The Shuttered Ward
Series: Asylum Savants #1
Author: Jennifer Rose McMahon
Published: April 26, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
THEY DISCOVERED THE ABANDONED ASYLUM THINKING THEY’D FOUND AN URBAN ADVENTURE. INSTEAD, THEY UNLOCKED DARK SECRETS THAT COULD DESTROY THEM.
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.
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.
The Redwood Asylum: A Paranormal Horror
Author: L.A. Detwiler
Published: March 12, 2021
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
The dead do talk … if you’re brave enough to hear their sinister secrets.
In a thick forest sits a forgotten stone building, The Redwood Asylum. Once inside, the criminally insane, the darkly disturbed, and the eternally confused residents learn one thing very quickly: they are at the mercy of ruthless evil in many forms.
At twenty-six, Jessica Rosen starts a new job at Redwood in the hopes of forgetting an insidious past. She quickly realizes, however, that Redwood harbors malevolent secrets and beings in every chilly corner. On her second day adjusting to her job, the unstable man in 5B quickly latches onto Jessica in an unsettling way. When his rantings and warnings start to make sense, though, Jessica will be taken on a ride of secrets, murder, and dangerous beings. As she begins to uncover the horrifying truths behind the man’s past , the terrors of Redwood Asylum will follow her home and make her question her own sanity.
Can Jessica solve the secrets of the man in 5B in time to save herself, or will the terrors trap her in Redwood’s evil clutches forever?
I do love an asylum! Especially a haunted one! This one just wasn’t quite perfect. I liked a lot of the elements that Detwiler put in, but I just felt like they didn’t all fit together. I get the hauntings, I get the reason for spirits being there, I get the role of the staff and admin; I just wasn’t sure what the serial killer had to do with anything. This book felt a little more like a murder mystery with a few paranormal elements thrown in. The paranormal stuff was great and effective and in many places, pretty dang creepy, I just wish all the pieces fit together a little better. The twist at the end was awesome and solidified the feelings of horror that seems to permeate Redwood.
Overall, this was a good book, with some shortcomings that by no means ruined it. I would recommend this to those who like horror and to those who enjoy murder mysteries.
Author: Scott Thomas
Published: September 24, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
For many children, the summer of 1988 was filled with sunshine and laughter. But for ten-year-old Kris Barlow, it was her chance to say goodbye to her dying mother.
Three decades later, loss returns—her husband killed in a car accident. And so, Kris goes home to the place where she first knew pain—to that summer house overlooking the crystal waters of Lost Lake. It’s there that Kris and her eight-year-old daughter will make a stand against grief.
But a shadow has fallen over the quiet lake town of Pacington, Kansas. Beneath its surface, an evil has grown—and inside that home where Kris Barlow last saw her mother, an old friend awaits her return.
This book had a lot of elements in it! Some really good, some really puzzling. The mystery was good, and I liked most of the characters. I got into the story very easily and early in the reading. Everything moved along at a good pace and the anticipation kept the pages turning. All the stuff with Kris’s husband’s death was emotional; some of the imagery associated with that was the most spooky. My main issue is the resolution of the story. I’m not sure I got it. I’m pretty sure it was metaphorical and the imagery was scary and had me pretty creeped out. I’m just not sure I understood the meaning behind it all. But, if I take it at face value, it was a creepy tale. Violet is downright scary. I wish I understood her more, but maybe the mystery is what keeps her creepy. Overall, this was a really good book! I liked it a lot and I would absolutely recommend it to horror fans and even to the thriller fans!