Friday, March 23, 2018

Annie Patches: My New Forever Home

Annie Patches: My New Forever Home. Marty Koblish. Photographs by Jessica Charous. 2015. 34 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: My mommy lived on the streets.

Premise/plot: This picture book tells the story of a foster kitty who found her furr-ever home. Her mom was a pregnant stray cat taken in by a foster family. Annie Patches was adopted a few months later and placed in a new home--a forever home. The book uses photographs to tell her story. Well, to show off her cuteness mainly. 

My thoughts: I bought this one at a local charity shop because of the photographs. To say I love cats would be a bit of an understatement. I just couldn't resist this one. Sadly, I lost a few pages just with the first read. The story is heartwarming and the photographs are ADORABLE.

 Text: 3 out of 5
Photographs: 5 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Thursday, March 22, 2018


Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) Neal Shusterman. 2018. 5014 pages. [Source: Library]
First sentence: Peach velvet with embroidered baby-blue trim. Honorable Scythe Braums loved his robe. True, the velvet became uncomfortably hot in the summer months, but it was something he had grown accustomed to in his sixty-three years as a scythe.

Premise/plot: Thunderhead is the sequel to Scythe. If you haven't read Scythe yet, you should. What should you know about the series?'s set in the future. Many advancements have been made. Immortality is the norm--for most. Gone are the days where you could die of disease or old age. Most people who die can be revived. Dead has become deadish. But a small percentage of the population is gleaned each year. That is the role of the Scythes. Readers meet many scythes in the first novel in the series. Two of the main characters in the first book were Rowan and Citra. Both characters are back in the sequel. Rowan has adopted the name "Scythe Lucifer" and is on a mission of his own. Citra has adopted the name "Scythe Anastasia." Two main characters that take prominence in Thunderhead are the THUNDERHEAD and Greyson Tolliver.

The Scythes are finding themselves divided into two factions: the 'old' guard that believe that the role of scythe is honorable but heavy with responsibility and the 'new order' which believe that killing is an exhilarating joy. They don't work with heavy hearts and solemnity. No, they approach the job as a pleasure. Scythe Anastasia and Scythe Curie are of the old guard faction.

There are some truly EVIL characters in Thunderhead.

My thoughts: I'm not sure I have words. The ending left me crushed and broken. (I can only compare it perhaps to listening to the whole Hamilton soundtrack.) I think the book is well written and well plotted. It almost goes without saying that it is incredibly compelling--intense and dramatic.

I do recommend the series. Read them back to back if you can. I did not reread the first book. If there is a third book, I will try to make a point to reread all the books.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

No Nap! Yes Nap!

No Nap! Yes Nap! Margie Palatini. Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino. 2014. Little, Brown for Young Readers. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Mama says, Nap. Baby says, NO NAP! Nap, yes, says Mama. Yes yes yes! Nap, no! No no no!

Premise/plot: Will Baby take a nap? How long will it take to get Baby to nap? Will Mama need a nap too?!

My thoughts: I like this one. I do. I think the enjoyment--in part--comes from not overthinking it. How can you overthink a picture book? By worrying about the dangers of baby talk. By seeing the short, simple incomplete sentences as a threat to your child's language acquisition. By judging the mom for everything she does or doesn't do right. By seeing the BABY not as humorous or realistic but as a super-dangerous role model, a threat or danger to your own child. Read what you want to read to your child, with your child. Be as scrupulous as you want. But here's the my personal aren't taught to misbehave or be naughty through books. Naughtiness comes naturally. Even if you never pick up No Nap! Yes Nap! chances are that a power struggle over nap time will occur at your house if you have a little one.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Shaking Things Up

Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World. Susan Hood. Illustrated by Selina Alko, Sophie Blackall, Lisa Brown, Hadley Hooper, Emily Winfield Martin, Oge Mora, Julie Morstad, Sara Palacios, LeUyen Pham, Erin K. Robinson, Isabel Roxas, Shadra Strickland, and Melissa Sweet. 2018. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

Premise/plot: Shaking Things Up is a nonfiction (biographical) poetry book celebrating remarkable women past and present. The fourteen women included are Molly Williams (first known female firefighter in the U.S.), Mary Anning (paleontologist), Nellie Bly (journalist), Annette Kellerman (athlete and designer/inventor of the modern swimsuit), Pura Belpre (Latina author/librarian), Frida Kahlo (artist), Jacqueline and Eileen Nearne (secret agents), Frances Moore Lappe (anti-hunger activist/author), Ruby Bridges (civil rights pioneer), Mae Jemison (first African American astronaut), Maya Lin (architect and sculptor), Angela Zhang (scientist and cancer researcher), Malala Yousafzai (youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize).

Each spread includes a biographical poem and is illustrated by a different artist. Just as there is variety in the women highlighted in the book, the poems are written in a variety of styles or forms.

My favorite poem:
There once was a mermaid queen,
lovely and lithesome and lean,
who swam afternoons
without pantaloons--
her swimsuit was deemed obscene!
The lady was quickly arrested.
Unafraid, she calmly protested:
Who can swim fifty laps
wearing corsets and caps?
Her statement could not be contested.
She streamlined the suit of the day
and invented our water ballet.
By changing the fashions
she fueled swimming passions
as women made waves in the spray. (15)
My thoughts: I really loved this one overall! Some of the women were completely new to me. I was glad that the back matter included a suggested reading list for each woman. I would recommend this one to anyone who enjoys nonfiction OR poetry OR inspirational reads in general.

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Monday, March 19, 2018

Currently Reading #12

Something Old
Orley Farm. Anthony Trollope. 1862. 825 pages. [Source: Bought]

Short Stories of Lucy Maud Montgomery from 1909-1922. L.M. Montgomery. 2008/2010. 312 pages. [Source: Bought]

Something New
Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) Neal Shusterman. 2018. 5014 pages. [Source: Library]

Something Borrowed
Crime and Punishment. Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Translated by David McDuff. 671 pages. [Source: Library]

Something True

NASB Quick Study Bible. 2006. Thomas Nelson. 1920 pages. [Source: Bought]

Following Christ. R.C. Sproul. 1991. 392 pages. [Source: Bought]

Old Paths. J.C. Ryle. 536 pages.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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