Mini Review Round-Up: April-May 2016

I haven’t had time to write full reviews of all the books I’ve read recently…actually, I haven’t had a lot of time to read in general! But here are some mini reviews for the last couple of books I read (and didn’t talk about on Mind the Gap).

The Archived – Victoria “V.E.” Schwab

As you may know, I’m obsessed with V.E. Schwab’s Shades of London trilogy (here are my reviews of ADSOM and AGOS), so now I just want to read ALL THE THINGS she’s ever written. I loved the premise of The Archived, and even liked the characters (any love interest who wears guyliner is fine by me), but it took a while to really get going and there were moments where I felt like I had missed something. There was also a plotline that seemed predictable to me, but I liked how it was handled, and I found myself tearing up during some of Mac’s remembered conversations with her beloved grandpa. Even though her writing in this book is still a million times better than mine on a good day, it’s interesting to see how an author’s command over words can change over the years/books. (Rating: 4 interrobangs)

Highly Inappropriate Tales for Young People – Douglas Coupland and Graham Roumieu

I decided to read this one because Douglas Coupland was going to be at my work and I figured I may as well give his writing a shot in case I ended up becoming his biggest fan. Spoiler alert: I did not become his biggest fan. I’ve always sort of suspected that I wouldn’t be into his style, but it was a quick read so I didn’t dwell on it for too long – just long enough to know that Sandra the babysitter was my favourite story. He’s one of those authors where I get the feeling I’m missing a deeper meaning (heavily veiled satire is not my jam at all). I did like the (occasionally gory) illustrations by Graham Roumieu – they have a Quentin Blakes-meets-Tim Burton vibe which is definitely something I’m into. (Rating: 3 interrobangs)

The Bartimaeus Trilogy: The Amulet of Samarkand – Jonathan Stroud

This was the first Jonathan Stroud book I read (13 years ago!! Literally half my life!!) and I remember being floored by how amazing it was. Thankfully, it lived up to my memories (this is the first time I’ve reread it in ages) and reminded me of why I became a Stroud fangirl in the first place (you may recall that I gush about his Lockwood & Co series all the time). Personally, I love how sarcastic Bartimaeus is, and Nathaniel’s cold detachement makes him an interesting – if not always likeable – protagonist. I’m just about done the second book now, so maybe I’ll do a full series review in a month or so. (Rating: 5 interrobangs)

The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness

This book has won eleven billion awards and is super hyped up in the YA book community, but I was so underwhelmed. It took over 100 pages for anything good to happen…and, in this case, “good” is relative. I didn’t love the style (phonetic spelling in books will always drive me bonkers until it’s being used to denote an accent…and even then it can get old quickly), I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, and, while I find a dog talking about poo as funny as the next person, after the seventh time Manchee said “Poo, Todd?” it stopped being entertaining. I know people love this book, but I was so disappointed, possibly because it’s dystopian (aka my least favourite genre). With a series name like “Chaos Walking”, I expected something so much more epic. (Rating: 2.5 interrobangs)

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The Nowhere Emporium – Ross MacKenzie

The Nowhere Emporium – Ross MacKenzie

24471045When the mysterious Nowhere Emporium arrives in Glasgow, orphan Daniel Holmes stumbles upon it quite by accident. Before long, the ‘shop from nowhere’ — and its owner, Mr Silver — draw Daniel into a breathtaking world of magic and enchantment. Recruited as Mr Silver’s apprentice, Daniel learns the secrets of the Emporium’s vast labyrinth of passageways and rooms — rooms that contain wonders beyond anything Daniel has ever imagined. But when Mr Silver disappears, and a shadow from the past threatens everything, the Emporium and all its wonders begin to crumble. Can Daniel save his home, and his new friends, before the Nowhere Emporium is destroyed forever?

I picked this book up in Scotland last summer (I wanna say it was like the “Scottish Children’s Book of the Year” or something along those lines), and finally got around to reading it.

…for those of us who open our eyes, those who truly dare to wonder, there is treasure everywhere.

Let me start by saying that I did enjoy it. It was cute and imaginative, and kept me intrigued (although I did get a little impatient at one point). While most of the story took place in present-day Glasgow, every so often there were chapters that took us back to Edinburgh in the late 1800’s. It was a nice way to talk about Mr. Silver’s backstory without filling the present-day chapters with paragraphs of exposition.

Stories are precious.. They are treasure. And the most precious story of all is that of life.

I liked Daniel as a protagonist; while he wasn’t anything special, per se, he was curious and gentle and formed a sweet relationship with Mr. Silver’s daughter, Ellie. Ellie had the potential to be a great character too, but I felt she was a little stiff and maybe not as fleshed out as Daniel or even Mr. Silver. The villain – who had a fabulous name – was a little on the comical side because of how aggressive he was (he had a Count Olaf vibe), and I saw one of the plot twists coming from a hundred pages away, but the writing was still charming.

My problem with the book is that it seemed familiar, like I’d already read it before. At first, I thought it was bringing back vague memories of the movie, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, but several Goodreads reviews mentioned how similar it is to Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus (except, obviously, for a middle grade audience!). There’s also a scene that is ALMOST IDENTICAL to a scene in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and it bothered me that the editor didn’t point it out or try to change part of it (seriously, it’s practically verbatim).

I keep waffling between giving it a 3.5 and a 4; on the one hand, it was enjoyable and a breeze to get through; on the other, it seemed like a mishmash of other books and movies, so it didn’t feel unique enough to warrant four stars. It would be a great book to hand to a middle grade reader who was not up to committing to the whole Harry Potter series, though.

Rating:

3 interrobangs

3.5 interrobangs

Cover Reveal: Mer-Charmer – Amy Bearce

cover1000Mer-Charmer – Amy Bearce

Fourteen-year-old Phoebe Quinn is surrounded by magic, but she can’t muster any of her own. Her sister is a fairy keeper. Her best friends are merfolk. And all she does is dishes and housework.

When Phoebe finds out a terrible sea creature is awakening that preys upon the peace-loving merfolk, she becomes determined to help them, even though it means going with Tristan and Mina to their home deep in the sea.

Beneath the waves, Phoebe learns she’s more like her sister than she realized. The merfolk are drawn to her, and she can sense the magic of the sea all around her. Magic is finally at her fingertips, but that’s precisely why the stirring dark power under the waters decides it wants her most of all.

Now she must not only help the peaceful merfolk escape this ancient enemy, she must master her out-of-control powers. If she fails, she will die and darkness will rise and enslave the merfolk once more. But embracing her full power could cost her the very people she loves the most.

Genre: middle-grade fantasy
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Release: May 9, 2016
Cover Artist: Amalia Chitulescu

Find Online: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Goodreads

Amy BearceAbout The Author:

Amy writes stories for tweens and teens. She is a former reading teacher with a Masters in Library Science. As an Army kid, she moved eight times before she was eighteen, so she feels especially fortunate to be married to her high school sweetheart. Together they’re raising two daughters and are currently living in Germany, though they still call Texas home. A perfect day for Amy involves rain pattering on the windows, popcorn, and every member of her family curled up in one cozy room reading a good book.

Find Amy Bearce Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

George – Alex Gino

George – Alex Gino

24612624BE WHO YOU ARE.

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part . . . because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte — but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.

I’ve heard amazing things about George, so when I saw it on sale at a library (I’m the only person I know who can go to a library and buy a book), I picked it up right away.

I don’t know a lot about transgender and transitioning or how terrible it must be to feel like a stranger in your own body. I don’t even know if I have all the right vocabulary to be able to talk about it because I don’t have the personal experience to relate to. But I think everyone can understand the loneliness George feels, and it’s easy to empathize with such a sweet character.

It takes a special person to cry over a book. It shows compassion as well as imagination.

It’s hard for George to “come out” to people, and the adults in her life don’t make it any easier by constantly reinforcing the idea that she is a boy. Those are the most heartbreaking moments, which are especially sad because I know there are children out there who actually have to deal with this kind of attitude. I do think it’s lovely that George’s older brother is ultimately so accepting of her, even if her mother takes a while to come around.

I’ve read reviews that complain about the simplicity of the language and the stereotypes (girls like skirts and makeup, etc). 1) I don’t think the language is that simple, given the target audience. And 2) maybe George is the type of girl who DOES like skirts and make up (such creatures do exist).

It’s a short read, but it’s an important one. For all the simplicity of the language, the topic is fairly complex, and I think it was a good step in the right direction.

Rating:

5 interrobangs

ReRead: The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan

28187Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena—Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

I don’t usually write reviews for books I’ve reread, but I haven’t finished a “new-to-me-book” this week so here we are!

I know I’ve read the entire Percy Jackson and the Olympians series a few years ago, but I haven’t read any of Rick Riordan’s other books yet (well, I read The Lost Hero, but I can’t remember anything that happens in it. Like, at all). And since it’s been a while since I last caught up with Percy & co, and only remembered the gist of the story, it was a nice refresher to start it all over again.

One of the strongest parts of the series, I think, is the way Greek mythology is so seamlessly integrated and, to a certain extent, modernized. I love the depictions of the different gods, though I did have to wait until book two (which I’m still reading) for my favourite god, Hermes, to show up. And I think the locations for Olympus/Hades are just perfect. Even though the first book is ten years old, it has an ageless feel to it.

If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself.

The only thing I didn’t realize was how long it took for Percy to be claimed. The story starts off with a bang and there’s rarely a dull moment, but it takes 100 pages for SPOILER ALERT Poseidon to send a sign.

While Percy is the protagonist, Annabeth is an incredibly strong female character and the books wouldn’t be as good without her exasperated explanations whenever Percy doesn’t clue into something (he can be pretty dense sometimes). I started rereading Harry Potter just after finishing The Lightning Thief, so I couldn’t help drawing comparisons between Percy/Annabeth and Harry/Hermione and I have to say that, while I’m fully on board the Percy/Annabeth ship (and always have been), I never saw Hermione as a romantic interest for Harry, even though their relationships are pretty similar.

With all the series that Riordan is starting (the first Magnus Chase book recently came out, plus the first Apollo book is set to be released later this year), it would be easy to dismiss him as another author who just doesn’t know when to stop (*cough Cassandra Clare cough*). But his writing is so vibrant and fun, it’s easy to get sucked into his world and it will leave you wanting more.

Rating:

4 interrobangs

4.5 interrobangs

A Boy Called Christmas – Matt Haig

A Boy Called Christmas – Matt Haig

25882558You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas.
It is a story that proves that nothing is impossible.
If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. It is most certainly not for you.
Because this book is FULL of impossible things.

Are you still reading?

Good.

Then let us begin . . .

A Boy Called Christmas is a tale of adventure, snow, kidnapping, elves, more snow, and an eleven-year-old boy called Nikolas, who isn’t afraid to believe in magic.

If I was smart, I would have listened to my sister and read this a couple of days before Christmas, but I was busy (I guess) and didn’t get around to it until Christmas Day.

Nevertheless, it was a wonderful festive read!

A Boy Called Christmas tells the story of Father Christmas from his humble beginnings as a poor little boy Nikolas. His journey involves all the things you would expect from a Christmas legend: elves, reindeer, a red hat. But rather than making them your usual happy-go-lucky elves, reindeer, and red hats, Matt Haig puts a unique spin on them: the elves live in Elfhelm and don’t like humans; certain reindeer enjoy “weeing” on people when they fly; and the red hat belongs to Nikolas’ widowed father who makes some poor decisions.

There will be a lot of people in your life who will tell you to ‘grow up’ or to insist that you stop believing in magic.

Do NOT listen to these people.

There’s also a mean aunt straight of a Roald Dahl book, a pixie with a penchant for exploding heads that wouldn’t be out of place in a Neil Gaiman children’s books, and a series of unfortunate events not unlike those by Lemony Snicket. In short, this book is an amalgamation of some of the best children’s book authors in history, and if you’re a fan of any of the above-mentioned dudes, you need to pick this one up.

An impossibility is just a possibility you don’t understand.

A quick read, it would work well as a read-along leading up to Christmas for younger children, but most kids could zoom through it on their own in about a day. The only reason I’m docking .5 of a star (well, an interrobang) is because there were a couple of moments that dragged the story down. Highly recommended to get you in the festive spirit!

Rating:

4 interrobangs

4.5 interrobangs

Mini Review Round-Up: September – October 2015

I realized the other day that I read a bunch of books in the past few months that I didn’t write reviews on. I’m not sure why, to be honest, but instead of writing eight (!) extra posts, I’ve condensed them all into one post of mini reviews!

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow – Katherine Woodfine

24463265A charming middle-grade mystery. I can see it appealing to people who’ve read/want to read The Adventures of Miss Petitfour (except a lot less cats). There were certain elements that seemed “older” than middle-grade, but I feel like people in the UK have different standards for children’s books. Also, LOVE the endpapers/spot illustrations by Julia Sarda.

Rating: 4 interrobangs


Knightly and Son – Rohan Gavin

17978149Mix Artemis Fowl (or really any Eoin Colfer boy protagonist) with a hint of Sherlock Holmes, a dash of Lemony Snicket’s All The Wrong Questions series, and a lot of Spy (the hilarious British show), and you get this. I think I literally laughed out loud a couple of times (or at least snorted). Another fun middle-grade mystery, not to be taken too seriously.

Rating: 4 interrobangs


The Ghosts of Ashbury High – Jaclyn Moriarty

0-545-06973-4I’ve been a big fan of Jaclyn Moriarty’s Ashbury/Brookfield books for many years, and I was so stoked when I realized there was a fourth book (they’re loosely connected so you don’t really need to read them in order). I liked what she was doing with it – ghosts! gothic fiction! exams! – but I found it took longer to get into this installment than the others.

Rating: 4 interrobangs


Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times – Emma Trevayne

18332010This cover kills me, it’s so pretty. It had a lot of elements that I really enjoyed – clocks and London and alternate universes, to name a few – and I would compare the tone to classic children’s books like Peter Pan or The Wizard of Oz. The only thing that stopped it from being perfect was the slow-moving plot: stuff happened, but it took a while for it to really pick up.

Rating: 4.5 interrobangs


Vivian Divine is Dead – Lauren Sabel

18651963I got an ARC of this last year when I was interning at HarperCollins Canada and then sort of forgot about it until last week. It started out great, then kind of sputtered along in the middle, and the end was good in a soap opera kind of way. Now that I think about it, it’s probably similar to a really dramatic Hispanic soap opera. Decent, but not stellar.

Rating: 3 interrobangs


Vampirates: Demons of the Ocean – Justin Somper

1721141This was a re-read. I know it sounds almost like a joke (vampires + pirates?), but it’s honestly such a good series, even if the second book is a little slow. Lorcan Furey is definitely one of my book boyfriends. And I know it gets better, especially when the badass lady vampirate shows up. Really, I was just glad to see it still held up after almost ten years!

Rating: 5 interrobangs


Why is This Night Different From All Other Nights? – Lemony Snicket

25229245I’ve been reading Lemony Snicket books for literally half my life, so you think by now I’d know that a series ending is just going to leave me confused. It was about as satisfying (that is, unsatisfying) as I expected, but still so Lemony Snicket (if you’ve read his books, you know exactly what I’m talking about). Loved the references to ASOUE characters!

Rating: 4 interrobangs


Whisky From Small Glasses and The Last Witness  – Denzil Meyrick

2482053222665422I liked book one more. It was well-paced and I could easily imagine the small Scottish town where it took place. It’s interesting because some of the characters, such as DS Scott had heavy Scottish accents which were depicted in the text (think Hagrid’s way of speaking x 1000). Book two was harder to get into for because the storyline was more complicated and DS Scott played a huge role, which made reading it a chore.

Rating (Whisky From Small Glasses): 4 interrobangs
Rating (The Last Witness): 3 interrobangs

Have you read any of the books on this list? Or do you have any recs for me now that I’ve read these? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. Don’t forget to enter this giveaway for an ebook of J.P. Grider’s Naked and Far From Home, courtesy of Xpresso Book Tours!

The Hollow Boy – Jonathan Stroud

Lockwood & Co: The Hollow Boy – Jonathan Stroud

24397043As a supernatural outbreak baffles Scotland Yard and causes protests against the psychic agencies throughout London, Lockwood and Co. continue to demonstrate their effectiveness in exterminating spirits. Anthony is dashing, George insightful, and Lucy dynamic, while the skull in the jar utters sardonic advice from the sidelines. There is a new spirit of openness between the team now that Anthony has shared his childhood story, and Lucy is feeling more and more like her true home is at Portland Row.

It comes as a great shock, then, when Lockwood and George introduce her to an annoyingly perky and hyper-efficient new assistant, Holly Munro. Meanwhile, there are reports of many new hauntings, including an old school where bloody handprints and a glowing boy are appearing. But ghosts seem to be the least of Lockwood and Co.’s concerns when a living assassin makes an attempt on Fittes’s and Rotwell’s lives.

Can the team get past their interpersonal issues to save the day on all fronts? Danger abounds, tensions escalate, and new loyalties form in this third delightfully terrifying adventure.

Last year, when I read book two, The Whispering Skull, I told myself to take the third book slowly so that I wouldn’t be quite so impatient for the next installment.

Apparently, I forgot my own advice because I could barely function for the two days I was reading this (I had to be an adult and go to work otherwise I’d have finished it in a day!).

Jonathan Stroud continues to be one of my favourite authors. His characters are sarcastic and smart, brave and bold, and realistic.

Lucy’s jealousy over new-girl Holly is understandable: Holly’s character is presented in such a way that you, as a reader, can’t help being a little suspicious of her too. Also, as a Lucy/Lockwood shipper, I was just as frustrated as Lucy whenever Lockwood seemed to express more interest in Holly’s opinions than in the stalwart Lucy’s.

George’s character has also evolved. I remember him as being more annoying in the first book, but I think he’s “growing up”. Either that, or Lucy isn’t as bothered by his quirks, which means she’s presenting him in a more favourable light than before. Sometimes I feel like George is the Ron Weasley of the group: he’s a main character and a huge part of the story, but he can sometimes be pushed into the background because of Lucy and Lockwood’s stronger personalities (no offense to either George or Ron, I love them both).

This installment also felt a little scarier. I won’t spoil anything, but it’s common knowledge that poltergeists are terrifying – and that’s exactly what Lockwood & Co are up against. Stroud’s writing continues to shine, drawing you into the story and creating vivid scenes that leave you holding your breath.

Once again, it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, and while it’s not as dramatic as the end of the second book, it perfectly whets the appetite for book four (and, hopefully, a fifth book?). And, to be honest, it left me more than a little worried about Lockwood’s fate (I would not put it past Stroud to kill a main character again).

Rating:

5 interrobangs

ARC Review: A Year in the Life of a Complete and Total Genius – Stacey Matson + GIVEAWAY

A Year in the Life of a Complete and Total Genius – Stacey Matson

26111783Arthur believes that he is destined to become a famously rich novelist. The first step in his journey to literary greatness will be winning the school writing contest, which will also (hopefully) distract him from the untimely death of his mother. Unfortunately, Arthur can’t come up with a good story, unlike his beautiful writing partner Kennedy, who he’s sure will ditch her popular boyfriend and fall in love with him sometime soon. Even Robbie Zack, Arthur’s nemesis, has an idea! As the competition draws closer, and as his father drifts further and further away, how far with Arthur go to win?

Release Date: November 3rd, 2015

Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review! And thanks to the kind people (especially Kathryn Lynch) at Sourcebooks for providing a giveaway – head to the bottom of the post for your chance to win a copy (open to Canada and the US until November 30th!).

A few months ago, I went on a Susin Nieslen binge, and this would have been the perfect follow-up!

What I liked:

-I’m a sucker for epistolary books to begin with, which is probably one of the reasons why I requested this. It wasn’t just standard journal entries – there were emails and classroom notes and sometimes cute little drawings. Love it!

-the plot was cute and relatively simple, but it had a lot of heart and there were some sad moments. It had that bittersweet quality that, in my opinion, all good contemporary middle grade fiction should have (hence the Susin Nielsen comparison).

-Arthur was a strong character – you really got a sense of his personality from the very first page (check out the excerpt from chapter one at the end of this post!). And while you don’t know much about his dad, there’s enough to form an understanding of their relationship and how it changed after Arthur’s mom died.

-Arthur’s struggle with writing, in particular his great ideas but inability to put them on the page, really spoke to me as an aspiring writer myself. It was easy to relate to him as he tried to figure out a way to get around his writer’s block in time to enter the school story-writing contest.

-his “love interest” Kennedy and rivalry with Robbie Zack was funny and age-appropriate (I sound so old when I say stuff like that). It was cute and innocent and provided a lot of the humour, including Kennedy’s enthusiastic emails.

What I didn’t like:

-Arthur could be frustrating in his obstinate way. I understood that it was a quirk in his personality and all good characters have flaws, but there were a couple of times when I just wanted to yell at him. Like you would with a normal 13 year old, I suppose.

If you’re looking for a quick but satisfying middle grade read, this is a wonderful option! Stacey Matson’s writing is charming and will draw you right into Arthur’s world.

Rating:

4 interrobangs

GIVEAWAY!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt from A Year in the Life of a Complete and Total Genius:

The Next Great Bestselling Novel (Title to be announced)

By Arthur Bean

Once upon a time there was

There was once a

A long time ago

Yesterday

Today

America is awesome! This is because

A boy and his unicorn sat on the grass and the unicorn could talk and said

Murder! There’s been a very violent murder!

Dear Ms. Whitehead,

As you know, I haven’t been in class yet, but my next-door neighbor Nicole suggested that I write you a letter since I will be starting soon. I don’t really know what to write to you. Maybe I will tell you a little about myself so that you feel like I started school at the same time as everyone else.

My name is Arthur Aaron Bean, but I normally just go by Arthur. I spent the summer at my grandparents’ house in Balzac. It was a long summer. I actually live in one of the apartment buildings pretty close to the school. I like to knit and watch movies, sometimes at the same time. I’m a very good multi-tasker. I like creative writing, so I hope that we will do that and that I didn’t miss it. I was probably the best writer in my elementary school, and I plan on getting rich as a novelist when I’m a grown-up. I don’t have any siblings, but my cousin Luke is kind of like my twin brother.

My most profound work so far is the heartwarming story called “Sockland.” In this short story, a little boy climbs into the dryer during a game of hide-and-seek with his older brothers. He is accidentally shrunk and crawls through the dryer vent into Sockland. Sockland is a land where missing socks go to live. He enjoys it for a while, but then finds that single socks are very boring, and needs to find a way to get home. He then gets the socks to help him by promising to send their partners through the tunnel, and he crawls back up into the dryer to rejoin humanland.

Mrs. Lewis said it was highly original and that I showed real promise in becoming the next J.K. Rowling. The secretary told me that I’m in a class with some of the people from my elementary school so that I would feel more comfortable. Actually, she didn’t say people, she said some of my friends. This may seem weird, because I wasn’t really friends with a lot of the people in my elementary school. Actually, most of my friends went to the Catholic school next door to our school, and so I saw them all the time. I did have a couple of friends like Oliver, but mostly I wasn’t friends with people in my elementary school class. Besides, who would want to be friends with guys like Robbie Zack? I’m not friends with people who spell thoughts as thots. Good luck with that one. He’s what my mother called “a handful of trouble with a capital T.”

Yours truly,

Arthur Bean