Saturday, July 14, 2012

Waiting for Daybreak Blog Tour - Review & Giveaway

Hi guys, I'm a lucky participant in the "Waiting for Daybreak" Blog Tour. Today, I'll be reviewing author Amanda McNeil's wonderful e-novel, "Waiting for Daybreak", which is a dystopian-meets sci-fi-meets zombies-meets romance-meets philosophical introspection, kinda book! Yeah, it's pretty awesome!

Title: Waiting for Daybreak
Publication Date: June 4th, 2012

About the Author

Amanda is an energetic, Masters Degree educated, 20-something happily living in an attic apartment in Boston with her shelter-adopted cat. She writes scifi, horror, urban fantasy, literary fiction, and paranormal romance. She has previously published short stories and a novella.

Make sure to check out her website: Opinions of a Wolf 
and the author's Twitter.

Book Blurb

What is normal?

Frieda has never felt normal. She feels every emotion too strongly and lashes out at herself in punishment. But one day when she stays home from work too depressed to get out of bed, a virus breaks out turning her neighbors into flesh-eating, brain-hungry zombies. As her survival instinct kicks in keeping her safe from the zombies, Frieda can’t help but wonder if she now counts as healthy and normal, or is she still abnormal compared to every other human being who is craving brains?


  Let me first confess to a few things - I'm a bit wary of Indie books, and Indie authors! *Gasp* Yes, I hear your collective gasp, and trust me, I am appalled at myself, too - but I assure you it is not because I am a publishing snob of any kind, but because I am wary of if I would like the book or not, if I will find editing discrepancies, etc. You see, I mostly try to avoid putting books I don't care about on my blog - I believe they just don't deserve the time it takes to write up something special, even if it's antagonizing, about them. I cherish my creative license as a blogger and book reviewer to say anything I damn well please about a book - and if I do so, I might be leaving the carcasses of an indie author's dreams in my wake. So yeah, as a general rule, I limit how many indies I take up for reading/review. But when I spoke with author Amanda McNeil, I instantly knew I'd say yes to reading/reviewing and going so far as to be part of her blog tour. Are you wondering why? Because she appeared to be extremely charming, disarming and incredibly sweet - and I realized, this intelligent woman will not hold my opinions against me, even if they may not be in favor of her book. Knowing this, makes me feel at ease, knowing I'm not harangued by limitations.

Since I used the word "confessions" - confession #2: Before 2009, every time I heard the name "Frieda", I thought of Frieda Kahlo. After 2009, every time I hear the name "Frieda", I think of Frieda Pinto. The former was a remarkable woman...the latter makes me nauseous for being heralded as a starlet, when you and I both know she is just a talentless, cardboard bland actress with stunning looks. So, automatically, I have a distrust of characters named Frieda. Now, I know you are thinking, how in the world are either of those two things pertinent to the "REVIEW" for this book (that, or you are seriously wondering if I'm crazy, and that would make the two of us my friend!)? Well, here's how...

I'm blown away!

Simply put, I'm blown away by this indie author, and this indie novel. That entire fear being disappointed by this indie novel was completely unfounded, because this book is wonderful. And this Frieda, well, let me tell you I'd take this Frieda over Ms. Pinto any given day! (But seriously, if this novel is ever optioned for a movie,  and they chose Frieda Pinto to play Frieda...I'd slit my wrists!)

Frieda (not the actress) is a dynamic character, and an immensely interesting one, at that. She has Borderline Personality Disorder which means she dissociates into an angry and violent personality, from time to time, with no recollection of the things she says and does during those lapses. As most such patients with behavioral and mental health issues, Frieda also suffers from bouts of anxiety and depression, and having to deal with these issues often sends Frieda spinning into a world where she inflicts harm and pain upon herself, in order to refrain from facing the actual pain of her disability. Addled by these psychological hurdles, Frieda is constantly trying to asses "What is normal?", in her world. Her quest for the meaning of life, and her existential pondering and musings make her an unlikely, but ultimately quite perfect, heroine of our novel.

The first half of the novel reads like Frieda's journal as she navigates a new world - a drab, destroyed, post-zombie apocalypse world, where society has crumbled, and Frieda and her cat appear to be the lone survivors. As we explore the daily routines of our heroine and her trusted feline companion, the book opens up like a flower and introduces us to the innermost thoughts and emotions of a troubled, yet beautiful, mind. Those who are fans of zombies, and the gore and carnage that this genre usually bequeaths, don't worry, this book does not disappoint - the action is coming, just you wait. But understand, this book is not merely about zombies, and it is not merely about survival - it is about all that, and it is about what it means to be different in the world, and how that changes when the world you knew no longer exists.

The second half of the novel gets more interesting as we are introduced to Mike! Aha, the plot thickens! A post-apocalyptic, awkward romance ensues. Why is this romance awkward? Well, it's difficult navigating the uncharted seas of relationships in "normal" life...can you imagine how this changes in a world where you might be the only people left, with all norms and traditions out the window? Especially given our heroine and her "disease"? Well, in some ways Mike and Frieda connect on a personal basis, what with their struggles with mental illness - but, they are also thrust into a world where they didn't choose each other, but were thrust upon each other, by way of being out of choices. Ahhh... not an auspicious beginning for a romance, right? Well, trust me... you are going to want to read this novel to find out where this unique romance goes.

Finally, the book picks up it's languid pace, and hurtles forward into action and drama, resulting in a climax that is action filled and will keep you at the edge of your seat. And the ending...oh, the ending...well, it is safe to say this ending shall surprise you! This book may have gotten one less star than how many I have given it, because I think there are other aspects of this novel that could be better explored (or perhaps I just want to read MORE from author Amanda McNeil! LOL) - but the reason it gets FIVE STARS, is because I simply loved how well-realized, and well-developed author McNeil's characters were, ESPECIALLY Frieda. Amanda writes about mental illness with sensitivity, and yet never fails to make it interesting. All in all, Amanda McNeil has created quite an interesting world in her novel, "Waiting for Daybreak", and I assure you, you will be reading it all night and through daybreak, scurrying to try find out...what IS normal?

Rating: *****FIVE STARS*****

Giveaway Time!!!

Would YOU like to win a copy of "Waiting for Daybreak" by Amanda McNeil? Thanks to the generosity of the amazing author, now you have a chance to win an e-copy of "Waiting for Daybreak". Make sure to enter for your chance to win an eBook of "Waiting for Daybreak." CLICK HERE and it will take you to my previous post, and giveaway for this amazing novel. - Giveaway ends on July 17th, 2012 (so chop, chop, my friends!). Also, click on the BLOG TOUR BANNER at the very beginning of this post, in order to check out all the different blogs taking part in this blog hop!

Disclaimer: Although I received a copy of this book for review by the author, I was not compensated monetarily, or in any other way, for my opinion. The opinions stated in this review are solely mine, and are not representative of views of the author, or publishing company, of this book.

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