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

Wednesday, January 24, 2018


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.

I struggled with City of Saints and Thieves when I learned that the book wasn't written by a Kenyan, or even someone from Africa for that matter. The book was written by a well meaning white lady who wanted to do her part to bring to light the types of lives that refugees experience. I struggled because I wondered, if by reading and enjoying this book, I was reinforcing the idea that books written by minorities about minorities (in this case refugee Africans) weren't being published or considered, and this white lady (who don't get me wrong, she seems to have paid her dues), writes about their lives and gets praise and recognition. It incites the same feeling as when someone says my coily natural hair is fun, beautiful, different, and great, and then says "but I wouldn't want it, I wish I had beach waves like Lauren Conrad though". It's all a mess. True story folks. That being said, I was going to read this book because I've been to Kenya. I belong to an organization (American Friend of Kenya) that trains folks who want to bring literature to their communities by starting community libraries and library (type) programs. We go to Kenya once a year to train those who want to be a part of this mission, and send a GIANT shipping container of donated supplies once a year as well. I'm very passionate about it, and I love reading about Kenya, so I read this book, and I'm going to be honest, I freaking liked it.

There was so much to like in this book. There was a very positive relationship between two sisters. This book touched on themes such as trust, friendship, and redemption. I'm honestly not sure where to start.  Lets start with the cover art. It beautiful. I will always love a book with a brown face on the cover. That being said, I wish her face wasn't camouflaged behind the red design. That's called white washing, if anyone was wondering.

The rules of being a thief were pretty awesome. For such simple sentences, they went a long way toward providing insight to Tina's mindset.

This is going to sound weird,  but I also kind of like that she joined a gang after her mother was killed. Now, I know how that sounds, but if you put yourself in the mind of a young person, in a third world country (heck of even less desirable parts of America), who's mother has just been killed, potentially by some rich white guy with stupid amounts of money and connections, and you have no idea what to do, (gotta love this run on sentence) it makes more sense to turn to another group of big, bad, powerful guys, than to magically figure it out on your own... which is what happens in a lot of other books (I'm looking at you Divergent). People tend to join gangs for family, safety, and security, which is exactly what Tina was looking for. (She didn't really trust them, but she did need them.) She's unlike a lot of other female characters floating around, and I'm always a fan of the unusual.

Boyboy is squad goals. Just saying.

I really liked that I had NO idea who killed her mother. None what-so-sever. I had a theory and my theory was blown out of the water. It was crazy.

Again, I struggled with the book, because I wondered how many minorities or refugees proposed a story just as great as this one, and was turned down. I hate that this is what the world has become.

Read the book. Read this book, but then read books similar to this that are "own voices" please. Thanks.
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Top 5 Books for Sick Reading

Friday, January 12, 2018

I was sick A LOT in 2017 (and I'm actually just getting over a cold, so 2018 isn't looking great either), nothing crazy or big, just a lot of sneezing, coughing, and plenty of fevers. For some reason in 2017, there was no such thing as that annoying cold you could power through with a box of tissues next to you, they all knocked me right on my bum and left me there for a minimum of three days. Most of the time, I was too sick to read, but when I could, I read the fluffiest, and sometimes crappiest books in the world. They were super comforting!!! In the spirit of list making, allow me to share some of those with you here.

There really aren't words to describe how bad this book was. I'm a Librarian, I know a lot about bikers (they got it all wrong by the way), so I had to know. It's... just... *sigh*, but I enjoyed reading in my haze of fever at 2 in the morning.

Way back when, I reviewed this book. In my opinion it's not great, but I think it could have been great. The concept was solid, the characters, were pleasant, the romance was freaking HOT, but it was just missing something (and they said "I just want to know what's going on" 20 times too many). I actually scanned through this book like... 10 times. I'd take Gabriel in a second!

All of these books, I flip sick read all of them, particularly the first two. I am a hard core fan of urban fantasy and I love this werewolf series. If I start to go into it, I'll never stop. If you don't know it, please educate yourself. 

This book was in my Top 10 of 2017 post because it's just so darn cute. I like the banter, and the evolution of their relationship, even though there was a "I just realized that I though I hated him but all this time I loved him" moment. I'm willing to look past that. You should too. I scan this book at least once a week.This is the least diverse cover ever. I'm horrible guys.

Can we all just appreciate this cover please!! This is a great book to read when you're sick because Elyse (our heroine) was in an accident and can't talk. So while we're miserable about our sore throat in bed, she's miserable about hers too (although she just plain can't talk... so I guess that's worse than a sore throat). 

So here they are. My top 5 books to read when I'm sick. Looking at the list, Cry Wolf kind of sticks out, but there's love and romance... kind of... It's complicated. But it totally fit's with my "I'm sick, I don't have anyone to make me soup, or cuddle me, where's my love and romance???!!!" theme for sick days. 

P.S. I honestly don't want love and romance, but when I get sick, I get delusional.

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