Thursday, November 16, 2017

Abbreviations #39

Stalking Jack the Ripper book cover
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #1
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Presents
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Source: Purchased the hardcover
Buy the Book: Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Amazon

Stalking Jack the Ripper is a fascinating blend of historical fiction and mystery, with a touch of Ripper mystique and a Nancy Drew vibe. Main character Audrey Rose is a wealthy young woman who leads a secret second life; she is a student - and an excellent one - of forensic science. Drawn to the macabre and the scientific, Audrey Rose finds herself involved in a murder investigation when a string of corpses stirs things up in London... and that, my friends, is really all that you need to know about the novel. Well, that, and also that it happens to be a real fun read! I was fascinated by the way Maniscalco wove in true facts and figures from the Ripper story, and equally drawn to the fictional tale that she wove centering around Audrey Rose and her companions. It was just as entertaining as I'd been promised, and it's by far the most enjoyable Ripper-related novels I've ever read. I will point out that the writing style isn't necessarily my favorite, and that the repetitive nature of certain phrases was something that jolted me out of the story every so often. But even with my reservations, this novel was good and it left me dying to dive into the sequel.

Hunting Prince Dracula book cover
Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #2
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Presents
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Source: ARC received at BEA (Thanks!)

After the events leading up to the discovery of the identity of Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose has left London for the heart of Romania. She's not only running from the haunting memories; she's also set to attend one of Europe's best schools of forensic medicine. But her supposedly quiet entrance to this prestigious school is disrupted by the chaos of another murderer on the loose, and one that uses methods quite similar to a certain Vlad the Impaler... Okay, so, I am here to tell you all that Hunting Prince Dracula is so much more fun than its predecessor! It does suffer from a slow start, but that's because Maniscalco really takes the time to set everything up properly for us readers. Once the plot picks up, it turns into an adventure that's both fun and frightening as Audrey Rose and her friends race to figure out who the murderer is. The murder mystery is definitely my favorite thing about this installment. But I also really liked the school set-up, the character development and the relationships too, which made for an overall truly fun reading experience. I'm so happy I loved this one even more than the first, and I can't wait to read the third when it's finally out!

The Night Circus book cover
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Publisher: Vintage Books
Publication Date: September 13, 2011
Source: Purchased the paperback

I finally did it, friends. I finally read The Night Circus! I've been wanting to read it for years, but only took the plunge this year - and I'm mad that I didn't read it sooner. Anyway, if you're like me and one of the last few people on the planet who has not read it yet, it's about two dueling magicians whose stage is a magnificent circus known only as Le Cirque des Rêves. I know, I know, that description sounds truly simple... but trust me when I saw that this novel is exactly this and more than this all at once. Now, I knew that this was going to be a novel I liked, but it admittedly was not love at first, second or even tenth chapter. I felt disconnected from the narrative and the characters for a good fourth of the story, even though I could recognize the loveliness of the descriptions. But somewhere along the way, though I can't pinpoint exactly when, I realized I was 100% into this story. I cared about the fate of the two main characters and the wonderful Circus; I started appreciating how all the carefully crafted elements of the tale started coming together (much like what happens in Station Eleven). It was beautiful. It was whimsical. It was vivid. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this novel, and can happily recommend it to other readers searching for a slow-paced, character-driven fantasy read.

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