The Captive Maiden
. Melanie Dickerson. 2013. Zondervan. 304 pages.
The Captive Maiden is a retelling of Cinderella. Like the movie Ever After
it retells the familiar story grounding it in reality without the
magical touches. Our heroine, Gisela, and our hero, Valten (a duke) will
get their happily ever after, but, they'll have to work a lot harder
Dear Mr. Knightley
. Katherine Reay. 2013. Thomas Nelson. 336 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
It was oh-so-easy to choose Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. A
contemporary retelling of Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster. Need I say
more?! For those that love that funny and charming romance originally
published in 1912, this one is a must! It may also be a must for those
who love, love, love classic romances. Samantha Moore, the heroine,
LOVES to read. (You've probably guessed that Jane Austen is among her
favorites!) It's a very satisfying read.
The Boys in the Boat
. Daniel James Brown. 2013. Viking. 416 pages. [Source: Library]
This week it was much harder to choose a favorite. Should I choose a
reread that I absolutely love, love, love? Three of the books I read
this week were rereads: Sense and Sensibility, Doomsday Book, and The
Merchant's Daughter. I can honestly say that I love, love, love all
three. The Boys in the Boat is nonfiction. And it was LOVELY. I was
absolutely captivated by the story. It was everything a book should be.
But do I love it more than Doomsday Book?! And can it compete with
I chose The Boys in the Boat. People need to be reminded that nonfiction can be unforgettable and compelling and WOW-worthy!
Good Morning, Miss Dove
. Frances Gray Patton. 1954. 218 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
Good Morning, Miss Dove was easily my favorite book this week. I've read
the book; I've watched the movie. I will say the movie has a definite
not ambiguous ending; the book, perhaps, less so. But I want to believe
that the book is just as optimistic about Miss Dove's chances for recovery as the movie.
Seven Stories Up
. Laurel Snyder. 2014. Random House. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy]
My favorite this week may just be my favorite of the entire month of
January. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Laurel Snyder's Seven Stories Up. The novel
opens circa 1987, Annie, our heroine, is preparing to meet her (dying)
grandmother for the first time. They meet. It's a bit overwhelming--a
mix of good and bad, perhaps. The love the grandmother has for the
granddaughter that she's never met because of the horrible relationship
she has with the daughter--well, it's heartbreaking. But I can see how
Annie might not now how to take on that much emotion from a stranger.
She goes to bed, she wakes up in 1937! Same room. Same hotel. (In the
modern setting, the family-owned hotel had been closed awhile.) Annie
meets Molly, a girl just her age. It isn't long before she realizes that
Molly IS her grandmother...this one is OH-SO-MAGICAL. Loved every page
Sword in the Storm
. David Gemmell. 1998. Del Rey. 448 pages [Source: Library]
My favorite book this week is David Gemmell's Sword in the Storm.
To Kill A Mockingbird
. Harper Lee. 1960. 281 pages. [Source: Book I Own]
This week I chose To Kill A Mockingbird. I read it. I watched it. I
listened to it. I would DEFINITELY recommend listening to the audio
book. It is narrated by Sissy Spacek, and it is wonderful! So beyond
wonderful! Over the course of a month, I became absorbed in the story.
It is a story that just resonates. Loved all three formats for getting
The Long Winter
. Laura Ingalls Wilder. 1940. 334 pages. [Source: Library]
It is a hard choice this week. Do I choose The Long Winter a book I've read dozens of times? Or do I choose an almost
book? A book that I almost love but not quite? I found The Eustace
Diamonds to be mostly satisfying but slightly frustrating at the same
time! Trollope is a delight to read, a pure joy. But then again so is
Laura Ingalls Wilder. I choose The Long Winter!
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
. Mary Ann Shaffer and
Annie Barrows. 2008. Random House. 274 pages. [Source: Library]
Another tough decision faces me this week! Do I choose The Guernsey
Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society? This is a reread that I absolutely
love and adore!!! It's so very quotable. It is just a book that
delights from cover to cover. OR. Do I choose The Second Confession by
Rex Stout. This is a new-to-me book from a favorite series. I adore
Archie Goodwin and Nero Wolfe. And this is one of the best mysteries
I've read this year!!! As much as I adore Archie Goodwin, I think I love
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society a tiny bit more! (It
The Boy on the Wooden Box
by Leon Leyson. 2013. Simon & Schuster. 240 pages. [Source: Library]
I'm glad that not all weeks are this difficult! There are three books that could EASILY win almost any other week.
The Giver is one of my FAVORITE books. It's one I've read and reviewed
again and again. But. People already know about The Giver.
P.S. Be Eleven was a GREAT read. I cared about the characters so much. It has a just-right
feel to it which always deserves recognition.
Books set during World War II, especially children's books set during
World War II, especially HOLOCAUST books have a special place all their
own in my reading. I thought The Boy on the Wooden Box was EXCELLENT. I
just loved it cover to cover. It's one that I think deserves more
Though it wasn't easy, I choose The Boy on the Wooden Box.
Pride and Prejudice
. Jane Austen. 1813. 386 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
Pride and Prejudice may not be my favorite Jane Austen novel, but it is
still my favorite read of the week. For the record, I do like Elizabeth
Scott's Heartbeat a good deal, especially Caleb. And True Colors is a
very good coming-of-age novel. But there is something about Pride and
Prejudice that keeps me coming back!
. Richard Peck. 2001. Penguin. 160 pages. [Source: Library]
I really loved Fair Weather by Richard Peck.
In the Best Families.
(Nero Wolfe). Rex Stout. 1950. 272 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
There were two books this week that I absolutely loved, loved, loved. I
have read Five Children and It a handful of times now. I just love and
adore this children's classic. If you have not read E. Nesbit, this
would be a great first choice! I also absolutely loved, loved, loved In
the Best Families by Rex Stout. Rex Stout wrote many, many Nero Wolfe
mysteries. In The Best Families is the last book in a trilogy starring
Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. (And Be A Villain and Second Confession
are the first two. The Second Confession and In The Best Families should
definitely be read in order. And Be A Villain is more of a stand
alone.) Nero and Archie are two of my FAVORITE characters. I love them
so much. And this is one of the best, best books in the series, that is
why it is my choice for this week's favorite and best!
. A.C. Gaughen. 2014. Walker Books. 304 pages. [Source: Review copy]
I definitely enjoyed the books I reviewed this week! Switched At
Birthday was super fun! The False Prince is the first in what has become
one of my favorite, favorite fantasy series. And Robin Brande's new
book? Well worth reading! But since I have to choose just one, I'm going
to go with A.C. Gaughen's The Lady Thief.
A few weeks I reviewed Scarlet
I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it for its premise and its potential. It wasn't
a perfectly-perfect book--for me. The second book in the series just
wowed me! It had so much depth, so much intensity. And the characters,
well, they went from one dimensional to being oh-so-achingly human.
Characterization is one of the most important things to me, and, this
novel excelled way beyond what I hoped and expected. For anyone who
enjoys Robin Hood stories, this one is a MUST.
The Runaway King
. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2013. Scholastic. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]
I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Jennifer Nielsen's Ascendance Trilogy. I do. The Runaway King is the second in the series.
The Shadow Throne
. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2014. Scholastic. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]
I loved, loved, loved The Shadow Throne by Jennifer A. Nielsen. This series is oh-so-wonderful.
Meet Me in St. Louis: A Trip to the 1904 World's Fair
. Robert Jackson. 2004. HarperCollins. 144 pages. [Source: Bought]
It was a very tough decision this week! I loved, loved, loved Melisande
by E. Nesbit! I also loved The House of Arden. I wouldn't say I loved it
as much as Melisande or as much as The Phoenix and the Carpet, but E.
Nesbit is WONDERFUL. I also loved Kate Breslin's For Such A Time. This
historical romance is set during World War II. It was quite the read! I
highly recommend it! But. Meet Me in St. Louis is a GREAT nonfiction
read. One of the few nonfiction books I've wanted to read again, again. I
found it to be well researched and very fascinating.
Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles
. Douglas Florian. 2014. Penguin. 160 pages. [Source: Library]
This week was oh-so-easy. I love, love, LOVE Douglas Florian's Poem
Depot!!! Yes, I enjoyed other books this week. I did. Teacher's Funeral
by Richard Peck is probably my favorite, favorite Peck title. But it is a
book that I've read and reread. I've even listened to it on audio. Poem
Depot is a new title, a deserving title that should be read by kids and
adults who love kids books!
My favorite this week is the nonfiction book Shipwreck at the Bottom of
the World. I've read this one three or four times now. It never fails to
captivate. It was interesting reading Shipwreck at the Bottom of the
World and The Winter Pony so close together. Both books are set on
Antarctica within a decade of each other. But they tell very different
stories. With one leader, it is men first; men's lives are always worth
saving. With the other it is all glory, glory, I want glory.
The Chapel Wars
. Lindsey Leavitt. 2014. Bloomsbury USA. 304 pages. [Source: Review copy]
I loved, loved, loved Lindsey Leavitt's The Chapel Wars. I enjoyed many
other books this week. Overall, it was a very strong week! But The
Chapel Wars is YA romance at its best!
Because of Winn Dixie
. Kate DiCamillo. 2000. Candlewick. 182 pages. [Source: Book I bought]
This week I choose Because of Winn Dixie as my favorite. I love, love,
love this one! It's just a wonderful novel. Love the writing. Love the
characters. Love the narration. It's just a book that stays with you.
. Francine Rivers. 1997/2005. Multnomah. 464 pages. [Source: Bought]
It was a hard decision this week. On the one hand, I loved reading
McCormick Templeman's The Glass Casket. It had atmosphere, in my
opinion, and it was oh-so-compelling. I read it in one sitting. It's not
my typical genre. I don't really read horror at all. Not on purpose
anyway. So the fact that it grabbed my attention and kept my attention
says something. But is it truly-truly my favorite of the week? On the
other hand, there is Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. It is a
fantastic historical novel that I'd heard so much about. I've been
meaning to read it for over five years! It has been sitting around my
house for that many years! It did not disappoint. It has a definite
message: it is a retelling of the book of Hosea. But it is probably NOT
what anyone would expect a christian novel to be. It goes to dark,
uncomfortable places. The heroine was sold into prostitution as a child.
She's spent years of her life as a prostitute, and her journey to grace
is not an easy one. If I'm looking just at themes or messages, then the
choice would be easy. It would be Redeeming Love. It speaks to my
heart. If I'm looking just at suspenseful storytelling or pacing, then
the choice would be easy, it would be The Glass Casket. These two are so
very different from one another!
The better cover? The Glass Casket. I can't say I'm a big fan of
headless women on novels! And the cover of Redeeming Love is probably
one of the reasons why it took me so very long to read!
Either book would easily win if reviewed in another week...
My choice is Redeeming Love. One of the reasons why I ended up choosing
Redeeming Love is that I thought it had more reread appeal. I am more
likely to reread this one than the Glass Casket.
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch
. Anne Isaacs. Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes. 2014. Random House. 56 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Why a picture book? Why not a picture book! I chose Meanwhile Back at
the Ranch because I loved the crazy storytelling. Is a tall tale? Is it
romantic comedy? Can a picture book even be romantic?! I loved the
characters. I loved meeting the heroine, Tulip Jones. I loved the hero,
Charlie Doughpuncher. I loved how the widow's friends (Linsey, Woolsey,
and Calico) helped "save" the day by advertising for 1,000 brides! The
storytelling was practically perfect! And the language was just so much
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
. Betty Smith. 1943/2006. HarperCollins. 496 pages. [Source: Bought]
I enjoyed many books this week. I did. I really loved reading two very
different "history of England" books. One by Jane Austen. One by Charles
Dickens. I found Wounded Tiger to be a compelling World War II novel
with unforgettable characters. But. One book stood out above the others:
A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. This classic novel by Betty Smith was just so
WONDERFUL. Francie, the heroine, is a kindred spirit in some ways. I'm
sure many book lovers can agree! On that day when she first knew she could read, she made a vow to read one book a day as long as she lived.
Julia Gillian (And the Art of Knowing)
by Alison McGhee. 2008. Scholastic. 290 pages. [Source: Review copy]
I choose Julia Gillian (And the Art of Knowing) by Alison McGhee.
Frozen in Time
. Mitchell Zuckoff. 2013. Harper. 391 pages. [Source: Library]
Frozen in Time is my pick this week. It isn't the only nonfiction on my
list. Other favorites from this year include The Boys in the Boat, Meet
Me In St. Louis, and Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World. Frozen in
Time is incredibly compelling! It was impossible to put down.
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews