Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hunting Prince Dracula Tour: Traveling Etiquette and Tips for Victorian Women

I am fortunate for this opportunity to participate in the Hunting Prince Dracula Tour as part of the Knights of White Chapel. Today, I am showcasing traveling etiquette and tips for Victorian Women. I came up with this idea when I read the first chapter of Hunting Prince Dracula. Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell are traveling to Romania on a train. Back in the day, women had less rights than the women of the modern day.

Upper and upper-middle class women were able to travel for leisure and for political reasons. It was a way for women to gain some sense of freedom and independence of their own. Some women would travel for missionary work while others wanted to explore lands they have never traveled to. All women had to abide to certain etiquette rules during the early 18th century to early 19th century.

Also, check out my review for Stalking Jack the Ripper and Hunting Prince Dracula. You can also check out my posts about Stalking Jack the Ripper Exclusive Chapter Thoughts and Stalking Jack the Ripper Tea Pairings.

Sources: Traveling Etiquette and Tips for Victorian WomenVictorian Women Travelers in the 19th Century9 Rules For Female Travelers From The Victorian Era

Traveling Etiquette and Tips for Victorian Women

1. Ladies always give themselves at least an hour of ample time to get ready for preparation in the morning.

2. Wear appropriate modest clothing. Dress plainly in an outfit similar to a morning gown and don't dress too showy. To avoid robbery, don't adorn yourself with jewelry and expensive high quality clothing.

3. Ladies should limit their luggage to one carpet bag or traveling satchel for an overnight stay. Grooming items, reading material and possible food should be packed along with clothing (shawl, night clothes, clean linen, night cap).

4. Because women traveling alone are prime targets of robbery, most of a lady's money should be held by her male driver or escort. This will decrease the amount of monetary items that a robber might take from a traveling lady. A lady should also have a pocket in her upper petticoat to hold money.

5. A male escort shall not enter a lady's compartment.

6. If a woman travels alone, find a seat next to another woman or near an elderly gentleman. This is to lessen the chances of being robbed.

7. Don't pester the escort or the companion. You don't want to be a burden to others. 

8. Be polite at all times. Never return rudeness with rudeness. Hold back and bite your tongue if you don't have anything good to say. 

9. Always be punctual. There is no excuse for being late. Remember, early is on time, on time is late and late is well unacceptable. 

10. A lady never checks herself into at a hotel or inn. The driver or escort will take care of all the lodging arrangements.

Title: Hunting Prince Dracula
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Publication date: September 19, 2017
Pages: 448
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it: AmazonBarnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound
Synopsis (from

In this hotly anticipated sequel to the haunting #1 bestseller 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. 



“There are plenty of suspects and red herrings as well as tense escalations….A scenic, twisty mystery.”

―Kirkus Reviews

“Readers of the previous mystery will be thrilled to have more of this likable duo. [A] delightful romp into an 1888 Gothic mystery with a hint of romance.”

―School Library Connection


Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

Her first novel in this series, Stalking Jack the Ripper, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. It incorporates her love of forensic science and unsolved history.

Follow Kerri on Social media links:

Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Website | Tumblr | Pinterest


Nicole's Novel Reads is not responsible for books lost or damaged in the mail. Good Luck!


Week One

August 21: Paper Cuts: Hunting Prince Dracula Playlist
August 22: Literary Legionnaire: Review of Hunting Prince Dracula
August 23: Books & A Cup of Coffee: Character Mood Boards
August 24: Artic Books: Hunting Prince Dracula Playlist
August 25: 21st Century Once Upon A Times: A “Drink Your way through SJTR: Tea Edition”

Week Two

August 28: Hiver Et CafĂ©: History of Prince Dracula
August 29: Justice Reads: Review of Hunting Prince Dracula
August 30: Nicole’s Novel Reads: Travelling Etiquette and tips for Victorian Women
August 31: Sophie Reads YA: Favourite Stalking Jack the Ripper Fanart
September 1: LILbooKlovers: Top Ten Quotes from Stalking Jack the Ripper

Week Three

September 4: One Way or An Author: Hunting Prince Dracula Phone Backgrounds
September 5: A Blinding Book: Hunting Prince Dracula Aesthetic
September 6: Rants & Raves: Review & Snacks
September 7: Rattle the Stars: Hunting Prince Dracula Playlist
September 8: A Gingerly Reviews: Hunting Prince Dracula Review

Week Four

September 11: The Plot Bunny: Hunting Prince Dracula Trick or Treat Customer Ideas
September 12: Blame it on The Books: Hunting Prince Dracula Review
September 13: The Reader & the Chef : Hunting Prince Dracula’s Menu
September 14: Books, Tv, and More…Oh MY!!: Top Ten Favourite Traits of Audrey & Thomas
September 15: Unquenchable Reads : GIF, GIFS, and more GIFS

Week Five

September 18: Rattle the Pages : A Glimpse Back in Time: Vlad The Impaler edition
September 19: Beyond the Book Reviews: Character Wears of the 21st Century
September 20: The Heart of a Book Blogger : Hunting Prince Dracula Mood Board

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman

Title: Starfish
Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication date: September 26, 2017
Pages: 384
Source/format: Publisher//ARC

Rating: ☆☆☆1/2

Synopsis (from

Kiko Himura has always had a hard time saying exactly what she’s thinking. With a mother who makes her feel unremarkable and a half-Japanese heritage she doesn’t quite understand, Kiko prefers to keep her head down, certain that once she makes it into her dream art school, Prism, her real life will begin.

But then Kiko doesn’t get into Prism, at the same time her abusive uncle moves back in with her family. So when she receives an invitation from her childhood friend to leave her small town and tour art schools on the west coast, Kiko jumps at the opportunity in spite of the anxieties and fears that attempt to hold her back. And now that she is finally free to be her own person outside the constricting walls of her home life, Kiko learns life-changing truths about herself, her past, and how to be brave.

From debut author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes a luminous, heartbreaking story of identity, family, and the beauty that emerges when we embrace our true selves.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

"I need a fresh start. I need a real life. I need Prism." - ARC of Starfish

Kiko Himura is a talented artist in her senior year and her dream is to go to Prism Art School in New York. Kiko believes Prism is her ticket out of her traumatizing life. However, her mother always sees that she is not good enough to do certain things. Kiko has always wanted to fit in and to gain approval from her peers and her mother but because she is half Japanese and half white, she feels like people don't like her because she is part Asian. She feels insecure since her mother doesn't support her everyday and some people in school think she is too Asian. This toxic environment is smothering her.

Although I am not bi-racial, I can understand how Kiko feels in regards of not belonging. I am Chinese American and because I went to school in predominately white neighborhood from grade school to high school, I too thought I was too Asian and people might judge me for that. Kiko's fears and worries resonate with me. I also know how it feels to be socially awkward at events like parties. I try to avoid being in those situations if I can because I feel uncomfortable.

Kiko is reunited with her childhood friend, Jamie Merrick, who relocated to California from Nebraska. Sometimes Kiko finds Nebraska stifling because there aren't many Asians living in the area. It doesn't help that her parents are divorced. Her mother has Uncle Max move into the house even though Kiko doesn't like Uncle Max due to a horrible thing that happened in the past. Her mom and uncle blame her for the divorce. Kiko's dad is now remarried and has twins with another women while Kiko lives with her mom, two brothers, a dog and now Uncle Max.

Jamie proposes a wonderful idea for Kiko to travel to California so Kiko can look at art schools in the area. Not only does it provide her an opportunity to find a school that she wants to go to but it provides an escape from her life at home. Kiko meets Hiroshi who helps her achieve her dreams and being the person she wants to be.

Kiko's friend Emery is very supportive of Kiko during tough times like when Kiko finds out she didn't get accepted into Prism. However, Kiko feels afraid to tell Emery everything about her life. She is afraid to tell Emery about what happened to her at the party they went to when a drunk guy forced kissed her and what happened to her with Uncle Max.

Akemi Dawn Bowman wrote a poetic and lyrical novel that touches upon topics that many teens go through. Warning, there are mentions of sexual abuse, social anxiety and emotional abuse in the novel. Bowman includes snippets of Kiko painting at the end of chapters that correlate with Kiko's emotions from each chapter. It's a good way to have readers visualize with their mind how Kiko feels through words and images. Kiko expresses herself through art as a stress reliever and as a way to positive transfer her thoughts and sentiments into something reflective and creative.

Starfish is a dynamic novel about self-identity, acceptance and hope. This heartfelt novel pulls at your heart strings in a way that you feel sympathy for Kiko. Readers see Kiko overcome her fears and she becomes more confident. Her journey is a roller coaster but she prevails at the end.


"We all have to dream our own dreams. We only get one life to live--live it for yourself, not anyone else."

"I paint a carousel of mirrors and dragons, and inside one of the mirrors is the happiest girl alive, desperate to break free."

"If my life were a video game, I would have hit the reset button a long time ago. Art school is my reset button. And I need to push it by myself."

Thursday, August 24, 2017

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Title: They Both Die at the End
Author: Adam Silvera
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publication date: September 5, 2017
Pages: 384
Source/format: Publisher//ARC

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from

New York Times bestselling author Adam Silvera reminds us that there’s no life without death and no love without loss in this devastating yet uplifting story about two people whose lives change over the course of one unforgettable day.

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

In the tradition of Before I Fall and If I Stay, They Both Die at the End is a tour de force from acclaimed author Adam Silvera, whose debut, More Happy Than Not, the New York Times called “profound.”

M Y  T H O U G H T S

"My afterlife is like a home theater where you can re-watch your entire life from start to finish." - ARC of They Both Die at the End

I had to admit that I couldn't get into Adam Silvera's first two books but I was hooked when I read page one of They Both Die at the End. The concept of someone getting a call from Death-Cast stating that they will die sometime within 24 hours is pretty surreal. You don't know how you will die and you don't know what algorithm Death-Cast uses to determine everyone's End Day.

Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio both get calls from Death-Cast on the same exact a day. Both have complex lives. Mateo's mom died during childbirth and his dad has been in a coma for a couple of weeks. Rufus is in the foster care system after his parents and sister died. Through an app called The Last Friend, Mateo and Rufus become friends.

They Both Die at the End is split into four sections and alternates chapters between Mateo and Rufus with the exact time logging of their thoughts like they are writing in a journal. There are some chapters in secondary characters' voices as well. Silvera captures the grittiness of Mateo's and Rufus's lives. He tells it how it is with sincerity and doesn't sugarcoat anything about their past.

Silvera did an excellent job interweaving the lives of Mateo and Rufus. Both are different and unique in their own ways. I found the concept of Death-Cast intriguing and how a span of a day would pan out in almost 400 pages of a novel. It works though! Silvera made it work! Despite the many pages of the novel, this is a quick read.

The dialogue flows smoothly and the reader empathizes with the main characters. That ending is intense! The emotion roller coaster peaks and descends and so many thoughts are looming. It really make you cherish every moment of your life. Silvera captures moments of Mateo's and Rufus's lives through instagram in full color compared to Rufus's usual black and white spectrum. They truly lived their End Day to its fullest.

They Both Die at the End is about loss, hope, friendship and what it means to live your life to its fullest. I highly recommend this novel to someone looking at for a book that is honest and those looking for a book that borders genres.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC: Hunting Prince Dracula

Elizabeth from Tea and A Tantrum, Marci from The Plot Bunny and I are big fans of Kerri Maniscalco. We started the Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC with Kerri's debut novel, Stalking Jack the Ripper. You can see the first post here. It was only fitting to also share our thoughts about the sequel, Hunting Prince Dracula. Not only is Kerri a fantastic storyteller, but she is also created a series where mystery and horror collide.

We love promoting books especially for authors that we love. Pre-ordering books is very important to the sales and how well the author does in the long run. High pre-order numbers can help the author get another print run for their book. Help support authors by spreading the word about their titles. Brownie points goes to readers who pre-order books or purchase finished copies even after they read an ARC.

Title: Hunting Prince Dracula
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Publication date: September 19, 2017
Pages: 448
Source/format: Publisher/ARC

Rating: ☆☆☆

Synopsis (from

In this hotly anticipated sequel to the haunting #1 bestseller 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.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Reading Hunting Prince Dracula is like jumping on a bike again. Readers are immersed into the same world with Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell shortly after where Stalking Jack the Ripper left off. After the uncovering the true identity of Jack the Ripper back in London, Audrey and Thomas venture out to Romania to pursue an education in forensic medicine while hunting for Dracula.

From the first page, Kerri Maniscalco grabs the reader's attention with striking imagery. Carefully chosen words are used in descriptions of Audrey Rose's surroundings. Kerri Maniscalco's rich yet engrossing, atmospheric descriptions make readers crave more. Every detail is exquisite. In the second novel in the Stalking Jack the Ripper trilogy, readers join Audrey Rose Wadsworth and Thomas Cresswell while they battle out for two out of the nine spots at the Academy of Forensic Medicine and Science.

Readers are introduced to a whole new set of characters in Romania. Audrey Rose meets a few females to keep her company such as Anastasia, Ileana and Daciana. Who knew Thomas's sister, Daciana, is just as charming as he is.

Chockful of mysterious and thrilling encounters, Hunting Prince Dracula is just as intriguing as its predecessor. It's cleverly executed and I find myself loving this installment even more than Stalking Jack the Ripper! Kerri keeps readers on their toes the whole way through with twists and turns. The whole entire time when I was reading the book, I kept changing my mind about who the murderer is. Macabre and cadavers are taken to a whole new level.

Wadsworth and Cresswell are the quintessential duo. The banter between Audrey and Thomas is still there but their relationship continues to grow into something more than a friendship. The banter between them is perfect and they work very well together as partners in crime. There are times when Audrey is uncertain if Thomas would become distant but their loyalties lie within their strong friendship. I cannot wait to see them undercover mysteries in America.

I highly recommend Hunting Prince Dracula for those who enjoyed reading Stalking Jack the Ripper and for those who love thrillers, mysteries and the paranormal.

If you want to follow the Sisterhood of the Traveling ARC feature on social media, please check out the hashtag, #TravelingARC3, for more reviews and photos.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Eventful Summer

So I haven't been blogging too much this summer due a very eventful summer because of work. I work with first generation and low-income high school students at a college prep program for my full-time job. Every year I go away for three weeks as part of a six week summer academy and staff work 24/7 around the clock weekdays and weekends. During the academic year, we provide tutoring, workshops, classes and so much more after school and on the weekends. During the summer, we have a 8-4 day for three weeks at the community college that I work at. The last three weeks is the residential component that involves living at a residential college campus. It's an intense and exhausting job but it's so rewarding.

Seeing students succeed and reach higher is something money can't buy. Although the pay isn't that great, I've helped countless amount of students graduate high school and go to college. The great thing is seeing some of the alumni who graduated college. Not only do I see students' growth throughout the years, but the program I work with provides the atmosphere for a second family to bond. 

I just came back last Saturday and took off Monday to relax before going back to the office. But of course my co-workers and had to pack the whole office in less than 3 days to move to a new office. Because we already moved 2.5 hours away for the three weeks of summer and back, packing is something we were not looking forward to do on Tuesday. Nevertheless, we succeeded in packing by putting in overtime hours. I am looking forward to a wonderful vacation next week in New Orleans. Speaking of New Orleans, I will be doing a recap of my trip sometime after I get back from my trip.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful summer. What did you do in July and for the first couple weeks of August?

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World by Reshma Saujani

Title: Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World
Author: Reshma Saujani
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication date: August 22, 2017
Pages: 176
Source/format: Publisher/ARC

Rating: ☆☆☆ 

Synopsis (from

Part how-to, part girl-empowerment, and all fun, from the leader of the movement championed by Sheryl Sandberg, Malala Yousafzai, and John Legend.

Since 2012, the organization Girls Who Code has taught computing skills to and inspired over 40,000 girls across America. Now its founder, Reshma Saujani, wants to inspire you to be a girl who codes! Bursting with dynamic artwork, down-to-earth explanations of coding principles, and real-life stories of girls and women working at places like Pixar and NASA, this graphically animated book shows what a huge role computer science plays in our lives and how much fun it can be. No matter your interest--sports, the arts, baking, student government, social justice--coding can help you do what you love and make your dreams come true. Whether you're a girl who's never coded before, a girl who codes, or a parent raising one, this entertaining book, printed in bold two-color and featuring art on every page, will have you itching to create your own apps, games, and robots to make the world a better place.

M Y  T H O U G H T S

Girls Who Code is an inspiring book for girls who want to learn how to code. Reshma Saujani encourages girls to embrace their love for computer science and STEM related fields. It's okay for girls to like coding. In a male dominated world of coding, Saujani tells girls that coding is for everyone.
The book is divided into many chapters and each chapter has a mixture of text and also images. The timeline of the computer is a nice touch and visually explains the history of the first computers to give readers knowledge of how coding came to be. Girls Who Code explains coding in a way where readers can relate coding to their own lives. From loops to functions, Girls Who Code clearly describes coding terms.

The book also has a section with each coding language with their uses which I find handy. It's a good guide when you're trying to figure out what coding language to use. The glossary is clearly organized and defines many terms for coders to learn and understand.

Girls Who Code is a good companion to the website This is a good resource to check out to find more about coding before delving into the world of coding. However, I wish their was more information about practicing coding in the book or a section of good resources about coding for readers to check out either online or in their local communities besides what is on Girls Who Code website. A printed list of other organizations would be great to see in the book as well.