The Toadhouse Trilogy: Book One by J.H. LoureyChildren/Young Adult Fantasy
This is the kind of book that's right up my alley--a book about books! There are so very few of them (Inheart by Cornelia Funke, for example) and I loved it when I happen across them.
Aine and her brother Spenser live a very unconventional lifestyle. After their parents were killed, they were shuttled off to a grandmother they'd never met to live as virtual hermits in the woods of Missouri. Their existence is shattered when a monster invades their home. The monster is named Biblos and the only way to escape him is to put their trust in a man named Gilgamesh, who is clearly hiding some secrets of his own. Escape comes in the way of a toadhouse, a sort of magical time traveling machine, that can skip dimensions into books. What'a toadhouse? A house where toads live? That, and other details, aren't really fully explained.
That summary probably seemed a bit murky which is why I couldn't give the book more stars. The plot itself was a bit murky. Key information is either completely left out or given so late in the book that it makes truly understanding the characters and their motivations difficult. I did really love all the literary references and this will keep me coming back to the series for more. It is well-written with adventure, action, and thrills and has a mystery that will probably only be solved in the third book of this trilogy. Overall, I quite liked the book--it was something different, a breath of fresh air. The characters were engaging, if rather difficult to connect with. There's a lot I don't understand about the plot (why fairies...isn't it enough the story can skip through books? It seemed like too much of a stretch), but I am hoping future books might clear it up. If not, it's worth a read just to see which storybook the gang jumps into next.