Past Posts

Paranormal Teen Fiction

So apparently I’m the resident expert in all books paranormal, particularly if those books speak to a certain age group (yeah, I’m talking to you, Twilighters). So, I thought that I’d  speak about a few of the good, the okay, and the ugly, paranormal books that are currently available.

Grace and Sam have a connection. They’ve watched each other for years, but have never met. Grace and Sam are in love, but can never be together because of one thrilling secret…Sam is a wolf. Enter the mysterious and wonderful world of Shiver, where two people, one cursed to live a life he wasn’t born to, come together to overcome the greatest of odds. This is a great book, a combination of romance, mystery, drama, and the paranormal that literally kept me enthralled. This up-and-coming series by Maggie Stiefvater just plain rocks. If you were really a fan of this genre, Shiver would be on your bookshelf showing signs of wear and tear despite the fact that it only came out in August. Out of the list I’m posting today, this is my number one pick!

Next up is the Evernight series by Claudia Grey. This series so far consists of two books, Evernight and Stargazer. The series surrounds a young woman, born to vampires and attending Evernight Academy, an exclusive boarding school open to “special humans” and vampires. This is a fantastic series! Both books are fast-paced, dramatic, and romance laced stories that absolutely captivated me. The storylines are unique, and I eagerly looked forward to the third installment.

Adult fans of this genre, why aren’t you reading the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning? Seriously! The central characters are strong, sexy, and sarcastic. The dark, dangerous streets of Dublin are entrancing, and the mystery at the heart of this series is fantastic, dramatic, and heart wrenching. Read book one in the series, Darkfever and you will be hooked. I have personally introduced this addictive series to several eager readers and have received glowing reviews. The fourth book in the series, Dreamfever, has just been released in hardcover, I brought it on a plane with me to Dublin, thinking it would take the whole flight, and finished it in hours…I just couldn’t stop reading! Check it out and thank me later!

For space sake I’ll write briefly on the “okay” titles.

The Hollow by Jessica Verday has an interesting premise and likable characters, but doesn’t quite cut it in the end. I’m not saying I didn’t enjoy reading this, I just was enthralled enough to spend the time to write a recommendation.

Immortal by Gillian Sheilds. I don’t know if the author was just trying too hard with this one, or if I was hearing too many echoes of Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr, but this book didn’t quite click. I’ll read the sequels, but I won’t be in any hurry.

Now, I’m having a moral dilemma. I respect just about anyone who puts pen to paper and is actually able to get the results published by a major publishing house. So, it is difficult for me to write negatively about their work, but really, this needs to be done! So here they are…the ugly:

Now, this will be difficult for many to swallow, particularly since Stephenie Meyer wrote that the following book was “…a remarkable debut; the ingenuity of the mythology is matched only by the startling loveliness with which the story unfolds.” Now, as a Meyer fan I’m sorry to say this, but Aprilynne Pike’s Wings, was dull, predictable, and just plain bad. I mean a story where a girl finds out she’s really some sort of faerie with flower petals that grow out of her back, sounds kind of cool, but in reality the unremarkable prose, and annoying, unintelligent characters creates a book that you just want to put down.

Carrie Jones’ Need is one of the few books that it was painful for me to read. Why anyone would think that main character Zara, with her over emphasized interest in the ACLU, Amnesty International, and a penchant for writing letters to various political organizations is interesting I just don’t know. I’m all for a politically and environmentally conscious character, I think it’s great to see one in a teen novel, but the extreme attention paid to this character trait is ridiculous and becomes tedious quickly. The writing is just plain uninspired. Let us hope that the upcoming sequel is a little less clichéd, and a little more original.

October Teen Paranormal

Okay, let’s get right down to it. I’m currently blasting through a new paranormal book a day (yes, really, there are THAT many of these things floating around) so in the coming months, if my motivation remains, I will give you all the lowdown on what to pick up and what to trash. For right now, I’ll focus on a few titles that were released this summer, and one that just came out in paperback.

So these first three books are all great, but they do present one problem…they are all the first books in a series, and it can be torture waiting for the next installment to be written. That being said check them out, they are all entertaining and original.

Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston is a unique fairy tale that incorporates aspects of theater, paranormal, and the great bard himself. At first glance I though this was just another rip-off of Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely, but once I got started I was hooked! Far from being a knockoff, this story is gripping, inventive, and just plain great. Filled with adventure, drama, secrets, and romance Wondrous Strange is a choice read. I can also say that I have just finished reading the sequel (this will be a trilogy) Darklight, which is due out in January 2010. I read it in a night, and can only hope the third installment is not too long in coming.

Meridian by Amber Kizer: All her life Meridian Sozu has been surrounded by death. No matter where she is or what she is doing somehow the dying find her. Convinced that her life is destined to be lonely and afflicted, Meridian is shocked to learn on her 16th birthday that she is beyond unusual, she is gifted, and now that gift has put her and her family in more danger than she could ever imagine. This book was terrific. Totally original, with captivating characters and the promise of more books to come Meridian is a great reading choice for paranormal fans.

Part historical fiction, part coming-of-age, Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink is a magical book that pits twin sisters against each other in an attempt to influence a great prophecy. One of these sisters has the power to destroy the world, the other to save it; it’s the choices and discoveries they make on the way that creates a riveting story. I definitely recommend this book; it had a wonderful gothic twist, tragic romance, and family drama.

And just a note: In my last post I mentioned the Evernight series by Claudia Grey, well I have read an advanced copy of the third book in the series Hourglass and it is gripping. Keep your eyes open for this wonderful new book in December of this year!

Just one okay title this go around, The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. All her life Mary has been told to stay inside the protective fences of her village, or meet with a fate worse than death. Once the day comes when she must venture beyond the fences, everyone she has ever loved and everything she has been taught will be put to the ultimate test. This novel brings to mind a mesh of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village and Resident Evil. While this is an interesting mix of gothic romance, horror, and alternative history, the book fizzles a bit toward the end and doesn’t quite come up to snuff.

And then there was the ugly...

Fairy Tale by Cyn Balog, the premise of girl who finds out that her perfect boyfriend is really a fairy, and that the boy he replaced is a human changeling who must change places with him is kind of interesting, but not enough to get the reader past the unbelievable dialogue, and fairly boring characters. I wouldn’t say this book was completely ugly, I mean I didn’t put it down, but I certainly wouldn’t pick it up again. Pass please!

Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley. Hum, cool packaging, love the pink “Rest in Popularity” pageant-like banner that graces the black and white outline of a girl in a casket, but that is just about all I loved about this book. What happens when a socially invisible teen dies at school after chocking on a gummy bear? Apparently, 328 pages worth of whining, and embarrassing attempts to regain life and clutch at popularity. After a couple of chapters I was glad the girl was dead, okay that’s a bit harsh, but it’s not like she’s real. Charlotte Usher is one of the most annoying, and poorly drawn characters I’ve come across in teen reading in awhile (and I read a ton of these books). She evokes no sympathy, no love, and this book brings no joy to the reader. So why has a sequel been released? I mean really, what’s up with horrid books getting sequels? This is painfully bad in every possible way. Run and hide when you see this on the shelf, you’ll thank me.

Halloween Stories

“I’m dreaming of a frightening story
Just like the ones’ I used to peruse
Where my hairs had risen
And fear would glisten
To see such terror and abuse…”

You get my drift. It’s Halloween time, the month where the strong of stomach and mind go searching for that perfect hair-raising story to read during the cold, dark, and windy nights. They go searching for horror and ghosts, psychotic cars, and men named Freddy, but as movies move from the frightening to the frightful, and horror stories of yesteryear become romances of today it is harder and harder to work up a good scare. I too have been in this desolate place, reverting to my worn and torn childhood copy of Scary Stories 3, or revisiting all one million Halloween’s and Friday the 13th’s, yes even Freddy vs. Jason, yet I am continuously let down. I’ve tried the Saw’s and Hostel’s, but found myself more sickened by the blatant, gratuitous violence, torture, and just plain cruelty of this new breed of horror, than frightened or entertained. Thank God for an old friend who managed to bring the terror back into my cheery October nights.

The first time I came across Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend a friend handed it off to me ensuring that I would be captivated. I have to admit I was leery. Let me preface this by saying that the horrible, action-packed ridiculousness, which was the Will Smith film version of this title (really it just used the name and basic plot elements, nothing else was remotely close to the novel) was not even in the works. I was hesitant because the plot sounded way too much like the Charleston Heston 1970’s film The Omega Man, a movie I had seen more times than I had really wanted, and didn’t actually care for(I found out later that The Omega Man is actually a movie version of this novella, yikes!). The basic storyline (as given by the publisher) is this: “Robert Neville may well be the last living man on Earth . . . but he is not alone. An incurable plague has mutated every other man, woman, and child into bloodthirsty, nocturnal creatures who are determined to destroy him. By day, he is a hunter, stalking the infected monstrosities through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn.” Sounds like Omega Man, right? Anyway, after sitting on my desk for a few weeks I finally decided to pack it in a bag and take it to the beach with me.

It was an overcast day, the Santa Monica beach nearly deserted, as I sat by my surfboard, book in hand. The story began:

“January 1976: On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when the sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back.”

As the story of Robert Neville’s desperate loneliness, his incurable depression, his fight for survival along the dead and abandoned streets of Los Angeles unfolded, I could feel his world. I sat up and saw the deserted beach with it’s barely breaking waves, and listened to the aged, eerily tinkling tunes of the Carousel as it spun emptily on the rickety old Pier, and could see Neville’s empty LA streets lined with dead cars, stinking of abandonment, the stale taste disuse floating in the air. And I had chills.

I realized that I was terrified. Not by the soulless, taunting monsters who stalked the nights, terrorizing a lonely and half-mad Neville, but by the utter emptiness of a city that was so vitally alive, and by a man, broken and nearly defeated. The fear and terror of the story is pulled freshly from a fear that is so prevalent in all of our psyches, the fear of being completely alone, with only the monsters of memory (as seen in flashbacks, and embodied by the neighbors and friends of Neville’s who taunt him nightly with their blood-thirsty catcalls) as companions. “For he was a man and he was alone…”. These words, this concept, can evoke far more than the most brutally sadistic scenes of today’s so-called horror. And this simple story of a man, a legend, surviving by the skin of his teeth in a world that no longer no wants him, is not only thrilling in it’s creep factor, but stimulating in it’s underlying concepts. The horror is not in the vampire creatures, but in the fact that they two were simple humans, and now they are lost. This isn’t Buffy, this is a tortured soul looking to survive, when there is nothing to survive for. This is what happens when there is nothing.

So, instead of yearning for a new, exciting thrill, and ultimately being disappointed, I have embraced a story of old, one that still, after several years, manages to both thrill and chill me with its brilliance. I Am Legend, I am devoted.

Bed Ridden

Comfort food. That’s a phrase that evokes pictures of hot soups, freshly baked bread, and a pint of ice cream (Ben and Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake for me). Yes, everyone has their own version of comfort food to pull out when they are feeling blue or ill. But what about comfort reads? What do you read when you’re under the weather?

This last week I’ve had a lot of time to ponder this question. Holed up in bed, with a large, unwieldy cast on my right leg and a pair of crutches that have left their imprints on my palms, and scuffs on my hard wood floors, I have had ample time to think about comfort. I’m fortunate enough to have stacks of unread books, both new and old lying about my bedroom, living room, garage, and car (this is what happens when you come from a family of book addicts). I have the new Audrey Niffeneger, Her Fearful Symmetry, sitting on my desk right next to an advanced copy of Christopher Moore’s Bite Me: A Love Story. I’ve been reading an amazing upcoming novel, The Postmistress by Sarah Blake, it’s one of those books that is just plain good, well told, moving, and a novel I can’t wait to introduce to readers when it’s released next year. You’d think I’d be sunk into those fantastic pages, but no. So, what is it I turn to? A stack of novels and stories I have read at least ten times each . . . go figure.

Yes, I turn to my comfort reads. Books that I’ve read so many times that I have memorized lines of dialogue, uttering them mentally like a movie freak shouting out the lines before the actor speaks them on screen. With characters who feel more like friends than words on a page, whose personalities are as well known as those of my co-workers. I can become engrossed, enter a familiar world, one where I don’t need two legs to dance, play, hike, explore an old eerie estate in Arabia, or solve a murder in Alabama. I ask myself, do other people turn to their comfortable favorites when they’re on house arrest? I think they do. Ask any person what food they like when feeling down, what movie they turn on when home with the flu, what book they’ve read so many times the pages have yellowed with age and the spine has creased from love. I guarantee you’ll have an answer almost immediately. Why? Because as humans we seek the familiar, especially when we are unable to act on or own, or need comfort when our brains just can’t handle the overload of information that is thrown at them all day. We seek the wealth of emotions that imprint themselves in our subconscious bringing us the stimulation we can’t find or are denied by circumstances. Books, loved books, give us that same satisfaction and endorphins that good food and good friends can provide, but unlike the others, books can be pulled off the shelf at any time, they are eager to be used, want to provide that wonderful cathartic release, and when you’re contagious, or, stuck on the couch with your foot elevated in a hot, uncomfortable cast, and everyone you know is working, the familiar ones can bring that perfect touch of joy, or sorrow, needed to connect you to the world and the people in it.

So, enjoy those comfort reads. Take pleasure in them. Take ownership of them, even if they’re silly romances, or cheesy detective stories. They bring you contentment and joy, and connect you when you just can’t connect. They’re your happiness and they relieve you from really bad daytime television . . . seriously. Now excuse me, but Mary Stewart’s The Ivy Tree is calling.

Fairy Tales and Myths

I have always been a fan of fairy tales. As a child I would haul my edition of the Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm around the house, on my visits to my grandparent’s, and to school, tucked away in my backpack. I must have read that book fifteen times. So now as an adult I am frequently drawn to retold fairy tales. In years past I have found gems such as Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix, and the not so gem-like The Swan Maiden by Heather Tomlinson (not a horrible book, but disappointing in that it has a rather weak plot). That being said, I’m always looking for new fairy tale.

This year I’ve been fortunate enough to find three great new titles, and even more fortunate (this was not deliberate, I promise) to find one for each major age group.

The Thirteenth Princess by Diane Zahler, is unfortunately not out until February 2010, but it’s so well done that I feel it should be mentioned. Perfect for ages 8 and up, this modern reworking of the Twelve Dancing Princesses is perfectly formed. A vengeful curse, regrettable sorrow, and a new character in the form of a thirteenth, neglected and disowned young princess helps to create a true fairy tale that is appealing and appropriate for younger readers, while entertaining and enjoyable for older readers.

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst brings to mind the ancient tales passed amongst Native American’s, where animals and elements are personified and wisdom is passed on with courage. Ice differs in that it is a modern tale, where the concepts of today clash, and then eventually merge to create a wonderfully blended story that is not just a romance or fairy tale, but also an epic journey of heroic proportions suitable for teens and adults alike.

Ice Land by Betsy Tobin (I know, two titles with Ice in them, odd coincidence) is a fantastic book that smoothly combines old Nordic myths, legends, and sagas to create a thoroughly enjoyable tale. Ice Land follows the intertwining lives of Icelanders and the Gods of Asgard in the weeks leading up to Ragnarok, the pre-ordained demise of the Norse gods, through an imaginative use of alternating narrative. Part love story, part epic journey, this novel creates a vivid picture of a time when faiths clashed and old gods died. Tobin takes brilliant creative license with well known legends Odin, Freya, Menglad, and Idunn, creating a realm where gods are flawed people living under a volatile mountain, with a prophecy of destruction forever hanging over their heads like the proverbial Sword of Damocles. Ice Land is a brilliant blending of myths and legends, which will captivate and entertain readers.

November Paranormal

Here’s a paranormal update for your holiday season, after all what are the holidays without werewolves, evil fairies, and alternate universes?

First, may I say Thank God for no ugly! I don’t know if I’ve grown more discerning in what I bring home, or if the new paranormals are just better, but I have no hideous, horrible, garbage-worthy novels to discuss. What I do have is one spectacular, one great, and two okay new paranormal teen books to introduce you to.

Impossible by Nancy Werlin recently arrived in paperback. It was a fast favorite for my co-workers Janet and Barbara, who also enjoyed Werlin’s National Book Award wining novel The Rules of Survival, and very quickly grabbed my attention after it’s paperback release. Meant for older readers, Impossible explores the world of a young woman whose life is forever altered by an ancient family curse and the methods she pursues to break her family’s chain of servitude to a vengeful mythical creature. Well-written with fully fleshed characters, a unique plot line, and a wonderful blend of tragedy, romance, and fairy tale, Impossible is an utterly fantastic novel.

Billed as a companion to Graceling (really it’s a prequel), Kristin Cashore’s Fire could easily be a stand-alone novel. Actually, I so enjoyed this novel that I went back and read Graceling and I found Fire to be the better of the two. Based in a parallel world where monsters are both grotesque and beautiful, evil and cruel, Fire the last human monster, a breathtakingly beautiful and powerful girl frightened by her own inherent nature, embarks on a journey that will lead to either the saving or destruction of the world. This is a wonderful new fantasy and while I did not fall in love with its companion Graceling (I did like it though), I felt compelled to read it because Fire was so wonderfully put together. Let’s hope to see more of this world in the future!

The next two novels I enjoyed, but they were flawed in some ways and not necessarily ones I would go out of my way to recommend.

Is Micah, a self admitted pathological liar really a werewolf? Did she or didn’t she have something to do with the death of her classmate, and secret boyfriend? The reader of Liar by Justine Larbalestier might never know. I like this keep the reader guessing until the end, but I’m just not all that convinced by the liar herself. This was an interesting first person narrative that shines a light into the mind of a rather disturbed young woman, but I felt that she wasn’t a convincing enough fraud for my taste. Maybe I’m too pessimistic, but I never felt a true trust in Micah’s words and that kept me from being an enthusiastic fan of this novel.

My final book was a tearjerker. Madison Stanton doesn’t know much, she has no idea where she is, how she got there, or why certain items around are calling to her, but Madison does know one thing…she’s dead. I liked The Everafter by Amy Huntley. I thought it was creative and loved how the snippets of story that appear as Madison explores the items from her past, help her to slowly piece together the events in life that led to her death. The reason I moved it to the “okay” category is that the ending is weak. The author builds this life, these stories that create the life, but when the reader gets to the finals pages there is no cathartic moment, just a dribble of plot that is lacking greatly in substance. The epilogue, which appears to be tacked on, just adds to that exasperation. Basically, I liked the book, but hated the writing at the end.

Monkeys in the Basement

Have you ever picked up the latest book in your favorite series and thought; the person whose name is on the cover did not write this? And I am not talking to you James Patterson fans, because his covers clearly state (in fine print, well below Patterson’s name) that someone else was his “writing partner”.

The other day a customer and I had a discussion about this, namely because the new J.D. Robb (pseudonym/alter ego of Nora Roberts) book was out and we both felt strongly that the last book was not written by Roberts. I am a fan of the Eve Dallas series, have been for over 10 years, and have been greatly disappointed by the writing as of late. Okay, I know what you’re thinking; most people would not equate great writing and Nora Roberts, queen of the romantic suspense novel, but give me a chance to explain. I became a fan of Roberts as a teenager, my grandmother had all of her books (even the ones from her Silhouette years) and graciously loaned them to me. I really enjoyed her books, they were entertaining, with surprisingly well-formed characters. I have since evolved and matured in my reading habits (I hope), but retain a fondness for many of her backlist titles, occasionally revisiting them on a rainy day. What I love about the J.D. Robb series is that over the course of several years and a combination of 35 books and novellas you get to know the characters, how they’ll react, think, speak, they’re like old familiar friends. The books develop a cadence, one that is recognizable to anyone familiar with the series and I just didn’t see it in the last book. So, after our discussion I grabbed the newly released Kindred in Death and brought it home to make a judgment.

First thought: Who the h*!# wrote this?!

I don’t want to throw out definite statements (who wants to be sued), but I do not believe it was Roberts. As with her last few books, the characters who have been so well developed over the course of the series, are now flat, their dialogue is forced, unnatural, and not even remotely close to that of earlier books such as my personal favorite, Judgment in Death. This poor writing could not be that of Roberts (I can’t believe you can devolve that much as an author). So, who or what is authoring these books in Robb/Roberts name? My guess, Roberts has a basement full of trained monkeys who have been chained to small desks and tasked with the challenge of continuing a series. That or some Grad school student eager to be in print, despite the lack of recognition, is desperately attempting to write filler for an outlined plot created by Roberts. Let us just hope that this is not so, because undoubtedly that student would get some sort of publishing contract, subjecting us to more one-dimensional characters and flat storylines. I would rather have the series end than being subjected to this hack writing style.

I do want to make something clear here:

Despite this rant I want to urge readers not to be deterred from this series. The last few books aside, the series, which begins with Naked in Death is remarkably innovative, imaginative, and generally enthralling. The plotlines are unique and engaging, the setting hip, futuristic, yet gritty. The characters are human, developing very emotional and human relationships, friendships, and partnerships. They become old friends whom you recognize and enjoy with each book. I suppose the venom, which is so present at the start of this entry, is the great disappointment that these friends, with whom I have been acquainted for the past 10 years, have undergone small personality changes which alter who they have always been. It’s like pod people have taken them over; they might look the same, speak the same, but they are altered and no longer that which made them unique and likable. So, perhaps this might shed a light as to why I would rather have the series end than see these fictional characters who have seemed so real, become two-dimensional parodies of their former written selves.

So, who’s the mysterious culprit, the one altering my favorite characters, and causing me such angst and frustration (I mean come on, I’ve become so emotional about the series that I’m actually blogging about this)? I hope it’s not Roberts (still a fan, read Honest Illusions, one of my much read favorites), but based on the writing quality, I’m going with the monkeys!

Remember this title: Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

One of the perks of being a bookseller is that we are fortunate enough to receive advanced copies of books. One of the disadvantages of being a bookseller is that we receive advanced copies of books. Why is this blessing such a frustration? Think about it this way; when you first finish a really good book what do you want to do? Put it down and forget about it? No, probably not. How about call up a friend and encourage him/her to pick it up? Ding, Ding, Ding! There’s a certain thrill and excitement when you can share a good book with someone. There’s that feeling of camaraderie, the intellectual stimulation, and the downright enjoyment you feel when you can connect with someone over a book. So, if you’re paying attention you get the bookseller’s dilemma. What do you do when the book you just read and loved isn’t available for 3 or more months? Well, you can get all of your bookseller friends to share your advanced reading copy or you can blog about it. So, here is my opportunity to share one of those books with you.

A couple of months ago there was this novel floating around the staff (mainly the female members). It was a debut novel that takes place in the south, seemingly quaint, simple, “kind” chick-lit as I like to call it (you know the type, no sex or foul language, kind of dull). Not my cup of tea, so I heard the title and dismissed it from my mind. As the weeks rolled by the title started to creep up again in conversation. First I heard Vicki describing it as a heartwarming modern fairy tale, then Jan and Barbara were discussing it, comparing it to The Secret Life of Bees. A week or so later Adrian handed me her copy and asked if I would read it. I believe her words were, “If you like southern, you’re going to love this book”. Now, I’m not exactly Miss Southern Lit, but okay, my interest was slightly peaked, if only because I had just been told by 4 other booksellers that the book was good, and I needed something to read on my break. So, I went for it.

Here are my thoughts: Yes! Yes! Yes!

This wonderfully delightful novel absolutely grabbed me. The author,

Beth Hoffman, has this smooth prose that captures the idiosyncrasies and nuances of southern life and style. The cast of characters is vivid in personality, feminine intelligence, and southern charm. Hoffman also manages to convey a hard core of strength and determination beneath her sweetly loving and exuberant female characters. This seemingly simple story of a newly motherless girl taken in by her great aunt is truly superb. It is both laugh out loud, and cry in the dark, a multi-dimensional story wrapped in the façade of a light and easy read. This is one of those books that you put down, and then pick right back up because you must find someone else to read it and enjoy it with you.

Do I hear Reading Groups clamoring yet? I should! As Janet told me “Saving CeeCee Honeycutt is my new favorite book! I’m already telling all of my reading [group] friends and relatives to watch for it.” So watch for it! No one else should have to say to themselves “Why didn’t I pick this up weeks ago”. So, thank me in January (yes, you have to wait that long, but I promise it will be worth it) for introducing you to as Adriana puts it, “ a delightful new novel that will charm and win over girls ages 10 to 100”. I’ll be waitin’ ya’ll!