Umm. The intro’s always the hardest. So. Let’s just skip, yes?
Well, happy Halloween! Or All Saint’s day. Depending on if you’re one of those people or not.
Well. Today I have some reviews for you. Three, to be exact ( + gifs)The reviews themselves reach nearly 3k words, so read at your own risk…
I hope you enjoy my fall/Halloween themed review compilation! It may be long, but I’m worth it. 😉
(And if I’m not, then the Hotel Transylvania gifs are.)
P.S. Click on the covers for Goodreads links! Which then lead to Amazon + library links. Cliiiick.
Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase (#1) ~ by Jonathan Stroud
What I liked:
I was studying/reading at the library, and during one of my (few!) restless breaks, I got
up and looked around at some different books. The Screaming Staircase looked
somewhat vaguely familiar, so I picked it up and shoved it into my library-books-stack.
That was, like, two months ago.
I finally read it, like, a few weeks ago. Oops.
But right in time for Halloween, eh? 😛 Anyways. Yes. I wasn’t necessarily into the book the whole time, but it was REALLY good. Or just really good. I’m not sure yet… Whatever.
So. This book floats the line between Middle Grade and Young Adult. The character’s ages are never specified (though I wold guess that our narrator is maybe 13??), and it definitely has a younger feel to it, but yet … there’s a certain air that holds a YA feel to it. It was also shelved as Y of A at our library. So.
The characters were all perfect in their own little ways. Lockwood, leader of Lockwood & Co. (duh), is super charismatic and ten steps ahead of everyone … without realizing it most of the time. George is super dry and cynical and nobody likes him … but he just kept everyone together. No, not emotionally, PHYSICALLY. THE OTHER LITTLE CHILDREN WOULD HAVE LITERALLY BLOWN THEIR HEADS OFF. ON THEIR OWN ACCORD. Well, for Lockwood. Lucy’s somewhat intelligent.
I liked the whole ghost thing, but what really made me like this book was because of the ending scene. Okay, okay. Not THE ending scene, because I’m sure that that’s where everyone died (which speaking of that … why wasn’t that my favorite??). I kid, I KID.
Seriously, though. One of the FINAL scenes was just … great. I was sitting all alone in our basement finishing up the last 1/3 or 1/4 of the book (SITTING BY A FREAKING WELL) and read the Staircase scene, hence the books name. And SHIVERS. It was just written SO WELL. Like, I dunno. It was just … ah. Fed my bloodthirsty heart. ❤
And, um, did I hear … NOT A SINGLE TEAR DROP OF ROMANCE? BECAUSE THERE ARE NO TEARS. BECAUSE THERE IS NO ROMANCE. romance. Whoop! Shout out to Brick Heck! #RewatchingFavoriteTVShows
So. Did y’all notice that when I started writing up characters up there?? Before I forgot that I was writing in a different section?? And was too lazy too move it?? That I didn’t mention our protagonist?? Um, yeah. That’s Lucy.
Okay, so there’s NOTHING wrong with Lucy! Like, I actually liked her! (Isn’t that odd for me?? Liking a protagonist other than Albany York??) It’s just … she was kind of bland, ya know? Nothing really stood out about her.
But anyways. Lucy is a young lass who … doesn’t mind kicking butt to get what she wants, not in a pushy way, though. She’s also “specially” gifted with beyond-the-ordinary-ghost-sensing-powers (because who DOESN’T have those??), and I LOVED how it wasn’t a fix-all kind of power, but was just slightly better than average. And she got 0% of rep. because of it. Go nobodies!
And, hey, Lucy wasn’t an over-emotional narrator (which I liked) but she was still scared a lot! And cried during a murder investigation! Just, yes, realism.
Lockwood, the doll. ❤ He’s just … so me, in a way. He’s very sporadic (as opposed to Lucy’s … Lucy) and charming. What’s one word for him? Oh, what’s that? CHARISMATIC. Yeah. He’s pretty oblivious and sweet and has EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. wrapped around each of his fingers. Without trying. Dude, teach me your tricks.
And for our last Lockwood & Co. member, we have George. (Yeah, creepy skull, I’m excluding you. Ha.) He prides himself on being super cynical and just saying things as-is, because he hates the whole coy-thing and social flouncing in poodle skirts. So he’s drier than burnt toast ashes, and yet he holds all my love. Okay, not all. That’s reserved for the skull.
The writing seemed very MGish to me, but I kind of liked it. It was sort of … refreshing. With ghosts. Yeah.
And like I had said waaay up above, I loved the writing for
some all of the Combe Carey Hall scenes. They were all pretty vivid to me. Okay, I wasn’t scared or anything. But … still. Um, moving on!
The plot was a heavy-mystery thing (which I mean, come on, it is a HALLOWEEN BOOK), which I normally hate! Because, I mean, I’m the brainchild of Sherlock (it works … somehow), so I, of course, solve everything. And I did. But yet, I wasn’t sure HOW everything worked, which just gives me chills thinking of it! Until the flat-out reveal, I wasn’t sure how to prove that so and so did so and so and therefore so and so happened. I mean, duh! 😛
At the beginning, there were so many italics. And now, after reading the WHOLE book (including the … definition section … thing), I think that that was all the terms, saying that it had a definition in the back. Um, maybe? But after the first few chapters, it evened out. Mostly.
Another complaint that I have – and may have already mentioned? – is that it, like, fell in neither YA or MG. Not that that’s a problem, I would just like to know what I’m reading… And it blurred a lot of the lines in between.
And honestly? While the book had a lot of high action/intense(ish) scenes, it spent a lot of time feeling slow to me. Well, not that it was necessarily SLOW … it was just … not drawing.
Hey! Hey! Hey!!! No romance!!! Yay! XD I mean, there’s some foreshadowing for maybe in some future books, but Lucy and Lockwood and George are all just buddies, and it’s great. Well. Lucy and George may be blood enemies … but I’ve heard that buddies and enemies can be used interchangeably. So.
As for gore/fighting. There’s swords, but are just used on ghosts, so nothing there. The ghosts aren’t really scary, though it could maybe send your heart pat-pattering a little more quickly. Maybe.
So. All in all, this book was pretty good! If you’re looking for a good Halloween/fall book (since I guess Hallow’s Eve season is basically already done…), but don’t want anything too intense or scary, this is definitely for you!! Give it a try, and you may or may not be disappointed!! 😛
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Stalking Jack the Ripper: Hunting Prince Dracula (#2) ~ by Kerri Maniscalco
What I liked:
So. This was one of my most anticipated books of the year. And while it proved strong in some ways, it was kinda a let down to me.
But. What I liked!
Cresswell and Wadsworth are just THE. SWEETEST. together. Like, ever. Not that sweet is the word that I would use… But anyways. There’s always just so much banter going on between them, even though the underlying romantic tension CAN get a
bucketload smol bit annoying, it is well worth it. And though some of Cresswell’s deduction skills are a bit rusty, I still loved how he was just … him.
Also, I loved the setting. Not to compare HPD to SJtR TOO much … but I still liked the other setting better. Still, this is still beautifully Gothic. So, just, yes.
And … … … gah. I’ll just come out with it. I had “solved” the murder mystery about 2/3 into the book (ooookay, it was in between two different suspects. Details, details), but I wasn’t sure HOW it had all worked out or anything. And it just had me second guessing everything (which I loved!) and I couldn’t solve the murder, per se.
Ah! Cresswell! (Yes, he takes precedence over Audrey Rose.) I, honestly, didn’t like him as well. Because he was, well, human. It makes sense if you read the books. But towards the end, I just LOVED HIM TO PIECES, THAT BRILLIANT MAN. He is the prince of deduction (the title of king goes to me), and has a comeback for everything. Most of them are quite scandalous. All of them are quite scandalous.
Audrey Rose still wasn’t my favorite. She seemed a lot more … well, in a state of weaker constitution (haha, a book reference in the review … bookception!) in this book. And, honestly, a bit whinier. But, hey. The girl’s got her reasons. Still, she had her highlights.
Anastasia, the fearless bestie, was SUCH an annoyance to me. She was just … I don’t know. She just bothered me. A good friend for Audrey Rose, but…
Yeah. And, basically, that’s how everyone else was to me. Well, I kinda liked Moldoveanu (did I spell that right???). But, yeah. Nuff’ said.
As ever, the writing is Gothic and beautiful. Big paragraphs (with short ones too, don’t worry!), with a bit of medical gore thrown in. 😉 And, of course, as I’ve already said, I loved the whole Cresswell-Wadsworth banter thing gong on. Just loved it!
The plot took me awhile to get into, but I definitely enjoyed it! I think that part of the reason that it didn’t quite hold my attention was because that Prince Dracula was fictional. Or, partly. He was a real, creepy dude. But. All of the whole blood-drinking stuff wasn’t real, sadly. So it was fictionalized a whole lot.
Now, that may make you think hey, fictionlized? Doesn’t that make it grand? Welllll, yes, that, dear friend. But I, honestly, like books much better if they’re (the author) able to weave in real, hard facts and evidence, along with taking their own liberties. I dunno. Maybe that’s just me. But I’m right.
Okay. I’m gonna get real with you all. For the first 2/3 (maybe even 3/4!) of the book, I thought about rating it two stars. But, obviously, the ending portion pulled it off for me. But still.
I just … I dunno. All the characters were a lot more weepy and of weaker constitutions.
Part of oh, who am I kidding. All of the reason that I loved SJtR was that all of the characters were so … manipulative and calloused, and then you have Audrey Rose, who loved to cut open dead people and wear pretty dresses. This book kinda just missed out on that for a long while.
I also hated most of the characters with a fire and brimstone passion. There’s not even a real big reason why, I just didn’t.
Ummm, and my second biggest complaint?? Audrey Rose was always calling Cresswell (er, Thomas) “my friend.” Like, what? It just didn’t flow well. Like, she’s mad at him, while wanting to marry him. Thinking that they’re best buddies, but scared that she’s leaving him. But always, always referring to Cresswell as “her friend.” I dunno why it bugged me so, but it did.
Hmm. The murders weren’t as gory. I know, that makes me sound awful (but hey, it’s true). But in the first book, the murderer was called the Ripper, for goodness sake. And in this, everything was a lot slower and wasn’t as descriptive and stuff. But. Yeah.
I recant my previous statement. I totally am comparing the two books.
As for content, there are words, and depending on your reading preference, pages, screens, or auditory words.
There’s no language/cussing worse than a few hells and damns and the like. (Maybe? I think so. I honestly can’t remember.)
There IS quite a bit of romantic tension, and some rather … scandalous comments. (Don’t worry! More for the time period. Maybe…) There’s some kissing and passing comments. A gay couple is featured quite prominently, if that bothers you.
They ARE at a mortician school, so there is dissecting dead bodies (not as much description as I would have liked, but still some), and the murders containing stabbing and bloodless bodies. Etc.
So. I quite liked this book, though not quite as much as I would have hoped. I still DEFINITELY would recommend this trilogy to those of you who don’t mind a bit of gore and scandalous comments … I know that I don’t!
Please, pleas, please read these books and let me know all of your thoughts! Or, some of them. Depending on how much you can fit in the comment box. *hint* *hint*
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
RoseBlood ~ by A.G. Howard
What I thought:
Firstly, I want to tell you all a lil’ story. I had pre-ordered this book (because LOOK AT THAT COVER … and I love more “obscure” retellings). Pre-ordered, mind you. And it got here three. weeks. after. the. release. date. So maybe we can blame that as to why it took me three seasons to actually read this book. Now ‘scuse me while I go into the internet corner and cry tears of blood. BECAUSE WHY NOT.
Ahem. So, yeah. I liked this book. How many retellings (books, that is) of The Phantom of the Opera can you name? Besides this one?? Yeah, I thought so. So this is just so cool.
RoseBlood takes place, like, 100 years after the original takes place. (Dudes, I know NOTHING about the original. Like, what is a phantom? What is an opera???) So it’s not just a copycat. But I love the parallels between this and the original! After it was mentioned in the book.
And, at first, at least, I enjoyed Rune! Whoop! BTW, LOVE her name. Just sayin’.
ALSO. This book has a dual narration. IN TWO DIFFERENT PERSONS. Like, first and third, ya know? I’VE NEVER READ THAT BEFORE. I think.
Rune is half, or, more like, 3/4 of our narration. I really liked her at first,but then she went all girly and lovey-dovey and stuff. Blah. But she was still really cool! And that’s coming from me. She’s pretty chill, but feisty when need be. She also knits. KNITS, FOLKS. #represent I feel like the only teenager who knits. But whatever. Just me and Rune, baby.
I’m … still not sure how I feel about Thorn. Like, when we first meet him, I was like no, because he’s all. about. creeping Rune. Weird. But then … I kinda liked him. He was sweet and conflicted and had feelings … but in a manly way. Sort of. Basically, he wasn’t a teenage girl. Glad we got that out of the way.
But I definitely liked seeing his background! As dark and grimy as it was. And, I think that I liked him, just not when he was around Rune. Because then he actually has HIS OWN PERSONALITY, GOSH DARNIT, RUNE.
Okay. Okay. Okay. I think that we all need to decide that I just apparently hate the sidekick/bestie to any and all book MCs. Grrr. Sunny just drove. me. crazy. Like, she just gets rewarded for everything! And she just bulls over people to have them worship her or something. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating … or maybe not.
Erik … I dunno, man. He might actually be my favorite … and my least favorite. He’s just so domineering and obsessive and … mean, but also fatherly and kind. The dude wouldn’t kill a fly, literally. But a person that is a slight annoyance? He will literally suck out your soul while you sleep. Happy thoughts. 🙂 So, I think that I liked him just because he seemed so complex and fleshed out, while actually not being in it too much.
Jax was probably my second favorite, just because he, too, was pretty complex. He only had maybe a total of five pages of book-screen time. And he TOTALLY smashed the jock/popular guy stereotype. Whoop whoop!!
The writing was fine. That sounds awful, but I don’t know a better way to put it. I didn’t love it, but neither did I hate it. Still leaning on the better side, though.
I liked the plot. Well, except for some stuff towards the end, where it got all supernatural-like. Okay. The whole book is supernatural (like the glorious Diable), but … there was some twists and stuff that I just didn’t like as much. Explains many, many things, though. So.
Liked, the end, though if it were my choice, I would have cut the whole epilogue. Make it a patented “Alyssa ending.”
Still working on that.
The whole book seemed to be all about romance. I know that that seems to be Miss Howard’s specialty, but I would have loved to delve into Rune’s gift/curse, or maybe Thorn’s past, heck, I’d even love to see Sunny get in trouble for once!
The overuse of the word “sensual” and all of its different forms. Like, ugggggh. Couldn’t there be a different word that you could use??? Which leads me into…
The romance. It kinda overshadowed everything. If you’re into that kinda stuff, then great. But me? Not so much. It felt like the plot was almost missed.
a decent helping of romance it’s all romance. 😉 So lots of kissing and some making out. Lots of romantic tension and all that kind of stuff. There is a small mention of a gay character, if that’s bothersome to you. There’s some pretty bare child trafficking (nothing actually HAPPENS, but still) and some pretty obvious nods to prostitutes.
As for violence? There’s some violent flashbacks, but nothing too graphic. While the book itself isn’t necessarily dark, some of the themes and the book’s origin are slightly dark/disturbing. If you think about it … yeah.
Overall, while this book wasn’t MY thing, I’d still LOVE for you all to read it!! I’ve seen this book get a bad rep. (which in itself almost made it boost up a star), which I think is very undeserving. If you like Gothic settings, or more obscure retellings, then THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU. And with Christmas coming up, you might want to check it out…
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Heeeey, guys! So. How’s it goin’? Did you survive through this monster post? 😛 I don’t think I did. Send for help; reader down! Reader down! 😛 Anyways. Do you like spooky, fallish books??? Have any good recs.? Happy November everybody! (I figured that it’d be Nov. by the time that this gets read.) I’d love to have you comment below! You’re comments make my day! (That and the sacrifices that all Slytherins are required to make.)