For readers around the globe. :)

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Stalking Jack the Ripper

I actually picked this book up on a whim, thinking "Eh if it sucks, it was only $7."
I'm really glad I spent that $7 on this book.
 
Stalking Jack the Ripper was such an interesting take on the infamous Whitechapel murders and the man behind them. It's ya fiction, so our narrator is Audrey Rose Wadsworth, a teenage girl working in her uncle's laboratory. Audrey Rose is a member of high society and in the 1880's, forensics wasn't something a girl should have been exposed to. Kerri Maniscalco did a fantastic job of pointing that out by making Audrey Rose such a strong minded character who knew her place in the world, even if it wasn't the place society wanted her to be. 
 
While working in her uncle's lab, she meets Thomas Cresswell, a fellow forensics student. Together, the three of them begin performing the autopsies for Jack the Ripper's victims. When Audrey notices they all have one thing in common, she follows her lead down a dark path. She couldn't possibly think someone in her own family could be Jack the Ripper..... Not soon after, her uncle is taken to the asylum until they can clear him of the crimes. But Thomas and Audrey Rose know he's innocent, he's been wracking his brain with the rest of them to find this killer. But who, or who could he be?

During the hunt, Thomas and Audrey Rose begin an unlikely friendship. I was skeptical that the small romance they share would become a focal point in the novel, but it actually worked incredibly well. They way the ending ties together with the rest of their relationship was the perfect lead in to the next book, Hunting Prince Dracula. I didn't realize the series would have them traveling to new places to investigate, but I'm beyond excited to travel with them.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

What You Hide

Natalie D. Richards is slowly becoming one of my go-to-authors.
Every time I get an arc of hers from Sourcebooks Fire, it pulls me right out of my reading slump.

Let's just say I have a weakness for ya thrillers....
 
What You Hide is the perfect spooky read for October.
It has just the right amount of mystery and romance while hitting on some serious issues, like teen homelessness. Oh, and the whole thing takes place in a library!

So there's two viewpoints, Spencer's and Mallory's.
Spencer was adopted into a rather wealthy family; star hockey player, aspiring rock climber, and serving his community service hours at the library where he broke an expensive window while he climbed it.
 
On the other hand, Mallory has to leave her family; with or without her pregnant mother. She can't live another day with her manipulative stepfather Charlie watching her every move. She enrolls in virtual high school and spends most of her days at the library.
 
Obviously, Spencer and Mallory meet at the shared location and quickly start up a witty, romantic banter with each other. Maybe it could become something or maybe they're in way over their heads.
When Mallory decided she has nowhere else to go, she sneaks into the library and crashes overnight in the bathroom. But that's not even the weird part, someone is leaving messages in the library; black soot, dark footprints, writings on the walls, and an intricate art display.... could the library be haunted?
 
The story unfolds over the course of about a month with alternating story line's that pick up where the last character left off. Not going to lie, I was a little put off by romance being tagged as a key part of this book, because that's not something I really enjoy reading. But with all the things that happen in the story, it definitely worked well. It was subtle crush between two teens in the same area, could have happened anywhere. Regardless, I enjoyed this book and pretty much every other book I've read by Natalie D. Richards!
 
Huge thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for an ARC of What You Hide!
What You Hide hits shelves December 4th!
 
Looking for other books by Natalie D. Richards?

Thursday, October 11, 2018

What They Don't Know: EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY

Check out this excerpt from What They Don't Know by Nicole Maggi!
Giveaway below :)

February 13
Dear Ms. Tilson,
You probably think you know who I am, but I'm here to tell you that you don't. I used to be a bright star of a girl, but that girl burned out of existence, like a fire swept through my life and left nothing but ash and smoke. That smoke is a memory of what I had, so thick I can smell it and feel it in my eyes and ears and nose. But I can't touch it. Smoke, like memories, will slip through your fingers and disappear as if it never existed at all.
I keep thinking that if I could write down how my life used to be, maybe I could capture that smoke, keep it from drifting away. That's what made me finally crack open this journal you gave us at the beginning of the semester. Could these pages be some magical vessel to contain that gone-girl? All those bright memories preserved in this one place?
I would write about how on Sundays, after the long hours spent at church, we'd pile into the truck, exhausted, and my mom would say, "I'm too tired to cook," which is the greatest sin for a woman on a Sunday in our church, but my dad would smile indulgently and order a pizza. "God rested on Sunday; why shouldn't you?" He'd joke. Then they would kiss, and I'd be reminded that I'm one of six kids, so they must've had sex at some point. Which is gross to think about but also comforting because it means there's some order to the world.
I'd write about how when my younger sister, Joanie, was a baby and would wake up crying in the middle of the night, I was usually the one who got there first with a bottle of warmed- up breast milk from the freezer. Some nights I'd rock her for hours even after she'd fallen asleep, watching her tiny eyelids flutter as she dreamed. What is she dreaming about? I'd wonder. Sometimes I'd place her gently in her crib and get my sketchbook, draw her in a soft, black pencil. Those nights were magical. They seemed to exist in their own dimension, the spell broken only by the rising sun.
I'd write about the day after my older sister, Hannah, got her license. She picked me up from school, and instead of going straight home, we drove and drove and drove. We rode over the mountain passes, twisting along the back roads until we came to this hole-in-the-wall dive in the middle of nowhere called the Wooden Nickel. Hannah had read about it in Sunset Magazine, how it supposedly had the best bison burgers in America. We ate them with their secret special sauce dripping down our chins, washed them down with small-batch root beer, and got home hours after dark. Mom and Dad yelled their heads off, and Hannah lost her license for a week, but after they sent us to bed, Hannah turned to me and said, "Worth it."
I'd write about how I had everything I wanted and didn't know it. I had a family who surrounded me with love and acceptance. I had a father and a mother who stood on such high pedestals that the sun blinded me when I looked up at them. They loved me unconditionally, or so I thought. I never imagined there could be conditions under which they would not love me.
Every night I thanked God for my parents' love and for my family's abundance, and yet every day I took each of those things for granted. Now I'm left with the memory of what I once had.
No. These pages can't contain that smoke, those memories. They're gone now, destroyed in one irreversible moment.
Maybe I should stop here. Let you go on believing everything you think you know about ,me. That would definitely be easiest. I could record what I ate for breakfast, what time I went to bed, which TV shows I like to watch. All those myths you have about me can stay intact. You can go on thinking I'm the perfect daughter of Mayor Rivers, the shining example of the family values he talks about in speech after speech after speech. Believe that I never cause any trouble and I'm always a good girl. I'll probably get a C, but you'll never know my innermost thoughts. I'll stay safe.
Except I can't stay safe anymore.
As of December 21, nowhere is safe.
I would give anything to redo that day.
But I can't.
And the only place I can talk about it is in these pages.
So let's start with a pop quiz. True of False: Mellie Rivers is a virgin.
False. As of December 21, at 3:30 in the afternoon, on the floor in the basement of my house, I am not a virgin.
True or False: Mellie Rivers would never have sex before marriage.
True. I made a promise to God and my family, and I wear the ring on my left hand, where, presumable, one day, my husband will place a different, more permanent ring. I would have kept that promise. But the choice was taken from me.
True or False: Mellie Rivers would never, ever get pregnant out of wedlock.
False.
Signed,

Mellie Rivers.

Rafflecopter Giveaway!
Runs October 2nd-31st
US & Canada Only

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

After the Fire: EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY

I am pleased to share an excerpt from After the Fire by Will Hill and maaaaaaaybe, a little giveaway at the end!

I sprint across the yard, my eyes streaming, my heart pounding in my chest.
The noise of gunfire is still deafening, and I hear- I actually hear- bullets whizzing past me, their low whines like the speeded-up buzz of insects, but I don't slow down, and I don't change course. THe Chapel is burning out of control, its roof engulfed by roaring fire and sending up a huge black plume of smoke, and the amplified voice of the Government boos across the compound, repeating its demand over and over again.
"Put down your weapons and come forward slowly with your hands in the air!"
Nobody is listening. Not the other Governments, and definitely not any of my Brothers and Sisters.
In the distance, back near the Front Gate, the tank rumbles forward, crushing the flimsy wire fence of churning the desert floor. Somewhere, over the engines and the endless rattle of gunfire, I can hear screams of pain and pleading shouts for help, but I force myself to ignore them and keep going: my gaze is fixed on the wooden cabins at the western edge of the Base.
I trip over something.
My feet tangle, and I go sprawling onto the cracked blacktop of the yard. Pain crunches through my as my shoulder hits the ground, but I grit my teeth and get back on my feet and look to see what I fell over.
Alice is lying on her back, her hands clutching her stomach.
 Her shirt has turned red, and she's lying in a pool of blood that seems too big to have all come out of one person. She's still alive though. Her eyes are dim, but they find mine, and she looks at me with an expression I can't describe. There's pain there, a lot of pain, and shock, and fear, and something that looks like confusion, like she wants to know how things ever came to this.
I hold her gaze. I want to stay with her, to tell her it's all right and that she's going to be okay, but it isn't all right, nothing is, and I don't know very much about bullet wounds, but I don't think she is going to be okay.
I'm pretty sure she's going to die.
I stare at her, wasting seconds that the still-functional bit of my brain screams at me for wasting, then run towards the west barracks. Alice's eyes widen as I start to turn away, but I don't see anger in them. I think she understands what I have to do.
That's what I tell myself, at least.

***

After

....I drift....
......my hand feels like it's wrapped in fire. My eyes open and everything is white and there's a beeping noise and something that has no face looms over me and I try to scream but nothing happens. I'm so scared I can't even think. My eyes roll back and....
....a man looks down at me, and his face is just eyes above a white mask. He shows me a huge needle, and I just stare at it because I'm too scared to move, and when he pushes it into my arm I don't even feel it because the pain in my hand is still so huge that it blocks everything else out. I know what doctors are from when I was little and TV was still allowed, but I've never seen one in real life until now. The Prophet is screaming in my head that the doctors are agents of THE GOVERNMENT, that every one of them is a SERVANT OF THE SERPENT, and his voice rattles and shakes my brain, and my stomach churns, and I'm so scared I can't even breathe while the doctor tapes the needle that;s inside my arm to my skin and connects it to a tube that leads to a bag of milky white liquid. He says something I don't understand, and then the liquid starts to flow. I watch it creep down the tbe toward my arm. I can't move a single muscle, but I manage to form a thought over the noise of Father John howling in my head: I wonder what is going to happen when the white liquid gois inside me, and I wonder if I'm still going to be me the next time I wake up......
.....the lights above me are blinding, but the pain is much less, and the plastic bag at the end of the tube is empty. I can just about raise my head far enough to see the big mitten of bandages that has been wrapped around my left hand. Sometimes a doctor stands next to my bed and stares at me and sometimes I hear raised voices in the distance and sometimes I start crying and can't stop. I'm too hot and too cold and everything is wrong and I really want to go home, because even that was better than this. A man wearing a hat and a uniform asks me my name, but Father John roars in my head, so I don't answer. He asks again, and I don't answer again, and he rolls his eyes and walks away....

***

....I drift.....

Rafflecopter Giveaway!
Open October 2nd-31st
US & Canada Only!!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Sadie

It's been awhile since I've been completely enthralled by a book, but Sadie pulled me right in.
It's not at all what I expected it to be. I knew it was going to be a darker book based on the premise alone, but what I got was so much more than that.
 
Sadie is 19 years old but she's basically raised herself and Mattie, her 13 year old sister. But when Mattie runs away and turns up dead, Sadie wants revenge. She knows who did it and she plans on killing him. But that means she has to leave behind May Beth, her surrogate grandmother. When May Beth realized that Sadie is gone, she calls the producer of a true crime podcast to maybe get an investigative reporter who is more helpful than their local police department. Because let's be real...
 
I can' take another dead girl.

The podcast aspect of this novel is actually brilliant for a number of reasons.
1) We get everyone's viewpoint. Sure most of the story is told through reported West McCray and May Beth; but every person Sadie comes in contact with gets their own little voice.
2) The podcast chapters are much lighter than Sadie's chapters. They're short but informative and packed full of emotions. But Sadie's chapters put you in her head as she deals with the loss of her sister, the struggles in her life, and the path she's had to take to get her revenge.
3) Wednesday Books actually released "The Girls," podcast from the book. Every Wednesday, starting on September 4th, they released a serialized podcast that reads the exact podcast chapters from the book. I've included a link to episode one here!
 
However, I would like to know your opinions on this.
It's never actually mentioned if West McCray is a man or woman.
Which is not a big deal, but as I was reading reviews and listening to the podcast... West is a man yet, I was reading West as a woman. I pondered over it because the character is mentioned to have a daughter and be married to a man. But in our ever-changing society, West very well could be a man and I'm just wondering how you all read this character's voice.

I loved this book and I legitimately had to set the book down as I was reading Sadie's last chapter because I couldn't handle it. I was feeling her anxiety as she was feeling it and it blew my mind how well written her character was. I applaud Courtney Summers for this!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Nothing Left to Lose

The bittersweet ending to my current favorite series.

It's the last book, so beware of spoilers.

Brooke's gone, Boy Dog is with the FBI, and John's on his own again.
This time he ends up in Lewisville, Arizona following a lead. A women drowned in her own living room, no water nearby, but somehow drowned. Seems like the work of a Withered, which is exactly what brought John to this little town. Luckily, he has an advantage.... the dead old woman worked at the mortuary and now they need someone to fill her shoes. Obviously, John is the perfect candidate and he definitely inserted himself into all of their lives the day of he funeral. But that night he has a run in with a Withered or two and quickly realizes that this town needs him.
 John is almost like a regular 18 year old (minus the whole mortuary thing), hanging out at hipster pizza joints and couch surfing; well until his new boss realizes the FBI is looking for him. Like always, his fire setting caught their attention and they sent a full team out looking for him.

This book is probably the slowest one in the series, which I totally understand.
But honestly, I don't like John on his own. He's always had someone to bounce ideas off of and in this one there wasn't any of that. He didn't have a lot of drive left in him, in my opinion anyway. There was no connection to any of the other characters like there was before. Nothing was tying him to Arizona, yet he stayed anyway.

Either way, I'm glad I read it.
I've been besties with John Wayne Cleaver for the past nine months.
I am happy.

Looking for the rest of the series?
Mr. Monster (book two)
Next of Kin (novella)
Over Your Dead Body (book five)

Monday, September 17, 2018

People Kill People

Disclaimer: this book deals with sexual abuse, suicidal ideation, and gun violence.

Now, that that's been said.... lets get down to business.
Ellen Hopkins took a chance on this book, and wrote in a new and unique way. Instead of her usual free verse poetry style, she led us straight into the skin of the characters with poetry sprinkled throughout. But the amazing thing that she did.....
 
She made violence the narrator. 

Which is amazing.
People Kill People is told through 6 POV's: Rand, Silas, Daniel, Cami, Noelle, and Ashlyn.
Of course, each of their lives overlap in one way or another in classic Hopkins style. Each of their stories are sprinkled with whispers of violence. The idea that they could even think of committing a crime is something they all regularly struggle with. So lets break down all the characters.

Rand: 19 years old, married to Cami, father to 3 year old Waylon. Aspiring police officer. Violence is the voice of his childhood. The abuse he endured while growing up has shaped him to become a police officer....but only to get revenge on the man who hurt him.

Silas: Teen leader of the TradYouth white supremacist group, regularly uses derogatory terms to explain his "white is right" motto. Violence rears his ugly head towards anyone who is "illegal" and Silas uses it to his advantage.

Daniel: Homeless, Honduran, and half brother to a white supremacist. His mother was deported which caused his father had to announce his secret life to his actual family, who didn't handle it so well. Once his father died, his new family showed their true colors. Which caused violence to slither into Daniel's psyche and make him beyond paranoid of people leaving him.

Cami: 19 years old, married to Rand, mother to Waylon. Stay at home mom life just wasn't the life she was hoping for. She wasn't ready for this life. But when a robbery goes wrong and all her money is stolen, she's suddenly in debt to a very important man. A man that her husband doesn't know she's in business with. Violence shows up (in my opinion) as a way of protecting her and Waylon on their daily errands.

Noelle: Overweight, disabled teen trying to find her voice in the world. After her accident, she lost all of her hopes and dreams. She could never do the things she wanted again and that caused for some serious depression. You guessed it, that's how violence found a way into her life.
 
Ashlyn: Turned on by violence, deals in sexual acts to get the things she wants and needs in life. But when she meets up with her cousin, Tim, she gets caught up in the TradYouth lifestyle. But she's not quite sure what she wants. Violence snuck in during a house party and left her in a jail cell. 

I completely loved the way Ellen Hopkins wrote this book.
It was new, exciting, and definitely had me flipping through the pages.
However, I didn't click with the characters as much as I usually do in her books.
Now don't get me wrong, the story was FANTASTIC and extremely relevant in our current society. But that's obviously what she was trying to do.. she put more development into the story and the connections in the story than she did in the characters themselves.

Looking for more books by Ellen Hopkins?