One of Us Is Dead: A Review

The Book:

Title: One of Us Is Dead

Author: Jeneva Rose

Published April 26th 2022 by Blackstone Publishing

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction, Adult

Pages: 272

“Opulence. Sex. Betrayal … Sometimes friendship can be deadly.

Meet the women of Buckhead—a place of expensive cars, huge houses, and competitive friendships.

Shannon was once the queen bee of Buckhead. But she’s been unceremoniously dumped by Bryce, her politician husband. When Bryce replaces her with a much younger woman, Shannon sets out to take revenge …

Crystal has stepped into Shannon’s old shoes. A young, innocent Texan girl, she simply has no idea what she’s up against …

Olivia has waited years to take Shannon’s crown as the unofficial queen of Buckhead. Finally, her moment has come. But to take her rightful place, she will need to use every backstabbing, manipulative, underhand trick in the book …

Jenny owns Glow, the most exclusive salon in town. Jenny knows all her clients’ secrets and darkest desires. But will she ever tell?

Who amongst these women will be clever enough to survive Buckhead—and who will wind up dead? They say that friendships can be complex, but no one said it could ever be this deadly.” –Goodreads

My Review:

The start of this book instantly hooked me. I was so intrigued to hear about these pretentious housewives and their lives.

One thing about the mystery books I have read, or just any book, is they cannot achieve the tension necessary to keep me begging for more. They reveal secrets to quickly. But this book… this book does it so well. It hints at things to come, but you dont know what the wives’ secrets are until it is necessary to reveal them. It keeps you ensconced in the story.

This one also had a play on the language is used. There are very few hints of death or talk of it in the beginning. But as the story grows more tense and more drama unfolds, more and more euphemisms and mentions of death are sprinkled throughout the end. It gave a good symbolism for that growing sense of doom the wives’ felt.

I did love the ending. There was a huge plot twist. I did not expect the ending, but I did, but I didn’t, if that makes sense. I cannot say much without spoiling, but the ending was good.

I have never read a book by Rose but let me tell you I definitely am going to check out more of her books. She wrote beautifully. I have not read a book in a long time that is written about a modern time that uses modern terms but is not cringey or cliche… if that makes sense. A lot of books using modern slang always come off so insincere and make me roll my eyes. This one didn’t though. I really liked it.

This book had everything. It had Real Housewives drama. It was a budding romance. It was about murder. It talked about how sh*tty adult white men are. I loved it so much.

I loved this book. This will definitely be on my top books this year’s list.

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie

Star Rating: 4.5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Curtsies & Conspiracies: A Review

The Book:

Title: Curtsies & Conspiracies

Author: Gail Carriger

Series: Finishing School #2

Genre: Steampunk, YA, Fantasy

Pages: 310

Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?

Sophronia’s first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy–won’t Mumsy be surprised? Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers’ quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship’s boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot–one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

In this sequel to New York Times bestselling Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail’s distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.” –Goodreads

My Review:

This review is going to be pretty short because a lot of the things I said in the review about the first book still hold true for this book.

I loved it. I do think it gets a little repetitive, but each little adventure they have is different. This time they go to London.

This time we get a little bit more of the romance between Sophronia and Soap. It makes me so happy whenever I heard them interacting. He literally was so charming.

Felix, the other love interest, was also really charming. I think it could go either way and I would be happy with the outcome. But, I definitely would prefer Soap since he is such a kind person.

I love how Sophronia is not concerned with the romance that was budding up between the two men. She is not bothered but is developing feelings. She is more concerned with learning how to be good at espionage and about her friends thethan she is about the men in her life.

The names get even more ridiculous and its just so fun. This book series is just so fun!

It says YA but I honestly think this is for anyone. I think everyone should check these out.

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie

Star Rating: 4

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Etiquette and Espionage: A Review

The Book:

Title: Etiquette & Espionage

Author: Gail Carrier

Series: Finishing School #1

Published February 5th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre: Steampunk, YA, Fantasy

It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.” -Goodreads

My Review:

Wow!

This book was fantastic. I could not stop listening to it.

I have become fully entrenched in this world. I finished the series within a week and I loved it. I thought it was so amazing.

My grandmother tried to have me read these book for the past seven years. Everytime I asked for a book recommendation, she would suggest this book. I always turned her down and now I really regret it.

I had picked this up back in high school and I didn’t like it. But I decided to try it out since it was available on my library app. I am in shock at how good it way.

It was so funny and light-hearted. The series takes us through the whole schooling of finishing school, which I love books about school, and then introduces the act of “finishing” meaning murder and espionage. How cool!

This Victorian age novel immediately trapped me in this world. As I said in my review of Stalking Jack the Ripper, I have been getting so into these Victorianesque novels. I would like to blame Bridgerton, since I have been into that Regency era, and this is similar.

I loved Saphronia so much. She was spunky and loved all things espionage. She was a strong female character, but I don’t think she goes through a lot of growth in the book. Sometimes that is okay, like in the case of this book. That just is a thing I like to see. I like the see characters becoming more. Her growth lies in her skills but not in her personality or character in this book.

All of the other girls in the series were awesome and I loved Soap and the other sooties. They are all so unique and I cant wait to see where they go in the series.

I loved all the funky names in this series. They are all so interesting like Frowbritcher the butler.

It also has vampires and werewolves which was just amazing. Carriger makes her own rules for these individuals. The world-building just with the use of these two species alone is amazing.

This book is such a nice fun light reading. I believe the narration probably made this book 100% better. The narrator is literally so fun and makes wonderful voices for all the characters.

I recommend this to anyone literally. I apologize to my grandmother who I said was wrong for liking this book. Grandma, you were right and thank you for introducing me into Carriger’s novels.

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie

Star Rating: 4.5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hunting Prince Dracula: A Review

The Book:

Title: Hunting Prince Dracula

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #2

Published September 19th 2017 by Little, Brown & Company

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, YA, Romance

“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.

In this New York Times bestselling sequel to Kerri Maniscalco’s haunting #1 debut 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?” –Goodreads

My Review:

Just like the first book, I loved this!

This one was almost more complex than the last one. The ending we never saw coming. The vampire lore that the story brought in was so cool.

I love how Maniscalco does so much research to make her books feel so real. I love everything about her writing so far. She spins real facts into this hauntingly beautiful story.

The library app I am listening to these books from is not giving them to me fast enough. I wait for a week for this book and I finished it within the day…again.

The story becomes even more intense. The stakes are so much higher. It is so enchanting how Maniscalco weaves death into a story about a girl making her way in the world of science.

A lot of people seem to dislike Aubrey in the first book and love her in this book. I would have to agree to an extent. I loved her last book, but she was kind of annoying with the whole “I am different” vibe. As I said in the last review, I hate that. I hate women putting down other women. In this one though, we get to see a more progressive side of her mind. She doesn’t shame the other women around her for liking the things they like.

That difference in the female portrayal also has a lot to do with how many more powerful and strong women are presented in this book. The last book, there weren’t a lot of females, and the ones there were not fully developed characters and their lives revolved around societal standards. In this book, Maniscalco provides a few women all with different personalities. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. It is important for fantasy novels to provide well-rounded portrayals of multiple people.

The book becomes so much more intense in this round. The protagonist is a lot closer to the murders. She also suffers from PTSD after the affairs of the last book. It adds more to that mythical “dead rising” that goes along with the story of Dracula.

I love this book series and cannot wait to start on the next one.

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie

Star Rating: 4.5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Stalking Jack the Ripper Review

My Book:

Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #1

Published September 20th 2016 by Jimmy Patterson

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, YA, Romance

Pages: 337

“Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.” –Goodreads

My Review:

Why have I been avoiding this book?

I have been putting off reading this book for years. I did not think it was going to be super interesting or unique. But, recently I have had the motivation to read books that I would not normally get around to reading.

And omg I wish I had read this sooner!

This story was amazing. I was beyond speechless listening to it. I got it on audiobook and had it finished within the day.

I am as enraptured by Maniscalco’s writing as the main character is about autopsies.

Reading about gore is usually something I avoid, but this book made it so delightful to read about. I honestly thought it was so beautiful how even when we were not talking about a deceased body, there was a certain way the author related it to death like red was blood red.

The romance in this story is also so sweet. It is a little predictable, but that’s what romance books are in away. I did enjoy how the romance wasn’t outright. She was still her own person in this book and the romance was more of a slow burn.

Wadsworth was a super strong character. I have been getting really into victoria era books, so I loved this. Her obsession with the deceased and crime does not take away from the fact that she is a lady and likes beautiful dresses. She also likes to wear pants and boots. I don’t know why but I just loved that about her.

I do think she has that “not like other girls” vibe going on about her in this book, but it gets better in other books. I don’t like that vibe because I think it’s harmful to women who like “normal” girl things to like.

Thomas Creswell is such a respectful gentleman. He is smart, but he will always let Wadsworth figure out the crime scene first or give her room to talk. He is a perfect gentleman.

I loved this book so much and I am loving the series. Check out this book and also check out my reviews of the series as they come.

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie

Star Rating: 4.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Characters

“Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.” -That Artsy Reader Girl

This week’s theme:  

Bookish Characters (these could be readers, writers, authors, librarians, professors, etc.)

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie

Heartstopper Volume 2 and Show Review

The Book:

Title: Heartstopper: Volume Two

Author: Alice Oseman

Series: Heartstopper #2

Published July 11th 2019 by Hodder Children’s Books

Genre: Graphic Novels, Romance, LGBTQ+

Pages: 320

“Nick and Charlie are best friends. Nick knows Charlie’s gay, and Charlie is sure that Nick isn’t.

But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is discovering all kinds of things about his friends, his family … and himself.” –Goodreads

My Review:

This was so cute!

The book and the show are so good! I have all positive things to say about both, so the review is going to be a mix of both.

Agh!!! I was reading Volume 2 in the library and I kept squealing. Thankfully I was not in the quiet study section.

Literally, Nick and Charlie are my favorite couple ever! They are so cute and unproblematic.

The illustrations are amazing in the book. I love their interactions and all the little leaves floating around. It is just so cute. That was one of my favorite things about the show, that they had the leaves floating around whenever something good happened.

I feel like the show brought so much more to the characters. I was so impressed by the casting. They found a perfect Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson. The background characters, Tao (what was up with his hair?), Elle, Dary, and Tara were all perfect. They literally look exactly like their characters in the drawings.

We also got more background and got to see the characters interact without Charlie and Nick which was so fun. I really love the Tara and Darcy storyline. It was really interesting to see more of their character and more of their coming out as a couple.

All the tension and cuteness of the comic were in the show. It was so refreshing to have such a well-done book-to-movie adaptation. There were a few things missing and there were a few things added, but it was so amazing.

I binged the whole show in a day and I read Volume 2 within a day. I am obsessed with their story and I want a season 2. I cannot wait to read Volume 3.

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie

Star Rating: 5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Most Beautiful Book: World of Wonders

The Book:

Title: World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments

Author: Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Published August 3rd 2020 by Milkweed Editions

Genre: Non-fiction, Enviornment, Essays

Pages: 165

“From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction–a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us.

As a child, Nezhukumatathil called many places home: the grounds of a Kansas mental institution, where her Filipina mother was a doctor; the open skies and tall mountains of Arizona, where she hiked with her Indian father; and the chillier climes of western New York and Ohio. But no matter where she was transplanted–no matter how awkward the fit or forbidding the landscape–she was able to turn to our world’s fierce and funny creatures for guidance.

“What the peacock can do,” she tells us, “is remind you of a home you will run away from and run back to all your life.” The axolotl teaches us to smile, even in the face of unkindness; the touch-me-not plant shows us how to shake off unwanted advances; the narwhal demonstrates how to survive in hostile environments. Even in the strange and the unlovely, Nezhukumatathil finds beauty and kinship. For it is this way with wonder: it requires that we are curious enough to look past the distractions in order to fully appreciate the world’s gifts.

Warm, lyrical, and gorgeously illustrated by Fumi Nakamura, World of Wonders is a book of sustenance and joy.” –Goodreads

My Review:

I read this book for a class this quarter. I also read Nezhukumatathil’s other book Oceanic. They were both amazing.

But this one was superb.

I loved it.

It is 165 pages of pure bliss. The book takes you on a journey through Nezhukumatathil’s life and how she relates it to nature.

Environmental creative non-fiction is a field dominated by white men, so seeing an Asian-American woman’s writing in this genre is refreshing. She writes about racism and how she healed from it in nature.

Nezhukumatathil has such a unique relationship with nature. She has traveled to places to see flowers bloom. She has swam with whale sharks. She talks to cardinals in her backyard. This is all illustrated throughout her writing.

The writing brought me into the story. I was able to experience what she felt like in each chapter of her life. I experienced everything because she wrote so beautifully.

Nezhukumatathil typically writes poetry, but her essay format gave her even more of a storytelling ability. It is so alluring to read and I could not put this down.

I also loved the illustrations done in this book. Most of the species talked about are illustrated at the beginning of the chapter which helps pulls you into the story even more. You are able to visualize every creature or plant she talks about.

I love this books so much. If you are into poetry, please go check out Nezhukumatathil. She is amazing and has something in her collections for everyone.

As always, thanks for reading,

Star Rating: 5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Here is Another Book Haul

Hi,

I have bought more books. I know that it is very unsurprising. What is surprising is that I only bought two.

So here they are:

A Magic Stepped in Poison by Judy I. Lin

I used to look at my hands with pride. Now all I can think is, “These are the hands that buried my mother.”

For Ning, the only thing worse than losing her mother is knowing that it’s her own fault. She was the one who unknowingly brewed the poison tea that killed her—the poison tea that now threatens to also take her sister, Shu.

When Ning hears of a competition to find the kingdom’s greatest shennong-shi—masters of the ancient and magical art of tea-making—she travels to the imperial city to compete. The winner will receive a favor from the princess, which may be Ning’s only chance to save her sister’s life.

But between the backstabbing competitors, bloody court politics, and a mysterious (and handsome) boy with a shocking secret, Ning might actually be the one in more danger.” -Goodreads

My Policeman by Bethan Robertson

“It is in 1950’s Brighton that Marion first catches sight of Tom. He teaches her to swim, gently guiding her through the water in the shadow of the city’s famous pier and Marion is smitten–determined her love alone will be enough for them both. A few years later near the Brighton Museum, Patrick meets Tom. Patrick is besotted, and opens Tom’s eyes to a glamorous, sophisticated new world of art, travel, and beauty. Tom is their policeman, and in this age it is safer for him to marry Marion and meet Patrick in secret. The two lovers must share him, until one of them breaks and three lives are destroyed.

In this evocative portrait of midcentury England, Bethan Roberts reimagines the real life relationship the novelist E. M. Forster had with a policeman, Bob Buckingham, and his wife. My Policeman is a deeply heartfelt story of love’s passionate endurance, and the devastation wrought by a repressive society.” -Goodreads

I picked up the first because of a Barnes and Noble email, and the second was because there is going to be a movie about this book.

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie

Song of Achilles: A Review

The Book:

Title: The Song of Achilles

Author: Madeline Miller

Published August 28th 2012

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, LGBT,

Pages: 369

“Achilles, “the best of all the Greeks,” son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful, irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods’ wrath.

They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.”

My Review:

I hate to speak negatively about books a lot of people like, for fear of retaliation. But I did not really get why this book is so popular.

It is very well-written. I am not here to slander Miller’s writing because I think that her writing is amazing.

Books that are this heavily researched usually read like a history textbook. This read like an actual story. Miller used period-accurate wording. She also just wrote really well.

But it was not enough to keep me interested.

I got this book because so many people recommended this book off of TikTok. They said this was one of the saddest books ever. It held them captivated. People were able to read it in one day.

I shed no tears. It took me three months to read. And I honestly was not interested.

The major thing that threw me off from this book was a sex scene between minors. I understand that at the time being 14 was probably of age, but they continually referenced in the book how they were just children, and then I had a very pornographic scene of them having sex. I know, me being mad about spice? How could I? But I don’t want to hear about people under the age of 18 having sex in graphic detail. It is just not my cup of tea.

The next thing that bugged me was just that I was bored. The book covers the span of like 27 years in 369 pages. I just got bored. If you are into huge time jumps or whole years of life being summed up, then that’s great. I just hated how the book read so slow but also was jumping so quickly through their lives.

Again, not my cup of tea.

I thought there was a lot of background knowledge that you needed to have to read this book. Thankfully for people not versed in the Greek culture, there was a lot of information on the back. I knew most of what they referenced in the story, but some things were hard to understand.

I don’t want to say this book was bad. I thought that the writing was good. The ending was also okay. The last 60 pages made up for some of the slowness in the beginning but not much.

In no way do I think that is the writer’s fault; I just don’t think I liked the book.

I do want to give it a decent score though, so I am giving it a 3 star because I do think it was written well.

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie

Star Rating: 3.0

Rating: 3 out of 5.