Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1)
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre(s): Young Adult Fiction, Mystery, Horror, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction
Gisselle's Rating: 4/5
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers for Stalking Jack the Ripper.
Victorian London has always been one of my favorite eras to visit when reading novels, and in Stalking Jack the Ripper, the first installment in a series, Kerri Maniscalco brings us the high brow, wealthy society of the upper class in London in the midst of the Jack the Ripper murders.
Audrey Rose Wadsworth is a young English woman that comes from a prosperous family in the late 1880s. She is also apprenticing under her Uncle Jonathan in his forensic lab, dissecting cadavers and analyzing the manner of death, a entirely unsuitable for a young woman of her status. When a string of brutally murdered women are brought into her uncle's laboratory, Audrey Rose is wrenched into an investigation of what - or who - could have caused these vicious killings. Inspired by the real-life unsolved case of the Jack the Ripper killings, with some chapters prefaced by grim period photographs of the time, Maniscalco tells a fictional tale of who was the true monster that was Jack the Ripper and of a woman who tracked him down.
Title: And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga #1)
Author: Kiersten White
Genre(s): Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fiction, Religion, Elements of LGBTQA+, Romance
Gisselle's Rating: 4.5/5
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers for And I Darken.
During my undergrad studies, one of the books I enjoyed reading the most in my curriculum was Bram Stoker's Dracula, and it was especially compelling to learn that it had been inspired by a true figure in history: Vladimir the Impaler. Yet, I did not understand the intricacies of the stories involving Vladimir, or exactly what he was famous for in history. This novel, though a fictional retelling with many creative liberties taken, depicts that era and its characters, and Kiersten White does a fantastic job at bringing these historical figures back to life in such a raw and human way.
White's And I Darken is the first installment in a series called The Conqueror's Saga, a trilogy which recounts a fictional retelling of Vladimir the Impaler, Mehmed the Conqueror, and other historical figureheads of the Ottoman Empire. While this is a retelling of historical accounts of the Ottoman Empire, Constantinople, and other events, there are quite a few liberties that White takes in the telling of her story. For one, White makes the decision to change Vladimir the Impaler into Ladaslav the Impaler, a daughter (rather than son) of Wallachia. There are also adjustments made to the timeline in which certain events unfolded in history to better fit White's narrative, and as there isn't true historical documentation of exact conversations or encounters that these characters may have had with one another, White focuses on possible motivations that would have impacted their actions taken during their lives. Ultimately, it is important to remember that while this story has its roots set in true events, it is a fictional piece.
Title: One of Us is Lying
Author: Karen M. McManus
Genre(s): Young Adult Fiction, Mystery, Suspense
Gisselle's Rating: 4.5/5
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers for One of Us is Lying.
The first novel that I read of Karen M. McManus was One of Us is Lying, following the recommendation of my younger brother. Similarly to my response of The Cousins, McManus captured my attention from the beginning of One of Us is Lying. I was riveted by the plot and the story's concept did not allow me to truly put the book down. If I had my physical copy, I would read without pause, and when I couldn't physically be reading, I would instead turn to the audiobook. I could not help but keep myself tuned in with One of Us is Lying's story: five teenagers stuck in after-school detention... and only four emerge alive.
One of Us is Lying follows the lives of teenagers Bronwyn Rojas, Nate McCauley, Addie Prentiss, and Cooper Clay as they deal with the aftermath of their classmate, Simon Kelleher's, death during detention. They don't just grapple with the sudden trauma of witnessing a classmate die, but must also abruptly adjust to scrutiny from the public eye after their images are featured in the media and in their school, labeling them as either possible suspects or unfortunate scapegoats by the local police. One thing was apparent, though: someone in that detention knew what happened to Simon, and no one is immune to the uncovering of secrets that they would rather keep buried.
Title: Kingdom of the Wicked
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre(s): Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Elements of Horror
Gisselle's Rating: 5/5
DISCLAIMER: This review may contain spoilers for Kingdom of the Wicked.
If you are a fan of witches, elements of fantasy and horror, magic, and forbidden romance, this book is most certainly for you.
Kerri Maniscalco's novel Kingdom of the Wicked tells the story of Emilia di Carlo, a woman living in Italy with her family. Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe -- witches that live among humans, but must hide their magical abilities in order to avoid prosecution and death. After Vittoria is missing from a family dinner one night, Emilia discovers her twin has been murdered, her corpse desecrated and her heart missing. Twisted by grief, Emilia vows to find her twin's murderer. She will stop at nothing in her quest for answers, even if it means turning to dark magic, a forbidden practice that she was warned all her life to stay away from, and teaming up with Wrath, a Prince of Hell and a creature of the Wicked.