Book Review

Book Review: Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2) by William Ritter

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult fantasy + mystery
Length: 296 pages
Author: William Ritter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Release Date: September 22nd, 2015
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

I’ve found very little about private detective R. F. Jackaby to be standard in the time I’ve known him. Working as his assistant tends to call for a somewhat flexible relationship with reality . . .

In 1892, New Fiddleham, New England, things are never quite what they seem, especially when Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, R. F. Jackaby, are called upon to investigate the supernatural. First, members of a particularly vicious species of shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens. A day later, their owner is found murdered, with a single mysterious puncture wound to her neck. Then, in nearby Gad’s Valley, dinosaur bones from a recent dig go missing, and an unidentifiable beast attacks animals and people, leaving their mangled bodies behind. Policeman Charlie Cane, exiled from New Fiddleham to the valley, calls on Abigail for help, and soon Abigail and Jackaby are on the hunt for a thief, a monster, and a murderer. 

I ENJOY ANYTHING THAT REFERENCES DINOSAURS.

I am hooked by anything that references paleontology. The fact that Abigail comes from a family with a paleontologist, and she herself loves the field only made me more excited when this book had that as its main focus.

What’s even better is what the dinosaur turned out to be! I loved the intrigue and mystery surrounding the whole case itself. Kept me guessing and even set up for the next book which I appreciated.

I am still laughing out loud at Jackaby and his antics and phrases. He has some good moments and I love his character! He’s actually funny and so often it’s not done well. I love his dynamic with Abigail and that they seem to appreciate each other (even when they are both terrible at showing it). They are a dynamic duo and Abigail can hold her own which makes her character even more lovable.

Not to mention the cute romance brewing between her and Charlie. It’s nothing in your face. It’s this nice background love story that you are cheering for, but not flipping pages just to read about them. I like where things are headed for them and that they seem to understand each other and what it would take to be together.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult fantasy + mystery + historical
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a kiss
  • Violence: ancient creatures eating people, murder, most violence is because of creature attacks

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Book Review

Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) by Kerri Maniscalco

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Young adult historical fiction + mystery
Length: 326 pages
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Release Date: September 20th, 2016
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

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.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

THOMAS CRESSWELL IS MY NEW FAVORITE.

Okay, this was new. I haven’t read a book quite like this with the take on someone trying to catch a historical serial killer. WHAT FUN RIGHT? Mostly.

My biggest issue, that curbed my rating significantly was how easy it was to know who the murderer was. I truly picked them out from the moment they walked onto the page. Since he ended up because Jack, I was downtrodden and it made it hard for me to keep picking up the book.

BUT, I was enjoying the heeeeeck about of Thomas. He is my new favorite and I loved every single moment of his shameless flirting with Audrey Rose. SO STINKIN’ CUTE. I clearly couldn’t get enough of him, and their relationship alone is why I will read book two at some point.

Audrey Rose was a great character herself too. Even in the time period she was a strong, independent woman who was going to make sure every man in her way would give her the time of day. Though she was too blinded to see the answer to her troubles, I loved her dialogue and interactions in general.

The plot itself was fine, but like I previously stated when you immediately know who the killer it, it takes away from everything else. I love historical fictions though. And am really curious where this goes from here. The ending was nicely put together with an opening for the next book.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult historical fiction + mystery
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: a lot, detailed murders, mentions of cannibalism, detailed violence by knives

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Book Review

Book Review: Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Young adult mystery/thriller
Length: 336 pages
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: January 8th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Echo Ridge is small-town America. Ellery’s never been there, but she’s heard all about it. Her aunt went missing there at age seventeen. And only five years ago, a homecoming queen put the town on the map when she was killed. Now Ellery has to move there to live with a grandmother she barely knows.

The town is picture-perfect, but it’s hiding secrets. And before school even begins for Ellery, someone’s declared open season on homecoming, promising to make it as dangerous as it was five years ago. Then, almost as if to prove it, another girl goes missing.

Ellery knows all about secrets. Her mother has them; her grandmother does too. And the longer she’s in Echo Ridge, the clearer it becomes that everyone there is hiding something. The thing is, secrets are dangerous–and most people aren’t good at keeping them. Which is why in Echo Ridge, it’s safest to keep your secrets to yourself. 

DEFINITELY A BIT CREEPY.

I’m not a horror/scary fan. Never have been, and while I would love to try a legit horror book just once, I like this dialed back version a lot.

I loved One of Us Is Lying, and TCKaS was better.

I spent the entire book trying to guess who was the original murderer. Every time I thought I had an idea, whoa bam, something would happen and I would have to change my mind.

THIS IS HOW I’M SUPPOSED TO FEEL. Right? No one wants a mystery book where you can guess the person before you even start reading it. I loved that the blame kept moving around making me nervous as to what the final fallout would be.

There were definitely some creepy moments. And it only got more disturbing as all of the facts were known. I mean, really disturbing.

I loved our two main POVs, Ellery and Malcolm. They had great banter and chemistry together. I liked that both of there backgrounds were different and switching between them gave a truly different view point on how these murders were affecting them.

A chilling last sentence left me feeling shook. I am not mad I read this. These are the only YA mystery/thrillers I’ve ever read and I will definitely keep picking her books up.

Overall audience notes:

  • Young adult mystery/thriller
  • Language: a bit of strong language
  • Romance: kiss/small make-out
  • Violence: light descriptions of multiple murders, creepy dolls, poisoning, physical
  • Trigger warnings: loss of a loved one

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Book Review

Book Review: The 7 1/2 Deaths of Eveyln Hardcastle by Stuart Turton

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Mystery/Fiction
Length: 449 pages
Author: Stuart Turton
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Release Date: September 18th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

The Rules of Blackheath:

Evelyn Hardcastle will be murdered at 11:00 p.m. 
There are eight days, and eight witnesses for you to inhabit. 
We will only let you escape once you tell us the name of the killer. 
Understood? Then let’s begin…

Evelyn Hardcastle will die. Every day until Aiden Bishop can identify her killer and break the cycle. But every time the day begins again, Aiden wakes up in the body of a different guest. And some of his hosts are more helpful than others…

The most inventive debut of the year twists together a mystery of such unexpected creativity it will leave readers guessing until the very last page.

WHAT WAS THE DEAL WITH THE FOOTMAN.

Okay. I liked this book.

But I’m going to start this out with saying I can not figure out what in the world was happening with the footman. He was there, doing all of these things, but had no context. Never learned his name, anything about him, NOTHING. I literally knew he was hired by another character and that was it. I know he’s a side character, but he was so frequently involved (and in the mind of the main character) that I really wanted some back story. I think I was supposed to hate him, but I became so indifferent from lack of information.

Now, momentarily, back to things I did like.

Y’all, this book is trippy. I am SO impressed with the way the author kept up with the timeline and all of guests at Blackheath. I was surprised at how easily I kept up and things made sense. Serious kudos for keeping things straight.

What also impressed me was that I didn’t figure out the final twist! I had surmised most of the story, but then things started breaking down even more and that last reveal moment had me like WHOA. There was never a lot of fingers pointed at one person so it made it difficult to nail down who I thought was the murderer. I honestly can’t believe that many people died. Totally insane.

Okay, back to the last frustrating bit I had.

There was no background to Blackheath itself. When the “boss” (trying to remain spoiler-free and as vague as I can) showed up and gave the narrator the low-down, it left me hanging. Who came up with this idea? How does this idea work? Is there magic involved? Also, WHAT TIME PERIOD ARE WE IN?

Unfortunately, I was left with more questions than answers which is why I had to knock off a few stars.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fiction/mystery (thriller? maybe a little)
  • Language: The use of b*tch was used once
  • Romance: kiss, a very little detailed morning after scene
  • Violence: guns, knives, physical beatings, poison, murder (a lot of murder)
  • Trigger warnings: some implication that one of the hosts has raped/sexually assaulted multiple women

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