Watched by Michael August (Review)

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Kindle Price: Free!

Official Rating: 1/5

Synopsis:

“A short tale of suspense set at Pembrook High and exclusively available for Kindle.

Everyone expects Brianne Pratt to plan the scariest Halloween dance ever, but she’s facing a few challenges. School authorities want to keep the theme too tame. Her folks don’t like her college boyfriend who’s coming back for the evening, and worst of all, someone’s watching.

Someone’s spying on Brianne, sneaking messages into her locker and placing strange phone calls that make it clear her secret admirer won’t give up easily.

Even if she can navigate the treacherous waters of school politics and pull off a wild and exciting Halloween event, she’s worried she could be the real focus of the horror on the big night.”

My Review:

I’m not sure what I expected, but this was the weirdest short story I’ve ever read. Thirty pages worth of “What?” “Really?” and “Wow, okay.”

The story is only thirty pages long so really, how long can a review for it be, but we’ll see.

I’ve seen piece of paper that’s thicker than Watched’s characters and plot. Brianne was disrespectful towards adults and it was completely distasteful. I don’t even remember any of the other characters. There was so little suspense that it completely surpassed zero and went into negative infinity. I never even guessed who the stalker was and I didn’t care when it was revealed. There was nothing scary about him, just creepy. It wasn’t a mixture of a creepy stalker with a terrifying plot with a eerie setting, it was just “No thanks, this is weird.”

Honestly? The scariest part of this story was how everyone didn’t care about the stalker.  (spoiler)He actually manages to kill a fellow student just because they were going to attempt to stop the party and was nearly going to kill Brianne. No matter what awful things the stalker did, the people who find out who the culprit is don’t seem to care. Instead, they’re concerned about how realistic Brianne’s boyfriend looks in his wolf costume.
Would I Recommend Watched? No, definitely not.

Rend the Dark by Mark Gelineau, Joe King

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Kindle Price: $2.99

Official Rating: 4/5 (on a novella scale)

Synopsis:

“The great Ruins are gone. The titans. The behemoths. All banished to the Dark and nearly forgotten. But the cunning ones, the patient ones remain. They hide not in the cracks of the earth or in the shadows of the world. But inside us. Wearing our skin. Waiting. Watching.
Once haunted by visions of the world beyond, Ferran now wields that power to hunt the very monsters that he once feared. He is not alone. Others bear the same terrible burden. But Hunter or hunted, it makes no difference. Eventually, everything returns to the Dark.”

My Review:

This was a fast-paced and fascinating novella. I liked that it took me no longer than an half an hour to read (although the original expected time of completion was an hour) and that it was packed with action and slivers of wisdom and honor.

Considering that this is a novella, I cannot say much because it is short and also so that I don’t reveal any spoilers, but I connected with the characters, Ferran especially. I believe that although none of the characters (save Ferran) were given a backstory as of yet and there wasn’t much exploration of their personalities, Gelineau and King left a promise behind to give them depth. And I do believe (and hope) they will keep that promise.

My only complaint is that as the story continues, the action scenes seem to be recycled. Although the actual scene that is taking place is different, the way it is described doesn’t change. The same phrases were used with a little to no changes made and that made each scene a little bit less ‘originally’ vivid. Nonetheless, Rend the Dark was still great to read and I would even be interested in reading the sequel.

Would I Recommend Rend the Dark? I would recommend Rend the Dark, but keep in mind that it is a novella and short no matter the price.

I received this novella for free via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review.

Insanity by Cameron Jace (series)

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Kindle Price: $0.99

Official Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

“After accidentally killing everyone in her class, Alice Wonder is now a patient in the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum. No one doubts her insanity. Only a hookah-smoking professor believes otherwise; that he can prove her sanity by decoding Lewis Carroll’s paintings, photographs, and find Wonderland’s real whereabouts.
Professor Caterpillar persuades the asylum that Alice can save lives and catch the wonderland monsters now reincarnated in modern day criminals. In order to do so, Alice leads a double life: an Oxford university student by day, a mad girl in an asylum by night.
The line between sanity and insanity thins when she meets Jack Diamonds, an arrogant college student who believes that nonsense is an actual science.”

My Review:

Insanity is yet another book that I read without realizing that it was horror, but it didn’t come as much as a shock as Wink did. And I have to say, that I enjoyed Insanity a lot more because of the psychological aspects that mixed with mystery.

Everyone here is mad. Here being the Radcliffe Lunatic Asylum. Alice Wonder’s home for quite a while. And I love it. The actual insanity throughout the entire book was just delicious. It wasn’t making a mockery of actual asylum patients (in my limited opinion), but really delivered it well. I was genuinely captivated as I traveled through the looking glass.

Alice Wonder is, to say the absolute least, a fascinating character. She has doubts, hallucinations, inquiries, and is often confused with just trying to keep up with the changing events, but she has incredible wit. I enjoyed watching her pick up clues and solve riddles and puzzles. As the reader, I had just as many questions, if not more, than she did and it would have been simple mad to not continue the book until I received an answer for them all. Alice undergoes some character development, but for the sake of spoilers, I won’t say too much besides that it was realistically gradual, but also obvious. I never found myself saying Grow up, Alice! or Oh, come on! with her. I liked her as a character and Jace wrote her well.

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Wink by Eric Trant (Review)

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Kindle Price: $3.99

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

“In this thriller set in a rural Gulf Coast town, twelve-year-old Marty Jameson finds refuge in the attic from his mother’s abusive rages. But only during the day. At night the attic holds terrors even beyond what he witnesses in his home. With a family made up of a psychotic mother, a drug-dealing father and a comatose older brother withering away in the spare bedroom, Marty feels trapped.
Next door, wheel-chair bound Sadie Marsh obsessively watches Marty’s comings and goings from her bedroom window, despite her mother’s warning about the evil in that house. Evil which appears to Sadie as huge black-winged creatures.
Marty, emotionally torn by the violence and dysfunction in his family, is drawn to Sadie and her kindly mother. But if he is to save his new friend from the supernatural horror threatening them all, Marty must transform himself from victim to hero. And to do so, he must first confront what lurks hidden in the shadows of his attic.”
My Review:

Books in the thriller section can be pretty terrifying or nerve wracking. But you know what I found out today? They’re much more terrifying if you aren’t even aware that it’s a thriller novel.

Yes, I picked up Wink thinking it was a ‘normal’ story about the friendship between a boy who suffers from domestic abuse and a girl who is paralyzed from the waist down. I had hoped that it would end with the boy, Marty Jameson, escaping the daily nightmare that resides in his home, and living ‘happily ever after’ with the girl, Sadie Marsh, and her mother. Instead, an entirely different door of horror was opened and I was sucked in without a chance to protest. While I am not completely clear on if Wink is a Young Adult novel, there’s no doubt that it is definitely meant for teenagers and up.

Surprisingly, I did enjoy Wink. Thrillers aren’t my favorite type of genre, but Trant made the plot really easy to get lost in. Trant’s tone of voice for the story written in an omniscient third-person perspective helped to bring each character, both human and otherwise, to life. The tone that was set for Wink, reminded me of the man who reads in the Narnia Audiobooks, if you have ever listened to those, but with a much eerier feel. Not quite soothing, but you could listen to him for hours. The descriptions were flawless to the point that I felt physically sick during a certain scene.

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Identity (Eyes Wide Open series) by Ted Dekker

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Official rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis:

“Identity is Book 1 of a four episode thrill ride from New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker.

Who am I?

My name is Christy Snow. I’m seventeen and I’m about to die.

I’m buried in a coffin under tons of concrete. No one knows where I am. My heart sounds like a monster with clobber feet, running straight toward me. I’m lying on my back, soaked with sweat from the hair on my head to the soles of my feet. My hands and feet won’t stop shaking.

Some will say that I’m not really here. Some will say I’m delusional. Some will say that I don’t even exist. But who are they? I’m the one buried in a grave.

My name is Christy Snow. I’m seventeen. I’m about to die.

So who are you?

In a return to the kind of storytelling that made Black, Showdown and Three unforgettable, New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker drags that question into the light with this modern day parable about how we see ourselves.

Humming with intensity and blindsided twists, Eyes Wide Open is raw adrenaline from the first page to the last pure escapism packed with inescapable truth. Not all is as it seems. Or is it? Strap yourself in for the ride of your life. Literally.”

My review:

I wasn’t sure what I had expected from reading the synopsis (which I didn’t remember by the time I opened up this book), but it wasn’t this. I was completely engrossed in what was going to happen next, to the point where class had started ten minutes ago and I was accidentally ignoring a classmate who was trying to hand me the attendance sheet.

This episode was intense and if there was a line between a tiny bit scared and really intrigued I’d have one foot on each side. For whatever reason, I was expecting to read a book about Christy Snow, who is going to find herself and somehow the locket on the front cover is tied into that journey. Instead, I read an episode about Christy Snow getting trapped in a hair-raising predicament with a dangerous enemy that’s a bit unrealistic.

This is the first thriller book I’ve ever read (by accident) and it was good. The writing was great, little to no mistakes, with description that made the situations become vivid. However I had a few issues with it.

  1. Christy finds “ten pounds” to be fat. While I do understand that girls struggle with accepting their weight, ten pounds? I’m not sure why Dekker decided to slip that in there, but I wish it was explained a little more.
  2. Does Dekker understand how psychiatric wards work? Because I don’t. But, I do know this, unless everyone in the psychiatric ward is in on this scheme, the way they go about confirming patients is inefficient and ridiculous in this day and age (assuming it’s this day and age).
  3. (Spoiler) When Christy gets trapped underground because of the trap door, instead of wasting her battery on her dying phone by using the flashlight, why didn’t she call someone? If she had, the whole situation would have been fine. And let’s be honest, it would have been better to call the police rather than your best friend.
  4. Why would Christy answer the shrink provided by someone holding her against her will? If the psychiatric ward is corrupt, why would you want them to know exactly what’s going on with you? Keep that private so they have nothing on you.
  5.  If someone held you against your will in a psychiatric ward and insists that you’re someone else, would your first thought be: “Am I this person? Am I crazy and they’re telling the truth?” If it is then that’s a serious case of identity confusion. A few hours and you’re already ready to believe that you’re delusional and don’t know who you are? Come on, Christy.

There isn’t much to say about it since it’s only about six chapters long, but just to add, on Goodreads this series is tagged as Christian fiction. I’m not sure how he’ll tie Christianity into it, but I hope Dekker won’t mess it up. I would recommend this episode, it will take you about twenty minutes or so to read (depending on if you’re multitasking).