Month: September 2016

Stalking Jack the Ripper

Posted September 20, 2016 by Ashley in Book Review, Young Adult / 0 Comments

Stalking Jack the RipperStalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1) by Kerri Maniscalco
Format: ARC
Genres: Young Adult
on September 20th 2016
Pages: 336
Published by jimmy patterson Source: Publisher

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.

Jack the Ripper is one of the most well-known serial killers in history. During the Fall of 1888 several woman were found murdered in the lower East End of London, throats slashed and organs missing. To this day we still don’t know who Jack the Ripper was or exactly how many woman he murdered. They say there were only 5 but no one can say for sure. Sounds like a great story right? IT IS! Kerri Maniscalco added the perfect amount of history and mixed it with the right amount of fiction to create a fantastical world that housed Jack the Ripper.


Audrey Rose Wadsworth is one of those characters you can not help but love. She is strong-willed, knows what she wants and lets face it, she is a bad ass. Audrey Rose is obsessed with science and forensic medicine and she is determined to learn everything she can from her uncle. Working in her uncle’s laboratory she comes across one of Jack’s first victims. Intrigued at first, Audrey Rose begins her own investigation with the help of swoon worthy Thomas Cresswell. As the number of murders begins to grow Audrey Rose gets more and more angry and vows to end Jack the Ripper even if that means she could destroy everything she knows and loves.


Stalking Jack the Ripper definitely has all the factors needed to create a creepy reading atmosphere, it would definitely be a good Halloween read!  Blood and gore: Check. Things that go bump in the night: Check. Suspense: Check. I’ve never claimed to be squeamish but some of Maniscalco’s descriptions of the bodies is down right gruesome. Sawing open craniums, ripping apart rib cages, thrusting ungloved hands into torsos. Gross. Without spoiling anything  there were a few other literary characters in the book worth a mention (Frankenstein) that added to the story. I got the Sherlock vibe from Thomas. Extremely smart, lack of social niceties and observant as hell. I did have to laugh when he was flirting with Audrey Rose, she couldn’t ever be sure if he was actually flirting or just poking fun.  I could totally see this turned into a T.V. show (come on BBC!) and of course I would tune in week after week.


Overall I enjoyed the book. Why just 3 1/2 stars then you ask? Well, I thought the book moved a bit slowly. At the beginning I was interested, toward the middle I found myself struggling to keep focused on the story, my mind kept wandering. Then I figured out who Jack was pretty early on, which didn’t totally kill it for me. There were plenty of other surprises but they were all lumped together at the end. I do really love how Maniscalco ended the book. As readers we know who Jack is but they never reveal his identity to the press, makes me wonder if that happened back in 1888.

What do you think? Is Stalking Jack the Ripper a book for you?



Top Ten Tuesdays: Top Ten Audio Books

Posted September 20, 2016 by Ashley in Top Ten Tuesdays / 0 Comments

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten audiobooks you should listen to. Since I listen to audiobooks almost everyday I was super excited to write this post! Here’s my list:


The Raven Boys Series

Ready by Will Patton



The Dark Unwinding Series

Read by Fiona Hardingham



The Graveyard Book

Read by Neil Gaiman



Ready Player One

Read by Will Wheaton




Read by Craig Wasson




Read by Rebecca Soler



A Discovery of Witches

Read by Jennifer Ikeda



The Elegance of the Hedgehog

Read by Barbara Rosenblat



The Kite Runner

Read by Khaled Hosseini



The Secret Keeper

Read by Caroline Lee



Have you listened to any of these narrators? If so, which is your favorite?

Thanks for reading!-2


Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life

Posted September 19, 2016 by Ashley in Book Review, Middle Grade / 0 Comments

Middle School: The Worst Years of My LifeMiddle School, The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson, Bryan Kennedy, Laura Park, Chris Tebbetts
Narrator: Bryan Kennedy
Length: 4 hr 15 min
Genres: Middle Grade
on June 27th 2011

Rafe Khatchadorian has enough problems at home without throwing his first year of middle school into the mix. Luckily, he's got an ace plan for the best year ever, if only he can pull it off: With his best friend Leonardo the Silent awarding him points, Rafe tries to break every rule in his school's oppressive Code of Conduct. Chewing gum in class-5,000 points! Running in the hallway-10,000 points! Pulling the fire alarm-50,000 points! But when Rafe's game starts to catch up with him, he'll have to decide if winning is all that matters, or if he's finally ready to face the rules, bullies, and truths he's been avoiding.
Blockbuster author James Patterson delivers a genuinely hilarious-and surprisingly poignant-story of a wildly imaginative, one-of-kind kid that you won't soon forget.


Rafe Khatchadorian is your typical 6th grader, kind of. He lives at home with his sister Georgia, his mom Jules and Jules’s fiancée Carl a.k.a. Bear. Though he just started the 6th grade, Rafe still has an imaginary friend Leo. On the first day of school Rafe and Leo turn middle school into a game called “Operation R.A.F.E.”. Operation R.A.F.E. has one mission, to break every rule in the middle school handbook. For each rule broken Leo awards Rafe points but if Rafe fails to break a rule when he has the chance, Leo takes away a life. When the lives run out the game is over.

It doesn’t take long before the game catches up with Rafe. Now everyone thinks Rafe is a bad kid and his mom finds out what he’s been up to and it doesn’t feel good. Rafe decides to throw in the towel and quit the game despite Leo’s argument to keep the game going. Enter: Miller the Killer. Before Rafe came along, Miller was the bad kid and with all of Rafe’s shenanigans Miller’s title is at risk. Miller pushes Rafe to the breaking point and Rafe resumes Operation R.A.F.E. with a vengeance.


We all know this isn’t going to end well and it doesn’t. Rafe ends up in the back of a police car, he is failing 6th grade and he doesn’t know how to fix any of it. Luckily for Rafe, he has a few people who really believe in him and Rafe find himself in a pretty good place at the end of the book.

Being completely candid, I only picked up this book because I saw the movie preview. My daughter said she wanted to see the movie so I thought I’d check out the book first. I think this is going to be one of those rare occasions where the movie is better than the book!

The movie comes out October 7th, here is the trailer. (Lauren Graham is Rafe’s mom!)



7 Reasons Why You Should Read The Forgetting!

Posted September 13, 2016 by Ashley in Book Review, Young Adult / 2 Comments

7 Reasons Why You Should Read The Forgetting!The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
Format: ARC
Genres: Fantasy
on September 13th 2016
Pages: 416
Published by Scholastic Press Source: Publisher

What isn't written, isn't remembered. Even your crimes.
Nadia lives in the city of Canaan, where life is safe and structured, hemmed in by white stone walls and no memory of what came before. But every twelve years the city descends into the bloody chaos of the Forgetting, a day of no remorse, when each person's memories – of parents, children, love, life, and self – are lost. Unless they have been written.
In Canaan, your book is your truth and your identity, and Nadia knows exactly who hasn't written the truth. Because Nadia is the only person in Canaan who has never forgotten.
But when Nadia begins to use her memories to solve the mysteries of Canaan, she discovers truths about herself and Gray, the handsome glassblower, that will change her world forever. As the anarchy of the Forgetting approaches, Nadia and Gray must stop an unseen enemy that threatens both their city and their own existence – before the people can forget the truth. And before Gray can forget her.


I wanted to do something different from a basic review post SO…here are 7 reasons I think YOU should read The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron.


If this cover doesn’t get you I don’t know what will. A purple background with the most beautiful tree with embossed leaves that I just can’t help touching every time I see them. When you look at the cover you just think it’s a tree but by the time you’ve finished the book, that tree becomes so much more!



I truly feel that Cameron’s world building gets better and better with each book! Cannan is where the story takes place, a made up land somewhere far from other civilization. Cameron does a wonderful job creating this fantastical world where leaving bells toll and people have names like Arthur of the Metals. The people are generally nice and everyone helps each other out, a true community.



The story itself is amazing. The Forgetting happens every 12 years and for most of that time they are preparing for the Forgetting. When they wake from the Forgetting, they don’t know who they are or who their family is. Since the Forgetting is reoccurring, everyone carries journals with them, usually tethered to some part of their body or clothing. They keep track of their lives in their journal, who their children are, where they live and work, anything they think they would want to remember after the Forgetting. Could you imagine having to write every single life event for fear that you would forget it forever?



The secrets are thick in this story. Every time one secret is uncovered several more are discovered but its the unraveling of the secrets that will leave you with your mouth hanging open and your mind completely blown!


Gray the Glassblower’s Son is definitely swoon worthy! There are some things that happen (I don’t want to spoil the romance) between Nadia and Gray that just make me want to squeal! But the best part about Gray is his belief and trust in Nadia.


Nadia the Dyer’s Daughter is easily one of my most beloved characters of all time. She is smart, witty and brave beyond her years. She knows there is more to the Forgetting because she is only one that can remember. I love Nadia for not falling into the everyday norm that is Cannan, for not accepting the answers given to her and making the choice to do something about it. Nadia is someone I can see myself hanging out with!


Sharon Cameron! I first discovered Sharon last year when I picked up Rook, Cameron’s dystopian retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel. I devoured that book in a day or so, it was so good. I then immediately downloaded The Dark Unwinding and A Spark Unseen from Audible. Again IN LOVE! (I ended up buying the hardcovers too). So when I heard her new book was coming out I knew I had to get my hands on it at BEA this year. Not going to lie, I starting reading it on the plane home, I just couldn’t wait. I have to admit, I’m super excited to buy The Forgetting so I have all Sharon’s books in hardcover eep! She actually might be the first author I own all books and all in hardcover. Anyway, I really do love this book for so many reasons and I think you will too.


Have you read anything by Sharon Cameron? If so, let’s chat!



Middle Grade Monday: The Mighty Odds

Posted September 12, 2016 by Ashley in Middle Grade / 0 Comments

Middle Grade Monday: The Mighty OddsThe Mighty Odds: Book One by Amy Ignatow
Format: ARC
Genres: Middle Grade
on September 13th 2016
Pages: 240
Published by Amulet Books Source: Publisher

From the renowned author/illustrator of the Popularity Papers series, Amy Ignatow, comes the first installment in a new series about a diverse crew of middle school kids who develop very limited superhero powers after a strange accident and manage to become unlikely friends on the adventure of a lifetime.   When a sweet nerd, an artsy cartoonist, a social outcast, and the most popular girl in school are involved in a mysterious bus accident, this seemingly random group of kids starts to notice some very strange abilities they did not have before. Artsy Martina can change her eye color. Nerdy Nick can teleport . . . four inches to the left. Outcast Farshad develops super strength, but only in his thumbs. And Cookie, the It Girl of school’s most popular clique, has suddenly developed the ability to read minds . . . when those minds are thinking about directions. They are oddly mighty—especially together.   This group—who would never hang out under normal circumstances—must now combine all of their strengths to figure out what happened during the bus accident. With alternating narratives from each of the heroes, including illustrated pieces from Martina, and featuring bold female superheroes and a multicultural cast, The Mighty Odds is The Breakfast Club for a new generation.  

Mullersville Pennsylvania is home to Deborah Read Middle School. This is where our four lovable characters hail from. Nerdy Nick’s father recently passed away and he is learning to cope with the loss. Martina is an artist, she keeps to herself and is very mysterious. Farshad is Iranian and is called “Terror Boy” at school, his scientist parents are oblivious. Cookie belongs to the popular group in school and is a bit of a mean girl. The four (and their substitute teacher) are on their way home from a field trip to Philadelphia when their bus crashes. Once home each of them discovers they’ve developed some kind of magical power. Nick can teleport but only four inches to the left. Martina can change her eye color. Farshad has super strength, in his thumbs only and Cookie can read minds but only when someone is thinking about directions.

As if developing powers wasn’t enough to handle, more strange things keep happening. The bus driver from the accident disappears, no-one has seen or heard from him since the bus flipped over. The substitute teacher, Mr Friend, has a new power too, he can blow things up and start fires, no matches or lighters needed, but he has no idea how to control it.

Together the team joins forces to try to discover what happened to them and how to fix it. Nick’s friend and sidekick Jay joins the efforts and I have to say, he is my favorite character of them all. He is loud, talkative and speaks formally making himself sound both ridiculous and hilarious.

As an adult, I liked this book a lot. The illustrations are similar to those from a comic book and are supposedly drawn by Martina as she imagined them. Author Amy Ignatow is also the illustrator and I like how simple the drawings are in the ARC. I am not sure if the illustrations will stay the same for the finished copy or not, but I hope so! This one is a bit hard for me to nail down for an age range. The publisher suggests 10-14 year olds but I think 12 and 13 sounds more appropriate, maybe even 11 year olds. Definitely worth reading though and Ignatow left plenty of room for a sequel!



Middle Grade Monday: The Great Shelby Holmes

Posted September 5, 2016 by Ashley in Book Review, Middle Grade / 0 Comments

Middle Grade Monday: The Great Shelby HolmesThe Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg
Format: ARC
Genres: Middle Grade
on September 6th 2016
Pages: 256
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens Source: Publisher

Meet spunky sleuth Shelby and her sports-loving sidekick Watson as they take on a dog-napper in this fresh twist on Sherlock Holmes.Shelby Holmes is not your average sixth grader. She’s nine years old, barely four feet tall, and the best detective her Harlem neighborhood has ever seen—always using logic and a bit of pluck (which yes, some might call “bossiness”) to solve the toughest crimes.
When eleven-year-old John Watson moves downstairs, Shelby finds something that’s eluded her up till now: a friend. Easy-going John isn’t sure of what to make of Shelby, but he soon finds himself her most-trusted (read: only) partner in a dog-napping case that'll take both their talents to crack.
Sherlock Holmes gets a fun, sweet twist with two irresistible young heroes and black & white illustrations throughout in this middle grade debut from internationally bestselling YA author Elizabeth Eulberg.

Shelby Holmes is not like any sixth grader you’ve ever met. She is only 4ft tall, she is smarter than anyone you know and she’s the best detective in town. When John Watson moves into the apartment building she finds something she didn’t even know she was missing, a friend. Together Shelby and John work together to find out what happened to a missing neighborhood dog.



There are several reasons why I love this story, the first of which being I love Sherlock Holmes, the books, stories, movies and TV shows. Elizabeth Eulberg pays great homage to Sherlock. Shelby Holmes is a pint size detective with attitude and a persistence not found by most real police officers. John Watson is a few years older than Shelby and he seems to always be two steps behind Shelby, just like most Sherlock stories. Not only is this story great for budding detectives but the story also touches on some real life situations.  John’s parents are going through a divorce so New York is the first place John has been without his father. John is upset about the divorce and he doesn’t feel like he can talk to his mom.

Sherlock Pusheen

I really do love this book and I think any middle grade reader would enjoy reading it too. From the classic Sherlock similarities to the humor and modern-day references most kids can relate to.  Since I am reviewing an ARC I am very excited to see the final illustrations, I am sure they will be great. So bottom line here, this book is adorable, funny and a true delight to read. Sorry for all the GIFs, I really couldn’t decide on which ones to use!


Thanks for reading!-2