Sometimes in the busyness of all my ‘writerly’ duties, I forget the most basic rule.
If you want to be a good writer, you also need to be a good reader. Consider it research. I’ll be honest, I’ve been a bad reader lately, but this month, I told myself I was going to pick up my ‘studies’ again. And I’m so glad I did.
It’s funny how you can go for a while without doing something and not realize how much you missed it until you start back up again. Now, I don’t want you to think that I haven’t been reading ANYTHING, but between school, writing, building an author platform, and life in general, I haven’t really been reading much along the lines of quality literature. So this month I made a conscious effort to pick out and finish a few good books. Here’s what I found:
I started off my October reading in true Halloween spirit with a YA horror novel.
Written by Madeleine Roux, ASYLUM is a spooky psychological thriller that follows a young boy named Dan Crawford on a college prep summer program. Things start off strange when he arrives and realizes that his housing for the summer will be in a refurbished sanatorium the college purchased to accommodate their growing student body. And they soon get stranger. It seems something is haunting Brookline, and that whatever it is has set its sights on Dan. It’s up to Dan and his new friends Abby and Jordan to solve the mysteries of Brookline before they drive him mad.
If you are looking for a spooky story to read this Halloween, I would definitely recommend Asylum. Roux’s thrilling story will you keep you turning the pages to find out what will happen to Daniel (I mean, Dan – or do I?) next. For quality writing and intriguing plot, I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
I enjoyed ASYLUM so much, after I finished it I decided to go to the bookstore and pick up its brother, SANCTUM. It picks up where the first left off, following Dan as he tries to make peace with what happened over the summer at Brookline. But Brookline hasn’t quite let go of him yet. Drawn back to the college, the mystery gets weirder and now Dan has to figure out who exactly he can trust. But what will he do if he can’t trust himself?
Roux did a nice job tying in SANCTUM to its predecessor, but to be honest I had a harder time finishing this book than I did ASYLUM. I felt that the beginning of the story was not as fast paced as ASYLUM, so it took me a bit more time to get into. Once I reached about the 25% mark, however, things started to pick up and I was hooked again. The end of the story also had some really great twists that I didn’t see coming, which is always a plus. Considering everything, I’d leave it at 4 stars out of 5.
Once I finished SANCTUM I decided that I would tackle some of my books on my ALICE in Wonderland #RDGWL. The first I opted to read was ALICE, a dark retelling of Carroll’s story. Part of the reason I picked it up was because there was a lot of hype surrounding the book, and I wanted to see if it was as awesome as it was made out to be. True to reviews, Henry has created a super twisty dark version of Alice’s Wonderland.
Henry’s storytelling is also excellent, and it was easy to get lost in the world that she created. The one thing I wasn’t crazy about however, was how heavily the story was filled with undertones of rape. As I was reading, I could see how it played into the plot line and so was necessary to be included, but it was a little much for my taste. Although I myself write dark fantasy, my dark hides with monsters and scary creatures, not brutality, so I guess I have mixed emotions. Violence aside, I really did enjoy the story’s concept and Henry’s writing is very good. Overall, I would give it a 4 star rating.
Of all the books I read this month, this is the book I am MOST excited to tell you all about. I am thrilled to have the honor of calling the author of this book (the FABULOUS Spencer Hoshino) one of my friends, which is why I picked it up. It just so happened that I started reading Paper Wishes during one of the few good things I had going for me that week. I loved escaping into this adorable YA Contemporary Romance (with a hint of fantasy).
I have to admit, contemporary stories really aren’t usually my thing. I don’t have anything particularly against them, it’s just if it came down to choosing between a fantasy and a contemporary novel, the fantasy will win 9 times out of 10.
Paper Wishes could change that for me. I loved how Spencer made it seem like Vilvian and Kai and Nox could be people I could meet in real life. I also loved reading the pop culture references she worked in throughout the story. They were like an ‘added bonus’ to an already great story. Combined with a unique idea and a light, fun writing style made Paper Wishes a book I really enjoyed. My rating? 4.5/5 stars.
INSANITY is the second book from my Alice #RDGWL that I picked up for this month, and (considering it’s the 29th of October,) most likely the last book I will be adding to my October #AmReading list.
I have not gotten too far into it yet, but I have to say it seems like it has potential. It follows the same vein of Henry’s Alice in that the main character is once again considered crazy (which seems to be a theme for my reading this month). A resident of the Radcliffe Asylum, Alice soon finds herself thrust into the center of a mystery, but not as one might expect. I haven’t gotten far enough to tell you more, but it has potential. If it continues in the same vein, I would give it at least 3.5 stars – maybe more.
Have you read anything on my list?
What are YOUR thoughts?