Wednesday, 31 July 2013

ZA stands for Zombie Armageddon

For those of you who are unaware, ZA stands for Zombie Armageddon, as the title of course suggests.  And just happens to be the title of one of my novels.  To celebrate the fact that it is almost time to unleash it to the world (just waiting on the front cover) I thought I'd give you a little bit of a back story.

ZA was my first go at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which is the most exciting writing event of the year.  NaNoWriMo takes place every November and you have to write 50,000 words in 30 days to win.  I'm so pleased to say that during  NaNoWriMo 2011 I won with ZA.  See, here's the proof:
Nothing is as exciting as having to forget everything else and just write!

Check out NaNoWriMo here:

About the book itself.  Well, it follows Zane, my protagonist during, you guessed it, the ZA but with this twist.  The ZA starts off as a disease called Juvenile Virus which is primarily airborne and kills children under eight years old.  But one day it begins to spread to pregnant women and the death toll rises.  And then they start to wake up.

As well as Zane, we follow his girlfriend, Callie, her zombie expert brother, Jai, Callie's best friend, Gemma, Callie's parents and Zane's mum as they are forced to learn about, fight and kill the dead.  But for Zane, there's something worse than the ZA. 

His worst fear comes to life.

The blurb goes a little bit like this: 

The Zombie Armageddon . . . yeah I know.  How unlikely is it, right?
"There are no such things as zombies."
I've heard it all before but I'll never hear it again.
There are a few simple rules: Get supplies.  Stay hidden.  If they come, run.  Fast.
After all, this wasn't a video game and we only have one life each.

If you're not interested yet, how about this: It's going to be free!

Yes, ZA will be a free e-book download for your Kindle.

I hope I'm getting everyone excited.  I most certainly am.

So if you love zombies or horror, my writing, my blog, please help me out by 'liking' ZA's Facebook page and spreading the word.  I mean, why ever not?  It's going to be free!

ZA's Facebook page:

I will be forever grateful.

Molly Looby
Author / Editor / Ghost Writer / Writing Coach

Got something to say, want me to do some freelance work or perhaps tell me something I don't know about writing (go on, test me!)?  Email me on:

Monday, 29 July 2013

Revived - Cat Patrick

A Spoiler Free Bit About the Book
‘Revived’ is the story of Daisy, a girl taking part in a government project.  Daisy is helping them to test a drug called Revive.  Revive can bring you back to life if your body isn’t damaged.  Daisy has been revived five times.  With each ‘revive’ comes a new surname a new town and a new school as no one can know she’s still alive.

My Review

I’d like to start off with the fact that I didn’t have very high expectations of the book.  I bought it because I devoured ‘Forgotten’ Cat Patrick’s debut novel and needed more, even if ‘Revived’ is nothing to do with ‘Forgotten’.  I didn’t think too much to the blurb or the cover or anything but as ‘Forgotten’ was so amazing, I gave it a go. 

I am more than happy to say that within the first few sentences I was proven wrong.  I am also more than happy to say that it was difficult to put down at all.  Usually about half way through a book I won’t be able to put it down but not with ‘Revive’, oh no.  I couldn’t put ‘Revive’ down from page one.  I read the entire thing in three days, bearing in mind I had my own writing to do and other things to do.  If I’d had a free day I’m sure I would’ve read it all.  I believe this because on one of the three days I read just over two-hundred pages.

First of all, the idea.  For not being sold from the blurb, I was surprised by how much I loved it.  I am in awe of Cat Patrick.  She has managed to write two books set in the real world based on ideas I’ve never read anywhere else or seen or even thought myself.  I think that’s what blew me away the most – Patrick’s incredible imagination.   I also liked the way the drug affected the characters, how it changed them, how they viewed it and how their opinions changed as the novel went on and what they believed was challenged.

The main plot was brilliant.  Every time I turned a page I was just thinking, what now?  What now?  What now?  I couldn’t get enough of it.  The idea of the drug makes you curious too.  You want to know how it works and how long it’s been around and what you can be brought back from.  And not to tease you or anything, but the ending of ‘Revive’ was incredible.  I say this because the twist at the end – as there often is – I did not see coming.  I guess I should have and maybe I was just blind to it or reading too fast but I had no idea that it was coming.  I may have even gasped aloud when I read it.

For me, the main plot – which I’ve just said was amazing – was overshadowed by the sub plot.  I can’t tell you what it is because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone but all I will say was that it was beautiful and tasteful and so right.  It was heartbreaking but perfect.
Onto my favourite thing in the world: characters.  There was nothing special about these characters in particular but that was the way it was supposed to be (I hope).  Daisy is a normal as a person in her situation could be and I was happy with her decision making and I loved how the character grew with the novel.  The other characters I also understood and empathised with.  I loved the character of Audrey (the best friend) the most but to balance out I’m not sure I liked the character of Matt (the love interest) as much as I was supposed to which was a shame.
However, I grew very attached to these characters without even noticing.  That’s probably the best way.  When you find out something new about them and find yourself having a real genuine reaction.  It’s an amazing moment.  Revived’ did have a moment in it that sung out to me and made the tears escape.  When I cry at a book – which doesn’t happen that often – it’s more often than not just a few tears I can wipe away with the back of my hand.  Maybe just two, one from each eye.  Or I well up and sniff and it passes.  With ‘Revived’ there was only one moment that I felt emotional enough to cry but it was crying proper tears.  I had to get up from my chair to get some tissue and blow my nose.  It was worse because I knew it was coming but then when it happened I couldn’t bear it.  Well done, Cat Patrick, well done indeed.

 My only criticism is that the pace was far too quick.  There were paragraph breaks all over the place where so many things were happening apart from each other.  It was good because it made it easy to read but it made the whole book feel breathless, even in places that weren’t supposed to be.  This, I felt, took away from the climax which was exciting but could’ve been more so if the whole novel hadn’t felt like it’d flown past.  It also made me feel as though the climax almost wasn’t important enough – this may in fact just be due to the fact that the sub plot had a huge affect on me, I will admit that.


Plot Idea – 7/10 – original but not as exciting as other novels I’ve read.  That’s not to say that this is bad.  Not at all.

Way Plot was Pursued – 8/10 – the story was told in such a way I always wanted to know more and read more.  Where it needed to be, it was beautiful.

Characters – 7/10 – understood, cared and wanted to follow them.  I grew attached to them but could’ve been more so.  Also I had trouble liking the love interest the required amount.

Style – 8/10 – easy to read, easy to understand and I always wanted more.  Cat Patrick’s style was my favourite thing about this novel.

 Pace – 7/10 – if it were just a little bit slower it would’ve been perfect for me.  There was no faffing or slow beginning which was great!

Would I recommend it? Yes.  I would recommend it to those looking for a quick easy read but also one that would make them think in places.
Would I look up the author? – reading ‘Revive’ is the outcome of looking up Cat Patrick but since reading ‘Revived’ I’ve found out she’s written another novel which came out this year which has gone straight onto my Amazon wish list.  Yes.

Revived’ was a great novel and worked the teenage audience well.  I’m unsure an adult would enjoy it as much (unless they’re hung up on teen fiction like me – although I won’t call myself an adult ever).  I will say it again, parts of it are beautiful.

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have anything to say about ‘Revived’ or Cat Patrick’s debut ‘Forgotten’.  Recommendations are always good too.

Molly Looby

Author / Editor / Ghost Writer / Writing Coach
Got something to say, want me to do some freelance work or perhaps to tell me something I might not know about writing (go on, test me!)?  Emil me on:

Monday, 22 July 2013

Delirium - Lauren Oliver

 A Spoiler Free Bit About the Book
'Delirium' is a teenage fiction dystopian novel not at all different in idea to the last book I read and reviewed, 'The Killables'  by Gemma Malley.  It is set in Portland in the future where love - or armor deliria nervosa - is a disease and everyone is cured at the age of eighteen making them safe from the effects of the deliria.  They are matched with someone and live their lives as governed by the rules without fear of the disease ruining them or the deliria-free society they live in.
The novel follows Lena, a girl three or so months away from her procedure and she cannot wait.  We follow Lena on what I want to call a journey of discovery as she realises not everything is as black and white as she's been taught.  We watch Lena grow throughout the novel as we go with her to discover the secrets about the deliria and other aspects of the dystopian society.
My Review
I'm just going to state it from the off:  I loved this book!  It was incredible.  If I hadn't had so much on my plate for the last couple of weeks it would've been finished in a day.  This was one of those books you pick up and don't put down again until you've turned the final page, looking around for more.  I was on the last few pages of this book and I needed to get in the car to go on a charity walk or we were going to be late.  So I carried the book around with me as I got ready to leave, not putting it down for any reason or any man.  When I closed the front door to get in the car, the book was done and I was left in shock.  All I could think about on the car journey was the final thought of the novel and the final image I was left with.
I think the reason I connected with this novel so much was that I liked the main character.  If you've read my previous review you'll know how important that is for me as a reader.  Not only did I like her and cared about what happened to her, I also believed she was real and sympathised with her throughout.  A lot of novels I've read have characters like this but then it gets ruined when the characters make bad decisions that I would never make.  Well, I really do want to congratulate Lauren Oliver on this because I didn't think any of Lena's decisions were stupid or unreasonable.  Also, Lena wasn't exceptional and I loved that.  She wasn't the prettiest or the smartest or the most popular or athletic.  She was just a normal human seventeen-year-old girl and that was so refreshing.  She didn't have anything that made her stand out and I could relate to that because no one in real life is superhuman.
Not only did Lena's narrative capture my heart but I also loved the other characters.  Lena's best friend Hana was just as believable as Lena was and made me think of my relationship with my best friend as their relationship was crafted so well.  Lena's family, both the sweet and the irritating characters, were also just right, no one too cliché or over exaggerated.  Reading this, I was in awe of Lauren Oliver's character development as I realised somewhere along the way that I cared about every person I was supposed to, even minor characters, and hated those with a passion that I was supposed to.  Like I said, I connected with this book.
Enough of gushing over the characters, I left out one in particular so I didn't dribble over my laptop.  Of course there's a love interest.  Anyway, I'm not going to talk about him in fear of droning on and becoming a super mega fan girl.
So instead I'll talk to you about the idea of the future.  'Delirium' was similar to 'The Killables' in that something is taken out of your brain, in this case love, in 'The Killables' it's evil.  In both novels it has the same effect - a peaceful, happier society.  This idea of a future without love was mind bending.  Everyone just lives without love and is happy for it.  It gets you thinking about all the crazy things that people do for love and that maybe it's not a crazy idea after all.  Of course I'm not saying to take love away in this society - love makes the world go round.  What I'm saying is, it's not a completely ridiculous idea.
Like the characters, the whole world of 'Delirium' was believable.  I was reading it and thinking that it could happen.  To be honest with you, the whole of the book is realistic.  Everything.  There's not one farfetched moment where you stop reading, role your eyes, sigh and carry on.  The fast paced bits took my breath away and were still believable which is another feat I congratulate Oliver on.  The characters' plans weren't ridiculous but achievable and also the big finale at the end of the novel may not be what you expect but for me it was better.  I was sitting there reading, thinking that I didn't care how stupid the ending was going to be as long as everything turned out alright.  Oliver must be a strong woman to not go for the easy option and instead to keep everything as realistic and believable as in the rest of the novel.  I was not disappointed with the outcome which did shock me a little in places, I must admit.  The genius of a lot of writing is when you don't see those little things coming.
Another thing that surprised me was that for the first time in a long time, my breath was taken away by description.  I love books with minimum description and hate those with long passages that seem to never end.  'Delirium' surprised me because I just had this perfect image of everything in my head without even noticing that I'd been reading description.  Also, the images just fit together in my head without me having to put any effort in to visualise.  I don't think I've ever come across a book that must have had lots of description along the way but I never noticed it.  It was just what I'd ask for.  I have to say, the description was also beautiful.  My boyfriend will tell you that I looked up from this book many times just to tell him how beautiful I thought the writing was - not that he appreciates that sort of thing.
Something small to finish up: the use of the word "delicious".  It was used a lot during the course of the novel but I think the only reason I noticed it was because I loved its use so much.  I've heard "delicious" used in other contexts other than food before of course, but in 'Delirium' it was only used to describe truly amazing places or feelings and it made me feel delicious also.  I must use that word in my latest novel and learn from the master, Lauren Oliver.
Plot Idea - 9/10 - I must give it the same as 'The Killables' for a very similar plot idea.
Way Plot Was Pursued - 9/10 - I loved the way we counted down with Lena to the day of her procedure and that pieces of plot all came together without me even noticing.
Characters - 10/10 - loved them all the entire way through.  So worthy of the first 10 I've given.
Style - 9/10 - even description wasn't a problem for me.  It felt like a character driven novel.  At the beginning of each chapter there is an excerpt from a book or a song or something from the future world 'Delirium' is set in which just thrusts you further into the world.  (This also makes me wonder just how much Oliver thought into this novel and how long it took her to research).  The reason it is not a 10 is because there was just one too many adverbs for my liking.
Pace - 8/10 - the pace was good and steady throughout and quickened when it needed to.  Perhaps others may find it slow to start and I would understand if anyone were to say this.
Would I recommend it? - to all those who love love stories, in a heartbeat.  The same goes for lovers of dystopian novels.  To be honest, there aren't many people I wouldn't recommend this to. Yes, yes, yes.
Would I look up the author? - Yes, have already done so.  Lauren Oliver's other teenage fiction novels are on my Amazon wish list and I can't wait to read them.
All in all, 'Delirium' was a phenomenal novel that I enjoyed so much I couldn't put it down.  It was so good it replaces 'Eve and Adam' as my favourite book of  2013 so far (and I really did love 'Eve and Adam').  'Delirium' is the greatest love story of the year by a mile and this year I finished 'The Wolves of Mercy Falls' trilogy.
If you've read 'Delirium' I'd be delighted to hear what you thought of it.  I love my book chat.
Molly Looby
Author / Editor / Ghost Writer / Writing Coach
Got something to say, want me to do some freelance work or perhaps to tell me something I might not know about writing (go on, test me!)?  Emil me on:

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

SYMYA - Results

Maybe you can tell by the less than exciting title but to answer your question, no.  I didn't win.

But I' proud to say I picked her out in May as the winner (taking into account if it wasn't me).  The winning novel is called 'The Name on Your Wrist' by Helen Hiorns, which was released on the Sony Reader Store on Monday but I believe will be available via other routes as of tomorrow.

Here's the Sony Reader Store link:,%20Helen/

And here's Amazon's Kindle:

Once I've read 'The Name on Your Wrist' I will review it but I'm still in the middle of reading a book right now so it might be a little while yet.  But because I believe Helen deserves your attention, here is the 'about the book' from the Sony website:

It's the first thing they teach you when you start school. But they don't need to; your parents tell you when you're first learning how to say your name. It's drummed into you whilst you're taking your first stumbling steps. It's your lullaby. From the moment it first appears, you don't tell anyone the name on your wrist. In Corin's world, your carpinomen - the name of your soul mate, marked indelibly on your wrist from the age of two or three - is everything. It's your most preciously guarded secret; a piece of knowledge that can give another person ultimate power over you. People spend years, even decades, searching for the one they're supposed to be with.

But what if you never find that person? Or you do, but you just don't love them? What if you fall for someone else - someone other than the name on your wrist?

And what if - like Corin - the last thing in the world you want is to be found?

The gripping debut novel from the winner of the inaugural Sony Young Movellist Award.

What I've read so far I liked but if you've read my previous review of Gemma Malley's 'The Killables' you'll know I can be quite harsh.  Let me tell you, I won't sugar-coat my review of  'The Name on Your Wrist' because I was at the awards and everything, I'll be honest.  (And I won' be harsh on purpose either.  I'll put my jealousy on hold, I promise).

So you're probably wondering about the night itself?  After putting on my new dress and straightening my hair for once, we were off to London, baking ourselves to death on the Tube.  The awards took place in Kings Place which was a beautiful venue, although with some weird looking paintings around the walls.  We arrived - me, my mum and my dad - and received our stickers which I have kept.  I'm more than proud to say that mine said:

Molly Looby

We took our drinks and stood around looking at all the people that were there - more than we were expecting.  I then met Zohra Hasham who I'd emailed in the past week or so regarding the videos that the shortlisted ten had to make.  She was so lovely.  It was so cool and so weird to meet the people I'd been contacting since May.  And I must say, everyone was so friendly and welcoming.

The physical 'Awards Ceremony' didn't take that long at all.  The award was introduced and Annie Eaton spoke for Malorie Blackman who couldn't make it and our videos were played.  I was surprised that I didn't die with embarrassment when mine was played but it didn't seem embarrassing at all once I was there - thank god.

Here's the link to the videos:

The three finalists were announced and then it was announced that Helen had won.  The runners up were Kyra Schlachter with 'My Corrupted Lungs' and Emma Yeo with 'The Girl with a Thousand Faces'.  Helen gave a short speech and accepted the trophy that had been made.  Then we were back where we'd been standing before.  It felt almost as though it was too short.  In hindsight, I was glad.  I didn't want to be sitting down.  I wanted to be walking around and talking to people if I had the guts.

Lucky for me, my dad is good at that sort of thing as he teaches people how to present, and soon enough I was talking with Rebecca Davies from the Independent and Holly Kyte from the Telegraph.

I soon got called over to have a picture taken with the other nine shortlistees and our novels.  (I'm the one in the very middle with the black and white dress)

 Oh, I forgot to mention that Completely printed a copy of our novels for us.  I'm not sure I could've been given a better gift.  We were also given a Movellas tote bag with a copy of Malorie Blackman's new novel 'Noble Conflict' and a code for a free copy of 'The Name on Your Wrist'.  I'm sure all the shortlistees would agree with me that the printed copy of our novels was the best gift of the evening.

I got chatting to Emma Yeo (runner up, author of 'The Girl with a Thousand Faces').  We ended up talking for a long time and I enjoyed her company, almost like I needed it.  After chatting to the other shortlistees (but mainly Emma), I felt so much better about myself as we were all saying to each other:
"I loved your story!"
I think we all needed that.

Warona Jolomba, author of 'The Art of Forgetting'
Molly Looby (me), author of 'I Dare You'
Emma Yeo, author of 'The Girl with a Thousand Faces'

Everyone who spoke to me who recognised my book called it 'Havengore'  instead of  'I Dare You' but I didn't care.  Whenever anyone said:
"You wrote Havengore, right?"
I felt like I could fly because not only did that mean that they knew of it, it also meant that they'd remembered what it was about out of the ten.

On this point, when I come to look at 'I Dare You' in more depth (probably at the end of the year or maybe even next year) I'll consider changing the title to 'Havengore'.  That's what everyone called it so it clearly stuck in their heads more than 'I Dare You'.

I then got the privilege of talking to some editors from Random House who were great.  I would love to be an editor so I managed to get an email address with a possibility of work experience which I'm thrilled about!

I also got to speak to Yvonne Biggins from Movellas who was also very friendly and lovely.  I'm hoping to do work experience with the lovely people at Movellas also.

All in all, I had an amazing time at the SYMYA and I wouldn't swap the opportunity I had to meet some wonderful people for anything.  If this is another part of being an author, I love my job even more.

Molly Looby - Shortlistee
Author / Editor / Ghost-Writer / Writing Coach

Got something to say, want me to do some freelance work or perhaps to tell me something I might not know about writing (go on, test me!)  Email me on:

Monday, 8 July 2013

The Sony Young Movellist of the Year Award

I realised as the countdown to the Awards Ceremony continued, that I hadn't yet blogged about my biggest achievement to date.  Unless you want writing a novel in first place at the top of the list.  Straight underneath that is being shortlisted for the Sony Young Movellist of the Year Award.

The Awards Ceremony is a week today and I feel sick every time I think about it.  So far the shortlisted ten have had to answer some questions, create a cover for our novels and create a video to introduce the novel and details like that.  Each time something is asked of us the excitement and the nervousness builds.  I don't really know what to expect.  I just know this time next week I'll be in London in a nice dress trying not to cry the entire time.

Here's a little background information.  Movellas is a writing community and 2013 is the SYMYA's first year.  So I feel even more privileged to be shortlisted right where it all began.  I submitted 'I Dare You' back in February and found out I'd been shortlisted in May.  I must be just as excited now as I was in May.

The prize of winning the SYMYA is a publishing contract with Random House and as each day passes I want it more and more.  Don't get me wrong, being shortlisted alone is amazing.  Winning would be something else.  I just can't help myself.

'I Dare You' is my most recent novel.  I wrote it during NaNoWriMo 2012 (National Novel Writing Month) which takes place in November.  As usual it is a teenage fiction novel, this one being dystopian.  'I Dare You' follows six teenagers who live in Havengore.  Havengore is surrounded by a huge boundary wall that has been there for generations and no one seems to know why.  The main character, Leanne, cannot accept that and has to ask why.  That's all I can tell you without spoilers.  If you'd like to read more about 'I Dare You' the first three chapters are up on the Movellas website.

Stay tuned, the results will be in this time next week!  Wish me luck!

Molly Looby
Author / Editor / Ghost Writer / Writing Coach

Got something to say, want me to do some freelance work or perhaps to tell me something I might not know about writing (go on, test me!)?  Email me on

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

15 Pictures about Writing

Today I thought I'd show you something a little different.  Over the past few years, every time I find something inspirational about reading or writing or even something that just makes me smile about reading or writing, I save it to my computer.

So today I will show you my fifteen favourite pictures about writing.

As always, drop me a comment.  Hope you enjoyed them.

Molly Looby
Author / Editor / Ghost Writer / Writing Coach

Got something to say, want me to do some freelance work or perhaps to tell me something I might not know about writing (go on, test me!)?  Email me on