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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Goodreads – Katerina Turner

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 

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

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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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Goodreads – Katerina Turner

Zenith ( The Androma Saga) – Sasha Alsberg & Lindsay Cummings

29569157 Synopsis

There is darkness sweeping across the stars. Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness: a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her fearsome glass starship the Maurader, she’s just Andi, their captain and protector.

When a routine mission goes awry, the all-girl crew’s resilience is tested as they find themselves in a most unfamiliar place: at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter connected to Andi’s past and a harrowing betrayal.

Meanwhile, on the far side of the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The final pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their ship—or just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles towards the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only thing certain is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.

Goodreads Rating – 3.72/5 Stars

Review 
I didn’t have any expectations heading into this. I didn’t even read the blurb since it was written by Sasha and that seemed a good enough reason to read this. Right from the start, I found the plot confusing and it didn’t get much clearer as I read on. It may sound bad, but it felt like was a reading a well-written fanfiction rather than an original novel.  It was only 62 pages so it was obvious from the start that it would end on a cliffhanger and that there wouldn’t be room for character development and a lot of world building but somehow the authors managed to jam as much detail into 62 pages as possible. 

Going on from what I said about this being more fanfiction that fiction, the authors did create some unique aspects, however, they just made the book childish and irritating.  I mean it’s annoying when people say shiitake instead of shit, but at least that’s better than  Fick as a replacement for Fuck. But it really disrupted the flow of the story and it just didn’t make any sense. With YA novels you either swear properly or you don’t. That will all depend on the target audience and the plot that the authors have in mind. 

Androma, the main protagonist, was supposed to be a badass pirate that floats through space causing havoc and destruction. Yet again we are met by a little girl with a big mouth but not much else. Her nickname is ‘The Bloody Baroness’ which just reminds me of Harry Potter, as does not the name Androma… just saying. My point is that Androma (Andi) doesn’t seem like a badass character, just someone who pretends to be badass. 

The plot was fairly interesting and once Sasha and Lindsay produce the full novel I will definitely read it. This has a lot of potential and I hope Sasha and Lindsay start coming up with something more original. 

Rating – 3/5 Stars

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

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Unwind – Neal Shusterman

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Synopsis 

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state, is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

Goodreads Rating – 4.19/5 Stars 

Review 

Unwind by Neal Shusterman is a spine-chilling novel about a parallel universe where parents of a child between the ages of 13 and 18, can have their child’s organs harvested or ‘unwound’. You’re teen harboring too much teen angst and aggression? No problem! Why don’t you send him over to us and take him apart and sell his organs…

An aspect of this novel that seems to be not far from our own reality are the laws against abortion. However, a parent can leave their child on someone’s doorstep and if they are not caught, the person that finds the child is obliged to keep it. Finders – Keepers, whether you want it or not. 

As you’ve read in the synopsis, the reasons for parents unwinding their children varies from being tired of behavioral problems, being unwanted, religious reasons or pure selfishness. Aside from our main protagonists, there was a boy whose parents died, so his aunt became his guardian and decided to have him unwound so that she could have his inheritance.

There were times in when I was reading this book and it completely broke my heart. The children are portrayed as being strong at times, but we also get to see the true fear that one would experience in such a situation. One thing that I foud unusual was the lack of anger the kids had towards their parents. They blamed the government for having this program, not their own parents for getting rid of them. 

The plot was fast paced and entertain throughout the whole book. The characters were really well developed as they each came from different backgrounds and had individual clear cut personas. It was a great book to read because it makes you think and it actually makes you feel scared for the characters. I was under the illusion that most of the characters were 16 or 17 years old but at the end of the book I found out that Lev, one of the main protagonists was 13, which made him even stronger as a character. 

Lastly… and I always seem to leave this to the last point because I try to note down the positives before stating the negatives. The romance was so out of the blue. There was no lead-up to it, even though it was obvious that it would happen, I couldn’t care less about it. The characters barely knew each other and didn’t interact all that much. Hopefully, it will get better as the series progresses. 

Overall, this was a good book and I would definitely recommend it! 

Rating – 3.5/5 Stars 

Goodreads – Katerina Turner

Instagram – Globalbookmania 

My Lady Jane – Cynthia Hand

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Synopsis – 

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.

Goodreads Rating – 4.16/5 Stars

My Review – 

This book took my completely by surprise. I had zero expectations heading into it and was blown away by how funny and entertaining it was. The characters were epic and the plot line was so incredibly unique and well crafted that it’s going to be hard to fault this novel. 

I didn’t know much about the book, so I was expecting a standard historical novel. I was pleasantly surprised at how well this book was written considering it was co-authored, which usually doesn’t work well. The writing was a good balance between our modern English and the old fashioned Tudor English. 

The plot was incredibly entertaining and well presented. The humour throughout the book kept major tragic events of the time incredibly light hearted. It seemed like our protagonists were always on the verge off death, however I feel like I was either giggling or full on laughing through the entire book. The sarcasm and witty comments were a refreshing element for a historical novel. 

Our main protagonist Jane is about to marry a stranger ( which was normal at the time) since her cousin, Edward VI, is dying, and she’s next in line for the throne. Did I mention that Jane is a bookworm! If that’s not reason enough too like her i’m not sure what is. The typical teenage issues of our modern day ( a teen boy that’s never been kissed) are mixed in with issues of the era ( heads being chopped off), which make the novel relatable in a way as we are able to connect with Jane, Edward and G. 

The idea of making people shape shifters was interesting. “Verities”are people that hate shape shifters and “Eðians” is the official name for the shape shifters. Rather than get into the complex intricacies regarding politics of the Tudor period, the authors decided to come up with another reason to start a war. 

The romances were awesome as they were slow and realistic. We didn’t see any super romantic or heroic deeds from our male protagonists, however we did see awkward teenage romance. We saw what it would be like to be married to a total stranger at such a young age and we saw what it would be like to be a king and constantly live by certain rules ( who you can and can’t be with). 

I would recommend this to everyone! Even if you’re not a fan of historical fiction, I think that you’d like this. 

 

My Rating – 4/5 Stars 

Goodreads – Katerina Turner 

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