Book Review

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

The Woman in the Window by A.J. FinnThe Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 2nd January 2018
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Borrowed
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Anna Fox lives alone, a recluse in her New York City home, unable to venture outside. She spends her day drinking wine (maybe too much), watching old movies, recalling happier times--and spying on her neighbors.

Then the Russells move into the house across the way: a father, a mother, and their teenage son. The perfect family. But when Anna, gazing out her window one night, sees something she shouldn’t, her world begins to crumble—and its shocking secrets are laid bare.

What is real? What is imagined? Who is in danger? Who is in control? In this diabolically gripping thriller, no one—and nothing—is what it seems.

As psychological thrillers go, The Woman in the Window is an intriguing one, but it’s not all that original. I feel like I’ve read most of these plot points before in various other books, and nothing really stood out here.

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Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West

Love, Life, and the List by Kasie WestLove, Life, and the List by Kasie West
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 26th December 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.

I was a bit hesitant to read Love, Life, and the List because I was really disappointed by the last book I read by Kasie West (By Your Side). She’s an auto-buy author for me, but I was so let down by that book that I almost reconsidered. I haven’t read Lucky in Love yet, but I heard mixed things about that one, so by the time Love, Life, and the List came around, I was very much on the fence. (Ha!)

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King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard

King’s Cage by Victoria AveyardKing's Cage by Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #3
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 7th February 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the Lightning Girl's spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother's web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continue organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare's heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

To be honest, I completely forgot about the release of King’s Cage last year when I was in my epic reading slump. I really enjoyed the first two books in the series, so I kept meaning to get hold of King’s Cage ASAP but it just didn’t happen. BUT, I have finally read it, and I reeaaaally enjoyed it. I’m kind of glad that I waited so long to read it because THAT ENDING.

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A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole

A Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. ColeA Conspiracy of Stars by Olivia A. Cole
Series: Faloiv #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: 2nd January 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Octavia has only ever had one goal: to follow in the footsteps of her parents and become a prestigious whitecoat, one of the scientists who study the natural wonders of Faloiv. The secrets of the jungle’s exotic plants and animals are protected fiercely in the labs by the Council of N’Terra, so when the rules suddenly change, allowing students inside, Octavia should be overjoyed.

But something isn’t right. The newly elected leader of the Council has some extremist views about the way he believes N’Terra should be run, and he’s influencing others to follow him. When Octavia witnesses one of the Faloii—the indigenous people of Faloiv—attacked in front of her in the dark of night, she knows the Council is hiding something. They are living in separate worlds on a shared planet, and their fragile peace may soon turn into an all-out war.

With the help of Rondo, a quiet boy in class with a skill for hacking, and her inquisitive best friend, Alma, Octavia is set on a collision course to discover the secrets behind the history she’s been taught, the science she’s lived by, and the truth about her family.

A Conspiracy of Stars was so freakin’ dull, you guys. I went into it expecting action-packed science fiction, but instead what I got was what seemed like an encyclopaedia of alien species and biology. So much biology.

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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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