folie¿: noun, plural fo·lies [faw-lee] /fɔˈli/. French. madness; insanity.
Author: M.S. Barnes
Published: July 22, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
When Dr. Jane Lee, a recent graduate, takes her very first position as a psychiatrist at Southern States Mental Institute in Memphis, Tennessee, she gets more than she had bargained for. The idyllic images she had created in her mind while in school of treating the mentally ill clashes immediately and drastically with the reality of the practice in real life. From the filthy, creepy, neglected facility in which she now works and the attitude of those in the mental health industry itself to the haunting madness of her first-ever patient, Matilda Rose, nothing is as she had imagined it would be.
As the story unfolds, Dr. Lee finds Matilda’s psychosis, based around an ancient Chinese legend, to be far more chilling than anything she had encountered in training. And worse, it seems to be spreading to others – a situation described in the psychiatric journals as folie, or mass hysteria.
Will Dr. Lee be able to resist the pull of her patient’s overwhelming psychosis and find a way to save her? Or will the good doctor fall prey herself and join the ranks of those who have already been drawn into the eerie and unsettling world of Matilda Rose?
Whew! This book is intense! It’s definitely horror based on reality with some creepy metaphors thrown in! Barnes considers the idea that mental illness is catchy, but could mental illness also be a completely separate entity? Add in a haunted asylum and you got folie¿. This book has that same quality that Shirley Jackson has in her works, a discomfort that creeps up on you stays with you through the reading.
I couldn’t always put my finger on it, but this book made me uncomfortable. The frustration at the head doctor’s objections was the most obvious source. He made me mad. And that Nurse Crawley! There was something off about her from the beginning, but it doesn’t become clear till the end … and then I just sat breathing hard! Overall, this was a great asylum book and definitely scratched the horror itch! Totally worth a read with a great cover!
Author: Anne-Marie Ornsby
Published: January 10, 2020
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: March 30- April 2, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars
Sometimes the dead come back. And sometimes all they want is to hurt you.
When residents on an east London housing estate start dying in gruesome ways, housing manager Ada begins to worry that her past is coming back to haunt her.
Once a powerful medium, able to talk to the dead with amazing ease, she became more comfortable with the afterlife than real life, and with that openness she attracted something dark from the other side. Terrified by the experience she swore she would never communicate with the dead again.
Ten years later at the scene of an apparent suicide, her long closed-down connection to the dead is reopened, and she begins to receive information she shouldn’t know about the victims’ final moments.
Stalked in her dreams and in waking life by an angry male presence, Ada begins to relive the dark days when something from the other side wanted her to end her life.
But as the bodies stack up and the visions intensify, Ada realises that in order to stop more people from dying she has to let the dead back in to find out the truth of what is driving her residents to violent acts – and face up to her own ghosts.
This is sadly another novel that did not work for me. Yes, I enjoy the crime thrillers and this one had paranormal twists to it. I was fine with that but the direction the novel went did not work for me. The final act/twist which explains everything did not work for me. Unfortunately, I can’t go into it or I would give away spoilers. This is the author’s second novel and I will give her another try and read her debut at some point.[Top]
Author: Stephanie Johnson
Published: September 20, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Charlotte, a young girl with her own personal demons, inherits Cliffmoore House when her grandfather dies. Cliffmoore House, an abandoned asylum as it turns out, has demons as well. Charlotte and her companions need to stop the evil entities before they consume the asylum grounds and their souls.
Is anyone surprised that Kim read this book?? If you are, well you obviously need to spend more time on the blog! The description excited me and I love finding new indie authors, so I bought it and read it.
First, the pros. Johnson created a great setting with Cliffmoore House. I wanted so badly to visit and to learn more about it and it drew me in immediately. She also has a good imagination for horror. There were some parts of this book that had me legit creeped out! I know she is totally capable of writing a brilliant horror novel, but unfortunately this is not that novel.
Now, the cons. In horror, less is more. If the plot line can’t stand on its own as a scary one, then throwing every scary element you’ve ever heard of into it is not going to help. Thankfully, this plot line is already creepy. This book should have been an anthology of haunted hospitals and hotels and private homes all over England. If that had been the case, I would have added at least a star to my rating. But the fact that everything happened in this one hospital to this one group of people diminished the entire experience. There were too many spirits to make any one of them special. There were too many exorcisms and they simply became par for the course. And just when you thought the story was over, yet another entity was thrown in and by that time all I could think was, “really? Another one?!”
There were also certain details that Johnson never really acknowledged. There were satanic drawings and symbols in the lab, but no other evidence of satanic rituals. Explanations for most of the spirits but none for the truly terrifying ones. Plus the book was riddled with typos and incorrect pronouns, which to be fair, could be easily fixed by a good editor. I’ll admit that this has more to do with me than with the book or the author, but I just really didn’t connect with the characters. Charlotte just seemed flat to me. Maybe the drug and alcohol abuse would have made more sense if earlier trauma had been identified, but I really never saw anything that justified it so it was just an annoyance through the whole book.
Overall, I’m glad I read it and I hope Johnson will continue writing, but I also say that it’s easy to see this is her first novel and she has a lot of growing to do as a writer.