ARC Review: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Seek By Anthony O’Neill

ARC Review: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Seek By Anthony O’Neill

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Title: Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Seek
Author: Anthony O’Neill
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018
Available: Amazon/B&N
Add to Goodreads

*I received an ARC copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my review whatsoever*

ag- about the book

In this dark, atmospheric sequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s timeless classic, the strange case continues with the return of Dr. Jekyll . . . Seven years after the death of Edward Hyde, a stylish gentleman shows up in foggy London claiming to be Dr. Henry Jekyll. Only Mr. Utterson, Jekyll’s faithful lawyer and confidant, knows that he must be an impostor–because Jekyll was Hyde.

But as the man goes about charming Jekyll’s friends and reclaiming the estate, and as the bodies of potential challengers start piling up, Utterson is left fearing for his life . . . and questioning his own sanity.

 

ag- my review

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We all know the tragic yet cautionary tale of Dr. Henry Jekyll who brewed his potion that transformed him into the monstrous Mr. Hyde. Shows you that sometimes the monster within brought out by your addictions can lead to your own demise. This short story takes place seven years after the events of the original and is as shrouded in darkness as the original.

Bodies begin to pile up again after a mysterious figure claiming to be Henry comes out of the shadows, we follow Mr. Utterson as he tries to uncover the truth. Is Henry still alive? Or maybe, just maybe, Mr. Utterson has more to hide than meets the eye?

The author does a fantastic job bringing back the dark atmosphere from the original and catching us up-to-date on the events since Dr. Jekyll’s death. However, his handling of Mr. Utterson was much to be desired. I won’t spoil it except it’s as if he has a personality change from the original to this sequel.

Do I think it was a good sequel? It was adequate, but he needed to research Utterson more.

To those who enjoyed the original tale, I recommend this but do so lightly or you may get offended by how characters were brought back.

 

Rating 6

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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ARC Review: The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker By Kerry Wilkinson

ARC Review: The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker By Kerry Wilkinson

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Title: The Death and Life of Eleanor Parker
Author: Kerry Wilkinson
Release Date: July 26th, 2018
Available: Amazon/B&N/Kobo
Add to Goodreads

**Disclaimer – I received an ARC copy via NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. This does not effect my opinion whatsoever.**

ag- about the book

‘I will never forget the night I drowned…’

A village with something to hide.

Seventeen-year-old Eleanor Parker wakes up cold and alone in the river that twists through her quiet village. She has no memory of how she got there. But she does know that another girl was drowned in the same river the summer before, held under the water by an unknown killer…

A community torn apart.

Eleanor is a normal, every day teenager. She argues with her mum, spends her days with her best friend, and is looking forward to a carefree summer of sunshine and music. Who would want to hurt her?

A shocking secret.

Determined to unlock the mystery of what really happened to her, Eleanor can’t escape the feeling that something awful links her to the previous summer’s murder. But will she find out the truth before it’s too late?

ag- my review

The premise of this book reminded me of the 2007 thriller The Invisible with Justin Chatwin. He wakes up around a body of water, does not really remember how he got there and has a set time in order to figure out what happened and find his body or else he passes on to the other side. Weird for me to compare a novel to a film, but it just felt too similar not to mention.

Eleanor, 17, wakes up abandoned in a river. She has no memory of the events leading up to this moment. The difference between this and Justin’s story – Eleanor is dead. Coincidently, in the same location as her brother’s former girlfriend the previous summer.

Throughout the novel, Eleanor goes over her current state as the undead. She does not allow this to take her off the path of finding out the truth behind her and the other girl’s murder. Then when another girl disappears, it’s go time in trying to get down to the bottom of everything.

It’s a quick, engaging read and definitely one to pick up and devour during the Fall season!

Rating 7

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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Book Blitz & Giveaway: A Pilgrimage to Death By Alexa Padgett

Book Blitz & Giveaway: A Pilgrimage to Death By Alexa Padgett

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Title: A Pilgrimage to Death
Author: Alexa Padgett
Seires: Reverend Cici Gurule Mystery
Release Date: August 14th, 2018
Available: Amazon/B&N/iBooks/Kobo
Add to Goodreads

Synopsis

They murdered her sister. They threatened her church. But their day of reckoning will cost her everything…

When Cici Gurule finds the dead body of a parishioner in the nearby Santa Fe National Forest, she’s horrified to realize the victim bears the same stab wounds that ended her twin sister’s life one year earlier.

Now, as a freewheeling, progressive reverend who’ll stop at nothing to protect her flock, she’ll need to join forces with her detective friend and loyal pair of Great Pyrenees to hunt down the killer before she’s forced to officiate another funeral.

Soon, however, Cici discovers her sister was on the trail of a deep-rooted criminal operation, and her death was no random act of violence. With the criminals out for Cici’s blood, she needs to catch the wolf by the tail…before it goes in for the kill.

Fans of Gillian Flynn, Paula Hawkins, and Stacy Claflin will love Alexa’s Padgett’s new edge-of-your-seat novel! Scroll up and click to start this fast-paced, high-octane mystery thriller.

About the Author

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With a degree in international marketing and a varied career path that includes content management for a web firm, marketing direction for a high-profile sports agency, and a two-year stint with a renowned literary agency, award-winning author Alexa Padgett has returned to her first love: writing fiction.

Alexa spent a good part of her youth traveling. From Budapest to Belize, Calgary to Coober Pedy, she soaked in the myriad smells, sounds, and feels of these gorgeous places, wishing she could live in them all—at least for a while. And she does in her books.

She lives in New Mexico with her husband, children, and Great Pyrenees pup, Ash. When not writing, schlepping, or volunteering, she can be found in her tiny kitchen, channeling her inner Barefoot Contessa.

Contact

Website/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads

Giveaway

Want to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card?

Enter Here!

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Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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C.B.H. Reviews: Hunting Prince Dracula By: Kerri Maniscalo

C.B.H. Reviews: Hunting Prince Dracula By: Kerri Maniscalo

Hello Charmers,

I’ve been meaning to post this review for awhile. With Book Tours and Blitzes coming up more and more frequently, it’s time to take a breather to review a book from my TBR 2018 Challenge. I reviewed the first book, Stalking Jack the Ripper, not too long ago and you can check out my review here.

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We pick up where Audrey Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell left off from the previous book. For the sake of the dreaded SPOILERS, we will not discuss the identity of Jack the Ripper from the first book. Because, come on, why spoil the surprise?

Audrey is suffering from symptoms of PTSD in the form of flashbacks of facing Jack the Ripper along with their shocking demise. Regardless, she is still taking on the task of heading off to Romania with Thomas to attend one of the best forensic schools in the world. They are met with a new challenge, however, in the form of a possible vampire slaying attack aboard their train, it seems Audrey and Thomas may be taking on a new case under possible vampiric circumstances.

Obviously, this is a historical fiction novel with no ties to the paranormal world, but it was nice left wondering, “What if?” throughout the novel. The inclusion of the lore behind Vlad the Impaler through adding historical facts and tales passed down from the locals enhances the storytelling greatly in this sequel verses the first book. It was harder to put this book down. Each chapter added more historical elements that made you want to learn more. History has always fascinated me and this novel made my love grow all the more.

I have to say thank you to the author for including the circumstances surround the LBGQ community around that time and including characters so understanding. We, as a society, have come a long way and still have a ways to go. But in the fictional world, you sometimes need to be reminded how history used to be in order to grow in the future.

If you haven’t read this book nor it’s first installment, it’s a must! If you are a fan of the lore of Dracula and other tales linked to the vampire lore, this is a mystery that’ll get your mind racing.

Rating 9

Have you read this series?

Which book was your favorite?

Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “If I Run” By Terri Blackstock

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “If I Run” By Terri Blackstock

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Available: Amazon/Goodreads/B&N

**Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy via NetGalley and Zondervan Fiction in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review whatsoever.**

Goodreads Description

Casey Cox’s DNA is all over the crime scene. There’s no use talking to police; they have failed her abysmally before. She has to flee before she’s arrested . . . or worse. The truth doesn’t matter anymore.

But what is the truth? That’s the question haunting Dylan Roberts, the war-weary veteran hired to find Casey. PTSD has marked him damaged goods, but bringing Casey back can redeem him. Though the crime scene seems to tell the whole story, details of the murder aren’t adding up. Casey Cox doesn’t fit the profile of a killer. But are Dylan’s skewed perceptions keeping him from being objective? If she isn’t guilty, why did she run?

Unraveling her past and the evidence that condemns her will take more time than he has, but as Dylan’s damaged soul intersects with hers, he is faced with two choices. The girl who occupies his every thought is a psychopathic killer . . . or a selfless hero. And the truth could be the most deadly weapon yet.”

 

I have not read a Terri Blackstock novel since high school. Even now when I read this novel, it reminded me how insanely talented of a storyteller Blackstock is. Each of her novels are crafted to keep you on the edge of your seat, wanting to uncover more evidence to solve the mystery she presents us with. This book is no exception. We bounce between the two perspectives. One from Casey Cox and the other from investigator Dylan Roberts.

When Casey Cox discovers her best friend, Brent, dead on his floor. She quickly gathers her resources and goes on the run. Despite not going to the police about what she discovered, she believes the police will immediately pin his murder on herself. But Casey is not stupid. She always finds a way to cover her tracks wherever she goes.

On the other end of the spectrum, Dylan Roberts is hired to track Casey down and take her into custody. He faces his own personal demons during his investigation through his PTSD flashbacks from being overseas. Although he battles these, he continues to attempt to uncover the clues behind Brent’s death and Casey’s disappearance.

This book is not for those who are not interested in Christian Fiction. I understand there are readers who would be bothered by this type of writing; however, I enjoy it. Even if you would not mind it, the mystery is thrilling enough. The ending is swift and leaves you hanging, waiting for the sequel but it could have been written a little better. Other than this, the book is wonderful and I highly recommend it.

 

My Rating: 8 out of 10 Book Charms

 

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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ARC Reviews: “Beautiful Broken Girls” By Kim Savage

ARC Reviews: “Beautiful Broken Girls” By Kim Savage

Title: Beautiful Broken Girls

Author: Kim Savage
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
Release Date: February 21st, 2017

*Discalimer: I received a copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley and Macmillan Publishing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review whatsoever.*

 

Sisters, Francesca and Mira, are found dead at the bottom of a quarry. Their deaths were ruled as suicide, but Mira’s ex-boyfriend Ben believes there is more to the story than meets the eye. About a week after their death, Ben receives a cryptic letter in the mail sent by Mira the day of her death. She sends him on a scavenger hunt, searching for hidden notes giving clues as to why they are truly gone. What seemed to be a mystery unravels into a path filled with secrets, insane religious practices, and a story not involving only two deaths….but three.

My Review

The story jumps back and for between the past before the girls were dead then the present with Ben trying to solve it all, with Mira’s clues being his only guide. I’m going to be up front and say this book did not turn out the way I expected. In more ways than one, I believed the story would go deeper into the scandal lingering behind the scenes involving Francesca.

Francesca has it in her mind she is a saint because she has these mysterious makes that appear on her hands. She seeks out her Catholic church counselor, but she has other plans in mind other than having him guide her. She becomes obsessed with becoming a saint and causing her counselor to fall in love with her. Her counselor leads her on, in a way, to continue her “path to becoming a saint”. She starves herself, puts herself through her own version of hell by donating the majority of her time volunteering at homeless shelters, and goes through these seizures deemed as “ecstasy”.

There were too many questions left unanswered. I needed more, DESERVED more! The ending left me so mad I almost threw my iPad across the room. The fact they also hinted that the girl’s father could have been involved in a lot of sketchy stuff left me wondering why we didn’t get more dirt on him. With a story beginning with a big question, it left even more in the end than answered.

For that I would say it deserves a sequel but more than likely, we won’t receive that….

 

My Rating: 6 out of 10 Book Charms

 

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

 

Thriller Review: The American Girl By: Kate Horsley

Thriller Review: The American Girl By: Kate Horsley

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Title: The American Girl
Author: Kate Horsley
Released: August 2, 2016
Available: Amazon; Goodreads

Goodreads Description

“A riveting psychological thriller about an American exchange student in France involved in a suspicious accident and the dark secrets a small town is hiding. . .

On a quiet summer morning seventeen-year-old American exchange student Quinn Perkins stumbles out of the woods near the small French town of St. Roch, barefoot, bloodied, and unable to say what has happened to her.

Quinn’s appearance creates a stir, especially since her host family, the Blavettes, has mysteriously disappeared. Now the media, and everyone in the idyllic village, are wondering if the American girl has anything to do with the missing family.

A Boston reporter named Molly Swift travels to St. Roch, prepared to do anything to learn the truth and score the ultimate scoop. After Quinn is arrested and a trial by media ensues, she finds an unlikely ally in the young journalist. Molly unravels the disturbing secrets of the town’s past in an effort to clear Quinn’s name, but even she is forced to admit that the American girl makes a compelling suspect.

Is Quinn truly an innocent abroad, or is she a cunning, diabolical killer intent on getting away with murder?”This is one of those books that follows along the lives of Gone Girl. It makes you question what you are reading and the characters in play. This book, though, involves blogging, podcasts, and takes us overseas to a village in France where even the most innocent scenery holds dark secrets.

Quinn Perkins, an exchange student from the United States, wakes up from a coma wondering what is happening around her. A mysterious woman who claims to be her aunt lingers while doctors flood her with questions about where her missing “house” family, the Blavetts. Given a video camera, Quinn records her emotions, what she does remember, and we as readers experience a transformation like no other.

Molly Smith traveled to France in order to unwind from her busy life as a reporter for a news podcast where they expose the ugly truths behind crimes and the government. Molly soon discovers Quinn’s story in the midst of a flurry of reporters from all over the world beginning to arrive at the village hospital. Under the guise of a concerned “aunt”, Molly infiltrates the hospital and begins her journey into the mystery of Quinn Perkins.

Development

tumblr_nkvbgzwhzh1s4jr0no1_500.gifMolly is a misunderstood individual aside from being a reporter. She strangely reminds me of Lana Winters from American Horror Story: Asylum, including the constant need for a cigarette.

We flashback and forth with Quinn’s past blog posts from before the accident and it lays down the groundwork for what is to come in the future. Quinn is this teenager who came from a family where her father marries his young pregnant secretary right after Quinn’s mother died and drops Quinn. Because of her mother’s death, she has psychological problems which makes you question what she posts in her blog.

We come to the future and watch as Molly tries to uncover the life of the Blavetts and discovers a dark past involving the mob, drugs, and death. Quinn, on the other hand, begins to slowly transform from an innocent amnesia-ridden girl into a mouthy brat with secrets she’s not willing to reveal. It all goes downhill from there.

The development of the story became predictable after I hit the mid-way mark. I blame the countless mystery novels and crime shows for spoiling it a bit for me.

It’s a good novel but it needed a stronger ending! The fact Quinn began showing her true colors gave it away that she did do something. No, it didn’t spoil the complete truth, but you knew she did something as soon as she began to snap. Molly is too gullible to the wrong people. I admired her courage though. Other than that, it is a great story!

 

My Rating

7 out of 10 Book Charms

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.H.B. Reviews “Monstrous Beauty” By:

C.H.B. Reviews “Monstrous Beauty” By:

October 9th

 

Mermaids

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Available: Amazon; Goodreads

I know it’s a little strange to review a mermaid novel during October. But when the book also involves a curse and ghosts, it fits right along with the season. I feel extremely ashamed that aside from The Little Mermaid fairy tale, I had not read a mermaid story and I absolutely adore the legend and mystery behind them. When I was little, I used to imagine I was a mermaid searching for my one true love amongst the waves of my own bathtub. Hey, a girl had to have dreams, haha!

I discovered Elizabeth Fama’s book Monstrous Beauty in my library’s mobile app and after reading the description, I HAD to borrow it. It took me around a day and a half, a bowl of chocolate ice cream, and tissues to get through this story. I can’t remember the last time I cried this much during a book and it’s mainly because of the tragedy behind the love story.

Goodreads Description: “Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.
Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.”

The story bounces back and forth between the nineteenth century to now. Syrenka’s tale is heart wrenching to the point where you wish you could give her a giant hug. The story opens with her falling in love for the first time with a sailor who eventually ends of drowning when Syrenka was merely trying to make him able to swim under water. It all seems to continue to go up and down from there like the waves of a sea.

We fast forward to Hester who keeps her distance from any possible relationship due to the fact every woman in her family dies quickly after the birth of theor first born daughters. I have a small problem with Hester. I can understand why she’d be afraid of beginning a relationship but the fact she won’t have one because of the curse is beyond me. She says in the beginning that birth control isn’t a sure way of not getting pregnant and she didn’t want to take the risk. There are other ways you can protect yourself, Sweety. 

She is rude to every guy she comes across, including her best friend Peter who clearly cares about her and would do anything for her. I’m completely shocked he stayed by her, she treats him like dirt half the time while stares at him longingly from the side lines. Pick a side, Hester! Then she meets Ezra and tosses it all out the door. 

Another thing, Hester has a hard time piecing together obvious problems that are practically screaming at her! Girl needs to get lessons from Sherlock because she’s clueless half the time. And it’s bad when the ghosts figure out and have to spell everything out for her in order for her to fully get the picture.

On the other hand, I have to give props to the author who dug deep into the origins of Plymouth, people’s speech and dress in the nineteenth century, and the accuracy behind the myths of the sea creatures. She rightfully earned the Book Charm of Learning with this book. I became solely enamored with the depth of Syrenka and Ezra’s story from its abrupt beginnings to it’s sorrowful end.

The whole set up of the town, the reenactment village Hester works at, even the ghosts who haunt the grounds deserves more books or even a television show. It made me want to discover more about it! Plus, I’ve already come up with a “Dream Cast” for the book, it’s that good!

If you enjoy legends of mermaids, ghosts, curses, or historical facts – pick this up right away!


My Rating: 7 out of 10 Book Charms 

Happy October Reading!

~C.C.

C.H.B. Reviews “The Accident Season” By: Moira Fowley-Doyle 

C.H.B. Reviews “The Accident Season” By: Moira Fowley-Doyle 

October 4th: Secrets

Decided, why not have a theme for each day this October. We are up to the fourth with Vampires, murderers, and witches stories behind us. I recently finished today’s book, The Accident Season last week and it is WEIRD!

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Available: AmazonGoodreads

Families have many secrets. Some have various ways they keep them hidden through not speaking about them, their past haunts them in the way they carry themselves, or pretend they don’t exist and the universe reminds you of them for one month or so out of the year.

Cara, a seventeen year old Irish girl, and her family go through this very strange events every October where they are 100% accident prone. Like no matter where they go or what they do, they always seem to get hurt. For instance, in one scene Cara is merely walking home from school and a bridge she crosses all of a sudden collapses for no reason. Another is one night, her mother gets hit by a car that came out of nowhere. You automatically can’t help but know the family is cursed and desperately crave to discover the cause of this “season”. 

The writing is different compared to your normal YA novels and to be honest it’s pretty jumbled. The author jumps from the Accident Season to Cara becoming strangely obsessed with discovering why one of her classmates mysteriously ends up in the background of all of her and her family pictures. Next, it jumps to Carl’s awkward relationship with her stepbrother Sam (it’s gross) then to Cara beginning to see strange apparitions. Like I said, it’s jumbled.

 Yes, the author tried to explain The Accident Season through these events but there was so much going on but the pacing lacked to keep my attention. I kept stopping the audiobook version of this but found myself starting back up solely because I wanted to know how it ended however that became predictable.

This is one of those books are for if you’re looking for a new twist to YA writing or love Ireland, where the story is based. The mystery of it all fits into a good addition to your October Reads. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read it and your thoughts on it!

My Rating: 5 out of 10 Book Charms!

Happy October Reading,

~C.C.