Friday, May 20, 2016

Black Water Tales: The Unwanted - Book Review

Black Water Tales: The Unwanted by JeanNicole Rivers
Publication date: March 31st 2016
Genres: Adult, Horror

In the remote, eastern European town of Borslav there is St. Sebastian orphanage, a place where people discard their unwanted children. For the American, Blaire Baker, it’s the perfect place to volunteer her services. Paired with a cheerful volunteer nurse, Blaire is enthusiastic about the possibilities, but is quickly discouraged when she encounters the nefarious nature of the staff and the deplorable conditions of the facility and the children.

Upon arrival, one of the children informs Blaire, “There’s something in the basement.” It isn’t long before strange things begin happening, including Blaire’s flashbacks of the accident that killed her parents. The children soon suffer injuries that Blaire, first, fears may be the deeds of the callous workers but she soon thinks the abuse may originate from a source that is less than human, something unwanted.

The unwanted is coming but in order for Blaire to fight it, she must dig into St. Sebastian and herself in search of truth. Blaire wants nothing more than to help the children, but when discovers the tragedy that happened in the basement and learns that the same evil forces are still at work, it will be Blaire who needs help… There’s something in the basement.


Black Water Tales: The Unwanted by Jean Nicole Rivers is a horror novel set in the remote city of Borslav. It begins with Blaire Baker, who volunteers as a teacher at St. Sebastian Orphanage, and is on her way to meet up with another volunteer, Travis, a nurse, so they can head together to the house where they will spend a year.

St. Sebastian is not an ordinary orphanage. It is a place where people come to leave their 'unwanted' children.

"The loneliness she carried was dark and telling of a grotesque obscurity of the heart, one that haunted her every move and moment."

While there wasn't much room for character development, considering that at several points in the novel, the reader thinks that Blaire may be insane or imagining things, there was a bit of development in Blaire's overall perception of the world. She learns that wealth might mean nothing to her but it means a lot for others, especially the children. She starts out as wearing diamond earrings but soon discards them after realising that this is not the place for them. What she does for the children also denotes character and care, the latter being a trait that was she was denied after her parents' death.

The language in the novel was beautiful, although a bit verbose at times but overall interesting, descriptive and enjoyable. I loved the flow, and narration. The imagery too is spectacular throughout.

"Blaire emerged sluggishly into consciousness like a sea-bound castaway finally trudging unto shore."

I liked how the author made the reader think that Blaire may be hallucinating or imagining things. It made me doubt that she might be the one who is psychologically unstable, with visions and a wild imagination. It also helped give a sense that the novel might be real or paranormal at some point.

Suspenseful and scary, Black Water Tales: The Unwanted nearly had me pick up the bad habit of nail-biting!

The novel is rich in characters of all ages, ideas, beliefs and all levels of creepy.

I like Jean Nicole's use of foreshadowing and the way she gives the reader a foreboding feeling of what is to come. For example, the first description we get of the train heading for Borslav is "It exhaled noisily as if it had been running a marathon all day. Garish dinging blared from speakers on the platform, and the doors of the train opened wide, releasing mobs that fled so furiously one could have easily assumed that this was the last stop before the end of the earth."

The short chapters helped the already fast-paced novel move even faster.

One of the things I really liked about Black Water Tales: The Unwanted was that it was not only a horror novel, but it also had a mystery or rather several mysteries about the place (St. Sebastian), the children and even Blaire.

"Unspoken questions filled the room, like ocean water pouring into the lower decks of a sinking ship, and suddenly everyone was rushing to escape."

Black Water Tales: The Unwanted has gripping imagery, flow and storyline. It is as scary in the morning as it is at night.

I also particularly enjoyed Jean Nicole's show-don't-tell technique, as well as her ability to make the reader feel as scared, confused or any other emotion as Blaire and the other characters felt.

"Borslav was no Kerchaviv. It was Chernobyl-like, miserable and secluded with the faint pulse of previous life still vibrating through its damaged carcass of crumbling buildings and forgotten items, a dismal reminder of lives left behind in the fire."

I liked how the author kept misleading the reader till the very end, making them question almost everything and doubt everyone.

Although the reader is left with some questions, the novel does not have an open ending.

Overall, Jean Nicole's Black Water Tales: The Unwanted is a must-read for all. Although I recommend you don't go for it before bed.

I literally had to turn on the lights for this one!

"A feeling of dread surged through her. All eyes in the classroom grabbed [her] like hissing snakes, stretching out of their sockets, coiling around her."

Purchase Black Water Tales: The Unwanted by Jean Nicole Rivers via Amazon.

About Jean Nicole:
I was born in the tiny, but lovable town of Centralia, IL which has a two screen movie theatre, one high school and still celebrates May Fete, so I had no choice, but to develop a fantastic imagination. Since childhood I have been writing everything from short stories to songs, but I have always aspired to compose a novel. Black Water Tales: The Secret Keepers is my first novel and the first book in what will be a series of thriller novels.

Philosophy was my study in college and I received a Bachelor of Arts in the subject from Florida International University. Writing is one of my most favored artistic pursuits, but my love for the arts does not stop there, I am also a vocalist and actress and participate in local theater in Houston Texas.

Connect with the Author via her website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

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