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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Blog Tour Review & Giveaway: Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 336
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery

Flynn's girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own?
Flynn's girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can't answer, and her friends are telling stories that don't add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January's boyfriend, he must know something.
But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January's disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.

I will not lie, the second half of the book really did pick up the pace and grab my attention. Last Seen Leaving opens with one of the most captivating and alluring first paragraph that I have seen in quite some time. It starts out strong, sinks into a little puddle of slow and bothersome, and picks right back up again like an express train right to your station.

Disclaimer: his novel does touch upon the sensitive subject of rape. That being said, it also gives us a fleshed out teenager on the verge of understanding his sexuality all the while coming to terms with the fact that his girlfriend has been decreed missing. What a crazy time to be alive. Roehrig has a fascinating command of dialogue, witty narrative, and really allows his cast of characters to come alive in their voices. On the other side, there are some characters whose abrasive nature are the only trait they possess, whom aren't given enough screen time to be fleshed out, or secrets that are never truly revealed in the end. And while it does bug me, I understand the need to get the biggest secret disclosed. I only wish to have a little more light shone on certain moments, like January's need to string together a slew of lies about Flynn. But being someone who, like Flynn, gets strung up on the vital and obscure information that no one else would know meanwhile having to just rely on your gut instinct, I can face the fact that not all secrets can be revealed.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised with how much I really enjoyed the mystery behind it all. Even though, by the end of it, all of my inner understanding of the legal process thanks to television had me screaming at the stupid decisions Flynn ends up making despite the means to further the plot. Why must stupid, unlawful actions further plot? I digress.  Throughout, I was actually using my hand to cover the bottom parts of the page just so my eyes didn't wander and spoil the secrets for me. I am very bad at spoiling myself.

This seems to be my month of mystery novels

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Review: This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
Series: Monsters of Verity #1
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 464
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.
Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.
*An advanced readers copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review*

Music and monsters and everything in-between. Weclome to Verity, where men and monsters are one in the same.

I have always been a devout fan of Victoria Schwab, having gone to her book tour for A Gathering of Shadows, to enjoying the craft she obviously excels at. And This Savage Song does not fall short. Whether it be her adult or young adult compositions, characters are fleshed out, world-of-story is expansive and rich and horrifyingly beautiful. Verity is a ghost town after dark, riddled with monsters. A city divided, a truce on the verge of collapse, and political unrest scorching the two leaders. Under Callum Harker's control, you pay for safety from his legion of Corsai and Malcai monsters (your Jack the Ripperesque ones). Under Henry Flynn, they fight to keep the monsters at bay, and his Sunai (the musical monsters who steal your soul) are the ace in the hole, to say the least.

When someone tries to kill Kate Harker, big, bad Callum Harker's monstrosity of a daughter, and blame it on the Sunai monsters under Flynn's control to break peace, Kate and August (our little monster undercover) race against time and darkness and all odds. Their partnership is odd, chaotic, and sweet. You root for them, you glue yourselves to the pages for backstory. And there is no romantic subplot tumbling around, it is strictly survival and political warfare. The other Sunai, Leo and Ilsa, are thunderstorms and shooting stars respectively. And the turmoil that all these characters endure as they fight for their lives through the night and against the monsters of Verity is gritty. I had been absorbed, unwilling to put down this book. And the ending, Victoria Schwab can never just leave things simple, she has a way of taking the needle and just plucking the strands of your favorite sweater and teasing out the threads. I ache for Our Dark Duet, and the chaos that will come to Kate and August and all the rest. I wait for new characters and what twists and turns go bump in the night by the hand of Victoria Schwab's pen.

 I really need book two to fill the void, it's unreal

Monday, September 26, 2016

Blog Tour Review + Favorite Quotes: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #1
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
A Young Adult novel
Pages: 336
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Romance
He’s the infamous killer no man has ever been able to find.
Now it’s a girl’s turn.
Groomed to be the perfect highborn Victorian young lady, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has a decidedly different plan for herself. After the loss of her beloved mother, she is determined to understand the nature of death and its workings. Trading in her embroidery needle for an autopsy scalpel, Audrey secretly apprentices in forensics. She soon gets drawn into the investigation of serial killer Jack the Ripper, but to her horror, the search for clues brings her far closer to her sheltered world than she ever thought possible.
*An advanced reader's copy was provided by the publisher for an honest review

Filled with mystery and a thrill of emotions and detail, Stalking Jack the Ripper really fills the void while you're waiting for the next season of Sherlock to come out in 2017. With a cast of characters whom, when it comes down to it, are actually, genuinely crafted with a touch of realism to the point of caring what happens to them. I was actually giggling whenever Thomas opened his trap. The man, though expresses his deductions in long-winded, Sherlock-esque paragraphs, does have a dapper and extremely witty tongue. I reveled in the banter between him and Audrey Rose, and many of my favorite quotes actually spawn from Thomas.

The only downside, I was able to figure out who Jack the Ripper was from the very beginning. I seem to be finding a science to figuring out these plot twists, but that did not stop my enjoyment of the mystery in the midst of Victorian London. This novel actually brought back memories of when I took a Victorian London class back in college, so kudos! It was fun reading about the East End and the Barnum and Bailey circus, as well as Maniscalco's author's note on the authenticity and fictitious nature of her novel. Over all, I applaude Stalking Jack the Ripper on the gruesome, the thrill, and the witty banter. Where Audrey Rose rises to the chance to break the gender norms of Victorian society, the wonder in the mystery for Sherlock Holmes fans, and a bit of history amidst the fantasy world that Maniscalco has carefully crafted.

 Exceptionally slayed, like Jack's victims...whoops

Favorite Quotes

"Not to mention, the subject matter was hardly appropriate for the dinner table. Discussing missing ovaries then asking him to pass the salt would be revolting for anyone, let alone a girl of my station."

"'What makes you sure I even need a partner? I'm quite capable of doing things on my own.'
'Perhaps it's not you who would benefit from our partnership.'"

"Saucy Jack"

"'Those who deserve respect are given it freely. If one must demand such a thing, he'll never truly command it. I am your daughter, not your horse, sir.'"

"'I see you've thrown yourself another pity party [. . .] you've yet to send out invitations, Wadsworth. Rather rude, don't you think?'"

"'No, Wadsworth,' Thomas said blandly, 'sending a kidney through the mail is quite ordinary. I do it at least three times a week to remain fashionable. You ought to try it. Really impress the girls at tea.'"