Author: Kathy Hepinstall
Published: April 10, 2012
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Amid the mayhem of the Civil War, Virginia plantation wife Iris Dunleavy is put on trial and convicted of madness. It is the only reasonable explanation the court can see for her willful behavior, so she is sent away to Sanibel Asylum to be restored to a good, compliant woman. Iris knows, though, that her husband is the true criminal; she is no lunatic, only guilty of disagreeing with him on notions of justice, cruelty, and property. On this remote Florida island, cut off by swamps and seas and military blockades, Iris meets a wonderful collection of residents–some seemingly sane, some wrongly convinced they are crazy, some charmingly odd, some dangerously unstable. Which of these is Ambrose Weller, the war-haunted Confederate soldier whose memories terrorize him into wild fits that can only be calmed by the color blue, but whose gentleness and dark eyes beckon to Iris. The institution calls itself modern, but Iris is skeptical of its methods, particularly the dreaded “water treatment.” She must escape, but she has found new hope and love with Ambrose. Can she take him with her? If they make it out, will the war have left anything for them to make a life from, back home? Blue Asylum is a vibrant, beautifully-imagined, absorbing story of the lines we all cross between sanity and madness. It is also the tale of a spirited woman, a wounded soldier, their impossible love, and the undeniable call of freedom.
Finally, a book set in the Civil War that is not automatically against the Confederacy! I was a little hesitant to read Blue Asylum, just because I’m sick and tired of the PC “the Confederacy is evil” crap that everyone is spewing nowadays. Thankfully, this book handled it very well; it talked about the evils of slavery combined with loyalty to the South and to states’ rights, without mixing them all together. I appreciated it very much. I also loved the setting of Sanibel Island, off the coast of Florida! I already looked it up and apparently it is a popular vacation destination. Ivan and I might have to go . . . Cuz it sounds beautiful and tropical and sunny and warm! And of course, an asylum!
Unfortunately, there were no illegal experiments going on, but I did like the look into true insanity vs. true sanity. I think the most interesting, if annoying, character is Dr. Cowell. I liked seeing him grow and his viewpoints change as he meets new patients. He is a very realistic character who seems to fit the historical setting around him. As much as I like Ambrose, his character was a bit predictable for me. He has a simple case of PTSD, there, mystery solved. His story of war time horrors was also a little on the bland side. The one surprise element of his story did indeed surprise me, hence I didn’t write him off completely. Iris was ok. I wonder what it’s like to literally have multiple men chasing you . . . I really hate women like that. Especially when they act like they don’t know it. Give me a break.
Overall, this was an interesting read. Definitely not a YA book; way too many sexual elements. But I did enjoy reading it, and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good historical fiction book.
Author: Marie Lu
Published: January 2, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.
The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.
One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.
Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.
In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.
I was so disappointed in this book and it made me sad. We are 1 for 2 on the DC Icon series so far. I loved Wonder Woman: Warbringer, not so much Batman: Nightwalker. My biggest issue was that this was not a Batman story, so it shouldn’t be called one. Batman has a very set timeline, Wonder Woman and Superman can be played with a little more since they have inborn super powers. You can’t do that with Batman. So this was not a Batman story. My other big problem is that, although this story was interesting, it could have been about anyone.
Marie Lu is an excellent story teller, we all know how much Jessica and I loved Warcross. But throwing Bruce Wayne into any old story doesn’t work for me. Batman is a detective, some of his greatest stories are based on his ability to solve mysteries and crimes in concise, genius, Sherlock Holmes type ways. It felt like everything just happened to Bruce. He never seems to know anything until someone told him. The story itself was good, I liked the plot and the twist, so thankfully it wasn’t a total loss. But this is not a DC story, it’s not a Batman story, therefore, I have to give it such a low rating. And believe me, it hurts! I’m not gonna go so far as to say that I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone, I think teen boys would enjoy this book. I just can’t say that I liked it.
Author: Mindy McGinnis
Published: March 12, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
When a car crash sidelines Mickey just before softball season, she has to find a way to hold on to her spot as the catcher for a team expected to make a historic tournament run. Behind the plate is the only place she’s ever felt comfortable, and the painkillers she’s been prescribed can help her get there.
The pills do more than take away pain; they make her feel good.
With a new circle of friends—fellow injured athletes, others with just time to kill—Mickey finds peaceful acceptance, and people with whom words come easily, even if it is just the pills loosening her tongue.
But as the pressure to be Mickey Catalan heightens, her need increases, and it becomes less about pain and more about want, something that could send her spiraling out of control.
Whoa. Mindy McGinnis does it yet again! No one captures inner darkness like Mindy. And did she do it in Heroine. I can’t say I like it better than This Darkness Mine, but this one is definitely the most realistic of all her books. Now y’all know that I’m very tough on characters, especially the teens. I expected to go after Mickey. I am an incredibly addictive person and let’s be honest, narcotics are amazing. I absolutely love opiates. The morphine I got after my appendectomy made me fly 5 feet off my bed and I enjoyed every second. I got this huge bottle of oxycodone to take home with me. I barely made a dent in the bottle and it now sits in our medicine cabinet, still full. The only time I’m allowed to take a pill is when I have to have my mouth numbed at the dentist’s office. About a year ago, I had a root canal and I was numbed up big time, so I took one pill. The thought entered my mind that once Ivan went to work, I could totally take another pill, even though the numb had worn off. I wasn’t even scared by that thought. When Ivan went to work, I didn’t take another pill.
Ever since then, I have been heavily critical of addicts. I’m not talking about people who get hooked on their legal prescriptions that their doctor went crazy with. I mean the addicts who get the illegal stuff. Mickey is that kind of addict, so I was all set. Gonna be tough on her, gonna criticize, gonna shake my head. I didn’t do all that to the degree that I was expecting. Of course I shook my head, cuz this girl decided to risk her future, her life, her everything to chase the dragon. Teens are stupid, we already knew that. But McGinnis broke down the process so well, that I felt far more sympathy than I did judgement. I did judge her parents though. Who the hell leaves prescription drugs on their kid’s nightstand???? Unsupervised??? In this day and age?????? Morons.
But I really did like this book. A lot. I absolutely recommend this book to older teens. McGinnis gives a true to life look at addiction and the drugs themselves. She didn’t shy away from talking about how great the drugs feel. She also didn’t shy away from the overall effects and the consequences. Obviously, I wouldn’t give this book to younger kids. But the older teens could definitely benefit from it. An excellent book; high five, Mindy McGinnis!