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February Books

Books Read:

2. IN THE STORM by Karen Metcalf.
3. CHARMED THIRDS by Megan McCafferty.
4. DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth.
5. MIERADOME by Kate O'Hegarty.
6. TEENAGE WAISTLAND by Lynn Biederman.
7. FALL FOR ANYTHING by Courtney Summers.
8. THE RULES OF SURVIVAL by Nancy Werlin.
9. THE JULIAN GAME by Adele Griffin.
10. PROM AND PREJUDICE by Elizabeth Eulberg.
11. BRIAR ROSE by Jane Yolen.
12. EMMA VOLUME 1 by Kaoru Mori.
14. XVI by Julia Karr.
16. TRICKSTER'S GIRL by Hilari Bell.
17. SHINE by Lauren Myracle.
18. THE LIPSTICK LAWS by Amy Holder.
19. DOPPELGANGER by David Stahler Jr.
20. INSIDE OUT by Maria V. Synder.
22. ALICE 19th VOLUME 1 by Yu Watase.
23. THE BETRAYAL OF MAGGIE BLAIR by Elizabeth Laird.
24. BAMBOO PEOPLE by Mitali Perkins.

Genres read: Contemporary (10), Fantasy (5), Dystopian (5), Historical (3)
Total genres: Contemporary (20), Fantasy (9), Dystopian (5), Historical (3), Chick lit (1), Memoir (1), Mystery (1)

Pages read: 6827 pages
Total pages: 11849 pages

Challenge Updates:

2011 Reading Challenge: 41/180
2011 Manga Challenge: 4/15
2011 Debut Author Challenge: 3/44
2011 YA Historical Fiction Challenge: 3/10


I'm very happy with the amount of books I read, and I'm also glad I was able to branch out into other genres, like historical and fantasy, that I don't usually read. My challenges are progressing at a pretty good rate, mostly because I was able to get my hands on some debut authors' books for review. I was actually rather surprised at the amount of books I was able to read in this short month, and I hope this continues in March!

How was your February reading-wise?

In My Mailbox (18)

Here's the round-up of the books I've gotten in the past two weeks. I'm particularly pleased with the review books I got - I've started some of them already and they're fantastic!


Shine by Lauren Myracle. I already read this one, and my review will be up in a week or two. Isn't the cover absolutely gorgeous? Trust me, the prose within is just as beautiful!

The Lipstick Laws by Amy Holder. I've heard about this one so much, so that, combined with the cover, made me very excited to get my hands on it! Right now, I'm about halfway through and it's a fun read.

The Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird. Another lovely cover! It's very blue, which is my favorite color, and I just like the overall feel of it. I don't even know what this one's about, but I'm excited to start it.


Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins. This book is different from what I usually read, so I hope to step out of my comfort zone with it. I'm not a huge fan of the cover, but the synopsis really drew me in.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. This is a rare case of not the cover, not the synopsis, but the title attracting me to the book. Isn't it so deliciously creepy? I know this is a zombie book, which put me off a little, but reading a short story by the author in Zombies vs. Unicorn (a short story anthology) sealed the deal. Beautiful prose!

How to Say Goodbye in Robot by Natalie Standiford. A friend recommended this to me, and the cover is so lovely and simple. The title intrigues me as well, although I don't know what this is actually about.

Doppelganger by David Stahler Jr. The cover is deliciously creepy, but it was the concept that nabbed me here! It's about monsters that kill people and adopt their form and lives. I actually just finished a few days ago and though it wasn't what I expected, I still enjoyed it a lot.

Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell. This one's been on my to-read list for a long time, but it was bumped up to the top of my to-read pile by a very complex algorithm (eenie-meenie-minie-moe!). I finished it as well.

XVI by Julia Karr. Here's to finally making headway on the debut author challenge! I got this one on a whim, and finished reading it last week.

Say the Word by Jeannine Garsee. I featured this one a while ago on my Saturday feature, "More Spotlight, Please!". So understandably, I'm quite excited to read this.

Alice 19th Volume 1 by Yu Watase. I've heard good things about this manga, so I can't wait to read it! I got this because of my 2011 Manga Challenge. The other two series I tried so far this year haven't been all that great (Emma and Vampire Knight), so hopefully I'll like this one better.

So that's it for me! What's in your mailbox?

More Spotlight, Please! (8)

This week, I chose to spotlight...

Stalker Girl by Rosemary Graham! This one's about a girl named Carly whose boyfriend, Brian, dumped her. That's not her only problem, either - she also has to deal with her parents' break up too, and all her resentment from being pushed away by her dad in favor of his new wife's baby. So when one day Carly decides to take just a look at Brian's new girlfriend, her anger and sadness becomes channeled into finding out even more. Soon her little looks aren't so innocent and she finds herself unable to stop stalking them.

I like books that probe issues you wouldn't normally think about. For most people, myself included, stalkers are thought of as creepy people with sick, twisted minds, but this book wants to show that might not always be the case. That something like that could happen to anyone. I'm interested to find out what exactly drove Carly to the edge and if she was able to come back.

What do you think? Have you read this? Do you plan to?

Book Blogger Hop (15) and Follow Friday (4)

This week's Book Blogger Hop question is...

Do you ever wish you named your blog something different?

No, I like my blog name. I feel like it's quirky enough to fit me while still going along with the theme of words/books/writing. Plus, some really odd keywords in Google lead to my blog, and it's fun to see them when I look at my Analytics stats.

This week's Follow Friday question is...

Share your current favorite TV show. Tell us about it.

I don't watch a lot of American TV, but I love anime! My absolute favorite one was Death Note (so creepy and mind-bending!), but I also enjoyed the lighter, funnier Ouran High School Host Club and Fruits Basket, as well as Clannad and Clannad After Story (which I'm currently watching). I'm not quite an otaku (anime-obsessed person), but my friends think I'm pretty close!

Of course, I can't answer this question without mentioning my guilty pleasure, Korean dramas. I'm pretty new to them, but I've seen Boys Over Flowers and You're Beautiful and got sucked into both.

If you're new, welcome! Please leave a comment with a link to your blog so I can go check it out. :) I follow anyone who has similar reading interests to me, so I'll be taking a look at your reviews! (I love pretty much everything YA although I'm a little picky when it comes to paranormals.)

Two Way Street: Review

Title: Two Way Street
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Release Date: June 2007
Published By: Simon & Schuester
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 288
Goodreads Rating: 3.89 stars

Review: Lauren Barnholdt is one of my favorite authors, and for good reason! While I love gritty, dark books, sometimes they can be so emotionally draining that it's nice to kick back and relax with an adorable romance. But even though I relax with those kinds of books, I still want ones with real characters that struggle with at least some issues that go beyond "does he or doesn't he like me". That's where Barnholdt comes in. I can always count on her books providing a cute and fun read that isn't totally mindless, and TWO WAY STREET was no exception.

Jordan and Courtney were the perfect couple. Some people thought they were an odd pairing, but there was no denying that they were in love, and since they were going to the same college, they planned a road trip together to go to orientation. Except before the trip, Jordan dumped her for some girl he met on the Internet. It's too late to dump the trip as well, so Courtney is forced to go with him. She decides to pretend not to care about any of it, but she does. And there are secrets Jordan's not telling her - secrets about why, exactly, they broke up.

This book was written in dual perspective, alternating between Jordan and Courtney. I'm uncertain how I stand when it comes to multiple POVs, but in this case, I thought it worked really well. Courtney was biased when it came to Jordan and vice versa, so having both perspectives made it easier to see what was really going on. There were also flashbacks to when they first started going out and the situation with Courtney's family, and while I worried they would make the book confusing, everything was clear.

Overall, this book was an easy, light read that could be finished in one or two sittings. I loved the cute romance and also the deeper issues that the author probed, and found it to be the perfect novel to relax with. TWO WAY STREET is a nice break from tougher books and while not very memorable, provides for a good hour or two of enjoyment. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a fun and sweet read.

Divergent: Review

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Release Date: May 2011
Published By: HarperTeen
Genre: Dystopian
Pages: 496
Goodreads Rating: 4.55 stars

Review: In the future, people in Chicago are in one of five factions - Erudite, Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, and Amity. Those in Erudite take in as much knowledge as they can, those in Candor never lie, those in Abnegation live without luxuries, those in Dauntless live without fear, and those in Amity strive to be kind to all. And then, of course, there are the untouchable Factionless. When teenagers turn sixteen, they must take an aptitude test that shows which faction they're naturally inclined to, and then choose whether to stay with their original faction or change. Beatrice, born in Abnegation, chooses Dauntless and changes her name to Tris. She has to be strong and brave to survive the horrifying initiation process, which only the top ten pass. But more than that, she has to keep it a secret that the results of her aptitude test were out of the ordinary, because there are people out there who won't hesitate to kill her for it.

It was a very pleasant surprise to receive this in the mail the other day. I'd heard about this book here and there but hadn't read any reviews. Still, the cover was all pretty and shiny, so I finished the book I was currently reading and moved on to this one without really any expectations at all. But honestly? I could have had the highest of expectations and still wouldn't have been disappointed.

I know it's early in the year, but this is so going to make my top books of 2011 list. Seriously, this book was amazingness and awesomeness and epicness all wrapped in one. There were action scenes that sent my heart pounding, romantic scenes that made me swoon, and such character depth that I wanted to steal Veronica Roth's writing skills.

Tris was incredibly strong and brave while still being a flawed, sometimes vulnerable character. She reminded me a lot of Katniss in The Hunger Games, but in a good way. There are actually a lot of similarities between this book and Hunger Games, but don't get me wrong - this is still very much its own book, with its own plot and twists and characters.

Every time I started to reach the end of one page, I was already itching to flip it to the next. This is the kind of book you stay up all night reading because you can't possibly put it down, kind of book that you can't really write a sensible review for, because all you can do is shove it in people's faces and demand they read it right now. And that's what I'm saying to you guys: read it right now. Or rather, when it comes out in May.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free advanced copy of this book from the publisher. This in no way affected my review, which is 100% honest.

In the Caverns of MIT

A little over a week ago, I attended HMMT (Harvard-MIT Math Tournament), which is held alternately at Harvard and MIT. This year, it was at MIT. Now, some of you may know that I have a bit of a penchant for getting lost.

Just a bit.

And you may also know that MIT is, well, really freaking huge. It has about six hundred lobbies, four million rooms, ten gazillion twisty hallways, and on that particular Saturday, was crammed with mathletes from all over the world. (In the awards ceremony, the guy informed us, "We have participants from many foreign countries - China, South Korea, Japan, Kenya, and California.")

Before the team competition, I consulted my fancy little schedule thingie that told me to go to room 2-142. I squirmed through the torrents of people until I reached the wall of the hall I was in and examined the room: 5-136. About sixteen different elbows stabbed me in the back, so I flattened myself against the wall as much as I could and slowly slid my way to the left.

As I slid, I craned my neck to keep track of the numbers. They were getting smaller, so I figured that if I continued this way long enough, I would eventually reach the 2's.

Except when the numbers turned into 5-101, I was faced with another gigantic lobby with about three different branches. People bustled around, barely having room to squeeze between arms and bodies, and the noise was deafening. Some guys around me had a method of crouching down and wiggling, while others preferred to bend their necks and head-butt their way through the crowd.

I opted for letting the crowd carry me. If I just stood still, the force of so many people walking around me would gradually carry me in some random direction. I figured fate wouldn't steer me wrong.

I was wrong.

The crowd carried me to an emptier hallway (there were perhaps only six hundred people squeezing through it instead of the four thousand of earlier on), and I hurried through it. After all, I had to be in 2-142 by 11:30, and it was... 11:45. Lovely.

The numbers beside me all started with 3, so I decided I should be approaching 2-142. When the hallway ended, I was presented with stairs and a second hallway. I hesitated. On the one hand, it was more likely that 2-142 would be in the second hallway, but on the other, stairs are fun!

I chose the stairs.

I went down a floor, reveling in the fact that I was blissfully alone. No people stabbing me with elbows and knees, no calculators digging into my side, no giant purses slamming me in the head! Blissfully. Alone.

And then it occurred to me that there might be a reason I was blissfully alone.

The hallway I found myself in was dark. Very, very dark. And windowless. Display cases surrounded me, but when I peered in one, it was too dark to tell exactly what it contained. I could make out shapes, though, and many resembled this:

I swallowed and started walking faster. Not because I was scared or anything, of course, I just didn't want to be late. Or rather, later than I already was.

I kept a close eye on the rooms, but none of them had numbers, only labels. Like "Room 101" and "Agony". One of them said "Bathroom", and I figured it would probably be smart to pee before going to the team competition.

I went in, plopped my purse down on a nearby stool, and did what I had to do. After I washed my hands, I noticed there were no paper towels, and wiped my hands on my jeans as I shouldered my way out of the bathroom.

I walked on for a while. Like, a really, really long while. The end of the hallway never got any closer, no matter how quickly I walked, and the little hairs on my arms stood up. Or at least, I'm sure they were standing up, but it was just a teensy bit too dark to see.

Suddenly, a dark figure appeared out of nowhere. My heart pounded, but then I realized that it was just an ordinary man holding a mop and a bucket of water. A custodian, not a flesh-eating serial killer.

...Unless he was a flesh-eating serial killer custodian.

"Excuse me," I squeaked, "can you tell me where room 2-142 is?"

The custodian nodded. "Go up four floors and down to the right."

I thanked him and started to head back to the stairs, when he called after me, "Oh, and run."

"Run, and never come back."

I frowned. "Why?"

His eyes flashed. "The zombies."

I ran.

Following his directions, I was able to make it to room 2-142 safe and sound. The proctor told us to turn off our cell phones and place them in the front of the room, so I reached for my purse.

And realized it was still sitting on a stool in the bathroom of the zombie-infested hallway.

I couldn't just LEAVE it there. It had my periodic table of elements in it! I mean, yeah, it also had my cell phone, iPod, and cash, but MY PERIODIC TABLE. And a LIBRARY BOOK. You lose a library book, you lose a little piece of your integrity.

And that was how I found myself battling zombies with a calculator while in the deepest caverns of MIT.

The Mockingbirds: Review

Title: The Mockingbirds
Author: Daisy Whitney
Release Date: November 2010
Published By: Little, Brown
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 332 pages
Goodreads Rating: 3.91 stars

Review: One morning, Alex wakes up next to a boy. Problem is, she doesn't remember anything about the night before except that she had too much to drink. But as the day wears on, she starts to remember disturbing things - and soon realizes that she was date raped. Except at Themis Academy, the adults don't step in when crimes happen. No, the students have to rely on themselves; specifically, The Mockingbirds, a not-so-secret society that administers justice. Alex's only choice is to turn to them, but will the trial go in her favor? And was she really date raped in the first place?

I thought the whole concept of this was original and fascinating. I've always loved secret societies, and even almost everyone knew about The Mockingbirds, there was still an air of secrecy about it. They had rather complicated processes when it came to trials, and it was all very legitimate, complete with court summonings and the like. I loved reading about it, and it was definitely one of the highlights of the book! Possibly most intriguing of all was the idea that as punishment, they take away what you love most. At Themis Academy, everyone has something they're into, be it photography, music, writing, football, etc., so you're no longer allowed to do that if the court rules against you.

Quite a few reviews I read mentioned that it disturbed them how the adults were never aware of the problem. Only one, Alex's music teacher, wanted to talk to her about it, but she wasn't really involved with the whole thing. While I see where those reviewers are coming from, it didn't disturb me too much. In non-fictional life, it's important to tell someone when something that bad happens to you, but I think one of the points of this book was to show a different, imagined way of dealing with it.

One thing I really appreciated about this book was Alex's attitude. Being date raped is such a horrifying experience because your most basic right, the right to your own body, is violated. While Alex definitely had the emotions that come with something like that, she wasn't a broken shell of a person. She remained strong and was even able to laugh with her friends at times despite her fear and worry. This stopped the book from becoming overly depressing.

All in all, this was a wonderful book that I really enjoyed! I didn't find it as powerful as it could have been, but I liked it reading it. Alex was such an awesome, strong character, and the whole concept of The Mockingbirds was fascinating. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read a non-depressing book that still deals with tough subjects.

Cover Love (5)

This week's pick is...

The Girl who Fell from the Sky by Heidi Durrow! 

This pick is different from previous ones because of its simplicity. However, I've always found simple covers can have the greatest impact on you, with their elegance and surprisingly complexity. Because seriously, I adore this cover.

Let's start with the color scheme. It's comprised mainly of turquoises, teals, and green-blues, with some white that works very well. It manages to be easy on the eyes while attention-grabbing. The subtle texture of the background and the way the colors fade to dark at the edges are excellent touches.

The most notable part of this cover is the title positioning. Seven short words spaced out like that give the impression that they themselves are falling, or perhaps are the trail of the falling girl. It seems like such a simple idea, but it's really ingenious!

Finally, I have to say that I adore the drawing of the girl. The way her arms, legs, and braids are seem to be a bit light-hearted while the darker colors suggest otherwise. This is probably one of my favorite covers! What do you guys think?

More Spotlight, Please! (7)

This week's pick is...

Ballads of Suburbia by Stephanie Kuehnert! I haven't heard much about this one, but it has excellent ratings on Goodreads (an average of 4.34 stars, which is higher than the first Harry Potter book). When Kara first started high school, her whole life changed - her family fell apart, she got new friends in the wrong crowd, had a bad-boy boyfriend Adrian, and partied too much. At the end of junior year, she overdosed on heroin and left Oak Park. Now, four years later, she's returning. Her friends had filled a notebook with their honest feelings and confessions, and now it's time for Kara to do the same.

In this one, the protagonist is twenty, which is older than most YA books. I think this is a welcome change because it's always good to read something a little different. Ballads of Suburbia seems like a gritty, honest read, and a lot of reviews described it as beautiful. I love contemporary books like this that deal with dark subjects, as long as it's handled well, so this one seems right up my alley!

Have any of you read it? Do you plan to?

Follow Friday (3)

This week's question is...

If you are a fan of science fiction, what is your favorite book? If you haven't read science fiction before, any inkling to? Anything catch your eye?

When I was little (elementary school age), I loved science fiction. Not so much the cheesy alien-invasion ones, but the kind that made your mind implode. I remember one book that I absolutely loved with I was nine was Michael Crichton's Sphere - it's one of the few books I can think of that I was literally incapable of putting down. Seriously, I read it while getting a cavity drilled. 

A few years later, I returned to Sphere and was hugely disappointed. It was nothing like I remembered, and I definitely didn't like it anywhere near as much. I found the same problem with other science fiction books and series I used to love, and I stopped reading the genre.

Now I do a few little forays into it. For instance, I really want to read Beth Revis' Across the Universe, and I like books such as I Was a Teenage Popsicle. While I will continue to read a few sci-fi books that catch my eye, I probably won't became the same big fan I used to be.

If you're new to my blog, welcome! I'm Izzy, and this is My Words Ate Me. I love young adult fiction, as well as manga, although I do venture into adult and middle grade at times. Please drop your link in the comments so I can go visit your blog! If we have similar reading interests, I'll be sure to follow you!

Fixing Delilah: Review

Title: Fixing Delilah
Author: Sarah Ockler
Release Date: December 1st, 2010
Published By: Little, Brown
Genre: Contemporary
Pages: 320 pages
Goodreads Rating: 4.03 stars
Review: Delilah Hannaford's life is far from perfect. Her workaholic mom can't stay away from her phone long enough to have a decent conversation, her boyfriend doesn't care about her, and there are family secrets no one will talk about. But when her grandmother passes away, Delilah and her mom reunite with the rest of her family at the lake house to plan the funeral. She hasn't been there since she was young because of a huge family fight, but now that she's back, things have changed, especially her childhood best friend, Patrick. This will prove to be the summer that changes everything – even Delilah.

Delilah is a complex character that readers will be able to relate to. She struggles with the same issues and insecurities experienced by many teenagers but remains a strong female protagonist. With her distinct personality and human flaws, it feels as if she's ready to walk straight off the page. Her relationship with Patrick is just as realistic, developing at a reasonable pace and full of moments that are sweet without being cloying or cliché.

Although the romance is a large component of the novel, it's not the main focus. A good part of the book is devoted to the interactions between the Hannaford women and their complicated web of lies and betrayals, a relief to those tired of the romance-saturated market. Readers will find themselves flipping pages, as anxious to uncover the secrets as the characters.
Fixing Delilah is, at first sight, a traditional summer novel, from its idyllic setting in Red Falls to the budding relationship between Delilah and Patrick. However, it deals with themes of family, trust, and loss as well, showing it to be something deeper. Although some may find the ending to be too perfectly packaged, this is ultimately a novel that fans of Sarah Dessen and the contemporary genre in general will enjoy.

No Posting

I've been busy all weekend, which is when I make my posts, so I don't think I'll be posting this week. I may have time for a review or two, although I doubt it. I just wanted to let you all know so you wouldn't think I've gone inactive :P

In My Mailbox (17)

I had a great two weeks, especially in terms of review books!



IN THE STORM by Karen Metcalf.
MIERADOME by Kate O'Hegarty.
DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth.

Thank you, Karen Metcalf, Kate O'Hegarty, and Harper Collins!


PROM AND PREJUDICE by Elizabeth Eulberg.

Thanks, Lori @ Pure Imagination!


THE JULIAN GAME by Adele Griffin.
GENERATION DEAD by Daniel Waters.


More Spotlight, Please! (6)

This week, I chose something I've heard nearly nothing about:

Crazy by Han Nolan. According to Goodreads, this one's about a fifteen-year-old named Jason. His mother died, and his dad suffers from mental illness, so naturally he's facing tough times. He's trying to keep his crumbling life together with only a host of imaginary friends to help him through, and he refuses to tell anyone real about what's going on. But just as Jason teeters on the edge of insanity, he gets a lifeline in the form of friendship.

First, I'm glad this one has a male POV. I like reading from girls' points of views as well, but sometimes it's nice to have a break. Not many books I've read have had male POVs, and only a few come to mind - like Holly Black's White Cat and anything by John Green. Second, admit it. This book sounds awesome. I love heart-breaking contemporaries, and it's so nice to read a book that focuses on friendship instead of romance.

I've heard this book is quirky in the way it's narrated, so that means it'll either be pulled off really well or sink. I'm hoping it's the first! I've also found from reading reviews that this one's funny as well as wrenching and intense, which makes me even more excited to read it. So, have you heard about this one? Do you plan to read it, or have you already read it?

Lock and Key: Review

Title: Lock and Key
Author: Sarah Dessen
Release Date: April 22nd, 2008
Published by: Viking Juvenile
Genre: Romance
Pages: 422 pages
Goodreads Rating: 4.04 stars

Review: Ruby's family was far from perfect. Her older sister dropped contact with them after college, her dad is absent, and her mom lives for drugs and alcohol. This all made Ruby used to dealing with things by herself, so when her mom disappears, she carries on living in her house like nothing's changed. But people find out, and she's sent to live with her sister, Cora, who she hasn't seen in ten years. It feels strange to live in Cora's huge, luxurious home, but stranger yet is Nate, the boy next door, who seems to have his own big secret.

This is the second book I've read by Sarah Dessen, and I really liked it! Ruby was such a strong character who didn't let herself fall victim to her circumstances, like when she managed to live on her own even while her mom was missing for months. One thing I will say, though, was that I didn't really connect with Ruby that well. I felt like I never got to know her. However, this book got so many raving reviews, it might just have been me!

Cora and Jamie (her sister's husband) were awesome characters. I could feel the awkwardness between Cora and Ruby like it was happening to me, and I was thrilled when they finally had their heart-to-heart. It was so heart-warming to see as they grew to know and love each other. Jamie was great too - I would love to know him in real life! He's the modest, intelligent founder of that world's version of Facebook (called UMe, though I don't understand the name). Given his young age, I would say he's definitely inspired by Mark Zuckerberg.

I didn't like Nate too much. There was nothing wrong with him per se, but he was just a normal guy who didn't - in my opinion - get explored to the depth I thought he could. Like with Ruby, I was hoping to get to know him better. Since I never felt like I really got to know either side of the couple, the romance didn't affect me too much. However, it has to be said Nate's little brother was adorable!

All in all, I liked reading this but just wasn't too impressed. Ruby and Nate didn't do it for me, but I loved all the other characters, from the major ones (Cora, Jamie) to the minor (Nate's little brother, the woman Ruby works for). Fans of Sarah Dessen will probably love this one, although it's likely they've already read it ;) I give it 3 stars out of 5.