Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Farewell 2014

In 2014 I wanted to post on this blog once a week. Here we are, 52 weeks later and 53 blog posts into 2014, counting down the hours until we have to consciously remember what year we're in. I don't know when this happened, but I feel like time's rushed by since 2012. I still feel like that was yesterday and I'm still 18. But I'm not. This year I entered my twenties and I'm still not sure what to think about that.

But enough about me. What about the blog? I had some very interesting posts this year as well as a whopping 30 book reviews (with five more in draft).

My World Book Day post featured my favourite character list.
The To An Author post marked a very important milestone in my career.
My Immorality of Immortality blog post series was a first - I've never done a blog post series before (unless of course you count NaNoWriMo).
The NaNoWriMo posts  were fun to write and excellent to look back on.

They were my favourite posts but my most popular post was the Brilliant Week Featuring the #MovellasMeetUp post. That was probably thanks to Movellas retweeting it!

Speaking of Movellas, I have had a blast there this year, hitting the 150 fans/followers mark and making even more 'writing' friends. I've had some excellent feedback and advice from the Movellians and they will continue to shape my career in 2015. I'm hoping for 250 fans this time next year and their continued support on my After trilogy, the first book, Thereafter, being exclusively on Movellas for now.

While I'm on Thereafter . . . wow. What a ride that was. I wrote it in 18 days for NaNoWriMo 2014 beating my personal record. I reached the 50,000 word goal in just 12 days and surprised myself every day with not only the pace I was writing it, but also the quality of the writing. Thereafter is joint with Fire and Ice as my favourite novel I've written.

Now I have to speak about Thereafter as the Movellas advent calendar. Without a doubt, being asked to be the Movellas advent calendar was the highlight of my year and really helped me power through a very difficult December. The encouragement, support, and excitement from the Movellas community has hyped up my excitement for the rest of the trilogy which I'm planning to write in 2015 (at least book two anyhow).

Other than Thereafter, I also wrote The Fall of Us which, although didn't turn out as good as I would've liked, taught me a lot about how I like to write and what I expect from my novels now. I learnt the hard way that I'm not a present tense writer! There's a lot of potential in The Fall of Us and a lot of love for it on Movellas so I'm going to consider my options with it with a read over in 2015. Who knows, it might turn into something spectacular?

By the way, 2014 was the year I successfully wrote ten books in five years! Now how many people can say they've done that?

I also finished my second draft of my baby, Fire and Ice. I'm extremely excited about the second draft (which you can read on Movellas if you have an account - you need an account because it's set to 16+) and I think (and I know I've said this before) that it's going to take me places. 


So we've looked at my 2014 writing but what does 2015 bring?

Well, the rest of the After trilogy will be planned and book two at least will get written as one of my two books in 2015. I may write book three for NaNo15 but I haven't decided yet. I'm thinking I might try something new for NaNo as that always seems to do me good. I doubt I'll be able to beat this year's speed and quality though. I was on fire!

Speaking of fire, Fire and Ice is going to be my top priority and I'm going to send it around and see what happens.

It's probably at this point that I should mention Chancing the Truth. I am so sorry to everyone who expected it this year. I did too. The thing was just so huge that it took me a long time to whittle it down into something that I loved and wanted to share with you. The cover also caused me and my cover designer (the very talented James Terry for all your art needs) some problems that we've overcome now.

So, long story short, it's ready. It's in its final proofreading rounds so it is FOR CERTAIN  coming 2015.

As well as writing a lot, I've also read a lot. I've read 37 books this year which is only 1 less than in 2013. I'm hoping 2015 will bring the year of 40 books but we'll see.

Here are the top ten in the order I read them in:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, 
Boundless by Cynthia Hand, 
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, 
Looking for Alaska by John Green, 
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, 
The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell, 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, 
Shadows by Paula Weston, 
Raging Star by Moira Young, 
Paper Towns by John Green,

In 2015 I'm looking forward to Haze and Shimmer by Paula Weston, books two and three in her Rephaim series and An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, the only John Green book left on my shelf that I haven't read!

So, to sum up: in 2014 I read a lot and I wrote a lot.

In 2015 I plan to read even more and write just as much.

(And maybe make some money this year)

Happy New Year to all of you,

Ambitious Author

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Starters - Lissa Price


First, Callie lost her parents.

Then she lost her home.

And, finally, she lost her body.

But she will stop at nothing to get it back . . . 

My Review

I was pleasantly surprised by Starters. I thought it would reek of 'heard it all before' but it felt fresh and new. A world in which there are no adults has been done, but a world with teens, children (the Starters) and elderly people (the Enders) but with nothing in between . . . well. I've never heard of anyone do this before.

It was fascinating to see how their society worked after the Spore Wars had killed the adults, as they had not been vaccinated. The difference between the Starters with guardians and without was vast but completely believable. Price has crafted her world well as everything made sense to me.

If you haven't already gathered, I thought the plot was fantastic. There was a good mix of action, mystery and suspense the entire way through. It twisted and turned, continuing to keep me guessing. Also, I really liked Callie. She was brave and tried her best. She made rational decisions and wasn't stupid, which is always a bonus.

Though it started well, the reader asking lots of questions about this world, I was concerned that there would be a few more people in the world willing to help Callie. I understood why the Enders disliked the Starters and wanted to ignore them but I wanted someone to see that it was wrong. As the book went on, characters willing to help did appear but I felt perhaps a little bit too late. I know the world is cruel, but there are more kind people out there than this book suggests.

Also, I wanted it to start a little bit faster than it did. It wasn't impossibly slow but I needed to be thrust in more. It was far too easy to put the book down at the beginning. However, once it got going it was paced really well and I found it really easy and enjoyable to read.

I think the problem I had at the beginning was the lack of dialogue. It was there and it was in character and believable, I just wanted more of it. I think that's why I found it slow. I wanted less of Callie describing her surroundings and more of her talking to people. I understand things were being kept from me at the beginning to make me read on, but it would've been easier to immerse myself in this world had there been more dialogue.


Overall 8/10

Would I recommend it? Yes. I enjoyed it very much and was pleasantly surprised.

Would I look up the author? Yes. I've put the sequel, Enders, on my 'want-to-read' list. Whether or not I'll ever get around to it is a different matter.

Starters felt similar to books I've read before but the plot was entirely different and that's just what I'd wanted.

Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Paper Towns - John Green


Quentin Jacobson has always loved Margo from afar. So when she climbs through his window to summon him on an all-night road trip of revenge he cannot help but follow. But the next morning, Q turns up at school and Margo doesn't. She's left clues to her disappearance, like a trail of breadcrumbs for Q to follow.

And everything leads to one unavoidable question:

Who is the real Margo?

My Review

If you've read my reviews of The Fault in Our Stars and Looking for Alaska, you won't be surprised by the way I'm about to talk about Paper Towns. Yep, I'm afraid this is mostly going to be gushy. I adored this book. John Green is brilliant. I fell back into his style after one paragraph as though it hadn't been months and months since I last read one of his books.

I immediately fell in love with Q and his friends the way I didn't and couldn't with Miles in Looking for Alaska. They were completely real and relatable and really funny. Whenever Q, Ben and Radar were all in a chapter I just couldn't stop reading. I even laughed out loud. But they weren't perfect. The were flawed and so accurate to how people like that would be. I just really wanted to hang out with them.

The feeling of leaving school is written so perfectly. Exactly how I remember it. When Q left I felt that "perverse nostalgia" that he was feeling. That is a mark of a great book. I not only knew exactly how he was feeling, I felt it too. But not only did I feel it, I felt like I was reliving it.

When I got to Part Three I was so excited I could burst. I knew I was going to finish the book in that day and of course I did. Though I didn't want it to end. I just didn't want to stop reading it. It was too much fun!

If you're wondering which John Green book is my favourite, it's still The Fault in Our Stars purely because I could read it over and over and over and over. I think Paper Towns would never be as magical if I was to read it again, the mystery element is too strong.

I realise this review is short because I have no criticism to give whatsoever. I just have one last thing to say. I hope this: "I don't know how I look, but I know how I feel: Young. Goofy. Infinite." is a reference to The Perks of Being a Wallflower.


Overall 10/10

Would I recommend it? Yes, yes, a thousand times yes!

Would I look up the author? Yes but I don't have to. There's only one more of his books I don't own.

Paper Towns . . . there has never been so much truth in a book all at once.

Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Maze Runner - James Dashner


When the lift cranks open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he's not alone - an army of boys welcome him to the Glade, an encampment at the centre of a terrible maze. The Gladers have no idea why they're there, or what's happened to the world outside. And following the arrival of a girl with a message, they must find a way out - or die.

My Review

I'm going to have to start off by apologizing because I just did not enjoy this book as much as I expected! It's stupid that I feel like I have to apologize but I do because the world Dashner's created is real and believable as are the characters. There's action and emotion and struggle.

So why didn't you like it? I hear you ask.

The quick answer is that it was too long. My main problem during The Maze Runner was how incredibly slow the whole thing was. I'm not saying there wasn't conflict and exciting parts because there were, and they were great, but the beginning dragged on for an eternity! I slogged through the first hundred pages wondering if anything at all was going to happen. I had to force myself to read every day or else I knew it'd be Christmas and I'd still be reading it. It was only when I got 250 pages in that I felt like I was enjoying myself. And that was most of the book read!

To be quite frank, the only reason I carried on until the end was because I felt like I needed to. I know how many people love this book and I wanted to love it too, I really, truly did but it was just not meant to be. That and the first chapter was incredible. I was fascinated, thrown into the Glade with Thomas, dying for answers. Answers that came too late to peak my interest.

The ending did get extremely intense and fast but, if you ask me, it was too little too late by that point. And to top it all off, the tying up loose ends and signing off part at the end was - to fit in with the rest of the book - far too long also. 

I felt there was a golden 75 pages between 250 and 325 but that was it.

Although the characters felt real, for some reason I couldn't connect with any of them. I have no idea why this is and I don't blame Dashner because I think it was just me. I was just totally the wrong reader for this book, but I have no idea why.

I'll finish off with some offensive typos I found in my edition. At one point this happened ',.' In what universe is that okay to leave? And I also found a missing full stop. The capital letter of the next sentence was there but alas, the full stop had gone walk-abouts. Again, this isn't Dashner's fault, just an incompetent proofreader.


Overall 6/10

Would I recommend it? No. I did not enjoy it nearly enough.

Would I look up the author? No. For the same reason.

I'm saddened that, for me, The Maze Runner didn't live up to its hype.

Molly Looby
Author / Ghostwriter / Editor / Blogger / Reviewer / Wrimo / Movellian / ZA Ready

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Thereafter - The Movellas Advent Calendar

I'm thrilled to announce that my tenth novel, Thereafter is this year's Movellas Advent Calendar! Thereafter is twenty-five chapters long, one a day from now until Christmas! I couldn't be more excited about it.

Read the introductory blog here!

Thereafter was my NaNo14 novel and the best thing I've written so far (though I know I always say that!). I loved everything about this novel, but especially the characters. Abia and her friends and family lodged themselves in my heart straight away and I can't imagine this story featuring anyone else.

Here's the blurb, which you're probably sick of reading by this point but in case you've missed it:

There are always a host of flowers on the side of the road, whether brand new or shrivelled from weeks of rest. Their appearance, though sad, was never odd. So when another wave of flowers showed up on the outskirts of my home town, I didn't pay much attention apart from a deep aching sadness within. It was only upon mentioning it in passing I realised something was wrong. I spoke to everyone but to no avail.
Maybe I was going crazy but . . .
I was the only one who could see the flowers.

I'm thrilled by the amount of love Thereafter has received on Movellas already! It's incredible. I've had more likes and comments on Thereafter in forty-eight hours than stories I put up up over a year ago. I'm so grateful to everyone who's liked, favorited and commented and I can't even begin to express how ecstatic I am about all this.

Here are some of my fabulous comments from day one:

So go check out Thereafter and don't forget to tell me what you think!

Molly Looby
Author of Thereafter