Silver Dagger Tours Blog Tour/Guest Post: Hypathia of Alexandria By Laurel A. Rockefeller

Silver Dagger Tours Blog Tour/Guest Post: Hypathia of Alexandria By Laurel A. Rockefeller

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Hypatia of Alexandria

The Legendary Women of World History #8

by Laurel A. Rockefeller

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

 

Teacher. Philosopher. Astronomer.

Born in 355 CE in the aftermath of Constantine’s reign, Hypatia of Alexandria lived in a collapsing Rome Empire, a world where obedience to religious authorities trumped science, where reason and logic threatened the new world order. It was a world on the edge of the Dark Ages. As libraries burned, she dared defend the light of knowledge.

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Born, raised, and educated in Lincoln, Nebraska USA Laurel A. Rockefeller is author of over twenty books published and self-published since August, 2012 and in languages ranging from Welsh to Spanish to Chinese and everything in between. A dedicated scholar and biographical historian, Ms. Rockefeller is passionate about education and improving history literacy worldwide.

With her lyrical writing style, Laurel’s books are as beautiful to read as they are informative. In her spare time, Laurel enjoys spending time with her cockatiels, attending living history activities, travelling to historic places in both the United States and United Kingdom, and watching classic motion pictures and classic television series. 

 

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Describe your writing style

Lyrical is probably the best word for it. I came into writing through my music. I was making up songs long before I could read. My songs helped me express myself and survive a very difficult and often very violent childhood. I was in my teens the first time my poems were published, including a sonnet, “Why Bilbo?” for the American Tolkien Society in the winter of 1991/2. So, it makes sense that my writing has a musical quality to it and translates so easily to audio books. Indeed, poetry and music is a common feature in most of my books, both fiction and non-fiction. “Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd” opens with an original poem called “Gwenllian’s Tears” and “Mary Queen of the Scots” opens with the original poem, “Of Scotland Forgotten.” There is plenty of period music in the narrative biographies and original music in the “Peers of Beinan” science fiction novels. You can hear me sing many of these songs on my youtube videos.

What makes a good story?

To me a good story has to pull at your heart strings. There are many very competent writers out there who know their stuff, but fail to really get you invested emotionally. If you aren’t empathizing with the characters or historical persons, then the author is not doing her or his job. With a good story you really truly care about these people and what is happening to them. You hurt with them at the difficult moments and you rejoice with them when they succeed at something. For non-fiction science, the aim has to be making whatever it is really compelling and interesting without sacrificing accuracy or reading comprehension. Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is an expert at this which is why he is one of my favourite authors.

What are you passionate about these days?

Immigration to England! As a very hands-on historian I feel I do my best work when I have walked the places I’m writing about and done many of the activities in my historical narratives. There is no substitute for direct, personal experience when you are writing. And while yes, it is possible to travel to the UK and the EU from the USA, such trips are too long and expensive to take on the sort of regular basis I need in order to do the best possible work I can. So I am engaging in this extremely long, difficult process called legal immigration.

Making my life more difficult in pursuit of this effort is the current anti-immigrant climate in both the USA and abroad. Ten years ago all you really needed to prove was that you were earning enough money to be self-supporting for the first three to ten years in your new home country. Today those skilled worker visas are extremely hard to come by, particularly for writers and other creative professionals. Everyone is presumed to be a potential terrorist or an economic threat to native-borns so the number of visas available has dramatically shrank and the standards for what skills you need have skyrocketed. It’s no longer good enough to be even in the top 25% of your profession to be considered skilled.

The good news for me is that with your help, I can and will reach England from which I will be better empowered to tell these stories of inspiring historical women. All it takes from you is a review or two on Amazon and sharing what you love about my work with others! So please, help me make my dream come true. Help me earn that visa!

What do you do to unwind and relax?

I have two beautiful cockatiels who are my pride, joy, and usually a form of amusement for me. Absolutely love my birds. I play a couple Facebook games on a daily basis. And of course, I’m a big movie fan, especially of classic films. Favourite television series include Doctor Who, Star Trek the Next Generation, Star Trek Voyager, the West Wing, Victoria, Sherlock, and Downton Abbey. For social activities, I enjoy fine food and drink (I’m quite the foodie at times), history tourism, and playing several outdoor games. I don’t generally exercise if I’m alone, but in the company of a small group I rather enjoy golfing (either the driving range or miniature golf), badminton, archery, frisbee/catch games, and sometimes a bit of football (soccer). Walking around zoos and botanic gardens is also fun too, especially if the trip involves seeing birds. Roses are my favourite flowers, especial white and fire-and-ice varieties.

What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?

I don’t think anyone in this business really wants per se to be a writer. I think it is like acting and you are a writer from birth and then, through the trials and tribulations of life, finally learn to embrace your talent. As with acting, the road can be very long and convoluted and take decades before you take the plunge and decide to really go for it as a trade as opposed to a hobby you do for fun. Some published authors never take it out of hobby mode. I personally resisted making writing my profession. None of my family, living or dead, support(ed) the idea and I was pushed hard to pursue a “real” job. That’s a key reason I majored in Psychology while in University – my writing major was for me and my psych major was for my mother. History came about through my elective course options. By the time I was registering for classes for senior year my minor advisor in the history department told me I only needed three specific required courses to turn my minor into a major –so I did. History is really the hobby I made into a profession via becoming a non-fiction history author.

As for the right or wrongness of the decision, well it took me over 25 years to finally stop resisting my talent and go for it. In that time, I tried to make a living doing anything except write; the list is very long of the odd, usually poorly paid jobs I took. Now I have taken the big plunge and made writing my sole source of income, yes, I am happy with the decision. I’m finally doing what I was always meant to do.

A day in the life of the author?

I don’t think there is a typical day for me. I get up, check my email and social media, and go from there. I am very active on twitter and there are certain people I like to keep up with every day if I can. I love a good twitter conversation about history, birds, and so forth.

My work usually involves interacting with my translators on a regular basis and in truth I enjoy talking to them about both work and personal stuff. I may have writing or research to do that day or book promotion. It really all depends. When I’m doing initial research for a book I usually start with youtube in search of documentaries relating to the new project. Look through my bibliographies and you usually will find at least one video listed as proof of that.

One thing I always do every day unless I’m traveling is take a nap after my mid-day meal – usually with my cockatiels nearby. The mid-day nap time is often my main time to get in quality interactions with each bird because they are often most friendly with me then. What could be better than your cockatiel walking right up to you for a head rub or a kiss? Heaven!

Do you have advice you would give new authors or aspiring writers?

Learn everything you can. Nothing is irrelevant. When I was seventeen I never thought I would use my high school chemistry. Flash forward to 2011 when I started writing “The Great Succession Crisis” and was laying down the scientific foundations for my world-building and I was neck deep in three different versions of the periodic table of elements, tables I couldn’t have understood without that foundation from high school.

Another piece of advice: there is no substitution for either practice or hands-on experience. Writing is not something you can really learn in the classroom. You can and should master grammar and vocabulary, the technical parts of the languages you are writing in and that can be taught to you. But the creative part of writing, the instincts for plot, pacing, character, and so forth comes from experience and from reading a lot. Details matter a great deal in making your work believable which is why you must travel and experience life directly. The more you get out into the world and experience the breadth of what life has to offer the better your writing will be.

For example, in “Mary Queen of the Scots” there is an especially detailed dancing scene, a scene that reflects my many years dancing at Society for Creative Anachronism events. The scene works because I’m not imagining how people danced at Mary’s court; I know how they danced after years of dancing those dances myself. Likewise, in “Hypatia of Alexandria” there is an early scene with Hypatia trying to learn to spin with a drop spindle. Drop spinning is one of those medieval crafts I practice and do badly. So the scene is coming from real life. Drop spinning takes years of constant practice to master. Being mathematically inclined and with her talents being much more for philosophy and astronomy, I have zero doubt that Hypatia struggled with the “traditional” crafts women are expected to master just as much as I have all my life.

Those scenes work because I have broad experiences. Therefore allow me to encourage you to put down the tech and reach for all the different sorts of experiences you can.

What are you currently reading?

I am reading “Forgotten History: Unbelievable Moments from the Past” by Jem Duducu. Like me, Duducu brings history out of academia and into the hands of “the common man” though he goes about it quite differently and focuses much more on the military side of history than I do.

How long have you been writing?

I don’t believe you choose to be a writer. I believe writing chooses you. This is my entire life for my entire life. I began as a song-writer using my music to help me cope with a violent home life. Today we call that music therapy and recognize the healing power of music, but back in my childhood people simply thought I was a freak for constantly making up songs and singing to myself, despite my lovely voice.

As for making a living writing, that really started in the wake of the Great Recession and the loss of my salaried job as a commercial photographer and graphic artist. I resisted pursuing a writing career for decades; the familial antagonism towards the profession was simply that strong. I started numerous small businesses which each failed and threw me into debt. I really come into this career really kicking and screaming.

In August 2012 I published the first version of “The Great Succession Crisis” (it is now in its third edition). Five years out it is still not yet a commercial success, but that is fine because I am happy with the quality of my writing and I recognize that science fiction is a very crowded genre. People will discover GSC in time along with its prequels and sequels in the Peers of Beinan Series. As a literary social science fiction I am well-prepared for that.

Until then, I am very happy to continue to write the Legendary Women of World History series. There are currently eight titles in English. In 2018 I begin work on “Cleopatra VII” and on “Hildegarde von Bingen.” The series itself will probably finish after about 40-50 total titles meaning you can expect more great narrative biographies for years to come!

What is your writing process? For instance do you do an outline first? Do you do the chapters first? What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?

Whenever I start a new biography I usually begin my research by going as far back in time for that culture or nationality as possible and then working forwards in time. For example, on “Mary Queen of the Scots” I began by watching documentaries on ancient Scotland and the first known settlements in the highlands. With “Empress Matilda of England” I began with pre-Roman Germany and discovered that for all the differences between the Germanic and “Celtic” languages, northern Europeans were far more similar to each other than they were different. From there, the research propelled me into the Roman era, the formation of the “Empire of the Romans” (the term “Holy Roman Empire” dates to the Renaissance), and finally into the Salian dynasty and to Kaiser Heinrich and Matilda herself.

As a rule, I start with documentaries and then work my way into books, journal articles, and online published content. I’m very top-down, working from largest and broadest details to more specific. All this time I log my sources used and construct the timelines you see in every LWWH book since the second one (Boudicca does not have a timeline because we do not have precise dates for events in her life). In that sense I am outlining because with history I must present events in the sequence they happened.

I’m not outlining the story per se in the traditional sense, but I am logging what happened and when which in turn functions like an outline. The story telling itself (which events to include and how) does not get outlined. The bulk of what you see in the Timeline appendix in each book does not make it into the narrative. That adds to its usefulness.

With the main parts of the Timeline worked out, I usually begin with writing the opening prologue or poem that breaks the ice, that first 1-3 pages that most potential readers first see on retailer websites. Once perfected, a simultaneous process of writing, research, and editorial begins in earnest as I shape my list of historical events into a compelling narrative biography. Once I am satisfied with the core narrative, I finish by organizing, formatting, and polishing the appendices before uploading each book for publication.

Can you tell us a little bit about the historical persons in “Hypatia of Alexandria?”

Hypatia of Alexandria was born in 355 CE, just twenty years after the death of Constantine. The sixty years of her life saw some of the most sweeping changes of the late Roman Empire. It was a time of transition from the classical world to the medieval world. Hypatia lived right in the heart of it, in the intellectual capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. She was, for all practical purposes, the very last of the classical philosophers.

Two of Hypatia’s most famous students were Orestes and Synesius of Cyrene. Very little is known about Orestes. In the film “Agora” he is treated as a love interest for Hypatia, but in fact we have no evidence of that either way. The only mention to Orestes in historical sources tell us he was ’Praefectus augustalis’ which was the title given to the Roman governor of Egypt. Sources then go on to very briefly tell us of Orestes’ conflict with Patriarch Cyril in the events immediately leading up to Hypatia’s murder. After her death, Orestes disappears from the historical record entirely.

Synesius of Cyrene studied with Hypatia from 390 CE to 395 CE at which point he returned to Cyrene in modern day Libya to become its bishop in 409 CE. By this point, Synesius was married and had two sons which he refused to put away upon his elevation to bishop as was normal custom. Much of what we know about Hypatia comes from the surviving letters he wrote to her from Cyrene. He loved Hypatia deeply and to some degree continued her scientific work after he left, inventing numerous scientific instruments—some of them more successful than others. Synesius of Cyrene died heartbroken in 413 CE following the death of his wife and children. Contrary to the film “Agora” he never lived to see the brutal murder of his beloved “Philosopher” let alone contributed (as the film shows) to her death on the 15th of March, 315 CE.

Tell us about Hypatia – what makes her tick?

Hypatia of Alexandria was a woman both ahead of her time and yet very much a part of it. She was in many ways a classical philosopher in a classic sense with much in common in terms of upbringing and outlook as other greats from the classical period. She received both a Roman and Greek education, the Roman being very practical and emphasizing education to foster good citizenship and the Greek emphasizing arts, sciences, physical education, and music. The Greeks considered education a form of worship to the Gods which is one reason why Christianity so often took on anti-intellectual qualities. When Paul writes in Colossians, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ,” part of what he opposes is this Greek belief that learning itself is a form of worship. To Paul, philosophy was a form of idolatry, a belief that really empowers Patriarch Theophilus and his successor, Cyril, to go in and attack the intellectual communities and institutions that made Alexandria the educational center of the Roman world.

Hypatia’s world is literally falling apart around her. Everything she has ever known and ever believed in is under attack. But rather than turning a blind eye as those she knows and loves are taken off and killed, she puts her own life at risk helping and defending them, including many Jewish friends who were by this time facing extermination at the hands of the church leaders.

Hypatia taught anyone and everyone who came to her without concern for money, nationality, or religion. She put everything on the line to help and teach others. Truly a great role model for us in these turbulent times.

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

Tough one because as a rule I love the research aspects of writing each of my books. But if I needed to specify one thing unique to Hypatia that is not present in the other books so far it is the astronomy which was really my first love growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska. Before the car accident that took my eyesight, I seriously considered a career in science. Getting back to my astronomical roots was a lot of fun and I have some very cool astronomy-related resources in this book’s bibliography along with an appendix providing the latitude and longitude coordinates for several Roman Empire cities. This appendix will help you look up star charts for each location so you can see first-hand how the night sky differs depending on where in the world you are. I also really enjoyed writing the big astronomy scene in chapter two where Theon is introducing Hypatia to what becomes her life-long passion with the stars. We forget that each of these constellations have stories behind them. It was a lot of fun researching and telling the stories of Ursa Major (the Big Bear) and Ursa Minor (the Little Bear) and exploring several of the Greek astronomical discoveries in the process.

Follow the Tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway! 

 

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Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway: Hinder By Kristin Ping (Guardian of the Monsters #1)

Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway: Hinder By Kristin Ping (Guardian of the Monsters #1)

 

 

 

Title: Hinder
Author: Kristin Ping
Series: (Guardian of Monsters #1)
Publication date: May 15th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, New Adult, Paranormal

Available: Goodreads / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

 

Synopsis

Ethan Sutcliff seems like a normal seventeen-year-old—at least that’s what he’s trying to portray. In a secret society run by the Supernaturals, Ethan is what witches call a Bender. Benders are Witches’ Guardians, who are able to control a witches’ ability, bend it, or move it away from harming humans. In Ethan’s case, he is able to bend the Earth element. But at the age of fifteen, he lost all connection to it, and the reasons behind it could only mean one of two things: His Wielder is either dead, or hiding out somewhere.

Alex Burgendorf has been living in her aunt’s locket for the past sixteen years with her mother—a Fire Wielder, and her father—a Water Wielder. For sixteen years, her parents vowed to protect her, and they have, as she is the last Earth wielding witch. However, time is running out. Alex must find her Bender, or the fate of the Supernaturals might be at stake.

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Contact

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Author’s Bio

Kristin resides in South Africa with her husband, two beautiful girls and two bulldogs that tries to eat her house.

She has been writing for the past eight years and her first debut novel, Hinder: A Bender’s novel will be published 2018 by Fire Quill Publishing.

When she isn’t writing, she is spending her time with her family, or trying to teach her two bulldogs to not eat her house. You can find more about Kristin at http://www.authorkristinping.com

My Review

Pretty good beginning to this brand new series. Beware of the beginning, however, there is quite a bit of information thrown at you. I had to take notes in order to understand the lore of witches, benders, and wielders. Other than that, everything in the novel begins to progress smoothly.

We follow the perspective of two main characters. The first is Ethan, an Earth Bender, is searching for his bender. In order for a Bender to keep his powers, he must find his Wielder/Witch. The second is undiscovered other half, Alex. Alex and Ethan both are constantly being hunted by Necrocretors due to the fact they both hold control over one of the rare elements. They have till they are 25 to try to outmaneuver the enemy and remain alive. But this is only one part of the danger at play. Wielders and Benders are forbidden to have relationships. Throw in some normal teenage drama and you have an interesting novel.

I must give props to Kristin Ping for incorporating a family dynamic to this series. It was about time a YA novel brought family in who actually took part of the story. And no, they are not in the backseat whatsoever.

Another downside is Ethan connecting women to animals. It made me uncomfortable at times. My only request is for him to mature and not have this unfortunate trait in the sequel.

Rating 6

 

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Happy Reading!

~C.C.

Silver Dagger Tours Book Series Review: The Hunted Series By Ivy Smoak

Silver Dagger Tours Book Series Review: The Hunted Series By Ivy Smoak

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Tempted (The Hunted Series #1)

Temptation (The Hunted, #1)
Available: Amazon/iBooks/B&N/Kobo

hs- about the book

When Penny Taylor runs into a handsome stranger in a coffee shop, she believes her luck has finally changed. After having her confidence unwound by her ex, she falls hard for a true gentleman. But once she realizes that her crush is her communications professor, her world is turned upside down.

Haunted by dreams of the alluring Professor Hunter, Penny can’t seem to dismiss her fantasies and the temptation to have him grows deeper. Will the excitement, danger, and mystery surrounding Professor Hunter bring her to her knees?

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Oh Glory, move over Christian Grey, class is now in session! Nineteen year old Penny Taylor, recently turned sophomore in college, off with a…sort of a splash. After meeting a handsome stranger during a spilled coffee incident, she later finds out he is her Com 212 teacher and he is not there merely for teaching. She begins to have dreams about him and have him rescue her whenever she falls into mishaps. Who is Professor Hunter? Why is she so attracted to her?

This book made me begging for more Penny and Professor Hunter and their world! The ending left me immediately pulling up the sequel!

Rating: 5 out of 10 Book Charms

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Addiction (The Hunted Series #2)
Addiction (The Hunted, #2)
Available:Amazon/iBooks/B&N/Kobo

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Temptation has quickly turned into addiction. Penny Taylor fell hard for the sexy, mysterious, exciting, and dangerous Professor Hunter. But scandalous affairs are meant to go down in flames. Now that he’s not speaking to her, she feels numb. And what hurts the most is that he appears to be completely fine. As she struggles to accept that their relationship is really over, her best friend’s crude advice is in the back of her mind- the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.

Will she be able to move on, or is her addiction to her alluring professor only just beginning?

hs- my review

Scandals, Secrets, and Betrayal –

Penny tries to recover over the breakup with Professor Hunter. Her roommate Melissa suggest the best way to get back at him is to move on with someone else. That someone is Tyler, Penny’s friend who is in love with her and despised by Professor Hunter. Will Penny move on with her or will Professor Hunter come back for the girl he is ADDICTED to?

We find out more about Professor Hunter’s background in this sequel along with more goodies only Author Ivy Smoak can provide.

Rating: 8 out of 10 Book Charms

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Eruption (The Hunted Series #3)
Eruption (The Hunted, #3)
Available:Amazon/iBooks/B&N/Kobo

hs- about the book

Two and a half years later, Penny and James are living happily in New York City. Their love is stronger than ever. Penny is graduating from NYCU, James is growing his new business, and the two are getting married at the end of the month.

But graduation, starting an internship, and planning a wedding is a lot for Penny to tackle. Especially when mysteries from James’ past are clawing at the surface and his scheming ex and unsupportive parents threaten to destroy the happy couple.

Will their own insecurities make them question everything and sway them from the altar?

hs- my review

Isabella, Isabella, I could not stand Isabella, Professor Hunters Ex! Right when you think James (Professor Hunter) and Penny can have a smooth transition to marriage, in swoops James’ ex-wife to attempt to ruin it all. Lies, Blackmail, and Sadness plague the couple as the past seems to not want to disappear as much as Penny and James would like it too.

I was positively frustrated after this book was over. I could not believe how things went and begged the powers that be that it would get better in the next book. James….he transferred over to my “Dead List.”

Rating: 7 out of 10 Book Charms

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Devotion (The Hunted Series #4)
Devotion (The Hunted, #4)
Available:Amazon/iBooks/B&N/Kobo

hs- about the book

Tick tock. One day before the wedding of her dreams, Penny is in a city that is no longer her home. Alone. Heartbroken. Lost. Could the past few years really mean so little to a man that became her world? To a man she’d do anything to protect? There is no future without him. There is no her without him.

With only 24 hours until the wedding, is there enough time to repair the damage? Tick tock.

And even if Penny and James do come back to each other, Isabella is still out there plotting. The world is still against them. Darkness still lurks in the shadows of James’ past. A student and her professor were never meant to be forever. They thought it was an everlasting love, but it was doomed from the very start. Tick tock.

hs- my review

When it Rain, it pours…that’s the perfect way to describe this next book. James kicked Penny out, deciding he’d rather believe his ex-wife than Penny. Now, Penny does not know what to do. Her ex-fiance believes his attraction is due to his addiction complex and she wants to run away with her old friend Tyler. Penny is willing to fight for what she wants, James.

I wanted to smack James constantly. His stubbornness to accept love was infuriating because clearly what he calls “addiction” is devotion between them But will he finally accept it?

Rating: 8 out of 10 Book Charms

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Foundation (The Hunted Series #5)
Foundation (The Hunted Series Book 5)
Available: Amazon/iBooks/B&N/Kobo

hs- about the book

Penny and James defied the odds. A professor and his student were never supposed to become husband and wife, let alone a father and a mother. The couple created a foundation in NYC that is held together with love, family, and friends. A foundation that they believed was impenetrable.

But what happens when the life they know is threatened? If a struggle that should bring them closer together begins to tear them apart? All it takes is – One. Single. Slip. Foundations crumble. Will Penny and James continue to defy the odds?

hs- my review

The final installation of The Hunted Series….I can’t believe it’s all come to this. These books are like candy for me. They aren’t good for me, I know it, but I can’t get enough of them! I had a few teary moments because this book touches a special place in my heart.

My beloved book candy is officially over until next year and I wish I could have more, but wickedly pleasant things must come to an end….for now….

Rating: 7 out of 10 Book Charms 

hs- about the author

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Contact

Website/Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Amazon/Goodreads

Ivy Smoak is an Amazon bestselling New Adult Romance author. When she’s not writing, you can find her binge watching too many TV shows, taking long walks, playing outside, and generally refusing to act like an adult. She lives with her fiancé in Delaware.

hs- giveaway

Enter for a chance to win an ebook bundle of the spinoff books in the series – City of Sin, Third Chances, & Missing Pieces!

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and a giveaway!

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Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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C.B.H. Reviews: Stalking Jack the Ripper By Kerri Maniscalco

C.B.H. Reviews: Stalking Jack the Ripper By Kerri Maniscalco

 

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Hi Everyone! So I’m a part of this group on Facebook called Life and Lit where we discuss books, exchange our book favorites, ask bookish questions, and much more. Each month we have a “Book-of-the-Month” type of read and this past month was Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco.

28962906 I started reading this book not long after it was released last year but was unable to finish it because life last year was a cruel, cruel thing. This year, though, I was able to join the others in the group and able to go back to late 1800’s England during Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror. Audrey Rose Wadsworth escapes her high lord father’s home late at night in order to be an understudy for her professor uncle in order to help him and his assistant Thomas Cresswell solve the grisly murders haunting the streets of England.

For a Historical Fiction and Murder Mystery novel, it holds up very well! The struggle Audrey Rose goes through in order to pursue her life’s calling screams the problems we women used to face back in those days. Instead of seeking out a successful career, we were expected to have tea, delve in the gossip of the elite, focus on our needlepoint, and worry about marrying into a wealthy family. Also the social rules of speaking to single men as a single woman were absolutely horrendous. If you were spotted out on the streets without a chaperone, speaking to a single gentleman – you could kiss your reputation goodbye and expect to be officially shunned by society because…us women and our feminine wiles, you know.

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I gotta say, Audrey and Thomas are partner goals, I swear. Their banter and chemistry is everything and they remind me of another carnation of Sherlock Holmes (Thomas) and Dr. Watson (Audrey Rose). I challenge you to go to Tumblr and look them up. The fan art of Audrey Rose and Thomas are absolutely adorable.

Now, the ending resolution to this story is predictable but the novel is still fun. The sequel, Hunting Prince Dracula, came out earlier this year and I was able to get my hands on it last month. If it’s just as good as this book, I can’t wait to read it!

Rating 9

 

Have you read this Mystery?

If so, let me know your thoughts on it down in the comments!

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.H.B. ARC Review: “Ramses the Damned – The Passion of Cleopatra” By Anne Rice

C.H.B. ARC Review: “Ramses the Damned – The Passion of Cleopatra” By Anne Rice

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Available: Amazon/B&N

The Passion of Cleopatra (Ramses the Damned #2)

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Release Date: November 21st, 2017

**Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy of this book via NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group in exchange for a honest review. This, however, does not effect my review in any way.**

Goodreads Description

Ramses the Great, former pharaoh of Egypt, is reawakened by the elixir of life in Edwardian England. Now immortal with his bride-to-be, he is swept up in a fierce and deadly battle of wills and psyches against the once-great Queen Cleopatra. Ramses has reawakened Cleopatra with the same perilous elixir whose unworldly force brings the dead back to life. But as these ancient rulers defy one another in their quest to understand the powers of the strange elixir, they are haunted by a mysterious presence even older and more powerful than they, a figure drawn forth from the mists of history who possesses spectacular magical potions and tonics eight millennia old. This is a figure who ruled over an ancient kingdom stretching from the once-fertile earth of the Sahara to the far corners of the world, a queen with a supreme knowledge of the deepest origins of the elixir of life. She may be the only one who can make known to Ramses and Cleopatra the key to their immortality—and the secrets of the miraculous, unknowable, endless expanse of the universe.

My Review

First of all….

If you missed my Anne Rice-Read-a-Thon Review of The Mummy/Ramses the Damned, you can read it right here….

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This book picks up right where the first one left off. For those who didn’t read the first installment, they give you a quick synopsis in the beginning of the book on the events which took place in the previous novel. The resurrection of Ramses, the awakening of Cleopatra, and the trail of bodies left behind by the two in their journeys.

Now, Ramses is traveling back to England with his future bride, Julia, in order to begin preparations for their wedding. Strangely enough their engagement party is being planned by Julia’s ex, Alex, who is still not fully…well…mature in his actions. Cleopatra, on the other hand, is not having much positive events happening. All her memories of her former life have disappeared.

The book jumps from one plot point to the next and keeps you guessing in what the next turning point will be in the story. We are introduced to a large variety of new characters that to be honest gets a tad overwhelming at times. We found out the origins of the magic elixir and the woman behind it all.

For those who have waited over twenty years for this sequel, it’s completely worth the wait! Will there be a book three? Please! Please! Please! We must have one! Something tells me if we don’t get one, there will be problems in the Anne/Christoper Rice fan community.

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Rating 9

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

Graphic Novel Review: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Issue #2

Graphic Novel Review: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Issue #2

Want to know what happens when a group of writers take a classic character people know and love and completely change them and their world into a dark, dangerous entity? Welcome to the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

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Issue #2

If you missed my review of Issue #1, you can check it out here!

We are now into the second round of chills and thrills of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Forget about what you once knew about the original comic book series and the 90s television show, this is a darker, classic horror-film inspired re-endition of the lovable character we once knew and loved. No, Salem didn’t have anything to do with this turn of events.

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Ah, Sweet Sixteen. The turning point in a teenage girl’s life. Where everything begins to speed up and the world becomes her oyster. That is unless you are Sabrina Spellman. Upon the night of her Sweet Sixteenth birthday, Sabrina must choose where her allegiance lies, to the light or to the darkness she was originally conceived to turn her soul over too. But in the shadows of the night lingers a dangerous character by the name of MADAME SATAN!

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Originally written in the classic Archie comics, MADAME SATAN is resurrected with a tweaked back story. Madame Satan is not just any ordinary concubine to Satan, she is the former lover of Edward Spellman, Sabrina’s father. Resurrected by Betty and Veronica in Riverdale, Madame Satan sets her sights upon taking on her revenge on the Spellman line.

These stories continue to twist and turn, never giving you any indication of what could possibly happen next. I cannot get enough of these, period. Yeah it’s not the Sabrina I grew up with, but it’s an interesting twist on the classic character. I can’t wait to share with you about Issue #3!

 

Rating 9

Reviews/Posts Coming This Week

Book Tour ARC Review & Guest Post: Pink Lock Pics and Sequined Witch Hats

ARC Review: Ramses the Damned – The Passion of Cleopatra

Top 5 Bookish Quotes of the Week #1

Top 5 Books I’m Thankful For: 2017 Edition

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

Graphic Novel Review: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Issue #1

Graphic Novel Review: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Issue #1

Want to know what happens when a group of writers take a classic character people know and love and completely change them and their world into a dark, dangerous entity? Welcome to the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

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Growing up in the 90s, you are familiar with the light-hearted young adult comedy series Sabrina the Teenage Witch starring Melissa Joan Heart. Sabrina Spellman, a half-witch/mortal, is sent to be raised by her Aunts Hilda and Zelda. Them along with their cat familiar Salem endure over seven years of wacky fun and crazy spell antics that only a teenage witch can conjure.

Now, thirteen years later, Sabrina is reborn in a way that no one could have expected. We travel back in time to the swinging 60’s to her original beginnings in comic book form. Her world, though, is not what we nor any original readers have known. My initial reaction as I began jump into this rabbit hole of darkness was 100% this….

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Issue #1

We are first welcomed by Sabrina’s “origins” so to speak in the first issue. Instead, Sabrina’s origins reveal she was the product of her evil warlock father and innocent mortal mother in order to create a powerful half-witch who would conquer the magic world.

Sabrina’s mother discovers quickly after giving birth that her daughter was promised to be used as a servant of darkness. Upon realizing it, she tries to escape with Sabrina but is interrupted….I’ve included a “peak” down below. Sabrina_01_03.jpg

Sabrina’s father has her mother committed to a psychiatric hospital, tucked away where she is considered a threat and insane. Not long after, her father is transformed into a tree after his sisters Hilda and Zelda turn against him. And so is the beginning of the adventures….

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Rating 9

Reviews Coming This Week…

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Issue #2

Book Tour ARC Review & Guest Post: Pink Lock Pics and Sequined Witch Hats

ARC Review: Ramses the Damned – The Passion of Cleopatra

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

Book Tour Review & Guest Post: The Dear Departed By

Book Tour Review & Guest Post: The Dear Departed By

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Title: The Dear Departed
Author: Anne Roebuck
Release Date: February 11th, 2016
Available: Amazon
Add to Goodreads
Genre: Historical Fiction/Paranormal Romance

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The widows of Victorian era San Francisco are dying of decidedly unnatural causes, and to expose the culprit Virginia Paley must partner with the darkly mysterious Jonathan Bradshaw, entering a world of occult rituals and unexplainable phenomena—and magical love.

Beyond the Veil

Young widow Virginia Paley has no interest in attending the séances at The Society for Eternal Love, but the women of the society are dying mysteriously in their sleep, leaving their fortunes to Professor Arthur Chadwick, its charismatic medium. As her aunt might very well become the next victim, Virginia will do whatever she must to ensure that doesn’t happen. She will even join forces with the darkly mysterious Jonathan Bradshaw.

From the moment he spies her, Jonathan is smitten. But romance is impossible. Mrs. Paley is a respectable woman, and he himself is outside of society, an orphan, an ex-thief and a true wizard, able to hypnotize with a word and even separate his spirit from his body. No, he must instead remain focused on his goal, avenging his mentor’s death. But, facing a foe with power over demonic forces and Virginia’s very life in the balance, love might indeed be the only salvation.

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First, I must say this tale was set up and executed magnificently. Back in the early 1900s, seances were famously conducted by charlatans in order to reap great sums of money from mourning wealthy patrons. Anne Roebuck takes us to a particular seance where we meet Virginia, a skeptic and recent widow, attending a seance with her aunt.

We witness the usual tricks used by those from the likes of Arthur Chadwick. The noises, the “ghostly knocks”, and the “ghosts” calling out their beloved wives’ names to profess their affection. But who would have known that a mere phesod was only the beginning of something darker, more dangerous. I surely did not expect the turn nor the events that followed. Be sure to sage your reading space after delving into this!

10/10 Book Charms!

dd- guest post

I Believe in Magic
A hundred years ago, everything looked different by candlelight or gaslight. Things were softer, less defined, more diffused. That shadow in the doorway that we saw out of the corner of our eye which disappeared once we turned around to stare at it. Was someone really there, or did we just imagine it? Or, the flickering of a candle flame. Was it caused by a sudden gust of wind? Or something else?
Everything sounded different, too. There was none of the constant background noise that surrounds us now. Sounds were more intense but less identifiable. The creaking of floorboards in the middle of the night. Was there someone there? The wind rustling in the trees in a graveyard sounded almost like voices. Could they be talking to us?
It was easier then to peer into the realms of the supernatural and hear the hushed voices of ghosts and spirits speaking to you from beyond the veil of death. It was easier to believe that both magic and love were real and not illusions.
I like the modern world. Science and technology have in many ways changed our lives for the better. But sometimes, I wonder if we have lost as much as we have gained in our highly technical society. Modern science has made our world rational and sensible. Still, what it must have been like in a bygone era when everything was less cut and dried and there was more room for magic and mystery.
For example, what must have it been like for a young widow, living in a world of respectability as tightly laced as her corset, to descend into dark and hidden realms where she is never sure what is real and what is illusion? Ghosts and spirits aren’t supposed to exist, but she sees them anyway. Are they really there or are they just phantasms born out of her lonely dreams?
And the magician who serves as her guide into the hidden realms, an impossibly handsome man with arcane knowledge and a disreputable past. Is he her protector or her ruin? Is he real or just one more illusion? And will she discover an awesome reality behind all the illusions or will she just end up on the Primrose Path to Perdition?
For people like me who are crazy enough to want to look behind the façade of today’s oh-so-rational world, we find all manner of bizarre things, like hundred-year-old artifacts hidden in an attic, that seem like so many relics of a superstitious past. Elaborate rituals performed in hooded robes, incantations intoned in languages that people haven’t spoken in a thousand years. Spirits, both good and evil, from beyond the grave. And bonds of loyalty and love that transcend space and time — even death itself.
Sometimes we are tempted to get cocky or complacent and think that these things aren’t real, but are only imagination, like stories that are told to gullible children. But they are real. They are as real now as they are then. Things like magic and love.
Especially love.

dd- about the author

Ann

Author’s Website/Amazon/Facebook/Goodreads

From my first poem at age 10 and my first short story at age 12, I can’t help writing about my two favorite things – magic and love. An unrepentant nerd, I started out in biomedical research but ended up writing software manuals instead. I spent many years as a member of science fiction and historical reenactment groups and I have been at various times a Renaissance scholar, a druidess, a pirate wench, a saloon floozy, a belly dancer and a chain-mail wearing warrior maiden.

Still, my first love is writing stories. It doesn’t matter whether the story is set in the middle ages, Victorian times, the present day or far in the future. If it has both love and magic in it, I will write about it. I write not only romance but young adult historical fantasy under the name of Ann Finnin. 

I’m a native of Southern California, and I live in the hills above Los Angeles with my husband of forty years, Dave (a man who gave me an electric typewriter as a wedding present) and a dog of Indeterminate Breed named Rufus.

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

Xpresso Book Tour Book Blitz: Vices and Virtues

Xpresso Book Tour Book Blitz: Vices and Virtues

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Title: Vices and Virtues
Authors: Chris Farmer, Stacey Broadbent, Amber Bryant, Cyril Brunt, J.M. Butler, Lenore Cheairs, Alana Delacroix, Tammy Oja, Aria Peyton, Maggie Jane Schuler, Lisa Goldman, Rebecca Nolan, Kristin Jacques, Trinity Hanrahan, & QT Ruby
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Release Date: November 14th, 2017

On Sale for ONLY $.99 until 11/21! Be sure to get your copy before the price goes up to $2.99!

Available: Amazon

Vices and Virtues: An anthology of the Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Dark Virtues

Synopsis

Sins will weave you into their webs. They become the Vice you’re unable to shake. There are the values, taught from birth, which ride a razor’s edge. They turn into Dark Virtues, a twisted mockery of their true meaning.

Pride, envy, lust, gluttony, anger, greed and sloth all have their place in the tapestry of life. They are the Vices who lost sight of the Virtues: charity, temperance, forgiveness, humility, kindness, chastity and diligence.

Enter the worlds where the tales of the most sinful of Vices and the darkest of Virtues will entice and intrigue you…

…for even among the most devout there is a dark side.

The Tales Within…

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Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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ARC Review – Haven By: Mary Lindsey

ARC Review – Haven By: Mary Lindsey

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Title: Haven
Author: Mary Lindsey
Published Date: November 7th, 2017
Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

**Disclaimer – I received this book via NetGalley and Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my review whatsoever.**

 

Goodreads Description

“We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere, He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.”

My Review

First of all, this cover is AMAZING! When I first laid eyes on it on the NetGalley site I knew I had to look into it. Rain is an orphan moving to the town of New Wurzburg, hoping to find a place where he can actually be himself. He hides behind his pseudo “beast” side to protect himself from those around him until he comes across Freddie. Freddie is first introduced to us as this mystery girl who is surrounded by rumors, police telling Rain to stay away, and threats from people he doesn’t know.

This book is a thriller, romance, and filled with a new twist on the supernatural. How? You’ll have to find out….

 

Rating 10

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

Book Blitz & Author Q&A: Winter’s Siren By Krystal Jane Ruin!

Book Blitz & Author Q&A: Winter’s Siren By Krystal Jane Ruin!

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Title: Winter’s Siren
Author: Krystal Jane Ruin
Release Date: November 1st, 2017
Available: Amazon/B&N/iBooks/Kobo
Add to Goodreads

Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult

 

Book Blurb

For the last five years, Fawn has been the star soprano of a secluded opera house, forced to sing for her kidnapper.

His daughter, Devi, waits patiently in the shadows, hiding a face so horrible that no one who’s seen it will look at it again.

As Fawn plots her escape, whispers spread through the shaded corridors of dark sorcery, warning her that she must flee by the next opening night.

But when Fawn draws close to the exit, it’s Devi who’s standing in her way, leading Fawn to suspect that Devi has something to gain if she fails.

(A dark reimagining of Swan Lake)

Connect With the Author!

KrystalJaneRuin
Website/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads

Krystal is the author of supernatural and paranormal fiction, living in the Tennessee Valley with a collection of swords and daggers. When she’s not hoarding stuffed pandas, hourglasses, and Hello Kitty replicas, she can be found in YouTube hole or blogging about books, writing, and random things at KrystalSquared.net.

 

Q&A With Krystal

What inspired you to write WINTER’S SIREN?

K – Usually, this is the hardest question ever, but I love fairy tales, I love retellings, and I love the theatre: ballet, musicals, opera. My love of theatre directly influenced the direction of this story. You don’t want to know what it looked like before.

Why paranormal and what other genres are you interested in writing?

K – I’ve always been drawn to dark stories. Some of my first memories are of me trying to scare myself for some reason. Haha. My writing tastes have always been a lot more narrow than my reading tastes. But I would like to experiment with some dark historical fantasy and supernatural horror. I might talk myself into trying another high fantasy story one day.

If you could live in any novel, which one would you choose and why?

K – Is it weird if I say I want to live in Middle Earth? I read The Hobbit a long time ago, but I’ve only recently watched all the movies, and I’m obsessed with them! I hate the thought of giant spiders and trolls and orcs, but I wouldn’t leave Hobbiton anyway, and I think I’d love it there. Also, no creatures there. Bonus. (I mean, if Gandalf was with me, I might could be talked into going on an adventure.)

If you were a teacher, what subject would you teach?

K – Shakespearean Drama! But I’d also be happy to do plain Shakespeare or plain Drama. Either one of those would be most up my alley. If a class existed that was dedicated to Edgar Allan Poe, I’d also be interested in that.

When it comes to your writing, are you a plotter, panster, or hybrid writer?

K – I often pants the beginnings of stories or pants my outline as I write, but I always have a clear plan and direction I’m going in. That said, I have to have a finished outline at some point. It helps me remember little details better, and I write faster with one, as well.

If you could have a mutant power, what would it be?

K – Freezing everything! Don’t ask what for. I have a long-standing fantasy of water manipulation, and I would just love that. In my head, it’s like a cross between Ice Man and Storm. Ice Storm anyone? No? 

 

What three movies would you take to a deserted island to watch over and over again for a year?

K – Easiest question ever. The Little Mermaid, Clueless, and The Craft. They are my favorite top three movies of all time, but I feel sorry for anyone who knows me after returning from such a trip. I have a really bad habit of quoting movies, and I’d likely have them all completely memorized by then.

 

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Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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C.B.H. Reviews: Top 5 Horror/Sci-Fi/Mystery Podcasts

C.B.H. Reviews: Top 5 Horror/Sci-Fi/Mystery Podcasts

Do you ever get into one of those moods where audio books, reading, or YouTube videos won’t quelch your boredom? Are you looking for something new to listen to on your way home or to work? Do you love unsolved mysteries, fictional tales that seem eerily real, or conspiracy theories?

Since it’s Halloween season, I have been falling in love with podcasts more aside from finding spooky audio tales on YouTube. Here are my….

Top 5 Horror/Sci-Fi/Mystery Podcasts

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1. Rabbits

When Carly Parker’s friend Yumiko goes missing under very mysterious circumstances, Carly’s search for her friend leads her headfirst into a ancient mysterious game known only as Rabbits. Soon Carly begins to suspect that Rabbits is much more than just a game, and that the key to understanding Rabbits, might be the key to the survival of our species, and the Universe, as we know it.  

I binged listened to season one of this podcast in the past week and could not get enough of it! It makes you think twice about playing video games while pumps you full of adrenaline, desperate to discover more about the game and Yumiko. I cannot recommend this podcast enough! Listen to the first episode and let me know what you think in the comments below! You may listen to the show on Spotify, the Rabbits website, and Apple podcasts.

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2. Hollywood & Crime

When beautiful young heiress Georgette Bauerdorf was found dead in her luxurious Sunset Strip apartment, police assumed it was just a tragic accident. The housekeepers discovered her body submerged face down in the bathtub with the hot water tap still on. Her father in New York speculated her heart had failed, and she drowned in the bath water. But after a delay of thirty hours, the autopsy report told another story.

If you are a fan of cold cases or even unsolved mysteries, this is the podcast to dive into! Produced to feel like a classic radio show, Hollywood & Crime, takes you back to Hollywood after WWII to the Black Dahlia murders. Murders? Listen to find out! Tune in and let me know what you think in the comments down below! It is available on their website, Spotify, and Wondry.

 

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3. Welcome to Night Vale

WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE is a twice-monthly podcast in the style of community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, featuring local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events.

The think I like about this series is that you can begin anywhere and not have listened to the series before now. However, it’s nice to start from the beginning where they set the stage for this strange town. It is available to listen via Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Podcasts.

 

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4. Alice Isn’t Dead

From the creators of Night Vale, a truck driver searches across America for the wife she had long assumed was dead. In the course of her search, she will encounter not-quite-human serial murderers, towns literally lost in time, and a conspiracy that goes way beyond one missing woman.

I’m currently listening to this podcast while driving to and from work. You feel like you are really riding in the truck with this woman on the course to find her wife, Alice. The woman, though, makes you wonder if her obsession with her wife is normal or a bit toxic while she explains her love her Alice while going to different towns in search of her. You can listen to it on their site, Spotify, iHeart Radio, and Apple Podcasts.

 

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5. No Sleep Podcast

In the spring of 2010, a new forum appeared on Reddit.com. It was called “Nosleep” and the concept of this forum (or “subreddit”) was to be a place for people to post original scary stories about frightening experiences. It was an online version of telling spooky stories around the campfire.

Each story is singular and reminds you of many creepy pasta stories except in podcast form. Some episodes have multiple while some have only one. At nine seasons, this podcast has a variety of chilling tales you’d need to listen to in order to believe. If you are a horror short story writer, you may even submit your stories to be featured in future episodes! You can listen on their site, Spotify, and iTunes podcasts.

 

What are your favorite podcasts?

Do you agree with my lists?

If you’ve listened to one or all of these, what did you think?

Please let me know in the comments below!

 

Happy Listening!

~C.C.

C.B.H. Reviews Anne Rice Read-a-Thon Review #2: Interview With the Vampire – Claudia’s Story (Graphic Novel)

C.B.H. Reviews Anne Rice Read-a-Thon Review #2: Interview With the Vampire – Claudia’s Story (Graphic Novel)

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“The Light….So it Began…So It would End…..”

Interview With the Vampire – Claudia’s Story, Anne Rice & Ashley Marie Witter

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In 2012, it was announced Claudia’s side of the story from Anne Rice’s famous novel, Interview With the Vampire, was to be written and released. I was in my first year of college and the news brought light to my hectic school schedule. Downside to me at the time, though, was that Claudia’s story would be told in graphic novel form instead of a full-fleshed out novel. Five years later, my tastes have changed and I’ve found a love in graphic novels so why not read this during my Read-a-Thon?

This tale was adapted for the graphic novel by Ashley Marie Witter under the guidance of Anne Rice herself. I have to give props to her for taking on this great task. Claudia is one of those characters where she appears to the world as an innocent child, but within she is deceptive, devious, and uses her “innocence” to achieve what she desires.

e798454fb077a69ca016770eef3d62b2The graphic novel depictions draw out more of her inner turmoil as a child growing up internally but never aging on the outside. Each carefully drawn picture entraps the trans-formative image of the once innocent, newly created vampire into the mature creature who gained her and Louis’s freedom from Lestat onto her movements to what led to her demise in the end.

The love between her and Louis is also more elaborated through the novel. We get a look into her feelings about her other vampire “father” and lover. She still is like a child in not wanting to disappoint him at the same time as trying to please him by trying to figure out where other vampires are located.

Was this graphic novel needed? I actually believe it was. There were times in the original novel where I wondered what Claudia’s true intentions were and if she truly loved for Louis or wished to use him. Whatever questions readers had about Claudia can be answered right here….

My Rating

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Rating 9

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.B.H. Quick ARC Review: Gray Wolf Island By Tracey Neithercott

C.B.H. Quick ARC Review: Gray Wolf Island By Tracey Neithercott

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Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

Release Date: October 10th, 2017

**Disclaimer – I received this book via NetGalley and Knopf Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review whatsoever.**

Goodreads Description/Synopsis

Right before Sadie died, she begged her sister, Ruby, to do the one thing she could never do herself: Find the treasure on Gray Wolf Island.

With just a mysterious treasure map as a guide, Ruby reluctantly allows some friends to join her on the hunt, each of whom is touched by magic: a boy allegedly born to a virgin, a girl who never sleeps, a boy who can foresee his own death, and a boy with deep ties to the island. Each of them is also keeping a secret—something they’ll have to reveal in order to reach the treasure.

As the secrets come to light, Ruby will have to decide: Can she make peace with her friends’ troubled pasts and continue to trust them? Can she forgive herself for doing the unspeakable? Deep in the wilderness of Gray Wolf Island, Ruby’s choices will determine if they make it out with the treasure—or merely with their lives.

From debut author Tracey Neithercott comes a darkly compelling tale of profound friendship, adventure, and finding the strength to tell the truth.

My Review

If you had a chance to go with your friends on a search for treasure and a journey filled with mystery, secrets, death, and unpredictable consequences? If you said yes, this is the book for you! Huge thank you to NetGalley and Knopf Books for the opportunity to read this masterful tale!

Ruby is fulfilling her twin sister’s dying wish to search for a mysterious treasure that is hidden somewhere on Gray Wolf Island. She joins a group of strange friends in order to find this treasure and uncover the truth behind it. I had to read this book twice, it was so good!

Tracey Neithercott is a masterful storyteller with her debut novel! The prose and delivery is fantastic. I connected with each of the characters and couldn’t help but want them to succeed in their search. If you haven’t added this to your Goodreads TBR list or ordered it, do it!

 

Rating 10

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.B.H. ARC Review: “Book of Lies” By Teri Terry!

C.B.H. ARC Review: “Book of Lies” By Teri Terry!

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Available: Amazon/Goodreads
Publisher: Clarion Books
Release Date: October 10th, 2017

**Disclaimer – I received this book via NetGalley and Clarion Books in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review whatsoever.**

Netgalley Description

In this suspenseful, gripping novel, teen twin girls raised separately meet for the first time at their mother’s funeral. Quinn has been trained to never tell a lie. Piper is a practiced liar. Narrated in both voices, the story of their quest to learn truths that have been concealed from them is shadowed by a dark spell that beckons them to run at night with a pack of murdering ghost hounds. Suspense, menace, mystery, witchcraft, family secrets, mistaken identity, and romance are interwoven in a brilliantly written page-turner that will grab and thrill teen readers.

My Review

Twin girls, unaware on one another, are united after the death of their mother. Quinn immediately questions everything she knew about her mother which wasn’t much. She is being raised by her grandmother away from civilization while her sister Piper is among friends and other family. Another thing, her mother never made Quinn aware of her sister and yet somehow Piper knew….but how?

The twin’s background is shrouded in mystery that stems back to a curse placed upon their family that fortells of their demise. The question is, who is the deceiver and who is the honest one of the two? As the story progresses, the tale grows darker and darker.

The story’s progression is rather slow at first. It begins to increase in the middle, then the wheels finally begin spinning near the end. I was more interested in the lore behind the curse and discovering which twin would end up prevailing over the other.

In the YA Paranormal/Fantasy genre, it’s a pleasant standalone addition. It is also perfect to purchase and read during the Halloween season!

 

Rating 8

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

Blog Tour, Promo Post, & Review – “The Divine Heart” By Danielle R. Mani

Blog Tour, Promo Post, & Review – “The Divine Heart” By Danielle R. Mani

Crooked Cat new Divine Heart Bookcover

Author: Danielle R. Mani
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
Release Date: September 27th, 2017
Available: Albris/Amazon/Goodreads

 

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The Divine Heart Blurb

Seventeen-year-old Elle Collins spent most her life waiting for someone else to die…

When a heart donor is found, Elle awakes from surgery gifted with more than just a new heart—clairaudient messages and spiritual apparitions haunt her until she is convinced that she must be insane. Either that, or her donor is sending a message.

Desperate for answers the medical community can’t provide, Elle’s divination leads her to the family of her donor—a young girl named, Cas. With the help of her best friend, Rob—the guy who’s a testament that her new heart is capable of love, Elle must make sense of the clues Cas is sending. As pieces of Cas’s life and death emerge, Elle will discover that she and Cas share more than just a heart.

My Review

Wow, what a ride! First of all, I’d like to thank author Danielle R. Mani for the honor of allowing me to read an ARC copy of her book! The YA Paranormal Community should prepare itself for a thrilling ride!

Transplants are a serious matter in our world today. Thousands of people are on waiting lists for organs that will ultimately saving their life. Some are on a list a mile long while others never have to wait long for their second chance at life. Elle Collins, is one of those who has been awaiting for her chance to live for a long time. She constantly has been under medical care and unable to live a normal, healthy seventeen-year-old’s life due to a heart defect she’s had since birth. Then finally she is given the chance to gain a life through a heart transplant from another girl we later find out named Cas.

Throughout the novel, the paranormal aspect kicks in through Elle experiencing basically messages from the heart’s former owner from beyond the grave. I enjoyed the pacing and how Mani was able to engage the reader with the mystery behind Cas’s messages to Elle. Completely did not see the twist at the end and I hope there will be a prequel in the works involving Cas!

 

Rating 9

 

A huge shoutout to Danielle R. Mani and YA Bound Book Tours for this opportunity! Grab yourself a copy, a cup of tea, and enjoy the tale of The Divine Heart!

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

Okay So Booksically Tag

Okay So Booksically Tag

Hi Everyone!

It’s been months since I’ve done a Book Tag! I came across this by Jade @ drinkcoffeeandreadbooks who found this by Andrew @ Ok so Booksically on Youtube. Go check both of them out! Here we go….

 

1. Tell us about your user/blog/channel name and your real name

1140914371I’ve never fully gone into the origins of my blog name so better late than never. I’m a total 90s kid and was into the show Charmed while growing up. Aside from wishing to be a slayer like Buffy from Buffy the Vamprie Slayer, I wanted to be a Halliwell sister. Silly, I know but it was a call back to my childhood.

I used to work at a library and at the time, I felt it was a safe haven for me and my love of books. For a moment, it dawned on me that book haven sounded like they go together. Sometimes I flip them back and forth, but regardless, it’s a haven of books.

Before having my own blog, I used to review regularly on Amazon and Goodreads on a separate account. My friends used to continually ask me why I didn’t move to a blog. I didn’t think I would have the time at first after I set up my site and added a few reviews. I moved from one state to another, changed jobs, and became grounded in my personal life and began to go back to my love of reading and began writing again.

I still am shaky on this and trying to get the hang of it. For those who continue to read my reviews, from the bottom of my heart, thank you! But yeah, that is how Charmed Book Haven Reviews was born over two years ago…

 

2. Open Instagram search and chat about the first 3 images

 

 

First picture – I recently listened through “The Twin Peaks Tapes of Agent Cooper” read by Agent Cooper himself, Kyle Maclachlan. Huge Twin Peaks fan and after Twin Peaks: The Return ended, I found my library carried the Overdrive file for the book and decided I’d take a trip down fandom lane. 10 out 10 Book charms, for sure!

Second Picture – Quick explanation, my friend Ashley and I were at an antique mall a few weeks ago and came across a trunk of old photos. One in particular resembled another “incarnation” of actor Matthew Gray Gubler from Criminal Minds. We kept a running joke for the rest of the day of who other celebrities past lives we may find hidden in a trunk or corner of historical pieces.

Third Picture – Again, same antique mall. Another couple of passions of mine are films and history. I found an old film projector and I couldn’t help but wonder what films were played on this machine back in the day.

3. Open YouTube and talk about the First three videos you see

I’m gearing up for October and to give you guys more Audio Spooky Tales for your Halloween so they are all Creepy Pasta stories told by the YouTube channel Chilling Tales for Dark Nights! Check them out!

4. Your favorite song to listen to while reading/writing, and how many plays its got

I usually listen to two songs in particular. Both are from the band Evanescence and they were originally demos that didn’t make it to their officially released albums except for their demo CD entitled Origin. They are both are the kind that will set the scene if you are reading romance, paranormal romance, dark scenes with romantic characters, turning points in books – scenes like that. I adore Amy Lee as a singer/songwriter/artist. Her voice echoes through your head as you read and enhances the reading experience.

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5. Favorite book on your shelf at the moment

To be fair, I have five different bookshelves ranging in sizes. I’m just going to go with my main bookshelf in my living room that contains my “Currently Reading” reads that aren’t on my Goodreads list (I hate cluttering up my list). If you haven’t kept up, I’m currently going through an Anne Rice Reading Marathon aside from clearing through ARC’s during the week. My Movie Vs. Book post featuring a Side-by-Side comparison of Interview with it’s film counterpart in order to ring in October!

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6. Favorite bookish thing you love using as a prop in your pictures/videos

I don’t really have a prop. I just go with the flow and take my pictures.

 

7. 3 Books you are dying to re-read, but probably never will

Ooooooh….this is going to be bad….there are too many….

 

 

HORNS – I watched the film a few years ago and listened to the audio book back in February. It’s such a heart-wrenching book. It tells the story of Ignacious Perrish who is wrongly accused of murdering his girlfriend, Merrin. He awakens after a drunken night to the shocking sight of horns protruding from the top of his forehead. He soon discovers that the horns force the people around him to tell him the truth or give into their deepest, darkest desires. It’s a heartbreaking story filled to the brim with symbolism and secrets that will make you cry. I may never pick this up not because the book is bad, but it’s contents will cause you to want to stay in a dark room and make peace with your conscience.

Gone With the Wind – I took the plunge and read this during my senior year of high school in 2011. I could not believe I read all of it at the time and today I cannot believe I actually did. It accurately depicts our nations past history to a T so be aware if you decide to embark on this journey. Do not get offended, this was history and we learn from past mistakes. That’s why I don’t think I’ll be reading it again. I’ll stick to the movie.

Wuthering Heights – Ok, I was not one of those girls in high school who bought into the whole love for Heathcliffe drama. I just didn’t get into Emily Bronte like I did with Charlotte and I’m afraid I still wouldn’t as an adult.

 

8. Amazing bookish finds (this can be books, bookish things, or bookish moments)

If you ever come to visit me, you’ll notice a LOT of bookish treasures I’ve found over the years whether it be first editions, classic literature school primers, etc. I love antique shops and old book stores and guaranteed if there is a treasure – I will find it!

9. Hottest author(s)/Author Crush

Sadly, I don’t have one. If this was a character crush, that’d be a whole other topic of discussion. But, I don’t really have an author crush. 😦

~

I challenge everyone who is reading this to do this tag! Don’t forget to tag me so I can read your responses!

Here are the questions if you want to copy and paste them

1 – Tell us about your user/blog/channel name and your real name
2 – Open Instagram search and chat about the first 3 images
3 – Open YouTube and talk about the first 3 videos
4 – Your favorite song to listen to while reading/writing, and how many plays it’s got
5 – Favorite book on your shelf at the moment
6 – Favorite bookish thing you love using as a prop in your pictures/videos
7 – 3 Books you are dying to re-read, but probably never will
8 – Amazing bookish finds (this can be books, bookish things, or bookish moments)
9 – Hottest author(s)/Author Crush

 

Happy Tagging!

~C.C.

C.H.B. ARC Review: “The Rattled Bones” By S.M. Parker

C.H.B. ARC Review: “The Rattled Bones” By S.M. Parker

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Title: The Rattled Bones
Author: S.M. Parker
Release Date: August 22nd, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse


Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

 

Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy courtesy of NetGalley and Simon Pulse in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any way.

 

Goodreads Description

“Unearthing years of buried secrets, Rilla Brae is haunted by ghostly visions tied to the tainted history of a mysterious island in this haunting novel from the author of The Girl Who Fell.

Maine-bred, independent Rilla Brae is no stranger to the deep. She knows the rhythms of hard work and harder seas. But when she experiences the sudden death of her father, the veil between the living and the dead blurs and she begins to be haunted by a girl on a nearby, uninhabited island. The girl floats a song over the waves, and it is as beautiful as it is terrifying. Familiar and distant.

Then Rilla meets Sam, a University of Southern Maine archeology student tasked with excavating the very island where the ghostly girl has appeared. Sam sifts the earth looking for the cultural remains of an island people who were forcibly evicted by the state nearly a hundred years ago. Sam tells Rilla the island has a history no locals talk about—if they know about it at all—due to the shame the events brought to the working waterfront community. All Rilla knows for sure is that the island has always been there—an eerie presence anchored in the stormy sea. Now Sam’s work and the ghostly girl’s song lure Rilla to the island’s shores.

As Rilla helps Sam to unearth the island’s many secrets, Rilla’s visions grow—until the two discover a tragedy kept silent for years. And it’s a tragedy that has everything to do with Rilla’s past.”

My Review

This story is one filled with self-discovery, mystery, ghosts, and beautiful imagery. This is a for sure read to add to your October reads or even start reading it now. S.M. Parker has presented us with a tale unlike once you’d see under the YA Thriller category, but it makes it’s mark within your mind and in the genre.

Rilla Brae newly inherited her father’s lobster fishing business after his untimely death, and its seeking to discover what her purpose truly is in this life. Being raised on the sea, she was told never to trust it when it appears quiet. It proves true as she is led astray to the mysterious Malaga Island by an abandoned wooden boat and an eerie song floating across the sea to her. The Island is shrouded in the old tale where it’s inhabitants mysteriously disappeared. what happened to the inhabitants and why is Rilla drawn to it?

Highly recommend this read! Grab a blanket, cup of tea, and lock your doors – it’ll leave you with chills and grasping the pages for more.

 

Rating 10

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

UPDATED: MOVIE VS. BOOK – I Know What You Did Last Summer!

UPDATED: MOVIE VS. BOOK – I Know What You Did Last Summer!

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Originally posted: 6/29/2016

Back in the seventies, author Lois Duncan penned a novel detailing the events surrounding a group of teenagers from a small town who hid a dirty secret entailing a hit and run and the discarding of a body. The events following the crime caused readers to look over their shoulder and teach them to always come clean. When you hear the words, I Know What You Did Last Summer, nine times out of ten, people will immediately think of the classic 1997 slasher film starring Jennifer Love Hewitt.

I got my hands on a revised copy of the novel and I was quite surprised with the vast difference between the novel and the book. Granted, the novel was originally written in ’73, but I thought the film would be at least more similar than it had been.

Original Premise

Teens Julie, Ray, Barry, and Helen hit a child on his bicycle in the middle of the night while joyriding, drinking, and smoking pot. A year passes by and they all have changed. Julie, once the top cheerleader who had the lowest grades, is now accepted into an Ivy League school with a high GPA. Ray ran off to California to be a fisherman not long after the incident. Barry is now one of the star players on his college football team. Helen quit high school her Junior year in order to be Channel 5’s new Golden Girl personality. 

The morning of Julie’s good news of learning she will be going to an Ivy League School, another letter arrives for her. Only this letter is different from the rest. It’s smaller than the other. The moment she opens it, her heart drops at the sight of the words, “I Know What You Did Last Summer”. 

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Film’s Premise(Taken From Wikepedia)

“Four high-school seniors – Julie, boyfriend Ray, best friend Helen and Helen’s boyfriend Barry – drive home from a party. While driving, Ray becomes distracted, hitting a pedestrian. Another teenager, Max, stops nearby. Julie convinces him everything is okay; he drives off. The group decides to dispose of the body. At the docks the man revives, attacking them before falling into the water.

A year later, Julie is home from college for the summer. She receives a letter stating, “I know what you did last summer.”

The film mildly draws inspiration from the book while constructing a solid story all on it’s own instead of being a complete adaption. No one died in the original book nor was the victim a grown man. The fact the original victim was a little boy struck a deep chord with me more so than the movie. The death of a child is devastating in my eyes because it’s the innocence of that child and for these characters to keep going, made me understand the antagonists wrath and course for revenge all the more.

Lois Duncan understood the formula on stirring up the reader’s emotions through the consequences the child’s death had on the family. Trauma can be taken in any way, shape, or form. In this boys case, their family took the worst of it and took matters into their own hands. The “Great Reveal” in the end is not all surprising.

tumblr_o3qhpmJbhW1qj7u8ao1_500.gifThe movie, though, ties in inspiration from the urban legend “The Hook” in order it to strike up deeper fears into the heart of the audience than merely focusing on a hit-and-run. The family of the victim did not seem to suffer as much as the family in the novel. The murders were gruesome, for 90s slasher standards, and the great reveal in the end is not expected.

All in all, I consider both the film and book to be separate entities. By comparison, they are extremely different in delivery, middle, and climax. The novel is a good short, little read while the movie is perfect to add to your horror collection. The characters in the book have a voice all their own that when compared to the actors, they are completely different. I don’t see Jennifer Love Hewitt as Julie or Freddie Prince Jr. as Ray. I see the novel characters the opposite of their portrayers. The actors are good for the film adaption of the characters maybe because they weren’t like their original inspirations.

Did I enjoy the novel? Yes, I did. The film? Oh yeah! Would I recommend fans of the film to read the book? I would caution them before they read because the book is by no means a slasher book. I remember reading it and waiting for it. When no murders came, I felt jilted because I grew up with the film version.

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In the end, I’d probably choose (don’t kill me) the film version. Hear me out, to me, it was better. I blame the delivery and the surprise ending compared to the book’s not so subtle ending. But like I said earlier, they should be considered separate entities. Plus, the film spawned a pretty good sequel.

 

My Rating

Rating 6

 

Film: This isn’t a Book so I’ll use Film Reels. 7 out of 10 Film Reels

 

What would you choose? Film or Movie?

 

Happy Reading and Watching!

 

~C.C.

 

 

5 Halloween/Scary Audio Tales Friday!

5 Halloween/Scary Audio Tales Friday!

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Hi Everyone!

 

I wanted to try something new this Friday and try to do it on a regular basis. Lately, I’ve been delving deep down a rabbit hole of old/classic spooky tales and old suspense radio shows via YouTube. Since October is coming and I consider September the “Warm-up” month to Halloween, I thought I may share some of my findings that you may enjoy and add to your Watchlist or Halloween Tales Playlists!

 

Tale #1: “Nupital Doom – The Bride in the Attic (The Haunted Mansion Tale)” As Told By Kat Cressida

 

 

For those who love the HAUNTED MANSION at the world-wide Disney parks, there was an official tale spawned by the original Haunted Mansion in Disney World that was finally recorded. I came across this last month and I bookmarked it to add it to a series of Halloween stories to re-listen too come October. The story is hauntingly beautiful and gives the ride a more dark view. My only negative is narrator Kat Cressida’s constant pauses and loud intakes of breath. Otherwise it is a perfect Halloween audio story to sink your teeth into!

 

Tale #2: “Tales of Witches, Ghosts, and Goblins (1972)” As Told By Vincent Price

 

 

If you are familiar with the legendary Vincent Price, I need to go further. If you do not, he was one of the most memorable actors in horror films in the 60s/70s. He was not only a film actor, however, but famous in his portrayals in Shakespearean theater, masterful storyteller, and art collector.  His voice is one you cannot forget nor run away from when you hear his tales of betrayal, spooks, and mayhem. Have a listen and explore the other tales Vincent Price brings to life!

Tale #3: “Till Death Do Us Part” Portrayed by the classic radio show – The Sealed Book

 

 

I originally found this episode when I was in high school. The radio actors transport you back to a time where you didn’t need horror movies to send chills up your back. The Sealed Book is a brilliantly crafted Suspense radio show that not even The Twilight Zone episodes can touch!

 

Tale #4: “Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula (1981)” Broadcasted on BBC radio

 

 

Have you ever wondered what it’d be like if Sherlock Holmes and Dracula went head-to-head? Move over, fanfiction, here is the story of a lifetime!

Tale #5: “Tower of Terror Last Ride” Performed by CZsWorld – Al Dente Creepypasta

 

 

Last tale to wrap up the week….back to Disney. I stumbled across this two days ago and I have to say it is amazing and gave me the chills! If you never rode the Tower of Terror in Disney World before it closed, listen to this, it will give you a different perspective on the ride. For those who had the honor and pleasure – enjoy!

 

Let me know if you enjoy any of these and don’t forget to share them!

Do you have any classic horror audio tales you enjoy listening to?

Also let me know in the comments below and I will share them next week!

 

Happy Reading (Listening)!

~C.C.

Top 5 Ways to Prep for a Book Convention ~ Love N. Vegas Edition!

Top 5 Ways to Prep for a Book Convention ~ Love N. Vegas Edition!

Hey Everyone!

So summer is officially over, but the fun does not end! Love N. Vegas is making it’s annual appearance on October 27th-29th in Las Vegas! There will be author Meet and Greets, Opportunities to get NEW Releases, and even a Costume Contest – who could ask for more at a book convention?

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In honor of this momentous occasion, I thought I’d take a moment to give you my…..

Top 5 Ways to Prepare For Your First Book Convention!

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1. Plan, Research, and Organize!

Before you plan any trip abroad to a convention or even a state, the important thing is to have a PLAN! If you are planning on flying to attend the convention, there are exclusive deals for Vegas Hotels and Flight packages going on right now that you can plan ahead and research deals for Vegas Hotels and Flight packages! If you are driving and from out of town, I stock up on gas cards by buying them with my Kroger card and racking up my points so I can get discounts at the gas pump on top of using the gift cards.

After planning on either driving or flying and booking the hotel, I like to ORGANIZE the specific print outs of hotel reservations, plane and convention tickets (if digital tickets are not available), rental car information, and convention events info and place them all in one folder I can put in my carry on bag or purse. That way, you know all of your important information is in one place where you can instantly grab and pull out instead of being spread out in multiple places. Plus, you won’t have to keep peeking at your phone every few seconds to make sure the right apps are open and drain your battery.

Another thing I’d like to do is RESEARCH the surrounding areas around the hotel where you are staying and the convention area. Restaurants, stores, etc.. they will come in handy especially if you are traveling on a budget. If you can find coupons or special deals going on in those places, print out and store them in the folder as well.

 

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2. Stock up on Snacks!

Let’s face it, we all get hungry and when we are on the run at a convention, the prices at the snack and food stands around can be a bit pricey. This is where our pre-planning comes in handy! Taking a short trip to the grocery store nearby and stocking your car and hotel mini-fridge with snacks and food will save you big bucks and keep you full on the go. Granola bars and mini-chip bags are life savers!

 

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3. Costume Ideas!

Comic-Con is not the only convention you can show up as your favorite character! Get out of your comfort zone and let your imagination run free! (My Potterhead family, I’m looking at you)  Since the majority of book conventions hold costume contests, the sky is the limit to what you can do. Even if you don’t want to sign up for the contest, dressing up is a fantastic way to connect with your fellow book lovers throughout your time at the convention.

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve connected with just by dressing up by my favorite character and vice versa. So what are you waiting for? Put on your robe, grab your wand, and make some magic with your costume! And if you’d rather be a Katniss Everdeen, Feyre Archeron, or other character – do it! Just remember to have fun!

 

4. Keep Your Black Marker Handy!

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Whether you are meeting your favorite author or meeting a new one for the first time, ALWAYS have a black permanent marker handy. Some authors may have them at their tables to use to sign your books or bags, but there are times where they will run out or you may happen to bump into them. Behold the magic marker moment!

 

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5. Pack Extra Mini-Tote Bags in One Bag!

Imagine if you are going to a library sale or a book sale. What do you usually bring? One tote bag? Two? A lot of times, there are many opportunities to purchase ARCs, books, or swag at book conventions. But if I don’t have enough bags to carry all my new “book children” I get super bummed. So, I found an alternative. I usually a couple totes into each other then fold them in half and place them to one side of the tote I will be carrying most of the day. That way you’ll have plenty of bags to use. Also during book conventions, there are some stations that will have tote bags filled with plenty of book swag to add to your collection! The extra bags will help you not have to place the other books you get into those special bags.

 

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Summer may be over, but Love N. Vegas is on!

Check it out here and join in on this momentous occasion!

~

What are your ways that you prep for a convention, book or otherwise?

What are your favorite memories?

If you could dress up and go as your favorite literature character, who would it be?

Let me know in the comments below!

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.B.H. ARC Review: “Sleeper” By MacKenzie Cadenhead

C.B.H. ARC Review: “Sleeper” By MacKenzie Cadenhead

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Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Fire

Release Date: August 1st, 2017

**Disclaimer – I received this book via NetGalley and Aria in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review whatsoever.**

Goodreads Description

“As if surviving high school wasn’t hard enough, Sarah Reyes suffers from REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, a parasomnia that causes her to physically act out her dreams. When she almost snaps her friend’s neck at a sleepover, Sarah and her nocturnal habits are thrust into the spotlight and she becomes a social pariah, complete with public humiliation.

When an experimental drug comes onto the market that promises nighttime normalcy, Sarah agrees to participate in the trial. At first, she seems to be cured. Then the side effects kick in. Why does a guy from her nightmare show up at school? Are the eerily similar dreams she’s sharing with her classmates’ coincidence or of her making? Is she losing her mind or does this drug offer way more than sleep?”

My Review

I held off this review until I could find the right words. I felt like I was being transported back in time to how YA novels were written when I was 15-16 years old. Back then, love interests were abusive (i.e. emotional, physical, etc.) but were still considered “healthy”. Innocent “pranks” were actually not truly pranks. People do not get sexually assaulted or at least they should not in pranks. I’m not a sensitive person when it comes to something I read. However, there were many cases in this book where events were not alright and crossed the personal line for me due to them being constant throughout the novel. Other readers may believe this to be “triggering” due to the nature of the contents. I personally didn’t need one, but other readers would need them if they have a past in these situations.

Anyway, The main plot of the novel is surrounds Sarah who suffers from a sleeping disorder that had recently caused her to attack a classmate in her sleep and almost kill her. She is offered a possible solution through the experimental drug called Dexidnipam. But with positive effects come negative effects that cause issues in her on-going life.

Many describe it as Heathers meets Inception and while I see that, the best parts of those films are lacking from this narrative. I want to see enemies understand what they are doing is wrong and not when it’s practically too late. I want to see justice, not “sins” swept under the wrong as if they do not exist.

For those interested in this novel, read my first paragraph. If you are like me and things in a novel don’t affect you due to it being fiction, then don’t worry about it and try it out. It had a few positive moments, but it needed better world building, character conflict resolution, and get rid of the insta-love factor.

 

Rating 5

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

 

 

C.H.B. Reviews: Anne Rice Read-a-Thon Book #1 – “The Mummy” Review

C.H.B. Reviews: Anne Rice Read-a-Thon Book #1 – “The Mummy” Review

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Title: The Mummy or Ramses of the Damned
Author: Anne Rice
Release Date: May 6, 1989
Total of Pages: 398
Publisher: Bellatine Books

*****

Goodreads Description

“Ramses the Great has reawakened in opulent Edwardian London. Having drunk the elixir of life, he is now Ramses the Damned, doomed forever to wander the earth, desperate to quell hungers that can never be satisfied. He becomes the close companion of a voluptuous heiress, Julie Stratford, but his cursed past again propels him toward disaster. He is tormented by searing memories of his last reawakening, at the behest of Cleopatra, his beloved queen of Egypt. And his intense longing for her, undiminished over the centuries, will force him to commit an act that will place everyone around him in the gravest danger.”

My Review

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For those who missed last week’s post, you can check it out here. Last week I announced that I would be conducting a Anne Rice book Read-a-Thon in honor of the long-awaited sequel to her novel The Mummywhich is to be released this November. I was contacted with the opportunity to read this before the release, but decided to first re-read The Mummy to refresh along with reading the first books of her other well-acclaimed series including The Vampire ChroniclesThe Mayfair Witches, and The Wolf Gift.

If you haven’t added me on Goodreads to follow me on my Read-a-Thon journey, you can send me a request here! You can never have too many friends on Goodreads and I love seeing what you all are also reading and your reviews.

The Mummy transports us back to what is called the “Edwardian London” period which is loosely the years among 1901 to 1910. If you’ve seen the original Universal “Mummy” films, they are mostly based during that time due to the archaeological digs that took place in Egypt around that time. The mysteries behind Egypt were on their way to be unlocked and released to the “modern” world.

Lawrence Stratford, renowned archeologist, embarks on an expedition that leaves him murdered, a daughter grieving, his company left to his brother and gambler nephew, and known for finding the mysterious tomb of Ramses the Great. How was he murdered? The papers say it was the mummy. But, in reality, he was poisoned by his nephew, Henry, after Lawrence denied to sign papers for more money to go to Henry.

tumblr_oodilhnNWa1utox96o1_500.gifThinking he could escape his sin, Henry feels the eyes of the mummy watching him. The story begins to pick up the pace from there as Henry begins to sink into his own madness. The moment Ramses fully awakes and stops Henry from attempting to murder his cousin Julie, Henry runs away in fear, screaming about the mummy almost killing him.

I admire Anne Rice for how much work she put into the novel and her research on the background of Cleopatra and Ramses. Ramses character is one of sadness for the loss of time due to him putting himself to sleep after the death of his love Cleopatra. But Ramses is also a character filled with revenge for Lawrence’s daughter, Julie. He set his sights on making it right and begins his plot for revenge….

For those who love the classic Mummy tale, take a look at this book! I’m completely ready to read the sequel and can’t wait to share it with you the Passion of Cleopatra!

 

Rating 9

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

Read-a-Thon: Anne Rice Edition!

Read-a-Thon: Anne Rice Edition!

First off, HAPPY NATIONAL BOOK LOVERS DAY, Charmers!

 

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It is our day! Our day to dive into our stacks of books! Our day to break out of our shell and get our book-loving-freaky selves! And why not celebrate by conducting a Read-a-thon? Not just any Read-a-thon, but one of YOUR own choosing with YOUR own rules.

Now I recently received a message not too long ago that I have the opportunity to read and review, RAMSES THE DAMNED: THE PASSION OF CLEOPATRA, the long-awaited sequel to The Mummy or Ramses The Damned By Anne Rice that is to release later this year! Her son, author Christopher Rice, joins her on this journey into picking up where we left Ramses back in 1989. Anne Rice is one of my favorite authors of all time and I’ve also enjoyed Christopher’s work too so you can only imagine my reaction to this once in a lifetime opportunity

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The last time I read “The Mummy” was after I picked up a copy from my local Half Price Books Store back in 2013. Since it’s been awhile, I’m in great need of a refresh. Therefore, I have constructed a plan….a plan so diabolical, I am surprised no one else has thought of it!

Ok, ok, I’m kidding about a diabolical plan. But I will be conducting a Read-a-Thon featuring one of the most notorious and well-known writers in the gothic horror genre next to H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King. Anne Rice made her mark upon the literature world back in 1976 with a new take on the nature of the classic vampire monster.

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She gave the vampire a “soul”, a lingering conscience causing them to long for their humanity. Her main character, Louis, provided a heart-to-heart conversation and lesson in “Interview With The Vampire” which left some readers and future authors aghast while inspired many to explore the life of a vampire and bring them back to the “light” so to speak.

This Read-a-Thon will span the next week or so for myself. You are free to join me at your descretion, of course. Apologies in advance for the odd language. I watched the movie adaption to “Interview” last night and my brain is still tuned into the story.

*Film side note, You can’t tell me anyone can top Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Antonio Bandaras, or even Christian Slater’s performance in this film! If they remake this film, I shudder to think who they’d choose to replace them.*

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With this Read-a-Thon, I’m planning on reading the following Anne Rice Novels and will be providing reviews with them:

First

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Goodreads Description

“Ramses the Great has reawakened in opulent Edwardian London. Having drunk the elixir of life, he is now Ramses the Damned, doomed forever to wander the earth, desperate to quell hungers that can never be satisfied. He becomes the close companion of a voluptuous heiress, Julie Stratford, but his cursed past again propels him toward disaster. He is tormented by searing memories of his last reawakening, at the behest of Cleopatra, his beloved queen of Egypt. And his intense longing for her, undiminished over the centuries, will force him to commit an act that will place everyone around him in the gravest danger.”

Second – ARC REVIEW COMING SOON

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Goodreads Description

“Ramses the Great, former pharaoh of Egypt, is reawakened by the elixir of life in Edwardian England. Now immortal with his bride-to-be, he is swept up in a fierce and deadly battle of wills and psyches against the once-great Queen Cleopatra. Ramses has reawakened Cleopatra with the same perilous elixir whose unworldly force brings the dead back to life. But as these ancient rulers defy one another in their quest to understand the powers of the strange elixir, they are haunted by a mysterious presence even older and more powerful than they, a figure drawn forth from the mists of history who possesses spectacular magical potions and tonics eight millennia old. This is a figure who ruled over an ancient kingdom stretching from the once-fertile earth of the Sahara to the far corners of the world, a queen with a supreme knowledge of the deepest origins of the elixir of life. She may be the only one who can make known to Ramses and Cleopatra the key to their immortality—and the secrets of the miraculous, unknowable, endless expanse of the universe.”

Third – Back to the Beginning

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Goodreads Description

“Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force—a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.”

Fourth – Something Wicked This Way Comes

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Goodreads Description

“On the veranda of a great New Orleans house, now faded, a mute and fragile woman sits rocking. And the witching hour begins…

Demonstrating once again her gift for spellbinding storytelling and the creation of legend, Anne Rice makes real for us a great dynasty of witches – a family given to poetry and incest, to murder and philosophy, a family that over the ages is itself haunted by a powerful, dangerous, and seductive being.”

Fifth – Feeling a Bit…Hairy

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Goodreads Description

“The place, the rugged coast of northern California. A bluff high above the Pacific. A grand mansion full of beauty and tantalizing history set against a towering redwood forest.

A young reporter on assignment from the San Francisco Observer. . . an older woman, welcoming him into her magnificent, historic family home that he has been sent to write about and that she must sell with some urgency . . . A chance encounter between two unlikely people . . . an idyllic night—shattered by horrific unimaginable violence. . .The young man inexplicably attacked—bitten—by a beast he cannot see in the rural darkness . . . A violent episode that sets in motion a terrifying yet seductive transformation as the young man, caught between ecstasy and horror, between embracing who he is evolving into and fearing who—what—he will become, soon experiences the thrill of the wolf gift.

As he resists the paradoxical pleasure and enthrallment of his wolfen savagery and delights in the power and (surprising) capacity for good, he is caught up in a strange and dangerous rescue and is desperately hunted as “the Man Wolf,” by authorities, the media and scientists (evidence of DNA threaten to reveal his dual existence). . . As a new and profound love enfolds him, questions emerge that propel him deeper into his mysterious new world: questions of why and how he has been given this gift; of its true nature and the curious but satisfying pull towards goodness; of the profound realization that there are others like him who may be watching—guardian creatures who have existed throughout time and may possess ancient secrets and alchemical knowledge and throughout it all, the search for salvation for a soul tormented by a new realm of temptations, and the fraught, exhilarating journey, still to come, of being and becoming, fully, both wolf and man”

Are you a fan of Anne Rice’s novels?

Which one is your favorite?

Let me know in the comments below!

I’ll be adding the books to my “Currently Reading” List on Goodreads. You can add me on there here if you’d like to join me on my journey!

Happy National Book Lover’s Day, Everyone! 

~C.C.

C.B.H. ARC Review – Emma In the Night By: Wendy Walker

C.B.H. ARC Review – Emma In the Night By: Wendy Walker

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Emma In the Night

**Disclaimer: I received this courtesy of SheSpeaks and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.**

Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: August 8th, 2017

“What Happened To Emma?”

On a dark night three years ago, sisters Emma and Cass disappeared without a trace from their home in Maine. Through endless searches, interviews, and an investigation leading nowhere – the police practically give up hope on finding the missing girls. That is until Cass turns up on her mother’s doorstep, wildly asking where her sister is and that the police must find her before it’s too late.

The narrative is told from the perspective of Cass and forensic psychologist Abby Winter’s perspective. The more I read and attempted to predict how the story unfolded, Cass’s internal dialogue would take over in the story and change it’s course. To the world, they knew Cass and her family as a happy one, but behind closed doors we discover secrets, rampant narcissism, affairs, and darker motives than meet the eye.

This past weekend, I spent pouring over this book from cover to cover and couldn’t seem to peel my attention away from it. It triggers suspense and endless questions your inner detective will beg to be answered. It’s truly a novel to add to your Suspense/Thriller TBR List!

 

Rating 8

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

 

C.B.H. ARC REVIEW: THE BREAKDOWN By B.A. Paris

C.B.H. ARC REVIEW: THE BREAKDOWN By B.A. Paris

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Available: Amazon/Goodreads/B&N
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: July 18, 2017

**Disclaimer: I received this courtesy of SheSpeaks and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.**

Why Didn’t You Stop?”

 

 

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I read B.A. Paris’ gripping thriller Behind Closed Doors (see review here) where a couple’s marriage isn’t always what it seems. Now, B.A. Paris comes back for round two where a woman finds out by not stopping to help someone in a broken-down car, can lead to dire consequences. But what will get to her first? A dark figure lurking in the darkness or her own guilt?

The book opens up to a dreary, rainy night. Cass Anderson decides to take a shortcut in order to get home quicker, despite her husband’s warning to take the regular route home. On her way, she notices a broken down car on the side of the road. She wrestles with whether she should make sure the person in the car is alright or stay on course.

Fast forward to the morning after, she learns the woman in the car was murdered and the woman just so happened to be an acquaintance of Cass’s. She begins to go into this downward spiral of guilt and paranoia. Guilt from the murder, but her paranoia stems from the fact she is beginning to loose her memory. Even the simplest things are beginning to fade away, but the memory of that night remains constant. But then the phone calls start…..and she begins to believe someone is watching her…..will she figure out who the killer is before it’s too late?

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This book has a large set of shoes to fill considering how good Behind Closed Doors was. Did it meet up to expectations? Yes and no. B.A. Paris is fantastic with her pacing and build up. Where it lacks is in lists of suspects and characters as well as the reveal at the end. I don’t want predictability attached to my mystery. I want to be surprised! Or at least allow the reveal not be from an obvious character right away.

Aside from those complaints, this book is very well-conceived and written. Will B.A. Paris come out with another novel next year is my question and will it exceed expectations? Or will her next novel make us wonder….

“If you can’t trust yourself…..who can you trust?”

 

Rating 7

 

Happy Reading,

 

~C.C.

Quick ARC Review: “Quinsey Wolf’s Glass Vault” By Candace Robinson

Quick ARC Review: “Quinsey Wolf’s Glass Vault” By Candace Robinson

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Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

 

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. This does not effect my review whatsoever.*

 

Goodreads Description

People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among the missing. Perrie, along with her friend August, go on a pursuit to search for them in the mysterious museum. Could the elusive Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault have anything to do with their disappearances?”

 

My Review

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This book, where to begin, it felt like a mashup of quite a few things I’m nostalgic about. It felt like it could have been an addition to R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series despite having nothing to do with the street mashed up with one of my favorite 80s horror films, Waxworks, starring Zach Galligan from Gremlins. It follows a similar plot as to if you go into a mysterious museum, no one hears from you ever again.

Unlike other reviewers, I actually had an issue with the way the main character, Perrie, point of view. Many of her sentences were slight, quips, and often short in a way that made no sense to the plot and there were times where they were often not needed. The writing structure in general needed work. It maybe since the copy I was sent was un unpolished draft, but the writing was weird at times and I’m not even discussing the plot.

The plot itself is genius and executed in such a way, you can’t help but keep reading. The thing is, you have to get past Perrie’s delivery. The images, other characters, and even the secrets hiding in the dark gave me chills as I continued to read on. It kept me hooked to say the least and the twist was very unexpected.

If you are a horror fan or looking for a quick thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat, then this is the book for you. I would be happy to read a sequel to this, but I’m strongly hoping Candace Robinson puts more work into how her characters speak and describe settings.

 

My Rating

Rating 7

 

Happy Reading,

 

~C.C.

ARC Review: Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles By J.M. Sullivan

ARC Review: Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles By J.M. Sullivan

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Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads/IndieBound

 

**Disclaimer: I received a free copy via NetGalley and Pen Name Publishing in exchange for a honest review. This does not effect my review whatsoever.**

 

NetGalley Description

 

For those who love Alice in Wonderland as much as I do, I highly recommend this book! It has found it’s way to a special place next to my other Alice in Wonderland inspired tales. Question is, are you ready to go into this new twisted world of Wonderland?

 

Rating 9

 

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

Quick Review: “A Court of Thorns and Roses” By Sara J. Maas

Quick Review: “A Court of Thorns and Roses” By Sara J. Maas

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**Disclaimer – This is a large fan base, we each have an opinion. I respect everyone for their opinion and I apologize in advance for any hurt feelings. Remember, this is only my opinion.**

 

Hi Everyone!

Long time, no see! Been on vacation and working non-stop while trying to read as many books as possible toward my Summer Reading Goals this year. One of which, was diving into the world of fairy tale re-tellings. I first read Spelled by Betsy Schow which you can check out my review here. Next on the list was the popular Beauty and the Beast retelling by Sarah J. Maas entitled “A Court of Thorns and Roses“.

I’m not going to go extremely deep in detail since this series is very well-known and the latest installment had recently been released. I will admit some of the material lived up to it’s hype, but I have issues with this book. First of all, many readers are under the misconception that this is a Young Adult book as well as it is labeled that way in the library system. However after doing a little digging, I discovered this series is in fact not Young Adult but New Adult. It is shelved that way due to Sarah J. Maas’s past experience with the genre. So if you read this and thought the sex scenes were out of line for a YA novel, rest assured it was not intended for it.

Another issue I had was the pacing. It moved extremely slow for about 1/3 of the books, making it close to being a DNF for me. Then there was the main character, Feyre. And the ending with the main character Feyre not understanding the obvious answer to the villain’s riddle made me throw the book across the room. And the fact the villain gave the answer away before “the great reveal” and it went over Feyre’s head! Her guilt at the end of the book was only to create an plot point for the next book to attempt to fix that was really unnecessary.

To be honest, I do not like Feyre. Seriously, Feyre is a complete dolt 55% of the time throughout this book, it made me want to shake her! I’m getting tired of main characters like her for not listening and putting themselves in danger just because they wish to discover what secrets lie beyond the “forest” in this case. I’m reading the second installment right now and her attitude problem from the first book has escalated to a new height. There are times where she shows a personality and kindness, but it’s barely there.

I pray the rest of the second will improve, if not, I will unfortunately put another series to rest on my shelf.

Rating 6

What did you think about this book/series?

What drew you to it and why?

Let me know in the comments down below!

 

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

C.B.H. Reviews: “Spelled” By Betsy Schow

C.B.H. Reviews: “Spelled” By Betsy Schow

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Title: Spelled (Spelled #1)
Author: Betsy Schow
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date:June 2, 2015
Originally Received by Netgalley
Re-read: May 2017

Goodreads Description

Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day.

Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the brooding prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Talk about unhappily ever after.

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called “Kansas.” Now it’s up to Dorthea and her pixed off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse…before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.”

My Review

I originally read this novel back in 2015 before I had this lovely blog and added my reviews outside of Amazon and Goodreads. Back then, re-told fairy tale stories were not as big as they currently are today. Now, we are beginning to see a higher increase in the re-told fairy tale/fantasy category with the Court of Thorns and Roses series, Lunar Chronicles seriesTwists Tale series, Huntedand many more now that we want to see more takes of our beloved fairy tale characters.

Spelled by Betsy Schow, though, is not your average fairy tale re-telling. It’s more like a parody cluster of fairy tale characters overlaying cliches, overlaid by over the top action in this book. Our main character is Dorothy who is a spoiled brat princess who is restricted to her castle because the females of her family are cursed and foretold to destroy the world with fire. Call back to Sleeping Beauty, the kingdom is rid of devices that can create fire and the only way the curse be prevented is the cursed princess be rescued by a prince.

Going back to Dorothy, she despises any of the princes her parents attempt to being to her attention. Dorothy would rather spend money acquiring the latest Glenda fashions and Hans Christian heel collections. Her parents decide enough is enough and set up an arranged marriage between her and prince Kato. You want to see a spoiled little princess have a temper tantrum and basically destroying her kingdom over a wish? It’s not pretty. To be honest, I almost stopped reading because of Dorothy’s immaturity. I get you are trying to change the average fairy tale princess, but if it causes pain for your readers to read about her then you need to tone it down.

The story is filled with hilarious comebacks, changes, and gives a better appreciation for the original material. It contains easter eggs you have to pay extra close attention to unless you’d miss them. Do I recommend this? Yes, but I do not suggest you place it next to your other fairy tale retellings. I believe books like this deserve a category all of their own.

 

Rating 6

 

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

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C.H.B. Reviews: Rest In Piece By B.W. Ginsburg

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Available: Amazon/Goodreads

 

**Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review whatsoever**

 

 

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First, I gave to give props to author B.W. Ginsburg. Not only did she is a published author whose debut novel is an astonishing take on the paranormal, but she is also the writer of the blog Getting Through Anxiety! Check her out, follow her blog, and send her some love! She also is working on a volume of short stories that I cannot wait to read when it comes out!

 

My Review

Rest In Piece is a young teen novel fit for those who are a fan of the paranormal and mysteries alike. We travel back in time to the thirties and are introduced to nine-year-old Catherine Adams who goes mad after witnessing a set of ghostly figures transforming themselves into a pile of puzzle pieces. Afraid her parents won’t believe what she witnessed, Cathrine obsessively scrambles to put the pieces of the puzzle back together. The moment she fits the final piece into it’s slot, Catherine disappears into thin air.

Fast forward twenty years, the Adams prepare to sell their house to the Eriksons’. The Eriksons are vastly different from the Adams. Their twelve-year-old daughter, Louise, immediately finds the old puzzle up in Catherine’s old room. Then strange events begin to occur. Louise starts having terrible nightmares, her face begins to change, and stories of ghosts send her on a journey on trying to save a mysterious figure hidden within the confines of the puzzle…Cathrine….

The question is, will Louise be able to save Cathrine and survive?

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I thoroughly enjoyed this new take on a a ghost story! Despite it being for younger readers, I couldn’t get enough of watching how the story unfolded with Louise trying to piece the puzzle in her own life in trying to save Cathrine. It did not turn out how I expected it too. I still recommend this book if you are looking for a new ghost story to add to your personal collection and to pass on.

 

Rating 8

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

 

Top 5 Reading Goals! Summer 2017 Edition

Top 5 Reading Goals! Summer 2017 Edition

 

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Is it just me or is this year flying by? Summer is coming up and there will be plenty of traveling to do. Even if you currently do not have traveling plans right now, there is no better time than to prep your Summer Reading List!

Each novel will take you to a different part of the world and to the future, past, or present. If you are having a summer like mine was last year, work became priority and traveling sadly had to be placed on the back burner. But as readers, we don’t need to spend gobs of money in order to do so (instead we buy books). No, books can take that place within our hearts and whisk us away to the distant lands across mountains and oceans into a whole other time where we ache to travel.

But it’s 2017! It’s time for something new! Here are my Top 5 Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List! Now, these are not specific books but examples that you could use to create your Summer List this year.

1. Change Up Your Genres

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It’s always good to branch out of your comfort zone and dip your toes into genres you never thought you’d fall in love with. If you are mostly a contemporary reader, why not try to walk on the dark side and throw in a mystery or two? YA Lover? Try a few Adult novels and see if you’d enjoy them. Genres are continuing going through a metamorphosis and in some cases, mixing in with various subjects you would never believe would come together to create a masterpiece……sometimes change is VERY good! Do not allow the fear of change disrupt the power of a good book!

If you’ve kept up on my blog and Goodreads reading list, I’ve mainly been reading paranormal romances, novellas, thrillers, graphic novels, and a few fantasy novels here and there lately. I’m changing it up this summer by diving into the world of fairy tale re-tellings, fantasy, and historical fiction/fantasy mix. When will the transition begin, you may ask? You should see my library holds list…..

2. Dive Into Classics!

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School/College is out, why read classics? Um, I’ll tell you why! See the difference between being forced to read something for a grade versus reading a book because you want to is a HUGE difference. Especially if it is a classic you’ve had gathering dust on your TBR shelf. Research also comes in handy if you are searching for a classic book that is not usually required in schools.

For instance, there are classic books transferred into films but are lacking in print copies. EBay to the rescue! I’m serious. I have probably spent more time buying out of print copies for books in the last two months than I have purchasing books on the shelves everywhere. Two in particular that I will be creating Movie Vs. Book posts on these beauties. I highly recommend checking both these books and their film companions!

 

 

3. Biographies

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Now don’t stop reading! Hear me out. Our world today needs new leaders and many of us need inspiration in our lives. Who are the people we admire? How did they get to where they are today? Maybe their life story will inspire us to make a huge step in our lives.

Currently, I’m reading biographies on the late Vincent Price and author Mary Shelley. Looking into their lives has actually shown me how much one’s past, especially when it comes to family. The famous actor, Vincent Price, was constantly afraid of being destitute due to a family “curse” told from their family history. Mary Shelley’s mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, was one of the founding women of the feminist movement. It was her teachings from which Mary was taught and she based her Frankenstein novel on the loneliness she felt with growing up without her mother around due to her death after Mary was born.

These two people had more to their stories; however, it made me realize that who you see and whose works you may read will show you a glimpse into that person’s very soul. So much so, it’s incredible to read what was going on behind the scenes as history was being made. Whose life story are you interested in reading?

 

4. Summer-based Books

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Cliche, I know, but if you can not figure out books to read or genres to move too, you can always go with ole faithful and read about books surrounding summer or the beach.

5. Fandom Reads

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Ah, my favorite one of them all! Fandom Reads! What do these include? Fanfiction, books based on your favorite film, show, or even the original series from which they came from! Fairy tale re-tellings do go under this goal category due to the fact….well…if you love Alice in Wonderland as much as I do, you have your subject to search for re-tellings, twists, or fan fiction about it! The possibilities are endless!

 

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Do you have reading goals for this summer? If so, what are they?

Do any of my goals match your own?

Have any fairy-tale re-telling suggestions?

 

Let me know in the comment section below!

 

 

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

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 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 where characters lack substance in their interaction with one another or even in transforming into someone we grow to love (or hate). 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 Pick Up the Pace?”

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 Necessity

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 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 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 sanity. Yeah, those are never 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, Fantasy, 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. 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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Library Sale Mini-Book Haul

Library Sale Mini-Book Haul

The moment I hear there is a small library sale, I practically run to the site. I was a little late but I was able to snag these reads!

If you’ve read these, let me know your thoughts in the comments! 😊

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.H.B. Reviews Book Blitz & Giveaway – Holiday Ever After

C.H.B. Reviews Book Blitz & Giveaway – Holiday Ever After

 

Holidays Ever After: Contemporary Romance Holiday Boxed Set

Publication date: December 5th 2017
Genres: Adult, Romance

 

 

Which holiday hottie will you unwrap first?

No matter the time of the year, it’s always the season for seduction!

From Spicy to Sweet and everything in between, this sizzling boxed set of TWENTY contemporary romances from today’s New York Times, USA Today, and International bestselling authors will give you tons of holiday hunks to fall in love with.

Inside these pages you’ll find everything from sexy strangers and brooding billionaires to marines, firefighters, and the guy next door.

Whether you’re in the mood for a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, or a New Year’s celebration, this limited edition Holiday Ever After anthology is packed with exclusive, full-length titles to lift your spirits. From Halloween to Kwanzaa, Valentines Day, Norooz, and the Fourth of July, these stories will give your holiday season extra spark and will be the best romantic holiday bundle to hit your ereader this year!

Get ready to heat up your holidays when you treat yourself to Holidays Ever After!

Including stories from…

Colleen Charles

Monica Corwin

Amy L. Gale

Becca Fanning

Victoria Pinder

Alexa Padgett

Tuesday Embers

Khardine Gray

Holly Dodd

Liz Gavin

Jillian Quinn

Courtney Hunt

Vivi Holt

Kristen Luciani

Astrid Arditi

Rebekah R. Ganiere

Jessica Gray

Ja’Nese Dixon

Teresa Roman

Angela Corbett

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

SNEAK PEEKS:

Someone Special

By: Teresa Roman

“What can I do?”

I lifted my head, looked into his troubled eyes and then, without thinking, said,” Kiss me.”

For a moment I wasn’t sure he would. Not after our stupid fight and my bullheaded refusal to pick up the phone and apologize. Only moments ago, he’d referred to himself as a friend. Maybe that’s all he wanted us to be. But then he leaned forward and pressed his lips against mine. One hand came around the back of my head, the other pulled me closer to him. My heart raced as his lips pressed harder against mine. His tongue slid into my mouth and I reached up to circle my arms around his shoulders.

The heat from his kiss and the way his body pressed against mine chased away the cold that had felt like it settled inside my bones, but it was still raining, and though the heat in my car had helped to dry my scrubs a little, they were soaked again from standing out in the rain talking to Jude.

I pulled away from him and reached into my purse searching for my keys. “Let’s go inside.”

Jude followed me without saying a word. After I closed the door behind him and flicked the light switch on, I turned around and kissed him again. He ran his hands through my dripping wet hair moaning gently as he pressed me against the door, pinning me between it and his body.

“You have no idea how much I’ve missed you, Dawn.”

He lowered his lips, kissing the sensitive skin on my neck. My breathing quickened. “I missed you, too. Badly. I was so stupid. I shouldn’t have—”

Jude pressed his finger over my lips. “Shhh, let’s not talk about that right now.”

He was right. Talking could come later, right at that moment the only thing I wanted was him. I needed this connection. And not just because it had one of the most heartbreaking days I’d had in a while, but because not seeing him or talking to him for

all those days made me realize that I did have feelings for him, feelings that were stronger than I’d cared to admit. Feelings I desperately wanted to show him because I sucked at finding the right words.

Blissful Valentine

By: Amy L. Gale

Dean jumps over the top of the couch in a Dukes of Hazard move and lands on the cushion next to me perfectly seated. It’s like he practiced the move a million times. He slides his arm around my shoulder. “Sorry bud, she’s with me.”

I fight the urge to stand up and cheer from his flawlessly choreographed stunt. Soft fingertips graze the skin under my collar bone.

The man squints and tips his head. “She can be with you later,” he slurs and pulls at my arm again.

I yank my hand backward breaking his loose grip. “I’m a one-man kinda woman.” I shrug. “Sorry, there can be only one.”

The man holds up his hands and backs away. He trips on the coffee table on his way out.

Dean wrinkles his forehead. “Where’d you come up with that line?”

I sip my drink. “A line from a cheesy 80’s movie.”

He slowly slides his hand off my shoulder. “No way, Highlander?”

I raise my cup.

He leans back and looks me up and down. “Yep, you’re perfect. Marry me.”

I set my cup back on the table. “Wow, a marriage proposal because I know a line from a movie where the character’s main goal is to cut the other’s head off… It screams romance.” I smile.

“Hey, everyone ends up dead in Romeo and Juliet so decapitation in Highlander works too.” He winks.

I chuckle. Guess he’s got a point. Romeo and Juliet is a classic. If poisoning can be romantic then so can beheading. “Flowers and candy don’t stand a chance next to decapitation.”

He shakes his head. “I get it, all girls want is expensive jewelry, fancy dinners, and a white knight on a horse.”

Yeah, like anyone actually gets that. I press my lips together and hold back a smile. “I’ll take John Cusack holding up a radio and blasting a ballad outside my bedroom window.”

He flashes a sexy half-grin. “Nice, a girl who knows her 80’s flicks.” He tips his chin toward me. “Theater major?”

I scrunch my eyebrows and move my head back. “Do I look like I want to be a star?”

He scans my body, from my black, high-heeled boots, to my fitted, white, now-stained, shirt. “Hell, yeah.”

My skin scorches from his heavy gaze. “I’m a double major, business and marketing.” I grab my cup and slug down the rest of my drink. “How about you? No.

Wait. Let me guess. Undeclared until junior year and until then it’s all about frat parties and bagging chicks.” Oh my god, what the hell am I saying? Real cool, Brooke.

I cover my mouth with my hand and slowly lower my fingers down my chin, dropping my hand at my side. “I’m sorry, looks like I had a bitch hiccup. I’m blaming the drink.”

 

GIVEAWAYS!

You can enter to win a box of books here as well as gift cards via the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Happy Reading!

~C.C.

End Of the Year Book Tag!

End Of the Year Book Tag!

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I found this tag on Katelyn @ From Cover to Cover‘s blog and originally created by Ariel Bessett. I thought it would be fun to get back into the Book Tag game by going over this past year’s Bookish events.

Question #1: Are there any books you started this year that you need to finish?

Wow, I could give you a list. I had to pause in my Anne Rice Book-a-Thon to tap into my ARC list and make deadlines. I have another few books I started and didn’t finish from the beginning of the year. Here is my list of books I still need to finish:

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Question #2: Do you have an autumnal book to transition into the end of the year?

 

Not really, I’m in the middle of so many books that I couldn’t pick just one as an autumnal transitional book.

 

Question #3: Is there a new release you’re still waiting for?

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I have a huge list of new releases I’m waiting for, one in particular is Kelley Armstrong’s latest edition to her Casey Duncan series. I’m planning on beginning the series at the beginning of next year and adding this new release to my collection.

Question #4: What are three books you want to read before the end of the year?

 

I want to finish at least one of the books I’ve been in the middle of but two others would be new reads I’ve needed to knock off my TBR list…

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Question #5: Is there a book you think could still shock you and become your favourite book of the year?

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I already know what this book is and I’ve already read it and plan on reading it again. I highly suggest this to anyone who is looking for a thrilling read!

Question #6: Have you already started making reading plans for 2018?

Not yet, I’ve almost reached my 2017 reading goal for the second time this year so I’ll probably attempt to double it next year. I’ll be keeping you all posted on what next years reading goals will be. I’m anxious to see how it will all go.

 

I challenge you readers to do this tag!

Don’t forget to link your posts back here so I can see your answers!

Happy Reading!

~C.C.