Thursday, February 10, 2011

Interview with Sean Beaudoin

As you guys know, Sean Beaudoin stopped by on Tuesday for a guest post, talking about his book You Killed Wesley Payne. However, we had a bit of "technical" difficulties because someone (I promise, it was not me!) slipped him three bottles of Rush soda. So he's back again today - "sober" this time - for an interview!

You Killed Wesley Payne. Can you be trusted?
Definitely not. Hide your IP address. Hide your dog. Hide in the closet. My book and I are coming.

Do you drink Rush?
I had my entire circulatory system drained by a Ukrainian surgeon years ago and replaced all my blood with Rush. I have to get topped off now and again, but it’s great for my overall productivity.

What would you do if I told you I didn't like Voltaire?
Tell you that if you buy three (3) copies of You Killed Wesley Payne I will no longer like Voltaire, either. Or slap you on the cheek with a white lace glove and challenge you to a duel with condiments at twelve paces.

What is your favorite Pulp noir? 
I love Dashiell Hammett. One of my favorite writers of all time. Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me is also sort of the Rosetta Stone of Hard Boil.

What is your favorite existential novel?
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson

What clique would you be in at Salt River? Why?
KokRock City. Because of all the bad bands I’ve been in, and all the good bands I always fantasized about joining.

If you could go on a lunch date with anyone in your book, who would you choose? What would you do, say, or eat?
Choose: Cassiopeia Jones, head of Foxxes.
Do: Flirt.
Say: Bad things about Dalton Rev.
Eat: Nothing, so my breath retains its minty freshness.

What do you think Wesley would say to Dalton at the end of the novel?
“You owe me 73, 614. 62 in book royalties. I do not accept checks. The money needs to be in my crypt by noon on Friday, or I will not participate in the sequel.”!/seanbeaudoin

I dunno about you guys, but I'm absolutely stoked that there's going to be a sequel! Thank you so much for joining us, Sean!

If you'd like to read my review of You Killed Wesley Payne, click here

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Review: You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin

You Killed Wesley Payne
Author: Sean Beaudoin
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Series: N/A
Pages: 368
Genre: Mystery
Release Date: February 1, 2011
How Received: Publisher

Summary: He’s come to do a job.
A job that involves a body.
A body wrapped in duct tape found hanging from the goal posts at the end of the football field.

You killed Wesley Payne is a truly original and darkly hilarious update of classic pulp-noir, in which hard-boiled seventeen year-old Dalton Rev transfers to the mean hallways of Salt River High to take on the toughest case of his life. The question isn’t whether he’s going to get paid. He always gets paid. Or whether he’s gonna get the girl. He always sometimes gets the girl. The real question is whether Dalton Rev can outwit crooked cops and killer cliques in time to solve the mystery of “The Body” before it solves him.
My Thoughts:
You Killed Wesley Payne is among my list for “most unique books ever read”. We follow the storyline in Dalton’s perspective as he enters Salt River High to solve a mystery. Salt Water High is one of the most interesting high schools I’ve ever read about. Teenagers used to carry guns in the hall ways, and the school system is so corrupt that you need to pay people to get anything—even your own school schedule. I’m not sure about you guys, but I have never encountered any high school like Salt Water in real life. I’d be broke a hundred times over if I went there.

That being said, the novel was highly entertaining and very humorous. Something was always making fun of something else, and a lot of the ideas in the book are far-fetched. (See above paragraph for crazy high school). There were a couple of times where I laughed out loud (in a good way) from the absurdity of some of the things/ideas in the book.

In Salt River, there are a ton of cliques. And when I say a ton, I mean a toooon. I had a bit of troubling remembering which clique was which, and which clique was a sub-clique of a clique. There is a sort of glossary of cliques in the front of the book, but each clique had a description that I can only describe as a wall of text. Normally, I don’t mind reading stuff like that. However, when I’m in the middle of the story, I just want to focus on the story. My mind tends to wander, so after having read a big description on a clique, I’ll forget why I was looking it up in the first place. The cliques are a very important factor into the book, because everyone seems to take their cliques very seriously. Once you’re in a clique, you live and breathe just your clique.

Like cliques, there were also a ton of references in You Killed Wesley Payne. That may not seem like such a bad thing, but there were so many references that the glossary-of-references was about 12 pages long. I could guess what most of the references or slang were because of the context they were used in, but someone else might get confused by that – especially since I personally didn’t know there even was a glossary until I finished the book.

As far as characters go, I think I enjoyed reading about Dalton and Ronnie Newport the most. Dalton was a generally good guy, and I enjoyed reading the way he rationalized about things. He always did his best, even though it seemed like he was doing nothing at all. Ronnie, well... Ronnie was just Ronnie. Out of all the characters, he was the coolest and the least cold-hearted of the bunch.

And lastly, the mystery... All I’ll say about the mystery is that everyone is not who you think they are. Predictability-wise, I was able to guess who killed Wesley Payne the moment they were introduced, but I think that was just pure luck with a wild guess based on previous mystery novels read.

Cover Musings: It’s alright. I love the outline for Dalton. But as far as attention catching goes, I’m not sure I’d pick it up based on the cover alone.

Memorable Quotes:
“Or haven’t you noticed? The only thing that matters is to act like you don’t care. And don’t say a word. Something really bad happens? Pretend it doesn’t exist. Move on. Keep working the rackets. I mean, there’s people shooting off the rooftops, for Bob’s sake, and it’s like, hey, just another day in geography class.” (pg. 64)
Dalton peered over a cardboard box full of disassembled Christmas tree parts. In the back corner, a large, dark shadow flickered, moving slightly. It was hard to tell if the thing was ducking between boxes, or if it was the effect of the bare bulb hanging over the utility sink.
The one that Dalton hadn’t turned on.
Run. Scream.
There had to be a better option.
Pee pants? (pg. 106)
Mole pulled the Kia next to Dalton’s scooter and revved the engine. “Love you, man.”
“Okay,” Dalton said.
“Okay? Okay, guy? What’s that all about? Where’re the warriors expressing their true feelings in a manly but totally expressive way before going into battle?”
“We’re not going into battle.” (pg. 249)
He wanted to ask what you did when you thought you knew someone, when you let down your defenses and let them see a part of you that you didn’t even know was there, and then it turned out you didn’t know them at all. He wanted to ask what you did when there was no way to scream loud enough or run fast enough or punch something hard enough. When there was just another morning and just another lawn and not a single thing to look forward to. Ever. (pg. 301-302)
“Mom says the doctor says I have ADD. You know what that stands for?”
“Attention Deficit Disorder?”
“No. It means Absolute Dictatorship, Dude. It means I was born to be in charge.” (pg. 309)
Overall Thoughts/Final Comments: Overall, You Killed Wesley Payne was a highly humorous novel that’s loaded with mystery around every corner. Not everyone is who you think they are, and alliances between cliques can go from friendly to assaultive in the matter of minutes. It isn’t the best book out there, but I did enjoy reading it a lot. There were a ton of references and cliques that were hard to grasp during the first 100-or-so pages, but there’s a glossary provided for both in the front and back of the books. If Dalton’s stories were made into a sequel, I’d definitely pick another one up!

Rating: 4/5

**I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Guest Post: Sean Beaudoin

Hey all! Author Sean Beaudoin has agreed to do a guest post for Frazzled Book Nommer to talk a little bit about his book, You Killed Wesley Payne, a pulp-noir novel that came out on Feb. 1, 2011 by Little, Brown. Without further ado, here's Sean:

Bzzzt. Wait, what? Are we out of Rush cola? No? There’s still another case?Bzzzt. Good. Okay. Guest post? Did you ask me a question? You Killed Wesley Who? I think I need to go outside. I need to run for a bit. Hang on. Bzzzt. I’m going jogging. Clothes? Who needs clothes? Okay, okay, where’s my sweats? Did you just finish my can of Rush? It’s empty. I did? Oh, right. Am I back from jogging yet? Oh. Sneakers. There they are. Let me just lace them up. Crap. My finger’s caught. Ouch. No, it’s knotted. Isn’t knotted a funny word? Bzzzt. Have you ever really looked at your hand? What guest post? I’m going running. Leave me alone. So what if I’m already sweating? Where’s the door again? I totally have the urge to rearrange my room. Bzzzt. Help me move the bed over here. No here. No, over here. Were those scrapes on the floor there before? Dad is going to be pissed. So what if he lives in an entirely different state? I can’t feel my pulse. Do I have a pulse? Do I need one? Does that mean I’m dead? I need to finish this assignment. I can’t find my turtle. My pet turtle. He was right here, in my front pocket a minute ago. Bzzzt. Green, what do you think? With a green shell and green feet. What, have you ever seen a pink turtle? Wait. Hold on. I just saw a pink turtle. Bzzzt. What do you mean, we’re running out of words? I have more words than I know what to do with. You want some? Guest post? I don’t even know what thatis. I don’t want to be a guest. I don’t want to be a post. I want to just lay here on the carpet. The floor is nice and cool. The universe is really just one big machine. Or, I mean one big appliance. The universe is a blender. Quick, write that down. The universe is a 3-speed blender permanently set on mince. What do you mean you can’t find a pen? Bzzzt.

Hey, is there any Rush left? God, I love soda.

... Or maybe... not? I think Sean has had a little too much Rush (which is a key "ingredient" to You Killed Wesley Payne) to drink! I promise you - I am not the one who gave him three bottles of Rush to drink before writing his guest post. We'll try again in a few days and see if he's sobered up a bit. In the meantime, be on the look-out for my review of You Killed Wesley Payne, as well as an interview with Sean!

Thank you Sean for er.... talking about your book!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

In My Mailbox (12)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi of The Story Siren with inspiration from Alea of Pop Culture Junkie.

The idea of IMM is to encourage blogger interaction and expose books to our readers' attention. You aren't limited to books that you've received via mail; you can also include books you've bought or checked out at the library.

I'm sure most of you know that I've been semi-MIA the past week/two weeks. I've been busy with... (get ready for it; it's gonna shock you!) social life. I know, I know. What social life? I had no idea I had one of those things, either. I'm sure it'll dump me once school starts again, so you'll have me back full force until mid-terms. :)

Also, my sister-in-law went into labor yesterday (or last night... I forget; it's Saturday morning at 4:30AM as I type this up), so I've been busy with all the baby-stuff - baby proofing, buying clothes/cribs/whatever we didn't get from the baby shower, etc. I BARELY just got home from the hospital because my brother figured I may as well come back when she is actually in the process to give birth. When I left, they had just given her an epidural and she's barely 4cm, so the nurse told us that we'd probably have an late morning/early afternoon birth (on Saturday). So, why am I not sleeping, since I just spent almost 12 hours in the hospital, you ask? Oh, cause I didn't want to leave my blog so empty for so long. xD Plus I've never missed IMM three weeks in a row.

This week's IMM covers last week and this week. Both were SUPER AWESOME weeks. The first week, I received a package from HarperCollins and Candlewick that I had no idea was coming, because the publishers never replied to my requests. I never knew pubs send books even if they don't reply -- I just thought I was ignored/denied, so I got over it. So you can imagine my shock when my bundle came! I think I prefer it better not knowing what/when I'm getting a book! :) It makes receiving it a lot better!

ANYWAY. Enough rambling. Here's my IMM. <3

For Review:

What Comes After by Steve Watkins (Candlewick Press)
Entwined by Heather Dixon (Greenwillow)
Rival by Sara Bennet Wealer (HarperTeen)
Jenna and Jonah's Fauxmance by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin (Bloomsbury)
Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors (Bloomsbury)
Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper (Bloomsbury)

You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin (Little Brown)
Immortalis Carpe Noctem by Katie Salidas

From Giveaways:
I won a box of books from Danielle @ Romance Book Junkies. Thank you again, Danielle!

Angels Fall by Nora Roberts
Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts
Remember When by Nora Roberts and J. D. Robb
High Noon by Nora Roberts
Hidden Riches by Nora Roberts
Worth the Risk by Nora Roberts
Reunion by Nora Roberts
The MacKade Brothers: Rafe and Jared by Nora Roberts
Dead of Night by Nora Roberts and J. D. Robb
Black Hills by Nora Roberts
The Gift by Nora Roberts

I also won a box of books from Silver @ Penumbra.

A Desperate Journey by Debra Parmley
Secret Obsessions by Leigh Wyndfield
The Heat Chronicles by Leigh Wyndfield
Leap of Faith by Arianna Hart
No One Left To Tell by Jordan Dane
Evil Without a Face by Jordan Dane
Talk of the Town by Karen Hawkins
Lucky Charm by Carly Phillips
Lucky Streak by Carly Phillips
Catch a Mate by Gena Showalter
Out of Sight by Cherry Adair
Faerie Fate by Silver James
Christmas Delivery by Patricia Rosemoor
Dark Deceiver by Pamela Palmer

Minding Ben by Victoria Brown (Pub sweepstakes)
The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (Randombuzzers)

From my awesometastic, amazing, coolio, hip, bombshell of a friend, Rob, whom I love very, very much:

The Lost Saint by Bree Despain (I KNOW, I can't believe he sent me it, either!)

I got my Candlewick/HarperTeen bundle and a box of books one week, and the next was the Bloomsbury bundle and the other box of books. So both were very exciting weeks. ♥

What did you all get in your mailbox this week? ♥

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: Leonardo the Florentine by Catherine McGrew Jaime

Leonardo the Florentine
Author: Catherine McGrew Jaime
Publisher: Self-published
Series: N/A
Pages: 158
Genre: Historical fiction
Release Date: October 18, 2010
How Received: Author

SummaryWho are the Medici brothers? And who is trying to assassinate them? Why was the Pitti Palace never completed? And what part did Leonardo play in all of this? Leonardo da Vinci is remembered as an artist and inventory. But who was he before anyone knew his name? This family-friendly novel explores the history and the legends of his early years in Florence. It also weaves a mystery of politics and power.

My Thoughts:
This story felt more like a biography in the way that it was written. The voice felt distant, as if we were just reading about Leonardo. There were hardly any feelings involved and I just didn’t connect with the characters on any level. Compared to other historical fiction I’ve read, this just felt like a slightly altered biography. The history, naturally, was my favorite part of the novel.

Reading about Leonardo, however, was absolutely riveting. Not that he did much that exciting, but to see his (historically correct) upbringing was fascinating to me. I enjoy reading stories about where people have come from – especially ones where a person goes from rags to riches (well, so to speak). The story goes from when Leonardo is first apprenticed to when he heads to Milan. There wasn’t much that drove the story forward, to be honest, so that also reinforced my feeling of how this felt more like a biography. Some events were created, but most of it was historically correct. But nevertheless, I loved the descriptions of Florence and the history behind the Medici family.

The one thing that bothered me about this novel, however, was the passage of time. There was almost a reiteration of “Leonardo learned a lot during those months; he was enthralled with learning and absorbed anything he could be taught like a sponge. He was kept busy with a lot of projects. Months later...”. That’s a huge paraphrase, but a variation of passing the time like this was used at least 4 or 5 times.

One thing I thought was cool, however, was the incorporation of actual drawings and sketches Leonardo made inside the book. The chapters would open up with a sketch of Leonardo’s landscape drawing around Florence, and there was a map of Florence at the time Leonardo lived there. And lastly, there was also a timeline for Leonardo’s early life located at the back of the book that was awesome to reference.

Cover Musings: It’s not very eye-catching as a cover. But as a drawing? Amazing. I’ve seen this prospective study drawing for the Adoration of the Magi before (in a humanities class) and loved it.

Memorable Quotes:
As he swam among the others, his thoughts took him back to his favorite swimming place in Vinci – the pond behind Grandpa’s house. There he had been able to take in the lovely country surroundings when he was done. He had spent much time during those summer months studying the plants and the animals that flourished among his grandfather’s fields and vineyards.
Here in Florence, he had something new, something better. He had friends. (pg. 42)
Overall Thoughts/Final Comments: All in all, this story was more like a retelling of history (with some variations) than anything else. The most interesting part about the novel was that it was historically correct. However, there wasn’t much that drove the story forward, which made it seem like a retelling of someone’s life, and the middle got a bit slow. Would I recommend this book? Yes, especially if you love history. I can't wait to see where Catherine takes the story in her future novels. 

If this were required reading for an English or History class, I’d totally love it.

Rating: 3/5

**This book was provided for review by the author in exchange of an honest review.