Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Top Ten Books on My Fall TBR List


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's Top Ten Tuesday asks bloggers to blog their top ten books on their fall TBR list. The titles are in no particular order.



1. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie Dao has been on my TBR list for quite awhile. I was fortunate enough to meet her at BEA 2017 and I cannot wait to read the book. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns is the first book in the Rise of Empress series. If you are looking for Asian retelling of the Evil Queen from Snow White, definitely check out this novel.


2. The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken is a middle grade novel about a boy named Prosper who finds out that a demon lives within him due to one of his ancestors breaking a contract. Fall seems a perfect time to read this novel!


3. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng is a novel that everyone has been raving about. I was fortunate enough to meet Celeste at BEA 2017 but I love how she lives in the same state as me and she always has events in MA. I cannot wait to read this contemporary adult novel about family, adoption and more.


4. The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman is the prequel to Practical Magic. Readers will finally learn more about the Owens Curse. I am hoping to attend her book event on October 31st. How fitting?!


5. Whichwood by Tahereh Mafi is a companion novel to Furthermore. A girl is entrusted with the destiny to spend her days washing the bodies of the dead and preparing their souls for the afterlife. Intriguing in a morbid way, this middle grade novel piqued my interest and what a perfect time to read it too! 



6. Shadow Weaver by MarcyKate Connolly is a middle grade novel about a girl who can control shadows ever since she was a baby. This is the first book in a dark fantasy duology. I am a big fan of MarcyKate's previous companion series, Monstrous and I look forward to diving into more fantastic writing!


7. The Ravenous by Amy Lukavics is Amy's third book. The Ravenous is about the Cane family who seems like the perfect family until one of the daughters dies in an accident and then is somehow brought back from the dead. However, she needs to feed on human flesh to survive. Not only is Amy's writing horrifically fantastic but she sets the tone for some of the perfect novels to be read during the Halloween season.



8. American Street by Ibi Zoboi is actually a book I am currently reading. The novel follows Fabiola who starts a new life in Detroit, MI after leaving Haiti. Unfortunately, her mother is detained in New Jersey and Fabiola learns to adapt without her mother in a new country. The novel moves at a fast pace and is definitely a novel everyone should read.

9. Little Elliot, Fall Friends by Mike Curato is the fourth book in the Little Elliot picture book series. Readers can follow Elliot and his friend Mouse in the countryside during the fall season. Mike's illustrations are timeless and his storytelling is captivating.


10. The Crowns of Croswald by D.E. Night is a fantasy novel about a boarding school called Halls of Ivy which is a school where students learn to master their magic and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. I haven't heard about this novel until recently but it's definitely up my alley. I love to read books about magic and boarding schools.



What novels are you looking forward to this fall? Do you prefer to read a certain genres during certain seasons?

Friday, September 15, 2017

There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Title: There's Someone Inside Your House
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Publication date: September 26, 2017
Pages: 289
Source/format: Publisher//ARC

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

Scream meets YA in this hotly-anticipated new novel from the bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.

International bestselling author Stephanie Perkins returns with a fresh take on the classic teen slasher story that’s fun, quick-witted, and completely impossible to put down.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Stephanie Perkins is known for her Anna and the French Kiss companion trilogy but this is her first time launching a horror novel! The novel starts off with a group of girls talking about the Sweeny Todd production that they are apart of at Osbourne High School in Nebraska. Unfortunately, one of the girls in the production is murdered at home and is the first of many students who are killed within the novel.

Makani Young moved from Hawaii about a year or so ago to Osbourne, Nebraska and still is trying to fit in. Her friends Darby and Alex and supportive and she is beginning a steady relationship with Ollie. Makani left Hawaii because of a scandalous past that caused her to change her last name. Her grandmother currently raises her in Nebraska and her parents find her a nuisance and a burden.

Although the novel is a horror novel, I find the book a fusion of contemporary and horror. There are a lot of instances of Makani and Ollie hooking up in the novel. The novel is more of a contemporary with scattered instances of horror weaved into There's Someone Inside Your House. Just a warning, there are instances of a lot of make out sessions, sex and hazing in the novel. I was a little put off by it because of how intense the hazing situation is.

Readers find out about the murderer earlier than expected. Half way through the book, Makani meets the killer and becomes a victim. Unlike the other victims, she survives. I didn't expect to find out about the killer so soon. I was hoping for the suspense to last until the very end where clues led to identity of the murderer. I also find it ironic how the school is doing a Sweeny Todd production during the time the serial killer is out to kill many students who attend Osbourne High School. The show ends up being cancelled due to the grieving community and the nature of Sweeney Todd.

There's Someone Inside Your House is written in third POV and readers will know what is happening to each character right away. Sometimes it can be hard to follow the plot with so many characters in the book. I recommend this book for those who like contemporary novels but want to have a taste of horror but aren't ready for a full blown suspenseful horror novel.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

Title: Wishtree
Author: Katherine Applegate
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: September 26, 2017
Pages: 224
Source/format: Publisher//ARC

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

Trees can't tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories. . . .

Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood "wishtree"—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red's branches. Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red's hollows, this "wishtree" watches over the neighborhood.

You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red's experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Every first of May, people will adorn Red the red oak tree with scraps of paper, bits of fabric and snippets of yarn with dreams, desires and longings. Trees can't tell jokes but they tell stories. They talk to some people but often will converse with nature. Red often chat with Bongo, the best friend who is a crow.

Red is not just any tree but he is a home for many and is important to the community. Samar is a ten-year-old who visits the tree at night when her parents fall asleep. She makes a one wish. Her wish is, "I wish for a friend." Samar has been bullied by others because she is Muslim. A carving on the tree is found telling Samar's family to leave and it upsets Samar. Stephen who lives next door to her becomes a friend over time with the intervention of Red and Bongo. Unfortunately, Red breaks the code of conduct between trees in order to make the friendship happen.

Francesca is the owner of the property of the tree and she is debating where to cut the tree down. After readers find out that Francesca is related to the person who first started the wishing, she changes heart and decides to protect the tree. A diary consists the first wish made by a young female back in 1848. Bongo was able to give the key to Samar in order to unlock the diary. The first wish was the gift of love. Eventually, love prevails!

Katherine Applegate has written a wonderful middle grade novel that delves into many current topics. The Wishtree is a novel that tackles topics such as friendship, environmental protection, diversity, bullying, community and love. It's a lovely book for all ages.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel

Title: Black Bird of the Gallows
Author: Meg Kassel
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Publication date: September 5, 2017
Pages: 300
Source/format: Publisher//ARC

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.

Angie Dovage can tell there’s more to Reece Fernandez than just the tall, brooding athlete who has her classmates swooning, but she can’t imagine his presence signals a tragedy that will devastate her small town. When something supernatural tries to attack her, Angie is thrown into a battle between good and evil she never saw coming. Right in the center of it is Reece—and he’s not human.

What's more, she knows something most don't. That the secrets her town holds could kill them all. But that’s only half as dangerous as falling in love with a harbinger of death.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Mysterious Reece Fernandez and his family moves next door to Angie Dovage in Cadence, PA. Crows start multiplying in the neighborhood for some odd reason. At first, Reece seems like your typical popular, athletic guy but he harbors some secrets. Angie harbors a secret herself but her's seems tame compared to Reece's. Angie has an alter ego at the local club, The Strip Mall. She DJ's during her spare time and the job allows her to be an alternate version of herself. Everyone loves DJ Sparo compared to the quiet and shy Angie in school.

After some run ins with bees and random creepy people, Angie becomes suspicious of Reece and what he has been up to. Angie begins to stalk Reece in order to get her answers and finds out more about Reece's cursed life. Angie has been drawn to Reece ever since he moved in next door. It's like a magnetic connection. However, I was a little put off when Angie stalks Reece. She became a little too curious about Reece and it almost lead her to be killed.

Angie is close to her best friends, Deno and Lacey. Although, Angie lives a complex life, she knows Deno and Lacey will always be there for her. Angie's father always looks out for Angie especially when he finally gained custody rights. Despite everyone shaming Angie's mother for being a horrible mom, Angie uncovers more about her past through the mysterious supernatural happenings in her town. I am glad that Angie has a supportive group of friends and an understanding father.

Meg Kassel wrote a captivating and engaging novel about two teenagers that are fated to be together but due to certain circumstances, they must stand their distances to save each other. In order to stop history repeating itself, Angie and Reece try to deny their love for each other.

Black Bird of the Gallows is a novel for readers who love paranormal romance and are looking for something different from vampire, witch and werewolf tropes. The novel is intriguing and moves at a decent pace.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hunting Prince Dracula Tour: Traveling Etiquette and Tips for Victorian Women

I am fortunate for this opportunity to participate in the Hunting Prince Dracula Tour as part of the Knights of White Chapel. Today, I am showcasing traveling etiquette and tips for Victorian Women. I came up with this idea when I read the first chapter of Hunting Prince Dracula. Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell are traveling to Romania on a train. Back in the day, women had less rights than the women of the modern day.

Upper and upper-middle class women were able to travel for leisure and for political reasons. It was a way for women to gain some sense of freedom and independence of their own. Some women would travel for missionary work while others wanted to explore lands they have never traveled to. All women had to abide to certain etiquette rules during the early 18th century to early 19th century.

Also, check out my review for Stalking Jack the Ripper and Hunting Prince Dracula. You can also check out my posts about Stalking Jack the Ripper Exclusive Chapter Thoughts and Stalking Jack the Ripper Tea Pairings.

Sources: Traveling Etiquette and Tips for Victorian WomenVictorian Women Travelers in the 19th Century9 Rules For Female Travelers From The Victorian Era

Traveling Etiquette and Tips for Victorian Women

1. Ladies always give themselves at least an hour of ample time to get ready for preparation in the morning.

2. Wear appropriate modest clothing. Dress plainly in an outfit similar to a morning gown and don't dress too showy. To avoid robbery, don't adorn yourself with jewelry and expensive high quality clothing.

3. Ladies should limit their luggage to one carpet bag or traveling satchel for an overnight stay. Grooming items, reading material and possible food should be packed along with clothing (shawl, night clothes, clean linen, night cap).

4. Because women traveling alone are prime targets of robbery, most of a lady's money should be held by her male driver or escort. This will decrease the amount of monetary items that a robber might take from a traveling lady. A lady should also have a pocket in her upper petticoat to hold money.

5. A male escort shall not enter a lady's compartment.

6. If a woman travels alone, find a seat next to another woman or near an elderly gentleman. This is to lessen the chances of being robbed.

7. Don't pester the escort or the companion. You don't want to be a burden to others. 

8. Be polite at all times. Never return rudeness with rudeness. Hold back and bite your tongue if you don't have anything good to say. 

9. Always be punctual. There is no excuse for being late. Remember, early is on time, on time is late and late is well unacceptable. 

10. A lady never checks herself into at a hotel or inn. The driver or escort will take care of all the lodging arrangements.


Title: Hunting Prince Dracula
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Publication date: September 19, 2017
Pages: 448
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: AmazonBarnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound
Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

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. 

***

PRAISE FOR HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA

“There are plenty of suspects and red herrings as well as tense escalations….A scenic, twisty mystery.”

―Kirkus Reviews

“Readers of the previous mystery will be thrilled to have more of this likable duo. [A] delightful romp into an 1888 Gothic mystery with a hint of romance.”

―School Library Connection


ABOUT KERRI MANISCALCO

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.

Follow Kerri on Social media links:

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website | Tumblr | Pinterest

GIVEAWAY

Nicole's Novel Reads is not responsible for books lost or damaged in the mail. Good Luck!



TOUR SCHEDULE

Week One

August 21: Paper Cuts: Hunting Prince Dracula Playlist
August 22: Literary Legionnaire: Review of Hunting Prince Dracula
August 23: Books & A Cup of Coffee: Character Mood Boards
August 24: Artic Books: Hunting Prince Dracula Playlist
August 25: 21st Century Once Upon A Times: A “Drink Your way through SJTR: Tea Edition”

Week Two

August 28: Hiver Et CafĂ©: History of Prince Dracula
August 29: Justice Reads: Review of Hunting Prince Dracula
August 30: Nicole’s Novel Reads: Travelling Etiquette and tips for Victorian Women
August 31: Sophie Reads YA: Favourite Stalking Jack the Ripper Fanart
September 1: LILbooKlovers: Top Ten Quotes from Stalking Jack the Ripper

Week Three

September 4: One Way or An Author: Hunting Prince Dracula Phone Backgrounds
September 5: A Blinding Book: Hunting Prince Dracula Aesthetic
September 6: Rants & Raves: Review & Snacks
September 7: Rattle the Stars: Hunting Prince Dracula Playlist
September 8: A Gingerly Reviews: Hunting Prince Dracula Review

Week Four

September 11: The Plot Bunny: Hunting Prince Dracula Trick or Treat Customer Ideas
September 12: Blame it on The Books: Hunting Prince Dracula Review
September 13: The Reader & the Chef : Hunting Prince Dracula’s Menu
September 14: Books, Tv, and More…Oh MY!!: Top Ten Favourite Traits of Audrey & Thomas
September 15: Unquenchable Reads : GIF, GIFS, and more GIFS

Week Five

September 18: Rattle the Pages : A Glimpse Back in Time: Vlad The Impaler edition
September 19: Beyond the Book Reviews: Character Wears of the 21st Century
September 20: The Heart of a Book Blogger : Hunting Prince Dracula Mood Board

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Title: Starfish
Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: September 26, 2017
Pages: 384
Source/format: Publisher//ARC

Rating: ☆☆☆1/2

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

From debut author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes a luminous, heartbreaking story of identity, family, and the beauty that emerges when we embrace our true selves.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

"I need a fresh start. I need a real life. I need Prism." - ARC of Starfish

Kiko Himura is a talented artist in her senior year and her dream is to go to Prism Art School in New York. Kiko believes Prism is her ticket out of her traumatizing life. However, her mother always sees that she is not good enough to do certain things. Kiko has always wanted to fit in and to gain approval from her peers and her mother but because she is half Japanese and half white, she feels like people don't like her because she is part Asian. She feels insecure since her mother doesn't support her everyday and some people in school think she is too Asian. This toxic environment is smothering her.

Although I am not bi-racial, I can understand how Kiko feels in regards of not belonging. I am Chinese American and because I went to school in predominately white neighborhood from grade school to high school, I too thought I was too Asian and people might judge me for that. Kiko's fears and worries resonate with me. I also know how it feels to be socially awkward at events like parties. I try to avoid being in those situations if I can because I feel uncomfortable.

Kiko is reunited with her childhood friend, Jamie Merrick, who relocated to California from Nebraska. Sometimes Kiko finds Nebraska stifling because there aren't many Asians living in the area. It doesn't help that her parents are divorced. Her mother has Uncle Max move into the house even though Kiko doesn't like Uncle Max due to a horrible thing that happened in the past. Her mom and uncle blame her for the divorce. Kiko's dad is now remarried and has twins with another women while Kiko lives with her mom, two brothers, a dog and now Uncle Max.

Jamie proposes a wonderful idea for Kiko to travel to California so Kiko can look at art schools in the area. Not only does it provide her an opportunity to find a school that she wants to go to but it provides an escape from her life at home. Kiko meets Hiroshi who helps her achieve her dreams and being the person she wants to be.

Kiko's friend Emery is very supportive of Kiko during tough times like when Kiko finds out she didn't get accepted into Prism. However, Kiko feels afraid to tell Emery everything about her life. She is afraid to tell Emery about what happened to her at the party they went to when a drunk guy forced kissed her and what happened to her with Uncle Max.

Akemi Dawn Bowman wrote a poetic and lyrical novel that touches upon topics that many teens go through. Warning, there are mentions of sexual abuse, social anxiety and emotional abuse in the novel. Bowman includes snippets of Kiko painting at the end of chapters that correlate with Kiko's emotions from each chapter. It's a good way to have readers visualize with their mind how Kiko feels through words and images. Kiko expresses herself through art as a stress reliever and as a way to positive transfer her thoughts and sentiments into something reflective and creative.

Starfish is a harrowing novel about self-identity, acceptance and hope. This heartfelt novel pulls at your heart strings in a way that you feel sympathy for Kiko. Readers see Kiko overcome her fears and she becomes more confident. Her journey is a roller coaster but she prevails at the end.

FAVORITE QUOTES

"We all have to dream our own dreams. We only get one life to live--live it for yourself, not anyone else."

"I paint a carousel of mirrors and dragons, and inside one of the mirrors is the happiest girl alive, desperate to break free."

"If my life were a video game, I would have hit the reset button a long time ago. Art school is my reset button. And I need to push it by myself."

Thursday, August 24, 2017

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Title: They Both Die at the End
Author: Adam Silvera
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication date: September 5, 2017
Pages: 384
Source/format: Publisher//ARC

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

New York Times bestselling author Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day.

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

In the tradition of Before I Fall and If I Stay, They Both Die at the End is a tour de force from acclaimed author Adam Silvera, whose debut, More Happy Than Not, the New York Times called “profound.”


M Y  T H O U G H T S

"My afterlife is like a home theater where you can re-watch your entire life from start to finish." - ARC of They Both Die at the End

I had to admit that I couldn't get into Adam Silvera's first two books but I was hooked when I read page one of They Both Die at the End. The concept of someone getting a call from Death-Cast stating that they will die sometime within 24 hours is pretty surreal. You don't know how you will die and you don't know what algorithm Death-Cast uses to determine everyone's End Day.

Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio both get calls from Death-Cast on the same exact a day. Both have complex lives. Mateo's mom died during childbirth and his dad has been in a coma for a couple of weeks. Rufus is in the foster care system after his parents and sister died. Through an app called The Last Friend, Mateo and Rufus become friends.

They Both Die at the End is split into four sections and alternates chapters between Mateo and Rufus with the exact time logging of their thoughts like they are writing in a journal. There are some chapters in secondary characters' voices as well. Silvera captures the grittiness of Mateo's and Rufus's lives. He tells it how it is with sincerity and doesn't sugarcoat anything about their past.

Silvera did an excellent job interweaving the lives of Mateo and Rufus. Both are different and unique in their own ways. I found the concept of Death-Cast intriguing and how a span of a day would pan out in almost 400 pages of a novel. It works though! Silvera made it work! Despite the many pages of the novel, this is a quick read.

The dialogue flows smoothly and the reader empathizes with the main characters. That ending is intense! The emotion roller coaster peaks and descends and so many thoughts are looming. It really make you cherish every moment of your life. Silvera captures moments of Mateo's and Rufus's lives through instagram in full color compared to Rufus's usual black and white spectrum. They truly lived their End Day to its fullest.

They Both Die at the End is about loss, hope, friendship and what it means to live your life to its fullest. I highly recommend this novel to someone looking at for a book that is honest and those looking for a book that borders genres.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC: Hunting Prince Dracula







Elizabeth from Tea and A Tantrum, Marci from The Plot Bunny and I are big fans of Kerri Maniscalco. We started the Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC with Kerri's debut novel, Stalking Jack the Ripper. You can see the first post here. It was only fitting to also share our thoughts about the sequel, Hunting Prince Dracula. Not only is Kerri a fantastic storyteller, but she is also created a series where mystery and horror collide.

We love promoting books especially for authors that we love. Pre-ordering books is very important to the sales and how well the author does in the long run. High pre-order numbers can help the author get another print run for their book. Help support authors by spreading the word about their titles. Brownie points goes to readers who pre-order books or purchase finished copies even after they read an ARC.



Title: Hunting Prince Dracula
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Publication date: September 19, 2017
Pages: 448
Source/format: Publisher/ARC

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

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.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Reading Hunting Prince Dracula is like jumping on a bike again. Readers are immersed into the same world with Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell shortly after where Stalking Jack the Ripper left off. After the uncovering the true identity of Jack the Ripper back in London, Audrey and Thomas venture out to Romania to pursue an education in forensic medicine while hunting for Dracula.

From the first page, Kerri Maniscalco grabs the reader's attention with striking imagery. Carefully chosen words are used in descriptions of Audrey Rose's surroundings. Kerri Maniscalco's rich yet engrossing, atmospheric descriptions make readers crave more. Every detail is exquisite. In the second novel in the Stalking Jack the Ripper trilogy, readers join Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell while they battle out for two out of the nine spots at the Academy of Forensic Medicine and Science.

Readers are introduced to a whole new set of characters in Romania. Audrey Rose meets a few females to keep her company such as Anastasia, Ileana and Daciana. Who knew Thomas's sister, Daciana, is just as charming as he is.

Chockful of mysterious and thrilling encounters, Hunting Prince Dracula is just as intriguing as its predecessor. It's cleverly executed and I find myself loving this installment even more than Stalking Jack the Ripper! Kerri keeps readers on their toes the whole way through with twists and turns. The whole entire time when I was reading the book, I kept changing my mind about who the murderer is. Macabre and cadavers are taken to a whole new level.

Wadsworth and Cresswell are the quintessential duo. The banter between Audrey and Thomas is still there but their relationship continues to grow into something more than a friendship. The banter between them is perfect and they work very well together as partners in crime. There are times when Audrey is uncertain if Thomas would become distant but their loyalties lie within their strong friendship. I cannot wait to see them undercover mysteries in America.

I highly recommend Hunting Prince Dracula for those who enjoyed reading Stalking Jack the Ripper and for those who love thrillers, mysteries and the paranormal.


If you want to follow the Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC feature on social media, please check out the hashtag, #TravelingARC3, for more reviews and photos.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Eventful Summer

So I haven't been blogging too much this summer due a very eventful summer because of work. I work with first generation and low-income high school students at a college prep program for my full-time job. Every year I go away for three weeks as part of a six week summer academy and staff work 24/7 around the clock weekdays and weekends. During the academic year, we provide tutoring, workshops, classes and so much more after school and on the weekends. During the summer, we have a 8-4 day for three weeks at the community college that I work at. The last three weeks is the residential component that involves living at a residential college campus. It's an intense and exhausting job but it's so rewarding.

Seeing students succeed and reach higher is something money can't buy. Although the pay isn't that great, I've helped countless amount of students graduate high school and go to college. The great thing is seeing some of the alumni who graduated college. Not only do I see students' growth throughout the years, but the program I work with provides the atmosphere for a second family to bond. 

I just came back last Saturday and took off Monday to relax before going back to the office. But of course my co-workers and had to pack the whole office in less than 3 days to move to a new office. Because we already moved 2.5 hours away for the three weeks of summer and back, packing is something we were not looking forward to do on Tuesday. Nevertheless, we succeeded in packing by putting in overtime hours. I am looking forward to a wonderful vacation next week in New Orleans. Speaking of New Orleans, I will be doing a recap of my trip sometime after I get back from my trip.


I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer. What did you do in July and for the first couple weeks of August?

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World by Reshma Saujani

Title: Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World
Author: Reshma Saujani
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication date: August 22, 2017
Pages: 176
Source/format: Publisher/ARC

Rating: ☆☆☆ 

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

Part how-to, part girl-empowerment, and all fun, from the leader of the movement championed by Sheryl Sandberg, Malala Yousafzai, and John Legend.

Since 2012, the organization Girls Who Code has taught computing skills to and inspired over 40,000 girls across America. Now its founder, Reshma Saujani, wants to inspire you to be a girl who codes! Bursting with dynamic artwork, down-to-earth explanations of coding principles, and real-life stories of girls and women working at places like Pixar and NASA, this graphically animated book shows what a huge role computer science plays in our lives and how much fun it can be. No matter your interest--sports, the arts, baking, student government, social justice--coding can help you do what you love and make your dreams come true. Whether you're a girl who's never coded before, a girl who codes, or a parent raising one, this entertaining book, printed in bold two-color and featuring art on every page, will have you itching to create your own apps, games, and robots to make the world a better place.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Girls Who Code is an inspiring book for girls who want to learn how to code. Reshma Saujani encourages girls to embrace their love for computer science and STEM related fields. It's okay for girls to like coding. In a male dominated world of coding, Saujani tells girls that coding is for everyone.
The book is divided into many chapters and each chapter has a mixture of text and also images. The timeline of the computer is a nice touch and visually explains the history of the first computers to give readers knowledge of how coding came to be. Girls Who Code explains coding in a way where readers can relate coding to their own lives. From loops to functions, Girls Who Code clearly describes coding terms.

The book also has a section with each coding language with their uses which I find handy. It's a good guide when you're trying to figure out what coding language to use. The glossary is clearly organized and defines many terms for coders to learn and understand.

Girls Who Code is a good companion to the website girlswhocode.com. This is a good resource to check out to find more about coding before delving into the world of coding. However, I wish their was more information about practicing coding in the book or a section of good resources about coding for readers to check out either online or in their local communities besides what is on Girls Who Code website. A printed list of other organizations would be great to see in the book as well.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Blog Tour: Venturess by Betsy Cornwell

Venturess Banner

Thank you to Rockstar Book Tours for allowing me to participate in the Venturess Blog Tour! I am happy to showcase Venturess by Betsy Cornwell, which is a companion novel to Mechanica. If you are looking for a fairytale retelling of Cinderella merged with steampunk, check out both novels.


Venturess CoverTitle: Venturess
Author: Betsy Cornwell
Pub. Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Clarion Books
Pages: 320
Source/format: ARC from Emma from Miss Print
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Amazon, Barnes&Noble, iBooks, TBD, Goodreads

Rating: ☆☆☆
Synopsis:

Young inventor Nicolette Lampton is living her own fairy tale happy ending. She's free of her horrible step-family, running a successful business, and is uninterested in marrying the handsome prince, Fin. Instead, she, Fin, and their friend Caro venture to the lush land of Faerie, where they seek to put an end to the bloody war their kingdom is waging. Mechanical armies and dark magic await them as they uncover devastating secrets about the past and fight for a real, lasting happily-ever-after for two troubled countries—and for themselves.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Nicolette Lampton finally moves away from her stepmother and her stepsisters to open up her own workshop. While everything seems like a happily ever after for Nicolette, everything doesn't seem how it looks. King Corsin is not faring well as his health declines. Fin ends up getting injured while Fitz plots a plan for the people of Esting to fight against the Fey in Faerie. Nicolette ends up embarking on a journey to Faerie with Caro and Fin in order to safe both worlds from rampage and war.

The friendship between Nicolette, Caro and Fin is perfect. They are three peas in a pod. Betsy Cornwell extends Mechanica, which is a retelling of Cinderella, into something more! She transports readers to a magical world of Faerie. However, I wish readers explore the world of Faerie more before the war broke out. Just like Mechanica, Cornwell focuses on the friendship between the trio instead of focusing on romantic relationships. Jules, the mechanical horse, makes an reappearance and readers are introduced to new characters such as Captain Wheelock and Talis, the Fey leader.

Nicolette is a strong woman and doesn't follow the norms. She is independent and doesn't need anyone to help her be who she is. She finds the value of pants while other fashionable ladies would not be caught dead in something so pratical. Two thirds into the novel, readers will run into a plot twist which definitely caught me off guard. Also, Venturess answered my question from Mechanica about what the Ashes are. Readers get a better understanding of the Faerie world even if it's slightly unpleasant.

Venturess is a dazzling story fusing steampunk and fairytales. If you haven't read Mechanica yet, pick it up as soon as you can. Dive into Venturess right after and enjoy the magic!


ALSO BY BETSY CORNWELL


Title: Mechanica
Author: Betsy Cornwell
Pub. Date: August 25, 2015
Publisher: Clarion Books (HMH)
Pages: 320
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Goodreads

Synopsis:

Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn't want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

ABOUT BETSY CORNWELL


Hi! I'm Betsy Cornwell, an American writer and teacher living in a stove-heated cottage in west Ireland, together with my horse trainer spouse, a small herd of dairy goats, and an increasing number of other animals. I write fiction and nonfiction and blog about Irish folklore, travel, wild food, goats (of course!), homesteading, and growing up.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr

GIVEAWAY

3 winners will receive a finished copy of VENTURESS. US Only. Nicole's Novel Reads is not responsible for books lost or damaged in the mail. Good Luck!


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BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

WEEK ONE

7/24/2017 - Two Chicks on Books - Interview
7/25/2017 - Here's to Happy Endings - Review
7/26/2017 - BookHounds YA - Guest Post
7/27/2017 - The Book Nut - Interview
7/28/2017 - jrsbookreviews - Review

WEEK TWO

7/31/2017 - Nicole's Novel Reads - Review
8/1/2017 - Novel Novice - Guest Post
8/2/2017 - History from a Woman's Perspective - Review
8/3/2017 - YA Book Madness - Interview
8/4/2017 - Sarcasm & Lemons - Review

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Book Pop! Presented by Quirk Books



Quirk Books is proud to present Book Pop! According to Quirk Books, Quirk Books is teaming up with some amazing bookstores and libraries to host one-of-a-kind events full of fun activities, exclusive giveaways, and maybe even a chance to meet some of your favorite Quirk authors. If you’ve ever been to a comic convention, it’s kind of like that. And if you haven’t, welcome to the party!

Plus, for everyone unable to make it to the live events, we’ll be hosting an online version of Book Pop! from July 31 to August 11.

Keep an eye on this page—Quirk Books will update it with lots of important information over the next couple months. And make sure to sign up for our Quirk E. Newsletter to get updates sent straight to your inbox. In the meantime, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for all the latest news.

Book Pop! Code-Word Challenge: 

The code-word challenge kicks off on July 31! Stay tuned for more information on how to play.
  • Grand prize: Advance access to our fall titles, signed copy of a Book Pop! participating author's book (winner's choice), $50 gift card to Out of Print, Quirk tote, and more prizes to be announced
  • Second place: Choose two published Quirk titles, signed copy of a Book Pop! participating author's book (winner's choice), Quirk tote
  • Third place: Choose one published Quirk title, signed copy of a Book Pop! participating author's book (winner's choice), Quirk tote

DATES TO LOOK FORWARD TO

WEEK ONE

Monday, 7/31:
  • Cosplay Contest semi-finalists are announced
  • On Outside Blog: Q&A with Sam Maggs on SuperSpaceChick
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Fred Van Lente
Tuesday, 8/1:
  • Online Event: Facebook Live with Fred Van Lente and Grady Hendrix at 2:00pm ET
  • On Outside Blog: Q&A with Paul Krueger on Hollywood News Source
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Sam Maggs
Wednesday, 8/2: 
  • Online Event: Twitter Takeover with Sam Maggs at 2:00pm ET
  • On Outside Blog: Hope Nicholson on Panel Patter
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Kim Smith
Thursday, 8/3:
  • Online Event: Instagram Live with Kim Smith at 2:00pm ET
  • On Outside Blog: Ashley Poston on Forever Young Adult
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Grady Hendrix
Friday, 8/4:
  • Online Event: Facebook Live with Rick and Blair at 2:00pm ET
  • On Outside Blog: Q&A with Bonnie Burton on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Ashley Poston
WEEK TWO

Monday, 8/7:
  • Online Event: Instagram Live with Ashley Poston at 2:00pm ET
  • Ashley will announce cosplay contest finalists; voting opens up to fans, closes Friday at 12:00pm ET
  • On Outside Blog: Q&A with Fred Van Lente on Doom Rocket
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Jon Morris

Tuesday, 8/8:
  • Online Event: Twitter Takeover with Jon Morris at 2:00pm ET
  • On Outside Blog: Guest post by Tania Del Rio for Nerdy Book Club
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Ian Doescher
Wednesday, 8/9:
  • Online Event: Facebook Live with Ian Doescher at 2:00pm ET
  • On Outside Blog: Q&A with Jon Morris on The Beat
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Hope Nicholson
Thursday, 8/10:
  • Twitter Party with Quirk authors! at 2:00pm ET
  • On Outside Blog:
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Will Staehle
Friday, 8/11:
  • Online Event: Cosplay Contest prize winners announced on Facebook Live at 2:00pm ET
  • On Quirk Books Blog: Paul Krueger

EVENTS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Name of Event: Book Pop!
Date of Event: Saturday, August 12, 12:00pm - 2:30pm
Location of Event: Watauga Public Library, 7109 Whitley Road, Watauga, Texas 76148
Age Range: 8 through Adult
For more information, contact: Dana Harper, Adult Services Librarian, 817-514-5865, dharper@wataugatx.org

Name of Event: Book Pop Day!
Date of Event: August 30
Location of Event: Queens Library at Corona
Age Range: 14 and under
For more information, contact: Queens Library at Corona (718) 426-2844

Name of Event: BPL Comic
Date of Event: September 30, 10:00am - 4:30pm
Location of Event: Burlington Public Library, 210 Court Street, Burlington, Iowa 52601
Age Range: All Ages
For more information, contact: Mallorie Graham, mgraham@burlington.lib.ia.us

Name of Event: Book Pop!
Date of Event: Saturday, October 14, 2017 at 12:00 p.m.
Location of Event: Round Lake Area Library, 906 Hart Rd., Round Lake, IL 60073
Age Range: 5-14 Years Old
For more information, contact: Aleece Michalak at amichalak@rlalibrary.org

Name of Event: Geek Fest 2017
Date of Event: Saturday, October 14 11:00am - 3:00pm
Location of Event: Antwerp Activity Center, Mattawan, MI
Age Range: All ages
For more information, contact: Hillary Berry, hberry@richlandlibrary.org
Facebook event URL: https://www.facebook.com/SWMGeekFest/


If you are interested in learning more about Book Pop!, check out this site here. There's a digital cosplay contest, an interactive map and more! Check out the Facebook Event to RSVP!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Lucky in Love by Kasie West


Title: Lucky in Love
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication date: July 25, 2017
Pages: 333
Source/format: Publisher//ARC

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from goodreads.com):

In this new contemporary from YA star Kasie West, a girl who wins the lottery learns that money can cause more problems than it solves, especially when love comes into the picture.

Maddie doesn't believe in luck. She's all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment --

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie's life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she's talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun... until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn't sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn't seem aware of Maddie's big news. And, for some reason, she doesn't want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

"We make our own luck...We chose our own fate. We controlled our own future."

Maddie Parker is a senior at Tustin High School. She has two close friends, Elise and Blaire, and she currently works at the Santa Ana Zoo. Maddie's dream school is UCLA and she wants to study veterinary medicine. Although Maddie works hard in school, she is worried about the finances to pay for college. She is hoping she will get decent amount of scholarships since there are finance issues at home. Her mother works overtime and two jobs and her father is still on the lookout for a job. Beau, her brother, took some time off from college to try to get a job to pay off his loans. Maddie doesn't believe in luck but one day she buys a lottery ticket on the whim and she wins! She thinks the lottery winnings will solve her problems but unfortunately money isn't everything.

Kasie West wrote a honest book about real life things that teens have to worry about. Many teens are often trying to find ways to pay for their college tuition and fees and there are many teens who have finance issues at home. When there is not a lot of money to pay for things, it can put a damper to your spirit. However, Maddie makes the most of it and tries to be optimistic. Lucky in Love teaches readers that there is more to life than money. Sometimes people change because of money. Who can you trust? Maddie had to learn the hard way about which people are there for her just for her and not for the money. She had to learn who she can trust.

I love how Maddie is a hard worker and she strives for the best. Even though things are tough at home in terms of finances, she makes the best of what she has. Maddie has supportive friends that always has her back. Elise and Blaire are always there for Maddie. Seth Nguyen, Maddie's coworker, has always had an honest friendship with Maddie. I haven't read too many books with an Asian male love interest so it's refreshing to see this type of interracial relationship in a YA novel.

Seth is probably one of the very few people in the book that isn't using Maddie for their own benefit. He is the one that Maddie looks forward to see everyday. Also, there is no instalove in this book which I love! I enjoy reading about relationships that slowly progress from a friendship into something more. Maddie's quirk of randomly saying facts is something I can relate to since I do the very same thing. I appreciate Seth's passion in film making despite her parents disapproval of it as a career. Because Seth and Maddie attend different schools, it's nice to see them bond at work at the Santa Ana Zoo. There is no pressure in school to act a different way since they only see each other at work for the most part.

Lucky in Love is a fluffy contemporary novel that teaches teens good morals and has a cute friendship that blossoms into something more. It's the perfect summer read and you will fly through the book with a smile. I highly suggest this novel for those who enjoy To All the Boys I've Loved Before, When Dimple Met Rishi and I Believe in a Thing Called Love.