Friday, June 30, 2017

ARC Review: Hunting Prince Dracula By Kerri Maniscalco

Title: Hunting Prince Dracula 
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: Fantasy/ YA Thriller
Publisher: Little, Brown / Jimmy Paterson Books
Rating: 5 Stars
Publication Date: September 19, 2017

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

First, she stalked Jack the Ripper. 

This time, things are about to get even bloodier.

In this hotly anticipated sequel to the haunting #1 bestseller Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer...or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper's true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe's best schools of forensic medicine...and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life's dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school's forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

My Thoughts... (ARC Review)

Let me just start off by saying that this book was mind-blowing and utterly profound. I haven't read anything this sinister since 1st to Die, Girl on the Train, or The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Maniscalco has done it yet again, she's created a masterpiece that thriller readers will be coming back too for years to come. Just when I thought she couldn't add anymore it this incredible story, Maniscalco has swept me off my feet. Somehow Maniscalco was able to cram more suspense, mystery, and oh yes; blood, into this one. I still can't wrap my head around how she did it, but she did. It's amazing! Maniscalco also has an impeccable and unique writing style that is truly her own. Same with her characters. They are so fun, creative and are very easy to love. Aubrey and Thomas are so different from one another, but when they come together fireworks happen, oh and death, can't forget that. They go so perfectly together and evolve so much in this one; they are two characters you're not going to want to miss. Same with Maniscalco's plot. Just when I thought I knew where this was going, she turned everything completely on its head. Truly remarkable and unforgettable! With this one, Manicalco will captivate readers; have them on the edge of their seats, and leave them with a craving for more. Hunting Prince Dracula is one book I won't be forgetting anytime soon, and I will be waiting with anticipation to see what Maniscalco is going to do next.

Full review to come in September!

My posts about Hunting Prince Dracula... 

Monday, June 26, 2017

Revisited Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: Fantasy/ YA Thriller
Publisher: Little, Brown / Jimmy Paterson Books
Rating: 5 Stars
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
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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.

My Thoughts

This. Book. Was. So. Good! I loved reading this book again so much, this is my favorite YA thriller I have read to date! Maniscalco has proved herself, and I've never read something so suspenseful and fun before. She creatively sculpted a fast paced read that will leave ever reader nail-biting over bone-chilling plot twists. I love Maniscalco's writing style and creative word choice, her fun and quirky characters, and setting and time period. All these together creative a thriller reads will keep coming back to for years to come. 

Maniscalco's writing style and creative word choice, is unlike any I've seen before, and it was so refreshing and enlightening to see. I loved her word choice. I think it was perfect with the subject matter at hand, and perfect for the time period. With this being her first novel, I feel we get a perfect look into her writing style, and get a chance to see where she can go from here. The sky is the limit for her, and I can't wait to see where she goes from here.

The characters made this book for me. Aubrey was a reliable and curious main character, I didn't find myself losing interest in her perceptive as the story went on. And I think most reader will agree with me when I say, Thomas was my favorite, I loved seeing what he brought the story, as well as the role he played in the plot. His charm and risky behavior for the time period makes you wonder, along with Aubrey, about him. I also really loved reading about Aubrey's uncle, father, and bother. They might have been minor characters, but thy added another layer to the plot that I couldn't resist not mentioning. 

Finally, the setting and the time period added another layer of uniqueness to this piece. I love 1880's England after reading this piece, and I can appreciate all the research that went into this one to make everything seem perfect for the era. And all the research into the Jack the Ripper cases, because they were very accurate to what was really found out, and the popular opinion on the cases during the time. I loved it.

Stalking Jack the Ripper is full of unique creativity and suspense that will keep readers coming back for more. I love Maniscalco's writing style and creative word choice, her fun and quirky characters, and setting and time period. All these together create a thriller that readers will keep coming back to for years to come. Maniscalco has proved herself with this masterful first novel, and I can't wait to see where she will take me in Hunting Prince Dracula

My posts about Stalking Jack the Ripper...

Friday, June 23, 2017

Book Review: A Court of Wings an Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Rating: 5 Stars

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
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A nightmare, I’d told Tamlin. I was the nightmare.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.


"The painting was a lie.
A bright, pretty lie, bursting with pale pink blooms and fat beams of sunshine.
I'd begun it yesterday, and idle study of the rose garden lurking beyond the open windows of the studio. Through the tangle of thorns and satiny leaves, the bright green of the hills rolled away into the distance.
Incessant, unrelenting spring.
If I'd painted this glimpse into the court the way my gut had urged me, it would have been flesh-shredding thrones, flowers that chocked off the sunlight for any plants smaller then them, and rolling hills stained red. 
But each brushstroke on the wide canvas was calculated; each dab and swirl of blending colors meant to portray not just idyllic spring, but a sunny disposition as well. Not too happy, but gladly, finally healing from horrors I carefully divulged.
I supposed that in the past weeks, I had crafted my demeanor as intricately as one of these paintings. I supposed that if I had also chosen to show myself as I truly wished, I would have been adorned with flesh-shredding talons, and hands the choked the life out of those now in my company. I would have left the gilded halls stained red.
But not yet. 

My Thoughts

Maas has done it yet again, and I have died and been revived by this read. With A Court of Wings and Ruin being this last installment in this trilogy, I am glad to say I'm content and satisfied with this one. To be honest though, not really, because there is so much more I want to know. But what bookworm wouldn't want their favorite series to end? None. There were three things that I absolutely loved about this one; Maas's incredible ability to shock readers with well-crafted plot twists, Maas's pacing, and finally her impeccable word choice. With all these combine, Maas has created an incredible ending fit for any High Lord.

Let's start off with the plot twists, because they left me speechless. But no more, they are really what made the read so fun. I love seeing Maas do what she does best, and that is the completely unexpected. I didn't see any of those twists and turns coming, and to be honest, most lead to me either cheering or crying. Especially toward that end, most where bone-chilling and hard to comprehend. But all in all, I loved it, and it made for one of the most intense and unique reads I've ever read. 

Along with the plot twists, another refreshing component Maas brought to the table was her pacing. I still can't believe that this one is only about seven-hundred pages, considering how much action and suspense she put in it. I don't think she crammed too much into one book, but there were some parts that I wish she did slow down and take her time with the plot. Although it may have seemed fasted, it was nice to see the story unfold and get over with in certain parts of the plot, like ripping off a bandage, I was grateful and ungrateful to was over soon. Like most last installments, I didn't want it to end, but did. I'm sure you can relate. 

Finally, Maas's impeccable word choice was another element that made me love this one so much more. The way she crafts sentences and structures them, is unlike any other author's I have seen. She knows how to perfectly sculpted scenes and plot development before readers very eyes. And it was so beautiful to see this one unfold with such craftsmanship. I love reading her voice throughout her books, it is unlike any's I've heard before and it's quite refreshing. 

A Court of Wings and Ruin will have readers on the edge of their seats, and will be the book that will shock the YA community for years to come. Maas's incredible ability to shock readers with well-crafted plot twists, Maas's pacing, and finally her impeccable word choice; are what made me love this read so much. I'm sad to see Feyre's chapter coming to an end, but I'm so excited to see what Maas brings to the table in the spin-offs to come. Like many other readers, I can't wait to see what Maas has in-store for me next. 

My posts about A Court of Wings and Ruin...

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

It is my honor to do this featured post today! Tor Teen was so kind to send me the new paperback edition of The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons, and in celebration I want to share some more about this edition that goes on sale August 2! This book is a gripping and thought-provoking. Very different then Artical 5, Simmons proves her incredible world building abilities by creating fascinating and frightening vision of  a near-future. The Glass Arrow is a can't-miss read for dystopian fans, who will find plenty to enthrall you in this unique society Simmons has invented. But moreover, Aya's story is a poignant tale of courage that even the most reluctant reader will not be able to put down. 

The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons
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Females are scarce. Hunted. And Aya's luck is about to run out.

The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.

In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.

Q&A with Kristen Simmons 

Q: Please introduce us to Aya and share some general background on THE GLASS ARROW.

A: Aya has been one of my favorite characters to write. Born into a world where women are endangered, where girls are condemned as breeders and misogyny is the norm, she's learned to adapt and survive by flying under the radar. With her family - a small group of free women - she hides from those who would see her sold into domestic slavery. Aya is tough: she hunts, fishes, defends her family. When she's captured and brought into captivity at the Garden, a training facility for girls, her life is turned upside down. All she can think about is reconnecting to the people she loves, and reclaiming her freedom, but she has to be smart in order to escape, and that may involve trusting a very unlikely ally.

Q: What inspired you to write THE GLASS ARROW?

A: A few stories on the news, and some social issues that seem to continue rising, but mostly my own experience. The transition into high school was difficult for me, as it is for many people. Before that time, I remember feeling like I could do anything, be anyone. I was valued because I was creative, and interesting, and smart, but once I stepped foot into high school, things changed. It didn't matter what kind of person I was; all that was important was if I was wearing the right clothes, or had my hair done the right way. If I was pretty. Boys judged us based on a star system - "She's an eight," they'd say, or "Her face is a nine, but the rest of her is a four." And worse, girls began sharing that same judgment, trying to raise these numbers to be cool, and popular. They'd compare themselves against each other, make it a competition. This, as I quickly learned, was what it meant to be a young woman.

That experience transformed into Aya's existence - her journey from the freedom of the mountains, where she was important for so many reasons, to the Garden, where she is dressed up, and taught to be, above all things, attractive. Where she has to compete against other girls for votes come auction day. On that auction stage, Aya's given a star rating based on her looks, which is what her potential buyers will use to determine their bidding. It bears a direct correlation to my life as a teenager - to the lives of many teenagers.

When it all comes down to it, I wanted to write a story where worth is determined by so much more than the value other people place on your body. 

Q: A lot has happened in the "real world" since the novel first came out in 2015. Does it feel surreal looking back at the book now?

A: Ah, I wish it did! Unfortunately, I feel like a lot of these issues are still very, scarily relevant, not just for young women, but all people. It seems like every time I see the news there is another incident of someone being measured by their looks rather than their internal worth, of women being degraded and disrespected, and of advantage being taken of someone's body and mind. It frightens me that these issues persist, but I never claim that THE GLASS ARROW was a look into the future. To me, it was always a way of processing the present.

Q: Congratulations for the surge of attention the book is receiving, thanks to things like the Hulu adaptation of THE HANDMAID'S TALE. What do you want readers to take with them after reading THE GLASS ARROW?

A: Thank you very much! I am delighted by the mention, and honored to be included in the same thought as the great HANDMAID'S TALE. If people do find their way to my book as a response, I hope they take away that they are so much more important than the sometimes superficial and careless values other people assign to them. As Aya says in the book, I hope they know that there are not enough stars in the night sky to measure their worth.

Q: Besides other classics like Margaret Atwood's book, do you have any recommendations for readers wanting to explore more dystopian fiction and speculative fiction works?

A: How about METALTOWN by Kristen Simmons? That's a great dystopian! Or the ARTICLE 5 series, about a world where the Bill of Rights has been replaced by moral law... Ok, ok, I'm sorry. That was shameless. I always recommend LITTLE BROTHER by Cory Doctorow, THE PASSAGE by Justin Cronin, Marie Lu's Legend series, and of course, THE ROAD by Cormac McCarthy. Those are all thrilling, and excellent looks both at the present, and the future.

Q: What are you working on now, and when can readers expect to see your next book?

A: I have two books coming out in 2018, and can't wait to share both of them. PACIFICA will be released March 6, 2018, and is about a world after the polar ice caps have melted, and a pirate girl and the son of the president find themselves in the middle of a building civil war. It's a story largely informed my my great grandmother's internment in World War II. In the fall, I'll have a new series starting. THE PRICE OF ADMISSION, first in the Valhalla Academy books, is about a girl accepted into an elite boarding school for con artists. I hope readers love them both!

Q: Where can readers find you online?

A: I'm always available through social media - Twitter and Instagram at @kris10writes, and Facebook at Author.KristenSimmons. I'd love to hear from you!

About the Author

Kristen Simmons is the author of the ARTICLE 5 series (ARTICLE 5, BREAKING POINT, and THREE), THE GLASS ARROW, METALTOWN, PACIFICA (coming March 2018 from Tor Teen), and THE PRICE OF ADMISSION (coming Fall 2018 from Tor Teen). She has a master’s degree in social work and loves red velvet cupcakes. She lives with her family in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Her Links:

My Posts about The Glass Arrow

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

book review: whiskey words & a shovel by r.h. Sin

title: whiskey words & a shovel
author: r.h. Sin
genre: poetry
publisher: andrews mcmeel publishing
rating: 5 stars
publication date: december  25, 2015

whiskey words & a shovel by r.h. Sin
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"i'd like to think that our souls
might be familiar with each other the way this conversation is flowing

though not physically
i'm meeting you with every word"

Completely revised and expanded brand-new edition of Volume I, the first book in the Whiskey poetry trilogy!

Whiskey, Words, and a Shovel, Vol. 1, is about reclaiming your power on the path to a healthy relationship. It is a testament to choosing to love yourself, even if it means heartbreak.

Originally released in 2015, this re-rerelease packs the same punch as the first version, but makes an even greater connection with the soul of the reader. Each piece has been re-seen and revamped to reflect the author’s continuing journey with his partner, Samantha King, without whom this book would not exist. Samantha is the muse, the “she” the writer speaks of; she is every woman who has felt like she wasn’t good enough, and every woman who struggles to find love.  

My Thoughts

Yet another amazing read! I loved seeing Sin work his magic, and I now see why everyone really likes his work. His word choice, tone, and subject matter, are what made me love this one. So much so, that I'd say this one is my new favorite poetry read this year! I have never read something more real and bold. Sin gives readers amazing relationship advice and stories, and exposes the harsh havoc relationships can bring us. He also shows both sides of a relationship, sharing experiences that both men and women can relate too. 

Relationships are a real struggle for me, and I found it refreshing to see someone put words to both my thoughts and feeling. Sin doesn't hold anything back in this collection, and I loved seeing his revamped works. He is as real as ever, and will have readers coming back for more. The tone of this collection was perfect and right where it needed to be, especially with the vulnerable subject matter. 

Whiskey, Words, and a Shovel was the read I have been looking for. Full of love advice and passion, Sin has crafted a work that readers will be reading for years to come. By looking at his experiences, I feel less alone. He taught me how to recognize theose I should keep close, and what bridges I need to burn. Thank you Sin, for giving the world the book it needed. I can't wait to see where you'll take me next!

Thursday, June 1, 2017

book reveiw: the princess save herself in this one by amanda lovelace

title: the princess save herself in this one
author: amanda lovelace
genre: poetry
publisher: andrews mcmeel publishing
rating: 5 stars
publication date: february 14, 2016

the princess saves herself in this one by amanda lovelace
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the story of a princess turned damsel turned queen

"Ah, life- the thing that happens to us while we're off somewhere else blowing on dandelions & wishing ourselves into the pages of our favorite fairy tales."

A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.

my thoughts

yet, another amazing poetry book i've read this year. but if i had to choose a favorite, this one would have to be it, hands-down. the princess saves herself in this one is so rustic and real, i find it hard not to love. lovelace has truly outdone herself, and has got me heels-over-head. i loved lovelace's wording and writing style. it captured me and swept me away, you can tell that she meant every word she wrote. another element that i liked was the page layout, making the words do the action or scene being portrayed in the poems. it just made for a fun reading experience. 

i have never felt more assured and empowered from a book before. lovelace reassured me that life will have its complications, and that it's up to me to let them get in my way. lovelace teaches you that anything is possible when you surround yourself by the people you love, and rethink all of what society has told you to be. i truly hope that everyone gets the opportunity to read this and learn how to not just view the world differently, but view themselves differently. you deserve happiness people, go out and find it.

Full of empowerment, character, and passion, the princess saves herself in this one is a read you don't want to miss. lovelace has reminded me that i'm strong enough to save myself, and i don't need someone else to come save me. her writing style and creative word choice will have readers coming back for years and years to come, and i can't wait to see what she comes up with next.