Tag: 3 stars

Book Review: The Shuttered Ward by Jennifer Rose McMahon

The Shuttered Ward
Series: Asylum Savants #1
Author: Jennifer Rose McMahon

Published:  April 26, 2019
222 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:


Grace and her best friend, Kaitlin, discover a boarded-up institution for the insane left to rot in its deplorable past. When they explore the abandoned asylum, they discover a buried history that haunts their deepest thoughts. Drawn back to the deserted asylum by visions of a lost girl, they discover unsettling truths that fill the halls of the wards. Desperate to understand their connection to the forgotten girl, they dig deeper, only to find evidence that sends them running for their lives. Will they be able to escape the fate of the forgotten ones, or will they too be trapped forever within the walls of the wards? A cross between Shutter Island and The Sixth Sense , this fascinating paranormal adventure will capture your imagination and keep you turning pages. 

Kim’s Review:

This book had the potential to be a crazy good series. Blackwood is that perfect abandoned hospital that we all want to go explore. Add to that the creepy spirits and Grace’s and Kaitlin’s neurological issues; I had such high hopes! The thing that brought it all down for me, was Grace’s attitude about her mom. It’s one of those “can’t have your cake and eat it too” situations. You don’t get to complain about your mom neglecting you, but then when she tries to take care of you and be there for you, you don’t like it!

McMahon obviously has a thing against Christians and took the worst stereotypes and created Grace’s mom. They’re relationship was just so unnecessary to the story that it actually was more of an annoying distraction. Thankfully, the story surrounding Blackwood was good enough to keep the mommy drama from overwhelming the book completely.

I just wish I could have finished the series. I tried reading the second book, but I had to DNF it because Kaitlin and Grace became downright insufferable. McMahon fell into the trap of giving “historical” figures modern thought patterns. (You’ll have to read the books to understand the parenthesis.) I’m glad I read the first book, I just wish I could have continued and completed the series. A pretty good horror story with unnecessary elements thrown in.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

Island of the Blue Dolphins
Series: Island of the Blue Dolphins #1
Author: Scott O’Dell
Published: 1960

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read:  May 20-24, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars     

Book Description:

In the Pacific there is an island that looks like a big fish sunning itself in the sea.  Around it, blue dolphins swim, otters play, and sea elephants and sea birds abound.  Once, Indians also lived on the island.  And when they left and sailed to the east, one young girl was left behind.

This is the story of Karana, the Indian girl who lived alone for years on the Island of the Blue Dolphins.  Year after year, she watched one season pass into another and waited for a ship to take her away.  But while she waited, she kept herself alive by building a shelter, making weapons, finding food, and fighting her enemies, the wild dogs.  It is not only an unusual adventure of survival, but also a tale of natural beauty and personal discovery.

Jessica’s Review:

While reading the Hatchet series by Gary Paulsen, I decided to listen to another book that I listened to in school: Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell. I remember enjoying it when I was younger and watching a long movie version at what seemed like 2am while my family was asleep.  Other than an individual living by themselves and working to survive, these are very different books.  Island of the Blue Dolphins is loosely based off of a true story, and our story is about Karana who is left to fend for herself on the island where her tribe lived.  The rest of the tribe was taken away by boat, and Karana maintained hope that they would return for her someday.  Over time she comes to terms of being alone and learning to fend for herself.  Part of that is going against what she was taught: that women should not make weapons.  Well if she didn’t, she wouldn’t have survived on her own!  She makes friends with a dog that she names Rontu. (If I ever have another dog, I will be tempted to name him Rontu as I just loved that name!  And it’s a literary name!)

Eventually Karana is rescued after many years and learns what happened to her tribe.  For me, after the more intense young adult novels of the Hatchet series with Brian constantly struggling to survive, Island was less intense.  Maybe down the road I will read it again.  Maybe it was the narrator as I listened to the novel, or maybe I just lost something by listening versus actually reading it myself.  It could also be that this is written for the middle grades age group and I am far from that group.  I would definitely recommend it for younger girls so they can see that girls can do what they need to do to survive a challenging situation. It is a girl empowerment book in that way.

Purchase Links 
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Friant’s Video Friday: Book Review: Come Forth in Thaw by Jayson Robert Ducharme

Today Kim is bringing you a video review of Come Forth in Thaw by Jayson Robert Ducharme.
Come Forth in Thaw: A Dark Fantasy Horror Novella about Trauma and Mental Illness
Author: Jayson Robert Ducharme

Published: January 31, 2021
110 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

The Adrienne Forest State Park is one of many beautiful state parks in the White Mountains. It is a popular destination for tourists, painters, hikers and even weddings.

Yet the forest is also a place of great pain and torment, and is an equally popular destination to end your own life.

The only thing young mother Eleanor Jackson has left in her life is her son Alan-a troubled teenager who has gone to the forest to commit the unthinkable.

As Eleanor goes to find him in the forest, she witnesses bizarre and fantastical happenings that try to manipulate and distract her from rescuing her child.

When the sun goes down, the specters of the tormented emerge.

She will come to discover so much more than just her son.

Kim’s Video Review:

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK