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Showing 1-10 of 390 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 448 reviews
on December 29, 2013
One huge pet peeve of mine is the trend towards authors not finishing their books before they publish them. It irks me so much I won't read any other works by an author who does that. Authors, take note: many of us do not appreciate a "bait" book that requires us to buy more books to finish the story you felt you didn't need to end before starting the next installment. I don't mind a cliffhanger, but you MUST have an appropriate conclusion for EACH book. I won't even comment on the rest of the "novel.". Just... Don't waste your time. Gah. What's the point?
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on July 28, 2013
Let me preface this review with the admonition that this is a review NOT a book report like so many reviewers write. This is not to give an over view of the plot, an exploration of the characters or to give my opinion on what the author was trying to say.

A book review is the reviewer's opinion on why they did or didn't like the book, what type book it was and whether they would recommend it. For the short answer, it's a young adult suspense, though anyone could read it, it's long, somewhat verbose, w/a story line that's a little too much to believe. It's part of a trilogy, which isn't a bad thing in itself, but the author didn't write a standard trilogy with each book independant of the others, the characters still connected. Instead she wrote a long, long, book that stopped w/no ending. This is more like a cliff-hanger serial. Recommend it, not really, but if you want a long read, that has some suspense, spookiness and highschool kids, sure. Especially if you want a really long read, that will take 3 books to get the answer.

The book is set in New Zealand and features high school students and high school angst. There's a disappearance of one of the friends and what follows is a story of looking for the friend and a confusing spooky paranormal situation. I don't want to give too many details in case you want to read it. I will say that the cover is not really appropriate for the book, just something to get your attention.

At first you are drawn into the suspense, the search for the missing girl, the mysteries of other missing girls and the weird house. But after they find the mysterious location, it gets erratic. The book seemed to drag on, giving details of the same activities, day after day, over and over. After a while, you'll start skimming the pages waiting for something to happen. It was unclear in a lot of areas as to what was "real". and no clear explanation why the victims just go along w/the program day upon day w/o trying to escape, then suddenly one day make their move.

Their "prison" was so over the top, it sounded like something a bunch of kids would come up with when trying to outdo each other in story telling, or perhaps a disjointed nightmare. In one story you have ghosts, buried treasure, mythology, possible pedofiles, circus props, underground caverns, children being kidnapped, I could go on. There were too many elements in one story, both in the prison's description,as well as in the villians. After a point, the only reason I kept reading was to finish, and see if the author could somehow redeem the story. Instead, she brings the story to a "cliff hanger", and then says if you want to read more, read the next book. Since this is a trilogy, if you read book, 2, you again apparently won't get an answer, you'll have to go to book 3. I couldn't bear the thought of going on to book 2, starting in the same location all over again, who knows how much longer.
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on March 20, 2014
Fabulous, creepy idea. Insufficient, boring delivery. Totally not what I expected. I try to give myself 30 pages to like a book before abandoning it. This one started off slow and needed the time for character formation so I gave it a chance. Within the low 100 pages, I felt like dumping it and I should have. It was a mess of crap. The overuse of dashes, in the beginning especially, was very annoying. The first few chapters were confusing because they were titled with the characters' names. It was hard to tell if that chapter was from that character's point of view and it took a few paragraphs or pages to figure out that it was actually more of an introduction of that character. The characters had little substance and needed more development. There was little to like about the main character because we knew so little about her. The story was boring in the beginning and I had hope that it would get good once they entered the Dollhouse, but nope, boring middle and boring end as well. My head felt like the scraping sound made by Jessamine and the Dolls during midnight. The situations in the Dollhouse were tedious. I understood, at one point, they were needed to show the stuck-in-a-rut activities of a Doll but it just seemed to drone on and on, not really adding anything to the plot. This part was torture for the characters and the readers. A lot of things didn't make sense. There was a lack of explanation, leaving a pivotal question unanswered throughout the entire book--WHY? Maybe the next books explain WHY but any answer seems far-fetched. Cliffhanger? Yes, there was one but it was easier for me to quell my curiosity of an ending by thinking all the characters just died. It was harder to imaging they would live through that. End of story.
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on May 12, 2015
Creepy is the first word that comes to mind for me when I think of this book. If you are into books containing the supernatural, then this book may be for you. I don't typically care for these types of books, so my opinion may vary from most of the others posted here. I decided to read it because I figured it would be more twisted in a human way. Sadly, it wasn't. Ghost stories aren't for me. The lack of ending, which I was expecting because I knew going in it was a series, made me purchase the second installment to find out what was going to happen next. So I guess the author did what she set out to do, and that is to get me to buy another one of her books.

The story does drag at times, but I suspect it was intended to be that way. If the story flew threw the events at a faster pace then the reader wouldn't have an opportunity to really feel the devastation of being held captive. The slow going made me very aware of how interminable their captivity felt to them. I may be wrong, but I didn't see it as a negative aspect the way other reviewers did.

I don't regret my purchase, but I doubt I will buy anything else from this author. Dollhouse and Paper Dolls have given me my fill of ghosts...time to return to my serial killers, human traffickers, and cheaters.
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on October 31, 2012
The cover of "Dollhouse" looks like it may be a love story or historic romance. But looks can be deceiving. This is seriously creepy horror as in Stephen Kings "The Shining," meets V.C. Andrews dark "Flowers In The Attic" series. I just finished reading this after staying up all night--I couldn't put it down!

Cassie, an fifteen year old girl camps in the wilds of Australian looking for a friend who disappeared without a trace in that same wilderness. Things get strange real fast as Cassy and her friends find themselves trapped in a bizarre underground world where nothing seems real and reality may drive you mad. Filled with twists and turns this story will keep you on the edge of your seat as the creepiness escalates.

This is the first book of the trilogy so readers will have to wait for the next book to be released to continue the story. Looks like it will be exciting with many lives at stake, creepy life size dolls and clowns, ghosts, dead bodies, a mythological creature, a strange old house build in the middle of Australian wilderness, and lots of mystery. I can't wait!
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on September 15, 2016
I found this book difficult to finish. Oh, I thought it was interesting enough most of the time up until about the 80 per cent point on my Kindle. Suddenly a story that made me curious as to what was going on just shifted gears and it seemed the last fifth of the story had been turned over to a middle schooler to finish. The revelations about Lacey and Jessemine just seemed silly, but what really cooked this story for me was the fourth tunnel. Really? This not terriblly bright heroine figured this out and then executed a great escape? That would have been laughable had I not just spent hours getting to this point where the pay off turned out to be something a seventh grader could have dreamed up while staring out a classroom window instead of paying attention. There were no likable characters in the book, but still I kept reading for the idea was interesting, but the author just seemed to keep tripping over twists in the plot that made no sense. I know that in stories dealing with the supernatural you have to open up and be willing to suspend belief, but when you do, the author is then obliged to give you a reason for going along with the story. This author did not. I think maybe the first two thirds of the book was pretty good, but then fell apart. Also, I knew it was book one of a series but absolutely nothing was resolved in book one. Nothing. I won't be reading the other books in this series.
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on May 7, 2016
Dollhouse sounded so interesting and promising I was very excited to read it, but it had such a frustrating end it left a bitter taste in my mouth (so to speak).

They mystery was very intriguing, I mean, where are these girls disappearing to? I enjoyed them looking for the girls and finding the so called “Dollhouse.” Once in the actual Dollhouse, it got super suspenseful and freaking creepy with whatever was creeping around with them down there! I love creepy, but I was definitely rooting for them to find a way out. As I said, it was suspenseful, but after a while of being down there, the suspense turned into mild annoyance--Do something already!

And then we find out what’s been lurking in the shadows down there... well, kind of. There’s promise of some creature from Greek mythology that we don’t see much of in other works of fiction, and I got super excited because I LOVE mythology and all this actually makes sense! Except, by the end of the book, it was neither denied nor confirmed that it was indeed this particular creature (and not something similar) that’d been haunting the Dollhouse.

And then we get to the climax where they’re hatching a plan ready to escape, and then... the book ends. The abrupt ending plus the choice Cassie made there at the end... ugh, just no! I mean, yeah, maybe that was their only choice, maybe, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. After I invested so much time into this book, I was expecting a more resolved ending!

Dollhouse had a promising mystery with a little horror, lots of suspense, and potential Greek mythology roots, all things I love, but in the end it led to nothing. The ending was very frustrating and there were way too many questions left unanswered, like, all of them. All this book was was a setup for the next books in the series. And typically I am more than okay with that, but each book in a series should have some sort of resolution within just it’s own book, right?. Will I be reading the rest of the series? NO. Although I am curious to find out what will happen next, it was just too frustrating. It started off great, with an interesting premise, but in the end it let me down, hard.
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on January 14, 2014
So I just finished Dollhouse and I am furious!!! FURIOUS I tell you!! Dang you evil geniuses for ending a book like to have me buy the next one right away! This makes the readers need to read the second book instead of just want it.

The story begins when Cassie, Lacey, Ethan and his girlfriend Aisha go on a little hiking trip for a school project. Cassie cannot stand being away for too long from Ethan because she is madly in love with him and Aisha notices it. After storming away into the woods, she disappears. After months of searching, Cassie wants to prove that Ethan is innocent and she goes for investigation with Lacey to find the truth. But what they find underneath an old house will question everything they ever known and the only thing that will matter is to survive. Survive and not go crazy with time overlapping and shadows lurking in the dark.

Quote: ”I knew you couldn’t stay away. I knew you’d return. Even though you deny who you are.”
Heart beats scudded through my chest. “Who am I?”
“There are no accidents in this life. There is just denial. And you came by your own desire to the carriage.”

I originally got this book since it was a freebie on Amazon and did not know what to expect. Once I read the description, I was a little bit intrigued. Horror book named Dollhouse about disappearing girls in the woods? Ummm yes please!!

But as I started reading the book, it has become so much more than a story to be excited about. I was actually creeped out. And that says a lot since I was reading it on my phone in a very well lit cubicle. Usually I don’t care much about creepy dolls and marionettes but when you put the setting in the middle of the forest, underground dungeon that has ghosts and shadows of ancient creatures, it would play with anyone’s nerves.
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Has Tim Burton made any movies lately? Maybe he’s searching for the perfect script, one that cooperates with his flair for things both colorful and dark, one that matches his glee for taking a vanilla setting and sprinkling it with sparkling oddities. Perchance he’s looking for the fairytale that tears into a child’s most bizarre nightmare and extracts its lurid images from the mind to the page. If this is the case, then he needs to look no further than Anya Allyn’s Dollhouse (The Dark Carousel Book 1). In this book there is a huge repository of “all things Burton.” It is the perfect source to mine material for a script of his standards.
Now here’s the kicker – I am pretty neutral when it comes to Tim Burton. I neither love nor hate him. But I do love this book! How odd, I find it charmingly “Burtonesque” yet better than Burton. Why is that?
You can read the rest of the review in my blog – the link is on my amazon profile page.
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on June 7, 2015
Wow. I was apprehensive starting this book, because I was warned the ending is a bit of a cliffhanger. True enough, it ended like the end of a chapter, and now I'll have to read the next book.. but hey, that's fine with me! Dollhouse was excellent - the author did a great job maintaining the creepy vibe throughout, and I had a hard time putting it down. There's mystery upon mystery in this story, and it caught me off guard with just how much is going on behind the surface creepiness of the "dollhouse" itself.

If anything can totally draw me in, it's a good mystery, and this story has an abundance of secrets to unravel. There were so many layers to what was happening, that every time I felt like I kind of knew what was going on, it proved me wrong. Even though the ending kind of bummed me out a bit, not only do I not mind having to read the next book, I'm looking forward to another installment!

I noticed some reviews about how the writing needed some work - I feel like the author must have improved upon some of these things in the re-release, since it seemed fine to me. Recommended for anyone who likes paranormal horror and a great, creepy mystery.
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