Book Blitz: The Dark at the End by Susan Adrian

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The Dark at the End (Tunnel Vision #2) by Susan Adrian
Genre: YA Thriller
Release Date: September 27th, 2016

Goodreads Synopsis:

darkattheendcoverContinuing the critically acclaimed story of TUNNEL VISION:

Jake thinks he has only one more step and he’ll be free: he has to get the serum to stop his ability to tunnel—to find and control people through objects. But Jake’s contact has been killed, and there’s no sign of the serum. Then Jake’s mom and little sister Myka are kidnapped, right under his nose. With the government, his power-mad father, and the terrifying Mr. Smith all after him while he still has his power, he doesn’t have anywhere to turn. What will Jake do to get his mom and little sister back? Anything.

 

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Buy Links:

Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback

Check out the first book: Tunnel Vision (Tunnel Vision #1) on Goodreads

Read an Excerpt:

Dedushka stares at the door, frowning. He knocks again. Rachel slips her hand into mine. It’s damp—everything’s damp. I can feel the sweat dripping down my back. But I squeeze.

We wait, listening for the sound of footsteps coming towards us. It suddenly reminds me of Halloween, standing on a porch with Myka holding my hand, both of us in ridiculously complex costumes courtesy of Mom. Waiting for footsteps to bring us candy.

This is a different kind of candy, but I still want it.

I step forward and try the door. Locked. I glance at Dedushka.

“Perhaps he waits for us inside.” He scratches at his beard. “We try the back.”

He strides down the steps, around the carport side. We follow, slower. Looking everywhere.

“Yakob.” Dedushka’s voice is spiked with urgency. When we get to the back, Dedushka stands there holding the door open, looking in. “It is wrong,” he says. “Be careful.” He goes in, stepping lightly. I go up, see what he means, and let go of Rachel’s hand.

It’s trashed. Unless Vladimir is a really messy housekeeper, someone’s been here before us. The door opens into a kitchen, and every surface, almost every inch of the floor, is covered with silverware, shards of glass, scraps of paper. The drawers and cupboards are open. Even the refrigerator is open, pumping cold air uselessly into the room. I close it, then follow Dedushka. Rachel follows me.

They were looking for the serum. They had to be, with everything searched through like this. Jesus, how did they know about the old man and the serum?

Dedushka keeps moving forward, slowly. I move too, even though every cell in my body wants to stop and run away like my legs are on fire. They might still be here. They might take me again, shove me underground again. End everything.

Rachel is silent behind me.
I keep walking. Dedushka looks in a front bedroom, left off a short hall. He moves on, to the last room. I poke my head in the front one too. It’s a trophy room, or it was before it all got turned over. Baseball stuff, bats and balls and gloves and tickets, hundreds of tickets. I can see spaces on the wall where frames must’ve hung, but now they’re on the floor with everything else, shattered.

Dedushka makes a strangled noise from the back bedroom, and I jump for the door. I stop short when I see, Rachel at my shoulder. She screams, small, before she cuts it off.

Vladimir is sprawled on his back across the bed, a gunshot hole in the middle of his forehead.

Author Bio:

susan adrian.jpgSusan Adrian is a 4th-generation Californian who somehow stumbled into living in Montana. In the past she danced in a ballet company and worked in the fields of exotic pet-sitting, clothes- schlepping, and bookstore management. She’s settled in, mostly, as a scientific editor. When she’s not with her family, she keeps busy researching spy stuff, learning Russian, traveling, and writing more books.

Author Links:

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Into the Dark by Brian Spangler

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Kindle Price: $4.99

Official Rating: 3/5

Synopsis:

When Emily heard the first scream, she became concerned.
When she heard a second scream, she grew scared.
When she heard the third scream, she was struck with terror.
But it was what Emily could not hear that frightened her the most.

Emily wakes to find that her world has plummeted into darkness–the clouds have spilled out of the sky and taken the sun.
And there is more to the mist than just the dangers of being blind–the fog is poison, killing everything in its path. Their home is no match for the caustic fog, and her family is suddenly running for their lives.
But when she learns that the machines built to save the world could be the cause of the accident, Emily turns to her father–the original architect–with the hope that they can stop the environmental catastrophe. ”

My Review:

Meh. I don’t know how I feel about Into the Dark. This is book 3 of my #MakeMeRead It Readathon (even though it’s only supposed to be for a week). I made very few notes because it was just that kind of book. I can already feel in my reader bones that this review is going to be short, but let’s get started.

Emily Stark is our main character, our female protagonist. Now, notice that I did not say heroine, because truly, there is no “hero(ine)” in this book. I kind of liked Emily, but I wasn’t rooting for her either. I appreciated that Spangler made sure that survival was the first thing on her mind. When she sees the love interest, she questions if she’s allowed to feel infatuation, if it’s wrong given the circumstances. I liked that, because that’s realistic. I feel as if I don’t really know Emily. Sure, we’re in the middle of an apocalypse, so she wouldn’t be thinking about things that don’t really matter anymore, so it’s understandable. Even still, though she isn’t a cardboard character, I don’t really know her.

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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.

Alice in No-Mans-Land by James Knapp (Review)

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Kindle Price: $2.99

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

When her escape pod falls to earth, crashing in Ypsilanti Bloc, privileged seventeen-year-old Alice Walshe is dashed from the wonderland of wealth and prosperity into a ruined, walled city overrun with militias, gangs, and even cannibals. On top of this horror, her younger brother’s escape pod is missing.

Alice isn’t naïve – she’s always known blocs like Ypsilanti exist, left behind after a foodborne illness ravished the country decades earlier and left pockets of severe urban decay in its wake. Men like her father – a major player at Cerulean Holdings – renew the devastated blocs and bring stability back into the areas. But, Ypsilanti is even worse than the tales she’s heard, and rumor has it the bloc is faced with the threat of extermination by Cerulean, not renewal.

Trapped within Ypsilanti’s borders and left for dead, Alice teams up with a pair of teen scavengers who tracked the wreck of her pod. Despite their rough exterior and vulgar speech, they’re her only option for navigating the hostile and violent environment of Ypsilanti, finding her brother, and getting out of No-Man’s-Land alive..”

My Review:

Trigger Warning: Rape Mention

 

Alright, let’s be honest. I was wary. Alice in No-Mans-Lands? I had assumed it would be something like Alice in Wonderland and I was ready to roll my eyes as I read. So, thank you, Knapp, for proving my incredibly wrong.

I’m going to jump straight into it. Knapp played my emotions like a violinist plays a violin. I was sad, annoyed, angry, intrigued, surprised, and the entire book had me reeling with feelings. Hats and beanies off to you, Knapp.

Alice Walshe, oldest child and only daughter of Yuric Walshe, is stuck in no-mans land. And for once, the main female character’s mission isn’t to ‘save her people.” Instead, she is shoved into a world that was never her own, a world that she doesn’t understand and never thought she needed to, and must fend for herself.

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The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (Review)

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Kindle Price: $9.68

Official Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

In this deliciously creepy novel by the author of the critically acclaimed Cuckoo Song, the fruit of a magical tree uncovers dangerous truths.

It was not enough. All knowledge- any knowledge – called to Faith, and there was a delicious, poisonous pleasure in stealing it unseen.

Faith has a thirst for science and secrets that the rigid confines of her class cannot supress. And so it is that she discovers her disgraced father’s journals, filled with the scribbled notes and theories of a man driven close to madness. Tales of a strange tree which, when told a lie, will uncover a truth: the greater the lie, the greater the truth revealed to the liar. Faith’s search for the tree leads her into great danger – for where lies seduce, truths shatter…

My Review:

I neither condone nor enjoy dabbling in lying. I take honesty very seriously. But is it okay to lie when you are searching for the truth?

Say hello to Faith Sunderly, a young woman, around 15, who must answer that questions. She is stuck in a time where women are believed to not have the mental capacity to be clever. A time when Faith is mistakenly taught that it is wrong, unGodly even, for her to be interested in science and things that were deemed only appropriate for men. And yet, Faith is incredibly interested and I loved her completely and entirely. It didn’t take long for her to cease being a character and become a real person with emotional reactions. I was constantly impressed with how clever Faith was and her amazing intuition, often I was a step behind her as hints and clues were being revealed. After she finds the Lie Tree, she begins to contribute to develop into a character with depth that I have only rarely seen. Faith is a remarkable character and I am thoroughly pleased with her.

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Slip by David Estes

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Kindle Price: $2.99

Official Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

“Someone must die before another can be born…

As sea levels rise and livable landmasses shrink, the Reorganized United States of America has instituted population control measures to ensure there are sufficient resources and food to sustain the growing population. Birth authorization must be paid for and obtained prior to having a child. Someone must die before another can be born, keeping the country in a population neutral position at what experts consider to be the optimal population. The new laws are enforced by a ruthless government organization known as Pop Con, responsible for terminating any children resulting from unauthorized births, and any illegals who manage to survive past their second birthday, at which point they are designated a national security threat and given the name Slip.
But what if one child slipped through the cracks? What if someone knew all the loopholes and how to exploit them? Would it change anything? Would the delicate resource balance be thrown into a tailspin, threatening the lives of everyone?
And how far would the government go to find and terminate the Slip?
In a gripping story of a family torn apart by a single choice, Slip is a reminder of the sanctity of a single life and the value of the lives we so often take for granted.”

Review:

Alright Estes, no need to beg on your knees, I’ll write a review for the first book in the Slip trilogy. (Merely a joke to do with his message to the reader)

Slip took me on a fascinating, but often confusing journey through yet another dystopian world. The United States, now renamed Reorganized United States of America, has a new population control method that, according the statistics, works flawlessly. Unless…until, there is an UnBee, or Unauthorized Being, or, even worse, a full-blown Slip.

The rabbit hole never seems to end in this book. There is so much secrecy, so many lies, so many hidden motives and identities, that sometimes I would just be plain lost. Why is this guy like that? Who has this name? Why do they have the same name? Wait what? But by the end, “all was revealed” and every loose end, every unexplained mystery made painful perfect sense. Like many books that I enjoy, I won’t give away any spoilers and even names would actually give away a large piece of the plot so forgive me for being vague.

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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).