Monday, July 23, 2012

Review # 199: Waiting for Daybreak by Amanda McNeil

What is normal?
Description: (from Book)
     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?


     Over the last few years it seems that a shift has occurred, instead of teenage girls going ga-ga over Twilight-esque vampires, readers are flocking toward a different type of undead - zombies. These lumbering flesh-eaters are ripe with interest, ( in human brains), and are bringing back the gut-shredding fear and blood-curdling uncertainty that their 'sparkly' counterparts lack. Books, comics, movies and TV shows - especially The Walking Dead series - are popular because they scare the bejesus out of fans using blood, gore, gritty violence, and an overall feeling of doom - not to mention some pretty kick-a** plot-lines; however, after reading one, (or eighteen), similarly themed books, the premise can get old. I currently have four 'zombie' novels in my "To Be Read" pile, and I am already suffering from an undead hangover of apocalyptic proportions. When I was asked to read Waiting for Daybreak, I almost declined the opportunity. Another end-of-the-world zombie-pocalypse scenario? Boring. But after reading the blurb I was surprisingly intrigued. 

     Frieda is an multi-faceted character, her Borderline Personality Disorder adding layers to her already depressed, yet quirky and attitude-laden, persona. I was blown away by Amanda McNeil's ability to develop such a unique and troubled character who every reader can relate to on some level. Everyone has questioned the boundaries of normalcy, but Frieda finds herself in a situation where her past fears and vulnerabilities don't coincide with the present. Now that ~90% of the human population is craving a dripping chunk of people-meat, where does that leave the rest of the uninfected, (seemingly normal),  individuals? (Or their pets?) I enjoyed the relationship between Frieda and her cat, often unbothered by the fact that the dialogue was mainly one-sided. Frieda's love for her pet - her only living companion - was genuine and provided a couple of laughs. I much preferred this connection over Frieda's awkward relationship with another survivor, Mike, who I felt did not have enough of a history. I found the plot-line engaging and surprisingly twisty, each chapter bringing in more of the gore I would expect from the genre without soiling the well-written characters.  Also, the ending was excellent, and I didn't see it coming, (no spoilers). This is one of the first zombie novels I have read with a psychological/romance flair, and I really enjoyed it! I will definitely be adding this book to my collection, and hope to read more of Amanda McNeil's novels and short stories! Recommended to fans of the survival horror genre, and those looking for a psychological twist for the end-of-the-world.

Rating: On the Run (4/5)

*** I received this eBook from the author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

About the Author:

Amanda McNeil lives in Boston in a funky attic apartment that used to be a servant's quarters. She, alas, must write by night and work by day. She writes scifi, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and horror and has been strongly influenced by Stephen King, Margaret Atwood, and Chuck Palahniuk.

Her first book, Ecstatic Evil, was released on July 7, 2011. Its sequel is set during American Thanksgiving and the release date is not set yet.

Her second book, Waiting for Daybreak, about a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder attempting to survive a zombie-like virus outbreak in Boston, was released on June 4, 2012.

You may contact Amanda at and find her online at her blog where she also maintains an up-to-date listing of her published short stories.

Buy the Book:

Amazon, Author's Blog, Author's Twitter, GoodReads, LibraryThing, Pinterest

Tour Schedule:

13—Earth’s Book Nook guest post and giveaway
14–The Chronicles of an Enamored Soul review and giveaway
15–Tabula Rasa review and giveaway
18–Nicki J. Markus interview and giveaway
22–From Me To You… interview and review
23–The Paperback Pursuer review
25–Kelsey’s Cluttered Bookshelf interview and giveaway
26–Bookishly Me interview
27–Fangs for the Fantasy review and giveaway
30–Gizmo’s Book Reviews interview

1–Unabridged Andra review, interview, and giveaway
2–Cynthia Shepp guest post
3–Pocketful of Books guest post
4–NovelOpinion interview
5–The Book Blurb interview
6–Ellie Hall guest post
Eva’s Sanctuary review and interview
7–Kindle Fever interview and giveaway
10–Lily Element review
11–Wickedly Bookish interview and giveaway
13–Ellie Hall and cross-posted to 1889 Labs review
14–Blood, Sweat, and Books review and interview
15–The Book Hoard review and giveaway
16–Persephone’s Winged Reviews review
17–Offbeat Vagabond review, interview, and giveaway
18–Mervi’s Book Reviews review
20–Paperless Reading review
21–An Eclectic Bookshelf review and interview
22–Book Stacks On Deck review and giveaway
28–Pure Textuality review, interview, and giveaway
29–Just a Lil’ Lost… review
Reflections of a Book Addict interview and giveaway
30–Obsessions of a LibraryGurl review and interview
Reflections of a Book Addict review
31–Opinions of a Wolf author’s wrap-up!

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