One of the things about being a writer is people sometimes ask that you blurb their books. Sometimes they’re total strangers. Sometimes they’re people you’ve known for fifteen years. Being asked by someone you’ve known forever is far more alarming than a stranger asking you, because both parties are painfully aware that it’s not just a professional relationship riding on the request. It’s a presumption on friendship, and the potential outcome of not liking the book is considerably more agonizing than it is with someone you’ve never met.

Furthermore, if you’re me, you’re miles behind on your TBR list already, and have so many writing projects going that you’ve put a moratorium on blurbing books at all until sometime after April.

This was the scenario when Chrysoula Tzavelas emailed to ask if I might consider reading her debut novel, MATCHBOX GIRLS, for a blurb. She knew it, too, and the email she sent asking if I’d read the book had a considerable air of “I’m doing this because I promised my publisher I would at least try, and I feel I should humor her” about it. So she was rather astonished when I said I would try to make time to read it, and honestly, if I hadn’t known Soula for fifteen+ years I wouldn’t have said I’d even try. I started reading MATCHBOX GIRLS with the general assumption that I would like it (because I don’t go into a book assuming I *won’t* like it, that would be silly) combined with a certain trepidation because oh god, what if I *didn’t* like it?

Fifteen minutes later, I posted a grumpy update on Twitter: I am two chapters into @chrysouladreams‘s MATCHBOX GIRLS, and I REALLY WANT to keep reading instead of going to stupid work!

I went to work anyway, because I had to, but two nights later I stayed up well past my bedtime reading it, because I couldn’t stand not knowing how it ended for a whole ‘nother day.

Chrysoula’s written a wonderful urban fantasy novel with a sympathetic, depression-suffering protagonist who can barely keep the cat fed, nevermind take on more serious duties, who suddenly finds herself the guardian and protector of twin 4-year-old girls whose usual guardian has disappeared under Mysterious Circumstances. It is a complete delight. The relationships are tremendously well developed, deep and realistic without any of them being romantic. The *descriptions* are incredible. (I weep in despair.) And there are charming, unexpected twists and character developments that make it a good read all the way through to the end. It’s well worth it.

Now. MATCHBOX GIRLS is coming out through a small press. In order to help offset the costs of production, they’re running a Kickstarter campaign where you can get not only the print edition of the book, but also extra goodies. This is the Internet & crowdfunding at some of its finest: it’s essentially a pre-order with bonus material for pre-ordering. How can you not love that?

Also, far be it from me to use a “oh YEAH? well my MOM LOVED IT, so THERE!” pitch to sell a book, but, well, my Dad’s halfway through reading MATCHBOX GIRLS–and he doesn’t turn his nose up at fantasy, but it’s not his first reading choice either–and he’s loving it. So there. :)