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.

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.

C.B.H. ARC Reviews: Ill Will By Dan Chaon

C.B.H. ARC Reviews: Ill Will By Dan Chaon

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Release Date: March 7, 2017
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

‘“We are always telling a story to ourselves, about ourselves,” Dustin Tillman likes to say. It’s one of the little mantras he shares with his patients, and it’s meant to be reassuring. But what if that story is a lie?

A psychologist in suburban Cleveland, Dustin is drifting through his forties when he hears the news: His adopted brother, Rusty, is being released from prison. Thirty years ago, Rusty received a life sentence for the massacre of Dustin’s parents, aunt, and uncle. The trial came to symbolize the 1980s hysteria over Satanic cults; despite the lack of physical evidence, the jury believed the outlandish accusations Dustin and his cousin made against Rusty. Now, after DNA analysis has overturned the conviction, Dustin braces for a reckoning.

Meanwhile, one of Dustin’s patients gets him deeply engaged in a string of drowning deaths involving drunk college boys. At first Dustin dismisses talk of a serial killer as paranoid thinking, but as he gets wrapped up in their amateur investigation, Dustin starts to believe that there’s more to the deaths than coincidence. Soon he becomes obsessed, crossing all professional boundaries—and putting his own family in harm’s way.

From one of today’s most renowned practitioners of literary suspense, Ill Will is an intimate thriller about the failures of memory and the perils of self-deception. In Dan Chaon’s nimble, chilling prose, the past looms over the present, turning each into a haunted place.’

My Review

Ok. This book reminds me of another twisted version of another book I recently read by Gillian Flynn called Dark Places. Especially the piece where the main character has a brother who was acused of murder and later exonerated. Only, in Gillian Flynn’s case, the brother was not. Both stories bounce from the 80s to somewhat present date and they also bring in the satanic cult hysteria from back in the 80s as well. Besides that, Dan Choan takes over from there.

I don’t like predictable books, in fact, I despise predictable books. When I read, I want to the author to make me think. To show, not tell. Dan does just that. He gives you these realistic characters in surroundings that reach outside the fictional world and grab you by the hand and will not let go till their mission is complete.

Are there rough spots? Absolutely, but the author rebounds and makes up with his suspenseful turns. Be prepared to open your mind and be taken on a wild ride!

 

My Rating: 7 out of 10 Book Charms

 

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

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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.