Sunday, March 31, 2013

March Reflections

This month I read 43 books. It was a GREAT month for loving books. And it was a great month for series!

My top five:

The Case of the Late Pig. Margery Allingham
Ruth. Elizabeth Gaskell.
Faro's Daughter. Georgette Heyer.
Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) Robin LaFevers. 
The False Prince. Jennifer A. Nielsen.



Middle Grade Fiction:

  1. Understood Betsy. Dorothy Canfield Fisher. 1916. 176 pages.
  2. Clementine and the Spring Trip. Sara Pennypacker. 2013. Hyperion. 160 pages.
  3. Treasure Island. Robert Louis Stevenson. 1883. 311 pages.
  4. The Golden Road. L.M. Montgomery. 1913. 213 pages. 
  5. The Little Prince. Antoine de Saint-Exupery. 1943/2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 112 pages. 
Young Adult Fiction:
  1. The False Prince. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2012. Scholastic. 342 pages.
  2. The Runaway King. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2013. Scholastic. 352 pages.
  3. Grave Mercy. Robin LaFevers. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 560 pages.
  4. Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) Robin LaFevers. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 387 pages.
  5. The Other Countess. Eve Edwards. 2011. Random House. 352 pages. 
  6. The Queen's Lady. Eve Edwards. 2012. Random House. 336 pages. 
  7. The Rogue's Princess. (Lacey Chronicles #3). Eve Edwards. 2013. Random House. 272 pages.
  8. Orleans. Sherri L. Smith. 2013. Penguin. 336 pages.
  9. The Lightning Dreamer. Margarita Engle. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 182 pages. 
  10. Anne of the Island. L.M. Montgomery. 1915. 272 pages.
  11. Anne's House of Dreams. L.M. Montgomery. 1917. 227 pages.
  12. Dear Enemy. Jean Webster. 1915. 236 pages.  
  13. Daddy Long Legs. Jean Webster. 1912. 208 pages.
Adult Fiction:
  1. Faro's Daughter. Georgette Heyer. 1941. 288 pages.
  2. The Inimitable Jeeves (Jeeves). P.G. Wodehouse. 1923. 225 pages.
  3. Hamlet, Revenge! Michael Innes. 1937. 312 pages.  
  4. The Case of the Late Pig. Margery Allingham. 1948. 144 pages. 
  5. Lord Edgware Dies (OR Thirteen at Dinner). Agatha Christie. 1933. 260 pages. 
  6. The Corinthian. Georgette Heyer. 1940/2009. Sourcebooks. 261 pages.
  7. Cranford. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1851. 257 pages.
  8. Ruth. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1853. 432 pages.  
  9. Why Shoot a Butler? Georgette Heyer. 1933. 352 pages. 
  10. The Talisman Ring. Georgette Heyer. 1936/2009. Sourcebooks. 316 pages.    
  11. Peril at End House. Agatha Christie. 1932. HarperCollins. 287 pages. 
Christian Books:
  1. Phoebe Deane. Grace Livingston Hill. 1909. 224 pages.
  2.  Comforts From The Cross: Celebrating the Gospel One Day At A Time. Elyse M. Fitzpatrick. 2009. Crossway. 152 pages. 
  3. Love's Long Journey. Janette Oke. 1982. Bethany House. 240 pages. 
  4. The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor's Journey Into Christian Faith. Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. 2012. (September 2012). Crown and Covenant. 150 pages. 
  5. The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon. Steven J. Lawson. 2012. Reformation Publishers. 145 pages.  
  6. Gods at War: Defeating the Idols That Battle for Your Heart. 2013. Zondervan. 240 pages. 
  7. Thru the Bible Commentary: Jeremiah and Lamentations. J. Vernon McGee. 1997. Thomas Nelson. 216 pages. 
  8. The Child's Story Bible. Catherine F. Vos. (1938, 1949, 1958,) 1969. Eerdman's Publishing Company. 733 pages.   
  9. Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself. Joe Thorn. Foreword by Sam Storms. 2011. Crossway Books. 144 pages.
  10. Moonlight Masquerade. Ruth Axtell. 2013. Revell. 352 pages.  
  11. All of Grace. Charles Spurgeon. 142 pages.
  12. Revelation 1-5. (Thru the Bible Commentary Series) J. Vernon McGee. Thomas Nelson. 152 pages. 
  13. Thru the Bible Commentary Series: Revelation 6-13. J. Vernon McGee. Thomas Nelson. 192 pages. 
  14. Taking God Seriously. J.I. Packer. 2013. Crossway. 160 pages.

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Sunday Salon: Reading Anne's House of Dreams (1917)

Anne's House of Dreams. L.M. Montgomery. 1917. 227 pages.

Anne's House of Dreams is a lovely book in L.M. Montgomery's Anne series. It opens with Anne marrying Gilbert Blythe. The two honeymoon in their new home on the other side of Prince Edward Island. The two adjust to life together and settle down within the community. There are plenty of kindred spirits to be found, though in this book and in subsequent books, they are now known as 'the race that knows Joseph.' Readers meet Captain Jim and Cornelia Bryant--two extremely vibrant and eccentric characters. Who could not love Captain Jim? And isn't Cornelia fun?!

Leslie Moore is also Anne's friend, but their friendship is strained at times. Anne being too happy by her friend's reckoning. Leslie has had a sad life: her younger brother killed in a farm accident, her father committing suicide, having to protect her mother from the harsh realities of life by agreeing to marry a horrible man, being trapped in an abusive marriage, etc. When readers first meet Leslie, her husband is deserving of pity himself, a tragic sea accident having changed him dramatically, he has the mind of a child but the strength of a man. And then there is Susan Baker! Susan plays a much larger role in other books in the series--particularly Rilla of Ingleside.

The book chronicles the first few years of Anne's married life. There is a focus on friendship, family, community. There is also a mingling of hope and sorrow.

Favorite quotes:
"Stoutness and slimness seem to be matters of predestination."
"Jane was not brilliant, and had probably never made a remark worth listening to in her life; but she never said anything that would hurt anyone's feelings--which may be a negative talent but is likewise a rare and enviable one."
"Ah, there's the rub," sighed Anne. "There are so many things in life we cannot do because of the fear of what Mrs. Harmon Andrews would say."
"That evening Green Gables hummed with preparations for the following day; but in the twilight Anne slipped away. She had a little pilgrimage to make on this last day of her girlhood and she must make it alone. She went to Matthew's grave, in the little poplar-shaded Avonlea graveyard, and there kept a silent tryst with old memories and immortal loves."
"My very happiest moments have been when I had tears in my eyes--when Marilla told me I might stay at Green Gables--when Matthew gave me the first pretty dress I ever had--when I heard that you were going to recover from the fever. So give me pearls for our troth ring, Gilbert, and I'll willingly accept the sorrow of life with its joy."
"It's rather hard to decide just when people are grown up," laughed Anne.
"That's a true word, dearie. Some are grown up when they're born, and others ain't grown up when they're eighty, believe ME."
"Soul ache doesn't worry folks near as much as stomach-ache."
"Our library isn't very extensive," said Anne, "but every book in it is a FRIEND. We've picked our books up through the years, here and there, never buying one until we had first read it and knew that it belonged to the race of Joseph."
Fun with Captain Jim:
"Life may be a vale of tears, all right, but there are some folks who enjoy weeping, I reckon."
"I've kind of contracted a habit of enjoying things," he remarked once, when Anne had commented on his invariable cheerfulness. "It's got so chronic that I believe I even enjoy the disagreeable things."
"Heretics are wicked, but they're mighty interesting. It's jest that they've got sorter lost looking for God, being under the impression that He's hard to find--which He ain't never."
"But it ain't our feelings we have to steer by through life--no, no, we'd make a shipwreck mighty often if we did that. There's only the one safe compass and we've got to set our course by that--what it's right to do." 
Fun with Cornelia:
Anne looked in some surprise at the white garment spread over Miss Cornelia's ample lap. It was certainly a baby's dress, and it was most beautifully made, with tiny frills and tucks. Miss Cornelia adjusted her glasses and fell to embroidering with exquisite stitches.
"This is for Mrs. Fred Proctor up at the Glen," she announced. "She's expecting her eighth baby any day now, and not a stitch has she ready for it. The other seven have wore out all she made for the first, and she's never had time or strength or spirit to make any more. That woman is a martyr, Mrs. Blythe, believe me. When she married Fred Proctor I knew how it would turn out. He was one of your wicked, fascinating men. After he got married he left off being fascinating and just kept on being wicked. He drinks and he neglects his family. Isn't that like a man? I don't know how Mrs. Proctor would ever keep her children decently clothed if her neighbors didn't help her out."
As Anne was afterwards to learn, Miss Cornelia was the only neighbor who troubled herself much about the decency of the young Proctors.
"When I heard this eighth baby was coming I decided to make some things for it," Miss Cornelia went on. "This is the last and I want to finish it today."
"It's certainly very pretty," said Anne. "I'll get my sewing and we'll have a little thimble party of two. You are a beautiful sewer, Miss Bryant."
"Yes, I'm the best sewer in these parts," said Miss Cornelia in a matter-of-fact tone. "I ought to be! Lord, I've done more of it than if I'd had a hundred children of my own, believe me! I s'pose I'm a fool, to be putting hand embroidery on this dress for an eighth baby. But, Lord, Mrs. Blythe, dearie, it isn't to blame for being the eighth, and I kind of wished it to have one real pretty dress, just as if it was wanted. Nobody's wanting the poor mite--so I put some extra fuss on its little things just on that account."
"Any baby might be proud of that dress," said Anne, feeling still more strongly that she was going to like Miss Cornelia.
"I s'pose you've been thinking I was never coming to call on you," resumed Miss Cornelia. "But this is harvest month, you know, and I've been busy--and a lot of extra hands hanging round, eating more'n they work, just like the men. I'd have come yesterday, but I went to Mrs. Roderick MacAllister's funeral. At first I thought my head was aching so badly I couldn't enjoy myself if I did go. But she was a hundred years old, and I'd always promised myself that I'd go to her funeral."
"Was it a successful function?" asked Anne, noticing that the office door was ajar.
"What's that? Oh, yes, it was a tremendous funeral. She had a very large connection. There was over one hundred and twenty carriages in the procession. There was one or two funny things happened. I thought that die I would to see old Joe Bradshaw, who is an infidel and never darkens the door of a church, singing `Safe in the Arms of Jesus' with great gusto and fervor. He glories in singing-- that's why he never misses a funeral. Poor Mrs. Bradshaw didn't look much like singing--all wore out slaving. Old Joe starts out once in a while to buy her a present and brings home some new kind of farm machinery. Isn't that like a man? But what else would you expect of a man who never goes to church, even a Methodist one? I was real thankful to see you and the young Doctor in the Presbyterian church your first Sunday. No doctor for me who isn't a Presbyterian."
"We were in the Methodist church last Sunday evening," said Anne wickedly.
"Oh, I s'pose Dr. Blythe has to go to the Methodist church once in a while or he wouldn't get the Methodist practice."
"We liked the sermon very much," declared Anne boldly. "And I thought the Methodist minster's prayer was one of the most beautiful I ever heard."
"Oh, I've no doubt he can pray. I never heard anyone make more beautiful prayers than old Simon Bentley, who was always drunk, or hoping to be, and the drunker he was the better he prayed."
"The Methodist minister is very fine looking," said Anne, for the benefit of the office door.
"Yes, he's quite ornamental," agreed Miss Cornelia. "Oh, and very ladylike. And he thinks that every girl who looks at him falls in love with him--as if a Methodist minister, wandering about like any Jew, was such a prize! If you and the young doctor take my advice, you won't have much to do with the Methodists. My motto is--if you are a Presbyterian, be a Presbyterian."
"Don't you think that Methodists go to heaven as well as Presbyterians?" asked Anne smilelessly.
"That isn't for us to decide. It's in higher hands than ours," said Miss Cornelia solemnly. "But I ain't going to associate with them on earth whatever I may have to do in heaven.
"Thank goodness we can choose our friends. We have to take our relatives as they are, and be thankful if there are no penitentiary birds among them."
"Do you know, Cornelia," said Captain Jim gravely, "I've often thought that if I wasn't a Presbyterian I'd be a Methodist."
"Oh, well," conceded Miss Cornelia, "if you weren't a Presbyterian it wouldn't matter much what you were. Speaking of heresy, reminds me, doctor--I've brought back that book you lent me--that Natural Law in the Spiritual World--I didn't read more'n a third of it. I can read sense, and I can read nonsense, but that book is neither the one nor the other."
"It is considered rather heretical in some quarters," admitted Gilbert, "but I told you that before you took it, Miss Cornelia."
"Oh, I wouldn't have minded its being heretical. I can stand wickedness, but I can't stand foolishness," said Miss Cornelia calmly, and with the air of having said the last thing there was to say about Natural Law.
 Fun with Susan:
Is it not funny nobody ever asked me to marry him, Mrs. Doctor, dear? I am no beauty, but I am as good-looking as most of the married women you see. But I never had a beau. What do you suppose is the reason?"
"It may be predestination," suggested Anne, with unearthly solemnity.
Susan nodded.
"That is what I have often thought, Mrs. Doctor, dear, and a great comfort it is. I do not mind nobody wanting me if the Almighty decreed it so for His own wise purposes. But sometimes doubt creeps in, Mrs. Doctor, dear, and I wonder if maybe the Old Scratch has not more to do with it than anyone else. I cannot feel resigned then. But maybe," added Susan, brightening up, "I will have a chance to get married yet. I often and often think of the old verse my aunt used to repeat:
There never was a goose so gray but sometime soon or late Some honest gander came her way and took her for his mate!
A woman cannot ever be sure of not being married till she is buried, Mrs. Doctor, dear, and meanwhile I will make a batch of cherry pies. I notice the doctor favors 'em, and I do like cooking for a man who appreciates his victuals."
 "And did you notice his ears and his teeth, Mrs. Doctor, dear?" queried Susan later on. "He has got the nicest-shaped ears I ever saw on a man's head. I am choice about ears. When I was young I was scared that I might have to marry a man with ears like flaps. But I need not have worried, for never a chance did I have with any kind of ears."

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Week in Review: March 24-30

Orleans. Sherri L. Smith. 2013. Penguin. 336 pages.
Understood Betsy. Dorothy Canfield Fisher. 1916. 176 pages.
Clementine and the Spring Trip. Sara Pennypacker. 2013. Hyperion. 160 pages.
The Rogue's Princess. (Lacey Chronicles #3). Eve Edwards. 2013. Random House. 272 pages.
Grave Mercy. Robin LaFevers. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 560 pages.
Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) Robin LaFevers. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 387 pages.
 Phoebe Deane. Grace Livingston Hill. 1909. 224 pages.

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Library Loot: Fifth Trip in March

New Loot:
  • Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart-Lovelace
  • The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman
  • Cross My Heart by Sasha Gould
  • The Apothecary by Maile Meloy
  • The Bookends of the Christian Life by Jerry Bridges and Bob Bevington
  • The Close Shave  
Leftover Loot:
  • Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley
  • The Essence by Kimberly Derting
  • The Gate Thief by Orson Scott Card
  • Iscariot by Tosca Lee
  • Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland H. Bainton
  • The Great Race by Rev. W. Awdry
  • Secret of the Green Engine
 Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Orleans (2013)

Orleans. Sherri L. Smith. 2013. Penguin. 336 pages.

Orleans is intense and I suspect unforgettable. The novel is set after the Delta and/or the Gulf Coast have been cut off from the rest of the United States. (There being an actual wall to prevent people from entering/exiting.) The reason is simple: Delta Fever is too contagious and there isn't a cure. Everyone is infected with the fever, but each blood type responds differently to the disease or virus. This separates everyone into groups or tribes according to blood type.

Fen, our heroine, is O positive. But soon after the novel begins, her tribe is attacked. Her chieftain, Lydia, goes into premature labor because of the attack. The baby survives, she doesn't. Fen and the baby are what is left of this tribe, and Fen is desperate to provide a better life for this baby. Her goal is ambitious and dangerous. She wants to find a way to smuggle the baby out before it catches the fever. She wants to reach the wall.

Sometimes helping, sometimes hindering, Fen's ambitions is a young scientist named Daniel. Daniel dreams big too. He is desperate to find a cure. That is why he is there illegally.

Orleans is incredibly intense and impossible to put down. If you enjoy disaster and/or survivor fiction, then this one is a must read! It is extremely creepy in places, which I think will definitely appeal to some readers! But even if you don't like horror elements, you may find yourself hooked.

Read Orleans
  • If you enjoy great world-building
  • If you enjoy meeting strong heroines
  • If you enjoy survivor or disaster novels
  • If you enjoy dystopian or post-apocalyptic fiction
  • If you like darker stories with some horror elements

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Rogue's Princess (2013)

The Rogue's Princess. (Lacey Chronicles #3). Eve Edwards. 2013. Random House. 272 pages.

When I first started The Rogue's Princess, I was hesitant. I was not liking the "historical" presentation of Puritans. All the details felt too on-the-surface and not quite genuine. I wasn't sure I was going to like Mercy Hart or her family. But. Once Mercy goes to her friend Ann's house for supper and meets Kit Turner (Christopher Turner), a player (actor) we first met in The Queen's Lady, I stopped caring. What Edwards does really well is right distracting--absorbing--love stories. If you believe the love story between the hero and heroine, everything else ceases to matter almost. I do think her characters are at times a little too modern, but, as I'm reading the story I don't care.

Kit Turner was an interesting hero. I definitely enjoyed getting to know him better and seeing things through his perspective. I did enjoy spending time with the youngest Lacey brother, Tobias. Though he isn't my favorite or best Lacey brother!

I have enjoyed all three books, but I haven't exactly LOVED any of them. They are purely fun, quick and enjoyable reads.

Read The Rogue's Princess
  • If you enjoyed the first two books in the series
  • If you enjoy historical romance

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Dark Triumph (2013)

Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) Robin LaFevers. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 387 pages.

 At first, I didn't know what to think of Dark Triumph. The opening chapters were so dark and creepy. What Sybella, our heroine, has had to live with her whole life is almost too horrible to describe. But her story, though dark, is necessary for the reader to know, to understand. Both Sybella and "the Beast" were characters first introduced in Robin LaFevers Grave Mercy. I thought they were interesting in the first novel, but after reading the second novel they were so much more than that. I LOVED them. I think I loved them even more than I loved Ismae and Duval.

Secrets. Lies. Betrayals. Murders. Sybella has seen and heard too much; she was born into one of the cruelest, darkest families in Brittany. Her escape to the convent to be trained as Death's handmaiden--an assassin--was too brief. For better or worse, Sybella's "purpose" is a dark one. She wants justice, justice for all the lives lost at her father's hand, all the lives lost because of her father's orders, all the lives lost on the battlefield because her father is a traitor to the duchess. She's a killer. She feels she kills justly, men who deserve to die, but she's a killer whether or not she's following her Lord's orders or not.

One of the orders she receives early in the novel is to rescue one of the men captured by her father. A man readers came to know as "the Beast." She knows it won't be easy, but, she knows it's right. For she knows that in saving his life, in giving him his freedom, she'll be doing good for the Duchess. The news he carries back to her may help her cause. But what Sybella never expected was to be "rescued" by the prisoner AS he makes his escape. The Beast and Sybella traveling together...as a team...to the Duchess...it's something!

And that's just the start, of course!

Grave Mercy and Dark Triumph might not be for every reader. There is so much darkness in the second book, mainly involving Sybella's past and present. While at first I was hesitant to visit those dark places and learn Sybella's truths, I soon cared too much to stop reading. If the first book focused on politics with the threat of war, the second novel focuses on politics and inevitable WAR.


I would definitely recommend reading the two books in order. And if you've got the time, it might be a good idea to reread the first novel. Dark Triumph and Grave Mercy overlap by a little bit. And the politics and war might make more sense if you've recently read Grave Mercy. 

Read Dark Triumph
  • If you enjoyed Grave Mercy
  • If you're a fan of Robin LaFevers
  • If you enjoy dark historical novels focused on war and politics

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Rereading Grave Mercy (2012)

Grave Mercy. Robin LaFevers. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 560 pages.

Last summer, I reviewed Robin LaFevers' Grave Mercy. It was LOVE. To sum up Grave Mercy in many words: Politics. Romance. Drama. Dysfunctional Families. Poison. Murder. Betrayal. Mystery. Suspense. To sum it up in just two: assassin nuns. The novel is set in Brittany in the late 1480s.

Ismae, our heroine, is one of Death's handmaidens. She's a trained assassin, trained by a convent of nuns dedicating their lives to serving St. Mortain (Death). The nuns are loyal to the Duchess of Brittany, and the victims are often her political enemies--foreign or domestic--those that pose the greatest threat to Brittany's independence.

While we do see her first few jobs carried out, most of the novel focuses on one job in particular. The abbess wants her to team up with Duval, the Duchess' older brother and her most trusted friend and advisor. She's to pose as his mistress, and travel with him to the Duchess' household. There she will "help him" find any possible traitors...

I wanted to reread Grave Mercy because the second novel in the series, Dark Triumph, is releasing soon. I thought the second novel would read better if I took the time to reread the first novel. And I think this was very beneficial. Especially since this is a novel heavy in politics. While I read Grave Mercy in one night the first time, I took my time for the reread. I think I was better able to absorb the politics at a slower pace. I was able to focus more on the minor characters as well. The first time, it was ALL about the romance--that was the only thing I cared about. This time, I was able to appreciate the story as a whole.

Read Grave Mercy

  • If you're a fan of Robin LaFevers
  • If you're a fan of historical romance, with a fantasy feel to it (mythology/supernatural)
  • Also if you're a fan of mystery/suspense/political thrillers
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Clementine and The Spring Trip (2013)

Clementine and the Spring Trip. Sara Pennypacker. 2013. Hyperion. 160 pages.

 Clementine has to be one of my favorite heroines. I just LOVE spending time with her. I love reading about her family life AND I love reading about her school days too. She always has an opinion, and she's always got something on her mind! In this book, Clementine is excited but nervous about an upcoming field trip to Plimoth Plantation. At first she felt comfortable about going because she was going to partner with fourth grader, Margaret. (Clementine is in third grade.) Clementine was going to help Margaret by doing all the "dirty" work, and Margaret was going to help Clementine by teaching her to eat quietly. The "rule" of the fourth graders being that no noisy foods are ever allowed. But when a new student arrives, a girl named Olive, well, plans change. The teacher assigns Olive to Clementine, and with the teacher and the principal telling Clementine that this will be a GOOD thing, she has to accept her disappointment. But noisy eating isn't the only thing worrying Clementine and her classmates, no, there is the dreaded bus number seven with "the cloud." This is the SMELLIEST bus ever, a thing of nightmares. And oh how the kids like to make comparisons as to what it smells like and why!!!

The novel is great fun focusing on Clementine at school and home. I would definitely recommend this series.

Read Clementine and the Spring Trip

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Salon: Reading Understood Betsy (1916)

Understood Betsy. Dorothy Canfield Fisher. 1916. 176 pages.

Understood Betsy is a quick and lovely read. Elizabeth Ann has always lived with Aunt Frances, but, when a new situation develops which makes this impossible, Betsy goes to Vermont to stay with her other relatives: Aunt Abigail, Uncle Henry, Cousin Ann. At first, Betsy is timid and unsure. She has had great practice at feeling that way--Aunt Frances almost always feels that way too. That is why they can understand one another so very perfectly. In her new home, Betsy learns that she can do almost anything. In her new home, she learns she has some gumption after all! She can be resourceful, brave, strong, determined. She's a whole new person in just a few weeks! If her new family had a motto, it would probably be you learn to do by doing.

The novel is about Betsy's first experiences in the world: getting a cat, watching that cat have kittens, making a new friend, learning to take care of herself, learning to be responsible, learning to help others and think of others, etc. Readers also learn a little history alongside Betsy.

Favorite quotes:
She knew all about reading lessons and she hated them, although she loved to read. But reading lessons...! You sat with your book open at some reading that you could do with your eyes shut, it was so easy, and you waited and waited and waited while your classmates slowly stumbled along, reading aloud a sentence or two apiece, until your turn came to stand up and read your sentence or two, which by that time sounded just like nonsense because you'd read it over and over so many times to yourself before your chance came. And often you didn't even have a chance to do that, because the teacher didn't have time to get around to you at all, and you closed your book and put it back in your desk without having opened your mouth. Reading was one thing Elizabeth Ann had learned to do very well indeed, but she had learned it all by herself at home from much reading to herself.
A dim notion was growing up in her mind that the fact that she had never done a thing was no proof that she couldn't.

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Saturday, March 23, 2013

2013 Reading Challenge: Once Upon A Time

Once Upon A Time
Host: Stainless Steel Droppings
Dates: March 21-June 21
# of Books: Quest the First, five books

What I read

1. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. L. Frank Baum.
2. The Marvelous Land of Oz. L. Frank Baum
3. Ozma of Oz. L. Frank Baum.
4. Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz. L. Frank Baum. 1908. 148 pages.
5. The Grimm Legacy. Polly Shulman.
6. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. C.S. Lewis.
7. The Annotated Hobbit. Revised and Expanded Edition. J.R.R. Tolkien.
8. The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop. Kate Saunders.
9. Bliss. Kathryn Littlewood.
10.  A Dash of Magic. Kathryn Littlewood
11. Whatever After: Fairest of All. Sara Mlynowski.
12. Pinocchio. Carlo Collodi. 
13. Stardust. Neil Gaiman.
14. In A Glass Grimmly. Adam Gidwitz.


What I hope to read:


Stardust by Neil Gaiman
The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis
Magician's Nephew by C.S. Lewis
Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
The Adventures of Pinochhio by Carlo Collodi
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta
Quintana of Charyn by Melina Marchetta
Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang



© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Library Loot: Fourth Trip in March

New Loot:
  • Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons
  • Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley
  • The Essence by Kimberly Derting
  • Hold Fast by Blue Balliett
  • The Gate Thief by Orson Scott Card
  • Iscariot by Tosca Lee
  • Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther by Roland H. Bainton
Leftover Loot:
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  • The Great Race by Rev. W. Awdry
  • Secret of the Green Engine
 Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.
 
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Week in Review: March 17-23

 The Other Countess. Eve Edwards. 2011. Random House. 352 pages.
The Queen's Lady. Eve Edwards. 2012. Random House. 336 pages.
Anne of the Island. L.M. Montgomery. 1915. 272 pages.
The Inimitable Jeeves (Jeeves). P.G. Wodehouse. 1923. 225 pages.
Treasure Island. Robert Louis Stevenson. 1883. 311 pages.
Faro's Daughter. Georgette Heyer. 1941. 288 pages.
Comforts From The Cross: Celebrating the Gospel One Day At A Time. Elyse M. Fitzpatrick. 2009. Crossway. 152 pages.
Love's Long Journey. Janette Oke. 1982. Bethany House. 240 pages.
The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert: An English Professor's Journey Into Christian Faith. Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. 2012. (September 2012). Crown and Covenant. 150 pages.


© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Friday, March 22, 2013

The Inimitable Jeeves (1923)

The Inimitable Jeeves (Jeeves). P.G. Wodehouse. 1923. 225 pages.

The Inimitable Jeeves is my favorite Wodehouse yet. (I've also read The Man With Two Left Feet and My Man Jeeves.) I loved this short story collection because it is all devoted to Bertie and Jeeves! Featured stories include: "Jeeves Exerts the Old Cerebellum," "No Wedding Bells for Bingo," "Aunt Agatha Speaks Her Mind," "Pearls Mean Tears," "The Pride of the Woosters is Wounded," "The Hero's Reward," "Introducing Claude and Eustace," "Sir Roderick Comes to Lunch," "A Letter of Introduction," Startling Dressiness of a Lift Attendant," Comrade Bingo," "Bingo Has a Bad Goodwood," "The Great Sermon Handicap," "The Purity of the Turf," "The Metropolitan Touch," "The Delayed Exit of Claude and Eustace," "Bingo and the Little Woman," and "All's Well."

These stories introduce one of Bertie's friends, Bingo Little. He is quite the character. He is always falling in love with someone. And there's always drama that Bertie and Jeeves get drawn into! But Bingo Little isn't the only source of drama! There's also Bertie's family, including Aunt Agatha and two of his cousins, Claude and Eustace, to name a few. Some of the stories are set in the city, others take place in the country. All are delightful!!!



My favorite sequence of stories is "The Hero's Reward," "Introducing Claude and Eustace," and "Sir Roderick Comes to Lunch." In this sequence, Bertie finds himself accidentally engaged to a girl, Honoria, a young woman that Bingo was once quite smitten with! Sir Roderick is Honoria's father, and their lunch together is quite delightful! He's not quite sure he likes Bertie, not quite sure Bertie is sane... enter an insane number of cats, fish under Bertie's bed, and a stolen hat... and you've got an unforgettable chapter!

Read The Inimitable Jeeves
  • If you like short stories
  • If you love short stories
  • If you hate short stories
  • If you enjoy P.G. Wodehouse
  • If you want more Bertie and Jeeves
  • If you love to laugh
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Queen's Lady (2012)

The Queen's Lady. Eve Edwards. 2012. Random House. 336 pages.

I enjoyed reading The Queen's Lady. Readers first meet the heroine, Jane, as a character in the first novel, The Other Countess. This novel is set several years later. Jane, now a widow, is facing new troubles. Her stepsons are unhappy that Jane received anything from their father. They are after the ring, the money, the land. Her father is also anxious to get control of his daughter once again, he wants to arrange a marriage--of his choosing, of course--for her. But Jane, well, Jane is fond of James Lacey. She even tells him so. But while he loves her too, he's not ready to commit just yet. He needs time to recover from the horrible things he witnessed as a soldier.

There is a second romance in The Queen's Lady. Milly, a seamstress and friend of Jane, is in love with James' servant, Diego, an African slave. He wasn't always James' servant. Milly is someone he knew a long time ago when he was serving someone else. The focus is on both relationships equally.

I find the characters interesting, for the most part. There are definitely plenty of villains to hate! And I definitely cared for Jane in this novel. But. I'm not sure that I "love" either book.

Read The Queen's Lady
  • If you enjoyed The Other Countess
  • If you enjoy historical fiction set in the Elizabethan time period
  • If you enjoy historical romance

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The Other Countess (2011)

The Other Countess. Eve Edwards. 2011. Random House. 352 pages.

I enjoyed The Other Countess by Eve Edwards. I think readers who enjoy historical romance set during the Elizabethan period will especially love it. Readers meet two young women worthy of being heroines. (The second heroine, Jane, will be the star of the second book.) The heroine of The Other Countess is a young woman named Eleanor (Ellie). Her father is a mess, he's so obsessed with alchemy, so Ellie has had to raise herself essentially and care for her father as best she can. Will, the hero, has a definite grudge against Ellie's father, but, he at first doesn't recognize Ellie as being her father's daughter--the last time he saw her she was a child, it was the day he was throwing her and her father out of his estate. But now Ellie is oh-so-beautiful. And he is madly in love with her until he makes the connections. Even when he does learn the truth, he can't quite forget her as he "should." He has several opportunities to help her, to show her kindness, to save her...

The Other Countess has some drama and adventure in it as well reminding readers that life either in the country or at court was never problem-free. Ellie, as a beautiful young woman, is at risk from unwanted attention...

Read The Other Countess
  • If you enjoy historical fiction set during the Elizabethan period
  • If you enjoy historical romance
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Treasure Island (1883)

Treasure Island. Robert Louis Stevenson. 1883. 311 pages.

I was surprised by how much I liked Treasure Island. I didn't really expect it to be my kind of book. And, in a way, it still isn't. (I'm not going to feel the same devotion to Jim Hawkins that I feel for Anne Shirley.) But it is a GOOD adventure story. Plenty of drama, action, adventure, surprise, and danger. It is a life-or-death adventure book abounding with good guys and bad guys.

Jim Hawkins is our hero. Though he isn't always confident in his abilities to be A HERO, Hawkins is the hero that he needs to be when it counts, the hero he needs to be in order to save the day. Jim Hawkins' father owned an inn. One day a former pirate (Billy Bones) comes for an extended stay at the inn. He hires the young boy (Jim) to be on the lookout for a one-legged pirate (Long John Silver). He does NOT want to meet up with this pirate--or really any other pirate for that matter. But he is found by a few pirates before long. Jim's life is messy in that his own father is dying and this pirate is dying; the same doctor sees after both men. The pirate brought with him a sea chest (with a treasure map). Having this chest at the inn brings danger and excitement. Eventually it takes Hawkins to sea with others--some good guys, some bad guys--all in search for this treasure on an island. Of course, the good guys aren't aware that the others are "bad" and have murderous intentions. But readers learn this information right along with Hawkins...

While the novel is interesting before they reach the island, the book REALLY becomes interesting once they reach the island.

Read Treasure Island

  • If you like watching pirate movies or reading pirate stories
  • If you like adventure stories
  • If you like coming-of-age stories

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Faro's Daughter (1941)

Faro's Daughter. Georgette Heyer. 1941. 288 pages.

I absolutely loved Georgette Heyer's Faro's Daughter. In the first chapter, readers meet Mr. Ravenscar (Max) as he visits with his sister, Lady Mablethorpe. She wants him to to prevent an imprudent match of his nephew with an unsuitable young woman, Deborah Grantham. This "vulgar" woman lives in a gaming house with her aunt! He goes to visit the young lady in the gaming house, even gambles with her for a while. His conclusion: she's not a good match for a gentleman, certainly, but she might be easily bought off. Instead of talking with his nephew, he'll talk to her instead and offer her money if she promises to never marry the boy.

Readers just don't see this from his point of view, however, readers also get to meet Deborah for themselves. And Deborah finds Ravenscar's offer insulting and infuriating. How dare he assume she could be bought off! Though she hadn't any plans on marrying Adrian, she know plans to do just that. Well. If she has to. She's hoping that that won't be necessary after all. If only she could get Adrian to fall in love with someone else...

Ravenscar and Deborah hate each other so much, their interactions are so intense. They bring out the worst in each other...

I loved this one so much! It's a great read cover to cover. So many interesting characters and stories.

Read Faro's Daughter
  • If you love Pride and Prejudice, North and South, Much Ado About Nothing, etc. Romance stories where the hero and heroine HATE each other before they fall in love...
  • If you enjoy Georgette Heyer
  • If you enjoy Regency romances, historical romances
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday Salon: Reading Anne of the Island (1915)

Anne of the Island. L.M. Montgomery. 1915. 272 pages.

Anne of the Island is one of my favorite books in the Anne series by L.M. Montgomery. This is the book that focuses on Anne's college years. Readers meet Anne's best friends from her college years: Priscilla Grant, Stella Maynard, and Philippa Gordon. Anne receives oh-so-many proposals in this one. One proposal comes from her very best friend, Gilbert Blythe. But Anne knows herself, knows that she could never settle for anything less than her IDEAL man that she's crafted in her imagination. It's a good thing she meets him at college! From their first meeting until the BIG day he proposes, she's almost certain that he is oh-so-perfect for her. True, he doesn't have a sense of humor, well, much of one. And true, he isn't really the sort you share things with. But, oh, he knows his poetry. His name is Royal Gardner...

Anne isn't the only one trying to make big decisions in this one. There is the unforgettable Philippa Gordon. Take her as she is--for better or worse--for there will never be another. Though she has dozens of beaus, wealthy beaus too, she falls hard for the one man she's sure will never be able to accept her...for he's a minister!

Though the book focuses on her college years, Anne is able to visit Avonlea almost every year. And there are plenty of chapters set in and around Avonlea. So readers are able to keep up with the characters they've come to love: Marilla, Rachel Lynde, Davy and Dora, Diana, etc.

The last few chapters of this one are oh-so-magical.

Favorite quotes:
"We mustn't let next week rob us of this week's joy."
"I suppose we'll get used to being grownup in time," said Anne cheerfully. "There won't be so many unexpected things about it by and by--though, after all, I fancy it's the unexpected things that give spice to life."
"When I'm grown up I'm not going to do one single thing I don't want to do, Anne."
"All your life, Davy, you'll find yourself doing things you don't want to do."
"I won't," said Davy flatly. "Catch me! I have to do things I don't want to now 'cause you and Marilla'll send me to bed if I don't. But when I grow up you can't do that, and there'll be nobody to tell me not to do things." 
"But FEELING is so different from KNOWING."
"Facts are stubborn things, but as some one has wisely said, not half so stubborn as fallacies."
"What's my conscience? I want to know."
"It's something in you, Davy, that always tells you when you are doing wrong and makes you unhappy if you persist in doing it. Haven't you noticed that?"
"Yes, but I didn't know what it was. I wish I didn't have it. I'd have lots more fun. Where is my conscience, Anne? I want to know. Is it in my stomach?"
"No, it's in your soul," answered Anne, thankful for the darkness, since gravity must be preserved in serious matters. 
"All life lessons are not learned at college," she thought. "Life teaches them everywhere." 
"Mrs. Lynde was awful mad the other day because I asked her if she was alive in Noah's time. I didn't meant to hurt her feelings. I just wanted to know. Was she, Anne?" 
"I think it's quite natural that a nine-year-old boy would sooner read an adventure story than the Bible. But when you are older I hope and think that you will realize what a wonderful book the Bible is." 
"Miss Stacy told me long ago that by the time I was twenty my character would be formed, for good or evil. I don't feel it's what it should be. It's full of flaws."
"So's everybody's" said Aunt Jamesina cheerfully. "Mine's cracked in a hundred places. Your Miss Stacy likely meant that when you are twenty your character would have got its permanent bent in one direction or 'tother, and would go on developing in that line. 
"What are you reading?"
"Pickwick."
"That's a book that always makes me hungry," said Phil. "There's so much good eating in it."
"The year is a book, isn't it, Marilla? Spring's pages are written in Mayflowers and violets, summer's in roses, autumn's in red maple leaves, and winter in holly and evergreen."
"We are never half so interesting when we have learned that language is given us to enable us to conceal our thoughts."
"When you've learned to laugh at the things that should be laughed at, and not to laugh at those that shouldn't, you've got wisdom and understanding."
"There is a book of Revelation in every one's life, as there is in the Bible. Anne read hers that bitter night, as she kept her agonized vigil through the hours of storm and darkness."


© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

Week In Review: March 10-16

The Runaway King. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2013. Scholastic. 352 pages.
The Golden Road. L.M. Montgomery. 1913. 213 pages.
The Little Prince. Antoine de Saint-Exupery. 1943/2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 112 pages.
Hamlet, Revenge! Michael Innes. 1937. 312 pages.
The Case of the Late Pig. Margery Allingham. 1948. 144 pages.
Lord Edgware Dies (OR Thirteen at Dinner). Agatha Christie. 1933. 260 pages.
The Corinthian. Georgette Heyer. 1940/2009. Sourcebooks. 261 pages.
The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon. Steven J. Lawson. 2012. Reformation Publishers. 145 pages.
Gods at War: Defeating the Idols That Battle for Your Heart. 2013. Zondervan. 240 pages.
Thru the Bible Commentary: Jeremiah and Lamentations. J. Vernon McGee. 1997. Thomas Nelson. 216 pages.
The Child's Story Bible. Catherine F. Vos. (1938, 1949, 1958,) 1969. Eerdman's Publishing Company. 733 pages. 
Note to Self: The Discipline of Preaching to Yourself. Joe Thorn. Foreword by Sam Storms. 2011. Crossway Books. 144 pages.

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Library Loot: Third Week in March

New Loot:

  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
  • Sever by Lauren DeStefano
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick 
Leftover Loot:
  • Five Fast Tales: A Collection of Five Early Readers 
  • The Great Race by Rev. W. Awdry
  • Secret of the Green Engine 
  • Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
 Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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The Runaway King (2013)

The Runaway King. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2013. Scholastic. 352 pages.

I really LOVED The False Prince. The Runaway King did not disappoint as a sequel. The novel opens with an assassination attempt,"I had arrived early for my own assassination." I love it when books have great first lines! How could I not want to read on?! Jaron has only been on the throne a short while and already the kingdom is in great danger, Jaron's life is at risk. The regents of the kingdom want Jaron to go into hiding, "for his own good" of course. They would rather deal with a steward in the king's place than have a "boy" on the throne, a boy who isn't afraid of facing reality. Jaron looks at the facts and sees: WAR IS COMING, WAR IS COMING, WAR IS COMING. His regents seem to see a different reality: peace, peace, peace, we must have peace no matter what, peace, peace, always we must have peace. Jaron would feel absolutely alone--forsaken--if it wasn't for a few friends who knew him before, knew him as Sage...

Running away from the throne, from the kingdom, might be Jaron's best option...

The Runaway King is such an exciting book! I love, love, love the fact that we get to go with Jaron/Sage on his journey into enemy territory as his own cleverness is put to the test...

I am still loving the world-building, the characterization, the dialogue, the storytelling. It's a GREAT book.


Favorite quote:
“Above all else, I think that you are a compulsive liar."
My laughter was tense, but sincere. "Hardly. In fact, I consider myself a compulsive truth teller. It's only that everyone else seems compelled to misunderstand me.”  
Read The Runaway King
  • If you LOVED The False Prince, it will not disappoint!
  • If you enjoy fantasy novels
  • If world-building, characterization, and great storytelling matter to you! 

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Friday, March 15, 2013

The Little Prince (1943)

The Little Prince. Antoine de Saint-Exupery. 1943/2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 112 pages.

The Little Prince is unique and delightfully odd. A pilot crashes in the desert and meets a strange 'little prince.' They have many conversations together over the course of a week. These conversations make up the heart of The Little Prince. It's a quick little read. I am glad I read it.

Favorite quotes:
"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
“All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it.”
“But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world.”
Read The Little Prince
  • If you enjoy children's classics
  • If you enjoy beautiful writing
  • If you like quirky, unique stories
  • If you like reading books in translation

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Corinthian (1940)

The Corinthian. Georgette Heyer. 1940/2009. Sourcebooks. 261 pages.

 In The Corinthian, we've got a bachelor, Sir Richard Wyndham, who happens to rescue a damsel in distress, Penelope Creed. Penelope set on running away from her aunt--who is encouraging her into a loveless marriage with her cousin Fred--is disguised as a boy. Richard, while on his way home and a bit drunk at that, sees Pen climbing out her window--by way of her bed sheets of course. He "catches" her just in time. Granted, this "she" is dressed as a he. But there's no fooling Richard. A bit amused at the situation, and wanting to run away himself to avoid an unpleasant appointment the next day, he decides to help out. She wants to escape London--and her aunt--and travel to Bristol (or near Bristol anyway). She's got a childhood friend, Piers, who she fancies herself madly in love with. Five (or so) years ago, these two promised themselves to each other. Hearing this tale, Richard decides to join in the journey and ensure her safety. The two will go together. He will act as her tutor-uncle-cousin and 'protect' her along the way. (Each identity is used on their journey at various stages.) Their journey is rarely boring--they get in and out of trouble along the way.

This one is a delightful romantic comedy. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one! I love Pen Creed. I love Sir Richard. The dialogue is just too much fun in this Regency romance!

A scene between Pen and Richard:
"Were you locked in your room?" enquired Sir Richard.
"Oh no! I daresay I should have been if Aunt had guessed what I meant to do, but she would never think of such a thing."
"Then--forgive my curiosity!--why did you climb out of the window?" asked Sir Richard.
"Oh, that was on account of Pug!" replied Pen sunnily.
"Pug?"
"Yes, a horrid little creature! He sleeps in a basket in the hall, and he always yaps if he thinks one is going out. That would have awakened Aunt Almeria. There was nothing else I could do."
Sir Richard regarded her with a lurking smile. "Naturally not. Do you know, Pen, I owe you a debt of gratitude?"
"Oh!" she said again. "Do you mean that I don't behave as a delicately bred female should?"
"That is one way of putting it, certainly."
"It is the way Aunt Almeria puts it."
"She would, of course."
"I am afraid," confessed Pen, "that I am not very well-behaved. Aunt says that I had a lamentable upbringing, because my father treated me as though I had been a boy. I ought to have been, you understand."
"I cannot agree with you," said Sir Richard. "As a boy you would have been in no way remarkable; as a female, believe me, you are unique."
She flushed to the roots of her hair. "I think that is a compliment."
"It is," Sir Richard said, amused.
"Well, I wasn't sure, because I am not out yet, and I do not know any men except my uncle and Fred, and they don't pay compliments. That is to say, not like that." (68-69)
Fred Griffin in conversation with Sir Richard:
"What, sir, would you think of a member of the Weaker Sex who assumed the guise of a man, and left the home of her natural protector by way of the window?"
"I should assume," replied Sir Richard, "that she had strong reasons for acting with such resolution."
"She did not wish to marry me," said Mr. Griffin gloomily.
"Oh!" said Sir Richard.
"Well, I'm sure I can't see why she should be so set against me, but that's not it, sir. The thing is that here's my mother determined to find her, and to make her marry me, and so hush up the scandal. But I don't like it above half. If she dislikes the notion so much, I don't think I ought to marry her, do you?"
"Emphatically not!"
"I must say I am very glad to hear you say that, Sir Richard!" said Mr. Griffin, much cheered. "For you must know that my mother has been telling me ever since yesterday that I must marry her now, to save her name. But I think she would very likely make me uncomfortable, and nothing could make up for that, in my opinion."
"A lady capable of escaping out of a window in the guise of a a man would quite certainly make you more than uncomfortable," said Sir Richard.
"Yes, though she's only a chit of a girl, you know. In fact, she is not yet out. I am very happy to have had the benefit of the opinion of a Man of the World. I feel that I can rely on your judgment."
"On my judgment, you might, but in nothing else, I assure you," said Sir Richard. "You know nothing of me, after all. How do you know that I am not now concealing your cousin from you?"
"Ha-ha! Very good, upon my word! Very good, indeed!" said Mr. Griffin, saluting a jest of the first water. (124)

Read The Corinthian
  • If you enjoy Regency romances
  • If you enjoy historical romance
  • If you enjoy historical romance with a touch of drama, mystery, and murder...
  • If you enjoy Georgette Heyer
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Lord Edgware Dies (1933)

Lord Edgware Dies (OR Thirteen at Dinner). Agatha Christie. 1933. 260 pages.

I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this Agatha Christie mystery. It stars both Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings, a combination I find very hard to resist. The mystery begins with an American celebrity--an actress, Jane Wilkinson--asking Poirot for help. She's not asking him to solve a crime, exactly. She's asking him to go to her husband--whom she hates--and ask him if he'll grant her a divorce. After this consultation, she "carelessly" mentions how she wants her husband to die; at one point she even shares just how she would kill her husband. A few take her seriously pointing out to Poirot that Wilkinson is the type of woman who would kill without thinking it wrong. But Poirot likes to make up his own mind, come to his own conclusions about people's characters and motives.
So when a little time later, Lord Edgware is killed, Poirot becomes interested in the case...

This one was a delightful mystery! I just love Agatha Christie! This may be among my favorite Poirot mysteries!!!

Favorite quotes:
"I always find alibis very enjoyable," he remarked. "Whenever I happen to be reading a detective story I sit up and take notice when the alibi comes along." (122)
"Between the deliberate falsehood and the disinterested inaccuracy it is very hard to distinguish sometimes.."
"What do you mean?"
"To deceive deliberately--that is one thing. But to be so sure of your facts, of your ideas and of their essential truth that the details do not matter--that, my friend, is a special characteristic of particularly honest persons." (128)
"The positive witness should always be treated with suspicion, my friend. The uncertain witness who doesn't remember, isn't sure, will think a minute--ah! yes, that's how it was--is infinitely more to be depended upon!"
"Dear me, Poirot," I said. "You upset all my preconceived ideas about witnesses." (129)
"My good friend," he said. "I depend upon you more than you know."
I was confused and delighted by these unexpected words. He had never said anything of the kind to me before. Sometimes, secretly, I had felt slightly hurt. He seemed almost to go out of his way to disparage my mental powers.
Although I did not think his own powers were flagging, I did realize suddenly that perhaps he had come to depend on my aid more than he knew.
"Yes," he said dreamily. "You may not always comprehend just how it is so--but you do often, and often point the way."
I could hardly believe my ears.
"Really, Poirot," I stammered. "I'm awfully glad, I suppose I've learnt a good deal from you one way or another--"
He shook his head.
"Mais non, ce n'est pas ca. You have learnt nothing."
"Oh!" I said, rather taken aback.
"That is as it should be. No human being should learn from another. Each individual should develop his own powers to the uttermost, not try to imitate those of someone else. I do not wish you to be a second and inferior Poirot. I wish you to be the supreme Hastings. In you, Hastings, I find the normal mind almost perfectly illustrated." (133)
"You are like someone who reads the detective story and who starts guessing each of the characters in turn without rhyme or reason." (135)
Read Lord Edgware Dies
  • If you enjoy murder mysteries with more than one murder
  • If you enjoy Agatha Christie
  • If you love Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings
  • If you enjoy vintage, British mysteries
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Case of the Late Pig (1948)

The Case of the Late Pig. Margery Allingham. 1948. 144 pages.

I absolutely LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Margery Allingham's The Case of the Late Pig. This was my first introduction to Albert Campion, and I just have to say that I love him! I do! I love him. This mystery had me hooked from the very beginning. The first sentence reads, "The main thing to remember in autobiography, I have always thought, is not to let any damned modesty creep in to spoil the story. This adventure is mine, Albert Campion's, and I am fairly certain that I was pretty nearly brilliant in it in spite of the fact that I so nearly got myself and old Lugg killed that I hear a harp quintet whenever I consider it. It begins with me eating in bed." Isn't that a WONDERFUL way to start a book, a mystery?! Old Lugg, by the way, is his valet.

The book begins with Lugg reading aloud the deaths in the Times to his master as he's eating in bed. Albert isn't exactly thrilled at this 'new' behavior of his valet which he picked up from keeping company with another valet. Albert is glancing through his own letters as well. Suddenly he makes a connection: one of his old school mates has died. A man with the nickname of Pig Peters. (R.I. Peters is his real name.) Pig Peters was a bit of a bully--almost always a bully. But. Campion did promise himself (and Peters, I believe) that he would attend his funeral. So off to the funeral they go. It's a very strange funeral--little attended. And all would be well, except that Pig Peter's funeral was in January...and his body turns up again in June! And it's obvious to Campion that the death is only a few hours old...

This mystery delights cover to cover. I absolutely LOVED the writing, the dialogue, the characterization. IT was just a joy to read this one!!!


Read The Case of the Late Pig
  • If you want to read a really GREAT mystery
  • If you enjoy British mysteries
  • If you enjoy vintage mysteries
  • If you enjoy Margery Allingham
  • If you enjoy cozy mysteries
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Hamlet, Revenge (1937)

Hamlet, Revenge! Michael Innes. 1937. 312 pages.

Hamlet, Revenge is the first mystery novel I've read by Michael Innes. It was published in 1937 and stars Inspector Appleby. The first half of the novel focuses on Scamnum Court, the family is producing a private showing of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Family, family friends, friendly acquaintances will star in this tragedy. Of course, from the start, readers know that all will not go well. (It is a mystery, after all. But there is plenty of foreshadowing in the introductory chapters.) The second half of the mystery focuses on Inspector Appleby and company as they try to solve the murder(s) that occurred on that tragic weekend.

There are SO MANY suspects in this one. So many characters introduced, and it was almost impossible to remember who was who. The mystery is very detailed, clues abound, and if you've got the attention to give to this one, it would probably be worth your time. It took me a while to get into this novel, but by the end I did care.


Read Hamlet, Revenge
  • If you enjoy mysteries, British mysteries, vintage mysteries
  • If you enjoy mysteries with literature and/or drama and/or academic connection

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Salon: Reading The Golden Road (1913)

The Golden Road. L.M. Montgomery. 1913. 213 pages.

The Golden Road is the sequel to The Story Girl. It picks up exactly where The Story Girl leaves us--a cold November. Beverly and Felix King are still visiting their cousins Dan, Felicity, and Cecily, and the unforgettable Sara Stanley (The Story Girl). Also among their friends: Sara Ray (who cries a LOT) and Peter Craig (who doesn't). In this book, they decide to start a paper together. Each will contribute articles, essays, stories, editorials, etc. Sample papers are collected throughout this book. Also each will attempt to make and keep resolutions for the New Year. The upcoming year will have many adventures in it. Mostly good, though some bittersweet. For example, this will be the last year they are all together as a group. The stories continue, of course. Some of these stories are horror or mysteries, but there are one or two love stories...including that of the Awkward Man.

What I enjoyed about both books was the opportunity to get to know these characters in their day-to-day lives. I liked the focus on friendship and family. I liked following their adventures over a two year period.

Favorite quotes:
We may long have left the golden road behind, but its memories are the dearest of our eternal possessions; and those who cherish them as such may haply find a pleasure in the pages of this book, whose people are pilgrims on the golden road of youth.
For there is no bond more lasting than that formed by the mutual confidences of that magic time when youth is slipping from the sheath of childhood and beginning to wonder what lies for it beyond those misty hills that bound for the golden road. 
The delight of the world had been ours on the golden road. It had enticed us with daisies and rewarded us with roses. Blossom and lyric had waited on our wishes. Thoughts, careless and sweet, had visited us. Laughter had been our comrade and fearless Hope our guide.

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Saturday, March 09, 2013

Library Loot: Second Week in March

New Loot:
  • Clementine and the Spring Trip by Sara Pennypacker 
Leftover Loot:
  • Knit Your Bit: A World War I Story by Deborah Hopkinson
  • The World of Cars: Radiator Springs Alan J. Porter
  • The World of Cars: The Rookie by Alan J. Porter
  • Five Fast Tales: A Collection of Five Early Readers 
  • The Great Race by Rev. W. Awdry
  • Secret of the Green Engine 
  • Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes
  • Bomb: The Race to Build and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin
  • Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood
  Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire and Marg that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.



© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Week in Review March 3-9

The False Prince. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2012. Scholastic. 342 pages.
Ruth. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1853. 432 pages.
Why Shoot a Butler? Georgette Heyer. 1933. 352 pages.
The Talisman Ring. Georgette Heyer. 1936/2009. Sourcebooks. 316 pages. 
 Peril at End House. Agatha Christie. 1932. HarperCollins. 287 pages.
Dear Enemy. Jean Webster. 1915. 236 pages.
Daddy Long Legs. Jean Webster. 1912. 208 pages.
Moonlight Masquerade. Ruth Axtell. 2013. Revell. 352 pages.
All of Grace. Charles Spurgeon. 142 pages.
Thru the Bible Commentary Series: Revelation 6-13. J. Vernon McGee. Thomas Nelson. 192 pages.
Taking God Seriously. J.I. Packer. 2013. Crossway. 160 pages.

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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The False Prince (2012)

The False Prince. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2012. Scholastic. 342 pages.

I thought this one would be good, but even I didn't expect it to be THAT GOOD. This book is WONDERFUL. Everything I wanted it to be! Readers first meet an orphan named Sage. When we meet him, he's on the run having just stolen meat from the butcher. He is "rescued" from the butcher by someone in the crowd, Connor. But is the rescue genuine?

Connor goes with Sage to the orphanage and explains that he's just bought Sage. Sage soon meets other orphan boys his own age that Connor has bought from various orphanages in the land. He's taking them to his castle...

Sage is suspicious fearing that Connor and the men working for him are DANGEROUS. Yes, he could be beaten, he could be imprisoned, but he knows that he could also be KILLED if he displeases Connor. Does knowing this make Sage less defiant or outspoken? Not really.

Connor has a plan--an ambitious plan. The royal family has been killed, murdered, and no one knows the truth, yet. The second son was presumed dead at sea, but, what if one of the orphan boys could assume this second son's identity and become king? Connor wants the boys in competition with one another and in training to become the future king. In a few weeks time, he'll pick the "lucky" boy.

Sage wants to be the boy, for better or worse, perhaps knowing that to fail in this means certain death. But that doesn't mean he likes Connor or trusts him. He doesn't trust Connor...at all.

I loved spending time with Sage! I loved being introduced to this fantasy world!!! I loved the setting, the characterization, the writing!!! This is a magical, oh-so-satisfying read!

Favorite quote:
“The saddest thing is there won’t be anyone to miss us when we’re gone. No family, no friends, no one waiting at home.”
“It’s better that way,” I said. “It’ll be easier for me, knowing my death doesn’t add to anyone’s pain.”
“If you can’t give anyone pain, then you can’t give them joy either.” 
Read The False Prince
  • If you like fantasy, especially MG or YA fantasy
  • If you love fantasy, this is a MUST read
  • If you like fantasy novels with great world-building and characterization

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Friday, March 08, 2013

Why Shoot a Butler? (1933)

Why Shoot a Butler? Georgette Heyer. 1933. 352 pages.

While I've read plenty by Georgette Heyer, Why Shoot a Butler (1933) was my first mystery novel by Heyer. I definitely enjoyed it! Mr. Amberley, our detective hero, is on the way to visit his aunt, uncle, and cousin. He's lost his way because he followed his cousin Felicity's directions. While he's trying to find his way, he sees a woman on the side of the road. Upon further investigation, he realizes that this woman is standing by a car...a car with a dead body in it. Amberley is convinced of two things: he does NOT like this strange woman, their conversation was, well, awkward to say the least; but, his instinct is telling him that she is innocent of murder...and that if he were to report her being found by the body that she'd be arrested. The police probably wouldn't look hard for the real murderer then. 

His visit with the family goes well. And as the murder investigation gets under way, he stays around and does his own investigation. He learns more and more about this woman, Shirley Brown, and her brother. He is on her side even if she doesn't want him on her side or by her side...


I really loved this one and found it very pleasant.
 

Read Why Shoot A Butler
  • If you enjoy Georgette Heyer
  • If you like British mysteries
  • If you like vintage mysteries of the 1930s
  • If you like mysteries with a touch of romance
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Thursday, March 07, 2013

Peril at End House (1932)

Peril at End House. Agatha Christie. 1932. HarperCollins. 287 pages.

It is such a pleasure to read an Agatha Christie mystery. Peril at End House stars Hercule Poirot and Captain Hastings. (I really love it when Hastings is "helping" Poirot solve a case.) This mystery is a hard one for Poirot to solve, though he doesn't realize that until the very, very end! This is a novel that could very easily be spoiled so I won't say much about it except that it was a pure delight to read this one! 

I think I LOVED this one so much because it kept me guessing, and it kept Poirot and Hastings guessing as well! While it's not unusual for a mystery--a crime--to keep Hastings guessing, it was satisfying to see Poirot stumble around a bit!

Favorite quotes:
“Poirot," I said. "I have been thinking."
"An admirable exercise my friend. Continue it.”
“You have a tendency, Hastings, to prefer the least likely. That, no doubt, is from reading too many detective stories.” 
“Evil never goes unpunished, Monsieur. But the punishment is sometimes secret.” 
 Read Peril at End House
  • If you like Agatha Christie
  • If you like classic or vintage mysteries
  • If you like British cozy mysteries
  • If you like Captain Hastings and Hercule Poirot

© 2013 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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