24. Nothing Else But Miracles
Becky's Book Reviews
by Becky
1w ago
Nothing Else But Miracles. Kate Albus. 2023. 288 pages. [Source: Library] First sentence:  If you were looking for Dory Byrne--not that there's any reason you would be--you'd most likely find her at the Castle. Which makes it sound as if this is a story about a princess. It isn't. Castle Clinton, as it was known to most people, wasn't actually a castle at all. It was--or had been--at various points in its history: 1) a fort, 2) a restaurant and opera house, 3) an immigration processing center, 4) an aquarium, 5) a ruin. Which is what it was now. An empty place, half-demolished. Derelict ..read more
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23. All-of-a-Kind Family
Becky's Book Reviews
by Becky
1w ago
All-of-A-Kind-Family. Sydney Taylor. 1951. 192 pages. [Source: Library] First sentence: "That slowpoke Sarah1" Henny cried. "She's making us late!" Mama's girls were going to the library, and Henny was impatient. Premise/plot: Ella (12), Henny (10), Sarah (8), Charlotte (6) and Gertie (4) are sisters that make up [part of] an "all-of-a-kind family."  The book is set in the Lower East Side of New York City at the turn of the twentieth century. It chronicles the adventures of a Jewish family in the course of a year (or most of a year). The book opens with a bittersweet library visit and e ..read more
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22. Mrs. Quinn's Rise to Fame
Becky's Book Reviews
by Becky
1w ago
Mrs. Quinn's Rise To Fame. Olivia Ford. 2024. 384 pages. [Source: Library] First sentence: It was a December night, the sort which usually makes being inside feel wonderfully cozy, but tonight it didn't.  Premise/plot: Mrs. Quinn's Rise to Fame is a "coming-of-old-age" story. (To be clear, "coming of old age" is on the publisher description of the book. I didn't come up with the phrase). Jenny Quinn loves, loves, loves, LOVES to bake. But as much as baking has saved her--in a way--she can't help feeling a little out of sorts and empty. She decides somewhat impulsively that it's time to ..read more
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21. Making It So
Becky's Book Reviews
by Becky
1w ago
Making It So. Patrick Stewart. 2023. 469 pages. [Source: Library] First sentence: We called it t'bottom field, never wondering where, in relation to "t'bottom," t'middle field and t'top field might be.  Premise/plot: Making It So is Patrick Stewart's memoir. It doesn't get more straight-forward than that. He writes of his family, growing up, friendships and romantic relationships, and his career on stage and on screen. He has spent more time, I believe, on stage--doing live theatre productions--than on screen. But only because there have been decades where he was able to do both.  ..read more
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20. Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint
Becky's Book Reviews
by Becky
2w ago
Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint. (Danny Dunn #1) Jay Williams. Illustrated by Raymond Abrashkin. 1956. 154 pages. [Source: Library] First sentence: Space Captain Daniel Dunn stood on the bridge of the Revenge with his eyes on the viewer screens. He could see the fiery trails that were the rocket ships from Jupiter. Adjutant Dan Dunn ran up to report. "Sir," he cried, "They've got us surrounded!"  Premise/plot: Danny Dunn is a daydreamer. His current obsession is space [the final frontier]. Should he be spending class time daydreaming about exploring space? Probably not. Is he puni ..read more
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19. The Fire, the Water, and Maudie McGinn
Becky's Book Reviews
by Becky
2w ago
The Fire, The Water, and Maudie McGinn. Sally J. Pla. 2023. [July] 336 pages. [Source: Library] [J Fiction; J Realistic Fiction; MG Fiction, MG Realistic Fiction; dysfunctional families] First sentence: I learned this great calm-down trick recently. It was the end-of-the-year seventh-grade dance, back in Houston, which is where I live during the school year with my mom and stepdad. Premise/plot: Maudie McGinn looks forward to spending summers with her dad in California, but a wildfire destroys "plan A" and the two quickly come up with a "plan B." Maudie didn't plan on spending her summer lea ..read more
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18. Fighting With Love
Becky's Book Reviews
by Becky
3w ago
Fighting With Love: The Legacy of John Lewis. Lesa Cline-Ransome. Illustrated by James E. Ransome. 2024. [January] 48 pages. [Source: Library] [nonfiction picture book; picture book biography; civil rights movement] First sentence: Before John Robert Lewis was old enough to read the word "love" in his Bible, he could feel it all around him.  Premise/plot: Fighting with Love is a nonfiction picture book biography of civil rights activist [and politician], John Lewis.  My thoughts: There are a handful of picture book biographies of John Lewis. In fact, I think there are biographies o ..read more
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17. The Frozen River
Becky's Book Reviews
by Becky
3w ago
The Frozen River. Ariel Lawhon. 2023. [December] 432 pages. [Source: Library] [adult historical fiction] First sentence: The body floats downstream. But it is late November, and the Kennebec River is starting to freeze, large chunks of ice swirling and tumbling through the water, collecting in mounds while clear, cold fingers of ice stretch out from either bank, reaching into the current, grabbing hold of all that passes by.  Premise/plot: Martha Ballard, a midwife, witnesses much in her community. She often ends up testifying in court sharing her observations and notes. IN The Frozen R ..read more
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16. Not Quite a Ghost
Becky's Book Reviews
by Becky
3w ago
Not Quite a Ghost. Anne Ursu. 2024. [January] 288 pages. [Source: Library] First sentence: The house stood a little apart from the rest of the block, as if it did not quite fit in. Perhaps it was wary of the other houses, or perhaps it was the other houses that wished to keep their distance from it. If only houses could talk, then one of them could tell us which it was. Of course, if houses could talk, they could also lie. Premise/plot: Violet Hart is struggling--struggling with her health, with her friend group, with starting middle school, with getting along with her older [oh-so-moody] si ..read more
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14. Mexikid
Becky's Book Reviews
by Becky
3w ago
Mexikid: A Graphic Memoir. Pedro Martin. 2023. 320 pages. [Source: Library] [Nonfiction Graphic Novel; MG Graphic Novel; Newbery Honor] First sentence: They call me Peter...but my real name is Pedro. Premise/plot: This one is a graphic novel MEMOIR. It is set in the summer of 1977. Pedro Martin is recalling/chronicling the adventures/misadventures of a family (round trip) road trip from California to Mexico (and Mexico to California). Being the seventh in a family of nine kids, he's got plenty of stories to share. Long story short, his family is going to Mexico to spend time with the grandfa ..read more
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