Between I-Con, the school book fair, Spring break for the kids (not for me!), and a busy class schedule, I have been lax in updating of late. I have much to tell about all of the above, and more! I need to get out in the garden and take some photos of the lovely blooms that have come a few weeks early this year.
Despite having a crammed schedule, I was able to get in a lot of reading time while the kids worked on their homework over the break. Since i was generally stopping every few pages to answer questions, look over finished work, and referee arguments over who owns which crayons, I decided to read something a little less cerebral than my usual fare.
The first book I read was The Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman. I picked this up (purchased it) while volunteering at the Scholastic Book Fair. I am a big fan of fantasy and mystery, and I also like to read books that I think my children will enjoy so that I can answer any questions they may have later on. I was very impressed with this book. It managed to blend urban fantasy and mystery with just a touch of (kid-safe) romance. The setting was amazing – a special lending library in New York devoted to interesting items, including items of magical origin. The teenage characters engage in social, family, and workplace politics while trying to uncover the mystery of why magical items have been disappearing from the library. I found the mystery to be solvable and the fantasy fun and engaging. I look forward to seeing what my kids think of the book.
Next, I read Bad Apple by Laura Ruby. I enjoyed this tale of a high school girl trying to find her niche in the world amid nasty rumors and melodramatic adults. Unlike The Grimm Legacy, I am not ready to hand this one off to my daughter. There were some subjects within the book that are a little too mature for most third graders (the driving plot is that the main character’s art teacher has been suspended after allegations that he had an affair with said main character). It would be perfect for middle school readers, however.
Third, I read The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong. This was another book better suited for early teen readers, and some of the supernatural elements would be too frightening for younger readers. The book is brimming with teen angst, often in the guise of kids with supernatural powers. Our main character has the ability to see ghosts, and believes she has been institutionalized for schizophrenia. The book is dark, and a bit brooding. I enjoyed it a great deal, despite the predictability of what would happen next and the general vilification of adults. However, the level of death, violence, suggested sexual situations, and elements (supernatural and otherwise) that are a bit scary, I wouldn’t recommend the book for anyone under 12-13 years old.
In addition to my splurge of YA reading, I read Heresy by Sharan Newman. I continue to love this series, and am reading the next in line, The Outcast Dove, currently. I love history, fiction, and mystery – and Newman blends them all with well-rounded characters that bring more humanity to Medieval Europe than most people would take the time to consider. We see into the (fictional) lives of people who are genuine and believable, despite encountering unusual events quite frequently.
I have found that, especially since I have been back in school, I absolutely must have some fiction to read on a regular basis. It helps to maintain a balance and keep all of the textbook data from taking over my life.
What are all of you reading this week?