Saturday, August 06, 2022

95. Glitch

Glitch. Laura Martin. 2020. 384 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: April 14, 1865. Gosh, I was sick of that date, and it wasn't just because that is when our sixteenth president was assassinated. Nope. I was sick of April 14, 1865, because I kept getting sent back to it for training purposes.

Premise/plot: Glitch is a middle grade time travel novel. For some readers, that alone might make you seek this one out. (It would me.) There are two protagonists: Regan Fitz and Elliot Mason. These two are glitchers--or at the very least glitchers in training. They've been raised by the Academy since birth--their genes having revealed the 'glitch.' They will be able to travel through time. Glitchers carry out missions to preserve history. PRESERVE being the key word. They seek out "butterflies" those from a rival time-traveling group who are out to change history. 

When the novel opens, Regan and Elliot are both STUDENTS in training. All of their missions are simulations. But everything changes when they--well, Regan, really--receive a COCOON, a message from the future. This cocoon means that at some point in the future one of them--or both of them--will become BUTTERFLIES. 

Thus begins an exciting, action-packed time traveling adventure.

My thoughts: I loved, loved, loved, loved this one. I have a BIG weakness for time travel books. I do. This one most reminded me of the oh-so-sadly short-lived TIMELESS tv show. I crazy-loved that show. If it had been up to me, it would have had at least three to five seasons. The premise was AWESOME and I loved (most) of the cast. So much potential---ultimately wasted. 

I hope this becomes a book series. I would read every single one. I promise. 


© 2022 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Friday, August 05, 2022

94. African Town

African Town: Inspired by the True Story of the Last American Slave Ship. Irene Latham and Charles Waters. 2022. 448 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Be still, my children. Listen with your ears
and your heart. Our story starts with this
mark on my right cheek, these chipped teeth.
See? This is how you know I am who I say I am.
De town where I was born is called Bante.
It's nowhere near here, not in African Town, not
in Alabama. This town's way across de ocean,
on de west coast of Africa in de kingdom
of Dahomey. My family's home was a round,
two-story adobe with a terrace. Surrounded by hills,
about eight days' walk to de sea. Someday maybe
you will see de world de way I have seen it
in Bante. Then you will know how de sun
kisses de earth, melts like honey over de land--
it's no wonder I believed all of life would be
bright and sweet. No wonder it still shocks me
that de world can be so hard, so dark.
But that darkness, it brought me here.
It brought you here. This is our story.

Premise/plot: African Town is a verse novel based on or inspired by a true story. Long after the importation of slaves was illegal--though not slavery itself--one ship, the Clotilda, was used to smuggle in a shipment of slaves. The year was 1860. 

It is a verse novel that spans a little over four decades. It opens around 1859/1860 and closes around 1901. The poems alternate narrators...and in doing so alternates perspectives. Though by far the greatest representation are the men and women captured, enslaved, sold. Other narrators include white men in the slave trade, slave owners, and VERY VERY VERY oddly the ship Clotilda. 

It isn't "just" the story of African slaves. It is the story of how these last slaves bonded and formed a community--literally and figuratively. This is the story of the formation of African Town or Africatown.

My thoughts: Powerful. Compelling. Important. These are the words I'd use to describe this verse novel. It is a heavy novel in its subject matter. The characters--[loosely] based on real people--are well developed. The characters were easy to care about. I got swept up into this one. I knew a little bit about the Clotilda from previous reading. But this was an absorbing read. I thought the verse novel format was a perfect fit for this one.

© 2022 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Tuesday, August 02, 2022

93. The Battle of the Labyrinth

The Battle of the Labyrinth. (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #4) Rick Riordan. 2008. 361 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The last thing I wanted to do on my summer break was blow up another school.

Premise/plot: Camp Half-blood is in trouble again. To be fair, it's more like destroying Camp Half-blood is step one on the bad guy's to do list. [I suppose you could argue that it isn't a bad guy so much as bad god.] Annabeth, Tyson, Percy, and Grover are teaming up again on a quest. They'll be going underground into the labyrinth. It's super-super dangerous. Those that do manage to come out again are rarely the same. The last person to come out has gone mad--they aren't quite sure how to cure him. But the world's only hope [so we're led to believe] is hidden within the labyrinth. It's a race--who will discover it, acquire it, use it...first. 

My thoughts: All the books are so closely connected. It is definitely best to read them all together. The tension does keep building and building. There is rarely a satisfying moment in the book in terms of suspense and tension. None of the books have that YES moment of success and completion. All the books are leading to the ultimate showdown. Book four still doesn't take readers to that final, ultimate BIG battle between good and evil. I would say book four offers less humor and more intensity. Looking back, The Lightning Thief now has such low stakes--but oh at the time, it felt like such a big quest. 

I do recommend the series. I am rereading the series this summer. 

© 2022 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Monday, August 01, 2022

92. The Agathas

The Agathas (Agathas #1) Kathleen Glasgow and Liz Lawson. 2022. [May] 416 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Alice Ogilvie is crazy. The words are huge, written across my locker in thick black marker, impossible to miss. I see them from down the hall as I approach, the words like a pin to the eye. My first day back from house arrest, and this is what greets me. I can't say I'm surprised.

Premise/plot: The Agathas is a young adult mystery novel. Two teens team up to solve the murder of their classmate, Brooke Donovan. Alice Ogilvie and Iris Adams are unlikely friends. To be fair, Iris is being paid to tutor Alice. At a Halloween party, Brooke disappears after a public fight with her boyfriend (a boyfriend who happens to be Alice's ex.) Iris is one of the last to see her....alive. Or at least the last to see her alive who's come forward with information. (Obviously her killer is all hush, hush). Both Iris and Alice think Steve--who has been arrested and charged--is innocent. Since the police are unwilling to investigate the crime further, despite inconsistencies, the two teens team up (with a few others) to try their best to solve the case. 

My thoughts: This one has alternating narrators. I liked both Alice and Iris as narrators. Both are complex characters. Both have back stories. The mystery was well done. Sometimes it's hard to write about murder mysteries because you don't want to give away any spoilers about the crime, the clues, the suspects. But it was good. The right amount of tension and suspense.


© 2022 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Saturday, July 30, 2022

July Reflections

In July I read fifty-six books! Of those fifty-six books, forty-two were for Young Readers!!! By far the most I've read for that "middle baby" blog of mine. I was able to reread some great books, but I also found new favorites. I also have reached 250 for the yearly total!!!

Books Reviewed at Becky's Book Reviews

81. The Lightning Thief. Rick Riordan. 2005. 377 pages. [Source: Library]
82. Dream Town. (Archer #3) David Baldacci. 2022. 432 pages. [Source: Library]
83. A Talent to Deceive: The Search for the Real Killer of the Lindbergh Baby. William Norris. 2020. 384 pages. [Source: Review copy]
84. Wretched Waterpark (Sinister Summer Series #1) Kiersten White. 2022. [June] 256 pages. [Source: Library]
85. Escape. K.R. Alexander. 2022. 240 pages. [Source: Library]
86. The Sea of Monsters. (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #2) Rick Riordan. 2006. 279 pages. [Source: Library]
87. The Star That Always Stays. Anna Rose Johnson. 2022. 224 pages. [Source: Library]
88. The Titan's Curse. (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3) Rick Riordan. 2007. 320 pages. [Source: Library]
89. Mystery in the Mansion (Case Closed #1) Lauren Magaziner. 2018. 390 pages. [Source: Library]
90. Stolen from the Studio (Case Closed #2) Lauren Magaziner. 2019. 480 pages. [Source: Library]
91. The Ogress and the Orphans. Kelly Barnhill. 2022. [March] 400 pages. [Source: Library]

Books Reviewed at Young Readers

79. Eerie Elementary: The School Is Alive. Jack Chabert. Illustrated by Sam Ricks. 2014. 96 pages. [Source: Library]
80. The Ember Stone (The Last Firehawk #1) Katrina Charman. Illustrated by Jeremy Norton. 2017. 96 pages. [Source: Library]
81. Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business (Mindy Kim #1) Lyla Lee. Illustrated by Dung Ho. 2020. 96 pages. [Source: Library]
82. Pizza and Taco: Too Cool for School. (Pizza and Taco #4) Stephen Shashkan. 2022. [June] 72 pages. [Source: Library]

83. Robo-Dodo Rumble (Didi Dodo, Future Spy #2) Tom Angleberger. Illustrated by Jared Chapman. 2019. 128 pages. [Source: Library]
84. Doggo and Pupper (Doggo and Pupper #1) Katherine Applegate. Illustrated by Charlie Alder. 2021. 96 pages. [Source: Library]
85. Charlie and Mouse: Lost and Found, (Charlie & Mouse #5) Laurel Snyder. Illustrated by Emily Hughes. 52 pages. [Source: Library]
86. The Candy Caper (Trouble at Table 5 #1) Tom Watson. 96 pages. [Source: Library]
87. Double-O Dodo (Didi Dodo, Future Spy #3) Tom Angleberger. 2021. 128 pages. [Source: Library]
88. Ways to Share Joy. Renee Watson. 2022. [September] 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]
89. Busted by Breakfast (Trouble at Table 5 #2) Tom Watson. 2020. 96 pages. [Source: Library]
90. Duckscares #1: The Nightmare Formula. Tommy Greenwald. 2021. 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]
91. I Am Lucille Ball. Brad Meltzer. Illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos. 2015. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
92. Who Was E.B. White? Gail Herman. 2022. 112 pages. [Source: Library]
93. Cat Crusader (Max Meow #1) John Gallagher. 2020. 240 pages. [Source: Library]
94. Cat Ninja (book 1) The Silent Master of Kat Fu. Matthew Cody. Illustrated by Yehudi Mercado. 2020. 160 pages. [Source: Library]
95. Mia Mayhem Is a Superhero! Kara West. Illustrated by Leeza Hernandez. 2018. 128 pages. [Source: Library]
96. A Perfect Fit: How Lena "Lane" Bryant Changed the Shape of Fashion. Mara Rockliff. Illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal. 2022. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
97. Daisy Dreamer and the Totally True Imaginary Friend. (Daisy Dreamer #1) Holly Anna. Illustrated by Genevieve Santos. 2017. 128 pages. [Source: Library]
98. Wish. Barbara O'Connor. 2016. FSG. 240 pages. [Source: Library]
99. Inspector Flytrap: The President's Mane is Missing. (Inspector Flytrap #2) Tom Angleberger. Illustrated by Cece Bell. 2016. 112 pages. [Source: Library]
100. The Firefly Fix (Trouble at Table 5 #3) Tom Watson. Illustrated by Marta Kissi. 2020. 96 pages. [Source: Library]
101. Out in the Wild (Bug Scouts) Mike Lowery. 2022. 64 pages. [Source: Library]
102. Welcome to the Creature Cafe (The Aristokittens #1) Jennifer Castle. 2022. 128 pages. [Source: Library]
103. Waffles and Pancake: Planetary Yum (Waffles and Pancake #1) 2021. [October 26] 64 pages. [Source: Library]
104. Cornbread and Poppy at the Carnival. (Cornbread and Poppy #2) Matthew Cordell. 2022. [May] 80 pages. [Source: Library]
105. Survival Tails #1: The Titanic. Katrina Charman. Illustrated by Owen Richardson. 2018. 224 pages. [Source: Library]
106. Nacho's Nachos: The Story Behind the World's Favorite Snack. Sandra Nickel. Illustrated by Oliver Dominguez. 2020. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
107. Hattie Harmony: Worry-Detective. Elizabeth Olsen and Robbie Arnett. Illustrated by Marissa Valdez. 2022. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
108. The Purrfect Show (Home for Meow #1) Reese Eschmann. 2022. 128 pages. [Source: Library]
109. Show and Tail (Home for Meow #2) Reese Eschmann. 2022. 144 pages. [Source: Library]
110. Endurance in Antarctica (Survival Tails #2) Katrina Charman. 2018. 272 pages. [Source: Library]
111. Tide Pool Troubles (Shelby & Watts) Ashlyn Anstee. 2021. [September] 96 pages. [Source: Library]
112. The Great Biscuit Bake-Off. (Aristokittens #2) Jennifer Castle. 2022. 128 pages. [Source: Library]
113. Fitz and Cleo #1 Jonathan Stutzman. 2021. Illustrated by Heather Fox. 64 pages. [Source: Library]
114. This Is My Daddy. Mies van Hout. 2020. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
115. Do Baby Elephants Suck Their Trunks: Amazing Ways Animals Are Just Like Us. Ben Lerwill. Illustrated by Katherine McEwen. 2022. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
116. Everything In Its Place: A Story of Books and Belonging. Pauline David-Sax. Illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow. 2022. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
117. Baby Squeaks. Anne Hunter. 2022. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
118. Marco Polo Brave Explorer (Book Buddies #2) Cynthia Lord. Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin. 2022. 80 pages. [Source: Library]
119. Fitz and Cleo Get Creative (Fitz and Cleo #2) Jonathan Stutzman and Heather Fox. 2022. [March] 80 pages. [Source: Library]
120. Lily to the Rescue (Lily to the Rescue #1) W. Bruce Cameron. 2020. 128 pages. [Source: Library]

Books Reviewed at Operation Actually Read Bible

26. The Brilliance of Stars. (Jack and Ivy #1) J'nell Ciesielski. 2022. [November] 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]
27. The Dragon Stone. (The Dream Keeper Saga #1) Kathryn L. Butler. 2022. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy]
28. The London House. Katherine Reay. 2021. [November] 368 pages. [Source: Library]

Bibles Reviewed at Operation Actually Read Bible

0 for this month.

July Totals

July reads
# of books56
# of pages9298

2022 Yearly Totals

2022 Totals
# of books250
# of pages74655

© 2022 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews