Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review & Favorite Quotes of Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco

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Title:
 Escaping from Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3)

Author:  Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books
Release Date: September 18, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery

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Synopsis:

In this third installment in the #1 bestselling Stalking Jack the Ripper series, a luxurious ocean liner becomes a floating prison of scandal, madness, and horror when passengers are murdered one by one…with nowhere to run from the killer.

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 traveling 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 strange and 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?


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Once again, Kerri Maniscalco has astounded me with her storytelling. I cannot and will never get enough of Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell. I love the chemistry between these two characters, their banter, and how Thomas, truly a Victorian gentleman, always treats Audrey Rose with respect and as an equal. They are my ultimate OTP. Now in Escaping from Houdini, things are shaken up between these two and I’m not going to say I was the hugest fan in riding those waves, but when these two characters are on the same page with each other, their partnership is outstanding. 

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I love that Escaping from Houdini stays true to the first two books and portrays feminism in the best light. As the main female lead, Audrey Rose Wadsworth is witty, sassy, and so intelligent. She defies many characteristics of a stereotypical Victorian woman, and instead is a proto-feminist of the era. I love that she is deep into solving mysteries and murder with science and rational deduction. She wants to know the truth and how things tick, and she is not afraid to dig deeper into danger to find her answers. 
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Overall, the setting of this novel made the mysterious story even more intriguing. I was captivated by the details of Victorian fashion and mannerisms, as well as the illusions and magic of the traveling carnival performers and entertainers on board a ship. Mix in history, quirky banter, the sleuthing of Sherlock Holmes, the atmospheric allurement found in Caraval, and you have Escaping from Houdini delivering on all levels of entertainment, education, fascination, and mystery.
 

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4 star rating
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about the author

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

Her first novel in this series, Stalking Jack the Ripper, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.

 
Note: Thank you to the The Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on this blog tour. And a huge thank you to Jimmy Patterson Books for providing me an ARC to read and review for free in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own. Please note that all quoted material are not final and may change in the final publication of the book.
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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of Keeper of the Bees by Meg Kassel

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Title:
Keeper of the Bees
Author: Meg Kassel
Genre: YA Paranormal
Release Date: September 4th 2018
Publisher: Entangled Teen

Summary:

Beauty and the beast like you’ve never imagined!” —New York Times bestselling author Pintip Dunn

KEEPER OF THE BEES is a tale of two teens who are both beautiful and beastly, and whose pasts are entangled in surprising and heartbreaking ways.
Dresden is cursed. His chest houses a hive of bees that he can’t stop from stinging people with psychosis-inducing venom. His face is a shifting montage of all the people who have died because of those stings. And he has been this way for centuries—since he was eighteen and magic flowed through his homeland, corrupting its people.

He follows harbingers of death, so at least his curse only affects those about to die anyway. But when he arrives in a Midwest town marked for death, he encounters Essie, a seventeen-year-old girl who suffers from debilitating delusions and hallucinations. His bees want to sting her on sight. But Essie doesn’t see a monster when she looks at Dresden.

Essie is fascinated and delighted by his changing features. Risking his own life, he holds back his bees and spares her. What starts out as a simple act of mercy ends up unraveling Dresden’s solitary life and Essie’s tormented one. Their impossible romance might even be powerful enough to unravel a centuries-old curse.

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Purchase Links: Entangled Teen

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My Rants and Raves Keeper of the Bees

**please note that this review may contain spoilers**

There’s something dark and eerie about Meg Kassal’s storytelling, and when it comes to her atmospheric companion novel Keeper of the Bees, Kassal does not disappoint in giving her readers the creeps and the chills. Paralleling the the same fantasy world of her first novel Black Birds of the Gallows, Keeper of the Bees focuses on a beekeeper, Dresden, along with other paranormal beings like the harbingers.

At the very beginning of the novel, Dresden’s cursed life is shifted and it is all because of Essie, a human who chews peppercorns to stop hallucinations and delusions. But the sudden burst of pepper, does not halt this teenager from seeing Dresden for what he really is: a creature that wears the many faces of his victims that have gone mad and died due to his venomous stings.

I really enjoyed the banter and conversations that are ping-ponged back and forth between these two unusual characters, Essie and Dresden. While one thinks he is a monster, a beastly being, the other finds him “pretty” but doubts herself because she suffers from a family curse which is treated like a mental illness. There is an instant bond between these two characters. It starts with fascination, turns into friendship, and develops into romance. 

Keeper of the Bees is also a very fascinating read because Kassel creates her own legends and fantastical foundation. This book reflects some similar characteristics of traditional young adult paranormal books, but Kassal also gives a unique take on her own monsters and myths. I honestly love that her beastly characters heighten my sense of wonder but they are also so freaking creepy.  

If you are fond of books with a bit of mystery, myth, romance, paranormal elements, and a hint of horror, Keeper of the Bees is the right book to add to your TBR. The story is well-paced and I liked that the characters are challenged to face their own personal demons and actual monsters of the world.

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About the Author

Meg Kassel is an author of fantasy and speculative books for young adults. A graduate of Parson’s School of Design, she’s been creating stories, whether with visuals or words, since childhood. Meg is a New Jersey native who lives in a log house in the Maine woods with her husband and daughter. As a fan of ’80s cartoons, Netflix series, and ancient mythology, she has always been fascinated and inspired by the fantastic, the creepy, and the futuristic. She is the 2016 RWA Golden Heart® winner in YA and a double 2018 RITA® finalist for her debut novel, Black Bird of the Gallows.

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of To Be Honest by Maggie Ann Martin

Title: To Be Honest
Author: Maggie Ann Martin
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 21st 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Synopsis:
Savannah is dreading being home alone with her overbearing mother after her sister goes off to college. But if she can just get through senior year, she’ll be able to escape to college, too. What she doesn’t count on is that her mother’s obsession with weight has only grown deeper since her appearance on an extreme weight-loss show, and now Savvy’s mom is pressuring her even harder to be constantly mindful of what she eats.

Between her mom’s diet-helicoptering, missing her sister, and worrying about her collegiate future, Savvy has enough to worry about. And then she meets George, the cute new kid at school who has insecurities of his own. As Savvy and George grow closer, they help each other discover how to live in the moment and enjoy the here and now before it disappears.

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My Rants and Raves of To Be Honest

To Be Honest is such a feel good read that I could not put down. I wish I could tell my teenage self: “in 2018 there will be books you can relate to. They are fat positive and realistic and swoony as hell.”

In To Be Honest, I adored the main character Savannah. She is fat and healthy and proud of all her successes. Yes, she is apprehensive about big life changes and possibly dating, but this young adult rocks at math, journalism, and being an amazing friend, sister, and daughter. I loved that Savannah is bold and funny; I love that she is determined and 95% of the time says what is on her mind. 

One of my favorite parts of this novel is that the book focuses on Savannah’s internal thoughts and doesn’t sugarcoat her flaws and struggles. Instead, we are there for every verbal fight with her diet-obsessed mom, every tear-stained mascara mark, every sloppy kiss from a handsome poodle, and every laugh between half pepperoni half pineapple pizza-loving friends. I adored this book so much; every page was like a comforting hug of support and love.

If you are fan of realistic high school stories, tulle skirts, and watching young love struggle to ignite, definitely give To Be Honest a read. I loved the story and the characters and of course the white poodle named Fiyero.

4 star rating

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Author Bio:

Maggie Ann Martin hails from Iowa City, Iowa but moonlights as a New Yorker. She has a shiny new BA in English and Journalism from the University of Iowa, the most welcoming literary community in the world. When she is not writing, you can find her binge watching TV shows or passionately fangirling over fictional characters on the Internet. The Big F is her debut novel.

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If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Mood Board of The Wicked King by Holly Black

26032887Title: The Wicked King
Author: Holly Black
Publisher:
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Release Date: January 8, 2019
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Synopsis:

The enchanting and bloodthirsty sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Cruel Prince.

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.


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Remember how floored I was after reading The Cruel Prince. Well, I’m not going to hold anything back, but you guys, The Wicked King is just as enticing and brutal as the first book. Jude is still badass and fighting tooth and nail to survive in the Faerie folk world; Cardan is slouched on the throne in a state of boredom and drunken bliss; and every character that we encounter throughout the story is just as biting and cutthroat as the other.

And instead of going into a full review of The Wicking King (which I will post closer to the release date), where I talk about how my heart cannot take much more of these twists, turns, and acts of betrayal inked by Holly Black’s storytelling, I decided to dabble in creating an mood board, which I hope gets you more excited for the upcoming sequel. Because honestly, right now, I cannot fathom to express my thoughts on the angst and treachery ingrained in this book into words. I just CANNOT! *sobs uncontrollably* . . . I need The Queen of Nothing now. 

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My Rating of The Wicked King:star rating

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Note:   I was not provided a copy of this book by the author or the publisher in exchange for a review. I received an early copy of this book from a friend, and I reviewed the book at my own discretion.  All statements and opinions in this review are mine. Please note that not all pictures/photos used in the mood board are mine, but were found on stock photo sites and Pinterest. 

If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Review of Legendary by Stephanie Garber

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Title:
 Legendary
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher:
Flatiron Books
Release Date: May 29, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

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Synopsis:

Stephanie Garber’s limitless imagination takes flight once more in the colorful, mesmerizing, and immersive sequel to the bestselling breakout debut Caraval

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…the games have only just begun.


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Hello, again! Yes, I am back to gush and rave about the world of Caraval (RAVING REVIEW HERE), but more importantly its sequel: Legendary. As some of you already know, I am a huge Caraval fanatic. I’ve read the book three times, and each time it gets better and better. So when Legendary was announced, I knew I had to get my hands on it, and of course buy all the copies: US edition, special editions, Goldsboro’s edition, Waterstone’s edition, and all the UK editions. I’m a mess, you guys! I know it’s the same book with the same exact words with the same story, but I need all the editions. And finally, after much . . . and I mean so much contemplation, and trying to accept that my raving review would have to be sufficient enough to explain how much I LOVED Legendary, here are a few of my raving thoughts on the book.

Once again Stephanie Garber, creates a world filled with magic, romance, mystery, enchantment, and the most beautiful darkness. I adore Stephanie’s richly descriptive writing style. Each of her sentences are like shimmering swirls of an enchanting spell. Stephanie’s storytelling is very atmospheric, metaphoric ,and spellbinding; it has that hint of pulling at the heart and the aching emotion that true magic encompasses the world of Caraval.

Legendary is Tella’s story (Scarlett’s sister). I will admit, at first, I was not 100% on board for Tella’s story, because I wanted more Scarlett, but WHOA! I am so glad I gave Tella and her story a chance. Tella acts so fierce and determined on the outside. But behind her fire, Tella bottles up her loneliness, the motivation to protect her sister, and the emotional effects of being abandoned by her mother at such a young age. Even though everyone seems to underestimate Tella, she is definitely a fighter. What I like about Tella is that she doesn’t hold back any attitude or motivation to do what she believes is right. There is a darker aura that surrounds Tella compared to Scarlett, but I enjoyed watching Tella mature throughout the novel.

I also found Legendary to be much more darker than Caraval, and the darker atmosphere definitely adds a lot of intrigue and mystery to the novel. Death and loneliness tend be constant entities that litter Tella’s story, and you just cannot look away from the action that ensues. I highly recommend that you read Legendary NOW! Not only will you discover the true identity of Legend, but you will also be swept up into a new game of Caraval with deadly kisses, the power of the fates, and sacrifice. 

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Note: Thank you to Flatiron Books for providing me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

If It’s Not A Rant, It’s A Rave: Review of Song of Blood & Stone by L. Penelope

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Title:
Song of Blood & Stone
Author: L. Penelope
Publisher:
St. Martin’s Press
Release Date: May 1, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, New Adult, Romance Fantasy

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Synopsis:

A treacherous, thrilling, epic fantasy about an outcast drawn into a war between two powerful rulers. 

Orphaned and alone, Jasminda lives in a land where cold whispers of invasion and war linger on the wind. Jasminda herself is an outcast in her homeland of Elsira, where her gift of Earthsong is feared. When ruthless soldiers seek refuge in her isolated cabin, they bring with them a captive–an injured spy who threatens to steal her heart. 

Jack’s mission behind enemy lines to prove that the Mantle between Elsira and Lagamiri is about to fall nearly cost him his life, but he is saved by the healing Song of a mysterious young woman. Now he must do whatever it takes to save Elsira and it’s people from the True Father and he needs Jasminda’s Earthsong to do it. They escape their ruthless captors and together they embark on a perilous journey to save Elsira and to uncover the secrets of The Queen Who Sleeps. 

Thrust into a hostile society, Jasminda and Jack must rely on one another even as secrets jeopardize their bond. As an ancient evil gains power, Jasminda races to unlock a mystery that promises salvation. 

The fates of two nations hang in the balance as Jasminda and Jack must choose between love and duty to fulfill their destinies and end the war.


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From the very beginning, Song of Blood & Stone sucked me in. There is so much mystery and action that fills the first chapter, and I definitely wanted to know what was going on. Additionally, the book contains such elegant world-building, a unique magic called Earthsong, and, of course, the most intriguing characters. And with so many secrets and intrigue littering every page, I was on the edge of my seat to see how the story unfolded. 

In addition to the magic and beautiful world-building in Song of Blood & Stone, I really loved the two main characters, Jasminda and Jack. Jasminda is powerful, independent, caring, and has so much heart. And I found Jack to also be bold, mysterious, and kindhearted. The chemistry between these characters is a slow burn, but near the middle and end of the book, their relationship sizzles in the best possible ways. 

If you are fan of fantasy books with great world-building, a dash of swoons, and unique magic, you need to pick up Song of Blood & Stone. This book surprised me in the best possible ways. Every page held my attention, and I strongly wanted to know what was going to happen from beginning to end. I am very much looking forward to continuing this series.

4 star rating

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Penelope, L._CREDIT Valerie Bey
About the Author

Leslye Penelope has been writing since she could hold a pen and loves getting lost in the worlds in her head. She is an award-winning author of new adult, fantasy, and paranormal romance. She lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry dependents: an eighty-pound lap dog and an aspiring feral cat.

 

 

Note: Thank you to Wednesday Books/St. Martin’s for providing me an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All statements and opinions are my own.

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Review of Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over

Title: Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over
Author: Shani Petroff
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: May 15th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult

Synopsis:

A bad storm, two canceled flights, stuck in an airport with a hot stranger and the guy who broke her heart… what could go wrong?

After Sari caught her boyfriend Zev cheating on her, their romantic Florida vacation was ruined. She can’t get back to NYC soon enough. Unfortunately, mother nature may have different plans. A huge storm is brewing in the Northeast, and flights all over the country are getting canceled—including Sari’s. She winds up stuck at the airport for hours. With Zev!

When another stranded passenger (a hot NYU guy) suggests a connecting flight to Boston, Sari jumps at the chance. But when her mom freaks out about her traveling alone, she has no choice—she has to include Zev, and somehow survive being trapped with the guy who broke her heart!

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Wow! I found this book to be a super quick and engaging read. Even though Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over spans over a week, Sari and Zev’s story definitely encompasses so much to unravel. And you know that saying, “when it rains it pours”? Well, when it came to Sari’s spring break and her one shot to sing at a local club, anything and everything seems to go wrong in the span of a few days. 

One of my favorite characters in the book was Zev. I loved that his goal was to explain any misconstrued situation, so Sari knew the facts and the truth. Sari tended to overthink everything and failed to see that there are several sides to a story. It’s smart for Sari to protect herself first, but I knew there were some holes in her observations. Throughout the story, Zev is always trying to open communication between him and Sari, and it’s so adorable how he always tries to make sure that she is okay and comfortable. I liked that Zev gave Sari room to think and breathe when anything dramatic blew up, but he was also determined to fight for the truth, their friendship, and ultimately love. 

The plot of Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over relies heavily on lack of communication and misunderstood situations. I’m not a huge fan of books that have so much “lack of communication,” but this plot devise definitely keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. If you love A LOT  of drama in your stories, which definitely keeps the story rolling, give Airports, Exes, and Other Things I’m Over a try. This book is such a fast read and the ending is so swoony. 

3 star rating

about the author

Author Bio:

Shani Petroff is a writer living in New York City. She’s the author of the “Bedeviled” series, which includes Daddy’s Little Angel, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Dress, Careful What You Wish For, and Love Struck, and is the co-author of the “Destined” series which includes Ash and Ultraviolet. She also writes for television news programs and several other venues. When she’s not locked in her apartment typing away, she spends a whole lot of time on books, boys, TV, daydreaming, and shopping online.

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