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📚Emily’s Top 10 Books Read In 2020📚

2020 may have been a sucky year but it was actually my best reading year. I read 250 books in 2020 but these 10 stood above the rest. This was also the year I discovered my love of middle grade as I’m sure you will notice in this post. I hope 2021 will bring even more wonderful books into my life and I can’t wait to see what it holds. Let me know if you have read any of these books!

10. Keeper of the Lost Cities: Legacy

(Keeper of the Lost Cities #8)

By Shannon Messenger

Middle Grade

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟.5

Synopsis For KOTLC Book 1: Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.

Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.

Sophie has new rules to learn and new skills to master, and not everyone is thrilled that she has come “home.” 
There are secrets buried deep in Sophie’s memory—secrets about who she really is and why she was hidden among humans—that other people desperately want. Would even kill for.

In this page-turning debut, Shannon Messenger creates a riveting story where one girl must figure out why she is the key to her brand-new world, before the wrong person finds the answer first. 

Add on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12842828-keeper-of-the-lost-cities?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=L07IQaG0y5&rank=1

9. Unbirthday

(Twisted Tales #10)

By Liz Braswell

Young Adult

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Synopsis: What if Wonderland was in peril and Alice was very, very late?
Alice is different than other eighteen-year-old ladies in Kexford, which is perfectly fine with her. She’d rather spend golden afternoons with her trusty camera or in her aunt Vivian’s lively salon, ignoring her sister’s wishes that she stop all that “nonsense” and become a “respectable” member of society. Alice is happy to meander to Miss. Yao’s teashop or to visit the children playing in the Square. She’s also interested in learning more about the young lawyer she met there, but just because she’s curious, of course, not because he was sweet and charming.

But when Alice develops photographs she has recently taken about town, familiar faces of old suddenly appear in the place of her actual subjects-the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter, the Caterpillar. There’s something eerily off about them, even for Wonderland creatures. And as Alice develops a self-portrait, she finds the most disturbing image of all-a badly-injured dark-haired girl asking for Alice’s help. Mary Ann.

Returning to the place of nonsense from her childhood, Alice finds herself on a mission to stop the Queen of Hearts’ tyrannical rule and to find her place in both worlds. But will she able to do so . . . before the End of Time?

Add on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/50358479-unbirthday?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=zeLBw6cqOb&rank=1

8. The Tyrant’s Tomb

(The Trials of Apollo #4)

By Rick Riordan

Middle Grade

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Synopsis For The Hidden Oracle (The Trials of Apollo #1):

How do you punish an immortal?

By making him human.

After angering his father Zeus, the god Apollo is cast down from Olympus. Weak and disorientated, he lands in New York City as a regular teenage boy. Now, without his godly powers, the four-thousand-year-old deity must learn to survive in the modern world until he can somehow find a way to regain Zeus’s favour.

But Apollo has many enemies—gods, monsters and mortals who would love to see the former Olympian permanently destroyed. Apollo needs help, and he can think of only one place to go… an enclave of modern demigods known as Camp Half-Blood.

Add on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26252859-the-hidden-oracle?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=PeW3USjS0E&rank=1

7. The Ship of the Dead

(Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #3)

By Rick Riordan

Middle Grade

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Synopsis For The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase #1):

Magnus Chase has seen his share of trouble. Ever since that terrible night two years ago when his mother told him to run, he has lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, staying one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, Magnus learns that someone else is trying to track him down—his uncle Randolph, a man his mother had always warned him about. When Magnus tries to outmaneuver his uncle, he falls right into his clutches. Randolph starts rambling about Norse history and Magnus’s birthright: a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

The more Randolph talks, the more puzzle pieces fall into place. Stories about the gods of Asgard, wolves, and Doomsday bubble up from Magnus’s memory. But he doesn’t have time to consider it all before a fire giant attacks the city, forcing him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents. . . .

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die.

Add on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15724396-the-sword-of-summer?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=wvUOnOK9vI&rank=1

6. Keeper of the Lost Cities: Nightfall

(Keeper of the Lost Cities #6)

By Shannon Messenger

Middle Grade

My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

5. Night of the Dragon

(Shadow of the Fox #3)

By Julie Kagawa

Young Adult

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Synopsis For Shadow of the Fox (#1): One thousand years ago, the great Kami Dragon was summoned to grant a single terrible wish—and the land of Iwagoto was plunged into an age of darkness and chaos.

Now, for whoever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers, a new wish will be granted. A new age is about to dawn.

Raised by monks in the isolated Silent Winds temple, Yumeko has trained all her life to hide her yokai nature. Half kitsune, half human, her skill with illusion is matched only by her penchant for mischief. Until the day her home is burned to the ground, her adoptive family is brutally slain and she is forced to flee for her life with the temple’s greatest treasure—one part of the ancient scroll.

There are many who would claim the dragon’s wish for their own. Kage Tatsumi, a mysterious samurai of the Shadow Clan, is one such hunter, under orders to retrieve the scroll…at any cost. Fate brings Kage and Yumeko together. With a promise to lead him to the scroll, an uneasy alliance is formed, offering Yumeko her best hope for survival. But he seeks what she has hidden away, and her deception could ultimately tear them both apart.

With an army of demons at her heels and the unlikeliest of allies at her side, Yumeko’s secrets are more than a matter of life or death. They are the key to the fate of the world itself. 

Add on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44900350-night-of-the-dragon

4. Keeper of the Lost Cities: Neverseen

(Keeper of the Lost Cities #4)

By Shannon Messenger

Middle Grade

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

3. Keeper of the Lost Cities: Lodestar

(Keeper of the Lost Cities #5)

By Shannon Messenger

Middle Grade

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

2. Pride and Prejudice

By Jane Austen

Classic Literature

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Synopsis: Since its immediate success in 1813, Pride and Prejudice has remained one of the most popular novels in the English language. Jane Austen called this brilliant work “her own darling child” and its vivacious heroine, Elizabeth Bennet, “as delightful a creature as ever appeared in print.” The romantic clash between the opinionated Elizabeth and her proud beau, Mr. Darcy, is a splendid performance of civilized sparring. And Jane Austen’s radiant wit sparkles as her characters dance a delicate quadrille of flirtation and intrigue, making this book the most superb comedy of manners of Regency England.

Add on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35261321-pride-and-prejudice

1 Kingdom of the Wicked

(Kingdom of the Wicked #1)

By Kerri Maniscalco

Young Adult

My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Synopsis: Two sisters.

One brutal murder.

A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…

And an intoxicating romance.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems… 

Add on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52735921-kingdom-of-the-wicked?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=w3yHBnSFXJ&rank=1

Follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/28645541-emily

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#NewRelease ~ “Bayou Reckoning” Series: The Crane Diaries, by Author: Apryl Baker, Genre: Paranormal/PNR/Horror, is AVailable Now! ~ #AprylBakerAuthor @EJBookPromos

Title: Bayou Reckoning

Series: The Crane Diaries 
Author: Apryl Baker
Genre: Paranormal/PNR/Horror
Release Date: July 30, 2020
Cover Design: Deranged Doctor Design

Serial Killers.
Vengeful Ghosts.
Soul Eaters.
Fallen Angels.
Rougarous.
Primordial Evils.
 
These are just some of the big bads Emma Rose Crane has survived. She always comes out the other side a little more broken, but she hides it from the world. No one knows how vulnerable she really is. Not even Officer Dan, who loves her more than she thinks she deserves.
 
But a new danger has entered her world that threatens to destroy everything she’s fought so hard to build and protect—Kristoff, a psychotic vampire who’s fixated on her. He’s one of the few things she’s afraid of because he knows her greatest fears.
 
And he has no problem using them against her.
 
He’s cut her off from everyone she loves, everyone who could help her, and she’s back to where she began.
 
Alone.
 
Now she must use all the skills she learned in foster care to survive the hell Kristoff has thrust her into, but will it be enough?

 

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📝REVIEW📝 ~ 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 ~ Escaping From Houdini (Stalking Jack the Ripper #3) ~ Author: Kerri Maniscalco ~ Genre: #YA #HistoricalFiction #Horror #Mystery ~ Available Now!

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Escaping From Houdini

(Stalking Jack the Ripper #3)

By

Kerri Maniscalco

Genre: #YA #HistoricalFiction #Horror #Mystery

My Rating: 4

Cover: 5

Publication: September 18th, 2018

Read: December 24th, 2018

POV: First-person single perspective

Hardcover: 436

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37946456-escaping-from-houdini

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Escaping-Houdini-Stalking-Jack-Ripper/dp/0316551708/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=167PW5BO19I29&keywords=escaping+from+houdini&qid=1559228706&s=gateway&sprefix=escaping+from%2Caps%2C128&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1

Series: https://www.goodreads.com/series/180612-stalking-jack-the-ripper

Synopsis:

In this third installment in the #1 bestselling Stalking Jack the Ripper series, a luxurious ocean liner becomes a floating prison of scandal, madness, and horror when passengers are murdered one by one…with nowhere to run from the killer. .

Audrey Rose Wadsworth and her partner-in-crime-investigation, Thomas Cresswell, are en route to New York to help solve another blood-soaked mystery. Embarking on a week-long voyage across the Atlantic on the opulent RMS Etruria, they’re delighted to discover a traveling troupe of circus performers, fortune tellers, and a certain charismatic young escape artist entertaining the first-class passengers nightly.

But then, privileged young women begin to go missing without explanation, and a series of brutal slayings shocks the entire ship. The strange and disturbing influence of the Moonlight Carnival pervades the decks as the murders grow ever more freakish, with nowhere to escape except the unforgiving sea. It’s up to Audrey Rose and Thomas to piece together the gruesome investigation as even more passengers die before reaching their destination. But with clues to the next victim pointing to someone she loves, can Audrey Rose unravel the mystery before the killer’s horrifying finale?

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📝My Review📝:

This book was a wild ride and for the first time I actually did not guess the killer!

Escaping From Houdini was such a fun installment to the Stalking Jack The Ripper series. While it was a little slow compared to the previous two it was still fun nonetheless. I loved the addition of the Moonlight Carnival and Mephistophelis totally has my heart I fell for him hard. And due to that I am once again over Thomas and his extra ass. The murders were very interesting due to their connection to tarot and cartomancy. It was also funny seeing Harry Houdini as a character.

Audrey Rose as always was her slightly frustrating self. Her decisions in this book were very questionable. She is supposed to be very smart but it always seems like she is oblivious to the obvious. But she has been that way since the first book so I wasn’t expecting much from her. Not going to lie I was really hoping she would drop Thomas and choose Mephisto but the Cressworth ship unfortunately doesn’t seem like it will sink (pun intended). Thomas was not in this book much and I am sure that is what led to my lack of enjoyment for his character. He is supposed to be able to deduce anything but he couldn’t tell when Audrey Rose was pulling one over on him? She is literally the worst liar in the world she has not one aloof bone in her body. Thomas might win me back in the last book but at this point I am too dedicated to Mephisto. SPEAKING OF…my boy. Literally loved him, every single thing about him. Even though I was suspecting him 90% of the book of being the murderer that changed nothing. I really hope we get to see him again in the last book because his character was too good to just be a one-off. I loved that Liza was back in this book. I missed her and Audrey Rose desperately needed her female partner in crime. She is so intelligent and observant that I wish she would join the Uncle/Thomas/Audrey Rose squad. I hope she is more present in the last book too.

This wasn’t the best installment in the series. It was pretty predictable and followed a pattern that was easy to figure out. There really wasn’t much suspense and anticipation for me. While there were many positive things about this book it just was not a 5 star. Hunting Prince Dracula, this book’s predecessor, was so amazing it is going to be hard to beat.

Overall I really liked this book and this series remains one that I enjoy very much. I definitely recommend this series, don’t be turned off by historical fiction! I cannot wait for the final installment in the series, Capturing The Devil.

Follow me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/28645541-emily

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📝REVIEW📝 ~ 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟~ Hunting Prince Dracula (Stalking Jack The Ripper #2) ~ Author: Kerri Maniscalco ~ Genre: #YA #Historical #HistoricalFiction #Romance #Mystery #Horror ~ Available Now!

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Hunting Prince Dracula

(Stalking Jack The Ripper #2)

By

Kerri Maniscalco 

Genre: #YA #Romance #Historical #HistoricalFiction #Mystery #Horror

My Rating: 5

Cover: 5

Publication: September 19th 2017

Read: September 10th 2018

POV: First-person single perspective

Hardcover: 434

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33784373-hunting-prince-dracula?ac=1&from_search=true

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Hunting-Prince-Dracula-Stalking-Ripper/dp/031655166X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1545325217&sr=8-1&keywords=hunting+prince+dracula+hardcover

Series: https://www.goodreads.com/series/180612-stalking-jack-the-ripper

Synopsis:

In this New York Times bestselling sequel to Kerri Maniscalco’s haunting #1 debut Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer…or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?

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.

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📝My Review📝:

I did not expect to love this book as much as I did!

Audrey Rose and Thomas are back at it again in this exciting second installment in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series. Where the first book read more like a true crime story, this one felt more like fiction. Hunting Prince Dracula was very rooted in folklore and mythology which made it more exciting to me. The writing was significantly better, there was much less repetition, and Audrey Rose was not as annoying as she was in the first book. Another thing that I really liked about this book was that it was barely predictable at all. Unlike the first one (where I guessed the killer right away) I wasn’t able to accurately guess the events of the book. I loved all the surprises and plot twists.

Thomas Cresswell really is the most extra, ridiculous, and outrageous man I have ever read about but damn do I love him. This book really made me fall for him. And then all the stuff we found out about him in this book…mind blown. I feel like he really came into his own in this book. In the last one he felt like an imitation of Will Herondale but in this book he felt like his own character. I also loved meeting his sister Daciana, she is just as crazy as he is.

The only thing that really bothered me about this book was the constant attack on Audrey Rose’s gender. She was constantly under scrutiny because she was a woman who wanted to study medicine. It was extremely annoying and as a woman myself it angered me. BUT this is historical fiction, that’s how things were back then so I’m not going to dock a star because the author was accurate to history. Audrey Rose also does a great job of sticking people in their place and defending her rights as a woman.

I really loved this book and I can’t wait to read the next one. Seeing Audrey Rose and Thomas in America is sure to be a fun adventure.

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📝REVIEW 📝 ~ 🌟 🌟 🌟~ Stalking Jack The Ripper (Stalking Jack The Ripper #1) ~ Author: Kerri Maniscalco ~ Genre: #YA #Historical #HistoricalFiction #Mystery #Horror #Romance ~ Available Now!

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Stalking Jack The Ripper

(Stalking Jack The Ripper #1)

By

Kerri Maniscalco

Genre: #YA #Historical #HistoricalFiction #Mystery #Horror #Romance

My Rating: 3.5

Cover: 5

Publication: September 20th 2016

Read: January 30th 2018

POV: First-person single perspective

Hardcover: 326

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28962906-stalking-jack-the-ripper

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Stalking-Jack-Ripper-Kerri-Maniscalco/dp/031627349X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1545252478&sr=8-2&keywords=stalking+jack+the+ripper+by+kerri+maniscalco

Series: https://www.goodreads.com/series/180612-stalking-jack-the-ripper

Synopsis:

Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

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.

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📝My Review📝:

3.5 Stars

This was such an enjoyable read! Kerri Maniscalco created an intriguing and believable story about the Jack the Ripper murders. Though I enjoyed this book I had some issues with it that prevented me from giving it a higher rating.

The writing was good but I felt it was quite repetitive at times. Audrey Rose told us at least a million times about how often she was blushing. It got annoying after a while. There were other instances where the same thing was just repeated over and over. Also the analogies in the book were a bit too long which caused them to lose their meaning. Other than that the author’s writing style flowed well and was easy to follow.

Audrey Rose is pretty annoying. She claims she’s hardened and fully capable of handling herself but she is always outshined by Thomas and she appears quite weak in many instances. It was hard to believe anything she claimed about herself. She was a very contradicting character. For someone who is supposed to be very smart she appeared dim and oblivious so often that she lost her appeal.

Thomas is a swoon-worthy character. He is smart, handsome, and quite silver-tongued. I did enjoy his character but I have to admit he was a bit familiar. Thomas was an imitation of Will Herondale (the ultimate YA heartthrob). It was not a bad imitation, more like a love letter to Will, but still I could not help notice how often the similarities between the two would pop up. No one can be Will Herondale, but Thomas sure does a good job of trying.

The thing about this book was that the answer to “who is Jack the Ripper” was very obvious and I guessed it from the start of the book. There really was no air of mystery surrounding the killer. That being said I am very interested to continue on in the series considering how this book ended. I wonder what awaits Thomas and Audrey Rose on their next adventure.

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📝REVIEW📝 ~ 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 ~The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein ~ Author: Kiersten White ~ Genre: #YA #FrankensteinRetelling ~ Available Now!

38255342

THE DARK DESCENT OF ELIZABETH FRANKENSTEIN

By

Kiersten White

Genre:  #YA #Retellings #Historical #Horror

My rating:  5

Cover:  

Publication:  September 25th 2018

Read:  October 10th 2018 

POV:  First-person single perspective

Harcover:  304 pages

Add To Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38255342-the-dark-descent-of-elizabeth-frankenstein

Buy Link:  https://www.amazon.com/Dark-Descent-Elizabeth-Frankenstein/dp/0525577947/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Synopsis:

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn’t had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her “caregiver,” and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything–except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable–and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth’s survival depends on managing Victor’s dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

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📝My Review📝:

Warning: This book is very dark and is not for the faint of heart. If you have trouble reading content with graphic animal deaths, the death of children, or graphic murder this is not the book for you

All that being said I absolutely loved and adored this book. It is so beautifully dark and haunting.

I have never read Frankenstein by Mary Shelley but after this book I can barely contain my eagerness to read it. The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein is a very dark YA retelling of the original Frankenstein tale that is so beloved by many. Elizabeth is the forefront of this novel as she desperately tries to save Victor from himself for her own devices. I adored Elizabeth and Victor but we will get into that a little bit later. Kiersten White is an extremely talented writer. This book was beautifully written and each page sucked me deeper into the story. The plot was so interesting. Since I never previously read Frankenstein I had no idea what to expect. I loved every twist and turn it took no matter how dark it got. The darker it got the better.

Elizabeth is extremely manipulative but I loved it. Seeing how her past shaped who she became was fascinating. She always knew how to handle a situation. Her willingness to do anything to protect those she loved was her strongest driving force. I really loved Victor. I know I shouldn’t considering everything that he did but I can’t help it. There was just something about him that was so fascinating and his twisted sense of love was his driving force. I wish we got to see more of him in the present time of the novel, besides flashbacks of him when he was younger he entered into the book rather late.

Victor Frankenstein and his monster were not the focus of this novel. This story was about Elizabeth Lavenza and the life she led protecting and taming Victor until she could not anymore. I know that I will read this book again come next Halloween. The story is amazing and the characters have such depth to them. If the dark content does not bother you than I recommend it 100%.

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