My Rating System: Breaking Down the Charms

My Rating System: Breaking Down the Charms

We book reviewers are unique unto ourselves when it comes to our various rating systems. Some use Goodread’s system to help them, some use the original 5 star system, then there are others like me who use one they made themselves. With mine, if you are new to my humble abode, I describe my ratings as “Book Charms.”

Here are at the Charmed Book Haven, we hold these Charms very close because they are the vital pieces we seek within books in order to make us fall in love with them. Perhaps in one or more reviews, I’ll break down which ones didn’t make the cut in a popular book in the future, just to show you how it works. But that is for another day!

Let’s begin the breakdown!

 

Book Charm #1
The Charm of Intelligence

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This Charm is very dear to my soul. I have read great books and books where I wondered how it got published in the first place. Some books are not for everyone, obviously, but there are some that should never be seen by the human eyes. This is where the Intelligence comes into play. The Charm reminds me to ask the question, “Should this book have been published?”

Book Charm #2
The Charm of Learning

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The movie Matilda sums up this Charm quite nicely. In a way, Matilda is this Charm. Stories should teach you something or at least leave you with a new fact you never knew. Without this Charm, my brain feels like it’s grasping at empty air. Your brain craves to learn, to think, to remember. This Charm has me ask, “Did I learn anything new or interesting?”

Book Charm #3
The Charm of Character

Characters are the main elements of the story that can make it or break it. They are the author’s children, their ideas who manifest themselves upon the page. But like humans outside the pages, they must have personality and growth. There are books wherecharacters lack substance in their interaction with one another or even in transforming into that ultimate character we are supposed to love (or hate) beyond the last page. This Charm has me ask, “Do I enjoy reading about these characters? Do they speak to me or leave me wanting to ditch them on the side of a long, begotten road?”

Book Charm #4
The Charm of Agility

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Agility. Agility can have two different meanings of movement whether graceful or fast-paced. There are stories where the story lacks the agility it needs to keep the reader’s attention intact from start to finish. There are times I’d like to call this the “Charles Dickens Syndrome” or CDS for short. Back then, he earned money per word, hence the length. These days, its vastly different. There isn’t a need for an Author to suffer from CDS, EVER! Alas, some still suffer from this terrible condition. However, some may snap out of it later in the book…some. This Charm makes me ask, “Will This Book Ever Speed Up?”

Book Charm #5
The Charm of Romance

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This is an element that can or cannot be valuable to a series. There are some series where this isn’t needed but if this element is used, it must be used correctly. Not too gushy or ridiculous. Not obsessive or stalker-esque. Pure, innocent, and understood romance. Question: “Does this element make me long for it in my life, cringe, or ship the couple in question?”

Book Charm #6
The Charm of Worthiness
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The short, sweet explanation of this element is if the novel/series in question is worthy to be remembered, discussed, or shared amongst the book community and beyond. This Charm is ALWAYS in play when I review my books. 

Book Charm #7
The Charm of Length

This Charm goes hand-in-hand with the Agility Charm. There are some books that need more information while others may need to be filtered for draggy, unnecessary content. This leaves some readers, like me, skipping over a good chunk of the novel. “Are these Scenes/Information Necessary to the Plot?”

Book Charm #8
The Charm of Imagery

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Without Imagination, the world would be a lonely existence. In essence, nothing in this world would exist. When I read a story, I want to feel like I’m there in the midst of the action. Feel the imaginary sunbeams across my face, hear the clanging of iron-welded swords clash between soldiers in war, watch the results play right before my eyes. “Do I See These Events Coming To Life?”

Book Charm #9
The Charm of Believability

Let’s face it, there are some stories that are so ridiculous that even if our ideas came to life, these specific ones will never happen. We all can think of at least one novel where this comes into play. If we do not believe in this book/plot then there is nothing keeping it away from the DNR stack. “Can This Be Real?”

Book Charm #10
The Charm of Everlasting

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Stories are meant to last forever, passed down from generation to generation. It’s all we hope for and long for when we read books. Whenever they do not meet this expectation, it’s like a person who could have didn’t put in the time to reach that status. Question: “Will this story last generations to come?”

And there you have it. This is how I break down the books I read and rate them accordingly. It was fun reflecting on all of it and I hope you enjoyed it!

What do you think of my rating system?

Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

Welcome!

Welcome!

Hello Everyone!

Where should I begin? Before today and for many years, Books have been my escape from the crazy world outside as well as kept me “sane” so to speak in my own life. Whether it was trudging beside Scarlett O’Hara through her struggle to keep her family plantation Tara or survive Captain Tripps and stand up to fight the evil Randal Flagg in Stephen King’s apocalyptic novel The Stand-books have whisked me off to lands that only writers could conceive.

IMG_20130518_192315If you are a book lover/addict like me, you’ll understand what I’m about to say next. Characters are like family, lovers, friends, and companions. Whoever are our characters’ enemies are our enemies. Whenever our favorite characters triumph, we celebrate alongside them. Then……..in the unthinkable times if (I IMG_20120922_202330say “If” because come on, honestly no one wants this!) our character dies, a little piece of us goes with them. Not to mention the countless hours of us mourning over them, causing our friends and family to question our personal sanity. Yeah, those are never, EVER fun. For those who are Whovians like me as well, you perfectly understand the use of the Doctor Who David Tennant book here. (Please don’t cry!)

Now why this blog? Why would you come back to read my reviews or recommendations for different books? Because this is a place where you can discover new books, be forewarned about ones you should stray away from, or find out if there are other readers like you who have the same opinions about certain novels/series.

bf1f2cf960d3de81ecd1955fa1cd8cd5Here, I will review novels and series of genres all across the board. These include Non-Fiction, Horror, Thriller, Action, Suspense, Christian Fiction, and much much more. I also will be reviewing some books that haven’t been released yet that you might want to read!

Fair warning! In some of these reviews, there will be spoilers while others I will leave you to discover it’s hidden treasures. To be honest, I’m very excited to share with you what I read and would love to know what you’re reading!

Join Me on this Journey Through the Pages of Books!

~C.C. Campaign

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C.H.B. Reviews “Kill The Boy Band” By: Goldy Moldavsky

C.H.B. Reviews “Kill The Boy Band” By: Goldy Moldavsky

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Available: Amazon; Goodreads

 

Ah, boy bands. My childhood in the 90’s were filled with them. We had 98 Degrees, *NSYNC, The Backstreet Boys, and Hanson. I remember the clash between Team The Backstreet Boys and Team *NSYNC. I personally was Team *NSYNC with my Justin Timberlake puppet doll and McDonald’s special release of remixes of their songs paired alongside Brittany Spears. Classmates in my first and second grade classes would discuss who were the best boy band and sometimes it transformed into fights.

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Fast forward to today, I’m a twenty-three year old college graduate who is into punk rock, energy drinks, and black skinny jeans. My fan girl days for a random pairing of guys with choreographed moves with vocals to match that made you jump and scream were over when the 2000’s began. But, a few years ago, a new band or rather conjured up band rose for a new generation. One Direction became a world-wide sensation. I despised them immediately. I thought boy bands were over a long time ago…I was sadly mistaken. I began to watch friends and younger family members go wild for this new generation of auto tuned-filled group of boys. They have finally died down within the last two years or so (Thank God), but that did not stop writers from penning books about the boys or even parodies of them.

I had seen Kill The Boy Band on bookshelves earlier last year. I added it to my TBR pile and finally reached it earlier this month. I immediately found myself into the crazed minds of the next generation of boy band fan girls. These girls were NOTHING like my generation’s fan girls. These had the internet, social media, and more various avenues to achieve their goals for seeing their favorite band. This story is about girls who not only achieved their goal, but made the mistake of getting too close to comfort and made a who new description to what a “fan” is.

 

~Goodreads Description & Excerpt~

“Just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near them. That’s why we got a room in the hotel where they were staying.We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him—his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets.

We were not planning on what happened next.

We swear.”

People have called me crazy.
It’s understandable; fangirls get a bad rap all the time. They say we’re weird, hysterical, obsessed, certifiable. But those people don’t understand. Just because I love something a lot doesn’t mean I’m crazy. And I did love The Ruperts a lot. I loved them more than soft-serve vanilla ice cream in summer, more than seeing a new review of my fanfics, more than discovering a good ’80s movie I’d never seen before.
Just because I was a Ruperts fangirl does not mean I was crazy.
I think it’s important that you know that up front. Because everything I’m about to tell you is going to seem . . . well, crazy.”

We get a very strange set of five fan girls to follow through this story. None of these girls body-shame one another, are ethnically diverse, and have personalities all their own. None of them are the same. Moldvasky matches them up for each of the members of “The Ruperts” aka One Direction in fictional incarnate. Only, there are some ways where they are equally matched too well.

We follow them as they are attempting to meet their favorite band of all time. Secrets, kidnapping, and twists ensue when these girls happen upon one of the band members in their hotel room. From there, we are dragged into the world of fan girls and what lengths they would go through just to get to know their idols. That is, until their fandom takes a darker, more sinister turn.

I’ll admit, these girls kind of scared me a bit. I have known other girls who would go to these lengths just to catch a glimpse of their favorite artists or stars, but there is a line. There has to always be a line that you do not cross and these fictional characters crossed that line. Goldy Moldavsky, thank you for reminding me why I’m not a fan girl anymore.

My Rating: 6 out of 10 Book Charms

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

 

 

 

 

 

ARC Reviews: “Beautiful Broken Girls” By Kim Savage

ARC Reviews: “Beautiful Broken Girls” By Kim Savage

Title: Beautiful Broken Girls

Author: Kim Savage
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
Release Date: February 21st, 2017

*Discalimer: I received a copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Macmillan Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review whatsoever.*

 

Sisters, Francesca and Mira, are found dead at the bottom of a quarry. Their deaths were ruled as suicide, but Mira’s ex-boyfriend Ben believes there is more to the story than meets the eye. About a week after their death, Ben receives a cryptic letter in the mail sent by Mira the day of her death. She sends him on a scavenger hunt, searching for hidden notes giving clues as to why they are truly gone. What seemed to be a mystery unravels into a path filled with secrets, insane religious practices, and a story not involving only two deaths….but three.

My Review

The story jumps back and for between the past before the girls were dead then the present with Ben trying to solve it all, with Mira’s clues being his only guide. I’m going to be up front and say this book did not turn out the way I expected. In more ways than one, I believed the story would go deeper into the scandal lingering behind the scenes involving Francesca.

Francesca has it in her mind she is a saint because she has these mysterious makes that appear on her hands. She seeks out her Catholic church counselor, but she has other plans in mind other than having him guide her. She becomes obsessed with becoming a saint and causing her counselor to fall in love with her. Her counselor leads her on, in a way, to continue her “path to becoming a saint”. She starves herself, puts herself through her own version of hell by donating the majority of her time volunteering at homeless shelters, and goes through these seizures deemed as “ecstasy”.

There were too many questions left unanswered. I needed more, DESERVED more! The ending left me so mad I almost threw my iPad across the room. The fact they also hinted that the girl’s father could have been involved in a lot of sketchy stuff left me wondering why we didn’t get more dirt on him. With a story beginning with a big question, it left even more in the end than answered.

For that I would say it deserves a sequel but more than likely, we won’t receive that….

 

My Rating: 6 out of 10 Book Charms

 

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

 

Book Tag: New Years Resolution

Book Tag: New Years Resolution

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New Years Resolution Tag

 

I discovered this book tag from Bella @ Bella Blogs Because Books. Definitely check her out and her answers for this tag! Now onto my resolutions!

1. An Author I’d Like to Read (that I’ve Never Read Before)

Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas, author of the Throne of Glass and A Court of Throne and Roses series. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this series. Yes, I want to read it but I have to clear my ARC shelf before I even think of touching the series. *Sighs* Soon, Throne of Glass, Soon.

2. A Book I’d Like to Read

Have you seen my “To Read” List on Goodreads? Here’s a picture:

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Scary part is, it keeps growing every day and I’m always looking for more books to add. But there is one recently released book I’d love to get my hands on and that would be Roseblood   by A.G. Howard. It’s a re-telling of the Phantom of the Opera and the cover of the book is absolutely breathtaking! If I had to narrow it down to one book right now, hands down, this would be it.

RoseBlood

3. A Classic I’d Like to Read

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This story has intrigued me since I witnessed Dorian Gray’s portrayal by both Ben Barnes and Reeve Carney. I consider it a cautionary tale for those who wish to stay young forever. Yes, there are other tales like this with Dracula and Frankenstein but Dorian is a whole other entity. The fact his soul is contained by a painting while his outer shell in the world reeks havoc proves how high a cost eternal youth can be regardless of being outwardly “young” but dying on the inside. I can’t wait to finally read the tale this year!

4. A Book I’d Like to Re-Read

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I actually want to re-read a series instead of a book. If you read one of the Chronicles of Narnia books, it is necessary you read the rest. I first read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe when I was in sixth grade and my teacher suggested I get a head start on it.

Due to the strict household I lived in, I would read it in secret until my father stumbled upon it in my backpack. Surprisingly instead of getting angry, he brought me his personal set of the series he had since he was a kid. After three months, I had read the whole series and fell in love with the mythological world of Narnia. Now twenty-three, there are days where I still miss it so why not re-read the series this year?

5. A Book I’ve Had for Ages and Want to Read

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I have had this book along with it’s sequel on my bookshelf for what it seems like forever. I’m always distracted with another book or series and have not had time to get back to it. One of my other goals is to finally read it from front to back and hopefully see the musical adaption as well.

6. A Big Book I’d Like to Read

 

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7. An Author I’ve Previously Read and Want to Read More Of

Stephen King

Stephen King.  The “King of Horror” so to speak, but he’s written Fantasy and Mystery pieces as well. I have read The Stand, The Shining, Carrie, The Dark Half, and Salem’s Lot. Each of his stories are witty, ingenious, and tap into the parts of our brain containing fears we didn’t even know existed. I have his books Christine and IT set aside to read this year to dive into when the time comes.

8. A Book I Got For Christmas and Would Like to Read

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My aunt gave this to me for Christmas and I have yet to read it. I’ve read all the hype but skipped the movie. I’ve slotted to read this in March and can’t wait to see what it brings!

9. A Series I Want to Read (Start to Finish)

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10. A Series I Want to Finish (That You’ve Already Started)

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11. Do I Set Reading Goals? If So, How Many Books Do I Want to Read in 2017?

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12. Any Other Reading Goals?

Aside from reading the books I mentioned and meeting my 77 book goal, I’d like to read more ARC’s and other Independent authors’ works. There are talented independent authors who deserve to have their books read by readers. They many not reach the bestseller list because they do not belong to a big publishing house, but their stories deserve to be read all the same.

~

I tag all of you readers to do this tag! Don’t forget to tag me in your post so I can see your answers!

What did you think of my answers? What do you think of the books and authors I mentioned? Have you read any of these works?

Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.B.H. ARC Review: Chasing Eva By Camellia Hart

C.B.H. ARC Review: Chasing Eva By Camellia Hart

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Available: Amazon; Goodreads

**Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review whatsoever**

 

Goodreads Description

“An addictive, suspenseful & sensual story about a man and a woman whose lives are about to get sizzling hot…

After living through her share of disloyal relationships, Evangeline Avery will be damned if she lets another man cheat her. A beautiful and confident woman, Eva is the owner of an interior design firm at the brink of collapse. She swears to bring her company back to its past glory, even if it involves sweet talking the one man who caused this turmoil in the first place – Clive Stanton.

Notorious playboy Clive Stanton is a powerful businessman and a formidable enemy of many. He doesn’t do love, or at least not until he meets her again, fifteen years after he saw her last. Eva, his crush from teenage years, the one that got away, is back in his world and he is determined to do anything to make her his.

Will passion and lust bring them together or conflict and the unforgettable scars from their pasts forever tear them apart?”

 

Eva did not expect to inherit her father’s interior design business. All she wanted to do with her life was be a professional chef and bring smiles to patrons through her food. Instead, her father dies unexpectedly, leaving Eva the business who has gained attention from the FBI. Turns out someone in Eva’s corner is spilling secrets to her competition and may have murdered Eva’s father. With all the attention, the FBI have recruited one of their former top agents, Clive Stanton, to crack the case. Problem is, Clive is one of Eva’s clients and he cannot let her in on the case.

This is the first book in the In the Light of Shadows series and it is quite an opener. The romance is steaming, the thrills are there, the mystery as to who is behind these crimes remains a mystery, and the ending of this book will leave you starving for more Clive and Eva. I’m eager to seek out the next book on it’s OFFICIAL RELEASE DAY on February 14th! I can’t wait to discover not only if Eva is “caught” but especially the identity of the perpetrator is revealed and they are brought down.

 

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Camellia HartCamellia Hart, a techie turned author of romance, lives in San Francisco with her husband, the love of her life. Other than writing her next romance novel, her hobbies include traveling, lazing on a beach with a good read, watching movies with happy endings while gorging on endless buckets of popcorn, red wine, and champagne truffles.

Check out her website here!

You can also check her out these various platforms:

Amazon, Facebook, & Pinterest

My Rating: 9 out of 10 Book Charms!

 

Happy “Charmed” Reading!

~C.C.

C.H.B. ARC Review: Give Me a K-I-L-L By R.L. Stine

C.H.B. ARC Review: Give Me a K-I-L-L By R.L. Stine

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Available: Amazon; Goodreads

**Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy of this book via NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review whatsoever.**

Ok, where should I start? I’m extremely frustrated with this book. Like I said in my past post about my thoughts about the Fear Street Revival series, I had high expectations for the reincarnation of the memorable long running late 80s/90’s thriller book series. Had. I understand when a writer is used to writing in a certain fashion that earns them best-seller credits, they stick with it. But writing, technology, and teenagers have changed since the 90s. What I have read screams 90s and the kids are stuck there with a few of the technological advances of today but do not show they are part of the present. Give Me a K-I-L-L reminded me of the old Fear Street novels but it lacks the proper planning, age-fitting dialogue, and lacked the foundation the original novels laid down.

The Original Cheerleaders

 

R.L. Stine is no stranger to penning tales of cheerleaders with a taste for horror. I highly recommend readers to read the original books if you are thinking about reading the revival  “cheerleader” book. I still hope one day the Fear Street series will be transformed into an anthology series and these books will be transported to the screen because this specific story line in this series is one that sparks terror into the imagination. It has possession, evil spirits, mysterious deaths, and secrets-everything you could hope for.

Alas, the revival book has NOTHING to do with the these books. Yeah, nothing. Give Me a K-I-L-L surrounds the story of Gretchen (name now changed to Heather Wyatt) transferred to Shadyside High from her old school where she was the star of her cheerleading squad. Only she’s finding out quickly that it won’t be so easy to receive a spot on Shadyside’s cheerleading squad. Not if the spoiled little rich girl Devra Dalby has anything to say about it.

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I admire Stine for adding two twists to this book but it does not excuse the fact it has nothing to do with the old Cheerleader books. I wished it did because it would have re-awakened my faith in this revival series! This review would have been more positive…..and ecstatic…but why, why did he have to do this? The main character treats her mother like trash, Devra Dalby is true to the spoiled little rich girl stereotype, the end result predictable, and the romantic aspect made me feel uncomfortable.

My question is: Where did my Fear Street go?

 

My Review: 3 out of 10 Book Charms

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.H.B. ARC Reviews “When the Black Roses Grow” By: Angela Christina Archer

C.H.B. ARC Reviews “When the Black Roses Grow” By: Angela Christina Archer

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Available: Amazon; Goodreads

**Disclaimer: I received an ARC Copy from the Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review whatsoever**

I’ve always had mixed emotions towards the Salem Witch Trials. From 1692-1963, Salem sank under the darkness of the rampant accusations, deaths of innocent people, and the power of the people being placed into the wrong hands al because of ridiculous superstitions. We may not know 100% of the motivations behind these accusations but this is where authors like Angela Christina Archer take us on a journey back in time to experience this dark time in America’s history.

Goodreads Description

Twenty-five men and women were accused. Nineteen hung to their death on Gallow Hills. One suffocated under bone-crushing stones. All believed to possess the power of witchcraft.

In 1692 the fear of witchcraft is spreading around Salem Village. While those who are accused and sentenced face death, everyone else faces the risk of accusations placed upon them.

As Emmalynn Hawthorne, the daughter of a woman hung for witchcraft, places a bouquet of flowers upon her mother’s grave, a circle of black roses sprouts out of thin air. Dark magic, the roses strike fear through her heart when Mary Pruett and the handsome, James DeKane spy upon her as the pass along the traveling road. Emmalynn flees and her panic soon turns into terror as another vine of black roses sprouts and grows throughout the inside of her home. Is she a witch? Will she be the next accused?

James DeKane has secrets of his own–ones that could prove deadly for him and anyone he holds dear. At fault for the untimely death of his parents, he must protect his hidden brother and dying sister, all while fearing that the haunting prophecy bestowed upon him at birth will come to pass. Desperate and fighting the monster deep inside of him, he’s searching for the one love who can alter his destiny.”

The moment I began reading, the book’s contents immediately drew me inside the town of Salem. Emmalynn is well aquatinted with death when we first meet her. Her husband passed away from sickness and her mother murdered due to false accusations of witchcraft. Now under the dishonor placed upon her family name by the Preacher of the town, Emmalynn keeps herself in the background, seething in her anger towards the injustice of the people.

She struggles to keep her opinions under wraps while the citizens of Salem along with the overbearing preacher continue to cast their false accusations onto innocent people. While harsh words and deaths are being committed around her, a bloom of flowers mysteriously appears at the corner of her home’s floor. Much like the black roses that miraculously appeared along the corner of her mother’s grave, the sight sends fear into her when she realizes she could die for something she does not understand. That is until James DeKane appears to turn her world upside down.

In short, I admire the author’s take on the events of Salem and the twist at the end. My only problem with the story is I wish there was more information about James DeKane’s family. I want prequel about the DeKane family! There is great potential for this book to make way for a series. The possibilities of what may happen next or perhaps have a prequel, could expand what may have happened to those who escaped Salem.

For a Salem Witch trial story, I consider it a perfect addition to other books before it.

Angela Christina Archer

Angela lives on a ranch with her husband, two daughters, and many farm animals. She was born and raised in Nevada, and grew up riding and showing horses from hunter jumper, English equitation, western pleasure, trail, and halter. While she doesn’t show anymore, she still loves to trail ride her paint horse, Honky. In December of 2007, she and her husband moved to Oklahoma.
From a young age, she always wanted to write a novel. However, she never believed she could write anything well enough for a publisher to even consider her. Every time the desire flickered, she shoved the thought from my mind until one morning, in 2009, she awoke with the determination to follow her dream.

In December 2014, Angela launched Long Valley Press.

You can visit her website at http://www.angelachristinaarcher.com or http://www.longvalleypress.com.

My Rating: 9 out of 10 Book Charms

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.