Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

“Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

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.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with a review! (Everytime I feel like I’m caught up with these things, I finish another 3 books!)

“There’s nothing better than a little danger dashed with some romance.”

Stars (Out of 10): 8/10 Stars

Favorite Character: Thomas

Spoiler Free: This book completely surpassed all of my expectations! I’m usually not that into Victorian/historical novels, but this story was unlike anything I had ever read before. I loved the mystery combined with the setting, and the characters were just fantastic!

The plot itself was extremely gripping, as we hopped from crime to crime, suspect to suspect, etc. You could also tell a lot of thought and research went into the events written, as it both seemed to follow forensic developments at the time as well as tried to hold to most of the facts from the Jack the Ripper killings themselves. And even though I did figure out the killer way too quickly, I was not able to guess the reason why they were killing, which still left the ending exciting and shocking.

Additionally, I absolutely adored the characters. The dynamic between them all, especially between Audrey Rose and Thomas, was just super fun to read! The touch of romance and flirtations also worked to create excitement in what would have otherwise been dull moments in the story, and I think it worked well as an extra background layer! Definitely excited to see where the rest of this series takes the characters!

My only (small) issue with the book would have to be my difficulty getting into it at first. I started this book right after Graceling, which admittedly hooked me quite fast, so it took some focused reading to finally get me fully enraptured in the book. However, this happened around 30-40%, which is still much faster than some books hook me.

Careful! Spoilers beyond this point!

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The Serpent’s Shadow by Rick Riordan

“He’s b-a-a-ack! Despite their best efforts, Carter and Sadie Kane can’t seem to keep Apophis, the chaos snake, down. Now Apophis is threatening to plunge the world into eternal darkness, and the Kanes are faced with the impossible task of having to destroy him once and for all. Unfortunately, the magicians of the House of Life are on the brink of civil war, the gods are divided, and the young initiates of Brooklyn House stand almost alone against the forces of chaos. The Kanes’ only hope is an ancient spell that might turn the serpent’s own shadow into a weapon, but the magic has been lost for a millennia. To find the answer they need, the Kanes must rely on the murderous ghost of a powerful magician who might be able to lead them to the serpent’s shadow . . . or might lead them to their deaths in the depths of the underworld. Nothing less than the mortal world is at stake when the Kane family fulfills its destiny in this thrilling conclusion to the Kane Chronicles.”
-Synopsis from Goodreads

Hey guys! Allison here. I finished my reread of the Kane Chronicles last weekend and I have to say, the Kane Chronicles is Rick Riordan’s most underrated series.

Quote:If a person cast no shadow at all, he wouldn’t be alive. His existence became meaningless.”

Stars (Out of 10): 8.5

Favorite Character: I love them all equally.

Spoiler Free: While it’s rare for a finale book to be the shortest in a series, this finale book manages to pull it off. It’s very well written and is a good finale, but there are moments where the pacing kind of slips from you. I don’t know if it’s from the stress the characters are facing, or just from being a busy, busy book, but the deadlines the characters have don’t always feel so imminent. Other than that, the characters all got the endings that felt right for them and it was just a good finale altogether.

Careful! Spoilers beyond this point!

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Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more. ”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again! Graceling was another book I read recently (and absolutely loved!) The review pretty short, but this is my favorite book of the year so far!

“When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?”

Stars (Out of 10): 10/10 Stars

Favorite Character: Katsa and Po

Spoiler Free: I couldn’t put this book down once I truly got into it. Looking back, I can’t really find one thing I disliked about this book. The world was built fantastically, and explained in an easy to understand way while also not leaving anything important out. All the characters felt fully fleshed out, and entirely their own, constantly sticking to their values. Additionally, the romance, while fantastic, did not entirely dominate the book nor change the characters involved. And lastly, the plot was one that kept going from the first line to the last.

It was a tale about discovery, love and friendship, and of breaking free. A tale about fighting and learning to love (both others and yourself.) It was a tale unlike any I’ve read before, and I still cannot stop thinking about it.

This is quite possibly the best and most well-rounded fantasy stand-alone I have ever read. It didn’t feel rushed, and the build up constantly contained excitement while still giving the entire novel a base to build upon. And while the world does continue on into other books, I am still sad to leave these lovely characters here.

The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan

“Magnus Chase, a once-homeless teen, is a resident of the Hotel Valhalla and one of Odin’s chosen warriors. As the son of Frey, the god of summer, fertility, and health, Magnus isn’t naturally inclined to fighting. But he has strong and steadfast friends, including Hearthstone the elf, Blitzen the dwarf, and Samirah the Valkyrie, and together they have achieved brave deeds, such as defeating Fenris Wolf and battling giants for Thor’s hammer, Mjolnir. Now Magnus and his crew must sail to the farthest borders of Jotunheim and Niflheim in pursuit of Asgard’s greatest threat. Will they succeed in their perilous journey, or is Ragnarok lurking on the horizon?”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here with another review! I actually read this early January, but just finally am sharing the review here. Whoops!

“The world will end. The big picture cannot be changed. But in the meantime, as Loki once said, we can choose to alter the details. That’s how we take control of our destiny.”

Stars (Out of 10): 8/10 Stars

Favorite Character: Hearthstone

Spoiler Free: I have to say, this finale was leagues better than the end of the Heroes of Olympus series, which goes to show that even as a veteran author, Riordan is still growing throughout his novels.

I have to preface this by saying that I went into this novel with a goal beyond enjoyment, as I actually had to write a paper on the gender roles shown within this novel/series for a class assignment. So I definitely went in with a much more critical mindset, especially in terms of the characters. However, I still ended up thoroughly enjoying this book, even if it felt like “homework” sometimes!

To begin with, I loved the abundance of minor mythological characters within the storyline. It wasn’t just Thor and Loki and other big Norse names, but plenty of lesser known ones as well. While this does mean there are a lot of introductions and new names to remember, it also removes biases/expectations we might have had of these characters from other forms of media (specifically films). For example, the representation of Thor within this novel is a far cry from the popular Marvel films, which often causes readers (or me at least) to expect different actions/emotions from the character.

Overall, it was a wonderful ending to a wonderful series. This installment was action-packed, with every chapter containing either an important plot point or a moment of character growth. Additionally, while I have some issues with the ending, it overall was a realistic yet proper send-off to the series, while still hinting at more (as Riordan always does!)

Careful! Spoilers beyond this point!

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Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

From the author of the unforgettable New York Times bestseller We Were Liars comes a masterful new psychological suspense novel–the story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are her ticket into a charmed life. But how many times can someone reinvent themselves? You be the judge.

Imogen is a runaway heiress, an orphan, a cook, and a cheat.
Jule is a fighter, a social chameleon, and an athlete.
An intense friendship. A disappearance. A murder, or maybe two.
A bad romance, or maybe three.
Blunt objects, disguises, blood, and chocolate. The American dream, superheroes, spies, and villains.
A girl who refuses to give people what they want from her.
A girl who refuses to be the person she once was.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here with another review. A few years ago I read We Were Liars and loved it, so I was definitely intrigued when I saw E. Lockhart was coming out with a new book!

“For anyone who has been taught that good equals small and silent, here is my heart with all its ugly tangles and splendid fury.”

Stars (Out of 10): 6.5/10 Stars

Favorite Character: Honestly, this was the kinda book where every character wasn’t necessarily made to be likable, but rather to be interesting.

Spoiler Free: I was so hooked on this book! With so many twists and turns to navigate, and the unique way of the story being told backwards, I could not put this book down! I enjoyed almost every chapter of this novel.

However, with such a positive intro, you may be wondering why this book only has 6.5/10 stars. This is all due to how the book ended, and while I won’t go into too much detail here to avoid spoilers, it honestly was kind of disappointing. There was all this build up and exciting twists and turns that ended up feeling like they went nowhere, and the potential was wasted.

Additionally, another thing to know going into this book is that the writing style is fairly clear cut and simple, and thus the connection you get to the characters, and sometimes the plot, is also that. There are no beautiful words and luxurious phrases to make you think the MC, Jule, is the best person out there. There is simply what happened, occasionally what Jule thinks of it, and that’s about it. This detachment is also enhanced somewhat by the use of third person, since we never seem to be directly controlled by Jule’s thoughts. However, all of this ends up adding to the story, and allows for the reader to create their own opinions and theories about what the hell went down in this novel without the biases of the narrator overshadowing it completely.

Careful! Spoilers beyond this point!

Continue reading “Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart”