Author: Amber

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane AckermanThe Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman
Genre: Historical
Release Date: 17th September 2007
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

When Germany invaded Poland, Stuka bombers devastated Warsaw—and the city's zoo along with it. With most of their animals dead, zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski began smuggling Jews into empty cages. Another dozen "guests" hid inside the Zabinskis' villa, emerging after dark for dinner, socializing, and, during rare moments of calm, piano concerts. Jan, active in the Polish resistance, kept ammunition buried in the elephant enclosure and stashed explosives in the animal hospital. Meanwhile, Antonina kept her unusual household afloat, caring for both its human and its animal inhabitants—otters, a badger, hyena pups, lynxes.With her exuberant prose and exquisite sensitivity to the natural world, Diane Ackerman engages us viscerally in the lives of the zoo animals, their keepers, and their hidden visitors. She shows us how Antonina refused to give in to the penetrating fear of discovery, keeping alive an atmosphere of play and innocence even as Europe crumbled around her.

I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked up The Zookeeper’s Wife, but it certainly wasn’t this. I knew from reading a couple of reviews that this was a non-fiction account, but I wasn’t expecting the author to add so many fictionalised scenes and moments. It made for a very strange mixture.

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The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

The Belles by Dhonielle ClaytonThe Belles by Dhionelle Clayton
Series: The Belles #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 6th February 2018
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.

I am so, so disappointed by The Belles. It’s possibly one of the most hyped books of the season, and I was really excited to get my hands on it, but it turned out to be a massive disappointment.

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Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine & Ann Aguirre

Honor Among Thieves by Rachel Caine & Ann AguirreHonor Among Thieves by Ann Aguirre, Rachel Caine
Series: The Honors #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: 13th February 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Petty criminal Zara Cole has a painful past that’s made her stronger than most, which is why she chose life in New Detroit instead moving with her family to Mars. In her eyes, living inside a dome isn’t much better than a prison cell.

Still, when Zara commits a crime that has her running scared, jail might be exactly where she’s headed. Instead Zara is recruited into the Honors, an elite team of humans selected by the Leviathan—a race of sentient alien ships—to explore the outer reaches of the universe as their passengers.

Zara seizes the chance to flee Earth’s dangers, but when she meets Nadim, the alien ship she’s assigned, Zara starts to feel at home for the first time. But nothing could have prepared her for the dark, ominous truths that lurk behind the alluring glitter of starlight.

Guys, this book was strange. I loved the concept, and I loved the space travel part, but bloody hell, there’s a romance developing between a human girl and a living alien spaceship. It’s the weirdest thing, and I can’t get on board with that.

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The Last to Let Go by Amber Smith

The Last to Let Go by Amber SmithThe Last to Let Go by Amber Smith
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 6th February
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

How do you let go of something you’ve never had?

Junior year for Brooke Winters is supposed to be about change. She’s transferring schools, starting fresh, and making plans for college so she can finally leave her hometown, her family, and her past behind.

But all of her dreams are shattered one hot summer afternoon when her mother is arrested for killing Brooke’s abusive father. No one really knows what happened that day, if it was premeditated or self-defense, whether it was right or wrong. And now Brooke and her siblings are on their own.

In a year of firsts—the first year without parents, first love, first heartbreak, and her first taste of freedom—Brooke must confront the shadow of her family’s violence and dysfunction, as she struggles to embrace her identity, finds her true place in the world, and learns how to let go.

The Last to Let Go was so. good. I was drawn in by the premise, as I’m always curious to see how authors portray domestic abuse, and I was certainly not disappointed by how this book turned out.

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Layover by Amy Andelson & Emily Meyer

Layover by Amy Andelson & Emily MeyerLayover by Amy Andelson, Emily Meyer
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 6th February 2018
Publisher: Crown Books For Young Readers
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Flynn: At first we were almost strangers. But ever since I moved to New York, Amos was the one person I could count on. And together we were there for Poppy. (I mean, what kind of parents leave their kid to be raised by a nanny?) I just didn’t expect to fall for him—and I never expected him to leave us.

Amos: I thought I was the only one who felt it. I told myself it was because we were spending so much time together—taking care of Poppy and all. But that night, I could tell she felt it, too. And I freaked out—you’re not supposed to fall for your stepsister. So I ran away to boarding school. I should have told her why I was leaving, but every time I tried, it felt like a lie.

I can’t say I was a fan of this one. I really liked the idea of the three teenagers running around Los Angeles together and seeing the sights, but unfortunately it wasn’t executed very well and I had massive issues with the romance.

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