Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack the Ripper #2) by Kerri Maniscalco

It is rare that I love the second book more than the first, but Hunting Prince Dracula is one of those instances! The writing is beautiful, engaging, and fast-paced… I devoured this book in one sitting on a hot afternoon. I read along with the audiobook, and I have to say that the narrator (Nicola Barber) is incredible – highly recommend the audio for this series!

“Flesh-and-blood men were the real monsters, and they could be cut down easily enough.”

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Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Friends, I really wanted to enjoy this book more than I did and no one is more disappointed than I am. While I absolutely loved the world-building that Power crafts in her debut novel, unfortunately, I struggled to connect with any of the characters and found it difficult for me to suspend disbelief – but not for the reasons you’d think.

“Wonder what she’ll get, if it’s anything at all. Gills like Mona, blisters like Cat’s, maybe bones like Byatt’s or a hand like Reese’s, but sometimes the Tox doesn’t give you anything – just takes and takes. Leaves you drained and withering.”

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Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) by Kerri Maniscalo

“Death was not prejudiced by mortal things such as station or gender. It came for kings and queens and prostitutes alike, often leaving the living with regrets.”

Maniscalo’s debut novel is deliciously macabre and a must-read for fans of murder mysteries and historical fiction. While I found the twists to be predictable, this was an enjoyable read and I’m excited to continue the series!

I normally put my content warnings at the bottom of my reviews, but I feel like it is important to note up front that the book opens with a black and white photo of a corpse (there is also a photo of someone that died from leprosy further in the book) and the main character conducting an autopsy. This is a dark and gritty tale that isn’t for the faint of heart and I would hate for someone to pick this up expecting a fun historical fiction story (which it is!) and being turned off by the gore. The bottom of the official book synopsis mentions historical photos but in case this wasn’t what you were thinking…

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Keep This to Yourself by Tom Ryan

“Last summer a serial killer paid a visit to Camera Cove. By the time the dust settled, four people were dead.”

I’ve been in the mood for a mystery/thriller, and when my friend Meaghan wrote a glowing review I decided that I needed to read this one myself. And friends, I am not joking when I say that this book cured my freaking reading slump.

Ryan manages to pack so much information into the opening page of the book, relaying complex histories between the characters and hinting to a great tragedy. The writing is almost lyrical, which is not something that I typically equate with mysteries. I was instantly swept away into this story where Mac struggles to let go of his pain. But after he finds a clue from Connor on the night he died, Mac embarks on an adventure to uncover the truth no matter the consequences.

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The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2) by Maureen Johnson

“In life, the murderer is anyone. The reasons, the methods, the circumstances – the paths to becoming a murderer are as numerous as the stars.”

The Vanishing Stair was one of my most anticipated sequels for 2019 after falling absolutely in love with Truly Devious last fall. I was really excited to see what happened after that incredibly rude cliffhanger, and hoped to get more answers in this installment. 🕵️ I am pleased to say that we got some much-needed answers (& some new questions!), as well as more actual investigating, but overall this one fell into themiddle book syndrome for me. It was an enjoyable and I will finish the series, but if I am being honest I could have done without the first 40% of this book.

My friend Hamad @ Book Prescription summed up my feelings pretty well in his review:

“The Vanishing Stair was what I expected it to be; an unnecessary bridge to the third book and this whole series could have been a duology.”

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