Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco - 3.5 stars (finished 2/3)
BOOK 1 IN THE STALKING JACK THE RIPPER SERIES
I am not typically a fan of historical fiction and can find it hard to read at times, however, this novel was NOT one of those kinds of books for me. I flew through it and loved the additions of media related to the story. I know with certainty that I am not interested in continuing the series because I feel like even though I did like this book, I didn't love it. It also ended with some resolve where it could easily be a standalone book. I did like the characters and feel they were very well developed, but the plot was a little on the dry side and there was a lot that didn't really contribute to the plot overall. I wasn't really surprised with who was named as Jack the Ripper or the reasoning behind it. I kind of figured that's who it was about midway through. So overall, not a bad read by any means, but definitely not something that blew me away.
The Vile Village by Lemony Snicket - 4 stars (finished 2/3)
BOOK 7 IN THE SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS SERIES
I like that in this story, the villainous scheme is a little less obvious and the children are beginning to get more worn down by constantly having to be on their toes. I could not remember what happened in this book, so it was like reading it for the first time. I think I remember what the real V.F.D. stands for, but I'm not 100%. It's been too long.
Heartless by Marissa Meyer - 5 stars (finished 2/13)
I love the idea of a villain origin story and Wonderland is one of those incredibly enchanting worlds where anything can happen. It was such a good choice to pick such a world to do an origin story and there are so many characters that could have been selected, but the Queen of Hearts was definitely a perfect choice. I think this may have been my first origin story read, so it was interesting to "know" what would happen to the character in their future, but not really know how they got there. I have only read Cinder by Marissa Meyer, so I can't really speak on good authority as to if all her books are written so well, but Heartless and Cinder were both magnificent. Meyer is great at world building, character growth, and describing scenes without being boring.
Cath (Queen of Hearts) is a girl after my own heart, no pun intended. Her love of food and eating spoke to me. I adored every part that involved her describing food she had seen or had made or was eating. I loved the bits of Cheshire because I have always loved Cheshire as a character -- it's the crazy cat lady in me, I suppose. I especially loved the bits with Hatter...because as much as it was Cath's story, you got to see some of how Hatter became who most of us are familiar with. I honestly would take a whole story just with the Mad Hatter being the main character. I didn't have strong feelings towards Jest really. I thought he was a good character, but I didn't love him. I didn't hate him either. I did despise Cath's parents, Peter Peter, and the King of Hearts. Those are all characters I would love to give a good shaking.
Overall, I was so glad this book lived up to the hype. It was such a wonderful story. Truly.
The Hostile Hospital by Lemony Snicket - 4 stars (finished 2/28)
BOOK 8 IN THE SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS SERIES
This installment of the ASOUE series is much more sinister than the others...even though there have been plenty of horrible things happening. Up until this point, I feel like Count Olaf's troop was toned down and didn't seem as villainous as him. This book really shows how evil they are too. Once again, there is a little more information (literally the smallest of pieces) given to the past that has led to the Baudelaire's unfortunate circumstances.