Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper

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Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalo
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Genre: YA Historical Fiction/Horror
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Rating: 4 Stars
Goodreads Synopsis:Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

This. Damn. Book. I technically started reading this book in October 2017, but put it down because my book follow through has been terrible the last year. I finally started SJTR back up in September of this year and pretty much devoured it. And then I mentally yelled at myself for ever putting it down.

Let’s talk about the best part first: THE BANTER! Y’all, I lived for the banter between the mains, Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell. It was just so damn good. I am hoping that the delicious banter between these two continues through the rest of the books in the series.

The world building is immersive without being overbearing. I felt like all the characters were well written and believable. I wavered with figuring out the mystery of the story as I usually do, but that was fine. I normally don’t read mysteries for the sake of the mystery. I find that I like mysteries more for the characters. There are always such outlandish characters in mysteries.

All in all, I really enjoyed this book. I gave it 4 stars strictly because I just felt like it didn’t stick with me quite as a book should to garner a 5 star from me. I am definitely going to be continuing this series in the coming year.

Book Review: The Afterlife of Holly Chase

The Afterlife of Holly ChaseHolly Chase
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: October 24th, 2017
Genre, as told by Kibby: YA contemporary with a dash of weird magic/science-y realism
Rating: 5 Stars!
Synopsis: On Christmas Eve five years ago, Holly was visited by three ghosts who showed her how selfish and spoiled she’d become. They tried to convince her to mend her ways.
She didn’t.
And then she died.
Now she’s stuck working for the top-secret company Project Scrooge–as the latest Ghost of Christmas Past.
Every year, they save another miserly grouch. Every year, Holly stays frozen at seventeen while her family and friends go on living without her. So far, Holly’s afterlife has been miserable. But this year, everything is about to change. . . .

Let me start by saying that I DO NOT like YA contemporary novels. qG2h9G9NMRRE4I’ll read them only in the most exact of situations (The Charlotte Holmes novels, for instance), but this book was the selection for my Bookstagram Book Club (GO #TEAMKINGWHALE) and the synopsis had just enough vague magic-y/science-y weirdness to intrigue me.

But The Afterlife of Holly Chase melted even my cold, dead old lady heart.

The novel follows failed scrooge, Holly Chase, through…you guessed it: her afterlife. There is no heaven or hell for her, just the life as a sort of ghost/zombie vagueness that works for Project Scrooge. I felt like some of the intricacies of Project Scrooge could have been fleshed out more, but this novel is about the human aspect, not the technical. I can forgive it leaving out that part of world building.

I was worried that I would hate Holly Chase. There is nothing I hate more than a “poor rich girl” but Cynthia Hand deftly wrote Holly as flawed human that has depth and the ability to grow. I did dislike Holly at first, but very quickly I was drawn into her loneliness. Not the loneliness of her rich, teenage life, but the loneliness of her afterlife. I felt for her and found myself rooting for her to somehow get a happy ending (which is surprising since I’m usually a fan of tragic endings).

There was a fairly large supporting cast in this book and while some were not well explored, I felt I was able to get enough about them to work within the story. I think Boz and Stephanie were my favorite of the supporting cast. And while we got quite a bit of Stephanie’s backstory, I wish we’d gotten to know Boz a bit more. But at the same time, the unknown gives the novel the right feel.

I think what I liked most about the book was that even though I knew something was going to be all plot-twisty, I never could quite put my finger on it. It kept me invested and constantly wondering where this was all going. There were some bits that could be classified as clichéd but they were written in a way that I enjoyed and therefore didn’t care about the cliché.

And then there was the ending…

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I will not say any spoilers but I will say that I cried a lot because even though I try to hide it, I am a total sap. I called one thing about the ending, but not everything. And regardless, I loved everything that came to pass.

At the end of the day, this was not a perfect book. But it made me cry AND it made me happy, which is what I love in a book. So 5 stars on enjoyment alone, 4 stars if I was being critical about clichés and some lack of world building.

Want Now Wednesday: Never-Contented Things

Never-Contented ThingsNever Contented Things
Author: Sarah Porter
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: March 19, 2019
Genre: FAIRIES! (Okay, not a genre, but still…FAIRIES!)
Publisher Website/Pre-order Links

Goodreads Synopsis:

Seductive. Cruel. Bored
Be wary of…

Prince and his fairy courtiers are staggeringly beautiful, unrelentingly cruel, and exhausted by the tedium of the centuries―until they meet foster-siblings Josh and Ksenia. Drawn in by their vivid emotions, undying love for each other, and passion for life, Prince will stop at nothing to possess them.

First seduced and then entrapped by the fairies, Josh and Ksenia learn that the fairies’ otherworldly gifts come at a terrible price―and they must risk everything in order to reclaim their freedom.


Okay, first off: when you use words like “seductive”, “cruel”, and “fairy” that is a sure fire way to get me to pre-order a book. Which is exactly what I did when I stumbled upon this book. I cannot wait until I have this sumptuous looking book in my hands.

I love different author’s takes on fairy lore and I am excited to see what Sarah Porter brings to the table. I’ve never read anything by this author so I’ll be going in with a fresh slate when I get this book.

 

What are some key words that get you excited about a book?

Top Ten Tuesday: Cozy/Wintery Reads

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt from That Artsy Reader Girl is Cozy/Wintery Reads. Y’all, this is it. This is my prompt! I’m not sure I’ve expressed it enough on this blog, but I LOVE WINTER AND ALL THINGS COZY! Give me all the snow, wind, rain, mugs of hot beverages, fluffy blankets, flannel pj pants, over-sized sweaters (preferably cable knit)…I should probably stop now or we’ll be here for a long time.

Fair warning, my definition of “cozy” is probably different than others. Cozy for me ranges from comforting teenage angst to stabby drama. Also, this list will be in no particular order with exception for the last one on the list. That one is my all time favorite cozy/wintery read.

Bear and NightingaleThe Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

Yeah, okay…so I haven’t actually read it yet but LOOK AT THAT COVER! It just screams read me with a mug of hot cocoa that was brought to you by a big, brooding, bearded man.

 

 

Jackaby by William RitterJackaby

I think this book is the closest I’d come to a “cozy mystery”. Just thinking about this book makes me want to curl up with chunky knit blanket and an oversized mug of tea.

 

 

SweepThe Sweep Series by Cate Tiernan

Okay, this is kind of a Fall into Winter series for me. It starts in fall and works its way through winter and just I LOVE IT OKAY! I read this series numerous times when I was a teen so it’s also a huge comfort read for me. Also, it is angsty AF and I love that sometimes.

 

 

North and South by Elizabeth GaskellThornton Snow Gif

“I believe I’ve seen hell and its white, its snow white.” Everything about this novel is at once cold and hot: the cold setting, the broody yet longing glances from Mr. Thornton. Look, if reading classics isn’t your thing, at least go check out the BBC miniseries on Netflix. Richard Armitage plays Mr. Thornton so YOU ARE WELCOME!

Hunger GamesThe Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins

These books are cold and harsh like winter and I am so here for that. Having recently watched the movies again, I have been struck with the intense desire to reread them. Must like the first time I read them, I’ll do my reading while ensconced in a fleece blanket on my favorite reading couch.

 

Nevernight and Godsgrave by Jay KristoffNevernight

The addition of these books on this list probably has a lot to do with the fact that I first read them at the end of December 2017. So, even though they aren’t set in winter, they make me want curl up and get cozy. Preferably with an obscenely large glass of red wine.

 

 

NoTWThe Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss

These books are so damn rich and delicious. The beauty in these books warm my cold, dead heart. I just want to burrow into them and live there forever.

 

 

Game of Thrones by George RR MartinnplKLWUd3j0Bi

You know the line…

 

 

Dresden Storm Front
The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Another series that I started in winter and will always associate with the season. These were also the first audio books I ever listened to (James Marsters needs to narrate everything). I 100% would not mind spending a cold winter night curled up with Harry Dresden.

 

And now for the all time cozy/winter read:

HARRY POTTER by JK Rowling

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I mean, is there any series cozier? Can’t you just imagine watching the snow fall, while sipping fire whiskey at The Three Broomsticks while reading? I desperately wanted to reread these books this winter but I’m not sure I’ll have the time. I’ve got two trilogies ahead of it. But when I do get a chance for my reread, I shall be sure to have many cozy blankets and a good warming beverage to accompany me.

So, that’s it for me and my wintery reads. Were there any on my list that you’d add to yours? What other wintery reads would you recommend?

Top Three Thursday: Prettiest Book Covers

Hello all and Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it! I am jumping in quickly to drop some beautiful book covers on you before I am lassoed back into the kitchen to help with the cooking. The theme for Top Three Thursday, hosted by A Cosy Reading Blog, is prettiest book covers.

Damsel by Elana K Arnold (Goodreads)damsel

 

There is something about the way the title GLOWS that just draws me in (also the amazing synopsis). I’ve been wanting to pick up a copy since it came out and I think I’ll finally remember to grab one when I do some shopping at Barnes and Nobel on Black Friday.

 

 

 

unkindnessAn Unkindness of Magicians by Kate Howard (Goodreads)

 

I was first drawn to the title of this book, then the synopsis, and then HOT DAMN THIS COVER! It is even more beautiful in person. Sadly, since I am terrible with keeping up with my TBR, this book remains unread. If I don’t get to it by the end of 2018, I certainly will be reading it in 2019.

 

 

 

The Two Towers by JRR Tolkien (Goodreads)two towers

 

One of the things I love to do most is search through used bookstores for different editions of The Lord of the Rings. I’ve got quite a few editions on my shelves, about 5 different editions of each book. But when I found this copy of The Two Towers I just about died. I love this cover so, so, so much!

 

 

What are some of your favorite pretty book covers?