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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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The Calculus of Change by Jessie Hilb

The Calculus of Change by Jessie HilbThe Calculus of Change by Jessie Hilb
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 27th February 2018
Publisher: Clarion Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

A poignant and empowering teen novel of grief, unrequited love, and finding comfort in one's own skin.

Aden isn't looking for love in her senior year. She's much more focused on things like getting a solo gig at Ike's and keeping her brother from illegal herbal recreation. But when Tate walks into Calculus class wearing a yarmulke and a grin, Aden's heart is gone in an instant.

The two are swept up in a tantalizingly warm friendship, complete with long drives with epic soundtracks and deep talks about life, love, and spirituality. With Tate, Aden feels closer to her mom—and her mom's faith—than she has since her mother died years ago. Everyone else—even Aden's brother and her best friend—can see their connection, but does Tate?

Navigating uncertain romance and the crises of those she loves, Aden must decide how she chooses to see herself and how to honor her mom’s memory.

I don’t really have too much to say about this book because it failed to draw me in, which meant I ended up skimming most of it. My biggest issue with the book was that there was no draw for me. I just didn’t connect with the writing style, and I had no interest in the characters or the plot because of that.

I also didn’t like the way the student/teacher relationship was dealt with in this book. The teacher wasn’t punished or fired or anything for what he did, in fact it was completely brushed over. I didn’t like that there were no repercussions for his actions.

Obviously, I don’t recommend picking this one up.

Six Little Secrets by Katlyn Duncan

Six Little Secrets by Katlyn DuncanSix Little Secrets by Katlyn Duncan
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 24th November 2017
Publisher: HQ Digital
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

Some secrets can never stay hidden for long…

Six teenagers meet in Saturday detention: a brain, a beauty, a cheerleader, a rebel, a recluse and the new girl.

But someone is watching. Someone has made sure that they are all in the same room at the same time. Someone knows that each of them is hiding a terrible secret…

…and by the end of detention, everyone will know the truth.

Six Little Secrets started off interesting. The first couple of chapters were decent when it came to setting up the book and intriguing me, but after that it all fell apart. I felt like the novella was too short (I realise there’s a reason it’s called a NOVELLA, but whatever) for this kind of story. There wasn’t enough time to set up each of the characters, and I really didn’t care about any of them. When the reveal came, I wasn’t shocked, because I didn’t really care.

I was pretty bored after the first two or three chapters, to be honest. Also, this book is pretty much One of Us is Lying all over again, except OOUIL does everything better.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Reneé Ahdieh

The Wrath and the Dawn by Reneé AhdiehThe Wrath and the Dawn by Reneé Ahdieh
Series: The Wrath and the Dawn #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 12th May 2015
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

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?
 

I can’t remember the last time I was this disappointed in a book. I had been looking forward to reading The Wrath and the Dawn before it was even released, and I spent a lot of money on a pretty hardback copy when I was in the US. I was so excited to finally pick it up because I’d heard that it was outstanding, but it was actually pretty shit. I’m so sad.

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Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

Ivory and Bone by Julie EshbaughIvory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
Series: Ivory and Bone #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 7th June 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.

Thoughts before reading this book: Prehistoric world? Fantasy? Sign me up!

Thoughts after reading this book: Oh. Well. That was disappointing.

Is just one book that ticks all of my prehistoric/dinosaur nerd boxes too much to ask for? Apparently so. I was so, so excited about Ivory and Bone before I read it because I’m all for prehistoric settings. Unfortunately I didn’t connect with the way the book is written, and I didn’t care for any of the characters. Bit of a downer.

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