The Sherwood Ring, by Elizabeth Marie Pope

Teenager Peggy Grahame, recently orphaned, has been invited (or forced, she can’t decide) to live on her Uncle Enos’ ancient historical property, Rest-and-be-thankful. The old mansion-and her 0ld uncle-seem to hide many secrets. Perhaps the most surprising one is the number of ghosts that continue to haunt the place. Strangely, the ghosts are Peggy’s only friends, since her uncle locks himself in his library most days. What Peggy learns from the ghost’s pasts helps her to better understand her uncle and his obsession for history and keeps her moving forward.

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I personally really enjoyed this book. The beginning was a little slow, but as soon as she meets the ghosts it is a little more engaging.

If you look this book up, it may be listed under historical fiction, mystery, and romance; however, I found that there was only enough of the historical-ity (that’s a word, right?) to be categorized under that one. There was a little mystery, towards the end, and some romance, although not enough to call this a romance novel. It could have played out a little differently to make it more so in those two levels.

Something that I never would have expected when I picked up the book was how interesting the ghosts were, and how uninteresting the main character was. The historical characters (which were not ghostly at all in appearance, but looked like normal human beings, thus no creepiness) retold their part in the Revolutionary War, and the antics everyone took to catch this particular elusive British leader. The outcome is surprising, of course, but the ghosts  take turns appearing to Peggy and telling it to her in pieces. I was a little disappointed when each piece was over, because she only saw one ghost more than once. I really wanted to return to the thoughts and placement of a certain character, but they were dropped out of taking the ‘main story-telling position’ and handed it to someone else.

Peggy’s own story, on the other hand, is actually very unimportant. The fact that her parents are dead, and her loneliness almost aren’t significant since it is the ghost’s who tell the real story. I almost would rather have heard this story ‘first hand’, so instead of ghosts telling stories, the whole story would have taken place in the 1700’s instead of skipping back and forth in time.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Violence: 2/10

Language: 1/10

Romance/Inappropriateness: 2/10

Audience: Ages 10 and up (I think younger would be uninterested)

 

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Nancy Drew #26: Tomb of the Lost Queen

Egyptologists and archaeologists have uncovered a new tomb, which may be the tomb of the lost queen, Nefertari. But when the leader of the group is injured after a strange accident, the group is left to it’s own devices to locate where the legend is hidden. Nancy was supposed to be the assistant of the main archaeologist that was taken to the hospital, however, she is on her own this time. It’s up to you, as Nancy Drew, to unearth the secrets hidden in the heiroglyphs to discover what really happened to the final resting place of  Ramses II’s beloved wife.

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I guess for me, this one was only alright. While the idea of snooping around in ancient tombs and cracking ancient codes sounds cool, there was an almost overwhelming number of codes, which made piecing them together a little confusing. You would find a clue for one, then it was hard to remember which puzzle it went to.

Altogether, it wasn’t nearly as creepy as you might think it would be. There wasn’t the suspence factor that is in some/most of the games. The end was good, and surprising. Most ND games are surprising, anyway.

Creepiness Factor: 3/10

Millions, by Frank Cottrell Boyce

One day, out of nowhere, a bag drops out of the sky filled with cash, right at 7-year-old Damian’s feet. Thousands of dollars. So much, that Damian and his older brother don’t know what to do with it but spend it, of course!  Deciding not to tell their father, Damian and Anthony try to go about spending the money so no one will know that they have it. They also have a deadline; the money will be worthless in 17 days. And not only that, but the thieves who stole it in the first place are out to get that money back!

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I thought this book was fairly entertaining, but to me the audience is a little confusing. While the main character is 7 years old, the humor didn’t feel like a book for 7 -year -olds necessarily. It definitely made us laugh, the things they decide to spend their money on! So unimaginative; just like a little boy to spend it all on candy.

My sister and I both agreed that the first part of the book (in our case the first cd) was a little weird. His obsession with saints seems random and unexplained at first, but it makes more sense later and is actually very sweet.

I also felt like the Mormon neighbors were played out a bit untrue to life. Like, Mormon’s don’t not celebrate Christmas, and they also wouldn’t have been sneaky about taking the money the boys left for them.

 

Overall Rating: 4/5

Violence: 3/10 (one of the thieves threatens this little boy, and is a little creepy)

Language: 2/10 (one mild bad word and name calling)

Romance/Inappropriateness: 3/10 (one random part in which the boys are looking at pictures of women in underwear on the internet)

Audience: Ages 9 and up