Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Trains Don't Sleep

Trains Don't Sleep. Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum. Illustrated by Deidre Gill. 2017. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Trains are humming, coming near, coupled cars from front to rear. Rumbling, grumbling, screech and squeal, rolling, trolling wheels on steel.

Premise/plot: Do you have a little one with a one-track mind? If you have a train-loving little one, this is a must. I wouldn't go so far as to say it is exactly a day-in-the-life of a train. But. It comes close to being just that. The book begins and ends with dawn approaching.

My thoughts: This train book reads like a poem. And I mean that in the best possible way! Trains and rhythm almost go together naturally you might say. This one certainly captures a beautiful rhythm which makes it a great read aloud choice.
Puffing, chuffing, never yawning, climbing hills as day is dawning.
Sky-high trestle, canyon sights. Trains are not afraid of heights.
This one includes a glossary which illustrates and defines elements of the story.
Reefer: a refrigerated boxcar that keeps food cold.
Speaking of the illustrations, they are BEAUTIFUL. I loved, loved, loved them.

I will warn you: THERE IS A PICTURE OF A CLOWN within this book. But even so, I LOVED this one and highly recommend it!

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

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

What's On Your Nightstand (July)

The folks at 5 Minutes For Books host What’s On Your Nightstand? the fourth Tuesday of each month in which we can share about the books we have been reading and/or plan to read.

The Wretched. Victor Hugo. Translated by Christine Donougher. 1862/2013. 1456 pages. [Source: Bought]

This is actually Les Miserables. I've been reading this one all month for Paris in July. I had hoped to finish it this month. But. It's not looking likely. I am 44% done. I do LOVE the book.

The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old. Hendrik Groen. Translated by Hester Velmans. 2014/2017. 384 pages. [Source: Library]

This one had me at hello: "Another year, and I still don't like old people. Their walker shuffle, their unreasonable impatience, their endless complaints, their tea and cookies, their bellyaching. Me? I am eighty-three years old." I'm 39% done.

The Wooden Prince. (Out of Abaton #1) John Claude Bemis. 2016. 312 pages. [Source: Library]

This is a Pinocchio retelling in a fascinating fantasy world.  I am 86% done.

It Can't Happen Here. Sinclair Lewis. 1935/2005. 400 pages. [Source: Library]

Ever wondered what would happen if a racist, sexist, egotistical man was elected to the office of President of the United States? This dystopia was written in 1935. It was set in 1936. And Lewis' novel featured real people and fictional people. I am 56% done.

Great Expectations. Charles Dickens. 1860/2016. Macmillan Collector's Library. 640 pages. [Source: Library]

I am enjoying it so far! 46% done.

Learning to Love the Psalms. W. Robert Godfrey. 2017. Reformation Trust. 318 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I spent a week listening to W. Robert Godfrey's teaching series on Church History. I was so excited to get the chance to review his newest book. And it's on the PSALMS! (I am 13% done.)

An Exposition of Psalm 119. Thomas Manton. 2025 pages. [Source: Bought]
I have been LOVING this one. I don't always do a great job in reading a sermon or two a week, but I am 28% done. My next sermon will be on Psalm 119:39, "Sermon 44."

City of God. Augustine. 1097 pages. [Source: Bought]

I started reading this one in February, took several months off, and then started reading it again this July. I am 57% done. I'm about to start book 15.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Miffy at the Library

Miffy at the Library. Maggie Testa. 2017. Simon & Schuster. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Miffy and Grunty are going to the library. Aunt Alice is helping out at the library.

Premise/plot: Miffy and Grunty "help" Aunt Alice with her library work. First they help by stamping books, and then they help by shelving books. In Dick Bruna's world apparently books are shelved by the color of the book cover. Great fun is had by all.

My thoughts: Miffy is a new discovery of mine. I love the theme song of the new Nickelodeon show. I wanted to see if my local library had any books. They had one--this one. I liked it even if the shelving system is a bit quirky.
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Monday, July 24, 2017

Funeral in Blue

Funeral in Blue. (William Monk #12) Anne Perry. 2001. 352 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: The operating room was silent except for the deep, regular breathing of the gaunt young woman who lay on the table, the immense bulge of her stomach laid bare.

Premise/plot: The twelfth novel in the William Monk series focuses on Dr. Kristian Beck. This surgeon has appeared briefly in several other novels in this mystery series. In this one, he's the prime suspect for his wife's murder. (There are two murders actually, and both murders occurred at an artist's studio.) Lady Callandra wants Monk and Hester to become involved in the case, to try to protect Beck if they can.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this one. You wouldn't think that Monk trying to work together with Runcorn would be one of the novel's greatest strengths, but, for me it was. I really loved getting to see the vulnerable Runcorn taking a chance on Monk and the two essentially starting over again. Of course, there is plenty of Hester as well.

Monk travels to Austria in this one to do some background work. And that was fun as well.

Readers also get a chance to further know Hester's brother and sister-in-law. I haven't decided if their presence near the scene of the crime was too big a coincidence for me...or not. But right now I'm just so happy with the series that I don't mind.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Sunday, July 23, 2017

How To Train Your Dragon

How To Train Your Dragon. Cressida Cowell. 2003. 214 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: A Note from the Author: There were dragons when I was a boy.

Premise/plot: Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third is the 'hero' of Cressida Cowell's How To Train Your Dragon. He's the son of a chief, a viking, but among his peers--among anyone really--he's not the strongest, brightest, best. The novel opens with him hoping that he can manage to steal a baby dragon--any kind of dragon. He ends up with the smallest dragon anyone has ever seen. And the training manual isn't all that helpful. The book merely says: YELL AT YOUR DRAGON. THE END. Is there a better way? Will Hiccup get thrown out of his clan?

My thoughts: The book is nothing like the movie of the same name. NOTHING. I was actually disappointed that the book is so very different from the movie. (I really liked the characters from the movie and the premise of the movie.) That being said, I did like it. There were a few scenes that were enjoyable. I wish I'd not had the movie to compare it to.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


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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