Review: Zodiac by Romina Russell

20821306paper ARC won in giveaway

Summary:

Rhoma Grace is a 16-year-old student from House Cancer with an unusual way of reading the stars. While her classmates use measurements to make accurate astrological predictions, Rho can’t solve for ‘x’ to save her life—so instead, she looks up at the night sky and makes up stories.

When a violent blast strikes the moons of Cancer, sending its ocean planet off-kilter and killing thousands of citizens—including its beloved Guardian—Rho is more surprised than anyone when she is named the House’s new leader. But, a true Cancrian who loves her home fiercely and will protect her people no matter what, Rho accepts.

Then, when more Houses fall victim to freak weather catastrophes, Rho starts seeing a pattern in the stars. She suspects Ophiuchus—the exiled 13th Guardian of Zodiac legend—has returned to exact his revenge across the Galaxy. Now Rho—along with Hysan Dax, a young envoy from House Libra, and Mathias, her guide and a member of her Royal Guard—must travel through the Zodiac to warn the other Guardians.

But who will believe anything this young novice says? Whom can Rho trust in a universe defined by differences? And how can she convince twelve worlds to unite as one Zodiac?

Review:

Okay, I generally make it a point to not review ARCs this far out in advance (yeah, this comes out in December, sorry peeps) but since I won it in a blog-giveaway and there was something about the cover that kept intriguing me about it, I decided to just go for it and read it now.

Wow. I was really surprised by this. In all the right ways.

I admit it: I thought this sounded a bit cheesy when I first read the summary so to my great surprise, it wasn’t. This is easily one of the most unique Young Adult genre worlds that I have read in ages, right up there with The Grisha series for things that I haven’t normally seen. Yeah. We’re talking that level of unique, people. Romina really put some thought in to her universe building, and she’s clearly studied her astrology. Even the notion of a 13th house can be traced back there – yeah, Ophiuchus is a legit thing according to some. The Houses have different traits and different characteristics. She even has made up her own fables and stories for a few of the houses, I’m particularly fond of a Libran tale about the Letter O and making judgements without all the facts. There are a few points that seem slightly silly (like how a person can literally change form if their traits don’t match their native House), but the rest is done well enough that you can forgive the flaw, though it wouldn’t surprise me if this didn’t become a plot point later on in the series.

But really what sold me on this book was that it’s fundamentally a tale of standing up for your truth. Rho sees something in the stars, and literally no one believes her, but she keeps fighting. She gets knocked down a lot more than she gets a helping hand, but she keeps trying. And at the same point, the author does balance this message with another message that says believe in your truth, but don’t become so dogmatic in your belief that you can no longer see facts that might contradict your point of view. It’s a nice touch.

The other thing that sold me on this book: fairly early on you start to see a triangle develop between Rho, Hysan and Mathias. But guess what? Rho realizes that in the wake of genocide it’s not appropriate to moon over which boy likes her. Oh, she still has feelings, and she does actually act on them, but she is a far cry of wishy-washy which do I choose and nor does she let her feelings for them interfere with what she sees as her duty. It’s awesome. And refreshing. And we need more of it in Young Adult, please.

The biggest disappointment of reading this book so far out in advance is that I’m going to have an even longer wait until the second book comes out. Don’t worry though, you’ll see reminders of this popping up before the years end, I promise. If not in other reviews, than almost certainly on my Best of 2014 list. Yep. I went there. This is genre YA done absolutely right and we need to give it all the love we can.

Verdict it: Buy it

Available: December 2014

Review: Mortal Enchantment (Mortal Enchantment #1) – Stacey O’Neale

20740634eBook purchased by me; signed physical copy won in giveaway from author

Summary:

In Kalin Matthew’s world, elementals control the forces of nature. They are divided into four courts: air, woodland, fire, and water. At sixteen she will leave the life she’s built with her mortal mother. Kalin will move to Avalon to rule with her father—the elemental king of the air court. Along the way, she’s attacked by a fire court assassin and saved by Rowan, a swoon-worthy elemental with a questionable past.

Worst of all, she learns her father is missing.

To rescue him, Kalin will have to work with a judgmental council and a system of courts too busy accusing each other of deceit to actually be able to help her. But, they aren’t her biggest challenge. With the Midwinter’s Ball only five days away, Kalin must take over her father’s duties, which includes shifting control of the elements—power Kalin has yet to realize.

As Rowan attempts to train her, a war looms between the four courts. If Kalin fails, her father will die and the courts will fall, but the betrayal she’s about to uncover may cost her even more…

Review:

Mortal Enchantment is an indie-published young adult fantasy title that, while technically the first in the series, is the second title published by the author. The first story, The Shadow Prince, was a free novella released ahead of this book. I was rather a fan of it at the time. Not only was it a true novella (so many YA novellas charged for by publishers are really short stories), but I thought it did a great job of introducing the world and set up the rules for that world. Theoretically, you shouldn’t need to read that, to read this, but I strongly recommend that you do so. Although it does take away the mystery of Rowan, I can’t help but shake the feeling that this short novel was written assuming that you’d read the other title. I feel like O’Neale didn’t take the time to really set up the world of the Elementals for us in this book the way she did her novella. If you haven’t read it, it wouldn’t surprise me if you got lost. This lack of build up comes off a little worse because this novel is so short at barely 230 pages.

That (somewhat significant) gripe aside, how does it hold up to The Shadow Prince?

I liked the novella better.

As mentioned, you get the meat of the world building in the novella, and I think the characters we met there are just plain more interesting. Kalin is nice enough, but she’s kind of a bland and doesn’t leave much of an impression one way or another. Her handler, Ariel, also comes off as a rather generic teen as well. For a teenager who moves to a palace in a whole new realm, I don’t feel like there’s enough different between the two locales as perhaps they should be.

Unfortunately, the plot is also weaker than that of The Shadow Prince. There is intrigue, but it doesn’t feel as significant as it did in the novella, and we don’t get to know the players of this novel well enough, so that when you find out who is betraying whom it kind of leaves you shrugging your shoulders, instead of feeling anger or shock or any stronger emotion at the revelation.

Overall, I don’t think that Mortal Enchantment is bad. It’s just that The Shadow Prince was so good that I had heightened expectations for it. What we got though, was a pretty conventional young adult fantasy title that doesn’t really do anything too unique or different. It’s not bad, it’s just not as fresh. I think this book will hit the spot for the main audience, but for everyone else, I recommend The Shadow Prince instead.

Verdict: Borrow It

Palate Cleanser Review: Brutal Youth – Anthony Breznican

18404289book purchased by myself

Genre: Literary Fiction

Summary:

Three freshmen must join forces to survive at a troubled, working-class Catholic high school with a student body full of bullies and zealots, and a faculty that’s even worse in Anthony Breznican’s Brutal Youth

With a plunging reputation and enrollment rate, Saint Michael’s has become a crumbling dumping ground for expelled delinquents and a haven for the stridently religious when incoming freshman Peter Davidek signs up. On his first day, tensions are clearly on the rise as a picked-upon upperclassmen finally snaps, unleashing a violent attack on both the students who tormented him for so long, and the corrupt, petty faculty that let it happen. But within this desperate place, Peter befriends fellow freshmen Noah Stein, a volatile classmate whose face bears the scars of a hard-fighting past, and the beautiful but lonely Lorelei Paskal —so eager to become popular, she makes only enemies.

To even stand a chance at surviving their freshmen year, the trio must join forces as they navigate a bullying culture dominated by administrators like the once popular Ms. Bromine, their embittered guidance counselor, and Father Mercedes, the parish priest who plans to scapegoat the students as he makes off with church finances. A coming-of-age tale reversed, Brutal Youth follows these students as they discover that instead of growing older and wiser, going bad may be the only way to survive.

Review:

Okay, first things first. Calling a book “young adult” because a protagonist is under the age of 18 is lazy as best, misleading as worst. Yes, this school is set in a high school and the protagonist is under the age of 18. Is this really young adult? Eh. This book is a hard read, and a lot of adults are going to find this a difficult (even the person who recommended it admitted she could only read this book in 50 page chunks) let alone a younger audience. It deals with some heavy topics (abuse, emotional, physical, attempted sexual), attempted suicide and the like. The adults are all awful people and even those ostentatiously on what passes for the good-guy team are all but useless at best, and that’s if you assume that she behaves the way she does because she’s so overwhelmed that she’s kind of shut down. But back to my point – older teen audiences may be able to handle this (I honestly wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under 16, even though the protagonists are 14) but this a very adult read, and I don’t think I’d be giving this book to a teen if you want to communicate an anti-bullying message.

Why?

This technically has an anti-bullying theme, but the book is so much of a downer that even at the end of the book, there’s little sense that anything is really going to change after all has been said and done. Oh, the book hints that change is hopefully on the horizon, but this kind of evil that has infected the school makes you wonder if anyone has learned anything, or if the cycle is just going to continue. I vote the later because the biggest anti-bullying stance taken is almost immediately followed by another act of intolerable bullying. It’s not that the students want to stop the bullying, they just want the bullying to happen to them because they already ‘served their time’ so to speak. They’re not unlike members of a frat or a sorority who insists that nothing is wrong with hazing, even after a pledge dies. The adults in power don’t change much by the end, and the one teacher who was even partially good has been driven out of school for reasons that seem dubious at best. There’s simply no reason to believe that anyone has the backbone to actually implement change.

In a lot of ways, this book is hard to like. This book is filled with broken people, miserable and only able to deal with their misery by passing it along. The faculty turns a blind eye to the myriad of hazing that goes on all day, every day, under the guise that it’s just kids being kids and that no harm is being done or because the teachers not-so-secretly hate the students. The local priest in charge of the school is embezzling funds and is constantly trying to find ways to shut the school down to better cover up his embezzlement. Most of the kids come from broken homes, and some of the parents are every bit as bad as the worst of the teachers, if not even worse. It’s no wonder they’re all so messed up. If any of the characters we met in this book make it out into the world as semi-functioning adults it might be considered a miracle, especially since the friendships forged in the book are often just as much a cause of the misery found in this book more than anything else.

I’m honestly at a loss as how to review this. It was well done, but holy hell was it a depressing, lose all faith in humanity, kind of read which makes it hard to recommend. There are definitely people like this in the world, but I just had immensely difficulty in finding the heart in the book, maybe because every time it reared its head it was ruthlessly crushed. In deciding to go with my final rating, I’m going with this: I can’t say I enjoyed it, but it did provoke an emotional response in me and made me think. And that isn’t something to just brush off entirely. I can’t give it a full recommendation, and it’s definitely not everyone’s cuppa, but it’s at least worth picking up at the library or downloading a sample on Kindle and seeing if it’s for you.

Verdict: Borrow it.

Available Now

Stacking the Shelves: @FierceReads @BNEvents_Grove

It is (maybe) a universal truth that the phrase “the President is coming to town” doesn’t so much inspire awe in Los Angeles as much cursing and praying to the traffic gods that your commute isn’t too horribly impacted. Fun fact: when they close streets, the Secret Service never lets anyone know which specific ones are being closed, even after they are. You just have cross your fingers that if you go near the vicinity of the closures that miss it.  Last night was the first time I had to try my luck, and I lost.

Miserably.

It normally takes me an hour to get to the Grove from work when I leave at 4:00. It took an hour twenty this time. That extra twenty minutes was quite literally for the last mile of the drive. Let’s just say I wasn’t in the best mood when I got to the Grove.

My mood turned around pretty quickly though. MacMillan was kind enough to send ahead some ARCs and Fierce Read bags and the Grove gave them out to us early arrivals. You got a book or a bag. Most of us found the book an easy choice. I picked up Anne Aguirre’s Mortal Danger which I’ve seen getting a lot of buzz. I’ll admit that her other book haven’t piqued my interest (though I might well have given Enclave a shot afterwards because she was so fun to listen to) and so I hadn’t brought anything for her to sign. This completely my author set 🙂

Mortal DangerSee? Book! Yay 😀

So after that bit of good luck, they had given out more member wrist bands than had showed (come to think of I forgot to ask for the wristband they set aside for me. I blame the commute. Traffic makes me grumpy) so I moved from from the 5th row to the 3rd row. Woohoo!

The panel itself was an absolute hoot. I think one of the benefits of being a late stop in a multi-author book tour is that the authors have had time to get to know each other and get comfortable with each other. There was incredibly friendly vibe in the air as the authors teased each other (recurring joke: Anna Banks has a demon in her and therapy wouldn’t help Ann Agguire) and reacted absolutely naturally, with Leigh making some rather epic “WTF faces” at various points in the conversation. It was light, it was funny, and it made me glad I’d picked up both Mortal Danger and Of Poseidon. I will absolutely give the book of an author who wins me over with their personality a chance, even if it isn’t normally thing. The women were so rolling with it that there was only time for two audience questions, which were both good. Then it was time to sign. The Grove has their system down pat. It just does take a while because for the most part they let you chat up the authors as much as you like (assuming it’s reasonable) which is awesome 🙂

First up were Ann and Anna. Ann had a contest going to find infinity signs in the wild. I mentioned that I’d spotted one on a sign for STD testing, but that I decided it maaaaaaaaaay not have been appropriate for her audience. Anna was helping with suggestions on how to make it more appropriate. Heh.

Of Poseidon

Ruin and Rising

Next up was Leigh, who was the reason I wanted to attend in the first place. I have the first two Grisha books signed and had to get the third one signed as well. I took the time to admire her awesome manicure because when I saw the picture on tumblr I was so impressed! I kept my chat brief with her because I’ve been lucky enough to meet her before and there were a LOT of people there only for Leigh and wanted to do my bit to help move the line along. Before I moved on though, she did give me this:

Nail Polish

I all but squeed. I am a nail polish junkie with hundreds of bottles in my collection. When I found out that she had polishes made I all but made grabby hands at my computer. The picture makes the color look a bit brighter than it is in real life. It looks like a pretty classic red creme that is maybe the barest hint of vampiness to it. Lovely! Last up was Marissa:

Cinder

Okay, technically she was the last because she was the last tour author that was signing, but as it turns out the moderator Anthony Breznican had written a book as well. Our hostess was raving over the book and Stephen King had even provided the title burble. The back was filled with author quotes that were no less impressive so I decided to give it a go.

 Brutal Youth

I have to say that I spent several minutes chatting with him and it was a very enjoyable conversation. It sounds like it’s going to be a difficult read, but in the best kind of way. I might read this next!

So there you go! I headed out to the tour with two books to be signed and came home with five and a bottle of nail polish. Very much worth the nightmare traffic and I can’t wait to pick up some of my new books and give them a shot 🙂

Review: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1) – Marissa Meyer

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Summary:

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future

Review:

Okay, I admit it. This book was always on my radar, but I never made any active efforts to get my hands on it, let alone read it. I’m not the biggest fan of the genre where you re-tell a classic tale (not just fairytales, though that’s what relevant here), but that wasn’t the biggest reason I never got around to it. No, the biggest reason I always passed on it can be attributed to one thing: the hype.

The Lunar Chronicles is one of the YA communities most beloved series. I’ve pretty much never seen a negative word said against it. That is a lot of hype and a lot to live up to. I’m not a fan of hype, and I’m all too weary that hype will kill a book.

So why did I finally sit down and read this given that this book combines two things I’m not a fan of? Fierce Reads.

The Fierce Reads tour is swinging by LA this week. The OCD completionist in me demands I get my copy of Ruin and Rising signed, and she’s going to be there along with a few other authors. Since I’m making the trip anyway, I thought I’d finally check it out.

So all that said, how did it fare?

Better than I expected. It was a fun, easy read and my quibbles (below) are really fairly minor. I don’t think the book has won me over either on the genre, nor necessarily convinced me to read the sequels, but I fully understand why this series is so beloved.

As you’d expect, this is a retelling of Cinderella. There are some twists on the formula, but the arc generally follows the beats of the classic tale: you see her getting consistently harassed by her step mother and one of her step sisters, you see that she gets denied going to the ball, she makes it to the ball anyway. It’s pretty standard. One bit I didn’t like – the whole plot more or less hinges on the fact that Cinder is basically “owned” by her stepmother because she’s a cyborg – a human/android mix. There’s no reason given other than “that’s the law.” It’s kind of sloppy, especially since the plot LITERALLY could not play out the way it did without this fact. You can get away with skimpy world building in a fairy tale, because it’s a short and it’s meant to be a kind of morality play. This is a full on novel. You have the time to expand on your world. Use it. Luckily, she does do a pretty good job of otherwise explaining the mechanics of her larger world. It’s not the most unique, but it works for the tale she’s trying to tell.

Cinder is likable character and Meyer did a nice job of making her sympathetic. I personally don’t get the swooning over Kai, he’s a generic Good Guy Prince. There’s nothing too remarkable about him.

Finally, the book ends with a plot twist and cliff hanger. It’s not really THAT much of a surprise of a twist, but at least the cliff hanger ends in a natural spot and the book does feel more or less complete so no complaints there.

If it seems like I’m struggling to find something to say, it’s because there just isn’t much TO say. It’s Cinderella with sci-fi skin, and to its credit, it does what it sets out to do quite well. If the idea sounds up you’re alley, you’ll almost certainly like it.

Verdict: Buy It

Availability: The full trilogy is available now

Kindle Unlimited

So the new Kindle Unlimited program has readers and bloggers buzzing. In particular, one tweet caught my eye. It inspired a pretty good twitter rant, so I figured it’d be the perfect thing to expand on for a blog post! First, the tweet (handle removed to protect the innocent):

“I’m not quite sure why anyone would want to spend $120 a yr for Amazon’s new program when the library is free…

I can think of plenty of reasons, which I’ll get into in a moment. But first, I want to clear up one very real misconception:

The library is not free.

Yes, the library is government funded, and yes you technically can check out books without forking over cash. But guess where the government gets the money to operate the library? Your taxes. Most likely sales tax, maybe some of your income tax if the state kicks in. Either way, it’s coming out of your pocket, whether or not you know. Furthermore, these libraries are often (and chronically) underfunded. I can only speak for what I know, but the most of the new fiction that comes into my local libraries is actually funded by Friends of the Library: non-profits attached to local branches that collect donations (often monthly…like a subscription) from members and uses those funds to purchase books. These books often have strings attached, such as a shortened borrowing period with no renewals or a per day rental fee (.25/day).

Point is, you may not be paying $9.99 to access their offerings, but it’s not free either.

Moving on.

So why would you want to go with Kindle Unlimited instead of going to the library:

Accessibility

First and foremost: not everyone has access to a library. The more rural you get, the farther and fewer they become. “Go to the library” assumes that a person has the time and the means to make the physical trek to the library. Some people don’t have cars and public transit doesn’t get them where they need to go. Or what about the person who lives in a rural area and would have to travel say 10 miles or more to get to the library. It’s not always practical. Furthermore, even if you do have a library nearby, it doesn’t mean it’ll operate on a schedule that works for the person. The LA Public Library (LAPL) system operates on a staggered schedule. Some days it’s open 10:30 – 5, other days 12:00 -8. Not everyone works a traditional 8:00-5:00 job where they can make it during those hours, and I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to mix up your days and get there to discover it’s closed. So yeah, just because one exists doesn’t mean it works for a given person.

Availability

Not all libraries are well stocked. I mentioned on twitter that when I was using the library heavily, that most of my books had to come through the inter-library loan system. It could take days or weeks or even months to get my hands on a book that I wanted to read (and not necessarily a best seller either – it took more over two months to get The Name of the Wind and it came out several years ago) and anyone who puts a lot of books on hold can tell you about nightmares where three or four books come in for you all at once. I can’t speak for other systems, but in the LAPL if there’s a hold on a book you can’t renew it, so if you can’t finish your books in time, you either need to eat late fees (0.35/day/book) or turn in without reading. It’s frustrating at best. Before I got my Kindle, I remember going to place a book on hold and looking at where I was on the waiting list against the rest of my hold list to try and figure out the odds of everything coming in at once. It’s not something I miss.

Also, indie titles (and there are some good ones out there) often never make it to libraries, but are available on the new Kindle Unlimited, so that might be a deciding factor for some.

Convenience

Money is obviously a driving factor in any decision to subscribe to a service like Kindle Unlimited. Some can’t afford it, and that’s cool, but some people can. And those people may well decide that they rather spend the $10 on Kindle Unlimited instead of dealing with all the attendant hassles of going to the library. $9.99 is about the price of one paperback, and just under a new release price of a hardback on Amazon. If you have a Kindle and read at least two (but let’s say 3 or more for better value) books a month, then it very well could be a worthwhile program. Plus, the first month is free so you have the chance to browse the catalog and see if it’s a good value for you.

At the end of the day, whether or not Kindle Unlimited is right for an individual really is an individual decision. I know people who won’t go this route because they prefer paper books, because the cost is just too high for them, they don’t read enough to feel like it’s a good deal or have concerns about royalties authors may or may not be a newspaper. OTOH, I do know at least one person who is already planning to sign up, and if I didn’t have a decent sized back-log of books to get through, I’d seriously consider it.

Regardless of what a person decides, as long as a person is getting books legally, they shouldn’t be judged for the method of delivery, period. From those who are looking down at those who continue to shop Amazon through the Hatchette mess, to the author of the tweet that is implicitly looking down on those who go for Kindle unlimited, this kind of nonsense needs to stop, because it helps no one. I’ve gone on long enough, so I’ll end this by quoting the tweet of a friend of a mine:

You’d think that those passionate about the written word would be passionate about (kosher) ways people can access it.

Amen.

Review: Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris Book 1) – Jim C. Hines

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Summary:

Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.

With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. . .

Review:

– Awesome magic system? Check

– References to over 40 books, either directly or indirectly? Check

– Great characters? Check

– A genuine love of books permeating throughout the book? Check

You’re still here? Hmph. Okay. Fine. Let’s take a deeper look at these, shall we?

The Magic.

The magic system is fucking brilliant. Books exist. The collective belief in the world generated by the tens/hundreds/thousands of readers over time allow magicians known as Libriomancers to reach into the book and pull objects out. Awesome, right? Hines spent his time thinking about it. There are plenty of limitations on the system: it has to fit through the book (so you know, no T-Rex), over use a book and you’ll burn it to ash. Life doesn’t come through too well either. The Libriomancers have also taken it upon themselves to “seal” books that could be dangerous to our world (no One Ring for you, and there’s an amusing passage about Libriomancers tryingt to beg J.K. Rowling to stop writing about Time Turners). A side effect of this magic: book monsters exist. Most notably vampires. Everything from Meyerii (yes, Twilight) and  Sanguinarius Henricus (Southern Vampire Mysteries) even real-world mythological equivalent like the manananggal and of course, Sanguinarius Stokerus (if I have to tell you, I can’t speak to you anymore). It’s one of the most clever systems I’ve seen in ages.

The Books.

This is a book that is entertaining all on its own merits, but geeks will love this book so much more. There are book references everywhere, some subtle, some more overt – the book even comes with a bibliography of titles mentioned in the text! It never feels pretentious, but rather it fits into the world beautifully and the references made me smile.

The Characters.

Isaac is a great protagonist. He’s by no means a cipher, but it’s so easy to relate to him. That sense of joy, that desire to reach into a book and pull out the Harry Potter’s wand that actually works. He’s not perfect by any mean. He rushes in, he causes as many problems as he solves, and he’s a fucking fantastic librarian. He has a pet fire spider (I want one!) that he pulled from a novel. Lena is an interesting female protagonist. Her backstory is both interesting and kind of tragic. I think Hines did a good job of trying to define her, especially since it could have gone so horribly wrong.

A love of books.

Hines is no fake geek. His love of books and of reading and of imagination just permeates every page. He was happy writing it and it made me happy reading it. Books that genuinely make me happy when I read it are far and few between and will almost always make me inclined to recommend it.

Finally, the story is well constructed with a clever plot that moves along briskly and feels like just the right length. All in all, this book is just solid all the way around. This is a no brainer.

Verdict: Buy It

Available: Now