City of Flowers by Mary Hoffman 

Continuing on with my review of the Stravaganza series as I (slowly) read through them. City of Flowers is the third book in the Stravaganza series and so far my absolute favorite. So much happens in this book, it really jumps into the thick of this story and world now. 

City of Flowers follows Sky, a young teen (who also goes to the same school as Lucien and Georgia do) who stumbles across a perfume bottle. Tired and worn out from taking care of his mother who has MS disease, sky stumbles into the world of Talia in the city of Giglia. Disguised as a monk and thrown into a feud between the DiChimici and the Nucci that has lasted years Sky must discover his purpose as well as stay alive. 

I loved this book in particular becuase the action really took a leap in this. Now we not only have the issues from the last books to deal with but a family feud between two warring families that must also be dealt with all the while keeping the Stravagante community hidden from the DiChimici Duke. 

Once again Mary Hoffman has captured my heart with this story, as well as a love for the fantasy world of Talia. I enjoy this books for many reasons, especially for the amount of work and research she did for them. Diversity plays a role in these books as well, which makes me love them even more. Once again diversity is a hot topic in the book community and these books definitely have that- with a variety of main characters as well as multiple supporting characters that all come from different backgrounds and races/ethnicities. These are wonderful books and I love the story so much. 

While these books follow a common theme they still vary widely between the sequels and I love that so much. Each book follows a different character, story line and city in the world of Talia. It also connects all the stories across the books as well, with tons of world building and story build up I feel as though I can never get enough of reading these books. I highly recommend them, especially for lovers of fantasy/SciFi novels. 

I rated a 5/5 on Goodreads, this book had so many action scenes I was immersed for the majority of the book, hooked and on the edge of my seat. This is a wonderful read and amazing series. 

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco 

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco 

Recently I read Stalking Jack the Ripper for a readathon on youtube/instagtam and twitter called the Biannual Bibliothon. I have gone back and forth in my thoughts on this book, I really enjoyed it a lot but I wasn’t sure on what my rating for it would be. So obviously with that being said the smart thing to do would be to review the book of course. 

Audrey Rose is the 17 year old daughter of Lord Wadsworth who has a huge secret; she loves the sciences behind forensic medicines. She loves to help her Uncle in his laboratory exploring the secrets of the dead. Against her fathers, and against societies, wishes she pursues a life of science and forensics. But her work drags her straight in the gruesome world of a serial killer brutally attacking women on the streets. Determined to find answers to the killings, her search and work brings her close to her own sheltered world that she so desperately tries to avoid. 

I loved the outline for this story, from the start I could tell that the author had put a lot of research into this book. As a person who is intrigued my historical fiction stories I truly loved this. Maniscalco put a lot of time and effort into this book, which is not to say that other authors don’t because all books take so much time and effort. She included a great deal of history in this book and her research really paid off. Another thing that I really liked was at the very end of the book there was a research page of everything she had included/didn’t include and then some things she had changed historically just to fit the novel. As a work of fiction, the story obviously did not happen and the characters for the story were fabricated; so by adding historical events that actually did happen she had to tweak them a little bit for the story to fit. I appreciated this a lot, the author took the time to make this book as accurate as a work of fiction can possibly be and to let everyone know where she had changed things in the original story of Jack the Ripper. 

I loved the main Character a lot, I thought a strong female lead who wouldn’t let anyone (not even her own father) bully her into what she didn’t want to do was a perfect fit for the story. Obviously as a women in the victorian age doing what she wanted to do was frowned upon. It was nice to read a character who was not afraid of what people would say about her. She was not perfect, sometimes she got a little too cocky and arrogant. She didn’t always have the answers to everything going on, and sometimes it took her a while to come to an obvious conclusion. But she was a women who knew what she wanted and nothing was going to stop her from her passions. I had been reading a lot of romance lately and this was a refreshing change from girls swooning over guys to a girl being able to stand up for herself and not depend on a guy for everything. 

The ending is what really threw me off. I won’t say anything to spoil it, but I really think this is what is holding me back from being able to retain a 5/5 rating on Goodreads. It wasn’t what I was expecting, even though I really was expecting it. It just didn’t seem to fit with the outlay of the novel. I had hoped that it would go in a different direction more along the lines of the original History of Jack the Ripper. As a work of fiction though the author was able to make whatever ending desired and that was definitely the case here. That’s not to say it was bad, it was really very good. I just saw the book going in a different route. The ending felt like it was a little rushed as well, the entire novel built up to this very end and then it was over in a matter of 5-10 pages. While the novel built the whole story up, the ending seemed a little crazed and rushed. It wasn’t flat, or a let down. Like I said, it was just not what I thought. I can’t really complain with the ending however. 

The love interest was also a major play for me in the story, especially a love interest set back in victorian times. Love and romance was an entirely different thing back then and I felt like this was really pushing those limits that society had been pushing on women. I can never complain when that happens because I felt it was entirely ridiculous to not allow a women to do what she wants. But hey that’s just me. I really did not like the love interest character set out for Audrey at first. His name was Thomas and from the very first time she spoke with him you just kind of knew that this would be a reoccurring forced romance throughout the novel. As the novel went on though he really began to grow on me. Again I don’t want to go into too much detail because I do not want to spoil anything. I will leave it at that for now. The love interest was an essential part I believe and towards the end I was really hardcore shipping them together no matter what. 

All in all, this book was a fantastic read for me. I ended up with a 4/5 rating on Goodreads. As much as I loved the book the ending is still throwing me for a loop and I can not get over it. I highly recommend this book, especially to anyone who loves dark/gruesome reads as it does have some detail pertaining to forensics. History lovers would like this book as well, as there is a huge historical element in this book and it is really cool to see how the author inserts her story around already existing facts.