Wednesday, December 01, 2021

144. Out of My Heart

Out of My Heart. (Out of My Mind #2) Sharon Draper. 2021. [November] 352 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The firefly hovered over the back of my hand, then landed--slowly, effortlessly.

Premise/plot: Melody returns in Sharon Draper's Out of My Heart. In this sequel, Melody, our heroine, goes to camp. That's it. All of it. She. Goes. To. Camp. Three-hundred-and-fifty-two pages of Melody at camp. 

My thoughts: I remembered Out of My Mind fondly. I remember finding it super compelling. Melody was a great character I felt a connection with. I cared about her story--every minute of it. Never bored, always engaged. Not so with this [unnecessary] sequel. Out of My Heart reminded me of Race For Your Life Charlie Brown. I jest. Mostly. Those that know me know that is my code for BORING, boring, super-boring. Both are set at camp. Both are incredibly boring. It isn't that I am so opposed to the book having a sequel. It's just that I think that everything I loved about the first book was missing in the sequel. The book read like a brochure--maybe. I haven't read that many brochures about camp to be honest. 

© 2021 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

143. The Slow March of Light

The Slow March of Light. Heather B. Moore. [2021] 368 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: The words from the hymn "We Are All Enlisted" echoed in Bob's mind as he drove through the gray afternoon that promised snow.

Premise/plot: The Slow March of a Light is a historical novel set during the Cold War. It is based--perhaps loosely based--on a true story. The protagonist, Bob Inama, is an American soldier who finds himself going undercover in West/East Berlin. He hopes that by posing as an economics student, Peter Jones, he can be hired as a teacher's assistant. (The teacher regularly lectures on economics in East Berlin.) His story as a spy--and a prisoner--is fascinating. And this is the "true" part of the novel. However, the story adds a second protagonist, Luisa Voigt, a German nurse who finds herself becoming more and more sympathetic to the plight of the East Berliners. Her father is a police officer in West Berlin, she has plenty of reasons to stay away from an underground movement helping East Berliners escape into freedom. But she feels called to do everything to help no matter the personal risks. Her story is fictional; I'll clarify, there was no Luisa Voigt in Bob Inama's story. The book alternates between the two perspectives.

My thoughts: I think it is extremely important to set expectations. Do not pick up The Slow March of Light thinking it is a romance. It isn't. I don't know why they added this subtext of romance, this tension, between the two protagonists. Like these two could have been, would have been, might have been...if she hadn't been German, he hadn't been American...etc. Even how these two kept in touch via Christmas cards through the DECADES. I personally felt irritated to learn that Luisa was fictional to Bob's story. She just didn't belong to *his* story. I think his story was powerful enough, inspiring enough, compelling enough, that one didn't need any extras. My complaint isn't with the writing, not really. I think her story and his story were both well done. I think there was enough there for her to have her own book. And the same with Bob's story. I just felt that genre lines were blended a little too much.

I've told you what the story is NOT--a romance. I'll now focus on what it is. It is a faith story. The point of the story is Bob's faith and how his faith informed his imprisonment. His faith sustained and strengthened him day by day, night by night. No matter what happened in prison, Bob was rock steady in his faith and forever grateful. His gratitude-attitude didn't go unnoticed. He was able to be a witness with very few words. In case you were in doubt what the story was all about, the ending of the story sums it up--God put me in prison so that my guard could come to faith. 

© 2021 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Books Read in 2022

Books Read in 2022



© 2021 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Monday, November 29, 2021

November Reflections

 In November, I read twenty-six books. I read a lot of five-star books this month. I managed four rereads. Seven were review copies. 

Books Reviewed at Becky's Book Reviews

135. Don't Tell the Nazis. Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. 2019. 226 pages. [Source: Library]
136. The Matchmaker's Lonely Heart. Nancy Campbell Allen. 2021. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]
137. Love and Lavender (Mayfield Family #4) Josi S. Kilpack. 2021. [November] 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]
138. Friends Forever. Shannon Hale. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. 2021. [August] 304 pages. [Source: Library]
139. The Red Horse. (Billy Boyle #15) James R. Benn. 2020. 336 pages. [Source: Bought]
140. Daughter of the Deep. Rick Riordan. 2021. 354 pages. [Source: Library]
141. Out of My Mind. Sharon M. Draper. 2010. 295 pages. [Source: Library]
142. The Nutcracker Comes To America: How Three Ballet-Loving Brothers Created a Holiday Tradition. Chris Barton. Illustrated by Cathy Gendron. 2015. Millbrook Press. 36 pages. [Source: Library]

Books Reviewed at Young Readers

162. Clarice the Brave. Lisa McMann. 2021. [October] 272 pages. [Source: Library]
163. The Bookshop of Dust and Dreams. Mindy Thompson. 2021. [October 26] 272 pages. [Source: Library]
164. Dragon's Merry Christmas. Dav Pilkey. 1993. 48 pages. [Source: Library]
165. The Cat on the Dovrefell: A Christmas Tale. Illustrated by Tomie dePaola. Translated by George Webbe Dasent. 1979/2021. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
166. The Welcome Chair. Rosemary Wells. Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. 2021. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
167. Little Red and the Cat Who Loved Cake. Barbara Lehman. 2021. [November] 64 pages. [Source: Library]
168. Interrupting Chicken: Cookies for Breakfast (Interrupting Chicken #3) David Ezra Stein. 2021. [October 26] 40 pages. [Source: Library]
169. The Smart Cookie. Jory John. Illustrated by Pete Oswald. 2021. [November] 40 pages. [Source: Library]
170. I Don't Want To Read This Book. Max Greenfield. Illustrated by Mike Lowery. 2021. [November] 40 pages. [Source: Library]
171. Cat Dog. Mem Fox. Illustrated by Mark Teague. 2021. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

Books Reviewed at Operation Actually Read Bible

74. Good News of Great Joy. John Piper. 2021. [September] 144 pages. [Source: Review copy]
75. A Distant Melody (Wings of Glory #1) Sarah Sundin. 2010. 422 pages. [Source: Review copy]
76. Shadows of Swanford Abbey. Julie Klassen. 2021. [December] 416 pages. [Source: Review copy]
77. A Memory Between Us. (Wings of Glory #2) Sarah Sundin. 2010. 432 pages. [Source: Library]
78. Rediscover Church: Why the Body of Christ Is Essential. Collin Hansen and Jonathan Leeman. 2021. Crossway. 144 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Bibles Reviewed at Operation Actually Read Bible

11. Schuyler Quentel RSV with Apocrypha. God. 2021. Evangelical Bible. 1700 pages. [Source: Gift]
12. HCSB Super Giant Print Reference Bible [ISBN: 978-1433615757] God. 1824 pages. [Source: Review copy]
13. Jubilee Bible: From the Scriptures of the Reformation. Edited by Russell M. Stendal. 2013. 1152 pages. [Source: Bought]


number of books26
number of pages9329

2021 Totals



© 2021 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

2022 Chunkster Reading Challenge

2022 Chunkster Reading Challenge
January 1, 2022 - December 31, 2022
Hosted by Becky's Book Reviews; sign up link


The books read must be 450 pages or more to be considered a chunkster.
(It is ANY book. I will not limit you to adult books only. Feel free to read MG and YA so long as they meet the page requirement.)
The books can be a hard copy, e-books, or an audio book. As long as each of these formats equal to 450 pages or greater (if it were a hard copy book). 
Rereads welcome as are crossovers with other challenges.
A blog is NOT required to participate.

Sign up by leaving a comment on this post.
Feel free to also leave comments about what you read for the challenge (including links if you like!).

Comment moderation is turned on, so be patient if your sign up comment doesn't appear immediately.

© 2021 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews