Review: Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker + Wendy Xu

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Goodreads | Blackwells

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.
Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.
One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.
Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

I’ve wanted to read this since before it was released. In fact, I even had an e-arc on Netgalley, but unfortunately I couldn’t download the file for some reason. I’ve been looking for a copy ever since but could never find them, and I finally managed to get one a month or so ago! I think they’ve been reprinted as there is still a few available on Blackwell’s and Forbidden Planet if you’re looking for one.

I was a little hesitant that this wouldn’t live up to expectations as I’ve wanted to read it for over a year, but it really did. This was gorgeous. The artwork was absolutely beautiful and the colours were stunning. As soon as I opened the book I knew I was going to love the art style. I devoured this and read it in two sittings (it would have been one if I didn’t stop for a phone call in the middle!).

I loved that this was a contemporary book with paranormal elements that just feel ‘normal’ for the story. It talked about family, friendship and relationships but also demons, magic, witches and werewolves. And I felt like it just worked. Nothing felt forced, it was a perfect combination. There was also so much diversity, with Asian-American main characters, a non-binary main character, queer relationships and even a main character with a hearing impairment. This all felt natural and flowed really well in the story, but are still discussed in relation to it. Nova’s hearing impairment was discussed in relation to her magic, and is not ignored in the face of anything.

I adored everything about this. The characters are lovely and so well written – I related to them instantly and loved their relationships. The world was super interesting. The plot was adventurous, but the story didn’t shy away from important and hard-hitting discussions. The artwork was vibrant and utterly addictive. I’m so, so glad I read this, it felt like a hug, a warm blanket, a cup of hot chocolate. I feel like it’s one I will re-read again and again!

★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Born into an oppressive colonialist society, Creole heiress Antoinette Cosway meets a young Englishman who is drawn to her innocent sensuality and beauty. After their marriage, disturbing rumours begin to circulate, poisoning her husband against her. Caught between his demands and her own precarious sense of belonging, Antoinette is driven towards madness.
This is a fully annotated edition of Jean Rhys’s late literary masterpiece, which was inspired by Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre, and is set in the lush, beguiling landscape of Jamaica in the 1830s.

Jane Eyre is one of my favourite books of all time. It’s probably my most re-read book as I’ve read it every couple of years since I was about 11 years of age. It makes me cry every single time, even though I’ve read it about 4 times. But not once have I stopped to consider that there was a whole other story I was missing – the story of Bertha Mason.

But Jean Rhys did stop to think of Bertha’s story, and decided to tell her own re-imagined version. Wide Sargasso Sea is the story of Antionette Cosway, who becomes the mad-woman in the attic. She is a Creole woman living in Jamaica shortly after the abolition of slavery. The point of view of Mr Rochester is bookended by the views of Antionette herself, growing up and later in the attic of Thornfield Hall.

You can pretend for a long time, but one day it all falls away and you are alone.

Personally, I found Part One of the story quite dense and hard to get to grips with. I felt like I had been plunged into the story and unsure of my surroundings and the characters in particular, but the writing was my favourite part. The descriptions of the Jamaican countryside were lush, seductive and rich. I felt absorbed in the landscape, picturing the beautiful countryside. The discussions are contradictory to those in Jane Eyre, with much darker undertones and jarring topics of Antionette’s descent into madness.

I much preferred Part Two of the story, finding myself on more comfortable ground with the point of view of Mr Rochester himself. The beautiful writings and descriptions continue, but I found myself managing to keep up with the day-to-day life of him and Antionette much easier. This section of the story is centered around their honeymoon, and I will sadly be seeing Mr Rochester in a much less favourable light next time I re-read this story. He finds out certain things about his wife’s family history that portrays her in a new light, and begins to exploit her and project his own feelings and thoughts onto her. Here begins her slow descent into hysteria, which is a maddening, confusing and brutal experience.

Part three, the last part of the story, shows Antionette now in the attic at Thornfield, and flicks between different days. Reading this feels like reading in a daze – Antionette is unsure of her surroundings, what day it is, or why she is there. She doesn’t believe she is in England and hangs on to anything she owns that feels familiar to her. I really felt the links to Jane Eyre here and it nicely rounded off the story for me.

We are alone in the most beautiful place in the world…

If you’re looking for a fresh perspective on the classic novel, I would definitely recommend reading Wide Sargasso Sea. It is the kind of book that will change your perspective on writing, on your favourite novels and favourite characters. I will be interested to see how it changes my view of the characters in Jane Eyre next time I read it!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Bizarre Romance by Audrey Niffenegger and Eddie Campbell

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Internationally bestselling author of The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger, and graphic artist Eddie Campbell, of such seminal works as From Hell by Alan Moore, collaborate on a wonderfully bizarre collection that celebrates and satirizes love of all kinds. With 16 different stories told through illustrated prose or comic panels, the couple explores the idiosyncratic nature of relationships in a variety of genres from fractured fairy tales to historical fiction to paper dolls. With Niffenegger’s sharp, imaginative prose and Campbell’s diverse comic styles, Bizarre Romance is the debut collection by two of the most important storytellers of our time.

This book was without a doubt the weirdest, wackiest, most bizarre I’ve ever read. And I loved it. It turned out to be nothing like I expected, and instead of being about the authors’ relationship like I thought, it ended up being about love of art, of animals, of people, of magic and mystical beings. I really liked finding where love came into each story, whether it was a comic with fantasy elements or literary fiction.

As with any collection of short stories, I preferred some over others. I found the art style jarring at times, but I still really liked some of the comics. I ended up having two joint favourites, Thursday’s, Six to Eight p.m. and The Church of the Funnies. Thursday’s, Six to Eight p.m. was the first story in this book, and was in comic format. This story was pretty standard fiction, and I really liked it being about a bibliophile. It was very unexpected with twists and turns and I was hooked for the whole story! The Church of the Funnies was the penultimate story in this collection, and was a love letter to art (at least, in my mind). It left me with a smile on my face. The vast majority of these stories were published before for different reasons, and this one was actually a sermon written by Niffenegger and was delivered at Manchester Cathedral as part of Manchester Literary Festival in 2014.

I also ended up really liking some of the stories with fantasy elements, like the unexpected ghost story Secret Life with Cats, and the darker ones such as Digging Up the Cat. Every story had something I liked, and I related to each of them on one level or another. It appealed to the deepest, darkest and weirdest parts of me, and when I embraced it, I really enjoyed it.

I’m going to do a quick list with summaries of each story and my ratings of each!

Thursday’s, Six to Eight p.m.★★★

Comic. As I mentioned, my joint favourite story in this series. A couple get married, but he wants to have two hours on a Thursday night to himself, and doesn’t explain why. After a while, she gets suspicious and tries to find out why he wants the time alone….

The Composite Boyfriend – ★★★

Prose. This one was a lovely introduction to the prose in this book. A short story about a history of boyfriends, all of them being not ‘the one’.

RoseRedSnowRidingBeautyShoesHoodSleepingWhite – ★★★

Comic. A very odd fantasy story about siblings looking for Halloween costumes, but ended up being mystical, magical and poignant.

Secret Life, With Cats – ★★★

Prose. Another one of my favourites and I really enjoyed it. A surreal ghost story with love being a central theme (and a lot of cats).

The Ruin of Grant Lowery – ★★★

Comic. A very odd story about a man who meets a group of faeries in a bar, with an ending that made me laugh.

Girl on a Roof★★★

Prose. A short story about a girl called Nan who has not seen her girlfriend Sylvie since the floods began in New Orleans. A beautiful love story that had such a heavy, poignant feeling.

Jakob Wywialowski and the Angels – ★★★

Comic. Another wacky comic about a man with angels in his roof, that he gets the pest control in to deal with. Again, this one had a surprising, emotional ending that I really liked.

At the Movies★★★

Prose. Another one I quite enjoyed, about a couple making a movie. A simple but heartfelt story I resonated with.

Motion Studies: Getting out of Bed – ★★★

Comic. An odd story about a woman who posed for life drawing classes and was now part of what was seemingly a photography project. I really enjoyed how the thoughts and feelings of the woman were intertwined with the drawings.

The Wrong Fairy – ★★★

Prose. Another poignant story about an elderly man who had been committed to a mental asylum. Again, we had fantasy elements which were wacky but really enjoyable.

Digging up the Cat – ★★★

Prose. As previously mentioned, another one of my favourites and I really liked this one. A dark story about a family who were digging up their pet cat who had been buried for 7 years, and wanted to add another recently deceased pet to be buried with it.

The Church of the Funnies – ★★★

Prose. A joint favourite for me alongside Tuesday’s, Six to Eight p.m.. A love letter to art that I really liked and left me quietly chuckling to myself.

Backwards in Seville – ★★★

Comic. An emotional story about a middle aged woman had joined her aging father on a cruise. This ended up being very sweet and I quite liked the art style.

There is nothing that explains this book as well as this quote from the introduction of the book itself, and I couldn’t sum it up better myself: “sometimes romantic, sometimes star-crossed, or merely discombobulated, but all are at least a tiny bit bizarre.”

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Olivia and her twin brother, Aidan, are heading alone back to Earth following the virus that completely wiped out the rest of their crew, and their family.
Nathan is part of a community heading in the opposite direction. But on their journey Nathan’s ship is attacked and most of the community killed. Only a few survive.
Their lives unexpectedly collide. Nathan and Vee are instantly attracted to each other, deeply, head over heels – like nothing they have ever experienced.
But not everyone is pleased. And surrounded by rumours, deception – even murder – is it possible to live out a happy ever after . . . ?

Thank you to Penguin UK for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Welp. I wondered if I would struggle reading this story because it’s about a virus. As it turns out, I did struggle reading this story. And it was nothing to do with it being about a virus. This book has been on my TBR for around 3 years and I was hesitant to pick it up. At least I’m somewhat glad I picked this out of my TBR jar so I finally forced myself to read it.

I wanted to love this book, I really did. And at points I was really enjoying it. But the further I got into the story, the lower it went down in my ratings. This is a love story set in space, with lashings of mystery that didn’t seem to be explained at all. There was massive plot holes (that I’m only just realising now), that left me unsure of who actually committed the crimes and whether we even had a big reveal, or if it was just brushed off in favour of the romance.

Ahh, the romance. Let me tell you, it was awful. It was all a big, overdramatic and unrealistic insta-love story, with absolutely no logic behind it. These characters were young and desperate and fell in love as soon as they laid eyes on one other. I understand Vee had been alone with her brother for 3 years, but girl, you knew you’d be trapped on a ship with this new guy for god knows how long, at least take it slow. The pacing of this romance was so ridiculous, it was quite obvious what would come next. Even when the romance took a downturn, I couldn’t revel in it because it made me so angry. Nathan was possessive anyway, but asserts his dominance in a way that made me uncomfortable, and that’s putting it mildly. His behavior made me physically cringe, and makes me worry for the audience. Although it is explained that this behavior is not okay, it is not discussed as much as I would have liked at all.

As another review I read mentions, this book switches between being too explicit, to being cringey and cliched, and misses the mark altogether. I’m really not sure who the audience is at this point, because the topics are too dark for younger readers, but the writing is definitely not suited to older readers. The main character, Vee, was probably the best of the lot. She wasn’t without her own annoyances, but for the most part she remained brave and calm in the face of danger and whatever life threw at her didn’t break her.

The main reason I read on was due to the plot being super fast and the mystery element being somewhat compelling. Even though I guessed who the killer was very early on, I wasn’t sure of their exact motivations. Even though this was readable, and even enjoyable in places, I couldn’t help my desire to roll my eyes every few pages at the idiocy of the whole thing. Overall, it was just kind of an unfortunate mess.

★★
2 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Tonight the Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Recklessly loyal.
That’s how seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley has always thought of herself. Caring for her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But lately she’s grown resentful of everyone—including her needy best friend and her absent mom—taking her loyalty for granted.
Then Arden stumbles upon a website called Tonight the Streets Are Ours, the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter, who gives voice to feelings that Arden has never known how to express. He seems to get her in a way that no one else does, and he hasn’t even met her.
Until Arden sets out on a road trip to find him.
During one crazy night out in New York City filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn’t exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn’t exactly who she thought she was, either.

I have a really specific pet-peeve of getting annoyed by books that claim they are road trip books, but actually spend a really small amount of time in a car. And this, sadly, turned out to be one of those books. You see, I really have a soft spot for road trip books, so I just find myself being left feeling disappointed when they don’t do what they claim to do.

I found myself simultaneously being annoyed by but also relating to Arden. I could see myself in her and understand why she acted the way she did, but she also made me want to throw the book at the wall. She is a frustrated teenage girl who is loyal to those around her, and realises she doesn’t get the same back. I can relate to this, but then she started really taking it out on those people around her, which I struggled to read about.

Love means sometimes sacrificing the things you want in order to make somebody else happy. 

Don’t get me wrong, I did like this book. In fact, I quite enjoyed it. It just seemed to bring out more negativity than positivity and honestly left me feeling a little let down, which is not the kind of book I want right now. Although I could appreciate the morals and values in this book, I found it hard to feel happy that Arden was learning them. It was just kind of hard to swallow.

The plot is kind of slow, but easy to read. I really got into the swing of it when I got to the blog posts, and I found myself being more engaged in them than in the book itself. The concept is actually really clever and definitely made me read ahead and want to get through the book quickly – I was very drawn into finding out about Peter’s life.

It means being there for them, even when maybe you don’t feel like it, because they need you.

There are definitely parts of this book I enjoyed, and I really liked the subject of Arden learning more about herself and learning to love herself. Seeing her grow throughout the story was probably the best part, alongside learning about Peter and the blog. I think one of the reasons this book let me down a little was due to the fact I was comparing it to Radio Silence, which I enjoyed much more!

★★★
3 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Becoming the Dark Prince (#3.5) by Kerri Maniscalco

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Goodreads

Enigmatic, brooding, and darkly handsome, Thomas Cresswell has always been the one mystery Audrey Rose has never been able to fully solve. As brilliant partners in crime investigation, they understand each other perfectly…but as young lovers, their passionate natures have led to both euphoria and heartbreak throughout the Stalking Jack the Ripper series.
This novella features a collection of scenes that takes place during and after the pair’s horrifying Atlantic voyage in Escaping From Houdini. Experience new and familiar scenes from Thomas’s unique point of view, including an intensely personal look into his plea for Audrey Rose’s hand in marriage.

This is a novella from Thomas’s point of view, focusing on his relationship with Audrey Rose. This has only been published in ebook format, and is set at the very end of Escaping from Houdini and before the events of Capturing the Devil. I’d definitely recommend reading this after Escaping from Houdini like we did! Again, I read this one with Amy and Jo as part of our buddy read of the whole series. I’m really glad Amy recommended we read this one too as we all enjoyed it quite a lot!

Winning is an archaic way or looking at romance.

I really like Thomas as a character and a love interest. Learning about his perspective on their relationship and his own inner demons was really interesting. His passion and love for Audrey Rose is so heartwarming and his willingness to let her make her own choices (especially in this historical setting) is so beautiful. Their relationship is so great to read about and I love how they treat each other as complete equals, especially due to the time period.

The setting was lovely, and I’m really excited to read about the couple exploring New York! I love the descriptions of the surroundings and the clothing, it really makes the books feel historically accurate.

Her heart isn’t like a cheap round of cards. Love isn’t a game. It’s a choice.

I really enjoyed this novella and I’m glad it was my first read of the year! If you like the series, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this one.

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Finale (#4) by Becca Fitzpatrick

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Nora and Patch thought their troubles were behind them. Hank is gone and they should be able to put his ugly vendetta to rest. But in Hank’s absence, Nora has become the unwitting head of the Nephilim and must finish what Hank began. Which ultimately means destroying the fallen angels – destroying Patch.
Nora will never let that happen, so she and Patch make a plan: lead everyone to believe they have broken up, and work the system from the inside. Nora will convince the Nephilim that they are making a mistake in fighting the fallen angels, and Patch will find out everything he can from the opposing side. They will end this war before it can even begin.
But the best-laid plans often go awry. Nora is put through the paces in her new role and finds herself drawn to an addictive power she never anticipated.
As the battle lines are drawn, Nora and Patch must confront the differences that have always been between them and either choose to ignore them or let them destroy the love they have always fought for. 

I swear I have a severe problem with immediately forgetting most of what happens in these books. I read this one again so quickly that I seem to only remember chunks of it. This was the big finish, the war between fallen angels and nephilim. It was meant to be the big finale, but it just felt like small repeats of events of the previous book, over and over again. But I have to admit, it is action packed, albeit mediocre action. Again, I read the physical version and I couldn’t put it down.

Nora has definitely changed and matured over the series. She has gone from being quiet and self conscious, to kick-ass and manipulative. I quite like how she has developed and how her relationship with Patch has grown too. The thing that hasn’t changed about Nora, however, is her decision making. This girl just cannot make a good decision, and continues to be reckless and irresponsible.

“I want to take care of you, cherish you, and love you in a way no other man ever could. 

Patch is also highly problematic, down to the point of putting a tracker on Nora. I actually think this happens in Silence, but I was reminded of it now and I needed to mention it. The way he acts around Nora sometimes is concerning and very up and down. It’s definitely not an ideal relationship (or one I would want to be in), but I do like how they have grown throughout this series.

Marcie actually became a really interesting character, and I quite enjoyed reading more about her life and her personal problems. I have no idea, however, why and how Nora’s mum took Marcie under her wing, despite some weird guilt about Hank’s death. And maybe guilt about Hank, as a whole. I might be wrong, but I don’t think this was explained at all and felt very contradictory to the rest of the story. Like a lot of things in this book!

I want to spoil you — every kiss, every touch, every thought, they all belong to you. I’ll make you happy. Every day, I’ll make you happy.”

I felt like this was a disappointing end to a disappointing series. I really wanted this to be another improvement on the series, and for this to be the big, action packed finale I was looking for. But unfortunately, it was a let down again. The best thing about this series was the pacing, as I flew through these books so quickly. I can see why they are widely enjoyed, and it feels like a guilty pleasure series as a whole.

★★★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Silence (#3) by Becca Fitzpatrick

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Goodreads | Waterstones

The noise between Patch and Nora has gone. They’ve overcome the secrets riddled in Patch’s dark past, bridged two irreconcilable worlds and faced heart-wrenching tests of betrayal, loyalty and trust… and all for a love that will transcend the boundary between heaven and earth.
Armed with nothing but their absolute faith in one another, Patch and Nora enter a desperate fight to stop a villain who holds the power to shatter everything they’ve worked for – and their love – forever.

I finally got to a point where I enjoyed this book more than the previous one in the series. I think this is definitely partly due to reading the physical version rather than the audiobook. I honestly couldn’t put it down, and that was exactly what I was hoping from the physical book. This book took a twist with Nora not being able to remember anything from the past 5 months of her life – the entire first two books. At first, this felt a bit like an excuse to write another book, just erase her memory! But I delved into the book and began to enjoy it a lot. This is definitely a guilty pleasure series!

I’ve got to be honest, I’ve dived straight into the last book and I’m already nearly halfway through, so I am struggling to separate the events of the books as I’ve been reading them so quickly. I also read around 220 pages of this book in one sitting, as I really couldn’t put it down!

I missed you, Angel.

Nora continues to be her usual feisty self, fighting for the memories she has lost and to fill the hole she now has. She is a real fighter, very sassy and will stop at nothing to get her way. Nora has also forgotten her relationship with Patch, and rediscovers him in this book through fresh eyes. This definitely gave their relationship a new level and she feels more mature than in the first few books. Their relationship was a big problem for me in the second book, and I’m glad I could finally feel a bit different towards them in this one!

I honestly am struggling to remember the plot, because I sped through it so quickly, but it must have been good because I just couldn’t put it down. Becca’s writing may not be the most sophisticated, but can also be quite addictive!

Not one day went by that I didn’t feel you missing from my life.

I don’t know how much of this was about reading the physical version, but I am finally beginning to see what people like and enjoy about reading this series. It can be a bit trashy, but I am really liking reading them and I’m definitely getting a little addicted to the story.

★★
3.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Escaping from Houdini (#3) by Kerri Maniscalco

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a travelling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?

This is the third book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series and it might just about be my favourite so far. Again, I buddy read this one with my lovely friends Amy and Jo, and I’m so glad we’ve been reading these together! This book is set straight after Hunting Prince Dracula, with the two main characters Audrey and Thomas travelling on a cruise ship across the ocean to America. I didn’t realise this would actually be set on the ship but I honestly ended up loving it!

I’ve been lucky enough to go on a cruise once in my life and this book definitely captured the essence of being on a cruise ship, with the luxurious and elabroate lifestyle and enchanting shows. I really liked how Kerri used the classic cruise ship magic show and made it into a carnival with lots of behind the scenes extravaganzas.

I love you… More than all the stars in the universe. 

I’ve always enjoyed books with carnivals, circuses and other games, such as Caraval and The Night Circus. This book really held elements of those with the carnival on the ship, and I really enjoyed reading about the carnival nights on the ship. The contrast of the carnival with the darker events happening behind the scenes was really interesting and intriguing.

As usual, I really enjoyed reading about Audrey Rose and continues to hold her own in this book. Her relationship with Thomas feels mature and they both have their own independence. I really like how the romance takes a backseat and is a subplot to the book.

In this life and ever after. I love you.

Again, I had absolutely no idea who the killer was and Kerri constantly manages to surprise me! I’m always trying to work it out without success. I can’t wait to read the next and last book!

★★★★★
4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

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Review: Hunting Prince Dracula (#2) by Kerri Maniscalco

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Goodreads | Waterstones

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend. 
But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

I buddy read this book with Amy and Jo, who I buddy read the first book with and it was so much fun despite being deep in assignments and busy at work and only managing to read a very small amount a day! As with the first book, Maniscalco has the most amazing way of describing the world Audrey and Thomas are in. This book is set in snowy Romania, and funnily enough we ended up reading it over some of the days in the book, as it is written kind of in diary format and set in December!

I adored the setting of this book and it just felt so magical, especially in the snow. The first part of the book really reminded me of Murder on the Orient Express, and I loved how much I could picture it. The castle that most of this book is set in was also so well described, and I could picture it so well along with the nearby village they travelled in to.

You are not mine to take.” He brushed his lips against mine. Softly, so softly I might have imagined them there. My eyes fluttered shut.

As with the first book, Audrey Rose made for an excellent protagonist. I loved how strong and independent she is, and she just really holds her own, especially for the main character of a book set in the Victorian times. She continues to be such an admirable woman of her time and I really enjoyed reading about the decisions she makes in regards to her relationships.

Thomas was also a great love interest, despite a few questionable moments that Audrey certainly doesn’t let him get away with (and I love her for it!). Again, this story has another dark mystery which I loved. It felt sufficiently creepy and atmospheric, and I had no clue who the killer was until the reveal!

He could persuade me to build a steamship to the moon when he kissed me. We could orbit the stars together. “You are yours to give.

Overall, this is an excellent edition to the first, and I really enjoyed it. I can’t wait to read more about Audrey and Thomas and the adventures they get up to!


4.5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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