Friday, 16 March 2018


Also, this may be the first video that I've cross-posted to this blog this year. I am beyond useless this year. I'm here now and I'm posting a video on my blog. It also just so happens to be the tour of my bookshelves and I mean, all of my bookshelves. I take you through all of the books that are on the shelves behind me when I film my videos and also on the shelves above my bed, my desk/vanity area and my DVD bookcase. That's a lot of shelves, for sure. What's more is that my main bookcase is double-faced with books which means that there are two rows of books on each shelf. Yup. A lot of books. I like books. Additionally, you'll be able to see the books that I have multiple copies of. I like pretty versions of books. I'm a hoarder. 


Saturday, 10 March 2018

It is positively shameful that we're in the third month of the year and I have not posted a single blog post. Utterly shameful. What's more is that the blog surpassed 100,000 views in the past few weeks and that is monumental. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that my little blog would get that many views. Yes, I would have loved it, for sure. However, I never would have thought that my blog would be seen over 100,000 times. Wow. I'm so cliché but it's true. Thank you to everyone that has ever visited, viewed, commented or seen this blog page. I'm forever grateful. 

Back to what this blog is here for... posts. One of my resolutions for 2018 is to be more consistent with blogging. I'm doing fabulously so far, aren't I? Well now, I'm finally getting around to blogging about a book that I read at the end of December; Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco. This book was my penultimate read of 2017. 

This will come as no surprise to those of you that know me but I pretty much read this book in the hopes that it would be a perfect read for my inner Sanctuary fangirl. Sanctuary is one of my favourite shows and the show that I consistently compare a number of Fantasy books to. It's ridiculous how many Fantasy books give me a Sanctuary vibe in one way or another. In Sanctuary, Doctor Helen Magnus fell in love with the man that was Jack the Ripper, Montague John Druitt. In real life, Druitt was never convicted of being the infamous serial killer and committed suicide in December 1888. In fact, no-one has been conclusively proven to have been the Victorian murderer, yet, Druitt was one of the suspects. Sanctuary creator, Damian Kindler, posits Druitt as the killer in the television series. I shipped Magnus and Druitt like there was no tomorrow in the show and so when I heard about Stalking the Ripper and that its tagline was, "I'm the girl who loved the Ripper," I was instantly intrigued. 

I have been fascinated by Jack the Ripper for years, even long before Sanctuary came to my attention. I watched numerous documentaries about the case and read a number of books that detailed conspiracy theories, had autopsy reports and even detailed the various suspects and their movements before, during and after the infamous murders in Whitechapel. I was very well informed so going into Stalking Jack the Ripper, I was going to be looking out for those details and hoping to find out something that I hadn't already known. 

I will say that Maniscalco was very well informed about the details regarding the Ripper case. To be fair, for a case of that is over one-hundred-and-thirty-years-old, there isn't a lot of new evidence coming out. Whatever is known, has been published and has been adapted into television programmes and published in books. In Stalking Jack the Ripper, Maniscalco does keep to the timeline of events but does implement some artistic liberties here and there to fit into the story that she wanted to tell. All of these are clearly disclosed in the Historian's Notes at the end of the book. 

With regard to who actually is revealed to be Jack the Ripper in the book, I did enjoy who it was. I can honestly say that I didn't expect this person. However, I personally would have liked to have seen more references to the actual suspects that Scotland Yard had in 1888. 

The Whitechapel murders were very brutal and were not for the squeamish or the faint-of-heart to read about nevermind witness. What I enjoyed about Maniscalco's writing was that she didn't shy away from describing the actual scenes that Audrey Rose found herself at. Maniscalco described them with the clinical accuracy that a forensic scientist would have which I found very fitting and also cohered to the police reports as if Audrey Rose had contributed to them. I have a book that has facsimiles of all of the police reports and coroner reports of the day. As I read the book, I could clearly see what Audrey Rose was seeing and found myself reading it all like a forensic observer and believing Audrey Rose's detachment. 

In terms of the main characters, I found myself enjoying Audrey Rose for the majority of the book. She was strong-willed, determined, unapologetic about her ambition to study medicine and be taken seriously in a predominantly male profession in 1888, just as Helen Magnus did. However, there were instances were Audrey Rose's youth and naivety lead to me disliking her and finding her unbelievable. In the moments when she's walking around Whitechapel in the dead-of-night hoping to come across Jack the Ripper, I found her very naive considering the state that the Ripper left his victims in. Was Jack the Ripper honestly going to be foisted by a 17-year-old young girl? I didn't find that wholly believable. Magnus doing that, I could believe because she would have been older than Audrey Rose. In my mind Magnus is. I didn't take those moments where Audrey Rose was being so gung-ho seriously. I found her tenacity admirable but with the air of fear in Whitechapel at the time being so dense, I didn't find it believable that a 17-year-old girl would have done anything like that. Although, that being said, that side of Audrey Rose could be relatable to Ashley Magnus. Ashley would have, and has, done that.

I did find parallels with other Sanctuary characters and those in Stalking Jack the Ripper. I found that Audrey Rose's Uncle, Jonathan, took the place of Gregory Magnus, Helen's Father. Audrey Rose's Uncle was the one that was teaching her all there was to know about anatomy and forensic determination. I thoroughly enjoyed his character. I found him undeniably intelligent, driven and observant in that he noticed the potential in Audrey Rose and did what he could to allow her to flourish. 

The love interest in the story, Thomas Cresswell, was a character that I didn't particularly enjoy. For me, he was a combination of James Watson and Nikola Tesla from Sanctuary. He had the knowledge and observance of Watson but the arrogance of Tesla. However, for me, his arrogance was very off-putting. He was too presumptive and he came off as sleazy instead of intriguing. I wasn't particularly attracted to Cresswell like a number of my book-blogger peers have been. For me, he was rather annoying and ultimately reminded me of Will Zimmerman from Sanctuary who is the character that I hate in the show. 

Nathaniel Wadsworth, Audrey Rose's brother, was a different story. I found myself thoroughly liking his character throughout the book. He was protective in the right places, suave in other places and ultimately, fascinating and multi-faceted. He very much felt like a combination Watson and Druitt in my opinion and I love those two characters.

The one thing that I didn't expect in Stalking Jack the Ripper was the twist about who was Jack the Ripper and why he was driven to murder these women. I can honestly say that it did surprise me. I wasn't expecting it and very much enjoyed where the book was heading when that was all coming about. I thought that it wouldn't have been amiss in a Sanctuary storyline. It felt very much like something that the Cabal would do which only heightened my enjoyment.

The book cover is absolutely stunning. It is absolutely perfect for this kind of book. It is what drew me to the book. I'm not ashamed to admit that. I was fascinated by this book from the moment my eyes fell on the cover. It's just so beautiful. I love the outfit that the model is wearing. I love her hair. I love her red lipstick. I love the black lace gloves. The dagger draws my eye and makes me ask questions as to why she's holding it. The fonts used for the title are perfectly paired. The flourishes aren't overpowering and beautifully frame the title. What really caught my eye is the way that it transitions from Audrey Rose's outfit into a dreary image of London below. It's so seamless and really sets the mood for the book as a whole. It paints the perfect scene of how dreary, dirty and dismal London was in 1888. It's glamorous and foreboding at the same time. 

In fact, I'm obsessed with the covers in this entire series. They just keep getting better and better and each cover fits the story perfectly. After finishing Stalking Jack the Ripper, I wasn't entirely sure if I wanted to continue with the series because I didn't particularly want to see more of Thomas Cresswell. Nevertheless, I have the sequel Hunting Prince Dracula in my possession simply because it is too beautiful to not have on my bookshelves. I will probably read it at some point but in the meantime, it can sit and look pretty. Just look at how stunning these covers are?

For a book review, I know that I talked a lot about Sanctuary and how the book related back to it but that's honestly how and why I read it. The characters spoke volumes of Sanctuary characters and that's the only way in which I can describe them and relate them to you. Sanctuary is a show that means a lot to me and it still has a profound impact on what I read and how I digest what I read. Characters from books remind me of characters in Sanctuary. Settings, plot lines, and even names remind me of Sanctuary. I cannot help that. I can only apologise to those of you that have never seen Sanctuary but I will not apologise for how it still impacts me. You'll just have to watch it. 

Have you read Stalking Jack the Ripper? What are your thoughts on it? I ultimately gave this book 3 out of 5 stars. I found it enjoyable and I loved that I could link aspects of it to Sanctuary which made it all the more enjoyable. It wasn't the read that I was hoping it to be in terms of the Ripper and the tagline that sold it to me and there were a few issues with it. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable.

50-ish Books That I'm Getting Rid Of

Monday, 20 November 2017

This was meant to be up days ago but it took forever to render and then forever-and-a-day to upload. Then once it did upload, the last minute had been cut off. So, I had to go back to the drawing board and render the video again before uploading it for the second time. I need to learn to stop making such long videos - they take an age to upload (I wonder if anyone else has twigged on to that?).

So, in this video, I take you through all of the books that I'm getting rid of - I have donated them to a charity run bookshop in Belfast and some books are going to my former English and Theatre Studies teacher from high school. Put the kettle on and grab a hot beverage. 

REVIEW || Star Trek: Discovery 1x08 and 1x09

I had considered not doing this blog post. I have done weekly reviews for every episode of Star Trek: Discovery since the first two-parter became available on Netflix. I've spoken at length about what I like about this series and also what I have not liked about it. With the last two episodes of Discovery, I have seriously begun to question this series. I was in Spain a fortnight ago and so I missed the penultimate episode of the mid-season break. When I got home, I had a double-bill of the latest two episodes and I can honestly say, neither of them impressed me. 

I had seen gifs floating around Twitter about bits that happened in the mid-season finale. Nothing that was an overt spoiler, thankfully. The spoilers were thankfully reserved until after I had watched the mid-season finale. Still, spoiler alert, people. It amazes me that, even now, people still haven't grasped that they are spoiling things for others when they blab on social media. 

So, without further adieu, let's get into the review aspect of this post.

VIDEO: Geekerella by Ashley Poston [BOOK TALK]

Thursday, 2 November 2017

I know I did a blog post about this absolute gem of a book - here - but I just had to talk about Geekerella by Ashley Poston on my YouTube channel. Check out the video below. You'll see that I absolutely adore this book. 

REVIEW || Star Trek: Discovery 1x07: Magic To Make the Sanest Man Go Mad

Monday, 30 October 2017

Can I get a round of applause for posting a Star Trek: Discovery episode review on the day that it is released on Netflix? Thank you, thank you. I might as well be on time once because I won't be on time next week because I will be travelling. That instalment will be postponed until the following week when it'll be a double-whammy. I'm warning you now. 

Born With Teeth || Kate Mulgrew [REVIEW REWIND]

If you've been around my blog before, you may know that I'm a massive fan of Kate Mulgrew. I've been a fan of hers since I was 11-years-old, and you may know that I've already read her memoir, Born With Teeth. I read it when it was released back in 2015 and did a subsequent review which you can see here. "Then, what's the point of this blog post?" I hear you ask. Good question. The simple answer is; I wanted to. The long answer is; my Goodreads goal of reading 50 books in 2017 was fast approaching and I wanted to mark the occasion because I'm weird like that. Cue the light-bulb moment of deciding that read #50 of 2017 was going to be a re-read; I was going to read Born With Teeth by Kate Mulgrew again. As a result, I wanted to talk about it. Again.

When I started reading Born With Teeth the first time, I was naturally in a fangirl induced reading daze. I was reading the words and taking everything in but I ultimately wasn't taking anything in at all. I took in bits and pieces but it was insignificant when compared to what I didn't remember. The image of an iceberg comes to mind. That's how much I absorbed because I was just in such a daze. I felt as if I had barely scratched the surface. I finally had a book written by Kate Mulgrew and I was being an idiot by not really absorbing it. I felt terrible. I felt like I had written quite a succinct and articulate review but then what? I felt as if the detail had been lost. 

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