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.

 

C.B.H. ARC REVIEW: THE BREAKDOWN By B.A. Paris

C.B.H. ARC REVIEW: THE BREAKDOWN By B.A. Paris

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Available: Amazon/Goodreads/B&N
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: July 18, 2017

**Disclaimer: I received this courtesy of SheSpeaks and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.**

Why Didn’t You Stop?”

 

 

I can’t believe it’s been a year since I read B.A. Paris’ gripping thriller Behind Closed Doors (see review here) where a couple’s marriage isn’t always what it seems. Now, B.A. Paris comes back for round two where a woman finds out by not stopping to help someone in a broken-down car, can lead to dire consequences. But what will get to her first? A dark figure lurking in the darkness or her own guilt?

The book opens up to a dreary, rainy night. Cass Anderson decides to take a shortcut in order to get home quicker, despite her husband’s warning to take the regular route home. On her way, she notices a broken down car on the side of the road. She wrestles with whether she should make sure the person in the car is alright or stay on course.

Fast forward to the morning after, she learns the woman in the car was murdered and the woman just so happened to be an acquaintance of Cass’s. She begins to go into this downward spiral of guilt and paranoia. Guilt from the murder, but her paranoia stems from the fact she is beginning to loose her memory. Even the simplest things are beginning to fade away, but the memory of that night remains constant. But then the phone calls start…..and she begins to believe someone is watching her…..will she figure out who the killer is before it’s too late?

~

This book has a large set of shoes to fill considering how good Behind Closed Doors was. Did it meet up to expectations? Yes and no. B.A. Paris is fantastic with her pacing and build up. Where it lacks is in lists of suspects and characters as well as the reveal at the end. I don’t want predictability attached to my mystery. I want to be surprised! Or at least allow the reveal not be from an obvious character right away.

Aside from those complaints, this book is very well-conceived and written. Will B.A. Paris come out with another novel next year is my question and will it exceed expectations? Or will her next novel make us wonder….

“If you can’t trust yourself…..who can you trust?”

 

Rating 7

 

Happy Reading,

 

~C.C.

Quick Review: “A Court of Thorns and Roses” By Sara J. Maas

Quick Review: “A Court of Thorns and Roses” By Sara J. Maas

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**Disclaimer – This is a large fan base, we each have an opinion. I respect everyone for their opinion and I apologize in advance for any hurt feelings. Remember, this is only my opinion.**

 

Hi Everyone!

Long time, no see! Been on vacation and working non-stop while trying to read as many books as possible toward my Summer Reading Goals this year. One of which, was diving into the world of fairy tale re-tellings. I first read Spelled by Betsy Schow which you can check out my review here. Next on the list was the popular Beauty and the Beast retelling by Sarah J. Maas entitled “A Court of Thorns and Roses“.

I’m not going to go extremely deep in detail since this series is very well-known and the latest installment had recently been released. I will admit some of the material lived up to it’s hype, but I have issues with this book. First of all, many readers are under the misconception that this is a Young Adult book as well as it is labeled that way in the library system. However after doing a little digging, I discovered this series is in fact not Young Adult but New Adult. It is shelved that way due to Sarah J. Maas’s past experience with the genre. So if you read this and thought the sex scenes were out of line for a YA novel, rest assured it was not intended for it.

Another issue I had was the pacing. It moved extremely slow for about 1/3 of the books, making it close to being a DNF for me. Then there was the main character, Feyre. And the ending with the main character Feyre not understanding the obvious answer to the villain’s riddle made me throw the book across the room. And the fact the villain gave the answer away before “the great reveal” and it went over Feyre’s head! Her guilt at the end of the book was only to create an plot point for the next book to attempt to fix that was really unnecessary.

To be honest, I do not like Feyre. Seriously, Feyre is a complete dolt 55% of the time throughout this book, it made me want to shake her! I’m getting tired of main characters like her for not listening and putting themselves in danger just because they wish to discover what secrets lie beyond the “forest” in this case. I’m reading the second installment right now and her attitude problem from the first book has escalated to a new height. There are times where she shows a personality and kindness, but it’s barely there.

I pray the rest of the second will improve, if not, I will unfortunately put another series to rest on my shelf.

Rating 6

What did you think about this book/series?

What drew you to it and why?

Let me know in the comments down below!

 

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

C.B.H. Reviews: “Spelled” By Betsy Schow

C.B.H. Reviews: “Spelled” By Betsy Schow

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Title: Spelled (Spelled #1)
Author: Betsy Schow
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date:June 2, 2015
Originally Received by Netgalley
Re-read: May 2017

Goodreads Description

Fairy Tale Survival Rule #32: If you find yourself at the mercy of a wicked witch, sing a romantic ballad and wait for your Prince Charming to save the day.

Yeah, no thanks. Dorthea is completely princed out. Sure being the crown princess of Emerald has its perks—like Glenda Original ball gowns and Hans Christian Louboutin heels. But a forced marriage to the brooding prince Kato is so not what Dorthea had in mind for her enchanted future.

Talk about unhappily ever after.

Trying to fix her prince problem by wishing on a (cursed) star royally backfires, leaving the kingdom in chaos and her parents stuck in some place called “Kansas.” Now it’s up to Dorthea and her pixed off prince to find the mysterious Wizard of Oz and undo the curse…before it releases the wickedest witch of all and spells The End for the world of Story.”

My Review

I originally read this novel back in 2015 before I had this lovely blog and added my reviews outside of Amazon and Goodreads. Back then, re-told fairy tale stories were not as big as they currently are today. Now, we are beginning to see a higher increase in the re-told fairy tale/fantasy category with the Court of Thorns and Roses series, Lunar Chronicles seriesTwists Tale series, Huntedand many more now that we want to see more takes of our beloved fairy tale characters.

Spelled by Betsy Schow, though, is not your average fairy tale re-telling. It’s more like a parody cluster of fairy tale characters overlaying cliches, overlaid by over the top action in this book. Our main character is Dorothy who is a spoiled brat princess who is restricted to her castle because the females of her family are cursed and foretold to destroy the world with fire. Call back to Sleeping Beauty, the kingdom is rid of devices that can create fire and the only way the curse be prevented is the cursed princess be rescued by a prince.

Going back to Dorothy, she despises any of the princes her parents attempt to being to her attention. Dorothy would rather spend money acquiring the latest Glenda fashions and Hans Christian heel collections. Her parents decide enough is enough and set up an arranged marriage between her and prince Kato. You want to see a spoiled little princess have a temper tantrum and basically destroying her kingdom over a wish? It’s not pretty. To be honest, I almost stopped reading because of Dorothy’s immaturity. I get you are trying to change the average fairy tale princess, but if it causes pain for your readers to read about her then you need to tone it down.

The story is filled with hilarious comebacks, changes, and gives a better appreciation for the original material. It contains easter eggs you have to pay extra close attention to unless you’d miss them. Do I recommend this? Yes, but I do not suggest you place it next to your other fairy tale retellings. I believe books like this deserve a category all of their own.

 

Rating 6

 

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

Top 5 Reading Goals! Summer 2017 Edition

Top 5 Reading Goals! Summer 2017 Edition

 

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Is it just me or is this year flying by? Summer is coming up and there will be plenty of traveling to do. Even if you currently do not have traveling plans right now, there is no better time than to prep your Summer Reading List!

Each novel will take you to a different part of the world and to the future, past, or present. If you are having a summer like mine was last year, work became priority and traveling sadly had to be placed on the back burner. But as readers, we don’t need to spend gobs of money in order to do so (instead we buy books). No, books can take that place within our hearts and whisk us away to the distant lands across mountains and oceans into a whole other time where we ache to travel.

But it’s 2017! It’s time for something new! Here are my Top 5 Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List! Now, these are not specific books but examples that you could use to create your Summer List this year.

1. Change Up Your Genres

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It’s always good to branch out of your comfort zone and dip your toes into genres you never thought you’d fall in love with. If you are mostly a contemporary reader, why not try to walk on the dark side and throw in a mystery or two? YA Lover? Try a few Adult novels and see if you’d enjoy them. Genres are continuing going through a metamorphosis and in some cases, mixing in with various subjects you would never believe would come together to create a masterpiece……sometimes change is VERY good! Do not allow the fear of change disrupt the power of a good book!

If you’ve kept up on my blog and Goodreads reading list, I’ve mainly been reading paranormal romances, novellas, thrillers, graphic novels, and a few fantasy novels here and there lately. I’m changing it up this summer by diving into the world of fairy tale re-tellings, fantasy, and historical fiction/fantasy mix. When will the transition begin, you may ask? You should see my library holds list…..

2. Dive Into Classics!

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School/College is out, why read classics? Um, I’ll tell you why! See the difference between being forced to read something for a grade versus reading a book because you want to is a HUGE difference. Especially if it is a classic you’ve had gathering dust on your TBR shelf. Research also comes in handy if you are searching for a classic book that is not usually required in schools.

For instance, there are classic books transferred into films but are lacking in print copies. EBay to the rescue! I’m serious. I have probably spent more time buying out of print copies for books in the last two months than I have purchasing books on the shelves everywhere. Two in particular that I will be creating Movie Vs. Book posts on these beauties. I highly recommend checking both these books and their film companions!

 

 

3. Biographies

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Now don’t stop reading! Hear me out. Our world today needs new leaders and many of us need inspiration in our lives. Who are the people we admire? How did they get to where they are today? Maybe their life story will inspire us to make a huge step in our lives.

Currently, I’m reading biographies on the late Vincent Price and author Mary Shelley. Looking into their lives has actually shown me how much one’s past, especially when it comes to family. The famous actor, Vincent Price, was constantly afraid of being destitute due to a family “curse” told from their family history. Mary Shelley’s mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, was one of the founding women of the feminist movement. It was her teachings from which Mary was taught and she based her Frankenstein novel on the loneliness she felt with growing up without her mother around due to her death after Mary was born.

These two people had more to their stories; however, it made me realize that who you see and whose works you may read will show you a glimpse into that person’s very soul. So much so, it’s incredible to read what was going on behind the scenes as history was being made. Whose life story are you interested in reading?

 

4. Summer-based Books

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Cliche, I know, but if you can not figure out books to read or genres to move too, you can always go with ole faithful and read about books surrounding summer or the beach.

5. Fandom Reads

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Ah, my favorite one of them all! Fandom Reads! What do these include? Fanfiction, books based on your favorite film, show, or even the original series from which they came from! Fairy tale re-tellings do go under this goal category due to the fact….well…if you love Alice in Wonderland as much as I do, you have your subject to search for re-tellings, twists, or fan fiction about it! The possibilities are endless!

 

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Do you have reading goals for this summer? If so, what are they?

Do any of my goals match your own?

Have any fairy-tale re-telling suggestions?

 

Let me know in the comment section below!

 

 

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

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.