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on November 28, 2015
My book ratings are as follows: 1 star - hated the book and cannot finish it. 2 stars - did not enjoy the book but sometimes I will push myself to finish the book. 3 stars - enjoyed the book ok and worth reading if you have the time. 4 stars - really liked the book and definitely recommend reading. 5 stars - LOVE THE BOOK. These are the books I usually finish in less than a day and try to get back to reading whenever I have even 5 minutes to spare. The characters stay with me for days after I finish reading it and I tell everyone to read it!

Bad Games deserves a solid 4 stars. I am not going to give a synopsis since that is included in the description and several other reviews. Instead I will say that Bad Games is a good thriller that, while somewhat predictable, was a good read. I was able to relate to the characters, the story kept me interested and the grammar was acceptable. There is, of course, some violence but that is to be expected in this genre. While graphic violence does not bother me I do get tired of the thrillers that have page after page of blood and gore. Instead, it was at an appropriate amount to give you an idea of what the victims suffered.

Book reviews are tough for me. I have a hard time saying what I want without spoilers. If this review helps you please click the like button. I get nothing for the thumbs up except a good feeling I helped someone. However, if you decide this review does not help you, please leave me a comment stating why you do not like it so I can improve my reviews.
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on September 2, 2016
I loved it! It was written in a way that you understood how it could really happen. I love scary stories and I was scared! Many times. I even wondered at times if there may be something wrong with the author since his mind was so devious. I was surprised by some of the other reviews. I can be quite critical at times and didn't have any of the complaints some others mentioned. I felt it was extremely important that the Lamberts be a loving and caring couple. The kids were so normal and Amy and Patrick so much fun. If I were to change anything at all it would have been the thumb tack scene. It almost seemed as though Mr. Menapace started something and then changed his mind. No matter ... I have read 4 of his now and will continue to buy and read until I have them all.
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on May 30, 2017
It's the stories that can actually happen that are the scariest, and the fact that this one is entirely possible makes it utterly terrifying. It was difficult to put this book down, and when I had to I couldn't wait to get back to it. The tension is breathtaking, the bad guys are brilliantly cunning, and the situation is an absolute nightmare. It was easy to give this book five stars.

It has a satisfying ending with a fantastic teaser for book two, which I cannot wait to get started. Jeff Menapace has made a new fan with this series and now I'm excited to read all of his books.

C.A.C. = contains animal cruelty, just a tiny bit and not very descriptive thankfully.
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on October 15, 2013
Bad Games isn't a bad read, but it's quite formulaic. I'm not sure if it was supposed to be paying homage to many city family/couple novels and movies where they are terrorised by sadistic locals when they take a trip to an isolated cabin in rural America to recharge from their hectic city lives, but by doing so it was very predictable. Saying that doesn't mean it's not an enjoyable and worthwhile read, and I'll definitely be checking out a movie if the story is ever turned into one, as well reading the sequels down the track. But for me it had that B grade terror movie feel, but that feel just made it less terrifying and real than other authors have achieved in this genre such as William Malmborg, Iain Rob Wright. With those authors when the family was facing torturous peril, I actually feared what was going to happen next, you could experience the terror through the victims' eyes, whereas these pages were just like a movie with a bowl of popcorn. But as I said that's not necessarily a bad thing, if that's what you're in the mood for.

I also thought this book went on for a bit after the main events, if this book was traditionally published I think a lot of the aftermath would have been edited out as it didn't really add much to the experience. But I'll definitely check out other books by this author.
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on February 16, 2018
This thriller got to me far more than most, because the Lambert couple is so likeable -- good characterization. I could not put the terrible story down, and it really scared me. (They walk among us!) Bits might be said to be a bit far-fetched, but still, when this horror grabs you, you read on, no matter what. For diehard thriller/horror readers this book is highly recommended. The very small bit at the end was (for me) somewhat disappointing.
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on April 4, 2014
OMG!!!!! I never thought I'd find another book that even comes close to scaring the be-jesus out of me like The Exorcist, but I'm happy to say, if that even makes sense, that I found the Exorcist's match. This novel scared me so bad--how bad? I had nightmares the first night I began reading and scared to death of any stranger I met in my parking garage that even remotely appeared to want to start a conversation with me. This is one of those stories that you do not want anyone to surprise you while reading. My heart was racing so terribly and I balled up my fist so tight, clutching at my T-shirt and I had the nerve to wonder why my hand was hurting and why my heart felt like it was about to bust out of my chest! HORRIFYINGLY OUTSTANDING GOOD READ!

The Lamberts were your typical family wanting to get away from the city life for a bit of the great outdoors in the cabins set out in the woods of Pennsylvania. Stopping for gas, a harmless looking gentleman, also pumping gas, strikes up a conversation with Patrick about being Penn State alums, and he enjoyed his conversation with Patrick so much, he offered to pay for his family's gas. Patrick refused, but the harmless stranger wouldn't take no for an answer.

If Jaws made you terrified to go in the water, well this novel will make you think twice about that weekend getaway in the woods. Needless to say, strange occurrences began to happen to the Lamberts, and what soon became evident was their family's worse nightmares. My body is so sore from being locked to the horrible, vicious things that take place in this book.

If you are the squeamish type of reader, THIS BOOK IS NOT FOR YOU! I guarantee you, this book will scare the mess out of you! I know it damn sure did that to me. Jeff, my hat goes off to you. You're an outstanding horror writer!
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on January 18, 2015
A friend told me of this trilogy of Thrillers, by Jeff Menapace. I am into good Thrillers so I decided to give it a try. I can truly say I was not disappointed in book one which I just finished. This is about the Lambert family with two small children (a boy named Caleb and his older sister Carrie) who go for a nice family vacation to their cabin in a woods community (Crescent Lake), for as week of fun and bonding time. This turned out to be just the opposite. They did have bonding time, but not as expected. I am not one to give away the beginning, middle and end of a story and I do not intend to do such now. All I will say is you love good Thrillers I promise you also will not be disappointed. I just got the second of the trilogy and I am about to start the next journey into the Lambert's life. I will relay my opinion on book 2 later. Caution, not for the squeamish! Enjoy.
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on January 8, 2017
I've read this book twice. I didn't realize it until I started on it but I finished it because it's really good. The pace is fast and it's very descriptive, which I like.
I'm a horror fan, it's all I read and this did not disappoint. I recommend anyone that likes the horror genre to read this book.
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on June 22, 2014
This is the first Jeff Menapace book I've read but it certainly won't be the last. The story was engrossing from page one and just got better and better.

Everyone wants their vacation to be memorable, right?

"Bad Games" tells the story of the Lambert family whose journey to their Crescent Lake vacation destination starts off bad and becomes terrifyingly worse. The family first encounters a strange man at gas station. Later, they see his vehicle at a restaurant where he covertly approaches the six-year-old daughter and gives her a lollipop in exchange for her doll. Other occurrences soon leave the parents feeling spooked and uncomfortable about continuing with their vacation plans. Yet, before they have the opportunity to exercise sound judgment, the situation turns deadly. Before long, the Lamberts come face to face with a pair of men who will make their vacation a living nightmare.

Menapace masterfully creates an unforgettable story that will likely plague your mind each time you embark on a trip with your family. The characters are realistic and relatable. I bonded with Patrick and Amy instantly. They are an incredibly loving, happy couple and wonderful parents to their children, Carrie and Caleb. I knew what was coming and I dreaded it all the more because I had grown to like the family so much.

The writing is exceptional and the story is well-paced, with mounting tension that will take you to the edge of your seat. I will definitely be reading the sequel, "Vengeful Games," soon.
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on November 13, 2013
Bad Games is a 'family-meets-psycho stalker-in-remote-town' story. It's been done. Over and over. But like a good scary movie where you know what's going to happen 5 minutes in, it can still be enjoyable, and this book was. I knew 10 pages in what was generally going to transpire, and I was right. Even the twist at the end was set up so blatantly I saw it coming for at least a chapter. was still a page-turner I read very quickly, and there just aren't too many of those I've run into lately. So I'll go ahead and recommend it, especially for the price, because it is entertaining. I will now list my criticisms, mostly because the author writes that he welcomes feedback:

-The story has been told and is not very original, although the approach with the two brothers was kind of interesting. The cute kids and introduction of the scruffy but adorable dog was almost laughable.
-The dialog between the couple was very odd at times. "Who talks like this?" crossed my mind on numerous occasions. It occasionally read like a bad screenplay.
-The level of puppy-love between the husband and wife is over-done. I got sick of just how in-love and perfect they were. Nice family. I get it. Now move on.
-Felt like the author didn't know when to end the story. Could have easily been 20 or 30 pages shorter, and would have been better IMHO.

Thats about it. So Bad Games is a decent book, but not worth the list of 5-star ratings. Like most Kindle books, you pretty much need to ignore the bought-and-paid-for 5-star reviews by the people who post a dozen or more 5-star reviews a day. Here's a crazy idea: How about you publish a book and wait for real people to post real reviews?
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