Book Review: City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

Summary: While breaking into the house of the man who allegedly murdered her mother to steal incriminating evidence from his hard drive, Tina gets caught by his son and her childhood friend, Michael. To stop her from releasing all the information, they strike a deal to investigate her mother’s murder before releasing the evidence. But her crime boss is waiting and the more she waits, the more her life is in danger.

Thoughts: I was really looking forward to this book because it was pitched as The Girl with the Dragoon Tattoo meets Gone Girl but set in Kenya. I think that pitch set my expectations too high. While it was an enjoyable mystery, it wasn’t a page-turning kind of thriller. The setting was great, and the characters as well even though they read a bit too mature for their age, but then again, it makes sense that they would be having gone through the things that they have. I loved how focused Tina was on avenging her mother, but at the same time, it was that very focus that made every thing else around her seem unimportant. And that includes her relationship with Michael. I feel like if the romance aspect was taken out, I’d have enjoyed the book more because I just couldn’t believe it when it happened. Tina was such a fierce and determined character, and her capacity for love was clearly evident in how much she loved and tried to give her sister a good life, that the Michael thing read a bit forced and unnecessary because Tina herself was only aware of it sporadically and most of it was concentrated towards the very end. However, what I loved most about this book though, and what set it apart from many other books out there, is how Anderson sheds light on real atrocities happening in the world and to the Congolese people specifically – like crime, war, violence against women, greed etc. If you’re looking for a YA novel set in Africa, with an interesting plot, great characters, and some real world stories, then you will really like City of Saints and Thieves. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve read any page-turning thrillers with interesting settings that I need to read ASAP. Happy reading!

Stars: 3/5

My Most Anticipated Books of 2017

One of my new year resolutions is that 2017 is going to be the year where I read harder and hopefully surpass my Goodreads challenge. Things are looking very hopeful right now with all the awesome books that are going to be published this year! And so here are 19 of my most anticipated reads for 2017…

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1- City of Saints & Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson

This is at the very TOP of my list because it was pitched as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl but set in Kenya. Need I say more?

Publication Date: 24/1/2017

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2- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
I am so excited for this one! Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.

Publication Date: 28/2/2017

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3- Wintersong by S. Jae Jones
I’m really looking forward to this because it reads like its based on the Persephone and Hades myth, except let’s assume Persephone traveled underground to save her sister and Hades is The Goblin King who strikes a deal with her – her sister’s life for her hand in marriage. I cannot wait for this one!
Publication Date: 7/2/2017

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4- Wicked Like Wildfire by Lana Popovic
Yet another story that revolves around sisters, and with such a beautiful cover to boost! And there’s magic too.

Publication Date: 15/8/2017

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5- Roseblood by A.G. Howard
A modern day retelling of Phantom of the Opera – full of unrequited love, madness and lots of weirdness (or so I’m told!)

Publication Date: 10/1/2017

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6- The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee
That title alone makes me want to grab this book ASAP!

An unforgettable tale of two friends on their Grand Tour of 18th-century Europe who stumble upon a magical artifact that leads them from Paris to Venice in a dangerous manhunt, fighting pirates, highwaymen, and their feelings for each other along the way.

Publication Date: 20/6/2017

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7- Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh
I liked Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn, but didn’t LOVE it because *coughs* the ending was so abrupt and unfinished and didn’t wrap up the minor plot lines as well as I’d hoped. I still haven’t picked up The Rose and the Dagger because of that, but there’s no denying how beautiful Aideh’s writing and prose is. Which is why I’m very excited for this upcoming book about the daughter of a samurai who disguises herself as a boy to hunt down the people trying to kill her.
Publication Date: 16/5/2017

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8- Royal Bastards by Andrew Shvarts
I have read so many good reviews about this book and I cannot wait to read it! I’m imagining something along the lines of a kickass Jon Snow theme/arc but with a girl!

Publication Date: 6/6/2017

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9- Once And For All by Sarah Dessen
There’s nothing I love more than a character who is pessimistic and wary of all things romantic.

Publication Date: 6/6/2017

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10- The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich
I need this book in my life right now! In school that cultivates teenage spies, two boys who are the opposite of each other (one good and the other bad) are competing for a girl, but instead they start to FALL FOR EACH OTHER!!!! Where has this book been???
Publication Date: 16/5/2017

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11- We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

This is a story about loneliness and grief and LaCour’s prose is so beautiful, I have a strong feeling I’m going to love this.
Publication Date: 14/2/2017

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12- Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
This book is going to be great! I just know it. A fugitive empress who wants to avenge her family and take back what is rightfully hers? Sounds familiar, no? Reads like something that happened to the Stark children but in space! I. Can’t. Wait!
Publication Date: 7/2/2017

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13- Tash Hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee
I’m so excited about this book because *drumroll please* it’s a book about an asexual character!! I have been waiting for this for so long.

Publication Date: 6/6/2017

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14- Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Two reasons to look forward to this book: 1- #ownvoices 2- diversity!

Publication Date: 14/3/2016

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15- The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

A romantic coming-of-age fantasy tale steeped in Indian folklore.

Publication Date: 18/7/2017

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16- American Street by Ibi Zoboi

A YA contemporary about a girl who arrives to America from Haiti and the price she pays for her dreams.

Publication Date: 14/2/2016

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17- Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson
Mary B. Addison allegedly killed a baby while he was in her care. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: A white baby had died while under the care of a church-going black woman and her nine-year-old daughter…. In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the grey areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, and acknowledges the light and darkness alive in all of us.

Publication Date: 14/1/2016

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18 – A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard
A YA contemporary about a selective mute and how she falls for a boy who can’t hear.

Publication Date: 12/1/2017

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19- When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Publication Date: 30/5/2017

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And that’s all for now. Feel free to share what you’re looking forward to reading this year, because I’m sure there are so many books out there that I’ve missed!