I'm learning toward miserable because I have a headache and fever right now.
In Timeless, by Gail Carriger, the final book of the series, ALL IS REVEALED! Or something. In any case, Alexia travels to Egypt to answer the summons of the oldest living vampire and unravel the mysteries of whatever the hell her father was doing. Meanwhile, Biffy and Lyall remain to unravel the mystery of a shooting. I've enjoyed the last two books well enough, and I was kind of reading the series out of inertia, but I felt an unexpected fondness for these characters and this world during this book. Was it because it was the last one, or was it because it's actually better than the last two? Some things are certain: the new character introduced at the end of the last book is a delight, the dual narrative allows Biffy to shine in a way I didn't know he could, the plot is just simple enough to keep chugging along without too many complicated contrivances, the fact that the unflappable Alexia actually gets flapped a few times is good, and science!! It's a very enjoyable, breezy read, and a nice conclusion to the series.
A childhood favorite for many, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg, concerns Claudia and Jamie Kincaid, two kids who run away from home and go live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art because whatever, I guess. And there's some statue that may or may not have been carved by Michelangelo, and they decide to investigate.
The book has a few things going for it, most notably a narrator, although the narrator—the titular Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler—tells the story as an omniscient narrator despite not being omniscient, which was just confusing. And Claudia is amusing. But Jamie really steals the book; he basically has no filter (he's nine!) and says the darnedest things.
I really couldn't get into the book, find something to really care about. It seemed so...basic and simple, when the setup had potential to be a little more complicated and interesting. It leads up to some sort of epiphany about secrets or something, which I guess is...something.
On top of all that, the audiobook quality is terrible. The reader, Jan Miner, is fine; it's like your grandmother is reading you a story (and her voice for Jamie contributes to his stealing the book). But the recording is too sensitive, and you can hear her lip smacks and mouth noises and it's incredibly distracting; it's like your grandmother is making out with you.
While the Calliope Reaper-Jones books weren't my thing, I do enjoy a good children's book, and Among the Ghosts, by Amber Benson, which is reminiscent (but not derivative) of Coraline and The Graveyard Book, is a good one.
Noleen-Anne Harris Morgan Maypother, or Noh for short, goes to stay with her aunt for the summer and begins to explore the abandoned, empty West Wing of the New Newbridge Academy, where she makes some friends! Dead friends. What's amusing is that we get both Noh's perspective and the ghosts' perspectives, and the ghosts assume she's another ghost because generally "realies" can't see them. Noh gets caught up in the mystery of why ghosts are disappearing. Which must somehow involve ants. (There are ants on every single page. The illustrations by Sina Grace complement the story well.)
One of my favorite parts of the book is the occasional interjections from the narrator regarding a "nasty thing" waiting in the wings to do nasty things at some point. I love that sort of thing, and it gives the book a bit more personality. The writing style is clearly geared toward children, with few frills.
The ending is sort of bonkers and convoluted and could have used some more time to be developed (and it also seems like Benson was setting up a series), but it's also rather exciting and original, certainly not the way I expected the story to go.
Overall, it's a cute ghost story that lacks a certain something to make it great but is enjoyable nonetheless.