Simple by Dena Nicotra – Blog Tour Book Review

Author: Dena Nicotra

Narrator: Kendra Murray

Length: 7 hours 31 minutes

Series: Simp Series, Book 1

Publisher: Dena M. Nicotra

Release date: Jul. 1, 2020

Genre: Science Fiction

Nothing simple is real. You will look twice at people…and technology.

The idea of making life simple appealed to the mainstream. After the economic collapse of the 21st century, the government latched on to technology like an economic lifeline. Bio-synthetic humanoids integrated into society with relative ease. Taking on the menial jobs, humans grew dependent on their android counterparts, but the corporate sector took things too far. Wrapped in their one-click comfort zones, people trudged along with their lattes and fashion trend blinders.

The dark side of genetic engineering is a harsh reality. Humans are being hunted. They don’t stand a chance.

No one seemed to notice that they weren’t acting as hospitable as they once had. They should have. They didn’t have weaknesses like we did, and, they were capable of clever, unimaginable cruelty.

Those that have survived call the rogue bio-synthetic humanoids “simps” because the company that started the mess had a cheesy marketing campaign that said they made life “Simple”. They couldn’t have been more wrong. When the war broke out, simps were used to spare human losses. It was viewed as a brilliant solution until a developer working for the enemy infected the simps with a virus that caused them to turn on the humans they served. They couldn’t shut them down fast enough.

Hailey Pachello doesn’t do people. She relies on herself because it’s easier. It’s safer, and it’s less dramatic. That is until she meets Leonard ‘Gizzard’ O’Malley. Giz has connections and a plan, and it might just be a good one.

Join Hailey as she embarks on her wondrous adventure, in a timeless, powerful, and memorable cyberpunk thriller.

Fans of Isaac Asimov will appreciate this fast past thriller, although the three laws of robotics never applied to simps! This cyberpunk tale is set in the year 2038.

Dena Nicotra was born in Southern California and grew up between the busy city and a small town in Arkansas. She is a copywriter, freelance journalist, and holds a degree in Communications. She currently lives in a small desert town in California with her husband and one very spoiled little dog.

She’s mom to two grown sons that she calls her sun and moon.

​When she’s not writing, she can be found in the kitchen cooking up something special for family and friends.


Narrator Bio

Kendra performed in numerous plays in high school and college, and directed a play for her senior project, which earned her the school Drama Cup. She apprenticed at, and managed the Box Office of the Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Mass. She performed, produced and directed radio plays with Petaluma Radio Players. Kendra narrates audiobooks across many genres, as solo narrator and as duet narrators with her husband, Ralph Scott, all available on She frequently “speaks” in character voices for her dog, Gandalf, and her cats, Merlin and Saffira. She has two young adult children and a stepdaughter. Kendra is an avid knitter and spinner, and is very crafty.



Described as a cyberpunk thriller, Simple by Dena Nicotra is a must read for fans of WestWorld and The Walking Dead.

Loner Hailey thinks she’s managed to switch off her emotions. Don’t make a connection to anyone and you won’t get hurt when the simps get them! Join Hailey as she connects with a group of people you’ll not want to get too attached to either. Some of them might die, some of them might betray you, some of them might force you to confront your humanity, and some of them might even be simps in disguise.

Initially published in 2014 this has now been released on audio and both the story and the narration are strong. In the time of Coronavirus I think this is also quite timely. We’ve all perhaps decided we’d like a taste of the simple life and we’ve all seen articles warning of a robotics take over. In come the Simples…

Post ‘economic collapse’ bio-synthetic humans start off all helpful Disney employee but with no three laws to stop them from murderous rampage. Some of the depictions of how they turned on their humans were quite horrifying, especially as the bloody murders come with added movie quips.

We jump straight into the world and are quickly given a sense of what Hailey has had to do to survive but she soon comes across Giz and Fish – who are perhaps not as helpless or as innocent as they first seem. Together they come up with a plan to survive, or die trying.

The pace is well pitched and there are some quiet moments and a touch of romance too. The characters all seem, pardon the pun, fleshed out, and you can see why Hailey gets drawn into abandoning being alone.

Some of the simps are truly terrifying and a couple of the humans aren’t much better. One negative about the book was the focus on fat shaming a particular character. Their size is mentioned a few too many times and I do wish Hailey hadn’t needed to resort to physical dislike of a character seemingly more than the plethora of other reasons given.

There was a satisfying conclusion and an opening for another book, which I believe there is, although the audio isn’t yet available on UK Amazon. I’ll definitely be picking it up with a fingers crossed for the return of this narrator as she did an amazing job voicing Hailey, swears and all. I am also hoping for much more insight into the simps themselves, both the ones we’ve already met and the ones we probably don’t want to.

Shout out also to the spooky cover – it gave the feel of a crime novel when I first saw it but this is spooky science fiction and entirely my type of post apocalyptic/dystopian read.

I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Dena Nicotra. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.


Q&A with Author Dena Nicotra
  • Tell us about the process of turning your book into an audiobook.
    • It was actually pretty seamless because Kendra Murray is a consummate professional and she made it a very smooth process.
  • Do you believe certain types of writing translate better into audiobook format?
    • I think that any good book can translate well in an audio format, and there’s such a demand for it in our society today.
  • Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    • Not at all. I think that I was more focused on telling the story as a whole. That said, I definitely heard the characters in my head.
  • How did you select your narrator?
    • I had some very specific requirements that I wanted in the narration of Simple. All of my books feature a strong female lead, but Lee is special to me. I knew that I would know her voice when I heard it, and Kendra Murray nailed it.
  • How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process?
    • We have a great rapport. it was almost as if Kendra got in my head and just got me and my vision from the very beginning. I’m not the type to hover and I really wanted to give her free reign to bring it to life, which she did brilliantly.
  • Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    • Yes. We worked very closely on character traits, pronunciations, and even backstories when applicable.
  • Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    • There are definitely some characters in my book that are loosely based on real life inspirations. I study people, and I always patch traits together that I’ve stored in my head.
  • If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    • I’d use it in a heartbeat! I love the concept of time travel! In fact, the first books I published (The Weaver Series) are based on the concept of being able to manipulate time and events. If I could use it, I would go back to my first year in high-school and I’d enjoy it more. Especially that 1965 Mustang I used to have…and I wouldn’t make a left turn in front of that car thinking I had the right of way. I was fine, but my car? Not so much.
  • If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
    • I’d love to see Melanie Scrofano as Lee. Fun fact, I often envisioned Michelle Forbes’s character from the movie, Kalifornia when I wrote Lee. Eddie Redmayne for Giz, Jake Jyllenhaal for Mic, Melissa McBride (Carol from TWD) for Barbara, Jeffrey DeMunn for Ben, and Lois Smith for Maude. As for Sonya, I would have loved to have Lupe Ontiveros. Sadly, she passed away in 2012. It was her portrayal of Yolanda Saldivar that largely inspired the character in my book.
  • Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
    • The idea for Simple came from a dream. I saw Lee walking down a crumbling roadway. It was hot and I could see the heat waves rippling up ahead in the distance. She heard a noise coming from a space down below. I started writing to see where it would go.
  • What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    • I believe that any talent takes nurturance and practice. If you love to write, make the time and never give up. Tell your stories!

  1. Technologic – Daft Punk
  2. Black Sheep – Gin Wigmore
  3. House of the Rising Sun – The Animals
  4. Back to Black – Amy Winehouse
  5. Until We Go Down – Ruelle
  6. Paint it Black – The Rolling Stones
  7. Virtual Insanity – Jamiroquai
  8. Cat People – David Bowie
  9. Brass Tacks – Not In The Face
  10. Hotel California – Eagles

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Posted on August 24, 2020, in Author Interviews, Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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