Musings on Some Books I Read Over Spring Break 2014

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley ★★★★★
I adore Flavia de Luce. This novel is bit different from the previous ones, but that is ok with me. There is murder afoot, and Flavia does figure it out, but it is background to her coming to grips with her mother's death. It is like spending time with someone you love as they tell you what has happened to them since you last met. I like that Flavia is growing up and becoming more aware  and considerate of her siblings and others around her. I like that the mystery around family deepens and that it looks like new possibilities will open up for her in future books. 

The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter ★★★★
I very nearly gave up on this one since it is so 'unpratchettish.' I kept hoping his voice would make its presence known. I got enough glimmers of it to keep me reading. Then somehow, the story itself seduced me and before long I was reading just to find out what was going to happen next.
There is a lot going on in this book that will leave me wondering for some time. 

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan ★★★★
I haven't made room for this series in my life because it just sells itself by word of mouth. 
I had no idea what I had been missing. To be honest, I did try one of Riordan's later series, but it bored me. To whomever added this to my Spring Break reading list, I thank you. 

Totally Tangled: Zentangle and Beyond by Sandy Steen Bartholomew ★★★★
My neighbour in Oliver asked if I was interested in attending a Zentangle workshop the week we were there. I was indeed interested, although I had no idea what it was. (Some people will do anything to get out of renovations you see.) Then she brought this book for me to peruse the day before.
It all seemed a bit daunting but helped make the workshop itself much more meaningful. If I am not now reading so many books, you will know I am busy tangling.

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce ★★★ 
I liked this one enough to waiver between 3 and 4 stars so this should probably be 3.5. I like all of Tamora Pierce's strong girls, but I think I have read so much of her work that it has become predictable.
I read this one for two reasons. First, because I've had girls tell me that the Alanna series is the best of the lot, so I decided to try it. Some of these trusted readers have told me they belong on the grade 7 shelf so I decided to read and be sure. I really didn't see anything in this one that meets my criteria for that shelf (excessive violence or graphic sexual content) so it will stay where it is.
I can't decide if I want to read anymore of the later books. However, I will definitely continue to recommend Pierce's books to my grade 5, 6 and 7 students.

Bad Unicorn by Platte F Clark ★
I only read to page 204. If it wasn't that a student put it on my to read list, I wouldn't have read this far. I finally gave up and read the last few pages.

OMG! It doesn't even end! Needless to say, I've abandoned this book.
It isn't really a bad book, (unlike the unicorn.) It's a combination of fantasy and humour. But I could hardly keep track of all the characters, never mind where they were and what they were up to. Unfortunately I've read Sir Terry Pratchett, and nothing compares to his combination of fantasy, wit, and social commentary.

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