Monday, December 31, 2018

Year in Review: Stats

I read somewhere between 563 and 566 books in 2018. According to my label, "2018Reviews" the number is 563. This is also the total I get when I add "2018goodrule-new" and "2018goodrule-old". I'm not sure where the "extra" three books are coming from--that number is supposedly based on the "date read."

Board books and Picture books 28.2%
The Bible 11%
Early Readers and Chapter Books 9.9%
Christian Nonfiction 9.8%
Historical Fiction 7.5%
Nonfiction 7.5%
Classics 6.2% 
Contemporary/Realistic Fiction 5.7%
Speculative Fiction 4.9%
Christian Fiction 4.4%
Mysteries 4.1%

My favorite board book:
That's Me Loving You. Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Illustrated by Teagan White. 2018. [December] Random House. 28 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
My favorite picture book:
The Remember Balloons. Jessie Oliveros. Illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte. 2018. Simon & Schuster. 48 pages. [Source: Library]
My favorite Bible: KJV
My favorite early reader:
Mr. Monkey Bakes a Cake. Jeff Mack. 2018. Simon and Schuster. 64 pages. [Source: Library]
My favorite chapter book:
Mr. Putter and Tabby Spin the Yarn. (Mr. Putter and Tabby #15) Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Arthur Howard. 2006. 44 pages. [Source: Library] 
My favorite Christian nonfiction:
The Quotable Tozer. A.W. Tozer. Compiled by James L. Snyder. 2018. Bethany House. 369 pages. [Source: Review copy] My favorite historical fiction:
Ashes on the Moor. Sarah M. Eden. 2018. 384 pages. [Source: Review copy]
My favorite nonfiction:
Ethel and Ernest. Raymond Briggs. 1998. 104 pages. [Source: Library]
My favorite classic:
Agnes Grey. Anne Bronte. 1847. 224 pages. [Source: Bought]
My favorite contemporary/realistic fiction:
Bronx Masquerade. Nikki Grimes. 2001/2017. Penguin. 192 pages. [Source: Library]
My favorite speculative fiction:
Bob. Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead. 2018. Feiwel & Friends. 208 pages. [Source: Library]
My favorite Christian Fiction:
A Bound Heart. Laura Frantz. 2019. Revell. 400 pages. [Source: Review copy]
My favorite mystery:
A Heart in a Body in the World. Deb Caletti. 2018. 368 pages. [Source: Library] 

Most read authors in 2018
  1. Cynthia Rylant (30+)
  2. Meredith Rusu (6)
  3. Douglas Florian (5)
  4. Sandra Magsamen (5)
  5. Mark Newgarden (5)
  6. Anthony Trollope (5)
  7. Mo Willems (5)
  8. Gennifer Choldenko (4)
  9. Elizabeth Gaskell (4)
  10. Jesse Wiley (4)






© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Year in Review: Top of Genres

Top Mysteries:

  1. Murder, Magic, and What We Wore. Kelly Jones. 2017. 304 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. Murder Past Due. Miranda James. 2010. 294 pages. [Source: Borrowed]
  3. A Heart in a Body in the World. Deb Caletti. 2018. 368 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. The Daughter of Time. Josephine Tey. 1951/1995. Simon & Schuster. 208 pages. [Source: Bought]
  5. Thirteen at Dinner. Agatha Christie. 1933. 228 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  6. Singing in the Shrouds. Ngaio Marsh. 1958. 240 pages. [Source: Bought]
Top Historical Fiction:
  1. Louisiana's Way Home. Kate DiCamillo. 2018. Candlewick Press. 240 pages. [Source: Library] 
  2. Midnight Without a Moon. Linda Williams Jackson. 2017. HMH. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  3. The Lacemaker. Laura Frantz. 2018. Revell. 416 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  4. Promises and Primroses. Josi S. Kilpack. 2018. Shadow Mountain. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  5. Ashes on the Moor. Sarah M. Eden. 2018. 384 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  6. Here Be Dragons. Sharon Kay Penman. 1985. 704 pages. [Source: Borrowed]  
  7. The Orphan Band of Springdale. Anne Nesbet. 2018. Candlewick. 448 pages. [Source: Library.]
  8. The Bride of Ivy Green. Julie Klassen. 2018. Bethany House. 448 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  9. A Bound Heart. Laura Frantz. 2019. Revell. 400 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  10. Make A Wish, Molly. Barbara Cohen. 1994. 48 pages. [Source: Bought]
Top Speculative Fiction:
  1. Bob. Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead. 2018. Feiwel & Friends. 208 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) Neal Shusterman. 2018. 5014 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. The Enchanted Sonata. Heather Dixon Wallwork. 2018. [Oct 23] 375 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  4. Brightly Burning. Alexa Donne. 2018. HMH. 400 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  5. Reign the Earth. (The Elementae #1) A.C. Gaughen. 2018. Bloomsbury. 448 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  6. The Fourteenth Goldfish. Jennifer L. Holm. 2014. Random House. 208 pages. [Source: Library]  
  7. The City of Ember. Jeanne DuPrau. 2003. 270 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  8. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll. Illustrated by John Tenniel. 1865/1871. 247 pages. [Source: Bought]
 Top Contemporary/Realistic
  1. Wonder. R. J. Palacio. 2012. Random House. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy. Jeanne Birdsall. 2005. Random House. 262 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. The Penderwicks on Gardam Street. Jeanne Birdsall. 2008. 308 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. The Summer of Broken Things. Margaret Peterson Haddix. 2018. Simon & Schuster. 393 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  5. Bronx Masquerade. Nikki Grimes. 2001/2017. Penguin. 192 pages. [Source: Library]
  6. Between the Lines. Nikki Grimes. 2018. 216 pages. [Source: Library]
  7. Find A Stranger, Say Goodbye. Lois Lowry. 1978/2018. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  8. The Day They Came To Arrest The Book. Nat Hentoff. 1982. 176 pages. [Source: Book I bought] 
  9. Road Trip with Max and His Mom. Linda Urban. Illustrated by Katie Kath. 2018. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 160 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  10. Echo's Sister. Paul Mosier. 2018. HarperCollins. 240 pages. [Source: Library]


© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Year in Review: Classics

My top ten
  1. Agnes Grey. Anne Bronte. 1847. 224 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  2. The Ladies' Paradise by Emile Zola. 1883/2012. Oxford University Press. 438 pages. [Source: Library]  
  3. East of Eden. John Steinbeck. 1952. 601 pages. [Source: Bought]
  4. Sylvia's Lovers. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1863/1997. Everyman Paperbacks. 560 pages. [Source: Bought]
  5. Wives and Daughters. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1866. 649 pages. [Source: Bought]
  6. Ruth. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1853. 432 pages. [Source: Bought]
  7. Strawberry Girl. Lois Lenski. 1945. 208 pages. [Source: Bought]
  8. Crime and Punishment. Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Translated by David McDuff. 1866/2002. 671 pages. [Source: Library]
  9. Framley Parsonage. Anthony Trollope. 1861. 573 pages. [Source: Bought]
  10. Small House at Allington. Anthony Trollope. 1864. 695 pages. [Source: Bought] 

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Year in Review: Top Ten Nonfiction

My top ten (in no particular order)

  1. Jane Austen at Home. Lucy Worsley. 2017. 387 pages. [Source: LIBRARY]
  2. Ethel and Ernest. Raymond Briggs. 1998. 104 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. Rocket Men: The Daring Odyssey of Apollo 8 and the Astronauts Who Made Man's First Journey to the Moon. Robert Kurson. 2018. Random House. 384 pages. [Source: Library] 
  4. Mary's Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein. Lita Judge. 2018. 320 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. Library on Wheels: Mary Lemist Titcomb and America's First Bookmobile. 2018. Sharlee Glenn. Abrams. 56 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  6. Barracoon: The story of the Last Black Cargo. Zora Neale Hurston. 2018. HarperCollins. 2018. 256 pages. [Source: Library] 
  7. Isaac's Storm. Erik Larson. 1999. 336 pages. [Source: Library]
  8. Fierce: How Competing for Myself Changed Everything. Aly Raisman. 2017. 368 pages. [Source: Library]
  9. Mary Shelley: The Strange True Tale of Frankenstein's Creator. Catherine Reef. 2018. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  10. Unstoppable: True Stories of Amazing Bionic Animals. Nancy Furstinger. 2017. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 128 pages. [Source: Borrowed from friend] 

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Year in Review: Top Twelve Early Readers and Chapter Books

  1. Mr. Putter and Tabby Turn the Page. (Mr. Putter & Tabby #23). Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Arthur Howard. 2014. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. Mr. Putter and Tabby Spin the Yarn. (Mr. Putter and Tabby #15) Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Arthur Howard. 2006. 44 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. Mr. Putter and Tabby Write the Book. (Mr. Putter and Tabby #13) Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Arthur Howard. 2004. 44 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. Mr. Putter and Tabby Feed the Fish (Mr. Putter and Tabby #10) Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Arthur Howard. 2001. 44 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. Mr. Putter and Tabby Dance the Dance. (Mr. Putter and Tabby #21) Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Arthur Howard. 2012. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  6. Mr. Putter and Tabby Toot The Horn. (Mr. Putter & Tabby #7) Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Arthur Howard. 1998. 44 pages. [Source: Library]
  7. My Toothbrush is Missing. (The Giggle Gang #4) Jan Thomas. 2018. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  8. Poppleton. Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Mark Teague. 1997. 56 pages. [Source: Library]
  9. Peter & Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths. Graham Annable. 2018. First Second. 128 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  10. Mr. Monkey Bakes a Cake. Jeff Mack. 2018. Simon and Schuster. 64 pages. [Source: Library]
  11. Who's a Pest? Crosby Newell Bonsall. 1962. Harper & Row. 64 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  12. A Gift for Mama. Esther Hautzig. 1981/1997. Penguin. 64 pages. [Source: Bought]

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Saturday, December 29, 2018

Year in Review: Top Fifteen Picture Books

Favorite Picture Books (In No Particular Order)

  1. The Remember Balloons. Jessie Oliveros. Illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte. 2018. Simon & Schuster. 48 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. Mama Seeton's Whistle. Jerry Spinelli. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. 2015. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. I'm Fun, Too! (A Classic Lego Picture Book). Jonathan Fenske. 2018. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  4. Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise. David Ezra Stein. 2018. Candlewick. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. Allie All Along. Sarah Lynne Reul. 2018. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  6. Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy. Laurel Snyder. Illustrated by Emily Hughes. 2017. 48 pages. [Source: Library]
  7. Misunderstood Shark. Ame Dyckman. Illustrated by Scott Magoon. 2018. Scholastic. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  8. Little Brothers & Little Sisters. Monica Arnaldo. 2018. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  9. Kat Writes a Song. Greg Foley. 2018. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  10. The Wall in the Middle of the Book. Jon Agee. 2018. 48 pages. [Source: Library] 
  11. A Lion is a Lion. Polly Dunbar. 2018. Candlewick. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  12. Buster and the Baby. Amy Hest. Illustrated by Polly Dunbar. 2017. [October 24, 2017] Candlewick Press. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  13. Goodbye Brings Hello. Dianne White. Illustrated by Daniel Wiseman. 2018. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  14. When I Was Young in the Mountains. Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Diane Goode. 1982. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  15. Mr. Pusskins: A Love Story. Sam Lloyd. 2006. 32 pages. [Source: Library] (2006, UK)


© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Year in Review: Top Ten Picture Book Biographies

Favorite Picture Book Biographies (in no particular order)

  1. Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen. Deborah Hopkinson. Illustrated by Qin Leng. 2018. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. Balderdash! John Newbery and the Boisterous Birth of Children's Books. Michelle Markel. Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. 2017. 44 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. How Sweet the Sound: the Story of Amazing Grace. Carole Boston Weatherford. Illustrated by Frank Morrison. 2018. Simon & Schuster. 48 pages. [Source: Library] 
  4. Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13. Helaine Becker. Illustrated by Dow Phumiruk. 2018. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. Mary, Who Wrote Frankenstein. Linda Bailey. Illustrated by Julia Sarda. 2018. 56 pages. [Source: Library] 
  6. Picturing America: Thomas Cole and the Birth of American Art. Hudson Talbott. 2018. Penguin. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  7. Vincent Can't Sleep. Barb Rosenstock. Illustrated by Mary Grandpre. 2017. Random House. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  8. Before She Was Harriet. Lesa Cline-Ransome. Illustrated by James Ransome. 2017. [November] Holiday House. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  9. Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World. Susan Hood. Illustrated by Selina Alko, Sophie Blackall, Lisa Brown, Hadley Hooper, Emily Winfield Martin, Oge Mora, Julie Morstad, Sara Palacios, LeUyen Pham, Erin K. Robinson, Isabel Roxas, Shadra Strickland, and Melissa Sweet. 2018. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  10. Irving Berlin: The Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing. Nancy Churnin. Illustrated by James Rey Sanchez. 2018. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Year in Review: Top Twelve Board Books

FAVORITE BOARD BOOKS (in no particular order):
  1. That's Me Loving You. Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Illustrated by Teagan White. 2018. [December] Random House. 28 pages. [Source: Review Copy] 
  2. Board book: Where's Ellie? A Hide and Seek Book. Salina Yoon. 2012. Random House. 18 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  3. Anne's Colors. Kelly Hill. 2018. 20 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. Will Ladybug Hug? Hilary Leung. 2018. [October 30, 2018] Scholastic. 38 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  5. Alice in Wonderland (Lit for Little Hands). Lewis Carroll and Brooke Jordan. Illustrated by David Miles. 2018. 16 pages. [Source: Library]
  6. Board book: Have You Seen My Lunch Box? Steve Light. 2017. Candlewick. 18 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  7. Board book: I Love the Nutcracker: My First Sound Book. Marion Billet. 2018. Scholastic. 16 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  8. I Love To Gobble You Up. Sandra Magsamen. 2018. Scholastic. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  9. Will Sheep Sleep? Hilary Leung. 2018. Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  10. Will Bear Share? Hilary Leung. 2018. Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  11. I Love Classical Music: My First Sound Book. Marion Billet. 2019. Scholastic. [Source: Review copy]
  12. You Are My Cupcake. Joyce Wan. 2011. Scholastic. 14 pages. [Source: Library]

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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December Reflections

How many books have I read so far for the year? 563
How many board books or picture books have I read? 237
My favorite I read this month was:
You Are My Cupcake. Joyce Wan. 2011. Scholastic. 14 pages. [Source: Library]
How many early readers or early chapter books have I read? 83
My favorite I read this month was:
Dr. KittyCat #9 Ginger the Kitten. Jane Clarke. 2018. Scholastic. 96 pages. [Source: Review copy]
How many contemporary books have I read? 48
My favorite I read this month was:
Sunday Sundaes. (Sprinkle Sundays #1) Coco Simon. 2018. Simon & Schuster. 160 pages. [Source: Library]
How many speculative fiction books have I read? 41
My favorite I read this month was:
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. (The Chronicles of Narnia #1) C.S. Lewis. Illustrated by Pauline Baynes. 1950. 186 pages. [Source: Bought]
How many classics have I read? 52
My favorite I read this month was?
Ruth. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1853. 432 pages. [Source: Bought]
How many historical fiction novels have I read? 63
My favorite I read this month was?
The Bride of Ivy Green. Julie Klassen. 2018. Bethany House. 448 pages. [Source: Review copy]
How many mysteries? 34
My favorite I read this month was?
Whose Body? Dorothy L. Sayers. 1923/1995. HarperTorch. 224 pages. [Source: Bought] 
How many nonfiction? 63
My favorite I read this month was? 
Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen. Deborah Hopkinson. Illustrated by Qin Leng. 2018. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
How many Christian fiction? 37
My favorite I read this month was? 
A Bound Heart. Laura Frantz. 2019. Revell. 400 pages. [Source: Review copy]
How many Christian nonfiction? 82
My favorite I read this month was?
How To Be A Perfect Christian. The Babylon Bee. 2018. 203 pages. [Source: Library]
How many "new" books for the Good Rule challenge? 365
How many "old" books for the Good Rule challenge? 198
How many pages have I read so far for the year? 94, 122
Favorite short story or fairy tale of the month: n/a
Favorite audio book of the month:n/a
Favorite Victorian quote: I cannot abide the way some folk has of denying there's trouble or pain to be met; just as if their saying there was none, would do away with it. ~ Elizabeth Gaskell

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Friday, December 28, 2018

Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen

Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen. Deborah Hopkinson. Illustrated by Qin Leng. 2018. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is one of our greatest writers. But it might surprise you to know that Jane lived a simple life. She wasn't rich or even very famous in her time.

Premise/plot: Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen is a picture book biography of Jane Austen. The narrative is perfectly suitable for sharing with young readers. Yet it may delight older readers--adult readers--even more. What age is the right age for a person to "meet" Jane Austen?

My thoughts: What a lovely book! I enjoyed this one so much. I love, love, love Jane Austen. Though truth be told, I love Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte more than any individual novel by Jane Austen. (With the exception of Persuasion. Persuasion and Jane Eyre are probably too much of a tie to decide which one is my absolute, most favorite book.) I didn't start reading or watching Austen until I was an adult. (Unless you count Clueless as an introduction to Emma. I think I might have even read Emma as a teen, but I can't remember for sure. I think it was my first Austen to buy--and I did buy it because of Clueless.)

I found the writing to be wonderful.
There were plenty of stories for her to read, too. Her father's great library boasted five hundred books (almost all of them by men). Since Jane had little outside schooling, the library was her classroom. And while Jane devoured everything, from history to poetry to biographies, she loved novels best of all. 
The illustrations were PERFECT.

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


© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2019 REading Challenges: Picture Book

Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up)
Duration: January - December 2019
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

I will be signing up to do all levels.

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.
 
Monthly Challenges (You may define "old" and "new" for yourself.)

January
_ Something Old
_ Something New
✔  Something Borrowed Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear. Lindsay Mattick. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall. 2015. Little, Brown. 56 pages. [Source: Library]
_ Something True (nonfiction)

February
_ Something Old
_ Something New
_ Something Borrowed
_ Something True (nonfiction)

March
_ Something Old
_ Something New
_ Something Borrowed
_ Something True (nonfiction)

April
_ Something Old
_ Something New
_ Something Borrowed
_ Something True (nonfiction)

May
_ Something Old
_ Something New
_ Something Borrowed
_ Something True (nonfiction)

June
_ Something Old
_ Something New
_ Something Borrowed
_ Something True (nonfiction)

July
_ Something Old
_ Something New
_ Something Borrowed
_ Something True (nonfiction)

August
_ Something Old
_ Something New
_ Something Borrowed
_ Something True (nonfiction)

September
_ Something Old
_ Something New
_ Something Borrowed
_ Something True (nonfiction)

October
_ Something Old
_ Something New
_ Something Borrowed
_ Something True (nonfiction)

November
_ Something Old
_ Something New
_ Something Borrowed
_ Something True (nonfiction)

December
_ Something Old
_ Something New
_ Something Borrowed
_ Something True (nonfiction)

Seasonal Challenge

Winter
_ holiday of your choice
_ book set in winter
_ free picture book of your choice
_ free board book of your choice
_ free early reader or early chapter book of your choice

Spring
_ holiday of your choice
_ book set in spring
_ free picture book of your choice
_ free board book of your choice
_ free early reader or early chapter book of your choice

Summer
_ holiday of your choice
_ book set in summer
_ free picture book of your choice
_ free board book of your choice
_ free early reader or early chapter book of your choice

Fall
_ holiday of your choice
_ book set in fall
_ free picture book of your choice
_ free board book of your choice
_ free early reader or early chapter book of your choice
 
Alphabet Challenge (January - December)

  1. _ Title Beginning with A
  2. _ Author Beginning with A
  3. _ Illustrator Beginning with A
  4. _ Title Beginning with B
  5. _ Author Beginning with B
  6. _ Illustrator Beginning with B 
  7. _Title Beginning with C
  8. _ Author Beginning with C
  9. _ Illustrator Beginning C
  10. _ Title Beginning with D
  11. _ Author Beginning with D
  12. _ Illustrator Beginning with D
  13. _ Title Beginning with E
  14. _ Author Beginning with E
  15. _ Illustrator Beginning with E
  16. _ Title Beginning with F
  17. _ Author Beginning with F
  18. _ Illustrator Beginning with F
  19. _ Title Beginning with G
  20. _ Author Beginning with G
  21. _ Illustrator Beginning with G
  22. _ Title Beginning with H
  23. ✔ Author Beginning with H 1 Grumpy Bruce: A Counting Board Book. Ryan T. Higgins. 2018. Disney-Hyperion. 24 pages. [Source: Library]
  24. _ Illustrator Beginning with H
  25. _ Title Beginning with I
  26. _ Author Beginning with I
  27. _ Illustrator Beginning with I
  28. _ Title Beginning with J
  29. _ Author Beginning with J
  30. _ Illustrator Beginning with J
  31. _ Title Beginning with K
  32. _ Author Beginning with K
  33. _ Illustrator Beginning with K
  34. _ Title beginning with L
  35. _ Author Beginning with L
  36. _ Illustrator Beginning with L
  37. ✔  Title Beginning with M Meet Miss Fancy. Irene Latham. Illustrated by John Holyfield. 2019. Penguin. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  38. _ Author Beginning with M
  39. _ Illustrator Beginning with M
  40. _ Title Beginning with N
  41. _ Author Beginning with N
  42. _ Illustrator Beginning with N
  43. ✔  Title Beginning with O Once Upon a Zzzz. Maddie Frost. 2018. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  44. _ Author Beginning with O
  45. _ Illustrator Beginning with O
  46. _ Title Beginning with P
  47. _ Author Beginning with P
  48. _ Illustrator Beginning with P
  49. _ Title beginning with Q
  50. _ Author or Illustrator beginning with Q
  51. _ Title beginning with R
  52. _ Author beginning with R
  53. _ Illustrator beginning with R
  54. _ Title beginning with S
  55. _ Author beginning with S
  56. _ Illustrator beginning with S
  57. _Title beginning with T
  58. _ Author beginning with T
  59. _ Illustrator beginning with T
  60. _ Title beginning with U
  61. _ Author or illustrator beginning with U
  62. _ Title beginning with V
  63. _ Author or illustrator beginning with V
  64. _ Title beginning with W
  65. _ Author beginning with W
  66. _ Illustrator beginning with W
  67. _ Title with an X ("ex")
  68. ✔ Author or illustrator with an X Jungle Animals. Xavier Deneux. 2018. Twirl. 20 pages. [Source: Library]
  69. _ Title with a Z
  70. ✔ Author or illustrator beginning with Z  The Christmas Tree Who Loved Trains. Annie Silvestro. Illustrated by Paola Zakimi. 2018. HarperCollins. 32 pages. [Source: Library]



© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Thursday, December 27, 2018

So Many Sounds

So Many Sounds. Tim McCanna. Illustrated by Andy J. Miller. 2018. Abrams. 24 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Listen! Do you hear a sound? Noises come from all around. Soft and gentle, loud and clear, oh so many sounds to hear!

Premise/plot: This concept book is written in rhyme. It focuses on the sense of hearing. What sounds does the little boy--our hero--hear throughout the day and into the night?

My thoughts: I love, love, love, LOVE the text of this one. It is LOVELY. It is rhythmic. The descriptive writing is excellent. 
Teapot whistles.
Toaster pops.
Bacon sizzles.
Pancake flops.

and
Sneakers stamp, and classrooms bustle.
Pencils scratch, and papers rustle.
Whispers, giggles, shouts, and slurps,
Munching, crunching, gulps, and burps.
I absolutely love the text as I've mentioned. I wasn't as crazy about the illustrations. In fact the scale of the illustrations bothered me a good deal. The arms of all the people are very large and out of proportion. Hands/arms don't go down to one's ankles. They just don't.

Text: 5 out of 5
Illustrations: 2 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Balance the Birds

Balance the Birds. Susie Ghahremani. 2018. Abrams. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Here come the birds! Half on the left side, and half on the right. This is how the birds balance!

Premise/plot: Susie Ghahremani is the author of Stack the Cats which I reviewed last year. Like Stack the Cats, Balance the Birds is a math-related concept book for young readers. The concept being taught is weight, size, and logic.

My thoughts: I liked Stack the Cats well enough. It may be about math, but it was also about cats. 

I didn't dislike Balance the Birds. I think that's important to point out. I just didn't love it.

The illustrations are super-bold and colorful. Perhaps a little too colorful for my poor eyes. I think I would have liked this one a little more if the background(s) were different. If they were a shade of sky--white, gray, blue--for example. Instead of sky, we have bright red, bright yellow, light turquoise, dark turquoise.

I did like how the tree is a scale--readers can tell if the birds are balanced by paying attention to the tree.

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

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Sprinkle Sundays #1 Sunday Sundaes

Sunday Sundaes. (Sprinkle Sundays #1) Coco Simon. 2018. Simon & Schuster. 160 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: A hot August wind lifted my brown hair and cooled the back of my neck as I waited for the bus to take me to my new school. I hoped I was standing in the right spot. I hoped I was wearing the right thing. I wished I were anywhere else.

Premise/plot: When Allie returns from summer camp she learns that her parents are divorcing. She'll be moving with her mom and brother. It's just one town away, but it means she'll see less of her dad, less of her best, best friends (Tamiko and Sierra), and that she'll have to start a new school. If there's a plus to this news it's that her mom will be leaving her old job and starting her dream job. Her mom will be opening an ice cream parlor. Will Allie make new friends? Can she stay in touch with her old friends? Are her parents telling her the truth when they promise that things will be better now than ever before?

My thoughts: I liked this one. I did. Allie loves, loves, loves to read. She loves the library. She's not socially awkward--not in a true sense of the word, she just didn't find her people right away at the new school. Or should I say her KINDRED SPIRITS. Allie's a great kid--who wouldn't want to be her friend?

I really like the premise of this series. Each Sunday, Sierra, Tamiko, and Allie will work together at her mom's ice cream parlor.

The book has a cozy feel to it.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Enchanted Sonata

The Enchanted Sonata. Heather Dixon Wallwork. 2018. [Oct 23] 375 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: What makes music...magic?

Premise/plot:  The Enchanted Sonata is a middle grade/young adult retelling of The Nutcracker. It is also a story within a story. Clara, our heroine, is a pianist. She's super-excited that she'll be playing in a fancy recital on Christmas along with some of the best of the best musicians. On Christmas Eve, she receives an unexpected present under the tree--a Nutcracker and a book. The book stars a young girl named Clara and it tells a fantastical story of a kingdom plagued with problems. There is an evil (signal the boo, hiss) musician who has with his magical music enticed the children of the kingdom away. Once he has them where he wants them--away from their homes--he plays another song and turns them into toys. The loss of a kingdom's children PLUS the ever-present danger of giant rats invading the land make for a severely troubled kingdom. The soon-to-be-emperor, Nikolai, finds himself in trouble. The musician turns him into a Nutcracker; however he--for story reasons perhaps--finds himself only partly turned. He remains alive, just a giant toy. As real-life Clara is reading the book, she finds herself IN the book. (The book is also in the book.) There is plenty of action, albeit slightly clunky seeing as how our hero is made of wood. Can Clara find a way of saving the kingdom by reversing the spells?

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one so much! I read it in two days. I found it lovely. I would say it is loosely inspired by The Nutcracker. But it also has other influences--the Pied Piper and perhaps even the Phantom of the Opera. (I'm not sure as I've never read that one. But there is a character that lives in the opera/theatre and makes music in the night.)

I found it to be somewhat predictable but not all the way predictable. (I guessed what would reverse the spell early on, for example.)

I found Clara to be a bit naive--very silly. But she is a young girl who has only dreamed up grand dreams of falling in love.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Friday, December 21, 2018

Just Like Us! Cats

Just Like Us! Cats. Bridget Heos. Illustrated by David Clark. 2019. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Cats have retractable claws, razor-sharp teeth, and tails for balancing. Humans don't. But in some ways, cats and people are alike.

Premise/plot: Just Like Us! Cats is a nonfiction picture book about cats. You should know, however, this isn't so much focused on house pets as it is wild cats, big cats, prehistoric cats. It is packed with information. Each two-page spread provides one to two paragraphs of insight.

My thoughts: I liked this one. I probably would have enjoyed it more if it featured photographs instead of cartoon-like illustrations. The text was informative though.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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What Is Inside THIS Box?

What Is Inside This Box? (Monkey and Cake #1) Drew Daywalt. Illustrated by Olivier Tallec. 2019. Scholastic. 56 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Hello, Monkey. Hello, Cake. What do you have? I have a box. It is a big box.

Premise/plot: Monkey believes that inside this box there is a magic cat. Open the box, the cat is not there. Close the box, it is. Cake, however, believes that inside the box there is a magic dinosaur. Who is right? And does it matter?

My thoughts: This early reader is unique and quirky--at least on the surface. At first glance, this one is over-the-top silly. But I don't think it's meant to be taken solely that way. I think it is supposed to get readers thinking deeper. If that isn't the case, why would there be a note to readers asking them questions like...
  • Do you believe in things you can't see?
  • Do people you know believe in things you don't believe in?
  • What do you believe in?
So this book addresses an abstract subject in a silly, light-hearted way. How much sillier can you get than a talking piece of cake?

I do not want to over think this book. I do not want to over think this book. I do not want to over think this book. I'm tempted to though. Let's just leave it as if taken too seriously--taken too far, this one is a theological mess.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Thursday, December 20, 2018

2019 Reading Challenges: When Are You Reading

2019 When Are You Reading Challenge
Host: Taking On A World of Words (sign up here) (home page for challenge)
January - December 2019
# of books: 12

_ Pre 1300
Ivanhoe. Walter Scott. 1819. 544 pages. [Source: Bought]
_ 1300-1499
_ 1500-1699
_ 1700-1799
Evelina. Fanny Burney. 1778. 455 pages. [Source: Bought]
_ 1800-1899
The Murder of Patience Brooke. (Charles Dickens Investigations #1)  J.C. Briggs. 2018. Sapere Books. 290 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster. Jonathan Auxier. 2018. 368 pages. [Source: Library]
_ 1900-1919
Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear. Lindsay Mattick. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall. 2015. Little, Brown. 56 pages. [Source: Library]
_ 1920-1939
_ 1940-1959
_ 1960-1979
_ 1980-1999
_ 2000-Present
_ The Future
Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083. Andrea White. 2005. 448 pages. [Source: Bought]

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. 

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2019 Reading Challenges: European Reading Challenge

2019 European Reading Challenge
Host: Rose City Reader (sign up here)
January - January 31, 2020
# of books: I'm aiming for five  

FIVE STAR (DELUXE ENTOURAGE): Read at least five books by different European authors or books set in different European countries.

Europe:

Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and Vatican City.

1) GERMANY The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler. John Hendrix. 2018. Harry N. Abrams. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]
2) UNITED KINGDOM Evelina. Fanny Burney. 1778. 455 pages. [Source: Bought]
3)
4)
5)


© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2019 Reading Challenges: Sweet Southern Reading Challenge

2019 Sweet Southern Reading Challenge
Host: Readeropolis (sign up here) #SweetSouthernRC (suggestions)
January - December 2019
# of books: I'm signing up for 'Three Glasses of Sweet Tea' 7 to 9 books

For this challenge, the South is defined as the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.*

Books set in Alabama:
1) Meet Miss Fancy. Irene Latham. Illustrated by John Holyfield. 2019. Penguin. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Books set in Arkansas:
1) 
Books set in Florida:
1) 
Books set in Georgia:
1) 
Books set in Kentucky:
1) 
Books set in Louisiana:
1) 
Books set in Mississippi
1) 
Books set in North Carolina
1) 
Books set in South Carolina
1) 
Books set in Tennessee
1) 
Books set in Texas
1) 
Books set in Virginia
1) 
Books set in West Virginia
1)

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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The House Without a Christmas Tree

The House Without a Christmas Tree. Gail Rock. 1974. 84 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: Carla Mae and I were sitting in our little kitchen at the old wooden table, with our spoons poised in mid-air. In front of each of us was a hard-boiled egg perched in an egg cup. We both stared intently at the faces we had drawn on our eggs. The longer the stare, the better the hex. "Who's yours today?" she asked. "Billy Wild," I said, making a face.


Premise/plot: The book is set in a small town in 1946. Addie lives with her father and grandmother. Her grandmother is a "character" in all the best ways. Unfortunately, some of her classmates mean it in a bad way. She has a super-complicated relationship with her father. He doesn't understand her; she doesn't understand him. Neither one is good at expressing exactly what they mean to one another.

The plot, of course, appears to mainly be about her wanting a Christmas tree. He said no; he meant no. No, no, no. But the heart wants what the heart wants, and Addie wants a Christmas tree desperately.

My thoughts: I really enjoy rereading this one every few years. It's a lovely quick read. If you enjoy historical fiction OR holiday stories, this one is a treat.

I read it this year with my family tree challenge in mind. Addie--if real--would have been born around the same time as my great-aunts.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

2019 Reading Challenges: Official 2019 TBR Pile

The Official 2018 TBR Pile Challenge
Host: Adam (Roof Beam Reader) (sign up here)
January - December 2019
# of books: 12 to 14

 On Social Media, please use #TBR2019RBR
Your complete and final list must be posted by January 15th, 2019.

My list:
  1. ✔  Odd and the Frost Giants. Neil Gaiman. 2009. 117 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2. _ Dealing with Dragons. (Enchanted Forest Chronicles #1) Patricia C. Wrede. 2002. 212 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  3. _ The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. Mark Haddon. 2003/2004. 226 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  4. _ The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith. 1998/2003. 235 pages. [Source: Bought]
  5. _ The Mouse and His Child. Russell Hoban. Illustrated by David Small. 1967/2017. 244 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  6. _ The Penderwicks at Point Mouette. Jeanne Birdsall. 2011. 295 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  7. _ Maisie Dobbs. Jacqueline Winspear. 2003. 309 pages. [Source: Bought]
  8. _ The Secret Life of Bees. Sue Monk Kidd. 2001/2003. 336 pages. [Source: Bought]
  9. _ Ready Player One. Ernest Cline. 2011. 374 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  10. _ The Princess Bride. William Goldman. 1973/2003. 398 pages. [Source: Bought]
  11. _ Miss Buncle's Book. D.E. Stevenson. 1934. 448 pages. [Source: Bought]
  12. _ The Dreaming Suburb (The Avenue #1) R.F. Delderfield. 1958. 480 pages. [Source: Bought]
  13. _ Cold Sassy Tree. Olive Ann Burns. 1984. 405 pages. [Source: Bought]
  14. _ Bright Captivity. Eugenia Price. 1991. 613 pages. [Source: Bought]


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.

Odd and the Frost Giants. Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Brett Helquist. 2008. 117 pages. [Source: Review copy]

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

2019 Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction

2019 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
Host: Passages to the Past (sign up)
January - December 2019
# of books: I'm aiming for Prehistoric 50+ books. (If there was a level between a mere 25 books and 50, I'd probably choose that.)

1) Veronica. (Sunfire #18) Jane Claypool Miner. 1986. Scholastic. 220 pages. [Source: Bought]
2)  With You Always. (Orphan Train #1) Jody Hedlund. 2017. Bethany House. 359 pages. [Source: Review copy]
3) Tisha: The Wonderful True Love Story of a Young Teacher in the Alaskan Wilderness. As told to Robert Specht. 1976. 342 pages. [Source: Bought]
4) Ivanhoe. Walter Scott. 1819. 544 pages. [Source: Bought]
5) The Murder of Patience Brooke. (Charles Dickens Investigations #1)  J.C. Briggs. 2018. Sapere Books. 290 pages. [Source: Review copy]
6) Together Forever (Orphan Train #2) Jody Hedlund. 2018. Bethany House. 343 pages. [Source: Library]
7) The Black Moth. Georgette Heyer. 1921/2009. Sourcebooks. 355 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
8) Seven Alone. Honore Willsie Morrow. 1926/1977. Scholastic. 240 pages. [Source: Own]
9) Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster. Jonathan Auxier. 2018. 368 pages. [Source: Library]
10) Winnie's Great War. Lindsay Mattick and Josh Greenhut. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall. 2018. Little, Brown. 244 pages. [Source: Library]  *talking animals
11) The Plot Against America. Philip Roth. 2004. 391 pages. [Source: Library] *alternate history
12) Searching for You (Orphan Train #3) Jody Hedlund. 2018. Bethany House. 341 pages. [Source: Review copy]

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Monday, December 17, 2018

2019 Reading Challenges: Connect Five

2019 Connect Five Books Reading Challenge
Host: Book Date (sign up here)
LAST WEDNESDAY OF EVERY MONTH IS A CHECK-IN POST; 
January - December 2019
# of books: I'll see how it goes :) I'm hoping for 5 connect-fives or 25 books.

Connect Five #1
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Connect Five #2
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Connect Five #3
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Connect Five #4
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

Connect Five #5

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
RULES:
  • The five books connection cannot be too simple, for example five paperbacks or five ebooks or five women authors – unless of course you hardly ever read women authors. I could challenge myself and have a group though of five male authors because I hardly ever read male authors! Five USA authors would be rather simple, but it could be five USA authors from the same state.
  • A book can only be used once.
  • The books must be read in 2019.
  • Books can be carried over until you have five of something. It may take a few months to gather five of something.
  • You may have  many connections of five to link up . So if you have two groups of five then you can link up twice and so on within a month.
  • You may just link one group of five during the year sometime or many each month.
  • You don’t have to write a commitment post but if that helps to remind you then that is an excellent idea and any way you can share this challenge is welcomed. Use the hashtag  #connect5books2019
 EXAMPLES
  • Five books of the same genre
  • Five books by the same author
  • Five books with a similar theme or issue being explored for example mother/daughter relationships
  • Five books from the same series
  • Five books you bought in 2018
  • Five books from the depths of your TBR
  • Five books with fabulous covers
  • Five debut books
  • Five new to you authors
  • Five books that weren’t for you.
  • Five books that really connect to your own life in some way.
  • Five books with the theme of friendship


© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2019 Chunkster Challenge

A Good Book by Paul Gustav Fischer, 1905
2019 Chunkster Challenge
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up here)
Duration: December 2018 - December 2019
# of books: Ultimately up to you

The mission: see how many points you can earn reading chunksters in 2019. Can you earn 100 points and get that A+?

Each book will have a point value attached to it. Bonus points are possible so you can earn extra credit to help you get that perfect grade.

E-books do count if their print counterparts are over 450 pages.
Audio books, if unabridged, DO count if their print counterparts are over 450 pages. 
If a book is over 450 in large print, but NOT over 450 in regular print, then it doesn't count. 

Point System

Basics:
  • Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels over 450 pages -- 3 points
  • Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels over 700 pages -- 5 points
  • Adult Novels over 450 pages -- 5 points
  • Adult Novels over 825 pages -- 10 points
  • Nonfiction over 450 pages, any age audience -- 5 points
  • Anthologies (short stories, plays, essays, sermons, poetry) over 450 pages, any audience, 3 points*
  • Omnibus edition of an author's work over 450 pages, 3 points**
Bonuses:
  • If you complete an entire series and each of the books in the series qualifies as a chunkster, you earn an additional bonus point. 
  • If you read four or more (series OR non-series books) by the same author--each one qualifying as a chunkster--you earn an additional bonus point.
  • If you read a chunkster that has been translated into English, you earn an additional bonus point. 
  • If you read two or more new-to-you authors, you earn an additional bonus point.
  • For every chunkster classic you read that was published before 1800, you earn an extra two points.
  • For every chunkster classic you read that was published before 1900, you earn an extra one point. 
  • If you choose to make a list, you can give yourself an extra point every time you finish a book from the list. 
*Must read whole anthology for it to count since individual pieces would not qualify.
**This is assuming that the individual novels within the omnibus do not qualify as chunksters on their own. For an omnibus to count, you must read the whole book. It only counts as one book. If it is an omnibus edition and the individual novels within the omnibus DO qualify as chunksters on their own, then you may decide if you want to count them as individual books or as one book.

Sign up by leaving a comment.

A blog is not required. But if you don't have a place to write about what you read, do leave comments on the quarterly check-up posts to let us know how you're doing on the challenge. (March 30, June 29, September 28, and December 28th.)



© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2019 Reading Challenge: Bookish Resolutions

2019 Bookish Resolutions
#BookishResolutions
Because Challenges Make Reading More Fun (sign up)
January - December 2019
Set three or more goals

Rules:

  1. Create between 3 or more resolutions related to books/book blogging/writing (there are examples below but you can make up your own)(you can have as many resolutions are you would like there is no limit) 
  2. Create a signup post and add it to the Linky on this post (sign up before Feb 28th)
  3. Since this is a year long challenge we ask that you pick goals with some longevity. Pick a goal that will take you no less than 4 months to complete.
  4. Twice a year we will have an update to see how you are doing. May 1st and September 1st. The last update will be the end post in December for you to link up.
  5. For each goal you complete you get one entry into the giveaway that will be in our wrap up post on December 31, 2019
MY goals/resolutions

1.To schedule more posts ahead on my blogs. (I have three)

2. To have weekly features on at least two of my blogs.

3. To read more review copies.

4. To read more of the books I buy.

5. To read more series. (To complete more series.)




© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Currently #50

Something Old

Ivanhoe. Walter Scott. 1819. 544 pages. [Source: Bought]

Can You Forgive Her? (Palliser #1) Anthony Trollope. 1865. 847 pages. [Source: Bought]
Something New
The Bride of Ivy Green. Julie Klassen. 2018. Bethany House. 448 pages. [Source: Review copy]
The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple. Jeff Guinn. 2017. 454 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Something Borrowed

Very Rich. Polly Horvath. 2018. 304 pages. [Source: Library]

Something True 
RSV. Revised Standard Version. 1952/2002. Oxford University Press. 1248 pages. [Source: Bought]

Holiness. J.C. Ryle. 1877. 299 pages. [Source: Bought]
© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2019 Chunkster Challenge


2019 Chunkster Challenge
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up here)
Duration: December 2018 - December 2019
# of books: Ultimately up to you

Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels over 450 pages -- 3 points

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.


Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels over 700 pages -- 5 points

1.
2.
3.
4.


Adult Novels over 450 pages -- 5 points

1. Ivanhoe. Walter Scott. 1819. 544 pages. [Source: Bought] *worth 6 points
2. Evelina. Fanny Burney. 1778. 455 pages. [Source: Bought] *worth 7 points
3.
4.
5.


Adult Novels over 825 pages -- 10 points

1.
2.
3.
4.


Nonfiction over 450 pages, any age audience -- 5 points

1.
2.
3.


Anthologies (short stories, plays, essays, sermons, poetry) over 450 pages, any audience, 3 points*

1.
2.


Omnibus edition of an author's work over 450 pages, 3 points

1.
2.
3.

Any extra bonus points?
  • If you complete an entire series and each of the books in the series qualifies as a chunkster, you earn an additional bonus point. 
  • If you read four or more (series OR non-series books) by the same author--each one qualifying as a chunkster--you earn an additional bonus point.
  • If you read a chunkster that has been translated into English, you earn an additional bonus point. 
  • If you read two or more new-to-you authors, you earn an additional bonus point.
  • For every chunkster classic you read that was published before 1800, you earn an extra two points.
  • For every chunkster classic you read that was published before 1900, you earn an extra one point. 


 

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Sunday, December 16, 2018

2019 Reading Challenges: Jane Austen Book Club

Jane Austen Book Club
Hosted by:  Bunny's Girl; sign up here
January - December 2019
# of books: I hope to read twelve. All of Austen's novels plus some adaptations and retellings. This challenge will go PERFECTLY PERFECT with my own 2019 Georgian Reading Challenge.

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Friday, December 14, 2018

2019 Reading Challenges: Middle Grade

Girl reading a book by Federico Zandomeneghi

Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up)
Duration: January - December 2019
# of books: minimum of 6

Option 3: Read as few as six, or as many as you like, from the checklist below

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. Title beginning with A
_2. Author beginning with A
_3. Title beginning with B
_4. Author beginning with B
✔ 5. Title beginning with C
Cracks in the Cone (Sprinkle Sundays #2) Coco Simon. 2018. 161 pages. [Source: Library]
_6. Author beginning with C
_7. Title beginning with D
_8. Author beginning with D
_9. Title beginning with E
_10. Author beginning with E
_11. Title beginning with F
_12. Author beginning with F
_13. Title beginning with G
_14. Author beginning with G
_15. Title beginning with H
✔ 16. Author beginning with H
Children of Jubilee. (Children of Exile #3) Margaret Peterson Haddix. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]
✔ 17. Title beginning with I
Into the Jungle: Stories for Mowgli. Katherine Rundell. Illustrated by Kristjana S. Williams. 2018. 240 pages. [Source: Library] 
_18. Author beginning with I
_19. Title beginning with J
_20. Author beginning with J
_21. Title beginning with K
_22. Author beginning with K
_23. Title beginning with L
_24. Author beginning with L
_25. Title beginning with M
✔  26. Author beginning with M
Seven Alone. Honore Willsie Morrow. 1926/1977. Scholastic. 240 pages. [Source: Own]
✔ 27. Title beginning with N
Now We Are Six. A.A. Milne. 1927. 102 pages. [Source: Review copy]
_28. Author beginning with N
✔  29. Title beginning with O
Odd and the Frost Giants. Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Brett Helquist. 2008. 117 pages. [Source: Review copy]
_30. Author beginning with O
✔ 31. Title beginning with P
The Purr-fect Scoop (Sprinkle Sundays #3) Coco Simon. 2018. 160 pages. [Source: Library]
_32. Author beginning with P
_33. Title or Author beginning with Q
_34. Title beginning with R
_35. Author beginning with R
_36. Title beginning with S
_37. Author beginning with S
_38. Title beginning with T
_39. Author beginning with T
_40. Title or Author beginning with U
✔ 41. Title or Author beginning with V or W
Very Rich. Polly Horvath. 2018. 304 pages. [Source: Library]
_42. Title or Author beginning with X or “Ex”
_43. Title beginning with Y
_44. Author beginning with Y
_45. Title or Author beginning with Z
_ 46 children's book published in the 1860s
_ 47. children's book published in the 1870s
_ 48. children's book published in the 1880s
_ 49. children's book published in the 1890s
_ 50. children's book published in the 1900s
_ 51. children's book published in the 1910s
_  52. children's book published in the 1920s
_ 53. children's book published in the 1930s
_ 54. children's book published in the 1940s
_ 55. children's book published in the 1950s
_ 56. children's book published in the 1960s
_ 57. children's book published in the 1970s
_ 58. children's book published in the 1980s
_ 59. children's book published in the 1990s
60. children's book published in the 2000s
Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083. Andrea White. 2005. 448 pages. [Source: Bought]
_ 61. children's book published in the 2010s
_ 62. children's book published in 2019
_ 63. a Newbery Winner
_ 64. a Newbery Honor
65. nonfiction Lost in the Antarctic: The Voyage of the Endurance. Tod Olson.  2019. Scholastic. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
_ 66. poetry
_ 67. graphic novel
_ 68. first in a series
_ 69. any book in a series
_ 70. last book in a series
_ 71. science fiction
_ 72. fantasy
_ 73. mystery
_ 74. animal fantasy
_ 75. realistic/contemporary
_ 76. coming of age
_ 77. action, adventure
_ 78. historical fiction
_ 79. historical fiction, world war I
_ 80. historical fiction, world war II
_ 81. historical fiction, civil rights
_ 82. historical fiction, civil war
_ 83. historical fiction, great depression
_ 84. reread
_ 85. library
_ 86. free choice
_ 87. another free choice
_ 88. biography or autobiography
_ 89.written in first person
_ 90. written in third person
_ 91. verse novel
_ 92. illustrated "notebook" or diary
_ 93. out of print
_ 94. anniversary reprint of a children's book
_ 95. favorite author
_ 96. new-to-you author
✔  97. YOUR pick for Newbery 2019
Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster. Jonathan Auxier. 2018. 368 pages. [Source: Library]
✔   98. multiple authors
Winnie's Great War. Lindsay Mattick and Josh Greenhut. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall. 2018. Little, Brown. 244 pages. [Source: Library] 
_ 99. happy, happy
_ 100. oh the sads
 

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2019 Reading Challenges: Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks

2019 Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks
Host: Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (sign up)
January - December 2019
# of books: 52


1. 84, Charing Cross Road. Helene Hanff. 1970. 97 pages. [Source: Library]
2. The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler. John Hendrix. 2018. Harry N. Abrams. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]
3. Winnie's Great War. Lindsay Mattick and Josh Greenhut. Illustrated by Sophie Blackall. 2018. Little, Brown. 244 pages. [Source: Library]
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© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Ruth

Ruth. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1853. 432 pages. [Source: Bought]
First sentence: There is an assize-town in one of the eastern counties which was much distinguished by the Tudor sovereigns, and, in consequence of their favour and protection, attained a degree of importance that surprises the modern traveller.


Premise/plot: Ruth Hilton, a young apprenticed seamstress, makes a mistake when she falls in love with a wealthy young man, Henry Bellingham. The two run away together--to Wales, I believe. When he becomes sick, his mother comes and rescues him from the "evil tramp" Ruth. What will Ruth's future be now? Is there hope for this 'fallen woman'?

Thankfully Elizabeth Gaskell is NOT Nathaniel Hawthorne. And there are plenty of kind, warm-hearted Christian souls who extend grace, compassion, and actual care. Mr. Thurstan Benson (a Dissenting minister) and his sister, Faith, open up their home and their hearts to the pregnant Ruth. She will remain with them for years raising her son Leonard.

Not content to live off of charity, Ruth first becomes a governess and then later a sick nurse. The novel illustrates through its characters--Ruth, Faith, Sally, Thurstan, etc.--faith in action.

My thoughts: I love, love, love Elizabeth Gaskell. This novel is a tragedy. A beautiful, well-written tragedy with unforgettable characters. I had forgotten the sadness and just remembered the goodness. I knew I loved it. I knew I needed to reread it at some point. I knew I considered the characters good friends. I forgot all the sads. The fact that I find it a devastating read--emotionally--only testifies that the characterization is excellent.

Quotes:
  • Well, my dear, you must learn to think and work too; or, if you can't do both, you must leave off thinking.
  • The night before, she had seen her dead mother in her sleep, and she wakened, weeping. And now she dreamed of Mr Bellingham, and smiled. And yet, was this a more evil dream than the other?
  • The future lay wrapped in a golden mist, which she did not care to penetrate; but if he, her sun, was out of sight and gone, the golden mist became dark heavy gloom, through which no hope could come. He took her hand.
  • Low and soft, with much hesitation, came the "Yes;" the fatal word of which she so little imagined the infinite consequences. The thought of being with him was all and everything.
  • Poor Ruth! her faith was only building up vain castles in the air; they towered up into heaven, it is true, but, after all, they were but visions.
  • "In the eye of God, she is exactly the same as if the life she has led had left no trace behind. We knew her errors before, Faith." "Yes, but not this disgrace—this badge of her shame!" "Faith, Faith! let me beg of you not to speak so of the little innocent babe, who may be God's messenger to lead her back to Him.
  • "I think you, Thurstan, are the first person I ever heard rejoicing over the birth of an illegitimate child. It appears to me, I must own, rather questionable morality." 
  • You yourself have not greater sorrow over this young creature's sin than I have: the difference is this, you confuse the consequences with the sin."
  • We are both right: I, in the way in which the child ought to be viewed; you, dear good Faith, for thinking of taking her home with us. God bless you, dear, for it!
  • It is better not to expect or calculate consequences. The longer I live, the more fully I see that. Let us try simply to do right actions, without thinking of the feelings they are to call out in others.
  • My dear Ruth, you don't know how often I sin; I do so wrong, with my few temptations. We are both of us great sinners in the eyes of the Most Holy; let us pray for each other.
  • I cannot abide the way some folk has of denying there's trouble or pain to be met; just as if their saying there was none, would do away with it.
  • There's a right and a wrong way of setting about everything—and to my thinking, the right way is to take a thing up heartily, if it is only making a bed.
  • 'Sally, do you think God has put us into the world just to be selfish, and do nothing but see after our own souls? or to help one another with heart and hand, as Christ did to all who wanted help?'
  •  Everything may be done in a right way or a wrong; the right way is to do it as well as we can, as in God's sight; the wrong is to do it in a self-seeking spirit, which either leads us to neglect it to follow out some device of our own for our own ends, or to give up too much time and thought to it both before and after the doing.
  • Those summer mornings were happy, for she was learning neither to look backwards nor forwards, but to live faithfully and earnestly in the present.
  • I dare not think of happiness—I must not look forward to sorrow. God did not put me here to consider either of these things.
  • The time that has pressed down my life like brands of hot iron, and scarred me for ever, has been nothing to you.
  • "Leonard—when I was very young I did very wrong. I think God, who knows all, will judge me more tenderly than men—but I did wrong in a way which you cannot understand yet"
  •  I declare before God, that if I believe in any one human truth, it is this—that to every woman who, like Ruth, has sinned, should be given a chance of self-redemption—and that such a chance should be given in no supercilious or contemptuous manner, but in the spirit of the holy Christ."I state my firm belief, that it is God's will that we should not dare to trample any of His creatures down to the hopeless dust;
  • Now, let us stand firm on the truth. You have no new fault to repent of. Be brave and faithful. It is to God you answer, not to men.
  • The shame of having your sin known to the world, should be as nothing to the shame you felt at having sinned. We have dreaded men too much, and God too little, in the course we have taken.
  • Any fastidiousness I shall have to get rid of, and I shall be better without; but any true refinement I am sure I shall find of use;    
  • Would you not rather be nursed by a person who spoke gently and moved quietly about than by a loud bustling woman?
  • There is always something aggravating in being told, that the mood in which we are now viewing things strongly will not be our mood at some other time. It implies that our present feelings are blinding us, and that some more clear-sighted spectator is able to distinguish our future better than we do ourselves.
  • Her left hand truly knew not what her right hand did; and Leonard was overwhelmed now to hear of the love and the reverence with which the poor and outcast had surrounded her. 
  • From that day forward Leonard walked erect in the streets of Eccleston, where "many arose and called her blessed."
  •  "We have no right to weigh human lives against each other."
 

© 2018 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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Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
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Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
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