Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

 

Title: Hunting Prince Dracula

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Pages: 418

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books

Published: 2017

Source: ARC from Jimmy Patterson (thank you!)

Rating: ★★★★★


Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.


With just a month between now and September, I thought I’d finally post my review of Hunting Prince Dracula and explain to you why you should have this book pre-ordered and on your most anticipated books of 2017! This review will be shorter than I would like it to be, just because I don’t want to say too much without spoiling it as it’s not even out yet!

This was definitely one of my most highly anticipated books of the year and I was both shocked and extremely excited when I received a copy for review. I basically devoured it within a few days although towards the end, I tried to pick up something else to drag out the inevitable ending as I just didn’t want to finish this book! The book is set primarily at a Forensic Medical school in Romania and uses the story of Dracula to create an epic murder mystery tale. I really liked this setting and thought it was unique to the story. I also loved the castle and the secret passageways – that’s exactly what you expect from a mystery novel, especially one that is set in such a famous place.

The story was constantly interesting and was quite fast-paced. It was constantly switching from light to dark and from funny to serious. It wasn’t really connected in terms of the mystery to the previous book, but I feel like if you do want to read this book, it is best to read the first book in the series first as it makes a lot more sense, plus you get a much better feel for the characters.

There were several new characters in this book, but other characters that featured in the first book, such as Audrey Rose’s cousin and aunt were still spoken of. Audrey Rose and Thomas are perhaps two of my favourite fictional characters to ever exist. They perfectly compliment each other, with their witty banter and expert skills, I just love them both and was so happy to get another book with them. Their relationship is one where you’re questioning ‘are they? aren’t they?’ and I really enjoy their communications. I love that Thomas is almost constantly trying to impress Audrey Rose, and that he really puts the effort into trying to show that he cares for her. Audrey Rose is a strong character but in this book, we see her trying to carry on with her life alongside trying to cope with the events of Stalking Jack the Ripper. I feel like we really see her progress and grow throughout this book and ultimately come out of it stronger.

As always, the ending had me completely lost for words. With both books, I think I have it sussed out who is the culprit, and both times I have been wrong so it’s always a surprise to me. Kerri has this really wonderful way of making the villain who you least expect it to be, and in a way you can almost sympathise with them. This was much the same with Hunting Prince Dracula, however I didn’t sympathise with the culprit this time, unlike with Staking Jack the Ripper where I did. I just couldn’t believe that I had been so far off with my guess for who was playing Dracula!

I really already cannot wait for the third book to be released already and have a long wait ahead of me. I miss both Audrey Rose and Thomas and honestly can’t wait to see what they get up to in the next novel together. I’m looking forward to the humour and witty banter between them in future books.

Here are a few reasons why you should most definitely divulge into this wonderful series!

  1. It features a kickass female lead character
  2. A handsome, witty and humorous young man features in the novels
  3. It’s a wonderful combination of mystery and adventure, based on historic events
  4. Kerri has the ability to make you not want to put these books down
  5. The series is all around incredible so far and is not one to be missed!

You can see more of my pictures (like above!) at here!

Meraki Candles: April Anime Box

This box is the very first anime inspired box by Meraki Candles, with theme being Studio Ghibili! As someone who has not watched much of Anime, or any really at all for that matter, I was excited to see how Heather would create this box and I was not disappointed! Although I was a rep when I received this box, I will be giving you my honest opinion of these candles (although, I can’t help that I love both of them!).

So first all, the box included two candles, as pictured above and below, as well as a few goodies which you can see in the picture above. The goodies were: 

  • Notepad
  • Postcard
  • Pin badge
  • Yubaba’s Soap
  • Arreitty print

I love all these goodies, particularly the notepad and the soap! I obviously am not so clued up on Anime, so I wasn’t really sure about the print or pin badge however still think they’re super cute.

And now for the candles! Included was:

  • Howl’s Castle
  • Totoro

I’m going to go into detail about these two candles with their scents and what I think but aren’t they pretty? Wait till you see the colour of them and hear how they smell!

Howls Castle | Inspired by: The Mortal Instruments | Scents: Something, Jasmine and Rose

This candle is super, super pretty. I absolutely love the violet colour of it and the label matches the month’s card art! It’s super fresh and the rose comes through really well, but it’s quite subtle and not overly strong which is great, as sometimes I think rose scents can be quite overpowering. I also definitely get a whiff of the Jasmine which is lovely. Overall, this is a really nice candle that is just fresh and florally, but not too overpowering, plus bonus points because it’s purple.

Totoro | Inspired by: Totoro | Scents: Sweet Pea

As you can slightly see, this candle is a honey-like brown. It smells so lovely, and is a little bit stronger than Howls Castle. Totoro has one scent which is sweet pea. Again, this is quite florally, and although stronger, it doesn’t smell sickeningly so. I personally think it smells really lovely and fresh.

I think out of the two candles, my favourite is probably Howls Castle. I love the colour, the scent, just everything about it!

Now for the other items that came in this box! I’ve grouped them all together as usually my unboxing posts end up being really long!

The print is super cute, and is my first from tjlubrano, who I have seen around quite a bit in the bookstagram community. Her artwork is super cute and I have wanted to buy something from her for a while now. Although I haven’t watched Arrietty, I think this print is lovely. I would definitely love to get more prints designed by her!

The soap smells really good and is designed by Behind The Pages. I now have a few soaps from this shop and I also have two lip balms. I really like her products and although I am yet to use my soaps, I can confirm that they do smell super good, Yubaba’s Bathhouse especially smells good, with scents of Water, Satin and Sage – it really reminds me of the sort of scents my Grandparents have in their bathroom. It’s almost like a rose sort of scent!

The pin is cute, although I don’t watch anime so wasn’t sure where it was from. Hannah Hitchman created different Ghibli pins so not everyone has the same pin which is a fab idea! As you can see, I received this little fireball called Calcifer!

The notebook is super handy and was created by House of Wonderland, with little Soot Sprites on it. I love the blue colour and again, even though I haven’t watched Anime, I really like this notebook. It will be useful for writing any story ideas, plotting or just anything really!

 

So that is my April Meraki Anime unboxing. I hope you liked it, and if you received this box, what was your favourite candle and item? If you didn’t, which do you think you’d like the most?

Meraki Candles: April Box

The April box was Far Away Lands! This is my third Meraki Candles box and I was so excited for this box because of the places featured. I hadn’t heard of two of them, but I had heard of the other two featured lands. Although I am a rep, I will be giving you my honest opinion of these candles, although I make no apologies for loving all the candles because they’re so gorgeous!

So first all, the box included four candles as well as a few goodies which you can see in the picture above.

The goodies were:

  • A bookmark by Till & Dill
  • Tote bag by Bookworm Boutique
  • Camp Half-Blood badge
  • The info card bookmark

I loved all these goodies, especially the bookmarks and badges! I also loved the bag!

And now for the candles! Included was:

  • Elendel
  • Essos
  • Narnia
  • Rivendell

I can’t wait to share with you what I thought of each of them!

Elendel | Inspired by: Mistborn | Scents: Jasmine, Amber and Musk

Wow, I don’t really know how to describe this one. It smells really lovely and reminds me a little of something that I can’t quite put my finger on. I feel like it’s quite a unique scent. I can definitely smell the musk scent and I can pick up another scent which is the jasmine. To be honest, these 3 scents together have made a really lovely candle.

Essos | Inspired by: Game of Thrones | Scents: Lemon, Orange and Aromatic Woods

This one is a little different to the other candles. Its scent is perhaps a little more tangy because of the lemon and orange. I think the orange does overpower the lemon ever so slightly, but I think the lemon comes through as more of an after smell. The aromatic woods are definitely there. It’s like a tangy wood smell, to sum it up!

Rivendell | Inspired by: The Lord of the Rings  | Scents: Wildflower and Cashmere Woods

Rivendell is a really fresh scent and smells exactly like it says on the tin! The cashmere woods comes through when sniffing this candle and reminds me almost of pine trees when I inhale a lot of it (that sounds odd, but if you take a really long sniff of it, more scents come through). I think this is definitely my favourite out of these three as it smells so fresh with a hint of flowers.

Narnia | Inspired by:  | Scents: Menthol, Lavender and Pine

Narnia is possibly my favourite out of the four candles. All 3 scents listed for this candle come through to make a really gorgeous candle. I can definitely smell the lavender and pine. The menthol is also definitely there which I think makes the pine stand out a little more and gives it a little bit of a minty scent.

In all honesty it’s hard to choose my favourite, but I think it has to either be Rivendell or Narnia!

Now onto a closer look at the extra items!

Here is the pretty design inspired by Lord of the Rings, created by Bookworm Boutique. I have never owned an item by Bookworm Boutique before, but I’ve always wanted something so this is perfect!

 

We received some Camp Half-Blood pins, which you can see above. I was lucky enough to receive two, however decided to send them to another bookstagrammer who was interested in one of them! I’ve only read the first two Percy Jackson books but have really enjoyed them!

On the left, there’s a closer look at the bookmark that Till & Dill designed. I really love this design as it’s so pretty and I love the blue/white colouring! This is my second Till & Dill bookmark which I super love and I am hoping to buy more as the designs are so gorgeous!

 

So that’s the April Meraki box and I really loved it. I think my favourite candle is probably Rivendell, but it’s a really tough choice! It smells really fresh and woodsy, but also has florally hints to it which I like. If you received this box, which candle was your favourite?

Meraki Candles: March Box

The February box was Winged Warriors! This is my second Meraki Candles box and I was so excited for this box because who doesn’t love dragons? I definitely do, that’s for sure! Although I am a rep, I will be giving you my honest opinion of these candles, although I make no apologies for loving all the candles because Heather gets them right every single time!

So first all, the box included four candles as well as the usual few goodies which you can see in the picture above. The goodies were:

  • A bookmark made my LexyOlivia
  • An ‘Abraxos’ lotion by BehindThePages
  • A Dragon Scale necklace by Cogs and Curiosities
  • A Spyro art print by Maliha_Z_Art
  • A Smaug bookmark (same as info card)

I loved all these goodies, especially the necklace which is super, super pretty! I also loved the bookmark, which is my first LexyOlivia item, whose work I’ve had on my radar for a while now! The Abraxos lotion also smells so goooooood and the Spyro art print is so cute – I used to play Spyro on my Nintendo DS when I was younger although I was always stuck on it so that print reminded me of my younger days!

And now for the candles! Included was:

  • Saphira
  • Drogon
  • Smaug
  • Toothless

I loved this collection of candles and I can’t wait to share with you what I thought of each of them!

Saphira | Inspired by: The Inherited Cycle | Scents: Lavender, Rosemary and Geranium

So when I saw this candle, the name of it was actually completely lost on me because I have never read the Inheritance Cycle, despite my sister actually owning these books for years and years. I used to want to read them but she would never let me because they were hers, haha. Anyway, this candle is a gorgeous pale blue and smells very strongly of the Lavender and Rosemary scents. I would definitely burn this when taking a bath as it reminds me of bubble bath!

Drogon | Inspired by: Game of Thrones | Scents: Eucalyptus and Spearmint

How could I not take a picture with the candles namesake? This candle really reminds me of tea tree, which I love the smell of. It’s minty but not too overpowering which is great. The colour of it is a light brown/green colour. In case you were wondering, I bought this flying funko pop duo from the HBO shop in New York last July. If you’re on the hunt for one, I’m sure you can find it on Amazon or eBay!

Smaug | Inspired by: The Hobbit | Scents: Cinnamon, Clove and Buttermilk

Oh man, this candle is super, super amazing. I love the scent so freaking much. The whole combination cooks up a damn storm in my nose which is great, fyi. You can really smell the cinnamon and buttermilk and the whole combination is just gorgeous. The colour of this candle is a pretty, light golden brown shade, almost like a baked cake. This candle is just perfect!

Toothless | Inspired by: How to Train Your Dragon | Scents: Hot chocolate and Sweet Orange

Oh boy, this is also another favourite of mine! I’m totally stupid and never got an individual photo of this candle, but honestly, you just need to know how it smells. Now there’s two things I would describe this candle as smelling like. 1) a Terry’s chocolate orange and 2) Orange Hot Chocolate. Now I don’t know if you have either of these where you’re from, but if not, you are severely missing out. I don’t even like oranges but mix the flavour with chocolate, hot or cold, and I’m totally down for it. This candle is just amazing and it reminds me of two out of many of my favourite winter treats (particularly Terry’s chocolate orange).

Verdict:

I really can’t decide which is my favourite candle out of the four. It’s definitely between Smaug and Toothless as they both smell insanely good. I know that Heather’s favourite is Toothless, which I’m leaning towards but then Smaug just smells so good!

Other Items:

In case you wanted to take a closer look at some of the other items I received in this box, here is your chance!

The top photo is the lovely LexyOlivia bookmark that has a green scale print on the other side. The bottom photo is the gorgeous Cogs and Curiosities necklace – I love the colours and I love how it changes in the sun!

So that’s my March Meraki Candle unboxing. I hope you liked this months reveal, I most certainly did! Heather really outdid herself with this box and the scents. If you received this box, what was your favourite? If you didn’t, which do you think you’d like the most?

Heartless by Marissa Meyer


Title: Heartless

Author: Marissa Meyer

Pages: 453

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s/Fiewel & Friends

Published: November 2016 (USA)/ February 2017 (U.K.)

Source: Sent for review (but also bought!)

Rating: ★★★★★


Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.


How to break your readers heart: A lesson, by Marissa Meyer.

You may or may not know this, but I absolutely loved The Lunar Chronicles, Meyer’s YA sci-fi/fantasy mash up series. When I heard that Marissa was writing a prequel to Alice in Wonderland based on the Queen of Hearts, I was immediately on board for that. I very luckily managed to score a copy of Heartless early from the fabulous folk at Macmillan Children’s, and I am so, so grateful as it was highly anticipated read for me last year (even though my review is super late, although that’s because I was saving it for this blog!).

What did I love about Heartless that made me give it 5 stars, I hear you ask! Well, I basically loved everything about Heartless. The characters were charming. Cath and Jest totally have my heart and this book really gave such a good explanation for why the Queen of Hearts is like she is when we meet her in Alice in Wonderland. The characters were all just so great and were written so perfectly to fit into Wonderland. We were treated to a bit of an adventure, relationships, seeing more of the world of Wonderland and it was just fantastic. Essentially, Heartless was everything I’d hoped it would be and more. It was perfect!

Obviously we have already met the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, so we already know about our main lady and how cruel she can be – ‘Off with your head!‘. So our story follows main character, Cath, who is an avid baker who we join in making some Lemon tarts. I will tell you right now, that this book made me SO hungry for cake whenever the topic came up. I could’ve done with all of the food mentioned to be quite honest. Anyway, Cath is a very likeable main character and I could sympathise with her the whole way through. As mentioned in the blurb, Cath is facing a marriage proposal from the King of Hearts, however he is totally ditzy and childlike and Cath obviously does not want to marry him. Cath seems very much like a normal girl who just wants to find love herself and open up a bakery, where she can sell her yummy-sounding confectionaries.

So, at at a ball, where it seems like the King of Heart’s looming proposal is about to happen, out pops Jest, the court Jester. Jest immediately makes an impression on Cath and their friendship begins. Jest is a total sweetheart and I love him. Those are our main characters, but throughout the book, we are introduced to a whole load of other characters, including Mary, the Cheshire cat, the March Hare, Cath’s parents, the King of Hearts, the Mad Hatter and the tea party friends, as well as the Caterpillar.

I won’t lie, I kept imagining everybody that I already knew of as their characters in the Alice in Wonderland movie. So that helped me to imagine things a little bit better, but honestly, this story was just so rich with detail, settings, characters and plot. I loved seeing the relationship develop between Cath and Jest, but also seeing how her relationships changed with her friend and her parents throughout the book. The book made me sad for Cath, as her dream of opening a bakery kept being knocked down and all I wanted was for her to be able to own a bakery. It kind of made me think that as a girl, she had to do what was expected of her, and if she didn’t, her whole reputation/life would be ruined and she would be looked down on. Like, please, just give the gal what she wants.

Ok, so other than this book being sad because Cath’s bakery dream keeps being shattered, just like the jabberwocky was slated, the ending slayed me and my heart, . This ending was sooooo sad and by the last page, the Queen of Hearts origins fully made sense. I don’t want to ruin the ending for anybody that hasn’t read it yet, but honestly, this was such a sad ending and I was so hoping that the story would/could be different. This book had everything that I look for in a 5-star read.

Overall, I loved this book. A definite 5 star read for me and the excitement I had for this book was not overestimated either. I could talk about this book all day, and how much I loved it. Just a perfect prequel to a wonderful and beloved story.

Note – the candle in the picture below is Catherine’s Lemon Tart by Book & Nook, which you can buy from here. I bought it upon reading Heartless as I neededed a themed candle for it. It’s such a lovely lemony scnt, I could smell it all day. Plus, it has glitter on it!

Meraki Candles: February Box

The February box was Fantasy Relationships! I’ve never had a Meraki Candles monthly box before. I really wanted to December box, however missed out, but as part of being a rep, I received this lovely box and I was not disappointed at all. Although I am a rep, I will be giving you my honest opinion of these candles (although, I can’t help that I love them all!).

So first all, the box included four candles, as pictured above and below, as well as a few goodies which you can see in the picture above. The goodies were:

  • A Shadowhunters symbol pin badge
  • A relationship status sticker
  • An ‘Always’ magnet
  • A Parabatai quote notebook
  • A Rhysand/Feyre bookmark

I love all these goodies, particularly the magnet and the bookmark! I need to read The Mortal Instruments/the rest of Cassandra Clare’s book, so the Parabatai quote and badge were a little lost on me, but not too much (I’ve watched the first season of Shadowhunters so I pretty much know what’s going on).

And now for the candles! Included was:

  • Parabatai
  • Imprint
  • Carranam
  • Mating Bond

I’m going to go into detail about these candles in a sec with their scents and what I think but aren’t they just gorgeous? Wait till you see the colour of them and hear how they smell!

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Parabatai | Inspired by: The Mortal Instruments | Scents: Violet, Rose Petal and Apple Wood

To me, this candle smelt exactly like the sweet ‘Parma Violets’. I mean, it has violets in it so no surprise that I can smell them quite strongly. It smells really lovely and you can just see the colour of the candle which is a gorgeous light/sky blue. I personally haven’t seen a Parabatai candle around so think a lot of Cassandra Clare fans would love this candle. Plus, look how perfectly it matches the cover of City of Ashes! 

Imprint | Inspired by: Twilight | Scents: Pine Needles, Fir and Wood

This scent is very woodsy, and with the pine, I definitely get a scent of Christmas trees with it. If you love woodsy scents, this would definitely be right up your street. Although I don’t like Twilight (I used to love it back in 2008), it’s really nice to see a candle company with a Twilight candle. I know a lot of people discovered they loved to read when reading these books, so I feel like these is nice for those fans to have. You can also see the colour of this candle is a light brown/beige colour that matches the label!

Carranam | Inspired by: Throne of Glass series | Scents: Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Vanilla

Ok, you guys. This scent is so gorgeous and it smells exactly like Christmas, meaning that as soon as I took one sniff, I was in love. None of the scents are too overpowering and they all come together so well. The candle colour is a creamy white, which is the opposite of the colourful label. Out of the first three, this is definitely my favourite. It honestly just smells gorgeous – this is the kind of scent that I want all over my home when I move out.

Mating Bond | Inspired by: A Court of Thorns and Roses series | Scents: Cherry, Marzipan and Sugar

This candle is my most favourite candle from the whole box. The label colour is absolutely gorgeous and is my favourite colour. The scents include cherry and marzipan, so as a huge fan of marzipan especially, yes please! And then the colour of the candle is this gorgeous pink and finally, the SMELL.

I cannot even describe to you how gorgeous this smells. It is the most perfect scent I have smelt and is so unique as I have never seen another candle with these scents. Even my mum, who like me, also loves Marzipan, kept picking it up to sniff it. It’s seriously the best candle out of the four for me (if you couldn’t tell, as there are two pictures of this candle), and will definitely get my vote when we get too choose which candle out of the four will be made into a full-jar candle form.

So that is my February Meraki candle unboxing. I hope you liked it, and if you received this box, what was your favourite? If you didn’t, which do you think you’d like the most?