Alicia has finally entered a new world of technology when her parents give her a tablet for her birthday. She has watched and listened to her friends who have already been enjoying the games and apps in a connected world that Alicia has yet to experience. Until now. But using technology can bring a set of challenges that are new to both Alicia and her parents. Understanding the different apps and games and how to use them properly can be tricky. Will Alicia know how to use it in a way that is fun and allows her to connect with her friends while being safe and secure? Both her and her parents will face the excitement and challenges together as she jumps headfirst into using her new tablet.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from iRead Book Tours. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
Apps, games, and social networking sites can be overwhelming for first-time users. Kids rely on each other a lot to navigate this world. IMHO, online apps/games are a money pit. The dad in Alicia Connected: The Big Gift by Derek Fisher was correct when he stated that the price tags attached in online gaming stores were high. It’s true, you can work to earn merchandise, but Alicia learned pretty fast that it’d take forever to acquire an item on your own. These game developers bank on you, the player, spending real money on fake things. Kids, like adults, shell out a lot to purchase levels and bling.
Other truths in Alicia Connected: The Big Gift, there are some crazy people on the internet, and you definitely don’t know everyone you are talking to online. I appreciate Derek Fisher discussing safety precautions and stating the parent (his the story) would be monitoring their daughter’s activity on the apps. Derek Fisher also pointed out how kids are becoming more consumed with the number of followers and likes. Heck, adults are the same way. So many people want to be the next internet star/influencer.
I miss the good old days of atari and rotary phones. 😀
While Alicia Connected: The Big Gift has a lot of beneficial information told in an entertaining way, the best part was the final moments. I won’t say what happened, but it was sweet…and a wee bit funny.
On a side note: The similarities between my daughter and Alicia were uncanny. She’s addicted to animal videos, making slime, has glow-in-the-dark stickers on her ceiling, and loves to turn trash into treasures. My daughter uses online videos to inspire her next craft project. 🙂
I highly recommend this book to all middle-school students!
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
Derek Fisher has spent decades in the computer engineering field with the last decade in cybersecurity as a leader, speaker, and instructor. His passion has been to take complex security topics and make them simple and easy to understand. He holds several security certifications and teaches cybersecurity at Temple University where he is also an external advisory board member to the cybersecurity program.
Between the covers of Darkest Hours, you will find academics in distress; humans abusing monsters; demons terrorizing people; ghostly reminiscences; resurrected trauma; and occult filmmaking. Ranging from satirical to dreadful, these sixteen stories share a distinct voice: urgent, sardonic, and brutal.
This expanded edition includes a new foreword by Sadie Hartmann (Mother Horror) and author notes for every story describing Thorn’s process, influences, and more. This updated release also features seventeen of Thorn’s essays on horror cinema, which cover films by Tobe Hooper, George A. Romero, Rob Zombie, M. Night Shyamalan, Wes Craven, and Dario Argento, among others.
(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique)
When I look at anthologies (multiple authors) or a compilation of works by a single author, I hope to walk away loving 1/2 of the short stories. With Darkest Hours: Expanded Edition by Mike Thorn, 11 out of the 16 horror tales scored a 4 or 5. That’s huge! It just shows you how well Mike Thorn crafted each storyline.
Each story caused various reactions from me. Here are some examples:
Hair: As a germaphobe, the idea of hair getting in my food or the possibility of eating hair is nightmarish. Ugh, just thinking about it makes my stomach turn. However, the inquisitive part of me wanted to know about hair fetishes. Oh my word, my browser history would raise some eyebrows. Curiosity made me read about hair eating (trichophagia), Rapunzel Syndrome (basically, hairballs), trichophia, and pubephilia. I’ll let readers of my review look those up for themselves. 🙂
While the plot 100% disturbed me and grossed me out, I was fascinated by the medical information surrounding the perversion to hair.
Economy These Days: This story wasn’t gory or horrific. It was, however, very plausible. In desperate times, people will do anything for money. So, I can absolutely fathom someone using their body as a punching bag. $450 a day, $2,250 a week, 9K a month, that amount of money is too irresistible to resist. Economy These Daysmade me wonder what I would do if there were no hope in sight. What would be my price?
Lucio Schluter: In real life, humans are the real monsters of the world. They are the ones who abduct, inflict pain, suffering, torture, and kill. Every adult has probably watched at least one documentary of a famous serial killer, so you know the horrors that lurk in this world. For me, when Mike Thorn writes about plausible scenarios, that’s the stories that haunt me the most. The ones I won’t soon forget.
Quick responses to 5 more stories featured in the Darkest Hours: Expanded Edition:
I’m never camping, thanks to Fusion!!!
Mirrors are overrated, so I have no issue tossing all of mine in the trash. The possible result if I don’t is scary as shit! (Story, Long Man)
Mired: The absolute horror of the story was the blob eating all the textbooks. 😀
I’ve had many conversations about ghosts, so I loved the philosophical and theoretical discussions in Speaking of Ghosts. I wouldn’t want to face the actual outcome presented in the tale. Nope, I like to live in a world in hypotheticals. Leave the “seeing is believing” for other folks. 🙂
Mike Thorn ended the compilation with a fascinating tale. It’s a story through the eyes of a ghost. Remembering Absence wasn’t gory. It was another “thinker” story. While I love a good gory tale, I found this type of story sticks with you much longer because you’ll find yourself talking about the possibility of such an occurrence with your friends.
After reading the sixteen stories, I learned several important facts.
No sober person had any supernatural encounters. Nothing good happens after dark, so stay the F*** home. Oh, and mirrors are evil so get rid of them! Now!
Heart Rating System: 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) Score: ❤❤❤❤
Mike Thorn is the author of the short story collection Darkest Hours. His fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies and podcasts, including Vastarien, Dark Moon Digest, The NoSleep Podcast, Tales to Terrify, and Prairie Gothic. His film criticism has been published in MUBI Notebook, The Film Stage, and Vague Visages. He completed his M.A. with a major in English literature at the University of Calgary, where he wrote a thesis on epistemophobia in John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness.