Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What's On Your Nightstand (May)


The folks at 5 Minutes For Books host What’s On Your Nightstand? the fourth Tuesday of each month in which we can share about the books we have been reading and/or plan to read.
Reformation Heritage Study Bible--KJV. Edited by  Joel R. Beeke, Gerald Bilkes, and Michael Barrett. 2014. Reformation Heritage Books. 2218 pages. [Source: Birthday Gift in 2014]

Ginger is helping me out once again in introducing my newest Bible reading project. This is my fourth Bible to select as project this year. I am LOVING it.

Basic Christianity. John Stott. 1958. 179 pages. [Source: Bought]

This is one of the books I read while drinking tea. I am making good and steady progress, so I'm hoping to finish it this week. 

Dawn's Early Light. Elswyth Thane. 1934/2017. Chicago Review Press. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I am really excited to start this series. I've only read the last in the series (Williamsburg is the name of the series), and that was in high school--twenty-something years ago. (It was the only one in the series the school library had.)

Blood, Bullets, and Bones: The story of Forensic Science from Sherlock Holmes to DNA. Bridget Heos. 2016. 263 pages. [Source: Library]

 Each chapter tackles a different element or aspect of forensic science. Within each chapter there are dozens of true crime stories--mostly historical, but some contemporary. I am finding it fascinating!

The Portrait of a Lady. Henry James. 1881. 640 pages. [Source: Bought]

 It had me at hello. Literally.
Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.
 44 Scotland Street. Alexander McCall Smith. 2005. 325 pages. [Source: Library]

Started this last night. I am really enjoying it so far.

An Exposition of Psalm 119. Thomas Manton. 2025 pages. [Source: Bought]

Still enjoying this one. I have slowed down some, I admit. But I have every intention of finishing this one this year.

Matthew: All Authority in Heaven and On Earth. Douglas Sean O'Donnell. 2013. 1090 pages. [Source: Bought]
 This is a Bible commentary, and I'm to the part where he's explaining Matthew 25. So maybe I'll finish early-to-mid June!





© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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No More Bows

No More Bows. Samantha Cotterill. 2017. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Hugo and Milly had been playing tea party...and dress-up...and house...all morning. So when Hugo heard: "Time for a walk!" he was ready to go.

Premise/plot: Hugo is most unhappy when his owner, Milly, starts making him wear BOWS on their daily walks. He's being humiliated in front of all the other dogs. Something must be done?! Why is she doing this to him?! One thing is certain: NO MORE BOWS.

My thoughts: I thought this was a very cute, very funny dog story. I really enjoyed the repetition in it.
Hugo was not amused. But the neighborhood dogs sure were.
The writing was well done. And I thought the illustrations were very expressive. I loved the red-haired girl's pigtails! Very cute and adorable.

Text: 4.5 out of 5
Illustrations: 4.5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10



© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Dog Book

Dog Book. Lorenzo Clerici. 2017. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: I'll call my dog: _____________. Zzz Zzz. Look at your dog sleeping...and listen to him snoring! Hey, sleepyhead, it's time to get up! Do you want to help wake him? Call out his name and then turn the page.

Premise/plot: The Dog Book is an interactive picture book for parents to share with their children one-on-one. (Earlier I reviewed The Cat Book.) The premise is simple: children interact with the book by naming the dog, waking him up, petting and tickling and scratching him, giving him commands like 'sit' and 'fetch,' etc.

My thoughts: When I received review copies of The Cat Book and The Dog Book, I thought I knew which one would be my favorite. But I was wrong. I really do love cats a bit more than dogs. But there are a lot more interactions possible with this fictional dog. And none of them involve squishing fleas or preventing him from eating a bird! The illustrations seem more playful and lively as well.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Squirrel in the House

Squirrel in the House. Vivian Vande Velde. Illustrated by Steve Bjorkman. 2016. Holiday House. 80 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The dog who lives next door to the yard where I live tells me that people call dogs "man's best friend." Well, actually, the dog doesn't so much tell me this as he yells it. Usually while he's chasing me.

Premise/plot: Squirrel in the House is narrated by a squirrel, Twitch. He would never normally think about going INSIDE but on one cold wintry day, he does just that. He goes down the chimney and into the house of Cuddles' master's house. The dog is, I believe, the first to notice--perhaps the second. Also taking note of the squirrel is a young child. But it isn't just any day, the master has a LOT of people--family presumably--over to celebrate for some reason. (The squirrel doesn't quite grasp humans.) When the dog is locked up in the basement, and the young child punished for destroying the living room, I believe, the child runs away. The squirrel notices that the boy is dressed for the inside but in the outside and worries. He follows the child, and, when the boy collapses, it's up to the squirrel to alert the family and save the day. But who will listen to a squirrel?!

My thoughts: This is a fun and quick read. Twitch is an entertaining narrator. He loves the human party--especially the pre-shelled nuts. He develops a taste for potato chips and cupcakes too. What kind of tree do they come from, he wonders!

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Saturday, May 20, 2017

Mama Cat Has Three Kittens

Mama Cat Has Three Kittens. Denise Fleming. 1998. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Mama Cat has three kittens, Fluffy, Skinny, and Boris. When Mama Cat washes her paws, Fluffy and Skinny wash their paws. Boris naps. When Mama Cat walks the stone wall, Fluffy and Skinny walk the stone wall. Boris naps.

Premise/plot: Mama Cat has three kittens. Fluffy and Skinny copy their mother; they excel at their kitty education--their kitten academy. Boris, well, he's BORIS. He excels in one subject: NAPPING. Perhaps with a minor in STEALING THE SHOW.

My thoughts: I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this one. I like all the cats, but, Boris has the last say! I would definitely recommend this one for parents to share with their little ones. I think cat lovers of all ages can appreciate it.

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


© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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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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