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 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.

Double Review: “The Book of Ivy” and “The Evolution of Ivy” By Amy Engel

Double Review: “The Book of Ivy” and “The Evolution of Ivy” By Amy Engel

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Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

 

The Book of Ivy Premise

America fell under the brutality of a massive nuclear war, destroying the whole nation. The remaining survivors split into two factions led by two families: The Westfalls and The Lattimers. Their feud expanded to new heights over the years till The Westfalls finally lost and them and their followers fell under the rule of The Lattimers. Fifty years have come and gone and the only way peace is kept between the two factions is by the Westfalls former followers’ daughters are paired up to be married to the sons from the Lattimer faction.

Now, it has come down to the marriage between Ivy Westfall, granddaughter to the original leader of the Westfalls and President Lattimer’s son Bishop. Unbeknownst to the Lattimers, Ivy has a secret plan. A plan she was raised upon to execute when the time came: to kill the President’s son. Ivy’s personal rage stems not from the original feud, but over the death of her mother. According to her father, Ivy’s mother was ordered to by murdered by President Lattimer under suspicious circumstances. Her along with her sister are raised to be ready to fight to overthrow the man who ordered the murder of their mother.

Does Ivy have what it takes to avenge her mother and murder her new husband?

 

My Review

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I originally purchased the first book from Book Outlet a few months ago and it had been resting on my shelf collecting dust. I finally gave in and devoured the whole book in less than a day. It’s not too long, but the right length. But right when it ended, it felt like the book was truly at a turning point and I couldn’t wait to read the sequel.

Our main character Ivy is not what you’d call a killer. Throughout the whole book she struggles under the weight of having to find ways to get secret information to weapons to her family and figure out a way to murder Bishop. Bishop, though, proved to be a challenge and not in ways you’d suspect.

Bishop is a complete sweetheart and gentleman towards Ivy. Not going to lie, I absolutely loved him. Ivy believed since being the president’s son, he’d be a rude, selfish guy who’d only use her for breeding purposes much like what marriage is mostly about in their community. Spousal abuse was brought up in the novel by Bishop and Ivy’s neighbors. Keep in mind, these couples are only sixteen-eighteen when they are married, practically still kids and immature.

Ivy witnesses the abuse firsthand and in the end Bishop steps in and pushes the husband off the roof in a fit of rage after the husband doesn’t agree to annul the marriage. Despite everything and the husband agreeing to annul the marriage, the wife immediately chastises Bishop and Ivy for sticking their nose into their business. Ivy constantly brings up this is a huge reason why teenagers should not be forced to get married let alone to people they do not know. In a way, we see what Bishop and Ivy’s marriage could have been, making Ivy’s “purpose” even more unsettling.

Minor Spoiler Alert!

Ivy does not kill Bishop. And rightfully so! She’s betrayed by her family and set up in order to get her thrown out of the community and “outside of the fence” to face the elements. We are left at the end of the book wondering if Ivy would survive and if her family would succeed in their deadly endeavors….

 

Goodreads Description of The Revolution of Ivy

“Ivy Westfall is beyond the fence and she is alone. Abandoned by her family and separated from Bishop Lattimer, Ivy must find a way to survive on her own in a land filled with countless dangers, both human and natural. She has traded a more civilized type of cruelty–forced marriages and murder plots–for the bare-knuckled brutality required to survive outside Westfall’s borders.

But there is hope beyond the fence, as well. And when Bishop reappears in Ivy’s life, she must decide if returning to Westfall to take a final stand for what she believes is right is worth losing everything she’s fought for.”

My Review

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The second book is not nearly as good as the first one. I sped through the second one faster than the first, but it didn’t have as much character development or growth as the first book did. We watched Ivy mature in the first book while I saw no growth whatsoever. Yeah the ends were tied up in a neat little bow but it felt rushed and not thoroughly thought through.

I must admit, I cried when Bishop showed back up to look for Ivy and stood up to his family. Yes, anyone knew it would happen, but come on….the way Bishop loves Ivy is a love I have not seen in male characters in quite awhile. Needless to say, if you do read the first one, be prepared because the sequel is quite predictable to say the least. Good short, sweet dystopian series overall though.

 

My Rating

 

Book 1:

 

Rating 8

Book 2:

 

Rating 5

 

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

ARC Review: Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles By J.M. Sullivan

ARC Review: Alice: The Wanderland Chronicles By J.M. Sullivan

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Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads/IndieBound

 

**Disclaimer: I received a free copy via NetGalley and Pen Name Publishing in exchange for a honest review. This does not effect my review whatsoever.**

 

NetGalley Description

 

For those who love Alice in Wonderland as much as I do, I highly recommend this book! It has found it’s way to a special place next to my other Alice in Wonderland inspired tales. Question is, are you ready to go into this new twisted world of Wonderland?

 

Rating 9

 

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.