Between Earth and Sky

Between earth and sky

Author: Amanda Skenandore

Publisher: Kensington Books

First Published: 24 April 2018

Rating: 5 stars

Professional Reader

“Pestilence? Alma didn’t know the meaning, but her mother spoke as if the words itself tasted foul. She grabbed the apron and collected the clothes, examining each garment for some sign of this awful pestilence.”

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. Thank you so much to Kensington Books and NetGalley!

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Sky in the Deep

Sky In the Deep

Author: Adrienne Young

Publisher: Wednesday Books

First Published: 24 April 2018

Rating: 4.5 stars

Professional Reader

“I wouldn’t last in this village the whole winter. I couldn’t wait for the thaw. I had to find a way home.”

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. Thank you so much to Wednesday Books, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley!

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Stella Reads: An Uncertain Grace

AN UNCERTAIN GRACE

Author: Krissy Kneen

Publisher: Text Publishing

First Published: 31 August 2017

Rating: 5 stars

“I shellfish down into myself, now as I did them when I met her, curling up into the calcium carbonate whorls of me.”

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Stella Reads: The Fish Girl

THE FISH GIRL

Author: Mirandi Riwoe

Publisher: Seizure

First Published: 24 August 2017

Rating: 4.5 stars

 

 

“In vain, her eyes search beyond the other houses and palm trees for a glimpse of the sea. She will run away. She will flee to the water’s edge and the Ocean Queen will tell her what to do”

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Circe

CIRCE

Author: Madeline Miller

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

First Published: 19 April 2018

Rating: 5 stars

Professional Reader

“I thought once that gods are the opposite of death, but I see now they are more dead then anything, for they are unchanging, and can hold nothing in their hands.”

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.

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The Red Word

The Red Word

Author: Sarah Henstra

Publisher: Black Cat

First Published: 13 March 2018

Rating: 5 stars

Professional Reader
“This is the trouble with myth. Each of us scoops out our own rotten core and spits it out on stage. We stand around the heap of smoking corpses and declare it fate.”

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own.

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Brave New World

Brave New World

Author: Aldous Huxley

Publisher: Penguin Modern Classics

First Published: 1932

Rating: 3.5 stars

“’We’ve gone on controlling ever since. It hasn’t been very good for truth, of course. But it’s been very good for happiness. One can’t have something for nothing. Happiness has got to be paid for. You’re paying for it Mr Watson – paying because you happen to be too much interested in beauty. I was too much interested in truth; I paid too.’”

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Everless

Everless

Author: Sara Holland

Publisher: Orchard Books

Published: 4 January 2018

Rating: 5 stars

 

“I know better than to be afraid of stories.”

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Sword of Olympus

Sword of Olympus

Author: P.M. Hansen

Publisher: Tsaksenbooks

Published: 22 September 2014

Rating: 4 stars

 

 

“’We live in the Age of Heroes and it is called that for a reason. In each generation the gods have chosen a mortal, blessed with special gifts, to be the Sword of Olympus — a mortal to fight on the side of what is right, even when the gods and goddesses themselves might not know what that is. ’ The demigod sighed tiredly.”

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Stalking Jack the Ripper

Stalking Jack the Ripper

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Publisher:  Jimmy Patterson

Published:  20 September 2016

Rating: 4.5 stars

 

 

‘As the afternoon wore on, I watched them, noting the role they were all playing. I doubted any of them truly cared about what they were saying and immensely sorry for them. Their minds were crying out to be free, but they refused to unbind them.’

This book was a big surprise for me. I’d originally planned on reading this book just to get to the squeal. I enjoyed Maniscalco’s twist on Jack the Ripper. Audrey Rose is a strong and modern young woman who refuses to stop studying forensic science and cutting up cadavers just because of the rules the Victorian era placed on women of her status. Audrey Rose works with her Uncle and his young assistant, Thomas Cresswell, to autopsy a string of savagely killed corpses and help Scotland Yard hunt down the serial murderer, Jack the Ripper.

I’m not a big fan of first-person narratives but I think it works for this story. I enjoyed being inside Audrey Rose’s head as she processed each clue and tried to figure out how they all fit together. I loved how Audrey Rose’s personality shone through the writing style. You could feel each eye roll, her frustration at being sheltered and how hard it was for her to keep a hold of her polite society manners.

For me, since I’m not a mystery reader, I didn’t see who Jack the Ripper was until the big reveal and I was pleasantly surprised. I also really loved Maniscalco’s interpretation of the Ripper mythology. It’s clear that she really loves this time period and the mystery of Jack the Ripper with the care she takes when adding in all the gory details. I never felt overwhelmed by the science, world building or the facts of the Ripper murders. Her interruption was believable and played on the theories historians are still debating on.

The most interesting part of this story was the forensic science elements. I learnt so much about it and never felt like it went over my head or that it was dumbed down. The added illustrations of medical procedures and human anatomy really brought this world to life. The illustration paired Maniscalco’s descriptions perfectly. The anatomical description painted the mutilated victims in a vivid, grotesque light that would leave me feeling morbidly fascinated and queasy all at once. If you don’t to well with gore I would no recommend reading this late at night or on a full stomach.

I loved that the romance didn’t take over the narrative like it seems to do with most YA books. Don’t get me wrong I love a good romance as much as the next person but sometimes it takes over the main thread of the story. I think I enjoyed the romance in this more because it was a slow build and you’d never know when those scenes would pop up. I love that Audrey Rose didn’t let Thomas’ charm distract her from the task at hand.

However, I would like to see some other strong female characters in the future books. The only other women to feature are Audrey Rose’s cousin Liza—who is shown as the stereotypical Victorian lady—and Liza’s mother—who is the strict, over religious matriarch. It’s like Maniscalco was spending so long highlighting that Audrey Rose doesn’t fit the mental and social stereotypes of the era that she forgot about the other women.

Also, I would love to see more about Audrey Rose’s Indian heritage since it’s only mentioned in passing when she’s thinking about her mother. It would be interesting to see how this beautiful culture fits with the strict Victorian customs. I hope this is explored in future books.

I cannot wait to dive into the sequel! If you love well-written historical fiction with strong female characters and a dash of murder I think this one is for you.