Shorter Musings are quick reviews of books I've read but don't have a lot to say about.
Bayou Magic by Jewell Parker Rhodes
This is a great book to hand to 3rd-5th graders who love stories of magic, friendship, and family. I enjoyed the relationship between Maddy and her grandmother most of all. This is a story rich in history and tradition. The bayou setting is beautiful, detailed, and feels exactly as I imagine the bayou to be. The books only real weakness is its pacing. There are parts that are a little too slow and others that feel rushed. This may have been intentional for the plot, but it made for a disconcerting reading experience at times.
Fridays with the Wizards by Jesica Day George
This series has been one of my favorites, but this volume fell flat for me. That could be because I expected it to be about something entirely different than from the set up at the beginning than it ended up being about. I thought the last 2/3s of the book would be away from the castle as the family began their journey to Luth's country. But it isn't. Arkwright needs to be captured. Again. The castle may be in trouble. Again. Celie feels like no one listens to or appreciates her. Again. This book rehashed a lot the elements of the first three books while not adding anything to the series. I will still read a fifth book if there is one, but it won't be as much of a priority.
The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud
Stroud's level of writing from a plot and thematic perspective continues to be distinguished and impressive with this third book in his Lockwood & Co. series. The world continues to be interesting for the most part too. There are so many different ways the spirits manifest and Stroud has a way of brining each detailed incident to vivid life. I'm not entirely comfortable with the direction some of the reasoning and explanations for certain phenomena took in this book. And I'm starting to grow weary of Stroud's characterizations in this book. Lockwood in particular. Since Lockwood is very Sherlockian, this is not surprising. Sherlock bores me after continual exposure too. However, I feel all the characters were done a disservice in this book and it left me not as invested. I will certainly be reading the next volume though. I'm very interested to see where Stroud is going to take all this. (Though I'm very nervous I'm going to wish I had stopped.)
The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
This is a creepy fantasy based on folklore not often seen in western publishing, particularly children's books. It reads on the younger end of the MG scale, and it is the perfect book to hand to children who enjoy being slightly scared. Honestly the cover for it is perfect. It is going to attract exactly the audience that is ready for the contents. Like most MG books, at its core this is a story about friendship and community. Baptiste winds these into her story very well and I loved the island setting.