Category: guest post


Tuesday ‘Tube: A Booktube Review by Annasaurus Rex

Posted 7 September, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in guest post, Reading, Reviews

Tuesday ‘Tube: A Booktube Review by Annasaurus RexPounded in the Butt by My Own Butt by Chuck Tingle
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on April 29th 2015
Pages: 15
Goodreads

Kirk is a scientific researcher on the leading edge of cloning technology, but his team has reached a standstill. In an effort to stabilize rapid clone growth, researchers have been taking DNA from various parts of their bodies and combining it with small amounts of animal DNA.

But when the scientists combine samples from Kirk’s butt, brain, and a hawk, the resulting effect is a handsome, living ass who immediately sweeps Kirk off of his feet over a candlelit dinner for two.

Kirk has finally found a lover that truly understands him at his very core… his own gay ass!

So personally, I haven’t taken getting on BookTube yet, but AnnaSaurus Rex was STUCK with this book. She told me, “April, I’ve been trying to review this for a month and… and… I can’t even.” So I suggested a BookTube video and here’s what we have! Enjoy!

 

Don’t hate because she couldn’t describe the intricacies of the butt, apparently Mr. Tingle didn’t do such a good job of thinking that part through.

Edit: I just realized this went live on Monday. C’est la vie. In three weeks it won’t matter.

Can this get any weirder, Reader? 

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April @ The Steadfast Reader

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An AnnaSaurus Rex Rerun: Narcoleptic Hooker

Posted 20 March, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in guest post, Reviews

narcoleptic hooker cover

Narcoleptic Hooker. HAHAHHAAHHA – Shut up. It’s amazeballs. Well, it’s DEFINITELY got something to do with balls anyway.

Before I even got a copy of this book I wrote it off as a lame, pulp novel that was surely going to be a terrible read (hence why I was reading it). I am woman enough to admit when I was wrong. I WAS WRONG.

I enjoyed this book. Okay, it wasn’t perfect. There were too many moving parts, at times the writing left me a little lost, and it was about fifty pages too long. HOWEVER. It was well written enough that I wasn’t too distracted and could focus on the beautiful and creatively delivered message: FEMINISM. Not just for non-hookers!

Before we get too involved, here’s the rundown from Amazon:

Everyone wanted to know how a prostitute with narcolepsy eradicated crime in Las Vegas. Now the ambassador of this crimeless city in 2054, Penelope Fortunata tells the story of the life she led when her mob affiliations ran deep. There is always a beginning and this is hers.

“Welcome to the Vegas Strip. Never has the line between getting whacked and getting whacked off been so thin. This is the kind of book people hide from their spouses and parents. This is the kind of book that your closest friend will want to clear from your home, along with your vibrator and porn, before anyone else comes to liquidate your estate when you kick the bucket unexpectedly. This book is a dangerous addiction that you will not be able to tear yourself away from, teeming with corruption and sex in the City of Sin where one must embrace the gritty elegance of organized crime. It is filled with characters who are far more interesting than anyone you know and dirtier than any of them will ever admit to being. Just two things you should know: don’t judge a hooker, and there is no safe word. You have been warned.”

That official, rambling description pretty much encompasses how the entire book reads.

Let’s really push our fingers in, shall we? First and foremost we have our title hooker, Penelope. She’s tall, mid-30s and describes herself as:

…an independent, thick—but I called it juicy—Italian-American woman who had old-school mobsters by the balls, sometimes quite literally. I had and still have a sleep disorder…and in case the world missed it, I was a prostitute. A real life narcoleptic hooker…

Sassy, sexy, mob-affiliated hooker with a sleeping disorder? Yes please! Surely this cannot be improved upon. HAHAHAHA HOOKER YOU CRAZY. Of course it can! Her BFFL, roomie, and occasional shower/fuck buddy is: “KICHI THE JAP WHORE.” (I put that in quotes because that is – HAND TO GOD — the name of one of the chapters.)

Kichi is a fellow hooker: she’s crude, foul and generally fabulous. Part of the fem-positive spin in this book involves how much Penelope and Kichi are gross. Lots of farting, talk of fluids, etc. It turns out that women are just like you. Amazing.

So we have our two WERKIN protagonists, but what about The Bad Guy? Why, that would be Old Man Tucker the Fucker of course! He’s a granddaddy of the mafia with an iron cock and the stamina of a thoroughbred champion horse (As an aside, if someone wants to buy a horse and name it Old Man Tucker the Fucker, I would totally be into that.). For plot reasons, he has a nefarious and elaborate plan to get what he wants. And ain’t nobody, I said nobody, gonna stand in his way. Or whatever. Point is, he’s got it in for, and – at one point – ACTUALLY IN, Penelope. “GASP!” you say?! Trust me, it’s a long story.

Of course, this entire novel would be incomplete without a romantic B story. Isn’t romance where our true humanity lies, afterall? Lucky for us, humanity turns out to be a gorgeous black lumberjack of a man named Zeke. He’s charming, respectful and already knows Penelope’s dad (who also has an elaborate back story). One noted FAIL: We do NOT get a sex scene between Penelope and Zeke. No vanilla and chocolate swirl here! Sad face. After meeting in a massage parlor (yup) the two hit it off and etc etc. Fill in generic construction-worker-dating-a-hooker plot line here. Wasn’t that the basis for Magic Mike? Anyway.

There are a myriad of other characters that I don’t have the time to go into and you, dear ADHD reader, certainly don’t have the patience to read about. I will give an honorable mention to the crazy, ancient Japanese neighbor who gets high with The Hookers and has a graphic story about banging a dude while training for the 1932 Olympics. Because OBVIOUSLY. She also hypnotizes Penelope to dig out repressed kidnapping memories and has a full back tattoo of a dragon. Yeah, I want Ms. Su to be my friend in real life.

“But Annasaurus,” you demand, “what about the narcoleptic part?!?!?!” Well, it did play a role, albeit a small one. The only part worth mentioning is one of the opening scenes, where Penelope wakes up from an episode with a dick in her mouth. For ONCE the liquid coming out of her mouth was drool, know what I’m sayin’?! (Okay, that was too much, even for me. TOO FAR ANNA! Too. Far.)

“But Annasaurus,” you demand, “WHAT ABOUT THE HOOKER PART?!?!?!” Well, I don’t read and tell soooo…wait, yes I do! There are blow jobs (including, but not limited to, a priest in a church), strap on anal with a married Jew, doggy style and good ol’ fashioned missionary. Old, young, family friend or regular client, this hooker does it all! I don’t hesitate to say it — BIBLE — Emma Janson can write the hell out of a sex scene.

As previously mentioned, I started out a skeptic, but ended up a fan. The biggest reason for my reverse cowgirl-ing (that’s what that means, right?) was the Hooker herself. Throughout the story, Penelope calls out racism, beauty culture, and most of all, sexism. It doesn’t come across as preachy, it’s just how things are in this NarpHo’s version of Las Vegas. For example:

This is exactly why I don’t have a steady dick to ride that is reserved just for me. If a guy knows my occupation, apparently I’m on the clock.

To me, this calls out the way women are perceived as only existing for a man’s pleasure.  BULLSHIT, SON. Here’s a radical idea: Women are complete beings, separate from men! WILD.

The hair shifted as he yelled, “You talk too fucking much! If I wasn’t babysitting you for the geezer, I’d show you what a real man is!”

 

As quickly as Jackson shuffled into Kichi’s space, she abruptly yet smugly said, “You still have spit on your face, asshole.” She lifted her knee into his groin so hard and so fast that I partly laughed at his pain and partly laughed at the ninja-like whipping movement that stunned us both.

BAM! Misogyny used to a lady’s advantage. Get in Kichi’s face with that much Haterade and she’ll kick your dick into your anus. You’ve been warned!

I tilted my head and pulled a pin from within a pile of hair at the back of my head. My hair cascaded down, then I shook it loose. Some of my dark brown locks fell onto my chest. I gently pushed them behind my neck. The power shifted from him to yours truly. As he stood proud, the shift presented a humbled man standing before a very powerful woman. The dynamic change in the room was so evident you could almost cut through it.

BLAMO. I would like to note that this scene ends with the guy on his knees, agreeing to everything Penelope wants. NAILED IT.

Okay, so I feel like we all get the vibe. It’s the best hooker book I’ve ever read. But if you know me, you know I can’t just leave it at that! On page 74 of the e-book I wrote a note to myself:

Okay, now officially on board for this to be made into a movie a la 50 Shades of Grey. Feminist, real woman. Who will play the cast?!

 So glad you asked, past self! SO glad. After much deep thought, consideration, and a few gin and tonics I came to the conclusion that the only cast that could do this campy book any justice would be the drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race. Ladies, get your lace front wigs READY.

Note: If you don’t know the glory that is Mama Ru and her Drag Race, then you, my unenlightened friend, are in for the best week of your life. Finish this article, share it with everyone you know, then jump on the interwebs and binge watch ALL of RuPaul’s Drag Race. After you’re done GAGGING on the ELEGANZA, come back here to re-read this with some context!

Without further ado, I present the initial cast list for Narcoleptic Hooker, The Movie:

Penelope – Bianca Del Rio – No one does no-nonsense wit better. Heart of gold, tongue like a whip. And grrrrl, she can WERK.

bianca del rio

 

Kichi – Manila Luzon – If there was ever a character that Manila could play, it’s Kichi. She would bring the crazy-eyed REALNESS that is necessary for this hooker.

manila luzon

 Ms. Su – Jujubee – This bitch is fierce, funny and her real name is Airline. I’m pretty sure that’s a trump card in 28 states and the United Nations.

jujubee

I know, I know, the cast is terribly incomplete! But don’t fret sweet readers! As I mentioned before, there are a SHIT TON of characters, so I know we can find roles for all the quuens! Of course, there are some male roles, notable Tucker the Fucker and Zeke. Also, all those guys Penelope bangs. Ohhhh Pit Crew! 

Oh Pit Crew

I’d also be willing to consider Santino Rice as one of the guys paying for sex. Surely that’s not much of a stretch.

 

The story ends on a cliffhanger, leaving room for many sexy sequels. Will I read them? Maybe. Am I glad they’re being written? HELLS YEAH! Seriously, Google this author, her backstory (and autobiography) alone are a good enough reason to pick up these books.

Overall, I give Narcoleptic Hooker four out of five female orgasms. Male orgasms are easy, but you gotta WERK for the ladies.

So, my dear readers, after all that, I will leave you with this one last question: Which one of these quotes from Narcoleptic Hooker should be my next tattoo?

A person can wish in one hand and shit in the other; which hand will get full first?

 I checked myself out from every possible angle and smacked my ass firmly while shouting, “Damn girl, you are fucking sexy! I want the juice…You can’t handle the juice!”

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April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Guest Post: Washington, A Life

Posted 14 March, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in guest post

Guest Post: Washington, A LifeWashington by Ron Chernow
Published by Penguin on October 5th 2010
Genres: Biography & Autobiography, History, Presidents & Heads of State, United States
Pages: 928
Goodreads

In Washington: A Life celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation. With a breadth and depth matched by no other one-volume life of Washington, this crisply paced narrative carries the reader through his troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French and Indian War, his creation of Mount Vernon, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president.Despite the reverence his name inspires, Washington remains a lifeless waxwork for many Americans, worthy but dull. A laconic man of granite self-control, he often arouses more respect than affection. In this groundbreaking work, based on massive research, Chernow dashes forever the stereotype of a stolid, unemotional man. A strapping six feet, Washington was a celebrated horseman, elegant dancer, and tireless hunter, with a fiercely guarded emotional life. Chernow brings to vivid life a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods. Probing his private life, he explores his fraught relationship with his crusty mother, his youthful infatuation with the married Sally Fairfax, and his often conflicted feelings toward his adopted children and grandchildren. He also provides a lavishly detailed portrait of his marriage to Martha and his complex behavior as a slave master.At the same time, Washington is an astute and surprising portrait of a canny political genius who knew how to inspire people. Not only did Washington gather around himself the foremost figures of the age, including James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson, but he also brilliantly orchestrated their actions to shape the new federal government, define the separation of powers, and establish the office of the presidency.In this unique biography, Ron Chernow takes us on a page-turning journey through all the formative events of America's founding. With a dramatic sweep worthy of its giant subject, Washington is a magisterial work from one of our most elegant storytellers.

 

Now you might think that at 904 pages, Washington: A Life would cause me to slip into a coma.  But it didn’t and that is why we call Ron Chernow a wretched man…..the book was fascinating.  Long, to be sure, but utterly fascinating.  Chernow didn’t content himself with regurgitating the same old biographical information here.  Instead, he went after new information and insights contained in a slew of newly released letters and journals written by the Old Man himself.

Still, in the hands of any other biographer the information might be coma-inducing.  Thank the book-gods that Chernow is never boring.  His respect for America’s first President is evident throughout the book, but he doesn’t hesitate to reveal Washington’s innate flaws:  the man was petulant, ambitious and arrogant to the extreme with an inferiority complex borne out of his Colonist background.

We think you can somewhat see Washington’s lazy eye in this portrait

In other words, he may have turned out to be an idolized figure of American history, but he wasn’t a likable man.  Chernow paints a portrait of a brash young man who matured into an astute military leader…one that was needed for America to emerge as a country.  In many ways, this portrait of Washington is a portrait of who we are as a nation today (that petulant, ambitious and arrogant thing again).

Don’t be intimidated by the books length and scholarly presentation.  You do not have to ensconce yourself in a leather chair by the fire, wearing a worn tweed jacket and smoking a pipe to get the most from this biography.  Like all of Chernow’s remarkable biographies, it’s accessible and highly readable for anyone who has ever wondered about our first President.  (No, he didn’t cut down a cherry tree.  Yes, he did have false teeth, but they were ivory, not wood.)

And if you’ve never heard of the U.S. Presidents Reading Project, go check it out.  It’s a perpetual reading project challenging bibliophiles and history buffs to read one book about each of our U.S. Presidents.  Washington: A Life happens to be a perfect way to start.


Whatcha think, Readers? I’ve been dying to read this biography forever. I admit that I’m intimidated by the length, but after this review – maybe it’s time to give it a shot! Although, I hesitate to completely agree because since reading His Excellency: George Washington by Joseph Ellis, Washington has been my hero – complete with hero worship of all of his faults. After all, let he without sin cast the first stone. 

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April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Guest Post: Tovi the Penguin Goes Camping vs. Vicki Goes Camping

Posted 10 March, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in guest post, Reviews

The moon, garbage trucks, and books. These are a few of my 2-year-old son’s favorite things. The French poet in him will babble on about the moon and the stars all night long. The rough and tumble kid in him will play with garbage trucks for eleventy million years before getting sick of them.
 

Lucky for me, he still likes to settle down with a good book, giving me a few moments of peace. When he’s not eating zombie books, one series he loves is Tovi the Penguin. Full disclosure: I’m friends with the author. While my toddler can navigate computers surprisingly well (check my YouTube history for a sample), I doubt he’d be able to find this wonderful collection of books without Mommy’s help.

 
Just like April doesn’t fancy herself a writer (even though she wrote a story for my anthology, That’s Paris!), I don’t fancy myself a book reviewer. So instead I figured I’d do a little comparison: Tovi the Penguin Goes Camping vs. Vicki Goes Camping.


Right off the bat, Tovi gets points for actually going camping. I’ve only ever gone camping against my will, usually on family vacations. The only exception was during my hippie phase, where I’d camp out after a Phish show and hang out with people who partied often and bathed rarely. So Tovi wins for actually packing up and heading into the wilderness. Then again, he’s a penguin so I’m guessing being outdoors doesn’t bother him as much as it bothers this city girl. Round #1: Tovi: 1, Vicki: 0.


 

Next, they set up camp and eat marshmallows. Again, Tovi wins this round. I love me some marshmallows, but not when I’m camping. You want me to pick up a STICK that’s been on the GROUND and then eat off of it? And the thing you want me to eat is mushy and sticky and there’s not a sink around? No thanks. Round #2: Tovi: 2, Vicki: 0.

Then, Tovi and his friends think they see a bear. A BEAR? See, this is why I don’t go camping. One time I went camping in upstate New York with my dad and brother. The rangers handed us a pamphlet warning us to keep the food locked in the trunk of the car, as opposed to our tent, so the bears couldn’t get it. So let me get this straight: I’m OUTSIDE, with NO FOOD, and a VERY STRONG POSSIBILITY of seeing a bear, and I’m somehow supposed to think this is enjoyable? Points to Tovi on this one, too, for toughing out the night and not trying to steal his dad’s car and drive back to civilization (not that I know anything about that). Round #3: Tovi: 3, Vicki: 0.

Tovi and his friends tough out the night, and decide to leave first thing in the morning. Finally a decision I can get on board with! Round #4: Tovi: 0, Vicki: 0.

So if the question was “Who’s a better camper?” the answer is: Tovi wins 3-0 compared to me.

 

If the question is, “Which children’s book does Vicki enjoy reading to her kids?” the answer is: Tovi the Penguin! Though I think I might have more in common with Tovi the Penguin Goes to London or Tovi the Penguin Goes Away for Christmas.

 
Links:
 
 



About Vicki Lesage: An American author, living in Paris
A midwest native, I currently live in Paris, where I indulge in wine when I’m not busy working or having babies. IT Director by day, I squeeze in writing wherever I can, from blog posts to books. My common theme is complaining about France but as an equal opportunist I complain about plenty of other things as well. I love fondue, wine, math, and zombies. Everything’s better with zombies.

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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An AnnaSaurus Rex Christmas Special. Presenting… (Possibly NSFW)

Posted 22 December, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in guest post, Reviews

Abraham Lincoln: Fuck Lord of the Moon by Catherine DeVore

Abraham Lincoln: Fuck Lord of the Moon by: Catherine DeVore

Source: Purchased. It was worth every penny of the $2.99 for this review.

Review by: AnnaSaurus Rex

Awwwww shit bitches that’s right! Annasaurus Rex is BACK and better than ever! Sure, I took a short hiatus (to get my podcast up and running! [Type Omaha] Go listen and subscribe! K Thx luvu byyyyeee) but I was hoisted out of retirement by the glory that is Abraham Lincoln: Fuck Lord of the Moon.
If that title isn’t enough, we only have to wait until the second sentence for the phrase “ninja training” to be dropped. So. Mr. Lincoln was president and all that. Civil War. Etcetera. However, all that was a big Numero DOS on his list of important shit. 
 
What could be number one you ask? Why, fighting the emperor of Japan in a moon fortress that is accessed via an under-mountain “Pool of Dreams” of course! I mean honestly, did you really not see that coming?
Also, it turns out the rumors are true. I am woman enough to admit when I’m wrong. It turns out the conspiracy theorists were right. Lincoln faked his assassination due to aforementioned moon fight. There, I said it. Let us not dwell on past mistakes. Moving on.
Not only is our 16th president trained in the ancient ways of the ninja, but he also has magical loins. MAAAAAAAGICAL LOINS! Winky faces and elbow nudging all around – Mary was a lucky lady, amirite?
So President Lincoln fakes his assassination. Bee-tee-dubs, JWB was totes in on it, him and Abe were BFF 4 lyfe. Peas and motherfucking carrots, motherfucker! Anyway. Our boy then jumps over to Japan and promptly has vigorous sex with his former…ahem…sparring partner (and I quote – My tongue began to spar with hers).
(Aside: I am normally on board for the insanity of these pieces of but I can NOT believe a woman would ever say, without any sense of irony or patronization, “Your power is great! You should share it with the world!” after a quickie. Sorry-not sorry, that shit is CRAY.)
Next up, Mr. President goes to the moon via magical dream pool with five sexy lady assassins. They meet up with the Evil Emperor. And I quote:

“No, I will not bow before you! I am Abraham Lincoln and I shall stand before you tall and proud!” As I spoke, my birthmark flared with energy and my prick leaped to life. I threw aside my kimono and brandished my cock toward Emperor Komei like a samurai swinging a sword of watered steel.”**

**Please note that this quote does not improve with context.
But by now it’s that time again – TWIST! 
 
(Side bar: Why does all erotica seem to have a bizarre plot twist? Is the erotica not enough? WHAT ARE YOU SEARCHING FOR PEOPLE?!) 
 
The Emperor whips out HIS cock and the lady assassins are helpless and can only collapse and masturbate! Is this where the phrase “dick measuring contest” comes from? HISTORY!
Now it’s time for the climax – no, not that one – the fight sequence! Guys. GUUUUUUYYYZZZZ. The Emperor and Lincoln fight. WITH THEIR DICKS. And they glow like lightsabers. It’s Vader and Skywalker sparring in the Death Star during The Empire Strikes Back but…it’s this. THEIR DICKS ACTUALLY GLOW RED AND BLUE. Da fuck?!
Anyway, the Emperor loses, which apparently drains away any and all animosity because he submits readily to oral and anal sex with our Mr. President. Hey, he was into it! Then he went back to Earth and now ABE RULES THE MOON AS AN AGELESS GOD! MWAHAHAH! MANIACAL LAUGHTER. Ahem. Pardon me.
I could try to sum it all up, but perhaps Abe says it best at the end:

 Remember: Though you might not see me, I am always watching from afar.-Abraham Lincoln, Fuck Lord of the Moon

And just like that, I got a new signature line for my Gmail.

Overall, Abe Lincoln: Fuck Lord gets nine out of twelve inches.

Until next time, dear readers.

 

–Annasaurus Rex, Lit Lord of Erotica
 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Guest Post: Stuck in the Middle

Posted 20 October, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in books and publishing, guest post, writers

Source: loranger / Foter / CC BY

What writer hasn’t dreamed of being published, selling loads of copies, and maybe even having his or her book made into a movie? One of my friends is doing just that. I’d be jealous if I wasn’t so darn happy for her. Her book, traditionally published, was released in June 2014 and has sold nearly 5,000 copies—an  amazing feat considering those are print copies (she doesn’t yet have an ebook).

And a small-time movie production house is in negotiations with her publisher for the movie rights. She told me not to get excited because even if they buy the rights, they only produce 1 out of 7 scripts they have the rights to. Sorry, can’t help it—I’m excited for her!

On the other end of the spectrum, I know plenty of self-published authors with high-quality books (you wouldn’t even know they’re self-published by the looks of them) who have only sold a handful of copies.

So what do these people have in common? They’re all broke as a joke.

Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle with you.

In this Stealer’s Wheel analogy, I’m not sure who’s the clown and who’s the joker, but I do know there has to be a better way for authors. So much talent, so little money. If you go with a traditional publisher, you might get more visibility for your book but your royalties are so low (typically 7-15%) it’s hard to make a living off of it unless you’re one of the few breakout stars.

And while self-publishers can earn up to 70% in royalties, it doesn’t amount to much unless you sell enough copies.

Trying to make some sense of it all. But I can see that it makes no sense at all.

What the industry needs is a publisher that is small enough to give you the focused attention and marketing your book needs to succeed while not taking all your hard-earned royalties. You don’t need to sell millions; as long as you earn decent royalties, you can make a comfortable living with your books on the midlist.

Light bulb!

That’s exactly what we do at Velvet Morning Press, an indie publishing house I launched with co-founder and fellow author Adria J. Cimino. We’re sick of seeing authors having to work a day job to support a writing career. If you write something great, you should have a shot at success. With Velvet Morning Press, we offer higher royalties than larger publishing houses and stick with you—and your book—to market it to success.

We are currently accepting submissions of finished manuscripts, so if you’ve got one that meets our criteria, send it along! We look forward to being “Stuck in the Middle” with you—we  believe it’s the best place for a new author to be.


I find this almost unbearably exciting, Readers! Both Vicki and Adria are fabulous authors and awesome people to boot! It’s almost enough to make me wish I was a writer, who knows maybe I’ll spruce up my NaNoWriMo manuscript from last year and throw my hat in the ring. Are you a writer who looks like this might be a good option for you? 


April @ The Steadfast Reader

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30 Authors in 30 Days: A.J. Jacobs on Poking a Dead Frog

Posted 16 September, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in guest post

Preliminaries
30 Authors in 30 Days is a first of its kind event aimed at connecting readers, bloggers, and authors. Hosted by The Book Wheel, this month-long event is taking place right now and features 30 authors discussing their favorite recent reads on 30 different blogs. 
 
Naturally, an event of this magnitude has some great prizes provided by GoneReading.com and BookJigs. For the full schedule of participating authors and bloggers, visit The Book Wheel – 30 Authors. You can also follow along on Twitter with the #30Authors hashtag!

Personally
I feel incredibly lucky and honored. Today we have A.J. Jacobs, A four time New York Times bestseller. My favorite work of his is A Year of Living Biblically. (Purchase here!) I really couldn’t think of a better fit for this little blog. But enough fan-girling. Let’s get down to business. Today A.J. is here to talk about Poking a Dead Frog by: Mike Sacks. On to the good stuff!
 
                                                                                                                                                               
 
A.J. Jacobs on Poking a Dead Frog by: Mike Sacks
This book of interviews with comedy writers is, of course, named for the famous E.B. White quote: ““Humor can be dissected as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind.”
Which is not a quote I admire. First, of all, Merriam-Webster defines “dissect” as ‘to cut a plant or dead animal into separate parts.” So if the frog is being dissected, it’s already dead. White should have said “vivisected.” Not to get all Strunk & White on his ass. But did write the book, you know?  
Second, the statement is surprisingly anti-intellectual and anti-scientific. What’s wrong with curiosity? Shouldn’t we be blown away by the way evolution has led to this green amphibious creature with its unlikely system for breathing, eating and excreting? Sorry if that’s ‘discouraging’ to him.
(Let’s put aside the ethical question and assume the frog lived a comfortable life on a spacious lily pad and died a peaceful natural death before being dissected).
Okay, I seem to have wasted most of my word count. Did I sufficiently vivisect that quote?
The point is, Mike Sacks’ book is wonderful and useful for comedy writers, but also for anyone interested in how creative minds work.
Mike – a very funny writer and acquaintance of mine has contributed to the New Yorker and Esquire, among others  –interviewed a bunch of comedy A-listers, including Bruce Jay Friedman, Patton Oswalt, Marc Maron and George Saunders.
Roz Chast talks about her love for cartoonist Charles Addams and strange diseases, like the woman who turned silver from too many nasal drops. Conan writer Todd Levin explains how to write a submission packet for a late night show. (His contained, among others, a never-aired “Whizmore, the Cheez Whiz Whizing Wizard” sketch. I don’t want to spoil it, but it’s pretty much what it sounds like).
George Saunders is, of course, lyrical and thoughtful, talking about his childhood in Chicago and the lonely characters he met at his dad’s restaurant Chicken Unlimited.
And also, there’s this not so funny but sound advice from twitter wit Megan Amram: “just be a human being. Be nice to people and don’t be crazy.”
 
Which is, I think, an excellent rephrasing of the Golden Rule.
                                                                                                                                                               
A.J. Jacobs is an author, journalist, lecturer and human guinea pig. He has written four New York Times bestsellers that combine memoir, science, humor and a dash of self-help.
 
Learn more about A.J. Jacobs by:
Visiting his author site at http://ajjacobs.com

Checking out his Amazon author page
… or maybe his Barnes & Noble author page
Perhaps you’d prefer to see him on Goodreads?
Naturally you can also find him on Facebook
AND Twitter! @ajjacobs

 

                                                                                                                                                               

Are you as psyched as I am about Poking a Dead Frog? Learn about Mike Sacks in many ways:
Better yet! Find Poking a Dead Frog for your personal library at:

A big thanks to A.J. Jacobs for his fabulous review and Allison at The Book Wheel for organizing this event. I hope everyone else had as much fun as me! Don’t forget to check out the full schedule for what you missed and what’s coming up! 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Weird Wednesday: Naked in the Forest

Posted 10 September, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in guest post, Reviews

Naked in the Forest by: Geneva West
Review by: AnnaSaurus Rex
Source: Purchased! (Believe it or not!) 
 

OMG STFU guys WUT???

 
This is my legitimate reaction to Naked in the Forest: (Heterosexual Monster Threesome). I thought Rammed by the Raptor was silly, but Naked in the Forest makes Rammed look like Shakespeare, Joyce and Tolstoy had a homosexual threesome and then somehow birthed a literary genius.

Naked has even less plot than Rammed by the RaptorHOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? I wouldn’t have believed it unless I actually read it. I feel like this much lack of plot is quite a feat to accomplish actually.

We start with Cara, our horny, dark haired protagonist. She’s camping with the fam when she’s nothing more than teenage jailbait. She has a telepathic experience with a Bigfoot creature in the woods. Bigfoot’s all sad because, yeah, Bigfoot has feelings too (IT’S CALLED CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, PEOPLE) but he ain’t no creepy perv, so he lets Cara know she should return once she’s of age.
 
Bigfoot threesome = cool.
Bigfoot threesome with under-aged teenager = not cool.
 
It’s nice to know there are some boundaries out there.

Cara returns to the woods when she’s a woman and as she approaches the spot of the First Encounter her body starts aching for that nine-foot tall emo monster. (THINK ABOUT IT. Long hair flopping in front of his eyes, mopey demeanor – I wouldn’t be surprised if his fingernails were painted black and he listened to Taking Back Sunday.)

Oh! Bonus. Bigfoot is named Groam. I have… feelings… about this, but I think it’s going to take some time to work it out. I’ll get back to you.

It turns out this story is 30% environmental descriptions, 69.99% BANGING and 0.01% shit no one is interested in. Okay, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys monster erotica, then it’s probably 69.99% HELLLLLLS YEAH and 30.01% shut-up-and-get-to-the-banging. I say all of this because it begs the question: What’s up with all the environmental description? At one point, the forest gets SUPER sexual. Caressing and whatnot. Family camping trips will never be the same for you, dear reader. YOU’RE WELCOME.

QUOTE WORTH QUOTING: “This is no time for fantasy,” she told herself, as her feet carried her forward through the woods. “This is reality, and I’m not here to spoil it by locking myself in my mind.”

 

YUP. This is the realest realness I’ve ever experienced.

So Cara is busy penetrating the forest looking for her man Groam, and she gets the urge to go native. She jumps into her birthday suit and it’s not even her birthday. This girl is crazy. She wanders around a bit, takes a nap and when she wakes up it’s nighttime. GROAM IS THERE.
 
Commercial break.

Something to think about…


Fade in.

“I came for you,” Cara said. (Double meaning anyone?!) Groam can’t talk per se, which is how I prefer all my lovers, amirite ladies?! Tall, dark and silent. Let’s get down and dirty, enough of the chit-chat!
 
What that down and dirty entails is long and QUITE descriptive. Here are the highlights:
  1. Groam has a penis that is equivalent to a day old Subway sandwich. A foot long and rock hard.
  2. If you’re ever writing monster erotica the word “musk” should be used with alarming frequency.
  3. Grunting and roaring is the language you can expect from a Bigfoot lover.
  4. Apparently, Groam is used to prostitutes – he’s not into kissing.
  5. When intercoursing a monster, a basic understanding of the theory of general relativity may be helpful. Evidently your vagina can accommodate a lot more matter than seems humanly possible. See: black holes.
 
Okay, so all that happens. A lot. Then sleep, food, making out. Who shows up next but the number three to our threesome! A second Sasquatch! Through telepathy (no, seriously) we learn he’s a widower, his name is Keer and, for him and Groam, these threesomes are totes normal, NBD.

Okay, I’m ready to talk about his name now. Groam. GROAM!?!? Is it awful or is it perfect? I really can’t tell. My mind is riddled with synonyms for semen and vagina, there’s hardly room for anything else.

You know, I’m gonna go with perfect. Groam. Like the sound a Sasquatch would make while he’s ramming you. Therefore, it’s appropriate. Win.

So we get into a little bondage, a LOT of anal (again, the theory of general relativity may apply here), and very light bro love. Eventually, after countless orgasms Cara remembers real life and peaces out. How she manages to walk, I’ll never know.

Aside:
ERHMUHGURD GUYS. Can there be a crossover between Rammed and Naked?! Sexy neighbor scientist from Rammed can get wind of this encounter and need to study Cara/her mating habits/her vagina. AHHH SOMEONE WRITE THAT SO I CAN REVIEW IT DOITDOITDOITDOTIDOTIDOTID! It’ll be erotica fanfiction. It’s a whole new level of erotica!

Through the use of literary techniques, future encounters are alluded to. Sequels?! I can’t imagine there is anything else to explore between these three. Then again, it’s entirely possible that I have a terribly dull sex life. I mean, I’ve never even become aroused when thinking about a Sasquatch, or run naked through a forest while fantasizing about mythical creatures. I am obviously B-O-R-I-N-G. It might also be that I’m reading too much erotica lately.

Nah. That can’t be it.

Final verdict

Two out of five groans from Groam. 

Next time give me less erotic forest and more plotline! Reading so much erotica means I have to lie to myself a little and say it could possibly be for literary reasons. Throw me a bone(er), will ya?


April: So, Readers? What’s next for AnnaSaurus Rex? Any requests? Any THOUGHTS ON THIS MASTERPIECE?

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Guest Post: The Very Hungry Zombie

Posted 6 August, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in guest post, Reviews

Guess who’s here today?! One of my favorite people on the internet! Vicki Lesage! I’m so super excited that she’s agreed to write a delightful side by side review of two classic (or soon to be classic) children’s books! 

The Very Hungry Zombie
Review by: Vicki Lesage
The Eric Carle classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, follows a caterpillar through the stages of metamorphosis: birth, killer munchies, passing out in his cocoon, and emerging as a beautiful butterfly. See kids – science is fun!
I loved the book as a child and my toddler has the same adoration for it. He excitedly flips each page (when he’s not using the thick cardboard as a teething ring, that is) and animatedly counts along with ONE apple, TWO pears, THREE plums… Then he gets distracted since he can’t count higher than that.

 

The Very Hungry Zombie, A Parody takes this children’s book to the next level, which is what any good zombie tale does, really. It takes everyday life and goes, BAM! Flesh-eating, walking dead IN YOUR FACE. Makes you rethink everything. No more stuffing your face with Doritos and passing out on the couch, hoping you wake up as a beautiful butterfly instead of a lazy bum with orange Dorito fingers. You’ve got to fight for your life lest your brain become an appetizer for the living dead.
Admittedly, the theme is a bit heavy for a kids’ book. Luckily, my son is still young enough he hasn’t really noticed the difference between the two books. The zombie eats ONE astronaut, TWO clowns, THREE football players… it feels pretty much the same. Once he understands more, I’ll have to pull Zombieout of the rotation unless I want to scare the crap out of him.
Trying to decide which book is right for you? Here’s a breakdown:
Story: The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Both make for a fun read-along, where you can exaggerate certain phrases and use different tones of voice. Zombie is funnier but Caterpillar is more realistic. It’d be way easier to find four strawberries than four pro-wrestlers who’d fall victim to a zombie.
 
In the Zombie Apocalypse, pro-wrestlers are one of your safest bets.
Illustrations: Tie
Both Caterpillar and Zombie have colorful illustrations that stand the test of time.
Pretty butterfly! Pretty zombies!
Scare Factor: The Very Hungry Zombie
This is a no-brainer (see what I did there?) – of course the zombie book is going to be scarier. There’s gore on nearly every page, whereas Caterpillar’s only fear-inducing part is his intense bellyache after gorging on everything under the sun. Which is admittedly somewhat scary. Is he going to explode? How long will his tummyache last? What if he’s too sick to watch the finale of Game of Thrones? But not as scary as Zombie.
A pile of brains is way scarier than a leaf (and I should know – I ate sheep’s brain soup in Morocco and I’m still trying to get the taste out of my mouth). But what’s worse is the zombie isn’t wearing any shoes. 90% of the living have disgusting feet; the living dead are sure to be in dire need of a pedicure.
Age-Appropriateness: Tie
Caterpillar is a timeless classic that even adults can enjoy as they read it to their children. 100 times in a row. Which is what your kids will make you do. Zombie is age-appropriate in the sense that it’s not actually billed as a children’s book; it’s a book for hipsters and geeks who love zombies and think it’s funny to have this book on their shelf, likely next to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and The Walking Deadgraphic novels.
The Book Itself: The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Both are board books but the pages of Zombie are a bit skimpy. If you’re looking for a book that will withstand the impending Zombie Apocalypse, the sturdier pages of Caterpillarare a better bet.
 
My son could tear this book apart faster than a zombie eats fresh brains.

The verdict? If you have kids and want a book that will survive a zombie invasion, go with The Very Hungry Caterpillar. If you are looking for a gift for that zombie-lover on your list or want a conversation piece, go with The Very Hungry Zombie.

Thanks again, Vicki! What’s the verdict, Readers? 

 

About Vicki Lesage:An American author, living in Paris
A midwest native, I currently live in Paris, where I indulge in wine when I’m not busy working or having babies. IT Director by day, I squeeze in writing wherever I can, from blog posts to books. My common theme is complaining about France but as an equal opportunist I complain about plenty of other things as well. I love fondue, wine, math, and zombies. Everything’s better with zombies.

April: I can highly recommend her fabulous first book Confessions of a Paris Party Girl and I’m excited to read the new sequel Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer. (I make no commission from these links.) 

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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Guest Post: Conversations With History

Posted 31 July, 2014 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in guest post, Reviews

Conversations with History by Susan Lander, Attorney at Law
Review by: AnnaSaurus Rex
Anticipated publication: August 11, 2014
Source: Publisher. I received this book in consideration for an honest review.
Guys. I can’t even. I…I’ll start here — This book had me at its synopsis:

Channeled by a psychic medium and written in interview format, this book takes readers on a unique journey with 22 spirits who were famous (or infamous) during their time on earth. Renowned personalities from 600 b.c. to 2011 a.d.—from Charlemagne, Ben Franklin, and Gandhi to Walt Disney, Kurt Vonnegut, and Steve Jobs—have returned to share their most important messages with us. Their passing led them to understand their life lessons and the ramifications of their choices. And now, with the clear-eyed vision gained only from the Other Side, they’re taking center stage one last time to offer us insights into their lives that they didn’t possess while they were here.

Sounds AMAZEBALLSright?!  I was all…
…when I took it up. The “About the Author” section blew me a-fucking-way. She tells us she has been battling with illness since her teenage years, is a lawyer, and ultimately was in a coma, which is when some spirited friends (!!!) paid her a visit:

Four months [after the coma], the surprise my spirit guides promised appeared – Ben Franklin showed up in my kitchen. Thus began the parade of spirits clamoring for an interview…when [my book] was finished, I entered it in a contest with Hay House – and won a publishing contract. No agent, no rejections, just a book contract.

Any normal person would have been all:
Not Susan! If that isn’t proof that there’s some crazy shit out in the universe I don’t know wha—well, maybe it’s just an indicator that Hay House may not be in business much longer. Although, the rumor mill says they ARE publishing a sequel. Anyway, here’s hoping they stay in business long enough to give yours truly a book deal!
I’m not being hateful, I promise. Like I said, I was very excited to read this. What would Gandhi think of Twitter? Would Walt Disney personally apologize to me for his company treating me as an indentured servant? Would Patrick Swayze remember that time we made eye contact in Whole Foods?? Okay, maybe that one was a dream. Anyway. TELL ME YOUR SECRETS SPIRIT WORLD!
WARNING: If you do not want your magical sense of innocence and whimsy ruined, I beg you to skip this next section!
Ruining Your Dreams
Imagine my disappointment when I actually became BORED with this book. A couple of chapters in it became apparent that Susan Lander, Esq. was using this format as an excuse to preach her own vision and values to the world.
Don’t misunderstand me! I agree heartily with her ideas. The long and the short of it is we need to love more and live in harmony. Think hippie/libertarian/psychotic break politics. Redistribute wealth! Love yourself and others! Anger is useless! War is dumb! Equality! Like I said, it’s a legit message that I can appreciate. It should be said more often. And much louder. I believe Conversations with History is an especially effective way to communicate this message because the target audience for this piece of work could probably stand to have some wisdom laid down on them.
It is now safe to return if you want to continue wearing your magical-wonderland-glasses throughout life.
Anyway, 22 dead celebrities drop in and chat about love, believing in YOU, hard work, etc. As previously discussed, all very good stuff, but it gets a trifle boring. I am a child of the 21st century and I require constant interjections of cat gifs and puns to stay engaged!
Since entertainment was lacking, I ended up letting my mind wander and re-imagine what Susan had already imagined, i.e. what these dead celebrities were really trying to say to us. Sure, Henry Ford says love and money are connected, but is the subtext that is he’s dying to hook up with Steve Jobs? Twenty-two is too many to go through in this post, so I’ll just pick out a few of my favorites.
Susan gives us the word-for-word communication. Now, I present to you the deep and important nuances of these interviews.
The Realness
Abbie Hoffman – Presented in history as an antiwar activist in the Vietnam era, his interview leads me to believe he’s most likely a double agent for The Man. All this hippie-dippy-power-to-the-people stuff is merely a smoke screen for his nefarious plots. What I glean from the interview is that there is no free will. Per Hoffman, all our current ideas are put into our heads by dead hippies:

We are putting the energy into the collective consciousness from the Other Side, and people “catch” the ideas.

Sure, he claims the ideas we catch are about peace…OR ARE THEY?! I just don’t trust this guy. As a result, I want to catch his ideas about as much as I want to catch chlamydia. He speaks in pretty general terms and my guess is he’s just letting us know that The Powers in the Spirit World can fuck with us any time they damn well please. Take my word – this is a warning shot.
Frederick Douglass– A former slave turned leader of the abolitionist movement, Susan says Fred is hella chill. When reading her description of him, one of my notes says, “So he’s Morgan Freeman. Or is Morgan Freeman him?!?” Imma just leave you with that thought.
 
 
 

Betsy Ross – OMFG GUYS. B. Ross is GAAAAAY! And she was totes part of the underground gay community back in the day. In fact, I’m gonna go ahead and say she was the closeted Rachel Maddow of her times. DEAL WITH IT.

Charlemagne – As history remembers him, Charley was a military leader who conquered a shit ton of the world and forcibly converted his conquered subjects to Christianity. Sounds like a baller, no? Well, apparently he’s a huge fucking wimp. If Charlemagne was alive today (and animated), he’d definitely be Milhouse Van Houten (and if you don’t know that Milhouse is a character from The Simpsons we probably won’t ever be friends). Oh, you don’t believe me? You don’t think I’m truly clairvoyant? HOW DARE YOU DOUBT ME MINIONS! Blah, alright, here’s some evidence:

“As long as I functioned within the rules, I was protected…”

 Protected from whom, Charley? From Nelson perhaps?! Your Charle-mother-fucking-magne. Get your confidence on son!

“I believe in repairing conflicts through diplomacy.”

 C’mon. Really? I call shenanigans. SAY THAT TO MY FACE CHARLEY.
Gandhi – More like Yodhi, amirite?! Oh wait, you haven’t read this book. Let me explain. It’s a reference to Yoda and Star Wars. I’m gonna be honest, this parallel is shaky at best. It’s litereally built off of one line. I read it, felt it, and couldn’t look back. Here it is:

“To me, all that matters is that I tried.”

I read that and thought, “Do, or do not. There is no try.” Maybe this is a testament to my father and him introducing Star Wars to me at a young age. Maybe it reflects my specific level of geek. Either way, I’m fine with it. The point is, I read this line and immediately thought, “He’s like Yoda, except he’s cool with you just trying.” Which I feel like is totes Gandhi.
As a bonus, there’s also this:

God is the life force. You can’t see him but you can feel him. On one level God includes our connection to others. But to me he feels huge, and his energy and life force permeate everything.

 Sure, this is more of an Obi Wan quote (“Well, the Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together.”), but the theme remains the same.
In short, spot on Susan. Spot. On.
Albert Einstein – Self identified as Neo from The Matrix. I cannot improve upon that.
Henry Ford – Okay, so Henry has a hard-on for Steve Jobs. Totes would have a three way with him and another player, TBD. The short list includes President Obama (but not until that one day when he crosses to the Other Side of course). And I quote:

Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. Original sin? I don’t think so. Original beauty. The Apple logo was so inspired.

AND

…while you’re listening, please do not be hardheaded or stubborn in your beliefs. It’s important for your growth. I wish I had been a little more open-minded. You can never be open-minded enough.

AND

You may love it! Allow yourself to be surprised.

 OPEN-MINDED. KNOW WHAT I’M SAYIN?! SURPRISED, RIIIIIIIGHT? Also, a little later:

 Say what you mean, mean what you say, and then stand up for that. Put some backbone behind it.

I take this to mean that he is a top.
Time to Move into the Light
I have some more thoughts on the additional celebrities including a Rocky reference (please review my Twitter history to understand my true feelings on the Rocky movies) and a wannabe Cher, but, unlike our featured author, I will not drone on.
I give Conversations with History 3 ½ Overpriced Tarot Card Readings out of 5.
It’s a fun idea with a positive message that I support. The medium used (get it?!) to convey the message is a new one on me. For the record, that’s where the ½ of the 3 ½ comes from. Anyway, there’s hopefully a sequel, so someone pick it up and let me know what Jesus thinks about Tumblr!
 
So, Readers. Another fine review by our official psychic-medium interviews with dead guys correspondent. Whatcha thinking? Who’s going to pick up part two? Have you ever communed with the spirits? What’s the craziest book billed as non-fiction that you’ve ever read? 
 
AnnaSaurus Rex is no stranger to the book world. She’s the brave soul who reads the books that none of us dare to but wish we could. Hello dinosaur erotica and Christian mystery novellas! Go ahead and add psychics interviewing dead guys to the list. AnnaSaurus brings a sense of humor to all she does. You can follow her on Twitter @anna_saurus_rex where she live tweets from hospital waiting rooms, random music festivals, and during loads of bad nineties television.

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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