The Beast is An Animal

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme held by Breaking the Spine

Author: Peternelle van Arsdale
Publication Date: February 28
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Series: N/A

A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.

Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village.

These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.

Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul. 

I love any kind of fairytale retelling, but this one – which is so divorced from the traditional Beauty and the Beast – sounds fantastic. Not to mention, it comes out just in time to read it before going to see Disney’s remake starring Emma Watson (which will be perfect!!!)

The cover is perfect for this story I think. Its very beautiful, but at the same time somewhat haunting. Its a nice break from putting a generic stock photo model in a dress on all book covers.

Long May She Reign

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme held by Breaking the Spine

Author: Rhiannon Thomas
Publication Date: February 21
Publisher: HarperTeen
Series: N/A

The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.

Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.

As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown. 

I’m very excited about this book. Usually I don’t go for books because of something its been compared to, but The Queen of the Tearling and The Girl of Fire and Thorns are two of the best books I’ve read in the last year or so since I started paying more attention to what I was reading and blogging about it.

The synopsis itself excites me as well because of how completely absurd (and somewhat frightening it is) to consider the 23rd person in line becoming the queen. I love a book with a good political plot, following court drama from the POV of someone who seems to be an outsider.

I do really love the cover as well, its very magical and extravagant and I’m not exaggerating when I say I would be tempted to buy the book just for the cover.

Wintersong

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme held by Breaking the Spine

Author: S. Jae-Jones
Publication Date: February 7
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Series: N/A

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

This reminds me somewhat of Sun and Moon; Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George, which is that it has a girl being married off to a monstrous character and I think it will be a very different story.

I’m not ashamed to say that one of the things that drew me to this book was the cover, which is absolutely gorgeous!!

The Edge of Everything

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme held by Breaking the Spine

Author: Jeff Giles
Publication Date: January 31st
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Series: Untitled #1

It’s been a shattering year for seventeen-year-old Zoe, who’s still reeling from her father’s shockingly sudden death in a caving accident and her neighbors’ mysterious disappearance from their own home. Then on a terrifying sub-zero, blizzardy night in Montana, she and her brother are brutally attacked in a cabin in the woods–only to be rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter they call X.

X is no ordinary bounty hunter. He is from a hell called the Lowlands, sent to claim the soul of Zoe’s evil attacker and others like him. Forbidden to reveal himself to anyone other than his victims, X casts aside the Lowlands’ rules for Zoe. As X and Zoe learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past, their fate, and their future. But escaping the Lowlands and the ties that bind X might mean the ultimate sacrifice for both of them. 

Caraval

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme held by Breaking the Spine

Author: Stephanie Garber
Publication Date: January 31
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Series: Caraval #1

Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

This sounds like a fantastically different book, anything set around a carnival aka, “Caraval” sounds amazing and magical. I’m very excited to read it when it comes out.

The cover is very simple, it easily could have been something overblown and brightly colored with a circus tent on it, but what they’ve designed is unexpected but also perfectly fitting.

December Wrap Up

December was a pretty fun month for me, and not just because it was the last month of 2016 (which needed to be over long before it was).

Books Read

Unfortunately I didn’t get around to finishing any books because of how busy I was – finals, skating, job, etc – so both of these books are just books that I was currently reading during December.

  • Catalyst, A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno
  • Winterspell by Claire Legend

Book Haul

  • Ahsoka by EK Johnston
  • Thief of Lies by Brenda Drake
  • The Heir by Kiera Cass
  • Conversion by Katherine Howe
  • A Tyranny of Petticoats: 15 Stories of Belles, Bank Robbers & Other Badass Girls
  • Catalyst, A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling (Illustrations by Jim Kay)
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling (Illustrations by Jim Kay)
  • The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Novelization) by Alexander Freed
  • Libyrinth by Pearl North
  • The Chess Queen Enigma by Colleen Gleason
  • Illusions of Fate by Kiersten White

Memorable Moments

Continue reading “December Wrap Up”

Stalking Jack the Ripper

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1)Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction, YA
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Series: Book One of Stalking Jack the Ripper

No Spoilers!

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. 

Did anyone else ever have a chapter of history, or a sub-group, or something similar that they were obsessed with? I’ve had several over the years, including the Romanov Family, Dinosaurs, Queen Elizabeth I, and Cleopatra. But one interest that has always stuck around is centered around death. No, I’m not insane, but I am completely fascinated with the history and development of forensic science (did you know that Sherlock Holmes is the first detective to use a magnifying glass at a crime scene?), and for a while I went through a phase that was centered around two men: Jack the Ripper and HH Holmes, two of the most prolific and fascinating serial killers of all time.

Naturally, when I saw this book advertised I knew I had to get my hands on it. A young woman facing off against Jack the Ripper? Sign me up!! I almost bought it on my kindle when it first came out, and I can’t remember exactly why I ended up deciding against it, but I’m just as happy I didn’t. I didn’t pick this up until the other day, and I managed to get my hands on a signed copy!!

The Mystery

Stalking Jack the Ripper has everything that I look for in a good mystery book. Of course, I’m not going to spoil who did it, but I am going to say, you’re never entirely certain who did it (I really didn’t figure it out until a chapter or two before the Big Reveal). You are always left wondering, and knowing that not everything is adding up (there are times that you will be CONVINCED that you know who the Ripper is, but then something else will be revealed and you’ll be confused again).

History

One thing that frightened me about picking up this book, is that its based on a real historical event that I know a great deal about and set in a historical era that a lot of people mess up. I was very excited then, when I started reading it, to see how close to history it actually is. I was very impressed. Reading through it there was nothing that struck me as hugely wrong or inaccurate and it flowed easily, the setting not getting in the way of the story at all.

I will warn you though, if you’re easily grossed out by blood, guts, and gore, you don’t want to read this. Victorian London was not a clean and pleasant place to be, and this book isn’t afraid to tell it like it is. It is also about a forensic scientist, so there are autopsies and discussion of ripping into bodies (don’t judge me for knowing this, but the aforementioned autopsies are very realistic).

If you’re interested in how close to history this is, make sure you read the author’s notes at the end, where she talks about what she changed (some minor details that I didn’t pick up on and you probably won’t either) and why she did it.

Reading Progress and Updates

  • 02/20
    • marked as:
      • to-read
  • 10/06
    • marked as:
      • currently-reading
    • page 25
      • 7.0%
      • “I dreamed of a day when girls could wear lace and make up-or no make up at all and don burlap sacks if they desired-to their chosen profession without it being deemed inappropriate.”
      • She’s more forward thinking than most of the people of today!
    • page 48
      • 14.0%
      • “Just because I studied cadavers didn’t mean I couldn’t appreciate beautiful garments.”
      • Once again she sums me up perfectly.
    • page 144
      • 42.0%
      • “Wear your assets like a blade, Cousin. No man has invented a corset for our brains. Let them think they rule the world. It’s a queen that sits that throne. Never forget that. There’s no reason you can’t wear a simple frock to work, then don the finest gown and dance the night away. But only if it pleases you.”
      • Cousin Liza knows what’s up.

Overall

I read the entire book on the day I bought it (shoutout to my doctor who was an hour late starting my appointment!) so clearly it will pull you in. My mom was also thrilled when I came home with it, because apparently she’s had it on her TBR for months as well.

This is also the first book from James Patterson’s new publishing imprint Jimmy Patterson (real original name you picked there, hon) and if the rest of them are anywhere near as good as this one, I cannot wait to read them. I hope they continue to hold any books that they might consider for publication to this standard.

Any fan of murder mysteries or historical fiction is going to love this book, even if YA isn’t your usual genre. Its a book that could be read or enjoyed by people of all ages because, yes, it is a bit long, but the content isn’t too mature or too difficult (don’t think its easy or beneath you though!). Just make sure you read the History section of this review for information on some things that you might not like if you’re easily grossed out.

Now, who’s going to write me an H.H. Holmes book?