Rapid Fire Book Tag

Hello, it’s Friday the Thirteenth and it is a wet morning here in Kisumu. I’m on my third cup of instant black coffee and I fear I’ve run out of Nescafe. I came across this book tag on Abigail’s Books blog and it was created by Kate at Girl Reading. It’s the second book tag that fascinates me and so I thought, eh, why not? Let’s do this:

E-book or physical book?

Physical books any time or day, but I do prefer e-books when I am traveling.

Paperback or hardback?

Paperback🙂.

Online or in-store book shopping?

I ❤ online book shopping because of the many recommendations that pop up which always introduces me to a new writer. I am also known to wander off in book stores.

Trilogies or series?

Can we stick to two books? I’ve written a series so here’s the pot calling the kettle black!

Heroes or villains?

Villains (psst! Don’t tell Peaches, he reckons I’m a good girl).

A book I want everyone to read.

Image result for arrow of god chinua

Recommend an underrated book

In the Kitchen by Monica Ali🙂

The last book I finished.

The Platinum Dragon by Vance Pumphrey

The Last book I bought.

The Kitchen God’s Wife  by Amy Tan

Weirdest thing I’ve used as a bookmark

Lollipop wrapper.

Used books- yes or no?

Yes, well, as long as all the pages are there.

Top three favorite genres

Literary fiction

Women’s fiction

Romance

Borrow or buy?

Buy.

Characters or plot?

Characters.

Long or short books?

Both? 🙂

Long or short chapters?

Surprise me!

The first three books I can think of

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K.Rowling

Books that made you laugh or cry?

Rain Falls on Everyone by Clar Ni Chonghaile

Land Without Thunder by Grace Ogot

Arrows of Rain by Okey Ndibe

The Abyssinian Chronicles by Moses Issegawa

Our world or fictional worlds?

Fictional!

Audiobooks- yes or no?

No, thanks.

Ever judge a book by it’s cover?

Yes…like seriously who hasn’t?

Book to movie or book to TV adaptations?

No, what’s in print should stay there…but Marvel has me thinking differently.

A movie or TV show I preferred to its book

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Let’s just say that I never finished reading the book 😦

Series or standalones?

Standalones.

Books for Aurora

I came across a post I’d published on April 28, 2014 on Jodie titled “A Girl’s Got to Dream, Right?’ I had bought over a 100 books that year and had my sister, Jackie, take this cheesy photo of me. PS: I still fit into those black shorts.

Back then I was so in love with 11 books that I believed if ever I had kids, they’d have to read them, and the eleven were:

  1. Of Marriageable Age by Sharon Maas
  2. In the Kitchen by Monica Ali
  3. The Poet by Michael Connelly
  4. The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
  5. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  6. Night Train to Lisbon by Pascal Mercier
  7. A French Affair by Susan Lewis
  8. The Glass Palace by Amitav Ghosh
  9. Dreams of Rivers and Seas by Tim Parks
  10. An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender

And lastly…”A Father’s Portrait.”

It’s been three years and I’ve bought and read many more books that I have safely stored in my collection hoping that someday, I’ll have the chance to pick one and say “you should read this,” because who knows what would be popular then.

I’d probably shove my whole collection into her face but only time will tell. So, here goes something and I am glad that Sharon Maas is still on that list!

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The Cookie Book Tag

I came across this on The Finicky Cynic blog   yesterday and it got me thinking of all the books I’ve read so I figured, why not share my experiences. I also read the posts by Melissa-The Bookish Wanderer and Nicole who created this tag last year. Thanks Nicole!

Chocolate Chip: A Classic Book That You Love or Really Enjoyed (interpret classic how you want, it can be a classic written 100 years ago or 20 years ago)

I grew up reading literary giants like Achebe, Grace Ogot, Asenath Bole Odaga and Ngugi wa Thiongo’ and this book is second in a trilogy that focuses on the changes that came with colonialism. I am still in awe of Ezeulu, the Chief priest of the god Ulu, who is the main character in this book and his struggle to remain relevant at a very trying time.

Thin Mints: A Fandom That You Really Want to ‘Join’ AND/OR a Hyped-Up Book You Want To Read (your source(s) of a book being hyped can be from anywhere)

A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J Maas

I’ve seen so many reviews of this series on Instagram that I would love to read it.

Shortbread: An Author You Can’t Get Enough Of

Image result for chimamanda ngozi adichie
Chimamanda Adichie

Samoas/ Caramel DeLites: An Emotional Rollercoaster (this cookie was hard … so any book that made you feel more than one emotion, strongly. The choice of emotions is up to you)

I still believe that if there’s a book you ought to read this year, this is it! It will break your heart, lift you up, dust you off, let you wobble a bit, break your heart, open your mind and all the while you’ll wonder just how much a person, more so, a child can take during conflict. I posted a review- here.

Oreos: A Book Whose Cover Was Better Than The Story OR Vice Versa, Where The Story Was Better Than Its Cover

Dragma's Keep (Valdaar's Fist Book 1) by [Pumphrey, Vance]

If you love an epic adventure, then this book is right up your alley. I’m talking about a noble soldier, a sorcerer/caster, a dwarf, a thief and a priestess, what could go wrong? I loved the book, but the cover…not so much.

Tagalongs/ Peanut Butter Patties: A Book That Wasn’t What You Expected (good, bad, or just different, interpret how you wish)

In The KitchenI loved this book despite the negative reviews it received. Gabriel’s a chef who dreams of opening up his own restaurant but he struggles with actualizing his dream.

Snickerdoodles: A Book You May Never Stop Rereading/ Loving

Image result for pride and prejudiceLizzy anyone?

Want to try this?

Here are the rules:

  • In addition to linking back to the person who tagged you, it would be awesome if you link back to the original post.
  • Pick a book that corresponds to the cookie’s ‘theme’.
  • Have fun!
  • Tag one to three people or leave it open to anyone who’d love to have fun with this tag! 🙂

Reading updates

Saturday’s here and I am all for staying in bed and listening to Bryson Tiller’s Trap Soul, but that’s for another time.

I’ve been doing less writing and more reading.

On my to-read list today are:

  • The Liar in the Library by Simon Brett: Having been booked to give a talk at Fethering Library, successful author Burton St Clair invites his old friend Jude to come along. Although they haven’t met for twenty years, Jude is not surprised to find that St Clair hasn’t changed, with his towering ego and somewhat shaky relationship with the truth. What Jude hadn’t been suspecting however was that the evening would end in sudden, violent death. 
    More worrying, from Jude’s point of view, is the fact that the investigating police officers seem to be convinced that she herself was responsible for the crime. With the evidence stacking up against her, Jude enlists the help of her neighbour Carole not just to solve the murder but to prevent herself from being arrested for committing it.China Girl by Ho Lin: In its nine tales, China Girl documents the collisions between East and West, the power of myth and the burden of history, and loves lost and almost found. The stories in this collection encompass everything from contemporary vignettes about urban life to fable-like musings on memories and the art of storytelling. Wide-ranging and playful, China Girl is a journey into today’s Asia as well as an Asia of the imagination.They Know Not What They Do by Jussi Valtonen: Joe Chayefski has got what he always wanted: a reputation as one of America’s top neuroscientists, a beautiful wife and two perfect daughters. But his carefully created idyll is threatened when his Baltimore neuroscience lab is targeted by animal rights activists. The attack is followed by a phone call from Joe’s ex-wife in Finland. Two decades have passed since he abandoned Alina and their young son, Samuel, returning to America to advance his career. Now Samuel is somewhere in the States, and Alina fears he is looking for revenge. As Joe struggles to protect his new family from the increasing threat of violence – and to save his eldest daughter from the clutches of an unscrupulous tech company – he is forced to reconsider his priorities and take drastic action to save those he loves.

Which book/s are you looking forward to reading this weekend?

Have a lovely day 🙂

A Moby Dick kinda feeling

#AfternoonPost

9 months and 16 days, that’s exactly how long it took me to sit down and finish reading The Emperor’s Bones,a 736 page novel, by Adam Williams. #IssaFriday y’all!

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I love Writers and Readers.

I have been in love with literature for years and I am saying this because let’s be honest as readers, there are books that make you feel like Captain Ahab hunting down the white whale! You get pissed off, you form a squad, sometimes you are miserable, sometimes you are optimistic but one thing remains constant…your will to keep reading. I had such a Moby Dick relationship with this book that I’m not going to lie about it. I read almost a hundred books in between November 28th last year when I started it and today when I finished it.

Have you ever had that one book that you couldn’t cast aside and forget about? I am talking about the one book that you keep coming back to but are nowhere near the last page? This was it for me and though set in the 19th century China, it’s a detailed insight into the war, opium business, foreign involvement and something about resilience in a beautiful red-head named Catherine Cabot. At some point as I was reading it this came to mind:

I posted my review on Goodreads and went straight to the shop to get a 500ml Fanta Orange to celebrate.

What’s your Moby Dick kinda book?

How to be a spoilsport

Spoilsport

noun: a person who behaves in a way that spoils other’s pleasure, especially by not joining in an activity

synonyms: killjoy, misery, damper, party pooper

  • I have neither read nor watched Game of Thrones.

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  • I have read The Fifty Shades of Grey series but not watched the movies.
  • I have neither read Fallen, nor am I looking forward to watch the movie, because I have watched the trailer on YouTube and I think that’s enough.
  • I am not a Swiftie…no, I do love three songs that she’s sang throughout her life, most of the times I find myself falling asleep when her song comes on and yes, my younger sister told me I need deliverance!

Don’t you just hate it when someone bursts your neat awesome bubble? See, I never mind spoilers, or always looking up some information online, but what gets to me is always the teasers that come after some programs and they go like “on the next episode of blah blah blah,” and then they show some epic scenes.

I mean, really, why show me a ten second clip when you know you have me hooked and I am already counting the days or hours to the next episode? This rant has nothing to do with the fact that I missed out on an episode of my favorite show because of a blackout! It has everything to do with kplc.

I also hate this when it comes to books. I do not want a sample chapter of the next book. I want to read about the author, where to leave a review and maybe see the cover of the next book, and that’s that! So, imagine me ranting about this when I am about to do exactly the same thing!

Wait, you can hate on me later, but there’s this book that’s coming out on October 10th, that’s in 41 days time! It’s titled Begin Again by Mona Kasten.

Begin Again: Allie and Kaden's Story by [Kasten, Mona]

Half the blurb goes: He makes the rules. She breaks them all. A new start. It’s the only thing keeping Allie Harper going, when she packs up her life and moves across the country to Woodshill, Oregon. She’s about to start college, desperate to leave the ghosts of her past behind her. Even if that means never talking to her parents again.

Now the hard part – finding an apartment before classes start. Just when it seems she’ll have to live out of her car, Allie visits one more place. It’s beautiful. With one exception: can she stand being roommates with campus bad boy Kaden White? Sure, Kaden is sexy with his tattoos and careless attitude, but he’s also an arrogant jerk. With nowhere else to go, Allie moves in.

The first thing Kaden does is make a set of rules. Either Allie obeys, or she’s out:

1. Don’t talk about your girl problems.
2. Keep your mouth shut if I bring someone home.
3. We will NEVER hook up.

Check it out on Amazon-> here

There’s been too many “I”s in this post, now let’s get down to how to be a spoilsport:

  1. Forget the words ‘spoil’ and ‘sport’ if you aren’t feeling it, don’t force it. 7 billion people and plus cannot fit into one box!
  2. If you saw something or know something about entertainment before your friends do, give ’em hell! Don’t shut up about it! If you are my friend and you are all about the StoryMoja Festival…shut up!
  3. Be like kermit

Image result for kermit as i sip my tea4. Ignore most of what I’ve said except checking out Mona Kasten’s book, because I need a Kaden, Dawn and Scott in my life, even the author agreed!

 

 

 

 

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

NetGalley has been good to me. I was hesitant when I first received the recommendation from Goodreads to sign up and get to read books in exchange for a review. I thought, “why ask for books just to review them?”

Then the gods of literature struck and I was working in Kisumu and couldn’t find alternative sources of buying books. I was in a literal dry spell and my mind was asking to be nourished by something, so I signed up and since then I’ve read 47 books off NetGalley. I’ve come to know of authors whom I’ll always keep an eye out for like Clar Ni Chonghaile, Timothy Ogene, and now Akwaeke Emezi.

So, my NG experience aside, let me tell you about Akwaeke’s book called Freshwater!

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

This book held me captive till the very end.
The story follows Ada, a child who upon birth is believed to possess two spirits inside her. As she grows, she’s both sweet and volatile, something that is not known to everyone for her spirits take charge each seeking to meet their own selfish needs.
The author molds a story that is both candid and incomplete for she uses mysticism to weave an understanding of mental illness. You feel as though you are the spirits inside Ada, and you are also an outsider observing Ada which made this book irresistible.
When Ada struggles to come to terms with what’s happening inside her mind, they remind her that she is them and they are her.
Sectioning the Ada gave her isolated pockets of memory, each containing a different version of her. There were versions to whom bad things had happened and, therefore, there were versions of her to whom these things had not happened. This terrified her, because if there were so many of her,then which one was she?
I love how the voice of each of the gods within Ada was firm. There was a certain dominance and certainty to them that made me await the awakening of Ada. I was reading this and when I got to Chapter Twenty, all I could keep saying was “come on Ada, get up Ada!”
It is at exactly that moment that I read this When you break something, you must study the pattern of the shattering before you can piece it back together. So it was with the Ada. She was a question wrapped up in breath: How do you survive when they place a god inside your body?

There is a phrase in the book that goes First feed your gods which I found to be remarkable simple but the weight of it stayed with me. If there’s anything that I learned from this book is that people are as unique as they come and no matter how many voices speak up or demand attention in your head, in that shattering moment, you are still the one who counts. Finding out how to make it count is what matters.

Check out her website for more at: http://www.akwaeke.com/

Her story “Who is like God?” clinched the 2017 Commonwealth Short story Prize from Africa: read it here

I’d like to thank Grove Atlantic, Grove Press and NetGalley for the advance copy, for it’s been a refreshing read.

TMI:

Drinking: Tea (my second cup of the day)

Listening to: Lust for Life by Lana Del Ray

Hooked to: Elevation Church sermons (I listen to a sermon every night before I sleep)

Currently reading: Mother of Pearl by Melinda Haynes