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:


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


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


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.


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: 2/17/18

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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Review Rendezvous: 2/10/18

Starswept by Mary Fan
Book stats:
Genre(s): Science fiction, romance, young adult
Medium: eBook
Number of pages: 432
Publish date: August 29th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon

SIn 2157, the Adryil—an advanced race of telepathic humanoids—contacted Earth. A century later, 15-year-old violist Iris Lei considers herself lucky to attend Papilio, a prestigious performing arts school powered by their technology. Born penniless, Iris’s one shot at a better life is to attract an Adryil patron. But only the best get hired, and competition is fierce.

A sudden encounter with an Adryil boy upends her world. Iris longs to learn about him and his faraway realm, but after the authorities arrest him for trespassing, the only evidence she has of his existence is the mysterious alien device he slipped to her.

When she starts hearing his voice in her head, she wonders if her world of backstabbing artists and pressure for perfection is driving her insane. Then, she discovers that her visions of him are real—by way of telepathy—and soon finds herself lost in the kind of impossible love she depicts in her music.

But even as their bond deepens, Iris realizes that he’s hiding something from her—and it’s dangerous. Her quest for answers leads her past her sheltered world to a strange planet lightyears away, where she uncovers secrets about Earth’s alien allies that shatter everything she knows.

This book was so lovely! I’m big on sci-fi stories that include a romance plot line, but you really have to be good at world-building to do this genre justice. Mary Fan has no problems in creating her world, and with such an interesting concept, it was hard to pass this one up!

This one has a very Cinderella-esque feel – what with the penniless beginning and the boy swooping in to save the day. But there is more to it than that, which I’m glad for. The music and art depicted here are so enthralling, I simply couldn’t get enough. And then don’t get me started on the love story.

The combination of Iris and Dámiul paints such a beautiful picture, I couldn’t put this book down for a second! I feel like the sweet, romantic moments really helped to flesh out the world and to keep everything from getting too scientific and sterile-feeling like some sci fi can be. Then of course there’s the issue with Iris being and earthling and Dámiul an Adryil, which can only cause problems.

Overall, I 100% enjoyed this book! Very grateful to have the chance to read it, and should there be more from Mary Fan in the future, I’d be excited to read it!

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


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Review Rendezvous: 2/3/18

The Oathing Stone by J.Z.N. McCauley
Book stats:
Genre(s): Fantasy, romance, young adult
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 184
Publish date: March 13th, 2018
Purchase: AmazonBook DepositoryBarnes & Noble


After a year blissfully hidden together in a small village on Ireland’s lush green, Catherine and Bowen are ready to tie the knot. The joining of an ancient druid doctor and a woman blessed with druid magic from the sacred oak tree calls for nothing less than a traditional Celtic ceremony. For this, to connect them to their ancestors and the sacred place where they marry, a key item must be chosen for the ritual, the oathing stone.

Their need for discretion allows for only a gathering of Catherine’s closest friends and family. But after the couple’s first night together, strange and sudden events unfold. Blood mingles with fire, and Catherine’s magic becomes unstable.

Meanwhile, the mysterious Faerie Kings send a Fae spy to witness Catherine’s magic which disrupts not only her life but her best friend Bella’s when she becomes his sudden obsession. Just after Bella goes missing, it is up to Catherine to get her back, but it is only the beginning of their problems as she finds they’re embroiled in the middle of a Faerie civil war.

Before I begin, this review has the need for a spoiler warning as I am about to review the second book in this series! If you haven’t read the first book, Oak and Mistletoe, go read that and then come back here! See ya later!

Now that I’ve successfully warned about potential spoilers, let’s get on with the review!

My first impression about this book is that it was amazing, simply because of the setting. I honestly can’t recall a book that actually had a setting in Ireland, and I adore the country so I was stoked to read a book set there!

There is so much going on here – Catherine and Bowen’s wedding, her magic, Bella’s abduction! I could not put the book down for a second because I needed to know what happened. Plus, the drama with the fae made it even more intriguing. I’m all for fun, cutesy little fairies, but it’s also perfect when author’s depict them as the mischievous and untrustworthy sort that they actually are in myth.

Catherine has so much on her plate to handle in this novel, I couldn’t even imagine doing it myself. She might potentially lose her love and her best friend, and the only way to help them is to deal with the fair folk who really don’t want to deal with humans at all.

Then there is the ending. I feel like it’s just cruel, leaving us to wait to more like that! I seriously cannot even handle the time between now and the next release date!

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.


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