C.H.B. ARC Review: “The Rattled Bones” By S.M. Parker

C.H.B. ARC Review: “The Rattled Bones” By S.M. Parker

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Title: The Rattled Bones
Author: S.M. Parker
Release Date: August 22nd, 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse


Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

 

Disclaimer: I received an ARC copy courtesy of NetGalley and Simon Pulse in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review in any way.

 

Goodreads Description

“Unearthing years of buried secrets, Rilla Brae is haunted by ghostly visions tied to the tainted history of a mysterious island in this haunting novel from the author of The Girl Who Fell.

Maine-bred, independent Rilla Brae is no stranger to the deep. She knows the rhythms of hard work and harder seas. But when she experiences the sudden death of her father, the veil between the living and the dead blurs and she begins to be haunted by a girl on a nearby, uninhabited island. The girl floats a song over the waves, and it is as beautiful as it is terrifying. Familiar and distant.

Then Rilla meets Sam, a University of Southern Maine archeology student tasked with excavating the very island where the ghostly girl has appeared. Sam sifts the earth looking for the cultural remains of an island people who were forcibly evicted by the state nearly a hundred years ago. Sam tells Rilla the island has a history no locals talk about—if they know about it at all—due to the shame the events brought to the working waterfront community. All Rilla knows for sure is that the island has always been there—an eerie presence anchored in the stormy sea. Now Sam’s work and the ghostly girl’s song lure Rilla to the island’s shores.

As Rilla helps Sam to unearth the island’s many secrets, Rilla’s visions grow—until the two discover a tragedy kept silent for years. And it’s a tragedy that has everything to do with Rilla’s past.”

My Review

This story is one filled with self-discovery, mystery, ghosts, and beautiful imagery. This is a for sure read to add to your October reads or even start reading it now. S.M. Parker has presented us with a tale unlike once you’d see under the YA Thriller category, but it makes it’s mark within your mind and in the genre.

Rilla Brae newly inherited her father’s lobster fishing business after his untimely death, and its seeking to discover what her purpose truly is in this life. Being raised on the sea, she was told never to trust it when it appears quiet. It proves true as she is led astray to the mysterious Malaga Island by an abandoned wooden boat and an eerie song floating across the sea to her. The Island is shrouded in the old tale where it’s inhabitants mysteriously disappeared. what happened to the inhabitants and why is Rilla drawn to it?

Highly recommend this read! Grab a blanket, cup of tea, and lock your doors – it’ll leave you with chills and grasping the pages for more.

 

Rating 10

 

Happy Reading!

~C.C.

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C.B.H. ARC Review: “Sleeper” By MacKenzie Cadenhead

C.B.H. ARC Review: “Sleeper” By MacKenzie Cadenhead

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Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Fire

Release Date: August 1st, 2017

**Disclaimer – I received this book via NetGalley and Aria in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my review whatsoever.**

Goodreads Description

“As if surviving high school wasn’t hard enough, Sarah Reyes suffers from REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, a parasomnia that causes her to physically act out her dreams. When she almost snaps her friend’s neck at a sleepover, Sarah and her nocturnal habits are thrust into the spotlight and she becomes a social pariah, complete with public humiliation.

When an experimental drug comes onto the market that promises nighttime normalcy, Sarah agrees to participate in the trial. At first, she seems to be cured. Then the side effects kick in. Why does a guy from her nightmare show up at school? Are the eerily similar dreams she’s sharing with her classmates’ coincidence or of her making? Is she losing her mind or does this drug offer way more than sleep?”

My Review

I held off this review until I could find the right words. I felt like I was being transported back in time to how YA novels were written when I was 15-16 years old. Back then, love interests were abusive (i.e. emotional, physical, etc.) but were still considered “healthy”. Innocent “pranks” were actually not truly pranks. People do not get sexually assaulted or at least they should not in pranks. I’m not a sensitive person when it comes to something I read. However, there were many cases in this book where events were not alright and crossed the personal line for me due to them being constant throughout the novel. Other readers may believe this to be “triggering” due to the nature of the contents. I personally didn’t need one, but other readers would need them if they have a past in these situations.

Anyway, The main plot of the novel is surrounds Sarah who suffers from a sleeping disorder that had recently caused her to attack a classmate in her sleep and almost kill her. She is offered a possible solution through the experimental drug called Dexidnipam. But with positive effects come negative effects that cause issues in her on-going life.

Many describe it as Heathers meets Inception and while I see that, the best parts of those films are lacking from this narrative. I want to see enemies understand what they are doing is wrong and not when it’s practically too late. I want to see justice, not “sins” swept under the wrong as if they do not exist.

For those interested in this novel, read my first paragraph. If you are like me and things in a novel don’t affect you due to it being fiction, then don’t worry about it and try it out. It had a few positive moments, but it needed better world building, character conflict resolution, and get rid of the insta-love factor.

 

Rating 5

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. Reviews: “Throne of Glass” By Sarah J. Maas

C.B.H. Reviews: “Throne of Glass” By Sarah J. Maas

Available: Amazon/B&N/Goodreads

 

Over the last few years, I kept hearing about this series. I ignored the cries coming from my TBR pile till I happened to come across the first book in the series on my library’s shelf. 

Not going to lie, it took me a couple months to get through it. I was disappointed in all the hype for it because it needed a lot of work. Plus finding out it was supposed to be another retelling of Cinderella made it worse.

Lately, I’ve been witnessing several YA books having tons of hype but no dice when I read them. Many authors today suffer from “All Tell, No Show Syndrome” or A.T.N.S.S. for short. This book is no exception to the sickness, not by a long shot. Throughout the book, we are practically battered over the head with how the “assassin” Celaena Sardothien racked up a large body count and should never be trusted. Did we see evidence of this body count? Hahahahaha, no. Did we see evidence for lack of trust? Again, no.

All I got out of this book was this girl is a huge flirt, a book worm, and is pissed because her parents are dead, she was caught, and the injustice in the world she lives in. We only see a pinch of her abilities at the end of the book, and she doesn’t even prove her assassin status in that! It took me two months, two months to complete this! After being dragged through the mud in the muck, I was left feeling tired, frustrated, and wondering why I even bothered trying to read it. Then there are the men or what I obviously figured out to be the “love interests” of the series, The Captain of the Guard and the Crown Prince.

Want to know what turns me off pretty quick? Creepy guys! Those two watched her as she slept and constantly watched her from afar. It didn’t help she kept winking and practically throwing herself at them. You know, at first, I liked the Prince, but the whole sneaking up and watching her while she slept all the time killed my attraction. Oh, and if she is such a bad assassin…why didn’t she hear them and wake up? A trained assassin should always be on alert! Previous point proven.

I know this series has a huge following; however, I’m siding on the non-fan side. A fellow reader pleaded for me to continue onto the sequel, that it would be much better than the first. As stated in my last post, I’m currently reading the sequel and so far it is better but I’m only in the first few chapters.

What were your thoughts on this book/series?

Let me know in the comments below!

 

My Rating: 5 out of 10 Book Charms

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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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.