C.H.B. Reviews: “Stargazer” By: Claudia Gray

C.H.B. Reviews: “Stargazer” By: Claudia Gray

I began the Evernight series earlier this year. The first book, heavily disappointed. I started this book back in June, but stopped to read other books on my list which called my attention. I finally picked it up again last week and finished it last weekend.

While there may have been new twists added to the story, unfortunately, I still rolled my eyes more times than I can count. We go back to complicated dramatic love story of Bianca and Lucas. Sum up: Bianca, (born vampire) and Lucas (vampire hunter) = “Star-Crossed Lovers”.

What I find terribly depressing about this story is the fact that the author presents this possibly fantastic new element to the story involving wraiths and Balthazar’s sister only to shove it to the back burner the majority of the time. When Balthazar’s sister came into play, it felt like it was a waste of time considering his sister has become “evil” by getting involved with the wrong crowd, alerting Lucas’s vampire hunter squad. With the wraiths, I’m inwardly groaning right now, it starts as an interesting turn of events but then falls into only causing more drama and Bianca whining over ridiculous things.

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Much like Twilight’s New Moon, we are reminded of the whole Romeo and Juliet element to the current story. Bianca even begins to compare her own relationship to the story. I’m currently trying not to throw this book across the room right now, I’m that frustrated with it. Her head is 85% filled with the obsession of Lucas, Lucas, Lucas, and Lucas. Even when her life is in danger, she constantly thinks about him. Maybe it’s because I’m not a teenager anymore that I get frustrated by this and find it repulsive but I find it repulsive.

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Alas, I have the third book in this series and will eventually read and review it. Could be a month….or two….or three….but it’ll get done.

If you haven’t read this series, I advise you not too. Don’t waste your time unless you want a splitting headache and wonder if you should take some anger management classes.

 

My Rating: 3 out of 10 Book Charms

 

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

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C.H.B. Reviews: “Frightfully Ever After” By Nick DeWolf

C.H.B. Reviews: “Frightfully Ever After” By Nick DeWolf

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Available: Amazon

Am I the only person who has wondered how fairy godmothers received their powers? Obviously, there are stories where fairies are born with their powers. But what if they were not fairies to begin with? Or why it seems, almost always, royalty who end up with the magical curses and eventually end up receiving the magical loopholes where they survive?

Author Nick DeWolf sent me a signed copy of his book in exchange for my honest review. In all honesty, this book is an example of an author who goes through fairy tales and pens a story filled with a raw, magical power only they can evoke into a set of characters who answer all those complicated questions you may have like I did.

Fairy Tale creatures (Godmothers, Goblins, Fairies, etc.) work under Grimm Incorporated (homage to Brothers Grimm). Fairy Godmothers, Mary and Gayl, are sick of being given assignments for “princess” cases where the girls contain a mere sliver of royal blood coursing through their veins. Royal Blood is said to contain a certain brand of magical power. With their being too far and few in between actual “royal blood” assignments, they finally discover a new assignment they have awaited for ages.

 This modern “princess” is Anastasia, a young woman who is trapped in a slavery-like condition with a drug cartel. However, Anastasia has a large amount of magical juice her captor is using to keep her captive and his empire afloat. Unbeknownst to Mary and Gayl, their new charge is far more valuable than originally anticipated, bringing old sins to the forefront and a battle between good and evil.

This modern take on fairy tales and creatures deserves to be read. Although it is dark and contains a few explicit scenes, it adds on to the fact evil can corrupt even the most innocent of souls.

My Rating: 8 out of 10 Book Charms!

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “Return To Babylon” (Orfeo Saga B.5) By Murray Lee Eiland Jr.

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “Return To Babylon” (Orfeo Saga B.5) By Murray Lee Eiland Jr.

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I have been reading this series for over a year now, but I haven’t talked about it on here till now. As soon as I found out from the author about the fifth installment, I was ready to dive in!

Amazon Description: “Fighting from the Shadows

After the conquest of Babylon the victors installed the daughter of the former king as ruler of that city state. Zinaida is now beginning to feel stirrings of divinity, and seeks vengeance upon the coalition who put her on the throne. One by one surrounding kings are removed. This time there will be no grand coalition to challenge the might of Babylon. The battle will be in the shadows. Zinaida has sent spies to locate Zurga, and she is greatly concerned that he cannot be found. After an attempt on his life, Orfeo and Clarice decide to go directly to Mesopotamia in an attempt to prevent harm coming to their adopted city of Pylos.


The wild card in the equation is a small city not one hundredth the size of Babylon which is located in the lower Tigris. Can the ruler of Araka be persuaded to take on the might of Babylon? Daryush, now ruler of a small kingdom, also decides to meet the threat in an unconventional way. He trains a young apprentice named Cyrus in spycraft. Can smoke and mirrors overcome raw power?”

The whole premise of the series mainly follows the story of Orfeo, from his struggle to connect with his family after returning from being a hostage in the city of Pylos to now being proven a warrior in his own prestigious right. He gathers a partner in crime, so to speak ,named Clarice who brings her own bag of tricks into the mix.

There were a few grammatical errors in the first installment, but the author has improved with each of the novels. I can tell he listens to his audience and uses their feedback in order to make the following novels more enjoyable. Also the historical element in each of the novel enhances the imagery experience, granting readers a front seat view of the past.

In this book, like we all know, the temptation of power can drive a person to make rash movements in making sure their power may not be ripped away. But much like regular politics, some of the biggest wars occur behind closed doors.

Another good installment for a memorable series!

If you’d like to begin this series to catch up with me, you can purchase the first book on Amazon!

My Rating: 8 out of 10 Book Charms!

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

 

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “Behind Closed Doors” By B.A. Paris

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “Behind Closed Doors” By B.A. Paris

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Wow. It’s been only a week and I’ve already finished yet another book that has not only kept me up all night reading but it has also lingered in my dreams. I thought I’d be taking a break from a mind-blowing thriller at least for a little while but I was completely wrong.

Behind Closed Doors follows the marriage of Jack and Grace Angel. On the surface, they appear to be the perfect couple. Jack is a prestigious attorney who fights on the side of battered women, a glowing reputation amongst his small band of colleagues, and a loving husband to his wife. Grace is a stay-at-home wife, talented chef to her friends, and adores her sister who has Down Syndrome. To everyone who see the Angels, they are pure #relationshipgoals.

But what if things were not what they seem? What if behind Grace’s somewhat cheerful eyes and Jack’s flawless smile, there lie a variety of secrets only they knew? Behind every perfect marriage there are things hidden. Hidden, behind closed doors. In this tale, it will make you believe Gone Girl was nothing compared to this story.

My insides ached the more I delved deeper into the book. The more I read, the more intense it became. The more intense it became, the more I wanted to keep on reading. Each time I placed it down, I felt myself rushing in my daily tasks at work just to be able to pick up the book again.

I highly recommend this book if you were a fan of Gone Girl. For warning, this is not like that book at all. Quite honestly, it’s a story all on it’s own and worth reading!

 

Official Release Date: August 9th, 2016

Available For Pre-Order: Amazon; Barnes & Noble

 

**I received an Advanced Readers Copy of Behind Closed Doors from SheSpeaks and St. Martins Press for an honest Review**

 

My Rating: 9 out of 10 Book Charms

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Happy Reading,

~C.C.

 

C.H.B. Review & Interview of Seneca Rebel (The Seneca Society B.1) By Rayya Deeb

C.H.B. Review & Interview of Seneca Rebel (The Seneca Society B.1) By Rayya Deeb

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Title: Seneca Rebel
Author: Rayya Deeb
Publication Date: June 1, 2016
Available: Amazon

 

Amazon Description: “What if your one chance to change the world means you have to leave everything you love behind?

In the not-too-distant future, math genius Doro Campbell is introduced to the Seneca Society: a secretive, technologically-advanced subterranean utopia dedicated to inventing and perfecting the most effective ways to benefit our planet.

But there’s a hitch. Like all that have come before her, Doro is given the ultimatum: Stay in Seneca forever, or leave now with no memory of the place, its goals, and its inhabitants.

She stays.

Her ideals are shattered when, together with biotechnology whiz, Dominic Ambrosia, Doro uncovers profound deceptions beneath the surface of this all too-perfect community.

Will one teenage girl have what it takes to go up against swarms of drones, psychological manipulation and biological attacks, to uncover the truth and change the trajectory of the world?”

~

My Review

I can’t not get over Dorothy Campbell. Here is this this intelligent, adventurous teen who is always getting into trouble. It’s not that she’s doing it for attention, though. Instead, she is doing it because, in her own words, “everyone around me was so boring, that I needed to be proactive and inventive in order to have any fun.” Her personality is one you can’t help but admire in a young character. Throughout the story, she rises to take her place amongst the other current strong woman Dystopian characters. However, she adds her own spin to her world by using her intelligence in order to discover the problems instead of them being revealed openly like in other books.

She lost her father, only to be granted the ability to explore a new society. The Seneca Society grants her the chance to use her knowledge in order to create, invent, be who she was meant to be. As we know, in every secret society, there is always a catch and secrets. If she leaves, her mind is erased of the knowledge of Seneca. The secrets, you’ll have to discover on your own.

The whole story flows in such a way where it adds another layer to the genre. It was difficult to put down the more I read. The pacing is perfect, giving you enough to want to continue the series after the last page is finished. I honestly enjoyed it better than The Hunger Games series, it’s that good. I can’t wait to see what else will happen to Doro!

~

Interview with Author Rayya Deeb

C.C.: Where did you get your inspiration for the story?

R.D.: My main sources for writing The Seneca Society Series are my two little girls and a documentary film called Transendant Man. I love reading about emerging technologies and advances in science too, so I wanted to write this story that would explore the possible future of the world that they could live in.

C.C.: When did you discover you had a passion for writing? Where did it all begin?
 
R.D.: My 3rd grade teacher at Oakton Elementary, Mrs. Cooper, told me to “never stop writing.” At the time I had no idea why she said that, but in retrospect I totally get it and so appreciate it. I absolutely loved it every time we had story exercises in elementary school– it always felt like bonus time, not work.

C.C.: I heard you were working on a sequel to the novel, can you give us any possible hints on what may happen?

R.D.: I am working on the next two books now… there are super subtle hints in Seneca Rebel, but to answer your question, things will have to get a whole lot worse for Doro before they can get better. And she is headed to South America.

C.C.: Here at Charmed Haven Book Reviews, all books are given a rating in what I call book charms. Each charm represents a certain requirement books should have. As the author, out of these Ten Charms (i.e. Charm of Intelligence, Worthiness, Agility, Romance, Length, Imagery, Learning, Character, Believability, and Everlasting) which Book Charm would you give it overall?

R.D.: Hopefully, if I’ve done my job, all of them BUT…To me the most applicable would be worthiness. I want Seneca Rebel to be something that inspires people to be curious about the future, to ask questions, and make a difference.

C.C.: Do you have another author who is your writing role model? What is your favorite book they wrote and why?

R.D.: Judy Blume– Superfudge. I couldn’t believe how fun and cool a book could be. After I read Superfudge, I took some paper and staples, made a book, wrote it, illustrated it and sent it to Ms. Blume. A month or so later I got a letter back from her that she loved my book. That had a lifelong impression on me. I hope she’ll love this one too.

C.C.: How many books are you planning for your series?

R.D.: Right now three books are mapped out, but I want to keep going. And just a little FYI– there is more to the cover than meets the eye. The Seneca storyworld already expands beyond book one, for those that take the leap to discover it…

~

My Rating: 9 1/2 out of 10 Book Charms!

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.H.B. Reviews Children’s Book: “Meeting of the Mustangs” By Cathy Kennedy

C.H.B. Reviews Children’s Book: “Meeting of the Mustangs” By Cathy Kennedy

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It’s rare when I review children’s books. Perhaps I may need to do it more, especially my favorites from childhood. When I think of books from my childhood pertaining to horses, Black Beauty and Seabiscuit immediately come to mind. A couple months ago, I received an email from young writer Cathy Kennedy about her new novel Meeting the Mustangs for an honest review. I dare say, hands down, it is one of the most imagininative books I’ve ever read about horses to this day that is appropriate for both young middle school readers up to adults who adore horses and adventures. It is short, sweet, and is set in a realistic background where children will fall in love with the horses.

The story surrounds the tale of a black colt born into a heard of wild mustangs. At first, we experience the innocence of this young black colt thrust into of the world of the unknown. He is separated from his family, spurring the longing he has to reconnect with his family. His journey does not continue without a variety other challenges and dangers in his midst. One in particular deals with being captured by strangers who force him into captivity for future plans of selling for money.

I’m a huge animal lover hence the millions of pictures of my cat Josie on my Facebook, Instagram, etc.. My heart always breaks hearing the dangers that befall animals whether they are horses or other species. But this story shows that regardless of the trials that befall him, the colt always presses on in his growth both physically and also his personal story.

If you are looking for a new story for your child or even know someone who may enjoy this book, it is available via Amazon.

 

My Rating: 8 out of 10 Book Charms

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

 

C.H.B. Reviews: “The Silver Thread” (The Annika Brisby Series #2) By Emigh Cannaday

C.H.B. Reviews: “The Silver Thread” (The Annika Brisby Series #2) By Emigh Cannaday

Stunned. Stunned. Stunned…..I have to say it three times because it’s how I truly feel after reading the second book in The Annika Brisby Series. If you haven’t read the first book or even my first review, do NOT read this one and read the first book because this review contains minor SPOILERS! You can read my review on the first book here.

To review the ending of the last novel, Annika was whisked (more like sucked) back into her dimension, leaving Talvi alone. For three months, they both walked along in their own worlds, depressed because of their separation. Annika is considered slightly crazy by her family considering she had disappeared without a trace for several months only to suddenly appear in the middle of France, rambling about her misadventures in Talvi’s world.

The book shifts among their story, Talvi’s former elf now vampire twin sister Yuri and her lover Constantine’s trysts, and Annika’s elf family member who is finally re-discovering love herself. The only downside I saw with this one is it barely touched the other two side-stories compared to Talvi and Annika’s own. BUT there is a great lesson in this book that I believe all couples should take to heart. Sappy, I know, but trust me on this!

Amazon Description

Talvi Marinossian has slain maenads and fought off vampire attacks, but nothing has prepared him for getting involved with one of these forbidden ‘Modern Girls’. When he finally tracks down Annika it’s obvious that she’s changed since her recent adventure in his homeland.It’s also clear that she’s not ready to embrace the next chapter in her life. He tries to persuade her to open up to him, but she finds it difficult since he won’t even explain how he earns a living, why he has a secret cell phone, or the reason he keeps another woman’s handkerchief in his pocket. Instead of relying on Talvi to help her adjust, Annika delves into her music and her job, and it isn’t long before the new lovers find themselves completely out of sync with one another. Just when they start to find their rhythm, Talvi is called away on business and whisks Annika off to Paris for what is supposed to be a working vacation. But one bad decision leads to another, and the chaos that ensues may cost someone their life.

As I sit here patiently awaiting for Emigh Cannaday to release her third book, I am literally shaking from the ending of this last book. Many have compared the second book to be slower than the first and I have to slightly agree. Yes, it was slower, however to me, I think the author did it so readers could capture the lesson.

Communication, truthfulness, thoughtfulness, sacrifice, and proving ones love is hard when you barely know your partner like in Talvi and Annika’s situation. It takes a true couple to battle through the remains of past sins and current circumstances in order for love to bloom. It’s a slow process and that’s how I compare it to the pace of the second novel. Much like the battle and growth of a marriage, relationship, or even friendship-it takes time.

~

If you didn’t heed my warning in the beginning and read this anyway, click HERE to get your copy of the first book.

If you’ve read the first book, click HERE to get a copy of the sequel.

~

About the Author

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After bouncing around from Paris to Portland, Emigh Cannaday now lives in Wisconsin with her husband and a pack of Welsh Corgis. She grew up drawing, painting, and writing down her elaborate daydreams that focus on nature, intuition, and a bit of magic. She spends her free time testing out new recipes in the kitchen and playing with houseplants and horses.

She also co-hosts the Wine Wars podcast, a well-edited but uncensored show dedicated to all things wine and Star Wars.

~

My Rating: 9 out of 10 Book Charms

Happy Reading,

~C.C.