C.B.H. ARC Review – Emma In the Night By: Wendy Walker

C.B.H. ARC Review – Emma In the Night By: Wendy Walker

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Emma In the Night

**Disclaimer: I received this courtesy of SheSpeaks and St. Martin’s Press in exchange for an honest review.**

Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: August 8th, 2017

“What Happened To Emma?”

On a dark night three years ago, sisters Emma and Cass disappeared without a trace from their home in Maine. Through endless searches, interviews, and an investigation leading nowhere – the police practically give up hope on finding the missing girls. That is until Cass turns up on her mother’s doorstep, wildly asking where her sister is and that the police must find her before it’s too late.

The narrative is told from the perspective of Cass and forensic psychologist Abby Winter’s perspective. The more I read and attempted to predict how the story unfolded, Cass’s internal dialogue would take over in the story and change it’s course. To the world, they knew Cass and her family as a happy one, but behind closed doors we discover secrets, rampant narcissism, affairs, and darker motives than meet the eye.

This past weekend, I spent pouring over this book from cover to cover and couldn’t seem to peel my attention away from it. It triggers suspense and endless questions your inner detective will beg to be answered. It’s truly a novel to add to your Suspense/Thriller TBR List!

 

Rating 8

Happy Reading,

~C.C.

 

Quick ARC Review: “Quinsey Wolf’s Glass Vault” By Candace Robinson

Quick ARC Review: “Quinsey Wolf’s Glass Vault” By Candace Robinson

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Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

 

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley in exchange for a honest review. This does not effect my review whatsoever.*

 

Goodreads Description

People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among the missing. Perrie, along with her friend August, go on a pursuit to search for them in the mysterious museum. Could the elusive Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault have anything to do with their disappearances?”

 

My Review

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This book, where to begin, it felt like a mashup of quite a few things I’m nostalgic about. It felt like it could have been an addition to R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series despite having nothing to do with the street mashed up with one of my favorite 80s horror films, Waxworks, starring Zach Galligan from Gremlins. It follows a similar plot as to if you go into a mysterious museum, no one hears from you ever again.

Unlike other reviewers, I actually had an issue with the way the main character, Perrie, point of view. Many of her sentences were slight, quips, and often short in a way that made no sense to the plot and there were times where they were often not needed. The writing structure in general needed work. It maybe since the copy I was sent was un unpolished draft, but the writing was weird at times and I’m not even discussing the plot.

The plot itself is genius and executed in such a way, you can’t help but keep reading. The thing is, you have to get past Perrie’s delivery. The images, other characters, and even the secrets hiding in the dark gave me chills as I continued to read on. It kept me hooked to say the least and the twist was very unexpected.

If you are a horror fan or looking for a quick thriller that will leave you on the edge of your seat, then this is the book for you. I would be happy to read a sequel to this, but I’m strongly hoping Candace Robinson puts more work into how her characters speak and describe settings.

 

My Rating

Rating 7

 

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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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 “Jane Steele” By: Lyndsay Faye

C.H.B. Reviews “Jane Steele” By: Lyndsay Faye

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It’s Octover 1st, Bookies!. The first day of my favorite month of the WHOLE year! I’m not a huge fan of Christmas or many other holidays, to be honest, but Halloween is above all my favorite holoday that I look forward to all year. The candy, the haunted attractions throughout the state, the costumes-all of it could not have come any faster.

Since I’ve been “missing” for pretty much all of September, I have planned a treat for you. For each day of October, I’ll be reviewing books which center around this spooky season! All of these range from thrillers, horror, mystery, paranormal – I honestly can’t wait to show you my goodies. I even have a new “Movie Vs. Book” post planned that’ll center around the novel Practical Magic

 

Available: Amazon/Goodreads

To start off, I recently finished Jane Steele by Lyndsay Faye. I came acrossed it on another reviewer’s page a few months ago and quickly added it to my TBR pile and while going through it to find books to go with the season, it seemed to fit perfectly.

Release Date: March 22, 2016

Goodreads Description:  “Like the heroine of the novel she adores, Jane Steele suffers cruelly at the hands of her aunt and schoolmaster. And like Jane Eyre, they call her wicked – but in her case, she fears the accusation is true. When she flees, she leaves behind the corpses of her tormentors.

A fugitive navigating London’s underbelly, Jane rights wrongs on behalf of the have-nots whilst avoiding the noose. Until an advertisement catches her eye. Her aunt has died and the new master at Highgate House, Mr Thornfield, seeks a governess. Anxious to know if she is Highgate’s true heir, Jane takes the position and is soon caught up in the household’s strange spell. When she falls in love with the mysterious Charles Thornfield, she faces a terrible dilemma: can she possess him – body, soul and secrets – and what if he discovers her murderous past?”

Review: This isn’t a retelling of Jane Eyre, per say, but is similar where Jane Steele, the main character, narrates her story. She states in the beginning of her adoration for Charlotte Bronte’s famous novel and points out similarities in her life verses Jane Eyre in various places. Only, this Jane is explaining her story of how she rid her life of the antagonists in her life through murdering them then quickly running away to escape possible capture.

I’d like to point out the contradiction that Jane often mentions how she observes human nature in the way people interact and react to certain situations whereas she is not a normal human with human emotions. But Jane actually proves she is human despite her refusal of such a thing. She shows despite she murdering those who wrong her and others, she still fears being caught along with her lover not fully accepting her if he knew of her true nature.

It’s a well-written novel and Lyndsay Faye did an excellent job mirroring the language of the day, bringing the imagery of London’s booming transformation in the 1800s back to life, and the struggles independent women faced in the day. I was thrown off and reminded how controlling the church was back in those days. I have read about it in many books including Jane Eyre, but Lyndsay Faye went even deeper.  The boarding school Jane is sent to in the beginning of the novel, is ran by a tyrannical leader who insists upon punishing his students by robbing them of their meals until they “learn their lesson” or falsely accuse one of the other students of folly in order for them to be able to eat again. It still angers me that regardless of a “pastoral leaders” questionable habits and overall terrible maneuvers within the walls of a educational institution, as long as they are giving to the poor and speak of God’s Word, then they are held up high as a role model. He reminded me of the leader of Jane Eyre‘s boarding school, only this one in my mind is worse and he deserved his end in this novel.

I guess you can say the majority of the bad characters you wished had a devastating end in Jane Eyre, you see it take place in a different incarnation in this book. However, there are certain aspects such as blackmail, involvement of a war, and a few twists mixed in which make Jane Steele it’s own book and deserves to be seen as such.

My only negative issues were that Jane isn’t truly the vicious killer she claims to be nor are there a tremendous amount of murders. Her victims were tyrants, abusers, and rapists. The way she portrays herself is as if she expects you to think she’s wicked only I wouldn’t call her that at all. I don’t know if that was the author’s intention or she truly wanted us to believe her character was a cold blooded killer. Either way, it puzzled me nonetheless.

If you enjoy Jane Eyre or seek to add a new addition to your Victorian Era thriller novels, this is the book for you!

My Rating: 8 of 10 Book Charms

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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: “Lost In Wonderland (The Twisted and the Brave B.1) By Nicky Peacock

C.H.B. ARC Reviews: “Lost In Wonderland (The Twisted and the Brave B.1) By Nicky Peacock

cover93717-mediumTitle: Lost In Wonderland (The Twisted and the Brave B.1)
Author: Nicky Peacock
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Publishing Date: April 14, 2016
Available: Amazon

NetGalley Description: “Monsters, serial killers, and imaginary friends—being a Wonderlander can be murder…

Once upon a time, Kayla was lost. Then she found Wonderland, but not the one you know. Run by ex-government agents and funded by an eccentric Silicon Valley billionaire, this Wonderland is the name of a collective of highly trained vigilantes who hunt serial killers. Now Kayla, aka Mouse, works tirelessly alongside her fellow Wonderlanders, Rabbit and Cheshire, baiting dangerous murderers. But even her extensive training hasn’t prepared her for the return of her older brother…

Shilo has spent most of his life in an insane asylum, convinced his mother was abducted by a sinister Alaskan monster who lures the lost away to feast upon their flesh. And now he’s certain that his sister is in the same monster’s crosshairs. But if Shilo is going to save what’s left of his family, he’ll have to convince his sister that maybe, just maybe, we’re all a little mad.”

My Review

I have been a huge lover of the Alice In Wonderland tale since I was a little girl. It was one of my favorite Disney Film adaptions, both the cartoon and Tim Burton’s take, and I have watched almost all of the live action film adaptions separate from Disney. The story of a young girl chasing a white rabbit carrying a pocket watch, trips and falls down a rabbit hole into a world filled with mind boggling characters speaking in riddles and poems that send you into a quizzical frame of mind any time you read the story.

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In Lost In Wonderland, it’s a much different take on the story. It’s not a different adaption, but it takes elements of the classic and transforms it into a  darker, mystery narrative.

Kayla and Shilo witnessed the murder of their mother and their fathers suicide at a young age. Shilo is institutionalized, driven mad by memory of the murder and the idea that their mother was murdered by an ancient monster called the Kushtaka. Kayla, on the other hand, gets a completely different fate. She is adopted by two ex-government agents who now train and send out children to hunt down serial killers.

The Wonderland aspect comes into play with her new living situation. Her adoptive parents, along with her other two adopted siblings, are re-named after Alice In Wonderland characters and they frequently quote lines from the story. Even her adoptive parent’s daughter who had been murdered was named “Alice” and the man who started their operative is called “Hatter”.

Now, they receive a new case about women and girls disappearing up in Alaska. The main territory coincidently is where Kayla and Shilo used to live when they were children. This sparks events to begin unravelling that makes Kayla wonder if Shilo was telling the truth about the Kushtaka after all.

I enjoyed hearing the story from both Shilo and Kayla’s perspective. I will mention, though, that there were times I wanted to throttle Shilo. He began to annoy me at times. Yes, I understand he’s troubled because of the past but there are certain things he does continuously that make me wonder if he truly wanted to save his sister or not from the monster that killed their mother.

Other than that, enjoyed the book and recommend it to all of you Wonderlanders out there!

 

*Disclaimer* I received a free ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.**

 

My Rating: 7 1/2 out of 10 Book Charms

Happy Reading!

~C.C.