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 isn’t a need for an Author to suffer from this today. Alas, some still suffer from CDS. 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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Breaking Down The Charms: “Heart-Shaped Box” by Joe Hill Review

Breaking Down The Charms: “Heart-Shaped Box” by Joe Hill Review

310n9QSgyTL._UY200_.jpgDifferent generation = Different writing styles. This is how I look at Joe Hill’s writing in Heart-Shaped Box. I did a mini-rant in my last review about Stephen King fans getting down on his son’s debut novel from 2007. Author’s children who become authors shouldn’t be compared to their parents.

Heart-Shaped Box is no ordinary ghost story. It plays upon the torture of mental manipulation and abuse. Arguably, readers who never have experienced this trauma or have seen it used in different books can misinterpret it in the novel as the ghost not taking full advantage and killing our former rocker main character, Judas Coyne. On the contrary, the ghost, Craddock, is teasing and torturing Judas with his power. Throughout the beginning of the novel, Craddock even told Judas he was going to make his revenge worthwhile.

Now, it’s time to break down the charms to this chilling novel!

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Breaking Down The Charms

**First, Read the info on my Book Charms Here

1. Charm of Intelligence

“Should This Book Have Been Published?”

YES! This book was rightfully published. It’s not your run of the mill type of ghost stories. This one makes you care about the characters in play. Each time I put the book down, I couldn’t wait for the opportunity to pick it up again.

2. Charm of Learning

“Did I learn anything new or interesting?”

If you are not familiar with hypnotism, it can be either innocent or downright sickening. The way Hill describes Craddock’s past is riddled with the ways he used his talent. Remember Vietnam? Now there is a freaky scene Craddock is involved in that will leave your skin crawling. So did I learn anything new or interesting? Pretty much, yes. Hypnotism grants the ability to do more than give people the ability to dance around. No, Vampire’s mesmerizing skill does not count.

3. Charm of Character

“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?”

Jude is a cold, collected former rock and roller who has seen many things in his life. He grew up with his abusive father and negligent mother on their family farm in Louisiana. For years, he longed for an escape to which he found it in his music. He managed to escape through fame and becoming well-known through his band. After the death of two of his band members, the band broke up, leaving Judas to his collection of strange objects and slew of women. I guess you can say, he built up a reputation with his collection and not staying in relationships very long. The only exception was Craddock’s stepdaughter. Sadly after her and Jude broke up, he moved on with Marybeth and she committed suicide. Craddock blamed her suicide on Jude, causing future events to come to pass after Jude unknowingly purchases Craddock’s haunted suit.

Marybeth, goth and former erotic dancer, is one of those characters who makes you wonder if you’ll truly like them. I actually grew to like her very much! The more her character opened up, she proved to be an extremely caring, selfless character.

Craddock? No comment on him. My views on him would involve me wanting to hire Sam and Dean (Supernatural fans ftw). I will mention, though, that Craddock cannot be destroyed by the regular Supernatural rules means.

4. Charm of Agility

It’s the perfect pace! Not to fast, not to slow, it’s all just right for me.

5. Charm of Romance

“Does this element make me long for it in my life, cringe, or ship the couple in question?”

Marybeth and Jude’s relationship is pretty complicated. Since Jude doesn’t like to discuss his feelings, him and Marybeth’s relationship at the beginning of the novel is pretty distant. Throughout the story, it progresses to turn out to be more than it originally seemed. It’s one of those relationships that takes a disaster to make the couple realize how they truly feel about one another.

6. Charm of Worth

100% Worthy to be set alongside other memorable Horror/Ghost Story novels!

7. Charm of Length

The ending felt a little rushed, not going to lie. Wanted it to be drawn out a little more.

8. Charm of Imagery 

Holy crap! I could see the whole story unfold before my eyes! No, it didn’t keep me up at night but it followed me into my dreams for sure.

9. Charm of Belief

The ideas are not ridiculous but I don’t believe this could completely happen in real life.

10. Charm of Everlasting

It’s almost been 10 years since the first release of this book. People are still reading it today and I think it’s stood against time so far. Do I see people continuing to read it in the future? I think so!

~

Wracking up the breakdown, I give this book a rating:

out of 10 Book Charms!

Do you think you may read this book during October? Have you read any of Joe Hill’s novels? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

COMING SOON: Breaking Down the Charms….”Heart-Shaped Box” Edition! 

COMING SOON: Breaking Down the Charms….”Heart-Shaped Box” Edition! 

For awhile, I’ve wanted to do a review where I explain my rating for a certain book by listing out my Book Charm Rating and explaining what components from the book goes with them. When I rate my books I go with my system that those who are new to reading my blog can read about here. But I usually put at the end of my review the total of Charms it earned instead of giving a broken down, bit by bit, explanation.

Last week, I finished reading Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill and I have to be honest, I am eager to show you my “Broken Down” Charm post all about this book. It captured my attention from the start and it deserves a thorough review.

Joe Hill, author of the bestseller Horns, deserves more credit for his debut novel. A majority of readers have cast their literary stones due to the fact he is the King of Horror, Stephen King, son. Heart-Shaped Box is considered by quite a few King fans to have had paid acclaimed reviews because Hill is his son. It’s completely unfair for his first novel to be torn to shreds because he brings a different kind of horror than his father.

Now I may an Author Wars post on comparing the two some other day but when I read this novel, I didn’t compare. I gave Hill a chance to make a name for himself as a writer, period. But I’ll get more into my thoughts on the book in the post tomorrow.

Keep your eyes open for my review tomorrow!

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

My August Recap!

My August Recap!

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It’s been a great month. Went to an All American Reject, A Day To Remember, Blink182 concert earlier last month. Began packing to move and also I officially can now say I work at a library! Even though it is part time, at the moment, it brings me joy to walk in and work amongst books and book lovers alike.

However, it’s been cutting into my reading and writing time. I’m still behind on writing my reviews but am steadily making a plan to catch up. Despite that, here is what I read this past August:

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Click Here For My Review

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Click Here For My Review

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Click Here For My Review

Click Here For My Review

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Click Here For My Review

Click Here For My Review

Click Here For My Review


What Books Should I Read This Month?

What Books Are You Currently Reading?

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.H.B. Reviews: “The Dark Half” By Stephen King

C.H.B. Reviews: “The Dark Half” By Stephen King

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Alter Egos Can Be Killer To Their Masters….

This is a chilling take of a writer’s alter ego/pen name’s character comes to life to kill it’s creator and live an entire life of it’s own. But the creepiness of the tale does not stop there! The author’s imaginary alter ego is more of an extension of a deeper connection. As a young boy, Thad Beaumont went through a drastic brain tumor remover surgery in order to cure his headaches and strange noises. But there may be a deeper, more darker twist behind the headaches. Now, he’s hearing the noises again and his alter ego is trying to destroy his life by killing the important people in his life….can he escape his darker half?

~

This Stephen King novel is better if you physically read it instead of listening to the audiobook, in my opinion. The audiobook made it seem dull when it is an intense read! The reader even made the sinister alter ego, George Stark, and Thad’s wife more annoying than bringing them to life. I stopped listening and picked up the book for the rest of the story.

Stephen King proves why he’s the king of horror writing through the deeper symbolism of the reason behind George Stark’s appearance. Thad Beaumont’s growth is phenomenal as well. To be honest, he came off as pretty wimpy in the beginning of the story. By the end, he proved that as a writer, you are a master of your own universe not a victimized bystander.

On a side note, if you’re one of those people who enjoy Stephen King’s novels and always look for connections between them all, you’ll find one through here by the mention the past events from his work in Cujo. I love the fact he does this in all of his novels. All of these novels may not a full on, connected series, but it’s adds to the suspense of each novel. *Connection Spoiler* They are all connected to the Dark Tower series!

Completely recommend this for horror lovers. Writers, beware!
Happy Reading!

~C.C.

 

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.