Monday, July 24, 2017

Funeral in Blue

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

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

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

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

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

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

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Sunday, July 23, 2017

How To Train Your Dragon

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

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

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

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

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Saturday, July 22, 2017

How To Babysit a Grandpa

How to Babysit a Grandpa. Jean Reagan. Illustrated by Lee Wildish. 2012. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: Babysitting a grandpa is fun--if you know how.

Premise/plot: A grandson shares all his personal how-to tips for babysitting his grandpa. Some of his tips include what to feed a Grandpa, what to play with Grandpa, how to entertain a Grandpa, how to get a Grandpa to take a nap, etc.

My thoughts: I liked it okay. I did. I have a feeling that there are millions of ways to babysit a Grandpa, and that each grandchild has their own unique way of doing so. This book is universal by no means. (Though hopefully LOVING to spend time with your Grandpa is universal.) I love, love, love the end papers of this picture book. I love the kid drawings.

Text: 3 out of 5
Illustrations: 4 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Friday, July 21, 2017

How to Track a Truck

How to Track a Truck. Jason Carter Eaton. Illustrated by John Rocco. 2016. Candlewick Press. 32 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: If you want a pet truck--and who doesn't?--you've come to the right person! I've got two dump trucks and a fire engine myself. I think everyone should have one! And that's why I wrote this book. By the time you're done, you'll know everything you need in order to track, catch, and tame your very own pet truck.

Premise/plot: How To Track a Truck is a follow-up to How To Train a Train. This book is all about TRUCKS. The premise is that you--that everyone--really, really wants a truck for a pet. The story is wonderfully absurd. If you enjoyed the first book, then this one might be worth your time!

My thoughts: I liked it. I didn't LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it like How to Train a Train. But it is fun and crazy and unique. Here's one of my favorite parts:
Now the fun part: catching it. Wait until the truck notices you, and then lay down a trail of orange cones. Trucks can't help following orange cones.
Text: 4 out of 5
Illustrations: 3 out of 5
Total: 7 out of 10

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Thursday, July 20, 2017


Skunked. (Calpurnia Tate, Girl Vet #1) Jacqueline Kelly. 2016. 106 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: None of the terrible things that happened need have happened at all if the skunk hadn't drawn attention to itself by ripping up our garden and stealing a bunch of vegetables. And if Father hadn't told the hired man to set a trap and kill it. And if the skunk hadn't turned out to be a mother with a baby hidden in a den nearby. And if my younger brother Travis hadn't heard the hungry baby crying and stopped to investigate.

Premise/plot: Calpurnia Tate stars in a new series of early readers. (This is not a younger Calpurnia Tate.) Callie LOVES science, her grandpa, and her younger brother, Travis. In this one, Calpurnia and Travis find an orphaned baby skunk. Together they will "save" it. But their rescue mission isn't without challenges!

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. I like Callie as a character. (Callie also stars in The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate.) The two previous books are for older readers. I'm not sure why the switch in audience, but, I don't mind it particularly. I like the Texas setting. I love historical fiction. The family atmosphere is great.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

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