Saturday, April 30, 2011

April Reflections

I could almost subtitle this one "finding my p(l)ace" because my pace seems to have drastically changed the past five weeks or so. I'm finding that a slower pace makes for a happier me. Which is a good thing, I think!!! I may not have as many posts per week in the months ahead. But if I'm *happy* with what I'm reading, then I think it will make a BIG difference.

So this month saw a few more changes in addition to "how often" I blog. For one, WHERE I blog. I have not reviewed a thing at Young Readers. So there will be no reviews of board books or picture books or early readers or children's books this month. Which is strange--though it may not seem strange to you--but it's definitely strange to me. I'm not sure what this means for the future of Young Readers. Though if I were to stop posting there, I'd just *have* to start reviewing those types of books here at Becky's Book Reviews. Maybe like how Amanda does Picture Book Saturdays? Except probably not every week. And definitely not tied to any one day of the week. Anyway, we'll have to see how May goes. Though at the very, very least I'm going to try to blog about YOUR MOMMY WAS JUST LIKE YOU by Kelly Bennett.

On a positive note, I have 30 posts on Operation Actually Read Bible this month. I've really felt led to devote my time there. And it's been a big blessing to me to follow my heart. I felt like I've made a new friend or two. And I really, really, really enjoyed my New Testament in week challenge!

As far as challenges go, I was able to read at least one book for each of these challenges: New Author Challenge, 2011 TBR Challenge, TBR Pile Challenge, Chunkster Challenge, 42 Challenge, Historical Fiction, Spring Reading Thing, Once Upon a Time.

This month I read 31 books.

Middle Grade: 4; Young Adult: 8; Adult: 6; Christian Fiction: 2; Christian Nonfiction: 9; Nonfiction: 1; Graphic Novel: 1. 

Review Copies: 8; Library Books: 14 books; Bought Books: 9.

Twelve books were from new-to-me authors!!! 

My favorite first lines of April:

My top five:

The Ropemaker. Peter Dickinson. 
Persuasion. Jane Austen
The Pilgrimage: The Unforgettable SF Masterpiece of the Strangers Among Us: The First Book of The People. Zenna Henderson.
The Land of the Silver Apples. Nancy Farmer.
Wither. Laura DeStefano.

Reviews at Becky's Book Reviews

Matched. Ally Condie. 2010. Penguin. 369 pages.
XVI. Julia Karr. 2011. Penguin. 272 pages.
Wither. Laura DeStefano. 2011. Simon & Schuster. 368 pages.
Outside In. Maria V. Snyder. 2011. Harlequin. 336 pages.
The Ropemaker. Peter Dickinson. 2001. Random House. 384 pages.
Sharp North. Patrick Cave. 2004/2006. Simon & Schuster. 528 pages.
The Land of the Silver Apples. Nancy Farmer. 2007. Simon & Schuster. 512 pages.
A Brief History of Montmaray. Michelle Cooper. 2009. Random House. 304 pages.
The Door in the Wall. Marguerite de Angeli. 1949/1990. Random House. 128 pages.
Inside Grandad. Peter Dickinson. 2004. Random House. 128 pages.
The Spellcoats. Diana Wynne Jones. (The Dalemark Quartet). 1979. HarperCollins. 280 pages.
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. C.S. Lewis. 1952. HarperCollins. 256 pages.
Persuasion. Jane Austen 1818/1992. Knopf Doubleday. 304 pages.
Jubilee. Margaret Walker. 1966. 512 pages.
The Pilgrimage: The Unforgettable SF Masterpiece of the Strangers Among Us: The First Book of The People. Zenna Henderson. 1961. 255 pages.
Elizabeth and the Prince of Spain. Margaret Irwin. 1953/2011. Sourcebooks. 336 pages.
The People: No Different Flesh. (The New Chronicle of  THE PEOPLE) Zenna Henderson. 1967. Avon. 225 pages.
Wickham's Diary. Amanda Grange. 2011. Sourcebooks. 208 pages.
What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew: From Fox Hunting to Whist -- The Facts of Daily Life in 19th Century England. Daniel Pool. 1994. Simon & Schuster. 416 pages.  
Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer #1. Van Jensen. Dusty Higgins. 2009. SLG Publishing. 128 pages.

Reviews at Operation Actually Read Bible

The Practice of the Presence of God. Brother Lawrence. Joseph de Beaufort. 1982. Whitaker House. 96 pages.
ESV Seek and Find Bible. Crossway Publishing. 2010. 1888 pages.
How To Get The Most From God's Word. John MacArthur. 1997. Thomas Nelson. 168 pages.
God is Great: A Toddlers Bible Storybook by Carolyn Larsen. Illustrated by Caron Turk. 2011. Crossway Publishers. 44 pages.
No Other Gospel: 31 Reasons From Galatians Why Justification by Faith Alone is the Only Gospel. Josh Moody. 2011. Crossway. 288 pages.
Discovering Jesus: Why Four Gospels to Portray One Person? T.D. Alexander. 2010. Crossway Publishers. 144 pages.
Through Gates of Splendor. Elisabeth Elliot. 1956/2005. Tyndale. 296 pages.
Cries From the Cross: A Journey Into the Heart of Jesus. Erwin Lutzer. 2002. Moody. 170 pages.
The Judgment. Beverly Lewis. 2011. Bethany House. 336 pages.
How To Study The Bible. R.A. Torrey. 1896. Hendrickson Publishers. 90 pages.
How to Pray. R.A. Torrey. 1900. Hendrickson Publishers. 82 pages.
© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Annette 7:10 PM  

You and I are both in the same boat so to speak about our blogs for children fiction and non-fiction. I too have not posted much on my blog. But, I went to the library and have 3 young adult fiction books to read for review.
I am in thought and prayer about focusing mainly on my blog at A Well-Watered Garden I know that the Lord has blessed it much and feel it is a ministry, but just have not wanted to cancel my children's books blog....yet.
Thank you Becky.

Becky 7:20 PM  

Annette, It feels good to know I'm not alone in this! I really felt led to focus on my Christian blog. Because reading those books is feeding my very soul. And I'm learning so much, growing so much. And I definitely feel that that is where my heart is leading me. But. I don't want to say never-ever on the other either! (Not that I'd ever delete the blog, it would just be inactive.) I mean I love reading picture books. And every now and then one will come along that wows me. That I feel I should really call attention to. But most of the time, I'm uninspired by what I'm blogging about there. Not that it's bad. Not that it's poorly written. Not that it's completely forgettable. It's not. For the most part. It's just that when my heart is not in it, it feels like WORK. And when I feel it's work, it shows maybe?! And I think it's easy for me to rush things and not worry about the quality. And what's the point in that really?!

fredamans 11:04 AM  

You had a fantastic month! Happy May Reading!

Meredith 5:23 PM  

A slower pace makes for a happier me, too, although I've read nothing but the Bible for April. I'm very slow! I'm almost finished with my 'first' novel since Lent, but I'm finding I can't quite catch my stride. While never as fast a reader as you, I did manage to read at least one book a week! I loved your New Testament challenge, too, maybe we should make that a tradition for Lent? I'd love that!

Becky 9:58 AM  

Bellezza, I definitely plan on repeating the New Testament challenge next Lent!

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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.
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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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