Being a big fan of the Percy Jackson books created by Rick Riordan, I was very much up for the mythological adventure set up by Anne Ursu in The Shadow Thieves. When Charlotte's cousin Zee comes to stay with her, all the way from England, she's hoping he might spice up her boring life with something interesting. When her and Zee become involved in a plot of overthrow the Lord of the Underworld, Hades, Charlotte begins to regret her wish. She and Zee must travel to the Underworld to stop a crazy "man" from ruining the world of the Dead, before it's too late.
The book is fast paced and cute, though it doesn't stand up against the Percy Jackson books. It is the first in a series and I will be searching for the others, as books such as these have caught my attention and I have found I very much enjoy.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodson Burnett, is a much loved favorite of so many and I'm book I'm sure all of you has read a time or two. This is probably my third time reading the book, but I enjoyed it just as much as if it were the first time I have read it.
When spoiled Mary is forced to move from her home in India after her parents die to an old country mansion in England, she is less than thrilled. She is a wretched child to her nurses and believes she should have everything handed to her on a silver platter, until she discovers a secret garden on the grounds. Mary's whole world begins to change, very much for the better. She becomes healthy, spending long days in the fresh air and sunshine and makes a couple of friends, which increase her social skills. Mary begins to find not only herself, but helps her cousin Colin become a better boy as well, not to mention her withdrawn Uncle.
The garden seems to hold all the magic of this story, though I love the characters Burnett creates. My only complaint about this book now, as it probably was years ago when I first read it, is the difficulty of reading a Yorkshire accent that Mary's nurse has. I swear it took me five minutes to read a page when that woman was talking! Maybe I just need to increase my knowledge of different dialects.