Name of the Star By: Maureen Johnson

     New York Times bestseller Maureen Johnson takes on Jack the Ripper in this captivating paranormal thriller!

The day that Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London to start a new life at boarding school is also the day a series of brutal murders breaks out over the city, killings mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper spree of more than a century ago. Soon “Rippermania” takes hold of modern-day London, and the police are left with few leads and no witnesses. Except one. Rory spotted the man police believe to be the prime suspect. But she is the only one who saw him–the only one who can see him. And now Rory has become his next target. In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, full of suspense, humor, and romance, Rory will learn the truth about the secret ghost police of London and discover her own shocking abilities.

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The Name of the Star is the first book in the Shades of London series. It’s about Aurora ‘Rory’ Deveaux who leaves her small Louisiana town and goes to London with her parents to attend a London boarding school. During her first day she hears of grotesque, bloody murders that mimic Jack the Rippers and learns that the first murder isn’t the last. She learns of her new abilities and gets so caught up in the case that she becomes a potential victim.

I had this book in my tbr pile for the longest time and I was overjoyed to actually read it this year. The reason I wanted to read this is because it talks about Jack the Ripper. Who doesn’t want to read about the most notorious murderer who killed five people, is still unknown, and came from the macabre streets of Victorian London? Seriously, that’s what I call awesome. It came under Historical Fiction, Horror, and Thriller and that to me spells out awesome. It also takes place in London which means British accents everywhere.

The main character is Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux who, like I said above, moves to London to go to a boarding school because her parents started to work in London. I liked her because she didn’t see things in her ‘American eyes’ where everything British is totally strange, highly irregular, and is not likeable. Overall she was very likable and a character I quite frankly would want to be friends with. Jazza was Rory’s first friend she made at her school and happens to be her best friend. She was nice and I liked how she was shy and quite. I felt like I could relate to her. Jerome I have to say I didn’t quite hate nor did I like. I thought he was an interesting character because he wants to be a reporter and is highly intelligent. But I also hated him because I didn’t want him to be with Rory. I would like Stephen to be with Rory. And that brings us to Stephen. I liked him a lot! His description was awesome. I liked the story about how he wanted to commit suicide and how he recovered from that. Surprisingly I didn’t hate any of the characters. I even liked the antagonist, which I don’t what to talk about for fears of spoilers.


     I absolutely loved the covers. I say covers because there are in fact three different covers. One has an unconscious girl and what appears to be the ghost of Jack the ripper. Which I thought was cool but also made me think that it was actually set in Victorian London. The second one is white with greenish blue typography and what looks like a dark park at night with shadowy figures. I liked it because it has a lot of mystery and doesn’t give away anything of the plot. It also happens to be the one I own. The third just so happens to be the U.K. cover and my favourite. It has this very pretty girl with dark hair, a small butterfly that’s in her hair and below her is what appears to be a skyline very close to the buildings. I like this one the most because there’s a pretty girl, the skyline looks cool, the typography looks old and gothic, and the sentence on the cover says “Jack the Ripper is back…” That was surprising because I didn’t think I had so much to say about the covers.


     One thing I really loved about this book is the nostalgia I got. Your probably thinking this is the first book, what nostalgia are you talking about? Well, the nostalgia i’m talking about is Hogwarts. You heard me,Hogwarts.  This book showed the typical day at a boarding school which happens to be a much MUCH more normal version of Hogwarts. I simply loved it. Also, I haven’t read a book in a long time in which they included British slang. I loved it! Not to mention more nostalgia coming from the fact that it reminded me a lot of Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendre Blake. The horror, the ghosts, the ghost hunting, and the mystery. It’s funny how all the nostalgia is coming from books on my favourite shelf.

What I thought was interesting in the book was how the obvious love interest hasn’t happened yet. And yes I’m talking about Stephen and Rory. You can tell their going to end up together just not in this book. Probably in the Madness underneath, this happens to be the second book in the shades of London. I liked that because other authors make their obvious love interests fall in love immediately but Maureen Johnson, the author, is actually making her characters fall in love like normal people. I found that refreshing.

I loved the way she put the plot together. Just the way she spun it all together, it resulted in something perfect. The plot twisted in places in so many places I didn’t predict, and that made it so much better!The backbone of this plot was the mystery on why the ghost is doing it and who he is.


     Overall, I simply adored this book! I can’t wait in till I buy the Madness Underneath so I can continue this epic, awesome story. I have high hopes for the Madness Underneath and judging by this book, Maureen Johnson won’t let me down. I also happen to have two other books that she wrote on my tbr pile that I’ve wanted to read since the beginning of last year and hope that I can read them within the coming year.

This book is definitely five huge stars!

Happy Holidays guys! Happy reading! 🙂

– Michelle

The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart By: Leanna Renee Hieber

     I’m coming for you.

The whispers haunt her dreams and fill her waking hours with dread. Something odd is happening. Something…unnatural.

Possession of the living. Resurrection of the dead. And Natalie Stewart is caught right in the middle. Jonathon, the one person she thought she could trust, has become a double agent for the dark side. But he plays the part so well, Natalie has to wonder just how much he’s really acting.

She can’t even see what it is she’s fighting. But the cost of losing her heart, her sanity…her soul.

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The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart starts from where Darker Still, the first book of the Magic Most Foul saga, left off. Natalie and Lord Denbury are on the run because they need to run away from people who might think that Lord Denbury is a murderer and also because the magic still lingers on them and they need some space from the magic that’s in Manhattan. On their run they learn of a society that’s held responsible for the demon that terrorized them and realise that banishing the demon wasn’t the end of the story.

When I first decided to read this book I thought it would be exactly the same as Darker Still but with other demons and no one’s soul captured in a beautiful, life like, painting. But as soon as I read the first thirty pages I realized that a lot more was different. The book wasn’t written in diary format like Bram Stokers Dracula this time, but it was written regularly with the exception of letters and telegrams. With a whole society out there it was seriously different because u weren’t looking at one demons plan to murder and conquer. Also, in this book you deal with more runes and exorcists.

The old characters were the same as they were in Darker Still. Natalie Stewart is still a kind, clever, brave character that loves to know everything that’s going on and loves to protect her loved ones. Jonathan Whitby, Lord Denbury, is still absurdly handsome, smart, and British. I still really love his London accent because people with London and British accents in general are just simply awesome. Mrs. Northe changed because throughout the book they mention how they don’t know her intentions and will forever be in debt to her, because of that I looked at her differently. In this book you also learn a bit more about her past before Natalie and the painting showed up in her life. Maggie in this book was plain crazy. I don’t want to spoil the book, but the shrine she made, and the way she acts with Lord Denbury is just creepy.

As for new characters, you have Nathaniel Veil (which is an awesome name) and Rachel Horowitz. Nathaniel Veil is Lord Denbury’s best mate, is an actor, and hails from London as well. I loved his description because he had blue eyes, black hair, a london accent, but looked rugged. He was a great character because he reminded me of William Henry Herondale from The Infernal Devices series by Cassandra Clare. Also, he helped a lot on their adventure even thought he only showed up twice in the book. he looks like hes a very loyal friend to Lord Denbury, as well. Rachel was a very kind character that could feel ghost and hear them talking to her despite the fact that she can’t hear and shes mute. Because of her entering the story and plot you could learn more about Natalie when she was at the Asylum(the one for people with disabilities).

I loved the references in the book because they were so much fun. They referred to Jack the Ripper because the book is set a couple years before Jack the Ripper appeared in white chapel, so one of the society members stated how they could kill people by ripping them apart without anyone discovering who did it. I loved when I read that because I’m betting the author is suggesting that a demon did it. There were many references to Shakespeare, Edger Allen Poe and Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein  I liked that because the book is set in 1880 and is of course a Gothic, macabre, steampunk age.

When the author, Leanna Renee Hieber, made Nathaniel say that everyone is either born with darkness or darkness is thrust upon them and that you either die with it or you learn how to live with it, it showed me that gothic edge to the Victorian age. Also, there’s something about people understanding their in a macabre  gothic age that I really liked because it showed that people can acknowledge the age their in and accept it. When Mrs. Northe states that, it was quite interesting to see how she interpreted theater and how it’s refreshing to see people that do acknowledge pain and darkness.

Overall, I adored the sequel to Darker Still, The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart, and thought it was a great follow up. I hope that despite the way that it ended that their will be a third book in this wonderful saga.

-Michelle