The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The hate u give

Hard-hitting but inspiring

There are two Starrs. The one who goes to the preppy suburban neighborhood school and the one who grew up in drug-infested Garden Heights. Starr balances between her two lives, drawing the lines so that they never meet until…

Starr witnesses a police shooting of a childhood friend. Soon, she is thrust into the spotlight as the community seeks the truth and demands justice.

These are the kind of stories I love most – thought-provoking and hard-hitting. Angie Thomas addresses highly controversial topics in a gripping and creative narrative. Topics like modern day racism, hidden, disguised and perpetuated with words, money, and laws are laid bare, forcing the reader to dissect and examine each situation and intention.

Angie Thomas knows how to draw you in with witty dialogue and scenes that invoke all of the senses, including those of the heart. I love the familial and community scenes. There is tragedy, anger, and heart-ache in those scenes but also, a sense of community, sticking-together, sharing and greater-good.

While the topic may be tragic, I found the book uplifting and enlightening. It carries a message of hope and raises awareness of the society we should all be striving to build – one where the color of your skin truly doesn’t matter and where we all come together as one community to uplift one another.

There’s nothing frilly about this court

Court of thorn and roses

Fickle and lovely

Feyre never set out to kill the wolf. She never would have touched it had she known it was something more, something ancient and powerful from beyond the wall. But she hadn’t really had a choice, had she? The wolf had been hunting her prey and she needed that deer to feed her family.

So, she’d killed it.

Now, a creature has come to claim revenge for the life Feyre took. The only way she can atone is death – or she must consent to live out her life in the magical fairy kingdom across the wall.

Feyre makes the only choice she can and heads off to the lands of the fairies, where fearful, dangerous and beautiful creatures live. She soon discovers that her handsome and frightening captor is more than he seems and that a dangerous sickness threatening the land of fairies could spill over into the human world, obliterating everything. Can the fairy-Lord crack Feyre’s, hardened heart? Will Feyre be the one to break the curse and free the fairies from the blight?

I’m an ardent Sarah J Maas fan. Throne of Glass is one of my favorite series, and yet this book exceeds my expectations. There is something so poignant, raw and beautifully descriptive about her writing. She brings to life a world where beauty and horror live side-by-side, survival is king and the strong toy with the lives of the weak. There is nothing frilly about this magical world beyond the wall, it is cruel and lovely, with characters who are both fickle and deep.

I’m enchanted by this world beyond the wall and I can’t wait to find out what lies in store for Feyre!

Oh, what a wonderful world!

Written in red

 

In this world where humans are prey, Meg Corbyn’s odds of survival are slim at best. As a blood prophet, owned and kept by her human Controller, she’s had little exposure to the outside world. Now, she has escaped and finds herself at the mercy of a world she doesn’t understand.

Pursued by her Controller, Meg finds refuge in the unlikeliest of places – the Lakeside courtyard, a business district operated by “The Others”, the supernatural predators who control the world. Here, she begins to learn about the world of the humans and “The Others”. She makes some unlikely allies and friends, and her unusual kindness and innocence soon have “The Others” re-evaluating the relationships between their kind and the humans who work for them in the business district.

But Meg’s Controller wants her back, and he will stop at nothing to require his property, even if it means destroying the tenuous peace between the humans and “The Others.

Oh, what a world! The detailed intricacies and characters are like a carefully drawn map and each corner reveals yet another delight. What a magical, beautiful and brutal place this is, full of every kind of creature you could imagine. Each has its place within this political and familial society of “The Others”.

It is a delight to meet each character and to unravel their strength’s, weaknesses and quirks. Each character has its own journey and they come together in a beautiful tale of friendship told by a very talented author!

5 stars to Jacques Pouw and his shocking expose

The presidents keepers

Hard-hitting expose

First off, I need to disclose that I am a born and bred South African. I think this is important to mention because it means that I probably have some sort of bias already about the subject matter. Someone from another country might be able to read this book with cool detachment but let’s face it, it’s hard to remain unemotional when the money referred to comes from your own pocket and the flag is the one you proudly call your own.

From a writing perspective, Jacques Pouw has presented the facts in a neat, uncomplicated and practical manner. He is an award-winning journalist and it’s easy to see why. His research is thorough and his wording precise but fearless.

With regards to the subject matter, I have to say that this was probably one of the most depressing books I’ve ever read about South Africa. If even half of it is true, then the extent of the rot in our government is unprecedented and extremely frightening. The idea of my hard-earned tax money being wasted on drug-running, murdering, corrupt criminals while my fellow South African’s starve and live in tin shacks enrages me.

The knowledge that evidence exists, but has been buried beneath legal and political shenanigans depresses me hugely and I have to wonder – will these corrupt leaders ever pay for what they have done to my beloved country, or will I continue to have to fork out my hard-earned money while they play games with our economy and ultimately, our lives? Will my fellow South African’s see the light and use their vote in 2019 to make a positive difference? How long will it take to dig us out of this hole that appears to be much deeper and wider than the Presidency alone?

Jacques Pouw offers some optimism in the form of recent developments within our judiciary system and the pressure that civil society is putting on government to hold corrupt officials accountable, but it’s been over a decade and as a citizen, I have to ask – when is there going to be some action?

5 of 5 stars to “The Barrier Between” by Stacey Marie Brown

The barrier between

 

Tension, danger, betrayal, and romance

Zoey’s life has been irrevocably changed by the unnatural storm that has devastated Seattle and taken the lives of the only two people in the world she loved. Zoey discovers that Daniel, her DMG partner and the man she has loved for years, has left behind a devastating message for her, unraveling the truth behind the DMG and the experiments they have been conducting, not only on the Fae they hunt but even on their own hunters. Zoey discovers that as a result of one such experiment, she is dying. Now, it is a race against time to find someone who can help transfer the Wanders Fae powers back to Ryker before Zoe takes them with her to the grave forever.

Stacey Mari Brown takes her fantasy world to another level in this installment of the Collector series. The workings of the Fae world and the back stories are nicely fleshed out. The focus of the story remains the relationship between Ryker and Zoey. Brown has a definite talent for hiking up the tension as the attraction between them grows. Then, to the already boiling pot, Brown throws in the third point of a love triangle, creating a delicious conflict.

The story arches are neat, with some danger, intrigue and betrayal brought in with various supporting characters. The changes in setting and location also add some variation to the story and broaden the scope of possibilities. I’m thoroughly enjoying my immersion in this wonderful world of Fae.

5 of 5 stars to ‘City in Embers’ by Stacey Marie Brown

City in embers

Chemistry, fantasy, humor

Just when it seems as if everything in her hard life is finally coming together, Zoe Daniels is stripped of everything. A freak storm robs her of the only two people she cares about and forces her into the path of the ruthless Wanderer, Ryker. Once a collector of fae, Zoe becomes the hunted, and the only person she can trust is the one she has been taught to despise, to fear and to hunt.

If there’s one thing Stacey Marie Brown got right in his novel, it’s the chemistry! She is a pro at creating sizzling conflict between the main characters that starts out as animosity and slowly morphs into attraction.

But there’s more to this novel than just the heat. Brown has cleverly brought in humor and tenderness with the creation of Sprig, the mischievous, strange monkey-sprite. He relieves the tension at times and always seems to appear and disappear at the most inopportune moments. He’s just wonderful!

The fantasy world itself is masterfully created, with plenty of back-story, adventure, danger and reality. The character arcs are perfect, especially since there is no ‘love at first sight’. The attraction is gradual and more realistic. I haven’t been this drawn into a fantasy series in a while and I can’t wait to find out what happens to Ryker, Zoe and Sprig!

3 of 5 stars to Craving by Stephanie Summers

Craving

Chemistry

Sabine knows that there’s a good chance she’ll be chosen as the next sacrifice to fulfill the infamous Willow creek vampire treaty. Still, she is devastated when she receives the notice on her eighteenth birthday and realizes that she will never be able to live out her dreams.
When Sabine meets the vampire she will be paired with, she is horrified. Remy may be the favorite progeny of Bastion, Lord of the Willow creek vampires, but he is arrogant, selfish, rude and uncaring. She knows that she will never be more to him that a food source, and yet she can’t help or understand the growing attraction she feels every time they are together.

Craving was a pleasant read. I’m a sucker for romance, so I enjoyed the storyline which focuses mainly on the conflict and chemistry between the two main characters, Sabine and Remy. The characters themselves are pretty standard, lacking in depth at times, but there was a nice chemistry between them, and I quite enjoyed Remy’s snarky comments. The supporting characters were few and really did not play much of a role in the story beyond some cliched scenes. I felt that the plot could have been tighter. It felt thin and rushed at times with large periods of times elapsing in the space of sentences. I personally would have preferred fewer, more intimate scenes. The witty dialogue made up for some of the novel’s shortfalls though and I still found ‘Craving’ an easy, fun read.