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Flowers in the Attic (Dollanganger No. 1) by V. C. Andrews

At the top of the stairs there are four secrets hidden. Blond, beautiful, innocent and struggling to stay alive…
They were the perfect family, perfect father and mother, the perfect kids, blond and beautiful with brilliant futures, with the world at their hands. But not everything that shine is golden, and behind those beautiful faces, there are secrets, terrible truths that must be kept hidden.
On one tragic day, the world of the Dollanganger kids –the Dresden Dolls as the neighbors calls them- is shattered. Their dad dies, and their stay at home mother, who never worked a single day in her life, doesn’t know what to do with them, how is she going to maintain four kids? So a decision was taken, and leaving behind her pride, she asked the help of her parents, who were very rich, the parents who casted her away when she decided to marry Christopher Dollanganger.
She must gain her father’s love once more, and deal with her terrible mother, but for that, the kids should remain hidden, not for long, she said, only a day or two, just enough so her father forgives her and accept them.
But one night became days, and then swell into agonizing months, and years without the kids going outside, hidden from everyone, playing only on a dirty attic without being able to see the sun or the flowers.
Cathy, Chris and the little twins, Cory and Carrie, would be left at the mercy of their cruel and very religious grandmother, while their mother…who knows what is she doing.
My thoughts:
I saw the movie years ago, and I found it quite disturbing, still I wanted to read the book for a long, long time, and finally I did it.
This book, since the beginning touched me in so many ways, first I felt in love with the image of the perfect family, I adored the father, liked the mother a lot and loved the kids
But I knew this wasn’t a book of happy endings, and just like the movie kind of showed a tiny little part, the book portrait the most terrible human nature. Dishonesty, twisted relationships and what’s even more, avarice, to the point that a person is willing to sacrifice everything just to inherit.
The story is heartbreaking, is crude, and the author made an excellent job to connect with the reader. You feel the pain as yours, the terrible things the kids must suffer, the attitude of their mother, the cruelty of their grandmother and the realization of what really is happening and the reasons! OMG it was so indignant and terrible!
Twisted as it is, it’s really good, the descriptions were more than enough, and the empathy for the kids, the frustrations, the suffering the pain is just there, creeping in you when you read it.
The characters were rich and present a variety of emotions that would make you love them or hate them, or be in between, feel sorry and sad and sick and amazed by them.
In a spoiler note, I just going to say that OMG I never hated a character so much as I did with Corrine, well that’s all.

Still, even when I gave this book 5 stars, I wouldn’t recommended to everyone, since there are certain themes that would be triggering or quite hard for sensitive readers.

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

This is a YA contemporary story which involves two complete strangers who would have the adventure of their life, Lily, a very sensible girl who is suffering during Christmas of boredom. She’s the kind of girl who sing carols and loves preparations for the big dinner, and now, with her parents in a second honeymoon in Fiji, she has to spend the holidays alone, well, her brother is there, but all his attention is in his boyfriend.
On the other hand, we have Dash, a sarcastic, cynical boy who made the trick of his life, telling his mother that he would stay with his dad during the holidays and vice versa. Now he has the house for himself and all the alone time he mush wanted.
When Dash went to his favorite bookshop, he discovers a red notebook and inside, there’s a note from Lily, asking if he –or whoever read the note- is ready for a challenge.
This would be the beginning of a very nice adventure which involve visits to museums, department stores, enjoy the beauty of the city, but mainly, go out of their comfort zone.
Even when this could be classified as a love story, I must say it was much more than that. It’s a story of friendship in a bizarre way, it’s about trusting and be complete honest with a stranger in certain level, it’s about expectations, of disappointments, is a book about embrace life in the form of little steps, little challenges and if you dare to take them.

What I enjoyed the most is the way the story was made from two point of view, we have David Levithan writing Dash’s parts while Lily’s were wrote by Rachel Cohn, and the way the story evolve from them, since they didn’t know what the other person would write.

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Back in June –I think- I had the luck to watch a video from  Hot Key Books in which they were showing the new releases, and of course one of those was The Wondrous and the Wicked, the third installment in The Dispossessed Trilogy by Page Morgan. It’s beyond mention that I was excited, especially because I was curious about the books, but I didn’t want to start another trilogy and suffer the fiasco that I suffered with The Lovegrove Legacy, from which I’m still patiently waiting for the third and last part, but Bloomsbury apparently doesn’t care the suffering of the fans and there are not contract for the last book yet L, oh well, to pleasant things now.

The trilogy includes The Beautiful and The Cursed, The Lovely and The Lost and the final book is The Wondrous and The Wicked.
This is a YA, romantic and supernatural story, placed part in London and most of it in Paris at the end of 1899 and beginning of 1900.
It follows the life of the Waverly siblings, Ingrid and her twin Grayson and their younger sister Gabriella, and their adventures in Paris, after leaving behind their wealthy and boring life in London, under the rules of their father who lived for his position.
But moving to Paris wasn’t as great as Ingrid thought, especially after she saw their new place, an abandoned abbey that Grayson bought for their mother’s project, which is to open an art gallery.
When they arrive to Paris, the troubles would start with the disappearance of Grayson, but would escalate, changing completely the life of the siblings.
This is not only a love story, is a story about family, about their personal demons, about prove themselves –especially in Gabriella’s case-, it’s about to accept themselves, and the evil inside them, is about to be different.
The supernatural side includes demons, angels, hybrids and Gargoyles!
I’ve never read a story about gargoyles before, and the way Page Morgan tells their story, why they exist, how they were created, their mission, I think it was ingenious and I simply enjoyed it.
The punishment when they failed on their guards broke my heart, and the fact that a monster could love someone apart of himself was really touching.

The male characters were so great and the strong females blew me away!
The books caught my attention since the beginning and I found myself unable to put them down, and I have two words for you, Nolan Quinn, OMG!

Of course I gave each book five stars, I loved them, and I highly recommend them!

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This is one of the most beautiful campaings that I ever see!

and Tom Fletcher's reaction is priceless!!!

Happy Weekend!

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This year wasn't the exception, as October aproach, I made a selection of spooky books that I wanted to read, so of course by October I was ready and reading.
Some books look good and turned out a complete disappointment while others were pretty good, so let's go down to business starting with the one that I didn't like to my favorites of the month:

The Ice Twins by S. K. Tremayne
The Moorcraft family had suffered a lost, a terrible lost, when one of the twin girls died in an accident. Now Angus and his wife Sarah are at the edge of bankruptcy and their survivor twin is acting in a bizarre way. They decided to start fresh and move to a Scottish island that Angus inherited from his grandmother. An isolated place which is even more affected by winter, which would left Sarah trapped with her daughter, who claims that they mistaken her identity and that her twin is still there with them.

The moment I started the book I felt bored with the narrative, still I forced myself, I even read a couple of reviews on Goodreads just to keep going. The truth is that the book was predictable, and absolutely bored. The couple was a kind of imitation of Gone Girl disturbed couple, and they were also so pretentious, always talking about the beautiful and perfect daughters they had, the ridiculous names they gave them and the even more ridiculous nicknames, were so irritating. But what was even worst was the fact that there wasn’t anything spooky or creepy about the story, not even suspense.

The House of Dead Maids by Clare B. Dunkle
Tabby has worked all her life, she can’t remember her mother, let alone who her father was, she went from beggar to maid when a kind soul took pity of her, and finally she ended in a house where she was learning to knit socks. That’s when her life changed dramatically when one night a woman came to take her from there. Money is exchanged for her, and a warning from another girl made Tabby feel unsure of her destiny.
A travel that would take day would lead her to Seldom House, an odd house that hides more in its ground than the people who live there.

Tabby would be in charge of a young boy who was orphan as Tabby and who’s destiny would be completely different than the girl. Haunted by the spirit of the old maid, soon Tabby would discover the horrible secrets of Seldom House.
This book was absolutely well done, it was creepy enough and what’s even more the illustrations at the beginning of every chapter were disturbing. A quick reading and with an ending that would bring a smile besides everything.

When my Heart was Wicked by Tricia Stirling
Lacy had a difficult childhood, thanks to her even more difficult mother. Days without food, without knowing if she was going to be ok, days of abandonment ended up with Lacy moving with her father and her stepmother.
Lacy was a dark kid who learned that good things can happen too, so she decided to change, to use her gifts for good, she decided to be good and have friends, and accept that she could love her stepmother and her mother in different ways.
Until tragedy came once more, and Lacy lose her father. Her stepmother is doing all she can to keep Lacy with her, but she doesn’t have any right, so  Lacy’s mother claims her and took her away.
Apparently she changed, apparently she has a new job, and things are going to be different this time, or maybe not?

I must confess that I wanted to read this book for a while just for the cover,  it has a beautiful cover and I saw it as a recommendation on Goodreads, and let me tell you something,  this book takes mommy dearest to the next level!
I was a little mislead because I thought the book was more about witches and had more magical twists. Still the story was good, and the characters made you like them or hate them. You feel sorry for them and at the same time you want to stand up and do something to help Lacy. And the magical twist of the story, OMG it was good, really good!

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle
So let’s raise our glasses to the accident season
To the river beneath us, where we sink our souls
To the bruises and the secrets, to the ghosts in the ceiling
One more drink for the watery road
Every October marks the Accident season in Cara’s life. Her and her family are victims of little accidents when things go well, in other times, the season bring tragedy, like the year when Cara’s father died.
The town people don’t believe on it, but accept it without asking, still, Cara’s mother take as many precautions as she can to keep safe Cara and her siblings.
A lonely girl that nobody remembers, haunting Cara’s pictures, the secrets that surround the family, and a tarot read that announces that this season would be a tragic one, would shatter Cara’s world in a very unexpected way.

This book was OMG, I can’t find the right words to described it. I enjoyed it so much, I really liked the details, the setting, the way things develop and the secrets that are revealed. There were things that were a little predictable but the ending was good, really good.

The Dead House by Dawn Kurtagich
Three deaths, twenty injured and one person missing was the result of the fire on  Elmbridge High School, twenty five years ago. For years, the mystery involving the disappearing of Carly and what really happened before the fire created lot of speculation, until a diary was found on the school ruins. The diary of Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s twin, which tells a series of disturbing events that would lead to the incident, but the records show another story, since Kaitlyn doesn’t exist.

I started reading this book with some reserves, since I knew it would be the kind of book in which you have to pay extra attention to the dates and so on. The book is a combination of police reports, interviews and journal entries, that would create a rich reading and a very creepy story.
I don’t want to give much about the book because this one is definitely a must read!

The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender
When I read the description on Goodreads once more I was kind of irritated I mean “Asylum meets Miss Peregrine’s Home” at the beginning of the description? Seriously? What’s wrong with mention the previous books of Katie Alender instead of someone else’s books?
Delia inherited an old house from her great aunt, a great aunt that she never met in person but who was her pen pal for a school project when she was a little girl. What Delia doesn’t know is the circunstances in which her aunt died or the fact that the house used to be an asylum for troubled young women, which spirits still live there.
Tragedy happens and now Delia is trapped in a haunted place that would do whatever it takes to keep trapping Delia’s family and every single defiant girl that set foot in the place.

I must confess  that I didn’t know what to expect with this one, since last year I read the Bad Girls Don’t Die trilogy, and when the first book was good, I was disappointed by the second one, and the third one was ok.
The Dead Girls of Hysteria Hall was haunted, was spooky and was a perfect mix of human emotions. It freaked me out and at the same time it touched me in certain level. The story was great told and kept me at the edge of my seat, and definitely gave me some nightmares.

 Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics
Amanda is terrifying of the situation in which she is now, she got herself in problems, she went to the wood and fell in love with a boy, and that boy get her pregnant and then left her. Now she’s convinced that there’s something evil inside her, since she’s constantly praying for her unborn child to die, and the same with her poor baby sister who was born blind and deft.
When her father decided to move her family from the mountain to the prairie, Amanda would have a second chance, or at least that’s what she and her sister Emily think, but arriving to the new house, things would reveal a different story to the girls. Their new house is covered in blood, and Amanda would be haunted  by a baby’s cry at night. There’s something evil in the place, something that would make them lose their minds.

I was reading another book at the same time that I started this one, so I kept reading just a few pages, and for a moment I almost quit on this one, but I’m so glad I didn’t because the story was wicked, was creepy and was haunting.
It seriously gave me the chills! Imagine living first in an isolated cabin in the mountain, imagine got trapped during winter, and then move to the prairie, hoping for the best, wishing a new start, finding the perfect house, big enough for all the family and when you set food on it is covered in blood!, Imagine every night wake up with the sound of a baby crying in the prairie and then terrible things starting to happen.

This books was absolutely my favorite on this spook marathon, it was the one that caused me more nightmares and the one that freaked me out the most!

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Last year I read Asylum at the beginning of the year, and it was good, in fact it was really good, the second book, Sactum came out almost at the end of the year, and finally a few months ago, Catacomb, the last installment of the trilogy –should I call it saga?- came out. So I decided to review the whole saga.
This review is going to be divided in three sections, the first one is going to be a little bit of the controversy behind Asylum, the second one is an introduction to the books and of course accompanied with the rating I gave them and the reasons why, and the last one is a spoilers section in which I talk openly of the books and some issues that I had with them. So if you are just curious about the books, I recommend you to read the first two parts, I’m going to leave the spoilers to the end so fear not my friend of been spoiled by me.


The polemic situation started with the release of book one, Asylum, which description on Goodreads was a little bit misleading, and here let me quote it to you:

“Asylum is a horror story that treads the line between genius and insanity, perfect for fans of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children”

Certainly it was the use of another best seller’s popularity to promote a new release that has nothing to do with the previous one irritated some fans.
While Miss Peregrine –even with its creepy pictures- is a very enjoyable story, in which acceptance of the differences of the children, their peculiarities, and the realization that no matter what you can be friends and together save the peculiars while facing impossible adventures, Asylum was darker.
People assumed that the use of photographs in both books made them similar, but the context was totally different. Actually this is the most important part.
The plot of Miss Peregrine was inspired by the dozens of vintage snapshots featured in its pages, the story was created with these photographs.
In the Asylum’s case, they were added after the story was ended, here I quote part of an interview of Madeleine Roux:

“Finding the photos was a collaborative process, one I shared with my editor…I think in the end the photos we chose are haunting, they stay with you and that’s the point”

While this may not look as something so relevant, believe me, it is, especially if you read the books without knowing the story behind the photos. In Miss Peregrine you feel that the photos have a reason to be there, they contribute to the story, while in Asylum there are moments when you feel like the photos are imposed, and I read it before knowing about they were added later.
But enough about this subject, time to go to the books.


Our story starts with Asylum, book one of the saga.
Dan Crawford is a sixteen year old boy who had been an outcast all his life, going from one foster house to another, until he ends up with a sweet couple who gave him a home.
When the opportunity to start a summer program on the New Hampshire College arrives, Dan is excited for a new beginning. The opportunity to make friends, the excitement of spend a summer in college,  where everything is new and nobody knows about his past.
Abby and Jordan would become his inseparable friends, and together they’ll discover that their arrive to that particular place, a place that used to be an asylum for the criminally insane, is not much as a coincidence.
While the trio starts to investigate the secrets behind the place, terrible events would take place, events that could cost them their life.

Sanctum, is the second book, and here the trio is still traumatized after the events of the summer.
They would love to leave everything behind, but continue with their friendship, but as much as they want to forget, Dan is determined to find out more about his past.
When a piece of picture arrives to each of the friends, they would come together and while putting the pieces next to each other, they would discover that they form an old picture about a carnival.
The kids return to New Hampshire under the guise of a weekend of prospective students, where soon they would discover that the strange things would escalate in the most disturbing way.

Catacomb is the last installment, and follows the trio during the road trip they decided to make after senior year is over, while they help Jordan to move to New Orleans with his uncle Steve.
But the fun is about to begin when they notice that they had been followed. Dan starts to receive messages from a person who shouldn’t be writing to him, a person who died last Halloween.
Dan has to accept that everything that has happened to him in the past year is connected in some way with his past, his biological parents, and now he must face the new treat or die trying.

There are also two short stories, The Scarlets which takes place between Asylum and Sanctum, and The Bone Artists, which takes place between Sanctum and Catacomb, but the events are obviously before the story on Sanctum.

While Asylum was interesting enough to keep you awake all night, it was the kind of book you couldn’t put down, still it had its faults.
The major problem for me were the photos, as I mentioned before, there were moments in which they felt imposed, they had nothing to do with the story, or they don’t do anything for the story, while others really freaked me out.
But other important fault of the book was the characters, for some reason I couldn’t connect with them, they were plain, and I kept finding myself forgetting their aspect.

Sanctum became unbelievable boring, I felt like the story lost the vibe of book one, and the use of the same context felt like instead of helping the book, was a major mistake.
Then we have a secret society element, which turned the story from bad to worst. The book became predictable and it as the plot didn’t connect the elements well.

Catacomb could turn out to be a more interesting story, richer for the fact that the trio were on a road trip in one of the most historic and fascinating states.
The book gives another twist and not for the good. The new elements leads to nothing, it’s like having three different unfinished stories in three books.
The photos didn’t help either, they became not distracting but annoying.

One example?

"They piled into the front cab of the truck...Jake Lee drove them back up the road, humming softly as they went, When that started to get weird, he turned on the radio..."

and of course the picture!

I’m still wondering what this has to do with the story, why is it relevant? A Mystery!
The story once more was predictable, the apparent connection was as ridiculous as you can imagine, even more.

To be fair, while I didn’t love them, I enjoyed a little bit more the short stories, The Scarlets and The Bone Artists for the simple fact that there were no photos on them.


I don’t have a problem telling what I liked or disliked about a book, and while I try to be polite, there are moments that the situations make me wondering WTF, so please don’t feel offended if I say something about here, but like I said, I need to vent about this saga, for real!
I think I would set Asylum apart, because like I said, it was the only one that I really liked, but I must mention some facts that I think are relevant.
I mentioned before that I couldn’t feel connected with the characters, and especially with Dan, I mean, I get that he’s a lonely boy who had suffered for abandonment, spend most of his life in foster homes, so yes, it’s understandable that it’s hard for him to trust people. It’s pretty clear that he keeps his distance, and maybe that’s why he wasn’t richer, or a more warming character, because in not a single moment I felt sorry for him, not at all.
We also have the fact that he has a gift, that conveniently only works in the most ridiculous way.
My problem started with Sanctum, and here I must include The Scarlets.
During The Scarlets we follow a kid named Cal who is the son of the dean of New Hampshire College, a problematic boy who drinks a lot, uses drugs and is the shame of his father for not be the perfect ambitious son he would love to have.
Cal discovered soon that when his father wants something, it doesn’t matter the way, but he get it. Events go out of control and Cal’s father is killed by accident, and Cal’s personality went for bad to worst.
In Sanctum the trio returns to New Hampshire College, and it was like WTF their parents are thinking? I mean why they left the kids to return to the place their almost die?
But if that situation could look impossible, the fact that the trio is placed with their equal hostess was absolutely ridiculous. Wehave Micah who is Dan’s host and also is a troubled kid, with a lonely past, just like Dan
We have  Cal who is Jordan’s host, and who is also gay, and the artistic host for Abby, perfect inspiration for her.
So if the similar characters are not enough, we find that they are part of a secret society, following the orders of the super villain Professor Reyes, the responsible of the investigation taking place in Brookline, the old asylum.
The secret society gave a twist of the story so bad that became absolutely ridiculous, and not for the society per se, but for the fact that Professor Reyes is controlling the kids by hypnotized them! For Christ sake!.
The Bone Artist is the story of Micah in some way before college and his best friend Oliver, who would be part of Catacomb, which was terribly annoying.
First let me start with the kids going on a road trip, and Abby new interest in photography and the fact that they have to stop in every single possible place for her to take pictures, of course we saw her fantastic marvelous work during the book, almost five pictures at once after Jordan said how good they are.
But if that annoyed, her interest in a very known killer who she is investigating –Julian Orsini- became the story so freaking delusional.
Dan on the other hand is trying to know more about his family, and thanks to the file he casually took at the end of book two, he knows more about his biological parents, well, at least that they were called Marcus and Evelyn.
There was a postcard in the file, and what would took days of searching to others, super Abby found the old school in a few minutes apparently, the same school that was in the postcard, and as a matter of fact, is super close to where they were.
And there’ when conveniently Dan saw the spirit of his father, but only of this father and discover that his parents were journalists with the mission to brought down a pharmaceutics company called Trax Corp, which was selling untested drugs to places such as Brookline asylum, and yes, that’s the only connection we’re going to find with the place.
They also found a bunch of old letters, which obviously survived the floatation.
The situations that followed went from bad to worst when they find the person who wrote the letters and after five minutes of talking to Dan, she has to go away and is killed outside the cafeteria. And nobody interrogates Dan.
The person that is following the trio apparently only takes pictures of Dan.
Dan only seeing his father spirit but not her mother, and then Dan being arrested for murder.
I mean this book escalated in ridiculousness to the point that Dan is kidnaped before been arrested and they cut him a finger, I mean, a finger, and then a day after he only took a pair of aspirins and he’s able to make jokes when the bone artist is about to kill him, because apparently aspirin takes away pains so strong as had a fingerless hand.
The end was predictable for not saying bad!

Well, that’s my review of the Asylum saga, like I said it was a quite disappointed saga, from which I only would recommend Asylum, and forget about the rest of the books.

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A Blue so Dark by Holly Schindler
Rating ««
Aura Ambrose, at her fifteen years, has been hiding a big secret, her mother Grace, who is a talented artist, an art teacher, but also a schizophrenic patient. Aura has been taking care of her since her father left them and started a second family.
Convinced that “creative” equals crazy, Aura does her best to avoid her own artistic talent, and soon would discover that art, love, and family will help you to escape from her fears.
My thoughts
I don’t even know where to start with this book. It was really upsetting.
The book probably portrays a clear image of the ups and downs of a patient with mental illness, but that’s not the upsetting part. What really bothered me of the book was Aura, the main character; I never disliked a character so much like I did with her.
I get the fact that she was young and maybe that’s the way some people talk, but referring to others the way Aura did? I mean, saying things like her neighbor was so fat that probably transpired bacon grease? Or call people gypsy trash? It was just wrong! She made lots of awful comments about others.
But like I said, I can understand her bitchy talk, but never ever could feel empathy for such a stupid character. She was 15 yo, I got that, but when a person you love, -and here we are talking about your parents, your mom!- get sick, you do your best to help them, maybe giving them a glass of water or bringing the pills and making sure they take them, kids know right from wrong, so I can’t understand how a 15yo person throw away all the pills when her mother asked her no more pills, because she was afraid to lose her love! I mean, honestly?
I couldn’t feel sorry for Aura at all, she was useless and I’m glad for everything she had to suffer, because thanks to her stupidity her mother almost dies.

I gave the book two stars, one because the portray of mental illness was interesting, the second because I really liked Grace and Nell characters, but I wouldn’t recommend this book, it really frustrated me, so definitely Not My Cup of Tea!.

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