Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Lots of reading!

Death at Bishop's Keep by Robin Paige: The first in the Victorian mysteries by Susan Wittig Albert and her husband. This was really fun. American Kate Ardleigh moves to England to live with an aunt. Secret societies devoted to the occult, an archaeological dig, and strangely attractive amateur detective Sir Charles Sheridan make this a fun, engaging read. Kate is a plucky heroine, and I'll be reading more of these.

The Tale of Holly How by Susan Wittig Albert: The second Beatrix Potter mystery. Cozy and charming. I will be reading more of these.

The Boggart and The Boggart and the Monster by Susan Cooper: Fun children's books set in Scotland, where a Canadian brother and sister encounter the Boggart, a troublemaking spirit.

Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange: This was surprisingly enjoyable. Quite fluffy, but fun. It's really superfluous, since you can tell in Pride and Prejudice what Darcy was thinking most of the time, but if you're a P&P fan, this might be worth picking up. I zipped through it pretty quickly, and really liked it. There are some conversations with Bingley and comments on Caroline that are entertaining, and we see a bit more of his relationship with Georgiana. And of course, we find out what happened when Darcy went after the eloping couple. Grange has also written Mr. Knightley's Diary, which I will have to pick up!

Molly Moon, Micky Minus, and the Mind Machine by Georgia Byng: This is the fourth in the series about a plucky heroine who discovers she has amazing powers. These are very cute, over-the-top adventures, beginning with Molly Moon's Incredible Book of Hypnotism.

Key to the Treasure, Pirate Island Adventure, Clues in the Woods, and The Haunted House by Peggy Parish: Four of the six Liza, Bill & Jed mysteries. I've gotten nostalgic about childhood books, and sometimes I have only a dim memory of a book I loved as a kid, without remembering the author, the plot, or the character names. This makes it hard to search for a book! For this one, all I remembered was that there was a "treasure key" or "key to treasure" or something in the title and it had codes in it. Pretty quickly found Key to the Treasure, and I had completely forgotten it was the first in a series. These are good natured adventure-mysteries that are neither too adventurous nor very mysterious. These are really cute, wholesome mysteries. There are no video games or television shows, and the kids play outside and volunteer to do the dinner dishes without being asked, but they're not disgustingly sweet. They carp at each other like real siblings. I wasn't sure if they would still appeal to kids, or if they would be too dated, but they were recently re-released, maybe because people like me who loved them as kids are now having children themselves.

Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Egg by Gail Carson Levine: This was a fun fairy tale set in Never Land. Prilla, a new fairy, hasn't yet found her talent. Meanwhile, trouble is brewing for the Never fairies. There's not much suspense that Prilla's yet-unknown talent will play a key role in solving the trouble in Never Land, but the story is cute and the illustrations lovely.


Holly said...

Oh, we have Fairy Dust and Quest for the Egg! Ella loves to look at the illustrations. We don't usually read it yet because she gets bored with sooo many words. :-) A little above our current reading/listening level. But if she asks me, I sort of make a up story. :-) I got it as a bargain book and figured she would really enjoy it someday.

The last time we were at the bookstore, she found the other Fairies chapter books and started looking through them so we may be moving on to some bigger books soon.

I should post soon about some other fun children's books we've been reading. And I'll have to look for that series that starts with the Key to the Treasure.

allisonmariecat said...

Well, it should be easier now I've corrected the author's name. It's Parish with one 'R'--sorry! Amazon has them in their 4-for-3 thing, and they had lots of used.

I love that you make up your own story for Fairy Dust! It is pretty, isn't it? That's the main reason I picked it up.

Jen Robinson said...

Oh, I LOVED Key to the Treasure when I was a kid. I couldn't tell you much about it, but as soon as I saw the name written in your post I just got this tremendous pang of happiness. Thanks so much for reminding me about those books. I'm glad to know that they've been reissued.

I liked the early books in the Robin Paige series, too, but I tired of the series mid-way through, for some reason. I liked the first Beatrix Potter book, too. I think that we have congenial tastes.

allisonmariecat said...

Jen, how cool that you loved Key to the Treasure, too! I had such happy feelings associated with that book, and I was so excited to find it. I loved solving the codes and reading about the kids' adventure. I always wished my grandparents' house had some treasure with clues I could solve to find it :) When I babysat my cousins when I was older, I would always do a treasure hunt for them, and they loved it.

I'll have to see if the Robin Paige books continue to be entertaining. Sometimes interest can fall off later in a series, definitely. Have you read the Amelia Peabody mysteries by Elizabeth Peters? One review sums her up this way: "If Indiana Jones had been a wife and mother living in Victorian times, he would be Amelia Peabody." I stopped reading them at some point--they just got to be too much, but there are so many good early ones. The first is The Crocodile on the Sandbank. Fun Victorian mysteries with an archeological setting (Peters studied Egyptology at University of Chicago, so it really rings true). The Dorothy Martin series by Jeanne Dams is fun, too. The first is Body in the Transept. Dorothy is a 60-ish American who moves to an English cathedral town where her husband was to start a job, only to be widowed. She ends up stumbling over a corpse.

Mary said...

I believe Susan Wittig Albert also writes a stitching related mystery series. The setting is a needlework shop in Minnetonka, Mn which made me nostalgic for our summer visits to an amusement park on the shores of Lake Minnetonka.The characters are delightful and there are lots of stitching related plot lines.

Another mystery series set in England in the 1930's is written by Dorothy Sayers. Her main character is Lord Peter Wimsey. The books are written in the British vernacular which takes a little getting used to but the stories are great fun. Dorothy Sayers had a PHD in religious studies or some such esoteric field and wrote the Lord Peter books for fun. I recommend you read them in order. because the