Top Ten, er FIVE, Tuesday!

This meme is brought to you once again by ThatArtsyReaderGirl. And the theme is FIVE (I’m sure there are those that could come up with ten, but I’ll stick to five like her)upcoming releases, that we may be on the fence about.

Okay so, for upcoming releases, I have some books I got via Netgalley and other places that I’m not sure about. I’ve already had to cancel one The Murder Theory and it wasn’t because I thought it was going to be bad, but it just had too much competition on other things I’m reading as well.

Alright, let’s get this party started! I’ll go from the one I’m least skeptical about to the one where I’m like ‘Nah mate.’

5.  Off Planet

Blurb: From USA Today Bestselling Author Aileen Erin 

In an all-too-plausible future where corporate conglomerates have left the world’s governments in shambles, anyone with means has left the polluted Earth for the promise of a better life on a SpaceTech owned colony among the stars.

Maité Martinez is the daughter of an Earther Latina and a powerful Aunare man, an alien race that SpaceTech sees as a threat to their dominion. When tensions turn violent, Maité finds herself trapped on Earth and forced into hiding.

For over ten years, Maité has stayed hidden, but every minute Maité stays on Earth is one closer to getting caught.

She’s lived on the streets. Gone hungry. And found a way to fight through it all. But one night, while waitressing in a greasy diner, a customer gets handsy with her. She reacts without thinking.

Covered in blood, Maité runs, but it’s not long before SpaceTech finds her…

Arrested and forced into dangerous work detail on a volcano planet, Maité waits for SpaceTech to make their move against the Aunare. She knows that if she can’t somehow find a way to stop them, there will be an interstellar war big enough to end all life in the universe.

There’s only one question: Can Maité prevent the total annihilation of humanity without getting herself killed in the process?

-Seems legit, but I may have been scared off sci-fi eARCs after the last one.
-I feel like most novels this has great potential…to go in either direction either I’ll love it or I’ll be weeping under a pile of blankets at my decision to pick it up.
– Forever skeptical of these USA Today’s best sellers

4. In Search of a Witch’s Soul

Blurb: Human, private detective Anna Caill isn’t keen on the prohibition of magic enacted by the 18th Amendment, but she won’t deny it’s good for business. The coppers couldn’t care less about the witches’ problems, giving her any number of clients to choose from.

When mysterious witch Jesse Hunt saunters into her office, he and his case will test her limits. While a killer stalks the magical underworld, Anna is hired to find Jesse’s friend, the high priest of an ancient coven.

As her case unravels, Anna is forced to confront her addiction to a dark spell in this urban fantasy noir.

-It is a freakin’ noir Witch mystery novel. How could this not be perfect for me?
-For the love of god, there’s so much room for error lol, especially with mystery novels if the writer’s voice is tragically bad there’s no room for sympathy. [Not like Eragon where you know…it just kept coming out and making more money. *Drops mic*]

3. The Parlor Girl’s Guide

Blurb: A cynical country girl enlists the living and the dead to guide her past family tragedy and forge her escape from a secluded Southern brothel. After her father’s murder and mother’s abonnement, a merciless landowner forces Molly Lingo to work in a rural Alabama hunting lodge that doubles as an exclusive whorehouse. Molly, the feisty tough teenage daughter of a hand-to-mouth tobacco farmer, employs a troubled gambler and a mysterious specter to assist her in breaking away from the unrelenting grip of the sharecropper culture. Set at the beginning of the Jazz Age’s promising sweep across America, Molly’s story depicts both the shocking brutality of the landlord class and a young woman’s determination not to be treated as a second-class citizen. This energetic historical fiction offers supernatural thrills and the poignant transformation of a metaphysical coming-of-age tale.

– Idk guys, this could be another Audrey Rose. I’m like paranoid about that at this point.

2. Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire

Blurb:  September 1939.
As Britain readies for war, Inspector Betty Church must battle a ruthless killer…

Inspector Betty Church – one of the few female officers on the force – has arrived from London to fill a vacancy at Sackwater police station. But Betty isn’t new here. This is the place she grew up. The place she thought she’d left for good.

After a slow start, Betty’s called to the train station to investigate a stolen bench. But though there’s no bench, there is a body. A smartly dressed man, murdered in broad daylight, with two distinctive puncture wounds in his throat.

While the locals gossip about the Suffolk Vampire, Betty Church steels herself to hunt a dangerous killer.

I am actually currently reading this one, only three chapters in but I’m not sure yet how I feel or if I’ll finish it. I read the first chapter, set it down, read the next two, had me suspiciously looking at it. Betty Church as of right now has no voice yet, she’s floating around and I hope that I’ll enjoy it but I’m not, not yet!

1. Hashtag Authentic

Blurb: Instagram is the fastest growing social media platform, with 400 million monthly active users worldwide, half of them under 25. While some of these people use the app as a personal tool, many also use it to build their creative business endeavours, from food and drink to fashion and lifestyle.

Sara Tasker has tapped into this as an Instagram coach, an iPhoneographer and social media influencer. Her chronicle of authentic everyday life and her mindful Me and Orla blog has developed into a business in which she allows access to free insta-tips, alongside some hugely popular paid for e-courses for independent creatives.

One of her followers, Emma Mitchell a jewellery designer and artist, took her Instagram following (silverpebble2) from several hundred to 87k and gained a book commission within a year.

Idk why I got this, it was my first review to be approved and I got so excited and I thought it would be a book of photography mostly, and now that I’ve flicked through the beginning it doesn’t look that way. What have I done? Who knows, it doesn’t sound like a bad read, just not the sort I typically end up with when picking a book.

If you’ve done this week’s topic too, let me know what you’re unsure about or if you’ve got some great ones to review!

Toodles!

Stalking Jack the Ripper

I did it, I finally grabbed it off my TBR list.

Also, I picked the featured image from the French cover cause let’s face it, it is totally awesome.

So, what did I think?

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Three cups of coffee…or tea, depending on my mood…chocolate has caffeine in it so guess it could be hot chocolate too. WHATEVER TICKLES YOUR FANCY.

Alright, I’m gonna bullet point this shit here, we’ll start off nice.

The Positives:
– Mansicalco gives us people with different sets of issues mental health wise that you normally don’t encounter. [Audrey’s Father, no this isn’t a spoiler, it’s set out from the get-go.]
– Nice descriptions of clothes, I really wanted to go buy some Victorian-era clothing after this and play dress up like it’s the late 1800s.
– Uncle J. Wadsworth is the man.
– Cousin Liza was the gift I didn’t know I needed
– I liked the ending for certain characters that I shall not disclose in case you haven’t read it yet.
– You don’t get many mystery YA so this was nice.
– The lab was cool

The Negatives:
– I disliked Audrey Rose from start to finish. Who describes their own hair as raven colored.
– I’m never a fan of first-person p.o.v. for a Mystery novel.
– Though I loved the descriptions of the clothes if I heard about that riding habit one more damned time I was going to snap like dear ol’ Jack.
– It was so predictable I guessed the whodunnit in the first 2 chapters, which, was a letdown but also it was nice cause I never figure things out guys, I’m not sure how I’ve made it this far in life.
– I didn’t like Thomas
– #TeamBlackburn, fight me
– The last-minute addition of something ‘supernatural’ was not fun, would have been better if she’d kept it out unless it grows in the other books, in which case, genius
– Audrey Rose was ….I’m sorry I already said I didn’t like her but I really didn’t like her. Except when she was focusing on her darker and ‘science-y’ thoughts.
– Thomas wasn’t charming. He was a prick. BUT I like that the author didn’t hide that this was a known fact lol so I guess this point cancels itself out.
– I hated Audrey Rose.

I could give you all lists of reasons why I didn’t like her but I hated and I mean hated how she felt she had to point out she liked pretty things and science and that both were okay only to be like ‘oh but I’m a tomboy and can’t possibly be like other girls though I just went gaga over some pretty fabric, because I have a scientific mind!’  Yea. Okay. You do you boo.

Overall I needed to remember that this was written for YA and it was quick, and, if I hated it that badly I wouldn’t be saying I plan on eventually reading the next one, and I do…eventually!

Solidly 3/5 so despite my complaints, there we have it!

Also if you enjoyed this book and want a more supernatural feel (no Jack the Ripper but still a bit of a mystery!), I recommend the Camille Duology!

The Alienist

      Prior to the twentieth century, persons suffering from mental illness were thought to be “alienated”, not only from the rest of society but from their own true natures. Those experts who studied mental pathologies were therefore known as alienists.

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FIRST OFF
Content/Trigger Warning: There are very graphic descriptions of the mutilations/violence/gore that happens to the victims in this book. There are multiple mentions of assault and rape and though it’s not too descriptive it does come up quite a bit. There are drugs and alcohol as well. Death. Lots of death and not just victims, you’ve been warned.

Still with me?

Let’s go

This is set in New York when Theodore Roosevelt was Police Commissioner, so it’s crime/thriller/mystery/historical fiction. And oh yes Teddy’s a character, it’s great.

Dr. Laszlo Kriezler is what they call ‘an Alienist’ in 1896, a psychologist. And though much of the story revolves around him and the investigation of the murders certainly revolves around him, the story is told from the point of view of his friend and Times reporter John S. Moore.

Blurb: The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.

….It’s actually great being told from John’s point of view because John sometimes isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, so you’ll get what the Doctor’s theorized, so will others in the posse and you watch John slowly click things into place. Don’t underestimate John though because he has a certain quality of vulnerable humanity that we don’t get to experience intimately with Laszlo.

Laszlo has cooked up an idea with Theodore to have his own investigation as the police are not able to figure this out on their own, remember it’s 1896, their standards were so much lower, haha, and also Alienists, especially progressive men of science like Laszlo were not accepted by the general public, so, it’s even better; a secret investigation. He’s given two Detective Sergeants from Theodore’s division, Marcus and Lucius, Theodore’s secretary and longtime friend of John Moore, Sara Howard (also a gun-totin’ badass who intends to prove that there should be women on the force). There’s also the cast of Laszlo’s servants which give you the insight into the good Doctor himself which he so often keeps hidden.

The book is gritty it deals with plights that people forget were happening in New York, poor immigrant boys were having to do whatever they could for money, boy whores, and this one focus on those that either simply dressed in drag or in truth were only boys in anatomical terms only. I also love that we have characters that have sympathy and without judging too, there is one point where this horrible dirty cop keeps referring to one of the victims as ‘it’ and it’s so horrifying and degrading and suddenly John Moore’s just like ‘I’ll take none of that shit, this child wasn’t an it.’

I think it’s really important to realize that children were seen as little adults legally back then, they were just allowed to do these things because people didn’t realize there was a difference in the way an adult’s mind worked and a child’s. Mental health was something akin to like mystical voodoo (I mean to be fair we could use a bit more progress in this area still today).

John is amazing in the way that he goes to investigate these seedy establishments and he doesn’t bother to hide his face or be ashamed, he’s there to help, and he doesn’t care what other people might think of his personal habits.

Sara Howard is refreshingly aromantic. She has goals, they don’t include men (or women) but you do get the feeling that there may have been the possibility of her and John it’s not the focal point of the story. The most we get is John’s internal conflict of feelings and even then it’s not consuming the story and taking away from the plot.

I’ll leave you to discover the other characters.

The great part of this is that Laszlo is able to see just how detrimental childhood is, that it is often the root of how a ‘monster’ comes to be and stops at nothing to get his answers. He wants a ‘why,’ he wants to understand so that he can help others and that he can solve the puzzles of the mind.

Anyway, I’m just freakin’ gushing like a fangirl.

They are chasing down a man who by all reason should be insane, and they are going up against the prejudices of society who don’t at first care much for these victims due to their backgrounds. They’re doing it all by having to put together what they can and make a picture of their own. There’s corruption to deal with as well, dirty cops, organized crime and the suspicious mindset of the average New Yorker as they see psychology as an evil and unholy thing.

It is a long read, pagewise, for a thriller like this, I really didn’t’ think it felt like it.

Overall I give The Alienist 4/5 coffee cups as you can see by the rating under the book. I look forward to reading book 2 and for those who are interested, it’s also a show. It’s on UK Netflix and I think it aired on TNT in the states.

If you enjoy mysteries/thrillers then you’ll probably want to give this one a look, also I’m always open for recs!!

 

WWW Wednesday

I’ve decided to do another meme today, I JUST finished The Alienist and wrote down some thoughts on it so I’ll have that review up tomorrow, give you all a few hours, this is mainly more for me to do right now to keep up with my own goal of blogging. Today’s meme is brought to you by Taking on a World of Words!

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The 3 Ws this week?
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

  1. Current Read: The Parisians by Marius Gabriel40607584
    I got The Parisians as a free reader copy off NetGalley and I am thoroughly enjoying it, I really think it’ll be one of my better reads this month! We have a very different and diverse set of women in this book, young and naive, self-confident actress (who has a very emotional lover in a Countess), and even Coco Chanel herself, all set during WWII in Paris with a lot of the Ritz for a setting. It’s been really interesting but only about 30% through [26% to be precise!].
  2. Recently Finished: The Alienist By Caleb Carr



    I finished this about oh say….40 min ago? It only took me as long as it did because I had recently just seen this show on Netflix and had been thoroughly distracted by eARCs. I’ll have a review of this one up tomorrow, I freakin’ loved it. It was a great read for me personally! (Extremely graphic though so I will be putting a trigger warning, which I haven’t thought anything I’d reviewed so far needed one but I will double check and make updates/changes where needed!)
  3. What I’ll Read Next: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

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    I was supposed to start this two weeks ago, then I checked out The Alienist and got all those eARCs and I went nuts, like, kid in a candy store nuts. I’m actually about to start this right now…because who needs sleep? Amiright?

    So! Thursday expect The Alienist review (probably in less than 12 hours it’ll be up actually) Friday? HELL IF I KNOW, possibly another review [if not then, than maybe Saturday night, I got the Opera and Strictly Come Dancing Live to go to this weekend]

    Did you do the WWW Wednesday Meme? Share it in the comments! If not, feel free to tell me what your answers would be anyhow!

The Axeman’s Jazz

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I FINISHED

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Sorry. I have so much to read and I felt myself dragging with this because well…because I think I like to be difficult even to myself. First off, I enjoyed this, I did, but I did also try to be a bit more analytical in my reading so that I’m not always like ‘guys this was so good, go read it, kthxbye.’ So here we go, wish me luck, I’m super bad with critical thinking, it’s the 1/4 potato in me, I’m not sure how I’ve survived this long…okay, review:

I’ve rounded up on Goodreads to a 4, but really I give it 3.5/5. (holy crap nevermind it stays a 4 this is this man’s debut novel, crap, it has so much promise)

The book was highly entertaining and some of his descriptions were just delightful to read as someone who is an adopted Louisianian with experience in New Orleans.

Things I loved:
-The descriptions were so crisp and easily recalled images to my head of the bayous and swamps.
-The characters were DEFINITELY intriguing.
-I have a master’s in Musicology with a concentration in Jazz…how could I not love the fact that Louis freakin Armstrong was a character and not just that but an amateur sleuth as well!
-There were three completely separate investigations of this case and so you got the examine it from different angles and I couldn’t think of anything more awesome than that as a lover of crime and mystery.
-Did I mention how much I loved having a 1919 Noir era setting in New Orleans? People forget about it!
-The various twists and changing forms of this Elusive Axeman which turned out to be great for me, exactly what I like when I read this genre

-The epilogue was perfect, it gave me life, ugh, perfect entrance to book 2

Things I did not love:
-The pacing, sometimes it really did fit, sometimes I wanted to cry because I felt like not only was I not getting anywhere but neither were the characters
-Louis Armstrong is actually a point for and a point against this book, it almost breaks your suspension of disbelief. (But it didn’t for me which is why I loved it)
-Character growth could have been more, so many things happened to the characters and yet you found out so little about how it affected them on a deeper level
-It almost WASN’T a crime/mystery/thriller because of the slow pacing, I felt as if I were reading filler episodes.

-Though I loved the descriptions of the bayou, I felt that once you got out of the French Quarter the beautiful descriptions seemed to dwindle, but, still, that’s like me just nitpicking because of my ties to New Orleans (city where everyone asks you how far you are from it no matter where in Lousiana you live, amiright? Honestly, I lived four hours away, and when you try to tell people you live near Shreveport or Monroe they just stare at you blankly, sorry, rant over)

This was a lot of fun to read but I’m hoping the issues I had in pacing are fixed in Dead Man’s Blues which I already had checked out before this, not realizing they were part of a series, a quartet actually.

Overall: Ray Celestin is great, I can’t wait to read the next one and it was so great to be transported to New Orleans 1919, BRING ON CAPONE & CHICAGO 1928!!!!

Spoilers: (Highlight below to see them)
-What the hell about poor Riley, do we find out more?! WHAT WAS THIS RAY?!
-WHAT ABOUT LUCA?! (Also, I mean guessing from how that was left, what the hell did happen to our Axeman?)