Book Review: The Artful by Wilbert Stanton—and a Giveaway!

The Artful Tour Banner


Title:The Artful 
Series: Shadows of the City #1
Author: Wilbert Stanton 
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: May 27th 2014
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult



Purchase Links:

Barnes & Noble Buy Button        Amazon Buy Button        Indiebound Button.jpg


The ArtfulThe Artful
Shadows of the City #1
Wilbert Stanton
Curiosity Quills Press, May 2014
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

New York City, 2025: Everything is changed. The city that never sleeps is now a land of death and decay. A rampant virus has taken over and the survivors have become carriers, quarantined from the rest of the world.

Twist and Dodger grew up in the streets, the sewers and underground tunnels – their playground. They aren’t heroes. They just like attention; and stealing meds from the rich and giving them to the poor is their golden ticket.

On their latest raid, they unknowingly steal a cure that puts them square between the ailing Emperor of Manhattan and the war hungry Governor of Brooklyn and forces them on a quest into the darkest shadows of their putrefying world.


To the reader who’s just starting The Artful: keep at it. Yes, the story is slower than you might like in a post-apocalyptic and/or dystopian novel but the action will pick up if you have a little patience. I admit I came close to giving up but I pushed on and I’m glad I did.

The interesting thing to me about this book is that I wasn’t overly enthralled with the characters immediately but they grew on me (although I never really liked Dodger) and I really appreciated the Dickensian flavor with a large dash of Robin Hood. Still, all is not lighthearted, just the opposite in fact. These boys live in a world of danger and gloom, the latter emphasized by a sun allergy. There are people in our world who cope with a similar condition known as Xeroderma pigmentosum (XP) and still more suffer from a depressive reaction to Seasonal Affective Disorder so the author’s concept of people being unable to let the sun’s rays touch them—and the consequences—is not so hard to believe.

Most of all, perhaps, this is a tale of great friendship and that is what made it appeal to me the most. We don’t see a lot of young adult books that feature boys as the main characters and even rarer is the book that shares the bond that can grow between those boys. Girls tend to have a lot of friends including one or two who are very close while boys frequently have just the one or two. As a result, the male and female friendships can have a different intensity. Dodger and Twist offer a good deal of insight to the reader about male friendships and I feel richer for it.

I do think this story suffers somewhat from firstbookitis in that there are holes in the plot, the character development and the worldbuilding but they didn’t cause me to want to DNF. Mr. Stanton has created a world and characters that I want to know more about and I am looking forward to getting more answers—and action—in the next book. I fully expect Mr. Stanton will hit his authorial stride then.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2014.

About the Author


Wilbert StantonWilbert Stanton was born and raised in New York City. From an early age, Wilbert decided he would either write books or take over the world; everything else was just a precursor to his end game.

Along the way, he has studied Psychology, English, and Computer Science. He’s held jobs in a wide range of fields and met people from all walks of life. Wilbert is constantly learning and growing as a person, in order to solidify his dreams.

In the end world domination was a bit tedious, so he decided to focus on writing books.

Author links: 
Website Button        Twitter Button        Facebook Button        Goodreads Button 2


Follow the tour here.


Leave a comment below and you might
win an ebook copy of The Artful by
Wilbert Stanton!
The winning name will
be drawn on Thursday evening,
August 14th, and the ebook
will be sent out after September 8th.


Xpresso Book Tours Button

Book Blitz: Dream Boy by Mary Crockett and Madelyn Rosenberg

Dream Boy Blitz Banner


Title: Dream Boy
Authors: Madelyn Rosenberg and Mary Crockett
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: 07/01/14

Advanced Praise:

“Dream Boy explores the mysterious world of dreams, where we
access our deepest desires…the authors expertly weave
fantasy and the real world in a perfect blend.”
— Erica Orloff, author of In Dreams

“Eerie, twisty, fast and funny, Dream Boy will forever change the way
you see your dreams–and your nightmares. An exciting, imaginative
look at what might happen when people from the corners of
your mind suddenly show up in your real life.”
— Lois Metzger, author of A Trick of the Light



Purchase Links:

Barnes & Noble   Kobo   Amazon   Amazon UK

IndieBound   The Book Depository   Waterstones

  Indigo   Books-A-Million   iTunes



Annabelle Manning feels like she’s doing time at her high school in
Chilton, Virginia. She has her friends at her lunchtime table of nobodies.
What she doesn’t have are possibilities. Or a date for Homecoming.
Things get more interesting at night, when she spends time with the
boy of her dreams. But the blue-eyed boy with the fairytale smile is just
that—a dream. Until the Friday afternoon he walks into her chemistry class.

One of friends suspects he’s an alien. Another is pretty sure it’s all
one big case of deja vu. While Annabelle doesn’t know what to think, she’s
willing to believe that the charming Martin Zirkle may just be her dream
come true. But as Annabelle discovers the truth behind dreams—where
they come from and what they mean—she is forced to face a dark reality
she had not expected. More than just Martin has arrived in Chilton. As
Annabelle learns, if dreams can come true, so can nightmares.


An Excerpt from Dream Boy


Dream BoyI’ve always been a dreamer. Daydreams. Night dreams. Dreams of grandeur and dreams of escape. If I were an onion and you peeled back the papery outside, you’d find layer after layer of eye-watering dreams. And in the center, where there’s that little curlicue of onion heart? There’d be a puff of smoke from the dreams that burned away.

It was all just brain waves, I thought—disconnected, like the notebook that my friend Talon keeps. She draws a line down the middle of the page; on the right she writes everything she remembers about a dream, and on the left she puts notes about the stuff that’s happening in real life, things that might trigger her subconscious. Reality on one side, dreams on the other—a clear line between the two.

But it turns out there are no clear lines, just a jumble of what is and what might be. And all of it is real.

Keep reading! You can check out the first three chapters here:


About the Authors


Mary Crockett and Madelyn RosenbergMary Crockett likes turtles, licorice, and the Yankees. Madelyn Rosenberg likes cats, avocados, and the Red Sox. Luckily they both like the weirdness of dreams (and each other) enough to write novels together. The friendship has survived three moves, six kids and countless manuscript revisions. Madelyn lives just outside of Washington, D.C. Mary remains in the mountains near their hometowns in southwestern Virginia.

You can find them on Twitter @marylovesbooks and @madrosenberg or their blogs at and

Where to find Mary:
Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook
Where to find Madelyn: Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Got a Book Club that might be interested in reading DREAM BOY? Check out the DREAM BOY Discussion Guide.
The DREAM PARTY Pinterest page has ideas about throwing a theme party.
The DREAM BOY inspiration page can show you some of the things that got Mary and Madelyn thinking.



“The perfect book to add to your summer reading list. An awesome balance
of love, humor and action, this new read may just be your dream come true!”
– GirlsLife

“Hits the chick-lit and romance buttons, adding suspense and an
intriguing idea as well for nicely rounded entertainment.”
— Kirkus Review

“An original, twisty paranormal romance.”
– Booklist

“Five stars… Perfect writing, perfect characters … perfect plot.”
— Paperback Wonderland

“Dream Boy skillfully and creatively tackles the common theme of
good and bad dreams coming alive…. The writing is tight and well-paced,
and nicely balances action with Annabelle’s character development as she
tries to unravel the mysteries of… her dreams. Her teenage voice is spot on:
unsure of herself, but spirited, with a sarcasm that masquerades as confidence.
The plot twists and moves in unexpected yet fascinating directions.”
— The Roanoke Times



$10 Gift Certificate to Amazon or Barnes & Noble
(winners choice) PLUS a nifty Dream Boy T-shirt

Enter the drawing here.


YA Bound Book Tours Button 2