Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco Non-Spoiler Review

Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: YA Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

28962906Synopsis:

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.

 

 

 


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Set in the late 1800s, the opening pages start with our main character Audrey Rose in a laboratory working on a cadaver. Immediately you get the feel and tone of the book, very mysterious and dark. In a society where misogyny is on a all time high, many people expect Audrey Rose to hide her love for science and all things forensic medicine which includes dead bodies, Audrey Rose has a different take.

To get away from her father’s madness and society’s rules, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory. Audrey has been helping her uncle with the corpses of this madman serial killer, theorizing and trying to figure out who it is and why are they doing this. When trying to go public with help backfires on her, she starts secretly searching for clues and the answers she is searching for will lead to something never expected.

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The writing was very well done. I honestly feel that the author wrote this book in a realistic way. Yes, some parts were boring but they felt authentic and necessary. Kerri Maniscalco definitely gets into detail with the mutilation of the bodies and how they were killed, therefore please read with caution if gore isn’t your thing. Definitely do not eat and read this book at the same time. However, I actually loved that the author wrote those scenes in such detail, showing us how dark this book can get without filter.

“the dead speak to those who listen. Be quieter than even them.”

The setting and society were very on point. Maniscalco definitely does not hold back with how misogyny took place in this time, sometimes to the point where it was a burden on our main character, Audrey Rose. It also made me cringe sometimes. It sucks that this was something that was very prevalent in that day and age (we still live through it now just not as heavy), however, Maniscalco took that and made it her own. She wrote scenes that showed us how strong Audrey Rose is.

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We meet a few characters throughout the book. Some of my faves including Audrey Rose, Thomas, and the Uncle Dr. Jonathan Wadsworth. All three of these are on the same hunt for the serial killer. Thomas who was pretty much Dr. Jonathan Wadsworth apprentice definitely gave me bad vibes in the beginning of the book due to his quiet sarcastic attitude. There were times when I told myself “booooyyyyyy if you do not stop right now” lol. I loved the banter between him and Audrey though! They had me giggling.

“Science never abandoned me the way religion had that night.”

I definitely grew a soft spot for Audrey’s uncle because he always meant well and definitely tested Audrey and Thomas’s limits when it came to forensic medicine. I was sad to find out that Dr. Jonathan Wadsworth and Audrey’s father, Lord Edmund Wadsworth were not in speaking terms. In actuality, Lord Edmund hated the thought of her daughter being in that laboratory for reasons the book gets into later on.  Lord Edmund’s paranoia left Audrey and her brother Nathaniel in a state of despair, not knowing what to do. Lord Edmund’ s madness is due to the death of his wife, Audrey and Nathaniel’s mother. I also enjoyed Nathaniel’s character and their sibling relationship. He was very understanding to his sister’s love for the science and curiosity but also very cautious.

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Overall, I really enjoyed this book and cannot wait to read the second installment, Hunting Prince Dracula. The character development and the way things flowed was great. Now if you’re wondering as to why I gave the book 4 stars it’s because I found the book to be a bit predictable and some scenes were just boring. Other than that, I really enjoyed Stalking Jack the Ripper.

I loved the characters, the setting, and even the subtle steampunk elements. If you know me, you know I love steampunk. I am also a huge sucker for late 1800s to early 1900s London except for the misogyny of course because we don’t need that. Kerri Mansicalco definitely did a great job with transferring me to this world every time I opened the page.

And that ending??!!?? Although I predicted it, I was still shocked with how some things came about and I kept flipping the pages like nobody’s business. I would highly recommend this!

 


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have you read stalking jack the ripper? what are your thoughts? do any of you anticipate hunting prince dracula? let’s chat in the comments!


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Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel Non-Spoiler ARC Review

Title: Black Bird of the Gallows
Series: N/A
Author: Meg Kassel
Genre: YA Paranormal
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Format: ARC paperback
Release Date: September 5th 2017
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

33509076Synopsis:

A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What’s more, she knows something most don’t. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

 


*I want to thank BookCon and Entangled Teen for providing me an ARC!*

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Angie Dovage is a teenager trying to live a low-key life where people forget her story and what’s happened with her mom. In small town Pennsylvania where nothing much really happens and everyone lives their day to day life, Angie Dovage is going to meet her new next door neighbor who will drastically change her life. Once her next door neighbor moves in, Reece Fernandez, something supernatural tries to attack Angie. Yet, every time Angie goes through an attack, she notices that Reece is there. Angie is dancing with a harbinger of death and when she finds out out why Reece is really there in this small town Pennsylvania, it’s either saving everyone or staying alive.

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I thought the writing was okay, easy to read and understandable. Meg Kassel wrote the setting in present times so there wasn’t much world building. The author really focused on the descriptions of what was a Harbinger of Death, Beekeepers, and the crows. I found that to be a problem (in my opinion) because this is a short book of 308 pages and sometimes she would explain over a few times what these three things do rather than focus on the plot. There was a point where I put down the book and asked myself “is this book part of a series? cause if so that would make more sense as to why she’s giving us much detailed descriptions.” Goodreads didn’t give me anything so I went to her website and found that she’s working on a novella and companion novel.

Meg Kassel also wrote a lot of tropes. If you do not like instalove, then you might want to steer away from this book. There’s also the neighbor who happens to be a supernatural trope, the girl who wasn’t doing much with her life till a guy walked in trope, and many other tropes but I won’t mention it because I don’t want to spoil the book.

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We get to meet a few characters throughout this book. We meet both main characters Angie and Reece. Angie Dovage lives with her father and she hasn’t had the best life. Losing a mother to drugs, her life in school isn’t the best because everyone knows of her story. Angie is focused on music and the band she’s in with her two friends, Deno and Lacey. Reece is the new mysterious attractive guy that every girl in school is swooning over. Instead of being the quiet bad boy, he instantly gets a long with everyone in school and get’s into the hockey team. We also meet Angie’s father in the story who happens to be really present in her life and I have to say that I really enjoyed that aspect.

I also have to say that these characters weren’t flushed out as I would like. I feel that I’ve read these character arcs repeatedly throughout the years. I didn’t really find them relatable and it would’ve been nice to see them grow naturally but the tropes didn’t really help with the growth because a lot of their (Angie and Reece) decisions were based off emotions.

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Overall, I found this book to be very predictable. If you like LUX by Jennifer L. Armentrout and Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, then I would definitely suggest you reading this book because it has ALL the same elements.

For this being a short book, I thought there was a lot more descriptions going on rather than plot. The plot really took place in the last few chapters. I know I mentioned this already but I really wish the author would’ve taken more time focusing on the plot, building the characters, and giving us just more of the world.

Angie asked a lot of questions about what the Harbinger of Deaths do and what Beekeepers are, how the Crows are involved in all of this. Yes, those are very important questions, however, Meg Kassel was explaining this way too much. And yes, it is important to the plot and what happens but there wasn’t a flow with plot and getting to know these paranormal elements. Therefore, sometimes the book felt too jumpy instead of an organic flow of things.

There were a few things that rubbed me the wrong way as well when reading this book which I can’t just let slide over without mentioning.

  • There was a part in the book when the author compares Cadence (name of town) to Afghanistan. “Cadence is not Afghanistan. It’s southwestern Pennsylvania.” I thought that was very insensitive of the author to write.
  • There is also a scene where Angie is drenched in water, she’s unconscious, and Reece stated that she was freezing and in shock. She wakes up and notices that her clothes is hanging on a chair and she was changed into a t-shirt which was alarming to her. She calls it to his attention, she’s asking questions about what happened, and he gets really defensive which I didn’t like at all. We get a character who’s been really nice and cool throughout the book but then when he get’s questioned on what happened while she’s unconscious, he turns into a dislikable person. “You were freezing and in shock. I had to get you warm and dry. I’m not sorry.” He also didn’t apologize which really pissed me off.
  • “what are you, suicidal? leave me and go.” this type of sarcasm is a no from me.
  • Reece Fernandez so happens not to be latino at all so there went my hopes and dreams of a latinx character being involved.

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that is all for this review. i would love to chat in the comments about your thoughts! if you have any questions, please feel free to ask ❤


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A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab Non-Spoiler Review

Title: A Darker Shade of Magic (Book 1)
Series: Shades of Magic
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Synopsis:

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.


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Once a upon a time, the four Londons co-existed and with it, Antari, magicians that have the ability to travel from London to London. The four Londons are Red, Grey, White, and Black. In present times, a lot of people think that Black London is a myth, a story that you tell your children to scare them. Kell who so happens to be a main character and Antari, was raised in Red London as an adopted son to the King and Queen. He serves the Red London Empire and is used to travel the different Londons per duty. Each London is different in its own way and while traveling to one particular London, Kell finds that he might have to pay for the consequences of his smuggling from London to London. With those consequences comes an adventure to get everything back to the way it’s supposed to be and throughout this back and forth of London’s, Kell meets Lila Bard in a not so pleasant way. However, she might be everything Kell needed to have everything in order. A Darker Shade of Magic is the story of how balance is really important with all four London’s and getting that balance restored.

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For those who have been following my blog for a little while now, you all know that Schwab isn’t a new-to-me author. I have read The Archived, Vicious, and Monsters of Verity Duology. I am obsessed with Schwab’s writing style. Schwab has a very distinct way of writing where usually the beginning of each book is a slow build up. By build up, I mean she is building not only the world, Schwab is also letting us get to know the characters she’s created, and what the plot entails.

That is exactly what we get with A Darker Shade of Magic. Through dialogue and scenes, we are meeting the different types of London’s and obtaining their descriptions, we meet characters and where the plot may go. I thought this was perfectly executed because although it was a slow start, Schwab definitely builds everything up for the next books to come. Also, once Schwab sets her world and characters, she runs with the plot without slowing down to give us any descriptions for anything else.

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I really loved the cast of characters Schwab presented to us. Even the bad ones were creepy and well done like those Diabolical Dane Twins as I call them from White London. Schwab described them so perfectly that they made me cringe in disgust. They are evil blood suckers who are obsessed with magic and will do anything to get what they want when they want. Since we’re on the topic of White London, we meet Holland who is one of the two Antari’s left. Holland definitely gave me mixed feelings but I won’t get too much into that because I feel like that would be a spoiler.

We also meet Lila Bard who I absolutely adored. Lila is from Grey London and she does anything possible to live one more day, even if it’s thieving. Lila’s character arc really struck a chord with me and her backstory touched me. Although we don’t get much of her backstory, Schwab definitely opens up to something…if you know what part I’m talking about, you know what I mean….I really cannot wait to see what happens with her in the next books to come. The banter her and Kell had throughout this magical fantastical world was hilarious. No matter how serious things were, Lila always had me in fits of giggles.

Kell was another character who definitely warmed my heart. A Darker Shade of Magic starts with him, and through him we got to see the different London’s. He is one of the two Antari left in all of the London’s. Kell with his good intentions and good heart always means well and goes beyond to please the King and Queen, plus his brother Rhy who we meet a few times throughout the book. Rhy (pronounced like the word ‘why’) is this beautiful boy who absolutely loves his brother Kell and wants the best for him. Rhy is charismatic and charming. I feel like I’m going to see a lot of growth in the next books to come because although we met him on the surface, Schwab gave us enough to make me think.

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I absolutely loved this book! Schwab is an auto-buy author for me and I am sure that I will love the next two books. A Darker Shade of Magic was well built and I know this was only the foundation of what’s to come in the future two books. This world is dark and I love a good dark fantasy. The way Schwab wrote about magic was smooth and understandable to me. The plot was action packed and on point. A Darker Shade of Magic was definitely a page turner with very surprising elements. There were times that I gasped and was on the edge of my seat hoping for the best with some of these characters, except the diabolical dane twins, they can go straight to hell for all I care lol. Schwab created a world where if you do something that’s out of order, there will be consequences which won’t be a nice payout. And I have to admit that although some of the scenes were hard to read because I got attached to characters, I appreciate the raw honesty of it.

Overall, this a great book and this review was probably super vague but I didn’t want to mention too much..if you want to know about Black London, read the book (if you haven’t already lol)!

 

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thank you for stopping by! have you read this or plan on to? what are your thoughts? let’s chat in the comments!


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Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening by Marjorie M. Liu Graphic Novel Review

Title: Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening
Author: Marjorie M. Liu
Genre: Graphic Novels, Fantasy, SciFi
Illustrators: Sana Takeda, Rus Wooten
Publisher: Image Comics
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.


*please note that this graphic novel has mature content and not recommended for children

I finally picked up this beauty of a graphic novel and let me tell you that the hype surrounding this one is all worth it! Filled with steampunk elements, witches, darkness, and monsters, this graphic novel is one that I would highly recommend.

Summary/Plot

Monstress follows the story of a teenage girl, Maika Halfwolf. Maika is trying to find answers to her questions in regards to her past and her mother. She is also struggling with a monster that lives within her who has massive power. Maika Halfwolf is trying to fight the monster within, while still trying to keep some of her humanity. In search of her past, she is also being hunted and maybe the answers she’s been looking for is closer than she thinks.

Thoughts

I really enjoyed Monstress, the artwork is stunning and there is a lot of dialogue. Usually, graphic novels take me less than a day to read but since this one had a lot of heavy reading material, it took me about two days. I loved how detailed the art is, I think that is also why I took long to read it because I found myself slowly absorbing at each piece.

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This graphic novel is rich with elements that I previously mentioned. I felt that although it had all the elements of steampunk, witches, darkness, and monsters, there was balance. We have the Arcanics who are everything opposite of Humans & Witches. Some Arcanics are half animal/half human, some animals who can speak with special abilities, etc.

The world is already built and set once you open to the first page, which I find to be the norm for comics/graphic novels. I enjoyed how at the end of each comic section, there was a page filled with lessons on the culture of this world. So although the world is already set, we get to know how a lot of the culture came to be with the Arcanics and Humans.

We get glimpses of Maika’s past. Therefore, we get a lot of Maika’s life within the pages. I’m a big fan of past and present when done well and I thought it was executed okay here. Some times the author didn’t let us know when we were in the past. So I found myself a little confused at times.

We meet a lot of characters in this graphic novel due to the extended plot which is why this part will be kept short. Some of my favorite characters were Kippa (little fox) and Master Ren (cat with 3 tails who talks). These two were cute and hilarious. I loved when Master Ren made references to poets (in their world) and poetry. He has dark humor. Kippa is a child human/fox and his innocence throughout this graphic novel was comforting and admirable.

I really enjoyed this graphic novel but the reason why I bumped it down a star was because I wasn’t surprised with where the plot was going. I guessed a lot of what was going to happen with the plot and certain characters. I still want to read the next one though.


have you read this or plan on to? what were your thoughts? let’s chat in the comments!


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