Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Among the Impostors

Among the Impostors. Margaret Peterson Haddix. 2001. 172 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Sometimes he whispered his real name in the dark, in the middle of the night. "Luke. My name is Luke."

Premise/plot: Among the Impostors is the second book in the Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The first novel, Among the Hidden, ended with Luke Garner's life in danger. The second book opens with Lee Grant preparing to enter a school for troubled boys, Hendricks School for Boys. He's been slipped a note by his rescuer, but, he's disappointed when he finally gets a chance to read it. How is a shadow child supposed to blend in seamlessly with other boys his own age? How is he supposed to look like he belongs in a school, in a classroom, in a cafeteria?! He's only ever known his own house, and mainly the attic at that. Still, Lee does his best. It turns out that he's not the only boy struggling to blend in. Could all the boys have something in common? Could they all be shadow children? Is it safe to admit to another shadow child your own real name? Lee wants more than anything to find a true friend, but, he's been taught not to trust.

My thoughts: I am not sure that I loved, loved, loved this one. It could be I'm always in a rush to get through the whole series and experience all the books. So this book is just a stepping stone in a way. Definitely worth reading to get you from one point to another. But is it special on its own? Maybe, maybe not. I did notice some similarities to MANDY. I definitely recommend the whole series. This one introduces two new characters: Nina and Jason. Nina is from a girls school nearby. Jason is one of his roommates.
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Wishtree

Wishtree. Katherine Applegate. 2017. 224 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: It's hard to talk to trees. We're not big on chitchat. That's not to say we can't do amazing things, things you'll probably never do.

Premise/plot: The narrator of Katherine Applegate's newest novel is a tree named Red. Red is a wishing tree--a raggy tree. Every year people write their wishes and tie them to the branches by May 1. Red has seen a lot of years come and go--he's over two hundred years old--but this wishing season is different. The new girl in the neighborhood, Samar, has wished for a friend. Perhaps because some bully carved the word LEAVE on Red's bark, perhaps because Samar comes to visit him each night, perhaps because Red has a feeling that his days are numbered, Red decides to get involved with the human drama unfolding before her eyes. Find a friend for Samar--that is Red's number one priority. 

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. I enjoyed Red more than I ever thought I could--or would. I enjoyed all the animals that made Red their home. It was a lovely read.
"We grow as we must grow, as our seeds decided long ago." (39)
"For two hundred and sixteen rings, I've sat on my roots and listened to people hope for things. And a lot of times, those wishes never happened, I'm guessing."
Bongo tucked a feather into place. "Sometimes that's for the best. Remember that kindergartner who wanted a bulldozer?"
"I'm passive. I just sit here watching the world."
"You're a tree, Red. That's kind of the job description."
"This is a good wish. And it's a wish I can make happen." I paused. "Well, we can make happen." (88)

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Picture Book Check-In

Option 1:
  • What picture books did you read this month?
  • Which squares did you fill?
  • Which squares are you having trouble with?
  • How many until you bingo?
  • Do you have suggestions for other participants?

Option 2:
  • What picture books did you read this month?
  • Which categories did you check off your list?
  • What is your goal? How close are you to meeting that goal?
  • Which categories are you having trouble with?
  • Do you have suggestions for other participants?

Option 3:
  • What picture books did you read this month?
  • Which letters have you read?
  • How many more to go until you've read the alphabet?
  • Which letters are you having trouble with? 
  • Do you have suggestions for other participants?
Books reviewed since last time:

  1. Preaching to the Chickens. Jabari Asim. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. 2016. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. The Sneetches and Other Stories. Dr. Seuss. 1961. Random House. 65 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. Not Quite Narwhal. Jessie Sima. 2017. 36 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. His Royal Highness, King Baby: A Terrible True Story. Sally Lloyd-Jones. Illustrated by David Roberts. 2017. Candlewick Press. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  5. Mitzi Tulane, Preschool Detective in What's That Smell? Lauren McLaughlin. Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. 2016. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Library] 
  6. Mitzi Tulane, Preschool Detective in the Secret Ingredient. Lauren McLaughlin. Illustrated by Debbie Ohi. 2017. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  7. Peppa Pig and the Library Visit. Candlewick. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  8. Chugga Chugga Choo Choo. Emma Garcia. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  9. Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown. Eric Litwin. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. 2017. Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  10. This Beautiful Day. Richard Jackson. Illustrated by Suzy Lee. 2017. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  11. The Worst Goes South. James Stevenson. 1995. 26 pages. [Source: Library]  
  12. Mouse and Hippo. Mike Twohy. 2017. Simon Schuster. 32 pages. [Source: Library]  
  13. A Perfect Day. Lane Smith. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]  
  14. Hooray for Books. Brian Won. 2017. HMH. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  15. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge. Mem Fox. Illustrated by Julie Vivas. 1984/1985. Kane/Miller. 32 pages. [Source: Library]  
  16. Choo Choo. Virginia Lee Burton. 1937/2017. HMH. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  17. Bunny's Book Club. Annie Silvestro. Illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]  
  18. This is a Good Story. Adam Lehrhaupt. 2017. Simon & Schuster. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  19. Wolf in the Snow. Matthew Cordell. 2017. 48 pages. [Source: Library] 
  20. This & That. Mem Fox. Illustrated by Judy Horacek. 2017. Scholastic. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  21. A Band of Babies. Carole Gerber. Illustrated by Jane Dyer. 2017. HarperCollins. 32 pages. [Source: Library] 
  22. Board book: I'm silly. Jennifer L. Holm. Illustrated by Matthew Holm. 2017. Random House. 22 pages. [Source: Library]
  23. Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge. Mem Fox. Illustrated by Julie Vivas. 1984/1985. Kane/Miller. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  24. Egg. Kevin Henkes. 2017. 40 pages. [Source: Library] 
  25. Blue Ethel. Jennifer Black Reinhardt. 2017. 40 pages. [Source: Library]  
  26.  Noisy Night. Mac Barnett. Illustrated by Brian Biggs. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library] 
  27. Tea with Oliver. Mika Song. 2017. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]  
  28. You Must Bring A Hat. Simon Philip. Illustrated by Kate Hindley. 2017. 40 pages. [Source: Library] 
  29. La La La: A Story of Hope. Kate DiCamillo. Illustrated by Jaime Kim. 2017. Candlewick. 72 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  30. Board book: Buildablock. Christopher Franceschelli. Illustrated by Peskimo. 2017. Harry N. Abrams. 90 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  31. Board book: All Aboard!: Let's Ride a Train. 2017. Harry N. Abrams. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  32. Board book: Where's the Hen? Nosy Crow. Illustrated by Ingela P. Arrhenius. 2017. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  33. Board book: Where's the Owl? Nosy Crow. Ingela P Arrhenius. 2017. Candlewick. 10 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  34. Board book: Better Together: A Book of Family. Barbara Joose and Anneke Lisberg. Illustrated by Jared Schorr. 2017. Harry N. Abrams. 22 pages. [Source: Review copy]   
  35. Three Little Kittens. Illustrated by Lilian Obligado. 1974. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Bought]
  36. You Can Read. Helaine Becker. Illustrated by Mark Hoffmann. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  37. Imagine. John Lennon. Illustrated by Jean Jullien. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  38. Board book: This Little Trailblazer: A Girl Power Primer. Joan Holub. Illustrated by Daniel Roode. 2017. Simon & Schuster. 26 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  39. The Catawampus Cat. Jason Carter Eaton. Illustrated by Gus Gordon. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  40. I Want My Hat Back. Jon Klassen. 2011. Candlewick Press. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  41. Nighty-Night, Cooper. Laura Numeroff. 2013. HMH. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
  42.  Cats. Larry Dane Brimner. Illustrated by Tom Payne. 2001. 24 pages. [Source: Library]
  43. Board book: Baby Loves Thermodynamics. Ruth Spiro. Illustrated by Irene Chan. 2017. Charlesbridge. 22 pages. [Source: Review copy]
 


© 2016 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Girl reading a book by Federico Zandomeneghi
Host: Becky's Book Reviews (sign up)
Duration: January - December 2018
# of books: minimum of 6

Option 1: Read six middle grade books of your choice.
Option 2: Choose one author to focus on. Perhaps read through an entire author's work.
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
_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
_17. Title beginning with I
_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
_27. Title beginning with N
_28. Author beginning with N
_29. Title beginning with O
_30. Author beginning with O
_31. Title beginning with P
_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
_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. 2018 Newbery Winner or Honor
_47. Newbery Winner or Honor from 2010-2017
_48. Newbery Winner or Honor from 2000-2009
_49. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1990-1999
_50. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1980-1989
_51. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1970-1979
_52. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1960-1969
_53. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1950-1959
_54. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1940-1949
_55. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1932-1939
_56. Newbery Winner or Honor from 1922-1931
_57. Notable Children's Book from 2018 or 2017
_ 58. Any book by a Wilder Award author
_ 59. verse novel
_ 60. graphic novel
_ 61. biography or memoir
_ 62. nonfiction
_ 63. poetry
_ 64. audio book
_ 65. first in a series
_ 66. any book in a series
_ 67. last book in a series
_ 68. favorite author
_ 69. new to you author
_ 70. British author
_ 71. Australian author
_ 72. Canadian author
_ 73. translated into English from another language
_ 74. American author
_ 75. set in the state you live
_ 76. set in a place you'd like to visit
_ 77. set in an imaginary place you'd like to visit
_ 78. picture book for older readers
_ 79. book about a pet
_ 80. animal fantasy
_ 81. fantasy
_ 82. alternate reality
_ 83. science fiction
_ 84. adventure
_ 85. action/suspense
_ 86. mystery/detective
_ 87. realistic fiction
_ 88. school setting
_ 89. multiple points of view
_ 90. historical fiction -- world war I
_ 91. historical fiction -- world war II
_ 92. historical fiction, your choice
_ 93. historical fiction, mystery or suspense
_ 94. oh the sads
_ 95. happy, happy ending
_ 96. laugh until you cry
_ 97. coming of age
_ 98. "diary" or "notebook"
_ 99. classic, your choice
_ 100. out of print
_ 101. library book
_ 102. impulse pick
_ 103. published in 2018
_ 104. YOUR pick for Newbery 2019

Bonus/alternate picks:
_ made into a good movie
_ made into a horrible movie
_ book from your childhood
_ free choice
_ multiple authors
_ orphan child
_ vacation setting or road trip
_ first crush
_ new book by favorite author
_ time travel or steam punk

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Week in Review: October 8-14



Come, Let Us Adore Him. Paul David Tripp. 2017. Crossway. 160 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Preaching to the Chickens. Jabari Asim. Illustrated by E.B. Lewis. 2016. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
The Sneetches and Other Stories. Dr. Seuss. 1961. Random House. 65 pages. [Source: Library]
Refresh: Embracing a Grace-Paced Life in a World of Endless Demands. Shona and David Murray. 2017. Crossway. 208 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Operation Commentary
My Autumn with Psalm 119 #5


Not Quite Narwhal. Jessie Sima. 2017. 36 pages. [Source: Library]
His Royal Highness, King Baby: A Terrible True Story. Sally Lloyd-Jones. Illustrated by David Roberts. 2017. Candlewick Press. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Mitzi Tulane, Preschool Detective in What's That Smell? Lauren McLaughlin. Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. 2016. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
Mitzi Tulane, Preschool Detective in the Secret Ingredient. Lauren McLaughlin. Illustrated by Debbie Ohi. 2017. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
Peppa Pig and the Library Visit. Candlewick. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
Chugga Chugga Choo Choo. Emma Garcia. 2017. 32 pages. [Source: Library]


2018 Picture Book Reading Challenge
2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
2018 Victorian Reading Challenge
2018 Charity Reading Challenge
2018 Kitty Lit Reading Challenge
2018 Share-a-Tea Reading Challenge
Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown. Eric Litwin. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. 2017. Scholastic. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]
This Beautiful Day. Richard Jackson. Illustrated by Suzy Lee. 2017. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
The Worst Goes South. James Stevenson. 1995. 26 pages. [Source: Library]
Among the Hidden. Margaret Peterson Haddix. 1998. 153 pages. [Source: Library]
Revealed. (The Missing #7) Margaret Pterson Haddix. 2014. Simon & Schuster. 448 pages. [Source: Library]



© 2017 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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