Friday, June 28, 2013
Movie: Monsters University
Mini Review by Lauren
IMDB Summary: A look at the relationship between Mike and Sulley during their days at Monsters University -- when they weren't necessarily the best of friends.
Review: Monsters University is the prequel to Monster's Inc. With all the sequels out there, it's fun to have something a bit different in terms of a "second movie." Basically, this movie is all about how Mike and Sully end up where they are in Monster's Inc.
I enjoyed how the movie started with a young Mike. It shows how he becomes obsessed with the idea of being a scarer, as well as how he's always had to rely on his own belief of himself. Sully, on the other hand, comes into his first class at Monsters University believing he can do anything as he's part of the amazing Sullivan family.
If you loved Monsters Inc. then you should definitely see the prequel. There are random characters (beyond Mike and Sully) from Monsters Inc that show up in the movie...as well as a lot of fun, new characters. Plus, almost all the main characters are voiced by some great actors like Dean Hardscrabble (Helen Mirren).
Monsters University is a fun film perfect for families...or even a group of friends all in their twenties who loved Monsters Inc!
Monday, June 24, 2013
Another Life by Keren David
Review by Lauren
copy for review, but all opinions are my own
Official Summary: Kicked out of yet another boarding school, Archie couldn't be happier to find himself back in London with old friends and an exciting social life. But he's worried about his cousin Ty, who is facing a sentence in a Young Offender Institution and doesn't seem to be coping. And he's finding that his old friends have moved on and it's a struggle to keep up with their new lives.
When he begins to learn surprising things about Ty, Archie goes on a mission to discover the truth about his cousin's past. But who is the real Ty?
Review: Another Life is the third and final book following Ty's story about witnessing a murder and going into witness protection...just to find that even more danger lies in wait for him. You can check out my reviews for When I Was Joe and Almost True if you like! I'll try and avoid spoilers in the review though.
Another Life was set up differently from the previous two books as the point of view isn't just Ty...it's mostly his cousin Archie, who Ty only met when he was put into witness protection. Archie was always an interesting character before but I liked having his point of view in this final book. It gives an outside perspective to Ty's life, and how it's hard to tell if Ty is always telling the truth or not...just who is the true villain in the story? Archie wonders and goes on a search to find out all about his cousin.
Furthermore, Archie is a fairly amusing character. He smokes a lot of pot and is always caught up in girl problems, but he does genuinely care about Ty. I feel like both of the boys grow a lot in Another Life and it was certainly a nice conclusion to the trilogy. There are things I'd love to know about the boys at the end...but it's nothing that big. It just means I care enough to want more.
The entire trilogy is something I would recommend. It's great for people that want some grittier contemporary novels, but that focus a lot on family and growing up. It's also a male point of view, which is often rare in YA. Plus, the books take place in England, and I always love reading stories that don't occur in the U.S.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
What I've Learned So Far Part III: Banjos, Boats, and Butt Dialing by Mike Ball
Review by Lauren
copy for review, but all opinions are my own
Official Summary: Banjos, Boats and Butt Dialing is the third installment in Mike Ball's What I've Learned... So Far series of books. In it the Erma Bombeck Award-winning humorist grapples with topics ranging from becoming a grandfather, to rabbit hunting, to the Zen of a middle-aged guy trying to cope with cleavage. The book is a compilation of 74 entries from Mike's nationally-syndicated column, What I've Learned... So Far.
Review: This is the perfect book for anyone's summer vacation! It's a collection of short essays, with most only lasting for a few pages. It's something you can easily pick up, read an essay or two, and then put down again. I actually read most of the book in the pool...another fun place to enjoy Mike Ball's thoughts - the perfect mix of sincere and humorous.
One of Mike's essays that I found particularly amusing was called Santwilight, all about how Mike believes Santa is really a vampire. I must admit...he has some good points.
"Now I'm guessing that Santa has always felt like he had to disguise his true nature and hide the whole vampire thing. And to be fair, that made sense. I can see people getting a little bit uptight over a blood-sucking abomination of nature, even a jolly one, breaking in through the chimney and wandering around the house."
- page 113
Another funny essay is all about Mike's dealings with an airline company (Delta) and it's sure to please anyone who has ever flown and had to deal with something unpleasant.
However, like I said above, some of these essays are quite sincere. They might have funny moments sprinkled throughout, but they touch on bigger moments of life, love, and family...like when he's talking about his son's wedding or the passing of his older neighbors who were always there with a helping hand and a kind word.
I love that none of these essays are too long, and that it's not simply a running joke the entire time. It adds more to each essay and is much more suitable for a wider audience.
Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Books to Read This Summer
(in no particular order)
My list for this week's Top Ten (courtesy of The Broke and the Bookish) are novels that I've been wanting to read and think would make nice "in-the-pool" type books.
1. The Shambling Guide to New York City by Mur Lafferty - I think this would be considered urban fantasy; sometimes I get confused by the distinction between UF and PR. At any rate, it looks like a lot of fun and it's currently on my wish list of novels I want to get my hands on.
2. Love, Rosie by Cecelia Ahern- I actually came across this one recently at the library. I love books that include letters, emails, etc. throughout the book so I was immediately excited about that. This one seems perfect for the pool or on the beach. Fairly light, full of eventual romance, etc.
3. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell- I think this one deals with some heavy issues, but it also seems like a wonderful story of first love. I also like the geeky references throughout. Eleanor and Park has been on my wish list since before it was even released, I believe, so I need to get to it this summer!
4. Scarlett Dedd by Cathy Brett- I just recently read Cathy Brett's novel Ember Fury and while aspects of it confused me a bit, it was highly enjoyable and quite unique. I loved the illustrations from Brett throughout as well. It added a lot to the story. Therefore, I'm now eager to check out more from this author and Scarlett Dedd seems like a lot of fun!
5. French Milk by Lucy Knisley - Having just read/reviewed Relish by Knisley, I'm curious to check out some of her other work (and it helps me with my quest to read more graphic books). French Milk is all about Lucy's trip to Paris and while I've never been there, my sister has, and I think both of us would find a lot to enjoy in this one.
6. A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger- I loved Kody's debut, The Duff, and now I need to get caught up on all her other releases. I think this one would be perfect for the pool (the title screams summer after all). Even with tougher issues addressed, I think I'll enjoy this one just as much as The Duff (which I also read in the pool).
7. Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz- This one takes place over four different summers - so definitely something that would be suitable to read when it's actually summer outside. It's also another novel I've been wanting to read for a long time.
8. The Rock Star in Seat 3A by Jill Kargman- I actually wish I was flying somewhere this summer, as this would be a perfect airplane read. Regardless, it sounds like a lot of fun and with a huge dose of humor...which I LOVE!
9. Missed Connections: Love, Lost and Found by Sophie Blackall - According to Amazon, "Missed Connections is a collection of illustrated love stories" - as far as I can tell, this book is full of "missed connections" that people post about online and Sophie Blackall came in and illustrated a bunch of them for the novel. It's another book that's been on my list of things to read for awhile now, and summer seems like a good time to check it out!
10. I Hate You, Kelly Donahue by Mark Svartz- This is another book that seems to be full of emails, IM's, post-its, etc...which I know doesn't work for everyone, but I love those type of books. It has one crazy premise but I think it sounds quite humorous and we could all use a good laugh while soaking in the sun!
Monday, June 17, 2013
A Trick of the Light by Lois Metzger
Review by Lauren
Due Out: Tomorrow, Tuesday 18th
copy for review, but all opinions are my own
Official Summary: Mike Welles had everything under control. But that was before. Now things are rough at home, and they’re getting confusing at school. He’s losing his sense of direction, and he feels like he’s a mess.
Then there’s a voice in his head. A friend, who’s trying to help him get control again. More than that—the voice can guide him to become faster and stronger than he was before, to rid his life of everything that’s holding him back. To figure out who he is again. If only Mike will listen.
Review: I was fascinated by the summary for A Trick of the Light because you don't get many novels (for any age level) that touch on boys with eating disorders. Most people tend to focus on girls, as they are the most affected. That doesn't mean boys are exempt though and I applaud Metzger for realistically portraying anorexia in teen Mike Welles.
Something I loved about the novel was the point of view. The eating disorder has a voice and they are the one who tells the story. It's not a stretch to think of anorexia or bulimia having a voice. It's all the negative thoughts you have about yourself and your body. This voice tells you to eat less, puke up what you did eat, and keep working out until your body is perfect. Of course, by that point, you're so sick, it's hard to reach a healthy weight and viewpoint again.
In A Trick of the Light, Mike is dealing with parents who can't seem to keep their own lives together. While they are too busy with their troubles to notice him, he makes a friend that pushes his own already declining behavior to the edge. He now has a guide to help him eat less and keep it hidden, as well as the voice in his head that gives him non-stop motivation to do what needs to be done.
It's a scary thought to imagine having a voice in your head that is constantly putting you down, or raising you up with unhealthy goals of being perfect. Reading the book in the voices' point of view gives you a more personal account of what this eating disorder is doing to Mike. It was definitely a smart move on Metzger's part to allow this disease to take the reigns in the story, just as it does on a daily basis for those personally battling an eating disorder.
Interview with Lois Metzger
Question #1: The idea of “a trick of the light” appears a few times in the novel; how do you feel the title encompasses the overall novel?
For a long time the title of this book was “Stop Motion,” based on Mike’s interest in stop-motion animation, and his growing suspicion that he’s caught (stopped) in something he can’t break free of. As I revised the book, another theme became more important—that of a lie. In the first example of the phrase “a trick of the light,” Mike’s grandmother calls in a panic, saying there’s a mouse in her living room. Mike and his mom rush to see her, and can’t find a mouse anywhere. The grandmother, not surprised, says, “Maybe there was no mouse… It must have been a trick of the light.” Mike realizes his grandmother was lying and tricked them into visiting her.
Later, when Mike goes to see his friend Amber in an eating-disorder wing of a hospital, he sees another patient there, a boy. Mike gets completely freaked out by the fact that a boy could wind up in an eating-disorder facility; after all, even a doctor told him, “It’s a girl’s disease.” Mike manages to convince himself that he’s not seeing a boy, that it’s only a girl who looks like a boy, that it’s “a trick of the light.” Mike is now lying to himself and can’t even see that he is doing so. The whole idea of a lie, and lying to yourself (tricking yourself, basically), permeates the book and greatly influenced the ending. It became the better title.
Question #2: What drew me to your novel in the first place was that you focused on a teenage male dealing with an eating disorder. How did this idea come to you, and what do you hope readers take away from it?
Nearly ten years ago (that long!) I saw an article in the New York Daily News, called “Not For Girls Only.” It was about a boy who, at age 13, became anorexic and very nearly died. I was stunned. I had no idea boys could get eating disorders (I, too, thought it was only a “girl’s disease”). The subject fascinated me; I contacted the writer of the article and she, in turn, put me in touch with the boy and his family. From them, I got the names of a doctor at Stanford University, who then gave me the names of families to interview in New York City, where I live.
As to what readers may take away from this? I guess it’s that anyone, basically, is vulnerable to an eating disorder; it crosses all income levels, ethnic groups, and ages (children as young as seven have been diagnosed). Mostly I just try to tell a good story and get readers thinking about, for example, ways they, or people they know, might be lying to themselves and what they can do about it.
Question #3: You must have done a lot of research for this novel. What is something you came across that you found interesting, whether it’s something you used for the novel or not?
I will share something I didn’t use because it’s not something the narrator would ever say. The death rate for eating disorders is the highest of any psychological disorder—between five and 20 percent. Mike’s therapist at the hospital talks about this to Mike directly and repeatedly; Mike doesn’t hear her, except on a kind of subliminal level; the narrator only refers to these conversations dismissively as “obscene talk of death and dying.”
The three signs of anorexia are not spelled out in the book: Anorexics feel they can only be happy if they are thin; an anorexic will keep dieting way beyond what is considered a healthy weight; and anorexics have specific food rituals. In a scene that was later cut, Mike’s therapist questions him about his food rituals. Mike doesn’t answer her, but of course he has a couple (putting food on his plate in the shape of a clock face, and eating only five bites per meal). The narrator remarks that these aren’t “rituals” but “organizational tools, like a file cabinet,” and says, “You wouldn’t call somebody with a file cabinet a slave to rituals, would you?”
Question #4: One of the most intriguing aspects of A Trick of the Light is the narrator. Why did you decide to take this direction, and was it an idea you had from the beginning or came up with as you wrote?
Mike always had a voice in his head, but this voice was not initially the narrator. Mike was the first narrator, with the book told in first person (“I”). But it didn’t feel right, Mike telling his own story that way. Too many complicated things were happening to him, things he was barely aware of, so it seemed strange for him to comment on this. I tried telling the book in third person (“He”) but I didn’t like that, either; it felt distant. Various people became narrators, even if only for a chapter or two—Amber, Mike’s friend Tamio, Mike’s mom. Finally the voice in Mike’s head, which had been getting stronger with every revision, took the reins. This felt, oddly, very natural. The voice was comfortable telling the story—it liked control. The voice had its own personality that I found useful for fiction; it was emotional, moody, manipulative, egocentric, pushy, oversensitive, and never, but never, admitted it was wrong, even when the evidence was overwhelming. The voice opened a whole new way for me to see Mike and tell his story.
Saturday, June 15, 2013
Movie- Superman: Man of Steel
Review by Lauren
IMDB Summary: A young itinerant worker is forced to confront his secret extraterrestrial heritage when Earth is invaded by members of his race.
Review: I'm going to break this movie review into Likes and Dislikes. I first want to say, however, that I saw this movie at my local drive-in and it certainly adds a lot for action films!
*While I love Lex Luthor as a villain, I like that this first film focused on a baddie from Krypton, General Zod.
*I liked the relationship between Clark and his parents, both biological and adopted.
*Instead of having "growing up Clark" scenes in the beginning of the movie, they were strategically placed in the movie when the information was needed or helped explain the man Clark turned into...based on his past. Definitely a good way of doing things!
*I appreciated the way the movie ended. It sets things up for another movie, yes, but it also differentiates this movie from how other directors do Superman films. Man of Steel is almost a prequel to those type of movies and it certainly makes it different.
*Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Kal-El/Superman. I think he did a wonderful job, and I liked that he showed Clark's vulnerability.
*Finally, it was interesting to hear the reasoning for what he does straight from General Zod. It adds a psychological aspect to the question of "good vs. evil" and asks the question "Is Zod the only one at fault?"
*Like a lot of superhero films, this was definitely a bit too long. Random parts throughout felt like they could have been excluded or trimmed down.
*The fight scenes were something that could have been shortened, especially since so much of it was the bad guys shoving and/or throwing each other through buildings, etc. It turned a lot of it into a blur, which wasn't that engaging for me.
Alright, so obviously more likes than dislikes. I've grown up watching a variety of Superman shows and movies as my dad - and then my sister - are big fans. However, I won't lie and say I know a lot about his history in terms of the comics, etc. Therefore, if you're curious about that aspect of the movie, you might want to do more research. If you want a good superhero film that tries to make a more unique Superman film...I think you'll find it here.
Overall, I'd give the movie a B or so. Make the action scenes a bit more interesting for viewers and trim the overall movie down, and it would be a lot better!
Thursday, June 13, 2013
Playlist Guest Post by T.M. Goeglein
Music is an essential element of the writing process for me. Working without it feels like being at a party without any other guests.
But like a good party, the musical guest list should be eclectic, capable of evoking all sorts of emotions. Nothing’s worse, or more boring, than a room full of the very same thing. That’s why my soundtrack varies from book to book. Sometimes I’m all about Top 40 pop, sometimes good jazz (yes, there is bad jazz,) and other times classic rock. Right now, while editing the third and final book (untitled) in the COLD FURY trilogy, I’m listening to a lot of everything, but here are five songs in rotation –
1.) Bob Marley – Three Little Birds
2.) Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks
3.) Frank Sinatra – Come Dance with Me
4.) Kings of Leon – Use Somebody
5.) Demi Lovato – Heart Attack
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley
Review by Lauren
do not own any photos in this post
copy for review, but all opinions are our own
Official Summary: Lucy Knisley loves food. The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, this talented young cartoonist comes by her obsession honestly. In her forthright, thoughtful, and funny memoir, Lucy traces key episodes in her life thus far, framed by what she was eating at the time and lessons learned about food, cooking, and life. Each chapter is bookended with an illustrated recipe—many of them treasured family dishes, and a few of them Lucy's original inventions.
Review: This full-color graphic novel was such a treat (yes, pun intended). Lucy's memoir focuses on events in her life that helped shaped her and her current obsession with food. I think it's safe to say that most of us love our food...but it can be kind of difficult to branch out and try new things. Relish certainly made me want to try a variety of foods and hopefully visit other countries to do so. One chapter in this book is all about Lucy's trip to Mexico and all the food she was able to try. Apart from the food, this trip marked a progression in her and her friend's life, as they were both about 14 and growing up.
I loved how Lucy mixed "episodes" in her life with the food and atmosphere that surrounded her at the time. Lucy loves good food, but she's not what you would consider a "snob" as she's just in love with McDonald's as your average foodie. She knows it's not great for you, but she also understands that it just tastes good and sometimes that's all you need...even if her mother (a wonderful chef) doesn't agree.
page from the book
Obviously a plus of this book is the recipes at the end of every chapter. They all, somehow, relate to the proceeding chapter as well. In the chapter on Lucy's trip to Mexico, she includes a recipe for Huevos Rancheros. You can see how the page is set up below. I love that there are illustrations throughout the recipes as well. It keeps the whole book flowing as one.
page from the book
I'm trying to read more graphic books and I'm glad to have had the chance to check out Lucy's work (I will certainly read more by her now). I love the color and cartoon drawings. There is also plenty of text along with the illustrations, so you feel like you're reading a full story and getting enough for your money. Always a plus with graphic works! It's also a memoir that many can relate too, even if you haven't been through the same exact things Lucy has in her life. It's still a story about the love of food, family, friends, and self.
Monday, June 10, 2013
Hey Everyone- I'd like to introduce you to one of my current clients, Michael Harling. Before I started working with Mike, I actually reviewed his non-fiction book of essays, Postcards from Across the Pond (in case you remember that!)
At any rate, I have an idea for a contest to help support/promote Mike's first fiction book, Finding Rachel Davenport. If you visit Mike's website, you'll see a different cover than the one above...but that's only for the e-books. The one in this post is the paperback version and we'd love to see what people can do with it!
*Sometime this summer, I'd like to co-host a contest where people recreate a cover for Rachel based on the summary (or the actual book if you decide to go ahead and get a copy- up to you). I want to include a few items for the prize - including reading and England themed gifts (as the book takes place in England).
The MAIN prize though will be a paperback copy of the novel with the winner's cover on it instead of the one you see above.
How can you say no to that?
I want to start this contest soon- maybe sometime in July- but as I said above, I'd like to co-host the novel. I hope to get some small donations for the other prizes and I'd want to spotlight those and the shops they came from. For the actual entries, though, it would be great to have another blog accept those if anyone is willing!
Would you be interested in co-hosting? I can send you a copy of the novel if you'd like to read it beforehand! Please email me or leave your own email in the comments if you want to discuss!
Friday, June 7, 2013
Sorry for the lack of posts this week; I actually have a couple book reviews I need to get up. However, I also have strep throat and a pretty busy weekend. Yes, strep throat. In June. Who would have thought? I was quite surprised.
Anyway, I wanted to do something for today...so I figured I'd share some funny things I've seen online with you all! I figured we could all use a good chuckle here and there. These are mostly courtesy of tumblr (I'm addicted) so I don't own! Follow me on Tumblr!
House, Big Bang Theory, Doctor Who
Tom Hiddleston as Loki
Have a good weekend everyone!!
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Review by Lauren
copy from a friend
Review: I couldn't find a suitable summary for this novel, but if you want to know some basics about the world, then you can go here. I'd stick to just the first paragraph or so, otherwise, you'll be ruining important parts of the novel.
The reason I read this, however, is because a friend of mine was talking about it one night and when I admitted I had never read it, she lent me her copy. It was a novel I finished quite quickly and I think a lot of people nowadays would love it since Dystopian novels are such a hit.
In simple terms, Brave New World is essentially a Utopia that doesn't really work. Not everyone is equal and the government essentially takes away their citizen's freewill all in the name of happiness. If everyone is happy, or can take a drug when they are not, then that's all that is important. It's easy to see how this idea could be compelling to people, but it's not realistic. They are living in a world that isn't meant to be.
For a classic, Brave New World is a novel that keeps up with today's lifestyle. This is a still a world that does not exist, yet you could imagine people wishing for something similar.
I found most of the characters disagreeable in one way or another; this is not to say that I disliked all of them. Yes, there are ones that are certainly more "villainous" but everyone seems to have a side of them that you empathize with. I think giving these characters different sides to their personalities just made them more believable. This is especially true of John, the Savage, who did not grow up in London and this "brave new world" - instead he was born and raised in North America among the Indians. I won't say anything else about him, because his part of the story is quite fascinating and going into too much detail would spoil things. However, John is a character that many will find themselves rooting for, yet at the same time, not always agreeing with his actions.
In general, I'm glad my friend told me to read this. Brave New World would be a great classic for current high school teachers to use in their classes; I can see a lot of people enjoying it more so than some other titles you're forced to read.
Now...let's Make it a Gift!
Brave New World sweater is now on my wish-list for the upcoming Fall/Winter seasons.
If you want to give this novel in the summer, however, you can grab a Brave New World t-shirt (Men's/Unisex) as well. You can even get a Brave New World greeting card or a coaster set with various covers, including Brave New world.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
do not own any photos in post
Review by Lauren
copy sent for review, but all opinions are our own
Official Summary (you might want to skip the summary if you've never read any of these books and want most things to be secret!): Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin seems to finally have it all. A steady job at WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock 'n' Roll. A loving relationship with the idiosyncratic but eternally hot DJ Shane McAllister. A vampire dog who never needs shots or a pooper-scooper. And after nine years, it looks as if she might actually finish her bachelor's degree! But fate has other plans for Ciara. First she must fulfill her Faustian bargain with the Control, the paranormal paramilitary agency that does its best to keep vampires in line. Turns out the Control wants her for something other than her (nonexistent) ability to kick undead ass. Her anti-holy blood, perhaps? Ciara's suspicions are confirmed when she's assigned to a special-ops division known as the Immanence Corps, run by the Control's oldest vampire and filled with humans who claim to have special powers. To a confirmed skeptic like Ciara, it sounds like a freak fest. But when a mysterious fatal virus spreads through Sherwood--and corpses begin to rise from their graves--Ciara will not only get a crash course in zombie-killing, but will be forced to put her faith, and her life itself, in the hands of magic.
Review: Bring on the Night is the third in the WVMP series starring ex-con Ciara Griffin and the vampire DJ's she works with. The third is just as good as the first two, but the ante seems to be upped even further...allowing for more suspense and a greater look at the world these characters inhabit.
Since I've reviewed the first two novels already, I figured I'd turn this into a Question and Answer review. I asked for your thoughts during the first one, and don't worry, I did listen! That review was a guest one so it will always be a little different to how I review.
Bring on the Night- Question and Answer with Lauren
1. Did you like this book as much as the other two?
Yes, I think this book was just as enjoyable as the first two and probably even more so in certain ways. You already have the basics about vampires down and you're invested in the characters, so now Smith-Ready can yank the carpet out from under your feet with twists and surprises!
2. Anything you did not like about this novel?
Honestly, I don't really have any big complaints. I will say that one of the big mysteries in the book wasn't that difficult to figure out...but it doesn't take away from the overall enjoyment of the book.
3. Do you have a favorite character in this novel?
I'm always a fan of Ciara. She's a relatable girl in some ways. Granted, I don't have as much trust issues as she does...but it is easy to understand how she feels about herself and those around her at times. She's creative, loves music, cares about her friends a great deal; these are all things I can relate too.
4. What is something different about this novel compared to the first two?
We finally learn more about the Control, this government agency that works to control vampires. However, their name isn't the Control of Vampires...so we finally learn about other paranormal entities out there that the Control have to take care of: aka zombies. These are slightly unique zombies, however, and I enjoyed how Ciara had to psychologically prepare herself to fight these beings.
5. What would you grade this novel?
I think I'd give this one a B+ if I had to grade it. I highly enjoyed it and it was a fast read. The big mystery isn't hard to figure out, but it didn't ruin my love of the book. We got to learn more about the characters in the series and it makes you excited to finish the series! (One novella and another novel to go)!!!