Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Ramona Quimby wishes her family would perk up. Her cat refuses to eat, her older sister is going through a moody and defiant phase, and her parents worry a lot these days, since her father just lost his job. But if Ramona sets her mind to it, maybe she can find a way to help her father through this rough patch in Ramona and Her Father by author Beverly Cleary.

Just as I remembered from childhood, I found this to be one of the darker Ramona books (although back then, “sadder” is the word I likely would’ve used.) It’s certainly a serious situation for Ramona here, with her family being even more strapped for cash than usual, and her father putting his lungs in danger with cigarettes. (Wow–I’d forgotten all about Ramona’s mission against her father’s smoking habit! My, does that lead to some parts that prick my heart in a whole new way, now that I can better appreciate how Mr. Quimby must feel.)

But there’s still patented Ramona humor and fun in the read, with a heroine whose feelings about things like eating out at Whopperburger are so on point. Plus, seeing how an imperfect Mr. Quimby is a good man who loves and gets a kick out of his daughter makes this a winner of a tale.

Oh–and did I mention this book’s delightfully Christmassy ending?

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Ramona and Her Father is the fourth book in the Ramona Quimby series. Another one on the “sadder but wonderful” side is the book that precedes this one, Ramona the Brave.

Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Henry Huggins is determined to earn enough money to buy himself a bicycle. Along with the other advantages of his having a set of wheels, maybe it’ll stop that older kid, Scooter, from needlessly showing his bike off so much. Although a neighbor of Henry’s, Beezus Quimby, happens to be a girl, she just may be able to help Henry get a bike of his own in Henry and Beezus by author Beverly Cleary.

I vaguely remember reading this book sometime during my childhood, back when I read other books about Henry and his dog, Ribsy. But I picked it up again since I’ve been revisiting the Ramona Quimby books, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Nothing like reading a tale from the 1950s, where kids say things like “Gee whillikers!” and really mean it. And if I once found this book to be funny, it was even funnier to me this time around. No, not just because somebody says “Gee whillikers!” but because the humor in the story is truly on point. Henry has quite the adventures in his efforts to raise money, and Beezus and Ramona add much to the fun of it all (even though it may not all be “fun” for them, exactly.)

There are a good bunch of reasons why Beverly Cleary was my favorite author as a child. A great story like this one is a good reason.

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Henry and Beezus is the second book in the Henry Huggins series.

Henry Huggins (Henry Huggins, #1) Henry and Ribsy (Henry, #3) Henry and the Paper Route (Henry, #4)

Henry and the Clubhouse (Henry, #5) Ribsy (Henry Huggins)

A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison

BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book, and I’ve given my honest opinion.
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A Harvest of ThornsA Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

A large American corporation. A garment factory fire overseas. Labor rights. Globalization. I wanted to read this novel and get something meaningful and challenging out of it.

Instead, I rather felt like I’d been duped. Partly my fault, since I’ve run into this with a HarperCollins Christian Publishing book in the past, and I’d told myself I’d be more cautious about selecting books from them. (I believe it was a Zondervan book before, while this one is a Thomas Nelson.)

Call me old-fashioned, but when I reach for novels from a Christian publisher, I’m not looking for books that contain profanity. I’m just not. Sure, when I knowingly choose to read a secular book, I’ll deal with a certain amount of foul language or other content I prefer to avoid, if I find the story and message especially compelling and relevant–that’s my choice. But I personally don’t see the point of continuing to call yourself a Christian publisher if not all of the novels you’re publishing now are Christian Fiction.

Yes, yes, I know–different folks’ definitions and standards of Christian Fiction are different. The publishers have their business reasons and all. That’s fine. But in keeping with my standards as a longtime ChristFic reader, I’ll now be choosing Thomas Nelson and Zondervan books based on what I know or have researched about the authors, not based on the publishers’ names anymore–since, unfortunately, I can no longer trust what I’m getting from said publishers.

This is rare for me when I originally planned to review a book, but I got less than a quarter of the way through this one before I decided not to continue.

Remember Typhon by Kimberly A. Rogers

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Remember Typhon by Kimberly A. Rogers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

The presence of communications expert Zenia (and her cat) on the Starstream aggravates Commander Gavril to no end. But when Zenia hears a distress call from the planet Typhon, Gavril has no choice but to take her along on the rescue mission. Gavril may—or may not—live to regret that fact in Remember Typhon, a short story by author Kimberly A. Rogers.

And here I am, branching into science fiction a tad.

That is, I’m not wholly unfamiliar with sci-fi. As a cinephile, I’m a fan of the original Planet of the Apes pentalogy (Escape from the Planet of the Apes is my favorite.) And I watched a good deal of Star Trek in past years (of which Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is my favorite, despite some Trekkie’s understandable opinion that DS9 isn’t as Star Trekkish as the other Star Treks.)

But as a bibliophile, I haven’t read much sci-fi at all, and I’d say this story gave me a good means to stretch my reading wings. I was sure that I wouldn’t quite grasp everything, but the story didn’t pile on so much unexplained, unfamiliar stuff as to lose me. The main thread of this short tale is complete, though it’s pretty clear that it’s a setup for more adventures to come. And I couldn’t help but to smile a little whenever Zenia would “thank Yisus.” (Heeheehee, I see you, Zenia.)

I’ll be on the lookout for whatever adventures this one is a setup for.