Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Impossible - Nancy Werlin

A Spoiler Free Bit About The Book

If you want my opinion . . .

Impossible is the story of Lucy, a girl whose family is cursed. She has to try and break the curse. That's it.

My Review

But it's actually more terrible than the description I gave it. I haven't read a book I've disliked this much since The Awakening but at least that had vampires in it. This book really had nothing going on.

By the first page I knew I would hate the entire thing. There were just so many commas and far too many adverbs. If you know me, you know my hatred of adverbs. But it wasn't just the technical way it was written, I also felt a distance between myself and the protagonist, Lucy. It was the way Werlin went about her third person. I'm not having a go at third person here, sometimes it can be just as personal as the first person, my favourite example is the GONE series by Michael Grant, but I don't think Werlin understood what her readers needed from her when she put Lucy to page. After just one page, my expectations had plummeted and there they stayed.

When I got to chapter two I was fuming about the adverbs. The situation just seemed to get worse and worse. Let me explain for those of you who've never heard me drone on about it before. Adverbs suck power from writing. Don't say, 'stepped quietly', for example, say 'crept'. Use a stronger verb, please! Adverbs are lazy and sound ridiculous after a while. Here are some examples from Impossible.: 'suddenly', 'abruptly', 'promptly', 'predictably', 'pathetically', 'appealingly', and my personal favourite: 'ostentatiously'. You've got to be kidding, right?

But wait! There's more! Not only were adverbs on every single page, multiple in fact. Sometimes they were used next to each other; 'gravely, decisively', 'respectfully, attentively', and this one was used two sentences in a row; 'slowly, cautiously'. If that's not lazy, sloppy writing, I don't know what is.

Getting over my aversion to adverbs was impossible but there was more to hate in this book than just this. Lucy's internal monologue grated on me fast. She didn't seem to trust herself even a small bit. I wanted some strength from her, even just a little. Despite being told she was 'fearless' and 'strong', I saw no evidence of it.

The rest of the characters were a bit bizarre. They were realistic up to a point but just oh so boring. Their personalities were lacking. There wasn't one interesting character in the whole thing. 

There were random bits of specific description about everyone moving around, picking stuff up and putting it down again and I wondered if Werlin had to reach a certain number of words. There was so much stuff still in the book that I would've cut after one draft. I don't know who Werlin's editor was but it's safe to say I would've turned this book into something exciting. Impossible was just dull, there's nothing else I can say.

I don't care if I'm being picky and too harsh here but what's with the title? Impossible? Is that the best they could come up with? There were so many other options they could've gone for. What possessed them to go with this?

After chapter ten I started skimming because I wanted the ordeal over with. The more the book went on, the angrier I became. At one point I threw it to the other end of the sofa. Because how come this drivel was published?


Overall 2/10

Would I recommend it? No. There was nothing I enjoyed about this book.

Would I look up the author? No. I couldn't bear it.

Impossible was, in a word, dull.

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

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The Passage - Justin Cronin


Amy Harper Bellafonte is six years old and her mother thinks she's the most important person in the whole world. She is. Anthony Carter doesn't think he could ever be in a worse place than Death Row. He's wrong. FBI agent Brad Wolgast thinks something beyond imagination is coming. It is.

Unaware of each other's existence but bound together in ways none of them could ever have imagined, they are about to embark on a journey. An epic journey that will take them through a world transformed by man's darkest dreams, to the very heart of what it means to be human. And beyond.

Because something is coming. A tidal wave of darkness ready to engulf the world. And Amy is the only person who can stop it.

My Review

I have to say first of The Passage that it's a huge commitment. But once committed, there's no turning back. The book is mammoth - 950 pages - and it took me four weeks to read it. And I'm a fast reader. But it was worth every minute I put into it.

The Passage had been on my shelf for a couple of years and I've always been terrified to pick it up based on its hugeness. But I thought, I'm ahead of my book target this year. (At this point I'd read 9 books in 6 weeks - but quite a few of them were my own books) So I could afford a few weeks of not finishing a book.

What struck me first was how different The Passage was from books I normally read. Those of you who read this blog regularly or know me, know that I read teen fiction almost exclusively. But since discovering this book a few years earlier, I knew I wanted to break my usual genre. Though nothing like anything I'd ever read, I fell into The Passage with ease. The narrative was complexly woven and I wanted to keep reading to find out how these characters fit together.

At first I thought it'd be difficult to separate all the characters from one another because the whole thing's so wildly ambitious, but it was surprisingly easy - not trouble free, but most of the time I knew exactly who everyone was and how they were related to everyone else.

All the characters, be them huge major characters like Amy or tiny minor characters, felt so whole, round, and real, I was blown away. It really felt like every single character had a story. And what's more, the story was relevant. Nothing was irrelevant in the whole book. I ate it up. Everything. As it went on I just fell further in love with it.

Masterfully crafted and filled with action, I only have one more thing to say about The Passage. Jane Austen has never been more correct. "If a book is well written I always find it too short." At 950 pages, the longest book I've ever read, this is still true of The Passage. I just didn't want it to end.


Overall 9/10

Would I recommend it? Yes. It was just incredible on so many levels I don't know how I wouldn't.

Would I look up the author? Yes. But I don't fancy the sequel to The Passage. I'm happy with the ending I was given in book one.

The Passage was an incredible journey I didn't want to end.

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

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Promise Not To Tell - Jennifer McMahon

A Spoiler Free Bit About The Book

Kate Cypher's back in her home town to care for her sick mother but when there's news of a young girl's murder, all she can think about is Del, her best friend who was murdered when they were children. Murdered in the exact same way as the girl.

Kate's determined to dig up old secrets about her home town and realises there's more going on than she ever suspected.

My Review

I was a little sceptical upon picking this up because it had crime and mystery written all over it. I'm not a fan of mysteries and I never have been but I decided I would give this book a go regardless. Now, having read it in only five sittings, I am so glad I did.

Promise Not To Tell stars off with a prologue in the third person, following Opal, a young girl telling ghost stories around a campfire with her friends. In my opinion this was the perfect way to introduce Del, The Potato Girl, who had become her own ghost story thirty years after her murder. It threw me into this small town and the people who lived there. I have a hatred for prologues because I think they're unnecessary and not as arty as people think but this time it was used as an excellent tool. Why can't all prologues be like this?

When Kate took over the narrative in first person I had so many questions about Del and about who killed her that I turned pages and pages, eager for any scrap of information. It's safe to say I got sucked into this book at chapter one.

I don't have much else to say other than I was obsessed with this book for the short number of days I was reading it. If I wasn't reading it, I wanted to or was thinking about it. And for a girl who doesn't like mysteries, I think that's a win for McMahon and says a lot about her skill. The whole thing was so masterfully done and kept me guessing right until the end.

The only possible critique I can give is that it took a few chapters to want to follow Kate, the protagonist. To say she was likeable would be a push but after a while I certainly wanted to follow her story. But to make up for this, I was fascinated by Del and that kept me reading at the beginning.


Overall 9/10

Would I recommend it? Yes. I was totally surprised by the complexity of this book.

Would I look up the author? Yes. There are a lot of similar stories based on murders and such that I may or may not get round to reading considering this isn't my favourite genre.

Promise Not To Tell was masterfully crafted and kept me guessing right until the end.

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

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

100th Post!

Wait. 100? You must be mistaken. This can't be my 100th blog post. That would mean I'd committed to writing a blog for more than five minutes one day. I'll be dammed. Here were are. Post 100.

I never thought I'd last a year, let alone 100 posts. But something's happened to me since I started this blog. I was only going to write the occasional book review. Now I've reviewed 55 books and can't read a book without writing one. 

Updating this blog has become part of my life and I'm not sure I can stop. I don't even care that my readership is even smaller than the people who read my books. Writing this is for my own enjoyment. Anyone who happens to find some fun in it too, whoever you are, are a bonus.

In preparation for this post, I went back to my first few posts back in June 2013. My online 'voice' was so different back then. It was clear I was trying too hard to be clever and it was getting in the way of being myself. It can only be a good thing for my novel writing that this's happened. That and I no longer sound like I'm terrified of my own blog!

I hope to keep this up as long as possible but as life gets busier and busier my posts might drop a bit. But fingers crossed you can still find me here when I've had a book published. Wouldn't that be amazing?

So thank you to everyone who's read my past posts and to all of you reading this right now. Here's to many more posts to come.

Molly Looby
Blogger / Author

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Everneath - Brodi Ashton

A Spoiler Free Bit About The Book

"Six months ago, Nikki Beckett vanished into an underworld known as the Everneath."

Now she's got only six months before she's pulled under again. For good.

My Review

I started off with high expectations of Everneath because in the first chapter it surprised me. The more teen fiction I read, the less I get surprised so I was giving it a huge thumbs up. There was a bit of action and a lot of mystery but it soon fizzled into nothing and I got incurably bored with this story.

I thought the counting down aspect could never fail. After all, it worked so tremendously in the GONE series by Michael Grant and in Looking for Alaska by John Green. But in Everneath it had no effect because I knew exactly what we were counting down to. It wasn't just that I worked it out early; we actually get told in the blurb which I summed up above.

The biggest issue I had with Everneath was that I'd heard it all before. It's a re-telling of the Persephone myth (which I'd never heard of until 2015 and now every book I pick up seems to mention it). A few books back I read Abandon by Meg Cabot which is essentially the same thing done in a slightly different way. So yes, I had in fact heard it all before. This took all suspense and fun out of reading it and I'm surprised I actually managed it to the end of the story.

But saying this, I still felt like it could've been written in a way to draw me in, even though I've practically read this book before turning a single page. I needed a kick-arse main character and Nikki just wan't that in any way shape or form. Not one single arse got kicked. Because at the beginning of the book Nikki is left without the ability to feel, everything felt dull. I need my protagonists lively. I need a reason to follow them through the rest of the book after all. But I was given no real reason to read or even care about Nikki.

I don't know whether it was Nikki, a lack of action, or that I knew where it was going but it felt like it took a long time to get anywhere. In fact, I'm not sure it did go anywhere. 150 pages in I started skimming. I have felt the need to do this only once before and that was reading the terrible Vampire Diaries book one. But even skimming was painful, I wasn't connected to the book at all. Like I said, I don't know how I finished it.


Overall 4/10

Would I recommend it? No. It was so predictable I could hardly finish it.

Would I look up the author? No. I didn't really get on with Ashton's writing style at all.

Everneath was dull, predictable and bland.

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