Monday, 27 July 2015

Just One Day - Gayle Forman


A whirlwind day in Paris . . .
A chance at true love . . . 
Heartbreak is just around the corner.

My Review

If you don't like gushing, close this window now. I adored Just One Day.

I gave it a go because I loved If I Stay, Forman's most famous book. And also because I liked If I Stay a lot more than I disliked the sequel Where She Went. But Just One Day has been on my shelf so long because of how unhappy I was with Where She Went but I shouldn't have been worried.

I found a lot of myself in the protagonist, Allyson and got excited when she decided to be daring. Because, like her, I wish I could be like that. Just once. This bond I formed with Allyson at the start through Forman's incredible characterisation meant that I felt everything she was feeling so intensely it was like I was there. I squeaked and squealed multiple times and smiled and cried. I fell into this whirlwind journey and didn't want it to end. Forman knows how to capture hearts, oh man don't I know it.

I honestly have nothing bad to say about this book. It was gorgeous start to finish. A masterpiece. So full of truth and humanness that I'm speechless, even here. Beautiful metaphors, observational description and round characters filled Just One Day and I don't know how anyone could put this book down without falling in love, even just a little bit. There's so much to relate to: growing up, finding yourself, being brave, falling in love, enjoying the moment. Ah. I'm sorry. I'm melting. 

Just read it.


Overall 10/10 I cannot fault this book. I'm too in love with it.

Would I recommend it? Yes. If you love romance and travelling, read this.

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

Just One Day was, quite simply, magic.

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

Saturday, 18 July 2015

A Classical Education - Caroline Taggart

A Spoiler Free Bit About The Book

Want to learn a little more about the Classical world in a book that's light and entertaining? A Classical Education is the book for you.

My Review

It's no great secret that I love the ancient world. So when my dad showed me this book a couple of years ago I had to have it. Though I didn't read it because I felt I was too close to my A' level Classic exam and I didn't want to confuse myself. So two years later and I've finally forgotten enough of my course to read this book. Plus the book I'd just put down (Dinner with a Vampire) irritated me so much that I was grabbing for a non-fiction book without giving my fiction ones so much as a glance.

The most important thing you need to know about this book is that as well as being educational, as the title suggests, it made me laugh. From the first page actually. It's not often I laugh aloud at books but I laughed all the way through this. This was exactly my type of humour and I didn't want to put it down.

It was so much fun having a reunion with my love of Classics which I'd been neglecting for too long. Having studied it at A' level, there was a lot in this book I already knew or had at least heard about. But that didn't stop me from learning a few things even though this is a beginner's book.

There's nothing much else I can say! It was so entertaining I read it in three sittings!


Overall 8/10

Would I recommend it? Yes. If you're into Classics of course.

Would I look up the author? No. This was just a non-fiction holiday for me.

A Classical Education is a light and entertaining way to learn about the ancient world.

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

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Dinner With a Vampire - Abigail Gibbs

A Spoiler Free Bit About The Book

This book is about rowdy vampires. DID NOT FINISH.

My Review

To be honest, I'm so disappointed with this book because picking it up I so wanted it to  be good. And the first chapter was okay and I thought I could get on board but that was impossible.

First, on my copy the words 'The Dark Heroine' are written in huge letters and I only realised the title was actually 'Dinner With a Vampire' when I went on Goodreads. Why the publishers decided to put the series name in huge letters I have no idea.

To start, the first thing that annoyed me was the old adverb nuisance I can't get over. I let Gibbs off for that because a lot of books annoy me with their adverb usage. "slowly, agonizingly slowly" - Doesn't that just irritate you? No? Just me? Okay then.

Also this phrase got to me; "tears unchecked". This was used so many times and it clanged for me at every single use. What's that even supposed to mean?

The room descriptions got old fast, as did the vampire politics and I began to skim over anything that wasn't dialogue about fifty pages in.

Before I get on to freaking KASPER, I must point out that Violet, in grave danger, notices how "staggeringly handsome" he is and has a reaction to it. Twice. She could've been murdered in that second and she knew it but wait, let me just check out this hot guy. Puh-leeease

Plus, just a little note about Kasper's chapters. Were they entirely necessary? I don't think so.

But these little trivial things had nothing on the despicable character, Kasper Varn. Oh you don't know the half of it. Kasper is the vampire prince (of course) and he's handsome (again a given) but he's also the most evil, horrendous character I've read about in a long time. And he's supposed to be the love interest. What? Let me explain.

He can be all those things, of course he can, but Violet would not fall in love with him. No way. Yes, Stockholm Syndrome is a thing but that's having sympathy for your kidnappers, not falling in love with them as the misconception would have you believe. Kasper does nothing but physically hurt her, terrify her and laugh at her. Plus, he even attempts to rape her.

This is romance? I think not.

Violet even sums it up for me!
"Why would I trust you? You kidnapped me! You constantly try to suck my blood!"
Yeah. Nice guy, huh?

At one point he bullies her into saying 'okay' and letting him drink her blood. That is not consent. Consent is 'Yes! I want to do that with you. Yes!' I cannot stress how important that is. And on that note, their relationship is poison. It is NOT 'sexy' and it genuinely terrifies me that people find books like this 'sexy'. You can enjoy these books - who am I to judge? - but please do NOT think this is what relationships are like. PLEASE. 

A final note for you about sexism towards men. Men are not animals, okay? They have feelings and dreams and hopes like females. They are not a ball of animal impulses as Gibbs wants you to believe;"Because no man can control his passions." Do not fall for this lie. It offended me deeply. Let's stop. 

"The sexiest romance you'll read this year" I think not.


Overall 1/10 - DID NOT FINISH

Would I recommend it? No. No way in hell.

Would I look up the author? No. Obviously not.

Dinner With a Vampire pained me on about every level. Did not finish.

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

Sunday, 5 July 2015

The Wicked Young Writers Award 2015

So Sunday was the Wicked Young Writers' Award! Me and ninty-nine others (and our guests) headed to the Apollo Victoria theatre, home of Wicked. I don't know about everyone else, but I was hot and sweaty after a train and tube journey.

Once in the theatre, I sat by myself for a while as I was the first person there in my row. I spent most of the time knocking the pencils and paper off the arms of the chairs that had been put there. Every time I sat up straight with another pencil off the floor, I knocked the one on the other side down. After a few goes at this I was amusing myself, while a group of girls sat in front of me were talking like they'd known each other forever. I have to admit, that made me a little jealous sitting there alone.

The ceremony began with stand-in Elphaba, Natalie Andreou, singing a song from Wicked and she was fantastic. Sam Gayton took to the stage next and hosted a writing workshop on six word stories. I've tried to write a six word story before so I knew I couldn't do it in less than five minutes, but some people wrote some brilliant ones. The younger children seemed to find it easier and that blew me away.

Cressida Cowell, author of the How to Train Your Dragon books gave a speech and then Emma Hatton and Savannah Stevenson (Elphaba and Glinda) announced the winners.

My favourite was Wacky Tuesday by Harry Sample who is just six years old. I couldn't write a single page at six years old, so I have huge respect for him and all the kids in the younger categories. They're truly amazing.

After all the excitement, Cressida answered questions from the audience. Cressida Cowell must be one of the most enthusiastic people I've ever seen. Some of her advice was truly inspiring. But my favourite question was from a little girl. She asked, "Is your book the one with Hiccup and Toothless?" Isn't that just priceless?

To top off the show, Emma and Savannah sung with the cast of Wicked and I wanted to see the show more than ever before. I will get to see it at some point!

Then we all gathered on stage for a photo, though you can't see me because I'm right at the back and I'm only 5"2.

The finalists and winners!

The view from the Wicked stage.
But there was an upside to being at the back. There was one girl next to me and then Emma and Savannah. I couldn't believe I was so close to them. The girl next to me was a huge Wicked fan and asked Emma and Savannah for a selfie. I knew I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn't jump in there too, so I did!

The greatest selfie of all time.
When we all made our way off the stage, we were handed a tote bag with an anthology in it with all the finalists' entries in it. Except the 18-25 year old entries. I'm guessing this is because some of them might not be suitable for children, but I'm still disappointed I'm not in it. I've downloaded the 18-25 year old one off the internet, but it's not the same.

My goodies!
Before we left, I had photos by the stage and by the banner in the foyer before jumping back into the oven we call the tube.

Oh, and there was a giant cornetto at Victoria station.

Do you want anything from the shop?
So though I didn't win, it didn't matter. I had a weird and wonderful day at the Wicked Young Writers' Award. And if anyone's reading this thinking they're not good enough, you are. You don't need a competition to tell you that, but enter them anyway. If you're lucky, you might end up with a day like this.

Molly Looby
Author / Finalist