The Hospital – Barbara O’Hare

Synopsis

The Sunday Times top ten bestseller…

‘Nobody knew what was going on behind those doors. We were human toys. Just a piece of meat for someone to play with.’

Barbara O’Hare was just 12 when she was admitted to the psychiatric hospital, Aston Hall, in 1971. From a troubled home, she’d hoped she would find sanctuary there. But within hours, Barbara was tied down, drugged with sodium amytal – a truth-telling drug – and then abused by its head physician, Dr Kenneth Milner.

The terrifying drug experimentation and relentless abuse that lasted throughout her stay damaged her for life. But somehow, Barbara clung on to her inner strength and eventually found herself leading a campaign to demand answers for potentially hundreds of victims.

A shocking account of how vulnerable children were preyed upon by the doctor entrusted with their care, and why it must never happen again. 

Review

It’s not often that a book has made me cry, but the last few pages of this made me bawl my eyes out.

I have an enormous amount of respect for Barbara O’Hare for being strong enough not only to survive the horrific events that she did, but too also have the courage to share it with the world and stand up for all the others at Aston Hall that may have never been given a chance.

It makes me physically sick that the people responsible for such horrific abuse will never be brought to justice but I hope that everyone and anyone who suffered at Aston Hall can seek comfort in knowing that the world knows what happened. They were just children. They were innocent. They weren’t liars.

Everyone should read this book because it will open their eyes to a very real and very terrible crime that still occurs to this day, on a global scale. We see shocking news everyday and we’ve become desensitised to it but too read something that is so real, so raw and affected so many people… children, is well and truly eye opening.

5/5 STARS ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Goodreads – Katerina Turner

Insanity – Cameron Jace

SYNOPSIS

After accidentally killing everyone in her class, Alice Wonder is now a patient in the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum. No one doubts her insanity. Only a hookah-smoking professor believes otherwise; that he can prove her sanity by decoding Lewis Carroll’s paintings, photographs, and find Wonderland’s real whereabouts. Professor Caterpillar persuades the asylum that Alice can save lives and catch the wonderland monsters now reincarnated in modern day criminals. In order to do so, Alice leads a double life: an Oxford university student by day, a mad girl in an asylum by night. The line between sanity and insanity thins when she meets Jack Diamond, an arrogant college student who believes that nonsense is an actual science.

REVIEW

Insanity by Cameron Jace is both an amazing book and also a confusing one. On one hand I thought that the plot was incredibly interesting and well crafted but on the other hand the characters confused me and seemed to be random.

The relationship between the Pillar and Alice was great and very comical. The history behind the Cheshire was great and I really enjoyed the twists in the book.

I can’t seem to understand Jack Diamonds role in this book. He honestly seemed like a really random character and completely useless. Perhaps he is spoken about more in the later book, but I don’t think I’ll be reading them to find out.

Alice’s backstory is still unclear which is interesting and I loved how all the Wonderland characters were human characters that reflected their true selves.

Overall I would give this book 3,5 stars!

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Asking For It – Louise O’Neill

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Synopsis 

It’s the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O’Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there’s a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma.

The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can’t remember what happened, she doesn’t know how she got there. She doesn’t know why she’s in pain. But everyone else does.

Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don’t want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town’s heroes…

Goodreads Rating –   4.09/5 stars

Review 

I reviewed Louise O’Neill’s Only Ever Yours in August and put Asking For It straight on the top of my TBR. I knew it was going to be difficult, powerful and much-needed even before I started. It’s the perfect choice for my book club because we’re all sure to have a lot to say.

Asking For It is about what happens to eighteen-year-old student Emma O’Donovan after she is raped at a party by a group of boys on the school football team. She doesn’t understand what’s happened to her, until photos of that night are shared on Facebook. I thought Asking For It was going to be straightforward, but Louise O’Neill makes Emma an unlikeable character. She’s vain, self-centred, hurtful and judgemental. She’s not someone you would want to know, let alone be friends with. Most – sadly, not all – people would be outraged to discover that a boy had attacked an ‘innocent’ young girl on her way home, especially if she was in a private school uniform; if she was covered up. But what if she was wearing a short dress? What if she was drunk? What if she was over 18? What if she made a move first? Would we say she was asking for it? This is what Louise O’Neill wants to fight against.

I knew Asking For It was going to be a difficult read, but I also knew that it was extremely important that I read it. Asking For It addresses so many aspects of our lives that are often left unquestioned. It tackles how awful and judgemental people can be towards each other, even when we as readers can see who’s in the right and feel it should be evident. How people struggle to understand consent and what exactly constitutes rape, especially as Emma herself doesn’t realise she’s been raped until the teacher suggests it. I thought it was interesting to see the portrayal of social media and traditional media, both shown as a tool for abuse and as a tool to give people a voice. Support for rape victims on social media seems wonderful and essential. But if you’re the victim, it can be intrusive having people tell your story for you, and this isn’t something that had ever occurred to me. Would Iwant everyone talking about me, even if what they were saying was supportive?

Asking For It will make you angry, and rightly so. Louise O’Neill doesn’t shy away from reality and, as with Only Ever Yours, doesn’t tie up Asking For Itwith a happily ever after. Perhaps, instead of arguing about which classics should be taught in schools, we should be arguing that Asking For It should be taught alongside them. Even after so many years of education – from school to college to university – I have never within education participated in a conversation about rape. This must change. Let’s talk.

Rating –  5/5 Stars 

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Popular books I am yet to read…

1. Carry On – Rainbow Rowell

Everyone has been going on about how amazing this book is but I’ve put off reading because I didn’t enjoy Fangirl. That being said I did enjoy Elenor and Park. I don’t think I like her writing style but perhaps I’ll give it a go sometime.

2. An Ember In The Ashes – Sabaa Tahir

I honestly don’t know why I haven’t read this yet because it sounds amazing and everyone has told me to read it! It’s just always been put to the back of my bookshelf and forgotten about as new books have come out.

3. A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas

If any of you have read my reviews for the Throne of Glass series ( albeit I’ve only read the first 3), then you’ll know how much I loved the series! So I truly cannot answer or understand why I have not read this book yet… but hopefully I’ll get round to it soon enough!

Do any of you struggle with this? Do you buy books and then never get round to reading them even though they seem incredibly good!

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The Seduction Expert – Saya Lopez Ortega

SYNOPSIS

She’s cold, narcissistic, conceited and she has no redeeming qualities. 

She doesn’t care, she’s gifted. 

She doesn’t care, she’s the seduction expert.

Women contact her to take over their love lives. She steps in when they’re lost, she’s supposed to succeed where they failed. She handles their single status, their relationships, their breakups, and very often their partners’ affairs. Her job is a life priority, she spends most of her time at the office or between two flights in business class and the fact of having a sports car that can reach one hundred kilometers in less than six seconds often make her feel like a superheroine in service to women.

Anyway, take her card.

You’ll see, it’s much better than spending holidays in St Barts.

REVIEW

***I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review***

I did not know what to expect with this book. I scoured a few reviews that mentioned ‘ A Devil Wears Prada’ so I thought The Seduction Expert would have a bit of lighthearted humour and some uptight female characters.

However whilst reading it I realised that the main character, Baroness, was just simply rude, arrogant, selfish and frankly incredibly annoying to read about. The dialogue made me cringe because it was so cliché and rude. This book just irritated me and I could not understand the purpose of it.

The next thing that irritated me was the amount of spelling and grammar mistakes within this book. For example:

“That’s why I meet our wedding planner today”.

The book just seemed unprofessional. The only good thing I can say about it is that the author seems to have truly researched into different tactics of stalking people. It was a good way to create tension throughout the plot, however it did not make up for all the flaws.

2/5 ⭐️’s

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The 5th Wave – Rick Yancey

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Synopsis – 

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Goodreads Rating – 4.16/5 stars 

My Review – 

This was a great book! Personally,  I haven’t read many books concerning alien-invasion, so I didn’t really have expectations in terms of how the aliens would be portrayed. The concept of the aliens having human bodies was interesting ( yes, I know that Stephanie Meyer’s book – The Host has a similar plot). Overall, the book was action packed and entertaining. I was pleasantly surprised by the great character development and the excellent world building, which made the plot seem so realistic, thus making it a fairly popular novel. 


In terms of the romance… It was rushed and felt awkward. I’m incredibly critical of relationships in YA novels so my opinion may oppose  others. 


As mentioned before, the characters are quite realistic both in their emotions and their actions. They act the way I would If I were confronted with tragic events. Of course, there is a hint of hyperbolism throughout the novel but that is too be expected. It is impressive that Yancey was abe to maintain a sense of humanity whilst creating extraterrestrial characters.

In conclusion, this book may seem quite large but I read it within the span of two days and enjoyed every minute of it. Remember that once you have read it there are another two books in the series and a movie to watch. Happy Reading! 

Be sure to let me know what your opinions are about this book in the comments below!

My Rating 4.5/5 Stars

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The Queen of the Tearling – Erika Johansen

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Synopsis – 

An untested young princess must claim her throne, learn to become a queen, and combat a malevolent sorceress in an epic battle between light and darkness in this spectacular debut—the first novel in a trilogy.

Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

Long ago, Kelsea’s forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea’s nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen’s Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.

Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen’s vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen’s Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as “the Fetch.”

Kelsea’s quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea’s journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.

Goodreads Rating – 4.02/5 Stars

My Review – 

This book had a slow start and some things didn’t make much sense until much later, which made me a little agitated. That being said, after the first 50-100 pages, I found it impossible to stop reading! I’m looking forward to reading the sequel since I have loads of questions that need answering. I really want to know more about the Sapphire, Kelsea’s parents and the world that this novel is set in.

Kelsea is a surprisingly pleasant character. I’m was relieved that I wasn’t reading about yet another too tough or too sappy teen heroine. She doesn’t always make the right decisions but she accepts defeat with her head held high and treats herself and those around her with a certain level of respect and maturity. In terms of Kelsea’s appearance, she is often described as being plain and a little overweight, which the character herself accepts and forgets, as she realises how awful it is when people are vain and conceited.

Lazarus ( The Mace)  deserves his own paragraph because he really made this book go from being three stars to four. What an incredibly crafted character, full of mischief and secrecy but with incredible loyalty and friendship. There is so much more that I want to know about him and I hope that he remains loyal to Kelsea.

One truly wonderful thing about this novel is that there is no love triangle! There is barely any romance at all… which is actually incredibly refreshing. Lastly, I think I should mention that the reason this book didn’t get five stars was because, in my opinion, the world building needed some serious work. This is supposed to take place in the future, but it feels like it takes place in the Victorian era. Hopefully, it will become clearer in The Invasion of the Tearling.

My Rating – 4/5 stars 

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Hopeless – Colleen Hoover

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Synopsis – 

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

Goodreads Rating – 4,36/5 stars

My Review – * Contains Spoilers*

This is my third Colleen Hoover book and I must say that I am yet too be disappointed because each book seems to be better than the last. I known that many people believe that Colleen Hoover’s books are just cheesy, over dramatised romance novels and I must admit that that too was my initial reaction, however now I can honestly say that each novel has taken me by surprise. 

Yes, they are cheesy in terms of the romances and Hoover likes to go to extreme lengths to describe any sexual moments between the characters, in fact her writing reminds me a little of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s in that sense, however she builds incredible stories surrounding those characters and is able to make her audience see past the stereotypically attractive teens and their mundane lives. 

As some of you may know if you’ve read my previous reviews, I recently read ‘All the Rage’ by Courtney Summers and loved it because it was raw and real. I was not expecting this book to have a similar topic when I started it, I was simply expecting some romance between the broody mysterious guy and the ‘perfect’ girl. 

Sky and Holder were very real and perhaps some may think that they were over dramatised but unless someone has gone through something that traumatic how are we too know what is classed as being overdramatic snd what isn’t… This book was refreshing because it wasn’t simply about the teen romance but the long lost friendship, the harsh reality of ones past, the secrets, the lies and most importantly the fact that whether you are an adult or child, you are still responsible for your actions and it takes great courage to face the people you have wronged and yourself. 

I am excited to read more of Colleen Hoover’s work and see if there are any novels that of hers that I don’t like or whether she is guaranteed a spot on my list of top 10 Authors. 

My Rating – 5/5 Stars

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Alien Love Story – A.K.Dawson

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Synopsis – 

Life is a headache for 15-year-old Dan. This isn’t some kind of metaphor. Dan suffers from migraines that make just about everything he does unbearable. Added to that he’s lost almost everyone he cares about. So he feels lonelier than the last puppy in a pet shop.

But one day he sees a mysterious girl digging in the rubbish bins behind his house. Just by being near her, he finds that all his pain goes away. So he wants to see her again, of course. And get to know her. But she’s a bit strange. And her big eyes make her look, well, like an alien.

Does she really exist? Or is she just a figment of an overactive, under-loved imagination?

Goodreads Rating –  3,64/5 Stars

My Review – 

I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. 

I want to start of with the fact that I was expecting this book to be for a younger audience based on the cheesy title and the childish cover, however once I started reading it, I realised that it is certainly intended for a teen audience primarily due to the large amount of sexual references (non graphic). I have to admit that I found this rather refreshing, as many authors try to downplay the heightened hormones of teenagers, however I think that it was a useful tool in creating the confused and traumatized character of Dan. 

I thought that the romance was out of the blue, and not really all that romantic but simply awkward which is why it took me a while to get through this book because I just couldn’t connect with the characters as their relationship was so unnatural, but then again we are talking about a human and an alien so perhaps that is too be expected. 

I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the first half of the book and found it amusing and entertaining, however the second half was a tad confusing and it seemed like this novel has a lot of potential to be excellent but that it has just been a little rushed. I adored the secondary characters of Gran and Tony and thought they added a sense of reality to the story. 

Of Course this book also deals with the topic matter of death and as an audience we feel sorry for Dan, however I think that the theme of loss could have been explored in more detail however I did enjoy the fact that as an audience we were forced to question Dan’s sanity. Overall, this was a quick and entertaining read. 

My Rating – 3/5 stars 

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All the Rage – Courtney Summers

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Synopsis – 

The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear. 

Goodreads Rating – 3,84/5  Stars

My Review – 

When I first heard of this book I thought that it would be similar to “Speak” by Laurie Halse Anderson, but thankfully that didn’t put me off picking this up and giving it go. I was pleasantly surprised by this book as the author managed to find a fine line between providing the readers with a tragic and heavy tale and something entertaining and that we can all relate too as YA readers. 

The topic of rape is common in many novels nowadays however the victims usually come from terrible families and have another 100 things that makes their life miserable that the story just becomes so depressing that I tend to lose interest. 

Now within this novel, our protagonist – Romy, is living with her mother and her boyfriend, who are both lovely characters and so incredibly supportive of her. Of course within this book there is also an element of romance which softens the situation and reminds us as readers that there is a bright future available for the victims of rape, like Romy. Even though the author portrays her as feeling all alone, we are constantly reminded of the fact that she isn’t, which refreshing. 

The writing was beautiful if not a little graphic at times. It was almost poetic which made it easy to imagine this issue in such a small town somewhere in the US. This book shows us that sometimes adults act worse than kids do, and that even though you leave high school, the system tends to stick when living in small town. One family may have all the power, and it doesn’t take much to plot people against each other. 

My Rating – 4,5/5 Stars 

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