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  • Photo Credit: Pixabay

Monday, 16 October 2017

Book Review: Just a Coincidence by P.F. Ford

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There are some books you read and you ask yourself questions like: What was the author thinking? Why did he start or end the book this way? What goes on in the mind of the author from day to day? Why are the characters this way? Why does the author write like this? These and more were questions I had in mind when I was reading this book.

The book is the second in a crime series novel (read review of the first here), and is about the murder of two sisters and the daughter of one of them. I got a free copy of this book from the author, and the image below perfectly describes my feeling after I read the first.
Photo credit: Bookish Buzz on Facebook

To be honest, although I liked the story, I didn't enjoy the author’s writing style and I'll give some examples.

Example 1:
Slater had not been best pleased when Murray had passed the case on to him.
"But, Boss", he had protested. "This isn't me. I want something I can get my teeth into."
"That would probably be a very effective way of stopping a flasher," growled Murray, returning to his paperwork. "But I'm sure it wouldn't meet the approval of the health and safety people."

Now, while the last statement was an amazing joke (you should read the book to understand the joke), the first part where Slater was protesting and the author broke the sentence into two just to tell that he was protesting sounded a bit off to me. In my opinion, that part felt like a line from a story book meant for children, and that was how I pictured the protest to be honest. (Am I too harsh with this review?).

Another Example:
"I mean queue, as in 'wait your bloody turn, I'm next'," said a big-mouthed man without taking his eyes from the action within the car. "I've had to wait over a week to have a go with Blonde Bobby because of this friggin' police investigation closing the car park, so you can just sod off and wait your turn."

Like I wrote earlier, breaking up a sentence to indicate an action seemed a bit off.

The book ends with the reader getting to piece together who killed who from the entire storyline which is not bad.

This is book 36 of 52 and I'll rate it 3 out of 5 stars. Average rating on Goodreads: 4.2/5.

Book Review: Easy Motion Tourist by Leye Adenle

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I totally loved reading this book until I realised the book was almost getting to the end and the 'supposed main investigation' was never going to happen. 
Photo credit: Bookish Buzz on Facebook

I was so upset about this, I had to rant on Instagram and Facebook.

Instagram rant

At this point I'm totally clueless about what to write as I don't yet have the closure I want about the story. So, I'll just put the book blurb below:
Guy Collins, a British hack, is hunting for an election story in Lagos. A decision to check out a local bar in Victoria Island turns out badly-a mutilated female body is discarded close by and Collins is picked up as a suspect.
In the murk of a hot, groaning, and bloody police station cell, Collins fears the worst. But then Amaka, a sassy guardian angel of Lagos working girls, talks the police chief around. She assumes Collins is a BBC journo who can broadcast details of the city's witchcraft and body parts trade that she's on a one-woman mission to stop.
With Easy Motion Tourist's astonishing cast, Tarantino has landed in Lagos. This page-turning debut crime novel pulses with the rhythm of Nigeria's mega-city, reeks of its open drains and sparkles like the champagne quaffed in its upmarket districts.

I'll rate it 3 out of 5 (just because I'm still upset about the way it ended), and it is book 35 of 52. 

By the way, this book was a gift from 2016 Christmas which means I’ve become a book hoarder!

Average rating on Goodreads: 3.8/5.
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Book Review: I Know why the Caged Bird sings by Maya Angelou

Although I know a thing or two about Maya Angelou, I've never read any of her books (does this make me a bad book geek?). I read this book because it was our September book of the month in my book club, and it is therefore book 34 of 52 for 2017.

In my opinion, the book is a somewhat comical glimpse into the life of Maya Angelou's childhood. In the book, she talked about what it was like growing up in Stamps, Arkansas with her brother, grandmother, uncle, and other black folk. She also talked about what it was like growing up as a black kid during the time of segregation in America. Here's an excerpt:

“In Stamps the segregation was so complete that most Black children didn’t really, absolutely know what whites looked like. Other than that they were different, to be dreaded, and in that dread was included the hostility of the powerless against the powerful, the poor against the rich, the worker against the worked for and the ragged against the well dressed. I remember never believing that whites were really real….”

Some parts of the book also included how pious her paternal grandmother and most black folks were. There was a part of the book where her grandmother whooped her for saying 'by the way' because Jesus is 'The Way' and by saying 'by the way', she had called the Lord's name in vain (what?).  Her dramatic descriptions of some religious activities which took place in her community as well as the thoughts of individuals around her about God and religion gave me some interesting views about religion then and now.

The saddest part of this book for me was when she got raped at age 8 by her mother's boyfriend, I was so distraught, as I kept wondering how she coped. She stopped talking after that incident and didn’t start talking again until a few years after. I liked that her mother was a very open-minded and free-spirited woman who allowed her children grow up without being caged by societal pressures and expectations. The book ended with Maya getting pregnant out of sexual curiosity, at that point I rolled my eyes and asked, 'What is wrong with you?'. I loved reading this book and was thoroughly entertained through my reading journey.

I'll rate the book 4.4 out of 5. Average rating on Goodreads: 4.2/5.

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Book Review: A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair”.

I got a free copy of this book and some other classics from iBooks. When I first started reading this book, it was a bit complex as my reading brain found it quite challenging to visualize some portions of the book, so I did an online search for the junior edition. Luckily, I found a free copy which was in form of a comic book. I read this version in less than 30 minutes, then went back to the original version, this time my reading brain began to pick up, the characters formed easily in my head and I could complete the book.

The book which is a story about the French revolution was set in France and England and it tells the story of a former prisoner and his son-in-law during this period. The prisoner was a Doctor who was imprisoned because he reported to the relevant authorities some bad things a man and his brother had done against a peasant family. He was eventually released from prison after about 15 years, he finally met his daughter for the first time, she got married to the son of one of those evil brothers from his past (he had no idea), this son-in-law was saved from prison and death sentence twice. I can't even begin to summarise what happened as it is a bit complex with a lot of weaving in and out of stories. Although it was not a love story, it ends with a man sacrificing his life for another (like Jesus).

I found the book (un)intensely dramatic and not so straight-forward to read, but reading the book made me understand some reasons behind the French revolution better. Since I mainly read books with stories for pure entertainment, I’ll definitely read more classics in future as I have a better view about them, some of which are: they teach history, they help one understand nations, tribe etc and why people are the way they are.

My biggest lesson from this book is this: People have always been oppressed by the ruling class (or aristocrats) but when they get tired they eventually there is the the possibility of chaos and anarchy.

I'll rate the book 3.8 out of 5, and it is book 33 of 52 for this year although I’m not sure if I’ll get to number 52 anymore this year.

Goodreads average ranking: 3.8/5

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Saturday, 29 July 2017

32 Books in 30 Weeks-My 2017 Reading Journey

This year like every other, my aim was to read 24 books, but since joining the #readthonwithoa challenge on Instagram with Ope Akinbo where the goal was to read one book per week, I had to double my reading effort. When I initially joined the challenge, I thought it was going to be impossible for me to achieve this, but we're currently in week 30 and I have read 32 (and half of two different) books so far (let me digress a bit, there's an amazing person I follow on Instagram who has read 108 books this year as at the time of writing this post, follow her here on Instagram). 
In this post, I will be sharing how I have been able to read more despite a very busy schedule and I really hope you find these tips useful:

  1. Find your favourite book genre: There are so many book genres out there such as Crime, Romance, Sci-fi, Inspirational, African literature and so on, find the one(s) you love and stick with it. Personally, I like most book genres apart from Sci-fi, so I never force myself to read Sci-fi books.
  2. Always carry a book with you: No matter where I'm going, there's always a book with me, and if I can't go out with any other thing except my phone, there are two apps installed on my phone which I use for reading-Amazon Kindle and iBook app.
  3. Reduce TV time: I know this is hard to do as some of us are TV junkies. I'm a crime series junkie, but I cut down my TV time drastically (my husband is not too happy with me about this because I forced him to upgrade our DSTV subscription, but I have watched TV even less)
  4. Schedule a reading time: Take time out of your extremely busy schedule to read every day even if it is as little as 5 minutes-this quickly becomes a habit.
  5. Make good use of social media: If you're short of ideas about what to read, search on Instagram using hashtags such as #books#bookstagram#bibliophile, #bookstagrammer, etc, you'll be surprised the number of readers in the Instagram community who read, discuss and post their current reads. Also, following authors, publishers and bookstores on social media will give you ideas on what to read next which is better than scrolling endlessly through social media.
  6. Join a book club: Joining a book club made me read one extra book each month because we all must discuss about the book at the end of every month, and it's not fun to be left out in such discussions.
  7. Talk about books: One of my favourite people to have bookish discussions with are my bookworm cousins, trust me it's amazing their level of intellectual reasoning
  8. Have a reading list: Every new book I want to read goes to my endless reading list. This means I always have something to read (my reading list for 2017 can be found here).
  9. Do a book swap: Books can be expensive, but sometimes it helps if you do a book swap with others, that way you don't have to buy a book but you can read more without limitations. However, if you're not comfortable lending out your book, please don't do this.
  10. Read book reviews: Sometimes deciding on which book to read can be a bit tricky, and at other times, if a book you're currently reading is not enjoyable, it will help if you read reviews from other readers on platforms such as Goodreads and Amazon.
  11. Write a review: If you can, write a review about a book, it helps you remember what you read about the book and you're also helping some other reader decide on whether to read a book.
  12. Attend bookish events: If you can, attend book events such as book festivals, author tours, and book reading events. That way, you get to network with other readers, as well as authors, bookstores, and publishers. Sometimes, you could even get a free book or discount prices on books.
So, that’s my 2017 reading journey so far and how I have been able to pull through. Do you have other tips you have used and would like to share or maybe you’re currently facing some challenges with reading, how can I help?

2017 Reading Challenge

2017 Reading Challenge
Temi has read 0 books toward their goal of 52 books.

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