Month: July 2017

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie ThomasThe Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Published by Balzer + Bray on February 28th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Pages: 444
Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

5 Stars

The Hate U Give instantly made the list of my favourite reads of 2017. You won’t find a lot of 5 stars among my ratings but this one was a no-brainer. I’d been expecting great things of Angie Thomas when this release was first announced, as it tackles an emotionally-charged topic in the US, and it did not disappoint.

When I was twelve, my parents had two talks with me. One was the usual birds and the bees. The other talk was about what to do if a cop stopped me.

This refreshing, daunting new voice deserves all the hype it’s getting. A lot of authors address and confront hard and controversial topics in their works, but Angie Thomas had her finger on the pulse of time with her debut. With its raw, realistic, and authentic narration, The Hate U Give tackles racism and the police violence related to it, but it digs far deeper than that – it uncovers a flaw rooted in our society. It takes a great deal of courage to make us and the world we live in look into a mirror, and Angie Thomas accomplished just that. No wonder so many readers said this book changed their lives.

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The Mid-Year Book Freakout 2017 Tag

Hey everyone! The MID-YEAR BOOK FREAKOUT tag has been popping up on book-related social media during the months of June and July, and it’s really popular among book bloggers and tubers. I thought it’d be cool to participate, especially since our friends’ posts have been so inspiring. This tag was created by booktubers Chami at ReadLikeWildfire and Ely at Earl Grey Books.

So far, 2017 has not been the best of reading years (perhaps coinciding with not having had a great year so far in general). In 2015, I had 20 books on my annual favourites shelf. In 2017, I’ve added 4 so far which isn’t very promising, is it? Due to my workload at university, I also haven’t been able to squeeze in a lot of reading time. I’ve read 21 books so far and I’m currently 4 books behind on my GR challenge. Nevertheless, I’ve read some really good books this year, and since this tag also talks about disappointments, you’ll be in for a few rants as well. Let’s begin with my bookish review of the first half of 2017, shall we?

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Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda FoodyDaughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody
Published by Harlequin on September 7th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pages: 416
Goodreads

A darkly irresistible new fantasy set in the infamous Gomorrah Festival, a traveling carnival of debauchery that caters to the strangest of dreams and desires.

Sixteen-year-old Sorina has spent most of her life within the smoldering borders of the Gomorrah Festival. Yet even among the many unusual members of the traveling circus-city, Sorina stands apart as the only illusion-worker born in hundreds of years. This rare talent allows her to create illusions that others can see, feel and touch, with personalities all their own. Her creations are her family, and together they make up the cast of the Festival’s Freak Show.

But no matter how lifelike they may seem, her illusions are still just that—illusions, and not truly real. Or so she always believed…until one of them is murdered.

Desperate to protect her family, Sorina must track down the culprit and determine how they killed a person who doesn’t actually exist. Her search for answers leads her to the self-proclaimed gossip-worker Luca, and their investigation sends them through a haze of political turmoil and forbidden romance, and into the most sinister corners of the Festival. But as the killer continues murdering Sorina’s illusions one by one, she must unravel the horrifying truth before all of her loved ones disappear.

2.5 Stars

“But you’re an illusion,” I say. “I created you.”
“That doesn’t mean I’m not real.”

I’d been head over heels for this book ever since reading the premise – a notorious festival, charms and jynxes, illusions that can be killed – and I was beyond excited when our blog was accepted for an electronic ARC of this debut. Well, let’s say my heels broke and I fell face-first into the dirt.

Daughter of the Burning City had so much potential, so many brilliant ideas and magical elements which sparked my curiosity, but the execution failed to make those ideas shine. Foody’s imagination is enchanting but she didn’t turn her interesting ideas into a captivating story.

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A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars by Yaba Badoe

A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars by Yaba BadoeA Jigsaw of Fire and Stars Published by Zephyr on September 7th, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Magical Realism
Pages: 278
Goodreads

A powerful, haunting, contemporary debut that steps seamlessly from the horrors of people-trafficking to the magic of African folklore, by an award-winning Ghanaian-British filmmaker.

Sante was a baby when she was washed ashore in a sea-chest laden with treasure. It seems she is the sole survivor of the tragic sinking of a ship carrying migrants and refugees. Her people.

Fourteen years on she's a member of Mama Rose's unique and dazzling circus. But, from their watery grave, the unquiet dead are calling Sante to avenge them:

A bamboo flute. A golden bangle. A ripening mango which must not fall... if Sante is to tell their story and her own.

Rich in the rhythms and colours of Africa and glittering circus days. Unflinching in its dark revelations about life. Yaba Badoe's novel is beautiful and cruel and will linger long in the memory.

3.5 Stars

I had heard little to nothing about A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars prior to requesting it on NetGalley. I’ve been trying to expand my reading of literature by authors of cultures foreign to my own and the book’s premise spoke to me, so I was more than delighted than we’d been accepted for this novel.

A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars is pitched as a contemporary but I believe magical or animist realism describes it best. The story combines contemporary themes such as people-trafficking, the flow of refugees from Africa to Europe, and the search for identity and belonging with magical elements of African folklore.

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Top 5 Wednesday: Books Without Romance

Top 5 Wednesday is a Goodreads group hosted by Lainey from Ginger Reads Lainey and Samantha from Thoughts on Tomes. Every Wednesday of the month, readers and bloggers present their Top 5 Wednesday choices for a specific topic. Today’s book is Books Without Romance which immediately spoke to me. One of my pet peeves is when the romantic subplots completely take over the storylines, more so in fantasy but also in contemporary reads. I love romance, I love relationships, and I love shipping two characters who are attracted to each other, but that’s just not everything there is to literature, isn’t it? Finding books with absolutely no romance was difficult but I believe I’ve found a set of five books that feature fairly little and neglectable romantic subplots. If you have any recommendations for similar books, please let me know in the comments!

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The Liebster Award!

Hello everyone, long time no see! Due to a tough semester and especially our finals at university, we’ve both been pretty inactive in terms of reviewing and blogging. However, during our most stressful month, a lovely message reached us: Jasmine over at Reading With Jax aka Life Of A Simple Reader has nominated us for the Liebster Award! Not only is this award a great means for bloggers to discover other blogs, it’s also a way to recognize the effort that goes into creating and actually running a blog (because it sure doesn’t stop after the groundwork, yikes). When it started out, the Liebster Award was awarded to blogs with less than 2000 readers, but apparently it has become so popular, that this number has been lowered to 200 readers – in other words, either “newbie” or simply less known blogs. Our blog is not even a year old (look how he’s grown, though! Our smol son!), so the fact that someone who likes and reads our blog has nominated us for such an award is the dream.

First of all, we’d love to extend our warmest thanks and tightest hugs to our dear fellow blogger for doing us the honour of nominating us for the Liebster Award! Jasmine is a lovely person with whom we both love to interact in the book community. We love her blog for its diverse posts, ranging from reviews to tags, and for its simple but neat and easily navigable layout.  You should definitely check out her own blog as well (link featured above) 🙂

So, we’ve been nominated, but now what? Well, the Liebster Award involves a certain set of rules which are to be followed if nominated or as a new participant.

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