Saturday, November 18, 2017

Week in Review: November 12-18

 Boy Called Christmas. Matt Haig. Illustrated by Chris Mould. 2015/2016. Random House. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy]
The Wolf Hour. Sara Lewis Holmes. 2017. Scholastic. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Children of Exile. Margaret Peterson Haddix. 2016. Simon & Schuster. 304 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Children of Refuge. Margaret Peterson Haddix. 2017. Simon & Schuster. 272 pages. [Source: Review copy]
The Book Itch. Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. 2015. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

Julius. Syd Hoff. (An I Can Read Book) 1959. 64 pages. [Source: Bought]
The Aristocats: A Counting Book. Walt Disney Productions Presents. 1970. Whitman Tell-a-Tale Book. 26 pages. [Source: Bought]
Where Teddy Bears Come From. Mark Burgess. Illustrated by Russell Ayto. 2009. Peachtree Press. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
88 Instruments. Chris Barton. Illustrated by Louis Thomas. 2016. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
I Can Read With My Eyes Shut. Dr. Seuss. 1978. Random House. 48 pages. [Source: Library]

What Do Jesus' Parables Mean? (Crucial Questions #28) R.C. Sproul. 2017. Reformation Trust. 80 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Parenting God's Way. Alistair Begg. 2017. Truth for Life. 44 pages. [Source: Gift]
On This Special Night. Claire Freedman. Illustrated by Simon Mendez. 2009. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Do You Read With Your Eyes Shut?
2018 Official TBR Pile
2018 Good Read Rules
Journaling the CSB Spurgeon Bible
My Autumn with Psalm 119 #15 
My Autumn with Psalm 119 #16

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


The Book Itch

The Book Itch. Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. 2015. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: "This house is packed with all the facts about all the blacks all over the world." That's what it says above our door. We own this place, this house--the National Memorial African Bookstore. It's our home, just about, because we spend so much time here.

Premise/plot: The author imagines what it was like for Lewis Michaux Jr. to grow up as the son of Lewis Michaux Sr. in this environment. Lewis Michaux opened the store in the 1930s, I believe, but the story is set in the 1960s with Lewis as a young boy watching the civil rights movement unfold before him. It is a book celebrating knowledge, ideas, books, and families.

My thoughts: This is definitely a picture book for older readers. Is it fiction? Is it nonfiction? Well, it's certainly based on real people, real events, real situations. But I think the author's imagination is at work to make one cohesive story. The end covers are worth paying close attention to. The end covers feature quotes: "Knowledge is power. You need it every hour. Read a book!" "Words. That's why people need our bookstore." "Don't get took! Read a book!" "Books will help him clear the weeds and plant the seeds so he'll succeed." "The House of Common Sense and the home of Proper Propaganda."

It's worth pointing out that Lewis Michaux let customers read books at his store. They didn't necessarily have to buy books in order to read them. Also, customers could stay past closing time.

Text: 4.5 out of 5
Illustrations: 3.5 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Friday, November 17, 2017

2018 Challenges: Read It Again, Sam

Read It Again, Sam
Host: My Reader's Block (sign up here)
Dates: January - December 2018
# of books: A Trip Down Memory Lane: Reread 12 books


© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


2018 Reading Challenge: TBR Pile Challenge (RoofbeamReader)

The Official 2018 TBR Pile Challenge
Host: Adam (Roof Beam Reader) sign up here
Dates: January 2018 - December 2018
# of Books: 12 (+2 alternates)
Another note to self: On Social Media, please use #TBR2018RBR

I am not foolish enough to think that the first list of books will remain THE official list of books heading into the new year, though I like to think that at least half of them will stick. But here is my post announcing my intentions of joining. The list will be must be finalized by January 15, 2018.

_ 1. East of Eden by John Steinbeck (1952)
_ 2. Show Boat by Edna Ferber (1926)
_ 3. Orley Farm by Anthony Trollope (1862)
_ 4. Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell (1863)
_ 5. The Struggles of Brown, Jones, and Robinson by Anthony Trollope (1862)
_ 6. Raintree County. Ross Lockridge (1948)
_ 7. Richard the Third by Paul Murray Kendall (1955) 
_ 8. How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn. 1939.
_ 9. Tender Victory by Taylor Caldwell (1956)
_ 10. Crystal Cave. Mary Stewart. 1970.
_ 11. On the Beach. Nevil Shute. 1957.
_ 12. Complete Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales. 1812.
_ 13 Romola by George Eliot (1863)
_ 14. The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy (1921)

Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Thursday, November 16, 2017

Children of Refuge

Children of Refuge. Margaret Peterson Haddix. 2017. Simon & Schuster. 272 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: The man lunged out of the darkness to grab me as I ran by.

Premise/plot: Children of Refuge is a companion novel to Margaret Peterson Haddix's Children of Exile. The narrator of this second novel is Edwy, Rosi's skeptic friend. Edwy hasn't been in Cursed Town long before he disappears--is kidnapped. Rosi hasn't a clue where he's disappeared to, if he's dead or alive. Readers aren't kept in the dark long; Edwy's father has "kidnapped" him and sent him away to Refuge City, to be with his older brother (Enu) and sister (Kiandra). Refuge City is nothing like Cursed Town. Most of the book is about Edwy discovering--uncovering--secrets and searching for the truth.

My thoughts: I liked this one. I'm not sure I loved, loved, loved it. But it had plenty of action, especially towards the end. (Earlier action is more like Edwy playing basketball, video games, talking to his sister, and going to a soup kitchen.) If you enjoy your science fiction with aliens, this is a solid read.

© 2017 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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