“Stalking Jack The Ripper” by Kerri Maniscalco — Book Review

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About The Book:

  Audrey Rose Wadsworth is a young lady who has a different sort of hobby than most ladies in nineteenth century England have. The hobby? Well, she likes to assist her uncle in performing autopsies. It is because of this unique past time that she gets involved with the victims of Jack the Ripper, and therefore decides that she wants to find him. Only, doing so will test her heart in ways she may never have imagined…

My Review:

  The cover of this book is gorgeous (Doesn’t it just call out for those who pass by it to pick it up?). I myself have seen this book, but ignored it for some time despite the lovely cover. Then I listened to a sample of the audio book version, and, my interest piqued even more, I decided to give the full thing a listen.

The story is dark. There are a lot of sad happenstances, and gory details add to the grayish mood. Nonetheless, it was fascinating. It is one of the few stories I have recently read where I really was not sure what was going to happen. When I thought the story was having a lagging moment, something would happen to keep my interest. I love it when a story can keep me guessing for fair amounts of time. Otherwise, I can grow a little bored.

Another thing I like is that the author really painted her story world well without overwhelming me with too long descriptions. It’s almost as if I truly visited White Chapel, The Wadsworths’ Residence, laboratories, and even a mental asylum. 😛

As for characters, I liked the heroine, and found  some of her sense of humor entertaining. Some of the other characters were interesting, like Thomas and Audrey’s uncle. I liked her relationship with her brother, and I found the fact that her father was an extreme germ-a-phobe amusing (Probably should not have…). As for Jack the Ripper— well, I won’t tell you who he was in the story, but…just, why? WHY?

Since I listened to this book instead of reading it, I thought I would mention that I found the narrator’s voice to be perfectly chilly. She does a pleasant job of bringing the characters to life, and her tone really sets a mysterious atmosphere.

Negatives…. Hm, there were some curse words, and there were some negative references to God that I found off-putting.

Except for the negative stuff, I did really like this book, and am looking forward to its sequel’s release. I give “Stalking Jack The Ripper” by Kerri Maniscalco a rating of four.

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish.

 

 

“Immortal Fire” by Annette Marie— Book Review

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About:

Emi and the gang are on the final parts of their journey to save the world from the earth Kami. Time is running out, and for them to succeed, a too-soon-death is a possibility for one of them.

This is the third and final book in Annette Marie’s Japanese Urban Fantasy, “The Red Winter Trilogy.”

My Review:

I loved the first two books in this series. They were different than my usual reads, and I appreciated the unique quality they had for me. The characters were also awesome, and the endings each contained a cliff-hanger (*sings* Hanging from a cliff…. and that’s while he’s called CLIFF HANGERRR! *stops singing* *hopes someone understands this* ).

How did book number three compare? Well, there is not a whole lot I can say without spoiling the book/series, so I will simply say that…

A lot of it was still pretty. darn. cool. Just about all of the things that happened were a perfect blend for a series’ finale. All the questions I wanted answered were answered. There was action, sweet romantic moments, heart tearing tragedy… (What? I like a bit of drama, all right? All right.) Oh, and unexpectedness. When I read a book and things happen that I do not see coming, it always makes the book a hundred times better. (Yes, sometimes even if it is sad.)

Yet there was a big downer in this book for me. *sniffles*

I won’t  go into vivid detail, but there was a long, intimate romantic scene between two characters. I liked that the previous two books were cleaner in the romance department, yet this book crossed my border of comfort-ability with the scene. So yeah, I did a bit of skim reading and skipping over this part. 😛

Aside from that one scene though, I really did enjoy reading this final book in the series, and am a touch sad that it is over. It was a lovely time, and I terribly wish there would be future books with these characters in the works for the future. Alas, I know of no such thing.

I give “Immortal Fire” by Annette Marie a rating of four. If you plan to read this book, I recommend you read the previous two because you would seriously be missing a lot of important stuff.

 

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish.

 

*Thanks to Xpresso Blog Tours for a free e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

“The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet” by Stephanie Morrill— Book Review

Fun fact that I have not discussed much on this blog: I’m a writer, and today I have a review for a book that I think other writers might enjoy (or even non-writer bookworms that like contemporary set books). It kind of reminded me of that old Disney Channel movie, “Read it and Weep,” yet was still its own story.

 

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About (From Publisher’s Website):

“When ousted by her lifelong friends, teen writer Ellie Sweet takes to story writing as self-therapy. She casts herself as Lady Gabrielle, a favorite in the medieval Italian court, her ex-friends as her catty rivals, and makes a pesky rake of the boy who thinks he’s too good for her in real life. But when Ellie achieves the impossible and her “coping mechanism” becomes a published novel, she faces the consequences of using her pen as her sword.”


My Review:

I like how this book shows the ordinary aspects of a writer’s life. We writers can make some interesting worlds, but I can guess that most of our lives contain the ordinary circumstances of normal, everyday living. I’ve not read many books where the heroine is a writer, and with the first-person point of view giving me an in-depth look into her thoughts and feelings, I couldn’t help but end up liking her story. Though Ellie’s life does have some aspects that do seem less likely to often happen in the real world (sixteen year old gets published = wow), it was still realistic enough where it could have happened. Add in that Ellie has hard things to deal with in her life that remind me of circumstances I’ve been through, and she became someone easy for me to cheer on.

I also like the diverse characterization in the supporting characters. When I read a story that has characters that are so different than the usual, it makes a good impression on me. From the boy on the other side of the tracks, to the grandmother who isn’t exactly the “cookie-baking, hugging” type, I commend the author for giving an interesting cast to be a part of Ellie’s tale.

Now, though I over all liked this book, I do have a few negative thoughts. For one, I would have liked it if I could have gotten more glimpses into Ellie’s story world (just something I was curious about). And even though Ellie is someone I can relate to and whose wit and sass I found amusing, I probably would have liked her story a lot more if I had read it when I was younger. Don’t get me wrong— I still like the book— but I found that Ellie’s immature decisions in her teenage drama, especially when it came to romance, were somewhat more irritating for me than they may have once been. (That’s probably part of me getting older…)

But to summarize, I think that this is a fun, thought-provoking story. Entertaining, but certainly containing some depth, “The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet” is a winner in the contemporary YA. For sure, Ellie Sweet is one of the few contemporary fiction heroines who I’ve been able to relate to more than just a little.
I give “The Revised Life of Ellie Sweet” by Stephanie Morrill a rating of four.

 

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish.

Drama Wednesday (10)— Korean…Books

I love books. I love Korean things. (Dramas. Music. ETC.) No big shock that I get rather excited when I find them combined. It’s like when you mix all of your favorite ice creams together and come up with a wondrous creation that exceeds the individual flavors. (Okay, so this is a rare thing, but imagine if it did work out?)

Today I thought I would share some  books that are either K-Drama/K-Pop themed, or  have Korean elements, that I hope to read soon. These books are ones I have found while wasting time browsing the internet. (No, I’ve not read/finished reading any of them, so I cannot recommend them. They just look like stuff I’d read and like.):

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“K-Love” by Devon Atwood and Alice Cornwall— K-Love is one of my favorite radio stations, but this book is a YA about love that starts with a mother’s love of Korean Dramas. How? The mother sets her daughter up on a blind date with a Korean guy all because of her love for Korean dramas. *plans to buy soon*

 

“Kidnapped Idol,” “Undercover Fan,” and “Snowflake Kisses” by Jennie Bennet— This series of novellas looks so cute. They follow K-Pop stars, and I need them on my shelf right now.

 

“Eun and the Phantom,” “Foxtails,” and “Evangeline” by Erica Laurie— “Eun and the Phantom” is about a woodcutter’s daughter who falls in love with a man cursed to be a phantom. “Foxtails” takes place in regency England, but has Gumihos, which are Korean mythical creatures also known as nine-tailed-foxes. “Evangeline” is about a modern day American girl who is transported to a fantasy world that resembles a historical Korea.

 

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“Hello, I Love You” by Katie M. Stout—Another K-Pop book, this is about a girl who falls in love with a K-Pop star. I’m sure there’s more to it, but that’s all I feel like sharing.

 

“To All The Boys I Loved Before,” “P.S. I Still Love You,” and “Always and Forever, Lara Jean” by Jenny Han— This series just looks like a fun contemporary. It’s about a half-Korean girl who writes letters to boys she has crushes on. These letters are not meant to be seen by the crushes, but someone sends them out. Not. good.

 

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“Lady of Dreams” by W.R. Gingell— This book is another that takes place in a fantasy land that resembles Korea. The heroine is “Half Korean” and can spy on people through dreaming.

 

Do you have any suggestions for books that include Korean elements? Please share. 😀

“Illusionary” by Desiree Williams— Blog Tour Book Review

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Today I’m joining in the blog tour for Desiree Williams’ newest book, “Illusionary,” a story that is just as impressive as its perfectly pink and purple cover. 😀

About Illusionary:

Illusionary

Dorothy got sucked into a tornado.

Alice fell down a hole.

Wendy flew to Neverland.

Kamryn? She tripped down the stairs.

  Now, Kamryn Kensington finds herself in a strange new world. Within minutes of her arrival, she dodges an archer’s arrow and avoids getting sliced up by a cosplay reject holding a dagger to her throat. And that’s before the storyteller’s breath brings stories to life.

Home is the mission—to return to her family and pursue her life’s dream of art and travel. Yet the longer she’s in the Land of Ur, the harder it is not to feel for the people she meets. Even her artistic side can’t help but breathe in the beautiful wonder and magic of this new world. So when the Oracle hands her a different quest, she takes it on the condition he sends her home afterward.  

  No one thought to warn her of a jealous queen and her dragon minions. Or that, by helping her, the cute storyteller would go crazy. Or that her heart would rip in two when she left. Those would’ve been great facts to know ahead of time.

Considering that nothing in Ur is what it seems, the mission proves to be more than she ever imagined. But more than her own future will be in jeopardy if Kamryn doesn’t succeed.

My Review:

  This book surprised me. It was not really what I was expecting it to be— but I mean this is the most positive of ways. Like, wow. It is awwwesome.

So the story starts like  other our world/other-world mixed books, with a heroine from our world finding herself in another world, then soon realizing she needs to do some rescuing. As cliche as this may sound, this book is quite unique, and had at number of surprises. Honestly, the ending was nowhere close to how I originally thought it would be.

As for the characters, I’ll first speak about the heroine, Kam. She was so stinking relate-able to me. She suffers from struggling to grow up, but not in a Peter Pan “I Never Want To Grow Up” way. It’s more like she wants to grow up, yet she does not want to relinquish the simple joys of youth. This is SO ME. I’ve never seen a character with this sort of struggle before, so I just loved this aspect of Kam, and how she came to terms with how to proceed with her future despite wanting to grip the daylights out of hold on to her past. She also has a funny sense of sarcasm, and how I do love sarcasm (Probably not a good thing, but I like it. #ialsoalmostuseitdaily).

Reese, Torin, The Duchess, and the boys (a.k.a. the treasures) were also fun, and were great additions to further the feel of the story. I have to say I had some pretty sad feels, though, when I found out who the treasures  really were. Like… 😥

The world of Ur is also an interesting place. I especially liked the descriptions of the Duchess’s palace.

*thinks of more to write*

It is actually hard to review this book without spoiling too much, so I’m just going to wrap it up with a few last words:

This story is totally worth a read, especially for those who like a Christian YA that has a great underlining message that does not feel preachy, but instead crushes your heart with emotions. It is a fantasy, yes, but there absolutely is stuff that contemporary, 21st century people can relate to. I loved how the story blended together, and am pleased with myself for deciding to give it a try. *pats self on shoulder* I do plan to read more from this author, and totally recommend that you pick this one up. I give it a rating of four and a half.

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish.

Purchase Links:

About the Author:

Desiree

Desiree Williams is a dreamer by day and chocoholic by night. She lives in the beautiful state of Kentucky with her husband and daughter, where she juggles life as a wannabe supermom. Desiree is a lover of food and avoider of dirty dishes. She delights in making people laugh and strives to bring hope and love with her wherever she goes.

You can find out more about Desiree and her books at www.desireewilliamsbooks.com

Social Media Links:

Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads / Newsletter

Giveaway!:

Desiree has graciously offered to give away the following prizes: a “Make everyday an adventure” pillow, “Don’t Grow Up! It’s a Trap!” metal sign, book cozy, signed paperback of Illusionary, notebook with pens, sketch book with colored pencils, and a “Eat Cake for Breakfast” travel cup.

The winner of the grand prize giveaway will be selected on Monday, Jun 12th at approx. 9 AM (EST). The winner will be announced on my Facebook and Twitter pages.

Illusionary Blog Tour Giveaway

Giveaway Link:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Schedule

June 5th Launch Day – HOPE through the Pages

            Spotlight – Rachel Lopez

            Book Review – Jebraun Clifford – Dream. Write. Repeat.

            Interview – Jilligan’s Island

June 6th Book Review – Indie Book Reviews

            Spotlight – Christian Book News

            Interview – Bookworm Mama

June 7th Book Review – Zernia Blossom’s Books

            Book Review – Prismatic Prospects

            Interview – Dolphin18cb

June 8th Book Review – Lands Uncharted

            Book Review – Seasons of Humility

            Interview – Liv K. Fisher

June 9th Book Review – She Hearts Fiction

            Book Review – Chrissi Reads

            Spotlight – Dreams of Faerytales

            Guest Post – Jannette Fuller

June 10th Wrap-Up Post – HOPE through the Pages

“Waking Beauty” by Sarah E. Morin- Book Review

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About The Book (From Publisher’s Website):

The rescue wasn’t going at all how he planned. Prince Arpien intends to gain a throne and the sleeping beauty’s heart with a single kiss that wakes her from the evil fairy’s curse. But kissing the princess is only the beginning of a series of unforeseen obstacles: man–eating bugs, deadly spindles, talking lapdogs, and fiery pickles.”

My Review:

This is an awesome “Sleeping Beauty” retelling! Allow me to share the first line from it:

  “His princess was dusty.”

I seriously loved that line from the moment I read it, and it was just the first to amuse me. This book looks like a daunting read— it’s big, probably the largest retelling of this story I’ve ever read— but ALL 400+ pages were well-worth the story inside. It’s a funny tale in places, yes, so it gets big points from me for that. But it also has a good allegorical parts as well. This was such a beautiful part of the story, and one I think others who like this in their books will also appreciate.

I also really liked (most of) the characters, and was pleased that not only does this book have the point of views of the prince and sleeping beauty, but a new character who gives this story an edge of uniqueness. To be honest, she’s probably my favorite of the three, likely because she’s the most relate-able due to her familiarity with being practically invisible to others, and, of course, her love of fairy tales. Brierly (Sleeping Beauty), and Arpien (The prince) were also good, fairly well-developed characters. I liked how this story delved into the “other” gifts  from the fairies that were bestowed on Brierly other than just her beauty. They made her quite the interesting princess. And Arpien… Such a charming prince, and one whose past makes feel sorry for. Neither of them were perfect, but overall they were pretty cool characters to spend time with, and whose interactions with each other were sometimes quite delightful. This helped make them a memorable couple that are superior to the original Disney film that was once my only view into this fairy tale.

I know I’ve mentioned this book is funny, but I’m going to praise the amusing-ness of this tale a bit more. While this tale is by far not exactly what I would call a comedy, it had just the right amount of humor to make it not too droll, and absolutely lovable.

As for any problems with the book, I think the one major issue I had was how Brierly was so insistent that she was not awake. I just did not understand her. Of course, I don’t think some of the other characters did either… This wasn’t a huge problem for me, though, so I’m not going to go on and on about it.

In the end, I have decided to give “Waking Beauty” a rating of five, because when I was done and my thoughts on it were put all together, I found it a pretty great read. What makes me sad is that I don’t seem to seem to see many others going for this book,  and I wish they— and you— would try it because it really is a wonderful fairy tale retelling. “Sleeping Beauty” has never really been one of my favorite fairy tales, but this story gave it a whole new outlook for me and made me like the story even more. So go and get yourself a copy of this book and read it now. Right now. Now…

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish.

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Fantasy/Sci-Fi Additions

The TBR pile. It is an exciting, yet daunting thing. Exciting because ALL THE BOOKS *happy dance while hugging all the books*. Daunting because I will probably never get to all of them, even if I joined the Dauntless faction and did some serious training in the art of reading.

However, the exciting part wins over the daunting part, because to this day I still add books to the stack(s).

Today for Top Ten Tuesday, we’re to post the Top Ten Books we’ve recently added in (X) genre to our To Be Read pile. I have chosen Fantasy/Sci-Fi:

t1

“Quests for Glory” by Soman Chainani— While I had some issues with the original trilogy, it still stole my heart enough that I would not have mind there being more to this series. Imagine my surprise when I found there is a new book releasing this fall! *wishes it were already out* #teamhortandsophie

t2

“Lady of Dreams” by W.R. Gingell— Sounds kind of like a Korean Drama, and I may or may not be planning to buy this. Released today, by the way.

t3

“Evageline” by Erica Laurie— Another one that looks like a K-Drama (Yes, I love books that are like Korean Dramas, Mention Korean Dramas, etc.). It has such a cute cover. 😀

t4

“The Star-Touched Queen” by Roshani Chokshi— I bought this at Barnes and Noble because 1. Pretty Cover. 2. The writing. What little I read was BEAUTIFUL.

t5

“Because You Love To Hate Me” by Various Authors— Why this? Because I Love  the Writings of Two of the Authors. *cough* Marissa Meyer and Soman Chainani *cough*

t7

“Defy The Stars” by Claudia Gray— While part of me is a little wibbly wobbly on reading this book, there is a part of me that want to give it a try because that cover.

t8

“The Crown’s Game” by Evelyn Skye— Just sounds like an interesting book. (<—Such an original reason to read. #not)

t6

“The Jane Austen Project” by Kathleen A. Flynn— This is a time-travel book where the characters try to save Jane Austen’s life. If only this could really happen.

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“Forest of a Thousand Lanterns” by Julie C. Dao— Yes, this was on my last TTT list, but *Gollum Voice* I REALLY WANTS TO READS ITS.

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“Diving Under” by Ginna Moran— A romance with mermaids? Yes, please. #pleasehurryandrelease

 

Have any opinions on the above books? What are some books you have recently added to your TBR? (Unless you are a strange creature who has not done that in awhile.)