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.


If you liked this book, check these ones out:


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Review Rendezvous: 3/10/18

Fallen by Lauren Kate
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young Adult, paranormal, fantasy, romance
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 452
Publish date: December 8th, 2009
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

FallenWhat if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours?

17-year-old Lucinda falls in love with a gorgeous, intelligent boy, Daniel, at her new school, the grim, foreboding Sword & Cross . . . only to find out that Daniel is a fallen angel, and that they have spent lifetimes finding and losing one another as good & evil forces plot to keep them apart. 

Get ready to fall . . .

So I’m about to admit to the biggest sin in book-kind: I watched the movie for this book before I actually read it. I mean, according to Goodreads I read this back in 2014, but it’s only after I just saw the movie that I really re-read it and got interested. So it’s basically the first time I cared for the story.

But I must say, I did enjoy the book much more than the first time I read it. The take on angels is quite intriguing, and I need to know more about how Daniel and Luce ended up back together, because that has to happen in the end. It’s basically required.

Anywho, quick spoiler-free summary before I continue. Luce has been called psychotic her whole life (at least, until she pretends that she can’t see the shadows that plague her), but it came to a head when a cabin spontaneously combusted and killed the boy she was with. That got her sent to reform school, because no one believes Luce is entirely innocent. Even her parents are on edge, but they still love her, which is refreshing to have for once instead of the entirely absentee parents seen so often in YA.

It is at Sword & Cross, the reform school she’s sentenced to, that Luce meets Daniel. She can’t get over the fact that she’s known him somewhere before, and also can’t fight her need to stay away. She’s shocked when he realizes what he’s been keeping from her, and thus the problems begin.

I will admit, there was a bit of the classic love triangle that I am not entirely a fan of. It’s bad fallen angel vs. good fallen angel. We’ll see if it stretches out over more books, because then I really might have more problems with it. But, I digress. There is also some of that insta-love going on with Luce, which is why I ended up docking two hearts even though I did enjoy the book. Those two literary sins are just two of my least favorite things as they’re quite unrealistic. But then again, so is the concept of fallen angels and soulmates being reincarnated for each other. Either way, I’m still reading the rest, so that tells you it’s good enough to pick up anyways.



Follow a dhampir vampire as she protects her royal best friend from danger

Dead Beautiful

An interesting take on supernatural beings and soulmates


A girl discovers she’s a witch and is sent to a school for all types of magical creatures










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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.


If you liked this book, check this one out:


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

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Review Rendezvous: 2/24/18

Vicarious by Paula Stokes
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, science fiction, mystery
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 336
Publish date: August 16th, 2016
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

VicariousWinter Kim and her sister, Rose, work as high-tech stunt girls for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it’s bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities at the city’s hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you—for a price.

When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter is devastated. She won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the digital recordings her sister made, Winter isn’t sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she’ll have to untangle what’s real from what only seems real, risking her life in the process.

This one is another book that I was interested in at first but lost traction in the middle of the book. The idea of having virtual reality experiences seemed creative and intriguing, so I went for it. But somewhere after Winter discovers that her sister is dead, I lost touch. Maybe it was because she has a blatant disregard for her own safety and the protection that her brother-figure provides?

Either way, I put it down for a few days and then want to see how it ended, so I flipped farther towards the back. I was then met with quite a shock as I had read just past a huge plot twist in the book, So I went back a few chapters to see how things had developed. While it did not drag me back into the world, I will give Stokes credit for the move. I certainly did not see that coming at all, and it provided and interesting take on the unreliable narrator character.

I can’t give out the spoiler moment, but I will say that at least Winter does experience a fair amount of character growth by the end. The plot is a bit convoluted and crazy, which maybe be part of why I wasn’t keyed in, but it was good all the same. Maybe not re-read material, but interesting the first time around.


If you liked this book, check this one out:

Dear Amy

A newspaper columnist receives a letter from a girl who was kidnapped many years ago.

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Review Rendezvous: 2/17/18

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Book stats:
Genre(s): Dystopian, classic, feminist
Medium: Kindle
Number of pages: 324
Publish date: February 17, 1986
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository Barnes and Noble

HandmaidThe Handmaid’s Tale is not only a radical and brilliant departure for Margaret Atwood, it is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men of its population.

The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid’s Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.

This book has been on my to-read list for quite a long time. Like, four years long. Not going to lie, I forced myself to finally pick it up because the TV show was coming out in May of this year, so I had to read it before I saw the series. Holy cow, there is so much going on here! It’s also kinda frightening because though it is pretty far off from our current society, it really would not take too many steps with the wrong people in power to get there. But, no more of my political views, this is a book blog after all.

The narrator, Offred, used to be a normal U.S. woman, but that all changed when the Republic of Gilead took over. She is no longer allowed to read, speak her mind, and must hope that somehow she becomes pregnant. She, at first, is just trying to survive with her new way of life, keeping her head down and staying away from anything that causes trouble. Slowly but surely, she begins to break away from the status quo. Nothing too overt at first, but then she is off doing highly illegal things that would get her hung should anyone find out.

Honestly, the only thing I could think while I was reading this is how terrified I would be. There’s no possible way that it was easy for Offred to stand up like that, but when you get to the point where risking your life is better than living with your head down, you know something is wrong. I applaud the way Atwood was able to portray a strong woman in such a society. The theocracy taken to the extreme is very disturbing, and Atwood was still able to create a character that so many people identify with. The handmaid costume has also become very symbolic, and I have to say the book is considered a classic for a reason.


If you like this book, check this one out:

The Jewel

Violet is about to be stripped of her name and identity, her only purpose to produce an heir for the elite.


Every girl gets at tattoo at sixteen, showing she’s ready for sex, but there’s a dark side to this world touting pleasure and excitement…













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