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on 13 October 2013
'At 2am, a veil lifts. But what happens when you don't know the time? What happens when the light never goes off? That's what it's like, in the white room. It's limbo. It's neither real nor fantasy. It's not life and it's not death. Time doesn't matter here. I'm not sure what does, really.'

---My thoughts---

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for a review, and I read it as part of a Halloween horror book challenge. I found this book to be incredibly interesting, as I've never read a book set in a psychiatric hospital before. I recently watched a horror film set in an old psychiatric hospital,and this was fresh in my mind when I read this, which definitely added to the creepy atmosphere. The descriptions of the hospital and characters are very vivid; I was able to imagine everything, and again, this added to the eerie feeling I got from this book.

Although this only a short book, there's a lot packed into the pages. The pacing is great; it's fast paced without giving away too much too soon. When I've read novellas before, I've found that there didn't seem to be enough time to get to know the characters and get a feel for the setting before the book ended. However, this wasn't the case with this book; the pacing of the book allowed enough time to really get a good image of the setting and characters.

The characters were great in this book. Mary is incredibly brave, she's dealing with a lot of her own problems, but she still feels the need to help the other patients in the hospital. I loved this about her, since she could have just kept her head down until she left the hospital and forget all about the other patients. I also loved the character of Lacey, Marys' roommate. The relationship that they develop over a few short days is great, they laugh and joke together which is incredible, given the situation that they're in.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. For such a short story, the Author has really created something special. The only downside for me is that I want there to be a sequel so I can see what happens to Mary. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a quick and enjoyable read.
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on 25 June 2014
This little novella is a must read if you plan on reading Mary Hades as I found out when I went straight into Mary Hades without any knowledge of this novella. In Mary Hades there are frequent mentions of events that happened to Mary and Lacey in the psychiatric hospital where the two girls first met. I bought this novella AFTER reading Mary Hades and this little gem did make Mary Hades an awful lot easier to understand so I highly recommend reading My Daylight Monsters first.

It's a hard novella to review as I don't want to spoil Mary Hades for anyone who plans to read it and not read My Daylight Monsters but I'll give it a go.

Mary Hades is a teenager who can see dead people, she can also see beings a bit like shades who prewarn her of imminent bad events, usually involving a death. The big question surrounding Mary is whether what she see is real or not, she made the mistake of sharing her first experience with the dead with her family and now she's being admitted to a psychiatric institute by her parents who hope the in-patient stay will help Mary. Little do they know that what their daughter sees is very real and Mary knows it, but she plays along with her parents and telling them what she sees is real will only cause more problems for her and an in-patient stay is bad enough. Not expecting the stay to help in any way she finds herself making friends in the hospital, in particular with her room-mate Lacey but little do Mary and her new friend know but there is something terrible happening in the hospital and someone has set their sights on the patients!

Is it a mind-blowingly good?
It explains a lot of the background to Mary Hades and while it is only a little novella it is essential reading if you want to read the Mary Hades series. It won't blow your socks off unfortunately but it does go a long way in understanding the main characters in Mary Hades, who they are, why they are the way they are and why they do what they do.

Is it interesting?
It is especially when in context with the next book. They are many things mentioned in Mary Hades in passing but that aren't explained in detail and Mary's stay in the psychiatric hospital is one of the situations mentioned that leaves you wondering what happened there, the other being the incident at the school but maybe that will be explained at a later date too. This novella fills in that gap and answers the question you may have about it if you read Mary Hades first like I did. Obviously if you read My Daylight Monsters first you won't have the same questions I did as it will already have been explained by the time you read Mary Hades. It is also fascinating to see mental health dealt with in a way that shows that it doesn't make someone 'a loony' but just an ordinary individual with their own personal issues. I have my own issues with depression and know how real mental health issues are and how stereotypes given to those with such issues cause issues in themselves and I commend the author for sensitive use of the topic.

Is it enjoyable to read?
It was for me as I've said above as it answered questions for me. Readers reading this as the first book in the Mary Hades may not find it as interesting as I did but who's to say that they might not find it just as fascinating as you may find yourself wondering what will happen next for Mary, and what the next step for Lacey is going to be too as the events in My Daylight Monsters has a huge impact on her as well as for Mary.

Is is well written?
I found the book to be a pleasure to read, it is thoroughly creepy as the patients are like fish in a bowl with no-where to go when the cat sticks it paw in the water to catch them, if you know what I men. Someone is targeting the patients in the hospital and as in-patients the kids in the psychiatric ward have no escape from events and that is scary and makes for a book with a great atmosphere. It's genuinely spooky but I like that in a book. There is a great camaraderie between the patients which grows during the course of the novella, especially when they realise how much trouble they are in and it all adds to the wonderful atmosphere the author has created. The descriptions lead to a rich image in the minds eye of the world Mary lives in and it makes for an interesting word to read about.

Would you recommend it?
If you plan on reading Mary Hades that I would most definitely recommend that My Daylight Monsters be read first as it makes Mary Hades make a lot more sense and will give you a insight into Mary's world and explain her in more detail as well as telling you what happened in the psychiatric incident mentioned in Mary Hades. Even if you're not sure about Mary Hades then read this anyway as it's an interesting little novella in it's own right and there is no reason why if you read this as a stand-alone short story you wouldn't enjoy it anyway so why not give it a go?
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on 16 September 2014
Sarah Dalton's prequel to Mary Hades is a haunting novella in which reality meets with the paranormal world of ghosts.
Mary has visions of frightening zombie-like creatures who often deliver written messages and which she feels warn her of dangerous events. After an 'incident' at school, revealed later in the story, she admits these visions to a psychiatrist and is admitted to Magdalena ward, the psych wing of the hospital.
Mary's roommate Lacey, is perhaps the warmest of the troubled teens, saying she is "kinda manic and socially awkward", which she attempts to cover up with her sarcastic wit. Along with Lacey, Mary meets Magdalena's other patients whose problems range from anorexia and binge-eating, to drug addiction and psychosis. It is with this group of people that Mary's first real friendships begin to form because ironically it is here that Mary can truly be herself, without fear of judgement. Although the mix of young people is eclectic they are accepting and genuine.
One her second day on Magdalena, Mary meets the mysterious Johnny, who appears and disappears at strange times and whose pessimistic comments force Mary to question herself.
After an unusual number of deaths begin to occur on the palliative care ward, next to Magdalena, Mary and her friends suspect foul play and a frightening mystery unravels, affecting everyone on the ward.
My Daylight Monsters is a heart-pounding short story, very well told and it leads perfectly into Mary Hades book 1, but can also be read as a stand-alone.
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on 6 April 2015
4.5 stars, but I’ve rounded up...

I received a copy of My Daylight Monsters from the author in exchange for an honest review. A copy of this review is also on my blog:

A while back I read Mary Hades by Sarah Dalton. My Daylight Monsters is actually a novella that prologues Mary Hades. Mary Hades works just fine on its own and I really enjoyed it, but I kind of wish I’d thought to read this book first as it gives a lot of background to Mary’s ability and everything she went through.

The story opens as Mary arrives at the psychiatric ward of her local hospital. She is being admitted voluntarily as she is hoping to get to the bottom of the visions of ‘skull men’ she’s been having. As her stay progresses, she starts to realise the true nature of her visions, makes some friends and tries to get to the bottom of the mysterious increase in deaths on the palliative care ward....

I really enjoyed this novella. It was a fairly quick read, the plot rattled along nicely and included the creepiest ghost story I’ve read for a while. Mary is a very realistic, likeable MC, and I liked the other people she meets on the ward a lot. The Evil Baddie is suitably creepy, too!
Sarah Dalton writes fluently and engagingly and I’ll certainly be reading more of her work in the future.
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on 15 October 2013
My Daylight Monsters is a truly gripping novella; it's almost 'quiet horror' but definitely has not only it's horrifying moments but a kind of insidious chill that creeps through your veins as the plot progresses.

The plot is truly engrossing. By day, I'm actually an NHS administrator, and I have genuinely broached the subject before with (open minded!) colleagues that we might be 'medicating the ghosts' out of people. This instantly sprung to mind when I read My Daylight Monsters, and as such it really appealed to me. I spent a lot of the story musing over whether the protagonist, Mary, was a medium or a mentalist!

I also like the whole premise of the 'modern day' psychiatric hospital, with mental health/illness being such a pertinent topic these days, especially with young adults, and I really enjoyed the portrayal of what people see as 'loonies' as normal teenagers, just with their own problems. Mental health problems don't mean someone is weird or strange, and I enjoyed Dalton's portrayal of the teenagers as just normal, troubled kids, despite their diagnoses.

It's a fabulous mix of entertainment and a social/moral message. I'm not sure if that was what Dalton was aiming for but whether intended or accidental - bravo. I would sincerely recommend this thought provoking, enjoyable read to anyone!
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on 15 June 2014
I first came across the author, Sarah Dalton, when reviewing the first book in her series White Hart. I now have the privilege of reviewing another 2 of her books from the series Mary Hades. And yet again, Sarah's books do not disappoint. There is just something about all of Sarah's books, the covers just drawn me in immediately. Perfectly chosen for the story inside each.

After reading the first book, I instantly fell in love with Mary. Sarah's ability to enable us to do so is amazing. Rarely expected from a novella. The psychiatric ward is the perfect setting for the horror that unfolds. A close to reality chilling tale. Written at an excellent pace, allowing us to get to know Mary, feel the problems that she has to deal with on her own, but also her compassion to still feel the need to help others. I just loved the friendship Mary and Lacey developed and Lacey's ability to make even me laugh when she was telling Mary how she never shuts up. Each page left me wanting more, once I had finished the first book, I was ready for the next.

Opinionated Cupcakes -
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on 12 October 2013
All I could think when I finished this was "will there be another one?". Because it's really that good and I wanted to read more so so badly. The writing is engaging and from the very first page I was hooked.

This book is creepy and atmospheric and more than a little terrifying. I loved the premise and I loved the execution. The descriptions are creepy and vivid, which means that this book excels in its genre.

When you've been committed, who's going to believe your cries of "murderer!" and your visitations by prophetic zombie-ghosts? A horror situation if ever there was one!

The setting was fantastic. It added an extra layer of conflict within Mary herself, as it was the last place she wanted to be. But at the same time she knows that she needs to do something.

I hope that this author writes more, especially about Mary. I really enjoyed reading her character, hearing her voice, experiencing everything through her. There's something about her character that I felt I really connected with, which made my reading experience all the more enjoyable.
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on 22 September 2014
I was gripped from the first and found myself totally rooting for the main character, who is vividly portrayed as are the others in the book. The tension rises from the first and what I especially liked was the sparseness of the writing and the pace. Definitely a book where short makes an impact a longer novel would not. Look forward to reading more by this writer.
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on 26 February 2016
It's taken a long time for me to get to this book but I'm glad I did. It was well paced and written. My heart went out to the characters and without spoiling other readers especially those that got caught in the difference between life and death. I could relate to things that go bump in the night also go bump in the day. Thank you Sarah. Catch you again.
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on 1 August 2014
This short novel was suggested for me by Amazon,I didnt realise it was young adult fiction...I am certainly not in that category.However it was readable and quite enjoyable with an interesting setting ,a unit for young people with mental health issues.
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