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...

The Phantom Forest by Liz Kerin

Interview with Liz Kerin Novel19 Class

Friends, I loved reading this debut fantasy novel so much! The Phantom Forest has all the ingredients that I live for in a good story: rich worldbuilding with an emphasis on religion and lyrical writing that sucked me in on the first page. This is a dark, gruesome, and bloody story that won't be for everyone so please do check the content warnings at the bottom of the review.

"In this place meant for the dead, she finally felt the weight of life, of connection, of eternity. Nothing was ever lost."

I had so many questions while reading this book, but not in a bad way if that makes sense. The world the Kerin crafted for us is so intricately disturbing that it is like a car wreck that we cannot look away from. Who are these people? What are they being punished for? The worldbuilding is both slow and all at once as the reader is thrust into the deep end of the world but never given too much at any given time. I was hungry for more much like the Savage hungers.

Girl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi

Hello, world and welcome to my review of Girl Gone Viral as part Penguin's Blog Tour! I was so excited to be able to read and share my thoughts on this book with you all. Girl Gone Viral is a fantastic coming of age contemporary that includes technology that really roots itself into how tech and social media are a big part of growing up today.

"Be careful putting yourself out there; privacy is hard to get back."

The book is told in the first person perspective of Opal Tal, a 17-year old coding genius who is determined to find the answers to her father's disappearance seven years earlier. She's tried to move on, reinventing herself as Opal Hopper to hide from her past in anonymity, but when a competition comes up with the prize of meeting reclusive tech genius Howie Mendelsohn she can't help but enter for a chance to meet him and get the answers she is sure he can provide.

Kingsbane (Empirium #2) by Claire Legrand

"With the Fall of the Blood Queen, the magic that had once illuminated humanity's path to the empirium had vanished. And, somehow, Eliana had to find it again. Find it, and control it."

Friends, this was a wild ride of a sequel and if I am being honest took me days to formulate my thoughts on this book (I still don't think I did this book justice). One thing I can say for certain: my heart hurts and need the next book NOW. The Empirium Trilogy is set in an intricate and complex fantasy world, and just when you think you have it all figured out you find out you were wrong. And I am just putting this out there now: your heart will break and there is an evil cliffhanger in this book. I am conflicted. Reading Kingsbane was at times arduous for me, but then again I've thought about nothing but this book and the mindf*ck of a cliffhanger for over 24 hours. When I sat down to write my initial thoughts for this review (my first drafts are usually bullet point lists of word vomit), it sat at over 1,000 words. The best of books challenge you and stay with you, and this one has invaded my mind.

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.