Monday, October 11, 2010

Author Interview- James Dashner - The Scorch Trials Book 2 in the Maze Runner Trilogy!

Interview with James Dashner
Author of The Scorch Trials
book 2 of The Maze Runner Trilogy

Tlgbrs: Dash, I gotta ask, what's it feel like going from an accountant with a dream to a NYT Best Selling author??

Dash: Indescribable. I'm glad I had my experience as an accountant (croak, cough, puke) so I could appreciate it all more. I'm one lucky guy.
Tlgbrs: If I'm correct, the Maze Runner was supposed to be a stand alone initially. At what point did you realize that you had a trilogy on your hands?

Dash: Actually, this story has ALWAYS been envisioned as a trilogy. Random House bought the first book, then the sequels just a few months later.
Tlgbrs: In Scorch Trials, we learn a lot about WICKED.  Would you say, in your opinion that overall, WICKED is "GOOD?"

Dash: Excellent question. If there's one central theme or moral question in this trilogy, it can be summed up by that phrase. Is WICKED good or bad? It's certainly not black or white.
Tlgbrs: You are going on a big tour for the release of Scorch Trials.  What is it about visiting all those cities that gets you most excited?

Dash: Easily my favorite thing about touring is meeting my readers. I can't imagine that's something you ever get tired of.
Tlgbrs: Your other series that I personally love is "The 13th Reality" books with our Realitant hero, Atticus (Tick).  What can you tell us about the release of the next book in the series? 

Dash: Book 4 of The 13th Reality is scheduled to come out next summer (2011). The hardbacks are published by Shadow Mountain (publisher of Fablehaven) and the paperbacks by Simon & Schuster/Aladdin. The fourth book is called The Void of Mist and Thunder.
Tlgbrs:  Besides the 2 series you are currently working on, do you have any other ideas that you are starting to toy around with or are you going to wait until these 2 are done before creating the next masterpiece?

Dash: Masterpiece, huh? I like the sound of that. I'm already working on my next trilogy to follow up The Maze Runner. But it's top secret!
Tlgbrs: What type of support do you get at home? What I mean is, are your wife and kids the first who go through your work? Are they your toughest critics?

Dash: They are a HUGE support! My wife is always my first reader, and she's very good at it. And my kids just love the concept of their dad being an author.
Tlgbrs: Our signature question- Besides beating up old ladies in a park what would you, James Dashner do for a Klondike bar?

Dash: That's easy. I'd climb Mt. Everest dressed like a gorilla and slide down the glacier on my head while singing "Grandma got run over by a reindeer." Duh.

Well, there ya have it.  I'll tell you what is great about Dashner, and I've said it before.  The guy really does care for his fans and knows where his roots are.  Last year for the release of Maze Runner, James had promised me months earlier I could be his first interview on release day.  I was thrilled when he kept that promise.  I asked again this year for my new "standing" release day interview reservation, (say that 5 times fast!) gave him the questions WAY too late for anyone's taste, (don't forget, we are in the middle of moving) and he delivers.  Awesome Dash.  So, tomorrow is the official release of The Scorch Trials (found wherever books are sold -  I've always wanted to write that!) and here is the official Scorch Trials interview with Dashner.  Those of you know know him will see that the questions I asked were geared towards giving you some info that maybe you have not seen elsewhere or heard before, or info that is not the "usual."

On a side note, I will announce the winner of the copy of Mockingjay in the next few days.  The contest ended but we are dead smack in between homes and I need some time to unpack the book before I can send it out.  Once we get settled in our new home within a week or 2, I will be posting a ton of reviews and interviews that I have been piling up the last few weeks.  One I can not wait to bring you is the review of the new book in the Time Riders series, "Day of the Predator" by Alex Scarrow.  I had reviewed book 1 recently and was given the pleasure to review book 2 in the series, which is only out this year in the UK!  Thanks Penguin UK!

Thanks for checking us out and as always, any questions feel free to email me at  By the way, who's that stud with Dashner in the pic below????


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book Review: " Time Riders " by Alex Scarrow - A MUST READ!!


Liam O'connor should have died at sea when the Titanic sank in 1912.

Maddy Carter should have died in a plane crash in 2010.

Sal Vikram should have died in a fire in 2026.

But moments before death, a mysterious man told them to take his hand- and they were whisked away to safety.

Now Liam, Maddy, and Sal are working as TimeRiders for a top-secret agency with only one purpose: to stop time travel from destroying the world.  Yes, it's possible to travel through time, and there are those from the future who will try to change the past for their own immoral gain.  The teens first assignment pits them against Paul Kramer, a brilliant physicist from the future who plans to lead Nazi Germany to victory in World War II- with apocalyptic consequences.  Can they save humanity and fulfill their destinies as keepers of time?


Ok, so I have to tell you, HANDS DOWN one of the best books I have read in a while.  I am proud of myself too as I picked this all on my own.  I was hangin in a B & N as I always do and also as always, I have to leave there with something.  Its's rare that I go in there without coming out with a book.  Anyway, I spotted this on the shelf, which I can't remember if it was the YA or kid's section, but it was in the new arrivals regardless.  One of my secret sci-fi passions is time travel.  It has been an interest of mine since I was a little boy.  The reason I'm telling you this is because there's nothing more that I love than a really good book about time travel.  The stinky thing is there are so many, 99 out of 100 times it's the "same old stuff."  Well, there was a show once I thought in the 70's or 80's called "Time Cop" or something like that which my pops told me about that sounded similar to him when I gave him the scenario.  Even if there was the same "concept," its definitely got a different story line, and regardless, I absolutely loved it.  It was extremely well written for starters.  It has short chapters, which is my favorite.  I kept telling myself the entire way through that "I can't believe I might have found a great one.... I hope he doesn't disappoint me!"  I can't put my finger on it exactly other than to say it was just a great book.  I do think that the story line was well thought out for sure.  Enough that book 2, called "TimeRiders- Day of the Predator," was only released a week ago in the UK and I pleaded with them to please, please send me a copy even though I am overseas."  And thankfully, they obliged.  Anyway, here's my take on the story in a general sort of way.


The opening is awesome.  Each of the 3 mains here are about to die in some way and in some time.  They are given a chance out. So basically, become a TimeRider or die in about a minute.  The 3 accept.  Stationed under a bridge in NYC, 2001 (Sept 10th and 11th to be exact, right before 9/11) with history being what we know it as.  Their job is to make sure that if anyone in the future with a time machine (although everyone is banned from making them in the future because of the potential damage they can inflict) that goes back and screws things up, they fix.  That simple.  

So after a bit of training, and definitely still wet behind the ears, Liam, Maddy, and Sal along with their boss/mentor Mr. Foster and Bob, who is such a cool computerized/human test tube thingy get their first mission.  By the way, Bob is like 7 feet tall and super strong, etc.  Some guy who worked for the inventor of the first time machine decided to go from 2066 back to 1941 and tell Hitler that he does things wrong and he can help him be victorious.  Well, he does and causes a world wide nuclear fallout where what is left in 2001 is like a picture of hell with these strange mutations of humans.  Basically, the end of the end of the world.

The situation- the TimeRiders have to fix it.  Here's where the writing was just fantastic. From a training mission involving the assassination of JFK to secret messages left many years ago in the Museum of Natural History.  This guy was spot on ever page of every chapter.  The suspense was there for me several times which was cool too.  The other thing that surprised me is I am ok with a trilogy usually, or a series that doesn't go too far deep in, but not with what usually looks like it's going to be more.  I don't know for sure, but he came out (in the U.S. prob next year) with the second book in the series and I am anticipating (and hoping) many more to come.  I will definitely continue on with this series as long as he keeps bringing em the way he did.  

I will definitely give a short review when I get and read Day of the Predator.  I know you guys somewhat value my opinion.  Also, you know that I only review books I really liked a lot.  I have to tell you, this one is definitely worth getting.  I wouldn't steer you wrong (not intentionally anyways) and I would say that this will easily be one of your better reads.  If you pick it up and give it a shot, definitely get back here and tell me what you thought.  I'd love to hear your opinion.


Monday, August 30, 2010

CONTEST! Giveaway of a brand new copy of Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


Alrighty guys and gals, here it is!  Only like the #1 Bestseller.  Ah, who really cares about the Hunger Games???  Oh, you do....  Why didn't you say so????  What was that? You would LOVE to win a copy of Mockingjay??  Ok, well tell ya what, we got one for ya right here.  The day I went out and bought a copy for myself, a nice, shiny one was waiting for me at my door for review.  That means I have an extra copy, and one of you will happily take it off my hands for me.

PLEASE read the entire contest post (oh come on, it's not that long)

The contest will end at 11:59pm on Sunday, October 3rd.  It's not too bad and the reason I picked that date is we are moving (yeah!) and that will be the first weekend in our new home.  I think it will be fun to kick off our new home by giving something away. 

It's pretty simple but you MUST follow our rules.  The first and most important one is that you MUST be a follower of our site.  To clarify a "follower" you must be a signed up member through google friend connect.  It is located on the right side bar of our site and it says "Follow" where you need to click if you are not already following.  When I pick a winner, I will verify you are following and if you are not, I will pick another winner.  Rule 2- I need your email address.  Please either leave it in your entry or if you prefer, you can email it to me directly at  Rule 3- tell me what country you are in because I am making this open to anyone with an address anywhere! Pretty easy, right?

Here's how you get your entries:

+2 if you are an existing follower

+1 if you are a new follower

+5 if you blog, tweet, facebook a link, charter a plane to fly a banner up and down your street, etc. about the contest.  AND link back to it in your entry

+5 for FOR YOU for EACH person that signs up as a new follower, enters the contest, and says in their entry that you sent them (Time to call in that favor they owe you!)


+5 for guessing correctly which YA, fairly new series (a yearish old) I have left a clue for somewhere in this posting.  PLEASE do not say what the clue is. Just tell me the author's name and any of the books in the series and for everyone who is correct I will personally add the +2 on when I am tallying up the entries for

There are your ways to enter.  I just wanna tell you shanks why I am such a stickler with the whole "following" thing.  Many of my review copies and most of my giveaway copies of the book I get are provided by publishers to me.  The more people following our site, the more they send, the more I can do for you guys as far as reviews, contests, etc.  It's  really marketing for these publishers and that's fine, it a business world out there.  So, it would help me out a lot if you guys followed (and help you out too if you are the winner!)  I did decide that I am going to review Mockingjay in a few weeks.  I read it right away of course and loved it.  I just think it will be nice for me to put a review up for you guys in a few weeks.  For making you guys wait until Oct 3rd for the contest to be over, I have a  surprise.  Scholastic is supposed to be sending me a bunch of Mockingjay swag.  If they do, I will randomly choose people to win throughout the contest.  I will email you if you are chosen (hence leaving the email in the entry).  Lastly, I pick the contest winner by using as always.

As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or just to shoot the breeze at

**UPDATE- Tues 8/31**

Today I received a bag of (Hunger Games Series) pins and tattoos as well as a copy of Mockingjay from Scholastic for the giveaway.  So, just a quick update, the giveaway copy of Mockingjay is provided by Scholastic and I received no monetary compensation for the contest, promoting the book, or reviewing it.  Also, for the few of you who already entered, I added another opportunity to gain 2 extra entries above.  For those of you who entered prior to the update, ending with "Susan" at 11:40am on August 31st, 2010 I will automatically give you each the +2.

Good Luck!!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Scorch Trials Contest is Over! Who Won, and What Contest is Next??

We have some really good news for you!  Besides announcing the winner for our own ARC of James Dashner's Scorch Trials, we have another contest that will be launched either today or tomorrow.  Now there are a lot of great books out there that many of you want to read.  However, there are few that you ALL want to read.  For that reason, we have decided to give away a brand new copy of " Mockingjay " by Suzanne Collins! 

That's right, at least 1 copy will be given away if not more.  I went out yesterday to purchase my copy, and when I arrived home with it fresh in the Barnes and Noble bag, there was a nice package waiting for me from Scholastic with the Hunger Games symbol on the envelope.  They sent me a review copy! My misfortune turned into your fortune!  Also, I have bothered my friends at Scholastic to see if they are able to kick in another copy and maybe some swag.  So, not 100% sure about the additional copies, etc. but I definitely have 1 copy to give away.  I will make the contest rules up and have them posted shortly.  I guess at this point, you would like to know who won The Scorch Trials, huh???  I used to pick the winner and  well, the lucky winner of my very own ARC of James Dashner's Scorch Trials is......

Steve D

I will send you out an email to get your address or you can just email it to me at if you read this post first.

Thank you all very much for entering.  I wish I had a copy for each and every one of you.  Remember to check back in a day for the contest for Mockingjay.  Again, I have at least 1 copy (hardcover) to give away and hopefully more by the time I post the contest.

Thanks all!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Book Review: " The Scorch Trials " by James Dashner

My Review

I decided to skip the intro here because I posted it in the contest opening.  This was a really tough book for me to review only because it is difficult to discuss much without giving too much away.  With that said, I hope you will enjoy what I have to say and hopefully it will just get you that much more excited to tear through this!

I stayed home from work today because I woke up feeling horrible.  Since I have been laying in bed all day resting, I was able to really think about the Scorch Trials and what's going on from a macro point of view.  I believe that many authors/people have this vision of the world being faced with some sort of mass scaled destruction one day.  I do have to say, James has gotten very creative in his vision.  

In the Scorch Trials, all of the Gladers that have made it through the Maze have a terrible next "phase" of the Trials where they are faced with the Scorch.  It is a large, desert like area of land that is inhabited by people who have this disease called the Flare.  These people are very dangerous, and with the heat reaching ridiculously high degrees in the Scorch, the Gladers have a tough task ahead of them.  The actual task sounds easy- get to a safe haven 100 miles north of where the Gladers are dropped in the Scorch in 2 weeks flat.  Yeah, good luck with that one!

The characters in The Scorch Trials are your old group plus a whole slew of new people that we are introduced to.  There are others who can speak with their mind, others who are just as strong as the Gladers, just as dangerous if not more, and even a love triangle/quadrangle/who knows what angle goin on!  Besides some of your favorites like Thomas, Minho, Frypan, Teresa, you have some new people you have to look forward to- Aris, Jorge, Brenda, and Group B (yeah, the infamous Group B!).  Jorge is a somewhat leader of a group of peeps with the Flare (The Cranks) that Thomas and the gang spend some quality time with and go through a lot with.  Now, Aris and Brenda... oh boy, I am not going to say much about these 2 because they are HUGE in Scorch.  By the end of the book, I had been through a few cycles of liking/disliking these 2.  Excellent character playing here Dashner!

Ok so, WICKED.  Well, a TON is learned about their purpose and their experiment with the Gladers.  What was interesting is that as much as I learned about them, I ended up having twice as many new questions about them by the time the book was over.  This is cool, trust me.  What  I will tell you about WICKED is that they are powerful, rich, and basically have unlimited resources for their purpose.  Dashner shows us this with their advanced technology (LOVE THE FLAT TRANS!) to their ability to create this experiment in its entirety!  These people are no joke.  They have the ability to create the most gruesome lightning storms that made me feel like I needed to take cover! Cool stuff.  I was left with many thought about WICKED and most of all I was left wondering exactly what function Thomas and Teresa serve with them.  This is not a spoiler at all because you will not know why I think this and it is just my opinion (for now)- Dashner made me wonder if Thomas and Teresa were actually in charge of WICKED and put themselves in this experiment in order to achieve maximum results.  I almost felt like they did this whole thing to themselves, which is either really crazy or it is the maximum sacrifice for all of man kind.  Weird thought but it has crossed my mind several times.  Hmmm.  

Anyway, back to my review....  Scorch Trials is really about everything I mentioned above tied up in to this 2 week journey.  There are endless tunnels, high tech transport devices, some strange dudes, and an awful place Dashner creates in our minds.  Have no fear, just when you are wondering where the next set of horrible thig-a-ma-jigs like the Grievers are, BAM- Dashner's new set of evil monsters come at you from all angles.  

There was one part of the book that I am going to tell you about that I thought was a totally great twister and has stuck in my mind as a really cool scene.  It won't mean anything to you until you read the book but may leave you with something to think about....  At one part in the book Thomas gets hurt. (not telling you how or what is wrong with him)  Now keep in mind that people have been killed before in the book and many have been hurt to some extent, including Thomas and it is what it is, right?  Ok, so Thomas gets hurt and it seems like it could be dangerously fatal or at the least, slow him down a bit.  Out of nowhere, WICKED kind of like puts the experiment on pause, goes and grabs Thomas from the Scorch (how they get him is classic!), and take him somewhere and quickly make him better.  They totally heal him and dump him back in the Scorch as if nothing had changed.  I don't know... to me that was totally cool.  It was like something unexpected, an uncalculated error had occurred and WICKED had to quickly fix it.  What it showed me was that WICKED was 1000% in control.  Considering that The Maze Runner and The Scorch Trials are part of this huge scenario, it amazed me how easily they were able to manipulate things.  Again, these people are NO joke and I totally can not wait till book 3, The Death Cure to hopefully (and finally!) find out what they are all about.

Alright, so there was a quick review of Scorch with a few little previews of what you have to look forward to.  Trust me, what I wrote about above was almost nothing compared to the whole story.  The book is a non stop reader and even a re-reader.  If Dashner can WOW us with The Death Cure, I definitely feel like he will have created a new legacy in the sci-fi arena.  His writing was fantastic, tight, and pure.  Just think, if he wasn't writing The Maze Runner series, this guy would actually be practicing accounting!  JAMES- THANK YOU for realizing what your purpose was.  Thank you from all of us!


Wednesday, August 11, 2010


(Open to anyone, anywhere who has a mailing address)

So I was planning to hold the contest until a few days after I read the book, and Mara says to me, "you are going to have plenty of time to read it while the contest is open for entry so duh, put up the contest now!"  And, here it is.  I'll tell you, I do not know what I would do in life without her.  I am thankful for my lovely wife every single day.  Ok, so enough of the mushy stuff and let's get to the gooood stuff.

Before we go over the rules for entry, I want to give you guys the synopsis/preview which is on the back of the ARC and I a pretty sure I have not seen this anywhere.  COnsider it a little contest warming present from me to you:


Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end.  No more puzzles.  No more variables. And no more running.  Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back.  But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.

In the Maze, life was easy.  They had food, and shelter, and safety... until Teresa triggered the end.  In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.

Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the Earth is a wasteland.  Government has disintegrated- and with it, order-and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim... and meal.

The Gladers are far from done running.  Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial.  They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks.  And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Thomas can only wonder- does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind?  Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?


WOWZERS!!! So, I am on page 80 of 360 and Dashner has followed through and absolutely NOT failed me.  Seriously man, where did you come from?!?!  Dashner, YOU DA MAN!

Ok, so you want to win yourself my treasured ARC of The Scorch Trials, do ya??  My objective is to make this both fun and easy.  There will be a main entry requirement and then a few different ways you faithful Duders can earn some extra entries and increase you chances of winning. (10 total possible entries per person) I will use at the contests conclusion to pick the winner.  All I ask is that you guys follow my rules as many of my followers know I take very seriously and will hold you to them.  It's not that I am being difficult, it's just that a contest is difficult to run in it's entirety and I am more than happy to do it so I just ask for a little cooperation.  Now, with that out of the way, here are the rules and ways to enter:

You must, 100% be an official follower of our site.  This is extremely important and you will be disqualified if you are not a follower if you are picked. I will check and see if the winner is a follower before announcing it. If you don't know how to do this, on the right side bar of my site there is a "follow" button that says "with google friend connect" right underneath it.  Just follow the instructions and you will be good to go.


 For simply leaving a comment and your email address in the comments section.  Remember you MUST be a follower.  If you do not want to leave your email address, make sure you email me directly with the name you entered under AND your email address


If you write in your comment what you think is going down in "The Scorch Trials." It is just fun for everyone to see where you think Dashner's mind is, or perhaps where you would like it to be!

If you blog on your site/tweet/facebook, etc. about this contest AND put the link back to it in your entry.


If you read through and comment on my last 2 book reviews, "Z" and "I Am Number Four" you can add +1 for each of those.  ALSO, any reviews that go up between now and the contest end is worth +1 also for each one you read and comment on!

To celebrate the release of the paperback version of "The Maze Runner," the contest will end at exactly 11:59 p.m. EST on Tuesday, August 24th, 2010.

I think the rules are pretty simple.  I am really excited to give this away to one of you guys or gals.  As always, if you have any questions regarding the contest you can feel free to email me at and just because the "law" says I have to write this, this ARC was provided to me by Random House to review here on my blog site. (which I was VERY appreciative of!)

Thanks all and Good Luck!!