Sunday, August 25, 2019

Stars Upon Thars #34

5 Stars
Eventown. Corey Ann Haydu. 2019. 328 pages. [Source: Library]
Little People, Big Dreams: L.M. Montgomery. Mª Isabel Sánchez Vegara. Illustrated by Anuska Allepuz. 2018 [October]. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
 The Brave Princess and Me. Kathy Kacer. Illustrated by Juliana Kolesova. 2019. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
A Time  Traveler's Theory of Relativity. Nicole Valentine. 2019. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]


4 Stars
 The Handmaid's Tale. Margaret Atwood. 1985. 344 pages. [Source: Library]

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Saturday, August 24, 2019

August Share-a-Tea Check-In Post

Mary Cassatt, Dame am Teetisch
What are you currently reading for the challenge?
Have you finished any books for this challenge this month?
Is there a book you're looking forward to starting next month?
Want to share any favorite quotes from a past or current read?
What teas have you enjoyed this month?

 
77. A Time  Traveler's Theory of Relativity. Nicole Valentine. 2019. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]
78. The Handmaid's Tale. Margaret Atwood. 1985. 344 pages. [Source: Library]
79. The Brave Princess and Me. Kathy Kacer. Illustrated by Juliana Kolesova. 2019. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
80. Eventown. Corey Ann Haydu. 2019. 328 pages. [Source: Library]

I haven't tried any new-to-me teas. But I have been drinking old favorites. 

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Friday, August 23, 2019

Eventown

Eventown. Corey Ann Haydu. 2019. 328 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Jenny Horowitz likes horses and the color pink and asking lots of questions about things I don’t want to talk about.

Premise/plot: Elodee, our heroine, is a twin; her sister is Naomi. Both are in the fifth grade. Both are struggling with their emotions and feelings. Both are trying to support the other. The Lively family as a whole is struggling actually. The parents decide that what is best for them all is a move, a move to the oh-so-perfect town of Eventown. Every one is always happy, friendly, comfortable in Eventown. They live in identical houses, have similar yards, have similar interests and traditions. There is a right way to do community.

Elodee has trouble truly fitting in. Naomi blossoms and shines in this even environment. But Elodee, well, she has questions—dozens of them. Why is there only one song sung in Eventown?! Why is the no television, no internet, no music, no movies?! Why are all the books in the library beautifully bound but blank?!

The school also seems to have its own priorities in the curriculum. Readers can clearly discern that something is afoot. What makes Eventown unique? Why would anyone choose to move there?

My thoughts: I found this to be a compelling, suspenseful read. Suspenseful in a Twilight Zone way. A not-so-subtle creepiness that closes in around you as you turn the pages. At one point, for example, vines surround their house blocking out the light and making it difficult to open the door.

I really enjoyed the characters and relationships. I loved Elodee’s friendship with Veena and her Mom. I also liked her relationship with her dad.

This one reminded me of Lois Lowry’s The Giver. (Also of Orson Scott Card's under-appreciated Worthing Saga). I would not be disappointed if it won an award or two.

I used to think feelings were part of a person, but lately I’ve been thinking they are separate beings, that they come like aliens and invade people’s bodies and cause destruction.


S
P
O
I
L
E
R

This one hints of darkness. The family has a reason—right or wrong—for wanting a new start or beginning. But this beginning comes at a huge price. Do we truly want to forget completely everything that has hurt and challenged us?


© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Lucy Maud Montgomery

Little People, Big Dreams: L.M. Montgomery. Mª Isabel Sánchez Vegara. Illustrated by Anuska Allepuz. 2018 [October]. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

Premise/plot: This is a lovely picture book biography of Lucy Maud Montgomery. It focuses on her big dream of writing and storytelling. While it briefly mentions her unhappy childhood, for the most part it stays happy-happy never delving into her adulthood unhappiness and struggles with mental health. It is a cozy read for elementary readers who are on the verge of meeting Anne for the first time.

My thoughts: I found this an enjoyable read. Last year I read a biography for an older audience (though still for youth) that was incredibly depressing though probably true to life. Mental health is important and was rarely understood in the past. It was nice that this one didn’t go dark. There is a time and place for both books.

The illustrations are good! I loved seeing a young Maud in braids. 

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

World at War: The Brave Princess and Me

The Brave Princess and Me. Kathy Kacer. Illustrated by Juliana Kolesova. 2019. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: There once was a princess who lived in Greece. Her full name was Victoria Alice Elizabeth Julia Marie, but she was called Princess Alice. When she was very young her family discovered that she was deaf.

Premise/plot: Rachel Cohen and her daughter, Tilde, are desperate for help and they find it in the kind and gracious acts of a princess. This illustrated book for young readers is set in Greece during the Second World War. The story is inspired by true events. The princess that stars in this one is the mother of Prince Philip who is married to Queen Elizabeth II.

My thoughts: I loved, loved, loved the illustrations of this one. They are simply beautiful. I also love that it is inspired by true people and events. I have read very little about the Second World War that was set in Greece. I loved how Princess Alice fooled the Nazis by playing dumb. It never occurred to them apparently that a deaf person could be intelligent, informed, opinionated, political.

The story is written in the first person. It is short but packed with emotion.


© 2019 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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