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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-10-03 13:00
My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews [Mom & Daughter Review]
My Sweet Audrina - V.C. Andrews

 

Every Friday, my husband drops me off at the Half-Priced Bookstore and my mom picks me up when she gets off work. Otherwise, I would not see her often. I bought her this book because she couldn't remember if she read it (she has read other V.C. Andrews books and borrowed mine when I was a teenager!) My Sweet Audrina is a "Stand-Alone" novel V.C. Andrews wrote before passing away in 1986. In 2016, Andrew Neiderman, the ghostwriter hired to carry on V.C. Andrews name wrote a sequel.

 

List of V.C Andrews Books [and which are ghostwritten!]

 

This is a weird way to review, but hopefully, you go with it. I had a very special moment where I randomly had a book talk with my mom on Facebook and I wanted to share it. It is a memory I want to keep! This will contain spoilers! I advise you to please read the book before reading this. Unless you have no desire to or don't mind spoilers.

 

Be warned, I am putting a bunch of photos to show the kind of goofy person my mom is <3

 

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The whole interaction started with me posting this:

 

 

Mom: I finished my book, I need the next one!!

 

Leigha: The Audrina one? I need to read the second one, too. I'm a little put off that it is by a ghostwriter and may or may not be how VC Andrews wanted the story to go.

Mom: Yes! That's very true but I want to read it anyway...The one I just read was sooo good!

Leigha: Were you mad at the ending like I was?!

 

Mom: Yes, that's not how I thought it would end...

Leigha: I was so annoyed with Audrina! I know she cares about her sister, but part of me just wanted her to leave! I get why she stayed and I probably would have to if I was in her shoes and had a seemingly helpless person to look after.

Mom: I couldn't believe she was going to leave without her!!

 

Leigha: Sylvia refused to go and she knew her dad wouldn't hurt Sylvia. However, I think Sylvia threatened to jump from the tower thing and that is why Audrina stayed. I think Sylvia is to blame for some of the deaths in the house. Or partly to blame for accidents that ended in death. I also think she knows more/is smarter than they give her credit for.

Mom: Same, she was smarter than everyone thought. Vera was awful, I disliked her throughout the whole story.

Leigha: Yeah, but she is a tragic case. She had the brittle bone thing and was always hurt/sick/in the hospital and was neglected and knew her birth father refused to accept her as his daughter. That's got to mess you up.

 

Mom: True, but Audrina was never mean to her and she treated her so hateful. Jealousy, I suppose, but she could've had a friend in Audrina if she would've only treated her kinder.

Leigha: Yeah, which is something else that makes it so tragic. Vera was very close to having a friend (a sister by blood), but she let her childhood jealously fester. She knew they were sisters and that her father adores Audrina to the point of making up the whole lie about "first Audrina" being the one to get attacked and "killed" so Audrina would forget her memories. Vera had jealousy and probably mental health problems, depression and trauma from the way she was treated/neglected by her father. I think it is so sad that Vera died and they never got the chance to reconcile. I'm not sure Vera would want to after what she was going to do to Audrina, but still... Vera at least needed medical help for her mental health. I mean she went crazier over time and was going to let Audrina die.

Mom: I agree. Her own mother wasn't very loving towards her either.

 

Leigha: I think her mother held resentment toward Vera. She also didn't seem the type to know how to properly show her love. She loved Audrina's(and Vera) father so much (who can understand why!?) and when Audrina's mother died, she let him use her no matter how much it hurt her. Another sad case. This book was full of people with tragic backstories.

Mom: Yes, it was. I really want to see how the ghostwriter finishes Audrina's story.

Leigha: It is called Whitefern and looks like a doozy. Don't read the whole description. I think it gives too much away. It was published in 2016, so way after VC Andrews died. The reviews are really bad for this one. People are mad that the ghostwriter (and the publishers) are still piggybacking off VC Andrew's name and popularity.

 

Mom: Yeah, I just saw some of those reviews! I don't think any I saw were good! Oh no...

Leigha: I liked some of his ghostwritten books (back before I knew they were ghostwritten.) But people claim the more this man ghostwrites for VC Andrews, the worse he gets.

Mom: I'll just have to see for myself.

 

So will we like the ghostwritten sequel? The world may never know because we can't find a copy and I like to buy most of my books used in the wild (at the local HPB)

 

I believe if my mom did ratings, she would have given this a gushin5-star rating.

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review 2017-11-02 15:56
V.C. Andrews - the Casteel series
Heaven - V.C. Andrews
Dark Angel - V.C. Andrews
Fallen Hearts - V.C. Andrews,Andrew Neiderman
Gates of Paradise - V.C. Andrews,Andrew Neiderman
Web of Dreams - Andrew Neiderman,V.C. Andrews

While I felt that the Flowers in the Attic was a excellent book, I think that the Casteel series is overall the best (at least, the parts written by VC herself) I have read Heaven 7 or 8 times, and I never get tired of it. And this book is only the beginning of a excellent series, so if you're looking to spend a good amount of hours reading something wonderful, then start with Heaven!

You can't help but feel bad for this poor girl since she is so mistreated by her father for something that was not even her fault! You wonder why things happen the way they do, but much like Flowers in the Attic, the story of Heaven continues through a series, and the Heaven series is just as enjoyable, with VCA's writing talent but a different story from Flowers in the Attic so that this series isn't repetitive or boring. Enjoy!

 

At 4.5/5 stars, Dark Angel serves as an excellent follow-up to 'Heaven' - a book that I have read at least 8 times already - and is a good chronicle of Heaven's further adventures. I am just sad that Kitty destroyed Leigh's doll in the previous book, but Heaven should have confronted Tony about it, it wouldn't have hurt to press the issue (especially after finding out what Tony and Leigh had done) More of the doll's origins are revealed in the fifth Casteel book, 'Web of Dreams', but it still would have helped this story to see Heaven ask Tony about the doll and seeing how he reacted to it.

Heaven's idea to screw around with Luke's mind was a great idea. After the mistreatment he gave her, he deserved it though I felt bad about what happened to Tom. Tony's revelations about Leigh are shocking, but the truth is revealed in future Casteel books, so this makes a good installment in the series. Overall a decent continuation of Heaven Casteel's story.

 

Doubtless Fallen Hearts might have been a bit different if VCA had been able to finish this story before her untimely death. Neiderman didn't keep all the facts straight from Dark Angel, as the exact details of Troy's death/return, and nearer the end of Fallen Hearts, the writing feels a bit more distinctly different.

However, this is still a decent continuation of the Casteel saga. Having the truth revealed (that Leigh wasn't the little tramp that Troy made her out to be) felt good. I know some VCA fans might disagree, but it felt somehow appropriate to me that Heaven would be with Troy one last time. I was disappointed that Luke suddenly died, though. It seemed like such an 'convenient' death so Neiderman wouldn't have to work with him anymore. A definite good read even if not up to the par of a 100% VCA book.

 

While not as good as the other Casteel books (possibly because it was finished by Andrew Neiderman after V.C. Andrews's death), this book is still an enjoyable read in some parts. The ending felt a bit rushed, but if you read the first three Heaven books and want to see how the saga closes, pick up this book. There's not as much action in here since it's supposed to be the end of the Casteel saga so the ending might feel cliched and I definitely think it could have been better, and this just adds to the tragedy of V.C. Andrews's death.

 

Personally, I find the title Web of Dreams a bit off, as it doesn't fit in with the rest of the series titles. But Leigh's story is good, and gives a LOT of explanation as to how Heaven's life turned out the way it did. Tony had told Heaven that it was Leigh's fault, that Leigh was the seductress, but this book shows that not only is Leigh a victim of Tony's unrestrained lust, she is also a victim of her father's neglect and her mother's willful ignorance. In Dark Angel and Fallen Hearts, it's hard to not feel sorry for Jillian as she falls into madness, but in this book, you cannot help but think that Jillian got what she deserved, for being so selfish to Leigh.

The business with Leigh's questioned paternity was a completely unnecessary detail in this book and would have been better left out. Two other things always bothered me - that in the beginning as Annie is going through her great-grandmother's things, she finds Leigh's diary. If Leigh ran away with Luke and took the diary with her, then Jillian wouldn't have been in possession of the book (and thus she would have known of the truth), and the letter at the end reveals that Tony was aware of Heaven's existence long before she came to Farthinggale Manor, since he had a detective track Leigh down. Why did he choose to leave the baby girl up there? Yes, Tony was a slimeball for what he did, but leaving his child up in the mountains without even checking up on its welfare?

It seems that these flaws are Andrew Neiderman's making, since VCA was unable to finish this book, and Neiderman had to finish it for her. He uses the snotty schoolgirl cliche in here that he has used in future books, and in this book, the school drama was really unnecessary. These flaws are what keep this book from being 5 stars, and it would have been great if Neiderman had paid more attention to VCA's detail to make sure he didn't contradict or retcon anything, but what's done is done and you'll just have to take this book as it is. At least it was better than Gates of Paradise.

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review 2016-04-16 19:30
THE READING Book 5: The Baby Squad (Andrew Neiderman)
The Baby Squad - Andrew Neiderman
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review 2016-01-19 11:30
Review: The Devil's Advocate
The Devil's Advocate - Andrew Neiderman

The Devil's Advocate is one of my favourite movies. I must have seen ten times plus. I can probably quote most of it word for word. I had no idea it was based on a book until last Saturday when watching the DVD again, I let the end credits roll longer than I usually do and noticed. So I immediately went and bought it.

 

This is a case, for me at least, the movie is ten times better than the book. The movie is brilliant. The book is bloody awful. I can see the basics of where the movie screenplay came from. The bare bones of plot and a fairly good idea is there. After winning a controversial case a young attorney is swept off his feet and brought into a prestigious top New York firm, the cream of the crop of lawyers and beautiful secretaries, all over seen by the charming and charismatic John Milton. Of course, as the story develops there's much more to it and nothing is as simple as it seems. There's a twisting darkness underneath it all. 

 

The movie takes these ideas and builds a story that evokes a sense of fascination and dread with complex characters, rich although disturbing mythology, beautiful scenery and brilliant acting making for a great movie.

 

The book does none of this. The writing felt very poor and simple, characters were flat and one dimensional, the dialogue felt clichéd and lame. It was very much tell and not show. I didn't find there was any depth to anything. The only thing that kept me going was I wanted to see how the plot worked in the book compared to the movie.

 

Final conclusion, thankful I saw the movie first. 

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review 2015-09-26 01:18
Web of Dreams
Web of Dreams - Andrew Neiderman,V.C. Andrews

Trigger Warning: Rape mention. Child sex abuse mention.

V.C Andrews is my ultimate guilty pleasure read (currently). I mean it's trashy tragic over-dramatic gothic-influenced horror, that I eat up with a spoon. #NoRegrets #SorryNotSorry





The author used foreshadowing with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. I saw the rape of her stepdad coming from a mile away. It was still pretty squicky, not gonna lie.



Also that doll. That freaky doll that Leigh had to pose in the nude (at 12 years old!) for her step dad to paint and later sculpt, which served as a catalyst for the rape itself. That whole plot line made my skin crawl. The whole grooming and sexual molestation was skeevy. I'm glad that the ghostwriter portrayed it as it really was, as wrong and exploitative.



I felt really bad for Leigh, because I understood how she felt, the wanting to tell people, and when you do, sometimes people call you a liar and/or slut-- sometimes the other parent. It really sucks, but it's real. I admire the bravery of survivors who reach out are believed, and have the abuser(s) get prosecuted. Let's not forget about the bravery of those who have their voice silenced either because of dissociation/repressing or threats by the abuser, and even those who make excuses and apologize the rapist. We are still brave. I didn't realize until now how much this plot-line has really affected me.



So this book took me on a whirlwind of emotions from lolz to sadz.

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