Confinement By Gabriella Murray

Title: Confinement

Author: Gabriella Murray

Publisher: Self Published

UK Publication Date: 3rd January 2011

Blurb:

Set in an experimental hospital for the criminally insane in the 1950s, CONFINEMENT is loosely based on the author’s one year residency in a psychiatric center, when lobotomies and other equally cruel treatments were rampant, and when the highly-experimental “Insulin Therapy” was in vogue.

Duffino, an attractive girl in her early 20s, is sent to a mental hospital when she refuses to defend herself at trial for the highly publicized, gang-related murder of her boyfriend’s rival. Refusing to speak, Duffino is ordered locked-up until she’s willing to talk.

The richness of the story unfolds with Duffino’s relationship to the other inmates, all in for violent crimes, including her obese roommate, Charlotte, sentenced for murdering a nun. Charlotte becomes obsessed with Duffino, and will not let up until she speaks.The inmates slowly come to learn why they did the crimes they did, as they make us question the true nature of guilt.

Between the horrifying treatments, the group therapy sessions, the flashbacks to violent crimes, the question of whether Duffino will talk, and the constant hope of escape‘ (From Amazon.co.uk, 25th January 2013)

Review:

Compared to other reviews I have read I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. Some people complained of typos but I think the author has edited the book as I didn’t not notice many if any typos.

On to the novel. Written from the perspective of Charlotte – a long term patient who was brought up in a convent before she murdered her room mate which landed her in hospital. Before Duffino even arrives Charlotte is obsessed with her and her story which is filling the newspapers. She decides then and there that she will cure Duffino and will make her speak again.

The novel focuses on Charlotte’s obsession on curing Duffino and her and Duffino’s journey within the hospital. The author has created an interesting book with a good story line which includes enough background knowledge of the 1950s experimental insulin therapy procedures.

The story flowed well, and after the end of one chapter I was kept awake even later as I needed to move onto the next. This novel pulled me through quickly. I am very interested in mental health and psychiatric history. I think having some knowledge of the history of psychiatry and a knowledge of mental illness meant that this book made more sense to me and the relationship between Charlotte and Duffino was the driving force of the plot.

The one thing that I disliked is the cover. I’m sorry it just doesn’t appeal to me.

This is book one in the Love and Madness Series.

4 out of 5

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A Cold and Lonely Place By Sara J. Henry

Title: A Cold and Lonely Place

Author: Sara J. Henry

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

UK Publication Date: 5th February 2013

Blurb:

Troy Chance returns in another riveting novel from the author of the critically acclaimed Learning to Swim

   Freelance writer Troy Chance is snapping photos of the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival ice palace when the ice-cutting machine falls silent. Encased in the ice is the shadowy outline of a body–a man she knows. One of her roommates falls under suspicion, and the media descends. Troy’s assigned to write an in-depth feature on the dead man, who, it turns out, was the privileged son of a wealthy Connecticut family who had been playing at a blue collar life in this Adirondack village. And the deeper Troy digs into his life and mysterious death, the murkier things become. After the victim’s sister comes to town and a string of disturbing incidents unfold, it’s clear someone doesn’t want the investigation to continue. Troy doesn’t know who to trust, and what she ultimately finds out threatens to shatter the serenity of these mountain towns. She must decide which family secrets should be exposed, what truths should remain hidden, and how far her own loyalty can reach.
   A Cold and Lonely Place, the sequel to Learning to Swim, follows Troy on a powerful emotional journey as she discovers the damage left by long-hidden secrets, and catches a glimpse of what might have been. (From Goodreads, 22nd January 2013)

Review:

Firstly I will say this is the novel which follows ‘Learning to Swim’. I did not know this and thus have the answers to some of the questions that must come up in ‘Learning to Swim’ so I would advise you read that first. You do not need to read it first to understand ‘A Cold and Lonely Place’ but I think it would add extra understanding to some characters.

I read ‘A Cold and Lonely Place’ just as the weather turned from Autumn to Winter and that added to the atmosphere within the novel. Finding a body frozen in the lake of a small town brings a lot of questions that stir the small town. Troy is a freelance journalist who is caught in the story as her flatmates boyfriend is the body in the ice. She begins to investigate the life of the victim and tells his story through feature articles for the local newspaper. She is not investigating his death, but his life.

An interesting novel that shows the curiosity we have in others and the morals writers must decide to follow or ignore when dealing with others privet lives.

This novel brings a good amount of twists and turns without being too fast moving or too slow. It gripped me and the descriptions of the environment were beautiful. I enjoyed it and enjoyed the fact we were not investigating the murder but in fact the life.

A novel for those who are interested in mystery but want a slightly slower pace compared to many others in the genre.

4.5 out of 5.

My Dead Friend Sarah By Peter Rosch

Title: My Dead Friend Sarah

Author: Peter Rosch

Publisher: Createspace

UK Publication Date: 1st April 2012

Blurb:

Mere months into recovery, Max, an alcoholic with twisted control issues, meets Sarah – the same woman that for years he’s habitually dreamt will die after a botched abduction. “Doing the next right thing,” a popular AA phrase he’s picked up in the rooms, means befriending Sarah long enough to warn her and hope she takes him seriously. But when Sarah falls in love with Max, his newly sober thinking drives him to choose his overly devoted wife, and he abandons Sarah – even when it condemns her to death. When Sarah goes missing, the NYPD suspects Max’s dream may have been a pre-crime confession. The truth, all of it, lurks inside of Max, but only by drinking again does he recapture the nerve and clarity vital to free his wife, sponsor, and himself from a life imprisoned by lies. (From Goodreads, 22nd January 2013)

Review:

When I read the blurb for this novel I was excited. I thought this would be a book I would love. However I was wrong. And it pains me to say so. I so wanted to enjoy this book and pushed myself to keep going but it just never clicked for me. Reading through other reviews and the authors note at the back it seems that he is a ‘Marmite’ type – either love it or hate it.

At the beginning we meet Max –  he is being questioned by police about the disappearance of Sarah. A disappearance he forced them to take note of before it happened. Max has placed himself in a sticky situation and is now caught in a situation making him rethink his sobriety and life in general.

We take a step into the past, alternating between Sarah and Max, but both are talking from slightly different time points. Both characters have their faults and prolificacy to lie. Max begins to stalk Sarah after he see’s her and recognizes her as the woman from a long standing dream. The build a relationship over a month, which Max puts off, guilt ridden or lying to his wife.

Max lives a life of an alcoholic, visiting AA meetings and lying to those who care for him. We see more of this side of Max in the second part of the novel which is entirely from Max’s point of view. I preferred this half of the novel but was not overawed by it. We wonder about Sarah, what had happened? Will they find her body? Who did it? but to be honest I just felt we were dragged around as Max got himself more and more inebriated and he isolates himself once again.

For me it lacked the excitement the blurb had placed in me, it fell short. I wanted a case, with twists and turns, looking for Sarah, but what I felt I got was the quick spiral back into alcoholism and very little adventure or intrigue.

I’m sorry I didn’t get it.

2 out of 5.

Overly Medicated By Shaun Lewisham

Title: Overly Medicated

Author: Shaun Lewisham

Publisher: Shaun Lewisham Enterprises

UK Publication Date: 1 edition (10 Dec 2011)

Blurb:

Welcome to ‘Overly Medicated’: A collision Between One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Shameless.

Overly Medicated is a social biography based on my life story and is set against the backdrop of the West Midlands. It is set over a period of three decades starting in 1987 and uses Gary Walker as its feature character. The book follows Walkers path through life from hooligan to husband, his battles against drug addiction and mental illness and his attempts to escape the cobwebs of his tortured past. Overly Medicated recounts the story of a man scarred from the break up of his marriage, resulting in him raising their only daughter as a single parent. His own attempted murder and the termination of his unborn child. Walker finally hits rock bottom and is admitted onto a psychiatric unit after a failed suicide attempt. Overly Medicated details his fight back from depression and addiction and recounts his pathway to becoming a Registered Psychiatric Nurse and the manager of a Psychiatric Rehabilitation Home. It exposes the hypocrisy encased in the mental health system and tells the story from both sides of the divide.

Overly Medicated is a story of love, triumph, violence, drug and alcohol addiction, fortitude and friendship. It contains a social narrative on Britain via the author’s individual standpoint and reflects on his political and social development. The book is aimed at making the reader, laugh, cry and ruminate over the experiences of one troubled man. This book is sad, funny, honest and true. Overly Medicated is a rollercoaster of contrasting emotions; I hope you enjoy the ride. (From Amazon.co.uk, 22nd January 2013)

Review:

‘Overly Medicated’ is a book based on the authors life and this shines through the writing. All characters have the depth of reality and you get a good understanding of the times, the politics and the life that the main character – Gary Walker – leads. It is a story of ups and downs. Mistakes, achievements, met by more mistakes and yet more achievements. You want to scream at Gary when he starts on yet another destructive path, then pat him on the back when he achieves what would have seemed impossible.

For a female reading this book the football ‘hooliganism’ focus at the beginning is a bit off putting and I think it is more a novel for the males in this sense. But you are dealing with a persons life. And the further through you get the more you understand Gary’s behavior and why he does the things he does.

The novel is eloquently written and you can tell that the author, though having experienced the life of his main character, was always an intelligent men with a true understanding of language.

It is a novel I would urge mental health students and staff to read. Gary’s idea of care is spot on. He learns from his experience of being in treatment the failings of the system and how to combat that. A holistic approach – which many of us will study but not practice.

This is a journey – a rather eventful journey in that. But it is life and life is just that – a sequence of ups and downs. A novel written with understanding, insight and skill.

A read for all interested in mental illness, alcoholism, crime and drug use. Do not be put of with the male angle because there is a lot in this book which will aid your understanding of the above issues.

A 4 out of 5.

The Iron King By Julie Kagawa

Title: The Iron King

Author: Julie Kagawa

Publisher: Mira Books

UK Publication Date: 21st Jan 2011

Blurb:

My name is Meghan Chase. In less than twenty-four hours I’ll be sixteen. Countless stories, songs and poems have been written about this wonderful age, when a girl finds true love and the stars shine for her and the handsome prince carries her off into the sunset. I don’t think it will be that way for me. Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school…or at home. When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change. But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical fairy king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil no faery creature dare face…and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.
Review:
This was a fast paced book that was well planned. I really enjoyed this book and look forward to reading the following ones in the Iron Fey series. The characters mostly had depth and I guess that this will increase in the other books. Sorry this is a really short review. I really enjoyed the book and it is a genre I don’t often read – Fantasy, Fearys etc – but I enjoyed it and will move on to the next book in the series. This is a fight, not against good and evil, but a more realistic fight where there is levels of good and evil.
Sorry I am making a mess of this review! A series I would recommend you get a hold of if you haven’t done so already!
4 out of 5 🙂

Dust That Book Off

I don’t know if other bloggers do this, so I apologize if I am stealing an idea. What I have decided to do this year is take a look at my bookshelf and find the books that have been sitting there for ages waiting to be read but I have not picked up. This is my way to motivate myself to get some of those long  standing members of my collection read! All Images should link to the appropriate GoodReads page.

     

The Uglies Quadrilogy. I have read Uglies, but I have not read the other three.

Wuthering Heights By Emily Bronte

A Million Little Pieces By James Frey – I got put off reading this after all the talk about it was falsified etc. But I am going to get past that and just get stuck in!

Brisingr by Christopher Paolini

Speak By Laurie Halse Anderson

That is all I am going to put on my list, but my challenge for the year is to get these books read!

What books need dusted off that are on your shelf? Let me know in the comments section.

Blethering Books x

Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares By Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Title: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares

Author: Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Publisher: Harlequin (UK) Ltd

UK Publication Date: 5th October 2013

Blurb:

Ive left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you dont, put the book back on the shelf, please.

Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions? Rachel Cohn and David Levithan have written a love story that will have readers perusing bookstore shelves, looking and longing for a love (and a red notebook) of their own.

Review:

Having heard so many good reviews of this book I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. I am glad I did. The only thing I regret is not reading it sooner, and not reading it just before Christmas. This novel is set at Christmas time which is captured beautifully, and why I feel reading just before Christmas would have made it even more magical. Dash’s dislike for the holiday and Lily’s love of it. Both characters are well developed – slightly bizarre characters and extremes but both loveable and intriguing.

This book takes us on the journey of the two teenagers journey to find out about one another through the red notebook which the communicate with. The dares are amusing, and not the typical dares you would imagine. You will find yourself flipping the pages waiting to know what happens, anxiously awaiting them to meet. To find out if they could be friends, more than friends.

A well developed novel that will capture the interests and emotions of many readers.

5 out of 5

A Shimmer of Angels By Lisa M. Basso

Title: A Shimmer of Angels

Author: Lisa M. Basso

Publisher: Month9Books

UK Publication Date: 29th January 2013

Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Rayna sees angels, and has the medication and weekly therapy sessions to prove it. Now, in remission, Rayna starts fresh at a new school, lands a new job, and desperately tries for normalcy. She ignores signs that she may be slipping into the world she has tried so hard to climb out of. But these days, it’s more than just hallucinations that keep Rayna up at night. Students are dying, and she may be the only one who can stop it. Can she keep her job, her sanity, and her friends from dying at the hands of angels she can’t admit to seeing?

Review:

We follow Rayna as she tries to regain her footing outside of a mental health facility – back to school, new job and a fresh start. After Rayna’s mother dies she begins to see ‘wings’ – angels. Her father not knowing how to help has her placed in a mental health facility in which she spends a substantial time.

Things begin to slip as a new classmate appears with golden wings behind him. She tries to ignore them but when one of her class mates is found dead she is caught in a fight for her sanity and the protection of her class mates.

I enjoyed A Shimmer of Angels as it combined one of my main interests (mental illness) mixed with Angels and the Fallen. I felt the novel was too short however, I know that there are two more books following this – the Angel Sight series/trilogy – but in some ways maybe it would have been better if they were combined? I can’t say this until the following novels are out, just speculate. I have not read any of the many Angel books that are out there and so cannot compare this one to them. A good fast paced book that held my interest, but maybe not at the quality of other books that are out there, but again this is speculation.

Those that want a bit of supernatural with some mental health this is a book you may enjoy.

I will give it a  3.5 out of 5

The Mad Scientist’s Daughter By Cassandra Rose Clark

Title: The Mad Scientist’s Daughter

Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke

Publisher: Angry Robot

UK Publication Date: 7th Febury 2013

Blurb:

There’s never been anyone – or anything – quite like Finn. He looks, and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is to tutor Cat. When the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world.

Review:

I starting this book without reading the synopsis. I had read it a month before and completely forgot what it was about. So what is it about?

We meet Cat as a young girl who is given a tutor – Finn – who she thinks is a ghost, but is in fact a one of a kind android. Her father, a scientist, never really tells her where Finn came from, or much about him at all. This is a story about life. Set in the future after ‘the disasters’ in which man caused we see the development of Cat and the development of her relationship with Finn. Set with androids, advanced technology and a post disaster world. However this is not central to the story. The central theme is life and relationships, along with some artificial intelligence and their rights.

To begin with the novel did not grab me I am afraid to say. But as I read on I noticed I wanted to find out what happened in her life, where Finn came from and why he was different.

This is a novel that is well written, well thought, and with some interesting and thought provoking ideas. Do not be put of by the fact it is set in the future and includes science fiction ideas, that is not the root of this book. This is a book I think many female readers will enjoy, but with a different setting to many life and love stories. One to stick with until you are captivated by Cat, and then you will be glad you stuck with it.

I give this a 4 out of 5.

In My Mailbox 006

In My Mailbox is a Meme hosted by The Story Siren in which we share the books that we have received that week. However since my internet has been down I am going to give a rather large post with all the books I have received since my last In My Mailbox Post.

      (Goodreads/Amazon)

I picked up these three for £5 from The Works on there 3 for £5 deal.

(Goodreads/Amazon)

I am a member of ReaditSwapit and this is where this came from.

     (Goodreads/Amazon)

This was a Christmas gift from my mother which was much appreciated! I have already read the first two so once the third is read I will put up a combined review.

(Goodreads/Amazon)

A nice wee 20p bargain from Amazon!

(Goodreads/Amazon)

Another 20p bargain from Amazon!

 (Goodreads/Amazon)

And another 20p bargain from Amazon!

(Goodreads/Amazon)

An Amazon freebie at time of purchase!

(Goodreads/Amazon)

(Amazon)

(Goodreads/Amazon)

The Above three books were another bargain from The Works on their 3 for £5 deal.

(Goodreads/Amazon)

A Christmas present from my brother so I can annoy people with certain facts 🙂

And that is it for my bumper In My Mailbox! Please comment on what you think of the books – both good and bad.

Thanks,

Blethering Books.