Giveaway for Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco


I am so excited to give you all a chance to win one of my favorite books, Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. I don’t know if you saw the news, but last week Kerri became a #1 New York Times Bestseller. This book is excellent and if you want to hear more about why I love it you can check out my review here. I also have a guest post from Kerri about inner darkness that you can check out here.

About the Book

By Kerri Maniscalco
Release: September 20, 2016

Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

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.

About the Author

kerri-maniscalcoKerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside New York City, where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats. Stalking Jack the Ripper is her debut novel. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.
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One (1) winner receives:

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Prizing and samples provided by Jimmy Patterson Books.
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Review of Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

SJtRCoverStalking Jack the Ripper
By: Kerri Maniscalco
Release Date: September 20th 2016
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Format: Print ARC
Source: TLA Convention

My Rating:

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:
I was so excited to get an early copy of this book because the description was so ‘me’.  I just knew this novel would be so much fun and I was totally correct in thinking that. Maniscalco created likeable characters that exude that “Sherlock and Watson” feel. Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell had great dialog and chemistry. I loved their banter and I look forward to seeing where their story goes together.

Audrey Rose was a strong willed woman in an age where that was frowned upon. Her father and brother were constantly trying to tame her and keep her from her interest in anatomy. I love that her Uncle disregards this and decides to include her in his experiments and investigations. I really loved the mentor/student relationship they had and how easy it was to get a grasp of who her uncle was.

There is always something awesome about an arrogant, highly intelligent “Sherlock” type. Why am I drawn to these types? I’ll never know but Thomas filled this role perfectly. I loved that he didn’t care about convention or how things should be. He speaks inappropriately and was an actual flirt (sort of rare in these types of books). I couldn’t help but blush and smile with Audrey at his flirtations.

I didn’t feel that this book took itself too seriously though the anatomy and topic were serious and well done. I felt that research was involved and it showed in the way the descriptions were done. I also loved the touch of having period photographs sporadically in the book. I had a phase in high school where I was enthralled with the psychology of serial killers so I did some heavy reading on the topic of profiling. I never ventured too deeply into the Jack Ripper case though, like everyone, it always was a source of intrigue. I think we all wonder who exactly was behind these horrible slayings. I was very drawn to Jack the Ripper being the villain in this story and the fact that the book called on real evidence (his letters to the newspapers). I think it really added a wonderful touch to the world building and story telling.


Final Thoughts:
I am so impressed that Maniscalco took the topic of Jack the Ripper and turned it on its head. Not only did she add in some historically relevant things she also was able to keep the book from being dry by including humor and a lightness that kept the book from being overly dark. I think this was and excellent start and I’m so happy there will be a sequel (or two) coming up.

Review of A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro

AStudyinCharlotteA Study in Charlotte
By: Brittany Cavallaro
Release Date: March 1st 2016
Publisher: Harper
Format: E-ARC
Source: Edelweiss

My Rating:

The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John Watson–wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.

Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they’re being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.

My Thoughts:
Oh, how I love all the Sherlock themed young adult novels. I new the moment I saw A Study in Charlotte I was desperate to read it. I really enjoyed this novel and found it to be a very fast paced and entertaining read.

We follow the story from Jamie Watson’s point of view and as always the Sherlock’s character is played by a stoic, cold type but in this novel it was a girl. Yay! I loved Charlotte’s characterization and felt that she was very well executed. It isn’t often that the female lead is more closed off than her male counterpart. I loved that this novel switched these roles.

I did expect a tad more chemistry and romance in this book though it wasn’t needed. The flow, pacing and prose were all wonderfully done. There was a chemistry between Watson and Sherlock but I felt it centered around their respect and friendship more than a sexual tension.

Another interesting thing about ASIC that made it stand apart was that Watson and Sherlock are the relatives of the famous duo. These two know the history between their families which added another unique spin to the story. I liked that there were many references to the original works. You can tell that Cavallaro is well versed in Sherlockolgy. Her knowledge adds so much to the overall feel of the novel.

The mystery these two explore was interesting though I wasn’t overly needing to know the outcome. What drove my interest in this novel was the relationship between Jamie and Charlotte. I loved the little bits they shared and deduced about each other. It was very easy to feel the emotions between these two and though it didn’t really veer into the romantic much it was touching and beautifully done.

Final Thoughts:
A Study in Charlotte is a great addition to the Sherlock reworks that have been released lately. I felt that this one was much different than the others I’ve read. I’d highly recommend this book to any Sherlock Holmes fans or anyone that likes a good mystery.

Review of Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer

ThickerThanWaterThicker Than Water 
By: Brigid Kemmerer
Release Date: December 29th 2015
Publisher: Kensington Books
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.


My Rating:

On his own

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.

Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.

The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.

Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…

My Thoughts:
Thicker Than Water was my first Kemmerer book to read- throughout my blogging career I have heard really wonderful things about her writing and books so I was so thrilled to receive a copy for review. This wouldn’t normally be something I’d pick up (that cover is not to my liking) but I was willing to give it a try due to all the positive things I’d heard.

This book started off very strong. The story was told in first person by two separate people- I love when books are set up this way because I feel we get to see things from several perspectives. This usually has me feeling more invested in the story and this book was no different. I formed an attachment early on to Thomas- this poor boy had been through so much so early and I could feel his sadness radiating from the pages. I was so sad for him and hated the way he was treated in this small town. It made me love Charlotte because she could look past the rumors and see (or try to see) who he really was- how brave of her to be able to look past society’s perception of him.

The chemistry between these characters was electric and kept me flipping the pages. I was eager to see who was actually responsible for the crime and see justice served. There was true suspense for the first section of the book and I was riveted…then things changed for me. I thoroughly thought this book was a mystery/contemporary but about 3/4 in things the tone and genre shifted. All of a sudden paranormal aspects started showing up. They felt abrupt and SO not in character for the book. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t expect it or if it really felt disjointed but it made the last section of the book feel completely different than the start. I was so disappointed (and confused) by this shift.

The ending felt contrived due to the shift in genre and things seemed to fall in place a bit too easy. I had expected something so much different- sure I didn’t see the twist coming but it wasn’t a feeling of ‘a-ha!’ it was more, ‘what book am I reading?’ Hopefully other readers won’t be pulled out of the story as badly as I was and can enjoy the strong writing and character chemistry- but for me, it lowered my over-all feel for the book a good amount.

Final Thoughts:
Thicker Than Water had a strong start for me- I felt the character chemistry, tension and suspense but the last section of the book threw me off and felt disjointed from the rest of the book. This was still an enjoyable read but it isn’t a favorite. I will want to check out more from Kemmerer because her character portrayals were done very well.

 Have you read Thicker Than Water? What did you think of the genre shift?

Review of Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver

vanishinggirlscoverVanishing Girls
By: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: March 10th 2015
Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Print ARC
Source: Goldberg McDuffie Communications

A copy of this book was provided in consideration for an honest review.

My Rating:

Dara and Nick used to be inseparable, but that was before the accident that left Dara’s beautiful face scarred and the two sisters totally estranged. When Dara vanishes on her birthday, Nick thinks Dara is just playing around. But another girl, nine-year-old Madeline Snow, has vanished, too, and Nick becomes increasingly convinced that the two disappearances are linked. Now Nick has to find her sister, before it’s too late.

In this edgy and compelling novel, Lauren Oliver creates a world of intrigue, loss, and suspicion as two sisters search to find themselves, and each other.

My Thoughts:
I wasn’t sure about Vanishing Girls when I started it…I’m not typically all that into contemporary but this book looked, from the summary, to have a bit of a twist and mystery aspect. The vast majority of the novel was focused on Nick and Dara’s broken relationship with each other and their childhood best friend (and maybe more) Parker.

The novel flips between Nick and Dara’s point of views so you get to see how the other felt about their accident, Parker, parents and one another. It was so incredibly sad to see the sisters have such a rift between them. I have an older sister and couldn’t relate to their jealousy, hatred and insecurities. My sister and I were team mates and though we hung out with the same group in college we never competed in the nature of these two sisters.

Because of this I found it interesting to consider that some sisters have this type of relationship-interesting and really heart breaking. Dara and Nick avoid each other throughout the novel and only through the flashbacks do we see them interact and how they used to be. Watching them grow apart was really difficult though I’ll admit I was intrigued.

I had issues really liking many of the characters though I did feel that they all had unique personalities and their wants, motivations and desires were realistic. I had so many issues with how the sisters treated one another and really it broke my heart. Also, Parker. Don’t get me started on this guy. I was not a fan though my heart broke for him in some ways. Overall I enjoyed Nick’s perspective more than Dara’s. I’m the baby-sister and I couldn’t relate to Dara’s emotions towards her sibling-I could see that some sisters probably feel this way but I’m thankful that I did not. That’s me reading this book- extremely happy my sibling dynamic was nothing like theirs.

For me the entirety of the novel had a creepy aura that I enjoyed. Something felt off as I read and this kept me reading. Nothing was outwardly wrong I just had this prickling sensation. Nick works at an amusement park and the place felt haunted (and rumor was that there really was a resident ghost). The story barely touched on this but I really enjoyed the creepy addition.

Lauren Oliver has a beautiful writing style that some might find wordy but I really enjoy. The novel, for the most part, had a slow pace until the final stretch. There was a twist, as all novels have, but I won’t go into it in detail but I will say I felt it was a tad sloppy. Regardless of that, I didn’t see it coming so that always wins points in my mind.

Final Thoughts:
Vanishing Girls was a sad and difficult read due to the sisters ever present rift and the negative emotions between them. The writing was beautifully done in my opinion and that creepy feel that Oliver was able to subtly include added a lot to my reading experience.