Posted in Book Reviews, Crime-Thriller-Mystery, Fantasy, General Books, Horror, Paranormal, Young Adult

Rules for Vanishing by Kate Alice Marshall – #BookReview

Goodreads: Rules for Vanishing
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal Fantasy, Mystery
Panda Rating:

In the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project comes the campfire story of a missing girl, a vengeful ghost, and the girl who is determined to find her sister–at all costs.

Once a year, the path appears in the forest and Lucy Gallows beckons. Who is brave enough to find her–and who won’t make it out of the woods?

It’s been exactly one year since Sara’s sister, Becca, disappeared, and high school life has far from settled back to normal. With her sister gone, Sara doesn’t know whether her former friends no longer like her…or are scared of her, and the days of eating alone at lunch have started to blend together. When a mysterious text message invites Sara and her estranged friends to “play the game” and find local ghost legend Lucy Gallows, Sara is sure this is the only way to find Becca–before she’s lost forever. And even though she’s hardly spoken with them for a year, Sara finds herself deep in the darkness of the forest, her friends–and their cameras–following her down the path. Together, they will have to draw on all of their strengths to survive. The road is rarely forgiving, and no one will be the same on the other side

WHO AM I EVEN?!

I honestly canโ€™t believe I managed to read this because well know Iโ€™m such a chicken and this type of book is really not my jam! When I started it I honestly didnโ€™t know if I could get through it. Being as smart as I am, I started this book past midnight last night and my toes were curling up, I was getting insane goosebumps and full body shivers the whole time. I was TERRIFIED and I truly didnโ€™t know what I was thinking ๐Ÿ˜… That said, the more I read the more I found that I also could not put it down. You know when you donโ€™t wanna know but then you also REALLY wanna know how messed up things are gonna get because you know shit is about to get really real and fast? That was my internal debate at 3:30am and I was shocked to find I didnโ€™t want to throw this book across the room out of fear! LOL

The story is told in the (I guess) fairly โ€œnormalโ€ documentary style of these types of paranormal stories. There were written testimonials, news articles, blog/site clippings, and transcripts of audio/video too. This made the book really easy to read and I thought despite the many formats it flowed really well.

Weโ€™re also introduced to a wide range of characters and while I initially got confused by whoโ€™s who, it didnโ€™t take long to keep track of them as the story progressed. The group dynamic was interesting and I think the author did a good job in developing the individual personalities, especially considering the format. The characters were diverse and there was more representation than I expected too, which is always great! There were a few characters that I found annoying at the start but by the middle of the story I found myself attached to all the MCs, so the ending made my heart hurt a little ๐Ÿ’” I really enjoyed the world building as wellโ€”it was so sinister and completely terrifying, but I loved the details of the โ€œworldโ€ that was created for the game. It was a little bizarre and not at all what I expected when the story started, but it added to the creepy atmosphere and enhanced the paranormal aspects for me.

I was horrified at so many points of the story and I was often gasping in shock at events that happened. If I was wearing boots, I defo wouldโ€™ve been shaking in them! I find that on the very rare occasion that I read these types of books, Iโ€™m usually too scared/paranoid to give much focus to the details but I got really excited when I noticed inconsistencies in the characters when the ball got rolling and being able to guess at what was happening to who ๐Ÿ˜‚ That said, I thought the ending was a bit rushed and some explanations of events werenโ€™t very satisfying and a little underwhelming…

Overall, this book really took me on a ride that I didnโ€™t know if I wouldโ€™ve ever been prepared for but I still found myself really enjoying anyway. Am I convert to these types of paranormal ghost stories? Hell no! But I can appreciate a good book when I read it! Also, Iโ€™m still thinking about the endingโ€”hit me up if youโ€™ve read this coz I defo wanna chat!

Have you read Rules for Vanishing? What did you think?
Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!

Posted in Book Reviews, Crime-Thriller-Mystery, General Books, Historical Fiction, Horror, Young Adult

Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) by Kerri Maniscalco – #BookReview

Goodreads: Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1)
Genre: Historical Fiction, Horror, Mystery, Young Adult Fiction
Rating:

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.

This book has received a lot of love in the community and I think I had pretty high expectations going into it, so I was little bit flummoxed that it ended up being very different to what I expected. That’s not necessarily in a bad way, but I think this might be a big case of it’s not you, it’s me. I mean, I liked it well enough but I didn’t love it. I read this as part of a big group read on Twitter, and they’re continuing on with the series throughout the month but I think I’ll put off continuing it for now.

SJTR was told through the perspective of Audrey Rose Wadsworth, who was smart, fiercely independent and very ahead of the times for that period, and she wasn’t at all shy to show it. I found her rebellious and spunky character refreshing. I love that she was a bit of a nerd, who just wanted to do cool things like autopsies and solve murders, but that she also loved fancy clothes and dressing up. She spends the majority of the story with her uncle, a famous doctor who people think is insane, and Thomas Creswell. Everyone who has read this book seems to have loved Creswell’s character the most. He definitely gave me Sherlock vibes, with his observant deductions and brilliant mind, but I liked that he was also sassy, sarcastic and bold. I felt a little like the romance between Audrey and Thomas was a little insta-love and I wasn’t actually here for it (sorry, please don’t kill me)! I just didn’t feel any spark between them and because of that their romantic interactions fell flat and felt forced! With how quickly the romance evolved between Audrey and Thomas, it was easy to forget the period which this was set in. If it was realistic, half the things that happened with Audrey traipsing around on her own, and especially alone with men, would not have happened. I mean, we’re talking the late 1880s here, so it’s a bit unrealistic. While the more modern tones of the story made it a much easier read than it would’ve been otherwise, I think it also detracted from the whole vibe/setting of the story.

I’ve always had a morbid fascination with the ‘legend’ of serial killers and murderers, and Jack the Ripper is one of the most infamous even until now. While reading, the names of his victims were familiar, but since the last time I went into a spiral binge of reading up on The Ripper was over a decade ago, I didn’t actually remember all the details of what he did to them. So I really enjoyed the fictional liberties that Maniscalco took to develop this story around his legend, while still remaining as close to what happened as possible. I also appreciated Maniscalco’s author’s note that detailed what she took liberties with. That said, I was a little shocked by how easily I deduced who Jack the Ripper was. I won’t say that I figured it out from the very beginning, but it was like a lightning strike moment when I figured it out and I was a little upset that Audrey didn’t see the <b>very obvious</b> clue that was like a big, bright red waving flag in front of her. I ended up wanting to shout at her for the rest of the book because it was SO OBVIOUS and the fact that Thomas didn’t pick up on it when he’s supposed to be a genius who sees everything, was kind of disappointing. I thought the ending was also a bit too rushed, and I was a little disappointed with how it was so… easily resolved and a little too picture perfect happy for such a horrifying story!

Another thing I appreciated was the detail of added photos to some of the chapters. I always find black and white photos a little creepy, even when they’re innocent, and these fit so well with the content of the story. I think only one of them, which I wasn’t expecting at all, gave me a right fright when I was reading this at around 3am on Friday/Saturday, and so I made sure to check the photos ahead of time (during the day!) so I wouldn’t get another shocker. I will say though that this book was a lot darker and more gory than I anticipated, so a word of caution if you’re looking to pick it up and aren’t so good with gore!

I was thinking about going straight into Hunting Prince Dracula, but I’m glad that I didn’t because it would’ve been too much for me. Apparently as I get older my constitution gets weaker LOL I am interested in continuing the series eventually though. So while I did enjoy this thrilling historical fiction, I felt a little too detached from the characters to really fall in love with the story. I’d still recommend it to anyone who likes a thrilling mystery, historical fiction, quirky characters and great banter, as well as a strong female lead ahead of her time.

Have you read Stalking Jack the Ripper? Did it live up to the hype for you? Leave me a comment below and let’s chat!