Saturday, December 21, 2013

Book Review + Giveaway: Degrees of Wrong by Anna Scarlett

4/5 Nerd Glasses

Degrees of Wrong 

Author: Anna Scarlett (a.k.a Anna Banks)

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Synopsis: This time, the straight-and-narrow path could be the road to ruin. 

Dr. Elyse Morgan’s mission: find the cure to the HTN4 virus. The compensation, courtesy of the United Nations: a lab stocked with hi-tech goodies, limitless resources and enough chocolate to make her rear look like a cellulite farm. Bonus: she gets to live. 

Rescued (kidnapped) and secreted (imprisoned) on an undersea warship, Elyse adjusts to her assumed identity as a cadet with the finesse of a toeless ballerina. Her sulfuric temper and blatant insubordination capture the unwanted attention of the ship’s captain, the gorgeous, infuriating, engaged Nicoli Marek. 

Elyse would rather perform her own autopsy than become the other woman, but Nicoli—who’s as full of himself as he is of secrets—regards his impending marriage as a mere political transaction. And Elyse as fair game. 

As Elyse’s suspicions about the UN’s true agenda mount along with her attraction to the relentless, chronically shirtless captain, she must choose between the murky path to everything she’s ever wanted, or the squeaky-clean path of self-sacrifice—which could mean taking the secrets of the virus with her to the grave. 

Warning: Features a strong, chocolate-loving heroine who takes no prisoners on the way to saving the world from an epidemic and winning a captain’s heart.

Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Annabell Cadiz

Warning: Minor spoilers ahead!

Review: Dr. Elyse Morgan wakes up to the world around her in war. Her entire village is under attack and blood covers the streets. Despite her fear, Elyse steps in to help any she can find and comes across a soldier who is badly injured. In the process of stitching him up and thwarting his flirtatious advances, a group of soldiers descend upon her makeshift tent. Friends of the soldier she helped save, whisk the soldier to safety and against Elyse’s wishes, take her as well. You see Elyse is a wanted woman. The world has been struck down by a biochemical plague that has rapidly left the human race as an endangered species and Elyse may be the only one who can find an answer to a possible cure. Her father had been working on potentially discovering one when he was killed and Elyse took up the mantel. Now she’s stuck hiding out on a ship filled with newly recruited soldiers, desperately working toward finding a cure. Throw in a lieutenant who has more fun insulting her and bossing her around than one should, a gorgeous captain who Elyse crashed face-to-chest on their first meeting and can’t stop gawking at every chance she gets, and a criminal mastermind intent on taking over the world by wiping out most of the human race, and you’ve got a book filled with enough entertainment to keep you feverishly turning the pages (or well, scrolling through them on an ereader-like device)!

There are some really fabulous aspects to Degrees of Wrong that will hook the reader in from the get go and keep the reader wanting to read more. 

Elyse’s quick and sarcastic banter is one of the best aspects to the book. She gives the readers so many laugh out loud moments and keeps you wanting to turn the page to see what other outrageous or hilarious thing she'll say next. She’s quick with a response and doesn’t hold her tongue in place no matter how many times she gets into hot water. She makes the read easy and light because of her wholly entertaining personality.

Captain Nicoli takes the role as the hunky, successful young captain of an entire ship who Elyse literally crashes into. He’s a prodigy, being the youngest captain ever to be appointed and despite his sense of responsibility and air of authority, he can’t get Elyse to listen to a dang thing he says which drives him nuts! Nicoli is charming and caring and full of himself which only somehow managed to add to his appeal throughout many scenes in the book.
The romance between Nicoli and Elyse begins with an intense attraction and builds into a reluctant friendship (on Elyse side) to a romance Elyse desperately tries to stay away from considering the good captain is engaged to another woman. But the engagement is more to do with politics than actual love seeing as how Captain Nicoli has yet to even meet his future bride. It was hilarious the way Nicoli would purposely goad Elyse and push her buttons to get a reaction. The banter between the two was equally entertaining.

The plot to the book was pretty scarce and is where the book ran into a few pitfalls I hope the sequel will not repeat. Most of the plot consists of a) Elyse working through failed experiments to find a cure to HTN4 virus and b) building a relationship with Nicoli. Although the world building was pretty substantial and the backstory as well, the second half was extremely rushed. Everything happened in very abrupt and sudden moments. 

The plot will give you some whiplash and when you’re done your brain is still left trying to connect all the dots in attempt to make sure you really didn’t miss anything. The second half NEEDED to be slowed down or trimmed down and extended into a second book. It was WAY too much to stuff in the last half to actually be believable or real which made the ending VERY abrupt.

As much as reading Nicoli and Elyse banter was so much fun, there were things Nicoli did and how he behaved that were not okay with me. One of the big red flag scenes was when Elyse was thrown off the dock when they first arrived at the beach house. She was literally thrown off the dock via getting hit by a suitcase and once Nicoli rescues her—the doctor has no idea how to swim—he rushes her into the house and is angry with her. That scene made no sense! Why would Nicoli treat Elyse like she was the one who did something wrong and reprimand her like a child for it?? Or the scene where Nicoli is supposed to teach Elyse how to swim and gets vividly angry with her, downright states he won’t be able to practice any level of self-control and nearly implies he may have to strip her of her virtue because of it, all because she’s wearing a bikini?? What did he expect her to wear, a wetsuit? Nicoli has his moments of charm and chivalry, but he also comes off controlling and possessive. He behaved at times like he hadn’t laid eyes on a woman in years and therefore once he claimed Elyse no one could go anywhere near her. It made his characterization choppy and painted Elyse as a weaker character for not standing up to him the way she should. She had moments were she would start then be swept away by Nicoli’s big strong arms and sexy grin and she’d forget all about what she was talking about.

BUT despite some of the downfalls with the plot and characters at times, the book is still wholly and ridiculously entertaining! You’ll still find yourself swept into Nicoli and Elyse’s romance. You’ll still laugh out loud throughout so many moments. You’ll still want to be friends with Elyse. The world building will make you want to live on a ship for an in determent amount of time and you’ll still want to read the sequel.

If you’re looking for a book filled with sass, sarcasm, romance and sci-fi that isn’t too hard to understand, I’d recommend Degrees of Wrong. I’ve been a fan of Anna Banks/Scarlett since Of Poseidon and am definitely looking forward to what else she comes up with!


“Sir, she’s already made a mess of things, I’m afraid,” Captain Marek said.

I gawked at him. “What? Me?”

“Yes, Dr. Morgan, you. Boarding the ship posing as a cadet was for your protection. With your insubordination this morning, you’ve placed the entire pretense in jeopardy.”

Admiral Rudd crossed his arms. “What insubordination?”

“She almost assaulted Lt. Horan, sir.”

The admiral’s arms flew away from his chest. “She what?”

Even Dr. Folsom gaped at me now.

“Sir, when I reached the two on the dock, they were nose to nose in an altercation, and she was in the process of threatening him,” the captain recounted.

I waited for him to say something that wasn’t true, because as soon as he did, I would protest. So far, though, I agreed with his rendition.

“Elyse wouldn’t do such a thing,” Dr. Folsom declared. She turned to me. “Elyse, tell the admiral what happened.”

Captain Marek remained impassive, even after Dr. Folsom’s remark made him out to be a liar.

I shrugged my guilt, not meeting her eyes. “That’s about right, so far,” I admitted. “But he did provoke me.”

Admiral James Rudd guffawed. “You threatened Lt. Horan? That man’s stare can crumble granite. He makes combat-trained men cry like diapered toddlers. And you…” he pointed at me in his amusement, “…stood in his face and threatened him?”

I nodded, hoping he wouldn’t make me go back to the bathroom.

“What did you threaten him with?” Curiosity made his face seem boyish.

“I hadn’t threatened him yet. I was about to. I was interrupted.” Almost pouting, I glared at Captain Marek, who appeared unperturbed.

“What were you going to tell him?” Admiral Rudd pressed on.

“I’d rather not say.”

His bellowed laughter resonated off the walls.

“I’d rather not know,” interjected the captain. “The point is, Admiral, she was insubordinate in front of her fellow cadets. If we move her out from under Lt. Horan’s command now, it will seem as though she’s gotten her way. That her behavior was acceptable—that she’s special. That’s the last thing we want, sir.”

The admiral rubbed his clean-shaven jaw as if scratching a beard. “I’m afraid Nicoli is right. If you hadn’t given such a public display of…distaste…for Lt. Horan, we might’ve transferred you to Dr. Folsom’s command. However, as it is in your best interest to pose as a cadet, we have to stick with the most natural course of action. You must remain under his care. We’re already at a disadvantage, since you used your real name.”

“The man is ridiculous,” I spat. “He made me clean the bathroom with a toothbrush.”

“Admiral, is that really necessary?” Dr. Folsom stepped in. “It’s such an unsanitary practice.”

“She didn’t clean the bathroom,” Captain Marek cut in. “When I came to retrieve her, she was leaning against the wall, sound asleep.”

The man was infuriating. Intolerable. And was he now implying that I was lazy?

I stepped toward him. “In the past forty-eight hours, I watched people I love die. I was kidnapped from my home, forced into servitude on this miserable ship and met the most condescending man in existence—not to mention Lt. Horan. Pardon me, Captain, if cleaning your filthy bathroom with a toothbrush didn’t quite top my priority list.

“Your concern about my qualifications seems a bit hypocritical considering your own shortcomings. For instance, your lack of compassion makes you unfit to run a ship full of living, breathing people. Were you absent that day in captain school? Maybe you could get your money back.” I was inches from his face now, and even in the throes of anger, I could find no imperfection there—which irritated me hugely.

Also, he smelled nice.

My fit-throwing stunned the three to silence. Captain Marek, in particular, regarded me as if I had morphed into a breast-feeding reptile. No doubt he was unaccustomed to being addressed in such a manner. I felt certain he would adjust.

Seizing my opportunity—the element of flabbergast—I added, “That said, I would appreciate very much if my laptop could be returned to me. It happens to contain every shred of research I’ve documented on the HTN4 virus, and it seems irresponsible to allow a halfwit like Horan to have access to it. I’d also be grateful if someone could show me to my room, and some food, in no particular order.”

Still, silence.

After a few more exaggerated seconds, Dr. Folsom took my hand and whispered, “I— Please come with me, Elyse. I’d be happy to show you to your quarters.”

I allowed her to tow me toward the door. Before we exited, I turned back to the two men still gawking at me. “And, Captain Marek?”

He raised a brow.

I paused for effect. “You owe me a toothbrush.” 

About the Author

Anna's first published work was a letter to the editor of her local newspaper complaining about stingy tippers-she was a 17 year old waitress. The letter got her a free dinner at the restaurant where she worked, and dirty looks from all the stingy tippers. Now that her mother has passed away, Anna feels it's safe to reveal that she also wrote other students' term papers for prom money in high school. Her favorite pastimes include reading, writing, drinking wine, and reading and writing while drinking wine. She can shoot a sling shot, speak with a southern accent, and take a nap in the middle of the day, any day of the week-at a moment's notice, no less. She cannot rollerblade, apply liquid eyeliner, or find her keys. Ever.

Anna lives in Florida with her husband, daughter, and the fictional characters in her head. Feel free to drop her a line at, or chat her up on Twitter.

You can also get chummy with her on Goodreads. She loves fan mail and gift certificates to Panera Bread.

Where to Stalk Anna!


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