Monday, December 09, 2019

Glass Slippers, Ever After, and Me

Glass Slippers, Ever After, and Me. Julie Wright. 2019. Shadow Mountain. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: My fairy godmother was all talk and no action. Like the tooth fairy, she was definitely not someone I could depend on. I had a sneaking suspicion the two had run off together a long time ago and were now downing drinks with umbrellas while they lounged on a beach somewhere exotic and peaceful.

Premise/plot: Glass Slippers, Ever After, and Me is a light-hearted romance novel. The heroine, Charlotte Kingsley, is a writer. Her dream is to be PUBLISHED of course. But after yet another brutal rejection (all rejections are brutal no matter how civil the wording), she writes a NONFICTION self-help book instead of another fairy-tale romance. That book, the "rant" as her neighbor believes it to be, is NOT rejected. But the terms under which it is published leave a little to be desired. For Charlotte will have to BECOME the person people expect her to be. Her Swedish neighbor, Anders, is NOT pleased that his absolute best friend (and possible love of his life) is changing EVERYTHING about herself in order to fit a mold that the publisher dictates. Everything from who she can friend or follow on social media, what she can post, what she can share, how she dresses, who she can be seen with, the furnishings of her apartment. It is all so EXTREME. Is she losing herself to get the happily ever after ending that she's always wanted?

My thoughts: I am Team Anders on this one. I don't know if I was supposed to be. Oh, it's fairly obvious that Anders is the love interest. But when it comes to all the changes they are demanding of her--from her--I am Team Anders. It seemed all kinds of WRONG that a writer would have to essentially change everything about herself in order to be liked by potential readers. I hope this aspect of the story is pure FICTION. I would hate to think that this kind of thing happens in the real world.

As for the romance, I definitely enjoyed this one. 


© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Saturday, December 07, 2019

Stars Upon Thars #49

5 Stars
Nine Open Arms. Benny Lindelauf. Translated into English by John Nieuwenhuizen. 2004/2014. 272 pages. [Source: Library]
Fing's War. Benny Lindelauf. Translated into English by John Nieuwenhuitzen. 2019. 376 pages. [Source: Library]



© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Thursday, December 05, 2019

2020 Picture Book Reading Challenge

Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up here)
Duration: January 2020 - December 2020
Goal: To have adults read more picture books. To celebrate the fact that picture books are for everyone! Families are, of course, welcome to join in!
# of books: minimum of 12 (or 24)

I. Read one picture book (or board book, or early reader) per month for a total of twelve by the end of the year.

II.  Level two is, I hope, a fun twist to the challenge. Read two books that share a theme. One book representing "then" and one book representing "now." Then and now are subjective terms certainly. Depending on one's own age, life experiences, and reading habits. But there should be around a twenty year gap (or more) between the "then" and "now" books.

I have a list of suggested themes, but, by all means feel free to come up with your own!

Suggested themes:
alphabet books
counting books
shapes
colors
first word dictionaries
Caldecott Honors
Caldecott Winners
pets
bedtime
lullabies
songs
meal time
bath time
new sibling(s)
siblings
new experiences/first experiences
animal fantasy (animals as main characters instead of humans)
life on the farm
life in the city
trips and travels
grandparents
parents
friendship
feelings
sharing
kindness
toys
folk tales
fairy tales
Mother Goose
poetry collections
wordless picture books
joke/riddle books
school
books about books/books about storytelling
spring
summer
winter
fall
holidays
characters from TV, movies, games, etc.
golden books
series books

How was the subject treated then? How is it treated now? Were there any similarities in the two books that you read? Were there any differences? How well did your "then" book age? Is it dated or still relevant? Do you think your "now" book will age well? Could it become a classic? Which did you prefer? Which would you recommend to an actual child?

If you have a blog, write a post reviewing both books...OR...write a post comparing the two and linking to your reviews. If you don't have a blog, then you can share your thoughts in a comment on one of the check-in posts.

Sign up by leaving a comment. 

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2020 Georgian Reading Challenge

Georgian Reading Challenge
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up here)
Duration: December 1, 2019 - December 31, 2020
# of books: minimum 4

What counts:

  • Novels, poems, plays, short stories, novellas, letters, diaries, essays, nonfiction published in Great Britain (or its colonies) during the Georgian era. (1714-1837) or (1714-1830)
  • Nonfiction books published about the Georgian era. Including, of course, biographies on the royal family. 
  • Historical fiction set during the Georgian era. 
  • Books, e-books, audio books.  
  • Movies and television series set during this period--if you review them--can count. But try to keep things balanced.
You may make a list if you want to plan ahead...or read according to your whimsy.

Sign up by leaving a comment. No blog is required--no review either. But if you do have a blog, I'd love a link to it. Same with GoodReads if that is where you review books. (Comment moderation is turned on.)

You may follow me on twitter @blbooks.

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2020 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Girl reading a book by Federico Zandomeneghi

Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up)
Duration: January - December 2020
# of books: minimum 12

Level One: Read ANY twelve books throughout the year.
Level Two: Themed Then and Now Pairs (minimum 6 pairs, or twelve books)

Sign up for either (or both) by leaving a comment.

Level one is self-explanatory. Any means ANY. If a book qualifies as being for a middle grade audience, then it qualifies as ANY. Fiction. Nonfiction. Graphic novels. Poetry. What is a middle grade audience? There's a younger range and an older range within middle grade. Certainly there are distinctions between books published for twelve year olds and books published for eight year olds. But essentially think books for mid-to-upper elementary schools and/or lower middle schools.

Level two is, I hope, a fun twist to the challenge. Read two books that share a theme. One book representing "then" and one book representing "now." Then and now are subjective terms certainly. Depending on one's own age, life experiences, and reading habits. But there should be around a twenty year gap (or more) between the "then" and "now" books. For example, you might compare CLEMENTINE by Sara Pennypacker to RAMONA THE PEST by Beverly Cleary.

I have a list of suggested themes, but, by all means feel free to come up with your own!

Suggested themes:

Newbery Winners
Newbery Honors
Coming of age novels
Problem novels
Death/Dying/Grief
Friendship
Family/Dysfunctional Family
Series books
Fantasy
Animal Fantasy
Pets
Orphans
Action/Adventure
Science Fiction/Dystopias
Ghost Stories
Sports
Mysteries
Young Love/First Romance
First Job(s)
Historical Fiction
War
Rural setting
Urban setting
School setting
Summer
Characters from TV, movies, games, etc.
New Experiences
Nonfiction
British Authors
American Authors
Australian Authors
Canadian Authors

How was the subject treated then? How is it treated now? Were there any similarities in the two books that you read? Were there any differences? How well did your "then" book age? Is it dated or still relevant? Do you think your "now" book will age well? Could it become a classic? Which did you prefer? Which would you recommend to an actual child?

If you have a blog, write a post reviewing both books...OR...write a post comparing the two and linking to your reviews. If you don't have a blog, then you can share your thoughts in a comment on one of the check-in posts.



© 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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Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

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