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Aud Thoughts: City of Saints and Thieves

Sometimes I get lazy and ask my sister to write content for me. This is one of those times. She’s an art school student, cat sitter, instagram wizard and one of my favourite sisters – here’s Audrey.

Wow it’s definitely been awhile since I’ve written a review. Let me just tap the dust out of my keyboard, crack the rust out of my fingers and get this gal moving.

So, Eva asked me if I’d write a little something for one of the books she was sent and so here I am, in the digital flesh and blood. 

This time I read City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson, a book that before it was given to me I had never heard of before, not because it doesn’t deserve attention but because my nose was so far stuck up school work and fantasy books that it had been awhile since I had popped my head out into the open. 

cityof

City of Saints & Thieves is best described, I think, as a mystery thriller with a side sip of romance and definitely a bunch ton of thievery and running away like an epic badass – as Tina totally is. 

Tina is a teenage girl who is living with one of the more prominent gangs in Saigon City, having fled the Congo with her mother as refugees long ago. They come to this city and her mother gets a job with one of the big, rich important man, that make a lot of money off of the land but also off of some less savoury things. While staying there, her small family gets entangled with the man’s family, the Greyhills and thus sets off a series of events that end with her mother dead and Tina taking her sister and leaving the family behind, promising vengeance and ruin on the man she blames for her mother’s death. 

It isn’t until years later that Tina gets her opportunity and that is where the books opens up, Tina sneaking into the Greyhill’s estate and attempting to rob them blind – only of course things don’t go as planned. 

So when I started reading this book I had absolutely no idea what to expect and it was kind of exciting. I didn’t look up what it was about online, didn’t check any other reviews, I don’t think I even really read the description, I just dove in. 

And what a dive.

The first line itself, is one of my favourite lines, seriously, what a great opener. 

If you’re going to be a thief, the first thing you need to know is that you don’t exist.

I mean, how do you come back from that not interested?

So I finished this book, stumbling across this story and being sucked into this world that I didn’t know and being amazed that it wasn’t strictly fantasy, that this was a world people lived in.

On this escapade to seek revenge for her mother, and prove who murdered her, Tina finds herself winding through the intricate ties of secrets, greed and dark, dark answers that will leave you otherwise breathless and praying for sunnier days. 

It was a wonderful young adult book, illuminating the tenacity of a young girl who against all odds has chosen to be the epic badass that she is and of course her friends are as lovable as they come. 

It is definitely a sampler of a true thriller for an audience that isn’t constantly straining to hope no one dies. While the book describes itself as “nail-biting” I wouldn’t quite say that. It was definitely 120% interesting and I found that it was well paced, but the urgency that perhaps was intended wasn’t always immediately present. Still, the way this book was written achieves the feat of beauty in simplicity, really bringing you directly into Tina’s thoughts and feelings and making you understand what it is to feel angry and upset at the world and still come out to make something more than what the world has tried to hand you.

So if you need to feel like a badass, like you can do anything, like the world can be crap and kick you down and you get the hell right back up again, give this book a try. Tina might just teach you something. 

Paperback Princess note: Just saw that Universal has bought the movie rights and KERRY WASHINGTON is producing so I might have to take this book back and read it ASAP.

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Aud Thoughts: The Stumbling Book

Reading has become a family business. So while I try to undo the effects of having read The Slap, let my sister Audrey tell you about her own bookish struggles. 

I had been hitting my stride for a while, not going to lie. I had made it to a solid 60 books when the unthinkable happened: I took my first hit. I hit a block. My first not so great book. My stumbling book.

Honestly, I fell flat on my face. Which, as a generally lazy person it takes me quite awhile to recover from. Sure, I limped through; I think in the past month and a little bit I’ve read maybe seven books? SEVEN. As opposed to like, seven a day. Just kidding, at least seven in two days.

I had finally fallen off of my high horse and been left to dwell in the dust. My safe haven, where I read nearly everyday for at least four hours became swarmed with people visiting my fair city. I had to do my job.  Honestly.

Suddenly my books were being left behind at the till. I was forgetting my place; I was losing my involvement in the story to constant interruptions and my biggest regret? I made friends at work. I know. What an absolute travesty.

The past month has been a weird one for me, as I fell off the book track, I fell into the track of superheroes, binge watching Netflix, and actually leaving my room. (That last one was a lie).

binge watching

However, as my mountain of books continues to grow and my newly found aversion to the library is replaced by buying books, I have decided that this slump is finished.

So, as this has happened to me many times before, here are some books I’ve read in the past that helped me leap over my stumbling book and dive right back into the fray.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine. So I take it a majority of you have seen – or good lord, should’ve seen – the wonderfully hilarious romantic, badass comedy with Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy. At least, I have about a million times. To me this movie and this book represent a significant part of my childhood. It’s a nice, quick read that yes, probably could be a children’s book – I think it actually may be – but it’s a gem. Especially if you’re having a hard time…performing. Lets keep this short and simple. It’s a comedic book about this girl that a fairy bestows a gift to, the gift of obedience. Ella cannot say no to any command given to her – whether it be eat an apple, do the dishes, or stab her one true love. She has to do it. The story follows her on a journey throughout the kingdom of Frell to find the semi-psychotic fairy and get her to take away her curse. There are ogres and princes, giants and centaurs, a somewhat unsavoury stepfamily and a neglectful father. What more can you want?  I think this is one of my most read books, I read it at least twice a year. It never fails to suck me back into the majestic realm of the written word.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. There is nothing like a Scottish highlander to get me into the mood of reading. Add time travel to the mix? I’m just about ready to sell myself to the circus and travel around pretending to be a monkey. Sign me up. I’m not saying go ahead and settle down for winter by championing all eight of these massive volumes. Honestly, even just reading the first one will enthrall you with enough action, romance, adventure, and men in kilts to keep your engine going. So give it a read. Because I think you owe it to yourself. There is no other love like Claire Beauchamp and Jamie Fraser.

Bitten by Kelley Armstrong. If you haven’t already guessed, I’m the person that falls under the umbrella of fiction. I love some good, ole fashioned fiction. I’m not talking about mixed up family ties, or kids with cancer going to Amsterdam, I’m talking about fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction. So basically anything that has a sprinkling of subject matter that falls under similar categories as unicorns. So when I picked up the Kelley Armstrong Otherworld Series, I didn’t know the kind of deep longing and obsession I would have with the paranormal. I am the biggest Kelley Armstrong fan; I’ve actually even had the chance to meet her at a writing workshop. Anything she’s written, I’ve probably read it and could sing praises to it on command. I also really, really have a soft spot for super sexy male characters. I don’t even mean just physically sexy, if you’ve got a great personality going on? Oh boy. And while Bitten itself definitely has it’s own brand of Abercrombie werewolves, the rest of the books in the series have such a great cast of just great characters. From werewolves to witches to ghosts to necromancers. I am always an advocate for someone to buy the Otherworld Series. Always.

And finally, while this isn’t much of a book suggestion, just read something you love. Whether it is a biography or Winnie the Pooh, pick up an old favourite and take the time to remind yourself why you fell in love with reading in the first place.  That’s why you’re here isn’t it? You picked up a book one day and fell in love. And then that book ended and it left you with a hole in your heart and then you went on to love another book. However you remember your time together fondly and are always willing to return to one another, perhaps not as the great love affair that you once were but as good friends. So, friends, return to your own good friends. Reach out a hand from where you’ve stumbled and ask Harry, Hermione and Ron for help up. Ask Percy Jackson to give you a lift back to camp. Ask Elizabeth Bennett if she wanted to go for a stroll around Pemberley. It’s time to pull yourself away from Netflix and get to your feet and start on running.  I refuse to only be fifteen books ahead of schedule on my reading challenge. I refuse. Kick aside your stumbling book and journey on, my wayward friend.

Good luck and godspeed,

Audrey

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Aud Thoughts: February Faves

My sister Audrey is back to offer up some of the books she’s fallen in love with this month. You think I read a lot – this girl sometimes goes through 2 books a day. The perks of an early shift without a lot going on, I guess. When she gets to Big Magic, know that I made her read it. And now I’m waiting for her to let me borrow it. Also, last time she posted, she had a really hard time replying to comments; as in, she couldn’t. Not sure why, we’re hoping it won’t be an issue this time! Once again, here’s Audrey!

I’d like to think that this month I’ve made some pretty wise decisions with my choice of books. I’ve annihilated any past record of how many books I can read in one month, and actually even within a day. I’ve destroyed my credit card with online book buying binges, and induced my plum points card into a blissful state of over usage. I’ve already compeleted 34% of my reading challenge, 22 books ahead of schedule. This isn’t even an addiction anymore; this has become a new way of life.

And these are the books that I’ve pored over so far. These are the books that make up my Goodreads reading challenge, and I thought I’d share a few of them with you.

The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer was one of the first series I plowed through this month. I had already spent the past few years accumulating the first books and was sneaky enough to get my mom to buy the last one for me for Christmas. I am proud to say that I am now the owner of the complete collection and let me say, I am better for it. I adore fairy tales with a passion, so when you take the princesses from fairy tales and give them mechanical limbs? Sign me up. Not only does this story include action, of course romance, but the humorous and endearing way that the characters interacted with one another made me never want to finish that last page. Thank god Marissa Meyer has enough mercy on us to produce short stories.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown was a book that I was reading and only mildly interested in and then suddenly, I was sucked in. I don’t even remember how it happened. One moment I was reading it, minding my own business and then suddenly I’m on Mars – MARS! – in the middle of a giant lesson of War Strategies with bigger than life beings.  Red Rising is about a boy that loses his wife and then his own life and then comes back to destroy the society that took everything from him. Pretty standard, right? WRONG. He comes back with a fury that is amazing to read. I can genuinely say that I felt smarter for some reason when I read this book (and the second and third one…). This wasn’t some Class of Clans simulation, I felt like a genuine badass when I immersed myself into this book. Please, give it a try. It’s Game of Thrones in Space with a pinch of Hunger Games. It’s amazing! Plus it is now a completed series…annnnd I need someone to discuss it with.

City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong did not disappoint.  I am an avid Kelley Armstrong fan. Give me a book by her and I will read it, then I will buy it, then I will buy the entire series (all thirteen of my Otherworld books say hello). Her characters, I always find, to be funny in a dark way (of course), but also hard. They’re badass and they’re realistic and they are never, ever perfect. City of the Lost is about a town full of people hiding from something; abusive partners, the law, some cannibalistic tribe in the woods, you name it. So detective Casey is recruited by the town’s only Sheriff – a very attractive man (Kelley Armstrong knows how to write her men to make me fall in love) – to help solve a couple of pretty gruesome murders. Not teen fiction ladies and gents, but god I loved it. Not that I had any doubts that I wouldn’t.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert came to me at a good time in my life. I’m at the point where I’m trying to figure out my future a bit more and what direction to go in (I think I’ve got this now guys) and this book spoke to me like a kind, funny, aunt. I’m not one to read much non-fiction, but boy, I should start. I felt lighter when I finished reading this book. It helped me understand how creativity is something I need to learn to embrace and incorporate it with my life, working alongside of it instead of trying to let it rule me or vice versa. This book shone a light on the necessity of exercising some precaution and practicality when I think about the decisions I make regarding the art I want to pursue. And I’d just like to thank you Elizbeth Gilbert, wherever you are. So if you’ve got a confused college type in your life, or perhaps anyone who struggles with understanding their creativity perhaps give this to them to read. You don’t even need to wrap it the cover is so pretty!

That’s all I’ll bore you kind people with today, head on over to my Goodreads page to check out a list of what I’ve read so far, there are few that I wouldn’t recommend from that pile. So give it a peek!

Cheers,

Audrey