Guest Post: Top 5 Things to Know About City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie C. Anderson + Giveaway

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We’re so excited to be participating in the City of Saints and Thieves blog tour and we’re super honored to have a guest post from  Natalie herself! Be sure to check out the giveaway for a chance to win one of five finished copies of City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie Anderson.

Without any further ado, here’s Natalie’s Top 5 Things to Know About City of Saints and Thieves.

  1. The City: City of Saints and Thieves is set in a fictional city in Kenya. Sangui City is both old and modern, with architecture and culture influenced by hundreds of years of trade with the Arab world, India and China, just like the real coastal cities of Mombasa and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. But it also has the energy and edge of Nairobi. And like Nairobi, it’s a place of extremes, where both the fabulously wealthy and abjectly poor live within a stone’s throw of each other. I lived in Nairobi for about three years and traveled extensively in Africa for work, and just couldn’t pick one spot to base the story. But one of the great perks of being a writer is that you get to make stuff up. :)
  2. The main character, Tina (aka Tiny Girl) is a street-wise girl who had to grow up fast. After her mother was killed she left the wealthy Greyhill manor where she lived, and began fending for herself, ending up joining a ruthless gang, the Goondas. That’s where she honed her skills as a thief and started working on her plan to avenge her mother’s death. She’s a loner. She would tell you she doesn’t have time for friends, and all that really matters to her is her plans for revenge and making sure her kid sister Kiki stays safe. 
  3. It’s a story of revenge. Or is it? City of Saints and Thieves starts with Tina making it clear that the thing she wants most in the world is revenge against the man she knows murdered her mother. And there’s no way she’s wrong about who the killer is. After all, she practically overheard him say he was going to do the deed. She’s been focused on making him pay for practically her whole life. Just as her plan is being set into motion she gets caught red-handed by her once-best friend (who inconveniently happens to be the murderer’s son). He’ll only let her go if they work together to get solid proof, once and for all, of who the murderer is. 
  4. The Rules: Tina has a rule for everything. (The working title of the book, in fact, was Rules for Thieves) Every time something bad happens she makes a rule for herself out of it, so she’ll never make the same mistake twice. Tina would never explain it this way, but Boyboy would tell you that It’s her way of maintaining control over her otherwise rather unstable life. The rules keep her focused and sharp, which she needs if she’s going to carry out her plan for revenge.
  5. Tina and her mother left DR Congo as refugees when Tina was only five. Millions of people have fled Congo over the years, as the Eastern part of country has gone through periods of severe instability dating back to colonial times. The recent conflicts in the area where Tina is from are incredibly complex, with dozens of different paramilitary groups, several different nearby countries, and other international governments and companies involved. Why? Because mining for tin, copper, diamonds, tantalum, gold and other minerals is a huge source of wealth for all of them. And while these resources could go into developing the country, the government is both corrupt and also not stable enough to ensure that mines are run safely. And in fact, many militia groups and government soldiers alike use mining and slave labor to fund themselves. If you’re interested in learning more, The Enough Project has some excellent reports: enoughproject.org

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter for a chance to win one of five (5) finished copies of City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie Anderson (ARV: $18.99).
 
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on January 16, 2017 and 11:59 PM on February 3, 2017.  Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about February 8, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.

CityOfSaintsAndThieves.jpgAbout City of Saints and Thieves:

Publication: January 24th 2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo meets Gone Girl in this enthralling YA murder mystery set in Kenya.
 
In the shadows of Sangui City, there lives a girl who doesn’t exist. After fleeing the Congo as refugees, Tina and her mother arrived in Kenya looking for the chance to build a new life and home. Her mother quickly found work as a maid for a prominent family, headed by Roland Greyhill, one of the city’s most respected business leaders. But Tina soon learns that the Greyhill fortune was made from a life of corruption and crime. So when her mother is found shot to death in Mr. Greyhill’s personal study, she knows exactly who’s behind it.

With revenge always on her mind, Tina spends the next four years surviving on the streets alone, working as a master thief for the Goondas, Sangui City’s local gang. It’s a job for the Goondas that finally brings Tina back to the Greyhill estate, giving her the chance for vengeance she’s been waiting for. But as soon as she steps inside the lavish home, she’s overtaken by the pain of old wounds and the pull of past friendships, setting into motion a dangerous cascade of events that could, at any moment, cost Tina her life. But finally uncovering the incredible truth about who killed her mother—and why—keeps her holding on in this fast-paced nail-biting thriller.

 

About Natalie C. Anderson:

Natalie C. AndersonNatalie C. Anderson is a writer and international development professional living in Boston, Massachusetts. She has spent the last decade working with NGOs and the UN on refugee relief and development, mainly in Africa. She was selected as the 2014-2015 Associates of the Boston Public Library Children’s Writer in Residence, where she wrote her debut novel, City of Saints and Thieves.

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Stranger Things Book Tag

Welcome to the weekly Friday Tag! This week I got to stay at home all week (not read because I was in a slump as well as on the hunt for a new job) and basically try and get my life together and this wedding planned as much as I could. As well as catching up on some blog posts (shameless mention for you to look into previous posts). But anyway, I noticed tons of you loved the Netflix book tag so I figured this week I’ll post something similar. Stranger Things is one of Netflix’s original series that is absolutely FABULOUS. Go binge it if you haven’t yet, but it’s so great and I found this tag on youtube (here’s a link to the original video) and thought I’d bring it into the blog!

1. EPIC INTRO. The opening sequence of Stranger Things is amazing and really grabs your attention. Name a book that grabbed your attention from the first page.

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson.
Steelheart has to be one of my favorite books , and it absolutely had me hooked from the first page. Brandon Sanderson is an absolute genius and I couldn’t have asked for a better opening. I’m still fending off finishing the series because it’s such a bittersweet moment.

2. DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. Name a fantasy world you would like to experience yourself.

The Spring and The Night Court
A Court of Thorns and Roses & A Court of Mist and Fury  by Sarah J. Maas is probably one of the most immersive fantasy worlds I’ve ever been in. I absolutely adore the Spring and Night court and would LOVE to see then and what they’re like. My imagination goes wild when I read this series and to be honest, the anticipation for A Court of Wings and Ruin is absolutely killing me.

3. SQUAD GOALS. When Eleven met Mike, Dustin and Lucas it was a *mostly* perfect team. Name your favourite bookish group of friends.

Cinder, Iko, Kai , Scarlet, Wolf, Cress, Thorne, Winter and Jacin.
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer has by far one of the best crews ever. It was hard for me not to choose the crew from Six of Crows because they’re near and dear to me, but I think Marissa Meyer did a wonderful job of building this whole team through a series of books, where as Six of Crows you were given them all at the same time.

4. ABC’s & CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. Joyce Byers goes mad with grief after Will goes missing. Name your favourite mentally unhinged character.

Winter by Marissa Meyer
So unfortunately I’m going to use The Lunar Chronicles again because I love Winter and how out of her mind she is, and how she had all this whimsey, and no one understands her except herself and Jacin.

5. THE UPSIDE DOWN. Name a book that was the opposite of what you expected.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon was most definitely something I didn’t expect. I’m not one for contemporaries but I read Everything, Everything in one sitting. I couldn’t stop reading and completely devoured the whole book. There was just something entrancing about it, And I can’t wait to pick up The Sun is Also A Star.

6. MAD SCIENTISTS. Dr. Brenner likes to get freaky with humanity. Name the freakiest dystopian government you can think of.

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
This book/series has the FREAKIEST dystopian government. There’s two governments actually. Scion, which is the government for humans and then there’s a second government for clairvoyants where our main character Paige gets kidnapped and taken to due to her rarity of voyant type. And the society down in Oxford (which mind you is a underground ruin due to the fact that this book takes place in 2059) is ten times worse than Scion London. Voyants are paired with basically keepers who they live with until they become red jackets. Anyway, I’m getting way to into this, but voyants and keepers are almost like a slave to a master so violence isn’t uncommon. So yeah, probably one of the most dystopian governments I’ve ever read of.

7. DEMOGORGON. Name a scary bookish creature that you would not want to come through your walls.

Wraiths
Brandon Sanderson in The Final Empire (or Mistborn as most people call it) writes about these wraiths that take the skin of dead people and are basically these scarecrow-esque zombie thing. And honestly, if I came across that thing, I’d soil myself and just cry because I think that’s probably one of the scariest thing I’ve ever read.

8. CLIFFHANGER ENDING. name a book that left you wanting more.

Oh dear god there are so many.

Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes had me in a tizzy
Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo wasn’t really a cliff hanger but I was upset that it was over
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab had me desperately seeking for more
and I was cursing the gods…or the author because Empire of Storms and A Court of Mist and Fury were agonizing endings.

And that’s all I’ve got! Come back next Friday for another tag!

Stephanie-Signature

Top 7 Books I Want To Read In 2017

With the new year upon us, my life being turned upside down and a wedding to plan I decided to do a reading challenge. I decided to do the Pop Sugar Ultimate Reading Challenge which is a Goodreads Group, and I do believe it’s 40 books with an option for “Advanced” which adds another 12 to make 52 books, from there I’d like to read another 10 books to make my goal of 62 books for the year for my Goodreads challenge.

I’d like to share a list of my top 7 Books I’d like to read in 2017, some off of that list and some I DEMAND I read this year.

  • Today Will Be Different – Maria Semple
    Eleanor knows she’s a mess. But today, she will tackle the little things. She will shower and get dressed. She will have her poetry and yoga lessons after dropping off her son, Timby. She won’t swear. She will initiate sex with her husband, Joe. But before she can put her modest plan into action-life happens. Today, it turns out, is the day Timby has decided to fake sick to weasel his way into his mother’s company. It’s also the day Joe has chosen to tell his office-but not Eleanor-that he’s on vacation. Just when it seems like things can’t go more awry, an encounter with a former colleague produces a graphic memoir whose dramatic tale threatens to reveal a buried family secret.

    TODAY WILL BE DIFFERENT is a hilarious, heart-filled story about reinvention, sisterhood, and how sometimes it takes facing up to our former selves to truly begin living.

  • The Name of The Wind – Patrick Rothfuss
    Told in Kvothe’s own voice, this is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.

    The intimate narrative of his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, his years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-ridden city, his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, and his life as a fugitive after the murder of a king form a gripping coming-of-age story unrivaled in recent literature.

    A high-action story written with a poet’s hand, The Name of the Wind is a masterpiece that will transport readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

  • All The Light We Cannot See – Anthony Doerr
    Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

    In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge.

  • Heartless – Marissa Meyer
    Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland and a favorite of the unmarried King, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, she wants to open a shop and create delectable pastries. But for her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for a woman who could be a queen.

    At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the King’s marriage proposal, she meets handsome and mysterious Jest. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into a secret courtship.

    Cath is determined to choose her own destiny. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.

  • The Clockwork Scarab – Colleen Gleason
    Evaline Stoker and Mina Holmes never meant to get into the family business. But when you’re the sister of Bram and the niece of Sherlock, vampire hunting and mystery solving are in your blood. And when two society girls go missing, there’s no one more qualified to investigate.

    Now fierce Evaline and logical Mina must resolve their rivalry, navigate the advances of not just one but three mysterious gentlemen, and solve murder with only one clue: a strange Egyptian scarab. The stakes are high. If Stoker and Holmes don’t unravel why the belles of London society are in such danger, they’ll become the next victims.

  • The Female of The Species – Mindy McGinnis
    Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it. When her older sister, Anna, was murdered three years ago and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the language she knows best. The language of violence. While her crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people, even in her small hometown. She relegates herself to the shadows, a girl who goes unseen in plain sight, unremarkable in the high school hallways.

    But Jack Fisher sees her. He’s the guy all other guys want to be: the star athlete gunning for valedictorian with the prom queen on his arm. Guilt over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered hasn’t let him forget Alex over the years, and now her green eyes amid a constellation of freckles have his attention. He doesn’t want to only see Alex Craft; he wants to know her. So does Peekay, the preacher’s kid, a girl whose identity is entangled with her dad’s job, though that does not stop her from knowing the taste of beer or missing the touch of her ex-boyfriend. When Peekay and Alex start working together at the animal shelter, a friendship forms and Alex’s protective nature extends to more than just the dogs and cats they care for.

    Circumstances bring Alex, Jack, and Peekay together as their senior year unfolds. While partying one night, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting the teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.

  • The Diabolic – S.J. Kincaid
    Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The girl who has grown up by her side and who is as much as sister as a master. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

    She must become her.

    Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire…

    Let me know what books you guys are planning on reading this year!

    Stephanie-Signature

Review : Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

28374007Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
Published: September 20, 2016

When kingdom come, there will be one.

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.
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This book is hands down one of my favorites of 2016 (I know, I’m a bit behind of writing posts but I’m sorry!) . I never read a Kendare Blake book but I’ve only heard good things (mostly Taylor raving about Anna Dressed in Blood).  I kind of wish I read her books before this because holy crap this was fabulous.

The writing was great and the three sisters were all so different and I was so enthralled with all of them I loved each of them for a different reason.  They’re such different three main characters but they’re all so great in their own way, I can’t wait to see who they become now that they’re all crossing paths.  I think Arsinoe is my favorite though. There’s a will and strength about her that I love.  But all of them have a different type of strength.

I loved the darkness of this book and the ruthlessness of it all. I loved that these girls were all so cut throat and all the women in the book were strong ones. It was something I wasn’t expecting from this and it was a great surprise. I loved the settings and the vast differences of where these women were brought up and the differences in how the societies were run.

I also loved the relationships everyone had. I love Katerina’s relationship with Piertyr (did I spell that right? probs not) and how he hopes to help her show that she is a strong contender since her sisters are stronger and more likable than she.  But I also love Mirabella and how she falls in love with THAT ONE PERSON she probably shouldn’t be in love with even though she can have men just fall at her feet.

The spin at the end was fabulous, as the pieces were coming together I was literally getting more and more in shock, it was just such a well thought out and such a great transition into a second book. I cannot wait to see where this series goes.

All in all lessons learned from reading this book: Kendare Blake has awesome writing skills, she writes bad ass women, and I should’ve read a lot more Blake books prior to this one.

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Stephanie-Signature

Netflix Book Tag

Ah, it’s Friday again! My designated tag day … I guess. And Tuesday I was laid off from my job and so I’ve been spending a lot of time watching the good ‘ole Netflix…while applying to jobs of course and I thought why not search the internet for those lovely bookish people who created a booktag based on Netflix. And by golly I found it! So if you want to see the original Netflix Tag, you can find it here.

1. Recently Watched:The last book you finished reading.
The last book I finished reading was a lovely re-read of a 800+ book named Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

2. Top Picks: A book/books that have been recommended to you based on book you have previously read.
I guess I’ll give a Top 3 for these. Taylor always recommends CoHo books to me especially I feel like she’s told me to read November 9 multiple times. The Female of The Species by Mindy McGinnis, and The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

3. Recently Added: The last book you bought
Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast

4. Popular on Netflix: Books that everyone knows about. (2 you’ve read and 2 you have read or have no interest in reading)
Read : Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

No Interest : The Selection Series by Kiera Cass
Anna and The French Kiss by Anna Perkins

5. Comedies: A funny book
Bossy Pants by Tina Fey is absolutely great. It’s hilarious and nothing short of what you’d think a book written by Tina Fey would be like.

6. Dramas: A character who is a drama queen/king.
Chaol WestfallThrone of Glass Series  I feel like he is one of the biggest drama kings. There’s just something about Chaol that I love but honestly, he is quite dramatic.

7. Animated: A book with cartoons on the cover
So I’m going to list a few because I’m in love with these comics and obviously they have cartoons on the cover! 
Saga by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
Ms. Marvel  by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch
Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, Brooke A. Allen

8. Watch it again: A book/book series that you want to re-read
Falling Kingdoms Series  by Morgan Rhodes. This book series is one I’ll lovingly read over and over and over again. Although not finished, when it is, I plan to marathon these until the day I die.

9. Documentaries: A non-fiction book you’d recommend to everyone
Furiously Happy : A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson.  This book focuses on Jenny’s anxiety, depression and all sorts of other emotional issues. If you suffer from any of these, I highly recommend it. She literally writes about aspects of things I understand and twists it to the point where you’re laughing about it.

10. Action and Adventure: An action packed book
Winter by Marissa Meyer is such an action packed book I love it. It felt like every other chapter there was something going on such suspense throughout the whole book, it was indeed action packed through and through.

11. New Releases: A book that just came out or will be coming out soon that you can’t wait to read.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber comes out this month and I’m so excited for it! The hype around it is fantastic and amazing and I can’t wait to read it.

 

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Stranger Things Book Tag!

I’ve been waiting to figure out what to do for my next tag, and I think the hype around Season 2 of Stranger Things and how it’s around christmas time, made me want to do this tag. I’m highly anticipating it’s return and I’m super excited for it. A big thanks to Sarah Sunbeemz for making this tag.

1. EPIC INTRO. The opening sequence of Stranger Things is amazing and really grabs your attention. Name a book that grabbed your attention from the first page.
17675462The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvatter.
Her lyricism and amazing writing made it really hard not to get hooked from the first sentence onward.

2. DUNGEONS & DRAGONS. Name a fantasy world you would like to experience yourself.
18490585I fell in love with Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson and although an older world in the means of society, I think that the magic system would be too cool to just pass on.

3. SQUAD GOALS. When Eleven met Mike, Dustin and Lucas it was a *mostly* perfect team. Name your favourite bookish group of friends.
28260587Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas has a great band of characters and even has some enemies tag along with the good friends. I love it.

4. ABC’s & CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. Joyce Byers goes mad with grief after Will goes missing. Name your favourite mentally unhinged character.
23395680Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. OH MY GOODNESS. A.I.D.A.N. was completely crazy. I literally was on the edge of my seat the whole time because of A.I.D.A.N.

5. THE UPSIDE DOWN. Name a book that was the opposite of what you expected.
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Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins fell flat for me. I knew it was about a girl who ends up being a paladin, but I thought it would get way more sci-fi and have stronger characters, I was most definitely expecting a Buffy vibe and got….nothing.

6. MAD SCIENTISTS. Dr. Brenner likes to get freaky with humanity. Name the freakiest dystopian government you can think of.
17199504
The society in Bone Season was really screwed up in my eyes. I didn’t really much enjoy the society it was based it. It’s kind of hard to explain but the book is really REALLY great. I also don’t want to go too much into the society in fear that it will give some plot points away.

7. DEMOGORGON. Name a scary bookish creature that you would not want to come through your walls.
233682I literally could not sleep for a week.

8. CLIFFHANGER ENDING. name a book that left you wanting more.
22299763Not that there was a cliffhanger, I jut wasn’t ready for this duology to end. #ripheart.