This time I must begin by saying that I really enjoyed the book. Yes, I agree with the fact that are as many opinions as readers are, but if you’ll not find even a thing to like a lot in Not Quite Dead then… let’s say that something is not quite well… for you.
And also this time I must say that the book description brings a disservice to the novel. It is fairly far to offer an image, even a bit, of what Lyla Payne managed to create. The author has proved not only an extraordinary easiness to navigate from normal to paranormal, through present and the past, through deeds and emotions, through tragic and humor, violence and tenderness, through love and friendship, but also to entwine them in such a manner so the result is a harmonious whole, capable to stir emotions (quite profound at times). The paranormal, mystery, romance are stories themselves, well developed within the canons of the genre to which they belong, yet none of them will take over the story, but it will highlight the others.
A great trump of the book are the relationships between the characters. Very varied, both in type as in intensity, new or old, past or present, destroyed or rebuilt, family relationships, amorous or caste ones are directed and intertwined in a natural way. The paranormal events acquire "probability" and they will help the heroine to rediscover herself, but also to the relocation of the normal in a reality of the abnormal relationships.
The characters are different one from each other and it seems that everyone has something to hide. You will love them, hate them, understand and you will sigh for some of them. My favorite is Martin. For me, he will be from now the image of the alpha male at the end of his Happily Ever After, but the one who didn't lose anything from his grandeur, from his dignity, care and love that flows not only on his lost beloved, but also over everything what they have accomplished together, over their descendants.
The heroine is at an obvious personal life impasse, and she will get the chance to prove the saying that any kick in the butt can be a step forward. But in getting the chance and knowing how to make use of it are two different things, and the reader will assist from the first row at Graciela’s decisions. Between the nostalgia for what might have been, the awkwardness of the actual situations, the beginning of a friendship that may become more, the breaking from what was your moral support and the acceptance of the reality and of yourself, the adaptation to the new conditions is a long way and with an uncertain destination.
The way in which Lyla Payne is writing, cursive and with figures of style well positioned, delights and attracts the reader to participate, not just to observe. The lines will be quickly follow-up, but with lasting effects.
Not Quite Dead, as the first volume of the series, can be read also as a stand-alone, but although the author plays "fair" and doesn’t end with a cliffhanger, however, the majority threads of the story will have a denouement like this could quite go off, paving the way for the next volumes, volumes that I’m looking forward to read.
About the author:
Lyla Payne has been publishing New Adult romance novels for a little over a year, starting with Broken at Love and continuing with the rest of the Whitman University series. She loves telling stories, discovering the little reasons people fall in love, and uncovering hidden truths in the world around us - past and present. In her spare time she cuddles her two dogs, pretends to enjoy exercising so that she can eat as much Chipotle as she wants, and harbors a deep and abiding hope that Zac Efron likes older women. She loves reading, of course, along with movies, traveling, and Irish whiskey. Lyla's hard at work, ALWAYS, and hopes to bring you more Whitman University antics and at least one more Lowcountry ghost tale before the end of the year.
If you're a fan of Young Adult fiction-science fiction or otherwise--please check out her work that's published under the name Trisha Leigh.