Review Rendezvous: 3/17/18


Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo
Book stats:
Genre(s): Historical, young adult, mystery, horror
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 326
Publish date: September 20th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

StalkingSeventeen-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.

I’ve wanted to read this book for quite some time. I don’t remember how I came across it, but I know Sasha from Abookutopia on Youtube recommended it as her book of the year 2016, so I was more than excited to check it out. It’s always been interesting, the mystery of Jack the Ripper, so I was excited to see another take on the famed legend.

First impression when I opened the book though? I didn’t know if I could handle the forensic terminology. Ironic, considering some of my TV shows of choice are Law & Order: SVU, Bones, and other procedurals. But, for some reason it’s different reading the description of an autopsy on paper with my horrid imagination set to work. But, luckily the descriptions aren’t quite as vivid for the rest of the book. Just don’t be shocked going into it.

Honestly, I am all for heroines who challenge the social norm, especially back in historical times when they were basically there to sit and look pretty. Audrey is a “never take no for an answer” type of person, and she is unafraid to practice forensic science in a time when it was looked down on for men to engage in, let alone women.

I also did like the inclusion of a romance subplot. Most would be annoyed at the distraction from the main storyline, but in this instance I believe Maniscalo wove the threads of the plot in very well with the mystery that everyone is trying to solve. Then there’s the fact that her love interest, Thomas, is basically Sherlock. So many deductions, so little time!

The ending also has a lovely twist. There is so much suspicion surrounding the identity of the killer. Is it her father? Uncle? Thomas? The inspector? Someone entirely unrelated to the case at all? You’ll have to read to find out. But, the ending was quite satisfying and I can’t wait to read the next in the series, Hunting Prince Dracula.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


If you liked this book, check these ones out:

Glittering

A slight fantasy twist on a historical tale featuring a runaway countess

Spymistress

A rebellious southern woman covertly assists the north during the Civil War

Velvet

A young woman is drawn into the world of spies during the First World War

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Review Rendezvous: 3/3/18


The Yearbook by Carol Masciola
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, historical, time travel
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 224
Publish date: October 2nd, 2015
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

YearbookMisfit teen Lola Lundy has every right to her anger and her misery. She’s failing in school, living in a group home, and social workers keep watching her like hawks, waiting for her to show signs of the horrible mental illness that cost Lola’s mother her life. Then, one night, she falls asleep in a storage room in her high school library, where she’s seen an old yearbook—from the days when the place was an upscale academy for young scholars instead of a dump. When Lola wakes, it’s to a scene that is nothing short of impossible.

Lola quickly determines that she’s gone back to the past—eighty years in the past, to be exact. The Fall Frolic dance is going full blast in the gym, and there she makes an instant connection with the brainy and provocative Peter Hemmings, class of ’24. His face is familiar, because she’s seen his senior portrait in the yearbook. By night’s end, Lola thinks she sees hope for her disastrous present: She’ll make a new future for herself in the past. But is it real? Or has the major mental illness in Lola’s family background finally claimed her? Has she slipped through a crack in time, or into a romantic hallucination she created in her own mind, wishing on the ragged pages of a yearbook from a more graceful time long ago?

There is so much going on in this one, but I ended up loving it the second I got started in on it. Our narrator, Lola, at first seems like she’s just a bit of an outcast student. But, there’s something big that haunts her past: her mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and her social workers are always wondering if it’ll be passed down to her.

Besides the standard teenage delinquency, Lola seems fairly normal. That is, until she’s tasked with cleaning an old, burned out room in the school library. It’s there that she travels back to 1923, meets a handsome young man at a school dance, and determines that she was actually meant to live in the 20th century. That, or the schizophrenia has finally taken over and she’s gone crazy. You really can’t tell, and that’s the fun part of having an unreliable narrator.

Honestly, this had me completely hooked in and believing that everything Lola was seeing was the real deal, all the way until the adults around her begin questioning her and poking holes in her story. Even Lola can’t decide what’s real and what’s not at one point. Either way, Masciola manages to capture the longing for a place that every outsider feels, alongside the complications of a mental illness that has everyone questioning your motives. Lola’s story in 1923 is also very sweet, although the only thing that I did find somewhat unbelievable was that fact that people accepted her immediately. You’re from New York and bought your shoes in Paris? Great! You grew up at a mining camp in Colorado! Perfect, makes total sense. I mean, maybe (probably) people were quicker to trust back in those days, so it could be chalked up to a shift in culture.

Definite read-again. I was kindly provided this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


If you liked this book, check this one out:

Time

This follows a time traveller that falls in love with a woman who lives 10 years earlier


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Blog Tour: The Midnight Dance


Today I’m taking a bit of a detour from my usual every-Saturday book review to bring you a review on this lovely piece of literature! It just dropped yesterday, so pop on over to one of the retailers listed below and snap it up! You can also enter a giveaway for a free print copy of the book here!

The Midnight Dance by Nikki Katz
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult
Medium: Kindle
Number of pages: 320
Publish date: October 17th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Book Depository – Barnes & NobleiBooksKobo

Midnight DanceSeventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.

But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late.

Dancing, private schools, unreliable narrators, I love it all! Plus that cover is gor-ge-ous! We open on the normal school day for Penny, but then a sense of unease and discomfort slowly sets it. In all honesty, I did get sidetracked from the book because my life experience a crazy two weeks, but if I had hunkered down I would’ve read this cover-to-cover in about 2.5 seconds. As it were I was almost late to work because I needed to finish it ;).

There’s something not quite right about this school, and I loved how the piece slowly unraveled rather than all at once. And Penny grows from a submissive schoolgirl into someone with her own thoughts and voice, which is a very important step for her. We also get flashbacks that set up how the school came to be and give us information on the mysterious “Master”.

I highly enjoyed this one, and would certainly recommend that you read it. There’s a ton going on in the book but it never gets too bad or overwhelming. It’s also interesting because there’s the juxtaposition of a historical setting and newer technology and science. Although to be honest, you don’t get too much historical detail, and the only reason that I really noticed it as past was the constant reminder of what year it was at the beginning of the chapters. Of course, this was to denote flashback and current day, so it’s not all that bad.

I was provided this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


If you liked this book, check these ones out:

Vicarious

When her sister is found murdered, Rose must uncover the truth of that night, even if the truth is not exactly what it seems

VA

Private school + supernatural = lots of crazy stunts, death threats, and maybe even some romance

Six Months Later

One day she’s an average high schooler. The next she’s on track to be valedictorian. But something is missing…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I am a Book Depository affiliate, click here to purchase books through my link.

Skillshare is an online community full of amazing classes and brilliant teachers. Try out two free months with my code here!