Deb (of Just Deb) was kind enough to host a middle grade read-a-thon this past week. I happen to read middle grade science fiction and fantasy in much the same way as I brush my teeth--ie, early and often, so I took this read-a-thon as a challenge to try to move off my list a few mg books that weren't for review.
Here's what I read:
The Penderwicks at Point Mouette, by Jeanne Birdsall, which I had been eying hungrily over at my local library for ages. I enjoyed just fine. I especially liked the en passant mention of a book that's a favorite of mine--Bilgewater, by Jane Gardam (whose name was used for the Penderwick's home street)--and I agree that it is too old for Jane. But it is not too old for many of you all, and there are used copies on Amazon for 1 cent....It's about an ugly duckling of a girl growing up as the only girl at an English boy's boarding school, and her misadventures with life and love, and even though I do not like books that are straight misadventure, there is enough hopefulness here to make me love it. Plus she is a math genius, and I do very much like books where the main character is passionate about something.
I did enjoy the Penderwicks, too, but not so much.
Shakespeare's Secret, by Elise Broach. I picked up a used copy of this years ago, and it's been languishing in the downstairs bathtub of tbr shame for far too long (just as a reminder, in case anyone is worrying, the upstairs bathroom has all mod. cons.). I enjoyed it lots (as I suspected I might, when I got it....). A nice mystery with a historical twist, and engaging heroine, and an overgrown garden. Some weeding is done, but not enough to fully please me (I do enjoy books with gardening).
One of the problems I have with my tbr is library discards. The discards all get passed along to me for the Friend's booksale, and sometimes the older children's books don't make it until after they have spent a while in the aforementioned bathtub (I dunno what I'll do when we get around to bathroom renovation). Yesterday I read one of these discards--The Mystery of the Cuckoo's Call, by Gertrude Dowds (1963). It's an implausible mystery/suspense story involving kids in Ireland and a fortune in diamonds and I cannot recommend it....back to the book sale it goes. Possibly straight onto the Free Book Cart.
I did read some fantasy, including a book from the books-I-think-I-will keep tbr pile (which lives in the dinning room at present)--The Kingdom of Carbonel, by Barbara Sleigh, the second in a series about a magical, royal cat and the two children who become his friends. I enjoyed it just fine. I hate it when people say "I didn't like this book because it was for kids," but sometimes one does run into books that one would have loved back in the day, that aren't quite solid enough (or whatever) to suit a grownup. Sadly, I felt this way about this one. But if you have a young cat loving reader, get this series!!!!
And I read Earwig and the Witch, by Diana Wynne Jones (my review), and finished The Dead Gentleman, by Matthew Cody (my review), finished The Jewel of the Kalderash, by Marie Rutkoski (review to come), read Fairy Lies, by E.D. Baker (review to come), and am about to start The Book of Wonders, by Jasmine Richards, for review next week.
Just to finish my weekly reading summary for the heck of it, I also read The Scorpio Races, but it was too depressing for me to like it all that much, and the first few chapters of A Papa Like Everyone Else, by Sydney Taylor, which I put down when the robbers came...too depressing (back to the library book sale for this one too!).
Thanks, Deb, for the fun read-a-thon!