ARC Review: “The Marriage Pact” By Michelle Richmond

ARC Review: “The Marriage Pact” By Michelle Richmond

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Release Date: July 25, 2017

Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

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

 

NetGalley Synopsis

In this relentlessly paced novel of psychological suspense, New York Times bestselling author Michelle Richmond crafts an intense and shocking tale that asks: How far would you go to protect your marriage?
  
Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.
           
The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .
           
Never mention The Pact to anyone.
           
Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples.
           
And then one of them breaks the rules.
           
The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule.
           
For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.”

My Review

Marriage. It’s a chilling subject for me these days. Reaching the age where most of your friends are running off, getting married, having kids is frightening to me. This book did not settle my inner fears in the least. In fact, they increased!

Jeremy and Alice are in their late 30s, successful, and have somewhat good heads on their shoulders. Told through Jeremy’s perspective, he admits in the beginning that the subject of marriage was his idea. Alice, mourning the loss of her father, sparked one of the most important questions any man/woman/etc. could ever ask someone. “Will you marry Me?”

The moment Alice agrees, a chain of events begin starting with their wedding announcement. Alice’s best client in her firm, Finnegan, receives word of the couple’s plans and invites Jeremy and Alice to join him in the secret society known as, “The Pact”. A wooden box arrives on their doorstep with instructions to which they are prohibited to open the box until after their honeymoon. Fast forward, one of Finnegan’s contacts the leaders of “The Pact” and they send a woman by the name of Vivianne to be the couple’s “Host” as she leads Jeremy and Alice into the society.

“The Pact” in it of itself has their own manual the couples need to memorize and live by. If they break the rules, they receive various punishments ranging from silly to severe. And when I say severe, I mean torture, electric shock, unremovable metal braces placed around women’s necks in order to keep them straight, and more. Jeremy and Alice start their journey into this cult, plunging themselves into a world filled with terror and nowhere to run and no way out.

This novel freaked me out in the worst way. If you follow me on Goodreads, read my notes on the book! One moment, I believed Jeremy was falling for the insane punishments “The Pact” was putting his wife through. Then it was as if Alice and Jeremy switched personalities pertaining to the cult! The ending, though, did not live up to the expectations of the novel. It felt rushed and dry, leaving me to wonder what happened to Alice and Jeremy next. As far as I know, this is a standalone novel so I guess we’ll all wonder if they survive……

For a psychological thriller, it’ll keep you on your toes for sure. The writing is solid, but the characters backstories were a bit wonky at times. One moment, you are giving the impression you needed to feel sorry for them while the next you were told they were independent. But, learning from this novel, never accept a wooden box from an Irishman who claims to want the best for your marriage.

 

Rating 7

 

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

 

 

C.H.B. ARC REVIEWS: “Birthright” By Jessica Ruddick (The Legacy Series B.1)

C.H.B. ARC REVIEWS: “Birthright” By Jessica Ruddick (The Legacy Series B.1)

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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

How do you live with yourself when you decide who dies?

Ava Parks would have killed for an iPod for her sixteenth birthday. Anything would have been better than coming into her birthright of being a seeker for the Grim Reaper, an arrangement made by her fallen angel ancestor in exchange for his re-admittance to heaven. And she isn’t just any seeker—she finds souls that have the potential for becoming angels and sentences them to death. A year and two souls into her role as a seeker with her conscience overflowing with guilt, Ava comes up with a plan to thwart the system. When it goes awry, she is forced to submit the name of a classmate, Cole Fowler, an ornery, rough around the edges guy who always seems to come to her rescue, whether she likes it or not. Her feelings for Cole prompt her to intervene, and she saves him from death, upsetting the Grim Reaper’s agenda.

While Ava schemes to find a way to save Cole, she learns he has some secrets of his own. She lets him believe he is protecting her, and not the other way around, until a final showdown with the Grim Reaper forces Ava to make choices Cole may never forgive.”

 

Author Jessica Ruddick gives us a different take on the normal Grim Reaper story. Normally, we are led to believe the Grim Reaper works alone, collecting souls of the dead to transport them to heaven or hell. In this version, the Grim Reaper (actually multiple reapers) have seekers searching for specific people to choose for certain tasks.

 

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For Ava, she determines the most innocent of souls for the Grim Reaper to collect in order to create Heaven’s heavenly angel army. Her and her mother come from a long line of seekers who are sent to different locations in order to pick out the innocents for the Grim Reapers. Ava doesn’t wish to continue this heavy burden any longer and is willing to do anything she can in order to back out of her duties. One of which, was an attempt to take her own life only to discover, hah, she can not die! Yeah, this girl along with her mother are practically immortal until Death decides her time is up. Also she has what I like to call a “Crowley” in her life who gives her assignments and is practically the major authority who has the ability to punish her if deemed necessary.

 

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I call him “Crowley” because, well, if you watch the show Supernatural, he practically IS him!

But now Ava runs into a bit of a problem in the new town her and her mother has moved into. A love interest in the form of Cole Fowler saves her life, foiling her suicide attempt and ends up moving to the forefront in our little tale.  I’ll admit, he’s a breath of fresh air compared to the most recent YA male love interest tropes of today. He owns the bad boy air about him but carries his own without being overbearing, whiny, or pushy. He’s the kind of character who does not have to be a love interest but even a brother-like character if need be. Personally, I’d choose him to be the brotherly kind due to the fact he is not the average love interest.

The story brings a pleasant twist to the average Grim Reaper story, adds a new kick to the YA paranormal genre, and gives girls a reliable female protagonist who fights for what she wants instead of merely talking about it. I believe this new series will spark a new brand of followers to the YA community, and I am thrilled I had the honor to read this story. I happily look forward to the second chapter in The Legacy Series.

My Rating: 9 out of 10 Book Charms!

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.H.B. Reviews “Kill The Boy Band” By: Goldy Moldavsky

C.H.B. Reviews “Kill The Boy Band” By: Goldy Moldavsky

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Available: Amazon; Goodreads

 

Ah, boy bands. My childhood in the 90’s were filled with them. We had 98 Degrees, *NSYNC, The Backstreet Boys, and Hanson. I remember the clash between Team The Backstreet Boys and Team *NSYNC. I personally was Team *NSYNC with my Justin Timberlake puppet doll and McDonald’s special release of remixes of their songs paired alongside Brittany Spears. Classmates in my first and second grade classes would discuss who were the best boy band and sometimes it transformed into fights.

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Fast forward to today, I’m a twenty-three year old college graduate who is into punk rock, energy drinks, and black skinny jeans. My fan girl days for a random pairing of guys with choreographed moves with vocals to match that made you jump and scream were over when the 2000’s began. But, a few years ago, a new band or rather conjured up band rose for a new generation. One Direction became a world-wide sensation. I despised them immediately. I thought boy bands were over a long time ago…I was sadly mistaken. I began to watch friends and younger family members go wild for this new generation of auto tuned-filled group of boys. They have finally died down within the last two years or so (Thank God), but that did not stop writers from penning books about the boys or even parodies of them.

I had seen Kill The Boy Band on bookshelves earlier last year. I added it to my TBR pile and finally reached it earlier this month. I immediately found myself into the crazed minds of the next generation of boy band fan girls. These girls were NOTHING like my generation’s fan girls. These had the internet, social media, and more various avenues to achieve their goals for seeing their favorite band. This story is about girls who not only achieved their goal, but made the mistake of getting too close to comfort and made a who new description to what a “fan” is.

 

~Goodreads Description & Excerpt~

“Just know from the start that it wasn’t supposed to go like this. All we wanted was to get near them. That’s why we got a room in the hotel where they were staying.We were not planning to kidnap one of them. Especially not the most useless one. But we had him—his room key, his cell phone, and his secrets.

We were not planning on what happened next.

We swear.”

People have called me crazy.
It’s understandable; fangirls get a bad rap all the time. They say we’re weird, hysterical, obsessed, certifiable. But those people don’t understand. Just because I love something a lot doesn’t mean I’m crazy. And I did love The Ruperts a lot. I loved them more than soft-serve vanilla ice cream in summer, more than seeing a new review of my fanfics, more than discovering a good ’80s movie I’d never seen before.
Just because I was a Ruperts fangirl does not mean I was crazy.
I think it’s important that you know that up front. Because everything I’m about to tell you is going to seem . . . well, crazy.”

We get a very strange set of five fan girls to follow through this story. None of these girls body-shame one another, are ethnically diverse, and have personalities all their own. None of them are the same. Moldvasky matches them up for each of the members of “The Ruperts” aka One Direction in fictional incarnate. Only, there are some ways where they are equally matched too well.

We follow them as they are attempting to meet their favorite band of all time. Secrets, kidnapping, and twists ensue when these girls happen upon one of the band members in their hotel room. From there, we are dragged into the world of fan girls and what lengths they would go through just to get to know their idols. That is, until their fandom takes a darker, more sinister turn.

I’ll admit, these girls kind of scared me a bit. I have known other girls who would go to these lengths just to catch a glimpse of their favorite artists or stars, but there is a line. There has to always be a line that you do not cross and these fictional characters crossed that line. Goldy Moldavsky, thank you for reminding me why I’m not a fan girl anymore.

My Rating: 6 out of 10 Book Charms

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

C.H.B. ARC Review: Give Me a K-I-L-L By R.L. Stine

C.H.B. ARC Review: Give Me a K-I-L-L By R.L. Stine

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Available: Amazon; Goodreads

**Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy of this book via NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review whatsoever.**

Ok, where should I start? I’m extremely frustrated with this book. Like I said in my past post about my thoughts about the Fear Street Revival series, I had high expectations for the reincarnation of the memorable long running late 80s/90’s thriller book series. Had. I understand when a writer is used to writing in a certain fashion that earns them best-seller credits, they stick with it. But writing, technology, and teenagers have changed since the 90s. What I have read screams 90s and the kids are stuck there with a few of the technological advances of today but do not show they are part of the present. Give Me a K-I-L-L reminded me of the old Fear Street novels but it lacks the proper planning, age-fitting dialogue, and lacked the foundation the original novels laid down.

The Original Cheerleaders

 

R.L. Stine is no stranger to penning tales of cheerleaders with a taste for horror. I highly recommend readers to read the original books if you are thinking about reading the revival  “cheerleader” book. I still hope one day the Fear Street series will be transformed into an anthology series and these books will be transported to the screen because this specific story line in this series is one that sparks terror into the imagination. It has possession, evil spirits, mysterious deaths, and secrets-everything you could hope for.

Alas, the revival book has NOTHING to do with the these books. Yeah, nothing. Give Me a K-I-L-L surrounds the story of Gretchen (name now changed to Heather Wyatt) transferred to Shadyside High from her old school where she was the star of her cheerleading squad. Only she’s finding out quickly that it won’t be so easy to receive a spot on Shadyside’s cheerleading squad. Not if the spoiled little rich girl Devra Dalby has anything to say about it.

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I admire Stine for adding two twists to this book but it does not excuse the fact it has nothing to do with the old Cheerleader books. I wished it did because it would have re-awakened my faith in this revival series! This review would have been more positive…..and ecstatic…but why, why did he have to do this? The main character treats her mother like trash, Devra Dalby is true to the spoiled little rich girl stereotype, the end result predictable, and the romantic aspect made me feel uncomfortable.

My question is: Where did my Fear Street go?

 

My Review: 3 out of 10 Book Charms

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

C.B.H. Reviews: Happy New Year! My 2017 Reading Goals!

C.B.H. Reviews: Happy New Year! My 2017 Reading Goals!

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Another year is coming to a close! It’s been a rough ride and I can’t help but can’t wait for this year to be over! It’s been a year of changes, moving, new friendships, and completing goals two years in the making. I did not read as much as I had liked and struggled with finding the right words to write for my reviews due to time constraints. This will all change next year!

I’ve read different book review blogs and absolutely loved reading all the various goals they have planned for the new year. Last night, I took out one of my many notebooks and began to make a list of my goals for the new year. Reflecting on the last two years, I’ve wanted to read and review more than I previously did in the previous years. The biggest issue I’ve found since beginning this blog is that planning is a challenge. Like a big challenge when it comes to me because life has a funny way of holding up it’s personal “Stop” sign, making you hit the “Pause” button on your goals. 2017, this will all change…..

  Goals For 2017

  • Setting aside 30 minutes a day to write/plan

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    I personally stink at putting aside time specifically for myself. I want this blog to grow bigger and better than it was when I started it a year ago and in order to do that, I need to write more. More reviews, more Book tags, more author interviews, more, more, more writing! I love receiving comments from you readers, letting me know what you think about a particular series or book being released. If there are any other blog writers reading this, please tell me I’m not alone in this!

 

  • Reading Goal – 77 Books

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    I recently joined Goodreads and will be using the challenge app to keep track of my goal this upcoming year. Since it is going to be 2017, I chose the number 77 for luck. Come on, after this year I think we all need some luck in the upcoming year.

  • Catch Up on ARC-Reads

    I am behind on my ARC e-books and currently in the middle of three at the same time while also reading new releases I picked up from my local library. There are times where I want to take the library books back to focus on the ARC’s instead of stressing my brain out. But what can I say? Momma didn’t raise no quitter!

  • Host More Giveaways & Cover Reveals

    Yes! More Giveaways and Cover Reveals! I hosted only one giveaway this year due to not having enough time to plan and host more for you all. However, I’m already making a plan to host more this year and am placing special dates on my calendar for the launch! So, keep your eyes open, Everyone!

  • Participate in Photography Challenges

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    I’ve always had a special place in my heart for photography and one of my big goals for the upcoming year is to fall in love again with my old hobby. After moving from Kentucky to Ohio, I’ve somehow lost my camera during the transition. Hopefully, it’ll turn up before my new camera arrives soon. But, this year, I’m planning on participating in photography challenges and am anxious to show you my journey throughout the new year through my photos.

 

What are your goals for the new year? Let me know in the comments!

I’m anticipating the new year and expecting great things to come! Let’s make 2017 the best year ever and be able to have this expression every day:

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Happy New Year From Charmed Book Haven Reviews!

 

Happy Reading!

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~C.C.

C.H.B. Reviews “Eerie” by C.M. McCoy

C.H.B. Reviews “Eerie” by C.M. McCoy

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Available: Amazon; Goodreads

**Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a honest review. This does not affect my opinion nor my review in any way.**

 

Twin orphan sisters Hilary and Hailey Hartley always stuck together through thick and thin. Planning on going to college at the same time, they save up their money by working in their family’s bar. They have a loving uncle who raises them under the watchful eye of a hot-blooded Irishman alongside their childhood friend Finn/Padraig. Everything seemed to be going great, until Hilary is kidnapped and body is later discovered.

Hailey attempts to pick up the pieces as much as she can while finding out she received a full ride scholarship to an Alaskan based college called Bear Towne University where everything is not so normal as it originally seemed. Imagine a supernatural Hogwarts filled with Banshees, zombies, ghosts, and book worms. I’m serious, literal book worms. If these worms don’t have their tiny spectacles, books, and diet of tea they become ear worms who bury themselves into human ears in order to reach the brain.

Anyways, there is a love triangle, a confusing one at that. The main love interest is an Envoy named Asher. Asher has been a figment of her dreams since she was a child. Only, Hailey does not remember anything that occurs in the dreams until after Hilary dies. Then she discovers Asher is actually real and is the founder of Bear Towne. Plus, he has ulterior motives when getting involved with Hailey instead of solely liking her for her.

Turns out a handful of Asher’s kind are stuck on Earth, searching for a way to get back to their home in another dimension. The longer they are around emotions, especially love, they become stark raving mad. This includes becoming murderous Jack Torrence wannabes *coughs* evil Envoy Cobon *coughs*.

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tumblr_n6ij3s8ao91qhf4j4o3_250Second love interest, obviously, is Finn. I don’t have to really explain why because the whole childhood friend crush thing is frequent in recent books. Honestly, Finn comes off as this player most of the time, is extremely self-centered regarding his looks, and enjoys using his “manly” ways in order to get girls to do what he wants. Now seeing as knowing Hailey most of her life, you wouldn’t think he would do the same thing to her. WRONG! Him, just like Asher, have alternatives in what they want from Hailey. While I was reading this, I could not get the image of Chris Evan’s character when he was in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. Even the way he interacts with the Envoys has me hearing Chris’s voice!

Thoughts Whole Book

For a first book in a new series, it hits you with quite a bit of info. I read it twice in order to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I wish Hailey would show more backbone!! Whenever I’d hear Finn or even Asher mention she was a feisty girl, I highly disagreed. I did not see any feistiness in her at all. Instead, I see this girl who asks too many questions, cries too much,  does not stand up for herself, and allows both Asher and Finn to walk all over her in order to get what they want. I want to see her fight back in the next book!

Ending wise, I was left stunned. I even clapped after I finished the last page. I was totally not expecting it to turn out that way, period. It alone makes me excited for what is to come in the future.

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Highly recommend this book if you’re looking for something new and exciting to add onto your shelf!

My Rating

8 out of 10 Book Charms!

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.