2 Followers
28 Following
kaylabeck

kaylabeck

Currently reading

The Way of Shadows
Brent Weeks
Magic Marks the Spot
Caroline Carlson
Far Far Away
Tom McNeal
Playing Possum
Nicola Barber, Angela Dawe, Natalie Ross, Charlaine Harris, Amanda Ronconi
Aunty Lee's Delights: A Singaporean Mystery
Ovidia Yu
Control - Lydia Kang Review to come
Independent Study: The Testing, Book 2 - Joelle Charbonneau Please do not make me wait another year. *sigh* Review to come.
The Bone Season (The Bone Season, #1) - Samantha Shannon,  Alana Kerr Gushing review to come.
Perfect Ruin - Lauren DeStefano This past summer, I have been approximately 0-4 in figuring out books from their synopsis. I think I may have a terrible habit of making assumptions. An intervention may be needed. Anywho, the main thing I was expecting was a love triangle, but no need to worry - there is not one here. *dances around madly*

I think it goes without saying that Lauren DeStefano is a wordsmith and worldweaver, and she can make all the things sound pretty. Err... Read pretty. So, Perfect Ruin wasn't the first trek into DeStefano works for me, but I stopped with Wither in The Chemical Garden trilogy, despite loving it. But that's a story for another day. I liked Morgan a lot more than Rhine, and I thought the worldbuilding was easier to sink into because it wasn't as dark. (Don't think there's not darkness - there's a lot of people stuck on one little island.) I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you loved The Chemical Garden trilogy, Perfect Ruin won't disappoint.

Now the story in Perfect Ruin itself is very much a coming of age story for Morgan. Sure, there is a murder and a Jumper brother, but they're just tools that accelerate Morgan's questioning of All The Things. (She would have done so without them, I think.) Is it right that the government to determine when and to whom children are born? Should couples be betrothed from birth? What is really beyond the edge? Those are just a few things that kept coming up in the story. She's lucky to have her best friend, Pen, and betrothed, Basil, who are so understanding and accepting of everything about her. Her parents are pretty awesome, too. Oh, and Lex and Alice. Well, that's more about the characters than the story, but I don't want to give anything away. If you have assumptions about this book, I want them to be blasted.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that this book is really good, and you should probably read it. That's all I'm giving away.

- 4.5/5 Stars

~*~A review that makes more sense will be coming on Bibliophilia, Please closer to the release date. Maybe.

To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.
The Dollhouse Asylum - Mary Gray Review originally posted at Bibliophilia, Please.

Oh man, I feel really bad about writing this review, but obligations. I wanted The Dollhouse Asylum so badly that I begged my way onto the tour. I mean, look at that synopsis! Have you read it yet? I thought I would be getting a book about a weird oldish guy (probably 30s to a teenager - it says "man") being creeptastic with the young girl. I guess it was a little bit like that, but the "older man" is in his early 20s, and Cheyenne is 18. Not what I had in mind. That is only the most minor of issues that I had with The Dollhouse Asylum.

The biggest problem that I had (and I really did try to get past it!) was the relationship between Teo and Cheyenne. They met because he was her math teacher. That is such a huge no for me. I am a firm believer that relationships should be between people who are equals, and the teacher-student dynamic is wrong on so many levels. Yes, I get that Teo is a sociopath and him perving on the young girl added a layer of icky to him. However, reading about their relationship from Cheyenne's point of view, thick with her giddiness and naivete, left a really bad taste in my mouth.

Speaking of Cheyenne, she was the final straw for me in The Dollhouse Asylum. Yes, I get that she's an innocent young girl with no brain. She is obsessed with making out with her teacher. She feels like a queen in Teo's kingdom and only thinks about how much she wishes her friends would love Mr. Perv as much as her. Oh yeah, she was completely blind to how the other teens were acting around Teo when she came in and thought it was because they didn't know him well. Ummm... Right... TDTL? She walked past the body bags into the encampment when he told her that those were the only way out. (Cheyenne never gave it a second thought.) She went through the booby traps. She ignored him treating them like puppets or dolls, making them dress and act like the characters he assigned to them. Cheyenne had no sense of danger or trouble until Teo started killing people.

Oh, there's supposed to be some kind of zombie thing going on outside, too, during all of this. The concept behind it was interesting, but it wasn't at the forefront of the novel. I didn't have enough damns to give to stick with the icky romance or dumb teenage girl to find out more.

I'm not saying that The Dollhouse Asylum is a bad book, but I just couldn't make it past Cheyenne's über naivete. Maybe she grew up and did fantastic things in the book. Who knows? I was already uncomfortable with her relationship with Teo and his using his authority as a teacher to brainwash her. I wasn't going to stay with the book because I was already irritated. It's just not for me.

To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.
Si-cology 1: Tales and Wisdom from Duck Dynasty's Favorite Uncle - Si Robertson Review orginally posted on Bibliophilia, Please.

Okay, I think now is the time to admit it - I watch Duck Dynasty. I'm not a die-hard fan of the show, but I've progressed from a fan-by-default (Mister and Bug love it) to someone who looks forward to the show each week. Trust me when I say that it sneaks up on you. Si Robertson is pretty much the sole reason that I watch the show, and his book did not disappoint the fan in me.

Si Robertson is crazy, and I mean that in the most respectful and positive way possible. He has a no-holds-barred sense of humor, and he comes across as a person who does not care what other people think about him. I guess if you spent most of your childhood running around naked and with six older siblings (five of them brothers), you can't really pay too much heed to what people say/think. Si is also a veteran and devout Christian. He tells stories about all of that, as well as about hunting and fishing, in Si-Cology in such a way that would have me snorting as I tried not to laugh out loud.

Si and the other Robertson boys (and Phil's wife, Kay) grew up near where I lived, so I knew a lot of the stories already. However, Si-Cology gave a new depth to Si that I've never seen on Duck Dynasty or heard about from his old schoolmates. Some of the chapters had me laughing from mishaps in the woods, but his stories about Vietnam and the fertility problems he and his wife showed a different side of Si. Though I would feel a little down for him one minute, the next thing I knew, I'd be laughing again.

I would mostly only recommend Si-Cology to fans of the show, hunters and fishers, or people from my area, but I think it is a book that anyone could enjoy. It was a very fast read for me, and it never got boring. Each chapter was only a few pages, so even the most reluctant of readers would have a good time reading the book. I preordered my copy of Si-Cology ages ago, I'll also be getting the audiobook for Mister and I. I think there will be a new dimension to the book with Si reading it, and I look forward to it though I've already read the book.

- 3.5/5 Stars -

To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an digital copy of the book for reviewing purposes from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected the outcome. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.
Gated - Amy Christine Parker Review originally posted on Bibliophilia, Please.

I know it is so cliche to call a book "gripping", but seriously, I read Amy Christine Parker's debut novel, Gated in less than six hours. I ignored my own mother, child, Mister, and friends because - let's be honest - finding out what happened to Lyla Hamilton and her community was so much more important. The poor girl is in a cult, for crying out loud! If anyone ever needed my full attention, it was her.

Lyla was a character that I connected with from the first few pages. I come from a family of hunters (and I live with one), so I immediately related to her distaste in pointing a gun at something and shooting. I don't like the idea of killing any living creature (I don't even kill bugs very often), and she really didn't like blowing the heads off of plywood silhouettes of people. She and her community were convinced that the apocalypse was coming three months from the start of the novel because their leader, Pioneer, had been given visions by the Brethren, telling him that Earth's rotation was going to reverse. Every person who lived in Mandrodage Meadows was trained to shoot and kill anyone who tried to come with them when they went into their underground Silo. Poor Lyla didn't want to shoot the plywood's heads off, but she didn't want to disappoint her Intended, Will, her friends Marie and Brian, or even Pioneer. (They all love each other a lot, except for Pioneer, but you know how cult leaders can be.) That was just the first sign that I saw of how conflicted Lyla was in Gated. She seemed to be the only person who had any kind of hesitation about killing people, though she was raised in this lifestyle. I'll just leave her at that for now.

Gated gives a full idea of how these normal-seeming people ended up in a doomsday cult without any warning bells going off. Each family that lived at Mandrodage Meadows was "chosen" by the Brethren to survive the impending apocalypse, and they willingly came with Pioneer and pooled all their money and resources to build the Silo and their little suburb. After 9/11 and each of their personal disasters, Mandrodage Meadows was where they all wanted (and some even needed) to be. It reminded me of the movie The Village a little bit, but without the throwback to the 1800s. Man, it was all so messed up! On one hand, my heart was breaking for these people, and on the other, I just wanted to shake them!

Anyways, back to Lyla, she had a lot of questions. A lot of it stemmed from her best friend, Will, being her Intended, but she wasn't quite sure if she was in love with him like some of the other couples. Then she meets a boy when some Outsiders come to Mandrodage Meadows on business. She is given the task of taking Cody on the "full tour" (not a tour at all) and bonds with him at the stables when visiting her horse, Indy. The only issues that I had with Gated stemmed from Lyla and Cody's interaction, but it never took away from the novel.

Something that really stood out to me while I was reading Gated were the quotes at the start of each chapter that slowly became more and more sinister. Some were from Pioneer, the Bible, and then later Jim Jones, David Koresh, and Charles Manson. They really set the tone for each chapter and built up the tension. Again, I read this book in six hours because the stupid book wouldn't let go of me!

By the way, you might just cry a little in the book. I steeled myself to it (I knew what I was getting into), but Gated was heartbreaking. I don't think you can have a story about a cult that doesn't make you sad. Things generally don't end well, especially so when there is extremism going on, and hoo boy is there in Mandrodage Meadows! That Pioneer is an evil bastard, and he becomes a near perfect villain by the end. (All that he was missing was the maniacal "mwah ha ha ha".)

I guess what I'm trying to say is - go read Gated. I know you're probably starting to get a little bored with dystopians, sappy contemporaries, vampires, and/or time travel. This is something different! It's a gritty, heart-wrenching novel that I think fans of any genre will enjoy. I also want you to notice that I've tried to avoid saying "young adult" throughout the review because I don't want that to get Gated swept under anyone's rug. Seriously, you should be reading the book now, not my review.

- 4.5/5 Stars -

To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book for reviewing purposes through Book Nerd Tours in exchange for an honest review. The advance copy was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.
The Exemeus (The Exemeus, #1) - Folami Morris,  Abeni Morris Review originally posted on Bibliophilia, Please.

I've been burned a lot lately with the indie books that I have agreed to review, so The Exemeus was a pleasant surprise. The story was way different than what I've come to expect from "fantasy" or "dystopia" tags. The characters were also odd, but easy to relate to. The humor that permeated the novel was fantastic, and the story itself reminded me a tiny bit of The Neverending Story.

The prologue of the novel confused me a little. I thought that The Exemeus would be a fantasy novel similar to Daughter of Smoke and Bone (okay, maybe it was the blue hair), but almost immediately in chapter one we meet Dephon, a high schooler who is terrorized by the football team and failing math. The way that The Exemeus was able to stand apart - nay, outside - of the typical YA genre made the story something unexpected and fresh. Yes, there was dystopia, but high school was still high school, and it sucked.

What reminded me of The Neverending Story in The Exemeus is that when Dephon began reading The Exemeus (the book that the story takes its name from), he could see past events as he read them. (There was also an annoying female associated with the book, but that's about the extent of Mallea's resemblance to the Childlike Empress.) He was able to see his mother's own awkward high school moment when she woke up a beautiful Asian one morning after going to bed a dirty blonde. (No, she wasn't literally dirty! It was her hair color! *sigh* Nevermind.) I would have been hard-pressed to take it in stride like she did. Of course, there was a lot more too The Exemeus than that, but I snickered at it. A lot.

The one problem that I did have with The Exemeus is that it was so long. Don't get me wrong, I love a huge book as much as the next person, but I think this one would have been better served to have some of the content shaved or split into another volume. The names also killed me on the inside, just a little bit. I try not to complain about it too much, but some of the names in fantasy kill me. Let's take Hyalee for instance - my brain wanted to read it as Haylee, and then it would go crazy because it's spelled wrong! *flails* And the twins, Singleton and Dupleton... *stares* Really? Yes, I know I'm being nitpicky, but it took away from my enjoyment of the book.

So weird names and it being über-long aside, I think The Exemeus was a great read. If you're looking for something unlike most of the options being offered in the book world, I suggest you pick this one up!

To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the novel from the publisher or author through CBB Book Promotions in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.
Very Recent History: An Entirely Factual Account of a Year (c. AD 2009) in a Large City - Choire Sicha Review originally posted on Bibliophilia, Please.

Welcome to this week's edition of "When Good Books Go Bad" featuring Very Recent History: An Entirely Factual Account of a Year (c. AD 2009) in a Large City by Choire Sicha. Yes, that is a bit harsh, but disappointing books are disappointing, and this one really didn't work for me. I enjoy the occasional bit of non-fiction and history is my favorite thing ever, and I was super duper excited to get my hands on Very Recent History. So where did it go wrong?

When I started Very Recent History, I was grinning like an idiot because I was sucked in from the first page. (Seriously, my boyfriend actually took interest in what I was reading for about 17 seconds.) The writing style is clipped and very funny. I could easily imagine it as something that Ford Prefect would write about New York City for other aliens around the universe to read. (I have no problem at all comparing Sicha's writing style to that of Douglas Adams because it is quite good - just no sci-fi.) Anywho, it was quirky and cute, and it kept me smiling for the first fifty pages or so.

Unfortunately it seems, good things cannot last. Where the quirkiness of Very Recent History was endearing at first, it began to get a little tedious. I enjoyed being treated like a non-human visitor doing research on one of Earth's largest cities at first, but it got boring after a while. Dental work, denim jeans, sex, marriage, venereal disease, and the landscape in the city were described in great detail as if the reader had never read about such things before. Again, I grant that it was funny. However, it distracted me from what Sicha was using this style to say. I started to think about other things I could be doing instead of reading - like cleaning house. (That's how I knew it was time to stop.)

Although I quit reading early on in the book, I still appreciate what Sicha was doing with Very Recent History. Though the book was not for me, I recommend it to anyone who likes quirky non-fiction and/or Douglas Adams.

- DNF -

To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a copy of the novel from the publisher through TLC Book Tours in exchange for an unbiased review. It has in no way affected the outcome. All expressed opinions are awesome, honest, and courtesy of me.
All Our Yesterdays - Cristin Terrill I've read a lot of time travel and science fiction in the young adult realm lately, and I haven't been blown away. However, Cristin Terrill's debut, All Our Yesterdays, is the best example of each that I've read this year. All of the characters are intriguing and realistic, the plot kept me on the edge of my seat, and the science is believable.

All Our Yesterdays is told through Em and Marina's alternating points of view. Em's story starts the novel. She's in a jail cell, obsessing over its need to have a drain in the middle of the floor, with only the voice of a boy in the neighboring cell to keep her sane. Her world is a dystopian disaster, and she has torture and terrorization to look forward to each day. Marina is living through events four years previous to that of Em, and she is a rich, snooty teenage girl who is plotting the seduction of her next door neighbor. Though it is not exactly mysterious who the two girls are, but the way ties that bind them together are revealed is never boring. The relationships between Em, Marina, Finn, James, and the doctor are also well done. Each relationship between any two of the aforementioned people is complex and startling at times. This all lends credibility to how believable the characters and their interactions are.

The most important part of time travel - and science fiction in general - for me is the science and explanations behind it all. I want to know how it works, and I want to believe it. All Our Yesterdays' time travel made sense to me, despite the fact that the concept and implementation of it was developed by a supergenius teenager. The way the theory of relativity was explained in the novel is how it was explained to me by a NASA scientist - and it makes sense. (No, really, it actually does.) I was completely on board and bought all of the science from Terrill quite happily... Until the last few pages. It broke my heart, but I ended the book saying, "Nope, I'll be buying none of that." If you're going to have time travel, you have to be consistent.

In the end, All Our Yesterdays is a fantastic novel and one of the best sci-fi reads for me this year. I'll be honest, the last pages is what knocked the star rating down to four (I am particular about my time travel), but the book is very good. Chances are, most of you aren't as picky as me and will enjoy this book very much.

4/5 Stars

To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book for reviewing purposes through JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.
Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer - Katie Alender You would think that with a name like Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer, there would be an overabundance of glitz, glamour, and camp. However, Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer is a novel that is an excellent progression of the main character, Colette, from a shallow, selfish teenage bitch into a respectable human being with a Parisian backdrop while a string of murders is occurring.

Colette Iselin was exactly the sort of girl that would have an ink pen broken into her seat by me in high school. (Not that I ever did that.) she was self-absorbed and obsessed with money and popularity. She has no concept of why a person would be nice just for the pleasure of niceness, and I was ready for her to be the victim of the title killer. Very ready. I will grudgingly admit that she had some intriguing qualities and a certain charm that kept me from throwing the book and washing my hands of her. I wanted Colette to grow up and realize how awesome the people who love her, and are overlooked by her in turn, are. Things got really interesting in the story once she started ditching Rich Bitch Hannah Norstedt and began running around with hot tour guide Jules Martin and normal girl Audrey Corbett. (I'd love to see a companion book with Colette's tolerable friend, Pilar Sanchez, coming into her own.)

I've never visited Paris, so reading Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer was a nice literary vacation for me. I was able to experience the City of Lights vicariously through Colette and her high school crew. I'm very familiar with most of the locations and their pasts from my numerous history and fine arts courses, and it was so much fun to see in brought to life in the book. Alender did take some liberties with the history and individuals surrounding Marie Antoinette, but this is a fictional novel for entertainment, not non-fiction. I am forgiving of such things as long as they're not portrayed as the truth.

Though Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer was completely different from what I thought I'd be reading, I think I enjoyed it more like this. There was a teensy bit of gore, but it was a good trade out to have well-developed characters and an applaudable main character metamorphosis. If you're a fan of history, locations, and just a dab of paranormal, this just might be the book for you.

To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.
Relic: The Books of Eva 1 - Heather Terrell So, I didn't really have an idea of what to expect from Relic by Heather Terrell, but I knew it wasn't going to be A Game of Thrones and/or The Hunger Games (nothing ever is). However, I was pleased with what I got. Relic is an imaginative mixture of post-apocalyptic quasi-dystopia with an epic quest aimed at a young adult audience. Sadly, there is no magic or fantasy. (Dear Game of Thrones Comparer, Here there not be dragons. Or incest.)

First off, I want to know why EVERYTHING has to be AGoT, THG, HP, etc. There are perfectly good books that stand well on their own. Relic was absolutely NOTHING like either book it is compared to except it has characters and words. And that's okay! It's a good book. However, Relic is NOT A Game of Thrones or The Hunger Games. It is Relic, and I demand that the comparisons stop.

*crickets chirping*

Okay then, to the book!

In the New North, the icy last human habitation on the planet, people have reverted to living in a medieval manner - women are demure cattle and left to their sewing or other womanly pastimes suitable for those unlucky enough to be born with vaginas, and men are everything else because they are men and penises are the best. (Yep, this vibe was there.) There is also a social hierarchy because gender discrimination is never enough. (Be honest - who doesn't love a good caste system?) My favorites were the bottom of the caste - the Boundary natives - who quietly abode the people of Aerie for Very Good Reasons. They are good, kind people, and I plan on running away with one of them if the New North thing ever comes about.

Eva is a Maiden (i.e. she doesn't have a penis and must do Woman Things) and daughter of the Chief Archon, as well as the main character of the novel. She has stepped out of the role expected of the women of Aerie (gasp!) by choosing to go through the Testing. This is not a testing like in recent YA novels or The Hunger Games - it is a quest young men (and Eva) must undertake in order to become an Archon. Eva does this as a way to stay connected with her twin brother Eamon, as this was always his dream. Because their holy book, the Lex, does not specifically prohibit the penisless gender from undertaking the challenge, she's the first Maiden to do so in 150 years.

The world-building and story itself was pretty good. The world has flooded because humanity was too obsessed with its evil false god, Apple, and used false remedies like Tylenol and other silliness. The people of the New North were those who were saved to live a more righteous life. The Archon-wannabes were extreme archaeologists for a month trying to find the best relic and tell the best story be chosen for the coveted job. It was interesting to read. I could say more about the New Northerners ideas about our world, but I don't want to spoil it. I just wish there had been some more character development.

I enjoyed Relic because it was not The Hunger Games or A Game of Thrones and a fascinating book on its own merit. If you're interested in reading about a girl who decides to become more than the vagina, take on an epic quest, and question what her society is based on, I highly recommend the book. However, if you're looking for The Hunger Games or A Game of Thrones, you should just go read them again. Relic is Relic and pretty damn good.

3.5/5 Stars

To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.
Rotters - Daniel Kraus, Kirby Heyborne I'm just too busy to try to force myself through this!
Conjured - Sarah Beth Durst Review originally posted on Bibliophilia, Please.

Sometimes, a book can surprise you. I was surprised by Conjured by Sarah Beth Durst because I actually finished reading it. The book wasn't bad, but I went into it blind (I didn't read the synopsis), and Conjured really wasn't the right book for that. The main character, Eve, had no memories or any idea of what was going on. Therefore, I had no idea what was going on until maybe the last sixty pages. However, I liked Eve enough to make the journey with her.

For the most part, the characters in Conjured didn't work for me. Despite Eve having no memories and almost no sense of self, she was not willing to take things at face value or trust easily. It was a bit annoying that she fell in love quickly (and it got too deep too fast), but it was very two-sided. Zach worked with Eve at the library, and he just came across as the typical horny teenage boy. He was funny and talked too much, so he was slightly endearing. Her caregivers were Malcolm and "Aunt" Nicki, and they were fairly bland - neither loving or nefarious. Malcolm did seem sincere, if nothing else. Aiden, Topher, and Victoria were three other special teens that Eve was thrown in with, and they were boring, too. None of the characters were fully developed, and the development that did occur was sloppy at best.

The world-building in Conjured was a problem for me, too. I did not understand where Eve was from or why she was in WitSec (the witness protection agency) for the longest time. I did not get the whole carnival thing, and that didn't even begin to make sense until the end. The occasional portions of the book that were in italics made matters even more confusing because they seemed like memories or dreams, but it was hard to tell. There were multiple worlds in the book, but the traveling between them was rather vague, and none of those worlds were really described. For that matter, I don't understand WitSec or which worlds run it. How do they all work together? While trying to figure out Eve, it would have been a lot easier to read Conjured if I wasn't trying to figure out everything else as well. We are given a huge info-dump at the end of the book, and the story wrapping up that way was disappointing.

While I appreciate what Durst was trying to with Conjured - only giving us as much as the unreliable narrator knows - it was frustrating. There was so much potential in the world-building and characters in the novel that I think the book would have been more effective and enjoyable as a series. Since I don't get to choose such things, I can only judge it by what it is, and it didn't work for me.

To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.
Enchanted - Alethea Kontis,  Katherine Kellgren Too cute! Review to come.
Asylum - Madeleine Roux Review originally posted on Bibliophilia, Please.

Madeleine Roux is an author who has been on my radar for a while (I own, but am yet to read, Allison Hewitt is Trapped), so I decided that I would give her YA debut, Asylum, a try. The story is about three friends - Dan, Abby, & Jordan - who meet at a summer college prep program. The dormitory where the teens are staying for that particular summer happens to be an old asylum for the criminally insane. The book was sinister and eerie at first, but ultimately fell flat.

The characters in the novel were not Asylum's brightest point. Dan, Abby, and Jordan met upon arriving at NHCP (New Hampshire College Prep), but were the best of friends within twenty-four hours. Dan was social outcast from his old school because he was smart, and no one liked learning as much as him. I, however, read Dan as an intellectual elitist who held himself apart from other people. There is one instance after he met a man in the town and described him as "just a nutty old bat who hated the college and everything associated with Brookline. He probably grew up in Camford resenting the kids who could afford a higher education." (ARC pg. 134) You, Dan, are a douchebag and have no idea what a stranger's educational history is, and this is exactly why you have no friends. Anywho, moving on. Abby is an artist, and of course she is a pretty, petite girl that everyone loves! She is also a fairly typical teenage girl - prone to drama and doing dumb shit. The only purpose that she really served was as a "love" interest for Dan, in addition to being the person who kept wanting to go down to the closed off area of the asylum. Jordan met Abby on the bus ride to NHCP, becoming longtime friends since they knew each other approximately two hours longer than everyone else. He is probably the only truly interesting character in the book. Jordan came to NHCP against his parents' knowledge instead of going to a "pray the gay away" camp. He was also smart enough to not want to go back into the bowels of the Brookline Asylum once weird shit started happening. I think Jordan would have been a better main character, but I guess he couldn't because of Dan's one purpose. (Spoilers.) As for their interaction with one another, it was a clingy sort of strange where they all borderline stalked each other after being friends only a few days. I did not get it.

Asylum has been compared to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, but the ONLY similarity that I could see between the two novels was that they used old photographs. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was full of fascinating characters and a plot that made my blood run cold at times as it unfurled. The characters were based on its creepy old photos, and it all worked. Asylum's photographs were interesting, but not really scary, and the story would have been just as bland without them. To be fair though, I did read an advance reading copy (ARC) of the book, and many pages clearly stated "Interior Art to Come". However, I don't think the upcoming photos will be enough to raise the quality of the finished copy.

I will say that Roux's writing was quite good and kept me in the book. Asylum almost scary in the beginning. I was nearly too freaked out to read it at night for the first hundred pages or so. Yes, I quit caring about the characters. I do think that the would be great for reluctant readers because it is an easy read (I essentially read it in one sitting) with plenty of chills. While Asylum did not do a lot for me, I do plan on having it on hand at the library for Halloween.

- 2.5/5 Stars -

To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.