BOOK REVIEW: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

BOOK REVIEW: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri ManiscalcoStalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper)
by Kerri Maniscalco
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: 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

Wow okay this was super fun. I mean really – if you’re in the market for YA Sherlock Holmes with a badass heroine and a super snarky (and charming) sidekick, definitely pick this up. I do have some mixed feelings about parts and I’ll admit I skipped some chunks because ew, not for me. Some of the ending really rubbed me the wrong way, but you can see those details below in the spoiler tag.

Aubrey Rose is basically an unconventional female in her society. She’s super into education and volunteers her time at her uncle’s lab studying forensic science. And we get all the gory details, lol. So if you’re here for that kinda thing, you’ll enjoy it. If not, just skip over it. I’d say the story is just as enjoyable without the details of the… dead.

And then she meets the cocky, ever so flirty Thomas Cresswell who is pretty much Captain Carswell Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles reincarnate. Ohmigosh he is pretty much the reason I loved this book. The banter and everythinggggggg yessss give me more.

“Thomas smiled at my eye roll, puffing his chest up and standing with one foot proudly resting on a chair as if posing for a portrait. “I don’t blame you, I am rather attractive. The tall, dark hero of your dreams, swooping in to save you with my vast intellect. You should accept my hand at once.”

Anyway, a string of murders starts going down and as the story progresses, Aubrey starts to realize the murderer might be connected to her family somehow. And of course, Thomas is there to annoy Aubrey while she figures it all out.

“If I don’t murder you this afternoon, it’ll be a gift sent directly from God Himself, and I vow to attend services again,” I said, holding a hand against my heart.
“I knew I’d get you to church eventually.”

I would just like to say, for the record (and friends can vouch for me…) I KNEW WHO THE MURDER WAS ALL ALONG. So I win a cookie or something, right? I KNEW IT I KNEW IT I KNEW IT.

Anyway, I definitely was not into the saence part and I skipped it. Spirits are just not my thing, yo. I don’t feel like I missed out on much.

***Minor spoilers below – don’t read if you want to keep the mystery alive!***

As far as the ending, I definitely felt a bit of glee knowing I guessed the killer, but aside from that, it was just really sad. I actually even teared up a bit. And honestly, some of it really rubbed me the wrong way. (view spoiler)

But as far as the set up for the next book, I’m super on board with that. I’m already REALLY looking forward to it and trying to beg my way to an arc lol. Mostly I’m just hoping for lots of time with Thomas Cresswell, though I hope the banter stays alive!

Quote of the Week #3 | Contemporary Romance

This is Quote of the Week‘s time again! Every week we share one of our favorite quotes, depending on the theme we choose… and let’s be real, that shit is HARD, okay? CHOICES. CHOICES EVERYWHERE.

The theme for this week is :

~ a quote in a Contemporary Romance ~

“I smiled at him. “And you slept over. Again.” (…)
“You made me.”
“I don’t remember that.”
“Well,” he said. “You don’t remember very much. Do you? Jack, I’ll never let go,”, he mimicked.
“Oh god.”
“Never let go.”
“I don’t believe you,” I said, even though I totally believed him.
“Jack!” he mimicked.”

About the book

Hadley Arrington is the career-driven Editor-in-Chief of her university’s prestigious newspaper. Jack Diamond is a laid back student whose good looks have made things even easier than they need to be. She’s the girl who came out of nowhere and kissed him in the rain. He’s the boy who made her do something crazy.

When the stakes seem too high, they have to decide if they’ll let their love show or if they’ll walk away for good.

ADD IT ON GOODREADS | BUY IT ON AMAZON

“When the store was empty again, I buried my head in my hands. I hadn’t realized how much Josh had been helping me get through the summer until he wasn’t there anymore. I wanted him to ask me how the Sky was. And then I wanted him to make it stop raining.”

About the book

If Skylar Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing separating Skylar from art school is three months of summer…until Skylar’s mother loses her job, and Skylar realizes her dreams may be slipping out of reach. Josh had a different escape route: the Marines. But after losing his leg in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings Skylar and Josh together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and, soon, something deeper. Compelling and ultimately hopeful, this is a powerful examination of love, loss, and resilience.

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“The trick is to find that one person who can give it back as good as they can take it.”

About the book

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude. Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

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Now, your turn! Tell us, what are your favorite quotes in a Contemporary Romance novel?

BOOK REVIEW: Windfall by Jennifer E Smith

BOOK REVIEW: Windfall by Jennifer E SmithWindfall Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined…and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

Part of this is a ‘it’s you, not me’ thing, because the writing was lovely. The author clearly put her heart and soul into this book. Some of the conversations and inner monologue is breathtakingly heart-achingly beautiful.

A certain type of reader will probably hug this book to pieces and cry over it. For me, I’m not exactly a contemporary reader, and this book kinda reminded me why. I have a really hard time dealing with modern day issues because my own life has so many right now – so it’s just one of those things. For some reason, I was thinking this was more of a light hearted book, but it really wasn’t. It deals with loss, death, some aspects of poverty, and the romance part of it was just really sad IMO. I mean, the ending was cute and all, but I just feel kinda sad and depressed?

I’m not going to retype the synopsis or even summarize it aside from saying it’s about a girl who is a ‘do-gooder’ and her best friend Teddy (whom she’s in love with) wins the lottery and basically changes into a total jerk face (even if he realizes it eventually).

65% of the plot is basically us seeing the MC get her hopes up only to be shoved off and brushed over time and time again by Teddy. We watch him make a million dumb asshole mistakes before he finally comes around. SO much of me was raging at how selfish someone could be with the money aspect and the relationship aspects. It literally hurt to read.

There were definitely some pacing issues too. I read the book really fast because I did feel emotionally invested at some points, but over all, not a ton happened to be honest. It’s very much about the inner struggle vs. big events happening.

Trigger warning for anyone who has a hard time diving into the aftermath of painful deaths/etc.

It did have a great ending, but all in all, I just feel kinda empty after having read it. I’m glad the characters make some amazing discoveries and decisions, but blah. It just isn’t the type of story that works well for me.

I still recommend it to those who love contemporaries who make you think about life/etc.

Thank you to the publisher & blogging for books for giving me a copy of this book to review!

BOOK REVIEW: Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

BOOK REVIEW: Strange the Dreamer by Laini TaylorStrange the Dreamer by Laini Tayor
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

I honestly still don’t know what to rate this, so I’m going with 3.5 stars.

Wow, so it took me nearly two months to finish this book. Here’s the thing. The writing quite literally slays, and so does the characterization. My struggle was this: Half the time, I was sitting there in awe, thinking ‘This is the best book EVER WRITTEN’ ahhh. The other half? It felt like wading through mud. Sparkly, very very pretty mud, but mud nonetheless. There would be pages and pages of descriptions – and while they were mind blowing, I was dyyinggg for the story to start.

So just a heads up – it takes about half way or maybe even more for anything to even start happening. The pace didn’t pick up until like 80%.

My recommendation? If you’re a writer (or aspiring writer) – this is a must read. For sure. But be prepared going into it. I think I’ve highlighted half the book because of how pretty and raw the sentences were. It was poetic at times and short and raw at others. Such an interesting combination I feel like I’ve learned a ton and I owe Laini a great deal for that.

Lazlo Strange is easily one of the most tender and relatable characters in YA lit. He was precious down to the bone, and I swear I don’t think anyone could read about him and not fall in love. From the very first page, too. He sucks you in quick. His fascination of ‘Weep’ becomes the reader’s fascination of weep. It’s impossible not to feel Lazlo’s emotions.

As far as the other characters – same deal. They all felt real. I loved Sarai even though she didn’t have a huge personality. Her abilities are super dark but super cool and I was totally rooting for her. I also liked to see the interaction with the other… ‘gods’ or whatever they were. I love how they each had distinguishable personalities. What I didn’t love? Their POV talking about next to nothing.

Anyway, like I said, the pacing is extremely slow and I think the characters are the entire reason I stuck around. If it hadn’t been for them, I would have just picked it up occasionally to get some writing inspiration.

The world building was also phenomenally done, (albeit weird at times with the metal thing). But cool. Okay, does anyone remember watching ‘The Little Princess’ as a kid? That movie was what spurred my obsession with Indian Folklore. I would chain watch that movie over and over again because of the blue goddess love story and ahhhh this book brought back memories of that and of other stories I used to love. Ugh see? This is my issue. I would have loved this book so much more -perhaps even cried over it- if the pacing had been better.

So here I sit with mixed feelings. So much greatness. So much brilliance. And yet it took me months to get through it.

Take what you will from that!

GIVEAWAY-Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini Taylor

I am so honored to be hosting a giveaway for one of the most highly anticipated reads of 2017! Check out below to see exclusive content, videos introducing the characters and the world, and an awesome giveaway! I hope you guys enjoy the post-make sure to follow the link to enter our two week giveaway ending on 5/10. Good luck! 🙂 <3

GIVEAWAY-Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1) by Laini TaylorStrange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer #1)
by Laini Taylor
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis:

A new epic fantasy by National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Laini Taylor of the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy.

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around--and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he's been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries--including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo's dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? and if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

In this sweeping and breathtaking new novel by National Book Award finalist Laini Taylor, author of the New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy, the shadow of the past is as real as the ghosts who haunt the citadel of murdered gods. Fall into a mythical world of dread and wonder, moths and nightmares, love and carnage.

Welcome to Weep.

Dreams are crazy things; Most tend to be obscure, unearthly images that leave you baffled upon waking. Or, you know, you simply forget the moment you wake. The star(s) of my dreams tend to be random instances from years ago, drawing upon old relationships that have long since been terminated and I have no desire to rekindle-old friendships where it ended badly, yet you have no clue what you did wrong. I dream about old best friends so much it’s unsettling. I tend to let dead horses lie, so why do these old friends pop in my head so  much? Is that a saying? I probably phrased it wrong. My point is-dreams are odd and they come from your subconscious out of absolutely nowhere…and leave you a bit disturbed after, no matter how realistic they may seem. And then there are those dreams where you are in a totally normal-ish situation, yet in a totally unexpected, ODD, creepy place. Those are my most common dreams-these dreams? I’m more than happy to leave behind.  

But I think dreams more often refer to what you want out of your life, what you wish and pine for-what you work so hard for. And I’ll admit, I’ve had plenty of dreams-Too many to count. But, until recently, they haven’t come to fruition. 

Just last month my biggest dream (after being married to my high school sweetheart) came true-I had a little baby girl and she is literally the light of my life. My husband and I are over the moon. And it’s crazy…because this was my dream-not his. He always agreed to my dream, but he dragged his feet-but come last July, he finally agreed and we were so happy to begin trying…except, you know…we got pregnant literally the first try. 

I was shocked, elated. There are no words for the amount of happiness I felt. But I was equally terrified to tell my husband-after all, it was literally the first attempt and I couldn’t be sure how he’d take the news. Turns out? He was beyond words ecstatic-we stayed up all night talking about it. He guessed it was a girl, I guessed a boy. Wouldn’t you know it, he was right. 

So here we are, 10 months later-and it’s not nearly as terrifying as I had imagined it would be (9 months is a looooong time to fret about being a bad mother). She sleeps through the night, eats great, and is one of the strongest babies ever-she lifted her head right after being born! And she has a beautiful, full head of brown hair. Did I mention that literally all I do is brag about her? Yeah. Well, I imagine that won’t end any time soon! 

My dream came true….but there are so many more now. I think that’s how dreams work. My dreams kept being fulfilled (husband, house…now baby), yet I always want more. Now I dream of our next baby (a sister or brother) and  everything I plan to do for our current baby girl. Nothing will ever be good enough for our girl-and God help the boy(s) that tries to win her heart-Dad will have NO part of that. 

My dreams may not be in line with everyone else’s, nor would I say they are conventional for this day and age where career comes before self…but that’s me and it has always been me-I refuse to change. I have everything I’ve ever dreamed for-and more.

What are your dreams? What do you dream about? Are they odd, crazy, weird….do they make you wonder where in the world they came from? Or, have any of your real life dreams come true? Sound off below in the comments! I’d love to hear your thoughts! 

 

ONCE UPON A DREAM: Keep the nightmares at bay with this dreamy prize pack! (Re-tweet and follow to enter giveaway! here )

One (1) winner receives:

  • copy of Strange the Dreamer
  • sleep-mask and aromatherapy pillow sleep mist
  • and a luna moth enamel pin to watch over your dreams!

Giveaway open to US addresses only.

Prizing and samples provided by Little, Brown & Co.

 

Visit the Official Site

Follow @TheNovl on Twitter and Instagram

Follow @LainiTaylor on Twitter

Hashtag #StrangetheDreamer

 

Check out a sneak peek here:

Read the Prologue on EW

Read Chapter 1 on Mashable

Read an Excerpt on TheNovl

Bonus Content!

Which Godspawn are you? Take the quiz!

Download a variety of quote-art here.

 

About the Author

Laini Taylor is a New York Times bestselling author and a National Book Award finalist. She is the author of the global sensation the Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy: Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Days of Blood & Starlight, andDreams of Gods & Monsters, and the companion e-novella, Night of Cake & Puppets. She is also the author of the Dreamdark books Blackbringer and Silksinger, and the highly acclaimed Lips Touch: Three Times. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband, illustrator Jim Di Bartolo, and their daughter Clementine.

 

 

So….is Strange the Dreamer on your MUST READ list for 2017?? Or perhaps you’ve already read it (and hopefully loved it). Share below! I know I cannot WAIT to try this one out-I’d love to hear your thoughts on Strange!

 

“I partnered with Little, Brown to share this giveaway.”

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