Book Review: All That Was Asked

Hey everyone,

Well, it’s crazy times out there and I hope anyone reading this is staying sane and healthy. It’s hard not to be completely obsessed with the news–one thing I’m doing to keep my mind off of it is reading. Through my publisher, Paper Angel Press, I’ve been introduced to all kinds of fun books, so my plan is to read and review, read and review! Hope you enjoy.

Today, I’m reviewing a new book from Paper Angel Press, All That Was Asked by Vanessa MacLaren-Wray. The book blurb caught my eye:

It was supposed to be an easy jaunt to observe the stick-like aliens of Deep Valley Universe.

But Ansegwe — perpetual student, aspiring poet, and scion of the (allegedly criminal) Varayla Syndicate — well, he just has to ruin everything. As everyone knows, Ansegwe may have sensibility, but he’s not long on sense.

When a weird, twitchy little creature attaches itself to him, Ansegwe violates every protocol in the handbook to save its life. Finding himself in all kinds of trouble, Ansegwe needs to make some serious life changes, starting with that complicated family of his.

Ansegwe may just have to grow up … now that he’s adopted an alien.

As did the cover:


And I loved the book; it captivated me from the first page! Here’s my review:

This small gem of a book read like a classic ethnographic text, from the cool, detached language to the detailed observations and the skillful rendering of alien speech. The story starts with a mapping expedition to a place called the Deep Valley, located in a parallel universe. Ansegwe, a poet and nephew to the financiers of this grand exploratory trip, has finagled his way onto the team, intent on capturing everything he sees in verse. 

Near the end of the expedition, as Ansegwe is straggling at the end of the group, aliens chasing another alien burst out of the forest. First contact! But it’s haphazard and chaotic, and something the expedition brass wants to pretend never happened. Unbeknownst to those at the top, against all protocol and common sense, Ansegwe has saved the life of the alien creature who was being hunted and smuggled it onto the ship.

The author, Vanessa MacLaren-Wray, is truly a master of showing, not telling. She effortlessly crafts sentences that describe creatures, feature by feature, without giving it all away in one fell swoop. For example, Ansegwe, the narrator, laments the agonies of the expedition: “…the incessant rubbing of my inexpertly-adjusted pack grated the flesh on my back until a broad, thick callus decorated the crest of my hind end–that part of my anatomy that had formerly been deemed so attractive to he opposite sex. Their spring-muscles exhausted by endless startle responses, my spines ached ferociously.” Spines, plural, really?! I really appreciated how Ms. MacLaren-Wray was able to emphasize physical characteristics without spelling it out. As a reader, we can all draw our own pictures.

Another deft touch in this book was the practice of including quotes from other characters in the story  at the beginning of each chapter. The quotes rounded out the actions and character of Ansegwe, shedding light on the storyline and the characters, without being heavy-handed or obvious. Some of the quotes were humorous, others more serious, but all contributed to the depth of the story. 

This is a billed as sci-fi, but it’s more. It’s a story of wonder and friendship, loyalty and bravery, and  ultimately, love. Time and time again, Ansegwe risks everything to save the life of his alien creature. A highly recommended read.

Give this one a try!

Until next time,


Meet Vicki-Ann Bush

20170209_213407 (2)One of my favorite things to do as an author is meet other authors and get to know them. Today, I’m hosting Vicki-Ann Bush. She’s originally from Long Island, New York, and now resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, where the desert has given her inspiration for several books.

Salt of the Earth Publishing was the first to publish her children’s book, Winslow Willow the Woodland Fairy, followed by The Queen of It, a chapter book for ages six to ten. After settling into Young Adult fiction, her first release was the novella series, The Dusk Chronicles, a  time-travel romance set in Las Vegas.

Currently from Solstice Publishing, Miss. Bush has several titles including the historical romance novel, The Garden of Two about the perils of World War I through the eyes of  young lovers in Long Island, NY.  A paranormal romance novella series The Fulfillment, which is centered in Boulder City, Nevada, and Procurement, the second book in The Fulfillment series. Also featured in the collection is Room 629, a sci-fi book. Taking place in Primm, Nevada, it follows a group of friends as they uncover a life altering truth for everyone on the planet. And the short YA paranormal horror, The Joshua Tree.

Today, Miss. Bush is promoting Room 629.

About the book:

Jesse Marshall and her friends just wanted a weekend getaway. After four years of college, cramming sessions, late night book vigils and the epiphany of finally knowing what you want to do with your life—or not, they needed a few days to let go and relax. Forty-five minutes away from their home town of Las Vegas, Primm Nevada, was close enough for their limited schedule and a few days of celebration.

But their carefree weekend quickly crumbles after they witness a young woman standing in the middle of a casino, screaming and bloodied. After security takes her away, the friends begin to unravel a mystery that none of them were prepared for and a horror that would change everything.

Room 629


Ebook: click here

Print: click here

231 pages

Published April 21, 2015


Why did you decide to write this book?

It was conceived after a night of too much wine, so I’ll say the alcohol spoke to me.

What genre is your book?

Science Fiction, New Adult

Do you consider your book character-driven or plot-driven?

A little of both actually. It started out character driven and somewhere along the way the plot took over.

What makes your book unique?

Unique is a funny word in today’s society, I think of it more as an idea that has molded itself around others that have come before me.

Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?

I have the basic idea, but the plot definitely evolves and takes its own path.

How do you develop the names for your characters?

Most of the time, they come to me as I’m thinking of the character. But once in awhile a name stumps me, and that’s when I take it to Google.

How do you decide on the setting?

I get my inspiration from what’s around me, so the setting comes from there most of the time.

Do you have a writing mentor?

Hmm, mentor sounds personal. As if I should know the person. I don’t have someone on a personal level, but my favorite author and inspiration is Dean Koontz.

What’s your writing schedule?

I try to write during the work week, but occasionally I will sit down and pump some words out on a Sunday morning.

Do you have a favorite place to write?

My office. A.K.A., The Writing Room. Not very original, I know.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Only that I’m fortunate to be able to do what I love. Writing is like breathing air, it feeds my life.

Where can we find you?


Author Website:

Twitter: @VickiAnnBush

Silent Pen Blog:


Barnes and Noble:

Author Interviews

Hey everyone,

I’ve been reflecting on the previous incarnation of my blog and website. From 2012 to  2015, I had an active blog. Every week, I hosted a mystery author, asking everyone the same questions. I really enjoyed reaching out to authors and learning about their books and their writing process.

This time, I’ve decided to mix it up a bit and broaden the scope. I’ll interview indie authors writing in the following genres: mystery, thriller, suspense, romance, sci-fi, fantasy, dystopia, historical fiction, literary.  I’ll include a bio, author photo, book cover photo, and links to books and social media platforms. I’ll be running these interviews every other Friday.

Some sample questions:

  • Why did you decide to write this book?
  • What genre does your book fall into?
  • Do you consider your book character-driven or plot-driven?
  • What makes your book unique?
  • Do you plot ahead of time, or let the plot emerge as you write?
  • How did you develop the names for your characters?
  • How did you decide on the setting?
  • Do you have a writing mentor?
  • What’s your writing schedule? Do you have a favorite place to write?
  • Anything else you’d like to add?

Are you interested? I’d love to connect!