June Wrap Up

June was a good reading month for me, I ended up reading 11 books 🙂

Favourite read of the month:

City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson review

Least favourite read of the month:

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen review

Favourite reviews of this month:

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

My review   ★★★

Halley has always followed in the wake of her best friend, Scarlett. But when Scarlett learns that her boyfriend has been killed in a motorcycle accident, and that she’s carrying his baby, she’s devastated. For the first time ever, Scarlett really needs Halley. Their friendship may bend under the weight, but it’ll never break–because a true friendship is a promise you keep forever.

 

 

 

My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier

My review  ★★★★

Philip Ashley’s older cousin Ambrose, who raised the orphaned Philip as his own son, has died in Rome. Philip, the heir to Ambrose’s beautiful English estate, is crushed that the man he loved died far from home. He is also suspicious. While in Italy, Ambrose fell in love with Rachel, a beautiful English and Italian woman. But the final, brief letters Ambrose wrote hint that his love had turned to paranoia and fear.

Now Rachel has arrived at Philip’s newly inherited estate. Could this exquisite woman, who seems to genuinely share Philip’s grief at Ambrose’s death, really be as cruel as Philip imagined? Or is she the kind, passionate woman with whom Ambrose fell in love? Philip struggles to answer this question, knowing Ambrose’s estate, and his own future, will be destroyed if his answer is wrong.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell

My review   ★★★

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young

My review   ★★★

I know how to watch my back. I’m the only one that ever has.

India Maxwell hasn’t just moved across the country—she’s plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It’s taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she’s living in one of Boston’s wealthiest neighborhoods with her mom’s fiancé and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister’s clique of friends, including Eloise’s gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India’s not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school’s golden couple, aren’t all they seem to be. In fact, everyone’s life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what’s left are truths that are brutal, beautiful, and big enough to change them forever…

The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari

my review   ★★★

Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber’s pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone’s soul mate.

Amber works at her mother’s magic shop–Windy City Magic–in downtown Chicago, and she’s confident she’s seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one–her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor’s son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father’s missing girlfriend, she’s distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can’t see her own match, she can see his–and it’s not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn’t her match?

The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and will appeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings.

Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin

my review   ★★★

In the tradition of Jandy Nelson and Rainbow Rowell, a big-hearted journey of furious friendship, crazy love, and unexpected hope after a teen’s decision to end an unwanted pregnancy

“Troubled.” That’s seventeen-year-old Genesis according to her small New Jersey town. She finds refuge and stability in her relationship with her boyfriend, Peter—until he abandons her at a Planned Parenthood clinic during their appointment to terminate an unwanted pregnancy. The betrayal causes Gen to question everything.

As Gen pushes herself forward to find her new identity without Peter, she must also confront her most painful memories. Through the lens of an ongoing four act play within the novel, the fantasy of their undying love unravels line by line, scene by scene. Digging deeper into her past while exploring the underground theater world of New York City, she rediscovers a long-forgotten dream. But it’s when Gen lets go of her history, the one she thinks she knows, that she’s finally able to embrace the complicated, chaotic true story of her life, and take center stage.

This powerfully immersive and format-crushing debut follows Gen from dorm rooms to diners to house parties to auditions—and ultimately, right into readers’ hearts.

City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

my review   ★★★

Street-thief Tina breaks in to the luxurious house where her mother was killed to steal from Mr. Greyhill and nail him for her mother’s murder. She is caught red-handed.

Saved by Mr. Greyhill’s gorgeous son, Michael, the pair set in motion a cascade of dangerous events that lead them deeper into the mystery, and reveal dark and shocking secrets from Tina’s past.

Tina and her mother fled the Congo years ago as refugees, trading the uncertain danger of their besieged village for a new, safer life in the bustling Kenyan metropolis. The corruption and politics of the Congo, and the gangster world of Sangui City, are behind Tina’s mother’s downfall. Is Tina tough enough to find the truth and bring the killer to justice?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

my review  ★★★★

It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation. For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle. Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

my review  ★★★★

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

6350193

my review ★★★

Ruby, where is your mother?

Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she’s been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.

That’s how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn’t seen in ten years, and Cora’s husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future; it’s a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?

Best-selling author Sarah Dessen explores the heart of a gutsy, complex girl dealing with unforeseen circumstances and learning to trust again.

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

31931941my review   ★★★★

Her story is a phenomenon. Her life is a disaster.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

 

The Friday 56 (3)

 

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Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen review

6350193Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen
Published by Puffin Books on April 2 2009
Genres: Young adult, romance, comtemporary
Pages: 422
Goodreads

“Ruby, where is your mother?” Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she’s been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.That’s how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she
hasn’t seen in ten years, and Cora’s husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future—it’s a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?

REVIEW

Lock and Key is one of the better Sarah Dessen books that I have read so far, but despite this I still didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped I would.

One of the major issues I have with Sarah Dessen is the plot, or lack there of. I understand that her books are contemporary and her books don’t necessarily have to be heavy on the plot line, but with all her books I found myself reading about characters going through he motions of their everyday life. Trust me, sometimes this can work if some more exciting content is introduced, but there just wasn’t enough excitement going on for me to be captivated by the story. There were a couple of moments when I thought the story was compelling, but it would just drop out in the next chapter. However, I will say that there were some heartfelt passages within the book that I felt drawn to. There were numerous important themes discussed including family, relationships and abuse. The exploration of these topics brought some weight to the novel which I appreciated.

The characters were fine, I didn’t necessarily feel attached to anyone in particular. Although I must say I enjoyed Jamie as a character, he was supportive and consistently had a positive outlook on life. He tried his hardest to make sure Ruby and Cora felt as if they fit in.

Overall, Lock and Key was an alright story with some heartfelt stories. So far I have read four Sarah Dessen books, but I haven’t had much luck with any of them except Saint Anything, due to this I’m sad to say that I don’t think I will be reading any more Sarah Dessen books.

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Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a meme created by Marcia of To Be Continued, you can find the dedicated blog here.

If you don’t already know, I’m currently on holiday in the Gold Coast, yesterday we drove 2 hours to a small town where there was a bohemian market. There was also a massive second hand book store and I was able to find the new edition of The Well of Ascension in god condition for only $5! You can say that I’m very happy 🙂

Physical books

The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson

6547260Vin, the street urchin who has grown into the most powerful Mistborn in the land, and Elend Venture, the idealistic young nobleman who loves her, must build a healthy new society in the ashes of an empire. Three separate armies attack. As the siege tightens, an ancient legend seems to offer a glimmer of hope. But even if it really exists, no one knows where to find the Well of Ascension or what manner of power it bestows.

 

 

 

ebooks

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

This is a love story.
It’s the story of Howling Books, where readers write letters to strangers, to lovers, to poets.
It’s the story of Henry Jones and Rachel Sweetie. They were best friends once, before Rachel moved to the sea.
Now, she’s back, working at the bookstore, grieving for her brother Cal and looking for the future in the books people love, and the words they leave behind.

 

 

 

 

 

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.

 

 

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The Mystery Blogger Award

Thank you to Ellyn @ allonsythornraxx for tagging me, be sure to check out her blog!

This award was created by Okoto Enigma

RULES

  1. Put the award logo on your blog.
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
  5. You have to nominate 10-20 people
  6. Notify each of your nominees by commenting on their blog.
  7. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  8. Share your link to your best post(s)

 

FACTS ABOUT ME:

  1. I’m currently on holiday in Gold Coast, Australia!
  2. I LOVE warm weather, hence the holiday. I wish I could live somewhere where there is warm weather all year around.
  3. My favourite food is chickpeas, I’m probably the only person whose favourite food is chickpeas but there are SO many ways to eat them. Hummus, falafels, chickpea burgers, chickpea curry… the list is endless!

 

QUESTIONS

  1. Do you buy multiple copies of books?

No, I have never bought multiple copies of the same book, it’s just too expensive! I wish I could though, and one day if I could afford it I definitely would!

2. Do you like Roman numerals on clocks?

I don’t have anything against it, I mean I prefer just regular numbers because it’s quicker to read, but let’s be honest, I don’t even remember the last time I looked at an actual clock to check the time! I just look at my phone.

3. Are you more of a TV or movie person?

100% movie person, although I’m not a hardcore movie fan (I don’t really rewatch movies) I don’t remember the last time I watched TV, and that includes Netflix. I just really dislike TV, I feel like it’s a massive waste of time and it’s brainwashing us. A couple of times I’ve been tempted to watch a book to TV adaptation on Netflix but I know that once I start I most likely won’t stop, so I just save myself the trouble so I don’t start it, therefore there’s absolutely no chance for me to get addicted. With movies, I feel like you can’t get addicted like you can with TV series.

4. Do you collect Funko Pops? If so, who have to got so far?

I’ve mentioned this before in previous posts, but I’m a minimalist, so I tend to steer clear of collecting things (excluding books), so I don’t collect or even own a single Funko Pop. And I don’t see myself purchasing Funko Pops anytime in the future, I’m not really into those things.

5. Do you own multiple bookcases (how many?)? Also, show me!!

Yes! I currently own two bookshelves, my TBR shelf and my favourites shelf. My TBR shelf is currently overflowing with books, and I need to make a dent in it ASAP because I have absolutely no more room on that shelf. My favourites shelf is only one row on a bookshelf, two rows deep, and contains all my favourite books! I won’t include a photo because my shelves aren’t organised the exact way I want them to be, and aren’t aesthetic enough. BUT, one day I hope to have an entire room full of books in my house, which I will call the library and I will spend every waking second in there.

 

I NOMINATE:

Ally @ Ally Writes Things / Kristin @ Kristin Kraves Books / Emma @ Emma the Book Lover / Celeste @ Inked Books / Sophie @ Making Words Right

MY QUESTIONS:

1. Which two of your favourite authors do you think would write any amazing book together?

2. Do you set yearly reading goals apart from the Goodreads reading challenge? If so, what are your goals for this year?

3. If you were to write a book what genre would it be and why?

4. Do you sniff your books??

5. If you had to choose one villain from a book to be for the day, who would you choose to be and why?

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli review

25305201.jpgSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
Published by Penguin on August 7 2017
Genres: Young adult, contemporary, lgbt
Pages: 303
Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

REVIEW

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a quirky and relatable coming of age story that focuses on friendship, family and love. Utterly unputdownable, by the end, you’ll find yourself with a huge smile plastered on your face!

I can’t deny the buzz that surrounds this book, the hype automatically raised the bar high for this novel. The first 100 pages were a bit of a hit and miss, it took me a couple chapters to engage with the unique flowy writing style. But after the halfway point I couldn’t detach myself from the story, I needed to know who Blue was!

The characters Albertalli crafted were believable, flawed and eccentric, they were highly relatable and felt like REAL teens. Simon was cute and his infatuation with blue was beyond adorable. I loved his circle of friends and the way that they supported each other through the trials of high school. The representation of homosexuality was pleasing to see and Simon’s story of coming out and his first relationship with another boy seemed genuine and authentic. There was mounds of diversity present with (of course) gay characters, lesbian characters, African-American characters and Jewish characters.

The plot wasn’t undeniably shocking in the fact that there weren’t really things that I wasn’t necessarily anticipating, but it’s a story of a blossoming online relationship and I couldn’t help but smile. The book had its fair share of hysterical and adorable moments and I laughed out loud numerous times.

Overall, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is an uplifting novel brimming with diversity and relatability. It’s definitely a book that will make you smile and giggle with joy.

★★★★

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Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56

Book Beginnings on Friday is hosted by Rosecityreader and The Friday 56 is hosted by Freda’s Voice, be sure to visit their blogs!

Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

Book Beginning:

I FEEL SUCH A FRAUD

56%:

“Let our women work! Let our women work!” The people chant it over and over. Some hold brightly coloured signs proclaiming LET OUR WOMEN WORK and WOMEN’S WAGES HELP FEED FAMILIES and OUR FAMILIES ARE HUNGRY.

 

 

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Ready Player One by Ernest Cline review

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Published by Arrow Books on April 5 2012
Genres: Science fiction, fiction, dystopia
Pages: 374
Goodreads

It’s the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We’re out of oil. We’ve wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread. Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS – and his massive fortune – will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation. For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle. Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions – and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed.

REVIEW

Ready Player One is a novel with an undoubtedly incredible premise, a scavenger hunt through virtual reality in epic proportions. An entertaining science fiction novel that is a must-read for video game geeks and lovers of the 80’s.

The book had a relatively slow start, with a great quantity of foundation work and heavy explanations. This picks up around the 80-page mark where things suddenly get moving exponentially. Cline’s descriptive writing gave a real sense of the world and the intricacies of the OASIS virtual reality, however, at times I found him to be droning on. The novel was quite sporadic, extreme action packed scenes punctuated with bouts of lengthy descriptions. Nevertheless, the book certainly held my attention, and at times I found it unputdownable! The virtual reality that Cline conceived was undeniably elaborate, I found it astounding how he formulated the OASIS and the labyrinthine scavenger hunt, it seemed that every minute detail was considered meticulously.

The characters present in Ready Player One were equally as complex and Cline possessed the ability to bring them to life between the pages. The characters were from all walks of life, with different nationalities and upbringings. Wade was brought up by his aunt and lacked deep emotional connections with people in the real world, thus why he (like most people) turned to the OASIS, where he found solace with other avatars. I adored Wade’s persistence and intense passion for the hunt and everything 80’s, even though he got sidetracked for a while when he met Art3mis. My favourite character had to be Art3mis, she was feisty and fierce, yet she also had a tender vulnerable side to her. She was equally as determined to win the hunt as Wade, thus the two made an ultimate partnership. Aech, Shoto and Daito were incredible sidekicks and when all five of them teamed up together, they made a mad crew. The teamwork and respect they had toward one another was endearing. There was plenty of diversity present within this book with a Canadian character, a gay African-American character and Japanese characters. Not to mention the flaws that each character had, which added to the authenticity of the novel.

The plot was action-packed and intense, despite knowing the end outcome, it was still thrilling and there were some twists and turns that were unsuspected. The scavenger hunt became intense and some characters went to absurd lengths to obtain Halliday’s egg. Eventually, the scavenger became deadly and ultimately real life threatening. It took a turn for the worst which I was definitely not expecting!

Overall, Ready Player One is a story like non-other with its elaborate virtual reality world, dynamic characters, intense action-packed scenes and an epic scavenger hunt.

★★★★

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WWW Wednesday

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Worlds, be sure to check out her blog! To participate just answer these questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

I started Ready Player One yesterday and I only have 100 pages left, I’m planning on finishing it tonight. I’m really enjoying it so far, but it had a pretty slow start. Once it picked up around the 80 page mark I was fully invested! I love the premise and it’s unlike any book I’ve ever read before. My review should be up tomorrow.

 

Recently read

City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

I received an arc of this and I LOVED it! It was fast paced and exhilarating, another incredibly unique read. This book is definitely hard-hitting at times and it deals with a lot of dark themes. I highly recommend this book! You can read my review here.

 

Reading next

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

I’m FINALLY going to do it, I am going to read this book! I’ve been feeling under the weather lately and I’m in the mood for a light, happy contemporary read that will cheer me up. I was browsing my shelves and Simon stuck out, I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book! Hopefully it’ll lift my mood 🙂

 

 

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City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson review

City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson
Published by Oneworld publications on July 6 2017
Genres: Young adult, mystery, contemporary
Pages: 432
Goodreads

Street-thief Tina breaks in to the luxurious house where her mother was killed to steal from Mr. Greyhill and nail him for her mother’s murder. She is caught red-handed.

Saved by Mr. Greyhill’s gorgeous son, Michael, the pair set in motion a cascade of dangerous events that lead them deeper into the mystery, and reveal dark and shocking secrets from Tina’s past.

Tina and her mother fled the Congo years ago as refugees, trading the uncertain danger of their besieged village for a new, safer life in the bustling Kenyan metropolis. The corruption and politics of the Congo, and the gangster world of Sangui City, are behind Tina’s mother’s downfall. Is Tina tough enough to find the truth and bring the killer to justice?

I was kindly sent an e-arc of this book to review via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

REVIEW

City of Saints & Thieves is a riveting mystery novel that got me hooked from the very first page. Embark on this unimaginable journey across the countries of east African, a twisty- turny labyrinth of lies, murder and intrigue that will set your heart racing!

I dove into this book with limited knowledge of the narrative and I was instantly engulfed into the story from the beginning chapters. Personally, I believe that going into this book fairly blind is the right way to go, this novel wastes no time jumping straight into the action, and after the first chapter I was already starting to ask questions. City of Saints & Thieves is unlike any mystery novel I’ve read in the past, it’s raw, gritty and utterly heart-pounding! The constant abundance of action and intensity put me continually on the edge of my seat, anxious of every outcome. Despite being a solid 432 pages, I flew through this heart-wrenching story in under two days, it’s fast-paced narrative pulling the story along at a rapid pace. The constant twists and turns in the narrative meant that I failed to predict the storyline, leaving me intrigued and ultimately shocked when the plot twists were revealed. Heavy on the plot-line, this book is driven chiefly by the plot instead of focusing on character development.

City of Saints & Thieves certainly isn’t a light-hearted book, it delves deep into some sinister themes including rape, abuse, death, gangs, refugees and prostitution. This book definitely doesn’t hold back when depicting the truth that lies in east Africa, at times it can be hard to swallow, but it adds authenticity to the plausible plot-line. Following the main character, we gain an insight into the unyielding savagery of living on the streets in Africa and the uncertainty of working for underground gangs. Furthermore, It sheds light on the small towns of Congo and the sheer helplessness the people of the town must feel, being constantly attacked by the militia. And what it’s truly like to be a refugee fleeing for your life in search of a safer home. These monstrosities are sharply contrasted with the high life of Sangui city’s prestigious, who live in grandeur mansions and thrive on taking advantage of the suffering. Reading about the actuality of these occurrences was incredibly eye-opening and equally as heart-wrenching.

The characters within City of Saints & Thieves are unparalleled with their individuality. The protagonist Tina, is a force to be reckoned with, steadfast, resilient, capable, fierce and intelligent, she was the ultimate character to lead us through the story. I loved how Tina didn’t need to rely on anyone but herself, and her confidence and sureness of herself was empowering. Michael and Boyboy were loyal and trustworthy sidekicks, both with their individual perks that brought life to the story. There was mounds of diversity present within the novel, with African characters, biracial characters, children born from unsuspecting parents and a gay character. Anderson really brought everything together to create an astounding harmony within this book.

Overall, City of Saints & Thieves is a heart-pounding mystery with an unprecedented plot-line, severe depictions of Africa’s vulnerabilities, and relentless, cutthroat characters. This is definitely a book that I’ll keep thinking back on long after I’ve finished it.

★★★★1/2

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Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday is a meme created by Marcia of To Be Continued, you can find the dedicated blog here.

ARC’s received

The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari

I’ve already read and reviewed this, you can read my review here.

Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber’s pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone’s soul mate.

Amber works at her mother’s magic shop–Windy City Magic–in downtown Chicago, and she’s confident she’s seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one–her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor’s son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father’s missing girlfriend, she’s distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can’t see her own match, she can see his–and it’s not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn’t her match?

The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and will appeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings.

eBooks

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

The world is breaking. And so are they.

Kate Harker isn’t afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she’s good at it.

August Flynn once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

The war has begun.

The monsters are winning.

Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims’ inner demons.

Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?

Avenged by Amy Tintera

A war that will fuel her. A bond that will destroy her.

Emelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister, Olivia, from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together vow to rebuild Ruina to its former glory.

But just because Em and Olivia are out of Lera doesn’t mean they are safe. Their actions over the past year have had consequences, and they are now targets of retaliation. Olivia will destroy everyone who acts against Ruina. Em isn’t as sure.

Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in Lera, she’s started to see another side to this war. Lera may have destroyed the Ruined for decades, but Em knows that Cas is different. And now that he’s taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em’s romantic feelings for Cas are just coloring her judgement.

Em is determined to bring peace to her home. But when winning the war could mean betraying her family, she faces an impossible choice between loyalty and love. Em must stay one step ahead of her enemies—and her blood—before she’s the next victim in this battle for sovereignty.

Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Time is running out for Rhine in this conclusion to the New York Times bestselling Chemical Garden Trilogy.

With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.

Beautiful Oblivion by Jamie McGuire

Fiercely independent Camille “Cami” Camlin gladly moved on from her childhood before it was over. She has held down a job since before she could drive, and moved into her own apartment after her freshman year of college. Now tending bar at The Red Door, Cami doesn’t have time for much else besides work and classes, until a trip to see her boyfriend is cancelled, leaving her with a first weekend off in almost a year.

Trenton Maddox was the king of Eastern State University, dating co-eds before he even graduated high school. His friends wanted to be him, and women wanted to tame him, but after a tragic accident turned his world upside down, Trenton leaves campus to come to grips with the crushing guilt.

Eighteen months later, Trenton is living at home with his widower father, and works full-time at a local tattoo parlor to help with the bills. Just when he thinks his life is returning to normal, he notices Cami sitting alone at a table at The Red.

As the baby sister of four rowdy brothers, Cami believes she’ll have no problem keeping her new friendship with Trenton Maddox strictly platonic. But when a Maddox boy falls in love, he loves forever—even if she is the only reason their already broken family could fall apart.

Roar by Cora Carmack

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

Want by Cindy Pon

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you’ve got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

 

Have you read any of these books? Let me know!

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