Saturday, April 19, 2014

#YABookReview: 'Panic' by Lauren Oliver

I received an advance reader's edition of Panic at no cost through the Amazon Vine program. I received no other compensation for this review, which represents my own honest opinion.

Panic is a contemporary young adult novel with a realistic plot and characters. It takes place in the small town of Carp, New York. The high school seniors in Carp play a game over the summer called Panic; the winner takes a pot of somewhere around $50,000. To many in the economically depressed town, the money represents the only chance they'll ever have to live better lives than their parents. 
The novel is written in the third person, but chapters are divided into Heather and Dodge chapters, depending on which of the two main characters they follow. Heather Nill lives in a trailer park with her alcoholic, drug-addicted mother and her younger sister Lily. She has no plans for her life beyond high school. She dreams of leaving Carp, but she can't stand the thought of leaving Lily behind. And yes, Heather is aware that her last name literally means "nothing."

Dodge Mason comes from a similar background. He never knew his father, a Dominican roofer. His lighter-complexioned half sister Dayna played Panic when she was a senior, and in the final round she was in a car accident and lost the use of her legs. Their mom can't afford the most advanced medical treatment for her, so chances are she'll never walk again.

Dayna had been competing against Luke Hanahran when she was injured. When it's Dodge's turn to compete, Luke's brother Ray is also a contestant in Panic. Dodge intends to get revenge for Dayna - that's his main motivation for playing the game.

Along with Dodge and Heather, Heather's best friend Natalie (Nat) Velez is a competitor. Nat doesn't have a very strong stomach for dangerous activities, but she wants to win the money to further her dream of being an actress in L.A.

Panic is kept secret from the town's adults, with ever-changing rules, locations, and judges. None of the players know who the judges are.

I've been wanting to read the first book in Lauren Oliver's Delirium trilogy, which is also called Delirium, for quite a while now. After reading Panic, I'm not so sure I want to read it anymore. I just haven't fallen in love with Oliver's writing the way I have, say, Veronica Roth's. I thought Panic was interesting, but not great. There are moments of mild suspense when the characters seem to be in great danger, but very few consequences actually happen to the four main characters. The suspense is kind of a tease.

I hoped this would be more of a "what if real kids had their own version of The Hunger Games" kind of thing, but it was even more realistic than even that - which I didn't love. I knew going into this reading that it wasn't any kind of dystopian or fantasy novel, but it turns out I simply like the speculative genres of young adult books more than the more realistic kind.

This is the second stand-alone Lauren Oliver book I've read. The first was her middle grade fantasy novel The Spindlers. I thought that was just okay, too.

But if you like realistic YA fiction about what kind of trouble bored kids with very little to lose could get into, you may very well enjoy this book.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Teaser: 'Love' by Lacey Weatherford #Romance

“Ugh.” I rolled my eyes. “A ride? That is so not romantic, Hunter.” It surprised me how easily I was reverting back to the name I originally knew him by. If he noticed at all, he didn’t comment on it.

“What’s romantic, then? How would you seduce me?”

“Pfft. That’s the easiest thing to do on the planet. It’s not even a challenge.”

“Really? Then tell me. What would you do?”

“Mmm . . . let’s see. I could brush my teeth, or my hair for that matter. Both of those have turned you on before. Washing dishes always seems to do it for you, too. Oh, and of course there’s sweeping, vacuuming, and any time that I need to change my clothes. And—,”

“Okay, okay. I get it. I’m a horny bastard.” He was grinning from ear to ear.

“I wouldn’t exactly use the term bastard. Maybe a sexual zealot.”

Laughter burst from him, and he scooped me up in his arms and headed for the front door, continuing to chuckle the entire way.

“What are you doing?” I asked, unable to keep the smile off my face.

“Carrying you off to bed with sexual zeal,” he replied. “Is that okay with you?”

“I see I can add talking to the list of things that turn you on.”

He laughed again, kicking the door shut behind us as we entered the house. “Yes, you can. Face it, Goody. Everything about you turns me on. You’re just gonna have to learn to live with it.”

About the Author

Lacey Weatherford was born in Ft. Meade, Maryland while her father was serving in the military. She has been a lifelong resident of Arizona, spending most of her time growing up in the small rural town of Clay Springs.

It was while she was attending the small country school in Clay Springs, that she read her first "big" book at the age of eight. It was a Nancy Drew novel and Lacey was instantly hooked. She read every book that she could find in the series and decided that she wanted to write stories too.

Lacey spent a lot of time at the library from that time forward, even volunteering in her later teen years and early twenties. She would don a crazy clown outfit for the Friends of the Library fundraisers in an effort to help get the new town library built.

When she and her husband moved away from the area, Lacey took the opportunity to take some creative writing classes at the local college to help further along her interests. Several years later, they were blessed with the opportunity to move back to Clay Springs with their family. The town had finally succeeded in building their library and Lacey had the opportunity to be President of the Friends of the Library, for a very short time, before relocating.

Lacey and her family still live in the White Mountains of Arizona, where she continues to write young adult novels that have a fantasy/fairytale or paranormal bent to them, as well as being sure to include a great romantic storyline!

Lacey on Goodreads

"Bitches in Bookshops" Creators Return with "Hardcover Bound 2"

As you may recall from this post, I adore the Jay-Z/Kanye West parody song "Bitches in Bookshops" so much, I devoted an entire Pinterest board to it. Now, just in time for National Library Week (April 13-19, 2014), the creators of that literary masterpiece are back with another Kanye-based piece of inspired parody filmmaking, "Hardcover Bound 2."

You remember Kanye's video "Bound 2," right? In which the rapper and his gorgeous fiancee Kim Kardashian (Kimye for short) canoodled on the back of a motorcycle?

And then Seth Rogen and James Franco - straight guys and platonic BFFs - re-created the video scene-for-scene, including the make-out session?

And Ellen DeGeneres and her gorgeous wife Portia di Rossi made a parody "Bound 2"-themed winter holiday card?

Well, now the video has fallen into the hands of LaShea Delaney and Annabelle Quezada, and the result is bookish perfection.

Here are the lyrics, which you can find here.

Your eyes, get tired…
From readin’, a good book
On a Saturday night
From readin’ a good book
So just grab your good book
And put on your glasses
On a Saturday night
Readin’, your - aw huh honey

All that other media lame and you know it now    
Stackin papers with some glue then ya press it down

Met my book club on a Wednesday
Brave New World put me in a frenzy
Were Orwell and Bradbury friendly?
Assigned 1984, but read it already!

Reading Jung for my grad dissertation
Then Freud’s Dream Interpretations
Essays on sex aberrations
Fill the page with mad annotations
Fight Club was a rad adaptation
Palahniuk gives me heart palpitations!

How you gonna be loud at my station-
Makin noise around all these librarians?!
This bestseller shit
This that Alchemist, Giver, Old Yeller shit
This that Harper Lee and Scarlet Letter shit
Got a first edition straight off of Alibris

Your eyes, get tired…
From readin’, a good book
On a Saturday night
From readin’ your - aw huh honey

Open up and press pause on The Book Thief
The book’s usually better than the movie.

I read Sylvia Plath in the bath
Confederacy of Dunces when I want to laugh
In Cold Blood without even blinking
I mean damn what was Capote-pote-pote pote thinking

Ey, you remember watchu first read
Okay, I don’t remember what I first read
Prob’ly, it was Dr. Seuss, eh?
Silverstein- or Maurice Sendak

Realist magic- Borges and Murakami
Toni Morrison, Allende, Salman Rushdie
Perusin’ Malthusian theory,
Edgar Allan Poe when I feel like something eerie

They ask me what’s next on my reading list-
Ever start a book that you can’t finish?!
Caryl Churchill and Tracy Letts, I    
Think I’ll make time for Samuel Beckett
Books can help you overcome lotsa things
You know,
I know,
Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Your eyes, get tired…
From readin’, a good book
On a Saturday night
From readin’ a good book
So just grab your good book (Reeeeaaaaaaadin')
And put on your glasses
On a Saturday night
Readin’, your good book.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Food Porn at Its Sexiest: Ramen Matzah Ball Soup

(Woodland Hills, CA - press release) March 19th, 2014 – It isn't too often that an invention so ground-breaking comes along that it changes the way we work, play, sleep, and even live. But on's web series, James Deen Loves Food, it happens almost every week. And this week, it is Ramen Matzah Ball Soup!

The show that brought you Cool Ranch Donuts, The World's Most Expensive Burrito, and 27 Layer Dip now brings together Japanese & Jewish cuisine in the incredibly delicious & innovative new episode, James Deen Loves Food: Ramen Matzah Balls.

Star of The Canyons (the 2013 Lindsay Lohan film based on the book by Bret Easton Ellis), adult cinema, and host James Deen takes the classic Passover favorite and adds an Asian twist. He makes Matzah Balls out of Ramen noodles and adds it to a Jewish/Japanese style soup. It's new! It's multicultural! It's delicious! It's food porn at its sexiest!

This hot dish episode of James Deen Loves Food: Ramen Matzah Balls is sponsored by HotMovies!

You can watch James Deen Loves Food for Free at

Or check out the Safe-for-Work Trailer at

Dubbed by Gawker as a “leader in viral porn content,” is a mix of adult & comedic entertainment, offering thousands of free, high quality videos, including exclusive porn like Porks & Recreation, SpongeKnob SquareNuts, and Game of Bones, & original Web series like “James Deen Loves Food,” “Topless Girls Reading Books,” and “Naked in Public.” & its content has been featured on Gawker, Gizmodo, The Hollywood Reporter, Jezebel, Esquire, Bon Appetit, Vice, Fleshbot, and more. WoodRocket even found its Game of Bones parody as a trivia question on the highly acclaimed Comedy Central game show @Midnight.

Erin's Note: From time to time I get these press releases in my e-mail inbox. I thought this one was enjoyable. I corrected the grammar and punctuation a little. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Best Free Writing Apps For Novelists

Writing a novel is always a daunting task, but today writers can take advantage of many free apps that can help make it a little more manageable. While an app cannot do the writing for you, it can help you come up with creative ideas for plots, create an outline, structure your story and more. Let's look at five of the best free apps for novelists.

Creative Commons image by user Egy.One

Dragon Dictation

Dragon Naturally Speaking is a well known program that allows the user to speak out loud and have the words transcribed on the page. Now there is a free app that lets you do the same thing. This is very efficient for people who find it easier to organize their thoughts speaking out loud. Dragon Dictation is a very convenient app to have on your phone or tablet, as you can use it whenever inspiration hits you. Most people can talk faster than they can type, so you will be able to retain more of your ideas. This app can be downloaded from iTunes.


A thesaurus has always been an essential writer's companion. This tool helps you avoid the problem of using the same words over and over again. With FreeSaurus you can have one at your disposal whenever you need it. This will help you find just the word you need for any occasion. FreeSaurus can help make your writing richer by giving you more word choices. This free app is available on iTunes.

Wiki Browser

Wikipedia is a great source of information for writers, as it allows you to do fast research on almost any topic. Wiki Browser is a convenient app that lets you browse Wikipedia. It even lets you do this in multiple languages. This is ideal for novelists who need to do research, whether it's on history, science, geography or anything else. This is a free Android app that all writers can make use of.

A Novel Idea

This app is very useful for organizing your plot, scenes, characters and locations. You can simply fill in the ideas as you get inspiration. This app helps you clarify all of the elements of your novel. You can synch this app with Dropbox if you use that platform to store documents. A Novel Idea is a free app available on iTunes.


The Scibd app gives you instant access to a vast library of articles, short stories, excerpts, study guides and more. Although the basic app is free, you can subscribe to the full version and have access to an even greater amount of material, including many full length books. Scribd is a free Android app that can be very helpful for writers seeking research material or inspiration.

As a writer, you should take advantage of every resource at your disposal. The above are some of the apps that can make your job as a novelist a little easier. Apps that you can use on your smart phone or tablet allow you to do research, jot down ideas and organize your novel wherever you happen to be.

This article was written by Aubrey Phelps, a writer for She loves tech humor and reading. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Cover Reveal: Familiar Taste of Seduction

A new adult steampunk paranormal romance is coming out: Familiar Taste of Seduction! It is up for pre-sale on Amazon.

Title: Familiar Taste Of Seduction

Authors: Elizabeth J. Kolodziej and Juls Berghammer

Buy Link:

Release Date: October 13, 2014

Synopsis: Every captain dreams to find the haul worth more than his existence and Captain Henri is no exception. Far from land and her home, Lola gives the captain a run for his heart when he captures her from the sea. However, the beautiful siren soon discovers she can't sing her way out of this one.

When Matrick, a great sorcerer, learns about captain Henri's treasure, he craves the siren for his Midnight Carnival and his personal menagerie. Matrick must own the sea goddess by fair means or foul. With the aid of the demon seductress, Ink, Captain Henri may be able to take the siren back from the evil grasp of Matrick. But, at what cost? Demons don t work free.

Ink is attracted to Lola more than she will admit and after one explosive night together Lola is hooked. Will Lola stay with Ink? Be confined by the evil sorcerer? Can Captain Henri win his prize catch back and be able to show her what real smoldering hot love is?