Thursday, September 30, 2010

Guest Post - Beth Fantaskey: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

I guest-posted at Kate's lovely site called I just wanna Sit here and Read - with a Review on a book and its follow-up novelette by Beth Fantaskey:

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

Click to check it out! An excerpt from my review: 

"Characters: The character of high-school student Jessica was realistic, and snarky. Her friends were interesting, and the sense of small-town america was spot on. The multiple love interest angle J. struggles with was fun too."

Summary from GoodReads:
The undead can really screw up your senior year ...
Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancĂ©.
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Save the Date! Advance Buzz for Scott Nicholson Blog Tour

Scott Nicholson Kindle Giveaway Blog Tour

 Author Scott Nicholson and Amazon are giving away two Kindles as part of his fall book blog tour from September through November, including a stop here at e-Volving Books on Nov 11th. A Kindle DX will be given away through the participating blogs, and a Kindle 3 will be given away through the tour newsletter. A Pandora's Box of free ebooks will be given away through Nicholson's "hauntedcomputer" Twitter account.

"The digital era coincides with Act II of my career," Nicholson said. "The Kindle has broadened many people's horizons and given readers more power than ever, and this is an opportunity to celebrate them and the book bloggers who spread the word."

Nicholson is author of 12 novels and five story collections, as well as four comics series and six screenplays. His paranormal thrillers The Red Church, Drummer Boy and Speed Dating with the Dead have all hit #1 in the Kindle "Ghosts" category, and his new releases are the sci-fi thriller Forever Never Ends and the multiple-personality romp As I Die Lying.
As a bonus, if Nicholson hits the Top 100 in the U.S. or U.K. Kindle Store during the tour between Sept. 1 and Nov. 30, he will give away an extra Kindle 3 through the blogs. Sign up for the newsletter at to get daily links to the participating blogs. Winners will be selected at the Watauga County (NC) Public Library in December. No purchase necessary, and the contest is international. Co-sponsored by Kindle Nation Daily and Dellaster Design. 
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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Banned Books Week - Sept 25th to Oct 2nd

While I was studying in the US, my library in West Lafayette, IN had such a great Banned Books Week feature - they wrapped the books in brown paper (no titles visible) and encouraged visitors to take one home and see what novel it was. They had segregated the books by reason for being banned, so you could pick based on a reason that tickled your curiosity. I chose one that had been banned for Religious reasons, and returned home to unwrap my present - it was by the great Kurt Vonnegut. In honor of Banned Books Week, this post highlights a few books that were banned, and some of the silliest reasons used for challenging and banning books.   Some other shockingly banned books are:
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger 
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller 
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell 
Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by Nancy Friday

Some reasons for Banning books:
  1. “Tarzan was ‘living in sin’ with Jane.” ( Tarzan, by Edgar Rice Burroughs) 
  2. “It is a real ‘downer.’” ( Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank) - like, duh!
  3. “The basket carried by Little Red Riding Hood contained a bottle of wine, which condones the use of alcohol.” ( Little Red Riding Hood, by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm)
 and one of my personal favorites:
4. “An unofficial version of the story of Noah’s Ark will confuse children.” ( Many Waters, by Madeleine C. L’Engle) 
 To find out more about Banned Books Week, read the ALA website here. A list of Most Commonly Challenged Books is here at Wikipedia.
Was there a book that you were shocked to find out was banned?
Did a banned book have a positive impact on your life, or while growing up? Do Share!

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Teaser Tuesday #13 - Madeleine L'Engle

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading.

Read a banned book this week. 
"Think for yourself and let others do the same."
In honor of Banned Books Week:
 L'Engle's A Wrinkle in time was first published in 1962, and is a classic science fantasy novel, featuring a coming of age story. My teaser follows:
Calvin walked with Meg, his fingers barely touching her arm in a protective gesture.
"This has been the most impossible, the most confusing afternoon of my life", she thought, "yet I don't feel confused or upset anymore; I only feel happy. Why?"
Mini Review - I must say that I am disappointed in not picking this up when I was reading C.S. Lewis etc. What a great story for a young reader! Adventure, Family, Self-discovery et al in one little book. I couldn't stop reading about Meg and Calvin, which is why I am now beginning the third book in the Time Quartet series. Can't Stop Now!

If you haven't entered my International Giveaway for any book You pick within $15 - check it out here!
This week, we have a new story by Neil Gaiman and A Quick Preview of new e-readers coming into the market.
My one-line summary of my latest post? These e-reader gizmos are getting cheaper and have more features (think colour) - The Price Wars are here!
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Friday, September 24, 2010

100+ Follower Giveaway - Ends Oct 15

Yay! It is that time again - A Contest and Giveaway!

This is INTERNATIONAL, open anywhere the great Book Depository Folks will ship.
If you live in India, I will ship a book of choice to you (as this is one of the rare countries that doesn't get Book Depo books).

The prize money/certificate is donated by BookQuoter from A Thousand Books with Quotes
This is an award that she was going to gift me (being a super nice person) and I decided to gift it to my fellow bloggers (also being rather nice) - so enter to WIN! There is a decent chance that I will add an ebook prize if the entries get fairly large.

Contest Guidelines:
Must be a follower of this blog

How to Enter:
  2. Winner will ANY $15 Book Depository BOOK OF CHOICE
  3. Contest is open to EVERYONE (international, shipping by Book Depository)
  4. Contest ends October 15th
Extra Entries:
  • +1 Tweet
  • +1 Facebook link
  • +1 Goodreads Update
  • +2 Sidebar
  • +2 Post
  • +2 Add my blog to your Blog Roll
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Book Blogger Hop #5 - And the Launch of a Contest! Sep 24-27

This is a weekly event hosted by Jen at Crazy For Books. It's a chance to discover new blogs and to garner new readers for your blog as well. 

This Week's Question ...When you write reviews, do you write them as you are reading or wait until you have read the entire book?

The reviews I write? I don't write too many of them. Most of the time, I try to review it the day I finish reading - or else I put them off for a month, and let myself just marinate in my thoughts about book for a while. I have to do this to prevent my exuberance about reading say, the final book in a series, carry over into my opinion on the book.

Today I'm launching a brand new CONTEST!! *YAY*
Just check out the Contest Post to enter!
Other FREE Stuff this week: Free Story from Neil Gaiman
Posts: Why book publishing needs to Change
The new ebook readers entering the market, price, and benefits for us readers:Multiplying Like Rabbits 
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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Multiplying Like Rabbits

I'm talking about ebook readers!

Not only are there a plethora of e-readers on the market, now you can buy them for as low as $99
We are also going to see a lot of color coming into dedicated e-readers:
  1. The NYT article is here, talking about Literati, planned pricing at $159, coming in October; However, This is one of just many! 
  2. The buzz is that "Cool-er Reader", which went off the market, is re-launching with 5 products, tailored for different pockets. At least one of these will include a color reader.
  3. We can also expect a 5-inch $99 device from Copia due this fall.  With color, 2 GB of memory, it seems to make a basic reader. The only problem could be the 4 hour battery life - who wants to be plugged into a socket while reading? How many people will be able to charge the reader every day? For myself, battery life has to be the Number ONE most important factor in deciding which ebook reader to buy.
  4. Pandigital also has an ebook reader, which plugs into the B&N book site and comes with a color screen.
Given the challenges that this market is going to face (the early adopters who first bought the Kindle are done buying) and the intense competition we are going to see, the best thing for us users would be to 
  • Buy shares in the company making the E-Ink technology most e-readers use and
  • Celebrate the decreasing cost of e-readers and probably ebooks!
Bring on the Price Wars!
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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Free Story from Neil Gaiman is celebrating Zombie Week, and they have a host of stories available: is plus maggots and minus limbs this week as we turn our single, desiccated eye to the zombie phenomenon. You can keep track of all our zombie context here at the index , and be sure to check out Jason Heller's zombie playlist, Dave Palumbo onzombie art, John Joseph's Adams' round table, Paula R. Stiles on historical and literary zombies, and our caption contest , with a prize pack worth over $500. We're also serving up plenty of fiction and comics!
Mojo: Conjure StoriesThe story I'm talking about is the one by Neil Gaiman, originally published in Mojo: Conjure Stories_Warner Books, 2003. Its super creepy, and I was left with that feeling typical of Gaiman novels - the disorienting feeling that the world just twisted on its axis.
Bitter Grounds
You can read the entire 4-page story online for free!
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays #13 - Tinkers by Paul Harding

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading.
TinkersI'm reading one of the whackiest novels I've seen this year, Tinkers by Paul Harding. You may have heard of this narrow little novel, as it won the Pulitzer Award. I'm only a few pages in, but what stands out for me from Page 1 is the strangely hypnotic cadence of the words in every line. 
A sample:
"He tinkered. Tin pots, wrought iron. Solder melted and cupped in a clay dam. Quicksilver patchwork. Occasionally, a pot hammered back flat, the tinkle of tin sibilant, tiny beneath the lid of the boreal forest."
-Page 12, Tinkers by Paul Harding

Help me pick my next book, I'm looking forward to peeking into what you are reading!
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Sunday, September 19, 2010

Why book publishing needs to Change

Traditional publishing is entrenched in brick and mortar ways of selling - Marketing via an ad on the NYT for publicity, real stores for distribution, printing and of course, choosing which book to print. After that you negotiate, edit multiple rounds and book version, plan the tour - You see why this is an entire industry in itself.

  1. Manufacturing a book in paper no longer remains your core competency
  2. People can get a book in many ways - getting into a store is not critical
  3. Any author can now become an Independent Publisher
  4. More people are reading blogs over books - leading me to my next point...
  5. Convenience Matters! Online delivery of ebooks is faster and easier to get a book into a reader's hands - People will pay for this
  6. See what happened to the music industry?? This year, the number of records produced was the same level as that in 1960. Same thing in the newspaper industry - traditional methods need to be adapted
  7. Including social buzz elements into the book promotions...
  8. And hence, connecting fans closer to authors in a community. This is why book blogs are growing so much
  9. People will pay and spend time reading books that they hear about from passionate book bloggers, communities and fellow fans
All this boils down to:
Identify your fans, count them, make a community, THEN decide which book to sell to them, sell it the easiest way possible for the reader to get the book, get The Fans to spread it.

What do you think? Are you happy with the way things are, and paying the same amount for an ebook as a paper book? Does that seem fair? Comment away!
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Friday, September 17, 2010

Book Blogger Hop #4: Sept 17-19th

This is a weekly event hosted by Jen at Crazy For Books. It's a chance to discover new blogs and to garner new readers for your blog as well. 

This Week's Question ...
Highlighted bloggers are:
Misha from India, at
Dragons Ate my homework at

This week, I've had posts on Medieval copyright protection (the best elucidated curses!) and some of the most popular ebooks in the world (FREE!)
If you haven't read an ebook, read the post on ebooks for beginners and then download one of these free ebooks.
If this is the first visit to this blog, Welcome! If you like it, do follow, and leave me a message about it. I will follow you back, and be a happy little commenter on your blog.
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Skins for your ebook reader - style over substance

Those of you who know me might also know that I am an apple fangirl. I also have a gelaskin on my mac to make it stand out.
Imagine my delight when I discovered that the creative folks and artists at have designs for ebook Readers!
For the Kindle, for the iPad, for the Nook, even for the Kobo!
Gelaskin Main Store
 Click the link below to get to the store or enter into your browser window. There is no referral involved. Pure fun!
Still here? Check out a few images of my favorites:

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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Medieval copyright Protection

Since I recently promoted three of world's free ebooks (two of which are amongst the most famous), I started thinking about copyright protection. It was part of the research I did for that article, where I looked into how authors had suffered when battling publishers for rights to their books.

Apart from the pitfalls of online publishing, I also stumbled upon some real-life curses used in the past to deter people from stealing or defacing books!! 
It was hilarious, and I couldn't help highlighting a few here for you to read:

Should anyone by craft of any device whatever abstract this book from this place may his soul suffer, in retribution for what he has done, and may his name be erased from the book of the living and not recorded among the Blessed.
--attributed to a 16th-century French missal belonging to a man named Robert 
Thys boke is one
And Godes kors ys anoder;
They take the ton,
God gefe them the toder.

[This book is one (thing),
And God's curse is another;
They that take the one,
God gives them the other.]
--found in various Middle English books.
For more great "Don't Steal Me" lines, check out
Most of these quotes come from the this book, the motherlode: Anathema!: Medieval scribes and the history of book curses
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Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays #12 - Georgette Heyer

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading.

Today, I am just beginning a detective novel by Georgette Heyer.
"He got out of the car and strode towards the girl. Now that he was close to her he saw that she was good-looking, a fact that did not interest him, and exceedingly nervous, a fact that aroused all his suspicions."
I'm still not sure how good this book will be, even though I am a huge fan of her genre romances.

Which is why I am keen on listening to what you all have to say, hopefully I get some new book suggestions. I need something exciting to read!
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Sunday, September 12, 2010

Free Ebooks Download - Do you want some?

My last post on Ebooks for Beginners covered the reasons to read an ebook. My next post highlighted Baen publishing, one great resource to discover ebooks.
Today, I'd like to give you three free ebooks to read. Click any one of the below books for a free download.

1) Scott Adams
Click Below to Download the PDF:
God's Debris or from another source here
The Creator of Dilbert, Scott Adams, has this to say about his book -  "It's a religion/science book written by a cartoonist, using hypnosis techniques in the writing. It's a thought experiment. It's unlike anything you've ever read."

2) Paul Carr
Click Below to Download the PDF:
Bringing Nothing To The Party - True Confessions Of A New Media Whore
A TechCrunch writer, ( his ebook is free for download by the CCL. His website is
Quick Review - Paul has a quirky, self-deprecating style of humour that permeates this book. I hesitate to call this an autobiography as the book also gives you a timeline of how publishing and journalism has evolved. A good read.

3) Seth Godin
Click Below to download the PDF:
The EBook has over 70 ideas from 70 important thinkers - Tim O' Reilly, Ariana Huffington to name two. Seth's blog post on the free ebook, including the new updated Part 2 is here

All these PDFs are DRM free, and available for free download.
Finally, a shoutout to Cory Doctorow, the pioneer of Free.
Do follow me if you liked this post, I have several more planned along these lines!
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Friday, September 10, 2010

Minimalistic Book Covers - Photoblog

ColumbineAn Ethics of InterrogationAgainst Happiness: In Praise of MelancholyAn Apology for Idlers (Penguin Great Ideas)

Authored by Dave Cullen, Michael Skerker, Eric Wilson and R. L. Stevenson.

Flying Leap: StoriesNaked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science (Fully Revised and Updated)Wide Awake: What I Learned About Sleep from Doctors, Drug Companies, Dream Experts, and a Reindeer Herder in the Arctic Circle
And authored by Judy Budnite, Charles W, Particia Morrisroe respectively.

Wouldn't you just jump up and buy those books? I would! 
The last Hop on Friday asked about covers, and since then my eyes have been increasingly noticing cover art.
If you want to see more (about 40+) of these minimalistic designs, head to The Inspiration Blog. If you have any that you want to call out, add the links below!
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Book Blogger Hop #3

This is a weekly event hosted by Jen at Crazy For Books. It's a chance to discover new blogs and to garner new readers for your blog as well. 

This Week's Question ...
Post a link to a favorite post or book review that you have written in the past three months.
My favorite review is The Walker Papers 4, an urban fantasy novel by  C.E. Murphy, or the one for Ilona Andrew's Magic Bites

My favourite (spelled for the UK and Aussie readers) post in general has to be one the reading difference between the Kindle, the iPad and paper books.

I'm following everyone back, so do let me know if you liked my site by following me and then leaving a comment.
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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Baen Publishing - a home for ebooks and new authors

The Baen Free Library is the brainchild of Jim Baen, the publisher and editor of Baen Publishing. It was started about a decade ago, late 1999, and they were (to my mind) the pioneers of the ebook and online publishing worlds. Dedicated to sci-fiction and fantasy, these guys revolutionized the nascent, piracy-fearing ebook industry.

Not only did they create a convival atmosphere for authors to chat, meet online, share stories, they also brought a whole new audience to these great authors. Where else could you have gotten a free book from a new author? Now, of course, amazon offers this as an incentive  - giving the first book in a series away for free. Now you know where it began!

Baen also has an internet publishing venture at, which just recently called it quits. They still have a huge collection of short stories and articles.

Authors I discovered, and later bought books from, via this free-book strategy from are:

  • Mercedes Lackey
  • David Weber
  • Lois McMaster Bujold

It is funny how even Sharon Lee is one of the authors in Jim's fold, but I only discovered her Liaden books recently, thanks to her giveaway. There are still authors in that list that I am sure I will read, eventually. Sadly, the site doesn't seem to be super active, since Jim Baen's passing. Eric Flint does a stand-up job of his role as First Librarian, as always.

Most authors have a number of books available for easy download here, in html, epub, .lit and many other formats. You can browse The Baen Free Library by author, books or even by Series.

This is your chance to discover new scifi/fantasy authors!

Some links:

Posted via email from readseverything's posterous

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Teaser Tuesday #11 - Lord Sunday by Garth Nix

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should be Reading.

Garth Nix is one of my favorite Young Adult writers, mainly cause his books are universal. I could recommend them to any of my friends, or the occasional reader, age no bar.
Lord Sunday (The Keys To The Kingdom)
"A boy – a Piper’s child – stepped through the gap and, without a word of warning, lunged at Arthur with a six-foot- long, three-tined gardening fork, each of the tines red-hot, the air around them blurred from the intense heat they radiated."

Today's Teaser is taken from the end of Chapter 3, the page I am on. The book is Lord Sunday, book 7 in the Keys of the Kingdom.

If you haven't read Garth Nix, a great place to start is with The Old Kingdom series; beginning with Abhorsen. Highly unique.
Amazon link is below:
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Monday, September 6, 2010

Starting with EBooks - for beginners and explorers

Have you ever tried reading an ebook?
Most readers would have read one or two non paper-based books, at least.Usually, this is the point that you decide that you do or do not like reading this way.
Perhaps those books weren't the right ones to read in the ebook format, perhaps the device being used was a laptop. Perhaps it just wasn't a good day!
Give ebooks another chance...Technology has improved so much - lighter, faster, better.
FIVE Quick Advantages of an Ebook -
1) Super convenient - simply load an entire series
2) Font size is easy to change and Contrast is better than on paper
3) Easy to scroll down or turn pages (even with just one hand)
4) Look up dictionary immediately and on the fly
- I love this, it allows me to get a deeper understanding of words I might have just read contextually before.
5) Make notes as you read
- If you want to make a quick note to yourself, or put a bookmark into a favorite scene, e-readers will give you this freedom
Finally, it saves trees and the rainforest! Now, what are you waiting for?
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Friday, September 3, 2010

Book Blogger Hop #2 - And August Roundup

Book Blogger Hop
 Hi! Thanks for stopping over from the Friday Hop - Today also happens to be the day that I do my monthly round-up (which follows the Hop question), so do scroll away.

The book blogger hop is hosted by, and the idea is for the event to last over the weekend to give everyone a chance to visit the other bloggers.
Do you judge a book by its cover?

Ans: Yeah! I don't usually get to see covers, what with my Kindle and e-book reading habits. However, if I'm in my store or at the library, I will totally judge what I pick up based on the cover and the spine.Also, when I'm itching for a new not-yet-released book, I will go gaze at the cover at Amazon.
In the spirit of this question, my post below, from earlier today, is on the Cover of Blameless, the new just-released book by Gail Carriger.

Grand August Round-Up
Teaser Tuesday - Maker's Song got the most number of views
Followed by Friday Blogger Hop #1
and New Blogger Header - What do you think?

Highest read post (aside from those above) -
Walk inside Bookshelf - Designed for a Museum 
The biggest win to my mind has to be the New Name (Thanks to the winner!) and my new header design.
I could use some suggestions on how to measure views - I'm an analytical person, and I use Google Analytics to track my site here, and Blogger Stats. I also have a matching Posterous site, which has a lot higher reads per post than here ('cause it links to Twitter, Faebook) -
According to Posterous, My post on a new ebook reader entrant to India got 480 views!! The numbers below are purely from Google Analytics.

Upto 591 visits in Aug (up from 418 visits last month!)
 Whoo! 1355 pageviews. Blogger says I have 908! Posterous is even higher..which one is right? Any help on this?

Reviews/Interesting Posts:
Walker Papers #4 - Walking Dead by C.E. Murphy 
New eBook Reader 'Wink' to Enter India
Graphic meme comparing Tablets
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Making of: Blameless Cover

This isn't the first time I've seen this, but my anticipation for the Third Alexa Tarraboti Novel is so high, that I can't stop looking for whatever is even remotely related to the book.

In this video, the funniest moment is the "Oops the Eiffel tower wasn't built yet" edit :)

Even if you aren't a fan of the series, just watching the book's cover come to life is pretty amazing! Who knew the amount of editing that went into this thing?

The end result -



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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Review - Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart

Grade: A
Excerpt:  Taken from a page when the author is describing the importance of the drummer while two swordsman compete in Sword Dancing:
It is said that a truly great drummer is the equivalent of a third sword. Sample gymnasium conversation:
"I hear that Fan Yun has challenged you.Who's your drummer?"
"Blind Meng."
"Blind Meng! Great Buddha, I must sell my wife and wager the proceeds! Orderly, be so kind as to order flowers for Fan Yun's widow."
 This is really a standout book for the year.  A debut novel that sets its story in Ancient China, 13 and a half centuries ago? Clearly, this is fiction that is so strange to our world today that it becomes fantasy. Add in a pinch of heroic adventure, a soupcon of religion and mystical beliefs, ghosts and myths, hilariously funny lines and you will see why I loved this book.
I'm not going to make this a full-length review with the usual plus, minus etc - This is a book that I recommend for most readers, as it is genre-defying.

I would add that of the three books featuring Master Li and Number Ten Ox, the heroes of this book, are not up to the high standards of the first book.
You might remember that I took one teaser from this book a while ago -
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