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The Wrath and the Dawn – Renee Ahdieh

Posted by on Feb 3, 2016 in Books, Reviews | 1 comment

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“The Wrath and the Dawn”

By Renee Ahdieh

Published May 12th 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Format: Audiobook
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In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

Inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn is a sumptuous and enthralling read from beginning to end.

A Thousand and One Nights
This is about my 3rd read of the Thousand and One Nights story adaption, but it is by far my favourite. The beginning of the story started a little slow for me, but once the relationship started to build between Shahrzad and the Caliph I was hooked. I really enjoyed how well their relationship progressed. There’s nothing like some great emotional angst.

As always, I’m a sucker for a strong female protagonist and Shazi didn’t disappoint; she’s witty, a strong fighter and has brains. I liked that she acknowledged her growing affection for Khalid and struggled with what she thought was true and what was in front of her, instead of just acting on her impulses.

The Trouble with Names
I have a horrible life problem where I can not remember names. I’ll meet someone, and a minute later, I’ve already forgotten their name. So when it comes to books, it takes me a little while to remember the characters’ names. I can even finish a book and blank on what the main character was called. Not only is “The Wrath and the Dawn” filled with Middle Eastern names, but each character has nicknames, and titles and sometimes they’re called by the first, sometimes their last. To make matters worse, I audiobooked this, so I didn’t have a visual connection to the name. Pretty much every new scene it would take me a minute to figure out who exactly we were following. Also, our protagonist’s name is Shahrzad which I first heard as Charizard, and I couldn’t get a fire breathing dragon out of my head. Thanks Pokemon.

This is a good book filled with interesting characters and a great love story. I’m really excited for the sequel to arrive.

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January #RockMyTBR Wrap-Up

Posted by on Feb 1, 2016 in Book Challenges, Books | 4 comments

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I plan to read a lot of books this year that have been gathering dust on my bookshelf, and I think I’m off to a good start with three read in January:
 
HeirofFire150“Heir of Fire” by Sarah J. Maas
I struggled with this one a bit. It took me 2 weeks to read. I just didn’t love it like the first two. I think it’s because all of the characters are so separated from each other and interacting with new characters.

Once I got about half way in I started enjoying it a lot more and the end definitely left for some really exciting things in the next book that I need to hurry up and get. I was going to wait until it comes out in paperback (cause matching books, OMG!) but I don’t think I can wait till later this year.
 

AssassinsBlade150“The Assassin’s Blade” by Sarah J. Maas
It was sad reading this, as I already knew from reading the other books what was going to happen. I also much prefer older Celeana, but it was interesting to see her life in the assassin’s guild and her relationship with Sam (which was a lot shorter than I thought?). I liked Sam, but I’m still Team Chaol all the way. I like that he snuck in there briefly.
 

Nimona150“Nimona” by Noelle Stevenson
This is cute. I don’t think I really felt like I was enjoying this until about half way through. Being a graphic novel, this was a quick read, but a little different for me. I kept speeding by reading and had to force mysefl to stop and look at the graphics more. I liked the artwork and by the end I adored Blackheart and Goldenloin. I actually didn’t care for Nimona that much, but liked the progression of her relationship with Blackheart.
 

For February I’ll definitely be reading Ransom Riggs’ “Hollow City” and I’m thinking I might finally start up “Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo.

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“The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah

Posted by on Jan 13, 2016 in Books, Reviews | 5 comments

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“The Nightingale”

By Kristin Hannah
Published: February 3rd 2015 by St. Martin’s Press
Format: Audiobook
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FRANCE, 1939

In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.

Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences.

With courage, grace and powerful insight, bestselling author Kristin Hannah takes her talented pen to the epic panorama of WWII and illuminates an intimate part of history seldom seen: the women’s war. The Nightingale tells the stories of two sisters, separated by years and experience, by ideals, passion and circumstance, each embarking on her own dangerous path toward survival, love, and freedom in German-occupied, war-torn France–a heartbreakingly beautiful novel that celebrates the resilience of the human spirit and the durability of women. It is a novel for everyone, a novel for a lifetime.

So many feels.

This book tells the story of two very different sisters; Vianne, a mother whose greatest concern is to survive and keep her daughter safe, and her younger sister Isabelle who wants nothing more than to make her mark in the war and prove that women can be just as useful as men.

I found myself often thinking of this story long after I stopped listening every day. Not only are you attached to these characters, but also to the truth behind their story: of France during World War II. We all know the horrors that occurred to the Jewish people and the concentration camps, but I never really thought about the people in France. They lived for years under German occupation trying to go about every day life with the constant fear of the Germans who took control of their towns and even lived in their houses.

I constantly felt a bit of anxiety while listening, knowing how the war would progress, but not knowing what would happen to these characters. Who would live and who would die? Towards the end of the war, I just wanted to yell at them to hold on just a little longer!

At first I didn’t particularly care for Isabelle. I loved that she was so passionate about helping in the war, and her love of France. But I found myself disliking her recklessness for her own safety and others. In the same way, I disliked Vianne for erring on the extreme side of caution. As the story and these characters progressed I fell in love with them and their strong portrayal of women in WWII. Women have never really gotten any recognition for their roles in wars, and that’s a big theme of this book. Women played such an integral part in this war, but they never received awards, or had their stories told.

I like that this book also shows that there are good and bad people on both sides of a war. There are those who knew what they were doing was wrong, but were in fear of their lives. There were German soldiers who had their own families at home that they wanted to return to, and were just following their orders. Then there were the people who took advantage of the war to do malicious acts for their own gain, like the Frenchmen who turned on their own people and willingly helped the German soldiers.

When I finished, I had to look up the story behind the Nightingale to see if it was based on a true story. I found this great interview with author Kristin Hannah that tells all about her inspiration for this novel and the true story of the Nightingale; a young women who really did help many allied airmen escape to Spain:

http://www.bookweb.org/news/qa-kristin-hannah-author-february%E2%80%99s-1-indie-next-list-pick

I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s an emotional roller coaster that shows so much human compassion in a time of such human evil and how fragile, yet resilient the human body and soul are.

Side Note: Listening to this at work was rough. “Don’t mind me, I just have something in my eyes”

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Books to Read Before They Hit the Big Screen in 2016

Posted by on Jan 11, 2016 in Books, Lists, Television & Movies | 4 comments

Here are some of the books being adapted for the big screen this year. Of course, you should always read the books first, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to read these before they hit theaters. I’ve got a couple to read myself!

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The 5th Wave

by Rick Yancey

 

Book Published:

May 7th 2013 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Movie Release Date:

January 22nd, 2016

Starring:

Chloe Grace Moretz, Liev Schreiber

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

 

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The Girl on the Train

by Paula Hawkins

 

Book Published:

January 13th, 2015 by Riverhead Books

Movie Release Date:

December 10th, 2016

Starring:

Rebecca Ferguson, Emily Blunt, Édgar Ramírez

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

 

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Pride & Prejudice and Zombies

by Seth Grahame-Smith

 

Book Published:

May 1st, 2009 by Quirk Classics

Movie Release Date:

February 5th, 2016

Starring:

Lily James, Lena Headey, Douglas Booth

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.


 

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Me Before You

by Jojo Moyes

 

Book Published:

December 31st, 2012 by Pamela Dorman Books/Viking

Movie Release Date:

March 4th, 2016

Starring:

Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Jenna Coleman

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

 

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Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

by J.K. Rowling

 

Book Published:

June 1st, 2001 by Arthur A. Levine

Movie Release Date:

November 18th, 2016

Starring:

Eddie Redmayne, Ezra Miller

A copy of Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them resides in almost every wizarding household in the country. Now Muggles too have the chance to discover where the Quintaped lives, what the Puffskein eats and why it is best not to leave milk out for a Knarl.

Proceeds from the sale of this book will go to Comic Relief, which means that the pounds and Galleons you exchange for it will do magic beyond the powers of any wizard. If you feel that this is insufficient reason to part with your money, I can only hope that passing wizards feel more charitable if they see you being attacked by a Manticore.

– Albus Dumbledore


 

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

by Ransom Riggs

 

Book Published:

June 7th, 2011 by Quirk

Movie Release Date:

December 25th, 2016

Starring:

Samuel L. Jackson, Eva Green, Asa Butterfield

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow, impossible though it seems, they may still be alive.

 

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The BFG

by Roald Dahl

 

Book Published:

1982

Movie Release Date:

July 1st, 2016

Starring:

Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader, Mark Rylance

Captured by a giant! The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It’s lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, the Fleshlumpeater, the Bonecruncher, or any of the other giants-rather than the BFG-she would have soon become breakfast.

When Sophie hears that they are flush-bunking off in England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!

 

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A Monster Calls

by Patrick Ness

 

Book Published:

September 27th, 2011 by Walker Books

Movie Release Date:

October 14th, 2016

Starring:

Felicity Jones, Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver

The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

 

I really can’t wait for Fantastic Beasts!

What do you think? Which are you most excited for?

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