Monday, 28 December 2015

So Long 2015!

Well 2015 has been a huge year! This year I've learnt more from my failure than my successes and I have been braver than I ever have been before (and than I ever thought I could be).


But let's start off with the most important shall we? Books!

I only read 28 books this year which sounds like a lot but not when you compare it to my 32 from last year and 34 from the year before. I was 7 off my target of 35 and perhaps I'll drop my target down to 30 next year. I've got to say, when you're running your own business, there's a lot less time for reading. But that shouldn't be an excuse so next year I'll aim for 30!

I read some incredible books this year but here are the top ten in the order I read them:

Haze - Paula Weston
Anna Dressed in Blood - Kendare Blake
The Passage - Justin Cronin
Just One Day - Gayle Forman
The Rise of Nine - Pittacus Lore
An Abundance of Katherines - John Green
Shimmer - Paula Weston
Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green and David Levithan
Burn - Paula Weston
Sinner - Maggie Stiefvater

I knew my favourite of 2015 was going to be Burn by Paula Weston even before it came out. I adored the Rephiam Series which I read books 2, 3, and 4 of this year. It is just an outstanding read and anyone who loves YA should go and read it straight away!



Special shout out also to Pittacus Lore whose Lorien Legacies series I picked up this year. I read the first four and can't wait to pick up book five and six next year!

This year I also put three books down without finishing them for the first time ever. What can I say, life is really getting going for me and I don't have time for bad books! No more terrible reads for me! Be afraid, be very afraid.


Now moving onto the blog. . .

I wrote 33 book reviews this year which is something to do with having books from 2014 left over that I hadn't reviewed yet back in January! This is blog 52 of the year so I have again succeeded in blogging once a week! Go me!

My three favourite posts are definitely My Definitive List of Disney Classics , Books Nobody's Reading That Everybody Should Be Reading for #IreadYA , and  NaNoWriMo Pep Talk 2015 so if you want to go back and read something I suggest one of these.



However my most popular post this year was my Insanity for Imprint post which isn't surprising seeing as I posted the link to it everywhere! In fact, it was my most popular post ever!

This year also saw the mark of my 100th Post! which is just insanity.


Now blogging isn't my entire life - shocking, I know - I also do some writing sometimes!

I won some in 2015 (Shortlisted for the Wicked Young Writers Award 2015) and I lost some in 2015 (only wrote 1 book this year.) but I learnt a hell of a lot about writing and about myself.



My NaNo project, Imprint, crashed and burned and I couldn't be more glad. Three days into NaNo I decided enough was enough and threw the thing away. This let me concentrate on what I really wanted to be working on, ZA. (By the way it stands for Zombie Armageddon.) Some of you might recognise the title from 2013 and yes, it's the same novel in essence but I'm revamping it. More drama, more chaos, more gore. It'll be beautiful and shiny and even more terrifying in 2016 so thank you so much Imprint for being so terrible! (Come 'like' ZA on Facebook for all the news!)



I also wrote Hereafter, book two in my After trilogy which I'm super excited about! I wrote Hereafter in just 23 days and loved every word. The After trilogy is causing so much excitement I can barely contain it but at the moment Hereafter is being kept under lock and key until I can give it my full attention.

Thereafter, book one in the After trilogy, is doing fantastically on my favourite writing website in the world, Movellas. This year Thereafter reached 10,000 reads on Movellas which is a fantastic sign for the rest of the trilogy. I'm counting on all the movellians buying it when I get round to releasing it!

Oh and I also released Chancing the Truth, the third book in my Immorality of Immortality trilogy. Gosh I have been busy!




But I swear to you, I've been hard at work too!

One of the reasons 2015 has been so incredible is because I started my very own publishing company: Molten Publishing (you can come and join us on Twitter here!). We are a dynamic publishing house passionate about phenomenal young adult fiction - what else! - and our first release, ZA, will be out next year!





I wonder what's around the corner for next year . . .

Next year will of course bring ZA and the zombie armageddon and I'm so excited for that I could burst!

As well as that I'm going to write book three in the After trilogy and get round to polishing Thereafter and editing Hereafter.

There are so many books still on my shelf but I'm looking forward to The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness and of course more Lorien Legacies books!

And who knows, Molten Publishing might even open for submissions. Definitely stick around for our author events and creative writing workshops though!




Thank you to everyone who reads my blog. Here's to sticking around for 2016!

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and enjoy the most fantastic new year imaginable,

Molly :)


Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly@moltenpublishing.co.uk

Visit me on Facebook / Twitter LinkedIn / Movellas NaNoWriMo

Monday, 21 December 2015

The Power - Rhonda Byrne

A Spoiler Free Bit About The Book

The Power is from the author of the crazily successful The Secret and is all about love and positive thinking.


My Review

Now this is a little strange for me because not only is this book not YA, it's also not fiction at all. I'm not sure if this is why it took me so long to read or because I was swimming in the deep sea of NaNoWriMo.

The Power is unlike anything I've ever read. I've never read a self-help book before (can I even call it that?) but this one made me think that maybe I'd like to read another. It was so full of great positive lines that I would feel fantastic after picking it up and reading a little section. It made me buzz with smiles and try and put the teachings into action . . . but that's easier said than done. The longer I went from picking it up, the harder I found the message to digest. It seems a lot more difficult to action in the real world. Byrne is teaching that you can just ignore emotions like sadness and anger but in reality, this is a mammoth task. I don't know whether this can be counted as a flaw of the book but the further removed I become from it, the more I found I couldn't do what Byrne suggests.

I'm not going to pretend to be an expert on non-fiction books but I will say this: The Power was incredibly repetitive. Love is the strongest force. Love don't hate. Turn away from hate and negative emotions. If you believe you receive. They are all the basic messages. The Power seemed to me to be these phrases repeated and re-worded and over-explained over and over again. Don't get me wrong, the message was beautiful, but she seemed to run out of material insanely quickly. Although it is a phenomenal performance of writing so much and saying so little.

Though don't get the wrong impression, I did enjoy it, it just started to exhaust me after a while and I was glad when it was over. I'm grateful for the messages Byrne teaches in The Power, but I felt like I needed a lie down afterwards.


Evaluation

Overall 6/10

Would I recommend it? Yes. If you need a little pick-me-up, this book is for you!

Would I look up the author? No. I think sticking to my YA fiction is the best bet.


The Power was a beautiful read though rather too repetitive for me.



*Author Note: I have for so long been proud of saying I've reviewed every book I've read for the past two and a half years but now that I own my own business and am reading non-fiction also it just doesn't make sense. The Power will be my last non-fiction review. I will however continue to review all fiction that I read. The non-fiction will still be added to my 'Books Read' list and given a star rating on Goodreads but there will be no review. If you want to know what I thought of one of these non-fiction books please feel free to ask! Thanks and love to everyone reading my blog!*


Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly@moltenpublishing.co.uk

Visit me on Facebook / Twitter LinkedIn / Movellas NaNoWriMo

Monday, 14 December 2015

Secret Life of a Book Blogger

Welcome to my Secret Life of a Book Blogger post! Thanks so much to Georgia from Stories in Books for tagging me!

1. How long have you been a blogger? Two and a half years on this blog. I tried blogging a few times before and could never really get on with it. But now I think it's stuck!

2. At what point do you think you'll stop blogging? I don't want to stop! But I think the busier I get the harder it will be to update weekly. But hopefully I won't stop!

3. What is the best thing about blogging? Writing in a different way than I'm used to. Writing non-fiction posts once a week helps me grow as a writer and of course reviewing all the books I read helps too!

4. What is the worst thing? Having to set it all up the way I want it. Font, size, all that jazz. It's all about the words for me so the formatting really bores the pants off me.

5. How long does it take you to create/find pictures to use? I don't tend to use pictures - like I said, it's all about the words. It would be incredible to be able to create my own artwork though wouldn't it?

6. Who is your book crush? Book crush? Character from a book you mean? Rafa from the Rephiam Series by Paula Weston off the top of my head.

7. What author would you like to have on your blog? Any and all of them! But specifically Carrie Ryan, Moira Young, Paula Weston, Patrick Ness, Michael Grant, and of course J.K. Rowling.

8. What do you wear when you write your blog posts? Whatever I'm wearing that day . . . this seems like a bizarre question. More often than not I'm wearing jeans. Scratch that, I'm always wearing jeans.

9.  How long does it take you to prepare? It depends what it is. My book reviews start off as bullet points as I'm reading a book and sometimes they take me half an hour to write but sometimes they can take me an hour. Depends on how much I loved or hated a book!

10. How do you feel about the book blogger community? I think it's brilliant and I wish I knew more book bloggers!

11. What do you think one should do to get a successful blog? Writing interesting posts that people want to read is a must but I think more importantly getting your personality across. That's the difference between a blog post and an article, right?


I'm so glad to have been a part of this! Now back to work . . .




Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly@moltenpublishing.co.uk

Visit me on Facebook / Twitter LinkedIn / Movellas NaNoWriMo

Monday, 7 December 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 Post #6


Week Four

Day Twenty-Two - 2,019 words, 3 cups of tea - 50k reached! NaNo has been beaten for another year!

Day Twenty-Three - 2,055 words, 3 cups of tea - No time to celebrate. I've got a novel to finish!

Day Twenty-Four - 4,223 words, 4 cups of tea 

Day Twenty -Five - 2,094 words, 4 cups of tea 

Day Twenty-Six - 2,279 words, 4 cups of tea 

Day Twenty-Seven - 4,112 words, 4 cups of tea 

Day Twenty-Eight - 2,063 words, 2 cups of tea 


Week four has been quite a ride. I reached 50,000 and 70,000 words by the end of November. I also stuck to my 2,000 words a day for ZA. I came from giving up a book on day three and starting anew on day four and look at me now. Anything is possible. I may not have finished yet but . . .


I have WON NaNoWriMo for the fifth year in a row. 

Time for a celebration! And then back to writing . . .


The Extra Days

Day Twenty-Nine - 2,147 words, 1 cup of tea 

Day Thirty - 2,268 words, 4 cups of tea 


Well NaNoWriMo, you are once again defeated. You are yet to taste my defeat and I've got a lot of novels left in me yet! See you next year . . .


Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly@moltenpublishing.co.uk

Visit me on Facebook / Twitter LinkedIn / Movellas NaNoWriMo

Monday, 30 November 2015

NaNo Pep Talk 2015 (Post #5)

Now many people compare NaNoWriMo to climbing a mountain or running a marathon and that’s great but I’ve never done either of those things and I’m sure a lot of people haven’t either. So I thought it would make a lot more sense if the journey of NaNo was turned into a story. Now that’s something we can all get on board with.

“Mighty warrior! Where have you been? No, no, no. No excuses. Planning, what’s that? No. The Kingdom’s in danger! Don’t ask questions! Just go!”

You manage to catch yourself as the irritating wizard pushes you out the door. A world of light and colour and possibility is stretched out in front of you but you have no idea where to go. There are various paths you could wander down or you could make your own. You think about it for a moment, tapping your fingers on the hilt of your sword, and make your choice.

Though the journey seems perilous at first, the day is actually quite bright. You’re making good time, enjoying the walk as you make your way deeper and deeper into the forest. A shiver runs up your spine and you rub your arms for warmth as you continue on and on. You can’t remember when this feeling took hold of you but its immense grip is unyielding. Now the trees are getting thicker and thicker and you can’t see the glory of the Kingdom no matter which way you turn. You keep treading your path but it feels more ridiculous each minute. What were you thinking setting out on this journey? You thought you were prepared, but now you’re in the forest, stuck and lost, you’re not so sure.

Giving up seems pretty good right now. There’s a little sheltered area by that tree you could curl up in. The morning would come and you would make your way back. But no. Having to face the irritating wizard with failure is more than you can stomach, so you stumble on ahead.
Goblins giggle from out of sight, winding your nerves tighter and tighter. They enjoy mocking you and dancing along the path in front of you. They’re waiting for you to pay attention to them. Waiting for you to change your mind. You do not.

The fatigue is starting to tear you down now. You’re not sure where you’re going or if you’re going to get there. You just stagger through the forest trying not to trip and when you do fall, you dust yourself off and get straight back up, though you’re not sure why.
You want to cry when a huge ogre shows its head, roaring louder than any sound you’ve ever heard. You discover two options, fight the ogre or sneak around it. With your brain just about working, you make your choice.

Just when you start to see the Kingdom in the distance and feel a pull in your heart so strong you want to drop to your knees, a dragon appears. Its enormous frame and thick tail overwhelms you but you have no choice. There’s no way around this one and no turning back now. The Kingdom is just there. Only a short walk away. You can’t give up now. You’re so close.
Yelling with a passion you thought had long since abandoned you, you fight the gigantic beast. Over and over again you are almost defeated but you manage to dodge and slice your way to victory.
You are unsteady on your feet as you limp to the Kingdom, wondering if it was all worth it. But what’s that? In the distance?

Cheering.

Thousands of people flood through the gates and throw you up into the air, carrying you inside. The colours and sounds of happiness and freedom envelop you and you have a moment to celebrate before you collapse into the sleep you so deserve.

You did it.

You’re a true hero.

I believe in you, mighty warrior. I await here with a feast just for you. If you listen hard, you might just hear me cheering. 

First Blogged on Movellas

Read my NaNo Pep Talk from 2014

Read my How To Survive NaNoWriMo blog 

Want to be NaNo buddies? Me too! I'll add everyone. NaNo is more fun with friends. 
Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly@moltenpublishing.co.uk

Visit me on Facebook / Twitter LinkedIn / Movellas NaNoWriMo

Monday, 23 November 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 Post #4




Week Three


Day Fifteen - 2,010 words, 0 cups of tea - I feel the tears coming. More to come tomorrow!

Day Sixteen - 3,427 words, 2 cups of tea - Sobbed my heart out!

Day Seventeen - 2,428 words, 2 cups of tea 

Day Eighteen - 2,029 words, 1 cup of tea 

Day Nineteen - 2,634 words, 2 cups of tea - Writing by hand is wonderful for a day. Not so much to type up though!

Day Twenty - 2,500 words, 4 cups of tea 

Day Twenty-One - 2,049 words, 1 cup of tea - Tomorrow I shall reach 50,000 words!


Week Three reminded me of what NaNo is all about. I had to juggle the real world as well as the Zombie Armageddon and week three, though I usually find it to be the easiest week, taught me to keep on fighting! I will stop for nothing until this novel is complete!

Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly@moltenpublishing.co.uk

Visit me on Facebook / Twitter LinkedIn / Movellas NaNoWriMo

Monday, 16 November 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 Post #3



Week Two


Day Eight - 2,211 words, 1 cup of tea - Awesome, awesome, awesome!

Day Nine - 3,051 words, 3 cups of tea - Back on target!

Day Ten - 4,088 words, 4 cups of tea - Loving every second! Ahead of target now!

Day Eleven - 2,617 words, 2 cups of tea - Cracked 20k!

Day Twelve - 3,694 words, 3 cups of tea - Noticing how my tea intake is starting to affect my word count . . . Half way there!

Day Thirteen - 2,860 words, 4 cups of tea.

Day Fourteen - 2,937 words, 0 cups of tea.


Week two was steady and tough towards the end but every day I write it gets easier to sit down and write. I find I have to sit with my word document open for less time each day to get the words out and that's a magnificent feeling. Although I'm 30k in and not half way done . . . who knows how long this draft of ZA is going to be? I'm excited to find out!

Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly@moltenpublishing.co.uk

Visit me on Facebook / Twitter LinkedIn / Movellas NaNoWriMo

Monday, 9 November 2015

NaNoWriMo 2015 Post #2


Week One

Day One - 5,094 words, 6 cups of tea - Why am I even writing? It shouldn't be this hard! Every sentence is a struggle. I should've picked that other project. This is the worst idea ever. I should just stop now. This novel is awful. I'm wasting my time.

Day Two - 3,011 words, 3 cups of tea - Why should misery be the price of a huge word count? It shouldn't. Writing is my passion. NaNoWriMo is my friend. Why am I acting as though it's my enemy? I need to slow down. Forget 5K. Forget Insanity for Imprint. I'm out of love with writing and that is just not an option.

Day Three - 1,000 words, 1 cup of tea - Why should I write a book I hate? Time to mix it up!

Day Four - 62 words, 3 cups of tea - I'll be ready to rock and roll tomorrow!

Day Five - 2,967 words, 4 cups of tea - Yes! Gosh how I've missed ZA!

Day Six - 4,046 words, 3 cups of tea - Actually scaring myself with this draft. That's never happened before.

Day Seven - 2,773 words, 4 cups of tea - It is crazy how easy it feels to be writing ZA again. So happy!


Week one has been a roller coaster. Day one was the first time since I started tapping away at the keyboard at age fourteen that I've been out of love with writing and that terrified me more than any spider or zombie ever could. This NaNoWriMo I've already learnt something that's invaluable. A love of writing is far greater than any word count number. The mighty Rogue and I made a truce for our sanity and our novels.


But the race is far from over.

I decided to scrap Imprint. The characters weren't working for me. The universe wasn't working for me. It was making me miserable and that's not what NaNo's about.

So it's time to welcome back the zombie armageddon as I am now re-writing my first ever NaNo novel, ZA.




Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly@moltenpublishing.co.uk

Visit me on Facebook / Twitter LinkedIn / Movellas NaNoWriMo

Monday, 2 November 2015

How to Survive NaNoWriMo (Post #1)



Hey! @[Molly Looby] here, NaNoWriMo survivor and – dare I say – extraordinaire?

I’ve taken part in NaNo four times so far but more importantly, I’ve won four times. Now, I can’t tell you how to win – that’s down to you – but I can help you survive and have a fantastic November.
First of all: put your butt in that chair and write. I know this sounds stupid but this is basic NaNo etiquette. It doesn’t matter if your words are full of typos. It doesn’t matter if they’re not in order. It doesn’t even matter if the story isn’t working or isn’t making sense.

Just. Write. The. Words.

I know this is hard, especially if you’re plagued by your inner editor, but this is how to survive. If you sit in the chair and turn off your internet connection, at some point you will start writing. What takes down most Wrimos? Falling behind. Whatever is happening, you must do your words. Think of it as life homework that’s due in tomorrow. (This is not an excuse not to do your actual homework!)

Putting yourself in that chair and forcing the words out, even if it’s painful, is a must I’m afraid.

Survival step two: have fun. Get excited! I’m being serious. I have so much fun during NaNo and it’s the main reason I do it. It’s great to do something this crazy once a year. It reminds you that you’re human and there are thousands of people out there as crazy and passionate as you are. Write through laughter. Write through tears. Write through caffeine buzzes and fatigue. NaNoWriMo is all about the fun. You’ll get pep talks and emails throughout the month spurring you on and making you laugh and giving you the encouragement you need to do step one: put butt in chair.

If you make it fun, you’ll keep coming back day after day and that’s half the battle.

My third tip is to live and breathe your story. Now, don’t laugh, but I do some weird stuff when I’m in the middle of a novel. I like to pretend I am my protagonist. No laughing! It honestly is a lifesaver. Whenever you’re not writing it’s great to do this. If you’re waiting for a bus, think about what your protagonist would do while waiting for a bus. Would they chat to the people around them? Would they disappear under a hood and pretend they were somewhere else? This allows you to truly know your protagonist inside and out and once you know that, the whole writing thing is so much easier. And sometimes plot points wander into your head while you’re doing this too because what if something dramatic happened while they were waiting for a bus?

If you live and breathe your story, you’ll feel the need to get the words out no matter what.

My las tip is a sort of extra. It’s something I discovered last year that helped me complete NaNo in record time. (This and a particularly intense word war situation). I covered up my word count. I know, that sounds too easy, right? But honestly, it’s incredible. I would just sit and write and write and write. By the end of the day/writing session, I’d always written way more than I would with my total uncovered. I realised last year that I had become obsessed with my word count and exhausted as soon as I reached my target for the day. By covering up my word count, I wrote so much more because I was terrified of not reaching my target. It is the most satisfying thing to rip off the post-it-note and discover that you’ve written over 4,000 words! Honestly, I felt like I had a superpower.

To me, these steps are all you really need. Character outlines or no character outlines. Plot ideas or no plot ideas. As long as you put your butt in the chair, have fun, and live and breathe your story, you’re in for a great chance of lasting till day 30.

It’s not all about winning, it’s about battling the NaNo demons until you pass out and achieving what you never thought you could.


See you at the finish line, I’ll be the one cheering and hugging everyone. 


First Blogged on Movellas.

Read my NaNo Pep Talk from 2014!

Want to be NaNo buddies? Me too! I'll add everyone. NaNo is more fun with friends. 
Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly@moltenpublishing.co.uk

Visit me on Facebook / Twitter LinkedIn / Movellas NaNoWriMo

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Sinner - Maggie Stiefvater

A Spoiler Free Bit About The Book

Sinner is a companion to the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy (Shiver, Linger, Forever), which I loved. But this is even more exciting because it's featuring the two characters I loved the most: Cole and Isabel.


My Review


I cannot express how excited I was when I discovered this book existed. Just Cole and Isabel? Perfection! Don't get me wrong, I liked Sam and Grace (the protagonists in the Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy) but not nearly as much as I adored Cole and Isabel. If anyone's read the GONE series by Michael Grant and fallen in love with Caine and Diana, this is exactly the same kind of disastrous relationship.

However, saying all this, I was worried that I'd been away from these characters too long and would get confused by mention of previous plot. It was two years ago that I finished the trilogy (so long ago it was before I started writing reviews) and to be honest, the finer details of the story have long since vacated my brain. I didn't have to worry though. Stiefvater only mentioned previous events in passing and in general so I didn't get lost.

Stiefvater is a master at description. It's little and often, and when I say often, I mean almost every other line. Usually that would grate on me in one chapter but it didn't. That's because Stiefvater is so incredible at crafting it that you don't realise you're reading description. That's a huge plus for me. I usually tire of description in two sentences. It was always in the perfect place and almost always made me think.

Although I may have forgotten the workings of the trilogy, I was reminded in chapter one why I loved Cole so much. I was so glad to be back with him and I felt the exact same way when Isabel appeared in chapter two. They both felt so real and so complete that they're impossible to fault in my opinion. They might be dramatic at times but it fits and it makes total sense. Cole and Isabel are two of the greatest characters I've ever read due to their complexity and heart. There was so much truth in them, it hurt. I was truly amazed. Awe isn't a strong enough word.

There were so many sarcastic and phenomenal one liners that I wanted to write in my notebook but had to stop myself. I would've filled the thing. I laughed and gasped aloud and lived and breathed with them in California.

I know I'm pretty much fangirling at this point but it was perfection, perfection, perfection! In the most imperfect human way possible.

With lines like this: "I let my gaze eat the world", how did you expect me to put it down?


Evaluation



Overall 10/10



Would I recommend it? Yes. I was blown away.



Would I look up the author? Yes. In the process of buying and reading more Stiefvater.



Sinner was perfection in the most imperfect human way possible.


Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly@moltenpublishing.co.uk

Visit me on Facebook / Twitter LinkedIn / Movellas NaNoWriMo

Monday, 19 October 2015

Insanity for Imprint: a NaNo Challenge

Most of you know how nutty I am about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month - writing 50,000 - or a novel, really - in 30 days). It's my favourite writing event of the year and is the reason I average two books a year. One at a leisurely pace in the summer and then a crazy one month sprint in November. However, NaNo fever gets stronger in me each and every single November and that caused my leisurely pace to become 23 days this year without the pressure of NaNo.

Am I crazy? I don't know. But one thing's for certain, it's getting too easy. 
50,000 goal reached: Day 29 (2011), Day 21 (2012), Day 22 (2013), Day 12 (2014).

Time to kick it up a notch. 
 (Note: Futurama references are always welcome.)
And how you ask? How will I make the craziest writing event even harder? Well, with a little something I'm calling Insanity for Imprint.

Imprint is the (current) title for my NaNo '15 project and as this is my fifth year of NaNo, I knew I'd have to do something great.

When I was small, I used to hate the number five for some reason. I have a feeling I'm going to hate it even more this November. I'm pledging right here, right now, to write:

5,000 WORDS A DAY


Wait, can I take it back? Whoops, too late.

My writing friend and NaNo nemesis Midnight Rogue has challenged me to a ten day NaNo and after she beat me by about 12 hours last year, I am not settling for second place again.

To sum up, NaNo - for normal people - looks like this:



Last year for me it looked like this:


And this year it's going to look like this:

To encourage me in this, quite frankly, ridiculous target, please donate to NaNoWriMo via my stay classy fundraising page, IMPRINT - NaNo'15. NaNoWriMo is a fantastic cause because stories matter. So I'm making sure the world is full of them.

Be ready, November. I'm coming to get you.

Molly - Wrimo

Want to be NaNo buddies? Me too! I'll add everyone. NaNo is more fun with friends. 



Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly@moltenpublishing.co.uk

Visit me on Facebook / Twitter LinkedIn / Movellas NaNoWriMo

Monday, 12 October 2015

Editing and Critiquing

As some of you may know, I now offer editing and critiquing services. This includes query submission critique, line editing, developmental editing, writing coach services, and book reviews. All the details you need to know are on my Editing and Critiquing page which you can access in the top right or by clicking here!

If you need help with your work or know someone who does, please let me know! I would love to help.

There are some exciting things coming up next year and I can't wait to tell you about them, but meanwhile I am here for all your editing and critiquing needs. Drop me a comment or email and I'll get back to you right away.

Also, thank you to everyone who has encouraged and supported me during all of my projects.

2016 is going to be big!


Molly Looby
Author / Editor in Chief at Molten Publishing / Freelance Editor / Writing Coach / Reviewer / Blogger / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly@moltenpublishing.co.uk

Visit me on Facebook / Twitter LinkedIn / Movellas / NaNoWriMo

Monday, 5 October 2015

Burn - Paula Weston


Burn is book four in the fantastic Rephiam Series. Please be aware that Shadows, Haze and Shimmer come before this!


A Spoiler Free Bit About The Book


Gaby remembers everything . . . 



My Review


What can I say? I knew I'd love this book before it was even out. There's just something about this universe and these characters that makes me want to read and read and read and never put the books down. I was so excited to read the prologue I had to stop myself making excited noises and my heart was racing. Like all other readers, I was desperate to know Gaby's whole story at last.

Weston went about this in the absolute best way. Instead of trying to explain all that had happened leading up to Gaby's memory loss and making the writing clunky and awkward, Weston let us live it with her. And when I'm alongside Gaby, I'm all kinds of ready. It was fascinating to be beside Gabe for once and not the Gaby I'd come to know and love.

It was amazing how Gaby and Gabe were the same person a year apart and yet they were so different. Gaby's much softer and . . . wait, I really want this to make sense . . . Gaby has more memories and therefore sees the world a little differently and that subtle difference between the past and present in this story makes me want to bow down to Weston because it is nothing short of perfection.

And just as I get my head round explaining that, Weston blows me away by doing so in less than fifteen words:
"I've been someone else for a whole year; I'm a different shape now."
As with all four of these books, you get a such-a-long-day kind of feeling as you battle right beside Gaby. It's incredible that I can feel as though I'm living all of it. It really is a masterpiece.

I was in the middle of  Burn for about thirty-three hours. Twenty-five of which I was awake and obsessing about it. I couldn't sleep for thinking about it. Then, when it was all over, I was so lost. I felt like I was missing something . . . no, someone.

I miss Gaby already!

FAVOURITE BOOK OF THE YEAR!



Evaluation


Overall 10/10

Would I recommend it? Yes! In a heartbeat! 

Would I look up the author? Yes but I don't have to.



Burn was everything I was expecting and then a whole lot more.


Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly.looby@hotmail.com

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Will Grayson, Will Grayson - John Green and David Levithan

Blurb

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two strangers cross paths. Two teens with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, culminating in heroic turns-of-heart and the most epic musical ever to grace the high-school stage.


My Review

I've been saving this book for a long time as it's the last John Green book I haven't read. Instead of being sad when it was over, I was thrilled because I'd found a new author I was excited about - David Levithan.

I didn't think it was possible, but I loved Levithan's chapters more than Green's. I know. I was shocked too.

The chatty insightful narrative hooked me at once and I was in. I recognised Green's style straight away and was pulled into the familiar ebb and flow of his writing. I thought it was odd how easy it was for me to pick out which of the Will Grayson's was Green's, but that just meant that both styles were so different which is what this book needed.

There's not really much I can say about this book other than I loved it. It was funny and deep and beautiful, but all Green's books are. I've come to expect that.

All I can say is that I felt like I wasn't reading this book. I just jumped right in and lived there.


Evaluation

Overall 9/10

Would I recommend it? Yes

Would I look up the author? Yes. I've read all of John Green's books now but I'm definitely going to be looking up David Levithan.


Will Grayson, Will Grayson was funny, insightful and beautiful, but what else did I expect from two masters of YA?


Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly.looby@hotmail.com

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Third Circle - Jerry Beckett

Blurb

An old-fashioned adventure set in western Cornwall. A spirit of immense power is seeking to destroy our world. Our last defence lies in the weathered stone circles of Cornwall, but their resilience is failing as they crumble away. Karin is dying from a family sickness. She is healed by having the dried blood of an ancestor bound into her veins. It imbues her with power from the ancient land of Cornwall, and she is shown how to use that power in defence of the stone circles by a mystic called Ambrose Pearce. A local farmer, Jago Struck, is possessed by the spirit. His family has long sought to destroy the stone circles. He kidnaps Karin's brother Denzil in the hope of getting similar power for himself and his master. The evil spirit strives to break through the stone circles that form age-old barriers protecting the land. The circles are weakening, especially the Third Circle at Tregeseal. Karin's power and connection with the land may be the only hope. That hope begins to fail when Denzil enters the battle ... against his sister.


My Review

I found it strange that while reading Third Circle, all I could hear was the Cornish accent Jerry would do whilst reading chapters of this out. I am lucky enough to go to the same writers' club as Jerry and I couldn't help hearing his voice in the dialogue of his characters. I think that's a compliment as it was a while ago that he read chapters of this to us and that proves that something about this story has stayed with me.

I'm also glad that I got to read Third Circle from the beginning at last. I've got to tell you, the whole thing makes a lot more sense if you read it from the start! But the same things shone through as when I first heard chapters: the charm of the story and the characters. It's so rare to find a book so different but this is a great example. 

Third Circle is filled with magic, adventure and a British-ness I couldn't help but love. Plus it has the added bonus of being unlike anything I've ever read before.



Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly.looby@hotmail.com

Monday, 14 September 2015

The Fall of Five - Pittacus Lore

This is book four in the Lorien Legacies series - which I highly recommend - so if you don't want books 1, 2 and 3 spoilt, please don't read on!


A Spoiler Free Bit About The Book


The whole gang gets together at last!



My Review

Okay, out of all four of the Lorien Legacies books I've read so far, this was my least favourite, so it was sort of disappointing because the third one was my favourite. 

It felt too slow to start considering how fast and action-packed book three was. This had me struggling to get into it like the others that I could hardly put down.

It was also sometimes difficult to follow. Each book brings a new point of view. Book one was Four/John Smith then we added Marina/Seven in book two and Six in book three and now Sam. I'm not saying that I don't like these POVs. I actually think it's amazing that I like them all. But you can tell who is speaking at a glance based on the fonts used but now some of the fonts are similar and I had to really concentrate to figure out who was in charge. But during one scene, it jumped around so much I almost completely lost what was going on. It was such a shame because Lore's action sequences are usually so clear.

The ending was a bit boring to be honest with you. I've come to expect a certain level of wow with these books and this one just didn't pack as much of a punch. I got to the exciting part and I started turning pages and getting into it and then it ended. I was like, "oh . . . it's over?"

But even after all this, it was still great.



Evaluation


Overall 8/10


Would I recommend it? Yes. I love this series.

Would I look up the author? Yes. I will be reading book five as soon as I get my hands on it.



The Fall of  Five wasn't quite as good as its predecessors but it was still great.


Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly.looby@hotmail.com

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Starcrossed - Josephine Angelini

A Spoiler Free Bit About The Book

Helen hates Lucas . . . I couldn't read much more of it after that.

My Review

The first thing you should know is that I avoided Starcrossed for years because the theme of Fire and Ice, the novel I've been perfecting, is also about two people who hate-love each other. Now I'm all done with it, I'm ready to read my competition.

I shouldn't have worried.

The first adverb was a doosey: 'optimistically'. How does that not jar for everyone reading? Plus, it couldn't be more superfluous. And in the second sentence of the novel. My hope plummeted after this. There were a load more adverbs, a lot of them embarrassing like this one. 'Lamely' for example was used more than once in the fifty pages I read. But you don't need me barking on about that. I've got a lot more to say about Starcrossed.

What stuck out to me was the 'telling'. Now I admit, 'telling' and not 'showing' is a hard thing to master but that's what separates new authors and ones that have stuck with their craft. I felt like Angelini had so much still to learn and yet someone had published her book? It wasn't just me being picky, I swear, we were told way too much in the first three pages. Three. A lot of it was easy to work out too but for some reason Angelini had to tell me who Helen's best friend was. Really? You don't think I could've worked that out for myself? The fact that Helen's pleased to see her? The fact she has a nickname for her? The fact that they talk easy together? No? That's not good enough. . . . well what do I know? I've never been published. *mumbles profanities about the publishing industry*

Even worse was the dialogue! It was so forced I was cringing. No one has conversations like these! I think they were supposed to be funny but I was just focusing on getting through this first disaster of a chapter, and I tell you, it was a challenge.

By less than ten pages in, I decided I at least had to wait for the love interest, Lucas, to show up before dropping the book like it was infectious and I'd catch its case of terrible. It was a long old wait. It's funnier if I give you an accurate representation of my thoughts while reading up until we meet Lucas.

Wait . . . I think I've read this somewhere before . . . "The entire family was supposed to be unbelievably smart and beautiful and wealthy". Hmm. I know everyone is still getting a kick out of hating Twilight (Whatever, I liked it when I was fifteen) but come on. This sentence alone shows that Meyer did it better. A hundred times better! Jeez.

I'm sorry, this is too hilarious. She's already complaining about Lucas and she hasn't even met him. Why would she have any inclination to do that? What, people who've read this book to the end? Something about them being like Greek God enemies or something ridiculous? I can't believe this book is a real thing.

I need to meet Lucas . . . now. But I also quite like my brain and I don't want it to up and walk out so I've got to skim. I have to. For the sake of my sanity.

Jeez . . . there's a lot of faff. On and on and on it goes. Give me Lucas! I've made a commitment dammit!

My god these characters are annoying.

What? Chapter two and still no Lucas? I'm on page 40 for crying out loud! I need this nightmare to be over! I'm not sure how much more I can take . . .

Yes! At last! Lucas. Oh my goodness, do I want to cry right now? I've never been so happy to see a character I haven't met yet. But there he is: "Then Helen saw Lucas for the first time".

Wait, what?

The paragraph following is a description of the weather? No! Give me a description of Lucas for god's sake! I can't even . . .

Okay, I'm sorry. This is too hilarious. She rushes over and then collapses? What is this? Where is the subtlety? About seven hundred miles away it seems.

I'm done. Okay. I can't. I'm done.

Well . . . at least I can say one thing for certain. I did it better.


Evaluation

Overall 1/10 - DID NOT FINISH

Would I recommend it? No. I wasn't ever sure what was supposed to draw me in and keep reading.

Would I look up the author? No. Angelini has so much still to learn


Starcrossed  reached a new level of not wanting to finish a book.


Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly.looby@hotmail.com

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Shimmer - Paula Weston

Shimmer is book three in the Rephiam series so Shadow and Haze spoilers might lurk here. Please be warned. Also, go and read Shadow and Haze right this instant! You won't regret it.


A Little Bit of Blurb

Gaby thought her life couldn't get more complicated. She was wrong.


My Review

Okay, readers of my blog will know how much I love this book series. I included it in my 'Books Nobody's Reading That Everyone Should Be Reading' blog. Third place no less. That means these books have done a serious number on my heart. I also want to invite Gaby to 'My YA Imaginary Literary Tea Party'. In fact, I want Gaby to be my best friend. I'm serious.

I wanted to point that out so you know how difficult it is for me to say anything bad about these books but I felt like I should try, you know, for the sake of a review. Okay, here we go . . .

The 'Who's Who' at the beginning made me worry that I wouldn't remember all the characters and how they fit together. After all, there are so many characters in these books and some of them have quite similar names. (Malachi and Micah got me a few times). Unfortunately, I was correct in my worrying. Twenty pages in and I was struggling to get my head round everyone and everything that was going on. And I'm usually really good at remembering characters. I'm such a character person and I felt bad for not remembering everyone. It took a long time but eventaully I got my bearings. With another series I wouldn't have had the patience but I love Gaby so much so . . .

I also struggled with the Sanctuary itself. It's such a huge place with so many different rooms and functions that I had to wing it a bit. I didn't know how things connected or how the place was supposed to look but I didn't care that much. Like I said, I'm all about the characters so I didn't let it bother me that much.

The last thing I could think of to criticise was that Weston describes a lot of smells. Yeah, you can see I'm kinda nit-picking now. I'm not even sure this is a criticsm. I just haven't seen many authors describe smells before and each time it happened I was like "Huh, okay . . .".

But who am I kidding? Of course I loved every page!

Most of the book is one day - actually I think the whole thing is a twenty-four hour period - and that made me feel as exhausted as Gaby but I think that was the desired effect. As an author myself, I know how difficult that is. I couldn't write a book that takes place just over one day! That's such an achievment in my eyes!

I'm so not sorry to be in love with this series. I know it's not perfect, no book is, but I want to know the Rephaim. Each and every one of them. I could read about them all day. The connection I have to these characters is much more important than remembering who exactly was who - of course I remembered my favourites and the main characters. It is rare to be so engrossed by a book that you can't let it out of your sight. I wanted to cry when Gaby did. I laughed with her. I lived her life in Shimmer and that is more incredile than these 'literary masterpieces' you get. Whatever, I like supernatural YA. I love Weston's world and that's all that matters.

Okay, I'm done gushing.

I need the next one!



It's strange to think that by the time this review goes live I will have Burn in my hands. Well, I better! I need it!

Evaluation

Overall 8/10 - but in my heart I wanted to give a 10!

Would I recommend it? Yes. Oh my goodness, yes!

Would I look up the author? Yes but she's not written anything else yet. I'll be waiting for whatever it is though. I need more Weston books in my life!


Shimmer was confusing at times but incredible. I can't get enough of the Rephiam!


Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready
molly.looby@hotmail.com