. We've all heard of Helen of Troy, Achilles, and the battle that lasted 10 years. This was better. Madeline Miller has created a beautiful story about hope and understanding. She also shows us how one man's pride can impact thousands, and yet he's able to continue down a selfish path of destruction. 

The Song of Achilles had me raging on the inside. The unnecessary violence, the treatment of girls and women, and how male lovers were ignored and not openly accepted. I wanted to smash people in the face and show them what righteous anger looks like. 

Chiron is usually my favorite character whenever he's included in a story, and this time was no different. The few years that Patroclus and Achilles spent with him was my favorite part of the book. I hated when they had to leave, and wish they could have just stayed with him forever.

It's a long book, but definitely worth it. It's starts off with them as children, we see their friendship begin, and then we get to watch as they discover a deeper love for each other. All of this happens while training and knowing that war is inevitable. It's been Achilles' destiny since birth, and not something he is able to escape. 


Binti (Binti #1) by Nnedi Okorafor
N.K. Jemisin & Robin Miles (Narrators) 
Synopsis (via Goodreads): Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself - but first she has to make it there, alive.
“My father didn’t believe in war. He said war was evil, but if it came he would revel in it like sand in a storm.”
I'm pretty sure I'm one of the few people that didn't like this book. I actually thought about not finishing it, but the audiobook was only two-ish hours, so I stuck with it. The story wasn't bad, it was just... there. I felt like I was watching someone do laundry (with dangerous aliens, obviously), while it was narrated in my head. I didn't feel anything for Binti and her struggles. What she went through was terrible, so I expected to feel horrified, but there just wasn't an emotional attachment for me.

A lot of the science went way over my head. She was talking about numbers and equations that made zero sense to me. She's a brilliant and talented woman, so understandably some of her language would match that intelligence. Speaking of language, the writing is beautiful (even the parts I didn't fully understand).

30 comments:

  1. "When I think of Achilles, I think of Brad Pitt and his exposed buttocks" - I'm actually cackling with laughter! I think that's my most prominent memory of that movie too!

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  2. I've heard great things about the Binti series and that Argyle Fox looks too cute. What a great thing to read with your child.

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    1. If you have a chance to read it, I hope you enjoy Binti!

      I think Argyle Fox is a wonderful book for children. :)

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  3. I love that you reviewed a children's book too, so fun and it looks adorable! These are all new to me so thanks for introducing them to me! :D

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    1. Yay! You're welcome! I never thought about requesting children's books from NetGalley, but it makes sense because I read to my kiddos ALL THE TIME. We go to the library every week for new books!

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  4. I hadn't heard of any of these before now so thanks for the mini reviews.

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  5. I’ve wondered about The Song of Achilles. And yeah I always think of the movie and Brad Pit’s butt too.

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    1. It's a pretty good retelling of the story! And how can you not think of Brad's booty??

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  6. Binti has been on my radar for a while now. People RAVE over it. Sorry it didn't work for you. I have a feeling a lot of would go over my heard too lol

    Argyle Fox looks adorable.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. I know! I hate that it didn't work for me. I had heard such wonderful things about it, too. Let me know what you think, if you have a chance to read it. It's short, so you could probably knock it out in an hour or so.

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  7. The only thing I can think about now is Brad Pitt’s buttocks. Thanks for that! HA Ha. Happy weekend.

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    1. You're welcome! I'm always happy to help, lol. 😉

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  8. Ok I clearly need to see whatever Brad Pitt buttocks movie you're referring to lol. I want to read Song of Achilles, so I'm kind of avoiding reviews for it atm, but hopefully you liked it? Sorry you didn't really enjoy Binti. I've heard a lot of good things about it. The science would prob go over my head too though.

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    1. I tried to tweet a GIF of his butt, but they didn't have one. Maybe it's not allowed? The Song of Achilles is really great! I understand why you'd want to avoid reviews for it--since the story is familiar, a small detail could be a spoiler. I hope you like it!

      I think you, Greg and Karen might enjoy Binti--it just wasn't for me.

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  9. That is too bad about Binti. I saw that it was available at my library and was considering it but I don't think I will waste my time with it now. The kids book you reviewed looks like a really cute one.

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    1. If you think you might like it, it's a quick read! Argyle Fox was adorable with a great message for children.

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  10. Song of Achilles is one that I keep forgetting I have on my shelf unread. Being historically based and seeing so many discussions since it's been released unfortunately I've seen so many spoilers. Binti could have had so much potential but it sounds as though it's tried to be too clever. I enjoying reading to escape and although I like being challenged that's a little too much. Sorry you couldn't have enjoyed that a little more Lindsi, but fabulous reviews nonetheless <3

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    1. I hate that you've seen spoilers for The Song of Achilles! It's still worth the read...maybe you could listen to the audiobook and have it playing in the background or in your car?

      I don't know if Binti was trying to be too clever, it was just-- and I can't think of a way to describe it. It was like following someone around while they explained their job to you, but it was a job you knew nothing about, and then add aliens.

      I also read to escape, so I don't like struggling to follow the concepts within a story. I wish it had worked out, but not everything is for every one.

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  11. Thanks for sharing all these mini reviews. I REALLY want to read Song of Achilles. It's been on my wish list for a long time now. I'll get to it soon. The author has another book coming out soon too, I believe, so I'd like to read Song of Achilles first - not that they go together. It would just make me feel better. haha

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. She does! Circe! It looks SO GOOD. I don't think they go together at all--just another stand alone book. I can understand wanting to read them in order, lol. I'm the same way! 😅

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  12. Argyle Fox looks *so* adorable. And what a great lesson it teaches. Love the artwork, too. I've seen so many rave reviews for The Song of Achilles but I've just never been led to pick it up. I'm still laughing over the Brad Pitt comment, though. LOL

    Tanya @ Girl Plus Books

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    1. The artwork is beautiful! I loved the idea of an "argyle" fox (my husband wears a lot of argyle, so it was humorous). My son even pointed out, "Oh, his shirt is like Dada!" 😂

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  13. "When I think of Achilles, I think of Brad Pitt and his exposed buttocks." HAHAHAHA. Is it bad to say that I couldn't focus much on the rest of your review because I was laughing to hard at this? XD

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  14. Argyle Fox looks fun and cute, and Song of Achilles does too. I love anything Greek mythology- related. And lol about Brad Pitt's buttocks. Some images just stay with us. :)

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    1. I'm the same way! It's why I love reading the Percy Jackson books to my son.

      How are you supposed to forget Brad Pitt's gleaming gluteus??

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  15. I've seen Argyle Fox in netgalley so I regret not requesting now.
    Greek Mythology is one of my favorite genres!! I'm glad that you reviewed this, maybe I'll look into it now!
    Anyway, thnx for sharing!!

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    1. Argyle Fox was so good! We went ahead and ordered a physical copy!

      Yes! The Song of Achilles, and then CIRCE is coming soon!!

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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless