Month: February 2018

The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls

Author: Emilie Autumn
Published: June 22, 2017
392 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description from Goodreads:

Two young women, living centuries apart, both accused of madness, communicate across time to fight a common enemy… their doctors.

“It was the dog who found me.”

Such is the stark confession launching the harrowing scene that begins The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls as Emilie Autumn, a young musician on the verge of a bright career, attempts suicide by overdosing on the antipsychotics prescribed to treat her bipolar disorder. Upon being discovered, Emilie is revived and immediately incarcerated in a maximum-security psych ward, despite her protestations that she is not crazy, and can provide valid reasons for her actions if someone would only listen.

Treated as a criminal, heavily medicated, and stripped of all freedoms, Emilie is denied communication with the outside world, and falls prey to the unwelcome attentions of Dr. Sharp, head of the hospital’s psychiatry department. As Dr. Sharp grows more predatory by the day, Emilie begins a secret diary to document her terrifying experience, and to maintain her sanity in this environment that could surely drive anyone mad. But when Emilie opens her notebook to find a desperate letter from a young woman imprisoned within an insane asylum in Victorian England, and bearing her own name and description, a portal to another world is blasted wide open.

As these letters from the past continue to appear, Emilie escapes further into this mysterious alternate reality where sisterhoods are formed, romance between female inmates blossoms, striped wallpaper writhes with ghosts, and highly intellectual rats speak the Queen’s English.

But is it real? Or is Emilie truly as mad as she is constantly told she is?

The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls blurs harsh reality and magical historical fantasy whilst issuing a scathing critique of society’s treatment of women and the mental health care industry’s treatment of its patients, showing in the process that little has changed throughout the ages.

Welcome to the Asylum. Are you committed?

Kim’s Review:

I got this book for Christmas and I was immediately drawn to the cover! Of course, I’m all about asylums so there’s that, and the cover art is gorgeous! It did start out a little slow, but when it got going, boy howdy did it get going! I love the way that she broke down the thoughts in Emilie’s head to try to capture the issues of mental health. And apparently this book is biographical so Emilie Autumn the author has dealt with these very problems. Emily (with a y) is a fascinating character that I wish I could learn more about. I felt like I missed a lot of details that would have been helpful, but I’m too shallow to get them . . . if that makes any sense at all. That’s the only reason I gave this book 4 stars. There were times that I felt a little lost. Other than that, I loved the story, I found it interesting and engaging and it stayed in my head long after I put the book down. Overall, this was a great read; a little bit of creepy, a little bit of history, a little bit of crazy and it all came together into an awesome story! Not a great book for teens, but really great for more mature audiences! 😉

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


**BONUS!!!**  If you are a fan of coloring books, Emilie Autumn created one!

Description from Amazon:

Enter the world of the Asylum with 23 original illustrations hand-drawn by Emilie Autumn herself, just waiting for YOU to bring them to life with color!

Devotees of Emilie Autumn’s bestselling gothic fantasy novel, The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls, will recognize the iconography of the Asylum world, from keys, gears, and clocks to the famous spiked gates, teapots, corsets, striped stockings, and, of course, rats!

The circular mandala style is designed to stimulate your creative brain whilst calming those voices in your head when they get just a bit too loud.

These exquisitely detailed designs are printed on one side only to allow you to easily remove the pages for displaying your art. Following each coloring page is a double-sided lined note page on which you are invited to record the wild journeys your mind went on whilst you were coloring.

Whether you color as a relaxation technique or as a wake-up call to your inner artist, Emilie invites you to collaborate with her and escape into the Asylum with this adult coloring book suitable for Plague Rats of all ages.

DETAILS:
• 23 original coloring pages
• 23 double-sided lined note pages
• Durable, glossy cover and binding
• Dimensions: 8.5” x 8.5”

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Dread Locks

Author: Neal Shusterman
Published: May 5, 2005
176 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Dread Locks is the first entry in the Dark Fusion series from master storyteller Neal Shusterman. He cleverly weaves together familiar parts of fairy tales and Greek mythology to tell the story of fourteen-year-old Parker Bear, rich and utterly bored with life—until a new girl arrives in town. Tara’s eyes are always hidden behind designer sunglasses, and her hair, blond with glimmering spirals, seems almost alive. Parker watches, fascinated, as one by one Tara chooses high school students to befriend; he even helps her by making the necessary introductions. Over time, her “friends” develop strange quirks, such as drinking gallons of milk, eating dirt, and becoming lethargic. By the time Parker realizes what Tara is doing, he is too embroiled to stop her. In fact, she has endowed him with certain cravings of his own. . . .To say more would spoil the spooky fun of this wild thriller—let the twist speak for itself and leave you still as a statue.

Kim’s Review:

Neal Shusterman is easily becoming one of my all time favorite authors! Everything he writes holds me enthralled through the whole story! I found Dread Locks at 2nd & Charles and I got so excited! I was waiting for the next book in another series that Shusterman wrote to get here from Amazon, and this one is short so I read it, and loved it! Shusterman has a way of being philosophical without being pompous or hard to understand. Dread Locks is a mix of fairy tale and myth. Yes, there is a subtle difference between the two and Shusterman weaves them together flawlessly. I honestly have no critique to give with this book.

It’s an imaginative story that’s meant to be experienced through your imagination so don’t expect to take it all literally. There are little lessons to learn throughout; the characters are likeable, they could have easily moved into annoying, but they never did. And my very favorite part of this story is the ending! Holy cow!!! But I can’t tell you, you just gotta read it for yourself!!!! 😊 I’d recommend this to any teen, I think this is a good book to get them into reading. I’d also recommend it to anyone looking for a short but interesting read.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Sunday Series Review: The Merciless by Danielle Vega

Today Kim reviews The Merciless Series by Danielle Vega. The series is currently composed of three novels with a fourth coming out later this year! The information on it will be provided below and came from Goodreads. The Merciless Series by Danielle Vega  

Books in the Series:   
The Merciless
The Merciless II: The Exorcism of Sofia Flores
The Merciless III: Origins of Evil

Descriptions from Amazon:

The Merciless:
Published: June 12, 2014
279 pages

Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream. Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.

Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls…unless she wants to be next. By the shockingly twisted end, readers will be faced with the most haunting question of all: Is there evil in all of us?

Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Merciless II: The Exorcism of Sofia Flores
Published: July 5, 2016
320 pages

Sofia is still processing the horrific truth of what happened when she and three friends performed an exorcism that spiraled horribly out of control. Ever since that night, Sofia has been haunted by bloody and demonic visions. Her therapist says they’re all in her head, but to Sofia they feel chillingly real. She just wants to get out of town, start fresh someplace else . . . until her mother dies suddenly, and Sofia gets her wish. Sofia is sent to St. Mary’s, a creepy Catholic boarding school in Mississippi.

There, seemingly everyone is doing penance for something, most of all the mysterious Jude, for whom Sofia can’t help feeling an unshakeable attraction. But when Sofia and Jude confide in each other about their pasts, something flips in him. He becomes convinced that Sofia is possessed by the devil. . . . Is an exorcism the only way to save her eternal soul? Readers won’t be able to look away from this terrifying read full of twists and turns that will leave them wondering, Is there evil in all of us?
Amazon US
Amazon UK

The Merciless III: Origins of Evil
Published: July 11, 2017
304 pages

Brooklyn knows that there’s no good without evil, no right without wrong. And when a helpless girl calls her teen helpline, whispering that someone is hurting her, Brooklyn knows that she needs to save her anonymous caller, even if it means doing something bad. Her parents and friends assure her the call was probably a prank—but Brooklyn has always had a tendency to take over, whether someone has asked for help or not. She discovers the call came from Christ First Church and finds herself plunged into the cultish community of its youth group. She’s especially drawn to Gavin, the angelic yet tortured pastor’s son. Torn between an unstoppable attraction to Gavin and her obsession with the truth, Brooklyn is forced to make a devastating choice to rid Christ Church of evil once and for all. . . . But the devil has plans for Brooklyn’s soul.

Amazon US
Amazon UK


Series reviewed by: Kim
Kim’s rating of the series: 4 stars
Kim’s Review:

I really enjoyed this series! It satisfied my horror craving, without being overly predictable. The characters were interesting and relatively relatable. I hated the people I was supposed to hate and sympathized with the characters I was supposed to sympathize with. I liked how Vega captured the duality of humanity. Yes, there is black and white in this life, but mostly, there’s a whole lot of gray! The reason I’m giving this series 4 stars is because 1. The suspension of disbelief wore a little thin by the time I got to the third book, and 2. I just hate teenagers. To be fair, the teenagers in this series fit the story very well, but I can’t help reverting back to my feelings of annoyance because teenagers are obnoxious and stupid. 😊 As for the suspension of disbelief, apparently exorcisms happen quite often in Mississippi! How many exorcisms happen in one group of people?? That was the only predictable part of this series.

Vega did add several twists that surprised the heck out of me! At first, Vega’s view of Christianity bothered me, as a Christian, but then I thought about most of the Christians I know personally, and while her descriptions are by no means the norm, she has the number of some of us! I liked that the books aren’t huge, so I was able to read the series in less than a week. I like this series a lot and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a creepy read. I would save this for older teens, there is language and some adult themes, but I think most older teens would enjoy this series.


There will be a fourth book in the Merciless series!  All information on this upcoming novel comes from Goodreads:

The Merciless IV: Last Rites
Expected Publication: June 12th 2018

The fourth book of the scream-worthy cult series The Merciless combines Stephen King level terror with true crime stories like the Amanda Knox case.

The ropes tighten on Berkley Hubbard’s wrists. Blood drips down her fingers and lands with a smack on the cold floor of the church basement. She’s trapped, bound, and petrified by fear. A knife punctures her fragile skin as Berkley’s captors search for the mark of the devil on her body. They say they want to save her–drive the devil away and cleanse her soul–but will she make it out alive?

When Berkley arrived in Italy a week ago, the last thing she expected was that she’d end up fighting for her life. After spending six months at the Institute, confined to a room with the dangerous-yet-alluring Sofia Flores, Berkley was certain that a vacation in Italy with her two best friends would be the perfect getaway. But Berkley is hiding a terrible secret, one that threatens to undo everything. As she’s forced to face her wicked past, she learns that the devil is always watching, and no one is coming to save her.

Pre-order:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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