Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Favorite Reads of 2020


New-to-me Favorites

  1. The Paper Daughters of Chinatown. Heather B. Moore. 2020. Shadow Mountain. 384 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  2.  Lakeshire Park. Megan Walker. 2020. [April] 320 pages. [Source: Review copy] [adult fiction; adult romance; historical fiction; historical romance]
  3. Zanna's Gift. Orson Scott Card. 2020. [November] Originally published in 2004? 250 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  4.  Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Winifred Watson. 1938. 234 pages. [Source: Library]
  5.  The Four Winds. Kristin Hannah. 2021. [February] 464 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  6. The Gentleman and the Thief. Sarah M. Eden. November 2020. 368 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  7. Gentleman Jim. Mimi Matthews. 2020. [November] 376 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  8.  Otherwise Engaged. Joanna Barker. 2020. 262 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  9. The Rat Began to Gnaw the Rope. C.W. Grafton. 1943/2020. Poisoned Pen Press. 304 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  10. The Book Collectors: A Band of Syrian Rebels and the Stories that Carried Them Through a War. Delphine Minoui. Translated by Lara Vergnaud. 2020. [October] 208 pages. [Source: Review copy] [nonfiction; books about books; war stories]
  11. Words on Fire. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2019. 336 pages. [Source: Library] [Historical fiction; mg fiction; ya fiction] 
  12.  We Dream of Space. Erin Entrada Kelly. 2020. 400 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  13. Ordinary Hazards. Nikki Grimes. 2019. 325 pages. [Source: Library] [memoir; ya nonfiction; nonfiction; poetry]
  14. Orphan Train. Christina Baker Kline. 2013. 278 pages. [Source: Library]
  15. The Spoon Stealer. Lesley Crewe. 2020. [September] 360 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  16. The Children of the New Forest. Frederick Marryat. 1847. 369 pages. [Source: Bought]

Rereads  

  1. Doomsday Book. Connie Willis. 1992. Random House. 592 pages.  [Source: Book I Bought]
  2. North and South. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1855. 521 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  3. The Night Gardener. Jonathan Auxier. 2014. 350 pages. [Source: Library] [mg fiction; ya fiction; mg historical; ya historical; mg speculative fiction; ya speculative fiction]
  4.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. 2008. Random House. 274 pages.  [Souce: Bought]
  5. Jane Eyre. Charlotte Bronte. 1847. 532 pages. [Source: Bought]
  6. Persuasion. Jane Austen. 1818. 325 pages. [Source: Bought] [Adult fiction; adult romance; adult classic]
  7. Fahrenheit 451. Ray Bradbury. 1953. 190 pages. [Source: Library] [Classic; Dystopia; Speculative Fiction]

© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

December Reflections

Books Reviewed at Becky's Book Reviews

147. A Christmas Resolution (Christmas Stories #18) Anne Perry. 2020. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]
148.  David Copperfield. Charles Dickens. 1850. 882 pages. [Source: Bought]
149. Fire Watch. Connie Willis. 1982. 26 pages. [Source: Online]
150. Doomsday Book. Connie Willis. 1992. Random House. 592 pages.  [Source: Book I Bought]
151. A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens. 1843. 96 pages. [Source: Bought]
152. The Birds' Christmas Carol. Kate Douglas Wiggin. 1886. 93 pages. [Source: Bought]
153. The Romance of a Christmas Card. Kate Douglas Wiggin. 1916. 116 pages. [Source: Bought]
154. Their Christmas Baby Contract (Blackberry Bay #2) Shannon Stacey. 2020. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
155. A Christmas Carol Murder (A Dickens of a Crime #3) Heather Redmond. 2020. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]
156. Tidings of Joy (Christmas in Evergreen #3) Nancy Naigle. 2020. 280 pages. [Source: Review copy]
157. North and South. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1855. 521 pages. [Source: Bought]

Books Reviewed at Young Readers

118. Snail and Worm All Day: Three Stories About Two Friends. Tina Kugler. 2019. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
119. Mrs. Noodlekugel. Daniel Pinkwater. Illustrated by Adam Stower. 2012. 80 pages. [Source: Review copy]
120. True Rescue: The Finest Hours: The True Story of a Heroic Sea Rescue. Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman. 2020. [December] 96 pages. [Source: Review copy]
121. True Rescue: A Storm Too Soon. Michael J. Tougias. 2021. [July] 128 pages. [Source: Review copy]
122. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Barbara Robinson. 1972. HarperCollins. 128 pages. [Source: Bought]
123. Nutcracker of Nuremberg. Alexandre Dumas. Illustrated by Else Hasselris. Translated by Grace Gingras. 1844/1930/2013. Pook Press. 172 pages. [Source: Bought]
124. The Velveteen Rabbit. Margery Williams. Illustrated by William Nicholson. 1922/2014. Random House. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]
125. The Tailor of Gloucester. Beatrix Potter. 1903. 58 pages. [Source: Library]

Books Reviewed at Operation Actually Read Bible

97. The Christmas Heirloom. Karen Witemeyer. Kristi Ann Hunter. Sarah Loudin Thomas. Becky Wade. 2018. 374 pages. [Source: Bought]
98. 1 Peter. (Thru the Bible #54) J. Vernon McGee. 1975? 108 pages. [Source: Bought]
99. 2 Peter. (Thru the Bible #55) J. Vernon McGee. 1979. 96 pages. [Source: Bought]
100. First John (Thru the Bible #56) J. Vernon McGee. 1979. 164 pages. [Source: Bought]
101. An Amish Winter (Stranded in the Snow and Caring for the Amish Baby) Vannetta Chapman and Carrie Lighte. 2020. Mills & Boon, Love Inspired. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]
102. Thru the Bible #57: 2 and 3 John, Jude. J. Vernon McGee. 1979. 132 pages. [Source: Bought]
103. What Does It Mean To Fear the Lord? Michael Reeves. 2021. [January] Crossway. 80 pages. [Source: Review copy]
104. Revelation 1-5. (Thru the Bible #58) J. Vernon McGee. 1995 (published 1979???) 152 pages. [Source: Bought]
105. The Kissing Tree: Four Novellas Rooted in Timeless Love. Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings, Amanda Dykes, Nicole Deese. 2020. Bethany House. 384 pages. [Source: Review copy]
106. Why Christ Came: 31 Meditations on the Incarnation. Joel R. Beeke and William Boekestein. 2013. Reformation Heritage. 108 pages. [Source: Bought]
107. An Exposition of Hebrews. Arthur W. Pink. 1954/2012. 1428 pages. [Source: Bought]
108. An Ivy Hill Christmas (Tales from Ivy Hill) Julie Klassen. 2020. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
109. Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas Collection by Carolyn Miller, Amanda Barratt, and Erica Vetsch. 2020. Kregel. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]
110. Thru the Bible Commentary Series: Revelation 6-13. J. Vernon McGee. Thomas Nelson. 192 pages. [Source: Bought]
111. Revelation 14-22 (Thru the Bible Commentary Series #60) J. Vernon McGee. 1979. Thomas Nelson. 204 pages. [Source: Bought]
112. Matthew Henry's Commentary on The Whole Bible Complete and Unabridged in One Volume. Matthew Henry. Updated by Martin H. Manser. 1710 for the original. 2010? for the update. 4200 pages. [Source: Bought]
113. Psalms 90-150 (Thru the Bible #19) J. Vernon McGee. 1977. 211 pages. [Source: Bought]


Bibles Reviewed at Operation Actually Read Bible

10. Holy Bible. Revised Standard Version. 1952/1980. 1100 pages. American Bible Society. [Source: Bought]
11. Holy Bible, NASB 2020. Lockman Foundation. 2020. 4068 pages. [Source: Bought]
12. KJV Everyday Study Bible. 2018. Holman Bible Publishers. 1888 pages. [Source: Bought]

 

 5 Star Books

The Christmas Heirloom. Karen Witemeyer. Kristi Ann Hunter. Sarah Loudin Thomas. Becky Wade. 2018. 374 pages. [Source: Bought]
David Copperfield. Charles Dickens. 1850. 882 pages. [Source: Bought]
1 Peter. (Thru the Bible #54) J. Vernon McGee. 1975? 108 pages. [Source: Bought]
First John (Thru the Bible #56)

J. Vernon McGee. 1979. 164 pages. [Source: Bought]
Holy Bible. Revised Standard Version
. 1952/1980. 1100 pages. American Bible Society. [Source: Bought]
Holy Bible, NASB 2020. Lockman Foundation. 2020. 4068 pages. [Source: Bought]
Thru the Bible #57: 2 and 3 John, Jude. J. Vernon McGee. 1979. 132 pages. [Source: Bought]
Doomsday Book. Connie Willis. 1992. Random House. 592 pages.  [Source: Book I Bought]
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
. Barbara Robinson. 1972. HarperCollins. 128 pages. [Source: Bought]
What Does It Mean To Fear the Lord? Michael Reeves. 2021. [January] Crossway. 80 pages. [Source: Review copy]
A Christmas Carol
. Charles Dickens. 1843. 96 pages. [Source: Bought]
The Velveteen Rabbit
. Margery Williams. Illustrated by William Nicholson. 1922/2014. Random House. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]
The Tailor of Gloucester
. Beatrix Potter. 1903. 58 pages. [Source: Library] 
Why Christ Came: 31 Meditations on the Incarnation
. Joel R. Beeke and William Boekestein. 2013. Reformation Heritage. 108 pages. [Source: Bought]
An Exposition of Hebrews. Arthur W. Pink. 1954/2012. 1428 pages. [Source: Bought]
Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas Collection
by Carolyn Miller, Amanda Barratt, and Erica Vetsch. 2020. Kregel. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Matthew Henry's Commentary on The Whole Bible Complete and Unabridged in One Volume
. Matthew Henry. Updated by Martin H. Manser. 1710 for the original. 2010? for the update. 4200 pages. [Source: Bought]
  Psalms 90-150 (Thru the Bible #19) J. Vernon McGee. 1977. 211 pages. [Source: Bought]
KJV Everyday Study Bible
. 2018. Holman Bible Publishers. 1888 pages. [Source: Bought]
North and South. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1855. 521 pages. [Source: Bought]

December Totals

December Totals

Pages19547
Books38

 

2020 Totals
Pages125812
Books406

© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

157. North and South


North and South. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1855. 521 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: 'Edith!' said Margaret, gently, 'Edith!' But, as Margaret half suspected, Edith had fallen asleep.

Premise/plot: Sometimes I think the more I've read a book, the harder it is to summarize...well. Margaret Hale, our heroine, is uprooted from her Southern (rural) home when her father leaves the Church and moves the family north to the industrial town of Milton. It is a time of much adjustment--her father making the transition the smoothest of all perhaps; her mother having the roughest time of it. For Margaret it marks a 'wilderness' time of sorts--as she grows more self aware and begins to look and listen more closely to the world around her. She dares to think of others more and her own comfort less. It's definitely a growing time--with some awkwardness thrown in, because it's realistic. Margaret is far from a perfect, ideal woman. 

Mr. John Thornton, our hero, is drawn to Margaret despite their differences of opinion. He's much more forgiving of her pride and prejudice--her immaturity and innocence--than many others might be. This isn't so much a growing time for him. Not really. True, he has lessons in patience and actually LISTENING. But from the start he is considerate and compassionate. Though some might readily compare North and South to Pride and Prejudice and only Pride and Prejudice, I see some Gilbert Blythe in John Thornton. 

The novel is bittersweet. Margaret endures MUCH LOSS throughout the years chronicled in the novel. 

My thoughts: I love this one so much. It is one of my all-time favorite favorite favorite FAVORITE books. The movie and the book are different as night and day. Really in the movie, it's very much a re-do of Pride and Prejudice. Mr. John Thornton is just cut and pasted from Mr. Darcy. This just isn't true to the book at all. 

It is my opinion that Margaret is like MR. DARCY and ELIZABETH BENNET all at the same time. She is the one who has to GROW UP and mature. She is so very proud and extremely prejudiced. She is a bit insufferable at times!!! But her character arc is lovely to see. The Margaret we see at the end of the novel is not the Margaret we first meet. 

Quotes:

  • Whenever I have seen you lately, you have been carried away by a whirlwind of some other person's making.
  • But the cloud never comes in that quarter of the horizon from which we watch for it.
  • But the truth was, that Dixon, as do many others, liked to feel herself ruled by a powerful and decided nature.
  • 'I cannot bear it. I cannot bear to see the sufferings of others. I think I could go through my own with patience. Oh, is there no going back?'
  • But the future must be met, however stern and iron it be.
  • The question always is, has everything been done to make the sufferings of these exceptions as small as possible? Or, in the triumph of the crowded procession, have the helpless been trampled on, instead of being gently lifted aside out of the roadway of the conqueror, whom they have no power to accompany on his march?
  • 'Oh, mamma, that shows you never saw Mr. Thornton. He looks like a person who would enjoy battling with every adverse thing he could meet with--enemies, winds, or circumstances. The more it rains and blows, the more certain we are to have him.
  • 'Take care you don't get caught by a penniless girl, John.' 'I am not easily caught, mother, as I think you know. But I must not have Miss Hale spoken of in that way, which, you know, is offensive to me. I never was aware of any young lady trying to catch me yet, nor do I believe that any one has ever given themselves that useless trouble.'
  • Perhaps our Milton girls have too much spirit and good feeling to go angling after husbands; but this Miss Hale comes out of the aristocratic counties, where, if all tales be true, rich husbands are reckoned prizes.'
  • 'Papa, I do think Mr. Thornton a very remarkable man; but personally I don't like him at all.'
  • 'I believe, perhaps, more than yo' do o' what's to come. I read the book o' Revelations until I know it off by heart, and I never doubt when I'm waking, and in my senses, of all the glory I'm to come to.'
  • And looking back upon the year's accumulated heap of troubles, Margaret wondered how they had been borne. If she could have anticipated them, how she would have shrunk away and hid herself from the coming time!
  • And yet day by day had, of itself, and by itself, been very endurable--small, keen, bright little spots of positive enjoyment having come sparkling into the very middle of sorrows.
  • 'Loyalty and obedience to wisdom and justice are fine; but it is still finer to defy arbitrary power, unjustly and cruelly used-not on behalf of ourselves, but on behalf of others more helpless.'
  • 'I know we differ in our religious opinions; but don't you give me credit for having some, though not the same as yours?'
  • I never lived in a place before where there were two sets of people always running each other down.'
  • 'Nay, Bessy--think!' said Margaret. 'God does not willingly afflict. Don't dwell so much on the prophecies, but read the clearer parts of the Bible.' 'I dare say it would be wiser; but where would I hear such grand words of promise--hear tell o' anything so far different fro' this dreary world, and this town above a', as in Revelations? Many's the time I've repeated the verses in the seventh chapter to myself, just for the sound. It's as good as an organ, and as different from every day, too. No, I cannot give up Revelations. It gives me more comfort than any other book i' the Bible.'
  • She seems to have a great notion of giving herself airs; and I can't make out why. I could almost fancy she thinks herself too good for her company at times. And yet they're not rich, from all I can hear they never have been.' 'And she's not accomplished, mamma. She can't play.'
  • 'I cannot forgive her her pride,' said his mother; 'I will befriend her, if there is need, for your asking, John. I would befriend Jezebel herself if you asked me.
  • Only, he knew what she was doing--or not doing--better than he knew the movements of any one else in the room.
  • I shall put myself at her feet--I must. If it were but one chance in a thousand--or a million--I should do it.'
  • How dared he say that he would love her still, even though she shook him off with contempt?
  • Read me--not a sermon chapter, but a story chapter; they've pictures in them, which I see when my eyes are shut. Read about the New Heavens, and the New Earth; and m'appen I'll forget this.'
  • 'No one loves me,--no one cares for me, but you, mother.' He turned away and stood leaning his head against the mantel-piece, tears forcing themselves into his manly eyes.
  • 'Margaret!' said Mrs. Hale, rather querulously, 'you won't like anything Mr. Thornton does. I never saw anybody so prejudiced.'
  • Margaret the Churchwoman, her father the Dissenter, Higgins the Infidel, knelt down together. It did them no harm.
  • And it was no thought of her son, or of her living daughter Fanny, that stirred her heart at last; but a sudden remembrance, suggested by something in the arrangement of the room,--of a little daughter--dead in infancy--long years ago--that, like a sudden sunbeam, melted the icy crust, behind which there was a real tender woman.
  • Thinking has, many a time, made me sad, darling; but doing never did in all my life.
  • My theory is a sort of parody on the maxim of "Get money, my son, honestly if you can; but get money." My precept is, "Do something, my sister, do good if you can; but, at any rate, do something."'
  • 'Not excluding mischief,' said Margaret, smiling faintly through her tears. 'By no means. What I do exclude is the remorse afterwards.
  • Sorrows is more plentiful than dinners just now;
  • Oh papa! it's a hard world to live in!'
  • 'The exact truth!' said he. 'Very few people do speak the exact truth. I have given up hoping for it. Miss Hale, have you no explanation to give me? You must perceive what I cannot but think.'
  • 'I will walk slower for your own sake. I like you twenty times better than Hamlet.' 'On the principle that a living ass is better than a dead lion?' 'Perhaps so. I don't analyse my feelings.'
  • 'I begin to understand now what heaven must be--and, oh! the grandeur and repose of the words--"The same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." Everlasting! "From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God."
  • I must not think so much of how circumstances affect me myself, but how they affect others, if I wish to have a right judgment, or a hopeful trustful heart.
  • Margaret herself had probably the worst temper of the three, for her quick perceptions, and over-lively imagination made her hasty, and her early isolation from sympathy had made her proud;
  • but she had an indescribable childlike sweetness of heart, which made her manners, even in her rarely wilful moods, irresistible of old; and now, chastened even by what the world called her good fortune, she charmed her reluctant aunt into acquiescence with her will.
  • 'How shall I ever tell Aunt Shaw?' she whispered, after some time of delicious silence. 'Let me speak to her.' 'Oh, no! I owe to her,--but what will she say?' 'I can guess. Her first exclamation will be, "That man!"' 'Hush!' said Margaret, 'or I shall try and show you your mother's indignant tones as she says, "That woman!"' 

© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Books Read in 2021

Books Read in 2021

1. Georgana's Secret. Arlem Hawks. 2021. [January] Shadow Mountain. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy] JANUARY    
2. The Abbey Mystery (Jane Austen Investigates #1). Julia Golding. 2021. [April] 192 pages. [Source: Review copy] JANUARY
3. Jane Austen's Best Friend: The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd. Zoe Wheddon. 2021. Pen and Sword. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
4. The Bostonians. Henry James. 1886. 460 pages. [Source: Bought]
5. Reuben and the Amazing Mind Machine. Jonathan M. Hughes. 2021 [January] 128 pages. [Source: Review copy]
6. Twenty-One Days. (Daniel Pitt #1) Anne Perry. 2018. 303 pages. [Source: Review copy]
7. Ruth. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1853. 432 pages. [Source: Bought]
8. Pygmalion. George Bernard Shaw. 1912. 96 pages. [Source: Bought]
9. The Importance of Being Earnest. Oscar Wilde. 1895. 76 pages. [Source: Bought]
10. To Say Nothing of the Dog. (Oxford Time Travel #2) Connie Willis. 1998. 512 pages. [Source: Bought]
11. Max and the Spice Thieves. (Secrets of the Twilight Djinn #1) John Peragine. 2021. [April] 274 pages. [Source: Review copy]
12. My Remarkable Journey: A Memoir. Katherine Johnson, Joylette Hylick, and Katherine G. Moore. 2021. [May] 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
13. Lady Windermere's Fan. Oscar Wilde. 1893. 70 pages. [Source: Bought]
14. An Ideal Husband. Oscar Wilde. 1893. 78 pages. [Source: Bought]
15. Worst-Case Collin. Rebecca Caprara. 2021. [September] 256 pages. [Source: Review copy]
16. The Children's Blizzard. Melanie Benjamin. 2021. [January] 368 pages. [Source: Review copy]
17. We Also Served: The Forgotten Women of the First World War. Vivien Newman. 2014/2021. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
18. Freiheit! The White Rose Graphic Novel. Andrea Grosso Ciponte. 2021. [February] 112 pages. [Source: Review copy]
19. Blackout. Connie Willis. 2010. 610 pages. [Source: Bought]
20. In Times of Rain and War. Camron Wright. 2021. [April] 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]
21. A Captain for Caroline Gray. Julie Wright. 2021. [March] 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]
22. Surviving Savannah. Patti Callahan. 2021. [March] 432 pages. [Source: Review copy]
23. The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women. Kate Moore. 2017. 479 pages. [Source: Review copy]
24. Real. Carol Cujec and Peyton Goddard. 2021. [February] 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]
25. Belinda. Maria Edgeworth. 1801. 544 pages. [Source: Bought]
26. A Tale of Two Cities. Charles Dickens. 1859. 446 pages. [Source: Review copy]
27. Far from the Madding Crowd. Thomas Hardy. 1874. 433 pages. [Source: Bought]
28. Triple Jeopardy. (Daniel Pitt #2) Anne Perry. 2019. 288 pages. [Source: Review copy]
29. The Vines. Shelley Nolden. 2021. 391 pages. [Source: Review copy]
30. A Most Clever Girl: How Jane Austen Discovered Her Voice. Jasmine A. Stirling. Illustrated by Vesper Stamper. 2021. [March] 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]
31. Ordeal by Hunger: The Story of the Donner Party. George R. Stewart. 1936. 392 pages. [Source: Online]
32. The Historians. Cecilia Ekback. 2021. [January] 464 pages. [Source: Review copy]
33. Pride, Prejudice, and Poison. (A Jane Austen Society Mystery #1) Elizabeth Blake. 2019. 330 pages. [Source: Review copy]
34. Stan Lee: How Marvel Changed the World. Adrian Mackinder. 2021. [May] 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]
35. Favorite Poems of Emily Dickinson. Emily Dickinson. 1978. 160 pages. [Source: Family copy]
36. Sixteen Scandals. Sophie Jordan. 2021. [May] 256 pages. [Source: Review copy]
37. Why Longfellow Lied: The Truth about Paul Revere's Midnight Ride. Jeff Lantos. 2021. [August] 160 pages. [Source: Review copy]
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© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Monday, December 28, 2020

2021 Reading Challenges: Georgian (my sign up)

 

Georgian Reading Challenge
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up here)
Duration: December 1, 2020 - December 31, 2021
# of books: minimum 4

 1) Jane Austen's Best Friend: The Life and Influence of Martha Lloyd. Zoe Wheddon. 2021. Pen and Sword. 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]

2) Robinson Crusoe. Daniel Defoe. 1719/2019. AmazonClassics. 571 pages. [Source: Bought]

3) Belinda. Maria Edgeworth. 1801. 544 pages. [Source: Bought]

4) A Most Clever Girl: How Jane Austen Discovered Her Voice. Jasmine A. Stirling. Illustrated by Vesper Stamper. 2021. [March] 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]

5) Sixteen Scandals. Sophie Jordan. 2021. [May] 256 pages. [Source: Review copy]

6)

 

© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

2021 Reading Challenges: Victorian (my sign up)

 

Victorian Reading Challenge
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up here)
Duration: January 2021 - December 2021
Goal: Read between 4 to 6 Books (4 minimum)

I hope to do a little in each of the categories.

January - March

1) Pinocchio. Carlo Collodi. 1883. 160 pages. [Source: Bought]

2) The Bostonians. Henry James. 1886. 460 pages. [Source: Bought]

I watched 1975 North and South.

3) Ruth. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1853. 432 pages. [Source: Bought] 

4) The Importance of Being Earnest. Oscar Wilde. 1895. 76 pages. [Source: Bought]

5) Lady Windermere's Fan. Oscar Wilde. 1893. 70 pages. [Source: Bought]

6) An Ideal Husband. Oscar Wilde. 1893. 78 pages. [Source: Bought] 

7) A Tale of Two Cities. Charles Dickens. 1859. 446 pages. [Source: Review copy] 

8) Far from the Madding Crowd. Thomas Hardy. 1874. 433 pages. [Source: Bought]

I watched 2004 North and South

April - June

1) Favorite Poems of Emily Dickinson. Emily Dickinson. 1978. 160 pages. [Source: Family copy]

2)

July - September

1)

2)

October - December 

1)

2)

January/February The theme is ADAPTATIONS. Read any book that has been adapted into a movie, miniseries, or television show. OR read any book that you think SHOULD be adapted into a movie. If you choose that option you can even make a case for WHO should star in it.

1) Pinocchio. Carlo Collodi. 1883. 160 pages. [Source: Bought]

2) The Bostonians. Henry James. 1886. 460 pages. [Source: Bought] *there was a film in 1984, I have not watched it...at least not yet.

I watched 1975 North and South

3) Ruth. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1853. 432 pages. [Source: Bought]

4) The Importance of Being Earnest. Oscar Wilde. 1895. 76 pages. [Source: Bought]

February/March The theme is LOVE and MARRIAGE. Read any book where characters fall in love, or fall out of love, or court, or become engaged, or get married. It doesn't have to be an epic romance with a happily ever after. (Though it can!)

1) Lady Windermere's Fan. Oscar Wilde. 1893. 70 pages. [Source: Bought]

2) An Ideal Husband. Oscar Wilde. 1893. 78 pages. [Source: Bought]

March/April The theme is JOURNEYS and TRAVELS. Read any book where a character goes on ANY journey. (For example, Pickwick Papers, Three Men in a Boat, Jane Eyre, Can You Forgive Her?, Great Expectations, Treasure Island, Alice in Wonderland, etc.) The journey does not have to be a grand adventure or luxurious vacation.

1) A Tale of Two Cities. Charles Dickens. 1859. 446 pages. [Source: Review copy]

2) Far from the Madding Crowd. Thomas Hardy. 1874. 433 pages. [Source: Bought]

April/May The theme is SECOND CHANCES. Give an author a second chance. Give a book a second chance. Give a genre a second chance. 

1) Favorite Poems of Emily Dickinson. Emily Dickinson. 1978. 160 pages. [Source: Family copy]

2)

May/June The theme is FAVORITE AUTHORS, NEW-TO-ME Books. Choose a favorite author and read a book by him/her that you've never read before. 

1)

2)

June/July The theme is NONFICTION. Read nonfiction books (autobiographies, biographies, etc.) published during the Victorian era OR nonfiction books about the Victorian era or specific Victorians.

1)

2)

July/August The theme is NAMES AS TITLES. Read any book where a proper name (a person, a place, etc) is the title of the book. 

1)

2)

 

August/September The theme is BACK TO SCHOOL. Read (or reread) any book that you were assigned to read in school or university. OR Read any book where a character's education is emphasized (Great Expectations, Nicholas Nickleby, Jane Eyre, etc.) OR Read any book that you think SHOULD be required reading for high school or university. OR Read a Victorian children's classic. 

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September/October The theme is CRIME OR TRUE CRIME. Thrillers. Mysteries. Suspense. Horror. GOTHIC. This would be a great place to fit in general nonfiction about the Victorian era. Some great true crime books have been published. 

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October/November The theme is HOME AND FAMILY. Read any book with a focus on family life and relationships between family members. (The relationships do not have to be healthy.) 

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November/December The theme is COMFORT READS. Reread a book (of any length) that just makes you HAPPY. 

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January Through December: The super-bonus theme is BEARDED VICTORIANS.

1) A Tale of Two Cities. Charles Dickens. 1859. 446 pages. [Source: Review copy]

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© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

2021 Reading Challenges WW2 (my sign up)

J. Howard Miller 1918-2004, artwork details on wikimedia commons

 


2021 World War II Challenge
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up here)
Dates: January - December 2021
Goals: Read, Watch, Listen, Share WWII related stuff

What I read

1) My Chocolate Year: A Novel with Twelve Recipes to Make Your World A Little Sweeter. Charlotte Herman. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. 2008. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]

2) War and Millie McGonigle. Karen Cushman. 2021. [April] 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]

3) Freiheit! The White Rose Graphic Novel. Andrea Grosso Ciponte. 2021. [February] 112 pages. [Source: Review copy]

4) Blackout. Connie Willis. 2010. 610 pages. [Source: Bought]

5) In Times of Rain and War. Camron Wright. 2021. [April] 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]

6) The Historians. Cecilia Ekback. 2021. [January] 464 pages. [Source: Review copy]

What I watch

1) The Dig (2021)

2) The Exception (2016)

3) Then There Were Giants (When Lions Roared) (1994)

What I listen to

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© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

156. Tidings of Joy (Christmas in Evergreen #3)


Tidings of Joy (Christmas in Evergreen #3) Nancy Naigle. 2020. 280 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Way up north, nestled in the heart of Vermont, there’s a little town called Evergreen. Some say it’s so far north that on a clear day you might be able to catch a glimpse of Santa’s workshop in the North Pole. Evergreen beckons tourists from all over. Many come just to see its famous magical snow globe that sits in a place of honor in the Chris Kringle Kitchen, owned by Joe and Carol Shaw. People come from far and wide to give that snow globe a good shake and make their wish, then drop a letter to Santa in the big red mailbox in the middle of town square. If they’re lucky, they might even catch a glimpse of the old red truck, decorated with garland and bows, delivering Christmas trees to the locals.

 Premise/plot: Katie, our New Yorker heroine, is on her way to Evergreen, Vermont, to relax. On the train she meets a native Evergreenian, Ben. There's a bit of a quick spark between the two--she's hoping that the week she's in town she'll bump into him again. But it isn't until her vacation becomes prolonged--she might be doing a story on the town's Christmas festivities--that the two really get the chance to connect. Ben was raised by his grandmother, Nan, the town's librarian. He is torn between wanting to stay in his hometown and help out at the library--he loves books--and looking for work in New York City. As the two countdown the days of Christmas--advent calendar style--could they be falling in love?

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. I did. It is the third in the series. I'm not sure if there's a movie for each book in the series, or just a movie for the first one? But Evergreen, Vermont, is the setting for at least one Hallmark movie apparently. Readers get a chance to reconnect with a town full of characters. I'm imagining some of the characters in this one were first introduced in previous books. (There are multiple love stories hinted at.) It felt like a sweet, sentimental read.

© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Thursday, December 24, 2020

155. A Christmas Carol Murder


A Christmas Carol Murder (A Dickens of a Crime #3) Heather Redmond. 2020. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: They hadn’t found the body yet. Old Sal was surely dead. Feathers had caught on candles, igniting the blaze. Maybe a yipping dog had some part in the fiery disaster. The marchioness’s advanced age had surely contributed to the fatal misadventure.

Premise/plot: A Christmas Carol Murder is the third book in Heather Redmond's mystery series starring Charles Dickens as an amateur detective. This one opens in December 1835; Dickens is engaged to be married but not yet married. Soon after the novel opens, a baby is thrust into Dickens' arms--the woman is claiming that the babe is Charles' son. The mother (the woman's sister) is dead--or so it's thought--in a recent fire. Dickens feels sorry for the poor looking baby who'll surely starve without some intervention and care. So Timothy, the baby, is taken back to London and given to some of Dickens' friends. (Characters from earlier books, I'm presuming.) A few days later--or maybe just the next day--Dickens is out Christmas caroling with his friends--including his fiancee--when a DEAD BODY falls from an upstairs window. Thus the caroling gang meets Emmanuel Screws and household. Screws and the dead man--a Mr. Harley--were business partners. Catherine, Charles' fiancee, feels that Mr. Screws though a bit cranky--okay a LOT cranky--is no murderer. Can Dickens solve the murder before another occurs???

My thoughts: I knew this was part of a series, but, I didn't realize it was the third. (The previous books are A Tale of Two Murders and Grave Expectations.) I liked it. I did. I know that I'm missing out on some of the characterization by starting with the third book. But it was easy enough to follow *this* story and focus on this mystery. Dickens is 'Boz' at this point--he's writing and publishing sketches of London life. He has not begun writing (proper) novels just yet. He's also a parliamentary reporter/journalist in this one. I know little enough about this period in Dickens' life so I'm not sure how historically accurate the books may be. (I'm assuming/presuming that a lot of liberties are being taken even if real names are used. I'm relatively sure his wife, for example, didn't get special thrills from coming across dead bodies and working up murder cases.)

 

 

© 2020 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews