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?

Ladies in Waiting

Ladies in WaitingLadies in Waiting by Laura L. Sullivan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Genre: Historical Fiction, YA
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books

There are no spoilers in this review.

Eliza dreams of being a playwright for the king’s theater, where she will be admired for her witty turns of phrase rather than her father’s wealth.

Beth is beautiful as the day but poor as a church mouse, so she must marry well, despite her love for her childhood sweetheart.

Zabby comes to England to further her scientific studies—and ends up saving the life of King Charles II. Soon her friendship with him becomes a dangerous, impossible obsession. Though she knows she should stay away from the young, handsome king, Charles has a new bride, Queen Catherine, and a queen needs ladies in waiting.

And so Zabby, Beth, and Eliza, three Elizabeths from very different walks of life, find themselves at the center of the most scandal-filled court that England has ever seen.

“Harcourt Children’s Books” and I need to sit down and have a discussion about what makes a “children’s book.” Yes I understand that this is historical fiction, but if you’re selling something as Children’s or Teen’s I expect, as a teenager, to be comfortable reading it.

I was not.

Its been a while since I read a book with this much focus on sex and the general disgustingness of the court at the time. Yes, perhaps I should have been expecting it given that its set in the court of King Charles II, one of the most scandalous of English kings, but I didn’t because I thought it was for teens. I believe in freedom of reading, but I did lobby to have this removed from my shelves at my school. Yes you can read whatever you like at school, but there are rules about what can be provided, this is too much. (The issue with banning books is that states that they cannot be in the school at all, even if the student brought it in for person reading).

Putting aside my issues with the definition of “children’s books” aside, it was a pretty decent book. I’m not sure I would call it “realistic” because there were things that happened that I thought “hmm, I’m not sure that could really take place” but other than that it was pretty good and well written (and overall well-researched).

The girls were very diverse, at times too much so. To me it almost seemed as though the author was attempting to put in the most diverse stereotypes of girls at that time that she could, rather than letting them form as unique entities.

Overall

If you’re not bothered by the sex then it may be worth the read. However, for me personally, I would’t recommend this to a friend and I’m going to tell you that there are a lot of better books out there.

Pokemon Go Book Tag

Tag Thursday

The Pokemon Go Tag was created by Read At Midnight and I was tagged by Mac of Nerds and Novels (whom you may remember for his recent guest post).

I love Pokemon so much, so I was delighted when this tag came along (and guys, let me tell you, it was everywhere, I swear to you every other post on my dash was this tag). Fun Fact: The first Pokemon game I ever played was Pokemon Diamond way back when you could still walk into a blockbuster’s store and rent games (pro tip: do not rent Pokemon games, it sucks when you have to give them back).

Tagging: I’m not tagging anyone, because I think everyone who wants to do it has done it, but if you want to say I tagged you feel free. And please, drop me the link to your tag!

And goodness is this tag long! In fact, its so long that I’m going to put the bulk of it under a read more despite trying to get away from doing that (partially because of the feedback on my survey which I would still love for you to complete!).

pokemon-tag-01starters

My first Pokemon in Pokemon Go was Charmander (because who doesn’t love a little fire dragon baby?), but my first Pokemon ever – and favorite – is Piplup, the adorable Penguin Pokemon (see my embroidered Piplip here). Seriously, when I first got Pokemon X for my DS I spent hours trolling the World Trading center trying to get one before Mac was kind enough to pass one on (I’ve since bred it with a Ditto and have ten or so), but the one from Mac is over level 60 and I’ve yet to evolve it (they’re cuter when they’re little!).

The book that started my love for reading was probably the Magic Tree House Series. Yes I’d already had Harry Potter and The Hobbit read to be by my mother, but Magic Tree House was the first that I read by myself.

pokemon-tag02pikachu

If you did that hack and got Pikachu as your starter – who discovered that anyway?? – then I am very JEALOUS of you because I think he’s adorable (I know some people think he’s overrated, but you know what? Screw them).

I will always love ANYTHING by JRR Tolkien, but for this – because for some reason people don’t always lump the Lord of the Rings in with traditional classics? – I’ll say Alexander Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. It was probably one of the first true classics that I ever read and so it will always stick with me.

pokemon-tag-03-zubat

Zubat is everywhere in the traditional Pokemon games – and yes, trust me, it annoys me – but for me in Pokemon Go I’m much more likely to run across a Ratatta (which are cuter anyway).

For overdone book I’m going to have to say The Hunger Games by Susanne Collins. I really liked it back when I first read it – and I remember saying to my mom ‘I can’t imagine how they’ll make this into a movie but wouldn’t it be cool?’ – but I’ve only seen one of the movies (the first one) and I cringe a little whenever I see it. Not to mention, I blame it for the Dystopia genre spiraling out of control and now I cannot stand that genre anymore.

pokemon-tag-04-ditto

Personally I really like Ditto and not just for its uses – although, as I mentioned previously, its gotten me about 10 Piplups – and I hope I can get one in Pokemon Go just because I think its really cute.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman is full of every cliche and stereotype under the sun but I love it anyway. Its just a really fun book (and movie) that I feel everyone should read at least once (or twice). See my movie review which includes a little on the book here.

pokemon-tag-05-snorlax

Isn’t Snorlax adorable? I actually managed to catch one in Pokemon Y and promptly named it Bai Bae after my best friend Bailey who will hopefully either never read this post or take that as a compliment (which it is meant to be, I swear!).

I’m going to say A Song of Ice and Fire / A Game of Thrones by George RR Martin even though I technically have started it (but I gave up on it because of the size). Even though its not really up my alley (too much sex and rape and incest, seriously calm your tits) I’d like to read more of it just so I can understand the phenomena.

pokemon-tag06-gengar

Personally I think the ghost type Pokemon are really cute and they don’t actually freak me out at all. Maybe its because they’re mostly purple in color. (and I just want to say, I’m writing this at Panera the guy next to me is saying “the thing that is being possessed by the possessor” but he’s a tutor talking about grammar and I’m trying not to laugh about how perfect the timing is).

Asylum by Madeleine Roux is by far the most terrifying thing I have ever read. Granted I try to avoid horror books, but still this thing was way too much for me (my mom liked it though).

Continue reading “Pokemon Go Book Tag”

Dualed

Dualed (Dualed, #1)Dualed by Elsie Chapman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Dystopian, Scifi
Publisher: Random House
Series: Book one of Dualed

There are no spoilers in this review.

I was sent this by the publisher a while ago, but that has in no way impacted my opinion.

The city of Kersh is a safe haven, but the price of safety is high. Everyone has a genetic Alternate—a twin raised by another family—and citizens must prove their worth by eliminating their Alts before their twentieth birthday. Survival means advanced schooling, a good job, marriage—life.

Fifteen-year-old West Grayer has trained as a fighter, preparing for the day when her assignment arrives and she will have one month to hunt down and kill her Alt. But then a tragic misstep shakes West’s confidence. Stricken with grief and guilt, she’s no longer certain that she’s the best version of herself, the version worthy of a future. If she is to have any chance of winning, she must stop running not only from her Alt, but also from love . . . though both have the power to destroy her.

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, Dystopia is not up my alley. That being said, I actually liked Dualed, enough that I may be tempted to go out and get the sequel one of these days.

Its an interesting concept, killing your ‘alt’ that certainly takes Survival of the Fittest very seriously. I’m just not sure how realistic it is, how desperate people must have been to agree that they all need to be murders, and to risk having children that will either grow up to murder or be murdered.

One of my biggest problems with it is the same as my problems with Me Before You: its predictable. Either because the title of hte second book gives something away, or because there is a second (or third) book at all gives something away.

Overall

If you like Dystopian you should definitely read this. Its a very different book, I’ve never read anything like it even within the dystopian genre.

If dystopia isn’t your favorite genre (like me!) you may still want to read this, because its so unique. I know my biggest complain with the dystopian genre is the predictability and reused storylines, and yes this is another ‘fight to the death’ storyline, but its not a typical one.

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors

Welcome to this week’s top ten Tuesday. Today’s focus is authors. I’ve put them in alphabetical order, because I couldn’t bare to put them in any other order (such as by preference because I love them all!)

Continue reading “Top Ten Tuesday: Authors”