C.B.H. ARC Review: “Dead Girls Can’t Lie” By Carys Jones

C.B.H. ARC Review: “Dead Girls Can’t Lie” By Carys Jones

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Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads
Publisher: Aria
Release Date: August 15th, 2017

 

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

 

 

If you awoke from sleep to discover your best friend committed suicide, what would you do? What if the circumstances surrounding the suicide left more questions than answers to you? What if the events leading to the suicide made no sense whatsoever…..maybe even set off alarms in your head that it may not be a suicide after all….but a murder?

North Stone loses her best friend Kelly in what the local authorities rule out to be a suicide. Deep in her gut, North believes this is all wrong. She’s known Kelly her whole life and the events surrounding her death were the direct opposite to how Kelly would act. North begins to go down a rabbit hole filled with self discovery, a mysterious pregnancy, and answers she may not like.

My Review

North is one of those characters you truly sympathize with on some levels. She lost her parents at an early age where normal kids were discovering who they were. Instead, she never truly grasps who she is which is where Kelly comes in. Kelly is a stubborn, attention-grabbing girl who seems to always get her way with anything and anyone. Fast forward to when they are adults and Kelly all of a sudden commits suicide.

Because North practically spent her time attached to the hip with Kelly except for the last three months of her life, North immediately becomes suspicious. Now as much as I can understand her reaction, her and Kelly’s relationship almost feels kind of toxic in some ways. North does not know how to survive without Kelly making decisions for her and whisking her off from what adventure to another. A few land them in trouble where North takes the fall for Kelly’s actions.

We are given flashbacks to various occasions when the girls were growing up where we get the feeling of the girl’s personalities through their lives. We see Kelly is this “free-spirit” who wanted to make sure everyone knew her while North hung back as Kelly’s shadow most of the time. After Kelly’s death, we see North struggle with finding her footing as a person and even taking on Kelly’s personality at times in order to engage with people around her during her investigation into Kelly’s death.

In the end, this book needed a bit of work. Was it engaging? Yes. However, it was predictable. There were tropes in this novel that have been used repeatedly in mystery/thrillers both in print, films, and television shows I’ve seen over the years.

The unhealthy relationship between North and Kelly was a turn off as well. How can you continue to be friends with someone who causes you to lose your own identity and prevent your growth due to your dependence upon them? I get it if you are best friends, but there is a line between being controlled and being friends because of a connection. I wish North grew more in the novel, I honestly did. She had potential to be more than an obsessed “friend” who had concern over a friend’s mysterious death….

 

Rating 6

 

Happy Reading!

 

~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.

 

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: “The Marriage Pact” By Michelle Richmond

ARC Review: “The Marriage Pact” By Michelle Richmond

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Release Date: July 25, 2017

Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

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

 

NetGalley Synopsis

In this relentlessly paced novel of psychological suspense, New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond crafts an intense and shocking tale that asks: How far would you go to protect your marriage?
  
Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.
           
The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .
           
Never mention The Pact to anyone.
           
Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples.
           
And then one of them breaks the rules.
           
The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule.
           
For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.”

My Review

Marriage. It’s a chilling subject for me these days. Reaching the age where most of your friends are running off, getting married, having kids is frightening to me. This book did not settle my inner fears in the least. In fact, they increased!

Jeremy and Alice are in their late 30s, successful, and have somewhat good heads on their shoulders. Told through Jeremy’s perspective, he admits in the beginning that the subject of marriage was his idea. Alice, mourning the loss of her father, sparked one of the most important questions any man/woman/etc. could ever ask someone. “Will you marry Me?”

The moment Alice agrees, a chain of events begin starting with their wedding announcement. Alice’s best client in her firm, Finnegan, receives word of the couple’s plans and invites Jeremy and Alice to join him in the secret society known as, “The Pact”. A wooden box arrives on their doorstep with instructions to which they are prohibited to open the box until after their honeymoon. Fast forward, one of Finnegan’s contacts the leaders of “The Pact” and they send a woman by the name of Vivianne to be the couple’s “Host” as she leads Jeremy and Alice into the society.

“The Pact” in it of itself has their own manual the couples need to memorize and live by. If they break the rules, they receive various punishments ranging from silly to severe. And when I say severe, I mean torture, electric shock, unremovable metal braces placed around women’s necks in order to keep them straight, and more. Jeremy and Alice start their journey into this cult, plunging themselves into a world filled with terror and nowhere to run and no way out.

This novel freaked me out in the worst way. If you follow me on Goodreads, read my notes on the book! One moment, I believed Jeremy was falling for the insane punishments “The Pact” was putting his wife through. Then it was as if Alice and Jeremy switched personalities pertaining to the cult! The ending, though, did not live up to the expectations of the novel. It felt rushed and dry, leaving me to wonder what happened to Alice and Jeremy next. As far as I know, this is a standalone novel so I guess we’ll all wonder if they survive……

For a psychological thriller, it’ll keep you on your toes for sure. The writing is solid, but the characters backstories were a bit wonky at times. One moment, you are giving the impression you needed to feel sorry for them while the next you were told they were independent. But, learning from this novel, never accept a wooden box from an Irishman who claims to want the best for your marriage.

 

Rating 7

 

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

 

 

ARC Reviews: The Nightingale By Kristin Hannah

ARC Reviews: The Nightingale By Kristin Hannah

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Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from SheSpeaks. This does not affect my review whatsoever.

 

Goodreads Synopsis

“Despite their differences, sisters Vianne and Isabelle have always been close. Younger, bolder Isabelle lives in Paris while Vianne is content with life in the French countryside with her husband Antoine and their daughter. But when the Second World War strikes, Antoine is sent off to fight and Vianne finds herself isolated so Isabelle is sent by their father to help her.

As the war progresses, the sisters’ relationship and strength are tested. With life changing in unbelievably horrific ways, Vianne and Isabelle will find themselves facing frightening situations and responding in ways they never thought possible as bravery and resistance take different forms in each of their actions.”

 

WWII was a dark time in the world’s history. Masses of lives ended, families torn apart, and evil reared its ugly head to destroy unity and the lives of millions of people around the world. This book takes those events and grabs readers by the hands to take them back in time to the dark events of the past.

It is a tale of two sisters, Vianne and Isabella, set in France at the beginning pressures of the war. They begin enjoying their own lives when they are suddenly turned upside down. Where the women began in the beginning is certainly nowhere compared to where they ended up in the end.

The author brings the reality and rawness which only tragedy, casualties, and constant war can bring from life to the page. It will bring tears to your eyes, as it did my own, and it will leave a scar which no literary medicine will remedy. It’s not just a tale of history, but of growth, perseverance, and struggles. Definitely a recommended historical read, to be sure!

 

Rating 9

 

Happy Reading!

 

~C.C.

C.H.B. ARC REVIEWS: “Birthright” By Jessica Ruddick (The Legacy Series B.1)

C.H.B. ARC REVIEWS: “Birthright” By Jessica Ruddick (The Legacy Series B.1)

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Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

**Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy courtesy of NetGalley and Penguin House in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review whatsoever.**

 

Goodreads Description

How do you live with yourself when you decide who dies?

Ava Parks would have killed for an iPod for her sixteenth birthday. Anything would have been better than coming into her birthright of being a seeker for the Grim Reaper, an arrangement made by her fallen angel ancestor in exchange for his re-admittance to heaven. And she isn’t just any seeker—she finds souls that have the potential for becoming angels and sentences them to death. A year and two souls into her role as a seeker with her conscience overflowing with guilt, Ava comes up with a plan to thwart the system. When it goes awry, she is forced to submit the name of a classmate, Cole Fowler, an ornery, rough around the edges guy who always seems to come to her rescue, whether she likes it or not. Her feelings for Cole prompt her to intervene, and she saves him from death, upsetting the Grim Reaper’s agenda.

While Ava schemes to find a way to save Cole, she learns he has some secrets of his own. She lets him believe he is protecting her, and not the other way around, until a final showdown with the Grim Reaper forces Ava to make choices Cole may never forgive.”

 

Author Jessica Ruddick gives us a different take on the normal Grim Reaper story. Normally, we are led to believe the Grim Reaper works alone, collecting souls of the dead to transport them to heaven or hell. In this version, the Grim Reaper (actually multiple reapers) have seekers searching for specific people to choose for certain tasks.

 

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For Ava, she determines the most innocent of souls for the Grim Reaper to collect in order to create Heaven’s heavenly angel army. Her and her mother come from a long line of seekers who are sent to different locations in order to pick out the innocents for the Grim Reapers. Ava doesn’t wish to continue this heavy burden any longer and is willing to do anything she can in order to back out of her duties. One of which, was an attempt to take her own life only to discover, hah, she can not die! Yeah, this girl along with her mother are practically immortal until Death decides her time is up. Also she has what I like to call a “Crowley” in her life who gives her assignments and is practically the major authority who has the ability to punish her if deemed necessary.

 

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I call him “Crowley” because, well, if you watch the show Supernatural, he practically IS him!

But now Ava runs into a bit of a problem in the new town her and her mother has moved into. A love interest in the form of Cole Fowler saves her life, foiling her suicide attempt and ends up moving to the forefront in our little tale.  I’ll admit, he’s a breath of fresh air compared to the most recent YA male love interest tropes of today. He owns the bad boy air about him but carries his own without being overbearing, whiny, or pushy. He’s the kind of character who does not have to be a love interest but even a brother-like character if need be. Personally, I’d choose him to be the brotherly kind due to the fact he is not the average love interest.

The story brings a pleasant twist to the average Grim Reaper story, adds a new kick to the YA paranormal genre, and gives girls a reliable female protagonist who fights for what she wants instead of merely talking about it. I believe this new series will spark a new brand of followers to the YA community, and I am thrilled I had the honor to read this story. I happily look forward to the second chapter in The Legacy Series.

My Rating: 9 out of 10 Book Charms!

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “If I Run” By Terri Blackstock

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “If I Run” By Terri Blackstock

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Available: Amazon/Goodreads/B&N

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

Goodreads Description

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.”

 

I have not read a Terri Blackstock novel since high school. Even now when I read this novel, it reminded me how insanely talented of a storyteller Blackstock is. Each of her novels are crafted to keep you on the edge of your seat, wanting to uncover more evidence to solve the mystery she presents us with. This book is no exception. We bounce between the two perspectives. One from Casey Cox and the other from investigator Dylan Roberts.

When Casey Cox discovers her best friend, Brent, dead on his floor. She quickly gathers her resources and goes on the run. Despite not going to the police about what she discovered, she believes the police will immediately pin his murder on herself. But Casey is not stupid. She always finds a way to cover her tracks wherever she goes.

On the other end of the spectrum, Dylan Roberts is hired to track Casey down and take her into custody. He faces his own personal demons during his investigation through his PTSD flashbacks from being overseas. Although he battles these, he continues to attempt to uncover the clues behind Brent’s death and Casey’s disappearance.

This book is not for those who are not interested in Christian Fiction. I understand there are readers who would be bothered by this type of writing; however, I enjoy it. Even if you would not mind it, the mystery is thrilling enough. The ending is swift and leaves you hanging, waiting for the sequel but it could have been written a little better. Other than this, the book is wonderful and I highly recommend it.

 

My Rating: 8 out of 10 Book Charms

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.