C.B.H. Reviews: Stalking Jack the Ripper By Kerri Maniscalco

C.B.H. Reviews: Stalking Jack the Ripper By Kerri Maniscalco

 

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Hi Everyone! So I’m a part of this group on Facebook called Life and Lit where we discuss books, exchange our book favorites, ask bookish questions, and much more. Each month we have a “Book-of-the-Month” type of read and this past month was Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco.

28962906 I started reading this book not long after it was released last year but was unable to finish it because life last year was a cruel, cruel thing. This year, though, I was able to join the others in the group and able to go back to late 1800’s England during Jack the Ripper’s reign of terror. Audrey Rose Wadsworth escapes her high lord father’s home late at night in order to be an understudy for her professor uncle in order to help him and his assistant Thomas Cresswell solve the grisly murders haunting the streets of England.

For a Historical Fiction and Murder Mystery novel, it holds up very well! The struggle Audrey Rose goes through in order to pursue her life’s calling screams the problems we women used to face back in those days. Instead of seeking out a successful career, we were expected to have tea, delve in the gossip of the elite, focus on our needlepoint, and worry about marrying into a wealthy family. Also the social rules of speaking to single men as a single woman were absolutely horrendous. If you were spotted out on the streets without a chaperone, speaking to a single gentleman – you could kiss your reputation goodbye and expect to be officially shunned by society because…us women and our feminine wiles, you know.

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I gotta say, Audrey and Thomas are partner goals, I swear. Their banter and chemistry is everything and they remind me of another carnation of Sherlock Holmes (Thomas) and Dr. Watson (Audrey Rose). I challenge you to go to Tumblr and look them up. The fan art of Audrey Rose and Thomas are absolutely adorable.

Now, the ending resolution to this story is predictable but the novel is still fun. The sequel, Hunting Prince Dracula, came out earlier this year and I was able to get my hands on it last month. If it’s just as good as this book, I can’t wait to read it!

Rating 9

 

Have you read this Mystery?

If so, let me know your thoughts on it down in the comments!

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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Xpresso Book Tour Book Blitz: Vices and Virtues

Xpresso Book Tour Book Blitz: Vices and Virtues

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Title: Vices and Virtues
Authors: Chris Farmer, Stacey Broadbent, Amber Bryant, Cyril Brunt, J.M. Butler, Lenore Cheairs, Alana Delacroix, Tammy Oja, Aria Peyton, Maggie Jane Schuler, Lisa Goldman, Rebecca Nolan, Kristin Jacques, Trinity Hanrahan, & QT Ruby
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services LLC

Release Date: November 14th, 2017

On Sale for ONLY $.99 until 11/21! Be sure to get your copy before the price goes up to $2.99!

Available: Amazon

Vices and Virtues: An anthology of the Seven Deadly Sins and Seven Dark Virtues

Synopsis

Sins will weave you into their webs. They become the Vice you’re unable to shake. There are the values, taught from birth, which ride a razor’s edge. They turn into Dark Virtues, a twisted mockery of their true meaning.

Pride, envy, lust, gluttony, anger, greed and sloth all have their place in the tapestry of life. They are the Vices who lost sight of the Virtues: charity, temperance, forgiveness, humility, kindness, chastity and diligence.

Enter the worlds where the tales of the most sinful of Vices and the darkest of Virtues will entice and intrigue you…

…for even among the most devout there is a dark side.

The Tales Within…

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Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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C.B.H. Quick ARC Review: Gray Wolf Island By Tracey Neithercott

C.B.H. Quick ARC Review: Gray Wolf Island By Tracey Neithercott

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Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

Release Date: October 10th, 2017

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

Goodreads Description/Synopsis

Right before Sadie died, she begged her sister, Ruby, to do the one thing she could never do herself: Find the treasure on Gray Wolf Island.

With just a mysterious treasure map as a guide, Ruby reluctantly allows some friends to join her on the hunt, each of whom is touched by magic: a boy allegedly born to a virgin, a girl who never sleeps, a boy who can foresee his own death, and a boy with deep ties to the island. Each of them is also keeping a secret—something they’ll have to reveal in order to reach the treasure.

As the secrets come to light, Ruby will have to decide: Can she make peace with her friends’ troubled pasts and continue to trust them? Can she forgive herself for doing the unspeakable? Deep in the wilderness of Gray Wolf Island, Ruby’s choices will determine if they make it out with the treasure—or merely with their lives.

From debut author Tracey Neithercott comes a darkly compelling tale of profound friendship, adventure, and finding the strength to tell the truth.

My Review

If you had a chance to go with your friends on a search for treasure and a journey filled with mystery, secrets, death, and unpredictable consequences? If you said yes, this is the book for you! Huge thank you to NetGalley and Knopf Books for the opportunity to read this masterful tale!

Ruby is fulfilling her twin sister’s dying wish to search for a mysterious treasure that is hidden somewhere on Gray Wolf Island. She joins a group of strange friends in order to find this treasure and uncover the truth behind it. I had to read this book twice, it was so good!

Tracey Neithercott is a masterful storyteller with her debut novel! The prose and delivery is fantastic. I connected with each of the characters and couldn’t help but want them to succeed in their search. If you haven’t added this to your Goodreads TBR list or ordered it, do it!

 

Rating 10

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

Halloween 2017 Reads

Halloween 2017 Reads

If you take a look at many of my posts or keep track of my Goodreads page, you probably notice I read a lot of books that have to do with the Paranormal, Horror, or Thriller Genres. A LOT. I have a sneaky suspicion my subconscious has a habit of constantly being on the search for the newest thrill in literature! This year is no exception! Here are my….

Top 4 Halloween 2017 Reads Recommendations!

My Review

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If you are a fan of old slasher movies, this is kind of a take of what happens to the survivors or in this case….The Final Girls….

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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I adore this anthology! Each one of these stories is influenced by a classic horror film so none are alike. Some of the contributing authors are Leigh Bardugo, A.G. Howard, and Kendare Blake.

My Top 3 Short Stories from this anthology:

Hide-And-Seek by Megan Shepherd

On the I-5 by Kendare Blake

The Flicker, The Fingers, The Beat, The Sigh by April Genevieve Tucholke

My Review

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Perfect ghost story to add to your October Reads collection!

Synopsis: Unearthing years of buried secrets, Rilla Brae is haunted by ghostly visions tied to the tainted history of a mysterious island in this haunting novel from the author of The Girl Who Fell.

Maine-bred, independent Rilla Brae is no stranger to the deep. She knows the rhythms of hard work and harder seas. But when she experiences the sudden death of her father, the veil between the living and the dead blurs and she begins to be haunted by a girl on a nearby, uninhabited island. The girl floats a song over the waves, and it is as beautiful as it is terrifying. Familiar and distant.

Then Rilla meets Sam, a University of Southern Maine archeology student tasked with excavating the very island where the ghostly girl has appeared. Sam sifts the earth looking for the cultural remains of an island people who were forcibly evicted by the state nearly a hundred years ago. Sam tells Rilla the island has a history no locals talk about—if they know about it at all—due to the shame the events brought to the working waterfront community. All Rilla knows for sure is that the island has always been there—an eerie presence anchored in the stormy sea. Now Sam’s work and the ghostly girl’s song lure Rilla to the island’s shores.

As Rilla helps Sam to unearth the island’s many secrets, Rilla’s visions grow—until the two discover a tragedy kept silent for years. And it’s a tragedy that has everything to do with Rilla’s past.

 

24396858I toggled back and forth between reading this book and listening to the audiobook version. You have to do both! It’s a different experience whether you are listening or reading it. The book is filled with diary entries, police reports, psychiatric recording notes, etc. The audiobook brings these to life and enhances the experience. 10/10 Book Charms for both of these, hands down!

Synopsis: Two decades have passed since an inferno swept through Elmbridge High, claiming the lives of three teenagers and causing one student, Carly Johnson, to disappear. The main suspect: Kaitlyn, “the girl of nowhere.” 

Kaitlyn’s diary, discovered in the ruins of Elmbridge High, reveals the thoughts of a disturbed mind. Its charred pages tell a sinister version of events that took place that tragic night, and the girl of nowhere is caught in the center of it all. But many claim Kaitlyn doesn’t exist, and in a way, she doesn’t – because she is the alter ego of Carly Johnson. 

Carly gets the day. Kaitlyn has the night. It’s during the night that a mystery surrounding the Dead House unravels and a dark, twisted magic ruins the lives of each student that dares touch it. 

Honorable Mentions

 

What Halloween tales are you diving into this month? 

If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment below!

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.H.B. ARC Review: “The Rattled Bones” By S.M. Parker

C.H.B. ARC Review: “The Rattled Bones” By S.M. Parker

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Title: The Rattled Bones
Author: S.M. Parker
Release Date: August 22nd, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse


Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

 

Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy courtesy of NetGalley and Simon Pulse in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any way.

 

Goodreads Description

“Unearthing years of buried secrets, Rilla Brae is haunted by ghostly visions tied to the tainted history of a mysterious island in this haunting novel from the author of The Girl Who Fell.

Maine-bred, independent Rilla Brae is no stranger to the deep. She knows the rhythms of hard work and harder seas. But when she experiences the sudden death of her father, the veil between the living and the dead blurs and she begins to be haunted by a girl on a nearby, uninhabited island. The girl floats a song over the waves, and it is as beautiful as it is terrifying. Familiar and distant.

Then Rilla meets Sam, a University of Southern Maine archeology student tasked with excavating the very island where the ghostly girl has appeared. Sam sifts the earth looking for the cultural remains of an island people who were forcibly evicted by the state nearly a hundred years ago. Sam tells Rilla the island has a history no locals talk about—if they know about it at all—due to the shame the events brought to the working waterfront community. All Rilla knows for sure is that the island has always been there—an eerie presence anchored in the stormy sea. Now Sam’s work and the ghostly girl’s song lure Rilla to the island’s shores.

As Rilla helps Sam to unearth the island’s many secrets, Rilla’s visions grow—until the two discover a tragedy kept silent for years. And it’s a tragedy that has everything to do with Rilla’s past.”

My Review

This story is one filled with self-discovery, mystery, ghosts, and beautiful imagery. This is a for sure read to add to your October reads or even start reading it now. S.M. Parker has presented us with a tale unlike once you’d see under the YA Thriller category, but it makes it’s mark within your mind and in the genre.

Rilla Brae newly inherited her father’s lobster fishing business after his untimely death, and its seeking to discover what her purpose truly is in this life. Being raised on the sea, she was told never to trust it when it appears quiet. It proves true as she is led astray to the mysterious Malaga Island by an abandoned wooden boat and an eerie song floating across the sea to her. The Island is shrouded in the old tale where it’s inhabitants mysteriously disappeared. what happened to the inhabitants and why is Rilla drawn to it?

Highly recommend this read! Grab a blanket, cup of tea, and lock your doors – it’ll leave you with chills and grasping the pages for more.

 

Rating 10

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

UPDATED: MOVIE VS. BOOK – I Know What You Did Last Summer!

UPDATED: MOVIE VS. BOOK – I Know What You Did Last Summer!

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Originally posted: 6/29/2016

Back in the seventies, author Lois Duncan penned a novel detailing the events surrounding a group of teenagers from a small town who hid a dirty secret entailing a hit and run and the discarding of a body. The events following the crime caused readers to look over their shoulder and teach them to always come clean. When you hear the words, I Know What You Did Last Summer, nine times out of ten, people will immediately think of the classic 1997 slasher film starring Jennifer Love Hewitt.

I got my hands on a revised copy of the novel and I was quite surprised with the vast difference between the novel and the book. Granted, the novel was originally written in ’73, but I thought the film would be at least more similar than it had been.

Original Premise

Teens Julie, Ray, Barry, and Helen hit a child on his bicycle in the middle of the night while joyriding, drinking, and smoking pot. A year passes by and they all have changed. Julie, once the top cheerleader who had the lowest grades, is now accepted into an Ivy League school with a high GPA. Ray ran off to California to be a fisherman not long after the incident. Barry is now one of the star players on his college football team. Helen quit high school her Junior year in order to be Channel 5’s new Golden Girl personality. 

The morning of Julie’s good news of learning she will be going to an Ivy League School, another letter arrives for her. Only this letter is different from the rest. It’s smaller than the other. The moment she opens it, her heart drops at the sight of the words, “I Know What You Did Last Summer”. 

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Film’s Premise(Taken From Wikepedia)

“Four high-school seniors – Julie, boyfriend Ray, best friend Helen and Helen’s boyfriend Barry – drive home from a party. While driving, Ray becomes distracted, hitting a pedestrian. Another teenager, Max, stops nearby. Julie convinces him everything is okay; he drives off. The group decides to dispose of the body. At the docks the man revives, attacking them before falling into the water.

A year later, Julie is home from college for the summer. She receives a letter stating, “I know what you did last summer.”

The film mildly draws inspiration from the book while constructing a solid story all on it’s own instead of being a complete adaption. No one died in the original book nor was the victim a grown man. The fact the original victim was a little boy struck a deep chord with me more so than the movie. The death of a child is devastating in my eyes because it’s the innocence of that child and for these characters to keep going, made me understand the antagonists wrath and course for revenge all the more.

Lois Duncan understood the formula on stirring up the reader’s emotions through the consequences the child’s death had on the family. Trauma can be taken in any way, shape, or form. In this boys case, their family took the worst of it and took matters into their own hands. The “Great Reveal” in the end is not all surprising.

tumblr_o3qhpmJbhW1qj7u8ao1_500.gifThe movie, though, ties in inspiration from the urban legend “The Hook” in order it to strike up deeper fears into the heart of the audience than merely focusing on a hit-and-run. The family of the victim did not seem to suffer as much as the family in the novel. The murders were gruesome, for 90s slasher standards, and the great reveal in the end is not expected.

All in all, I consider both the film and book to be separate entities. By comparison, they are extremely different in delivery, middle, and climax. The novel is a good short, little read while the movie is perfect to add to your horror collection. The characters in the book have a voice all their own that when compared to the actors, they are completely different. I don’t see Jennifer Love Hewitt as Julie or Freddie Prince Jr. as Ray. I see the novel characters the opposite of their portrayers. The actors are good for the film adaption of the characters maybe because they weren’t like their original inspirations.

Did I enjoy the novel? Yes, I did. The film? Oh yeah! Would I recommend fans of the film to read the book? I would caution them before they read because the book is by no means a slasher book. I remember reading it and waiting for it. When no murders came, I felt jilted because I grew up with the film version.

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In the end, I’d probably choose (don’t kill me) the film version. Hear me out, to me, it was better. I blame the delivery and the surprise ending compared to the book’s not so subtle ending. But like I said earlier, they should be considered separate entities. Plus, the film spawned a pretty good sequel.

 

My Rating

Rating 6

 

Film: This isn’t a Book so I’ll use Film Reels. 7 out of 10 Film Reels

 

What would you choose? Film or Movie?

 

Happy Reading and Watching!

 

~C.C.

 

 

C.B.H. ARC Review: “Sleeper” By MacKenzie Cadenhead

C.B.H. ARC Review: “Sleeper” By MacKenzie Cadenhead

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Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Fire

Release Date: August 1st, 2017

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

Goodreads Description

“As if surviving high school wasn’t hard enough, Sarah Reyes suffers from REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, a parasomnia that causes her to physically act out her dreams. When she almost snaps her friend’s neck at a sleepover, Sarah and her nocturnal habits are thrust into the spotlight and she becomes a social pariah, complete with public humiliation.

When an experimental drug comes onto the market that promises nighttime normalcy, Sarah agrees to participate in the trial. At first, she seems to be cured. Then the side effects kick in. Why does a guy from her nightmare show up at school? Are the eerily similar dreams she’s sharing with her classmates’ coincidence or of her making? Is she losing her mind or does this drug offer way more than sleep?”

My Review

I held off this review until I could find the right words. I felt like I was being transported back in time to how YA novels were written when I was 15-16 years old. Back then, love interests were abusive (i.e. emotional, physical, etc.) but were still considered “healthy”. Innocent “pranks” were actually not truly pranks. People do not get sexually assaulted or at least they should not in pranks. I’m not a sensitive person when it comes to something I read. However, there were many cases in this book where events were not alright and crossed the personal line for me due to them being constant throughout the novel. Other readers may believe this to be “triggering” due to the nature of the contents. I personally didn’t need one, but other readers would need them if they have a past in these situations.

Anyway, The main plot of the novel is surrounds Sarah who suffers from a sleeping disorder that had recently caused her to attack a classmate in her sleep and almost kill her. She is offered a possible solution through the experimental drug called Dexidnipam. But with positive effects come negative effects that cause issues in her on-going life.

Many describe it as Heathers meets Inception and while I see that, the best parts of those films are lacking from this narrative. I want to see enemies understand what they are doing is wrong and not when it’s practically too late. I want to see justice, not “sins” swept under the wrong as if they do not exist.

For those interested in this novel, read my first paragraph. If you are like me and things in a novel don’t affect you due to it being fiction, then don’t worry about it and try it out. It had a few positive moments, but it needed better world building, character conflict resolution, and get rid of the insta-love factor.

 

Rating 5

Happy Reading,

~C.C.