There’s nothing like a good book.

I know I’m not saying anything new. But every time I find a good book — and I mean a really good book — I’m struck again by how true that is in my life.

I live a busy life. I have young children, two full-time jobs (yes, I’m counting parenthood as one of them), and all the accompanying bells and whistles.

How do I have time to read?

Funny you should ask. Thing is, I have to read. I have to read the way some people have to write or paint or run. (I have to write too, but one seems to come from the other, and lately I can’t tell which is which — does the writing come from the reading or the other way around? Maybe it’s just a package deal.)

But since my time is so limited, I have gotten quite a bit pickier about what I want to read. I’m more likely than I’ve ever been to scrap a book if it doesn’t hold my attention. I’m less patient with bad writing, with sticky plot points, with things that, well, I just don’t have time for.

So when my copy of Magic, Mensa & Mayhem, by Karina Fabian, arrived, I was excited. I’ve read Karina’s work before (reviewed here and here), and I expected to be delighted. I figured this would be the kind of book that would have me laughing and thinking and enjoying myself.

Oh, the satisfaction of being SO right!

MM&M gives us our first full-length novel featuring Vern, the private eye dragon from the world of Faerie. Did I mention that Vern’s Catholic? Well, he is now. You’ll have to read for yourself to find out how he, uh, converted. Did I mention parallel universes? Did I mention Vern works with a nun? Did I mention laughing out loud at a rate that had my husband asking me to consider reading in another room? (OK, I’m exaggerating. He never actually said anything.)

That all seems unlikely to me too. But MM&M is unlikely, just the way that all your favorite novels are. You can’t guess what’s going to happen next, even if you excel at that and regularly throw books over your shoulder in disgust. Is it Fabian’s wit? Is it her storytelling? Is it the world she’s created that has you looking around your house a little closer, hoping for a chink in the plaster that makes it all real?

I don’t know. I’m a busy mom who doesn’t read as much as I’d like. I’ve already passed one of my copies on to a friend, and I think I’ll keep it in circulation — I can think of a few people who can use a good novel. The other copy…well, I think I’ll be rereading it sometime in the future, perhaps to a budding reader in my house, perhaps on an evening when I just need something, well, good.

Learn more about Karina in the interview from earlier this month and at and more about Vern at