Becky’s Ninth Book Review “Gates of Paradise” by V.C. Andrews

SPOILER ALERT: DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW IF YOU HAVE YET TO READ THE EARLIER BOOKS IN THIS SERIES (and you are planning on it)

“Gates of Paradise” by V.C. Andrews is the fourth book in the Casteel family series and it starts in tragedy. Logan and Heaven at the conclusion of the last book had a daughter, Annie. This book begins with Annie just as she turns eighteen. Instead of being told from Heaven’s perspective, as the previous books were this book is narrated by Annie.

After celebrating her eighteenth birthday Annie and her parents go to attend “Aunt Fanny’s” birthday. Fanny behaves even worse than usual, infuriating Heaven by sticking her tongue down Logan’s throat. Logan has a little too much to drink and Heaven is yelling at him on the car ride home. They are driving through a terrible storm and Logan loses control of the car. Annie wakes up in a hospital room to learn that she no longer can walk and she has been orphaned. Tony Tatterton swoops to the rescue to take Annie back to Farthy, the very place her mother fled. Heaven never had a chance to tell Annie why she cut off all ties from Tony and so Annie is completely unaware of Tony’s perverted past.

  Annie is at the mercy of this stranger who promises to provide her with the best medical care money can buy. He hires a horrible nurse who is cruel to Annie whenever his back is turned. She has no access to a phone or anything that could link her to the outside world. Reading this book I became enraged on Annie’s behalf. Especially because as the audience, I knew of her mother’s past with Tony but she was clueless about it. Annie proves herself to be built of the same tough material as her mother was and works hard at getting better. There is hope that she will walk again, but every time she makes progress something stands in her way.

I am definitely a fan of V.C. Andrews and I like that she was able to make such a smooth transition to a different character telling the story. Annie is a very lovable character and you find yourself cheering for her. I don’t want to give away too much, but I would very much so recommend this series. There is one book left and I’m planning on starting that right away.

Becky’s Eighth Book Review: “The Hypnotist” by Lars Keplar

I finished reading “The Hypnotist” by Lars Keplar a few days ago, but with my birthday celebration the review was delayed. I liked this book personally, but it is not something I would recommend to most people. If I were to sum up the book in a sentence, I would say something like “It was gory and fucked up”. I’m not really sure if all Swedish authors focus on some of the more awful things in life, but just like “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” series, there was a lot of messed up stuff that went on in the novel.

The initial premise of the book is a young boy is fighting for his life, he was found with wounds all over his body–they didn’t even think that he was alive at first. This boy was found in his home along with his brutally slain mother and younger sister. We found out that his father was also victim to the same fate. Authorities discover that there is another member of the family and since they are unable to find her, they turn to unorthodox methods in order to try to save her life. A hypnotist is called in to get answers from the young boy. The hope is that the young boy remembers something about whoever attacked his family so that the authorities can catch this person before any more damage is caused. What is not expected is that when the hypnotist puts the boy into a trance and has him describe the events that the boy knows exactly who the killer is–himself.

And this is only the beginning. The hypnotist plays a major roll in the book. He tries to help the authorities in this case and ends up having to turn to them for help too. I don’t want to give too much away in case someone does want to read this book. What I’ve already revealed is either on the back cover of the book or in the first chapter.

If you do chose to read this book, just be warned that it is not for the weak-stomached. There is a lot of violence, including sexual violence and incest.

One thing I did find interesting, just a random fact to add on is that Lars Keplar is not actually a person, but a fake name that a couple decided to use. The book is written by two people.

Becky’s Seventh Book Review: “Fallen Hearts” by V.C. Andrews

I stayed up last night an hour and a half longer than I meant to in order to finish this book. “Fallen Hearts” is the third book in the Casteel series by V.C. Andrews. Each book in this series is better than the one before it. I am really glad that I stuck with V.C. Andrews even though I had doubts in the beginning about her.

“Fallen Hearts” continues telling the story of the Casteel Family. The novel is beautifully written and full of twists and turns. In a way, I would categorize the novel as a mystery, but at the same time it is full of drama, love affairs, scandals and more. There are a few different settings that the novel takes place in, one of which is a grand home nicknamed Farthinggale Manor or “Farthy”. Farthy is introduced to the audience in the second book, “Dark Angel” and I didn’t notice before how there are many parallels between how V.C. Andrews describes Farthinggale Manor and how Daphne Du Maurier describes Manderley in her classic novel “Rebecca”. (On a side note, if you have never taken the time to read the Gothic novel “Rebecca” by Daphne Du Maurier, you definitely should–it’s a classic for a reason). There are similarities in how parts of the grounds have a spooky affect to add to the story. Also the way that people in both novels behave in reference to day to day activities and also the superstitions that always seem to come along with a large house. It is fun to make the connections.

V.C. Andrews knows how to provide her audience with a thought-provoking, emotionally charged novel full of twists and turns. I love how from one chapter to the next I am surprised by what she introduces. If you do decide to read this series, I recommend NOT reading the back of the book. It gives away too much about the plot…I like to be surprised.