Sharon Draper does fabulous books for older students, so it's good to see her turn her hand to books for younger students. Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs is a mystery series, with four boys who build themselves a clubhouse and have secret passwords, etc. The Buried Bones Mystery is okay; I liked Sassy: Little Sister is Not My Name a little better, but this is fine stuff. I especially liked "School was over and the summer morning stretched ahead like a soft, sweet piece of bubble gum." I got a little confused about the four characters and had trouble telling Rico, Ziggy, Rashawn and Jerome apart, but the story is solid. There are six titles out so far.
I was a bit surprised that I liked R.L. LaFevers' The Forging of the Blade as much as I did, but it was due to the reason I don't care as much for easy reader books-- the characters seem a little flat and I can't get invested in them. Kenric was immediately appealing to me, fully developed, and I was therefore invested in his quest. This is book one of a trilogy, Lowthar's Blade. When Kenric's blacksmith father goes missing, he heads out to find him and becomes embroiled in a dastardly plot of Mordig to reforge a kingly blade with which he can then take over the kingdom. Because he has made friends with a goblin and bested a fey, Kenric has the means he needs to defeat Mordig. A little too neatly wrapped up, but I am ordering the next two books so that I can find out what happens!