Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year in Review: The Best of the Best

My absolute favorites of the year:

If I had to pick just one board book: Not That Tutu! Michelle Sinclair Colman. 2013. Random House. 20 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
If I had to pick just one picture book: Pete the Cat And His Four Groovy Buttons. Eric Litwin. Illustrated by James Dean. 2012. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
If I had to pick just one chapter book:  Mr. Putter & Tabby Drop the Ball. Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Arthur Howard. 2013. Harcourt. 44 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
If I had to pick just one YA novel: All The Truth That's In Me. Julie Berry. 2013. Penguin. 288 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
If I had to pick just one MG novel: Paperboy. Vince Vawter. 2013. Random House. 240 pages. [Source: Library]
If I had to pick just one adult novel: Blackmoore Julianne Donaldson. 2013. Shadow Mountain (Proper Romance). 282 pages. [Source: Review Copy] 
If I had to pick just one classic: Les Miserables. Victor Hugo. Translated and Introduced by Norman Denny. 1862/1976/2012. Penguin. 1232 pages.
If I had to pick just one book by L.M. Montgomery: Rilla of Ingleside. L.M. Montgomery. 1921. 280 pages.  [Source: Book I Bought]
If I had to pick just one book by Georgette Heyer: Venetia. Georgette Heyer. 1958/2009. Harlequin. 368 pages. [Source: Gift]  
If I had to pick just one nonfiction book:  Viking: The Norse Warrior's (Unofficial) Manual. John Haywood. 2013. Thames & Hudson. 208 pages. [Source: Library]
If I had to pick just one nonfiction picture book: Miss Moore Thought Otherwise: How Anne Carroll Moore Created Libraries for Children. Jan Pinborough. Illustrated by Debby Atwell. 2013. [March 2013] Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  40 pages.
If I had to pick just one Christian novel: The Tutor's Daughter. Julie Klassen. 2013. Bethany House. 412 pages.

If I had to pick just one nonfiction Christian book: Gospel: Recovering the Power That Made Christianity Revolutionary. J.D. Greear. Foreword by Timothy Keller. B&H Books. 266 pages. 
If I had to pick just one short story collection:   The Inimitable Jeeves (Jeeves). P.G. Wodehouse. 1923. 225 pages.

Favorites of the year.

I read 21 board books. My top two board books were:
  1. Trains Go.  Steve Light.  2012. Chronicle Books. 16 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. Not That Tutu! Michelle Sinclair Colman. 2013. Random House. 20 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
Honorable mentions:

Baby and Me. Emma Dodd. 2013. Candlewick. 16 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
Little Bear's Little Boat. Eve Bunting. Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter.  2003/2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 30 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I read 85 picture books and/or early readers. My top eight were:
  1. Sophie's Squash. Pat Zietlow Miller. Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf. 2013. Random House. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]   
  2. That Is Not A Good Idea. Mo Willems. 2013. HarperCollins. 48 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. How To Train a Train. Jason Carter Eaton. Illustrated by John Rocco. 2013. Candlewick Press. 48 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
  4. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. Eric Litwin. Illustrated by James Dean. 2010. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. Pete the Cat And His Four Groovy Buttons. Eric Litwin. Illustrated by James Dean. 2012. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  6. Exclamation Mark. Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. 2013. Scholastic. 56 pages.
  7. Mr. Putter & Tabby Drop the Ball. Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Arthur Howard. 2013. Harcourt. 44 pages. [Source: Review Copy]  
  8. A Big Guy Took My Ball. Mo Willems. 2013. Hyperion. 58 pages. [Source: Library]

Honorable Mentions:

Olive and the Bad Mood. Tor Freeman. 2013. Candlewick Press. 32 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
Penny and Her Marble. Kevin Henkes. 2013. HarperCollins. 48 pages. 

I read 178 MG and YA books. My top twenty. In no particular order.
  1. Paperboy. Vince Vawter. 2013. Random House. 240 pages. [Source: Library]  
  2. The Boy on the Porch. Sharon Creech. 2013. HarperCollins. 160 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
  3.  Fortunately, The Milk. Neil Gaiman. 2013. HarperCollins. 114 pages. [Source: Review Copy]  
  4. Every Day After. Laura Golden. 2013. Random House. 224 pages. [Source: Review Copy]  
  5. Serafina's Promise. Ann E. Burg. 2013. Scholastic. 304 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  6. Beholding Bee. Kimberly Newton Fusco. 2013. Random House. 336 pages. [Source: Review Copy] 
  7. All The Truth That's In Me. Julie Berry. 2013. Penguin. 288 pages. [Source: Review Copy] 
  8. The 5th Wave. Rick Yancey. 2013. Penguin. 457 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  9. Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. Kate DiCamillo. 2013. Candlewick Press. 240 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
  10. Prisoner B-3087. Alan Gratz. 2013. [March 2013] Scholastic. 260 pages.  
  11. Rose Under Fire. Elizabeth Wein. 2013. Hyperion. 368 pages. [Source: Library]
  12. The Phantom Tollbooth. Norton Juster. Illustrated by Jules Feiffer. 1961/2011. Random House. 272 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  13. Imperfect Spiral. Debbie Levy. 2013. Bloomsbury. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  14. The Testing. Joelle Charbonneau. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 344 pages.
  15. Catherine. April Lindner. 2013. Little, Brown. 320 pages.
  16. The False Prince. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2012. Scholastic. 342 pages.  
  17. The Runaway King. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2013. Scholastic. 352 pages. 
  18. Kizzy Ann Stamps. Jeri Watt. 2012. Candlewick. 192 pages.
  19. Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library. Chris Grabenstein. 2013. Random House. 304 pages. [Source: Review Copy] 
  20. Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) Robin LaFevers. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 387 pages. 
I read 142 adult books--fiction, nonfiction, short stories. Because I've already made a top ten Georgette Heyer, I'm excluding her from this list. Same goes with L.M. Montgomery, here's my top ten list. My top fifteen:
  1. Blackmoore Julianne Donaldson. 2013. Shadow Mountain (Proper Romance). 282 pages. [Source: Review Copy]  
  2. Viking: The Norse Warrior's (Unofficial) Manual. John Haywood. 2013. Thames & Hudson. 208 pages. [Source: Library] 
  3. The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabeth England. Ian Mortimer. 2013. Viking. 416 pages. [Source: Library]  
  4. Prince of Foxes. Samuel Shellabarger. 1947. 433 pages. [Source: Library] 
  5. Great Tales from English History, vol. 1. Robert Lacey. 2003. Little, Brown. 272 pages. [Source: Library]
  6. Blood & Beauty: The Borgias. Sarah Dunant. 2013. Random House. 528 pages. [Source: Library]  
  7. William Shakespeare's Star Wars. Ian Doescher. 2013. Quirk. 176 pages. [Source: Review Copy]  
  8. Wool (Omnibus Edition, Wool 1-5). Hugh Howey. 2013. Simon & Schuster. 508 pages. [Source: Library]  
  9. Death on the Nile. Agatha Christie. 1937/2007. Black Dog & Leventhal. 352 pages. [Source: Library]
  10. The Daughter of Time. (Inspector Grant #5). Josephine Tey. 1955/1995. Touchstone. 206 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
  11. Les Miserables. Victor Hugo. Translated and Introduced by Norman Denny. 1862/1976/2012.
    Penguin. 1232 pages. [Source: Library]
  12. Ruth. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1853. 432 pages. [Source: Book I Bought] 
  13.  The Inimitable Jeeves (Jeeves). P.G. Wodehouse. 1923. 225 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
  14.  Can You Forgive Her? Anthony Trollope. 1865. 848 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
  15.  Nicholas Nickleby. Charles Dickens. 1839. 817 pages.  [Source: Book I Bought]
One of the best, best, best discoveries of the year was not a book, but, a British TV series: Horrible Histories. 


My favorite, favorite tribute video: What Makes You Beautiful
My favorite song about Vikings: Vikingland AND Literally (as if I could ever, ever choose between the two?!)
My favorite song from Series 1: Born 2 Rule, the 4 Georges
My favorite song from Series 2: Pachacuti
My favorite song from Series 3: Richard III (the song that started EVERYTHING!)
My favorite song from Series 4: RAF (World War II Pilots)
My favorite song from Series 5: We're History (Finale)
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

2 comments:

Kailana 3:14 PM  

You sure get to a lot of great books! I hope 2014 is a great reading year for you. :)

Carl V. Anderson 9:14 AM  

What a great reading year!

Yes, you've gotta love Wodehouse. The Jeeves and Wooster stories are so much fun but I enjoy his writing in general. So clever and witty.

I saw Fortunately, The Milk on your list which I just bought for myself. It arrived yesterday and I look forward to giving it a read.

I'm not sure which L.M. Montgomery would be my favorite. I lean towards Anne of the Island or Anne's House of Dreams. But then I also am very, very fond of Rainbow Valley.

Happy New Year, hope your 2014 is lovely!

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

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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