Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Generation Dead - Daniel Waters


All over the country, teenagers who die aren't staying dead.

And Phoebe is finding that love doesn't always stop when someone's heart does - she's falling for a dead guy.

But not all people are as accepting as Phoebe, and some of them will stop at nothing to make sure that death really is the end for all the zombies, and anyone who stands alongside them.

My Review

It's probably important to note that this book has been on my to-read pile for years. The premise has been intriguing me for all that time but I've only just felt motivated enough to pick it up. I have no idea what that says about the book but I'm glad that I picked it up. It worked for its attention and at last I gave it a read. After all, zombies right? What could be better.

Except these aren't really zombies. Well they are zombies, but they don't want to eat your brains. In my opinion, Waters balanced perfectly between grossing me out and fascinating me all at once. That's what he was going for and he achieved it perfectly.

As you've probably already gathered, this wasn't your typical teen romance story. There wasn't a swoon-worthy male - unless you count Adam, one of Phoebe's best friends. The love interest was Tommy, a zombie, and that made me feel more bizarre than I imagined. After all, I've written about zombies myself, but mine were nothing like this. After a while I got used to him being dead and everything but I still wasn't sure how much I liked him and that had me struggling a little, especially when he started to creep me out half way through. Though, thinking about it, I think I was just feeling what Phoebe, our protagonist, was feeling.

The first half of the book was very American Football heavy for me. I know it's a huge deal and a very popular sport, but that doesn't mean I want to read about it in detail. I don't like sport I know the rules to, let alone American Football. I'm British, I don't know the rules! It got far too detailed and technical in places so I had to skim for a while.

My favourite character was Karen, a zombie girl. It was odd that she was my favourite because if you had to name the five main characters, she wouldn't make the cut. She wasn't secondary, but she wasn't one of the 'main main' characters. I liked her edge. I don't know whether her being my favourite is because she's awesome or because I didn't get on with the others. Saying that though, I did grow to love Adam more and more with each chapter.

I enjoyed Generation Dead but once I put it down I never felt like picking it up again. When I did I got into it, but I had to pick it up first. Yep, it was one of those. Also, it was long at 400 pages. I don't mind long books but this one felt dragged out. It didn't have to be 400 pages if you ask me.


Overall 8/10

Would I recommend it? Yes. It was different and yet similar to books I've read before and I found that an interesting balance to fall into.

Would I look up the author? No. I didn't get on well enough with the way it was written but I will read the rest of the trilogy. I need to know what happens next!

Generation Dead was an interesting read and I'm looking forward to the other installments.

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

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Maybe One Day - Melissa Kantor


A person's whole life, she's lucky to have one or two real friends. Friends who are like family.

But when your best friend is diagnosed with a terminal illness, what happens next might not be what you expect. Through sixteen-year-old Zoe and her best friend Olivia, discover the bittersweet tragedy of a new 'normal'.

A heartbreaking story of two best friends facing the hardest future of all - a future without each other.

My Review

Firstly, yes, I did know what I was getting into when I picked up Maybe One Day and I did cry. A lot. Oh man, I sobbed. I don't even care. It's the way with cancer books or 'sick lit' or whatever you want to call it. There's just something I love about being thrust so totally into another person's life that I weep like it's really happening.

From the get go I fell in love with Zoe and Olivia. They're realistic and relatable and flawed and excellent. And so was their relationship. It mirrored that of a real friendship. They were best-friends-forever, of course, but they still bickered and argued and sometimes didn't totally understand each other just like in real life. But this just made it all the more heartbreaking for me. 

I loved Zoe, I really did. There were times where I felt she might annoy some readers but she was definitely on the same level as me. I found myself choosing what she chose and understanding her thought patterns and decisions. It probably helped that Maybe One Day was written in my favourite way, the way I myself write most of the time. First person, past tense. I just fell into it and lived there.

There were times when it got to real and I thought I might have to put it down. I didn't want to imagine myself in anything anywhere near this situation. Not a chance. But there was something morbidly fascinating that made me continue. The thing was, I couldn't make myself feel better by telling myself it wasn't real because these things do happen and are happening.

I cried in short bursts, little and often, contemplating how cruel life is the whole way through. Cancer stories from the point of view of someone not suffering from cancer have a whole different level. One I - and I think most people - relate to on a very primal, human level that makes us all sit and wonder that we're even here at all.

I just sat and read and read and read and read, hardly moving from the spot I was sitting in. 350 pages in a day, which was almost the entire thing. Yes, it's safe to say, I enjoyed it.


Overall 10/10

Would I recommend it? Yes, if you want a good cry.

Would I look up the author? Yes, but nothing took my fancy.

Maybe One Day was an easy, heartbreaking read I knew I'd love.

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

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Before I Go To Sleep - SJ Watson


Memories define us.

So what if you lost yours every time you went to sleep?

Your name, your identity, your past, even the people you love - all forgotten overnight.

And the one person you trust may only be telling you half the story.

Welcome to Christine's life.

My Review

This book was recommended to me, which is the only reason I read it. I don't do thrillers, let alone adult books. But as I'd been told this was un-put-a-down-able, I had to read it. I can say I was both surprised by how much I enjoyed it and disappointed all at the same time.

Before I Go To Sleep had a very intriguing start. Of course, waking up and having no idea why you're in your forties and not your twenties was going to be a winner of a beginning. I wanted to keep on reading and find out more - as much as I could - about what had happened and what was going to happen next. I couldn't stop in fact.

However, after a while it felt as though I was reading and reading but not getting anywhere. It felt really repetitious even though Watson was careful not to repeat anything that was exactly the same. But I didn't know if the general feeling of repetition was indented.

Once it got to the end though, I couldn't put it down again. I read and read and read and finished it. Incredible. The ending was spectacular and perfect. There just seemed to be a slump in the middle.

The book in general was very intelligent and well written I just don't like the way adult books are. I didn't realise how much I love my teenage protagonists until I got a few pages in. I love in YA that the protagonist has an internal struggle, battling with who they think they are, who they want to be, and what they can achieve. A sort of personality debate as it goes through. The best example is probably Divergent because Tris realises that above all, she wants to be brave. Although in Before I Go To Sleep Christine was working out who she was, there was no concern about who she wanted to be. She seemed quite content to be whoever she was. There's nothing wrong with this, I just like it when characters are concerned with who they are.

In fact, nothing at all was wrong with this novel, it was just my personal taste.


Overall 8/10

Would I recommend it? Yes. Especially if you're into thrillers.

Would I look up the author? No. The writing style didn't grip me enough.

Before I Go To Sleep was an excellent read, though not exactly to my taste.

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

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

The Awakening - Vampire Diaries Book 1 - L.J.Smith

A Spoiler Free Bit About The Book

Elena is a high school student who's used to getting everything she wants. So when new boy Stefan ignores her she has to find out why. 

The truth is more dangerous than she could've imagined.

My Review

I'm surprised I could make it sound good in my own words considering I loathed this book. Every word was torture. But I suppose I didn't have high expectations. 

Let's start off with the good things. I enjoyed the first line. 
"Something awful is going to happen today. I don't know why I wrote that."

Now onto everything else because after that there was nothing else I enjoyed, apart from giving a running commentary to my boyfriend about how terrible I was finding it.

Firstly, and most importantly, I hated Elena. She's selfish, self-centred, vain, and the queen of the school. For some reason everyone likes her and she can command them at will. I understand this is set in high school but come on. She could be all those things - but she would not be liked. Or, she can be liked, but not a total bitch, she can't have it all. There were some very specific lines where I hated her guts. E.g. page 3; 
"Elena Gilbert, cool and blonde and slender, the fashion trendsetter, the high school senior, the girl every boy wanted and every girl wanted to be." 
I mean, how can you not hate her? I thought perhaps this was done on purpose and she was going to change by the end of the book and see the error of her ways. Alas, not. I question how a person could even get to this point. She has not one single redeeming feature. She is filled with flaws and annoying traits. How did Smith not want to murder her over and over again? I did.

Also, this really made me angry, she treats the entire male population like they belong to her, like they're objects for her owning and are at her every command. It was incredibly sexist and unfair to men. I know this is a book for women/girls but come on! I was disgusted and highly offended by this. Here's an example from page 14/15; 
"Most boys, Elena reflected, were like puppies. Adorable in their place but expendable."
In what way is it okay to describe all men as "Adorable in their PLACE but EXPENDABLE."? In their place? How insulting.

I rolled my eyes when Elena was homecoming queen because of course she was, though the actual dance was the most boring one I've ever read. Nothing happened. The entire scene could've been cut out, the important stuff happened later. Obviously Smith was struggling to pad out her already short book. The dance also allowed for another vanity moment where Elena goes on about how beautiful she is - translated, another moment I despised her.
"In that instant, Elena was aware that she was beautiful"
She goes on but I don't think I have to add more than that.

Okay, now I'm going to rip apart her relationship with Stefan. I'll admit, when the book was following Stefan, as it did every now and again, I found it much easier to swallow. It still wasn't good, but it was bearable. Though his part in the story was so predictable I could cry. This isn't a spoiler as the series is called The Vampire Diaries, but Stefan is a vampire, wow, shocker. The reader knows this, that's fine. It works that way - I say works in the widest possible sense of the word. But Elena doesn't know. Well she certainly doesn't at the beginning because it starts just before they meet. How then, half way through, without any internal struggle on her part, does she know? It gets about half the way through and I got the impression that without him giving it away and without him telling her she knew. She does get told near the end but she acts like she's always known. It's stupid. That was going to be the one good part of this book and Elena ruined it by not reacting in any way whatsoever!

Their love was utterly ridiculous. I thought they were gong to fall in love quickly, that much was obvious. But I was not prepared for the way it actually happened. They can't have had more than three conversations and all of a sudden he's madly in love with her. They weren't even good conversations! By the end of the book they didn't even know each other, let alone when they started throwing I love you around like hello, how are you? Also, she'a an utter brat to him - to everyone in fact. He's hundreds of years old, why would he stand for that? If I was a vampire, I would've ripped her throat out, just saying.

Moving on to the plot and the way this was written. It was technically fine. There was too much pointless description for my liking but I could deal with that. It almost felt like Smith had this idea but then when she put the characters in it all went to hell. The characters made the whole thing so melodramatic and exhausting. Also, because of their inane teenage chatter, I got 50 pages in - which is a quarter by the way - and realised that nothing at all had happened yet.

It continued on like this for the whole book. The pace was so bizarre. Either nothing at all was happening or everything was happening but it was over in a second. This was probably due to the incredibly feeble plot line. Nothing exciting happened. It was practically devoid of exciting incidents entirely.

I must just add what I think about the claim that Stephenie Meyer took this idea and wrote Twilight off the back of it. Having read both Twilight and The Awakening, it's safe to say that they are not the same thing. Let's be honest, all vampire-romance fiction is the same. Claiming Meyer stole this idea is ridiculous. There were a few similar bits but the major plot wasn't the same - and may I say Meyer did it much better. I do think that Meyer has probably read this book because a few bits rang a bell but it's certainly not similar enough to claim that she copied it. 

To finish off, my book reviews usually consist of an A5 page of notes. I felt so strongly about how awful this book is that I used two.

Utter trash.


Overall 1/10 - yep, you read correctly, a 1

Would I recommend it? No. This book, like it's protagonist, had no redeeming features.

Would I look up the author? No. Not on your life.

The Awakening made me want to bring its protagonist to life so I could beat her to death and be done with it. It was the most awful thing I've read all year.

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