Tuesday, January 31, 2023

January Reflections

I read and reviewed fifty books in January. I read some great books this month. I am now noting which books earned four and five stars. (This won't necessarily make it easier when it comes to picking favorites at the end of the year.) I read all three 'One and Only' books by Katherine Applegate. They were FANTASTIC.

Books reviewed at Becky's Book Reviews

1. The Rat Queen. Pete Hautman. 2022. 400 pages. [Source: Library]

2. Magpie Murders. Anthony Horowitz. 2016. 477 pages. [Source: Library]

3. The Windeby Puzzle. Lois Lowry. 2023. [February] 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]

4. Twice in a Lifetime. Melissa Baron. 2022. 325 pages. [Source: Library]

5. Doomsday Book. Connie Willis. 1992. Random House. 592 pages.  [Source: Book I Bought]

6. To Sir With Love. E.R. Braithwaite. 1959. 189 pages. [Source: Library]

7. Today Tonight Tomorrow. Rachel Lynn Solomon. 2020. 364 pages. [Source: Library]

8. Babylon #5: Voices. John Vornholt. 1995. 246 pages. [Source: Bought]

9. Moonflower Murders. (Susan Ryeland #2) Anthony Horowitz. 2020. 608 pages. [Source: Library]

10. The Curse of the Mummy: Uncovering Tutankhamun's Tomb. Candace Fleming. 2021. 285 pages. [Source: Library]

11. Camp Creepy. (Sinister Summer Series #3) Kiersten White. 2023 [January] 288 pages. [Source: Library]

12. Farmer Boy. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Illustrated by Garth Williams. 1933. 372 pages. [Source: Library]

13. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. J.K. Rowling. 1997. 345 pages. [Source: Library]

14. The Worlds We Leave Behind. A.F. Harrold. Illustrated by Levi Pinfold. 2023. [February] 256 pages. [Source: Review copy]

15. Perry Mason: The Case of the Careless Kitten (Perry Mason #21) Erle Stanley Gardner. 1942. 211 pages. [Source: Bought]

16. The Superteacher Project. Gordon Korman. 2023. 304 pages. [Source: Library]

17. The Little Wartime Library. Kate Thompson. 2022. 496 pages. [Source: Review copy]

 Books reviewed at Young Readers

1. Marya Khan and the Incredible Henna Party. Saadia Faruqi. Illustrated by Ani Bushry. 2022. [October 18] 144 pages. [Source: Review copy]

2. Madison Morris is NOT a Mouse! [Class Critters #3] Kathryn Holmes. Illustrated by Ariel Landy. 2022. 128 pages. [Source: Review copy]

3. A Bear, a Bee, and a Honey Tree. Daniel Bernstrom. Illustrated by Brandon James Scott. 2022. [November] 40 pages. [Source: Library]

4. Cat Crew (Dog Squad #2) Chris Grabenstein. 2022. [October] 304 pages. [Source: Library]

5. The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook. Joyce Lankester Brisley. 1928. 224 pages. [Source: Library]

6. The Famously Funny Parrott: Four Tales from the Bird Himself. Eric Daniel Weiner. Illustrated by Brian Biggs. 2022. [December] 144 pages. [Source: Library]

7. The House on East 88th Street. Bernard Waber. 1962. 48 pages. [Source: Library]

8. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile. Bernard Waber. 1965. 48 pages. [Source: Library]

9. A Boy Called Bat. Elana K. Arnold. 2017. 208 pages. [Source: Library]

10. The Runaway Robot (Wednesday and Woof #3) Sherri Winston. Illustrated by Gladys Jose. 2022. [November] 96 pages. [Source: Library]

11. The Green Piano: How Little Me Found Music. Roberta Flack and Tonya Bolden. Illustrated by Hayden Goodman. 2023. 40 pages. [Source: Library]

12. Sincerely Sicily. Tamika Burgess. 2023. 304 pages. [Source: Library]

13. The One and Only Ivan. Katherine Applegate. Illustrated by Patricia Castelao. 2012. 307 pages. [Source: Library]

14. The One and Only Bob. Katherine Applegate. Illustrated by Patricia Castelao.  2020. 352 pages. [Source: Library]

15. The One and Only Ruby (The One and Only Ivan #3) Katherine Applegate. 2023. [May] 240 pages. [Source: Review copy]

16. Cornelli. Johanna Spyri. 1892. 120 pages. [Source: Bought]

17. Pizza and Taco: Rock Out (Pizza and Taco #5) Stephen Shaskan. 2023. [January] 72 pages. [Source: Library]

18. The Real Dada Mother Goose: A Treasury of Complete Nonsense. Jon Scieszka. Illustrated by Julia Rothman. 2022. [October] 80 pages. [Source: Library]

19. Mission to Shadow Sea (Future Hero #2) Remi Blackwood. 2023. 144 pages. [Source: Library]

20. Meowsterpieces: A Cat's Guide to Art...and Life! Jenn Bailey. Illustrated by Nyangsongi. 2022. [September] 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

21. A Story Is To Share: How Ruth Krauss Found Another Way to Tell a Tale. Carter Higgins. Illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. 2022. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

22. Nubby. Dan Richards. Illustrated by Shanda McCloskey. 2023. [January] [Source: Library]

Books Reviewed at Operation Actually Read Bible

1. The Epic Story of the Bible: How to Read and Understand God's Word. Greg Gilbert. 2022. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]

2. God Shines Forth: How the Nature of God Shapes and Drives the Mission of the Church. Daniel Hames. (Series introduction by Michael Reeves, general editor of the Union series). 2022. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]

3. From Pearl Harbor to Calvary. Mitsuo Fuchida. 1953/2011. eChristian. 96 pages. [Source: Bought]

4. The Sisters of Sea View (On Devonshire Shores #1) Julie Klassen. 2022. 448 pages. [Source: Review copy]

5. Rembrandt Is In the Wind: Learning to Love Art Through the Eyes of Faith. Russ Ramsey. 2022. 272 pages. [Source: Library]

6. Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans. Robert Elmer. 2019. 321 pages. [Source: Library]

7. Stop Calling Me Beautiful: Finding Soul-Deep Strength in a Skin-Deep World. Phylicia Masonheimer. 2020. [February] Harvest House. 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]

8. Seeking the Face of God: Nine Reflections on the Psalms. 1957/1991/2005. 172 pages. [Source: Bought]

9. Come, Lord Jesus: Meditations on the Second Coming of Christ. John Piper. 2023. [January] 322 pages. [Source: Review copy]

10. Another Gospel? A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth In Response to Progressive Christianity. Alisa Childers. 2020. [October] 288 pages. [Source: Library]

Bibles reviewed at Operation Actually Read Bible

1. ESV Large Print Thinline Reference Bible. 2001/2016. God. 1232 pages. [Source: Gift] (ISBN: 9781433532788) Start date: November 19, 2022. Finish date: January 24, 2023.


# of Books50
# of Pages12848

Books Read in 202350
Pages Read in 202312848

© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Sunday, January 29, 2023

Sunday Salon #5 "Currently" reading

It's been a relatively good week for finishing up books. But as the end of the month draws closer, there are a couple of books that have been in the "currently reading" pile for most of the month. A few have been on the "currently reading" shelf since November! 

So my 'question' of the day is HOW LONG IS TOO LONG for a book to be "currently" ongoing before you admit defeat and move them to another 'shelf.' (I'm speaking of GoodReads.) 

Of course, not all books get added to the 'currently reading' shelf on GoodReads. Often I add them after I've finished reading them. (Think picture books, board books, early readers, early chapter books.) I add them to remind myself to review them. Sometimes I add them to the list after I've read a good bit of the book to see if it's going to "stick."  

The two books that have been on my 'currently reading' list the longest [this year] are Belittled Women by Amanda Sellet and Baking Powder Wars by Linda Civitello. Both are/were review copies. The Baking Powder Wars is a review copy from WAY back in the day--maybe 2017? Belittled Women is a newer review copy--2022, I believe. Have you read either book? What did you think? Should I keep reading?

Books Read in 202348
Pages Read in 202312520

(Actually) Currently reading:

Poster Girl by Veronica Roth--adult dystopia (I've read several days)
Belittled Women by Amanda Sellet (I've been reading off and on for over a month)
To Dream in the City of Sorrows by Kathryn M. Drennan (a reread I started yesterday)


I went to Half Priced books this week and couldn't help picking up another copy of one of my favorite Babylon 5 novels--To Dream in the City of Sorrows. Do YOU ever buy copies of books you already own? Do you believe in having spare copies of your favorites?

Do you read adaptations (or spin-offs) of classic novels? What do you expect from an adaptation? Are there things that make you cringe? [I'm having trouble reading Belittled Women as a tie-in with Little Women.]

How long do you keep a book in your 'currently read' stack/pile (real life or digital shelf)?

What has been your favorite book you've read this month?


© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Friday, January 27, 2023

17. The Little Wartime Library

The Little Wartime Library. Kate Thompson. 2022. 496 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: An old woman walks up the westbound platform of Bethnal Green Underground Station, moving painfully slowly on account of her arthritis.

Premise/plot: A book about libraries and books set during the Second World War??? YES please. That was my initial first impression. 

The novel has a framework--for better or worse. The opening and closing chapters readers meet an elderly woman and her two daughters. The rest of the novel is set in London's East End during the Second World War. It alternates between two librarians (or one librarian and one librarian assistant). Clara Button is a widow who before the war was a children's librarian. During the war she is managing an underground--literally--library. Bethnal Green tube station is serving many functions these days--including a temporary library structure. She works closely with all classes, all ages. Ruby Monroe, her assistant, is a fiery/feisty vixen who loves living life big--living for today, throwing all caution [and morals] to the wind. She is carrying a burden, though she hates to let it show to just anyone. She encourages Clara, always, to take chances. 

Ruby meets an American soldier, Eddie, with whom she has a whirlwind romance. He is smitten. She's less so, but, wouldn't it be lovely to dream of flying away to America after the war and starting over. 

Clara meets an ambulance driver, Billy, who is hot and cold. She sometimes gets the strongest impressions that he loves her truly and deeply, that this relationship is going somewhere. Other times, he acts like a complete stranger who couldn't care less if he ever sees her again. 

These two meet plenty of people--all ages, all socioeconomic classes, different races. But Clara becomes especially fond of a handful of children. Sparrow, a young boy, whom she is teaching to read. Beatty and Maria, two Jewish refugees from Jersey. 

My thoughts: My first impression was YES PLEASE. It just sounds like it would be an amazing fit for me. Set during the Second World War. A Book about librarians making a difference. BOOKS changing lives. Books as a way to make connections. 

But....this one, sadly, wasn't for me after all. I didn't enjoy the framework, not really. I almost wish we'd had Beatty's perspective in the past too. It was an odd switch, for me, to spend 95% of the book with Clara and Ruby's perspective--all very adult and adult-oriented. And then throw in the bits at the beginning and the end that are from Beatty's perspective seventy plus years later. The past flashbacks contain things that Beatty could not have actually known.

I felt that the novel was TOO busy. There are a million story threads. A story thread might sit vacant for a hundred plus pages only to suddenly make a reappearance. There is so much telling and not showing. And there were literally pages--sometimes whole chapters--that were just info dumps. 

The characters. It makes sense that there would be personal tensions. But why did this story need SO many villains???? So many characters that are one-dimensional and "evil" "mean" "cruel" "vindictive" "callous" "despicable" for literally no reason whatsoever. Two people can disagree on something--even strongly--and not have to be downright EVIL. 

For example, the EVIL man who is out to get Clara Button fired. I can see two librarians--especially at the time--having differing opinions. She wants to serve EVERYONE in the community. She wants the library to be a safe place regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity, social class, education, etc. He doesn't. Libraries are for refined folks of a certain class or distinction. She wants the library to have ALL the books, and offer information freely. He wants the librarian to be a gatekeeper of morals and virtues. She believes that knowledge is power and that the more you know, the better informed you'll be when it comes to making decisions--big or small. He believes in withholding knowledge/information to maintain the status quo. They have completely different philosophies on HOW a library should operate. His ideas alone would make him a despicable character with modern readers. [I'm not arguing that]. But why did he have to be portrayed as extra-super-exceedingly evil on top of that????

The undercurrent of this one is that Ruby and Clara are fighting against the system, a system that wants to hold women down and deny them. A system that protects rapists and wife-beaters and blames women for daring to speak up. A system that thinks women shouldn't be allowed to read, encouraged to read. 

So much of this one was just ugly. I may not have liked the super-villain-y-villains, but I didn't really like Clara and Ruby either. The writing style just felt hammer-like; let's hit readers over the head for the entire novel to make sure they understand that anyone who would limit access to books is evil.


© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

16. The Superteacher Project

The Superteacher Project. Gordon Korman. 2023. 304 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Consider the spitball. Not the baseball kind. That's something different. I mean the school kind.

Premise/plot: It's the start of a new school year. Mr. Aidact is a new teacher at Brightling Middle School. He has a "student teacher" named Mr. Perkins (who is a LOT older). As the weeks go by, students and staff come to rely on Mr. Aidact. The teachers love how willing he is to do anything and everything he's asked. Take on detention duties? extra lunchroom or recess duties? become a coach for a field hockey team? There's nothing he won't do to please. But as the weeks turn to months, well, things go from smooth to rough. Will he last his first year of teaching?

My thoughts: I don't know WHY the jacket flap insists on spoiling this one. One pro for spoiling this one ahead of time is that the premise might just be enough to pull readers in. It is a fun premise, no doubt, as to WHO Mr. Aidact *really* is. (Or what). But some readers don't like the plot spelled out for them right on the jacket flap. (I'm "some reader.") The reader will know more than the characters in the story start to almost finish. 

I would like this one more if there weren't eight hundred narrators. Okay, that's a slight exaggeration. There's probably only a dozen. Still, I would rather alternate between three or four narratives [if I can't have just one narrator], than alternate between a dozen [give or take a few]. The narrators mostly blend together--mostly. 

This one reads like a sitcom. In fact, it reads like a sitcom from the 80s. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a pilot made with this premise.


© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

15. The Case of the Careless Kitten

Perry Mason: The Case of the Careless Kitten (Perry Mason #21) Erle Stanley Gardner. 1942. 211 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: THE KITTEN’S eyes, weaving back and forth, followed the ball of crumpled paper that Helen Kendal was waving high above the arm of the chair. The kitten was named Amber Eyes because of those yellow eyes. Helen liked to watch them.

Premise/plot: Helen Kendal's kitten, Amber Eyes, is poisoned (but survives) shortly after she receives a phone call from her missing (long thought dead) uncle. Her uncle, Frank Shore, wants her to meet with the lawyer, Perry Mason, and go to a super-shady hotel later that evening. He's arranged for someone to meet them (just them, only them) and take them to a second location where he'll be waiting. She's not to tell anyone--especially her aunt, Matilda. (She ends up talking with her (other) uncle Gerald). The meet-up does NOT go as planned. They find a NOTE not a man. And the man they were supposed to meet up with (to find the uncle) is found DEAD. And so it begins...

My thoughts: I do love Perry Mason. I am more familiar with the television series than the actual novels the show is based upon. However, I do enjoy both. It's been years since I last read a Perry Mason novel. (Or it could have been 2020-ish. Which feels like years ago).  

How does this one compare to other Perry Mason novels? Well, I can't compare it to each and every one, but, I'll do my best to compare it with your typical Mason mystery.

First, the KITTEN, Amber Eyes, truly steals the show. This kitten stars in several scenes of the book. Often her antics make for the best bits of dialogue. And literally, Mason solves the case because of the kitten! She's key to putting all the pieces together...

Second, this Perry Mason novel was written and published in 1942. One of the suspects (though not high up on the suspects list) is a "houseboy" who works for Aunt Matilda. She claims--and he claims--that he is Korean, not Japanese. Everyone--including Mason and company--are suspicious of him. Is he lying about being Korean? Is he Japanese? Is he loyal to Japan? Is he a traitor to the United States? If this was written in ANY other year/decade, it would feel definitely cringe and super-regrettable. (I'm not saying it is justifiable. Just that the context makes sense of WHY.) There are probably half a dozen scenes where characters slur his race/ethnicity (in general). Again, not justifying the behavior, but during the war, the propaganda machine was going full force. And even before the war, Americans were VERY divided on if ANYONE of Asian descent should be allowed to emigrate. There were strict immigration laws. It was UGLY. I highly recommend Days of Infamy by Lawrence Goldstone. The novel captures a moment in American history. Seen in light of actual history, I think you can understand how/why this bias, this prejudice makes its way into a mystery novel (set in California). This could be a good opportunity to take a moment or two to reflect and dig a little deeper.

Third, while there is a BIG reveal, it takes place OUTSIDE the courtroom. Perry Mason has had enough. Like he's ALL DONE. He does not solve the D.A.'s case for him. He clears his client of the so-called crime (it's complicated), but does NOT fill in the blanks for the prosecution.

Fourth, the courtroom case we do see is NOT the murder case. But I hate to spoil who his client is and what the charge is...


But Perry Mason had a mind which was only content when it was detouring the technicalities of legal red tape. He not only regarded each case as a venture studded with excitement, but became impatient with the delays of routine procedure. More and more, as his practice developed, he became interested in personalities. More and more, his methods became dazzlingly brilliant, increasingly dangerous, and highly unorthodox.

“A cat usually picks at its food. That kitten must have been terribly hungry to gulp down those balls of meat.” “This kitten was just careless, I guess. Hurry up.” “Very careless,” nodded Della. “I think when I open the file for this case I’ll call it ‘The Case of the Careless Kitten.’ ”
“It’s high time for citizens to wake up to the fact that it isn’t a question of whether a man is guilty or innocent, but whether his guilt or innocence can be proved under a procedure which leaves in the citizen the legal rights to which he is entitled under a constitutional government.
 Hamilton Burger said to the Court, “I am asking leading questions on some of these points which are not disputed, but which I want to get before the jury.” “No objection,” Mason said. “What did your uncle say to you over the telephone?” “Objected to,” Mason said, “as hearsay. Incompetent, irrelevant, and immaterial.”
“I’m going out to buy a cat so I can study him and learn about some of the important facts of life.”  

© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Sunday Salon #4: Making Decisions

I love, love, love, love, love to read. I don't always like having to decide what to read...next. Deciding what to read next can be a bit overwhelming. (Am I alone in this???) Deciding to read is never difficult. Deciding what to read sometimes is.

This week I read the first Harry Potter book (for the first time, essentially). I didn't necessarily "love" it. Should I keep reading? Not keep reading? If I was going to love it, would I already be feeling love already? I haven't decided--yet--if I'll be reading more in the series. (Input always welcome).

When it comes to series books--looking beyond just Harry Potter--how do you approach series? Do you have to read books in order? Do you feel compelled to read all the series? And if it's an ongoing series do you reread past books before continuing on? 

Complete change of topics, I've decided to start giving half-ratings. Well, not on GoodReads, obviously, but on my spreadsheet and on LibraryThing.

Currently reading:

Poster Girl by Veronica Roth (started Friday night)
Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson. (I've been reading over a week, though not faithfully)
Cornelli by Johanna Spyri (started Thursday night. This reminds me of Emily of New Moon, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, etc. Except she's not an orphan (at least not so far) just her father is gone on a long business trip).

 Totals so far:

Books Read in 202335
Pages Read in 20239,087

© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Saturday, January 21, 2023

14. The Worlds We Leave Behind

The Worlds We Leave Behind. A.F. Harrold. Illustrated by Levi Pinfold. 2023. [February] 256 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Hex wasn't entirely sure how the girl had come to be hurt. That morning he and Tommo had got on their bikes and they'd headed over the train tracks and down the hill, down to the woods. On a map, the woods were a fat finger pointing away from town.

Premise/plot: Twilight Zone times ten--that's how I'd describe A.F. Harrold's The Worlds We Leave Behind. It begins with two friends--Hex (short for Hector) and Tommo (short for Thomas) hanging out together. They had absolutely NO plans at all of hanging out with a "baby" (Sascha). But this neighbor-kid, Sascha, tags along despite the two trying their hardest to get rid of her. (Who wants to be responsible for a strange neighbor kid in the woods??? Certainly not these two.) Playing on a rope swing turns tragic--in more ways than one. She falls off the swing and breaks her arm--it is way more complicated than that...and the world (yes, the world) will never be the same.

Be careful who you meet in the woods. That's all I have to say about that. I know the jacket flap goes into much more detail....but why purposefully spill twists and turns????? 

My thoughts: The Worlds We Leave Behind is certainly atmospheric and creepy. It isn't just horror lite. I think it could qualify as horror-horror. The pace was quick and intense. The premise and plot--stranger danger times a thousand--is uniquely odd and strangely familiar. It does feel like a blend of horror and fairy tale. 

Sensitive readers might want to stay away. But for upper elementary grades and middle school who are looking for something spooky/scary/suspenseful/mysterious packed with twists and turns...this one might be a good fit. I do recommend it for adults who are nostalgic for the Twilight Zone.


© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Friday, January 20, 2023

13. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. J.K. Rowling. 1997. 345 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you'd expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn't hold with such nonsense.

Premise/plot: Harry Potter, our protagonist, is an orphan destined for adventures--and misadventures. Raised by muggles, his aunt and uncle, he is clueless that his parents were involved in magic--witch and warlock. Both attended Hogwarts. Though the Dursleys plan to send Harry to an ordinary school, well, fate (if you will) has other plans. He receives dozens--and dozens and dozens--of invitations to Hogwarts. No matter how much his aunt and uncle want to deny Harry his heritage--his legacy--they are thwarted. (One might sympathize with them if they weren't presented as Roald Dahl style caricatures. After all, if they treated Harry as their own flesh and blood, if they treated him well, if they truly, deeply had his best interests at heart...then one might argue that they are trying to protect Harry.

Much of the book is set at school--Hogwarts--and involves Harry interacting with his closest friends (like Ron and Hermione), his classmates, his professors, his enemies. Harry (and company) get in and out of trouble on multiple occasions. Harry does have a BIG ENEMY (one who is not to be named, perhaps). He does make a brief appearance towards the end of the novel. 

My thoughts: I have not read the series. Let's just get that out in the open from the start. I read this for the first time in 1997 as a college student for a course in children's literature. I wasn't intrigued enough to get into the craze, the phenomenon, the obsession. In the twenty-five years since, I've not picked up another title in the series.

Honestly, I'm not sure I will continue with the series this time. I might. I might not. It's just enough out of my comfort zone that it is not an easy decision.

I will say that it was easier the second time around. I got so confused the first time through. Perhaps because I was probably juggling a million different texts and textbooks at the time. That's life as an English major for you. Each class has a heavy load of books, books, and more books. 

© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Thursday, January 19, 2023

12. Farmer Boy

Farmer Boy. Laura Ingalls Wilder. Illustrated by Garth Williams. 1933. 372 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: It was January in northern New York State, sixty-seven years ago. Snow lay deep everywhere. It loaded the bare limbs of oaks and maples and beeches, it bent the green boughs of cedars and spruces down into the drifts. Billows of snow covered the fields and the snow fences.

Premise/plot: Farmer Boy is the second book (technically) in the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. (The first book is Little House in the Big Woods). The book (fictionally) chronicles Almanzo Wilder's childhood. (Presumably based on stories he told his wife through the years.) I believe it covers roughly one year of his life. It begins and ends in (different) winter(s). The focus, as you can imagine, is on his farm life. He spends a lot of time with horses, cows, pigs, and various crops like corn, wheat, pumpkins, etc. There's also a chapter on cutting ice. (I couldn't help but think of Almanzo hauling ice in the television show).

My thoughts: I must have read the original series a dozen times growing up. And I did always enjoy Almanzo entering the story in The Long Winter. But I never read the second book. Never. I just didn't see the appeal. It was about a boy, a farm boy, a boy who spent way too much time with livestock and crops.

In January, one of the FB groups I am in is challenging members to read children's classics. The catch??? It has to be a previously unread children's classic. I immediately thought of Farmer Boy. 

Was I right to skip it? Probably. It is all subjective, I know. Plenty of girls--plenty of kids--go through a horse phase, where they read anything/everything with horses. That never happened to me. I never went through a horse phase. And this book is only about a step above watching grass grow. In my opinion.

 I do think it provided a window into the past. And in some ways, two windows into the past. Readers can get a glimpse into Almanzo's childhood. (If my math serves, roughly 1866/1867). But readers also get a glimpse into the 1930s. People certainly viewed the world different in 1866 than they do now...and same with the early 1930s. You can't expect today's values and viewpoints to be present in a book written in 1933...especially when that book was telling the story of a boy growing up in the 1860s.


© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

11. Camp Creepy

Camp Creepy. (Sinister Summer Series #3) Kiersten White. 2023 [January] 288 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: When Alexander emerged from the lake, not at all upset about how many microbes and bacteria and brain-eating amoeba he might have let in through his nose and mouth, he grabbed a tie-dyed shirt. That was another weird thing. Not only was he not wearing swim-goggles--he usually refused to put his head underwater without swim goggles--but also Alexander never swam without a shirt. He was too worried about sunburns and skin cancer. He used the shirt to wipe off his face before dropping it on the ground instead of folding it and setting it carefully on a rock so it wouldn't get dirty.

Premise/plot: Theo, Alexander, and Wil are back for their third adventure. Their parents are still missing. Their aunt has dropped them off at summer camp--well close to summer camp--before vanishing quickly and mysteriously. They've had two misadventures this summer already. They are prepared (as much as they can be) to face danger, danger, and more danger. But this summer camp isn't what they expected it to be at all. In some ways it's passive-passive-passive-passive-aggressive approach is even more dangerous. 

Can Theo, Alexander, Wil (and Edgar and Quincy) survive summer camp?

My thoughts: I really enjoyed the first book in the series. The second book in the series was a little more slippery. I found it confusing in places. I maintained a grasp on the plot and characters, but my comprehension was not 100%. Picking up the third one, well, I'm not sure I had everything I needed to fully understand/grasp/comprehend. It's like when you miss a few scenes from a movie because you took a much-needed bathroom break.

But I did like it more than the second book. I really do have a fondness for these characters--especially Alexander and Theo.


© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Monday, January 16, 2023

10. The Curse of the Mummy

The Curse of the Mummy: Uncovering Tutankhamun's Tomb. Candace Fleming. 2021. 285 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: It was said...the boy king's tomb was cursed.

Premise/plot: The Curse of the Mummy is middle grade nonfiction. (Though I could see upper elementary grade students seeking this out if there is an interest in the subject.) It is the true story of the search for and discovery of Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of Kings. It explores the mythology--urban legend-izing--of the so-called "curse" that plagued any and all that came into contact with ancient Egyptian artifacts. It clarifies that there was no actual "curse." It looks at how that built up and became a thing...[but how there was no basis of truth in it.]

It is set mainly in Egypt in the 1910s and 1920s. It covers a tiny bit the controversy of who owns these artifacts and how they should be treated. Or should have been treated (but weren't.) 

My thoughts: Sixth-grade me would have absolutely loved, loved, loved, loved this one. Sixth grade was a big [memorable] field trip year for me. I've been interested in Ancient Egypt and Egyptian mythology ever since. So adult-me is still excited to have read this one. I do think I read more nonfiction as an adult than I did as a kid. [I think the quality and quantity are better.]

I really enjoyed this one. I read a physical library book copy of this one. The printing seemed a bit off. Some pages looked like copies-of-copies. [Are photocopies even still a thing????] Some text was gray instead of black. [And I don't think it was meant to be.] All of the sections about the curse were black background and white text. Some of these black pages were more gray than black. Again I don't think this was intentional. But technical printing issues aside, I'm very glad I read this one!!!


© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

9. Moonflower Murders

Moonflower Murders. (Susan Ryeland #2) Anthony Horowitz. 2020. 608 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The Polydorus is a charming family-run hotel, located a short walk away from the lively town of Agios Nikolaos, one hour from Heraklion. Rooms cleaned daily, all with Wi-Fi and air con, some with sea views. Coffee and home-cooked meals served on our lovely terraces. Visit our website or find us on booking.com. You have no idea how long it took me to write that.

Premise/plot: Moonflower Murders is the sequel to Magpie Murders. Susan Ryeland (editor/amateur detective) is now living on Crete running a small hotel with her boyfriend Andreas. Two of their guests have arrived with a proposition for Susan. Their daughter, Cecily, has gone missing. Before Cecily disappeared, she'd called her parents saying that reading Atticus Pund Takes The Cake has changed her mind about who murdered their own guest so many years before. Stefan Codrescu may have been convicted of the crime and may be in prison, but, he's innocent. The proof is hidden within Alan Conway's mystery novel.

The Trehernes are offering to pay Susan to investigate both crimes. Perhaps as Alan's editor she can spot what Cecily spotted in the text. And she did have success in solving who murdered Alan, after all. Susan takes the case for two reasons--she's TIRED and worn down from running the hotel and misses her old life, and the MONEY will prove useful whether she stays or goes. 

As she begins detecting the two cases--surely Cecily disappeared because she knew too much--Susan tries to sort out where she belongs and what she really wants.

About three-quarters through this one, Alan Conway's novel ATTICUS PUND TAKES THE CAKE is embedded. 

My thoughts: What a wearisome novel this was!!! The pacing was all over the place--and obviously not in a good way. I didn't mind Alan Conway's novel kicking off the first book. The fact that the missing end chapters was the literal conflict (or one of them) in the "main" story helped me stay engaged. It was a fun, premise-driven novel. I didn't love, love, love it. But it always kept me reading. 

Moonflower Murders doesn't have a great premise working on its behalf. Susan is retired. She is no longer an editor; she is no longer in the book business. If Susan had been less bored or less in need of money, chances are she'd not left the island or her boyfriend to play detective. 

My biggest issue with this one, however, is that almost all the characters are so unlikable and in some cases so disgusting. It's hard to spend HUNDREDS of pages (felt like thousands of pages) with characters that you despise/dislike. My neutral feelings for Susan and Andreas weren't enough to really rescue this one. 

I don't know that this one needs a trigger warning exactly. But so much of the unfolding mystery surrounds adult men (aged 50+) engaging with very young barely-legal (and perhaps not legal) young teen male prostitutes. And it gets descriptive/graphic. Okay, that may not be fair. I don't think it's meant to be graphic in a romantic/sensual way. But it's a LOT to process. 

I wrestled with whether to keep reading this one or to abandon it. It was just so wearisome.


© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Sunday Salon #3 Point of No Return?

I am a believer in Daniel Pennac's Readers' Bill of Rights. I am. But sometimes I struggle with the third one: THE RIGHT TO NOT FINISH. It's easy to stop reading a book you've barely started. It's really hard to stop reading once you've read over halfway. I am going to make an effort to be more true to myself and allow myself more freedom in reading. (I've already DNF'd two books this year).

Readers' Bill of Rights (Daniel Pennac)

1. The Right to Not Read
2. The Right to Skip Pages
3. The Right to Not Finish
4. The Right to Reread
5. The Right To Read Anything
6. The Right to Escapism
7. The Right to Read Anywhere
8. The Right to Browse
9. The Right to Read Out Loud
10. The Right to Not Defend Your Tastes

 Currently reading: 

Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz (could this be the inspiration for the post topic???? Maybe. Probably.)
Camp Creepy (Sinister Summer #3) Kiersten White. (I've barely started this one. I had a migraine on Friday (the day I started the book. Unrelated, I'm sure.)
Little Wartime Library by Kate Thompson. (I absolutely love the book cover on this one. Plus I love reading books about books.)


Are you familiar with the Readers' Bill of Rights? Do you have a favorite? least favorite?
Which one do you struggle with most?

What was the last book you chose to read because of the cover?

How much time do you give a book before you give up on it?

© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

8. Voices (Babylon 5 #1)

Babylon #5: Voices. John Vornholt. 1995. 246 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: "Welcome to Mars," said the sultry, automated voice. 

Premise/plot: When Talia Winters (Babylon 5's resident telepath) is accused of being a terrorist and bombing a telepath convention being held on the station, it may be up to Michael Garibaldi and Harriman Gray (an unlikely duo to say the best) to track down the real person(s) responsible, clear Talia's name, and restore her reputation. 

Most of the action of this science-fiction novel occurs off the Babylon 5 station. It definitely has plenty of Mr. Bester in it. Though plenty of other telepaths (Psi Corps) enter into the story. 

My thoughts: This was my first time to read Voices. I've read a handful of other Babylon 5 novels (at least three, maybe four). Talia Winters has never been my favorite-or-best character on the show. Either I've mellowed out in my most recent binge-watch, or this novel has helped me like her more.  

The pacing of this one was solid. I definitely wanted to keep reading to figure out just how her name was cleared. I never doubted for a minute that it would be. I knew that no matter the dangers Garibaldi and Winters faced somehow, someway these two would make it back to the Babylon 5 station intact. But there is more than one reason--suspense--to read a novel.


© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

7. Today, Tonight, Tomorrow

Today Tonight Tomorrow. Rachel Lynn Solomon. 2020. 364 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The text jolts me from sleep a minute before my 5:55 alarm, three quick pulses to let me know my least favorite person is already awake. Neil McNair--"McNightmare" in my phone--is annoyingly punctual. It's one of his only good traits. We've been text-taunting since we were sophomores, after a series of morning threats made both of us late for homeroom. 

Premise/plot: Rowan Roth and Neil McNair are fierce (and feisty) competitors (and classmates). Only one can be valedictorian, both desperately want it. Today Tonight Tomorrow is the story of their last day of high school. (Or perhaps their last weekend before graduation on Sunday.) They'll spend much of this day together...

The jacket copy reads, "Today, she hates him. Tonight, she puts up with him. Tomorrow...maybe she's already fallen for him." The premise is 100% predictable. Competitive classmates turned love interests. 

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one mostly. I think Rowan and Neil make a cute-and-compatible couple, for the most part. I think they are capable of bringing out the best in each other. Granted, they haven't always been thoughtful or kind. This is definitely a YA romance. It would make a fun rom-com as well. 

One of Rowan's big things is her obsession with romance novels and her desire to write (and publish) romance novels herself. So much of the text of Today Tonight Tomorrow is a defense of--an argument for--romance novels. She asserts that romance novels are essentially feminist and empowering. In a world where women are objectified so often, so blatantly there are romance novels where women are never objectified. I'm not sure I completely buy her argument. [Though you could argue that they are more balanced perhaps--men are objectified too.] Perhaps it's an author by author, book by book, series by series, publisher by publisher, decade by decade thing. I can certainly think of plenty of examples of UNhealthy relationships--abusive, manipulative, etc--depicted in romance novels. There were decades were it was okay--more than okay--for the "hero" of a romance novel to VIOLENTLY assault the heroine of the novel only to have her swooning over him and falling head over heels in love with him a few encounters later. I've certainly encountered romance books where women are objectified. Though perhaps the romance novel was calling out objectifying behavior without condoning it. For examples, books where heroines are saved by heroes from dangerous situations. Rowan, however, seems to have grown up reading different kinds of romance novels--or perhaps she has a blind spot or two. She loves how reading romance novels makes her super-comfortable and honest with all the sex-talk and sex itself. 

I should have been suspicious of all this romance novel talk to see where this one would eventually end up. So much of the novel is on the "light" side. Not clean exactly. But more on the sweet-and-flirty side and not the steamy side. But. By the end of the day my giddy-making, sweet rom-com had turned graphic--very. 

Again, I'll mention for the millionth time that I know I am completely in the minority. So don't let this dissuade you from reading the book itself. For those looking for a sex-positive YA rom-com with well-developed characters...then this one may prove a great fit.


© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Monday, January 09, 2023

6. To Sir With Love

To Sir With Love. E.R. Braithwaite. 1959. 189 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The crowded red double-decker bus inched its way through the snarl of traffic in Aldgate. It was almost as if it was reluctant to get rid of the overload of noisy, earthy charwomen it had collected on its run through the city--thick-armed, bovine women, huge-breasted, with heavy bodies irrevocably distorted by frequent childbearing, faces pink and slightly damp from their early labors, the warm May morning and their own energy. 

Premise/plot: Historical fiction/autobiographical novel. Set in the East End (I believe) of London during the mid/late 1940s. [I *want* to say that the year 1947 was used???] Mr. Braithwaite doesn't want to be a teacher. He really doesn't. But with limited opportunities for employment--complicated in part by the color of his skin--he accepts the job reluctantly and with some bitterness. [In the movie, the bitterness was disguised much more. Here the text ripples with anger, bitterness, dare I say hate???] He doesn't seem to enjoy teaching, for the most part, or like most of his coworkers [with the exception of a few], and he definitely doesn't enjoy being around his students--not really. But over the course of a year--a little less than a year--he comes to better terms with his life. I wouldn't say he ever comes to love it though. 

My thoughts: The book may be a thousand times truer to life. But. I will always prefer the movie. I knew a little of what to expect from watching the movie, but, nothing really prepared me for the author's narrative style. It was a little earthy/crude for my personal taste. [Like did every thought the teacher had about breasts have to be included??? Like noticing his students, coworkers, fellow bus riders, etc.] It is definitely a race book--for better or worse. He felt less discriminated against during the war, and settling back down he was unprepared for how much prejudice he would [still] encounter in his day to day life. He does date one of his white coworkers--a fellow teacher--and the two do face some problems.


© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

5. Doomsday Book

Doomsday Book. Connie Willis. 1992. Random House. 592 pages.  [Source: Book I Bought]

First sentence: Mr. Dunworthy opened the door to the laboratory and his spectacles promptly steamed up.
"Am I too late?" he said, yanking them off and squinting at Mary.
"Shut the door," she said. "I can't hear you over the sound of those ghastly carols."
Dunworthy closed the door, but it didn't completely shut out the sound of "O Come, All Ye Faithful" wafting in from the quad. "Am I too late?" he said again.  

 Premise/plot: In a world where historians learn their subject firsthand by time travel, Kivrin, our heroine--one of them--is sent to the middle ages to learn just "how exaggerated" (according to her professor/advisor Gilchrist) the accounts of the Black Death were. That's spinning it a bit. Kivrin is there to LEARN and OBSERVE and ABSORB. Technically, she's to be sent to 1320--the Advent/Christmas/Epiphany season in OXFORD. But that's if all goes according to plan and there are no mix-ups or mistakes. Mr. Dunworthy, our hero, has a bad feeling that those in charge of the project are incapable and incompetent and imbeciles. The book opens moments before she is sent back in time....it isn't long before Dunworthy has reason to panic...

But this book isn't about one man's panic--his helicopter teaching, if you will. It is about TWO pandemics. One is set in the present of 2054. This pandemic requires a quarantine, contact tracing, mask-wearing, and safety protocols. With it comes toilet paper shortages--along with soap! The present story line is full of mystery and action. The other is set in the past--the Black Death. There is a theme of helplessness in both.

My thoughts: Doomsday Book by Connie Willis is one of my favorite, favorite, favorite, favorite, favorite books. This is my SIXTH time to read and review it. I last reviewed it in 2020. I love and adore this book so much. It is set during Christmas/Epiphany. It's just a book that calls out to me every year to reread. I started it in December of 2022, but didn't finish up until this past weekend!

© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Sunday, January 08, 2023

Sunday Salon #2 Behind On Reviews

Will I always and forever be behind on reviews? Maybe. Maybe not. This week I'm behind by just three little books: Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (a reread; this is a book that I crazy love and adore); To Sir With Love by E.R. Braithwaite; and Wednesday and Woof  #3: The Runaway Robot.

Books Read in 202314
Pages Read in 20232,890

In 2023, so far I have reviewed (actually posted and/or scheduled to post) fourteen books.  

Currently reading:

Belittled Women by Amanda Sellet (which I've been reading since early December)
Today, Tonight, Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon (which I've been reading about two or three days)
The Sisters of Sea View by Julie Klassen (which I've been reading since Thursday)
Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz (which I started Friday night)


Are there any books that YOU love to reread??? 

Have you ever been disappointed by a book when you've seen the movie first??? Is the book always better??? Or can some movies improve upon a book???

If you review books, do you struggle to stay caught up??? What motivates you to stay caught up??? 

© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Wednesday, January 04, 2023

4. Twice in a Lifetime

Twice in a Lifetime. Melissa Baron. 2022. 325 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The text came through at 8:33 PM.

Premise/plot: Personally I was reminded of The Lake House (a romantic comedy). Isla, our heroine, is out of sorts. She's grieving the loss of her mother (to cancer). She's in a tense non-relationship with her father. She's quit one job and is getting settled into another. She's moved from a big city to the country. Also, she suffers from general anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Every day is a battle, a struggle. The novel opens with Isla getting a text from the future. Yes, the future. Ewan Park--a man who has either lost grip with reality OR really is who he says he is, her future husband--is contacting her via text message. She's skeptical (has she not seen the Lake House???) but hesitant. She doesn't want to block this number. He makes her feel less lonely and miserable. He makes her feel good about herself. But yet can she truly believe his outrageous claims??? But at one point, his texts become warnings. And then they stop--abruptly. 

Will Ewan and Isla ever get their happily ever after?

My thoughts: Is it premise-driven???? Yes. At least mostly. This one is definitely all about the magic of being able to reach out and seeking to connect with your one-true-love. Love is not bound by time--if you have a magic cottage. Is it character-driven???? Again, yes, mostly. It is more feelings-and-emotions driven than traditional character-driven. Isla's headspace--her mental health, her extra-special-mental-health needs--takes up so much of this one. Ewan is mainly portrayed as her savior--literally and figuratively. [Cue a Celine Dion song, perhaps???] If readers do not enjoy Isla, Ewan, or Isla-and-Ewan together as a couple, then the premise alone may not be enough to "save" this one and make it worth your time. This one is DEFINITELY not plot-driven, not really. It's a romance first and foremost. 

Is it clean???? NO. I am probably in the small majority of readers who prefer their romance without graphic love songs. I realize I'm the minority. Plenty of readers will not have a problem with the content of this one. For those few who like me prefer clean-and-sweet romance [Christian or not] this one definitely needs a warning before you become too attached to the characters. 

This book might be triggering for some. Isla is struggling almost every waking moment of every day with severe mental problems. She is truly in trouble--this is no joke--her life depends on her getting help. The book has its dark-and-bleak moments. Isla's headspace turns to despair, and, since the author wants us right there alongside the main character feeling what she feels, well, it could be triggering for some readers.

Did it work for me? It wasn't a perfect read for me. I was definitely hooked and had to keep reading--I read this one over two or three days.


© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Tuesday, January 03, 2023

3. The Windeby Puzzle

The Windeby Puzzle. Lois Lowry. 2023. [February] 224 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Cool wind. Day start. One bird a-twitter. Warblers newly back now, settling in, after winter in a warmer place. Planting time soon. Then the birds would be everywhere: noisy, pecking for the seeds, for the insects. Eggs in the nests: speckled eggs they were, the warblers' nests in the high grasses. Dark, still. But the land was alive: waking, whistling with breeze through the grasses and murmuring with creatures emerging from sleep. 

Premise/plot: The Windeby Puzzle is a blend of history and fiction. [I did NOT know this heading into the book. Because it does effect the pacing and flow of the narrative, potential readers should know this up front]. Lois Lowry lets readers into the process--her craft--of writing a new book. 

This book was inspired by discovery of the Windeby bog body back in the 1950s in Northern Germany. For decades--literally decades--it was assumed to be the body of a thirteen year old girl. New research, however, have shifted conclusions. It is now believed to be the body of a malnourished/sickly sixteen year old boy. Lowry alternates HISTORY and fiction. 

The first history-fiction section assumes that it is a thirteen-year-old girl. Lowry creates the character of Estrild. What led to her death? Was she a human sacrifice? Was she executed? If she was executed, then what was her crime? What would her life have been like? The second history-fiction section takes a turn. If the bog-child-body was a boy, what was HIS story???? Varick was a character--Estrild's best friend--from her first story. But this time around, he is the star of the show. What was HIS life like? What led him to the bog?

Both fictional stories are set in the Iron Age. 

My thoughts: I can honestly say that The Windeby Puzzle is unlike Lowry's previously published children's books. I've read plenty of them--though not all of them. It isn't really similar to any other children's books I've read either. That is neither good nor bad. (It just is.) 

Will it appeal more to adults than children? Maybe. Will it appeal to children at all? I don't know. It's set in ancient history--the Iron Age, and in Northern Germany. The blend of history and fiction is unique. But is it unique in a way that is likely to make children--elementary, middle grade--excited to pick it up and keep turning pages???? I don't know. I suppose if you've got someone in your life that is interested in archaeological digs, ancient cultures, and ancient history, perhaps. OR if perhaps someone who really wants to understand author craft. In getting a glimpse of HOW a story comes together and how the author works to bring her book to life. This book is definitely taste-specific! Will it appeal to adults? Again, I can't say that it is one that would automatically have broad appeal. The author is incredibly gifted and prolific. There will be some readers--perhaps myself included--who will read ANY title Lowry publishes no matter the subject matter, no matter the reviews, just because ANY book has to be good, right???

I am curious to see the reviews start coming in for this one. I am. (I am not always.) Will readers like it? love it? hate it? Find it dull or boring? Or will they find all the nerdy details fascinating? 

Personally, I preferred HIS story to her story. I did not need [yet another] story of a [young] girl who was a feminist over a thousand years ahead of her time who was going to make a stand because girls [and women] have rights and should be treated equally. Those stories always seem out of place, and Lowry admits that her characterization is way out there and not at all realistic. Both stories are set first century AD.

© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

Monday, January 02, 2023

2. Magpie Murders

Magpie Murders. Anthony Horowitz. 2016. 477 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: A bottle of wine. A family-sized packet of Nacho Cheese Flavoured Tortilla Chips and a jar of hot salsa dip. A packet of cigarettes on the side (I know, I know). The rain hammering against the windows. And a book. What could have been lovelier? Magpie Murders was number nine in the much-loved and world-bestselling Atticus Pünd series. When I first opened it on that wet August evening, it existed only as a typescript and it would be my job to edit it before it was published. First, I intended to enjoy it.

Premise/plot: Susan Ryeland, our heroine, is an editor. She edits Alan Conway's mysteries. Alan Conway's newest book [and final book] is Magpie Murders. The book opens with an entire book-within-a-book. Readers are reading alongside Susan, the manuscript for a mystery novel. Readers discover along with Susan that THE LAST FEW CHAPTERS are missing from the manuscript in front of her. Soon after she realizes this, news breaks that Alan Conway [the author, if you remember] is DEAD. Susan has mysteries to solve. Where are the missing chapters? In the book, who did it??? who was the murderer??? And in real life, WHY did Conway choose to take his own life???? Or did he??? Was this a set up??? Was he murdered??? Are these two events connected???? Did the murderer [if there was a murderer] take the last chapters of the manuscript??? If so, why????

My thoughts: I watched the television show first. For better or worse. You are probably wondering, ARE THEY THE SAME????? And the answer is there are differences, definitely differences. The book is a thousand times easier to follow. And there are differences in DETAILS and clues as well. Ultimately, who did it in both mysteries is the same. But there are differences in the journey and how everything unfolds. I definitely preferred the book. But the television show prompted me to pick up the book. So it was definitely worth watching for that alone.


© 2023 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews