I Get Drained by Social Interactions

The other night I had to go to a big social event in town where I was expected to give a little speech.  That’s not really a big deal for me anymore.  It was only in front of a couple hundred people and it’s not like I haven’t been on stage before because of my past dance performances.  Really, that’s not what exhausts me or stresses me out.

What does utterly exhaust me is social interaction.  When I’m with a few close friends I get energized but put me out into the public and expect me to talk to random people?  It’s exhausting, especially when you’re at an event where a lot of people are focusing on you in particular.  And want to talk to you in particular.  (Which is definitely different from group dance performances like I took part in.)

Really, it feels like you’re being put on parade and it just utterly drains me emotionally, physically and mentally.  After about 5 or so hours I just get utterly exhausted and have to push through to the end.  The event can be enjoyable or not, it doesn’t really make a difference, but what always stays the same is the exhaustion.  I can be having the time of my life and just go, “I really think I need a break”.  Or I can be totally miserable and say the same thing.

Does anyone else here have this problem?  I don’t really get anxious about social interaction because I can go through all of the necessary forms just fine but it does exhaust me.

Discussion: Connecting With Other Bloggers

One of the things that’s just part of being a blogger is (of course) connecting with other bloggers.  I find that the most common way I connect with my fellow bloggers has been through leaving comments on other blogs or responding to the awesome comments here on my blog.  I’m not a big user of social media but I have connected with a couple people on Twitter who then started following The Mad Reviewer.

Since I’m not exactly a social media guru I suspect that my methods of connecting with fellow bloggers are not representative by any means.  So what I want to know is this: How do you, as a blogger, connect with your colleagues?  Looking back on some of the blogger friendships/partnerships you’ve developed, how did they start?  And, more importantly, how do you maintain them?

I’m busy working all Saturday (ah, the joys of living in a tourist town) so I won’t be able to respond to your comments much but I will try to get to them before I board my flight on Sunday.

Packing for Book Expo America

BEA 002

Contrary to what the media would have you believe, when packing for Book Expo America clothes were definitely not my #1 priority.  Instead, I focused on saving space for books!  I’m not expecting all that many books, but you never know.  I also spent plenty of time figuring out how to fit all of my electronics in my carry on bag, which was actually quite successful once I cleaned out my purse in case any contraband like nail clippers sank to the bottom.

So packing wasn’t all that hard in general but poor Tyrion really wasn’t used to all the chaos in the house.  He alternating between squeaking/meowing indignantly and rubbing up against me, purring.  He doesn’t know that I’m leaving yet but he can sense that something is about to change and he’s not happy at all.

What are you guys up to lately?  If you’re American, what are you planning to do in this upcoming Memorial Day long weekend?

One Week Until Book Expo America!

Even just thinking about BEA right now ensures I can’t sit still like a normal adult human being.  I’m so excited to see New York and the convention that I’ve already started packing.  It’s only Wednesday and I don’t leave until Sunday but I’m just ridiculously excited.  So I wanted to talk a little bit about my plans for this week-long trip.

First off, I plan to finish off the week as I normally do: with some reviews, a discussion and hopefully a Game of Thrones recap once I get all settled into the hotel in New York.  Then things start to get a little crazy.

For the whole week I’m in New York, virtually none of my posts will be book related.  I’ll be doing daily recaps of what I’ve done as a tourist and/or as a book blogger.  So you’ll be able to see what extreme exhaustion does to a human being because my flight is definitely a red-eye flight as well as see what extreme excitement does to ones’ writing ability.  It should be an interesting journey, both for me and hopefully you, my readers.  I’m going to take lots of pictures (as usual) and will be posting the best ones here on The Mad Reviewer.  I’ve got big plans for myself and I can’t wait to actually carry out those plans!

So that’s the scoop on what’s happening in the next little while.  See some of you at BEA in just under a week!

Lifemaker by Dean F. Wilson

Lifemaker by Dean F. Wilson(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

The Regime is on the hunt, forcing the Resistance to take refuge aboard the Lifemaker, an advanced submarine that houses a special cargo: a handful of women who are can give birth to human children.

To evade the Regime’s own submersibles, all parties must work together, but tensions are high, and not everyone on board is looking out for the greater good.

As they descend into the deeps, they quickly learn that not all monsters work for the Regime.

[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook in conjunction with the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.]

Lifemaker is the sequel to Hopebreaker, a steampunk novel featuring a smuggler named Jacob as he navigates a world essentially controlled by demons.  I had given the first book 4 stars in March and was eagerly awaiting this second installment.  So when I saw the blog tour for it, I signed up immediately.  Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed with Wilson’s second book in the Great Iron War series.  Not because the characters had truly gone downhill or because he world-building suddenly tanked, but rather because of the plot.

Despite all of the good things that do happen in Lifemaker, I was a little disappointed in the plot.  It was predictable in comparison to the first book and not more than a little boring around the halfway point of the book.  There are characters interacting, sure, but there’s not really all that much for interpersonal conflict.  And until the end there’s really not all that much for action either.  It was essentially just Jacob and Whistler having a sweet sort of father-adoptive son bonding time and occasionally being interrupted by Taberah.  Oh, and playing cards with Rommond.  Compared to the sheer action of Hopebreaker, this second book was a bit of a letdown.  It does set things up nicely for the third book but at the same time I did have a little trouble getting through it.

Jacob is still a decent enough character although I’m still having problems relating to him on an emotional level.  It’s much better than my struggle to relate at all with him in the first book but it’s definitely still there.  He’s not a bad character and he’s more of an ambiguous figure than a bad or good person but I found that because he wasn’t really doing anything that I got bored.  Essentially he skulks around the ship and bonds with Whistler, occasionally running into members of the crew.  I liked that he’s finally attempting to woo Taberah back to him and is trying to mentally prepare himself for fatherhood, though.  In that respect, Jacob has certainly improved.

The world-building was still good here in Lifemaker.  It didn’t expand all that much, but we learned some fascinating things about Rommond’s background, Taberah’s past and the history of demons taking over.  The submarine everyone is staying in doesn’t exactly make it easy to expand on a whole world but Jacob’s exploring does lead him to some interesting new discoveries.  Was I absolutely as blown away in this book as I was in the first one at the world-building?  Not really, but it was still very solid and despite the somewhat boring tone of the book you can feel Dean F. Wilson’s enthusiasm for the world he’s created shine through.

So overall, Lifemaker was not a bad book, but it was definitely not as good as its predecessor, Hopebreaker.  The plot got a little boring and I definitely predicted the ending but it was not a book that I actively disliked.  I even enjoyed some parts of it.  Really, the main problem is that it suffers from Book 2 Syndrome: its trying to set everything up for the super exciting third book.  Still, if you loved Hopebreaker, you’re going to want to read this book.  The little cliffhanger for Skyshaker will ensure that and there’s still many things to enjoy about Lifemaker.  It’s just that an exciting plot isn’t one of them.

I give this book 3/5 stars.

Amazon     Barnes and Noble     Goodreads     Powell’s

Cover Reveal: Tome by A. Star

by A. Star
Publication Date: Summer 2015
Series: Knights of the Joust #1
Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance


I knew Tome was going to ruin my life the second I laid eyes on him.

It wasn’t the sexy tattoos or his deep black eyes that warned me of danger. It was his secret. The one he never spoke of. The one he never meant for me to find out about. But then we fell in love and I got tangled up in his world of fast cars and underground street racing. And that’s when it happened.He ruined me.

I knew I was going to destroy Jules’ the moment she walked into my life. I didn’t know when, I didn’t know how. But I knew it was inevitable.I wanted to love her and so I did. But then my secret caught up with me and exploded in my face. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way and I never could have imagined how bad it would be.

I destroyed her. I destroyed us. I destroyed our love.And now I have nothing.


A. Star is a fan of dirty passion. She loves to read it, and she damn sure loves to write it. She is the author of the Mythos: Gods & Lovers series, the Djinn Order series, and the Knights of the Joust series. She is a night-owl and a coffee junkie, and the only sneaker she would be caught dead wearing are Converses.

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Lazy Sundays: Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken (Game of Thrones Episode 5.06)

1.  Ah, so we finally saw the room of faces in the House of Black and White.  Finally, Arya’s storyline is getting way more exciting as her training starts in earnest.

2.  Poor Ser Jorah and Tyrion again.  Good thing Tyrion is a fast-talker!  It also explains how he and Jorah make it to Meereen.

3.  Hmm…so now we know all about Littlefinger’s plans.  He wants the Boltons and Stannis to fight each other and with the crown’s approval he’ll swoop in with the army of the Vale to beat the winner, who will be licking his wounds.  Then he can be warden of the north, marry his second choice (Sansa) and muster the north to fight the beaten and bloodied Lannisters and Tyrells for the rest of Westeros.  Well played, Baelish.  Well played.

4.  Margarey and Loras are locked up!  And Lady Olenna is on the scene.  I’m thinking things are going to be interested when Olenna seeks out some of Cersei’s men and accuses her of the very thing she’s accusing Margarey and Loras of: immorality.

5.  Trystane and Myrcella seem like a sweet couple.  Your typical hormonal teenage couple, anyway.

6.  Um, did anyone else find the fight between Jaime, Bronn and the Sand Snakes a little lame?  Normally Game of Thrones has awesome stunt people and the fights are well choreographed but I just felt that scene was lacking.  The actresses for the Sand Snakes are kind of unconvincing as warriors.  It’s…disappointing.  They looked as about convincing as I would in a fight and that’s, to be perfectly frank, pathetic.

7.  Finally, we hear a bit of “The Dornishman’s Wife” from Bronn!  As much as I love “The Rains of Castamere” it’s nice to hear something new.

8.  Okay, the Sansa rape scene.  Twitter is brimming with outrage over it, claiming that it was completely superfluous and unnecessary and an insult to George R. R. Martin’s original story.  People on Twitter clearly have a short memory: do they not know that marital rape was totally a thing back then?  Are people forgetting that even in Canada marital rape was only made illegal in 1983?  And that criminalization of marital rape only started in the United States in the early 1970s?  And most of all, do they not remember that Daenerys was raped on her wedding night too?  This is what brides expect from their husbands in the Game of Thrones world!  That’s why it was such a surprise to Sansa that Tyrion didn’t rape her on their wedding night.  Ugh.  People believe that depicting something is the same as condoning it, which it completely isn’t.  I think it’s not gratuitous and that the rape scene there is setting up some very important character development for Sansa.  Trust me when I say I’m the last person that would advocate for gratuitous rape.

So what did you think of tonight’s episode?