Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year in Review: The Best of the Best

My absolute favorites of the year:

If I had to pick just one board book: Not That Tutu! Michelle Sinclair Colman. 2013. Random House. 20 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
If I had to pick just one picture book: Pete the Cat And His Four Groovy Buttons. Eric Litwin. Illustrated by James Dean. 2012. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
If I had to pick just one chapter book:  Mr. Putter & Tabby Drop the Ball. Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Arthur Howard. 2013. Harcourt. 44 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
If I had to pick just one YA novel: All The Truth That's In Me. Julie Berry. 2013. Penguin. 288 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
If I had to pick just one MG novel: Paperboy. Vince Vawter. 2013. Random House. 240 pages. [Source: Library]
If I had to pick just one adult novel: Blackmoore Julianne Donaldson. 2013. Shadow Mountain (Proper Romance). 282 pages. [Source: Review Copy] 
If I had to pick just one classic: Les Miserables. Victor Hugo. Translated and Introduced by Norman Denny. 1862/1976/2012. Penguin. 1232 pages.
If I had to pick just one book by L.M. Montgomery: Rilla of Ingleside. L.M. Montgomery. 1921. 280 pages.  [Source: Book I Bought]
If I had to pick just one book by Georgette Heyer: Venetia. Georgette Heyer. 1958/2009. Harlequin. 368 pages. [Source: Gift]  
If I had to pick just one nonfiction book:  Viking: The Norse Warrior's (Unofficial) Manual. John Haywood. 2013. Thames & Hudson. 208 pages. [Source: Library]
If I had to pick just one nonfiction picture book: Miss Moore Thought Otherwise: How Anne Carroll Moore Created Libraries for Children. Jan Pinborough. Illustrated by Debby Atwell. 2013. [March 2013] Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.  40 pages.
If I had to pick just one Christian novel: The Tutor's Daughter. Julie Klassen. 2013. Bethany House. 412 pages.

If I had to pick just one nonfiction Christian book: Gospel: Recovering the Power That Made Christianity Revolutionary. J.D. Greear. Foreword by Timothy Keller. B&H Books. 266 pages. 
If I had to pick just one short story collection:   The Inimitable Jeeves (Jeeves). P.G. Wodehouse. 1923. 225 pages.

Favorites of the year.

I read 21 board books. My top two board books were:
  1. Trains Go.  Steve Light.  2012. Chronicle Books. 16 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. Not That Tutu! Michelle Sinclair Colman. 2013. Random House. 20 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
Honorable mentions:

Baby and Me. Emma Dodd. 2013. Candlewick. 16 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
Little Bear's Little Boat. Eve Bunting. Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter.  2003/2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 30 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I read 85 picture books and/or early readers. My top eight were:
  1. Sophie's Squash. Pat Zietlow Miller. Illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf. 2013. Random House. 40 pages. [Source: Review copy]   
  2. That Is Not A Good Idea. Mo Willems. 2013. HarperCollins. 48 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. How To Train a Train. Jason Carter Eaton. Illustrated by John Rocco. 2013. Candlewick Press. 48 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
  4. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. Eric Litwin. Illustrated by James Dean. 2010. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. Pete the Cat And His Four Groovy Buttons. Eric Litwin. Illustrated by James Dean. 2012. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  6. Exclamation Mark. Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. 2013. Scholastic. 56 pages.
  7. Mr. Putter & Tabby Drop the Ball. Cynthia Rylant. Illustrated by Arthur Howard. 2013. Harcourt. 44 pages. [Source: Review Copy]  
  8. A Big Guy Took My Ball. Mo Willems. 2013. Hyperion. 58 pages. [Source: Library]

Honorable Mentions:

Olive and the Bad Mood. Tor Freeman. 2013. Candlewick Press. 32 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
Penny and Her Marble. Kevin Henkes. 2013. HarperCollins. 48 pages. 

I read 178 MG and YA books. My top twenty. In no particular order.
  1. Paperboy. Vince Vawter. 2013. Random House. 240 pages. [Source: Library]  
  2. The Boy on the Porch. Sharon Creech. 2013. HarperCollins. 160 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
  3.  Fortunately, The Milk. Neil Gaiman. 2013. HarperCollins. 114 pages. [Source: Review Copy]  
  4. Every Day After. Laura Golden. 2013. Random House. 224 pages. [Source: Review Copy]  
  5. Serafina's Promise. Ann E. Burg. 2013. Scholastic. 304 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  6. Beholding Bee. Kimberly Newton Fusco. 2013. Random House. 336 pages. [Source: Review Copy] 
  7. All The Truth That's In Me. Julie Berry. 2013. Penguin. 288 pages. [Source: Review Copy] 
  8. The 5th Wave. Rick Yancey. 2013. Penguin. 457 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  9. Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. Kate DiCamillo. 2013. Candlewick Press. 240 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
  10. Prisoner B-3087. Alan Gratz. 2013. [March 2013] Scholastic. 260 pages.  
  11. Rose Under Fire. Elizabeth Wein. 2013. Hyperion. 368 pages. [Source: Library]
  12. The Phantom Tollbooth. Norton Juster. Illustrated by Jules Feiffer. 1961/2011. Random House. 272 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  13. Imperfect Spiral. Debbie Levy. 2013. Bloomsbury. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  14. The Testing. Joelle Charbonneau. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 344 pages.
  15. Catherine. April Lindner. 2013. Little, Brown. 320 pages.
  16. The False Prince. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2012. Scholastic. 342 pages.  
  17. The Runaway King. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2013. Scholastic. 352 pages. 
  18. Kizzy Ann Stamps. Jeri Watt. 2012. Candlewick. 192 pages.
  19. Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library. Chris Grabenstein. 2013. Random House. 304 pages. [Source: Review Copy] 
  20. Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) Robin LaFevers. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 387 pages. 
I read 142 adult books--fiction, nonfiction, short stories. Because I've already made a top ten Georgette Heyer, I'm excluding her from this list. Same goes with L.M. Montgomery, here's my top ten list. My top fifteen:
  1. Blackmoore Julianne Donaldson. 2013. Shadow Mountain (Proper Romance). 282 pages. [Source: Review Copy]  
  2. Viking: The Norse Warrior's (Unofficial) Manual. John Haywood. 2013. Thames & Hudson. 208 pages. [Source: Library] 
  3. The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabeth England. Ian Mortimer. 2013. Viking. 416 pages. [Source: Library]  
  4. Prince of Foxes. Samuel Shellabarger. 1947. 433 pages. [Source: Library] 
  5. Great Tales from English History, vol. 1. Robert Lacey. 2003. Little, Brown. 272 pages. [Source: Library]
  6. Blood & Beauty: The Borgias. Sarah Dunant. 2013. Random House. 528 pages. [Source: Library]  
  7. William Shakespeare's Star Wars. Ian Doescher. 2013. Quirk. 176 pages. [Source: Review Copy]  
  8. Wool (Omnibus Edition, Wool 1-5). Hugh Howey. 2013. Simon & Schuster. 508 pages. [Source: Library]  
  9. Death on the Nile. Agatha Christie. 1937/2007. Black Dog & Leventhal. 352 pages. [Source: Library]
  10. The Daughter of Time. (Inspector Grant #5). Josephine Tey. 1955/1995. Touchstone. 206 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
  11. Les Miserables. Victor Hugo. Translated and Introduced by Norman Denny. 1862/1976/2012.
    Penguin. 1232 pages. [Source: Library]
  12. Ruth. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1853. 432 pages. [Source: Book I Bought] 
  13.  The Inimitable Jeeves (Jeeves). P.G. Wodehouse. 1923. 225 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
  14.  Can You Forgive Her? Anthony Trollope. 1865. 848 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
  15.  Nicholas Nickleby. Charles Dickens. 1839. 817 pages.  [Source: Book I Bought]
One of the best, best, best discoveries of the year was not a book, but, a British TV series: Horrible Histories. 


My favorite, favorite tribute video: What Makes You Beautiful
My favorite song about Vikings: Vikingland AND Literally (as if I could ever, ever choose between the two?!)
My favorite song from Series 1: Born 2 Rule, the 4 Georges
My favorite song from Series 2: Pachacuti
My favorite song from Series 3: Richard III (the song that started EVERYTHING!)
My favorite song from Series 4: RAF (World War II Pilots)
My favorite song from Series 5: We're History (Finale)
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2014 Reading Challenges: British History

Host: Impressions in Ink
Name: British History Reading Challenge
Dates: January - December 2014
# of books: my goal 9 to 12

What I read:

1. Lady of the English. Elizabeth Chadwick. 2011. Sourcebooks. 544 pages. [Source: Library] 
2. 1066 And All That. W.C. Sellar & R.J. Yeatman. 1931/1993. Barnes & Noble. 116 pages. [Source: Bought]
3. Duchess of Drury Lane. Freda Lightfoot. 2013. Severn House. 256 pages. [Source: Library]
4. Royal Affair: George III And His Scandalous Siblings. 2006. Random House. 384 pages. [Source: Library]
5. The Revolt of the Eaglets. Jean Plaidy. 1977. 320 pages. [Source: Bought] 
6. Doomsday Book. Connie Willis. 1992. Random House. 592 pages.  [Source: Book I Bought]
7. The Courts of Love. Jean Plaidy. 1987. Broadway Books. 576 pages. [Source: Bought]
8. Scarlet. A.C. Gaughen. 2012. Walker. 292 pages. [Source: Library]
9. Goodnight, Mr. Tom. Michelle Magorian. 1981. HarperCollins. 320 pages. [Source: Library]
10. In Search of England. H.V. Morton. 1927/2007. Da Capo Press. 304 pages. [Source: Bought]
11. Blackout. Connie Willis. 2010. Random House. 495 pages. [Source: Bought]
12. The Dog Who Could Fly: The Incredible True Story of a WWII Airman and the Four-Legged Hero Who Flew At His Side. Damien Lewis. 2014. Simon & Schuster. 304 pages. [Source: Library] 
13. The Courtiers: Splendor and Intrigue in the Georgian Court At Kensington Palace. Lucy Worsley. 2010. Walker. 432 pages [Source: Bought]
14. The Princess of Celle. Jean Plaidy. 1967/1985. Ballantine. 400 pages. [Source: Bought]
15. The Merry Monarch's Wife. (A Queens of England Novel). Jean Plaidy. 1991/2008. Crown. 352 pages. [Source: Bought]
16. The Birth of Britain (History of the English Speaking People #1). Winston Churchill. 1956. 496 pages. [Source: Bought]
17. History of England. Jane Austen. 1977. 64 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
18. A Child's History of England. Charles Dickens. 1851-1853.  390 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
19. The Hawk That Dare Not Hunt. Scott O'Dell. 1975/1988. JourneyForth. 182 pages. [Source: Bought]
20. Tudor: The Family Story. Leanda de Lisle. 2013. Public Affairs. 576 pages. [Source: Library]
21. To Say Nothing of the Dog. Connie Willis. 1998. Bantam. 493 pages. [Source: Bought]
22. The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VII, The Playboy Prince. Jane Ridley. 2013. Random House. 752 pages. [Source: Library]
23. When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman. 1994. Random House. 746 pages. [Source: Bought]
24. Lady Thief. A.C. Gaughen. 2014. Walker Books. 304 pages. [Source: Review copy]
25. Dick Turpin: The Myth of the English Highwayman. James Sharpe. 2004. Profile Books. 258 pages. [Source: Book I bought]
26.  Hideous Love: The Story of The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein. Stephanie Hemphill. 2013. HarperCollins. 320 pages. [Source: Library]
27. An Autobiography. Agatha Christie. 1977/1996. Berkley. 635 pages. [Source: Bought] 
28.  A Tale of Two Cities. Charles Dickens. 1854/2003. Bantam Classics. 382 pages. [Source: Bought]
29. The Man Who Invented Christmas. Les Standiford. 2008. Crown. 241 pages. [Source: Library]

What I want to read:

Neither fiction nor nonfiction:
  • 1066 And All That. W.C. Sellar & R.J. Yeatman. 
Nonfiction:
  • The Birth of Britain (History of the English Speaking People #1). Winston Churchill.
  • The New World (History of the English Speaking People #2). Winston Churchill.
  • The Age of Revolution. (History of the English Speaking People #3). Winston Churchill.
  • Royal Affair: George III and His Scandalous Siblings. Stella Tillyard.
  • In Search of England. H.V. Morton.
  • The Courtiers: Splendor and Intrigue in the Georgian Court At Kensington Palace. Lucy Worsley.
  • Dick Turpin: The Myth of the English Highwayman. James Sharpe.
  • The Heir Apparent: A Life of Edward VIII. Jane Ridley
  • Elizabeth of York. Alison Weir
  • The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens Who Made England. Dan Jones.
Fiction:
  • When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman.
  • The Merry Monarch's Wife by Jean Plaidy.
  • Victoria Victorious. Jean Plaidy.
  •  The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Kay Penman
  • Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
  • Falls the Shadow by Sharon Kay Penman
  • The Reckoning by Sharon Kay Penman
  • Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd
  • London by Edward Rutherfurd
  • The Revolt of the Eaglets by Jean Plaidy
  • The Courts of Love by Jean Plaidy
  • Lady of the English by Elizabeth Chadwick
  • Duchess of Drury Lane by Freda Lightfoot

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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December Reflections

This month I read 46 books.

My top five:

Pete the Cat And His Four Groovy Buttons. Eric Litwin. Illustrated by James Dean. 2012. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. Eric Litwin. Illustrated by James Dean. 2010. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
Beholding Bee. Kimberly Newton Fusco. 2013. Random House. 336 pages. [Source: Review Copy] 
Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. Kate DiCamillo. 2013. Candlewick Press. 240 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
The 5th Wave. Rick Yancey. 2013. Penguin. 457 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Children's Books

  1. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. Eric Litwin. Illustrated by James Dean. 2010. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  2. Pete the Cat: Rocking In My School Shoes. Eric Litwin. Illustrated by James Dean. 2011. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  3. Pete the Cat And His Four Groovy Buttons. Eric Litwin. Illustrated by James Dean. 2012. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  4. Pete The Cat Saves Christmas. Eric Litwin. Illustrated by James Dean. 2012. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. Pete the Cat And His Magic Sunglasses. Kimberley and James Dean. 2013. HarperCollins. 40 pages. [Source: Library]  
  6. The Smallest Gift of Christmas. Peter H. Reynolds. 2013. Candlewick. 40 pages. [Source: Review Copy] 
  7. My Pen Pal, Santa. Melissa Stanton. Illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell. 2013. Random House. 32 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
  8. Star Wars: A Very Vader Valentine's Day. Scholastic. 2013. 16 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
Middle Grade and Young Adult Books
  1. Serafina's Promise. Ann E. Burg. 2013. Scholastic. 304 pages. [Source: Review copy] 
  2. Beholding Bee. Kimberly Newton Fusco. 2013. Random House. 336 pages. [Source: Review Copy] 
  3. Better To Wish. (Family Tree #1) Ann M. Martin. 2013. Scholastic. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  4. The Long Way Home (Family Tree #2) Ann M. Martin. 2013. Scholastic. 240 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  5. Jane of Lantern Hill. L.M. Montgomery. 1937. 274 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  6. Anne of Ingleside. L.M. Montgomery. 1939. 274 pages. [Source: Bought] 
  7. The 5th Wave. Rick Yancey. 2013. Penguin. 457 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  8. Unsouled. Neal Shusterman. 2013. Simon & Schuster. 416 pages. [Source: Library] 
  9. Dangerous. Shannon Hale. 2014. Bloomsbury. 400 pages. [Source: Review Copy]  
  10. Across A Star-Swept Sea. Diana Peterfreund. 2013. HarperCollins. 464 pages. [Source: Library]
  11. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles. Julie Andrews Edwards. 1974. Scholastic. 288 pages. [Source: Bought]
  12. Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. Kate DiCamillo. 2013. Candlewick Press. 240 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
  13. The Book of Lost Things. (Mister Max #1). 2013. Random House. 400 pages. [Source: Review copy]  
  14. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Babies, Burglars, and Other Bumps in the Night. Lenore Look. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. 2013. Random House. 183 pages. [Source: Review Copy] 
  15. Bluffton: My Summer with Buster Keaton. 2013. Candlewick Press. 240 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
  16. Vader's Little Princess. Jeffrey Brown. 2013. Chronicle Books. 64 pages. [Source: Library]
  17. Darth Vader and Son. Jeffrey Brown. 2012. Chronicle Books. 64 pages. [Source: Library] 
  18. Star Wars: Jedi Academy. Jeffrey Brown. 2013. Scholastic. 160 pages. [Source: Library] 
  19. Star Wars Science Fair Book. Samantha Margles. 2013. Scholastic. 128 pages. [Source: Review Copy] 
  20. Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out. Based on the TV Special. 2013. Scholastic. 48 pages. [Source: Review Copy]   
Adult Books
  1. Cousin Kate. Georgette Heyer. 1968/2009. Sourcebooks. 384 pages. [Source: Bought]
  2. Charity Girl. Georgette Heyer. 1970/2008. Sourcebooks. 282 pages. [Source: Review copy]
  3. Lady of Quality. Georgette Heyer. 1972. Sourcebooks. 300 pages. [Source: Review Copy]
  4. The Story of Britain. Rebecca Fraser. 2003. Norton. 828 pages. [Source: Library]
  5. Viking: The Norse Warrior's (Unofficial) Manual. John Haywood. 2013. Thames & Hudson. 208 pages. [Source: Library]
  6. How To Create the Perfect Wife: Britain's Most Ineligible Bachelor And His Enlightened Quest to Train the Ideal Mate. Wendy Moore. Basic Books. 344 pages. [Source: Library] 
  7. I Will Repay. Baroness Orczy. 1906. 220 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
  8. Shift by Hugh Howey. 2013. CreateSpace. 608 pages. [Source: Book I Bought] 
  9. Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. George Lucas, Alan Dean Foster. 1977. 247 pages. [Source: Own] 
  10. Star Wars: Episode V: Empire Strikes Back. Donald F. Glut. 1980. 214 pages.  [Source: Bought] 
  11. Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi. James Kahn, George Lucas, Lawrence Kasdan. 1983. 181 pages. [Source: Bought]
Christian Fiction and Christian Nonfiction 
  1. Isaiah Chapters 1-35 (Thru the Bible). J. Vernon McGee. 1991. Nelson. 225 pages.  
  2. Adventure Bible Storybook: Deluxe Edition. Catherine DeVries. Illustrated by Jim Madsen. 2009. Zonderkidz. 288 pages. [Source: Review Copy]  
  3. When Hope Springs New. Janette Oke. 1986. Bethany House. 216 pages. [Source: Book I Own]
  4. What is Biblical Theology: A Guide to the Bible's Story, Symbolism, and Patterns. James M. Hamilton Jr. 2013. Crossway. 128 pages. [Source: Review Copy] 
  5. A Light in the Window. Julie Lessman. 2013. Ten Talents Press. [Source: Book I Bought]
  6. An Amish Christmas. (Brides of Amish Country). Patricia Davids. 2010. Steeple Hill Love Inspired. 224 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
  7. A Home for My Heart. Anne Mateer. 2013. Bethany House. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Bluffton (2013)

Bluffton: My Summer with Buster Keaton. 2013. Candlewick Press. 240 pages. [Source: Review Copy]

Bluffton is a graphic novel with a historical setting (1908-1910?). The book focuses on the summer vacations of a young Buster Keaton. These special summer days are told not from his point of view, however, but from a local boy named Henry Harrison who absolutely idolizes the show people.

Henry Harrison is thrilled when a troupe of vaudeville performers settles down to summer near Muskegon, Michigan. There are boys his own age among the troupe. One of these boys is Buster Keaton. Henry had not heard of Buster before, but he becomes mesmerized by his new friend. Buster? Well, he enjoys clowning around and making the local folk laugh now and then, but, mainly he wants to play ball. He wants to play, have fun, relax. He's shown as wanting to pack a whole summer into each and every day. I got the impression that Henry didn't really see things clearly; he saw what he wanted to see: the glamor, the wow.

The story of several summers (and winters) are told through art and dialogue. An epilogue informs readers of Buster Keaton's transition from stage to film.


© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Monday, December 30, 2013

2014 Reading Challenges: Victorian

The Two Sisters, 1889, Pierre-Auguste Renoir
Host: Becky's Book Reviews
Title: Victorian Reading Challenge
Duration: Jan - Dec 2014
# of books: my goal is 6 to 9

What I read:

1) The Eustace Diamonds. Anthony Trollope. 1873. 794 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
2) A Rogue's Life. Wilkie Collins. 1856. 159 pages. [Source: Book I bought]
3) Phineas Redux. Anthony Trollope. 1874. 768 pages. [Source: Book I bought]
4) Melisande. E. Nesbit. Illustrated by P.J. Lynch. 1901/1988/1999. Candlewick. 48 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
5) Stepping Heavenward. Mrs. Elizabeth Prentiss. 1869/1998. Barbour Books. 352 pages. [Source: Bought]  
6) The Prime Minister. Anthony Trollope. 1876. 864 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]  
7) The Law and the Lady. Wilkie Collins. 1875. 430 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
8) The Duke's Children. Anthony Trollope. 1880. 560 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
9) The Belton Estate. Anthony Trollope. 1866/1993. Penguin. 432 pages. [Source: Bought]
10) No Name. Wilkie Collins. 1862/1998. Oxford University Press. 748 pages.
11) North and South. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1854-1855. 452 pages. [Source: Bought]
12) To Say Nothing of the Dog. Connie Willis. 1998. Bantam. 493 pages. [Source: Bought]
13) A Tale of Two Cities. Charles Dickens. 1854/2003. Bantam Classics. 382 pages. [Source: Bought]
14) Black Beauty. Anna Sewell. 1877. 245 pages. [Source: Bought]
15) Stand There! She Shouted: The Invincible Photographer Julia Margaret Cameron. 2014. Candlewick. 80 pages. [Source: Review copy]
16) Is He Popenjoy? Anthony Trollope. 1878/1993. Penguin. 632 pages. [Source: Bought]
17 A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens. 1843. 96 pages. [Source: Bought] 
18) Jane Eyre. Charlotte Bronte. 1847.  300 pages. [Source: Own]
19) The Story of the Treasure Seekers. E. Nesbit. 1899. Puffin. 250 pages. [Source: Bought]
20)  Lark Rise to Candleford. Flora Thompson. 1943. 537 pages. [Source: Bought]


What I recommend to fellow participants, perhaps those new to Victorian literature!


One of the first books I'd recommend is Jerome K. Jerome's Three Men in a Boat. It is wonderful. It is funny. It is short! Plus if you like his style, there are a handful more books to read including Three Men on the Bummel.

Another one I'm quick to recommend is George MacDonald's The Light Princess. For anyone who enjoys fairy tales or spins on fairy tales, this one is a MUST. It is charming in all the right ways. And it's a very quick read. For those who think that Victorian literature means heavy literature, think again!!!


The Dead Witness: A Connoisseur's Collection of Victorian Detective Stories. Edited by Michael Sims. I'm recommending this collection of Victorian short stories because one can pick and choose and skim. It's not a book you'd have to feel obligated to read cover to cover. I'm recommending it to those with a love of mysteries and detective fiction, obviously. I really enjoyed this one when I read it, read a lot of new-to-me authors.





For those that really want a movie to watch along with what they read...I recommend North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell, The Warden and Barchester Towers by Anthony Trollope. I love, love, love the adaptation of North and South with Richard Armitage!!! And The Barchester Chronicles are very, very fun!!!


And my list would not be complete, could not be complete without a mention of Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte!

My long, long, list of potential reads:

Bearded Victorians I hope to read in 2014:

Anthony Trollope
I'd love to finish the Palliser series:
  • The Eustace Diamonds (1873)
  • Phineas Redux (1874)
  • The Prime Minister (1876)
  • The Duke's Children (1880)
I'm really tempted to reread some Trollope favorites:
  • Lady Anna (1874)
  • He Knew He Was Right (1879)
Charles Dickens
I am torn between wanting to read Dickens chronologically which would mean reading Sketches by Boz (1836) before beginning Pickwick Papers (1837)...OR just indulging in a rereading of my favorites, which would mean Our Mutual Friend (1864-5) and possibly Bleak House (1852-3)...OR randomly tackling those I haven't read yet, which would mean Martin Chuzzlewit (1843-4), or A Tale of Two Cities (1859).

Wilkie Collins
I'd love to read:
  • The Law and the Lady (1875)
  • No Name (1862)
  • The Dead Secret (1856)
I'd really love to reread:
  • Armadale (1866)
  • Man and Wife (1870)
  • The Woman in White (1860)
Women Authors
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (1847)
  • Shirley by Charlotte Bronte (1849)
  • Vilette by Charlotte Bronte (1853)
  • North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (1854-5)
  • Sylvia's Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell (1863)
  • Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell (1865)
  • Adam Bede by George Eliot (1859)
  • Miss Marjoribanks by Margaret Oliphant (1866)
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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The 5th Wave (2013)

The 5th Wave. Rick Yancey. 2013. Penguin. 457 pages. [Source: Review copy]

The 5th Wave is probably one of the best books I've read this year. It is definitely one of the best science fiction novels I've read this year. Alien Invasion. That alone may be enough to draw some readers in, though I know it won't be enough to draw all readers into this oh-so-compelling story of survival.

The 5th Wave is an intense sci-fi thriller. There are multiple narrators, perhaps with Cassie being the 'main' narrator. Each voice adds something to the book. Together the story they tell is quite unforgettable.

If Cassie has learned one thing since it happened, she's learned not to trust another soul, to see every single person--no matter their age or gender--as a threat to her survival. That is because the alien invasion has taken an oh-so-human twist. One can't discern the enemy, for the enemy might just be the boy next door or a former classmate.

But the truth is Cassie needs desperately to trust someone. It is incredibly difficult to take care of yourself, to survive, when you've been injured. So when Cassie wakes up in someone's house--after a big injury (a gunshot wound, I believe) she is almost forced to relax while she's being nursed back to health. The name of her rescuer is Evan Walker. Cassie will have to decide if he is just as he seems or if he has a couple of secrets...

Readers also meet other characters, for example, Cassie's younger brother, and Cassie's former crush. But The 5th Wave is such a difficult book to write about because it is so very good and because the less you know before you pick it up, the better.

The sequel The Infinite Sea is scheduled to be released in September 2014.

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

2014 Victorian Reading Challenge

I've not hosted any challenges at Becky's Book Reviews lately. But. I really want to join a Victorian Reading Challenge, and since I haven't found one for this year, I thought I'd try hosting it myself. It will be a simple challenge. Nothing fancy. No giveaways. No monthly link-ups. Of course, if you want to share in the comments what you've been reading, you can! But no obligations to come back and leave links.

Goal: Read two or more Victorian books. Preferably books published during the Victorian years (1837-1901). But books about those years are fine. Here is a list of authors you may find useful if you are looking for ideas.
  • Fiction or nonfiction.
  • Books, e-books, audio books all are fine.
  • Books and movies can be reviewed together or separately.
  • You can create a reading list if you want, but it's not a requirement
  • If you do make a list, consider adding a list of five books you'd recommend to others
  • If possible try to try a new-to-you author! I know it can be really tempting to stick with familiar favorites.
  • Children's books published during these years should not be forgotten!
  • Rereads are definitely allowed if you have favorites!
Join by leaving a comment.

Participants (last updated Jan. 11)
Becky @ Becky's Book Reviews
Cass @ Words on Paper
Annette @ Impressions in Ink
JMisgro @ Litlequeen Rules
Arabella @ The Genteel Arsenal
Miss Kim @ The Joy of Reading
Jenni @ Dangerous Metaphors
Katie @ The Bookshelf Blogger
Maphead @ Maphead's Book Blog
Shounak @ Life With Books and Movies
Fig and Thistle

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2014 Reading Challenges: Chunkster


Chunkster Reading Challenge 
Dates: January - December 2014
# of books: each reader decides! my goal: 6 to 8

1. Lady of the English. Elizabeth Chadwick. 2011. Sourcebooks. 544 pages. [Source: Library] 
2. Doomsday Book. Connie Willis. 1992. Random House. 592 pages.  [Source: Book I Bought]
3. The Courts of Love. Jean Plaidy. 1987. Broadway Books. 576 pages. [Source: Bought]
4. Mansfield Park. Jane Austen. 1814. 464 pages. [Source: Book I Bought] 
5. When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman. 1994. Random House. 746 pages. [Source: Bought]
6. Phineas Redux. Anthony Trollope. 1874. 768 pages. [Source: Book I bought]
7.  The Prime Minister. Anthony Trollope. 1876. 864 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
8. Redeeming Love. Francine Rivers. 2005. Multnomah. 464 pages. [Source: Bought]
9.  No Name. Wilkie Collins. 1862/1998. Oxford University Press. 748 pages.
10. Bridge to Haven. Francine Rivers. 2014. Tyndale House. 468 pages. [Source: Library]
11.  North and South. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1854-1855. 452 pages. [Source: Bought]
12. To Say Nothing of the Dog. Connie Willis. 1998. Bantam. 493 pages. [Source: Bought] 
13. The Duke's Children. Anthony Trollope. 1880. 560 pages. [Source: Book I Bought] 
14.  The Auschwitz Escape. Joel C. Rosenberg. 2014. Tyndale. 468 pages. [Source: Library]
15. Blackout. Connie Willis. 2010. Random House. 495 pages. [Source: Bought]
16. All Clear. Connie Willis. 2010. Random House. 645 pages. [Source: Bought]
17.  Is He Popenjoy? Anthony Trollope. 1878/1993. Penguin. 632 pages. [Source: Bought]
18. The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time #1) Robert Jordan. 1990. Tor. 814 pages. [Source: Bought]
19. An Autobiography. Agatha Christie. 1977/1996. Berkley. 635 pages. [Source: Bought]  
20. Les Miserables. Victor Hugo. Translated by Isabel Florence Hapgood. 1862/1887. 1232 pages.
21. Lark Rise to Candleford. Flora Thompson. 1943. 537 pages. [Source: Bought] 
22. God Has Spoken: A History of Christian Theology. Gerald Bray. Crossway. 1264 pages. [Source: Review copy]
23. The Secret of Pembrooke Park. Julie Klassen. 2014. Bethany House. 460 pages. [Source: Review copy] 

© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2014 Reading Challenges: Shakespeare

Host: Caffeinated Life
Name: Shakespeare Reading Challenge
Dates: January - December 2014
#: signing up for 1-4 "Occasional Theatre Goer" my actual goal is 6 plays, one every other month. I definitely don't want to commit to 9 plays!

1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.



© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2014 Reading Challenge: A Year in Re-Reading

Host: Caffeinated Life
Name: A Year In Rereading (sign-up post; review sharing post)
Dates: January - December 2014
# of Books: 10+ my goal is 50-52 books; one each week

1. The Story of the Treasure Seekers. E. Nesbit. 1899. Puffin. 250 pages. [Source: Bought]
2. Good Morning, Miss Dove. Frances Gray Patton. 1954. 218 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
3. Pastwatch The Redemption of Christopher Columbus. Orson Scott Card. 1996. Tor.  351 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
4. The Time Machine. H.G. Wells. 1895. Penguin. 128 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
5. Doomsday Book. Connie Willis. 1992. Random House. 592 pages.  [Source: Book I Bought]
6. Sense and Sensibility. Jane Austen. 1811. 352 pages. [Source: Book I Bought] 
7. A Woman's Place. Lynn Austin. 2006. Bethany House. 450 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
8. The Merchant's Daughter. Melanie Dickerson. 2011. Zondervan. 285 pages. [Source: Library]
9. The Long Winter. Laura Ingalls Wilder. 1940. 334 pages. [Source: Library] 
10. Colonel Brandon's Diary. Amanda Grange. 2009. Penguin. 304 pages. [Source: Library] 
11. To Kill A Mockingbird. Harper Lee. 1960. 281 pages. [Source: Book I Own]
12. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. 2008. Random House. 274 pages. [Source: Library]
13. Sword in the Storm. David Gemmell. 1998. Del Rey. 448 pages [Source: Library]
14. Knowledge of the Holy. A.W. Tozer. 1961/1978. HarperCollins. 128 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]
15. The Giver. Lois Lowry. 1993. Houghton Mifflin. 180 pages. [Source: Library]  
16. A Long Way From Chicago. Richard Peck. 1998. Penguin. 148 pages. [Source: Library book] 
17. Five Children and It. E. Nesbit. 1902/2004. Puffin Classics. 240 pages. [Source: Book I bought]
18. The Testing. Joelle Charbonneau. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 344 pages. [Source: Review Copy] 
19. Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen. 1813. 386 pages. [Source: Book I Bought] 
20. Mansfield Park. Jane Austen. 1814. 464 pages. [Source: Book I Bought]  
21.Ten Cents A Dance. Christine Fletcher. 2008/2010. Bloomsbury USA. 368 pages. [Source: Review copy]
22 Meet Me in St. Louis: A Trip to the 1904 World's Fair. Robert Jackson. 2004. HarperCollins. 144 pages. [Source: Bought] 
23.A Year Down Yonder. Richard Peck. 2000. Penguin. 144 pages. [Source: Library] 
24.The False Prince. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2012. Scholastic. 342 pages. [Source: Review copy]
25. The Runaway King. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2013. Scholastic. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]
26. The Shadow Throne. Jennifer A. Nielsen. 2014. Scholastic. 336 pages. [Source: Review copy]
27. The Teacher's Funeral. Richard Peck. 2004. Penguin. 208 pages. [Source: Library] 
28. The Phoenix and the Carpet. E. Nesbit. 1904. 224 pages. [Source: Bought]
29.Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance. Jennifer Armstrong. 1998. Random House. 144 pages. [Source: Library]
30. Preacher's Boy. Katherine Paterson. 1999/2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 176 pages. [Source: Review copy]
31.Greetings from Nowhere. Barbara O'Connor. 2008. FSG. 208 pages. [Source: Library]
32.Because of Winn Dixie. Kate DiCamillo. 2000. Candlewick. 182 pages. [Source: Book I bought]
33.Peter Pan. J.M. Barrie. 1911/2008. Penguin. 207 pages. [Source: Review copy]
34. The Lemonade War. Jacqueline Davies. 2007. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 192 pages. [Source: Library]
35. Doggirl. Robin Brande. 2011.  Ryer Publishing. 269 pages. [Source: Review copy]
36. Julia Gillian (And the Art of Knowing) by Alison McGhee. 2008. Scholastic. 290 pages. [Source: Review copy]
37. 11 Birthdays. Wendy Mass. 2009. Scholastic. 267 pages. [Source: Library book] 
38. The Story of the Amulet. E. Nesbit. 1906/1996. Puffin. 292 pages. [Source: Bought]
39. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Betty Smith. 1943/2006. HarperCollins. 496 pages. [Source: Bought]  
40. The Railway Children. E. Nesbit. 1906/2011. Penguin. 304 pages.  [Source: Bought]  
41. North and South. Elizabeth Gaskell. 1854-1855. 452 pages. [Source: Bought]
42.  To Say Nothing of the Dog. Connie Willis. 1998. Bantam. 493 pages. [Source: Bought]
43. Umbrella Summer. Lisa Graff. 2009. HarperCollins. 240 pages. [Source: Library]
44. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Kate DiCamillo. 2006. Candlewick. 200 pages. [Source: Bought]
45. The Book Thief. Markus Zusak. 2006. Random House. 560 pages. [Source: Book I Bought] 
46. Out of the Dust. Karen Hesse. 1997. Scholastic. 240 pages. [Source: Bought]
47. The Daughter of Time. Josephine Tey. 1951/1995. Simon & Schuster. 208 pages. [Source: Bought]
48. The Convenient Marriage. By Georgette Heyer. (1934) Read by Richard Armitage. 2010. August 2010. Naxos Audiobooks. 5 hrs. 6 minutes. [Source: Review copy]
49. The Hobbit. J.R.R. Tolkien. 1937. 320 pages. [Source: Bought]
50. Blue Plate Special by Michelle D. Kwasney. 2009. Chronicle Books. 366 pages. [Source: Library]
51. Fahrenheit 451. Ray Bradbury. 1953/1991. Del Rey. 179 pages. [Source: Bought]
52. Northanger Abbey. Jane Austen. 1817/1992. Everyman's Library. 288 pages. [Source: Book I Own]
53. Blackout. Connie Willis. 2010. Random House. 495 pages. [Source: Bought]  
54. All Clear. Connie Willis. 2010. Random House. 645 pages. [Source: Bought] 
55. Howl's Moving Castle. Diana Wynne Jones. 1986. 336 pages. [Source: Bought]
56. Grave Mercy. Robin LaFevers. 2012. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 560 pages. [Source: Review copy]
57. Frankenstein. Mary Shelley. 1818/1831. Oxford World's Classics. 250 pages. [Source: Bought]
58. The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time #1) Robert Jordan. 1990. Tor. 814 pages. [Source: Bought]
59. The Night Gardener. Jonathan Auxier. 2014. Abrams. 350 pages. [Source: Library]
60. The Hiding Place. Corrie Ten Boom. With John and Elizabeth Sherrill. 1971/1984/1995. Chosen. 228 pages. [Source: Bought] 
61. Countdown by Deborah Wiles. 2010. May 2010. Scholastic. 400 pages. [Source: Review copy]
62. Dark Triumph (His Fair Assassin #2) Robin LaFevers. 2013. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 387 pages. [Source: Review copy]
63. Black Beauty. Anna Sewell. 1877. 245 pages. [Source: Bought]
64. Persuasion. Jane Austen 1818/1992. Knopf Doubleday. 304 pages. [Source: Bought]
65.  A Christmas Carol. Charles Dickens. 1843. 96 pages. [Source: Bought]  
66. The All-I'll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll. Patricia C. McKissack. Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. 2007. Schwartz & Wade. 40 pages. [Source: Library] 
67. The Tailor of Gloucester. Beatrix Potter. 1903. 58 pages. [Source: Library]
68. Polar Express. Chris Van Allsburg. 1985/2009. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 32 pages. [Source: Library]
69. How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Dr. Seuss. 1957. Random House. 64 pages. [Source: Review copy]
70. The Velveteen Rabbit. Margery Williams. Illustrated by William Nicholson. 1922/2014. Random House. 48 pages. [Source: Review copy]
71. Twas the Night Before Christmas. Clement C. Moore. Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith. 1823/1912. HMH. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]
72. The Tale of Despereaux. Kate DiCamillo. 2003. Candlewick Press. 272 pages. [Source: Bought] 
73. The 5th Wave. Rick Yancey. 2013. Penguin. 457 pages. [Source: Review copy]
74. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Barbara Robinson. 1972. HarperCollins. 128 pages. [Source: Bought]
75. The Golden Dreydl. Ellen Kushner. Illustrated by Ilene Winn-Lederer. 2007. Charlesbridge. 126 pages. [Source: Review copy]
76. Les Miserables. Victor Hugo. Translated by Isabel Florence Hapgood. 1862/1887. 1232 pages.
77. Jane Eyre. Charlotte Bronte. 1847.  300 pages. [Source: Own]
78. A Darcy Christmas: A Holiday Tribute to Jane Austen. By Amanda Grange, Carolyn Eberhart, and Sharon Lathan. 2010. Sourcebooks. 304 pages. [Source: Library] 
79. The Christmas Tree. Julie Salamon. 1996. Random House. 118 pages. [Source: Bought]
80. Keeping Holiday. Starr Meade. Illustrated by Justin Gerard. 2008. Crossway. 192 pages. [Source: Review copy]  






© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Perpetual Challenge: Kings and Queens

image is book cover I found at B&N
This is not an "official" challenge I'm participating in. It's a project of my own. The goal: to read at least one book per "king" or "queen" of England. Fiction or nonfiction. Books covering multiple kings and/or queens count as well. As do general "history of England" or "history of Britain" books. But listed separately.

For a listing of earlier kings see here and here. I am listing the years of their reigns--not their birth/death dates. Perhaps of interest: a list of English consorts. I'll be updating this list with links as time permits!

William I (William the Conqueror), 1066-1087
  • The Bastard King. Jean Plaidy. 1974. Fawcett Crest. 320 pages. [Source: Bought]  
  • The Norman Conquest. Janice Hamilton. 2007. Twenty-First Century Books. 160 pages. [Source: Library] 
William II (William Rufus) 1087-1100
Henry I (Henry Beauclerc) 1100-1135
Stephen (Stephen of Blois) 1135-1154
Henry II (Henry Curtmantle) 1154-1189
Richard I (Richard the Lionheart) 1189-1199
John (John Lackland or Jean sans Terre) 1199-1216
Henry III (Henry of Winchester) 1216-1272
Edward I (Longshanks) 1272-1307
Edward II (Edward of Caernarfon) 1307-1327
  • The Traitor's Wife by Susan Higginbotham. 2009. Sourcebooks. 500 pages. *might cover more than one Edward, I believe it does.
Edward III (1327-1377)
Richard II (1377-1399)
Henry IV (Bolinbroke) 1399-1413
Henry V 1413-1422
Henry VI 1422-1461; 1470-1471
Edward IV 1461-1470; 1471-1483
Edward V 1483
Richard III 1483-1485
Henry VII 1485-1509
Henry VIII 1509-1547
Edward VI 1547-1553
Mary I 1553-1558
Elizabeth 1558-1603
James I 1603-1625
Charles I 1625-1649
Charles II 1660-1685
James II 1685-1688
Mary II 1689-1694
William III 1689-1702
Anne 1702-1714
George I 1714-1727
George II 1727-1760
George III 1760-1820
George IV 1820-1830 (Regent from 1811 on)
William IV 1830-1837
Victoria 1837-1901
Edward VII 1901-1910
George V 1910-1936
Edward VIII 1936
George VI 1936-1952
Elizabeth II 1952-present

Others:
Matilda (Empress Matilda) 1141
Henry the Young King (co-ruled with father) 1170-1183
Louis The Lion (Louis VIII of France) 1216-1217
Jane Grey July 10-19th 1553
Philip (Mary's husband) 1554-1558
Oliver Cromwell 1653-1658
Richard Cromwell 1658-1659

General Resources Covering Multiple Kings and Queens:
Wars of the Roses (Henry VI through Battle of Bosworth Field)

Earlier history -- before William the Conqueror


© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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2013 Challenge Completed: Vintage Mystery





Host: My Reader's Block

Name: Vintage Mysteries
Dates: Jan - Dec
# Target Books: 8 - 16
Limitations: Mysteries published BEFORE 1960
Share Reviews On This Post

What I read:

1. Final Curtain by Ngaio Marsh (1947) qualifies as #4 leave it to the professionals
2. The Cape Cod Mystery by Phoebe Atwood Taylor (1931) qualifies as #3 amateur night
3. Why Shoot a Butler by Georgette Heyer (1933) qualifies as #23 the butler did it...or not
4. The Case of the Late Pig by Margery Allingham (1948) qualifies as #8, dangerous beasts
5. Hamlet, Revenge by Michael Innes (1937) qualifies as #13 staging the crime
6. Peril at End House by Agatha Christie (1932) qualifies as #33 international detectives
7. Lord Edgware Dies (aka Thirteen at Dinner) (1933) qualifies as #11, a book with a man in the title
8. Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy Sayers (1928) qualifies as #14 scene of the crime
9. The Daughter of Time. (Inspector Grant #5). Josephine Tey. 1955 qualifies as #35 authors who wrote under a pseudonym
10. The Red Box. Nero Wolfe. (Nero Wolfe #4) 1936. qualifies as #1 a book with a color in the title
11. Envious Casca. Georgette Heyer. 1941. qualifies as #16 a locked-room mystery
12. Strong Poison. Dorothy L. Sayers. 1930 qualifies as #27 as psychic phenomenon*
13. The Five Red Herrings. Dorothy L. Sayers. 1931. qualifies as # 2 murder by the numbers
14. A Blunt Instrument by Georgette Heyer (1938) qualifies as #12 murderous methods
15. The Case of the Cautious Coquette by Erle Stanley Gardner (1949) qualifies as #10 a book with a woman in the title
16. Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie (1937) qualifies as #18 murder on the high seas
17. Death in the Clouds by Agatha Christie (1935) qualifies as #19 planes, trains, and automobiles
18.The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham (1929) qualifies as #17 country house murder
19. The Rubber Band. (Nero Wolfe #3) Rex Stout. 190 pages. qualifies as #6 mystery set in USA
20. They Found Him Dead. Georgette Heyer. 1937. Sourcebooks. 325 pages qualifies as #5 mystery set in Britain
21. Behold, Here's Poison. Georgette Heyer. 1936/2009. Sourcebooks. 330 pages. qualifies as #34 mystery someone else has already read
22. The League of Frightened Men. Rex Stout. 1935. Bantam. 320 pages. qualifies as #25 dynamic duos
23. Clouds of Witness. Dorothy L. Sayers. 1926/1966. Avon. 224 pages. qualifies as #22 repeat offender, starring favorite detective
24. The Case of the Worried Waitress: A Perry Mason mystery. Erle Stanley Gardner. 1966. 151 pages. qualifies as #29 Old Bailey

Mission read & match mystery categories:

1. Colorful Crime: a book with a color or reference to color in the title
2. Murder by the Numbers: a book with a number, quantity in the title
3. Amateur Night: a book with a "detective" who is not a P.I.; Police Officer; Official Investigator (Nurse Keate, Father Brown, Miss Marple, etc.)
4. Leave It to the Professionals: a book featuring cops, private eyes, secret service, professional spies, etc.
5. Jolly Old England: one mystery set in Britain

6. Yankee Doodle Dandy: one mystery set in the United States
7. World Traveler: one mystery set in any country except the US or Britain
8. Dangerous Beasts: a book with an animal in the title (The Case of the Grinning Gorilla; The Canary Murder Case; etc.)

9. A Calendar of Crime: a mystery with a date/holiday/year/month/etc. in the title (Hercule Poirot's Christmas, Holiday Homicide, etc.)
10. Wicked Women: a book with a woman in the title--either by name (Mrs. McGinty's Dead) or by reference (The Case of the Vagabound Virgin)
11. Malicious Men: a book with a man in the title--either by name (Maigret & the Yellow Dog) or by reference (The Case of the Haunted Husband)
12. Murderous Methods : a book with a means of death in the title (The Noose, 5 Bullets, Deadly Nightshade, etc).

13. Staging the Crime: a mystery set in the entertainment world (the theater, musical event, a pageant, Hollywood, featuring a magician, etc)
14. Scene of the Crime: a book with the location of the crime in the title (The Body in the Library, Murder at the Vicarage, etc.)
15. Cops & Robbers: a book that features a theft rather than murder 
16. Locked Rooms: a locked-room mystery
17. Country House Criminals: a standard (or not-so-standard) Golden Age country house murder
18. Murder on the High Seas: a mystery involving water 
19. Planes, Trains & Automobiles: a mystery that involves a mode of transportation in a vital way--explicitly in the title (Murder on the Orient Express) or by implication (Death in the Air; Death Under Sail) or perhaps the victim was shoved under a bus....
20. Murder Is Academic: a mystery involving a scholar, teacher, librarian, etc.  OR set at a school, university, library, etc.
21. Things That Go Bump in the Night: a mystery with something spooky, creepy, gothic in the title (The Skeleton in the Clock, Haunted Lady, The Bat, etc.)
22. Repeat Offenders: a mystery featuring your favorite series detective or by your favorite author (the books/authors you'd read over and over again) OR reread an old favorite
23. The Butler Did It...Or Not: a mystery where the butler is the victim, the sleuth....(gasp) the criminal....or is just downright memorable for whatever reason. 
24. A Mystery By Any Other Name: any book that has been published under more than one title (Murder Is Easy--aka Easy to Kill [Christie]; Fog of Doubt--aka London Particular [Christianna Brand], etc.)
25. Dynamic Duos: a mystery featuring a detective team--Holmes & Watson, Pam & Jerry North, Wolfe & Goodwin, or....a little-known team that you introduce to us.
26. Size Matters: a book with a size or measurement in the title (Death Has a Small Voice, The Big Four, The Weight of the Evidence, etc.)
27. Psychic Phenomena: a mystery featuring a seance, medium, hypnotism, or other psychic or "supernatural" characters/events
28. Book to Movie: one vintage mystery that has appeared on screen (feature film or TV movie).
29. The Old Bailey: a courtroom drama mystery (Perry Mason, anyone? Witness for the Prosecution...etc.) OR a mystery featuring a judge, lawyer, barrister, D.A., etc.
30. Serial Killers: Books that were originally published in serial format, probably from the pulp era.  Frank Packard's works come to mind.
31. Killed in Translation: Works that originally appeared in another language and have been made available in English (works published in English post-1960 would be acceptable, provided the original was published pre-1960).  Georges Simeon's works come to mind. OR If your native language is not English, then works that originally appeared in English and have been made available in your native language (same dating rules apply).
32.  Blondes in Danger:  A variation on "Colorful Crime".  Books that feature a blonde in the title role, like The Blonde Died First, or Blonde for Danger.
33. International Detectives.  A variation on "World Traveler" but instead of the crime being set in another country, the detective is not from the US or UK.   This may include Hercule Poirot as well as such notables as Judge Dee,
34. Somebody Else's Crime:  Read one book that someone else has already reviewed for the Vintage Mystery Challenge. 
35. Genuine Fakes: Authors who wrote under a pseudonym (Josephine Tey [Elizabeth Mackintosh]; Nicholas Blake [Cecil Day Lews]; etc)

36. Hobbies Can Be Murder: A mystery that involves a hobby in some way: stamp or coin collecting; knitting (a la Patricia Wentworth's Miss Silver); bird watching; hunting (particularly the British hunt); scrapbooks; etc.  [thanks to S from Snaps and Snippets for the idea]

37. Get Out of Jail Free: This is a freebie category.  One per customer.  You tell me what special category the book fits ("It's got an awesome cover!"..."First book I grabbed off my shelf") and it counts.  Only thing I won't take is "It's a Vintage Mystery!"--that's a given. :-)



*Strong Poison does feature a seance. It's all pretend, the work of Miss Climpson. But it's so memorable and it works really well. And I'm unlikely to ever ever read any mystery where it's presented as "real."


© 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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