Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November Reflections

Stand-Out Books in November 2016
  1. Because of Thursday. Patricia Polacco. 2016. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  2. March Book Three. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. Illustrated by Nate Powell. 2016. 246 pages. [Source: Library] 
  3.  If You Give A Mouse A Brownie. Laura Joffe Numeroff. Illustrated by Felicia Bond. 2016. HarperCollins. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. The Seventh Wish. Kate Messner. 2016. Bloomsbury. 228 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  5. Won Ton. Lee Wardlaw. Illustrated by Eugene Yelchin. 2011. 40 pages. [Source: Library] 
  6. Raymie Nightingale. Kate DiCamillo. 2016. Candlewick. 272 pages. [Source: Review copy] 

5 Places "Visited" in November 2016

1) England
2) Florida
3) Prince Edward Island
4) New York
5) Germany

Board books and picture books:
  1. Board Book: Bum, Bum. Taro Miura. 2016. Candlewick. 24 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. Board Book: There, There. Taro Miura. 2016. Candlewick. 22 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  3. If You Give A Mouse A Brownie. Laura Joffe Numeroff. Illustrated by Felicia Bond. 2016. HarperCollins. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. Because of Thursday. Patricia Polacco. 2016. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  5. Nanette's Baguette. Mo Willems. 2016. Disney-Hyperion. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  6. We Found A Hat. Jon Klassen. 2016. Candlewick. 56 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  7. They All Saw A Cat. Brendan Wenzel. 2016. Chronicle. 44 pages. [Source: Library]
  8. The Christmas Story. Robert Sabuda. 2016. Candlewick. 12 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  9. Bears and a Birthday. Shirley Parenteau. 2015. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  10. Won Ton. Lee Wardlaw. Illustrated by Eugene Yelchin. 2011. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  11. Won Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku. Lee Wardlaw. Illustrated by Eugene Yelchin. 2015. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  12. How To Be A Good Cat. Gail Page. 2011. Bloomsbury. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  13. Bedtime Book. Mabel Watts. Illustrated by Florence Sarah Winship. 1963. 28 pages. [Source: Bought]
  14. The Purple Pussycat. Margaret Hillert. 1950. 31 pages. [Source: Bought]
  15. The Very Best of Friends. Steffi Fletcher. 1963. 27 pages. [Source: Bought]
  16. The House My Grandpa Built. Geraldine Everett Gohn. Illustrated by Bonnie and Bill Rutherford. 1971. Whitman. 30 pages. [Source: Bought]
  17. Trumpet. Patricia Lynn. Illustrated by Bernice Myers. 1953. Whitman. 30 pages. [Source: Bought]
  18. Jiggers. Joy Muchmore Lacey. Illustrated by Marge Opitz. 1963. 28 pages. [Source: Bought]
  19. Two Stories About Kate and Kitty. Lee Priestley. Illustrated by Alice Schlesinger. 1968. Whitman. 30 pages. [Source: Bought]
Early readers and early chapter books: 0
Contemporary (general, realistic) fiction, all ages:
  1. Raymie Nightingale. Kate DiCamillo. 2016. Candlewick. 272 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. Falling Over Sideways. Jordan Sonnenblick. 2016. Scholastic. 272 pages. [Source: Library]
Speculative fiction (fantasy, science fiction, etc.) all ages:
  1. The Seventh Wish. Kate Messner. 2016. Bloomsbury. 228 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. Half Magic. Edward Eager. 1954/2016. HMH. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Historical fiction, all ages:
  1. Five Children on the Western Front. Kate Saunders. 2014. 318 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. Raymie Nightingale. Kate DiCamillo. 2016. Candlewick. 272 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  3. A Breach of Promise. (William Monk #9) Anne Perry. 1999. 384 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  4. The Royal Nanny. Karen Harper. 2016. 384 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. The Matchmaker. Thornton Wilder. 1954. 120 pages. [Source: Library]
Mysteries, all ages:
  1. A Breach of Promise. (William Monk #9) Anne Perry. 1999. 384 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Classics, all ages:
  1. The Matchmaker. Thornton Wilder. 1954. 120 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. Anne of Ingleside. L.M. Montgomery. 1939. 274 pages. [Source: Bought]
  3. Rainbow Valley. L.M. Montgomery. 1919. 256 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  4. Half Magic. Edward Eager. 1954/2016. HMH. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  5. A Child's Geography of the World. V.M. Hillyer. 1929/1951. 472 pages. [Source: Bought]
Nonfiction, all ages:
  1. The Plot to Kill Hitler. Patricia McCormick. 2016. 192 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. March: Book One. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin. Illustrated by Nate Powell. 2013. 128 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. March Book Two. John Lewis. Andrew Aydin. Illustrated by Nate Powell. 2015. 189 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. March Book Three. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. Illustrated by Nate Powell. 2016. 246 pages. [Source: Library]  
  5. Speaking American: How Y'all, Youse, and You Guys Talk: A Visual Guide. Josh Katz. 2016. Hougton Mifflin Harcourt. 224 pages. [Source: Library] 
  6. A Child's Geography of the World. V.M. Hillyer. 1929/1951. 472 pages. [Source: Bought]
Christian fiction:
  1.  The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill. Julie Klassen. 2016. Bethany House. 448 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Christian nonfiction:
  1. Hungry: Learning to Feed Your Soul with Christ. Rondi Lauterbach. 2016. P&R. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. Rescuing the Gospel: The Story and Significance of the Reformation. Erwin W. Lutzer. 2016. Baker Books. 224 pages. [Source: Bought]
  3. John Bunyan and the Grace of Fearing God. Joel R. Beeke and Paul M. Smalley. 2016. 160 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  4. Jesus. A.W. Tozer. 2017. Moody. 208 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  5. Culture. A.W. Tozer. 2016. Moody. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  6. Pursuing Health in an Anxious Age. Bob Cutillo, M.D. 2016. Crossway. 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  7. Unlimited Grace. Bryan Chapell. 2016. Crossway. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  8. Prophet, Priest, and King. Richard P. Belcher Jr. 2016. P&R Publishing. 236 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  9. Thru the Bible: Genesis 1-15. J. Vernon McGee. 1975. 204 pages. [Source: Bought]
  10. Thru the Bible: Genesis 16-33. J. Vernon McGee. 1975. 188 pages. [Source: Bought]
  11. Thru the Bible: Genesis 34-50. J. Vernon McGee. 1975. 180 pages. [Source: Bought]
  12. The Book of Jesus. Calvin Miller, ed. B&H. 576 pages. [Source: Bought]
  13. Christmas is Coming! But Waiting is Hard! Karen Whiting. 2016. Abingdon Press. 112 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  14. Hidden Christmas. Timothy Keller. 2016. 160 pages. [Source: Library]
  15. The Believer's Walk With Christ. John MacArthur. 2017. Moody. 160 pages. [Source: Review copy]

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Movie Month, day 30

So Kailana (The Written Word) and I really LOVED participating in Jenni Elyse's 30 Days of Books.  We thought it would be fun to do a movie-theme list of questions! Feel free to switch "favorite" to "least favorite" if that is more applicable to you!

Today's question: Who is your favorite composer? What is your favorite soundtrack?

I don't have one. I have a top four or five.

Patrick Doyle. I'm going to list him first. Because he may truly be my favorite. Maybe. My favorites of his include MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING and Cinderella (2015).  


Hans Zimmer. So many favorites. But I will narrow it down to the Batman movies and INCEPTION. But how could I leave out Pirates of the Caribbean?! 

Howard Shore. The LOTR and HOBBIT soundtracks.


Michael Giacchino. He's everywhere these days. Not that I mind! He did the music for LOST. But that is certainly overshadowed these days by all the movies he's done. He does the music for the newer Star Trek series. And a lot of stuff for Disney.

John Williams. You're probably thinking Star Wars. And you'd be right. But I really, really, really love the soundtrack to The Book Thief and Schindler's List.

Harry Gregson-Williams. I love his work on Shrek and the Chronicles of Narnia.


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Won Ton and Chopstick

Won Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku. Lee Wardlaw. Illustrated by Eugene Yelchin. 2015. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: It's a fine life, Boy. Nap, play, bathe, nap, eat, repeat. Practice makes purrfect.

Premise/plot: Won Ton returns in a second picture book in Won Ton and Chopstick. Won Ton is most upset--at least at first--at the new 'surprise' at his house. The surprise is a PUPPY. The family may call the puppy, "Chopstick," but Won Ton calls him PEST. This picture book has plenty of adventures for the pair.

My thoughts: I really loved Won Ton. And this second book is fun. I thought the repeating refrain of the first book was fun, but I think it's even better the second time around.
Puthimoutputhimoutputhimoutputhim--wait! I said him, not me!
That never gets old!!!

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10



© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Movie Month, day 29

So Kailana (The Written Word) and I really LOVED participating in Jenni Elyse's 30 Days of Books.  We thought it would be fun to do a movie-theme list of questions! Feel free to switch "favorite" to "least favorite" if that is more applicable to you!

Today's question: What is your favorite movie released from BEFORE you were born?

Probably something Disney. The Aristocats, Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Robin Hood.

I've already mentioned dozens of musicals. I've already mentioned some of my favorite comedies starring favorites like Cary Grant, Doris Day, etc.

I love, love, love watching old movies!

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Bears and a Birthday

Bears and a Birthday. Shirley Parenteau. 2015. Candlewick. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: The makings for a cake are there. The recipe's ready. Where are the bears?

Premise/plot: 4 small bears (Fuzzy, Floppy, Yellow, Calico) work together to create a surprise for Big Brown Bear on his birthday. Readers see the bear mixing, baking, frosting a cake as well as wrapping his birthday present. Big Brown Bear gets quite suspicious and wants to know what his friends are doing. But, of course, no peeking is allowed.

My thoughts: This one is cute and predictable. If your little one loves the other books in the series, this one is definitely worth picking up. It would also serve as a good introduction to the series. I don't think the books have to be read in any certain order!

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Breach of Promise

A Breach of Promise. (William Monk #9) Anne Perry. 1999. 384 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Oliver Rathbone leaned back in his chair and let out a sigh of satisfaction.

Premise/plot: A Breach of Promise is the ninth book in the William Monk mystery series by Anne Perry. In this one, Oliver Rathbone takes up a difficult, near-impossible-to-win case. His client, Killian Melville, is being sued for breach of promise. His friendship with Zillah Lambert was taken--by her family--as a romantic relationship. A whole wedding was PLANNED without him ever having said "I love you" or "Will you marry me?" Everything was assumed by Zillah's parents. Melville was late to catch on that he was "trapped." The case goes to trial, and, Rathbone calls on Monk to help him find something--anything--to help his client. Surely there is some reason why Melville refuses to marry her and claims that he CANNOT ever marry. Hester Latterly is nursing a patient that surprisingly enough is not directly connected in any way with the crime!!! But both Rathbone and Monk are depending on her to help them "make sense" of this case.

My thoughts: I loved this one. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it. It ends with Monk decisively choosing to ask Hester something BIG. Now, have I been wanting these two together for many books? Yes and no. No, in that I personally *like* Rathbone better. And I think Oliver was just as much in love with Hester as Monk was/is. Also, I really ADORE Oliver's dad. And the thought of Hester being in that family and getting MORE of both Oliver and his Dad would have made me quite happy. That being said, it was obvious for several books now that Hester for whatever reason loves Monk. I don't know why she prefers Monk to Rathbone. I don't. But she does. So yes, I am glad that Monk stopped being stupid and argumentative enough to pop the question. If the two are destined to be together, I'd rather it be settled sooner rather than later.

Now, for the case itself. It was a twist upon twist. And I forbid myself to cheat even a little. So that helped. I think the series is guilty a bit of having modern opinions taken up by the historical characters and proclaimed a bit smugly. At times. But overall, I really found myself enjoying this one cover to cover.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Movie Month, day 28

So Kailana (The Written Word) and I really LOVED participating in Jenni Elyse's 30 Days of Books.  We thought it would be fun to do a movie-theme list of questions! Feel free to switch "favorite" to "least favorite" if that is more applicable to you! 

Today's question: Your top three movie characters...

I must have been CRUEL to think up a question like this. Seriously. What was I thinking?! 

I'm going to go with 

3) Thor
2) Captain America
1) Samwise Gamgee from LOTR

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Sunday, November 27, 2016

Movie Month, day 27

So Kailana (The Written Word) and I really LOVED participating in Jenni Elyse's 30 Days of Books.  We thought it would be fun to do a movie-theme list of questions! Feel free to switch "favorite" to "least favorite" if that is more applicable to you!

Today's question: What is your favorite science fiction or fantasy film?

I'm leaning more towards fantasy today. I really love, love, love the movie Penelope. I don't think it gets as much love as it deserves. Enchanted would fall into the 'fantasy' genre as well. As would Princess Bride which I've already mentioned a few times!

I really love, love, love the Chronicles of Narnia movies. Particularly The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe and the Voyage of the Dawn Treader. 

LORD OF THE RINGS also comes to mind of course! I love that movie so much!!!

For science fiction, I really love, love, love INCEPTION.


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Rainbow Valley

Rainbow Valley. L.M. Montgomery. 1919. 256 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: It was a clear, apple-green evening in May, and Four Winds Harbour was mirroring back the clouds of the golden west between its softly dark shores.

Premise/plot: Rainbow Valley is about the Blythe children and their best friends, the Meredith children. The Merediths are in interesting bunch! The father is a Presbyterian minister. The mother is dead and very much missed. The children are wild and wonderful. Over half the book centers on the adventures of Jerry, Faith, Una, and Carl. The other half focuses on the Blythe children: Jem, Walter, Nan and Di, Shirley, and Rilla. 

Why you should still read it even though it isn't about Anne: Montgomery is a great storyteller who excels at characterization. The Meredith children, particularly Faith, are great characters to spend time with. Mary Vance is another LIVELY character. Love her or hate her, you can't forget her! This one also has some lovely scenes with Walter about the 'Pied Piper' he hears calling in Rainbow Valley. Reading Rainbow Valley deepens the bond you feel for certain characters. The memories the two families create and share in Rainbow Valley--the place--are important in Rilla of Ingleside. Rilla of Ingleside is not to be missed. It is one of the BEST in the series.

My thoughts: I really loved the courtship in this one of the children's father!!! It was super-sweet and fun. I love this book not so much for its connection to Anne, as it is I just LOVE L.M. Montgomery in general. She's a wonderful writer whose birthday is very close to my own!


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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The Christmas Story

The Christmas Story. Robert Sabuda. 2016. Candlewick. 12 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Long ago, in the town of Nazareth, there lived a young woman named Mary. She was soon to marry a carpenter named Joseph. God sent an angel to her with a message: "Hail, Mary! The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid. Soon you will have a baby, named Jesus, who will be the Son of God." "Let it be as you have told me," Mary said. "I am the servant of the Lord."

Premise/plot: The Christmas Story is Robert Sabuda's newest pop-up book. The story may be familiar, even too familiar, to some. But it's a story that is timeless. The pop-ups are quite detailed and though done simply--only in white and gold--they are indeed 'exquisite.'

My thoughts: I liked it. I do think Robert Sabuda's pop up books are more for older readers--like adults--than younger readers. But I think if young readers are careful, they can get a lot from this story as well.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Movie Month, day 26

So Kailana (The Written Word) and I really LOVED participating in Jenni Elyse's 30 Days of Books.  We thought it would be fun to do a movie-theme list of questions! Feel free to switch "favorite" to "least favorite" if that is more applicable to you!


Today's question: What is your favorite period drama?
  
Young Victoria
North and South 
Doctor Thorne 
Anne of Green Gables (first two movies only)
Persuasion
Jane Eyre
Scarlet Pimpernel
Pride and Prejudice

If we're including TV shows: Downton Abbey, Lark Rise to Candleford, The Crown, and Call the Midwife.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Child's Geography of the World

A Child's Geography of the World. V.M. Hillyer. 1929/1951. 472 pages.

First sentence: When I was a boy, my nurse used to take me to the railroad station to see the trains.

Premise/plot: A Child's Geography of the World was first published in 1929. The edition I found was revised and published in 1951. The tone is casual conversation. There are a few black and white illustrations throughout the book. The book is full of information, but what kind?

The truth is some information stays the same no matter the decade. (For example the location of the The Great Lakes, the Empire State Building, the Leaning Tower of Pisa). But plenty of things have changed and changed dramatically! Nations have passed away, governments have been toppled, revolutions have taken place. Also the United States has more than 48 states! Mount Everest has been climbed. Man has gone to the moon and back.

The last war mentioned is World War 2. Communists are mentioned, or perhaps I should say warned against!

Race is definitely an issue if you're reading this with children. (God created black men at night and many black people in Africa eat each other. The narrator makes an offhandedly comment that you will likely never see a real live Indian because there are few left. The narrator later makes an aside that the U.S. does it's best to keep out the Chinese.) I would say adults can throw away the bad and keep the good and have the discernment needed to tell the difference between the two. I would not recommend young children read this on their own for several reasons. One being that unless this text has been updated and revised recently, you'd have more misinformation than correct information.

My thoughts: I find vintage books entertaining. I do. Rare, long out-of-print books call to me. It's a way to capture a glimpse of the past, for better or worse. Not a historical writer's idea of the past. Good Morning, Miss Dove is one of my favorite, favorite books--and movies. This book would have been published at exactly the right time for Miss Dove to use!

The information is dated, true, I won't lie, but it is also a strong narrative. If there weren't problematic sections, I could easily call it charming.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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The Purple Pussycat

The Purple Pussycat. Margaret Hillert. 1950. 31 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: We can not play now. We have work to do. Can you help me? Now we can go. Come with me. I want you to come.

Premise/plot: A boy's toy--a purple pussycat--has adventures on his own once the boy falls asleep.
The copyright of my copy of the book says 1981. The book was a part of Follett's Just Beginning To Read series. The whole book has just a fifty-eight word vocabulary. And perhaps that simplicity keeps it from being a wow of a plot.

My thoughts: Was it worth the quarter I paid for it? Probably. The series promises COLORFULLY ILLUSTRATED books, and, I won't deny that these illustrations are colorful. I'm not sure you'd see anything like them published today. (The house the boy lives in desperately needs the Property Brothers, in my opinion.) Once the (toy) cat begins his adventures outside, I think the book becomes more interesting.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Charity Reading Challenge 2017

Charity Reading Challenge
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up here)
Duration: January-December 2017
# of books: You decide

Sign up by leaving a comment.

Read for a good cause! Buy books at a charity shop, or, even a friends of the library book sale, or, donate a certain percentage of money for each book you read for the challenge. You can choose your own goal of how many books to read, what charity you'll be donating money towards, how much money, etc. (For example, you might want to donate $1 for each paperback you read, or, $3 for every hardback you read. You can work out the details yourself.)

Rules:

  • Books and audio books, so long as purchased from a charity shop (or library book sale), count. E-books count if you donate a certain percentage of money to the charity of your choice. (You may read ANY book you choose if you donate your set amount.) Brand new books, old-and tattered out-of-print books. Both are welcome!
  • You do not need a blog to participate. You can comment on this post or any challenge-related post to update others on your progress. 
  • Any qualifying book finished in 2017 can count towards the challenge.
  • Books can be of any length and be written for any audience. This challenge does not exclude picture books. 
  • Qualifying books can be books you've intended to read for ages, or, impulse buys!(Who goes into a charity shop with a list?!)
  • No list is required, but, you can make one as you go if you like. The fun thing about this challenge is that everyone's list is going to be unique!
  • You may read for more than one charity if you like.


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Movie Month, day 25

So Kailana (The Written Word) and I really LOVED participating in Jenni Elyse's 30 Days of Books.  We thought it would be fun to do a movie-theme list of questions! Feel free to switch "favorite" to "least favorite" if that is more applicable to you!

Today's question: What is your favorite musical? 

Musicals are my favorite genre. Most days anyway. I've already shared a list of musicals that are period dramas too. 

So I'm going to go with Mamma Mia, The Muppets, and Enchanted. (Might as well add The Muppet Movie).

There are a few musical scenes in non-musicals that I'd add as well. Heath Ledger singing in 10 Things I Hate About You is all kinds of wonderful. And A Knight's Tale has a very musical feel to it even though it's not really a musical. (LOVE the dancing scene with Golden Years)


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Bedtime Book

Bedtime Book. Mabel Watts. Illustrated by Florence Sarah Winship. 1963. 28 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: At night, when you're sleepy, Mom turns down your bed. But suppose you were some sort of animal instead...

Premise/plot: This bedtime book is animal-focused or animal-themed. We've got an elephant, turtle, mouse, lamb, lion, puppy, kitten, horse, bear cub, fawn, stork, bird, fox, seal, and squirrel. The text is written all in rhyme.

My thoughts: Really loved this one. I think I loved the turtle most of all. If you were a turtle you'd get under your shell. Then you'd huddle and cuddle and sleep very well." Almost better than the text, the illustrations.

Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Movie Month, day 24

So Kailana (The Written Word) and I really LOVED participating in Jenni Elyse's 30 Days of Books.  We thought it would be fun to do a movie-theme list of questions! Feel free to switch "favorite" to "least favorite" if that is more applicable to you!

Today's question: What is your favorite holiday film?

I have so many!

Holiday Inn
Muppet Christmas Carol
Shop Around the Corner
It's A Wonderful Life
Miracle on 34th Street
White Christmas


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Ready to Countdown to Christmas?!

So Kailana (The Written Word) and I are teaming up again...this time to celebrate CHRISTMAS. 25 days of answering questions! You are definitely welcome to join in on the fun! I'm sharing the list now to give you time to prepare. It officially starts December 1.

  1. When do you begin listening to Christmas music or watching Christmas movies?
  2. Is there an album or movie you like to listen to or watch first?
  3. Where do you do your shopping? Online or in store? Do you love or hate shopping? Do you have a plan and stick to it?
  4. My gift recommendations for the 2016 holiday season.
  5. My holiday wishlist and/or my "dream" stocking?
  6. The book I'm most looking forward to reading this Holiday season...
  7. The album I'm looking forward to listening to this Christmas season...
  8. The movie I'm looking forward to watching this Christmas season...
  9. A treat I love to make or eat during the holidays...
  10. Favorite thing I love to do with my family during the holidays...
  11. Favorite Christmas songs or albums from your growing up years...
  12. Favorite movies or Christmas specials from your growing up years...
  13. Favorite present(s) from your growing up years...
  14. Favorite present(s) from recent years....
  15. Favorite Christmas songs or albums currently...
  16. Favorite Christmas movies or specials currently...
  17. Favorite Christmas books (top 3, 5, 10)
  18. Favorite Christmas scenes from books and/or movies...
  19. When do you wrap presents? As you buy them or the very last minute? Do you love or hate wrapping presents?
  20. Did you ever try to sneak a peek at presents early? Are you a present shaker?!
  21. Christmas Eve traditions...
  22. Christmas traditions...
  23. Day after Christmas traditions...
  24. A Christmas I'll never forget...
  25. What I love most about Christmas...Christmas greetings.


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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The Very Best of Friends

The Very Best of Friends. Steffi Fletcher. 1963. 27 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: Once upon a time a cow, a hen, a goat, and a pony lived on a farm. They lived there most happily. But then one day a new owner came to the farm.

Premise/plot: The animals on this farm runaway. Each animal finds a place to stay. They meet together every day. They meet a little boy who happens to be great at taking care of them. They decide the little boy would be a great new owner.

My thoughts: Well, I must admit I was disappointed with this one. I was judging it at first by the illustrations alone. I didn't bother to read the text before I bought it. The text was just silly and super unrealistic. (Was it as unrealistic as Bess not having legs for several pages in Ballerina Bess? I don't know.) For example, the cow milks herself and comes to town trying to sell her milk. The hen carries her own eggs to town to try to sell. And the goat somehow, someway makes cheese from her own milk and ties it on her back to take it to town and sell. Still, it isn't a complete loss for I do like the illustrations.

Text: 2 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Picture Book Reading Challenge

Original artwork by Charles Haigh-Wood (1856-1927)
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up)
Duration: January - December 2017
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 6

Option 1: BINGO CARD!
Option 2: CHECKLIST (read as few as six, or as many as you like)

Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book. If you list the books you read, that may help other people decide what to read.

_ 1. An alphabet book
_ 2. A counting book
_ 3. Concept book: shapes or numbers or opposites or colors
_ 4. a book set on a farm or in the country
_ 5. a book set in the city or in an urban area
_ 6. a book set at the beach, in the ocean, or by a lake
_ 7. a book with human characters
_ 8. a book with animal characters
_ 9. a bedtime book
_ 10. a rhyming book
_ 11. a book celebrating art
_ 12. a book celebrating dance
_ 13. a book celebrating music
_ 14. a book celebrating family (parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, etc.)
_ 15. a book about feelings, expressing feelings
_ 16. a book with a twist (unexpected) ending
_ 17. a book about pets (cats, dogs, fish)
_ 18. a book celebrating libraries or reading
_ 19. a book translated into English (originally published in another language/country)
_ 20 Mother Goose related
_ 21 a book about adoption
_ 22 a book by Gail Gibbons
_ 23 a book by Jon Scieszka
_ 24 a book featured on Reading Rainbow
_ 25 free choice
_ 26 out of print
_ 27 wordless picture book
_ 28 a book by Margaret Wise Brown
_ 29 a board book
_ 30. a book about trains or planes
_ 31. a book about cars or trucks
_ 32. a book about starting school
_ 33. a book about friendship (sharing, caring, forgiving)
_ 34. a book about being ME, about being unique, special, loved, etc.
_ 35. a fairy tale
_ 36. a twisted (adapted) fairy tale
_ 37. a book about a holiday
_ 38. a new-to-you author
_ 39. a new-to-you illustrator
_ 40. a book about new experiences (dentist, doctor, sleepovers, movies, playing sports, learning to swim, etc.)
_ 41. a series book
_ 42. a book celebrating food (cooking, eating, trying new foods, eating healthy)
_ 43. a book published before 1950
_ 44. a book published in the 1950s
_ 45. a book published in the 1960s
_ 46. a book published in the 1970s
_ 47. a book published in the 1980s
_ 48. a book published in the 1990s
_ 49. a book published in the 2000s
_ 50. a book published 2010-2016
_ 51. a book published in 2017
_ 52. a book by Dr. Seuss
_ 53. a book by Mo Willems
_ 54. a book by Jan Thomas
_ 55. a book by Eric Carle
_ 56. a book by Laura Numeroff
_ 57. a book by Patricia Polacco
_ 58. a book by Jon Klassen
_ 59. a book by Beatrix Potter
_ 60. a book by Kevin Henkes
_ 61. a book written or illustrated by LeUyen Pham
_ 62. a Caldecott winner
_ 63.  a Caldecott honor
_ 64. a picture book biography
_ 65. a nonfiction picture book
_ 66. a book from your childhood
_ 67. a book you discovered as an adult
_ 68. a book celebrating writing, being an author or illustrator
_ 69. a library book
_ 70. an audio book
_ 71.  a book about dinosaurs OR dragons
_ 72. nonfiction book about animals (or animal)
_ 73. a challenged book OR a controversial book
_ 74. a book that makes you laugh
_ 75. a book that makes you cry
_ 76. hate the text, love the art
_ 77. love the text, hate the art
_ 78. a book with a great cover
_ 79. a book with an ugly cover
_ 80. a book about toys
_ 81. a book about weather
_ 82. a picture book for older readers
_ 83. a book of jokes, riddles, tongue-twisters
_ 84. a book about seasons
_ 85. a song
_ 86. a poetry book
_ 87. a book by a celebrity
_ 88.  a book published in Australia
_ 89. a book published in the UK
_ 90. a book about science or math
_ 91. a book about history or historical event
_ 92. a book about sports
_ 93. a book about celebrating birthdays
_ 94. a book about a President or world leader
_ 95. a book about another country
_ 96. a book celebrating faith
_ 97. a pop-up book, or, a book with cut-outs or flaps or fold-outs
_ 98. a bilingual book
_ 99.  a television series that has been adapted to a book
_ 100. a book that has been adapted to a television series
_ 101. an adaptation of a myth or legend
_ 102. a book about babies 

OPTION 3: ABCs. Read 26 picture books, one for each letter by title and/or author.

Sign up by leaving a comment. Do indicate which option you're leaning towards. And if you have a blog, please leave your blog address so I can visit you.

Reviews are not a requirement. But if you do review, you can share links to your reviews. I'm thinking of having check-in posts on the 15th of every month.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Movie Month, day 23

So Kailana (The Written Word) and I really LOVED participating in Jenni Elyse's 30 Days of Books.  We thought it would be fun to do a movie-theme list of questions! Feel free to switch "favorite" to "least favorite" if that is more applicable to you!

Today's question: What is your favorite drama? 



Amazing Grace
Belle 
Return to Me
Book Thief
Inn of Sixth Happiness
The Help
Hiding Place
Life is Beautiful
Steel Magnolias
Mr. Holland's Opus
Forrest Gump
King's Speech
Cyrano de Bergerac

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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House My Grandpa Built

The House My Grandpa Built. Geraldine Everett Gohn. Illustrated by Bonnie and Bill Rutherford. 1971. Whitman. 30 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: This is the lot my grandparents found, with maple trees and high, dry ground. These are the plans that Grandpa drew, showing the rooms and outside view--a small sort of house, for their children have grown and left the big house for homes of their own.

Premise/plot: Grandpa and Grandma are moving into a house that he is having built. The book follows the construction of the house from beginning to end. And it's all done in rhyme--for better or worse!

My thoughts: I liked this one. I like that we get to see the plans of this house too. I'm an addict for HGTV, I admit. And even before that This Old House was one of my favorite, favorite shows. So this cute little book has a just right feel for me.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations 3 out of 5
Total: 6 out of 10

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2017 Victorian Reading Challenge

Victorian Reading Challenge
Host: Becky's Book Reviews
Duration: January - December 2017
Goal: Read a minimum of 4 Victorian books

Sign up in the comments (If you have a blog, please leave your blog address. If you have a goodreads profile AND if you review regularly on goodreads, then you may leave that as well.)

How this challenge is different from last year: I'm not doing a BINGO challenge this upcoming year. If you want to sign up for this challenge again and hold onto a bingo card from 2016 or 2015, you're definitely welcome to! But I won't be designing a new card for next year!

You are also welcome to use my new checklist below. But it's optional.

Also new this year, I'll have quarterly check-in posts. I'll be posting check-in posts March 25, June 24, September 23, and December 30. You may leave links to your reviews on any of those four posts. If you want to share your review with me BEFORE that, AND if you have twitter, feel free to tweet me a link @blbooks.

IF you love Victorian literature AND you happen to love tea...consider joining my Share-a-Tea reading challenge.

Feel free to copy/paste this. You can replace the _ with an X or a ✔ (copy/paste it) when you finish reading a book. If you list the books you read, that may help other people decide what to read.

_ 1. A book under 200 pages
_ 2. A book over 400 pages
_ 3. A book that REALLY intimidates you
_ 4. A book you REALLY want to reread
_ 5. A new-to-you book by a FAVORITE author
_ 6. A book with illustrations
_ 7. A book that was originally published serially
_ 8. A book published between 1837-1849
_ 9. A book published between 1850-1860
_ 10. A book published between 1861-1870
_ 11. A book published between 1871-1880
_ 12. A book published between 1881-1890
_ 13. A book published between 1891-1901
_ 14. A book published between 1902-1999 with a Victorian setting
_ 15. A book published between 2000-2017 with a Victorian setting
_ 16. A book by Charles Dickens
_ 17. A book by Wilkie Collins
_ 18. A book by Anthony Trollope
_ 19. A book by Elizabeth Gaskell
_ 20. A book by George Eliot
_ 21. A book by a new-to-you male author
_ 22. A book by a new-to-you female author
_ 23. A book translated into English
_ 24. A fiction or nonfiction book about Queen Victoria
_ 25. A book that has been filmed as movie, miniseries, or television show
_ 26. A play OR a collection of short stories OR a collection of poems
_ 27. Biography, Autobiography, or NONFICTION book about the Victorian era
_ 28. Genre or Subgenre of your choice (mystery, suspense, romance, gothic, adventure, western, science fiction, fantasy)
_ 29. Book with a name as the title
_ 30. Book You've Started but Never Finished
_ 31. A Christian book fiction or nonfiction
_ 32. A children's book
_ 33. Book with a Number in the Title
_ 34. Book with a Place in the Title
_ 35. Free Choice
_ 36. free choice
_ 37. free choice
_ 38. free choice 

 Rules:

  • Fiction or nonfiction.
  • Books, e-books, audio books all are fine.
  • Books and movies can be reviewed together or separately.
  • You can create a reading list if you want, but it's not a requirement
  • If you do make a list, consider adding a list of five books you'd recommend to others
  • If possible try to try a new-to-you author! I know it can be really tempting to stick with familiar favorites.
  • Children's books published during these years should not be forgotten!
  • Rereads are definitely allowed if you have favorites!
  • A blog is not required, a review is not required, but, if you don't review please consider sharing what you read in a comment with one or two sentences of 'reaction' or 'response.' 
  • Any qualifying book reviewed in 2017 counts towards the challenge. If you're like me, perhaps you try to schedule posts a week ahead of time. So if it's reviewed in 2017, it counts. Even if you finished the book the last week or two of 2016! 

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Movie Month, day 22

So Kailana (The Written Word) and I really LOVED participating in Jenni Elyse's 30 Days of Books.  We thought it would be fun to do a movie-theme list of questions! Feel free to switch "favorite" to "least favorite" if that is more applicable to you!

Today's question: What is your favorite comedy or romantic comedy?

I'm going to go with some older titles:

George Washington Slept Here
Some Like It Hot 
Operation Mad Ball
Operation Petticoat
Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House
The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer
It Happened One Night
Bachelor Mother 
Monkey Business 
I Was A Male War Bride
The Long, Long Trailer
His Girl Friday
Lover Come Back
The Tender Trap
If A Man Answers
Doctor, You've Got To Be Kidding
Singin' in the Rain
Walk, Don't Run

But can't forget Much Ado about Nothing! Or Ever After! Or Princess Bride! Or the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie! Or Young Victoria!

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Trumpet

Trumpet. Patricia Lynn. Illustrated by Bernice Myers. 1953. Whitman. 30 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: On Farmer Friendly's farm everyone worked. Farmer Friendly plowed and hoed and harvested the fields. Mrs. Friendly cleaned and baked and sewed. Babs and Buzzy sold fruit and vegetables at their roadside stand, while Harry the hired man did a little of everything.

Premise/plot: The friendly family gets a dog; they name him Trumpet. Everyone, but Harry, likes him. Well, that's only partly true. The animals don't like Trumpet's barking, and, the family doesn't like how the animals react when Trumpet is barking. But. When Trumpet learns that there is a right time and a wrong time to bark, all is well on the farm.

My thoughts: I liked this one. It was a cute story. I really enjoyed the illustrations. If you enjoy vintage illustrations, then you should definitely seek this one out.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Monday, November 21, 2016

The Matchmaker

The Matchmaker. Thornton Wilder. 1954. 120 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: I tell you for the hundredth time you will never marry my niece.

Premise/plot: The Matchmaker is a play by Thornton Wilder. Chances are if you hear the names "Horace Vandergelder," "Cornelius Hackl," "Barnaby Tucker," "Irene Molloy," and "Dolly Levi" you will likely think of the musical Hello Dolly and not The Matchmaker. But The Matchmaker obviously came first.

What should you know? It is FUNNY. It features more characters than the musical. (I really LOVED Malachi Stack and Flora Van Huysen. Malachi gets some of the best lines, in my opinion!) The ending is similar but not identical.

So for those who haven't seen the musical... Horace Vandergelder is a cranky old man who is about to make a big decision. He has decided to remarry. Just as emphatically as he's decided to marry, he's decided that his niece will NOT be marrying her fellow, Ambrose Kemper. Two of Vandergelder's clerks (he's a store owner) decide--on this momentous day--that they've had enough and deserve a day off. Not just any day off, but a day off in the CITY. One of them vows TO NOT COME HOME UNTIL HE'S KISSED A GIRL. Cornelius and Barnaby "happen" to meet Irene Molloy (Vandergelder's first choice) and her assistant, Minnie. The people seeking adventure get in over their heads. The people NOT seeking adventure get in over their heads too. By the end, one and all long for normalcy and routine.

My thoughts: If you ask me if I like the movie--well, I can get all the best scenes by watching Wall-E. But after seeing Hello Dolly live at my local theatre, well, my perspective changed a bit. Things that were slightly funny sitting at home watching the movie really become hilarious on stage. I walked out a FAN. The Matchmaker was a perfectly perfect read for me. And I loved coming across lines like, "Go and get your Sunday clothes on."

Quotes:
"It looks to me like you're pretty rash to judge which is fools and which isn't fools, Mr. Vandergelder. People that's et onions is bad judges of who's et onions and who ain't." Joe (the barber) to Mr. Vandergelder

"Ninety-nine percent of the people in the world are fools and the rest of us are in great danger of contagion." Mr. Vandergelder

"I tell you right now: a fine woman is the greatest work of God." Cornelius

"There's nothing like eavesdropping to show you that the world outside your head is different from the world inside your head." Malachi 


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2017 Share-a-Tea Reading Challenge

Love drinking tea? Love reading books? Love reading a book while drinking tea? Have I got a reading challenge for you! In 2017, I'll be hosting the Share-a-Tea Reading Challenge. You can start a little early, if you want, maybe considering it a 'trial period.' But it officially starts January 1, 2017 and officially ends December 31, 2017.

Who can join? Anyone who enjoys reading. You don't need to have a blog. You don't need to have a twitter account.

Are coffee drinkers welcome? Well. You can still join in, I suppose. But you might be outnumbered by tea drinkers.

Which books count towards the challenge? Any book that you primarily read while drinking tea. Not every single page needs to have been read while drinking tea. (I'm not that strict!!!) But this challenge is all about celebrating SLOWING DOWN and SAVORING the moments.

How many books? Is there a set minimum? This challenge is about QUALITY and not quantity. It's not about reading fifty books or even twelve books. This is an anti-rush reading challenge. Enjoy where you are in a book, and, engage fully in it. Live in the book.

This challenge has a focus on SHARING. How can you share? Several ways:

1) When you sign up in a comment below, share one favorite tea and one favorite book. And if you've got one handy: a favorite quote.
2) If you write a post on your blog announcing the challenge (and making a place to keep track of what you've read), consider sharing a bit about yourself--your reading and drinking habits. You might consider a longer list of recommendations!
3) If you're on twitter, tweet me as often as you like. @blbooks OR @operationbible Tweet about favorite teas, favorite books, favorite authors, favorite quotes, what you're currently reading, what you've just finished reading, etc.
4) Consider adding me and fellow participants to your blogroll, and cheer on other participants by reading reviews and leaving comments.
5) At the end of each month, I'll publish a check-in post. You can leave comments sharing what you're reading, what you've read, tea recommendations, etc. Even if you haven't finished a book, you can share where you're at. Remember, it isn't about how many books you read per month!
6) I'll do my best to keep an ongoing list--either in this post--or on my sidebar--of participants of this challenge. 

Be aware that comment moderation is turned on. So if you sign up for the challenge, and don't see your comment published, it just means I haven't published it...yet. But I will.

Do ask questions if you have them. I'll do my best to answer them.


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Movie Month, day 21

So Kailana (The Written Word) and I really LOVED participating in Jenni Elyse's 30 Days of Books.  We thought it would be fun to do a movie-theme list of questions! Feel free to switch "favorite" to "least favorite" if that is more applicable to you!

Today's question: What is your favorite animated movie?

I'll be LISTING, of course!

10. Aladdin
9. Big Hero 6 

8. Inside Out
7. Robin Hood 
6. 101 Dalmations
5. Wall-E
4. Home 
3. Aristocats
2. Peanuts Movie
1. Beauty and the Beast

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Jiggers

Jiggers. Joy Muchmore Lacey. Illustrated by Marge Opitz. 1963. 28 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: Jiggers was a little black and white dog. He came to live with Judy the day she was six years old.

Premise/plot: Jiggers and Judy are very happy together for the most part. But one day while Jiggers is watching Judy begin her walk to school, he is a bit naughty. He does not go back into the house, or even the yard. When Judy returns home that day, Jiggers is not there and has not been there all day. The search is on. Where did Jiggers go? Can Judy and her family find him again?

My thoughts: I liked this one well enough. It is a lost dog story that is sweetly predictable. (They find him and all is well in the end. Not all lost pet stories have a happy ending in real life.)

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10
© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Joining the Classics Club

The Classics Club (sign up) (submit reviews)
50+ classics by November 30, 2021

Religious Classics
1. Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan (1678) completed February 2017
2. Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland H. Bainton (1950) completed April 2017
3. Three Treatises by Martin Luther (1520) (completed January 2017)
4. American Standard Version, Holy Bible, 1901
5. Letters of John Newton, 1911
6. Basic Christianity by John R.W. Stott (completed June 2017)
7. Commentary on Galatians by Martin Luther (1535)
8. Institutes of the Christian Religion by John Calvin (1536)
9. Life and Diary of David Brainerd (1749)
10. Sermon on the Mount by James Montgomery Boice (1972)
11. Sovereignty of God by A.W. Pink (1928)
12. Through Gates of Splendor by Elizabeth Elliot (1956)
13. Spiritual Depression, Its Causes and Cure by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1965)
14. A History of the work of Redemption by Jonathan Edwards (1774)
15. Our Great and Glorious God by Jonathan Edwards (?)
16. The Wartime Sermons of Dr. Peter Marshall (?)
17.  The New Testament in Modern English, J.B. Phillips (1958)
18. Wycliffe New Testament (1388, modern spelling edition, 2002)
19. Tyndale New Testament (1534, modern spelling edition, 1989)
20. Reformation Heritage Study Bible -- King James Version (notes 2014) (completed June 2017)

Intimidating Classics
21. Arabian Nights, Anonymous (800)
22. The History of the Kings of Britain by Geoffrey of Monmouth (1138)
23. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1880) (completed January 2017)
24. Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo (1831)
25. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1852)
26. The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy (1921)
27. East of Eden by John Steinbeck (1952)
28. The New World by Winston Churchill (1956)
29. The Age of Revolution by Winston Churchill (1957)
30. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery (1847)

Favorite Authors, New-to-Me Books
31. The Tempest by William Shakespeare (1610)
32. The Old Curiosity Shop by Charles Dickens (1841)
33. Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens (1841)
34. Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens (1844)
35. Orley Farm by Anthony Trollope (1862)
36. John Caldigate by Anthony Trollope (1879)
37. Villette by Charlotte Bronte (1853)
38. Shirley by Charlotte Bronte (1849)
39. Hester by Margaret Oliphant (1883)
40. The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain (1869)
41. Carry On Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse (1925)
42. Very Good, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse (1930)
43. If I Were You by P.G. Wodehouse (1931)
44. Thank You Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse (1934)

Curious About These Classics
45. Everyman, Anonymous (1520?) (completed December 2016)
46. The Daisy Chain by Charlotte Mary Yonge (1856)
47. The Marrow of Tradition by Charles W. Chesnutt (1901)
48. The Circular Staircase by Mary Roberts Rinehart (1908)
49. Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini (1922)
50. The Enchanted April Elizabeth von Arnim (1922)
51. Murder in the Cathedral by T.S. Eliot (1935) --Completed March 2017
52. Brave Men by Ernie Pyle (1944)
53. Raintree County by Ross Lockridge Jr. (1948)
54. The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder (1954)-- Completed November 2016
55. The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder (1942) Completed March 2017
56. Point of No Return by Martha Gellhorn (1948)
57. An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde (1893)
58. The Importance of Being Earnest (1895)
59.  The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson (1888)
60. Richard the Third by Paul Murray Kendall (1955)
61. The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart (1970)
62. The Kellys and O'Kellys by Anthony Trollope (1848) -- completed January 2017
63. Our Town by Thornton Wilder (1938) -- Completed December 2016
64. A Child's Geography of the World (1929/1951) -- Completed November 2016
65. The Macdermots of Ballycloran. Anthony Trollope. (1847) (completed January 2017)
66. Watch and Ward by Henry James (1871) (completed January 2017)
67. Roderick Hudson by Henry James (1875) completed January 2017 
68. La Vendee by Anthony Trollope (1855) completed February 2017
69. The American. Henry James. 1877. Completed February 2017
70. The Europeans. Henry James. 1878.  Completed February 2017 
71. Twelve Angry Men. Reginald Rose. 1954. Completed February 2017
72. Confidence. Henry James. 1879. Completed March 2017
73. Washington Square. Henry James. 1880 Completed April 2017
74. The Portrait of a Lady. Henry James. 1881. Completed June 2017
75. The Bostonians. Henry James. 1886.
76. The Princess Casamassima. Henry James. 1886.
77.  The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. 1869.
78. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. 1866.
79. The Village of Stepanchikovo. Fyodor Dostoyevsky. 1859.
80. The Gambler. Fyodor Dostoyevsky. 1867.
81. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol. 1842.
82. The Three Clerks. Anthony Trollope. 1858. Completed April 2017
83. Doctor Thorne. Anthony Trollope 1858. Completed May 2017
84. The Bertrams. Anthony Trollope. 1859. Completed June 2017
85. Castle Richmond. Anthony Trollope. 1860.
86. Framley Parsonage. Anthony Trollope. 1861.
87. The Struggles of Brown, Jones and Robinson. Anthony Trollope. 1862.
88. Oliver Twist. Charles Dickens. 1838. Completed May 2017
89. Camille. Alexandre Dumas, fils. 1848. Completed July 2017

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Movie month, day 20

So Kailana (The Written Word) and I really LOVED participating in Jenni Elyse's 30 Days of Books.  We thought it would be fun to do a movie-theme list of questions!

Today's question: What is your favorite action and/or thriller movie?

I don't consider this a "favorite" genre, yet, I find myself watching certain series or franchises all the time! 

Men in Black 3 is one of my all-time favorite movies. Even if you didn't love the first two, I would recommend this one. It has far more emotional depth and substance than the first two films combined. You may find it hard to believe, but, this one is quite an emotional roller coaster--and oh the DEVELOPMENT of the characters. Namely the relationship--or lack thereof--between Agents J and K. And I haven't yet mentioned it but TIME TRAVEL. The film also introduces the character Griffin. I loved, loved, loved this character :)


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Two Stories About Kate and Kitty

Two Stories About Kate and Kitty. Lee Priestley. Illustrated by Alice Schlesinger. 1968. Whitman. 30 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: Kate was a little girl, flitty and pretty. Kitty was a little cat, pouncy and bouncy. Kate and Kitty belonged to each other.

Premise/plot: Kate and Kitty are best, best friends. In the first story, Kitty keeps finding herself on the wrong side of the door. First, in the fall, then the winter, and at last in the spring. If only there was a way for Kitty to let everyone know she needs back IN. The second story "An Alarm Clock for Kitty." Both Kate and Kitty are sound sleepers. Kate's parents get her an alarm clock to wake up their precious little sleepy head. But what can be an alarm clock for a cat?

My thoughts: I did not have this one growing up. But if I had, I would have LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it and read it again and again and again. As an adult, I still really love it. I am so glad I found this one at my local charity shop.

Anyone who loves cats, who loves children's books, who loves vintage books really need to find a copy of this one!

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 5 out of 5
Total: 10 out of 10


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Movie Month, day 19

So Kailana (The Written Word) and I really LOVED participating in Jenni Elyse's 30 Days of Books.  We thought it would be fun to do a movie-theme list of questions!

Today's question: What is your favorite stand-alone movie?

I'm going to go with what pops into my mind first:

Cyrano de Bergerac is a movie I *wished* I owned. I have it on VHS, but, that doesn't do me much good! Anyway, I LOVE AND ADORE this movie which I revisited this past summer for Paris in July.

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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If You Give A Mouse a Brownie

If You Give A Mouse A Brownie. Laura Joffe Numeroff. Illustrated by Felicia Bond. 2016. HarperCollins. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: If you give a mouse a brownie, he's going to ask for some ice cream to go with it. When you give him the ice cream, he'll ask you for a spoon. He'll start drumming on the table. Drumming will get him so excited he'll want to start a band.

Premise/plot: The MOUSE is back for another adventure. If you've read any of the other "If You Give" books by Laura Numeroff, you know exactly what to expect. If you aren't familiar with Numeroff's books, where have you been?!

My thoughts: I think I may love this one more than any of the others. I loved, loved, loved every page of it. I think I know someone--no, I know that I know--someone EXACTLY like Mouse.

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 9 out of 10

© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Movie Month, day 18

So Kailana (The Written Word) and I really LOVED participating in Jenni Elyse's 30 Days of Books. We thought it would be fun to do a movie-theme list of questions!

Today's question:  What is your favorite movie series?

Definitely the Lord of the Rings trilogy the extended edition.

I also really love the Marvel movies. Particularly, I love all three Captain America movies and the two Thor movies. (The Avenger movies are good. And I did like Iron Man 3. Ant Man was a surprise delight!)

The Hunger Games series was very, very good.

I like many of the Star Trek movies, though not all.

I've already mentioned the Dark Knight trilogy.





© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Five Children on the Western Front

Five Children on the Western Front. Kate Saunders. 2014. 318 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The sand at the bottom of the gravel pit shifted and heaved, and out popped the furry brown head of a most extraordinary creature.

Premise/plot: For any reader who has read Five Children And It by E. Nesbit (and its sequels) will want to consider picking up Kate Saunders' Five Children on the Western Front. The book opens in 1914 with the oldest, Cyril, heading off to the Great War. Robert, Anthea, and Jane are grown up as well--mostly. Old enough to be away to school for their final years of education at least! Still at home are Lamb (aka Hilary) and Edie (Edith). On this life-changing day, Edie and Lamb discover (again) the Psammead. Lamb has no memory of the adventures his older siblings had, though he has grown up hearing all about the magic. There is a very happy reunion of sorts. If his being cranky and sarcastic doesn't take away the children's happiness. Soon, however, they realize that something is very wrong. He lacks strength and magical power. He has even lost the ability to be invisible. Edie, his primary companion, makes it her mission to get the answers he needs.

This mission takes most of them to London to visit Old Nurse and their friend the Professor. The Professor has a new, young assistant Ernie Haywood, a soldier who has returned home because of injuries. Anthea is quite smitten!

The book covers the war years.

My thoughts: Wow! Not disappointed at all. Not even a little bit! Loved Edie, the heroine, and loved the "humbling" of "Sammy." It was wonderful to spend time with the Pemberton family yet again. If there is a flaw, it is that we still don't really get to know the parents. Is that a flaw? Perhaps. I personally just loved the kids so much, I didn't care. I think readers are in on the secret--the magic--and the parents aren't and never will be.

Is the book sad? Yes in the same way that Rilla of Ingleside is sad and happy at the same time. In fact, that is the only book that really comes to mind. Both books star characters from series that readers would have grown up reading and loving. Both books cross into the ugliness of war, interrupting a blissful innocence. L. M. Montgomery was brave in that she tackled the subject herself so very soon after the war ended. E. Nesbit was older, and most of books were published before the war. Saunders did a splendid job with this sequel.


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Movie month, day 17

So Kailana (The Written Word) and I really LOVED participating in Jenni Elyse's 30 Days of Books.  We thought it would be fun to do a movie-theme list of questions!

Today's question: What is your favorite genre? What is your favorite movie in your favorite genre?

My favorite genre. I have two that sometimes overlap. I LOVE musicals. I LOVE period dramas.

Favorite movie in my favorite genre. I could never pick just one. My top ten of historical musicals.

10) Calamity Jane
9) South Pacific
8) Moulin Rouge
7) Singin' in the Rain
6) King and I
5) Holiday Inn
4) My Fair Lady
3) High Society
2) The Sound of Music
1) Music Man 


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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March: Book Three

March Book Three. John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. Illustrated by Nate Powell. 2016. 246 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Y'all better hurry along, now. Sunday School's nearly over, and the main service'll be startin' soon.

Premise/plot: March is the graphic novel autobiography of John Lewis. So far, there are three volumes in this autobiography. Today, I am reviewing book three. It opens in Birminham, Alabama, September 15, 1963, the bombing of a church. This one covers the rest of 1963, 1964, and 1965. The 'past' story line concludes with the 1965 Voting Rights Act becoming a law. The 'current' story line concludes with him deciding to do a graphic novel autobiography.

My thoughts: From start to finish, I personally found this compelling. Not just start to finish book three. Though that is certainly true enough. But start to finish all three books in this autobiography. Even though this third book was longer than the previous two, it didn't feel weighed down by unnecessary elements. If it was weightier in substance--darker, more depressing perhaps--that is for one good reason: it reflects what was happening. The book definitely captures the ongoing struggle of the non-violent fight for freedom: the spirit of determination, the bravery and courage, the stubbornness of men and women and even children taking a stand for something they believed in heart and soul and mind. Yes, this book is violent and bloody, perhaps much more so than the first two volumes even. But it shows readers--of all ages--that this "civil rights movement" was not quick and easy. That it was something that took years--decades even. That it was exhausting. That it took not just a few dozen big names, but hundreds, thousands of people. One can't learn "everything" there is to know about the "civil rights movement" by reading one or two books. This book series showed you how BIG everything was.


© 2016 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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