JUST FINISHED: The Asylum; Southern Cross the Dog

Author: John Harwood, Bill Cheng

Genre: Gothic Thriller, Contemporary Fiction

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars, 1 out of 5 stars

Some of you might be wondering why I haven’t posted in quite a while.  I sincerely apologize for a month and a half of nothing but it has been a crazy past couple of weeks for me. I had been training for a half-marathon and, the day after moving into our new place, I sprained my ankle on trail run eight miles into an eleven. Bracing myself on the kindness of two older gentlemen’s shoulders, both literally and mentally, I made it back to the parking lot and then on to the urgent care. One week of crutches and disgusting armpits, I find myself at the ER with a massively swollen leg and foot that burns every time I move them. Because of my immobilization and trauma, a blood clot had decided to take residence in my calf and knee. Undergoing several CAT scans and being prompted by a nurse every hour is not exactly my idea of how to use paid-time-off, but that is the way it goes. Another week of crutches and blood thinners (no more alcohol for you!) and I’m in a soft cast. It felt great to finally walk again, even if it was with a strange hobble and tendency to accidentally run into walls. I was finally going to get to unpack some of my boxes from moving! But with the freedom came some new chains from work: four deadlines all in the same week. Oh yes, I worked every day and night and weekend (including the holiday weekend) with my gimp leg swelling up under my computer desk.  The work seemed to never stop coming…both good and bad. After two and half weeks of this everything finally started back at a normal pace and I finally replaced my soft case for an ankle wrap and physical therapy. So, now I’m here back at blogging and wondering where the past month and a half has gone. Was there an August? To be honest, I’m not really sure. To me it was a cloud of frustration, scrubs, sharp pains, and never-ending days at a desk.  I’m beginning to walk normally now but after a mile I get some severe pain on my inner ankle. I was really hoping to check the half-marathon off of The List, but it looks like will be saved for next year.  I have to say, it wasn’t the greatest fun being the very small percentage where an ankle sprain initiates a life threatening situation. Nope, not very fun at all. As I told a co-worker, as least it forced me to smell the roses for a little while.

Aside from all of my pandemonium, I was able to read two novels during all of this (well, one and half). I will start out with The Asylum. This book was an alright mystery read. The story unfolds around a young woman who wakes up in an asylum not remembering how she got there and her true identity. The rest of the plot progresses as she begins to remember things from here past with additional help from some older letters kept by her mother.  Hardwood had an interesting way to write out the story, using different timelines though the main narrative and then through letters to and from other characters in the book. I haven’t really stumbled into a book that did that before. The book moves at a really steady pace but never really seems to climax. Maybe all of the facts were unfolded too slowly?

With Southern Cross the Dog, I have to say that I didn’t really like it from the beginning with the writing style that was used. No quotations. Zero. While I guess it might be a new way in writing fiction, I found it confusing. Is he talking? Is she talking? Or is this just an interior thought? I was honestly surprised that I made it halfway. The characters just weren’t there for me either. I found myself not caring about what events occurred to them and really not caring how it ended. This book and I had no connection.

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