Book Review ~ A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Title: A Darker Shade of MagicADSOM
Author: V.E. Schwab

Publisher: Tor – Tom Doherty Associates)
Published: 24 February 2015

Goodreads Summary

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

My Review

“It belongs in Black London,” he said. “I have to take it back.” – A Darker Shade of Magic

If you ask my friends and family what my favorite place in the world is the answer would most likely be London. This book lets me traverse through three very different versions of my favorite place. I loved every second of this crazy ride.

In A Darker Shade of Magic, Bell finds himself in trouble when an artifact of Black London falls into his hands. The artifacts presence proceeds to wreak havoc for Kell. The story follows Kell, as he races to save his city, Red London, while bearing the weight of his foolishness. Along the ride is Grey Londoner, Delilah Bard, whose thieving ways proceed to give her the perfect escape from the life she wants to leave behind.

I truly fell in love with this story. I would have thought it capable of being a stand-alone novel if I hadn’t already known it was a trilogy. The story held its own. I love to read books with elemental magic, and this book is steeping in it like a well brewed cup of tea. The magic in this story was perfectly executed for me. I appreciated its intricacies, but at the same time appreciated how simple it was to understand and follow.

Another plus for me were the settings and imagery. The settings brought you deeper into the story because you spend a decent amount of time running around each London with our protagonists. V.E. Schwab’s beautiful depictions bring you seamlessly through one London and into the next, whilst showing the beauty and terror of each city. The world building was truly incredible and I can’t wait to dive right back into this series with book two, A Gathering of Shadows, and book three, A Conjuring of Light.

I’m so glad I finally picked this book up off my shelf. My suggestion is that if you love magical and dangerous adventures that you give this book a read. I don’t think you will be disappointed! 

Thanks for reading this review and my blog! I’ll write to you all again soon!  


Kimberly – Whimsical Narratives



Book Review ~ The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Title: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1)26032825
Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Published: 2 January 2018

Goodreads Summary

Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven years old when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

In doing so, she becomes embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, discovering her own capacity for bloodshed. But as civil war threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

My Review

“You have only seen the least of what I can do” – The Cruel Prince

      I would not be the first to mention that author, Holly Black is the queen of Faerie! Her stories about the faerie dive deep and are so intricately woven that you will never want to put them down. Her novel, The Darkest Part of the Forest was quite literally glued to my hands for the 6 or 7 hours it took me to read it. Her new novel, The Cruel Prince, the first book in The Folk of the Air trilogy, was no different. The Cruel Prince takes you on a rollercoaster of deception. Twist and turns fuel this story and you never know what is going to happen next.

      The main character, Jude, a total girl, wants to be accepted by the Faerie world. A world in which she has grown up, but has never truly belonged. Jude shows great strength and courage throughout the novel.  The decisions she makes have consequences. Whether right or wrong she will do what she needs to in order to accomplish the tasks before her. These moments of precise decision and occasional impulse seamlessly move the plot along its twisting path.

      The book also provides us with a stunning case of character, where even the smallest role is given a name and a purpose. The light air of romance that fills the pages is subtle it adds mystery to the story. Most of all, I loved the descriptions of the faerie realm. Holly Black adds color, glamour, and intrigue in her beautiful depictions of buildings, clothing, and people who you encounter throughout the novel, that you see them so vividly in you mind’s eye. I love that I can truly envision what I am reading.

      I highly suggest picking up this book on your next trip to the bookstore! It’s a wonderful start to what I’m sure will be a deliciously dark and beautiful trilogy!

Coming Soon:
The Wicked King – The Folk of the Air #2 (expected publication 2019)
The Queen of Nothing – The Folk in the Air #3 (expected publication 2020)


      Thank you for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed my review of The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air #1) by Holly Black. Our first review of 2018 is in the books!


Kimberly – WhimsicalNarratives


P.S. I had the joy of attending Holly Black’s book signing when she stopped in Atlanta on Wednesday!  It was fantastic and it was such fun listening to her talk about faerie. If she has a tour stop near you, I highly suggest going. 




Book Review ~ Talk of Shame by Alex Everwood

Title: Talk of Shame: What a Rush
Author: Alex Everwood
Publisher: »be« by Bastei Entertainment; an imprint of Bastei Lübbe AG
Published: 14 November 2017

Available Now On Kindle:

Publisher Summary


Goodbye, high school. Hello, Alpha Chi!

Somerville University. Katie, Jill, and Beatrice kick off freshman year with high hopes, but life doesn’t go as planned. Old grudges bubble up. New friendships aren’t what theyseem. One thing is for sure: no one wants to get caught on the Talk of Shame feed, the university’s unofficial gossip site. One bad pic, and your reputation is shot. Unfortunately, that’s a lesson learned the hard way… #TalkOfShame

Katie, Jill, and, Beatrice may not always get along. But together they champion and struggle with the ins-and-outs of Greek Row, a life of hook-ups, heartbreak, backstabbing, and cheating. Both in and out of the classroom.

My Review

“Talk of Shame” was a fun and fantastic read. It was one of those books that you want to bring to the beach or on long car journeys. This book has all you need for an intriguing New Adult – Contemporary novel.

The story is told for the POV of three freshman girls, who are all rushing sororities. The author did a fantastic job of giving each of the three girls their own personality and voice. I could always tell who was narrating each part of the story.

While there is some romance, I appreciated that it wasn’t the main focus of the book, and that it let the friendships and drama unfold in a more realistic way. Really though, I wouldn’t mind some more romance if a sequel is in the works.

The only thing that I wish was a bit different is the unfolding of the climatic action. I would have liked the “Talk of Shame” plotline to have come to fruition a bit sooner. I think it would have increased the energy in the plot, so we could have had more of a dramatic finish. That being said, I loved the ending! It answered all leftover questions, and, by doing so, really hit home the key messages of the book.

P.S. Who wants a cute fire escape desk area? I know I do! 

***Thank you to NetGalley & be-ebooks at Bastei Entertainment for supplying this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you to for visiting and reading my blog. It means a lot! 


Kimberly – WhimsicalNarratives


Book Review ~ Hunting Price Dracula (SJTR #2) by Kerri Maniscalco

Title: Hunting Prince Dracula
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books, an imprint of Little Brown and Company
Published: 19 September 2017

“Bone White. Blood Red. Along This Path, You’ll Soon Be Dead” – Hunting Prince Dracula

Publisher Summary


    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.

My Review

     Kerri Maniscalco has done it again! Much like her debut novel, “Stalking Jack The Ripper”, the sequel entitled “Hunting Prince Dracula” did not disappoint!

     The novel begins a week after the ending of “Stalking Jack The Ripper”The book gets right into the bloody, or not so bloody good stuff right at the beginning. The first death, taking place on the train, kicks the tension into high gear as Audrey Rose deals with the aftermath of Jack the Ripper’s unmasking. She is on edge herself, but she does continue to be the strong, female character we saw in the first book.

     The romance burns quite a bit brighter in this novel, and with it comes many more witty, and slightly naughty comments from our dear Thomas Cresswell. We also see their relationship hit some snags that may not have been a big deal for other couples of this time, but for Audrey and Thomas it causes some disturbances. This gives way to even more independent action taken in the book, on Audrey Rose’s part, which I absolutely loved. Though I do love this duo together in the romantic sense, I really enjoy their Sherlock & Watson vibe.

     This story will keep you guessing the true identity of the murderer until the very end. I was in shock when the reveal came and all the pieces finally fell into place. It was definitely a mystery. Kerri’s writing really keeps you intrigued and guessing all the way through. I love the way she takes liberties with historical truths to create a very entertaining plot.

     The one thing that I wished would have been different was the quick resolution of the ending. Much like the first novel, it felt slightly rushed. However, I would not let that deter you from enjoying this suspenseful mystery and the abundance of new characters you get to meet. 

     For those of you who like to listen to your books, I want to highly suggest the audiobooks of this series. I read this book, by switching between the hardcover and the audiobook. The narrator, Nicola Barber, did a wonderful job of bringing depth and emotion to Audrey Rose, as well as creating unique voices for our other characters. I want to go back and listen to both books in their entirety, as well as listen to other books narrated by Nicola.

     I hope you enjoyed reading my review for “Hunting Prince Dracula” by Kerri Maniscalco. If you have read the book, let me know your thoughts in the comments. I wish the third book could be in my hands already. 

Thank you for reading!


Kimberly – Whimsical Narratives



Book Review ~ Begin Again : Allie and Kaden’s Story by Mona Kasten

Title: Begin Again: Allie and Kaden’s Story
Author: Mona Kasten
Publisher: »be« by Bastei Entertainment; an imprint of Bastei Lübbe AG
Published: (Coming Soon) 10 October 2017
Pre-Order For Kindle: Here


He makes the rules. She breaks them all. A new start.

It’s the only thing keeping Allie Harper going, when she packs up her life and moves across the country to Woodshill, Oregon. She’s about to start college, desperate to leave the ghosts of her past behind her. Even if that means never talking to her parents again.

Now the hard part – finding an apartment before classes start. Just when it seems she’ll have to live out of her car, Allie visits one more place. It’s beautiful. With one exception: can she stand being roommates with campus bad boy Kaden White? Sure, Kaden is sexy with his tattoos and careless attitude, but he’s also an arrogant jerk. With nowhere else to go, Allie moves in.

The first thing Kaden does is make a set of rules. Either Allie obeys, or she’s out:
1. Don’t talk about your girl problems.
2. Keep your mouth shut if I bring someone home.
3. We will NEVER hook up.

Easy enough, thinks Allie. Who would want to get involved with a brute like Kaden? But the more she gets to know him, the more she sees beyond his gruff facade. He, too, is harboring some painful secrets. For Kaden and Allie, it gets harder and harder to ignore the sparks between them. And the lines between the rules start to blur-

Begin Again is a beautiful romance that shows us just how possible it is to start over. To find freedom in heartbreak and love in the most unlikely places.


 Begin Again by Mona Kasten is a perfect introduction for what I say was my first true, “New Adult” novel. As a 26-year-old female, reading about characters that are always in their teens can make it hard for me to relate sometimes. I had no problem relating to the characters of Begin Again, even the minor ones. The main theme that stood out for me was the desire to feel free. This issue was introduced early in the book, and truly helped the plot move forward by building off this yearning.  Reading about characters that are searching for the same wants and desires as myself, has helped to validate my own needs.

One subject of the book I want to approach is the use of abusive relationships. I was nervous to read the “New Adult” genre after hearing that abusive relationships played a role in many of them. This book is different. The author uses it as a tool to help our characters, Allie and Kaden, understand each other. The abuse and subsequent repercussions are ghosts of their past that brings the plot forward for the story. The author took care to ensure the novel didn’t condone abusive types of relationships, which was great to read.

Overall, this novel was everything I could have wanted in a New Adult – Contemporary. The novel had drama, romance, and friendship. If you are looking for that curl up on the sofa, with a cup of tea, on a rainy day read then this one is for you. I will be waiting impatiently for the sequel novels to be translated.

Originally published in German, the English translation of Begin Again : Allie and Kaden’s Story will be available October 10th 2017 from  >>be<< by Bastei Entertainment.

I hope you enjoyed my review. Feel free to browse my other content as I continue to grow and expand my blog. Thanks for visiting.

***Thank you to NetGalley and >>be<< by Bastei Entertainment for providing this ebook in exchange for a honest review.***


Kimberly – WhimsicalNarratives


Book Review ~ Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

Title: Emma in the Nightth
Author: Wendy Walker
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Published: 8 August 2017

Book Trailer – Beach


Where does the truth lie, and the darkness begin?

One night fifteen-year-old Cass and her seventeen-year-old sister Emma disappear. Three years later, with just the clothes on her back, Cass returns home…without her sister.

She talks of kidnapping and isolation, and a mysterious island where the two were held. But her story has holes—and it’s up to forensic psychiatrist Dr. Abby Walker to uncover what really happened in Cass’s tortured past.

The truth will shock Cass herself—a tale of fear, family, and what it will take to survive her own past.


The first lines of this book grabbed me from the beginning. “We believe what we want to believe. We believe what we need to believe.” These lines served as a guide to this crazy, twisting story.

This book was very interesting for me, because I minored in Psychology at University. The addition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder to the book was a very intriguing concept and I loved how it wove in and out of the plot of this novel all the way through to its conclusion. The darkness and desires in each of the different characters also played a part in making this story a great thriller and really added depth to the plot.

I did feel the there were moments of redundancy, but I attribute this to the book’s investigative tone with interviews, the revisiting of events and other evidence. It did not deter me from finishing the book.

Overall, I think the book was great read! It had all the pieces you would want in a psychological thriller. I would recommend it to friends and family and to anyone looking to add a little more drama to their TBR piles.


***Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing this book in exchange for an honest review***

Thanks for reading! Until next time,


Kimberly ~ Whimsical Narratives

Book Review: Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Title: Stalking Jack The Ripper
Author: Kerri ManiscalcoSJTR - COVER
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books an imprint of Little, Brown and Company
Published: 20 September 2016


A #1 New York Times Bestseller!

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.


“I place my thumb and forefinger on the icy flesh, spreading it taut above the breastbone as Uncle had showed me.” – Pg. 3

I absolutely loved this book!  I picked it up after setting down another that I just couldn’t get into and I’m so glad this was my next choice. I immediately forgot about the other book as I delved into the darkness that was Victorian London at the time of the Whitechapel Murders and Jack The Ripper.


I went into this story knowing a decent amount about Jack The Ripper after going on a walking tour of London twice. I would even go a third time when given the chance. Because of this, I couldn’t wait to see what the author, Kerri Maniscalco, had up her sleeves in creating a new twist to this mystery. I was not disappointed! Kerri’s use of historical facts about the murders and the liberties she took in changing the story of this twisted, chilling tale had my hand to my throat on numerous occasions. The descriptions took me right into the lives of these women, and the mystery of the man known as Bloody Jack & Leather Apron.

One thing I truly loved about the book was the strength and deviant attitude of Audrey Rose! I love characters that show us we don’t have to be who and what society wants us to be. We can still wear pretty dresses and dig our hands into the abdomens of cadavers. This is exactly what Audrey Rose does as she becomes invested in bringing these women’s stories and their murderer to light.

Of course, the slow simmering romantic plot between Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell is just as tantalizing. I don’t want to spoil the book so I’ll just say that their bickering and Cresswell’s great one-liners are enough for me to recommend this book alone. I can
not wait to see how the relationship between the two develops over the course of the next book.

The only thing that I could have used more of was a more dramatic conflict resolution, but that doesn’t stop me from giving this book 5 STARS as I really enjoyed it and was on the edge of my sanity while reading it. If you have not read this story, I suggest picking it up and giving it a try. If you have read Stalking Jack The Ripper, what were your thoughts? Did you like it? Did you not like it? I would love to hear from you in the comments.

Thanks for reading and I’ll write again soon! 


Kimberly ~ Whimsical Narratives