Asylum by Madeleine Roux

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Asylum Madeleine Roux

Published: August 2013 by Harper

Pages: 310

Summary: Dan Crawford is spending his summer at New Hampshire College Prep, a four week summer program. He quickly finds out the dorm building in which he’ll reside for the remainder of the summer used to be an asylum. Together, his friends, Abby and Jordan, help him explore the hidden recesses of their summer home, where there are secrets that refuse to stay buried. 

My Thoughts: Roux wrote a very clever story line for Asylum. The ending was tied up nicely and it was unpredictable. I wish the book had been more creepy than it was. Don’t get me wrong, it was certainly creepy, but I was just hoping for more. The writing flowed smoothly and was an easy read.   

I did not relate or connect to the main character, Dan. I felt like he wasn’t very complex. I liked Abby the best, she was adventurous, conflicted, determined. It seemed like she wanted answers more than anybody else. 

I really liked that Roux added photos. It gave life to the story. Incredible visual aids. The sources of the photos can be found in the back of the book and it’s interesting to see where they came from. 

I did enjoy this book. I would recommend this book to you if you like YA, YA thrillers, or any and all things to do with asylums. 

Check out Madeleine Roux on the Pitch Dark Dark Days Tour! 

pitchdark.com/darkdays

My Goodreads Rating: 3/5.

Up Next: The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison. 

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Scare Me by Richard Parker

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Scare Me by Richard Jay Parker

Published: April 2013 by Exhibit A

Pages: 368

Summary: When did you last Google yourself? Will and Carla Frost are asleep in bed, eager to awake within a few hours to pick up their daughter and her boyfriend who are returning from their vacation. Will is awoken when his cell phone starts to ring at 3AM. The call came through on his personal cell phone, which only Carla and his daughter, Libby use, he answers it expecting Libby, but instead a voice asks, “when did you last google yourself, Mr. Frost?”. Will then proceeds to google himself and he finds a website by his name. On that website, he finds photos of the inside of his home, along with photos of houses he’s never seen before. The first strange house contains photos of the interior, but also a gruesome murder. Will is then told that his family is in danger and the only way to save them is to visit each of the houses in person, before the police discover what has happened there. Seven houses. Seven gruesome murders. Seven chances to save his family. 

My Thoughts: 

This is a very well developed mystery thriller. I loved the story line. The moment when Will received the anonymous call at 3AM, I was absolutely hooked! I honestly struggled to put this down. I wanted to keep reading to see how everything was going to play out. 

Along with the story line, another thing that I really loved were the characters. I felt that they were very nicely done. Parker captured the emotions, reactions, and mannerisms of each character perfectly. I am certain that everything that Carla did and felt is how a real life mother would feel if something like this were to happen to her daughter. The feel of these characters is very real and genuine.

There was one part, small and only lasting a second, that was disturbing. When Tam is first introduced, he’s working a delivery job, standing outside and smoking. He throws the cigarette down when he hears a scream. He decides not to tell his father about the scream he heard, because who would believe a six year old boy. I had to read this part again to make sure I was reading it right. I cannot picture or even imagine a six year old smoking!

In summation, I loved this book! It is so intense and scary that my heart was beating throughout the entire book. I definitely do not want to say that the story is predictable, but towards the end, I took a guess as to why this was all happening and it turned out I was correct. It’s such a great ending and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! AND it ends with a cliff hanger! I’m hoping there will be a continuation!

Mystery and thriller lovers will not be disappointed with this one. I will warn you though, it is immensely gory. If you’re squeamish, I do not recommend this for you.

After highly recommending Scare Me, I hope you will read it! It has secured a slot on my Best Books in 2013 list, which I will post at the end of the year. Right now, it costs $1.99 in the Amazon Kindle Store. Check it out!  

My Goodreads Rating: 5/5

The Assassin and the Disciple by Virginia Austin

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The Assassin and the Disciple by Virginia Austin

Published: January 2013

Pages: 186

Summary: Brother and sister, Isaac and Sarah are separated after their fathers’ death. The story begins eighteen years later when the Disciple escapes from a psychiatric hospital and goes on a gruesome killing spree in the name of the Lord. The Assassin, now a physicist, has concocted his mastermind plan. They both meet again for a truly apocalyptic conclusion. 

My Thoughts: Whoa. Just whoa. 

This book is formatted so you alternate between the Disciple and the Assassins timelines. I found myself looking forward to the Disciple chapters and not so much the Assassin.

The Assassins chapters dragged on. The Assassin was preparing his plan, but you know nothing of the plan or what he’s doing, so that made it quite frustrating for me. I don’t like not knowing what is going on.

I enjoyed the Disciple chapters because of the gruesome killings. I don’t agree with the reasons why the Disciple decided to murdered, but I’ll tell you they were creative and quite graphic.

I need to mention the writing style. This book was beautifully written. It was like reading a 186 page poem! Not thinking about the actual story at the moment, I would want to read another Virginia Austin novel just for the writing style!

I liked this book. I liked the gore, I liked the back story of the brother and sister,  and I loved the writing. However, I felt like the ending fell short. I remember reading about this book and the ending was really talked up. Perhaps I expected too much, perhaps I imagined it different, I don’t know, I just felt like there could have been so much more to it.

I would recommend this book to you if you like apocalyptic thrillers, if you enjoy religious novels, and if you like a well worded book.

*SLIGHT SPOILER* Warnings: I would not recommend this book to you if you do not like gory murders or if you can not handle rape.

My Goodreads Rating: 3/5.  

Twirling Naked in the Streets and No One Noticed: Growing Up with Undiagnosed Autism by Jeannie Davide-Rivera.

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Twirling Naked in the Streets and No One Noticed: Growing Up with Undiagnosed Autism by Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Published: April 2013

Pages: 200

Summary: This is the story of Jeannie. We follow her through her,what seems to be, never ending struggles and challenges of growing up with undiagnosed autism. Starting at age 3 and going until age 38 when she receives her diagnosis. 

My Thoughts: Reading a memoir is the equivalent to reading someone’s diary. You put yourself out there and you are completely exposed to all the world. This memoir was a difficult read for me for two reasons, one because I have a similar story and most of the situations/struggles talked about hit home for me, and two because as I mentioned earlier, it’s like a diary and at parts the pace is a bit slow.

I have also have autism and didn’t find out until a few years ago, so I understood what Jeannie was going through and what she continues to go through. I ended up learning a little something too. I didn’t know that this was a symptom of Autism, but in the book, Jeannie talks about how she would get lost all the time, even when it was a regularly visited location, it’s called Place-Blindness. I knew that that was a trouble area for me, but I never knew it was associated with my Autism. So this book not only gives you insight into the mind of an “Aspie” as Jeannie words it, but you’ll also learn a few things about Autism/Aspergers Syndrome. 

This story starts with Jeannie at age 3 and follows her until she is diagnosed with Autism at age 38. Prepare for the emotional rollercoaster ride you’re about to board. I laughed, I cried, I was frustrated with her teachers and her doctors, and I was beyond ecstatic once she was diagnosed. 

This book will put you inside the mind of growing up without a proper diagnosis. The trouble from her parents, teachers, doctors, and peers. I really enjoyed taking this journey with Jeannie and I think you will too. It is a very good triumphant read. I would gladly recommend this book to everyone and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 

My Goodreads Rating: 4/5. 

Cubeworld by Karl Olsberg

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Cubeworld by Karl Olsberg

Published: June 16, 2013

Pages: 167

Summary: Marco wakes up in a very strange place and he has no memories. No memory of where he came from, where he is, or how to get out. He realizes he’s in the world of Minecraft and must survive zombies, skeletons, and killer cucumbers (creepers). Throughout the story, he regains his memories piece by piece and he must find a way out of Cubeworld.

My Thoughts: I picked up this book because it was based in the game Minecraft, and that’s all I really knew about the book. A Minecraft Novel, two of my favorite things! How could I not check it out?

In the beginning, it was all about the Minecraft: Marco is  exploring, noticing he can gather materials, put those materials together to make weapons, shovels, axes, etc, and also realizing that angry mobs come out in the dark and some of them stay out in the sunlight. Amazing. If you are not familiar with the game, don’t worry because Karl Olsberg is very descriptive and paints a clear picture for you.

I found that this story was so much more than Minecraft. The characters and the story have such depth. I honestly wasn’t expecting that from the beginning, but I was so impressed with how the story formed and later resolved.

My favorite part of this book is when Marco’s adventure map leads him to the room with the switches. This part was so powerful and it’s really the glue that holds everything together.

In conclusion, I loved this book. Great, easily relatable characters, interesting and gripping storyline, descriptive and well worded. This book had me on the edge of my seat and it was difficult to put down. The only bad thing that I can say about this book would be that it was too short! I didn’t feel that things were left unanswered, I just wanted more! This book caused a “book hangover” for me. (A book hangover is the inability to start a new book because you’re still living in the last book’s world.)

I would recommend this book to you if you: like/play Minecraft, have never played or don’t know what Minecraft is, like page-turners, or are looking for a short easy read.

My Goodreads Rating: 5/5.

Dead Weight by T.R.Ragan

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Dead Weight: The Lizzy Gardner Series #2 by T.R.Ragan

Published: July 2012

Pages: 304

Summary: Dead Weight is the second book in the Lizzy Gardner series. In this book, Lizzy works on two cold cases with her assistants, Jessica and Hayley. A dying mother contacts Lizzy in hopes that she will be able to find out what happened to her daughter, Carol, who disappeared over twenty years ago. Carol’s car was found on the side of a highway in California. The police wrote it off as a runaway. Andrea Kramer also seeks Lizzy’s help to find her sister, Diane who has been missing for months. Diane was obese and she turned to a weight-loss guru and Andrea believes he is responsible. Lizzy, Jessica, and Hayley take on both these cases while dealing with their personal lives.

My Thoughts: I did not enjoy this book. I do not feel that the story is strong or interesting. Abducted was intense and this one just seems boring. I also feel that too many characters were added. I definitely don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I just want to say that Hayley has certainly flipper her lid! I won’t give any details, but it’s almost worth reading just for Hayley’s story. I have faith that this author will pick up her stories in this series, so if you liked Abducted and want to keep reading, I suggest you read Dead Weight.

My Goodreads rating: 2/5

Abducted by T.R.Ragan

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Abducted: A Lizzy Gardner Novel by T.R. Ragan

Published: July 2012

Pages: 382

Summary: This story follows a serial killer known as “Spiderman” and Lizzy Gardner, “The One Who Got Away”. Lizzy tells her parents she’s going out with her friends, but then meets up with her boyfriend, Jared . Jared drops Lizzy off, a few blocks from her house so she doesn’t get caught in a lie, and walking home is when Lizzy gets abducted. Lizzy manages to get away after two months with Spiderman. Fourteen years later, Lizzy is a licensed PI and in her spare time, she teaches self defense classes to young females. Her world is turned upside down when she receives a call from Jared, now an FBI agent, saying Spiderman is at it again and that he’s left her a personalized note.

My Thoughts: This book planted it’s hooks into me on page 1. It was such a page turner; I had a hard time putting it down. I really enjoyed this book.  I love how descriptive Ragan writes in this book. Makes you feel like you’re right there in the room with Spiderman and his victims. Horrifying! The story is action packed! There’s never really a dull moment. I feel like I can’t say enough good about this book. The “love story” between Lizzy and Jared wasn’t a strong romance. I felt like it fell short of what most people would be expecting. Personally, I felt it was ok. I don’t enjoy romance and I’m glad she focused on the creepy aspects, but if you’re looking forward to the romance between Lizzy and Jared, I feel like you’ll be let down.

My Goodreads Rating: 5/5