The Blog Tour, "A Hard Act to Follow", run by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer, has been delayed due to hurricane Sandy. I was hoping to post an interview with the author today but I haven't received what I need yet. Also, this being the Christmas season, I have been very busy with all the normal stuff that goes on during the Holidays. I will post a review as soon as I can, but it may be after Christmas.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Holiday season.



Review: Ship Breaker

Title: Ship Breaker
Author: Paolo Bacigalupi
Rating: 8
Date of Release: May 1st, 2010

Summary: In America's Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make a quota--and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: strip the ship for all it's worth or rescue its long survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life... 

Let's start right off with first impressions. The cover goes very, very well with the story, it is what drew me in to reading the book in the first place. It isn't super common that a cover goes along well with the story, but this one does. Second, I hate that summary. Look at the first sentence. Thirty-nine words and five commas. Too much, just break it into different sentences for crying out loud! I'm a stickler for simplistic sentences, so that irked me.

About the story itself. For once, I preferred the characters to the plot, which usually isn't my view. The plot had promise, but at times it felt a little...flat. The final sea battle was confusing and I felt a little unfulfilled at the end. Plus, all of Nailer's choices seem 'right'. One of the rules of plot devices is that the first problem should just happen to the character, and the rest are caused by his or her choices. Look at Harry Potter, the Goblet of Fire. The whole Dark Mark thing in the beginning wasn't Harry's fault, but at the end, Sirius dies because of Harry's impulsive choices. Nailer made no such choices, and so the plot was a little iffy for me. It wasn't horrible, but I had an all-over 'meh' feeling about it.

The setting was great. Beached clippers, rusting all over the Gulf, destroyed cities, a "Life Cult". The lore of the story was great, I don't have much negative to say about it.

Now, the characters. As I mentioned above, the characters plus the setting are what gave this book its highish rating. Nailer was definitely not perfect, just a boy living in a imperfect world. His sense of morality has been dulled but not destroyed, as he finds when he looks into Nita's (the wealthy girl that was beached) eyes. The lingo used throughout is pitch perfect, rich people are 'swanks', there's 'light crew' and 'heavy crew'. And also, I'm so happy that this story had a male protagonist. Nearly all YA seems to have a female protag these days, or at least the popular books.Although this was written two years ago, I'm hoping to see more male protagonists in the future, just for diversity.

Will I read the sequel? Maybe. If I have time.

Final Rating: 8


Top Five: Most Annoying Characters (So Far!)

So, I've read several books so far (and reviewed them on this blog). So, as I love to complain, I think it's time to recap the most annoying characters I've come across on this blogging 'venture.

Mara Dyer - The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Not smart. I didn't hate her, but she annoyed me after a while. She took a bit to long to get things figured out, in my honest opinion. Just a little dimwitted. That's all

Paloma - Elegance of the Hedgehog

Looking down her nose at everyone, obnoxious, egotistic, thinking she's got everything figured out, Paloma comes first in this top five. As I said before, I just wanted her to get around to dying already. I hated her guts. I don't know if she was meant to be this way, but the author turned me away from ever finishing that book because of her.

Matt - Revived

Hot, rich, brooding. Tall and handsome. Proclaimed 'perfect', several times by Daisy. Just ugh, I hated him. I wish he'd died instead of another person in that story (don't want to say who in case of spoilers, but I don't recommend Revived anyways)

Daisy - Revived

Look who it is! The neighborhood *censored*hole! This girl is self-centered, infatuated with the 'perfect guy' and acts like she's about four. And she's stupid. Really stupid.


Just no. Another 'perfect' person, except I had high expectations set up by the novel that dumped me on my face. Ian can go die somewhere, please.


Review: NERVE

Title: NERVE
Author: Jeanne Ryan
Rating: 5/10
Date of Release: September 13th, 2012
Summary: A high-stakes online game of dares turns deadly.

When Vee is picked to be a player in NERVE, an anonymous game of dares broadcast live online, she discovers that the game knows her. They tempt her with prizes taken from her ThisIsMe page and team her up with the perfect boy, sizzling hot Ian. At first, it's exhilarating--Vee and Ian's fans cheer them on to riskier dares with higher stakes. But the game takes a twisted turn when they're directed to a secret location with five other players for the Grand Prize round. Suddenly, they're all playing all or nothing  with their lives on the line. Just how far will Vee go before she loses NERVE? 

So. NERVE. Looked promising for a debut author, but the library took for-evah to let me have it. I got it, with the sizzling cover, and read it in two days. And? Meh.

The main character, Vee, is a high-school student who wants to get out of the shadows. We got the cliche blonde chick as her friend, who is in all the plays and always gets the guy. They've been best friends for a long time, and Vee wants her chance to, for once, be in a spotlight herself. So she signs up for NERVE. First of all, kind of stupid reason. I know it's hard to be off to the side while others get the glory, but it's been that way for many years, and one stupid thing with an idiot guy sets her off to risk her life? O...kay?

The dares themselves were very fun, and the premise had a ton of potential. It's like Truth or Dare, except on a big scale. The pacing throughout was very fast and kept the action moving, which I really appreciated. Anyone realized Forsaken has been in the 'to review' for a while? 'Cause it's slow as heck. Plotwise, this book is great, except for one part. The ending was a little confusing and unsatisfying to me. All of a sudden, Vee gets the nerve to do something crazy, while all along she's been whimpering and being dragged along by her hot boyfriend.

Oh yes. Forgot about the frikken boyfriend. If there is one thing I hate, hate, hate, hate in YA books, it's the hot, perfect love interest. Ian is freaking annoying. He's hot, chiseled, dark, brooding, has a nice car (of course). I may have mentioned here, here, and here that I hate the perfect boyfriend cliche. Some cliches are good, nerd, chosen one, etc, but this one is all bad, and so prevalent I want to throw up. Did it start with Twilight's popularity that everyone decided to make their love interests hot and perfect so girls would read? Great. Another thing Twilight has screwed up for the rest of us.

*cough* Um, back to the book. The other characters didn't wow me. They were...okay? Not great. Doable for the story line. It worked, it wasn't horrible, but I didn't like it. Plus, I know the author must have been setting up for another book, because of the ending *SPOILERS* were Vee gets a creepy note from the NERVE guy *END SPOILERS*. But there were still plot holes. For instance, what's Ian's story? He mentions his father a few times, and his rewards are always escape oriented. So why? Why does he want out? Where's his mom? Where does his nice car come from? We know nothing about him except that he's freaking hot and wants to leave his home. And that he has a perfect jawline and listens to Rolling Stones.

And Vee's story? Yes, we got some of it, but you get the feeling that it's supposed to be this 'big reveal' about halfway through the book, and it really wasn't. So, she had an accident and that's why her family's so protective of her? Alrighty then, on with the story. In other words:

Final Score: 5


Review: The Way We Fall

Title: The Way We Fall
Author: Megan Crewe
Rating: 7/10
Date of Release: January 24, 2012
Summary: It starts with an itch you just can't shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you'll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they're old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in.

And then you're dead.

When sixteen-year-old Kaelyn lets her best friend leave for school without saying goodbye, she never dreams taht she might not see him again. But then a strange virus begins to sweep through her small island community, infection young and old alike. As the dead pile up, the government quarantines the island: no one can leave, and no one can come back. 

Those still healthy must fight for the island's dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down,  Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.

Because how will she go on if there isn't?

Firstly, that is a freaking long synopsis, no? I spent longer than I expected typing that out.

Okay, I have to say this book surprised me. A lot. Reading the synopsis, I thought it would be a zombie novel, and barely included it in my library hold shelf. That would have been a mistake.

Let's start with characters: I'm going to be honest, I wasn't dazzled. We got the stereotypical loyal, loving, hot boyfriend Gav. Not much to say there, there wasn't much to him except excessive loyalty and not much pride. Like, none, actually. Even when he's working his butt off helping the island, he spends his time moping that he isn't doing enough. I have to say I didn't really like him. I did like Kae. The book was written out journal-style, like she was writing letters to her best friend Leo. Her thoughts were interesting and I liked her. Which is pretty darn rare, since protagonists can get on my nerves.

The other characters were 'meh'. Meredith and Tessa, I didn't seem to get a good grasp of their characters  Tessa especially, she was really two-dimensional. Quentin, however, I liked. He made a good villain, and some scenes with him and Kae made me shiver.

Plotwise, this book was top notch. Got drama, action, family, all narrated from the journal perspective. I haven't seen much journal-style in the new YA market lately. There is a reason for that though, there is not as much suspense, since we know she made it out fine and is writing it to her almost-boyfriend back on the mainland. So when [SPOILERS] Kae gets knocked out by the virus, we know she's got to be fine, because there's like fifty-freaking-percent of the book left. [END SPOILERS]

If this was based on a zombie-type virus, it was a good twist. The virus was scary, and I caught myself scratching and itching nervously throughout the story. It was an easy read, not twisty or super over the top, but still heart-stopping at some bits.

However, things can move a little too fast. For instance, something bad happens to Kae, and she gets over it within the next two entries. What? For real? She really cares that little? My respect for the story went downhill after the first 70% or so. It just seemed to jump from plot point to plot point too fast, leaving the characters little time to have a breath. Maybe style, maybe just a poor writing choice, but I didn't like it.

That's all I got for now.


Final Score: 7


Author Interview: Jennifer Dean

1) What is the name of the book you self-published, and what is it about? 

My novel is Bound.  Once finally back in her hometown of Washington, North Carolina, seventeen-year-old Emma Morgan learns the simple life she knew has changed from the moment she meets the charmingly, bright-eyed Liam Alexander. But when her brother, Sean, voices his disapproval of Liam, Emma’s loyalty stands between her new found curiosity of him. Only the more Emma tries to avoid Liam the more she finds him in her constant company. A risk that will expose his supernatural calling and both of their hearts. But what happens when Emma learns that Sean is the real one keeping secrets...

2) What was the hardest part of self-publishing Bound? 

The hardest part is trying to balance the responsibility of author and publisher. It can be quite a stressful process to manage editing, cover designs, author photos, etc.  At moments I would get lost in my own role, forgetting I was actually the writer too.

3) Why did you decide to self-publish? 

I had always gone back and forth with the idea of self-publishing but ultimately decided against it because of all of the negatives associated with the independent route. Then, finally this time after another rejection came from a publisher, I decided that I was going to go for it. The story felt right and life just seemed too short to wait around for a yes. I knew I had something even if no publisher or agent could see it yet.

4) Was there anything you found surprisingly easy about self-publishing Bound? 

I found the hands on process with my Lulu coordinator quite easy. Coming from the pressure of being my own publisher, it was nice to have someone I could voice my concern with on any issue, whether it be the final cover or manuscript.

5) If you had any advice to give to authors trying to go the self-publishing route, what would it be?

 Don’t fall into the statistics of bad self-published books because of poor pre-publishing. If you are going to take the time and energy to self-publish then really INVEST not just your money but your whole self. Yes, it will be alittle costly but it will be more costly to do the opposite. Throwing your work out to the world unpolished is like throwing a sheep to a pack of wolves.
6) Would you recommend self-publishing to a new author trying to get their book out there? Why or why not? This can be a quite complicated question for an author. I believe that is all in the agenda of the writer. What I will say is that authors should not give up on publishing just because of rejection from traditional publishers. I strongly believe from my own experience that a lot of us have just as much talent as traditionally published authors. We may just have to find another door to get into the party and self-publishing could be that option for new authors.

You can find Bound here.


I will be posting a review ASAP, but I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year and I've been super busy. Working on The Forsaken for y'all. In the meantime, enjoy the interviews.


Interview: Irene Helenowski

I recently had the opportunity to interview and obtain a sneak peak of Irene Helenowski's self-published novel, Order of the Dimensions. Below was our interview:

1) When did you first begin writing?  

I first began my book after I completed by dissertation and felt like I still needed something to do.

2) When did you know writing would be what you wanted to do? Was there any inciting moment when you decided to pursue a writing career? 

 I just started writing stories for fun and when I ended up with a complete book, I thought 'why not try to publish it'?  I also had several friends look it over first and they were very encouraging in terms of me publishing also.

3) What is your favorite genre to read, and why? Favorite book/series? 

I like all types of books, but particularly science fiction and I am a fan of Michael Crichton.

4) How do you get inspiration for your writing? Was there any specific inspiration for Order of the Dimensions?

 I became fascinated with the many-worlds theory, particularly with how we could be living totally different lives in different dimensions and thought that it would be interesting to write a story around the notion.  The protagonist is also in academia as I am in terms of my career, so it was natural for me to write about characters in that setting.

5) How long had you been working on Order of the Dimensions before you decided to publish it on Lulu? 

I worked on the book about six to seven months before I decided to publish on Lulu.

6) What group of people you think Order of the Dimensions will appeal to the most? Why?  

I hope everyone likes it, especially young girls who are perhaps interested in getting into the sciences.

She also provided us with a sneak peak of her work, below:

She turned her head to see Dr. Perkinds feverishly trying to make a call but to no avail. 
'My cell phone isn't working either," she confirmed with a slight unease.
Just then, several men with flashlights appeared and the audience became relieved, believing the men to be part of security. The lights went back on, and the audience noted the men were all dressed in black.
After a few moments, the figures in black began dragging individuals into the aisle and shouting; these men definitely were not security. A few of the men signaled to the ceiling, leading to ropes dropping down and several more black-dressed men sliding down the ropes to the floor of the hall and then to the stage. The room once again darkened, causing the anxiety of the audience to rise significantly. Beating and screaming could be heard everywhere.
Someone grabbed Jane's arm and dragged her to what she believed, in the dark, was the stage. She felt someone pushing her into a box. Was it possibly the Multiverser? Overwhelmed, she began gasping for air. She tried to scream but couldn't; she finally blacked out.

Order of the Dimensions is available on Lulu: here

Thank you Irene Helenowski for providing us with the interview and sneak peak!