Monday, September 25, 2017

Early Review: Devils and Thieves by Jennifer Rush


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Devils and Thieves
(Devils and Thieves #1)
Jennifer Rush
Release: October 3, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley
Eighteen-year-old Jemmie Carmichael has grown up surrounded by magic in the quiet town of Hawthorne, New York. In her world, magic users are called "kindled," and Jemmie would count herself among them if only she could cast a simple spell without completely falling apart. It doesn't help that she was also recently snubbed by Crowe, the dangerous and enigmatic leader of the Black Devils kindled motorcycle gang and the unofficial head of their turf.

When the entire kindled community rolls into Hawthorne for an annual festival, a rumor begins spreading that someone is practicing forbidden magic. Then people start to go missing. With threats closing in from every side, no one can be trusted. Jemmie and Crowe will have to put aside their tumultuous history to find their loved ones, and the only thing that might save them is the very flaw that keeps Jemmie from fully harnessing her magic. For all her years of feeling useless, Jemmie may just be the most powerful kindled of all.
Review:

I'm a big fan of spooky small town mysteries. Devils and Thieves also has magical motorcycle clubs which is even better. And I did like the world of magical family legacies that Jennifer Rush created. Each family has a predominant power that they pass down through generations, though not everyone inherits it. And there are about a dozen possible types of magic that can manifest, like controlling animals or manipulating the body.

The MCs are made up of people from several different families, though the leadership tends to pass from father to son. Each club runs their own businesses and feuds with other clubs just like on Sons of Anarchy. The book has a very different vibe from that show, but I did feel like it was helpful to have watched it because I might not have known some of the MC vocabulary otherwise.

As interesting as all of that was, what kept me engaged was the book's compelling mystery plot. It was a really fast, hard to put down, one sitting read. Because Jemmie's trying to find her missing friend at a festival, I also got a Scooby Doo kind of vibe, though not in a bad way.

But there's something that bugs me. It's more a comment on the publisher than the book itself so I'm trying not to let it affect my review, even though I found it distracting. I keep wondering why it's being marketed as YA. The main character is eighteen and has graduated and her love interests are twenty, which I think technically makes it new adult. The only explanation I can see is that the romance never goes any farther than kissing and NAs tend to be more graphic, but there's no reason they have to be. And I felt like Crowe's motivation in particular was pretty mature. I'm an adult, though not a particularly new one, and still found it relatable.

I'm curious about how Jemmie and Crowe's relationship will change as the series goes on since Jemmie is very different at the end of the book than she was at the beginning. That makes Devils and Thieves feel like an origin story and I'm looking forward to seeing where the story goes.

Recommended for fans of: Beautiful Creatures, Sons of Anarchy, spooky small towns


    
 4 stars



Friday, September 22, 2017

Hunting Prince Dracula Blog Tour and Giveaway: Weird Cases We Want Audrey Rose and Thomas to Investigate


We're really excited to be a part of the Hunting Prince Dracula Blog Tour today! Stalking Jack the Ripper was one of Rose Red's favorite books of 2016 and it looks like its sequel will be a favorite of 2017. If you missed it, you can read her reviews of both books here and here. Also, there's an awesome giveaway going on as part of this tour! Scroll to the bottom for your chance to enter!

We got to thinking now that Audrey Rose and Thomas have taken on the cases of both Jack the Ripper and Dracula, what other weird unsolved cases would we love to see them get involved in? To answer this our very own Rose Red, who is a bit obsessed with the unexplained, is here to tell you which unsolved mysteries she'd love to see Audrey Rose and Thomas tackle in the next book.

Weird Cases We Want Audrey Rose and Thomas to Investigate



The Lizzie Borden Murders
While we all know of the incident that took place in Fall River, Massachusetts on August 4, 1892, we don't know if it was the 32-year-old Lizzie who killed her father and stepmother. The evidence is definitely against her. I want to see Audrey and Thomas come to America and investigate some of our unsolved mysteries. Can you imagine Thomas examining the remains of Abby and Andrew Borden and theorizing what kind of weapon was able to hack them into so many pieces? Well, I can and I'm intrigued about what would happen during the investigation. I can see Thomas hacking up a corpse with an axe to determine that that was indeed the murder weapon. I would love to see Kerri Maniscalco's spin on this. I'm just going to be over here with my fingers crossed and wishing with all of my might that this will be a book in the series.

 

H.H. Holmes and the Chicago World Fair
I lived in Chicago for a number of years and I kind of became obsessed with the Chicago's World Fair. I picked up Erik Larsen's non-fiction book, The Devil in the White City, because of it and found myself intrigued with the enigma of the serial killer, H.H. Holmes. He is said to have used the fair to lure his victims to their deaths. Dr. Holmes is thought to have built his "World's Fair Hotel" aka his "Murder Castle" complete with a gas chamber, dissection table, and a crematorium to dispose of the bodies. Holmes would have the skeletons of his victims removed and sell them for medical and scientific study. I don't know about you but I want to see Audrey Rose and Thomas trying to track a serial killer through the World's Fair after Thomas accidentally got his hands on one of the skeletons. I want this so much that it hurts. Seriously, just think of all the shenanigans those two would get up to in Chicago!


The Phantom of the Opera
Hello! Audrey and Thomas trying to hunt down the enigma of the Opera Ghost isn't a thing I knew I needed until I was discussing this topic with my friend, Cassi from My Thoughts Literally, and she brought it up. I'm completely here for it! Wouldn't it be perfect?!? Can you imagine the shenanigans and the flirting that would happen as Thomas and Audrey attended the opera and investigated the labyrinth under the Palais Garnier? Also, I really, really want to hear Thomas's theories on the Phantom's disfigurement. Also, I can just see Audrey Rose being so into the French fashions and getting several dresses while in Paris.


The Mary Celeste
The mystery of what happened to the crew and passengers of the Mary Celeste remains one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of the sea. The name has since become synonymous worldwide with derelict ‘ghost ships’. The Mary Celeste was found drifting 400 miles east of the Azores by the crew of another cargo-carrying vessel, the Dei Gratia, on 5 December 1872. The leader of the boarding party told a British board of inquiry at Gibraltar he found the ship was “a thoroughly wet mess”, with possessions left behind and the lifeboat missing. No trace of Captain Benjamin Spooner Briggs, his wife and their young daughter or the seven experienced crew members has ever been found. In my mind, I see Audrey Rose and Thomas stumbling across the Mary Celeste in their travels which pulls them into an investigation where they discover that the Mary Celeste is one of many of these "ghost ships". And while I'm imagining things, let's throw in some pirates/privateers because I want to see Thomas's reaction to being on a ship that gets boarded.


The Lost Roanoke Colony
I know the Lost Roanoke Colony was way before the time period of Audrey Rose and Thomas's pursuit of Jack the Ripper but I have this head canon where a small village in England suffers the same phenomenon and they have to figure out just exactly how every person in the town disappeared without a trace. I'm not sure how a book on this topic would work but I do know that I'd read the hell out of it. Maybe we could throw in some Outlander-esque stone circle time travel shenanigans where Audrey and Thomas end up in Roanoke right before the colony disappears? If anyone could make it work, it would be Kerri Maniscalco.



Hunting Prince Dracula
(Stalking Jack the Ripper #2)
Kerri Maniscalco
Release: September 19, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
In this hotly anticipated sequel to the haunting #1 bestseller Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer...or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?

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.



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.


You all should go read the other posts and reviews in this tour! They've been amazing so far!


Enter for your chance to win one of three sets of Stalking Jack the Ripper and Hunting Prince Dracula!



Thursday, September 21, 2017

Review: Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco


Hunting Prince Dracula is one of my most anticipated books of 2017 and it's finally here! I loved it and I haven't stopped pushing it on people since it came out on Tuesday. Tomorrow, we're really excited to be taking part in the Blog Tour so make sure to stop by for it. I have a fabulous post prepared for it that I'm so excited to share! Scroll down to read my review!


Hunting Prince Dracula
(Stalking Jack the Ripper #2)
Kerri Maniscalco
Release: September 19, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
In this hotly anticipated sequel to the haunting #1 bestseller Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer...or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?

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.

Review:
Hunting Prince Dracula continues a short time after the end of Stalking Jack the Ripper with Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell making their way to the best forensic medicine school in Europe. I loved everything about this book! The mystery, the gothic horrorness of the location, the adventure, the characters, Audrey Rose and Thomas working together, the banter, and of course, flirty Thomas. Let's be honest. We all needed more flirty Thomas in our lives. It was just so perfect! The wait for book three is going to drive me crazy!

I sat down and inhaled most of this book in one day around work and my other responsibilities. The plot starts off with a bang and just keeps going! I had so much fun reading it! I loved how Kerri Maniscalco weaved together the pieces of true history and gothic horror elements to make such a compelling mystery! Also, the banter between Audrey Rose and Thomas is even better in this book than the first! Their relationship is absolutely fantastic in every possible way. I'm even more on board with the CressWorth ship after I read this than I was before and that's saying something.

This book is full of suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat to find out what's going to happen next. I know I said it earlier, but the mystery was seriously very well done. I kept making guesses and I kept being proved wrong. Let's just say there were a lot of surprises when the reveals happened. Thinking about it now, I probably should have picked up on a few things but I’m actually glad that I wasn’t even thinking in that direction because all the reveals were AMAZING! I totally flipped my lid at one reveal in particular! If you've read it, you know which one it is. OMG! I had to reread it like five times till it sunk in.

Kerri Maniscalco’s writing is so detailed and atmospheric that I found myself easily imagining the castles and forests of Romania even though I don't know much about the time period or the place. What I loved the most is that the light tone from the delicious banter brought a much needed levity to a horror story that broke up some of the more serious moments and made it easier to stay on top of what was happening. To quote the book, “I am wholly bewitched” with this series. It is perfect! And I just need more Audrey Rose and Thomas adventures in my hands now!

The author mentioned that she seeded clues to what the next book is going to be about in this one but I still have no clue. It doesn't matter. I'll still be counting down the days cannot wait for the third book when I can read more of Audrey Rose and Thomas's adventures! I seriously can't wait to see what mysteries they'll encounter next!

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley

    

  5 / 5 Stars!



My reviews of other books in this series:
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Fancasts

Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group hosted by Sam from Thoughts on Tomes. Bloggers, booktubers and bookstagrammers post on a common topic every (you guessed it) Wednesday. You can find the lists by searching #T5W or Top 5 Wednesday. And you can join the group on Goodreads if you want to participate.  


This week's topic is:
Favorite Fancasts
 (Fancasts are the actors you'd like to play your favorite characters or imagine your favorite characters as)

5. Kate Daniels and Curran Lennart
I've always pictured Jason Lewis as Curran. He just has that rugged handsomeness that I think our favorite Beast Lord would have. I've had a harder time figuring out an actress for Kate but I think Patricia Velasquez would be good! -Rose Red

4. Mercy Thompson and Adam Hauptman
I've pictured Gemma Arterton from the Prince of Persia movie as Mercy for a few years now thanks to a Tumblr fancast. Adam has been a little harder for me to nail down but I think Eric Dane circa his Grey's Anatomy years would be perfect! -Rose Red

3. Ronan Lynch and Adam Parrish
This is by no means my original idea but I can totally see Dudley O’Shaughnessy as Ronan Lynch and Tom Webb as Adam Parrish. I know they're both models but damn they're perfect as Pynch! Thanks Tumblr! :)  -Rose Red

Related image Image result for jason momoa
2. Charley Davidson and Reyes Farrow
I've seen lots of attempts to fancast the Charley Davidson series on Facebook and I'm usually like, "Are we even reading the same book?" But the one suggestion I can totally get behind is Kat Dennings as Charley. I picture her with shorter hair, but I could totally see her naming her boobs. And in my head Reyes comes pretty close to Jason Momoa without all the Aquaman hair. -Gretl

1. Ethan Sullivan
I know that Chloe Neill says Ethan is a green eyed David Beckham but that image has never worked for me. He's Jason Lewis at the end of Sex and the City. -Gretl

Who would you fancast for your favorite characters?

and

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Review: Bad Boy's Bard by E.J. Russell


Bad Boy's Bard
(Fae Out of Water #3)
E.J. Russell
Release: September 18, 2017
Goodreads Amazon
As far as rock star Gareth Kendrick, the last true bard in Faerie, is concerned, the only good Unseelie is . . . well . . . there’s no such thing. Two centuries ago, an Unseelie lord abducted Gareth’s human lover, Niall, and Gareth has neither forgotten nor forgiven.

Niall O’Tierney, half-human son of the Unseelie King, had never lost a wager until the day he swore to rid the Seelie court of its bard. That bet cost him everything: his freedom, his family—and his heart. When he’s suddenly face-to-face with Gareth at the ceremony to join the Seelie and Unseelie realms, Niall does the only thing inhumanly possible: he fakes amnesia. Not his finest hour, perhaps, but he never revealed his Unseelie heritage, and to tell the truth now would be to risk Gareth’s revulsion—far harder to bear than two hundred years of imprisonment.

Then a new threat to Gareth’s life arises, and he and Niall stage a mad escape into the Outer World, only to discover the fate of all fae resting on their shoulders. But before they can save the realm, they have to tackle something really tough: mending their own broken relationship.

Review:
I'm going to be honest. This book was disappointing. It was pretty meh despite having a good premise while being absolutely frustrating to read. Ugh! The use of the fake amnesia trope, which is definitely my least favorite romance trope, is partially responsible for the frustration and made the story way less enjoyable for me. Gah! The two main characters wasted so many opportunities to communicate and it drove me crazy. There was so much lying and hiding of critical information that the romance part of the story suffered greatly for it.

Gareth has been pissed off at the world since his lover disappeared with an Unseelie fae. He's taken is grief and anger out on everyone for TWO CENTURIES but he's especially harsh with his brothers and their significant others. It was annoying in the first two books and it was even worse in this one. I get that this is the book where Gareth grows up and gets his head out of his ass but it took a most of the book and didn't make for as enjoyable a read. His "poor pitiful me" mentality drove me bonkers. He's definitely my least favorite character in this series.

I did fall in love with Niall despite him faking amnesia to avoid telling Gareth the truth about how they met, where he's been for the last 200 years, and that he's actually not human. You can imagine how that went down when he finally told Gareth. Even then the whole truth didn't come out. I wanted to throw my kindle at the wall it was so frustrating. So instead of making up for lost time and reconnecting with each other after centuries apart, they kept themselves emotionally separated. Ugh. It's still driving me crazy to think about it.

The overall storyline and its twists were entertaining as a fantasy story but the romance portion was a huge let down. I'm glad that they finally worked things out at the end but it felt rushed. I hope we get at least another book in the series so the storyline feels more complete.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.

   
  3 / 5 Stars



My reviews of other books in this series:
Cutie and the Beast by E.J. Russell
The Druid Next Door by E.J. Russell


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