The longer I’ve been writing book reviews, the more confused I get with my own rating system.
Rating are hard. I really struggle with them. Since I use Goodreads a lot (shameless plug- add me as a friend), I wanted to keep things consistent and rate every book out of 5 stars. However, with so many people rating books from 1-5 stars, everyone now has their own meaning behind what a 5 star/3 star/1 star book is. Even my own meaning has changed.
So, for the sake of clarification, I want to explain what my ratings mean, and give some examples for each!
Overall: 3.75/5 Stars Characters: 4/5 Setting: 3.5/5 Writing: 3.5/5 Plot and Themes: 4/5 Awesomeness Factor: 3.75/5 Review in a Nutshell: I went into this book with crazy high expectations, and while it didn’t quite meet all of them, it was still a great read.
“Mercy was more frightening than murder, because it was harder.”
“When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?”
Release Date: 10/01/2008 Publisher: Harcort Page Count: 471 Premise: Katsa is a Graceling. She was born with an innate gift. Except, while some people were Graced with fighting, telepathy, or music, Katsa was Graced with killing. Used as the king’s pawn, Katsa is sent across the kingdom threatening and torturing whoever the king tells her to, but what he doesn’t know is that she has her own missions, helping those who need it. On one of those missions, she meets Po, the youngest prince of a faraway kingdom. The two of them must work together to solve a mystery that threatens his family, but they didn’t expect to fall in love, or uncover a secret that threatens everything they know.
Overall: 5/5 Stars Characters: 5/5 Setting: 5/5 Writing: 5/5 Plot and Themes: 5/5 Awesomeness Factor: 5/5 Review in a Nutshell: Capturing The Devil is an amazing end to a series that has captured the hearts of so many fans. While I’m sad it’s over, I couldn’t imagine a better finale.
“I had been stalked and hunted and had escaped thus far. I’d now be the one setting a trap for this monster.”
Release Date: 9/10/2019 Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Page Count: 448 Premise: Capturing the Devil is the final book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. Audrey Rose and Thomas now found themselves in America, where a series of disappearances has them on the hunt for an elusive murderer. The two of them must try to catch the killer, while also trying to hold onto their future together.
“Love is immortal. Death can neither touch nor steal it. Especially when it’s true.”
Writing & Setting
If you’ve read the first three Stalking Jack the Ripper books (which I really hope you have because this isn’t a series you can just pick and choose which ones you want to read), then you already have an idea of how Kerri Maniscalco writes, and the atmospheric settings she depicts. Her writing has only gotten better in each book. There are so many powerful lines and impactful quotes from this book. The setting itself is also really well done. With each book, Kerri Maniscalco manages to create a completely new setting but still maintains that overall creepy and unsettling tone. Capturing the Devil may have one of the scariest places in this series, which is saying something.
“The devil was here. He’d finally stepped out from my nightmares and had come to claim me.”
This book has some twists. I know, you’re probably thinking: “Of course it does! Every book in this series has some sort of twist at the end!” You’re right, but usually, I can predict where the book is going. Even if I can’t guess the twist exactly, I have an idea of what’s coming. Yeah, that didn’t happen in this one. I knew what to expect with some things (I was already familiar with the case this book is about before going into it– speaking of which, don’t expect completely historical accuracy here), but there were a couple of other things that surprised me. Because this book actually managed to blindside me with some of it’s twists, it was completely impossible to put down. I had some trouble with other books in the series being a little slow, but this one did not have that problem AT ALL. I was addicted from the start, and until the very last page.
“I was the queen of death. A princess of corpses. Everything I touch decayed” and she calls Thomas dramatic
Listen, Escaping From Houdini definitely hurt Audrey Rose’s standing in my ever-growing list of great protagonists. The decisions she made in that book weren’t great. However, Capturing the Devil seems to recognize that and was able to fix some of that damage. This book showcases all of the amazing character development she went through in this series, and by the end, I forgave her for how much she hurt Thomas in the previous book. Speaking of Thomas– he is just so perfect. He really is the perfect feminist love interest, even his flaws are compelling. I feel like in each book, we slowly see more and more of him, and every new thing makes me love him even more.
“Beyond life, beyond death. My love for thee is eternal.”
Pros- The twists really got me, the setting is amazing, and oh my god I would die for Thomas Cresswell Cons- Why does this series have to end? I’m not ready Overall- 5/5 stars. Capturing The Devil was a roller coaster. Full of twists and turns, this book is an epic conclusion to a series that has fully encased itself in my heart.
“If there’s one thing man cherishes above greed, it’s hope. Without it, people would cease to dream. Without dreamers, civilizations crash.”
Overall: 2.5/5 Stars Characters: 2.5/5 Setting: 3/5 Writing: 3/5 Plot and Themes: 2/5 Awesomeness Factor: 2/5 Review in a Nutshell: Bloodleaf is an okay read, but overwhelmingly so. Nothing about it is unique or amazing enough to make it stand out from the YA fantasies it finds itself similar to.
“The wolves howl, Aurelia, and there may come a time when I will no longer be able to hold them back.”
“I’m just as lost and confused and lonely as anyone else.”
Release Date: 3/12/2019 Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers Page Count: 384 Premise: Bloodleaf is a loose retelling of The Goose Girl. It follows Princess Aurelia, a blood-magic wielder in a kingdom where witches are the enemy. With her people eager to see her burn, Aurelia is sent to the neighboring kingdom for her safety, and to meet the prince she has been betrothed to since childhood. But when she is betrayed, Aurelia is forced to disguise herself as a commoner as she uncovers a plot that could destroy everything.
“I’ve yet to hold the devil’s handiwork. Everything evil I’ve found was made by human hands.”
Release Date: 9/3/2019 Publisher: Simon Pulse Page Count: 384 Premise: Theodora has always dreamed of traveling with her father on his treasure hunts, but despite her knowledge of ancient relics, he refuses to let her go. Instead, he takes Huck Gallagher, the boy Theo used to think was the love of her life. But when Huck returns from an expedition for the cursed ring of Vlad the Impaler without her father, they must team up to rescue him. With only her father’s journal for clues, the two end up on a dangerous journey into Romania, where a dangerous society is also searching for the ring. And they’ll do anything to get it.
Read more for all of my thoughts on The Lady Rogue!
Overall: 5/5 Stars Characters: 5/5 Setting: 5/5 Writing: 5/5 Plot and Themes: 5/5 Awesomeness Factor: 5/5 Review in a Nutshell: Sorcery of Thorns reminded me why I love standalone fantasies. With a unique world and magic system, great characters, and a fun plot, you won’t want to put this book down.
“It was always wise to be polite to books, whether or not they could hear you.”
“She wasn’t a wielder of chains; she was a breaker of them. She was the library’s will made flesh.”
Release Date: 6/4/2019 Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster) Page Count: 456 Premise:
Elizabeth is a child of the library. Growing up in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, she has always dreamed of becoming a Warden, guarding the living grimoires that line the shelves and protecting the kingdom from Maleficts- monsters that arise from damaged grimoires. She has also been raised to hate the Sorcerers that use the grimoires. But when the library is sabotaged and Elizabeth tries to save the kingdom from a Malefict, she is accused of being the saboteur. She is sent with Nathaniel Thorn, a sorcerer, and his companion, Silas, to face justice, but instead, she uncovers a conspiracy that only the three of them together can stop.
Read more to see why I gave Sorcery of Thorns 5 Stars!
*Quotes are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication*
Overall: 3/5 Stars Characters: 3/5 Setting: 4/5 Writing: 2.5/5 Plot and Themes: 3/5 Awesomeness Factor: 3/5 Review in a Nutshell: Rage was a good read, but it may not be worthwhile if you didn’t really love Roar.
“I wanted to choose my own life, rather than having it chosen for me.”
“Life happens how it happens, and you can either move with the maelstrom or die wallowing about the change in the winds.”
Release Date: 8/27/2019 Publisher: Tor Teen Page Count: 460 Premise:
Rage takes place shortly after the ending of Roar. There isn’t really much I can say without spoiling the plot of the first book, but this one deals more with the politics of the world, including a rebellion that has risen up.
Overall: 5/5 Stars Characters: 5/5 Setting: 4.5/5 Writing: 5/5 Plot and Themes: 4.5/5 Awesomeness Factor: 5/5 Review in a Nutshell: We Hunt the Flame is a stunning debut. This book is absolutely gorgeous, inside and out. You do not want to miss out on this one of a kind read.
“We hunt the flame, the light in the darkness, the good this world deserves.”
(I know this is the quote everyone is using in their reviews but HOW COULD YOU NOT?? It’s so perfect)
“A life without purpose may be no life, but a life without love is nothing but an existence.”
Release Date: 5/14/2019 Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux Page Count: 472 Premise: We Hunt the Flame takes place in Arawiya, a kingdom divided into five caliphates, inspired by ancient Arabia. Zafira is one of the only people able to venture into the Arz, a magical forest, and come back unaffected. Disguised as The Hunter, she uses this ability to feed her village. But when she is told of a way she might be able to get rid of the Arz forever, she travels to the mysterious island of Sharr. Nasir is an assassin, son of the Sultan and Prince of Death. When his father sends him after The Hunter with orders to find what The Hunter is after then kill him, Nasir does not hesitate. But Sharr is full of ancient magic and forgotten powers, and with old threats rising, their quests, and their lives, are in jeopardy.
Read more for all of my thoughts on this amazing book!!
Overall: 3/5 Stars Characters: 3/5 Setting: 4/5 Writing: 3/5 Plot and Themes: 3/5 Awesomeness Factor: 3/5 Review in a Nutshell: Truly Madly Royally would be great if you’re looking for something easy to read and basic. It’s not great, but it’s fun.
Release Date: 7/30/2019 Publisher: Point Paperbacks Page Count: 304 Premise: When Zora goes to a prestigious summer college program, she never expects to meet an actual prince. She also didn’t expect the instant chemistry they would share. But dating a prince comes with attention, and being in the spotlight isn’t always fun.
Read more for all of my thoughts on Truly Madly Royally!
I usually try to write full reviews on Tuesdays, but this past month, I haven’t read anything that I can review. I’ve been focusing a lot on getting ahead and making my way through my BookCon/BEA ARC pile, but because these books won’t be released until later this year, I don’t want to write full reviews just yet.
That said, I still want to talk about them. So while we wait for their release dates to grow closer, here are some quick teasers for a few of the ARCs I’ve been reading.
Read more to hear about some Late Summer/Fall 2019 releases!