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 one I have very dear to my soul. I have read great books and ones 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 know before. Without this Charm, my brain feels like it’s grasping at empty air. Your brain craves to learn, to think, to remember. This Charm has me ask, “Did I learn anything new or interesting?

Book Charm #3
The Charm of Character

Characters are the main elements of the story that can make it or break it. They are the author’s children, their ideas who manifest themselves upon the page. But like humans outside the pages, they must have personality and growth. There are books where this does not happen amongst the characters. Some characters ruin the book for lacking in substance. 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. These days, it’s different. There should be no need for an Author to suffer from this. Alas, some do. However, some may snap out of it later in the book. This Charm makes me ask, “Will This Book Ever Speed Up?”

Book Charm #5
The Charm of Romance

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

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

Book Charm #7
The Charm of Length

This Charm goes hand-in-hand with the Agility Charm. There are some books that need more information while others may need to be filtered for draggy, unnecessary content that make the book much longer than necessary. This leaves some readers like me, skipping over a good chunk of the novel and questioning why it was even written. “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 shall never come to pass. 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 “Never Read Again” 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 made it just didn’t put in the time to reach that status. Question: “Will this story last generations to come?”

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

What do you think of my rating system?

Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

Welcome!

Welcome!

Hello Everyone!

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

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

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

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

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

Join Me on this Journey Through the Pages of Books!

~C.C. Campaign

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C.H.B. Reviews: “Stargazer” By: Claudia Gray

C.H.B. Reviews: “Stargazer” By: Claudia Gray

I began the Evernight series earlier this year. The first book, heavily disappointed. I started this book back in June, but stopped to read other books on my list which called my attention. I finally picked it up again last week and finished it last weekend.

While there may have been new twists added to the story, unfortunately, I still rolled my eyes more times than I can count. We go back to complicated dramatic love story of Bianca and Lucas. Sum up: Bianca, (born vampire) and Lucas (vampire hunter) = “Star-Crossed Lovers”.

What I find terribly depressing about this story is the fact that the author presents this possibly fantastic new element to the story involving wraiths and Balthazar’s sister only to shove it to the back burner the majority of the time. When Balthazar’s sister came into play, it felt like it was a waste of time considering his sister has become “evil” by getting involved with the wrong crowd, alerting Lucas’s vampire hunter squad. With the wraiths, I’m inwardly groaning right now, it starts as an interesting turn of events but then falls into only causing more drama and Bianca whining over ridiculous things.

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Much like Twilight’s New Moon, we are reminded of the whole Romeo and Juliet element to the current story. Bianca even begins to compare her own relationship to the story. I’m currently trying not to throw this book across the room right now, I’m that frustrated with it. Her head is 85% filled with the obsession of Lucas, Lucas, Lucas, and Lucas. Even when her life is in danger, she constantly thinks about him. Maybe it’s because I’m not a teenager anymore that I get frustrated by this and find it repulsive but I find it repulsive.

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Alas, I have the third book in this series and will eventually read and review it. Could be a month….or two….or three….but it’ll get done.

If you haven’t read this series, I advise you not too. Don’t waste your time unless you want a splitting headache and wonder if you should take some anger management classes.

 

My Rating: 3 out of 10 Book Charms

 

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “The Scarlet Tanager (The Annika Brisby Series B.3)” By: Emigh Cannaday

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “The Scarlet Tanager (The Annika Brisby Series B.3)” By: Emigh Cannaday

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Available: Amazon

**Disclaimer: I received a free ARC copy of the book from the author in exchange for a 100% honest review. This does not affect my review whatsoever.**

Oh…my…gosh…

Here I thought the cliffhanger from the previous book left me on edge, begging for more. This one sent me even more into a frenzy. The whole growth of the characters, compared to the first story, is phenominal. My only negative is that I wish I could have seen Talvi’s growth more in this book. I adore Talvi. He’s that bad boy who you wish could transform into that knight in shining armor but his past, both people and actions, prove its next to impossible. However, he tears those pre-desposed notions to shreds and proves he can be that knight.

514X2miSruL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_In the last book, The Silver Thread, I watched  him and Annika’s relationship catch fire and burn then rise up from the ashes like a Phoenix. In this one, however, the book mainly focuses on Finn’s demotion of being the “good” brother to being the “evil” brother. I wished I had the ability to leap into the book just to throttle him! And Yuri? I still believe she manipulated Annika’s thoughts into her turning to Finn. Between Yuri’s deception vs. Finn’s deception, though, I have to say Finn was worse. On the other hand, I’d like to argue it was Yuri’s fault by sticking her spoiled nose where it didn’t belong in the first place.

On a side note, Hilda. I am absolutely thrilled for her current situation! After Finn’s used her after all these years then dropping her, it completely appalled me. He didn’t even think of her at all.

We can compare Hilda and Finn reactions to the people they loved being taken away or leaving side-by-side, and clearly Hilda has surpassed Finn. She picked up the pieces and I applaud how her storyline is continuing along with her decisions!

This book was completely worth the wait! I want more details on Talvi’s growth in the next book, for sure. For the ending, I sincerely hope it is not true. I could not bear it to be! I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

If you’d like to join me on Twitter or my Facebook page in discussing this series, you can obtain the copy of the first book here.

Don’t forget to “Like” the Facebook page or Follow me on Twitter!

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

Support Independent Authors!

Support Independent Authors!

As I’m catching up on my reviews, I can’t help but see that the majority of books I’ve dove into lately were written by independent authors. These authors are not widely known due to them going through small, independent book publishers or even through sites like Wattpad.

Those who write through Wattpad, gain the ability to cultivate a following of their own without the use of a publishing company. Some then proceed to go through Amazon publishing, to release their completed novel for their readers to purchase for their shelves, both digital and physical.

The independent publisher authors are brilliant. I’m not saying the writers using Wattpad are not. What I am saying is they are trying to grow their following from bare bones. Many do not even know where to begin. Most often than not, their books are not accessed. Whether it’s through poor marketing, few resources, etc.. 

Whatever the case may be, I honestly fully support the Independent Authors who work hard to continue writing. Yes, they may not be signed to Penguin Books or any of the other huge book publishers. But they are creators, writers, parents to their own stories.

For over a year, I’ve been reading more independent author books than ones from big companies. The more I’ve read, the more I’ve come to respect them as much as my favorite big publishing houses, authors. I commend these authors by their tenacity, drive, and patience through all they do.

Where am I going with all this? As a writer and a reviewer, I recommend you all to check out more Independent Author’s books. No, I’m not saying “Down with regularly published authors!” Never will I say that! But as a perspective reader who has seen certain writing trends repeated over and over again, some independent author’s stories have proven to be a breath of fresh air to my imagination. 

Support Your Independent Authors/Writers! Make their beloved work be heard! Who knows, they may be the next Bestselling author on the national circuit. 

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

C.H.B. Reviews: “Frightfully Ever After” By Nick DeWolf

C.H.B. Reviews: “Frightfully Ever After” By Nick DeWolf

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Available: Amazon

Am I the only person who has wondered how fairy godmothers received their powers? Obviously, there are stories where fairies are born with their powers. But what if they were not fairies to begin with? Or why it seems, almost always, royalty who end up with the magical curses and eventually end up receiving the magical loopholes where they survive?

Author Nick DeWolf sent me a signed copy of his book in exchange for my honest review. In all honesty, this book is an example of an author who goes through fairy tales and pens a story filled with a raw, magical power only they can evoke into a set of characters who answer all those complicated questions you may have like I did.

Fairy Tale creatures (Godmothers, Goblins, Fairies, etc.) work under Grimm Incorporated (homage to Brothers Grimm). Fairy Godmothers, Mary and Gayl, are sick of being given assignments for “princess” cases where the girls contain a mere sliver of royal blood coursing through their veins. Royal Blood is said to contain a certain brand of magical power. With their being too far and few in between actual “royal blood” assignments, they finally discover a new assignment they have awaited for ages.

 This modern “princess” is Anastasia, a young woman who is trapped in a slavery-like condition with a drug cartel. However, Anastasia has a large amount of magical juice her captor is using to keep her captive and his empire afloat. Unbeknownst to Mary and Gayl, their new charge is far more valuable than originally anticipated, bringing old sins to the forefront and a battle between good and evil.

This modern take on fairy tales and creatures deserves to be read. Although it is dark and contains a few explicit scenes, it adds on to the fact evil can corrupt even the most innocent of souls.

My Rating: 8 out of 10 Book Charms!

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “Return To Babylon” (Orfeo Saga B.5) By Murray Lee Eiland Jr.

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “Return To Babylon” (Orfeo Saga B.5) By Murray Lee Eiland Jr.

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I have been reading this series for over a year now, but I haven’t talked about it on here till now. As soon as I found out from the author about the fifth installment, I was ready to dive in!

Amazon Description: “Fighting from the Shadows

After the conquest of Babylon the victors installed the daughter of the former king as ruler of that city state. Zinaida is now beginning to feel stirrings of divinity, and seeks vengeance upon the coalition who put her on the throne. One by one surrounding kings are removed. This time there will be no grand coalition to challenge the might of Babylon. The battle will be in the shadows. Zinaida has sent spies to locate Zurga, and she is greatly concerned that he cannot be found. After an attempt on his life, Orfeo and Clarice decide to go directly to Mesopotamia in an attempt to prevent harm coming to their adopted city of Pylos.


The wild card in the equation is a small city not one hundredth the size of Babylon which is located in the lower Tigris. Can the ruler of Araka be persuaded to take on the might of Babylon? Daryush, now ruler of a small kingdom, also decides to meet the threat in an unconventional way. He trains a young apprentice named Cyrus in spycraft. Can smoke and mirrors overcome raw power?”

The whole premise of the series mainly follows the story of Orfeo, from his struggle to connect with his family after returning from being a hostage in the city of Pylos to now being proven a warrior in his own prestigious right. He gathers a partner in crime, so to speak ,named Clarice who brings her own bag of tricks into the mix.

There were a few grammatical errors in the first installment, but the author has improved with each of the novels. I can tell he listens to his audience and uses their feedback in order to make the following novels more enjoyable. Also the historical element in each of the novel enhances the imagery experience, granting readers a front seat view of the past.

In this book, like we all know, the temptation of power can drive a person to make rash movements in making sure their power may not be ripped away. But much like regular politics, some of the biggest wars occur behind closed doors.

Another good installment for a memorable series!

If you’d like to begin this series to catch up with me, you can purchase the first book on Amazon!

My Rating: 8 out of 10 Book Charms!

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

 

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “Lost In Wonderland (The Twisted and the Brave B.1) By Nicky Peacock

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “Lost In Wonderland (The Twisted and the Brave B.1) By Nicky Peacock

cover93717-mediumTitle: Lost In Wonderland (The Twisted and the Brave B.1)
Author: Nicky Peacock
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Publishing Date: April 14, 2016
Available: Amazon

NetGalley Description: “Monsters, serial killers, and imaginary friends—being a Wonderlander can be murder…

Once upon a time, Kayla was lost. Then she found Wonderland, but not the one you know. Run by ex-government agents and funded by an eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire, this Wonderland is the name of a collective of highly trained vigilantes who hunt serial killers. Now Kayla, aka Mouse, works tirelessly alongside her fellow Wonderlanders, Rabbit and Cheshire, baiting dangerous murderers. But even her extensive training hasn’t prepared her for the return of her older brother…

Shilo has spent most of his life in an insane asylum, convinced his mother was abducted by a sinister Alaskan monster who lures the lost away to feast upon their flesh. And now he’s certain that his sister is in the same monster’s crosshairs. But if Shilo is going to save what’s left of his family, he’ll have to convince his sister that maybe, just maybe, we’re all a little mad.”

My Review

I have been a huge lover of the Alice In Wonderland tale since I was a little girl. It was one of my favorite Disney Film adaptions, both the cartoon and Tim Burton’s take, and I have watched almost all of the live action film adaptions separate from Disney. The story of a young girl chasing a white rabbit carrying a pocket watch, trips and falls down a rabbit hole into a world filled with mind boggling characters speaking in riddles and poems that send you into a quizzical frame of mind any time you read the story.

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In Lost In Wonderland, it’s a much different take on the story. It’s not a different adaption, but it takes elements of the classic and transforms it into a  darker, mystery narrative.

Kayla and Shilo witnessed the murder of their mother and their fathers suicide at a young age. Shilo is institutionalized, driven mad by memory of the murder and the idea that their mother was murdered by an ancient monster called the Kushtaka. Kayla, on the other hand, gets a completely different fate. She is adopted by two ex-government agents who now train and send out children to hunt down serial killers.

The Wonderland aspect comes into play with her new living situation. Her adoptive parents, along with her other two adopted siblings, are re-named after Alice In Wonderland characters and they frequently quote lines from the story. Even her adoptive parent’s daughter who had been murdered was named “Alice” and the man who started their operative is called “Hatter”.

Now, they receive a new case about women and girls disappearing up in Alaska. The main territory coincidently is where Kayla and Shilo used to live when they were children. This sparks events to begin unravelling that makes Kayla wonder if Shilo was telling the truth about the Kushtaka after all.

I enjoyed hearing the story from both Shilo and Kayla’s perspective. I will mention, though, that there were times I wanted to throttle Shilo. He began to annoy me at times. Yes, I understand he’s troubled because of the past but there are certain things he does continuously that make me wonder if he truly wanted to save his sister or not from the monster that killed their mother.

Other than that, enjoyed the book and recommend it to all of you Wonderlanders out there!

 

*Disclaimer* I received a free ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

 

My Rating: 7 1/2 out of 10 Book Charms

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

To Be Read Tag

To Be Read Tag

It’s been a couple months since I’ve done a book tag of some sort. I’ve missed out on quite a bit, I’ve found. I started looking up different tags and I found this one on Knightreading’s blog and decided to take a chance.

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1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

I think this picture sums it up all too well. It’s hard to keep track of it. I attempt (and I say attempts because come on, it’s nearly impossible) to keep track of it through my Pinterest board here and I also keep a notebook filled with book titles I add to whenever I’m out and about.

2. Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

It is mostly print only. I have been stocking up on my TBR pile for quite a few years. As soon as I believe I’ve made a small dent in it, I add more to it. It’s a never ending pile!

3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

Gosh, it depends on what I have in my personal library. I have many of my TBR books on my shelves that I need to read through. Whatever I have closest to my fingertips is how I go about it plus the library helps as well!

4. A book that’s been on your TBR list the longest?

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I must confess, after watching the movie It as a child, I always wished to read it. I’d actually consider it my first book on top of my TBR pile. I’m 23 now, so that’d make the book has been waiting for my attention for over 16 years. Yes, I know, I should have read it by now but seriously, I need to read a LOT of books. I promised myself to read this book before 2016 is over.

5. A book that you recently added to your TBR pile?

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I recently received it from NetGalley and planning on beginning to read it this week. I could not get enough of author Rin Chupeco’s previous books The Girl from the Well and it’s sequel The Suffering! When I saw this book, I had to request it. The moment I was approved, I squealed so loud that my cat jumped a couple feet!

6. A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover.

I actually don’t have one strictly because of that. Like people, I try not to judge the book by it’s cover.

7. A book on your TBR that you NEVER plan on actually reading.

Honestly can’t think of one at the moment. I may not read all of my books in the order I added them, but I will eventually read them.

8. An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for.

Has to be The Bone Witch, hands down!

9. A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read except you.

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A Court of Thorn and Roses By Sarah J. Maas!!! I swear, everyone has read this and I feel left out! I’ve heard so many good things and I promise I’ll read it very soon!

10. A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you.

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Too many recommendations NOT to try to read it. I’m on a waiting list for it from my local library. Hopefully, I’ll finally be able to get my hands on it soon!

11. A book on your TBR that you’re dying to read.

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12. The number of books on your Goodreads TBR shelf?

 I don’t have Goodreads anymore, sadly, if I did it would still be the same unorganized mess it had been.

What is on your TBR shelf? I challenge you, fair readers and bloggers, to take on this Tag and show us what you have! Also, don’t forget to tag me in your post so I can see your answers!

Happy Reading!

~C.C.