Tag Archives: new author

Book Review: A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

Algonquin Young Readers To Be Published April 12, 2016 288 Pages
Algonquin Young Readers
Published April 12, 2016
288 Pages

17 year old Lucas lives mainland but stays with his Father, hotel developer, in Puerto Rico in the summer.  So the stories about the cursed girl, Isabel, is nothing new to him. For years, Señoras have spoken about the girl with the green skin that eats poison to stay alive and can kill you with one touch. Children send letters asking her to grant them wishes. Nothing but childish play.

But when he begins receiving messages with his wishes crossed out and the girl he is interested in disappears, he finds Isabel and unlocks dangerous secrets that can destroy the life he has always known.

I love the cover. It is bright and captivating; truly perfect for this story. But despite the beauty of the cover I didn’t like the book.

To sum up the story, “white boy plays hero after his “girlfriend” is found murdered.” The thing is normally I wouldn’t have too much issues with this simple summary but the book was filled with stereotypes that even the author called out in the book.

Lucas’s father is white and his mother is Puerto Rican. He gets some side eyed stares but for the most part he is in a good place. The stereotypes begin with the description of the  Puerto Rican women and young girls. Without getting into much detail, Lucas’s father isn’t too happy with the fact that he had a child with a Puerto Rican, which states that the woman are okay for one thing if you do not get into close.

Lucas tries to be different but he is the same; being with various girls using his Dad’s car whenever he wants, stealing alcohol . . .typical. Lucas wasn’t an interesting character in the least. There is a bit more disturbing incidents within this story but that would be too look to write.

None of the characters were extremely fulfilling. Isabel had some depth to her but it fell short, rather quickly. I also didn’t appreciate the lack of creative transitions within the story. Every time a new character was to begin or something is to happen, Lucas falls a sleep -_- Really? A good eight hours of nothing passes because Lucas either becomes dead tired or he is knocked out. I thought it was an amateur move.

Also his “girlfriend” was but into the back burner TWICE (I just wanted to put that out there).

I know that I am displaying a lot of negative points in this book but there was some good to it. Mabry can write. Although the story was quick and had some issues, I couldn’t put it down. Maybe it was a mix of the story eluding something amazing was going to happen or maybe because the author created a not as complicated story as one would think from reading the story (backhand compliment, I know. Sorry.) I did appreciate the lack of romantic focus. Even though the whole point of Lucas getting involved was because of his “girlfriend.”

Overall the story was okay. Characters could have been way better. There could have been more suspense as well as history. I mean come on the setting is Puerto Rico. The story was a good idea but failed attempt.

1 Pickle


Quick Five© Patsy Jawo

Courtesy of Patsy Jawo
Courtesy of Patsy Jawo

Name: Patsy Jawo

Twitter: @patsyjawo

Website: www.vewbooks.com

Book: For The Love of I: Inspirational Poetry

Buy: www.vewbooks.com

Poetry is an acquired taste; some people either love it or hate. I am one of those who love it. It is intense emotion in a few lines and for me poetry makes me feel human.

Pasty Jawo is one of those writers, who is able to convey connecting emotions with ease. It is my pleasure to not only introduce her to poetry lovers but also haters because she will make a lover out of you.


Out of all the genres in the writing world, why did you choose poetry as a way to express yourself and your ideas?

A great question Tanya, poetry chose me and I am forever humbled and grateful.

What or who inspired you to write? 

Inspiration dictates and I scribe.

Was there anything you were doing, such as a job or schooling before you published your first work? Has writing always been a part of your life?

Vew Publishing Published Jan. 5, 2016
Vew Publishing
Published Jan. 5, 2016

I owned a consulting firm within the financial services industry. Yes, writing has always been a part of my life and I started writing poetry around 10 years ago.

What was your thought process when you was writing this book?

There was no thinking. This book is pure inspiration from start to finish and there were many times I woke up during the night to capture the inspiration that went into For The Love Of I. I only write when inspired because as soon as I start thinking the flow of inspiration is blocked and nothing comes.

Finally, what do you want the reader to know about you after reading your book?

That I am grateful for all our worlds colliding.

Also that For The Love Of I is a reference book that can be picked up at any time and you can be inspired to open any random page where hopefully the right and perfect thing for you will be presented.

And lastly that For The Love Of I encompasses who I am on so many levels so having read some or all of it you will have an idea about what lives in my heart which is a very special place for me.


Quick Five© with Robin Herrera


Courtesy of Robin Herrera
Courtesy of Robin Herrera

Name: Robin Herrera

Who is Robin? Comic lover with no intentions of writing a comic book.

Website: http://www.robinherrera.com

Twitter: @herreracus

Books: Hope is a Ferris Wheel

Buy: Barnes & Noble, Amazon

I love introducing new authors to you all. It’s an amazing feeling when I get to interview someone new to know only a specific genre but to the literary world completely. Meet author Robin Herrera, I recently reviewed her book Hope is a Ferris Wheel, so it is a pleasure to have a moment with Robin and discuss her love for words and why poetry was so dominated in the this book. 


“Hope is a Ferris Wheel” focuses a lot on writing and poetry. Were you inspired by the poets listed in the book to write or did an appreciation of poetry come after your love of comic books?

The poetry kind of fell into the book – originally, it was not in there at all except for a single week of vocabulary words inspired by Emily Dickinson. But that aspect grabbed me and over the six drafts I ended up writing, Emily Dickinson became more and more prominent. As for the writing, I’ve always been a writer, though I didn’t know it! I used to write very intricate vocabulary sentences in school. I had a lot of fun with the words, but, like Star, I didn’t always turn things in.

My love of comics didn’t happen until I was in high school, though I religiously read

GarfieldCalvin & HobbesFor Better or Worse, and Zits as a child.

On your website you highly recommend going to college and going to get a masters’ degree. What is the importance of education in your life? How has it help you as a writer?

Oh, I should reword that. What I meant to say is that if you’re thinking of going to colleges, those are two I have personal experience with and can therefore recommend, especially if you plan on being a writer.

However, I don’t think college is for everyone. The education system itself isn’t for everyone. I have a lot of problems with our education system, though it worked really well for me. I think there’s something to be said for non-traditional schools and not going to college at all. (One of the reasons why I liked Monsters University.)

Education is important to me, personally. I like learning new things. And when I’m in classes, I tend to come up with lots more writing ideas because I end up doodling and daydreaming during lectures. A lot of my story ideas have come from doodling in the margins of my class notes.

       Harry N. Abrams Published March 11, 2014              272 Pages
Harry N. Abrams
Published March 11, 2014
272 Pages

What connection do you have with the main character (of “Hope is a Ferris Wheel”) Star? Did you base her on research, yourself or someone you knew/know?

I think Star is based off me in some ways, though we’re very different people. I made Star very naive, which some people have commented on positively or negatively, but that’s me right there! I’m a naive person. I’ve gotten less so, but as a child I was very optimistic and clueless, even though I was also smart and worldly.

My family was never as poor as Star’s, but I used some of my experiences growing up when writing about Star’s home life. Like buying clothes at thrift stores and off department store clearance racks and eating nearly expired (or definitely expired) food. Some things, like Star’s mother not having a job and her sister going to alternative school, were taken from other poor families I knew growing up.

How is your job at Oni Press inspiring you to write?

I don’t know if it “inspires” me to write as much as it “allows” me to write. When I worked other jobs, I would come home exhausted and feeling terrible about myself, and all I would want to do was get lost in something, like a book or TV show. Or sleep. Working at Oni is (a) more stable and (b) leaves me less tired. Also, working with comics and creators all day doesn’t fizzle out my desire to write like my other jobs did.

Finally, are you planning on writing a comic book? If so, any hints at to what it is?

No comic book plans! Sorry to disappoint. There are some comics I’m editing the tail-end of (they were wrapped by another editor before me, I just took care of the very last details) which are coming out soon and which I’m really excited for: I Was the Cat by Paul Tobin and Benjamin Dewey, and Archer Coe and the Thousand Natural Shocksby Jamie S. Rich and Dan Christensen. Both are gorgeous and very well-plotted. I think people are really going to like them, so look for them this summer!