Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC: Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

Welcome to the Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC, a feature started by Elizabeth from Tea and A Tantrum, Nicole from Nicole’s Novel Reads) and myself. We have been loyal fans of Ms. Kerri Maniscalco since she first debuted her novel Stalking Jack the Ripper. It is actually the first ARC we featured when we started the Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC (you can read our reviews here).

We thought it only fitting to now give our thoughts and attention to Kerri Maniscalco’s latest novel Hunting Prince Dracula. Make sure to check out our reviews and come back next month for when the official blog tour for the book begins (I will be doing a feature on costume ideas for trick or treating as Audrey Rose and Thomas).

Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Publication date: September 19, 2017
Pages: 448
Source/format: Publisher/ARC

AMAZON

GOODREADS

 

 

 

Hunting Prince Dracula is everything I hoped for and more. Kerri Maniscalco once again conjures up an atmospheric and eerie tale full of blood and murder. Starting right up where Stalking Jack the Ripper left of, the two main characters Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell find themselves on the Orient Express on their way to study at the Academy of Forensic Medicine and Science in Romania. However, when a “vampiric-styled” murder occurs on their train, things are set in motion that will ultimately lead our duo to go on the hunt for Prince Dracula.

One of the many aspects of Kerri’s writing that I love is her attention to detail. She clearly puts a lot of research and time into creating her setting, plot, characters and timeline. I am in awe at how flawlessly she recreates travel on the Orient Express train, and the beauty of the Romanian countryside. As the reader, I felt completely immersed in the story.

Another one of my favorite things about Kerri’s books is her characters. We get a whole new array of interesting characters in Hunting Prince Dracula, and even “meet” Thomas’s sister. However, no other character will hold a place in my heart like Audrey Rose and Thomas do. I love their witty banter, and flirting. I am glad to see their relationship blossoming in Hunting Prince Dracula.

Unlike Stalking Jack the Ripper, I had a much harder time figuring out who the murderer turns out to be in Hunting Prince Dracula. The constant suspense in the story kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat. My favorite scenes are of Audrey Rose and Thomas stalking the bowels of the castle in search for clues. I found it very funny, and endearing that both Audrey Rose and Thomas share a fear of spiders.

When the reveal finally comes at the end, I was utterly surprised and thrilled. I absolutely love how Kerri sealed it all up nice and bloody. I am still in shock, but it is PERFECT and my dark little heart loved it.

Overall, Hunting Prince Dracula is delightfully full of atmosphere, beautiful scenery, lots of Audrey/Thomas moments and a thrilling ending. Hunting Prince Dracula is a definite MUST READ for all lovers of mystery and suspense.

Now to eagerly await the next installment, and daydream about where Audrey Rose and Thomas will go next, and who they might encounter.

** I received a copy of HUNTING PRINCE DRACULA from the publisher, in return for an honest review and to be featured on The Sisterhood of the Traveling Arc. **

Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC: The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett

The Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC is a feature dedicated to sharing our ARCS and our love of reading. Hosted and created by Elizabeth at BookYabber, Nicole at Nicole’s Novel Reads and myself here at The Plot Bunny. If you missed our intro post about this feature you can view it here.

Nicole and I will be both reviewing and discussing The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett (Elizabeth is skipping this round, but she will be back soon). Ever since we met Kim Liggett at BEA while she was promoting her debut novel Blood and Salt we have come to love her stories.

Kim is the mistress of taking the mundane and turning it into something completely terrifying. Because of this, we were thrilled when we found out a new book was coming out. Luckily Nicole was able to get a copy of the ARC for The Last Harvest and shared it with me.

 

THE LAST HARVEST

By: Kim Liggett

Publication Date:

Jan 10th, 2017

Publisher: Tor Teen

My Rating: 5 STARS

AMAZON | GOODREADS

 

My Review:

The Last Harvest is an intense ride. Kim Liggett does not hold back, and within the first few pages, she already brings on the creep fest. The story centers around Clay Tate and his family. Clay is tormented by the memory of his father’s bloody and disturbing death. His last words to Clay were “ I plead the blood”.

 

The Tate family have lived in the small town of Midland Oklahoma for generations. They are part of the original six families of settlers. When his father passed, Clay had to give up on his dreams. Taking care of his mother and sisters came first before football glory or the girl he loves. However, those problems are just the beginning of what Clay is dealing with.

 

Nightly Clay has troubling dreams. Sometimes they happen even during the middle of the day. He feels as if he is going crazy.  Clay can’t shake the feeling this has something to do with his father death and The Preservation Society. Now Clay must find someone he can trust in order to figure out what is really happening in his town, and why his father kept repeating the words “ I plead the blood”.

 

The Last Harvest kept me on the edge of my seat. Almost every chapter has something strange, weird, or disturbing happening in it. As the reader, you never quite know what to expect. Kim sucks you into her story and you can’t stop until the end. Her attention to detail and descriptions of the farmland make you feel like you are there right next to Clay as he agonizes over what to do.

 

I really love Clay’s character. He loves and cares for his family with such tenderness. He gives up on all his hopes and dreams in order to keep the family farm afloat. As his mother’s mental health deteriorates he is the only one who can properly care for his little sister Noodle the way she deserves. Clay other sister Jess is a handful, but like Clay, she is dealing with the grief of her father’s passing in her own way. Noodle (or Natalie Tate) is adorable and I really like how eccentric and odd she is for a little girl.

 

The Last Harvest is another chilling and terrifying masterpiece and Kim Liggett should be proud. Just like her debut book Blood and Salt, this one is going to haunt me for a long time to come. From occult blood rituals, creepy dolls, animal mutilation, religious undertones, strange secret town societies and exorcism this book has it all. You will keep turning the pages and when you think you have all the answers Kim will twist everything upside down and completely blow you away, especially at the very end. I loved every heart pounding, creepy second of it. Now I just don’t know if I’ll be able to sleep anytime soon.

 

The Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC Book Review: The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics

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Welcome to The Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC

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A new feature dedicated to sharing our ARCS and our love of reading. Hosted and created by Elizabeth at BookYabber, Nicole at Nicole’s Novel Reads and myself here at The Plot Bunny.

If you missed our intro post about this feature you can view it here. Nicole, Elizabeth and I all love to read ARCS and after brainstorming how we could all get to read more ARCS and also help promote upcoming authors and books, we decided that we would start to share whatever ARCS we were mailed by the publishers. By sharing our ARCs we all get to read more books, and at the same time the author, book, and publisher will get book promotions and reviews from all three of us. It’s a Win-Win! This also allows us to have a mini book club of sorts and we are able to sit down, drink some tea and discuss the book together. 

 The ARC we shared this time around was The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics. Elizabeth was lucky enough to get a copy of it and since we all had previously read Amy’s first book Daughters Unto Devils. We knew it was the perfect ARC to share. 


WIW The Women in the Walls

By: Amy Lukavics

Publish Date: Sept. 27th, 2016

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Pgs: 304

My Rating: 5 stars

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

“Lucy Acosta’s mother died when she was three. Growing up in a Victorian mansion in the middle of the woods with her cold, distant father, she explored the dark hallways of the estate with her cousin, Margaret. They’re inseparable—a family.  

When her aunt Penelope, the only mother she’s ever known, tragically disappears while walking in the woods surrounding their estate, Lucy finds herself devastated and alone. Margaret has been spending a lot of time in the attic. She claims she can hear her dead mother’s voice whispering from the walls. Emotionally shut out by her father, Lucy watches helplessly as her cousin’s sanity slowly unravels. But when she begins hearing voices herself, Lucy finds herself confronting an ancient and deadly legacy that has marked the women in her family for generations.”


MY REVIEW

Lucy Acosta lives in a grand mansion with her father (Felix), aunt Penelope and cousin Margaret. The book opens with Lucy telling us about how she found the dead body of their cook (Walter) hanging in his bedroom. Her aunt and father seem completely stoic about the whole thing, and expect her to go on with daily life as per normal. Not too long after her aunt goes missing, and her cousin Margaret starts to act strange and distant. Lucy tries to deal with Margaret herself, but unable to get through to her she tries to tell her father about the concerns she has about Margaret. Unfortunate, Lucy’s dad is more concerned about keeping up appearances with the prestigious country club he and Penelope are a part of. Lucy starts to question why the club is more in important to him than his own niece or why he never called the cops when her aunt went missing. To make matters worst Margaret confesses to hearing voices in the attic walls. Something is definitely not right in this household and Lucy needs to find out what before everything falls apart.

Women in the Walls was everything I was hoping and expecting it to be. This book is dripping with eerie atmosphere and creepiness. Amy Lukavics writing is detailed and haunting. She knows exactly how to lure you in and get under your skin. The pacing is slow to start, but that is just how Lukavics sets the table of this disturbing and chilling tale. She creates a story enwrapped in layers and layers of mystery so the reader can come along on the journey just as she intended them to. This is the sort of story that sticks to you like coagulating blood and seeps deep into your thoughts. You might think you can read it and then simply to bed peacefully but no…you will start to think about the story and all of a sudden you are covered in goosebumps and legitimately freaked out. Her previous book Daughters Unto Devils did the same thing to me.

Reading Women in The Walls made me cringe and it made me uncomfortable, as any good horror story will. There are moments from this book that will haunt me for a long time. I’m probably never going upstairs to my attic again, or at least not by myself. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone seeking a twisted and blood curdling story, filled with mystery and definitely some gore. Plus you won’t see the insane ending coming…no matter how good you might be at solving mysteries.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

amy

Ever since she was little, Amy was especially intrigued by horror books and movies. Raised in a small mountain town in Arizona, she sustained herself on a steady diet of Goosebumps, Fear Street, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books before discovering Stephen King in her mother’s bookshelf.

Amy lives with her husband, their two precious squidlings, and an old gentleman cat by the name of Frodo. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, crafting, and playing games across many platforms.


Special “THANKS” to Elizabeth for sharing her ARC with us, and to Harlequin Teen for making it possible. 

Let us know what you think of our Traveling ARC feature. Make sure to also visit Nicole and Elizabeth’s blogs to check out their reviews. Do you enjoy horror books? Have you read Daughters Unto Devils? Are you planning on reading Amy Lukavics new book? Let’s chat!

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The Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC Book Review: Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

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Welcome to The Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC

A new feature is hosted and created by Elizabeth at BookYabber, Nicole at Nicole’s Novel Reads and myself here at The Plot Bunny.

TravelingARC2

A few months while chatting about books we started to discuss how actually obtaining a physical ARC for review has become rather a hard thing to do. Unless you attend a book convention like BEA or ALA physical ARCs are not that easy to come by. We also know that not everyone who writes to a publisher gets approved for an ARC. There has been quite a bit of controversy in the blogger-verse about ARC hoarding for trade and for sale. Thus making it even harder for smaller bloggers like ourselves to get approved for physical ARCs because there are only a certain amount available. One of our goals with this feature is to point out what an ARC is really for…which is promotion. It’s not meant to be hoarded or sold. An ARC is meant to be read and reviewed in a timely manner on your blog. It’s a tool that the publishers use to promote new books and new authors.

We love reading ARCs so we started to brainstorm about how we could all get to read more ARCs as well as help promote upcoming authors and books. The solution was an easy one, we would just share whatever ARCs we got sent with one another. By sharing our ARCs we all get to read more books, and at the same time the author, book, and publisher will get book promotions and reviews from all three of us. It’s a Win-Win! This also allows us to have a mini book club of sorts and we get to sit down and discuss the book once we are all finished reading it…hopefully while having afternoon tea.

The first ARC we choose to read is Stalking Jack the Ripper by debut author Kerri Maniscalco. This was the first physical ARC I had ever request via email, and it was such a happy surprise to find it patiently waiting in my mailbox. While reading it I kept raving to Nicole and Elizabeth about how good it was and we decided it was going to be the first ARC we would share to start this feature. We really hope that the Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC will take flight and help us get to read more amazing books and share them with you.


stalking jack

Stalking Jack The Ripper

By: Kerri Maniscalco

Publishing Date: Sept. 20, 2016

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson

Genres: YA, Gothic, Horror, Thriller, Mystery

Rating: FIVE STARS!!!!

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 debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

AMAZON  – BARNES & NOBLE  – GOODREADS


Now for my Review:

I’ve always been fascinated by the mysterious and gruesome history of “the Whitechapel Murderer” a serial killer also known as Jack the Ripper. The time period is one of my favorites, and when I discovered that Kerri Maniscalco had written a book that centers around the search for this notorious murderer I knew I had to read it. From the very first line:

“I placed my thumb and forefinger on the icy flesh, spreading it taut above the breastbone as Uncle had shown me.”

I knew that Ms.Maniscalco wasn’t going to sugar coat any of the blood-drenched and gory scenes yet to come, and I liked it….very much.

Audrey Rose Wadsworth is nothing like the average Victorian lady of her time. Yes, she does dress the part and loves her gowns and doing her hair, but at the same time she loves science and has an unquenchable curiosity for the world around her, especially when it comes to science and slicing open cadavers. Audrey Rose is not the kind of girl that you would find at home embroidering, unless of course, it was an embroidery of an anatomically correct human heart. Audrey Rose spends most of her time at her uncle’s laboratory helping him dissect human cadavers and trying to understand how everything works. It’s quite impossible to not fall in love with Audrey Rose, she is witty, charming, independent and unquestionably smart. She’s gutsy and won’t let anyone stand in her way or question her worth due to her female gender. I loved her strong will, determination and the fact that she was completely sure of herself. Be it pretending to be to blend with the most delicate of ladies while attending formal tea, wielding a scalpel at the lab, or stalking the streets of London’s East End to discover the identity of Jack the Ripper, Audrey Rose can do it all.

Clearly Audrey Rose is my favorite character, but following close behind is the ever so debonair Thomas Creswell, who is a bit of a rogue with a hint of Sherlock-esque qualities. He’s handsome, smart and devilishly charming. He also knows exactly how to push all of Audrey Rose’s buttons and drive her nuts. I really enjoyed their banter and watching their hate-love relationship unfold. I could definitely see how he could be completely infuriating to Audrey Rose, not just because of his “know-it-all” attitude but because she is also struggling with accepting her feelings for him without losing the validation that she too can continue to be an independent woman and follow her studies (even if she chooses to fall for Thomas). I liked that they partnered up together in their search for clues as to whom Jack the Ripper really is. It was almost a bit like Sherlock and Watson to the rescue in a way. It’s pretty obvious that Thomas thinks Audrey Rose is attractive and he likes that she is so different from the average Victorian lady. Audrey Rose also says she wouldn’t mind kissing Thomas, but what I liked best is that there was no INSTA-LOVE and that their courtship took time. I can see where some reader would get frustrated with the progression of their relationship, but I thought the anticipation for them to together was fantastic.

I love how Ms. Maniscalco created the perfect eerie atmosphere and dark mood throughout this novel. You could almost feel the dampness of the fog, the chill lingering in the air, the chemical stench seeping from the glass jars in the laboratory. Maniscalco made every part of her story come to life and fully encompass the reader. Her research was also completely spot on and the use of medical/forensic terminology, as well as procedure clearly proves how devoted she was to writing a period accurate/realistic novel. Maniscalco also made sure to freshen up on her Victorian etiquette, dress code, social rules and restrictions in order to make her characters and world even more believable. Maniscalco writing style is vivid, lush, beautifully detailed and powerful. A special touch I really liked was that dispersed between the chapters also were pictures of diagrams, places, diseases, and settings related to the story/time period. The humor in the story is sharp-witted, deliciously dark and morbid. I felt myself laughing and giggling during some of the most inappropriate passages. Here are some of my favorite lines (please note that these quotes come from an ARC and might be different or completely gone in the finished copy):

The dead speak to those who listen. Be quieter than even them.”

“Not to mention, the subject matter was hardly appropriate for the dinner table. Discussing missing ovaries then asking him to pass the salt would be revolting for anyone, let alone a girl of my station”

Human flesh flayed much easier than I’d anticipated. It wasn’t much different than cutting into a pork loin prior to roasting; a thought that should have been more disturbing than it was.”

“Oh, yes. How silly of me to overlook that.” Thomas snorted. “I imagine the women who lost their organs thought themselves quite above being slaughtered as well. They were likely saying, ‘It’s Friday. I shall go to the pub, find a bit of food, pay my board, then get murdered by a madman before the night’s through. How lovely.'”

Wield your assets like a blade, Cousin. No man has invented a corset for our brains. Let them this they rule the world. It’s a queen who sits on that throne. Never forget that. There’s no reason you can’t wear a frock to work, and don the finest gown and dance the night away. But only if it pleases you.”

Those who deserve respect are given it freely, If one must demand such a thing, he’ll never truly command it. I am your daughter, not your horse, sir.”

The pacing of the book started out a bit slow, but I enjoyed that. It allowed me to soak in everything around me, it created an air of intrigue and overall creepiness around the whole story. It also allowed me to play detective along with Audrey Rose and Thomas. I had a pretty good idea of who Jack the Ripper was going to turn out to be by page 217, but it might have something to do with how much I love watching and reading crime/mystery/forensic shows/books. Even though I knew the killer, I still really enjoyed the intense and fast ride through the last few chapters and to the devastating and monstrous reveal. Stalking Jack the Ripper is definitely on my list of the top 5 books I have read this year. Ms. Kerri Maniscalco has perfectly crafted and delivered a stunning and engaging debut novel that fans of gothic/horror, mystery, and crime will completely devour and beg for more. I can’t wait until September to get my finished copy and read it all over again. Bravo!

Thank you, Jimmy Patterson/Hachette/Little Brown and Company for providing me with a copy of Stalking Jack the Ripper in exchange for an honest review. Thank you, Kerri Maniscalco for writing this amazing and bloody story. I loved every page of it.


About The Author

kerriKerri 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. Stalking Jack the Ripper is her debut novel. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history, and is the first in a new series of gothic thrillers.

It will be available everywhere September 20, 2016.

For more information, visit Kerri online:
www.kerrimaniscalco.com

Follow Kerri on Twitter and Instagram:
twitter.com/KerriManiscalco
instagram.com/kerrimaniscalco

 

We hope you enjoyed our review of Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco, and we hope you will keep an eye out for future posts of The Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC. Make sure to check out Nicole’s and Elizabeth’s reviews too and let us know what you think in the comments below. Let’s Chat!

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