Book Review – Escaping from Houdini

Title: Escaping from Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1)

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson

Publication date: September 18th, 2018

437 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea.

It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?


“I love you… More than all the stars in the universe. In this life and ever after. I love you.”

kerri maniscalco, escaping from houdini

BEST IN THE SERIES SO FAR. The surprises in this book were so shocking and the drama was top notch! Holy cow I’m still trying to get over this one. The setting was truly spectacular, on a cruise ship with a traveling circus. Our lovebirds, Audrey Rose and Thomas, are back and traveling to America to consult on a case. On the very first night, the young woman next to Audrey Rose is slain in the middle of the circus acts, and just like that we’re off!

A truly amazing part of this series is just how quickly things start happening. Like in each book there is a major, dramatic incident (likely a death) that happens within the first two chapters! It really works to keep the interest up, though you do start to wonder how these two are such a magnet for dead people! The middle of the book kind of dragged. The plot was different and unique, but you knew what was going to keep happening… people were going to keep dying! It just isn’t new in the third book, you know people are going to die.

I really enjoyed this book…. although Audrey Rose is really killing me. Her whole thing with Mephistopheles drove me up a freaking wall. Like, how are you confused about your relationship with Thomas after you basically agreed to be engaged, like a week ago? But now that we’re talking about Mephistopheles, HELLO HI MY NAME IS MOLLY. I feel like Mephistopheles is what the Darkling was trying to be. Don’t come for me, I am not a Darkling stan. But Mephistopheles? He could get it, seriously.

Escaping from Houdini, in my opinion, is the best STJR book yet. Even with AR being insane for a cool 200 pages, it ends amazingly and I’m so stoked to read Capturing the Devil. Also, this is hands down the best cover. I love the theme of all the covers, but the colors and the ship and that DRESS – perfection. It’s truly the best cover.

Feel free to comment if you want to complain more about AR with me!

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Hunting Prince Dracula

“Humans were the true monsters and villains, more real than any novel or fantasy could invent.”

Title: Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2)

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books

Publication date: September 19th, 2017

435 pages

4.5/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

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?


“For there are no limits to the stars; their numbers are infinite. Which is precisely why I measure my love for you by them. An amount too boundless to count.”

kerri maniscalco, hunting prince dracula

Audrey Rose and Thomas just can’t escape death. I mean, they *are* forensic examiners so they see death all the time but for our purposes I mean unexpected deaths. Our friends are off on the Orient Express to Romania to study at the exceptional school for forensic science as Vlad the Impaler’s old castle (nbd, right). And bam someone is murdered on the train. Like I said, they can’t escape death. So, they have to start figuring out why it seems vampires exist & people are being killed by them.

Okay first off, Thomas was a complete butt and tried to fork up his relationship with Audrey Rose in the first third of the book and I was not there for it. Like, don’t be dumb man. But he brought it back and returned to being a amazing lil cinnamon roll that I just want to steal and squeeze. Audrey Rose was having some PTSD issues in this book, but overall she is still a cool character and I’m here for females doing male dominated things, especially in this time period.

The plot was suitably creepy for the a vampire novel and it had the same level of surprise and suspense that STJR had. I love vampire books so the mystery aspects of who was trying to convince people in Romania that vampires back was super cool. I liked the additional characters that were added – Thomas’ sister & her girlfriend (here for LGBTQIA rep) were very cool and I wish they were more active in the book.

The ending scenes and chapters were amazing. Even better than the reveal in STJR, because there was so much intense build up to the final showdown. It was so well written and thrilling. Hats off to Kerri for handling that ending in such an fantastic way.

Excited to continue in the series! Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Stalking Jack the Ripper

“Fear is a hungry beast. The more you feed it, the more it grows.”

Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1)

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson

Publication date: September 20th, 2016

327 pages

4/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

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.


There’s nothing better than a little danger dashed with some romance.

kerri maniscalco, stalking jack the ripper

I reread STJR in order to continue the series, and it was exactly how I remembered. I like historical retellings, but not historical fiction (which I know, doesn’t exactly make sense. I just don’t always like historical fiction, but STJR gave the Jack the Ripper story more interesting pieces by writing a story about a girl investigating the crimes. Add in the fact that women were not supposed to do that kind of work at the time period? I’m down. Audrey Rose Wadsworth is queen & I’m here for it.

I have to say a large part of my enjoyment from this book is that I didn’t see the ending coming the first time I read it. During my reread, I was able to catch some more details that I missed the first time around – but only because I’d already read it. I like the Kerri is able to keep the mystery alive.

Thomas Cresswell makes my heart beat faster & he’s entirely fictional. I want him to myself, but I absolutely adore the relationship he builds with Audrey Rose. He’s not there to shackle her like her father or society, he respects her for her intelligence & allows her to be independent. Thomas is a seriously amazing character, I only wish we were able to read from his POV as well as Audrey Rose’s.

Stalking Jack the Ripper is a great beginning to a series. The end wraps up well, no cliffhanger. But you’re excited to see what adventures Thomas and Audrey Rose get up to next.

Happy reading, folks!

Book Review – Once & Future

Title: Once & Future

Authors: Amy Rose Capetta, Cori McCarthy

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (JIMMY Patterson Books)

336 pages

3/5 stars

Goodreads Synopsis

I’ve been chased my whole life. As a fugitive refugee in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.

Now I’m done hiding.

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

No pressure.


“It’s true, I’m no murderer. But I do have an impulse control problem. And a sword.”

– Amy rose capetta, Cori Mccarthy, Once & Future

Friends! I finished another book! I wanted to review Once & Future because it was not my favorite book. It sounds kind of backwards, but I don’t want my blog to just be me raving about books I loved. It will be of course, but I want to review all types of books, even those that don’t interest or thrill me as much.

So in terms of this book. There are pieces I love and pieces that just weren’t my jam. Overall, I’m not too surprised that this book didn’t thrill me, because retellings are all very hit and miss for me. Add in sci-fi (which is also hit and miss) and you have a recipe that I’m not too interested in making again.


  1. Genderbent retelling. I love when classic stories are switched to be from a different perspective. The concept of King Arthur as a female is highly intriguing, which is part of the reason I picked up the book. I’m not super familiar with the King Arthur legend – I had to ask my boyfriend a few questions about it because I just wasn’t getting the references!
  2. LGBTQIA. This is a wonderful queer retelling. Now, I am a cis and straight person, so I don’t pretend to fully understand a solid queer rep – but I’d be willing to bet that this is up there with the best of the best. There is a quote that sticks with me… Merlin uses a he/him pronoun for a gender fluid character and he apologizes then says something to the affect of : I am from a society where historically gender assumptions are based on appearances and aesthetics – and Ari says EW! I loved that part, and it is so important in today’s society
  3. Merlin. In this book, Merlin is aging backwards – so he is a 17 year-old male in this retelling. He is also gay. I’ll repeat, we have a gay wizard. As a Harry Potter fan, I’ve been waiting for this day for SO LONG! All the representation! Anyway, the fact that he is aging backwards becomes a pretty important plot point as it inhibits his interactions with the rest of the knights.


  1. I don’t care about King Arthur. As stated, I don’t know much about King A. However, I now know that I don’t really care about the legend, and honestly it bores me. I got through the book, but it was very *yawn* as a plot baseline. Also, the “evil” that needs to be vanquished is very reminiscent of the Capitol in The Hunger Games and it felt unoriginal.
  2. Gwen and Kay. Okay. If you haven’t read this book, look away because spoilers are coming. Gwen is Ari’s WIFE. Kay is Ari’s BROTHER. Ari becomes presumed dead, so they start banging each other?? EXCUSE ME? No, I don’t even care for Gwen’s “it was the closest way I could be with you”. Hellz no. BYE. AND THEN. She’s PREGNANT? And THEN… he DIES? Nope. You lost me. His death scene was very annoying – it wasn’t well explained and felt unnecessary.
  3. Dragons. That weren’t dragons. But were dragons? Still confused. Someone advise. Now, I love dragons. Dragons make every book better. But if you’re going to have dragons, call them dragons…. not taneens. Like, dragons exist in this world, but these dragon like things are not dragons. But are definitely dragons by description. Still confused.
  4. Space. I totally get the concept that Old Earth was overrun over the centuries and basically destroyed so everyone went to space and to live on planets. Got it. Totally could happen. But why is space so… cliche? Like a moon that is basically Vegas? And there is conveniently a planet that is bass ackwards enough to be Arthurian? Like, literally modeled after King Arthur’s time? And the random chick Ari loves is the queen? – Y’all, I get that this is a cycle of life and Merlin keeps coming back to run through the same basic story line – but some originality would be nice, and less obvious coincidences.

Okay, that was a lot of words. I have a lot of feelings, okay?!? I will read the sequel when it is released in 2020 regardless, and I’m sure I’ll review it. I’m just glad I didn’t spend money on this book and read it through the library. It was not my jam, but that’s okay! If you love retellings and sci-fi with some lovely queer rep, this will be the book for you! It was written well, I will say that.

Happy reading, friends!