1. Egyptology - Search for the Tomb of Osiris (a facsimile of the journal of Miss Emily Sands)
Similar to the "Dragonology" book by Dr. Drake, this book is a beautiful "journal" with pull-out letters, pages that fold out into maps, even a board game. It chronicles the journey of Miss Sands as she traveled through Egypt looking for the lost tomb of Osiris, having found an ancient papyrus which gave clues as to where this tomb would be found. Unfortunately, she disappeared suddenly (a victim of some sort of curse?), and no word was heard from her again, nor was the location of the tomb ever made public. If she did, indeed, find it all all. :)
A gorgeous book with wonderful illustrations. C was especially happy with it, what with his current obsession with ancient Egypt. We read it together the first time through, and then I sat down with it later and read it more thoroughly. Highly recommended for sheer prettiness. :) This book will stay in my permanent collection.
2. The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight, by R.L. Stine
This was actually the first book I finished this year (having not read EVERY word in the Egyptology book when I read it that first time with C). But I couldn't bear for this one to be listed as my first book of the year, so I fiddled just a bit with the chronology. ;) This is one of the Goosebumps series, which I read aloud to C at bedtime over several nights. Very similar in style to the last Goosebumps book we read, these are not anything special, from a literary standpoint. But, C enjoys reading about monsters and ghosts and things, so that makes these worthwhile. Will eventually register and release this book, once C has outgrown it.
3. Behaving Like Adults, by Anna Maxted
I've enjoyed all of Maxted's books (I think I've read them all now); they're chick-lit (twenty-something woman, usually British, looking for love), but Maxted takes on some deeper psychological issues than most other authors in the genre. This book is centered around the main character's date rape, and how she recovers from the various different traumatic aspects of it. I did find the book to be fairly predictable (it was easy to guess what was going to happen to the main character), but Maxted did surprise me with some of the twists and turns in the other, minor plotlines. In spite of being able to guess at the plot, I found it an enjoyable and satisfying read. If you'd like to read this book, give me a shout - I'll be happy to send it out as a bookray.
4. Raptor, by Paul Zindel
Bad, bad, and BAD. It's rare I say this about a book, because I think most of them (the ones I bother to pick up in the first place, anyway) have at least some redeeming feature. Not this book. It's a young adult novel that we bought at the library sale (thank heavens I only paid a quarter for it!) because of the subject matter - dinosaurs. We started reading it last summer as a bedtime story for my seven-year-old, but fortunately it got stuck under the bed and forgotten. It reappeared last week, and we read part of a chapter together, when I decided that I wasn't going to finish this one with my son - not worthy of our reading-aloud time. I did decide to finish it up on my own, since we were already half-way through. Probably shouldn't have bothered, since it was bad all the way through. I found none of the characters endearing, especially the main character, whom I found to be annoying, and a jerk who came up with all sorts of stupid reasons for doing even stupider things. He even managed to find dodgy reasons for doing things that could have easily been framed as honorable. In addition to the lameness of the characters, it was exceedingly poorly written - the prose was awful, and I often found the action hard to follow. Although, towards the end, it's probably because I was rushing through trying to avoid wasting more time than necessary to get to the end of this big loser. The real surprise? When I realized that this author has written other books that must have some merit - he's won a Pulitzer Prize. O_o I'm not sure I can even bear to register and release it - I'd hate to inflict this on some other unsuspecting reader.