Stalking Jack the Ripper – Book Review

 

Synopsis: 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.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

Review: When this book first came out there was A LOT of hype around it. Sometimes this makes me a little skeptical because I’ve had some bad experiences with overhyped books. Stalking Jack the Ripper just worked! It’s not perfection, but it was such a fun and entertaining read. It was extremely gruesome, bloody, and insane–everything you would expect from a story that features Jack the Ripper.

The writing was imaginative and taking bits of history to make this story made it that more interesting to read. It wasn’t a five star read for me because the big reveal wasn’t that big for me. I guessed it pretty much at the beginning of the book. I also found the main character a little dumb for someone who’s supposed to be quite intelligent she seemed bitterly clueless until the end.

Still, I loved the fact that she was going against the norm, and what of what was expected of her as a lady at that time. Mind, this takes place in 1800’s London. A lady of somewhat high birth shouldn’t be sneaking around learning about dead bodies, but she did it anyway. Her curiosity was contagious.

I think this is a well written fun YA novel, and if you’re looking for a somewhat creepy and thrilling read for the fall or halloween season, then this could very well be it.

I gave it 4 out of 5 metal horns!

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Hunted – Book Review

 

I have said it before and I will probably say it once again, but I am a little tired of the fairy tale retelling trend in Young Adult. Mostly because I think sometimes the books have NOTHING in common with the original fairy tales :: cough :: A Court of Thorns and Roses :: Cough:: I have been disappointed one too many times and thought I was completely over the retelling craze. Then I heard about Hunted by Meagan Spooner. I haven’t read anything else by Meagan Spooner, but this had me intrigued. Hunted felt closer to the real Beauty and the Beast fairy tale than any others I have checked out, so I decided to get it and read it.

I was so pleasantly surprised. I for one loved the fact that the main character Yeva, or as she’s also known in the story as Beauty, was incredibly close with her sisters. It was a nice change of pace to not see every female character at each other’s throats all the time. When their father goes missing in the woods, Yeva takes it upon herself to set off into a forest that she knows deep within her bones has secrets and possibly even magic. Sticking true to the tale of Beauty and the Beast, she becomes the Beast’s prisoner…or does she? She begins to question many things, including the beast’s intentions.

That was part of the magic that made me love this story so much. Anyone who loves the original will have an idea or glimpse into what happens next on Yeva’s journey, but Spooner was able to give it a twist of her own, and it had me hooked right away. Meagan Spooner also has a wonderful way with words. Hunted is the Beauty and the Beast retelling I have been waiting for.

I highly recommend this novel if you’re looking for a fairy tale retelling to read.

I gave this one four out of five Metal Horns.

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Grit – Book Review

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I received this book from the publisher, this in no way impacted my opinion of the novel. 

Grit by Gillian French follows Darcy as she deals with an “easy girl” reputation and the aftermath of the fact that her ex-best friend Rhiannon went missing the previous year. The story follows Darcy as she works the fields with her sister and cousin raking blue berries. Within this story line comes an interesting message because the owners of the fields always hire foreigners and outside help, which Darcy’s aunt seems to have an issue with when someone states that the migrants need the money:

“So do the people of this town. People who live here year round and pay their taxes.”

“You see about as many year round residents turning out for berry raking as you do ditch digging. It’s hard work, and most people don’t want to do it.” 

This made me smile, because it is the most true statement I have seen in a YA novel in a while. While the book had a few “hell yeah!” moments, something about French’s writing kind of muddled the important messages within the book. The plot felt a bit disconnected  at certain points, not just disconnected but it felt like there was A LOT happening with a lot of different characters which made me unfocused.

The writing was good, but I think some more editing could have been involved to make it better. Still I would say the story is a good mystery and I enjoyed it for the most part.

This book will be released on May 16th. I gave it three out of five metal horns!

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Exit West – Book Review

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Summary: In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.

Exit West follows these characters as they emerge into an alien and uncertain future, struggling to hold on to each other, to their past, to the very sense of who they are. Profoundly intimate and powerfully inventive, it tells an unforgettable story of love, loyalty, and courage that is both completely of our time and for all time.

Review: The relevance of this book is why I decided to read it, and I kept reading because of the beautiful story. It’s poetic in a way I have never seen before. Exit West has an element that feels a bit like magical realism, but what was gripping was following Saeed and Nadia through their journey. Journey feels like too light of a word to use here though. The book isn’t very long and I flew through it. It’s heartbreaking, horrific, and motivating all in one go. The talks about refugees are so prevalent right now, especially here in Europe, and I have felt empathy beyond words for everything that’s been happening, but this book opened the flood gates. It may be a fictional story, but good fiction will further open our eyes to the truth that surrounds us.

This book got four out of five metal horns!

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The Dramedy of Book Twitter

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Man, I hope I write this in the best possible way. Intent  doesn’t mean shit if you trample over everything like a drunk giant. Get ready for a rant.

I haven’t updated my blog in a while because of LIFE. I already promised myself I wouldn’t apologize anymore for this. I started this for fun, and it will only continue to be that way as long as I don’t feel like I HAVE to update this place all the time. Sure I’d like to be more consistent with my blogging, but I am merely human and truthfully, I don’t give a shit what you think about my lack of updates.

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I have been active on Book Twitter and it’s kept me informed of all the book releases, conflicts, drama, and comedy. It’s also made me laugh, frown, and made me want to rip my hair out all in one go. That is the dramedy that is Book twitter. I follow some great people. They’re intelligent, they’re fierce, and they are also opinionated. I am here for all of it. I want to know what people think about different books. I want to see people point out when things bother them in a novel and I want to listen and learn.

Recently though something has made me want to throw books around. TWO things have crept up on book twitter like the plague. One of those is the super fangirls who attack like little trained minions whenever you comment on their favorite books or authors. You see it A LOT with Sarah J. Maas and Cassandra Clare fans, but also with JK Rowling and others. People have yet to learn that you may love something dearly but that does not mean the entire world will feel the same. I have yet to finish the throne of glass series and her other series. You can love those books till you’re blue in the face but if you call me an idiot for the fact that I don’t find them as interesting as you do, you’re not doing Maas any favors. Stop bitching at people for their opinions. Also, this goes for you people on the other side of the coin too, whether you just didn’t enjoy the story or find it problematic don’t tell people they are morons for reading it. I am at fault for this too once or twice but I am learning how to just let people enjoy things.

The second thing that’s crept up on book twitter, is the conflicting and hypocritical talks about problematic content in books. To clarify, I absolutely stand with people reserving the right to call authors out on their problematic content. I think if something is bothersome to you, there is a way to reach out and speak politely and openly with an author about it. Being more critical of the books you are reading is a good thing. What has bothered me is that the same people who were out there with pitchforks, yelling for the book The Continent to be reedited because of its problematic content, are seemingly okay with Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth who’s book apparently has similar problematic content. Not only is the issue similar, the authors’ explanations and “apologies” are similar too and yet only one of them has their book on hold, and the other one was on the NYT best sellers list. I will let you guess which one.

I haven’t read either one, but I am commenting on the hypocritical bullshit that comes out of book twitter quite often these days. I think diversity is important, But I also think a lot of the white people yelling about diversity use the term loosely and only use it when it suits them. Many of them were ready to stand up for Roth when just a few months ago they were vowing to burn copies of The Continent. Diversity and respect for marginalized voices isn’t a bag of trail mix, you can’t just pick and choose the parts you like.

I like the book community and especially book twitter, but there are some aspects of it that have started to mold the way I read things and what I choose to read. I think I would have continued with the Throne of Glass series had the overly aggressive fans not annoyed the shit out of me. I had no interest in reading Carve the Mark or The Continent but now because people have been such hypocrites about these two books, I want to read them so I can compare and contrast and form my own educated opinion.

I think a lot of the Book Twitter drama could be minimized if we could all just stop calling each other names and respected one another. I think people need to start thinking before jumping on the mob mentality that takes over twitter sometimes, and I really do think we need to let people enjoy things. Truth is a person can find something problematic but still enjoy its entertainment value, and I don’t see an issue with that.

This of course is MY opinion, and you may not share the same view, but please comment down below and share it anyway.

History is All You Left Me – Book Review

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This book was sent to me by the publisher as an eARC, this in no way influenced my opinion on the novel.

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera took me by surprise. In the best and yet most emotional way possible. This is a SPOILER FREE review so please feel free to continue reading. It follows Griffin who’s first love and ex-boyfriend Theo died in a drowning accident. This breaks Griffin apart as expected. The story bounces back and forth between the present where Griffin is dealing with his grief, and to the past (history) where his relationship with Theo grew and blossomed.

I loved this style of going between the past and present. This story also shows Griffin’s struggle with mental illness. This hit home for me. When I was 14 I had to deal with a form of grief I had never experienced before, and it shot my anxiety to places I could never put into words, but Adam Silvera certainly tried for me. People deal with Grief in very different ways, and when you experience something of that magnitude at a young age, it stays with you forever. Surely it stays with you at any age, but when you are young and you feel so invincible … it strikes you down hard.

At the core of this novel is a story about friendship, love, and loss. Adam Silvera writes in a way that makes you truly believe these aren’t just characters in a novel but real people. I love that so much because I could feel what these characters were going through. The way Griffin and Theo come together and how they’re torn apart feels so real that it hurt my soul to read it. In the end this novel is also about healing.

This took me on one hell of a ride, and if you haven’t read this book, then I don’t know what you are waiting for. It may seem like a heart breaking story, and yes it is, but it’s just so much more than that. The themes and messages in this novel are incredible.

Originally I had given this novel 4 stars on Goodreads, but it’s been a couple of days since I read it, and I just keep thinking about it and that’s a sign of an important book. I changed my rating on there.

This novel gets 5 out of 5 Metal Horns from me!

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Warbreaker – Book Review

If you have been following this blog for a while, then you know that I don’t like to over share information about a book when I write my reviews because I’ve had a story spoiled before because a reviewer decided to chop down every detail of a book. I will give you a nice rundown and then my rating. Let’s jump into it.

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Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson – Book Review

Brandon Sanderson is probably best known for his Mistborn series. I actually did not love the first book in that series and almost never gave him another try. Then I read The Rithmatist, and suddenly I was in love with his writing style. That is when I decided to give Warbreaker a shot. Warbreaker is about two sisters. These two sisters are princesses and they live in a world where people who die in glory come back as gods known as the returned. These gods live in a pantheon in the capital city of Hallandran.

In this world the magic system is called BioChroma, and deals with breaths and colors. Sounds insane? That’s because Sanderson’s mind and imagination is on a whole other level than ours. It is a really intriguing and beautiful magic system, and that is something I remember even from the Mistborn book. He is just really amazing with magic systems and world building. The whole idea of the gods and the pantheon gave me Greek mythology vibes and that was really cool.

Now the story goes back and forth between Siri, Vivenna(the two sisters), Lightsong, and Vasher. I loved these characters but I have to say the self doubting god Lightsong is my absolute favorite. He’s got sarcasm for days, and really questions his own identity as a god, and questions people’s faith in him. While Vivenna and her uptight ways was possibly the most boring for a while. There are a lot of political aspects in this book, but once again Sanderson knows how to write this in an interesting way.

I did find this book at 652 pages to be a bit long, but that’s never really stopped me from reading anything, the problem here is that it is a bit slow paced for a fantasy novel. Which is where it lost a star for me. Other than that the story is wonderful, filled with plot twists and crazy characters. Also I hear this story sort of connects to the Words of Radiance story from Sanderson. I will let you read it to find out how it does that.

 

I highly recommend this book, and it’s made me really appreciate Brandon Sanderson’s writing and storytelling. This gets 4 out of 5 Metalhorns from me!

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A Little Louder for the People in The Back – A Look at Mental Illness

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I feel tired.

I feel tired all the time.

Anxiety and depression can do that, but having to explain myself a million times also does that. I get tired of getting skeptical looks, and strange waves of anger from people because I don’t and CANNOT fit into their mold of what a sick person looks like. Because I am not running a fever, I cannot be ill. Really there’s so much more bullshit that I have dealt with through out my struggles with anxiety that I felt the need to once again talk about it.

Everyone who deals with mental illness deals with it in their own way, not only that but not everyone will have the same feelings and symptoms even when they deal with the same illness. That’s always something that many people can’t seem to grasp. I cannot tell someone else’s tale of struggle, but I can tell you mine.

I was always a really shy kid. I also cried A LOT. When my parents would say that they would pick me up from say the babysitter at a set time, and they didn’t show up at that exact time, I would instantly start to sweat and I would begin to pace and ask a million questions because my mind was imagining the worst kind of car crashes in the world. At the time most people chalked it up to me being an emotional kid, but looking back I think that was just the beginning of my anxiety. I was definitely always known as the weird quiet child who liked to read. I was never a super talkative person, to this day I am not a talkative person, UNLESS of course I feel comfortable with you.

Let’s get a little darker now. I remember a time when I wasn’t aware that what I was feeling wasn’t just normal anxious feelings. In high school, I was told that I definitely had social anxiety. But it wasn’t until my early twenties, that at some point where I was having trouble breathing, I was crying nonstop for what felt like decades, and I dug my finger nails into my face that I finally realized something was really wrong with me. Since then I have sort of learned to manage it but it isn’t something with a cure. I have my really good days and I have my really bad days. I don’t hurt myself anymore, but I do still deal with panic and anxiety attacks.

The thing is, sometimes my anxiety is exacerbated by all of the negative shit that has been thrown my way in the past or even recently. I talk very openly about my struggles for a number of reasons:

  1. I want to be open with the people closest to me and also to the people I work with. Not for pity, but for understanding. There can be days where I have a hard time functioning.
  2. I want other people who are fighting this to know they are not alone.
  3. I want people who are completely ignorant about this, to learn how to deal with someone close to them and their anxiety or depression.

I also do it, because I always get asked weird shit, or talked about in a negative light because people just don’t understand. When I cancel plans with people because the thought of having to be around a group of people or public transportation is just terrifying that day, I don’t need to be told that I am flakey. I am not flakey, I am putting myself and my mental health first. I don’t feel that it is necessary to possibly be alone on a train, having an anxiety attack just to meet up for a drink. That’s not what I will ever do. Many friends stopped inviting me to places in the past, and many people were extremely rude and aggressive about me canceling plans. So when I find someone who understands without missing a beat, I try to hold onto those people. My advice to anyone who has dealt with this is to let go of the ones who tear you down over your struggles, and keep close those who let you take care of yourself first.

Recently someone said that they knew I was trouble when they first met me because I couldn’t look them in the eye when I first met them. This angered me greatly. Not because they don’t like me, not everyone has to like me, I really couldn’t give two flying dicks about that part. It angered me because when I first meet people, I tend to have a hard time making eye contact. Meeting new people causes an alarming amount of stress for me and I have a hard time making eye contact. They took that as me being –I don’t know…some kind of vixen? An evil queen wannabe? Don’t know. It’s just one of the many times someone has misunderstood something about my anxiety and twisted it to make me look bad. It’s not new for me.

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When someone has a physical illness everyone is ready to be helpful, supportive, and show empathy. As it should be. I am quite grateful that physically at the moment I am healthy. The thing is that many people don’t see anxiety and depression as a real illness. They seem to think we are all drama queens who can’t get our shit together. I wish I could be that good at acting because I would probably have an Oscar sitting on the mantle of my big ass house on a hilltop in Portugal. I hate when I have a bad moment in front of people I don’t particularly like or trust because I know from experience how they will use that against me. I also hate getting “advice” from people who have never in their lives dealt with anxiety or depression themselves. Stop telling me to do yoga or to drink tea. I’ve done those things and they don’t work for me. Everything you can possibly name, I have tried it. I already have my ways of dealing with it, but again there ISN’T a cure. You get better with time, and then you will still have a few bad days here and there. It’s just how it goes.

None of us want your pity. We want your respect and yes a little bit of empathy would be nice. If I feel so tired that I need a nap, then let me nap. My brain doesn’t function like yours. It spends hours and days sometimes trying to untangle my thoughts, and that in itself is really exhausting. Pretend my brain is running a bunch of marathons through out the week there comes a point where I just can’t take it anymore. I am drained of all energy.  I do not nap on a daily basis, but if there’s someone out there that does and needs it, then let them. This is another one of those moments where we get told that we are being lazy.

So when I am asked why I constantly talk about my anxiety, my response is because people still think I am being rude, lazy, stuck up, or generally awful all because I choose to do certain things to better my mental health or I do them because my anxiety sort of makes me do things that people find strange. I shouldn’t have to constantly explain myself, but because mental illness is still a topic that many people ignore, I HAVE TO explain myself so I can hopefully make a break through with some people.

Know that this is a REAL illness, and millions of people are struggling to move forward every single day. Stop treating us like we are liars and stop telling us to relax. I promise you, it really doesn’t work that way.

Night Film – Book Review

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Night Film is a tough review to do without spoiling anything at all, but I AM KEEPING THIS spoiler free. It will be vague, and mysterious…kind of like this book.

Night Film Summary:

Everybody has a Cordova story. Cult horror director Stanislas Cordova hasn’t been seen in public since 1977. To his fans he is an enigma. To journalist Scott McGrath he is the enemy. To Ashley he was a father.

On a damp October night the body of young, beautiful Ashley Cordova is found in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Her suicide appears to be the latest tragedy to hit a severely cursed dynasty.

For McGrath, another death connected to the legendary director seems more than a coincidence. Driven by revenge, curiosity and a need for the truth, he finds himself pulled into a hypnotic, disorientating world, where almost everyone seems afraid.

The last time McGrath got close to exposing Cordova, he lost his marriage and his career. This time he could lose his grip on reality.

ONCE WE FACE OUR DEEPEST FEARS, WHAT LIES ON THE OTHER SIDE?

Night Film Review:

I will say this, this book had certain points and aspects that had me turning on every light around me when moving about the house at night. The characters were really interesting, especially Ashley, even though the whole mystery is around her and why she appears to have committed suicide. I read this book fairly quickly, or at least as quick as I could considering I had a lot on my plate. So you are going to wonder a little bit why my rating isn’t higher.

Well the truth is, while this book was creepy and I kept turning the pages wondering what was really going on, it also felt like it was over done. The book is quite long, and I think if I got to the end it was this glorifying “holy yes!! this is amazing!” I wouldn’t have minded all the filler moments in the book, but the ending pretty much ruined the book for me. It felt to me like Marisha Pessl also had no idea how to end it. It sort of flip flops a bit there. If you want a clear and concise ending, you may want to steer clear of this book. I kind of wish I had known that before diving in, but then again I still don’t actually regret reading this.

If you love mystery with a hint of horror I definitely recommend this book, but be aware that the ending may infuriate you. The writing was good, and it will keep you hooked.

I gave Night Film 3 out of 5 Metal horns!!

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Finding Audrey – Book Review

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I bought this book because it seemed like a good short read for my flight to Portugal. Well it was short, but it wasn’t really good. I usually try to keep my reviews spoiler free, but please be WARNED: THIS IS NOT A SPOILER FREE REVIEW. I had a lot of issues with this story, and they need to be discussed.

I’ve never read any novels  by Sophie Kinsella, and maybe this wasn’t a good starting point. The writing wasn’t the problem, but the plot and the characters certainly were. I will start with the parents. The mom was just over the top. Her anti-video game brigade against Frank was just too much, considering the kid had good grades, and didn’t seem like a bad kid at all. The dad was just in the background, smiling and nodding at everything the mom would say or demand from everyone.

And here’s the point of the story that really just pissed me off. As someone who struggles with anxiety, and had been put on Paxil for Social Anxiety in high school, Audrey did not feel like a genuine character with the same struggles. Especially since she’s having “such a hard time” to the point where she can’t go anywhere and can barely handle human interaction. ENTER Linus. The magical cure to social anxiety according to Kinsella. I HATE HATE HATE when female characters become “better” simply from meeting a boy. That shit doesn’t happen in real life, and IF suddenly there’s some kind of sense of euphoria from meeting someone new, it doesn’t last long. The way Audrey drastically changes after meeting Linus actually made me want to stop reading the book. I finished it, but there were a lot of things sort of just left hanging in the air, and I felt that Kinsella could have fleshed out the story a little bit more.

I give Finding Audrey 2 out of 5 Metal Horns.

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