Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1) Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper (1 ...First Lines: I placed my thumb and forefinger on the icy flesh, spreading it taut above the breastbone as Uncle had showed me.

This has been high on my to-read list for a long time, but I actually had a hard time getting my hands on it.  It wasn’t until this isolation that I found it on my library’s ebook website and tried it.

Aubrey Rose was born into a world of wealth: fine teas, beautiful dresses, and all the privilege afforded to a girl in the 1880s.  Unfortunately, even that “privilege” is fairly limited and Audrey Rose dreams of bigger things.  She has a secret life working with her uncle on forensic medicine.  She can autopsy a body better than most male medical students her age.  When her work on a few gruesome murders leads her into an investigation of a serial murderer, Audrey searches for answers.  And she may not like what she finds.

You know, it probably wasn’t my brightest idea to read this while the entire world is in a panic, but that doesn’t mean the book wasn’t good.

I’m this on-again-off-again Ripper buff, so I was curious to see what this did with the mystery. Because obviously, it had to solve it even though there wasn’t a solution in real life. And it was…interesting. Some details of the murders were changed to make the plot work, but for the most part it was pretty accurate. (Although it does perpetuate the notion that all those women were prostitutes when they weren’t. Most of them were homeless, jobless, and alcoholics.)

ANYWAY. Our heroine, Audrey Rose, is an interesting lead. She’s fascinated by forensic science and anatomy, which makes her a freak in her social circles. But she’s also a girl who enjoys pretty dresses and cute boys. It was actually really cool to see those seeming opposites in a single character because it reminds us of the stereotypes we see in our heads and how they can be inaccurate. Her sometimes-colleague-sometimes-enemy Thomas is the same way. So those twists on what I immediately imagined were welcome.

The story is obviously dark and gruesome. There are some pretty disgusting details of autopsies, murder scenes, and death. I do much better with these things in books than in movies (because I can’t see them!), but admittedly there were a few times I was like, “Ok, you can back off the details now.” Weak stomachs beware.

I thought the mystery itself and the way things unfolded was really interesting. I was reading the book for large chunks of time because I kept wanting to see what kind of trouble Audrey Rose got into next and how things happened next. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how the series continues.

The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)

First Lines: The eyes of London were watching Claire Jenkins.  She didn’t notice them, of course.  No one paid attention to the cameras.  It was an accepted fact that London has one of the most extensive CCTV systems in the world.

My friends from school would roll their eyes if they saw how much I fangirled to this book.  I wrote a paper in high school about Jack the Ripper, which was alternated being fascinating and absolutely nightmare-inducing.  So oddly enough, I knew I was just going to love this.

Rory is just a homegrown Southern girl until her parents uproot her to go to England, where they’ve both picked up new jobs.  Rory decided she wants to go finish high school in London, where she can see all the sights.  Little does she know that a copycat Ripper has just begun terrorizing London…and not far from where her school is.  Danger surrounds Rory and her friends, especially once Rory spots someone she believes to be the Ripper.  Someone her friends can’t see.  Now the Ripper may have turned his sights on Rory…

Yes, I did end up loving this book, just as I suspected.  I mean really, you throw a funny, snarky Southern girl into London and have her in the heart of the newest Ripper’s murders?  Heck yes, I’m a fan.

I really liked Rory.  I’ve already mentioned that she was snarky, which she totally is.  And I love me my snarky characters.  Attitude is the best way to fight off fear and criticism.  I loved that we were able to learn about London as she did.  There were English phrases I’d never heard before or words I didn’t realize had a different meaning in London than here.  (Apparently, while “estate” means “big-ass mansion” in the US, it means something more akin to “slums” in London.  Odd.)  So I liked that.

I also liked Rory’s friends.  Jazza is like my twin.  If I had been roommates with her or Rory, I know we’d get on swimmingly.  I’m also a fan of the boys in the story, like the smart Jerome, the attitude-riddled Callum, and the stoic-yet-softhearted Stephen.  And Boo!  I almost forgot her.  She grows on you.  Funny enough, I really came to like, or at least appreciate, the characters Rory didn’t like.  Call Me Claudia (hehe) was one of those that I kind of trusted.  And the really oddball character, like Alistair, were just the sprinkles on top of the ice cream sundae of a story.

Now about the Ripper plot line.  If you don’t know much about the original murders, don’t fret.  There’s tons of information in it to either refresh your memory of the events or tell you everything you need to know.  It was quite fantastic in its subtle way of telling you what you needed to know through the characters.  There were no huge info dumps.  Hallelujah!

There were more than a couple of twists in the story I didn’t see coming.  I saw a few ahead of time, through either odd phrasing in the summary or just little clues, but some were just out of nowhere.  And I loved that.  Surprises in a mystery are good.

One last thing, the title is quite clever.  I love it when titles actually are part of the story in a big, but not obvious way.  Kudos for the cleverness.

So all in all, I did find myself a new series to obsess over.  Is the sequel out yet?  …No?  Darn it.