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.

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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

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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?

~

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 stand up to fight the evil Randal Flagg in Stephen King’s apocalyptic novel The Stand-books have whisked me off to lands that only writers could conceive.

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

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

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

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

Join Me on this Journey Through the Pages of Books!

~C.C. Campaign

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Halloween 2017 Reads

Halloween 2017 Reads

If you take a look at many of my posts or keep track of my Goodreads page, you probably notice I read a lot of books that have to do with the Paranormal, Horror, or Thriller Genres. A LOT. I have a sneaky suspicion my subconscious has a habit of constantly being on the search for the newest thrill in literature! This year is no exception! Here are my….

Top 4 Halloween 2017 Reads Recommendations!

My Review

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If you are a fan of old slasher movies, this is kind of a take of what happens to the survivors or in this case….The Final Girls….

Synopsis: Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Lisa, who lost nine sorority sisters to a college dropout’s knife; Sam, who went up against the Sack Man during her shift at the Nightlight Inn; and now Quincy, who ran bleeding through the woods to escape Pine Cottage and the man she refers to only as Him. The three girls are all attempting to put their nightmares behind them, and, with that, one another. Despite the media’s attempts, they never meet.

Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. She has a caring almost-fiancé, Jeff; a popular baking blog; a beautiful apartment; and a therapeutic presence in Coop, the police officer who saved her life all those years ago. Her memory won’t even allow her to recall the events of that night; the past is in the past.

That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, wrists slit, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy’s doorstep. Blowing through Quincy’s life like a whirlwind, Sam seems intent on making Quincy relive the past, with increasingly dire consequences, all of which makes Quincy question why Sam is really seeking her out. And when new details about Lisa’s death come to light, Quincy’s life becomes a race against time as she tries to unravel Sam’s truths from her lies, evade the police and hungry reporters, and, most crucially, remember what really happened at Pine Cottage, before what was started ten years ago is finished.

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I adore this anthology! Each one of these stories is influenced by a classic horror film so none are alike. Some of the contributing authors are Leigh Bardugo, A.G. Howard, and Kendare Blake.

My Top 3 Short Stories from this anthology:

Hide-And-Seek by Megan Shepherd

On the I-5 by Kendare Blake

The Flicker, The Fingers, The Beat, The Sigh by April Genevieve Tucholke

My Review

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Perfect ghost story to add to your October Reads collection!

Synopsis: 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.

 

24396858I toggled back and forth between reading this book and listening to the audiobook version. You have to do both! It’s a different experience whether you are listening or reading it. The book is filled with diary entries, police reports, psychiatric recording notes, etc. The audiobook brings these to life and enhances the experience. 10/10 Book Charms for both of these, hands down!

Synopsis: Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, “the girl of nowhere.” 

Kaitlyn’s diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn’t exist, and in a way, she doesn’t – because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson. 

Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It’s during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it. 

Honorable Mentions

 

What Halloween tales are you diving into this month? 

If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below!

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

Release Blitz: “Oracle (The Guardians of Truth Book 1)” By Andi Copeland

Release Blitz: “Oracle (The Guardians of Truth Book 1)” By Andi Copeland

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Release Date: Thursday, September 28th

Available: Amazon/B&N/Kobo/iBooks/Goodreads

**Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy courtesy of the author in exchange for a honest review**

Blurb

Rhennan Ward is no one special. Or so she thought. When her grandmother gives her a Tree of Life pendant for her eighteenth birthday, she finds out how very different she really is. 


Rhennan is next in line to be 
Oracle, the one chosen by the Creator to guard the secret of Heaven – The Tree of Life. Rhen’s grandmother, the current Oracle, fails to pass along the knowledge of Rhen’s destiny, and when strange things start happening, Rhen believes she is going crazy. Coming into her powers before her time, Rhen sees things she shouldn’t. Her parents are keeping secrets from her, and that only adds to the stress she feels about her sanity.

Maddox Bell is the new guy at school. When the tall, good-looking bad-boy shows up in his leather jacket and moto boots, all it takes is one look into his sapphire eyes, and he makes Rhen forget about her ex-boyfriend – the one who broke her heart. He also makes her forget to study, and with only three months left in the school year, Rhen is torn between keeping her perfect grade point average and spending time with the man who has his own secrets. As Maddox and Rhen become closer, things get stranger, threatening to rip them apart.


When Rhen makes one desperately wrong decision, her life and that of her family, is irrevocably changed forever.  “If this was Hell, the Christians on Earth were going to be pissed.”

Talon Silver is the Guardian who has been watching over Rhen her entire life. He is also the one who rescues her from the hands of a demon. He is supposed to be one of the good guys, having Angel blood. Why, then, is Rhen hesitant to trust him?

Angels and demons. Good versus evil. Things aren’t always black and white, and Rhen has to figure out who she can trust.

In this twist on good vs evil, follow Rhennan and Nikira Ward as they learn who they really are and what that means for their future. 

My Review

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Andi Copeland brings a whole new look at Angels and Demons, myth, romance, and action impacted into this first edition of The Guardians of the Truth series. Rhennan’s semi-normal life is about to be turned upside down. Angels and Demons are beginning a war and Rhennen’s family is right in the middle of it.

With the arrival of Maddox, a mysterious teen, at Rhennan’s school – she can’t help but feel very strange around him. Both of attraction and something deeper, darker than she could ever imagine. Then her father and grandmother begin to act strange around her until the truth of their hidden heritage comes out of the woodwork.

It’s a story of growth, tradition, and the battle between good and evil on a whole other scale!

 

Rating 10

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

 

no one special