The Asylum By Johan Theorin

Title: The Asylum

Author: Johan Theorin

Publisher: Doubleday

Publication Date: 13th March 2013 (UK Paperback)

Blurb:

‘We don’t talk about sick or healthy people at St Patricia’s. Words such as hysteric, lunatic and psychopath… They are no longer used. Because who amongst us can say that we are always healthy?’

An underground passage leads from the Dell nursery to Saint Patricia’s asylum. Only the children enter, leaving their minders behind. On the other side are their parents – some of the most dangerous psychopaths in the country.

Jan has just started working at the nursery. He is a loner with many secrets and one goal. He must get inside the asylum . . .

What is his connection with one of the inmates, a famous singer?

What really happened when a boy in his care went missing nine years ago?

Who can we trust when everyone has something to hide?

Review:

Okay so it is difficult for me to give reviews of psychological thrillers like this without giving too much away so I think this review may be quite short! But will give it a try!

So I love things to do with asylums, psychiatric hospitals and mental illness therefore the title had me hooked, then I noticed the quote on the cover ‘If you like Stieg Larsson, try a much better Swedish writer’ (The Observer). I love Stieg Larssons Millennium trilogy and thought that this seemed a perfect book for me. But I will say this now – I preferred Stieg Larssons books to The Asylum.

Jan is the protagonist in this novel and initially appears to be a sensible adult who has a good career as a play group/nursery teacher/worker, with only one incident pertaining to a job several years ago. That is the first hook in the story, and soon we learn that Jan is not as perfect as his CV made out.

I found the novel a little slow to begin with but quickly built up pace making you want to keep reading to find out what happened in the past and what was going to happen next. You were anxious as Jan tried to sneak into the Asylum and worried for him in case he got caught. Why is he so desperate to sneak in? What is his connection to the inmate he wishes to contact?

The chapters were quite short so if you are reading at night you might be up rather late as you think ‘just one more chapter’ and this happened to me – was rather tired the next day at work!

This is a very well written novel with some surprise twists and turns to keep you hooked. Definitely pick up if you are a fan of psychological thrillers and keep with it at the beginning because soon you won’t be able to put it down!

4 out of 5!

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My Fat, Mad Teenage Diary By Rae Earl

Title: My Fat, Mad Teenage Diary

Author: Rae Earl

First Published: 2007

Publisher: Hodder

Blurb:

It’s 1989 and Rae is a fat, boy-mad 17-year-old girl, living in Stamford, Lincolnshire with her mum and their deaf white cat in a council house with a mint off-green bath suite and a larder Rae can’t keep away from. This is the hilarious and touching real-life diary she kept during that fateful year – with characters like her evil friend Bethany, Bethany’s besotted boyfriend, and the boys from the grammar school up the road (who have code names like Haddock and Battered Sausage). (From Goodreads, 22nd March 2013)

Review:

After watching the E4 TV series ‘My Mad Fat Diary’ when it was aired at the beginning of this year and seeing this book when I was book shopping I knew I had to pick it up! I am glad I did! It was absolutely hilarious! It is very different from the TV series which in some ways is a blessing, but in other ways disappointed me slightly. In the TV series we find out much more about her mental illness and she meets with her therapist/psychiatrist named Kester regularly, thus giving a more in depth understanding of Rea’s character. This is completely absent from the novel and the novel is more about her love life – or lack of it – and her life at school and home.Written in a diary style based on Rea’s diary as a teen makes this fast moving and easy to read. It is much less ‘heavy’ than the TV show as it doesn’t deal with her time in a psychiatric hospital with only brief references to it. I think this is a frank portrayal of a teen in the 80’s dealing with her insecurities just as many of us do! A witty and funny diary for fans of the TV series and those who need some rest-bite, laughter, and escapism from/in their lives. This will make you laugh out loud!

4 out of 5!

City of Glass By Cassandra Clare

Title: City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

First Published: March 24th 2009

Blurb:

To save her mother’s life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters – never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family’s past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he’s willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City – whatever the cost? (From Goodreads, 21st March 2013)

Review:

I have fallen in love with this series! Although I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first two I think that is mostly because it started off really well then felt rushed at the end. City of Glass concludes the first story in the Mortal Instruments series and the fourth and fifth books are the aftermath of the main story.

I can’t say too much because that will give away bits and pieces from the first and second books. So what can I say? This is novel takes us to Idiris – the main city of the Shadow Hunter world – we encounter new characters and learn more about the history of Clary’s mother and many other characters. Clary is on a journey to find out how to wake her mother up. But things soon become much bigger than that.

This again gives us action, adventure, love, family complexities and much more! I can’t recommend this series enough! Especially with the film of the first novel coming out in August this year! Go out and buy it!!!!

4 out of 5!

Dr Who: The Nightmare of Black Island By Mike Tucker and Anthony Head

Title: The Nightmare of Black Island

Author: Mike Turner

Narrator: Anthony Head

Publisher: BBC Books

Publication Date: 21st September 2006

Blurb:

On a lonely stretch of Welsh coastline, a fisherman is killed by a hideous creature from beneath the waves. When the Doctor and Rose arrive, they discover a village where the children are plagued by nightmares, and the nights are ruled by monsters. The villagers suspect that ancient industrialist Nathanial Morton is to blame, but the Doctor has suspicions of his own. Who are the ancient figures that sleep in the old priory? What are the monsters that prowl the woods after sunset? What is the light that glows in the disused lighthouse on Black Island? As the children’s nightmares get worse, the Doctor and Rose discover an alien plot to resurrect an ancient evil… (From Goodreads, 18th March 2013)

Review:

I didn’t actually read the book but listened to the audio book which was an abridged edition. I really enjoyed it. It was the first time I have really listened to an audio book and I am glad that I decided to try audio books out!

This is set when Dr Who was played by David Tennant and his companion was Roes (Billy Piper). We follow the mystery of why there are monsters ruling the island at the night. We are taken through the mystery with twists and turns keeping it excited. The lighthouse is mysterious and intrigues the doctor.

I can’t really say much as I would spoil it and give away the mysteries. But this is perfect for those Dr Who fans who are missing the shows, and families going away on holidays with long  drives! It will keep the kids entertained!

First audio book experience – 4 out of 5 because I love Antony Head – was a Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan!

Over all 3.5 out of 5 as only 4 hours long.

Wither By Lauren DeStefano

Title: Wither (The Chemical Gardens #1)

Author: Lauren DeStefano

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Publication Date: 22nd March 2011

Blurb:

By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape–before her time runs out?

Together with one of Linden’s servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom? (From Goodreads, 15th March 2013)

Review:

I had seen a lot of bloggers talking about the Chemical Gardens series due to the release of the third book in the series just recently! I decided to get the first book and see what the fuss was about and I am glad I did! A dystopian novel in which women are forced into marriages and scientists attempt to work out a way to reverse the ticking time bomb within humans. This is an interesting idea, a cure for cancer was found but after the 1st generation they learned that their children would all die at either 20 or 25. The world is not what it was.

Here the focus is on Rhine who is kidnapped and taken into a forced marriage. We follow her journey as she attempts to run away to find her twin brother. Falling in love with a servant, recognising the evil within the house she is now trapped.

We have adventure, love and a world which is dealing with its mistakes. A series you will fall in love with.

4.5 out of 5

If You Find Me By Emily Murdoch

Title: If You Find Me

Author: Emily Murdoch

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Expected Publication Date: 26th March 2013

Blurb:

There are some things you can’t leave behind…

A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys.

Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down (From Goodreads, 11th March 2013)

Review:

If You Find Me reminded me of Room By Emma Donoghue but only really in the overriding topic – children being hidden away from society. Carey was taken by her mother when she was young and taken away to live in the forest. Now fourteen she looks after her little sister Jenessa. Jenessa has never been in the ‘real world’ and does not speak. After her mother being away for longer than usual both Jenessa and Carey are surprised when a man and women appear at their camp site. Carey’s father has found them and the adventure into the real world is beginning. Carey does not know if she should believe what her mother said about her father – that she saved her from him. And so we journey into the adjustments both her fathers family and Jenessa and Carey must make.

This is an exciting novel. It captures you from the beginning. Fast paced then dealing with the difficulties of adjusting to the new life Carey is now leading. Carey is the protagonist and we see the world from her eyes. We begin to understand the complexities of growing up in the forest away from society and being plucked out and thrown back into society. Lets us understand the mixed feelings that comes so often in abuse cases. I would highly recommend this novel to young adults, and view it as the young adults version of Room By Emma Donoghue.

4 out of 5

The Sea of Tranquility By Katja Millay

Title: The Sea of Tranquility

Author: Katja Millay

Publisher: Atria Books

First Published: 5th September 2012

Blurb:

live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to. (From Goodreads, 7th March 2013)

Review:

Well the above blurb gives you a good idea about the books content so I will not summarize as I often do. This is a very well written book which flips between Nastya and Josh’s point of view. Both are damaged and you learn what has happened to them at a good pace, along with what happens between them. Friendship, love, pain, hurt. It is all there. This story gripped me. Nastya’s silence and Josh’s wish to be left alone bring these two damaged characters together. You will feel for them, and you wish for them to be okay. If you like ‘issue’ books this is one that you should buy and not regret.

4 out of 5