Saturday, March 31, 2012

March Reflections

In March, I read fifty-one books! (If I'd read more picture books, early readers, or board books, my number probably would have been higher, as high as it has been in previous months.) But I am very happy with this number. I'm not sure I'll keep up with the pace I set early on this year. I don't know if I even want to keep up with this pace.


Favorite animal fantasy: A Cat of a Different Color. Steven Bauer.
Favorite early reader: Penny and Her Song. Kevin Henkes.
Favorite Middle Grade: Realistic: Wonder. R. J. Palacio.
Favorite Middle Grade: Fantasy: The Bone Magician. F.E. Higgins.
Favorite Middle Grade: Historical:  May B. Caroline Rose.
Favorite YA Historical: Between Shades of Gray. Ruta Sepetys.
Favorite YA Realistic: The Survival Kit. Donna Freitas.
Favorite YA SportsThe Berlin Boxing Club. Robert Sharenow.
Favorite nonfiction: Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition. Karen Blumenthal.
Favorite Christian Nonfiction: Knowledge of the Holy. A.W. Tozer.


Board Books, Picture Books, and Early Readers:
  1. Penny and Her Song. Kevin Henkes. 2012. HarperCollins. 32 pages.
  2. No Go Sleep. Kate Feiffer. Illustrated by Jules Feiffer. 2012. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages.  
  3. Too Princessy! Jean Reidy. Illustrated by Genevieve Leloup. 2012. Bloomsbury. 32 pages.
  4. Animal Masquerade. Marianne Dubac. 2012. Kids Can Press. 120 pages. 
  5. All for Me and None for All. Helen Lester. Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 32 pages.  
Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels:
  1. A Cat of a Different Color. Steven Bauer. Illustrated by Tim Raglin. 2000. Random House. 200 pages.
  2. Young Fredle. Cynthia Voigt. Illustrated by Louise Yates. 2011. Random House. 240 pages.
  3. Moon Over Manifest. Clare Vanderpool. 2010. October 2010. Random House. 368 pages.
  4. Wonder. R. J. Palacio. 2012. Random House. 320 pages.
  5. Between Shades of Gray. Ruta Sepetys. 2011. Penguin. 352 pages.
  6. Breaking Stalin's Nose. Eugene Yelchin. 2011. Henry Holt. 160 pages.
  7. The Survival Kit. Donna Freitas. 2011. FSG. 368 pages.
  8. The Running Dream. Wendelin Van Draanen. 2011. Random House. 336 pages.
  9. The Berlin Boxing Club. Robert Sharenow. 2011. HarperCollins. 416 pages.
  10. Black Duck. Janet Taylor Lisle. 2006. Penguin. 252 pages. 
  11. Hattie Big Sky. Kirby Larson. 2006. Random House. 290 pages. 
  12. Fever. (Chemical Garden Series #2). Lauren DeStefano. 2012. Simon & Schuster. 352 pages. 
  13. The Boneshaker. Kate Milford. 2010. May 2010. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 372 pages. 
  14. Over Sea, Under Stone (Dark Is Rising, #1) Susan Cooper. 1965. 208 pages. 
  15. The Bone Magician. F.E. Higgins. 2008. Feiwel and Friends. 274 pages. 
  16. The Eyeball Collector. F.E. Higgins. 2009. Feiwel and Friends. 250 pages. 
  17. Wisdom's Kiss. Catherine Gilbert Murdock. 2011. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 304 pages. 
  18. The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Rae Carson. 2011. HarperCollins. 425 pages. 
  19. Bless This Mouse. Lois Lowry. Illustrated by Eric Rohmann. 2011. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 160 pages.  
  20. Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck. Margarita Engle. 2011. Henry Holt. 160 pages. [VERSE NOVEL] 
  21. May B. Caroline Rose. 2012. Random House. 240 pages. [VERSE NOVEL] 
  22. Inside Out & Back Again. Thanhha Lai. 2011. HarperCollins. 262 pages. [VERSE NOVEL] 
  23. Under the Mesquite. Guadalupe Garcia McCall. 2011. Lee & Low. 225 pages. [VERSE NOVEL] 
  24. Dead End in Norvelt. Jack Gantos. 2011. FSG. 352 pages. 
  25. The Grand Plan to Fix Everything. Uma Krishnaswami. Illustrated by Abigail Halpin. 2011. Simon & Schuster. 272 pages. 
  26. The Dollhouse Magic. Yona Zeldis McDonough. Illustrated by Diane Palmisciano. 2000. Henry Holt. 86 pages.

Adult Books:
  1. 11/22/63. Stephen King. 2011. Scribner. 864 pages. 
Nonfiction Books:
  1. Bootleg: Murder, Moonshine, and the Lawless Years of Prohibition. Karen Blumenthal. 2011. Roaring Brook Press. 155 pages.
  2. Six Days In October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929. Karen Blumenthal. 2002. Simon & Schuster. 160 pages.
  3. Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (With a Few Flat Tires Along the Way). Sue Macy. 2011. National Geographic. 96 pages.
  4. America's Doll House: The Miniature World of Faith Bradford. William L. Bird, Jr. 2010. Princeton Architectural Press. 128 pages.
  5. Faith: Five Religions and What They Share. Dr. Richard Steckel and Michele Steckel. 2012. KidsCan Press. 36 pages.
  6. The Great Awakening. A Brief History With Documents. Thomas S. Kidd. 2007. Bedford. (Bedford Series in History and Culture). 160 pages.
Poetry:
  1. UnBEElievables: Honeybee Poems and Paintings. Douglas Florian. 2012. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages.
Christian Fiction and Nonfiction:
  1. Knowledge of the Holy. A.W. Tozer. 1961/1978. HarperCollins. 128 pages.
  2. Jesus, Our Man in Glory: 12 Messages from the Book of Hebrews. A.W. Tozer and Gerald B. Smith. 1987. Christian Publications. 136 pages.
  3. The ESV and the English Bible Legacy. Leland Ryken. 2011. Crossway. 183 pages.
  4. Understanding English Bible Translation: The Case for an Essentially Literal Approach. Leland Ryken. 2009. Crossway Books. 208 pages.
  5. 25 Books Every Christian Should Read: A Guide to The Essential Spiritual Classics. Renovare*. 2011. HarperCollins. 416 pages.
  6. Lord, Teach Us To Pray. Alexander Whyte. 1922/1998. Regent College Publishing. 292 pages.
  7. Holy Spirit Power. Charles Spurgeon. 1996. Whitaker House. 170 pages.
  8. Jesus Keep Me Near the Cross. Nancy Guthrie, editor. 2009. Crossway. 160 pages.
  9. The Joy of Calvinism. Greg Forster. 2012. Crossway Books. 208 pages.
  10. Gospel Centered Discipleship. Jonathan K. Dodson. Foreword by Matt Chandler. 2012. Crossway Books. 176 pages.
  11. Sarai. Jill Eileen Smith. 2012. Revell. 320 pages.
  12. Head in the Clouds. Karen Witemeyer. 2010. Bethany House. 366 pages.

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Penny and Her Song

Penny and Her Song. Kevin Henkes. 2012. HarperCollins. 32 pages.

Penny came home from school with a song.
"Listen, Mama," said Penny. "It's my very own song."
Penny started to sing,
"One is nice--"
"Your song is beautiful, said Mama, "but you will wake up the babies." 


I don't love, love, love every book Kevin Henkes writes. Some of his books aren't quite up to what I expect from him. But Penny and Her Song, for me, is one of his best! (Perhaps just needing some time before becoming as beloved as his classic picture books, Chrysanthemum and Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse and Owen.)  
 
From the very start, I just LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Penny. I did. I loved her energy, her perseverance. She has a SONG TO SING...and she wants to SING until she's heard. She will find an audience, she will, she will. She just has to!

I also loved the family dynamics of this one. While the Mom and Dad aren't exactly thrilled with the exuberant singing--the timing of it--they are very good, very sweet in their own way, in their own time. There's a time to sing, and a time to be quiet...after all.

This one is told in two very short chapters. I'd definitely recommend this one!!!
 

Read Penny And Her Song
  • If you're a fan of Kevin Henkes
  • If you like mice in your picture books and early readers
  • If you loved Frances' singing in the Frances books by Russell and Lillian Hoban


© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Four 2012 Picture Books

No Go Sleep. Kate Feiffer. Illustrated by Jules Feiffer. 2012. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages. 


One night when the stars were out and the moon was bright, a baby said, "No go sleep!"
And the baby's mommy said, "It's time for you to close your eyes and think sweet thoughts."
And the baby's daddy said, "Put your head down and fall fast asleep."


This one has a good premise, a familiar premise, true, but a good one. The family that stars in Kate Feiffer's No Go Sleep! has a baby that refuses to go to sleep.  

If you're expecting the baby to say "No Go Sleep!" in response, to keep up the fight, the battle, then you may be disappointed (like I was) with the direction this one goes next. For instead of this being a family-focused bedtime battle (or fit), this one goes to nature....yes, nature.

For don't you know that the sun, the moon, the stars, a passing car, some birds, some frogs, some bunnies, some sheep, a front door, a goldfish, some shoes, a doll, a teddy bear, a tree, and an owl have a role to play in getting the stubborn baby down to sleep?! Each has something to say, even if it is only tweet, tweet or beep, beep, beep, etc.

I found the book to be very strange, very odd. Perhaps if it had only been personifications of nature, of the animal kingdom, talking then it might be okay. Not necessarily for me--but still okay. But to have shoes and a front door, etc.?! Well, it's just too weird for me.

The focus of this one seemed to be on EVERYTHING BUT THE BABY. Which I found odd...
 

Read No Go Sleep
  • If you're a fan of bedtime books
  • If you like an odd twist or two to your bedtime reading with your little one
  • If you're a fan of Kate Feiffer
Too Princessy! Jean Reidy. Illustrated by Genevieve Leloup. 2012. Bloomsbury. 32 pages.

I am bored! 
Too jolly, too jumpy,
Too diggy, too dumpy! 
Too piecy, too blinky,
Too bangy, too plinky.

Jean Reidy is back with another in her series. The first, Too Purpley, was about a little girl who had NOTHING to wear. She was just not happy with ANYTHING in her closet. The second book, Too Pickley, was about a little boy who was a very, very, very picky eater. The third book, Too Princessy!, is about a little girl who is so very, very bored that she just can't find anything to do. Even though she is surrounded by toys. No, nothing is satisfying her today. This one has a fun but slightly predictable twist to it. (Can you guess what she ends up playing with?)

Read Too Princessy!
  • If you're a fan of Jean Reidy, if you're a fan of this series
  • If you have a drama queen of your own to share it with
Animal Masquerade. Marianne Dubac. 2012. Kids Can Press. 120 pages. 

Come one, come all to the animal masquerade. Disguises are a must!
The lion didn't know how he should disguise himself...as a cat? as a chicken? as a toad? As...
An Elephant!
The elephant went disguised as...
A parrot.
The parrot went disguised as...
A turtle.
The turtle went disguised as...
Little Red Riding Hood.
Little Red Riding Hood went disguised as...
A chocolate cake.
Uh-oh! The bear has quite a sweet tooth.
Be careful, Little Red Riding Hood!
But the bear was much too slow.
He was a real slowpoke.
So the bear went disguised as...
A snail.
The snail went disguised as...
A tiger.
The tiger went disguised as...

If you're looking for an incredibly silly book, give Animal Masquerade by Marianne Dubuc a try. I think this one has potential, but that potential isn't without risk. It will be hit or miss. Readers will either find the book incredibly funny--causing smiles and giggles--or they won't. (My personal favorite is the porcupine who went disguised as a wiener dog.) If the book was bigger, it might be fun to read aloud to a group. But since it's so small, it would probably be best for sharing with just one child at a time. (Even kids who don't read might find the pictures amusing enough on their own.)

Read Animal Masquerade
  • If you are looking for picture books translated into English; This one was Au carnaval des animaux.  
  • If you like silly animal books
All for Me and None for All. Helen Lester. Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 32 pages.

Gruntly was a ball hog. Not only did he refuse to share his toys with Hampshire and Berkshire, but he helped himself to theirs. Gruntly grabbed Yorky's shoes even though he already had far more shoes than feet. And it got worse. Gruntly constantly snuck up on Woolworth and Cluck to gather more fluff and feathers so he would have the poofiest pillows. If there was a something, he wanted it all. All for himself.


When possible, always give picture books a second read. Sometimes what doesn't impress the first time through grows on you by the second. Not always. But in the case of All for Me And None for All, I am very glad I decided to give it another try. Gruntly is NOT fun to be around. He is greedy and selfish and oh-so-obnoxious. Can he be taught a lesson?

All for Me and None for All is a message book. No doubt about it, this one is all about teaching Gruntly (and presumably the audience) a lesson in manners, in how to behave. Don't be selfish. Don't take more than your fair share. Don't take it all. Share.

Read All for Me and None for All
  • If you like picture books with a message or lesson
  • If you like picture books about pigs (and who doesn't?)


© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Six Days in October

Six Days In October: The Stock Market Crash of 1929. Karen Blumenthal. 2002. Simon & Schuster. 160 pages.

From the introduction: The years after the First World War were a golden age for many Americans. The 1920s didn't just sing with the rhythms of jazz, or swing with the dancing of the Charleston; they roared with the confidence and optimism of a prosperous era. 

While I've read plenty of historical fiction set within the Great Depression time period, this is the first nonfiction book I've read (at least that I can remember) that details the Stock Market crash itself. In great detail--fascinating detail--Blumenthal traces these six days beginning with October 24, 1929. Each chapter focuses on an individual or two which adds a great deal to the human interest factor. Make these economic facts relate to people, real people, and you've got my attention. Some of the people she discusses were truly despicable people--at least when it came to business.

I definitely enjoyed reading this one. I found it very interesting! It did win Sibert Honor in 2003.

Read Six Days in October
  • If you're interested in history, in this historical time period.
  • If you want a greater background in understanding the Depression
  • If you're interested in the human side of economics
© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

America's Doll House: The Miniature World of Faith Bradford

America's Doll House: The Miniature World of Faith Bradford. William L. Bird, Jr. 2010. Princeton Architectural Press. 128 pages.

From the book jacket:
One of the most popular exhibits at the Smithsonian Institute is a dollhouse. Sitting on the museum's third floor is the five-story home donated to the museum by Faith Bradford, a Washington, D.C. librarian, who spent more than half-a-century accumulating and constructing the 1,354 miniatures that fill its 23 intricately detailed rooms. When Bradford donated them to the museum in 1951, she wrote a lengthy manuscript describing the lives of its residents: Mr. and Mrs. Peter Doll and their ten children, two visiting grandparents, twenty pets, and household staff. Bradford cataloged the Dolls' tastes, habits, and preferences in neatly typed household inventories, which she then bound, along with photographs and fabric samples, in a scrapbook. In America's Doll House, Smithsonian curator William L. Bird, Jr., weaves this visual material into the rich tapestry of Faith Bradford's miniature world. Featuring vibrant photography that brings every narrative detail to life. America's Doll House is both an incisive portrait of a sentimental pastime and a celebration of Bradford's remarkable and painstaking accomplishment. 
I almost never rely on summaries written by other people, but, in the case of America's Doll House, I couldn't think of a better way to say it. After all, if that description made me WANT to pick this book up, then maybe it will make you want to do the same!!! I can't say that the description fits the book exactly--in one or two phrases, I think there is a bit of exaggerating going on. But. Still.

America's Doll House has a mini-biography of Faith Bradford. Readers learn a bit about her childhood, how she came to start her miniature collection, how this was a hobby she shared with her sister, how almost all of her original collection was lost (and/or stolen). Readers learn a bit about her private life and public life, her career as a librarian. Readers gain a bit of background into the times. Readers really see how this hobby shaped her life--through the decades--and how important it was to her, how absorbing of a pastime it was to her.

But America's Doll House also has a mini-lesson on the Smithsonian museum. Readers learn about what the museum was like at this time--late 40s through late 50s. Readers learn about what exhibits the museum had. Which exhibits were the most popular, where they were located, how various people responded to the museum. Perhaps most importantly it focuses on the tension of the times. The desire to have collections for their historic value, for their social value, but at the same time be new and modern and relevant to the times. Many pages are spent talking about money, talking about new buildings, remodeling, etc.

The book is very detailed in the relationship between the museum and Faith Bradford. How she came to donate her collection. What she expected the museum to do for her and her collection. How she wanted it displayed, etc. Also there is some discussion about a second dollhouse she had built for the museum. A doll house that went straight to storage--for better or worse. Going back to the tension of the times. The book also mentions that this second dollhouse is now missing. (Oh, how sad that sentence made me.)

Over half the book is photographs. And these photographs are good. The detail is much greater than the photos displayed on the online exhibit site. You can see the details of each room. You can see the dolls themselves. So the book is very good if that's what you're looking for!

Read America's Doll House
  • If you are interested in dolls, collecting dolls, doll houses, doll miniatures, etc.
  • If you are interested in exhibits at American museums
  • If you are interested in the hobbies of librarians
  • If you are interested in this time period, 1950

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Young Fredle (MG)

Young Fredle. Cynthia Voigt. Illustrated by Louise Yates. 2011. Random House. 240 pages.

"I'm not finished foraging," Fredle protested. There was something on the floor behind the table leg. It didn't smell like food, but you could never be sure. Besides, if it wasn't food, Fredle wondered, what was it? 

 Is the book itself as wonderful as the cover? Yes! Young Fredle does NOT disappoint. It was everything I wanted it to be...and more. It was such a delightful book, a fun book. How could anyone not love Fredle, our young narrator? His viewpoint is so wonderful, so charming. Not that this is a cute book without risk or adventure. There is in almost every chapter some reminder that you could become went at any moment. (Went being his word for understanding death and disappearances). He does live in a here today, maybe not there there tomorrow world. Actually, he starts his life as a kitchen mouse. But because of his curiosity, because of his gluttony, he loses his place. (If a mouse shows any weakness, any sickness, any loss of ability in foraging for themselves, then they're pushed out--literally.) So can a kitchen mouse survive outside the house?!

I loved this one. I just LOVED it. Fredle is a great narrator. I loved his viewpoint of the world. I loved seeing the world through his eyes. I did. Everything from his description of peppermint patties to the moon. I would definitely recommend this one!!!

Read Young Fredle
  • If you're a fan of animal fantasies
  • If you're a fan of fantasy for children
  • If you're a fan of mouse stories
© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A Cat of a Different Color (MG)

A Cat of a Different Color. Steven Bauer. Illustrated by Tim Raglin. 2000. Random House. 200 pages.

In a village near a silver lake, at the bottom of a range of jagged mountains, three kittens were born in the same litter. Two of them were common enough. They had wide, astonished, watery blue eyes, and gray coats stippled with black, and paws as white as if they'd been dipped in heavy cream, and when the kittens were ten weeks old, those villagers who wanted a pet came round to the house where the kittens had been born and these two were quickly chosen.
Their names were Flumadiddle and Gigamaree, and until they grew to be a year old, they looked so very much alike that sometimes Mr. Mayapple, the man who chose poor Gigamaree, would call, "There you are, you worthless welp!" when he saw Flumadiddle. And sometimes Miss Gagney, who fussed and fiddled over Flumadiddle's feelings, for it was her brother Gigamaree who stalked the streets, while Flumadiddle was a close-to-the-fireside cat, and she knew it was Gigamaree whom Miss Gagney had seen. 
But from the start no one mistook the third cat for anyone but himself. He had fur that seemed to shift in hue in the slightest breeze--fur the color of burning leaves, then fur the color of smoke. His eyes were the palest amber, and the hair on his belly was as whorled as the shapes the villagers' breath made on winter mornings. When he was still a tiny kitten, he'd fallen from a footstool into a large bucket of water, and rather than panicking, he'd seemed quite content to be soaked clear through--which was very odd, for most cats hate even the thought of getting wet. The villagers called him the-cat-who-loves-water, or, in the dialect of that part of the country, Ulwazzer, and because he was so strange, so unlike any cat that anyone had ever seen before, no one would take him home. He was preternaturally calm, they said, and probably possessed, and who wanted a cat who might raise the hair on your neck by yowling in the dark, who might turn on you when least expected, or leap on your face in the night?

I loved this one. I just LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. It may not be an 'important' book, an 'issue' book, but oh the joy this one brought me!!! It was so charming, so delightful, so funny. It was just the right amount of description too.

A Cat of a Different Color is set in the village of Felicity-by-the-Lake. It is the story of what happens when the town foolishly elects the wrong leader for the job of town mayor. Instead of the most qualified man getting the job, they elect the one who flatters them the most and gives away the tastiest treats. The new mayor is Jeremiah Hoytie. And he's got a wife, Prucilla, and a son, Sam. The couple also has a young distant relation staying with them, Daria Smart. It doesn't take him long for him to start making proclamations and decrees, changing all the rules and lying about it. Some of these proclamations are just over-the-top silly. I don't think I'll ever, ever forget this one:
Proclamation the Fourth: From this day forward, anything which does not belong to you belongs to Prucilla and Jeremiah Hoytie. (116)
The people are not happy about the changes, the new rules, but they're scared to protest, perhaps with good reason. (Who wants to be carried upside down through the town and made to pay a fine?) Fortunately for the town, Ulwazzer, the cat, returns from his roaming...and with a little (human) help is able to save the day...

Read A Cat of a Different Color
  • If you love cats
  • If you love animal fantasies
  • If you love fantasy novels for children
  • If you like funny books (and cats)

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Over Sea, Under Stone (MG)

Over Sea, Under Stone (Dark Is Rising, #1) Susan Cooper. 1965. 208 pages.

"Where is he?" Barney hopped from one foot to the other as he clambered down from the train, peering in vain through the white-faced crowds flooding eagerly to the St. Austell ticket barrier. "Oh, I can't see him. Is he there?"

 I liked this one, I definitely liked it. But it wasn't quite love for me. Not love, love, love at any rate. Over Sea, Under Stone reminded me in so many ways of fantasy novels that I've read and enjoyed in the past. And it definitely had its charming moments, its cute moments. But sometimes a book needs just a little bit more than that. Still. I liked it. I liked the setting. I liked the characters. Perhaps the three Drew children (Simon, Jane, and Barney) weren't the most amazingly well-developed characters I've ever met. But Great-Uncle Merry (Gumerry) made me more than a little curious. And I definitely want to read more in this series.

Read Over Sea, Under Stone
  • If you're looking for a classic fantasy novel
  • If you're looking for children's fantasy
  • If you're looking for a children's fantasy set in Britain
  • If you like books with more than a little charm

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Sunday Salon: Watching Wallflower (1948)

I recently watched Wallflower a black and white romantic comedy from 1948. At first I feared this might be more of a drama since it is about two sisters who fall in love with the same man. I shouldn't have been worried. For both sisters truly didn't "love" the same man. One sister, the oh-so-beautiful, oh-so-charming, could-flirt-with-any-man-any-time-any-place named Joy doesn't truly love Warren James (Robert Hutton). The supposed-to-be-plain sister, Jackie, is anything but plain. For Jackie it's all a matter of choice. Do I want to act like a brainless fool in order to catch a guy's notice or do I want to be myself? When Jackie starts mimicking her sister's ridiculous dialogues, the men flock to her. Jackie's performance seems a bit over-the-top perhaps, but I think that's because viewers know there is so much more to her. Joy, well, if it is an act with Joy, then it's a more convincing act. Not that Joy is always, always, always annoying. There are a few scenes with her acting truly sincere and concerned. Which was nice. If these two sisters hadn't loved each other, well, then they'd have been some drama! The question may remain which sister does Warren James really "love"? His eye is caught first by Jackie--he even asks her to the dance first, well, he gets 90% of his question out. Her sister, Joy, walks in the room in a bathing suit and keeps him from finishing the question completely. So if Joy hadn't walked in right then...if she'd walked in fully dressed--modestly dressed--OR if Joy had known that Warren was showing interest in her sister...then Warren might have been with Jackie all along. As it is, he proposes to both sisters--on the same night!!! So Jackie has every reason to be suspicious. Does it really matter? In the movies, maybe not so much...not if you're looking for a light romance with an emphasis on comedy (the swimming scene, for example). 

Watch Wallflower
  • If you're fortunate enough to see it on TV (again, this one isn't available on DVD)
  • If you like black and white romantic comedies
  • If you like family dramas with step families

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Library Loot: Fifth Trip in March

New Loot:
  • Replication by Jill Williamson
  • Partials by Dan Wells
  • Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
  • Men at Arms by Terry Pratchett
  • Carpe Jugulum by Terry Pratchett
  • Fine Art of Truth or Dare by Melissa Jensen
  • Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
  • Interrupted A Life Beyond Words by Rachel Coker
  • Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
  • Mars Trilogy: A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, The Warlord of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • The Black Book of Secrets by F.E. Higgins
  • My Hands Came Away Red by Lisa McKay
  • First Date by Krista McGee

Leftover Loot:
  • The Wind Blows Free by Loula Grace Erdman
  • The Wide Horizon by Loula Grace Erdman
  • The Good Land by Loula Grace Erdman
  • Becoming Queen Victoria by Kate Williams
  • Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl
  • The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett
  • The Secret Prince by Violet Haberdasher
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  •  The Lunatic's Curse by F.E. Higgins
  • The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
  • Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
  • We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gillian Gill
  • A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson
  • Magic Flutes by Eva Ibbotson
  • A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City: A Diary by Anonymous 
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.       


© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Rereading Moon Over Manifest

Moon Over Manifest. Clare Vanderpool. 2010. October 2010. Random House. 368 pages.
The movement of the train rocked me like a lullaby. I closed my eyes to the dusty countryside and imagined the sign I knew only from stories. The one just outside of town with big blue letters: MANIFEST: A TOWN WITH A RICH PAST AND A BRIGHT FUTURE. I thought about my daddy, Gideon Tucker. He does his best talking in stories, but in recent weeks, those had become few and far between. So on the occasion when he'd say to me, "Abilene, did I ever tell you 'bout the time...?" I'd get all quiet and listen real hard. Mostly he'd tell stories about Manifest, the town where he'd lived once upon a time.
His words drew pictures of brightly painted storefronts and bustling townsfolk. Hearing Gideon tell about it was like sucking on butterscotch. Smooth and sweet. And when he'd go back to not saying much, I'd try recalling what it tasted like. Maybe that was how I found comfort just then, even with him being so far away. By remembering the flavor of his words.
This was my third time to read Clare Vanderpool's historical novel, Moon Over Manifest. (I read it twice in 2010.) It is one of those books--in my opinion--that reads just as good, if not better, upon rereading. I never get tired of reading great books, of books that are among 'my favorite and best.' How could I ever know which books were truly my favorites unless I reread them again and again?! How could one reading of a great book ever, ever, ever be enough?!

Moon Over Manifest is a coming-of-age novel that is a historical mystery. The heroine, Abilene, is a young girl who's just arrived--in her own way, in her own style--in the town of Manifest. She's heard a few stories from her father--this is the town where he spent some of his childhood; but she knows she's just got a fraction of the stories. For there are many, many things she doesn't know about her father--past or present. Like, she doesn't really understand why her father is sending her away now. Yes, it's the depression. Yes, times are hard. Yes, life on the road is tough and unpredictable. But isn't being together worth it? She has certainly always thought so...

So the novel has a framework to it. There is the modern-day story with Abilene and her brand-new friends as they set about discovering clues to the past--letters, newspaper articles, special objects, etc. And the flash-back story that stars Jinx and Ned--two young men who are the best of friends. This is the story set during the first world war. This is the story that sees one of the young men going off to war and never coming back home. This is the story that shows the devastation of the 'Spanish' influenza. And that's just the beginning.

I loved so many things about Moon Over Manifest. The characterization. The storytelling. The writing. I definitely recommend this one...

Read Moon Over Manifest
  • If you're a fan of historical fiction
  • If you're looking for a book set in the 1930s
  • If you're looking for a book set during World War I
  • If you like storytelling
  • If you like historical mysteries
  • If you like coming-of-age stories

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Eyeball Collector (MG/YA)

The Eyeball Collector. F.E. Higgins. 2009. Feiwel and Friends. 250 pages.

"Tartri flammis!" cursed Hector as his stomach tightened in a knot and his chest jerked violently with every beat of his heart. He rotated slowly on the spot, panting from the chase. His nose tingled with the stench that filled the air. Already his ears were pricking to the menacing sounds around him: screeches and wails, scraping and dragging, and the ominous unrelenting moaning. So this is fear, he thought. In a strange way it excited him.

See what reading one great book can do?! It can lead you to reading other great books! Yesterday, I was oh-so-happy to have read F.E. Higgin's The Bone Magician. And I was oh-so-happy that I'd thought ahead to check out all of her books at the same time. Because I just couldn't wait to get to The Eyeball Collector! And it did NOT disappoint. It was absolutely wonderful!

Six or seven years have passed since the events of The Black Book of Secrets and The Bone Magician. The Eyeball Collector is set in the same town as The Bone Magician, the dreadfully unpleasant city of Urbs Umida. (One thing you might notice if you read both books is that it seems Beag Hickory has made it as a poet at last. This novel is not only dedicated to Beag, it opens with one of Beag's poems, and in passing a reference is made in a bookshop to a book of Beag's poetry!) The Eyeball Collector can definitely be read on its own as a standalone--it's nice to know just in case you've got access to one but not all. But I do think that after getting a taste of Higgins' writing, you'll want to read them all.

The hero of The Eyeball Collector is a young boy, Hector Fitzbaudly. He's from the good side of town. (All the somebodies live on the North side of town.) Which makes him being on the wrong side of town--the South side, the too-close-to-the-stinky-river-side--a big mistake on his part. But he wanted adventure, excitement, he wanted to see how the other side lived. He didn't quite expect to be so completely robbed. But if that was the worst that happened to young Hector, he'd consider himself fortunate. For it isn't too long after that he witnesses someone--a one-eyed someone--trying to blackmail his father. His father gives in to the blackmailer's demands, but the blackmailer sells his story to the papers anyway. So all was for nothing. Long story short, Hector's father isn't long for this world. And soon he's an orphan, an orphan determined to find the man responsible for his father's downfall and death. He's determined to find this one-eyed man and kill him.

Of course, that's just one aspect of the story...

I loved so much about The Eyeball Collector. I loved the atmosphere and setting, the tone of this one. There is something delightfully-and-charmingly creepy about this one. The villains and even the heroes are a bit eccentric, you might say. And the storytelling, well, it kept me reading.

Read The Eyeball Collector
  • If you are a fan of F.E. Higgins
  • If you are a fan of middle grade or young adult fantasy
  • If you aren't quite a Dickens fan but you've always thought you should be
  • If you like atmospheric shady-gothic reads full of eccentric characters
  • If you're a cat lover who can forgive a book for killing off two cats

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Wisdom's Kiss (YA)

Wisdom's Kiss. Catherine Gilbert Murdock. 2011. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 304 pages.


Trudy's sight revealed itself one warm summer night when the child was no older than three.

Wisdom's Kiss is good example of an almost novel. Perhaps I would have enjoyed this one more if I'd read Princess Ben. Perhaps I would have known more what to expect from this fantasy novel by Catherine Gilbert Murdock. Perhaps I would have cared more going into it, connected with the characters more. I don't know. I haven't read Princess Ben, though I've been meaning to read it for more than a few years now.

It is an almost for me because while I almost cared about the characters, I didn't quite. And I almost cared about the story, but I didn't quite. And I almost found the writing wonderful, but I also found it a little much.

There are many, many, many narrators in Wisdom's Kiss. (Would I have loved it more if they'd been fewer?) The narrator we meet first is a maid named Fortitude, "Trudy." She's head over heels in love with Tips, a "soldier" with a secret who doesn't really want to come back home just yet even though that's not what he's telling her in his (messy) letters to his childhood friend. This maid, for better or worse, is made a "Lady" when the Queen Mother, Benevolence, and her second granddaughter, Wisdom (Dizzy) travel through their mountain village. Wisdom is getting married soon, and the oyster-disaster at a previous inn leaves her much in need of another lady in waiting. Ben also appreciates Trudy for who she is. So reluctantly Trudy joins the royal procession on their way...

Wisdom's Kiss is a fantasy novel. And it feels like it. Which is a good thing, I think. I think I would have preferred this one if it had been presented more traditionally. While this one wasn't a difficult read, I discovered as I kept reading that I just didn't care about any of the characters. And I'm not sure I was 'liking' the right characters, the characters I was meant to like. (Was Dizzy supposed to be so....unpleasant?! Was I supposed to feel sympathetic towards her? Was I supposed to be happy that she got Tips instead of Trudy?! Because I just found her to be selfish and spoiled.)

Read Wisdom's Kiss
  • If you're a fan of fantasy novels for young adults
  • If you're a fan of romance-fantasy novels
  • If you like your fantasy to be a little quirky

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Bone Magician (YA)

The Bone Magician. F.E. Higgins. 2008. Feiwel and Friends. 274 pages.

How I have come to hate this place of evil, this city of nightmares. Urbs Umida they call it, Dank City, and well it deserves its name. It has taken everything that was precious to me. But I shall leave one day, soon, when I know the truth. I shall pass through those gates and it would please me greatly to not look back. Imagine, never again to inhale the stink of rot and decay, never again to see despairing eyes in the shadows, and never again to hear the name Deodonatus Snoad or to read the lies from his poisonous quill. 

Don't judge a book by its cover. Just don't.  Especially don't judge this book by its cover. (I prefer the original cover, though even that doesn't seem like a good enough cover for the contents.)

In 2009, I reviewed F.E. Higgins novel, The Black Book of Secrets. And it was love. It really was. I fell in love with the atmosphere and tone created by Higgins. I just loved his writing. Sure it was a little over-the-top, but it worked really, really well. The way he created such quirky characters, how each quirky character had a name that suited them just so.

I was not disappointed with The Bone Magician. In fact reading the Bone Magician made me want to go out and reread The Black Book of Secrets. Not to mention picking up The Eyeball Collector and The Lunatics Curse.

So in this non-sequel, readers meet quite a cast of characters. The hero is a young might-as-well-be-an-orphan named Pin Carpue. (Pin's mother is dead; his father is just on the run, supposedly because he's murdered Pin's uncle, but Pin isn't really sure that is true and Pin's father could have just disappeared the day his uncle died by pure coincidence). And the heroine is a young girl with plenty of secrets named Juno Catchpole. I could tell you that readers first meet Pin after he's been drugged seemingly unconscious by Juno and her associates. I could tell you that Pin witnesses something incredible and unbelievable: he witnesses Juno 'raising' the dead corpse in the coffin on display at the undertakers. Or I could tell you about Benedict Pantagus, Madame de Bona, Deodonatus Snoad, Aluph Buncombe, or Beag Hickory. But I won't. I think the magic of this fantasy is in letting it surprise you.

I loved this one. I just loved it. I like the writing, the storytelling, the characterization. It is just charming and funny. True, the humor could be seen as being on the dark side. And perhaps dark dramas aren't usually considered to be all that charming. But in this case, it all works. It is not as dark and as creepy as the cover would have you believe. It is not a creepy-scary book. Even if it does feature the Silver Apple killer.

An example of the writing:
Whether or not Hickory Reds were the preferred choice of a potato thrower, it was certainly true that when it came to projecting medium-sized weighty objects through the air, there was no one to match Beag. It wasn't just the distance, you understand, it was also the accuracy with which he threw them.
Beag was a man with many talents and he had left his home village at a young age to see the world, to learn, and to seek his fortune. He was not going to let his lack of stature be an obstacle and by the ripe old age of twenty-four he had achieved two out of three of his fine objectives. He had certainly traveled extensively and had written songs and poems to prove it. Aluph was not wrong in saying he was an intellectual giant. Beag had acquired knowledge that few Urbs Umidians would believe, let alone remember, and he had forgotten more than most could even know. But on the third, the matter of his fortune, Beag had been well and truly thwarted. Of all the facts he had learned, the hardest had to be that there was no money to be made from poetry and singing. But perhaps there was a living to be earned from potato throwing. Certainly it was a talent that appealed to the stunted imaginations of the Urbs Umidians. (91-92)

Read The Bone Magician
  • If setting, tone, and atmosphere are important to you; this one has it in abundance!
  • If you enjoy quirky, charming, slightly-dark, but mostly-all-in-good-fun fantasy novels
  • If you want to like Dickens but don't quite; OR if you love Dickens for his eccentric, shady characters
  • If you're looking for a good YA fantasy
© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Bless This Mouse (MG)

Bless This Mouse. Lois Lowry. Illustrated by Eric Rohmann. 2011. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 160 pages.

Hildegarde sighed, a loud, squeaking, outraged sort of sigh, when she was informed that a new litter of mouselets had been born in the sexton's closet. Such bad timing! Such bad placement!

Bless This Mouse is such a charming book; it's completely delightful. The illustrations by Eric Rohmann just delighted me from the start. They are cute, but, they're also old-fashioned. They match the text oh-so-well.

Hildegarde is the Mouse Mistress of Saint Bartholemew's. It is her responsibility--her duty--to make sure that all the church mice are able to live together peaceably with the humans. She encourages the mice to be respectful. Not one of her mice would dare chew or nibble on a Bible. Why some of her mice even know the words to the hymns. No, her main duty is to make sure that the humans don't realize the truth--that the church is home to several hundred mice. She fears the Great X above all else.

But when some of the mice get foolish, it may just be up to Hildegarde and some of her finest, bravest, smartest friends to save the mice from the terrifying Great X.

I liked this one. I really, really liked it. It was just one of those oh-so-satisfying reads.

If you like animal fantasy, then Bless This Mouse is a must read!

Read Bless This Mouse
  • If you're a fan of Lois Lowry
  • If you're a fan of animal fantasy
  • If you're a fan of children's books
  • If you're looking for a family-friendly, faith-friendly read aloud

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Library Loot: Fourth Trip in March

New Loot:
  • The Wind Blows Free by Loula Grace Erdman
  • The Wide Horizon by Loula Grace Erdman
  • The Good Land by Loula Grace Erdman
  • Becoming Queen Victoria by Kate Williams
  • Chronicle in Stone by Ismail Kadare; translated from the Albanian by Arshi Pipa
  • Prisoners in the Palace by Michaela MacColl
  • The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
  • A Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
  • Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
  • The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett
  • The Secret Prince by Violet Haberdasher
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  • The Bone Magician by F.E. Higgins
  • The Eyeball Collector by F.E. Higgins
  • The Lunatic's Curse by F.E. Higgins
  • The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
  • The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone
  • A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth Bunce
  • Starcrossed by Elizabeth Bunce
  • Liar's Moon by Elizabeth Bunce 
Leftover Loot:
  • We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gillian Gill
  • Prize of My Heart by Lisa Norato
  • The Messenger by Siri Mitchell
  • Heart of Gold by Robin Lee Hatcher
  • A Song for Summer by Eva Ibbotson
  • Magic Flutes by Eva Ibbotson
  • Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
  • Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev
  • So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev
  • A Woman in Berlin: Eight Weeks in the Conquered City: A Diary by Anonymous
Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.      

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Hurricane Dancers (YA)

Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck. Margarita Engle. 2011. Henry Holt. 160 pages.

Historical setting: Spanish ships reached the western Caribbean Sea in 1492, searching for Asia and spices. Instead, the explorers found peaceful islanders, and enslaved them. By 1510, the Bahamas, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica had been conquered. Only Cuba, the largest Caribbean isle, was still free. It was a time of hurricanes on an island of hope.

If you're a fan of Margarita Engle, then you're going to want to read one of her latest verse novels, Hurricane Dancers: The First Caribbean Pirate Shipwreck. I have read and enjoyed so very many of her verse novels in the past that when I hear of a new one, I get a little thrill. Her work is something that I just look forward to. I have found her historical verse novels set in Cuba to be so good, so fascinating, so amazing. Hurricane Dancers did not disappoint. Though I'm not sure it is my favorite, favorite. (I don't think I could name a favorite, by the way.)

So Hurricane Dancers has five narrators: Quebrado (our main hero), Bernandino de Talavera (one of our villains), Alonso de Ojeda (another of our villains), Narido and Caucubu (a young couple madly in love with one another, but their parents don't approve).

Quebrado

I listen
to the song
of creaking planks,
the roll and sway
of clouds in sky,
wild music
and thunder,
the groans
of wood,
a mourning moan
as this old ship
remembers
her true self,
her tree self,
rooted 
and growing,
alive,
on shore.

Read Hurricane Dancers

If you're a fan of Margarita Engle
If you're looking for a good book set in Cuba in the sixteenth century
If you're a fan of verse novels
If you're a fan of historical fiction
If you're looking for a good multicultural book
If you're looking to read a Pura Belpre Honor Book
If you're looking for a good coming-of-age story

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2012 Challenges: Once Upon a Time VI

Carl is hosting the sixth edition of the Once Upon a Time reading challenge.  I am signing up for quest the first which is to read at least five books that fit in the Once Upon a Time categories: fantasy, folklore, fairy tale, mythology.

Do I know exactly what I'll be reading? No. Not really. Not for sure. I mean I have an idea that I'd like to reread a few favorite books, a few favorite authors. I have an idea that I want to give some new series a try. But what I say I'm going to read today may be what I decide definitely NOT to read two or three weeks from now!

1. Bless This Mouse. Lois Lowry. Illustrated by Eric Rohmann. 2011. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 160 pages.
2. The Bone Magician. F.E. Higgins. 2008. Feiwel and Friends. 274 pages.
3. The Eyeball Collector. F.E. Higgins. 2009. Feiwel and Friends. 250 pages.
4. Wisdom's Kiss. Catherine Gilbert Murdock. 2011. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 304 pages.
5. The Light Princess. George MacDonald. 1864. 110 pages.
6. Enchanted. Alethea Kontis. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 320 pages.
7. The Lunatic's Curse. F.E. Higgins. 2011. Feiwel & Friends. 352 pages.
8. Glamour in Glass. Mary Robinette Kowal. 2012. Tor. 336 pages.
9. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again. Frank Cottrell Boyce. 2012. Candlewick Press. 192 pages. 
10. A Cat of a Different Color. Steven Bauer. Illustrated by Tim Raglin. 2000. Random House. 200 pages.
11. Young Fredle. Cynthia Voigt. Illustrated by Louise Yates. 2011. Random House. 240 pages.
12. Over Sea, Under Stone (Dark Is Rising, #1) Susan Cooper. 1965. 208 pages.




Review site.


Hood by Stephen R. Lawhead
Scarlet by Stephen R. Lawhead
Tuck by Stephen R. Lawhead
The Farwalker's Quest
Timekeeper's Moon by Joni Sensel
The Skeleton's Knife by Joni Sensel
The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone
Stealing Magic: A Sixty-Eight Rooms Adventure by Marianne Malone
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta
Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev
Perchance to Dream by Lisa Mantchev
So Silver Bright by Lisa Mantchev
The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
Hat Full of Sky by Terry Pratchett
Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Castle of Shadows by Ellen Renner
The Hound of Rowan, The Tapestry #1, Henry H. Neff

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Between Shades of Gray (YA)

Between Shades of Gray. Ruta Sepetys. 2011. Penguin. 352 pages.

They took me in my nightgown.
Thinking back, the signs were there--family photos burned in the fireplace, Mother sewing her best silver and jewelry into the lining of her coat late at night, and Papa not returning from work. My younger brother, Jonas, was asking questions. I asked questions, too, but perhaps I refused to acknowledge the signs. Only later did I realize that Mother and Father intended we escape. We did not escape.
We were taken.

Between Shades of Gray is historical fiction at its best. This novel is amazing but haunting. Readers get the opportunity to experience hell alongside the young heroine, Lina, as her family is taken captive by the Soviets--NKVD--and sent into the harshest of environments, to Siberia. There they will work and starve and struggle to cling to even the smallest amounts of dignity and hope. Lina, Jonas, and their mother manage to stay together. But there is no happy reunion with her father. Though they do know he's been taken captive too.

Between Shades of Gray isn't an easy novel to read. And it may not be for every reader. For some the subject may be too dark, too heavy. But I think it is an important novel, a significant one. It is a very haunting novel that is beautifully told.

Lina and her family are Lithuanians. But there were many families from many different countries/cultures that enter into the story.

Read Between Shades of Gray

  • If you are looking for a powerfully haunting novel to read and remember
  • If you are a fan of war stories, human tragedies
  • If you are a fan of historical fiction set during this time period
  • If you want to learn something new



© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2012 Challenges: Spring Reading Thing

I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE participating in the Spring Reading Thing challenge hosted by Callapidder Days. I love making a list for this one even though I know that I'm prone to changing my mind every other week. I have some general ideas on what I want to read for this challenge. (Challenge sign-up link).

V is for Victoria: Books about Queen Victoria, and Victorian England. Books written during the Victorian period. Books set in the Victorian. A blend of fiction and nonfiction.

1) Becoming Queen Victoria: The Tragic Death of Princess Charlotte and the Unexpected Rise of Britain's Greatest Monarch. Kate Williams.
2) Light Princess by George MacDonald
3) North and South. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1855/1998. 454 pages. 
4) Magnificent Obsession: Victoria, Albert, and the Death that Changed the British Monarchy. Helen Rappaport.
5)

Starting with...

We Two: Victoria and Albert: Rulers, Partners, Rivals by Gillian Gill

Becoming Queen Victoria: The Tragic Death of Princess Charlotte and the Unexpected Rise of Britain's Greatest Monarch by Kate Williams


North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell



All About Austen: Books with an Austen Theme or Connection

1) Mr. Darcy's Diary. Amanda Grange. Sourcebooks. 2007. 320 pages.
2) Henry Tilney's Diary. Amanda Grange. 2011. [December 2011] Penguin. 288 pages.
3) Midnight in Austenland. Shannon Hale. 2012. Bloomsbury. 288 pages.
4)

Starting with...
All Roads Lead to Austen: A Year Long Journey with Jane by Amy Elizabeth Smith


Midnight in Austenland by Shannon Hale


Henry Tilney's Diary by Amanda Grange

I couldn't begin to narrow it down to a starting point!!!

New and Mostly New YA Releases: YA books with a focus on 2011 and 2012 publication dates. Perhaps with a slight focus on fantasy since I'll be in a fantasy challenge too. But this includes ALL genres and subgenres for me!

1) The Selection. Kiera Cass. 2012. HarperCollins. 327 pages
2) Enchanted. Alethea Kontis. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 320 pages.
3) Miracle. Elizabeth Scott. 2012. Simon & Schuster. 224 pages.
4) Looking for Me. Betsy R. Rosenthal. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 176 pages.
5) Out of Sight, Out of Time. Ally Carter. 2012. Hyperion. 304 pages.
6) Article 5. Kristen Simmons. 2012 Tor. 368 pages.
7) Partials. Dan Wells. 2012. HarperCollins. 480 pages.
8) Pandemonium. Lauren Oliver. 2012. HarperCollins. 384 pages.
9) The List. Siobhan Vivian. 2012. Scholastic. 336 pages.
10) Wonder. R. J. Palacio. 2012. Random House. 320 pages.
11) Fever. (Chemical Garden Series #2). Lauren DeStefano. 2012. Simon & Schuster. 352 pages.
12) Irises. Francisco X. Stork. 2012. Scholastic. 304 pages.
13) Unbreak My Heart. Melissa Walker. 2012. Bloomsbury. 240 pages.
14) Insurgent. Veronica Roth. 2012. HarperCollins. 525 pages.

Starting with...

Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
 Miscellaneous Musts from the Library: Books that just say read me, read me, read me!

1) Henrietta's War: News from the Home Front, 1939-1942. Joyce Dennys. 1985/2010. Bloomsbury. 176 pages.
2) Henrietta Sees It Through. Joyce Dennys. 1987/2011. Bloomsbury. 208 pages.
3) The Flight of Gemma Hardy. Margot Livesey. 2012. HarperCollins. 447 pages.
4) Mascot: Unraveling the Mystery of My Jewish Father's Nazi Boyhood. Mark Kurzem. 2007. Penguin. 432 pages.
5) Kisses From Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption. Katie Davis. 2011. October 2011. Howard Books. 288 pages.
6) The Great Influenza. The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History. John M. Barry. 2004. Penguin. 546 pages. 
7) Dreamers of the Day. Mary Doria Russell. 2008. Random House. 254 pages. 
8) Glamour in Glass. Mary Robinette Kowal. 2012. Tor. 336 pages.
9) The Lost Wife. Alyson Richman. 2011. Penguin. 352 pages.
10) The Seven Dials Mystery. Agatha Christie. 1929/2012. HarperCollins. 304 pages.


Starting with...

Shogun by James Clavell
The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesy

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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