Author: Dana I. Wolff
Published: July 5, 2016
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 Stars
Description from Amazon:
FOUR DECADES AFTER TYPHOID MARY WENT TO HER GRAVE, FIVE CURIOUS GRADUATE STUDENTS STRUGGLE TO ESCAPE ALIVE FROM THE ABANDONED ISLAND THAT ONCE IMPRISONED HER. CONTAGION DOESN’T DIE. IT JUST WAITS. In the Hell Gate section of New York’s East River lie the sad islands where, for centuries, people locked away what they most feared: the contagious, the disfigured, the addicted, the criminally insane. Here infection slowly consumed the stricken. Here a desperate ship captain ran his doomed steamship aground and watched flames devour 1,500 souls. Here George A. Soper imprisoned the infamous Typhoid Mary after she spread sickness and death in Manhattan’s most privileged quarters. George’s great-granddaughter, Karalee, and her fellow graduate students in public health know that story. But as they poke in and out of the macabre hospital rooms of abandoned North Brother Island―bantering, taking pictures, recalling history―they are missing something: Hidden evil watches over them―and plots against them. When death visits Hell Gate, it comes to stay. As darkness falls, the students find themselves marooned―their casual trespass having unleashed a chain of horrific events beyond anyone’s imagination. Disease lurks among the eerie ruins where Typhoid Mary once lived and breathed. Ravenous flies swarm puddles of blood. Rot and decay cling to human skin. And spiteful ghosts haunt the living and undead. Soon five students of history will learn more than they ever wanted to know about New York’s foul underbelly: the meaning of spine-tingling cries down the corridor, of mysterious fires, of disfiguring murder, and of an avenging presence so sinister they’d rather risk their lives than face the terror of one more night.
I was really excited about this book . . . another abandoned hospital! Then I started reading, and it was all downhill from there. Unfortunately, I had to push myself to finish this book. I ran into problems from page 1. The writing was so pretentious! I felt like the author was trying to write an epic poem instead of a horror story. Just spit it out! And I think the author, whoever he or she may be, since Dana I. Wolff is a pseudonym, was trying to encourage sympathy for Typhoid Mary and it didn’t work at all! By the time I was done with the book, I hated Mary! She was nothing but a selfish slut who complained about her lot in life, but then went right on trying to get her own way, no matter who she hurt! Even after it was proven that she spread typhoid to the people she cooked for, she completely ignored the danger and justified going back to the kitchen by complaining about how horrible people have always been to her and ended up killing more people. And then, when faced with all the lives that were lost because of her, she brushed it off by saying that those numbers were nothing compared to the lives lost by the actions of other people, hence they were eviler that she was!! Oh, give me a break!!!!
Why Mary is still alive on this island is never actually explained, she kills more people because everyone in her past abused her, so she’s clear to kill more . . .? And there are ghosts from the shipwreck of the General Slocum, stuck on the island possibly for the same reason Mary is still there, but again, it wasn’t clear so I still have no idea. Karalee, whose grandfather was the man who identified Mary as a threat and quarantined her for the good of New York City, somehow got caught up in Mary’s fury, and killed someone as well, because . . . well I still don’t know. The only reason I gave 3 stars was because it had the potential to be an awesome book. I really wouldn’t recommend this book to anybody, I don’t think it’s worth the read.
Author: Thatcher C. Nalley
Published: June 11, 2014
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars
Description from Amazon:
LETTERS FROM THE LOONEY BIN is a #1 Amazon Bestseller! In the late 1970s the Emerson Rose Asylum became completely abandoned – all the patients, doctors, staff, vanished and were never seen again. The events circling this mass exodus have been one of the most baffling disappearances in history. Until now. A stack of bundled letters was found inside a tattered asylum mattress during the Emerson demolition. These letters, all addressed to the pseudonym Dr. Quill, were written by the patients as they documented the demise of the Emerson Rose Asylum. The patients innocently convey their dire pasts while the events occurring hint toward dark happenings outside their doors. Haunting, their words conjure feelings both grim and promising, as they secretly conjure a plan of mass exodus from the volatile institution. The names have been changed, but the stories have not. Though their identities are protected, the essence of these patients’ challenges, triumphs, corruptions, salvations, and most of all, their human spirit, remains untouched. Their journey will become your journey as the patients chronicle their final months in these, Letters from the Looney Bin.
Here’s another one that I can’t tell if it’s real or not! I definitely seem to gravitate towards books like that! And this one is really good! Crazy people are so fascinating. Combine the insane with an insane asylum and a conspiracy, then you have Letters from the Looney Bin. I loved reading all about why each inmate has been committed. And then to see their discontent with their doctors. I know that this will probably show my ignorance, but dude, I’d love to go to an asylum! Who wants to come visit Emerson Rose Asylum with me? Ivan won’t come with me to any abandoned buildings . . . he doesn’t want to get arrested. Where’s the fun in that?? Well, I read this book in one sitting. I found it intriguing and mysterious and downright engrossing! I absolutely recommend this to anyone who enjoys psychiatric hospitals or mysteries or secret conspiracies! An awesome 5 star read!!
Today is a double review!!! Kim and I both enjoy doing these. Everyone experiences life differently, and therefore has different reading experiences with books. That is why I enjoy reviewing so much: There are so many different opinions and with My Best Friend’s Exorcism we get that. Kim and I have totally different reviews and thoughts of the novel. We both listened to the audiobook and one of us enjoyed it and one of us not so much….
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars
Jessica’s Rating: 3 Stars
Published: May 17, 2016
Description from Amazon:
A heartwarming story of friendship and demonic possession. The year is 1988. High school sophomores Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fourth grade. But after an evening of skinny-dipping goes disastrously wrong, Gretchen begins to act…different. She’s moody. She’s irritable. And bizarre incidents keep happening whenever she’s nearby. Abby’s investigation leads her to some startling discoveries—and by the time their story reaches its terrifying conclusion, the fate of Abby and Gretchen will be determined by a single question: Is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil? Like an unholy hybrid of Beaches and The Exorcist, My Best Friend’s Exorcism blends teen angst, adolescent drama, unspeakable horrors, and a mix of ’80s pop songs into a pulse-pounding supernatural thriller.
I listened to this book on audio, but I did read the physical book last year as well. This one is a bit more difficult to review because I’m kinda shallow when it comes to getting those subtle little things that songs and books try to convey. But after reading this book a second time, I do have a theory. I think this book is simply about the drama of high school. Yes, there is an actual exorcism and demon possession but I’m pretty sure it’s all supposed to be a metaphor. It’s hyperbole . . . boom, obscure literary term!
Abby and Gretchen have been friends forever. Inseparable since 4th grade and Abby’s birthday party where only Gretchen showed up. They had grown up together, at least as far as their sophomore year of high school. And then, everything changed. As one of the unpopular kids, I completely relate to a lot of the things happening in this story. To be on the fringes of high school hierarchy. At least, I never even entered the popular group, so I didn’t know what I was missing. But Abby and Gretchen were some of the most popular girls in their grade. I can only imagine the things that Abby feels when everything changes. A lot of it is typical high school girl stuff, but stretched to the fantastic and unbelievable. Anorexia, crushes on teachers, infidelity, friendship. All such big deals to teenagers and all dealt with here.
And though there is an exorcism of a demon, this wasn’t meant to be a Christian book and I don’t think Hendrix was trying to pass judgement on religion. Like I said, this is more metaphorical than realism. Aside from the language and soft sexual themes, I would actually recommend this to older teenagers. If nothing else, then to show that sometimes friendships last past high school, but most times they don’t, and that’s ok.
Dates Listened: October 26-November 3, 2017
I had wanted to read My Best Friend’s Exorcism for a little while and I got the chance to listen to the audiobook at Halloween time! For me that was perfect since it deals with an exorcism. It is labeled as horror, fiction, and young adult. My Best Friend’s Exorcism is not really horror though there are some scenes that are not for the squeamish. Technically also a YA novel as the main characters are teenagers, this book will not be for younger teens. There are adult situations and the language was extreme for me. Language does not tend to bother me unless it is extreme, and I got tired of hearing the F-word. I don’t think I have read or watched anything with that much language since the movie Goodwill Hunting. I actually debated on stopping it because of the language, but the novel is well written and I wanted to get to the exorcism, so I continued on.
My Best Friend’s Exorcism is all about Abby and Gretchen’s long term friendship. They have been best friends since they were children and bonded over E.T. I was born in 1980 and this story takes place in the 1980s so I really enjoyed the references to everything from the music to E.T., and even VHS tapes! There are so many kids now that will not know what some of these various media and ‘relics from the past’ are!
Then one night something happens to Gretchen and she begins to change. Everything changes for Abby as well. A lot of what happens is cliquish in that high school way that things are. I did like that the novels shows how relationships can last or fall apart after high school. This is true on so many levels. I have one friend I still keep in touch with that I have known since sixth grade. She has become like another sister. She has moved to another state due to her husband’s job and I miss her so much! She will be that lifelong friend that some of us are very lucky to have. I love you Jennie!
I was anticipating the exorcism and for the most part it delivered. The narrator portrayed the demon’s voice very well. It actually got me in the mood to watch The Exorcist. Or maybe I’ll listen to the audiobook… Or maybe I’ll do both… But will reading The Exorcist give me nightmares????
**SPOILER:The one thing with the exorcism that I don’t agree with was that the exorcist did not defeat the demon, Abby did. For me that was saying that the girls’ friendship is stronger than God. I can’t agree with that. I did see the point that the author was making, which is the girl’s friendship, I just can’t agree with this direction. END SPOILER**
Overall, I can’t recommend My Best Friend’s Exorcism as the language was too much for me. I gave it three stars since it was well written and again, I loved all the 80’s references.
For you ‘children of the 80’s,’ there is a second cover and I think you will like it!