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.

 

 

C.B.H. ARC Reviews: “Final Girls” By Riley Sager

C.B.H. ARC Reviews: “Final Girls” By Riley Sager

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Release Date: July 11, 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 review whatsoever.

 

Goodreads 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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Quincy Carpenter picked up the pieces of her life after surviving a massacre at her friend’s party in a cabin in the woods. With the killer dead, she has no need to fear any possible future of him coming back for her. The media follows up with her, giving her the label “Final Girl”, adding her alongside two other young women who survived terrible massacres too. Quincy, though, does not want to live in the spotlight, especially since her mind has blocked her memories of the events of that dark night. The police question her periodically to see if her memories resurface; however, Quincy remains silent in also wondering what truly happened as well.

Now, she has what she thinks is a pleasant, comfortable life, but then Lisa, another massacre survivor, ends up being found mysteriously murdered. The very next day, Quincy finally meets another “Final Girl”, Sam, who at first, seems to only wish to get to know Quincy. The more time Quincy spends time with Sam, the more Sam questions Quincy’s past and her memories of that night. Sam wants Quincy to not to live comfortably in the dark….but why?

Final Girls is a brilliantly crafted thriller for the new age. It takes the question of  “What happens next?” and blows it up to create this world that thrives on digging into these poor girls’ tragic pasts and transforming them into celebrities who merely want to be normal again. Only they cannot be normal ever again nor can they hide from the cameras. These “Final Girls” have secrets and they are about to be exposed, but who will truly be the surviving “Final Girl” in the end?

 

Rating 10

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

 

 

Reading Slumps, Inspiration, and Book Haul!

Reading Slumps, Inspiration, and Book Haul!

Hi Everyone, it’s C.C.! Yes, I’m alive! Haha, I know I haven’t been posting much for the last couple months. This past Friday, I slowly began working my way back to what I call my “Scheduling notebook” where I have writing my book review release dates down. Is it just me or did Friday feel like a Monday instead of Friday? Usually, I used to plan on Mondays, but times as we all know, are constantly changing. 

While I’ve been on hiatus from writing except releasing a few posted now and then, I have had some high and low reading slumps. I don’t know how but last month one, I brought home armfuls of books from my library and the next I look at them and realize my original excitement for diving into these disappeared. Then earlier this month (and a few renewals later) I found my way back to them….here is my Library Book Haul!

1. The Forever Song By: Julie Kagawa

2. Vincent Price: a Daughter’s Biography By: Victoria Price

3. Final Fivr Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9 Volumes

4. How To Hang a Witch By: Adriana Mather 

5. First two novels in the Throne of Glass series

6. Dead Girls Society By: Michelle Krys

Plus, two more ARC copies I’m working on at the moment. This week, I’ll be relasing out my Review for Throne of Glass, Dead Girls Society, and The Forever Song.
Have you read any of these books or have any suggestions?

Have you gone through your own Reading Slump? What got you through it?
Let me know in the comments below!
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. Reviews “Kill The Boy Band” By: Goldy Moldavsky

C.H.B. Reviews “Kill The Boy Band” By: Goldy Moldavsky

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Available: Amazon; Goodreads

 

Ah, boy bands. My childhood in the 90’s were filled with them. We had 98 Degrees, *NSYNC, The Backstreet Boys, and Hanson. I remember the clash between Team The Backstreet Boys and Team *NSYNC. I personally was Team *NSYNC with my Justin Timberlake puppet doll and McDonald’s special release of remixes of their songs paired alongside Brittany Spears. Classmates in my first and second grade classes would discuss who were the best boy band and sometimes it transformed into fights.

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Fast forward to today, I’m a twenty-three year old college graduate who is into punk rock, energy drinks, and black skinny jeans. My fan girl days for a random pairing of guys with choreographed moves with vocals to match that made you jump and scream were over when the 2000’s began. But, a few years ago, a new band or rather conjured up band rose for a new generation. One Direction became a world-wide sensation. I despised them immediately. I thought boy bands were over a long time ago…I was sadly mistaken. I began to watch friends and younger family members go wild for this new generation of auto tuned-filled group of boys. They have finally died down within the last two years or so (Thank God), but that did not stop writers from penning books about the boys or even parodies of them.

I had seen Kill The Boy Band on bookshelves earlier last year. I added it to my TBR pile and finally reached it earlier this month. I immediately found myself into the crazed minds of the next generation of boy band fan girls. These girls were NOTHING like my generation’s fan girls. These had the internet, social media, and more various avenues to achieve their goals for seeing their favorite band. This story is about girls who not only achieved their goal, but made the mistake of getting too close to comfort and made a who new description to what a “fan” is.

 

~Goodreads Description & Excerpt~

“Just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near them. That’s why we got a room in the hotel where they were staying.We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him—his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets.

We were not planning on what happened next.

We swear.”

People have called me crazy.
It’s understandable; fangirls get a bad rap all the time. They say we’re weird, hysterical, obsessed, certifiable. But those people don’t understand. Just because I love something a lot doesn’t mean I’m crazy. And I did love The Ruperts a lot. I loved them more than soft-serve vanilla ice cream in summer, more than seeing a new review of my fanfics, more than discovering a good ’80s movie I’d never seen before.
Just because I was a Ruperts fangirl does not mean I was crazy.
I think it’s important that you know that up front. Because everything I’m about to tell you is going to seem . . . well, crazy.”

We get a very strange set of five fan girls to follow through this story. None of these girls body-shame one another, are ethnically diverse, and have personalities all their own. None of them are the same. Moldvasky matches them up for each of the members of “The Ruperts” aka One Direction in fictional incarnate. Only, there are some ways where they are equally matched too well.

We follow them as they are attempting to meet their favorite band of all time. Secrets, kidnapping, and twists ensue when these girls happen upon one of the band members in their hotel room. From there, we are dragged into the world of fan girls and what lengths they would go through just to get to know their idols. That is, until their fandom takes a darker, more sinister turn.

I’ll admit, these girls kind of scared me a bit. I have known other girls who would go to these lengths just to catch a glimpse of their favorite artists or stars, but there is a line. There has to always be a line that you do not cross and these fictional characters crossed that line. Goldy Moldavsky, thank you for reminding me why I’m not a fan girl anymore.

My Rating: 6 out of 10 Book Charms

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

 

 

 

 

 

Book Tag: New Years Resolution

Book Tag: New Years Resolution

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New Years Resolution Tag

 

I discovered this book tag from Bella @ Bella Blogs Because Books. Definitely check her out and her answers for this tag! Now onto my resolutions!

1. An Author I’d Like to Read (that I’ve Never Read Before)

Sarah J. Maas

Sarah J. Maas, author of the Throne of Glass and A Court of Throne and Roses series. I’ve heard nothing but great things about this series. Yes, I want to read it but I have to clear my ARC shelf before I even think of touching the series. *Sighs* Soon, Throne of Glass, Soon.

2. A Book I’d Like to Read

Have you seen my “To Read” List on Goodreads? Here’s a picture:

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Scary part is, it keeps growing every day and I’m always looking for more books to add. But there is one recently released book I’d love to get my hands on and that would be Roseblood   by A.G. Howard. It’s a re-telling of the Phantom of the Opera and the cover of the book is absolutely breathtaking! If I had to narrow it down to one book right now, hands down, this would be it.

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3. A Classic I’d Like to Read

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This story has intrigued me since I witnessed Dorian Gray’s portrayal by both Ben Barnes and Reeve Carney. I consider it a cautionary tale for those who wish to stay young forever. Yes, there are other tales like this with Dracula and Frankenstein but Dorian is a whole other entity. The fact his soul is contained by a painting while his outer shell in the world reeks havoc proves how high a cost eternal youth can be regardless of being outwardly “young” but dying on the inside. I can’t wait to finally read the tale this year!

4. A Book I’d Like to Re-Read

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I actually want to re-read a series instead of a book. If you read one of the Chronicles of Narnia books, it is necessary you read the rest. I first read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe when I was in sixth grade and my teacher suggested I get a head start on it.

Due to the strict household I lived in, I would read it in secret until my father stumbled upon it in my backpack. Surprisingly instead of getting angry, he brought me his personal set of the series he had since he was a kid. After three months, I had read the whole series and fell in love with the mythological world of Narnia. Now twenty-three, there are days where I still miss it so why not re-read the series this year?

5. A Book I’ve Had for Ages and Want to Read

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I have had this book along with it’s sequel on my bookshelf for what it seems like forever. I’m always distracted with another book or series and have not had time to get back to it. One of my other goals is to finally read it from front to back and hopefully see the musical adaption as well.

6. A Big Book I’d Like to Read

 

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7. An Author I’ve Previously Read and Want to Read More Of

Stephen King

Stephen King.  The “King of Horror” so to speak, but he’s written Fantasy and Mystery pieces as well. I have read The Stand, The Shining, Carrie, The Dark Half, and Salem’s Lot. Each of his stories are witty, ingenious, and tap into the parts of our brain containing fears we didn’t even know existed. I have his books Christine and IT set aside to read this year to dive into when the time comes.

8. A Book I Got For Christmas and Would Like to Read

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My aunt gave this to me for Christmas and I have yet to read it. I’ve read all the hype but skipped the movie. I’ve slotted to read this in March and can’t wait to see what it brings!

9. A Series I Want to Read (Start to Finish)

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10. A Series I Want to Finish (That You’ve Already Started)

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11. Do I Set Reading Goals? If So, How Many Books Do I Want to Read in 2017?

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12. Any Other Reading Goals?

Aside from reading the books I mentioned and meeting my 77 book goal, I’d like to read more ARC’s and other Independent authors’ works. There are talented independent authors who deserve to have their books read by readers. They many not reach the bestseller list because they do not belong to a big publishing house, but their stories deserve to be read all the same.

~

I tag all of you readers to do this tag! Don’t forget to tag me in your post so I can see your answers!

What did you think of my answers? What do you think of the books and authors I mentioned? Have you read any of these works?

Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.B.H. ARC Review: Chasing Eva By Camellia Hart

C.B.H. ARC Review: Chasing Eva By Camellia Hart

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Available: Amazon; Goodreads

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

 

Goodreads Description

“An addictive, suspenseful & sensual story about a man and a woman whose lives are about to get sizzling hot…

After living through her share of disloyal relationships, Evangeline Avery will be damned if she lets another man cheat her. A beautiful and confident woman, Eva is the owner of an interior design firm at the brink of collapse. She swears to bring her company back to its past glory, even if it involves sweet talking the one man who caused this turmoil in the first place – Clive Stanton.

Notorious playboy Clive Stanton is a powerful businessman and a formidable enemy of many. He doesn’t do love, or at least not until he meets her again, fifteen years after he saw her last. Eva, his crush from teenage years, the one that got away, is back in his world and he is determined to do anything to make her his.

Will passion and lust bring them together or conflict and the unforgettable scars from their pasts forever tear them apart?”

 

Eva did not expect to inherit her father’s interior design business. All she wanted to do with her life was be a professional chef and bring smiles to patrons through her food. Instead, her father dies unexpectedly, leaving Eva the business who has gained attention from the FBI. Turns out someone in Eva’s corner is spilling secrets to her competition and may have murdered Eva’s father. With all the attention, the FBI have recruited one of their former top agents, Clive Stanton, to crack the case. Problem is, Clive is one of Eva’s clients and he cannot let her in on the case.

This is the first book in the In the Light of Shadows series and it is quite an opener. The romance is steaming, the thrills are there, the mystery as to who is behind these crimes remains a mystery, and the ending of this book will leave you starving for more Clive and Eva. I’m eager to seek out the next book on it’s OFFICIAL RELEASE DAY on February 14th! I can’t wait to discover not only if Eva is “caught” but especially the identity of the perpetrator is revealed and they are brought down.

 

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Camellia HartCamellia Hart, a techie turned author of romance, lives in San Francisco with her husband, the love of her life. Other than writing her next romance novel, her hobbies include traveling, lazing on a beach with a good read, watching movies with happy endings while gorging on endless buckets of popcorn, red wine, and champagne truffles.

Check out her website here!

You can also check her out these various platforms:

Amazon, Facebook, & Pinterest

My Rating: 9 out of 10 Book Charms!

 

Happy “Charmed” Reading!

~C.C.