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Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2) – Kerri Maniscalco

Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2) – Kerri ManiscalcoTitle: Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2) by Kerri Maniscalco
Publishing Info: July 11, 2017 by Hachette, Jimmy Patterson
Source: ALAAC17, Author
Genres: Young Adult, Horror, Historical Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: May 8, 2017
Related Posts: Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1), Escaping From Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3)

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

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Kerri Maniscalso has done it again. HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA is just as fantastic as STALKING JACK THE RIPPER with a whole new exciting and yet horrific tale (and I mean that in the best possible way). I loved that HPD was a sequel to STALKING JACK THE RIPPER but it develops its own mystery and its own story line. The series continues with main characters Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell, so readers get to continue reading about their relationship, their work together, and their adventures along the way, but there’s no panic to think about the time that naturally occurs between each new book release because each case wraps up neatly! Although I will say that I’ll still panic a little bit since I read this book so long before its own release in the fall (I finished in May) and now I need to wait probably over a year for book three when I want to read it nowwwww. *ahem*

My only complaint about my experience with HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA is that life got in the way and I didn’t have enough time to just sit down and inhale it, as much as I wanted to. *grumbles things about responsibilities* Just like SJTR, I had so much fun reading this book from start to finish. I love the gothic horror elements, the pieces of true history combined with amazing adaptations and embellishments for the books, and most of all, the excellent banter between Audrey Rose and Thomas. Their relationship is fantastic in every possible way.

The suspense was constant and I loved the way that Kerri Maniscalco continuously shifted focus, as is natural in a mystery. When murders are occurring, it’s natural to be suspicious about everything and everyone and I always am as a reader so it was great to see how the focus tended to shift throughout the book as Audrey Rose and Thomas gathered up more clues. It kept me guessing as a reader and left some excellent surprises in the end! Looking back, 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 the reveal was MOST EXCELLENT and the dark part of my heart totally flipped. out. a certain reveal point!

Kerri Maniscalco’s books are stunningly sensory with great visuals for the reader to picture, wonderful atmosphere, and delightful descriptions that really appeal to every sense. It was so easy to get lost in the castles and forests of Romania in a totally different time period despite knowing little to nothing about either the time or the place. The light tone from the banter amongst the characters really brings a great levity to a horror story that I always appreciate and it breaks some of the more serious moments to allow readers to enjoy some of that character development. The balance of dark and light is truly perfected within these pages and to quote the book, “I am wholly bewitched.”

I cannot wait for the third installment and I will be thinking about it until it’s finally revealed what the third book will be about!!

** I received a copy of HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA from the author, Kerri Maniscalco, for review purposes and to assist in the creation of new candles inspired by the book. The fact that I received this copy to read from the author in no way affected my review, feedback, or the fact that I have the mighty need to be endlessly book-pushing and recommending. **

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Kept Me Hooked On: Horror. I’m loving the historical horror and the blend of myth and history. These books are SO much fun and really make you feel like you’re a part of the action!
Left Me Wanting More: Audrey Rose & Thomas. UGH these two. They’re just the best. I love the tension, the banter, the support, the back-and-forth. It’s all great.

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

Kerri Maniscalco is wonderful and I simply adore her books. They’re fun, clever, thrilling, and romantic.

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BOOKS LIKE HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA

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    GRAVE MERCY

Throwing My Life Away – Liz Czukas

Throwing My Life Away – Liz CzukasTitle: Throwing My Life Away by Liz Czukas, Ellie Cahill
Publishing Info: December 20, 2016 by Independent
Source: Author
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 6, 2016
Related Posts: Ask Again Later, Top Ten Clues You're Clueless, When Joss Met Matt, Call Me, Maybe, Just a Girl

7 photographs, 2 weeks, an entire life to get back. No problem, right?
After her stepfather accidentally throws away her high school mementos, sentimental Mariska is pretty sure the world is over. That is, until she comes up with a plan. She's going to recreate her past, with a little help from her friends.
It's not easy to rally everyone into helping, especially Caine, who couldn't be less sentimental about anything if he were a park bench. But from a guerilla kite festival to convincing her ex-boyfriend to recreate her lost prom picture, Mariska is willing to do what it takes.
With a little nudging from Caine, Mariska starts to realize she can't actually get her past back. And maybe that's okay. Because while she's so focused on the past, she's missing out on the present, where her friends are busy having the summer of their lives. And where funny, quiet Caine might just be the future she never knew she wanted.

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I’ve read everything Liz Czukas has written and loved them all so I was so excited to hear about Liz’s newest YA release, THROWING MY LIFE AWAY! As usual, Liz Czukas brings to life some lovable characters, realistic situations, and of course, some amazing friendships. THROWING MY LIFE AWAY was one of the most realistic contemporary stories I’ve read that was on the fluffier side (i.e. not dealing with serious life issues). Liz Czukas did a great job of bringing the average teen to life! The friendships were fun but not over the top. The crushes were superficial and then something more. The parental relationships were complicated, but not too serious for the tone of the novel. It was a light, easy read full of fun, nostalgia, and a good message too.

What you need to know about THROWING MY LIFE AWAY is that it’s the story of Mariska, a girl who has just graduated high school and is enjoying the last summer at home before she and all of her friends leave for college. When her step-dad accidentally brings all of her old photos and memories to the shredder, Mariksa embarks upon an epic summer quest to try to recreate as many of those memories as possible. Now, I don’t doubt Liz Czukas but I was a little scared before I started that this story would be TOO perfect, imagining that Mariska would end up recreating all of her memories fairly accurately. Instead, I found an incredibly enjoyable story where Mariska’s memories got destroyed and her quest to recreate them didn’t totally work out. In fact, it actually came together in a much better way by ending up with new memories and different photos instead of her getting the exact pictures she used to have. I loved that she couldn’t recreate the past and instead, made a much better present and future.

I didn’t connect with this book AS much as I had with some of the other Liz Czukas books I’ve read, but that’s bound to happen when you read so many different and wonderful characters. I still loved everyone that I met and the situations were just delightful as well as insightful. I mostly have just connected with other books of Liz’s better, so that ends up affecting any future reads, this being one of them. I still think Mariska and her friends/family were incredibly realistic and they were so much fun to read about! The book was done so well and it’s such an enjoyable concept as well.

I’m a life-long fan of Liz Czukas and I’m so happy I got to read this book early! I’m always so happy to be able to read the latest from this wonderful author because I think in all of her books, whether that’s young adult or new adult (as Ellie Cahill), she does a wonderful job of keeping a light and fun tone but still incorporating some serious moments and realistic situations. I will forever be scrambling to pick up anything new from her!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Fluff yet real. “Real fluff” — this is my new favorite contemporary genre. Is a real thing? I don’t know. But Liz Czukas totally nails it if it is. It’s fun and light without being overly serious and yet it’s still very realistic and has a lot of thoughtful moments as well as life-lessons.
Left Me Wanting More: Character connection. I don’t know why but I didn’t connect AS much as I had with previous books. But I guess I can’t very well have everything be a super favorite!

Addiction Rating
Read it!

Start from the beginning and work your way forward through Liz’s books. She’s a gem and her books are too!

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BOOKS LIKE THROWING MY LIFE AWAY

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SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE    THE CHAPEL WARS

Summer of Sloane – Erin L. Schneider

Summer of Sloane – Erin L. SchneiderTitle: Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider
Publishing Info: May 3, 2016 by Disney Hyperion
Source: Author
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 1, 2016

Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.
These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.
Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.
But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to find as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.

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SUMMER OF SLOANE was a wonderful book! After a string of fantasies, I was totally in the mood for a contemporary/realistic story and Erin L. Schneider’s debut did not disappoint. A perfect mix of summer fun, friendship turning points, and great family moments not to mention a summer romance really captivated me and I didn’t want to put the book down!

I’ve never been to Hawaii but the setting was so wonderful that I could totally picture the characters (and myself) there! The combination of sensory descriptions really brought together a full picture of Hawaii and I could practically smell the tropical air myself! It was such a perfect set-up for a great summery book and it had me longing for some ocean, sun, and sand!

The book kicks off with a huge knowledge bomb being dropped on Sloane that effectively ends her relationship with her boyfriend and squashes years of best friendship all in one fell swoop. It’s a terrible start to her summer but the silver lining is a few months in Hawaii with her mom, her brother, and the friends she’s kept in touch with over the years. I actually really liked that the book didn’t wait to introduce this big conflict in Sloane’s life! It really set up the tone for the book and put the focus on Sloane and how much she really wanted to figure out her life outside of her best friend and (now ex) boyfriend. I sometimes get really turned off when books use a best friend fight as a source of the conflict because it usually sours me for one character or another and although Sloane is clearly on the outs with her best friend Mick, there’s that sense that somewhere in the book there’s the potential to either forgive and/or move on. The book allows Sloane to take her time to figure out what she wants to do with this situation. Really it just allows Sloane take back the summer for herself and not let this huge setback destroy her. Sloane ends up empowering herself instead of letting herself fall victim to some serious drama and I loved her attitude towards the whole thing!

The friendships that Sloane has with her Hawaii friends were so enjoyable to read! I love the sort of friendships that even when you’ve spent time apart, you just fall back into a rhythm when you see each other again. They were relaxed and yet extremely close and there was such an easy give and take. I always love seeing wonderful friendships in books and the relationship that Sloane has with her friends here was top notch! They really support each other and just seem like wonderful friends. The familial relationships were excellent as well. I love brother-sister bonds and really enjoyed the love and support between Sloane and her twin brother Penn. It was also great to see Sloane getting along with her mom even though they didn’t always have the best relationship (Sloane lives with her dad) and even though her mom tried a bit too hard to make up for it sometimes, it wasn’t really a source of conflict. I really appreciated that!

I also really enjoyed the romance between Sloane and Finn. There were a few hiccups due to what had already happened to Sloane and she became a bit closed off when conflict arose but for the most part, they had a great relationship and were both pretty chill with each other which was nice! I was hoping for a few more swoony moments but I really loved how easily they seemed to fall together and how much they both learned from each other over the summer.

SUMMER OF SLOANE had a nice romance and some great relationships, ultimately this book was about Sloane and coming to terms with what happened between her, her best friend Mick, and her boyfriend Tyler. Sloane ends up taking the summer back for herself and it was so wonderful to see her take charge of her own life and understand who she was as an individual. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with a best friend or a boyfriend being such a big part of your life but I know I personally didn’t really get to know who I was on my own until I was in my twenties and I think the “young adult” age is really a time of self-discovery. SUMMER OF SLOANE was an excellent portrayal of that concept and it was great to see Sloane figure all of these things out while still maintaining that family and friendship support system. I really enjoyed the book and if I hadn’t been reading it on my lunch break, I totally could have read it in one sitting! I think readers will really, really enjoy this one! I even felt drawn to Sloane’s friend Mick and wanted a companion novel with her as the main character! I felt like her story wasn’t done yet and there’s a lot of room for a whole new book there.

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

summer of sloane gr updates

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Sloane // Character Obsessions: Swimming, friendships, self-discovery, Hawaii.
I LOVED Sloane. I loved her confidence and attitude throughout the book and that she didn’t really take crap from anyone. When this Awful Thing happens to her at the beginning of her summer, her decision is to take back the summer for herself instead of wallowing and missing her best friend and boyfriend. She was just so much fun to read about!
Mick // Character Obsessions: Tyler, fun, apologizing.
I know Mick was pretty unlikable throughout the book but… I’m not done with her story yet. I feel like there was that little opening at the end where she could end up telling her own story in a new book. I’d love to see her redemption and everything that went down after the events in SUMMER OF SLOANE. Let’s all campaign for “Autumn of Mick”!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Tropical locations. Man, I wish I was in Hawaii right now. I could practically feel the sun on my skin, smell the tropical flowers, and I just so wished I was there! It was the perfect summer location.
Left Me Wanting More: Swoony bits. The romance was cute but I didn’t QUITE swoon as much as I thought I would. That’s not a bad thing at all but I think I was just expecting a little more of the romantic moments. After finishing, I really do think the book is more about Sloane than it is about falling in love.

Addiction Rating
Read it!

I wish I had had the time to inhale this book! I didn’t want to put it down. I think readers will really enjoy this summery contemporary!

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BOOKS LIKE SUMMER OF SLOANE

(Click the cover to see my review!)

OPEN ROAD SUMMER    GOING VINTAGE