Author’sDelight #12 – PabPub is hosting Phoenix Quill Writing Contest and there is N100, 000 up for grabs! — Paul Anisiji, aka, Benjamin Paul.

You won’t believe who I have here with me today!! If you have heard me mention PabPub in any of my posts, then you are one step closer to know who it is!

It’s…Paul Anisiji!!!! He’s popularly known as Benjamin Paul and he is one of the founding leaders of PabPub & Fresh Writers Community!!!

It’s such a delight to have him for Author’s Delight. He shared a lot of info on his writing, PabPub & FWC. Read along and enjoyyyyy!


Oreoluwa Eunice: Hello, I’m Oreoluwa from StoryStoryOh. Please introduce yourself.

Benjamin Paul: Hi, Oreoluwa. I am Paul Anisiji, commonly known as Benjamin Paul. I am a writer, developer, coach, business person and apparently more.


Oreoluwa Eunice: It’s a delight having this discussion with you, Paul. You are a lot of things; a writer, a developer, a coach, a business person and even more. Wow. How do you balance all these things?


Benjamin Paul: At the risk of coming off weird (and I do come off weird, a lot) — I do not know. I just keep doing things because there are so many diverse fields in life and I guess I enjoy feeling and tapping into the energy of most of them. It’s like being a lot of persons at once and life is more interesting that way. I’m not a ‘hard worker’ or something, I am just like this as though like this is the most natural thing.

Oreoluwa Eunice: I totally understand what you mean and I don’t believe you are being weird at all.

I would like to believe being a reader is part of the “more” you mentioned. Am I right?


Benjamin Paul: Oh. There is actually a lot more in the ‘more’ and yes, being a reader is part. But sometimes I feel like a liar when I call myself a reader, because most bibliophiles I know have read way more than I have. I tried, but can’t catch up. 😣


Oreoluwa Eunice: Well, I’m of the opinion that reading is the important part of being a reader and not how many books you have read. Reading a lot of books is important but not learning anything is tragic but this isnt discussion for today😁

What are your favourite genres to read and what will you not be caught reading?


Benjamin Paul: I agree with you, especially because I want to.

I like reading works that make me think in a different dimension. That includes mostly thriller, mystery, fantasy, psychological thriller. Like Dan Brown’s works and this is why my favorite book is Angel’s and Demons.

As for works I won’t be found reading…um. I don’t know why but I have not been able to read erotic novels. I tried to force myself once just so I can learn to write such scene, but I failed. There is something oddly uncomfortable with description of erotic scenes in books for me.


Oreoluwa Eunice: I don’t know why this is so funny to me but I’m laughing here. I think people who can write steamy sex scenes in books are actually very good because I don’t wanna believe it’s easy to write. It takes art to write the right words and the right actions that is seen as a acceptable and not cringy or something like that. I also enjoy thrillers, all kinds. There is something about them.

As a writer, which of your books did you enjoy writing the most?

Benjamin Paul: Hmmm. It is hard to pick, but if I must then I’d pick my unpopular work — Christmas is Red. A novella.


Oreoluwa Eunice: Why was it the most enjoyable to write for you?


Benjamin Paul: I guess it was because I wasn’t feeling pressured when I wrote it. At the time I was the head of my writing community — FWC— and with this responsibility came with the pressure to be excellent in my writing. But this book, ‘Christmas is Red’ was supposed to be a short story and my first attempt at horror. I didn’t fully develop the plot before beginning, I didn’t promote it and no one was around waiting for it or pressuring me to finish the book. I just woke up every night for four straight days and focused on conjuring up scary scenes. And laughing in the darkness while imagining the look on the faces of my readers when they will read the book. I ended up writing a novella and I am proud of the work.

Oreoluwa Eunice: I truly believe it now when they say writers are wicked and they enjoy the tears of their readers😂😂 and I’m going to pretend as if I don’t run on these same tears.

Let’s talk about your writing community — FWC. What does it mean? How did it start?


Benjamin Paul: Haha. FWC stands for Fresh Writers Community. It started in October 2017 at a time when, as a Wattpad writer, I felt like I and most ‘fresh’ writers felt sort of lost. There were a few Nigerian writers who seemed to know what they were doing, people I.R. Adams, BlackxBelle, T.J. Martins, 90sbambina, and I thought it would be amazing if there was a platform for such authors to come around and help those of us that are fresh to find their way. So I woke up one morning, created FWC, contacted Yewande Joseph to be the head and she obliged, then I set up the system and it was amazing. In two months, we had surplus writers including me who became automatically transformed in a short time with the guidance of these amazing authors mentioned above whom were invited to come around and coach the fresh writers.

To paint a great picture, by the following January, I went from not understanding third person POV to writing Chasing Annabelle, a novel written within a month and is opined by many to be among the best works around.


Oreoluwa Eunice: Wow, that’s awesome. Where does PabPub come into all these?


Benjamin Paul: Okay so after Yewande Joseph left us in FWC, we had taken off pretty well. I too had metamorphosed into an amazing writer and leader in the FWC. And this gave rise to an amazing era in the community where too many authors were transformed in FWC and they steadily released amazing works. In the energy of that era, T.J. Martins released like 4 big books and others release between 1 to 3. You could imagine the number of books lying around and they were just there, and the authors wanted to do more with them. They wanted these books published. So towards the ending of that year, we started of this “Phoenix Award” thing, a title giving to books that have been written well to professional standard. And then I thought we should have a platform, like a website for show casing and promoting such books. We considered helping authors get self published in platforms like Okadabooks, Amazon, Kobo and the rest. We were sort of supposed to be more of a distribution and promotional platform, for authors with “Phoenix Award” books to get there work out there and hopefully reach potential publishers. But eventually people had this mindset that PabPub is sort of superior to publishing on platforms like Wattpad and Okadabooks due to the high quality control methods PabPub uses to ensure quality—they wanted to publish exclusively. This pushed my team and I to do more, to become a fully established publisher named PabPub — Phoenix Award Books Publications.


Oreoluwa Eunice
: I’m actually very impressed. PabPub is doing very well. Apart from the amazing work you and your team have been doing so far, what milestone do you hope to get to on PabPub in the nearest future?


Benjamin Paul: Hmm. In the nearest future, we hope to be able to pay our authors something tangible on monthly basis to an extent that they can be able to at least live off of it. This is when we will feel like we have arrived as a publisher. I won’t pretend, we all know and understand how hard it can be to get to sell books by unpopular authors. Most publishers aren’t even willing to give any attention to authors who don’t have a name recognized in the market yet, even if the book is amazing. Meanwhile we are focused on promoting fresh authors and we are competing against many platforms, especially the ones from which people get pirated bestselling copies for free. So you can imagine the hurdle we face and what it would mean as soon as we cross it.


Oreoluwa Eunice: Rooting for PabPub!

Moving on, what would you say as been the most difficult time in the journey of creating PabPub?


Benjamin Paul: Thank you. Um…that would be the beginning. To be honest, it is one of those things that everyone likes the idea, and want to be part of without actually wanting to make any input or sacrifices to it. The attitude of most people towards back then was a bit like, “We like it o, we are excited, aroused even, by the idea, the dream. But do it first, do all the heavy work, and when that dream starts becoming reality that’s when we will come and join.” Don’t get me wrong, this was not everyone’s attitude. If it was so, PabPub would not have been birthed. It required too much money, time and dedication and this stage was passed with the help of a few persons who PabPub will forever owe everything.

It is a hybrid of experiences commonly associated with self-publishing and submission for traditional publishing. Typically, an author visits publish.pabpub.com, creates an account and uses the available form to fill in details of the book just like we do on wattpad. However, there is an extra field for writing a query letter when necessary and another choosing the desired contract type. The next stage allows an author to upload a cover if they have one upload their manuscript as an epub file. Alternatively, they can use the option to write on the app like we do on wattpad. Lastly, they submit and wait a few hours to days to get approved.
Usually, if the author has chosen an exclusive contract type, we will then have to go into another stage of making covers and promoting the author and their book after approval.


Oh and I might add that once in a year, we host the Phoenix Quill Writing Festival/Contest. It is a period of a few months in which authors join, write, publish directly without approval as part of the contest. Their works will then be evaluated by the readers and judges. At the end, those who are well rated are published/signed officially and the authors are rewarded usually. This year, we are giving out a total sum of N100,000 as royalty advances and more prizes.


Oreoluwa Eunice: Wow. This is super awesome. Well done, Paul. Kudos to you and your team.

Moving on, what four books do you consider your all time favorites?


Benjamin Paul: Thank you. My books included?
If yes, then Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons, My Chasing Annabelle, T.J. Martins’ Rebellion and Ezeodili Paul’s Like Déjà Vú.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Interesting choices

What do you foresee for the future of publishing in Nigeria and Africa at large?


Benjamin Paul: Hmm. This is huge. I am thinking that e-publishing is and should be the future to a large extent. Print publishing is really costly and the books typically cost about 12 dollars or more. While this not too much for Americans and Europeans, it is not affordable for a large majority of Africans. I think ebooks are our next best option. A lot of people have access to smart phones and ebooks could be sold a lot cheaper. In PabPub for example, books are about 5 times cheaper than if they were in prints and yet a PabPub author typically can earn more money per sold copy than they would for a sold print copy, because the production of ebooks is really cheap.

Honestly, earlier today I was day-dreaming about a large ebook library/cafe. People would walk in, pick up a tab on their table and start reading while waiting for coffee. Lol. If I may, I want to add that ebooks also save a lot of trees. They are environmentally friendly.


Oreoluwa Eunice: This is interesting but you do know that nothing beats holding a physical book? I’m all for e-books, in fact, I read e-books a lot but pleasure of holding a physical copy is astounding.

Moving on, are you ready to answer some fun questions?
Benjamin Paul: I agree. I just think e-books make everything easier.

Lol. Sure. Hit me.


Oreoluwa Eunice: e-books surely make everything easier.
Okay, okay.

What was the last book you read that left an extraordinary impact on you?
Benjamin Paul: Hmm…That would be Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games


Oreoluwa Eunice: What book do you have an intense dislike for?
Benjamin Paul: Lol. I will have to think really hard for this
Oreoluwa Eunice: if you have to think really hard, then I suppose there is none…
Benjamin Paul: I guess you are right. If I ever picked up a book and hated it, I would have dropped it so quickly and forgotten about it.


Oreoluwa Eunice: What is your favorite color?
Benjamin Paul: That would be burgundy, I believe. You can never go wrong with burgundy
Benjamin Paul: This is why FWC’s theme color is Burgundy


Oreoluwa Eunice: It’s one of mine too!

If you were to describe this color to a blind person, how would you describe it?


Benjamin Paul: Oh my God. 😂😂😂 How can that be done? If you have any ideas please give me. Otherwise I would say that it is the color red wine and tell them that the color is as soothing as red wine, soothing and yet vibrant and intoxicating. I would employ every tool in purple prose and make it all sound poetic.
Oreoluwa Eunice: 😂😂


Oreoluwa Eunice: What book do you wish you can read for the first time again?
Benjamin Paul: That would be… CNA’s Purple Hibiscus. It was what fully introduced me to reading and it was such a nice experience that can only be explained as similar to a first kiss.


Oreoluwa Eunice: Do you follow a writing schedule?
Benjamin Paul: Sort of, but I don’t know if I should call it a schedule. Basically I do this thing where when I start writing, I just write consistently till I finish, taking breaks only for settling other needs. If something breaks that consistency, that book might not be touched again for months.


Oreoluwa Eunice: If there’s any book you wish you could rewrite how it ends, what book will it be?
Benjamin Paul: Hmm…🤔
I do not have any. That thought rarely comes to mind.


Oreoluwa Eunice: To die for a cause or to kill for a cause, which?
Benjamin Paul: It would be the right to live freely, speak freely. It’s unfortunate that there are a lot of places in our country that we can’t go to and feel safe to make a home or speak up our opinions without putting our lives in danger.


Oreoluwa Eunice: Any final words for those who want to hope to publish their works soon, especially on PabPub?


Benjamin Paul: Books are beautiful and for making one, so are you. I hope that all your dreams come true, I hope we could be friends too. I hope we can make magic together. Perhaps we should try it this September. And if it is ever meant to be, then let it be now.
I’m not great at poetry so I will stop now. LOL.

September is the most amazing time to join PabPub. Because of the Phoenix Quill Writing Contest, the energy is always high. Good luck. Never fear failure or rejection. By finishing a book, you’ve already conquered and lorded an entire world. And that’s the best part of the whole process.


Oreoluwa Eunice: Love this! Thank you so much, Paul. It’s been absolutely awesome having this interesting and long conversation with you.

Benjamin Paul: I am very sure that the pleasure was mostly mine. Thank you so much for the opportunity. I am grateful.


Download PabPub App on Google Playstore

or visit the Website


To read Chasing Annabelle by Benjamin Paul:

https://pabpub.com/books/1

Blurb:
“This book is an intellectual classic … It is not for the shallow minded” — Gillian Asiedu-Danso

Annabelle shone like the moon, about her aura was a pearly glow.

Somtoo was dim like a fatigued lantern—void of spark, and a regular bland student like a grain of rice amongst many. He wanted Anabelle to himself and was ready to do anything, even succumb to Honors inhumane strategies.

Honor was an eccentric entity, an expert manipulator of the human mind, a god, according to popular opinions.

It was to him Somtoo submitted and surrendered to as a sovereign entity, disregarding the consequences of bowing to a new god and the fact that there was no turning back.


To Read Christmas Is Red by Benjamin Paul:

https://pabpub.com/books/27

Blurb:
Adjusting her glasses, she cleared her throat and said to them; “never underestimate the quiet ones who sit silently by the corner and watch you through dark shades. They see you, but you don’t see them…and I don’t know about you, but there is nothing scarier than that.”

Book Review: Windows by Jesutomisin Ipinmoye

Book: Windows

Author: Jesutomisin Ipinmoye

Genre: Short stories, Poetry

Publication Date: July 29, 2020

Synopsis:

windows’, the debut collection from Jesutomisin Ipinmoye, serves a chance to peer into the collective experiences that make us human, from our pain and loss, to our hope and drive, all while underlining the human capacity for tremendous good and evil. the collection vibrates between different slices of life across Nigeria, all while telling stories from the point of view of otherworldy obervers, fascinated by what they see while unable to interfere.

My Review

Windows by Jesutomisin Ipinmoye is a collection of short stories, poetry & prose-poetry pieces that feel like home. Once I started reading this book, it was hard to think about something else and I was hooked until I finished it. There is something about Jesutomisin’s writing that draws you in. ⁣

Th stories centered around colorism, the evils of religion, poverty, violence & abuse, depression & anxiety, losing loved ones, the questions of our humanness, of life and death & things that actually matter, the vileness of the human mind & the purging of souls. ⁣

It’s difficult to choose a favourite story out of all the stories in this book because each story meant a different thing to me but I really enjoyed Yellow Pawpaw, the story that talked about colorism. After Africans and Black People deal with racism, we still have to dea with colorism amongst ourselves and that’s just really irritating. No one reading this can feign obliviousness to the fact that most light-skinned people have light-skin privilege. I’ve watched Skin by Beverly Naya & Black is King by Beyonce and this subject was talked about in both of them. I’m glad people are coming to love their skins. These skins are our homes until they aren’t. ⁣

The poetry pieces in the book also talked about watching beings looking over humans doing all sorts of vile things on earth. They wonder if they should meddle with things or just keep watching and we see the stories from their eyes; like peering through windows. In the end, they decided to go back to the beginning, to the root; to see what went wrong and I believe that’s what we need to do too. To get better perspective of things, we need to go back and ask ourselves “where did things go wrong?”⁣

Highly recommended. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟⁣


Also, read my interview with Jesutomisin Ipinmoye if you need more insight into the book HERE!



You can purchase this book at:

 
. Roving Heights https://rhbooks.com.ng/product/windows/

Okadabooks

(This review was first posted on my Instagram “bookstagram” page)

August Wrap Up

Hey there!

Happy new month! Welcome to September.

How did August go for you? Mine was a ride. Different terrible news, good news, just a mix of various things but I’m glad I’m here and I’m pushing on. I would say push on but when you need to rest, please don’t hesitate to take a break! It’s important.

Guess how many books I read in August…

11!

How about you? Did you read any book at all? One? Two? Nine? Tell me in the comments, don’t be shy. As long as you read, you are good to go, it doesn’t matter how many you read but you know as they said, the more the merrier.

As long as you read, you are good to go.

I started my month with something delicious from Vi Keeland and ended my month with another mouth-watering debut from Peace Adzo Medie. I think I had a great reading month. Here are the books I read 👇🏽

If you follow me on my bookstagram (which is my instagram where I talk about books) you would have seen me talk about some of these books on my insta-stories or even my main page.

My favourites for the month are:

  • His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie.
  • Sex, Not Love by Vi Keeland
  • Odufa by Othuke Ominiabohs

You can read my review on Love starts Here by Traci Borum here.

I also listened to an audiobook which is Everything Here is Under Control by Emily Adrian. It was an interesting book.


Check out some of the pictures I took for my bookstagram this month on some of the books I read:


I also got to listen to some new songs because albums were dropping back to back in Nigeria and these artists didn’t come to play. I’ve been jamming since.

From Burna Boy’s Twice As Tall, I’ve been jamming to Way To Big, Bebo & Onyeka (Onyeka’s my fav!)

I anticipated Fireboy’s Apollo and I wasn’t disappointed at alllllll. Apollo is a masterpiece and I’ve been jamming to Lifestyle, Airplane Mode, Friday Feeling, Shade, Afar and every of his songs! Each song means a different thing to me. Have you listened to this album? What are your thoughts?

Cuppy’s Original Copy too was a surprise. I like many of the songs on her album! Litty Lit and Feel Good are my faves!

I can’t wait to listen to the other albums that dropped to! If you have any song rec, just drop it in the comments.

I also watched Black is King and I understood why Beyonce is loved. Go watch it! I cried when I got to the part where Brown Skin Girl was sung and I loved my skin all over again. Have you watched it? Tell me what part resonates with you the most. Every single part of Black is King was beautiful.

So, that’s my wrap up for this month. I had a great time this month and I’m hoping to have a more awesome time this month too. What did you do this August? Did you have a great time? What are your plans for September?

August Literary Gist

Have you registered for Ake Arts & Books Festival? If you haven’t, tell me what’s you are waiting for cos I’m not understanding why you are yet to register. You can’t afford to miss out on it. It’s free! It’s online so you can be in your PJs and have your snacks beside you when you wanna watch🌚🌚🌚and most importantly, they 👏🏽 will👏🏽 be 👏🏽books👏🏽 to 👏🏽be👏🏽 won👏🏽 EVERY👏🏽 HOUR?😮😮😮

No longer story again, register here: Register for Ake Arts and Books Festival.


Don’t forget to talk to me about how August went for you. I’ll be waiting to discuss with you! Also, please share this!!! Your friends deserve to enjoy as you have!

Ciao!

Book Review: Love Starts Here by Traci Borum

Book: Love Starts Here

Author: Traci Borum

Publication Day: March 30th 2020

Publisher: Red Adept Publishing, LLC

Genre: Romance

Synopsis:

Feeling her life is at a standstill, Jill McCallister jumps at the chance to visit Morgan’s Grove, the town founded by her great-great-great-grandfather. Eager to discover her roots and do research for a new book, she drives from Colorado to Texas, excited to meet the inhabitants of her grandfather’s legacy.

Jill immerses herself in the charming community, enjoying the residents and their quirky traditions. When she meets the mysterious Rick Wright, she almost forgets she’s sworn off men, but she’s not willing to risk getting too involved, especially since she will be returning home in a few weeks.

When the winter festival kicks into high gear, Jill and Rick are thrown together to work on a project, and sparks soon fly. Although she fights it, Jill can’t help falling hard for his soulful eyes and flirty smile. But as tempting as Rick is, he’s hiding something, and the mystery writer in Jill is determined to discover his secret.

With the clock running out on her time in Morgan’s Grove, Jill needs to decide what “home” really means to her. 


My Review

Love Starts Here is one of the sweetest books I’ve read this year. The characters were amazing, especially Lucille. She was a star. I particularly loved how Jill’s character developed and shone as the book went on.

Traci Borum’s writing style was great too. Very easy to read, even easier to understand and the bonus recipe for the cookies at the end of the book was a plus for me. Having read about the tasty cookies all through the book and having my appetite whetted, I needed to get have the recipe and the author didn’t disappoint.

The whole concept of family, love, relationship & close knittedness of a community was really endearing for me. With the way it was written in this book, it made me love for such a close-knitted community or to just disappear into the book all together and be a part of Morgan’s Groove.

This was such a lovely read. If you enjoy sweet book that won’t take your time, the kind that moves smoothly and makes you smell and long for the comfort of your family, this is the book for you. This book also emphasized the fact that you don’t have to share blood ties with someone before they become family.

Thanks to the author for my review e-copy.


Check on Goodreads

Buy Love Starts Here by Traci Borum

Author’sDelight #11: “I just wanted to write about one thing that was discussed vaguely and voila! I found myself writing a book!” — Jesutomisin Ipinmoye, author of Windows

Are you still doubting that writing is one of the purest form of art? Jesutomisin Ipinmoye is our #Author’sDelight for the month and he shared amazing deets about his new book, “windows.” I was super excited to have this chat with him. Keep reading to see what I am talking about!

Oreoluwa Eunice: Hi! I’m Oreoluwa From StoryStoryOh. Kindly introduce yourself.
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: hi!
i’m Jesutomisin Ipinmoye, a writer (or engineer depending on who you ask) from somewhere in Ogun State

Oreoluwa Eunice: Nice to meet you, Jesutomisin. Please share three interesting facts about you.
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: hmm.

  1. i don’t know how to swim, yet i can go to school on an island 😂
  2. i’m scared of cows
  3. i’ve never eaten a pear

Oreoluwa Eunice: Wow. You have never eaten a pear? That’s incredible. I also don’t know how to swim so it’s okay, haha.
Moving on, what genres do you enjoy reading?
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: i believe in a ‘genre-less approach’ to most media. music, film, and books. so i often read any and everything that ends up on my radar! i can remember enjoying books in every genre, from romance, to horror. however, i have a soft spot for short stories and literary fiction

Oreoluwa Eunice: Awesome! So, what books are you favorite from this genres?
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: my favourite books are Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi and The Famished Road by Ben Okri. i think they count as literary fiction ? i’m not sure.
but for short story collection, my favourite so far is Love is Power, or Something Like That by Igoni A. Barrett

Oreoluwa Eunice: As a writer, what are those things you saw as struggles while writing?
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: biggest thing was consistency and pushing through. it’s very easy to get tired as a story goes along.
something i had to overcome was the tendency to abandon stories that seem like they’re not getting there fast enough.

Oreoluwa Eunice: Hmm, I can relate with this. So, we can say your consistency paid off and birthed Windows, your new book, right? Tell us about Windows and why you wrote it.
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: it definitely paid off!
windows started as an experiment where i would write one story about a situation that i felt wasn’t talked about a lot. and that quickly evolved into this collection of different people and their experiences and what made them human. and i think i just really wanted to explore that.

Oreoluwa Eunice: Wow. That’s amazing, really. Is there any of the stories that is particularly a favorite to you?
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: my absolute favourite story in the book is this story called ‘yellow pawpaw’ that follows this girl dealing with colorism. and i really like it because it was the first time where i got like the full idea for a story in one go. i remember writing all of it in a frenzy, then being really proud of it after.
it’s also one where there were barely any edits

Oreoluwa Eunice: I can’t wait to read it. While going through the book, I noticed there was a bit of poetry in it and also it is imminent in your writing style. How often do you read and write poetry?
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: 😂this is interesting because i actually don’t write poetry. i don’t consider myself a poet at any rate. i do borrow from the style though.
i went to a workshop last year with this experimental poet and they had this way of telling stories by playing with form and verse that i found fascinating, so i worked with them for a bit then adopted it.
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: i do occasionally read poetry though.

Oreoluwa Eunice: That must have contributed to it, then. The cover of your book is gorgeous. How did you feel when you saw it the first time?
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: I was ESCTATIC! so so overjoyed because it felt just write. i had given the desginer (@4everdumbart on IG) free rein and essentially just her to do as she was inspired and she showed out!

Oreoluwa Eunice: I’m about to ask some fun questions. Are you ready to answer them?
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: of course!😂

Oreoluwa Eunice: Would you rather write in silence or to music?
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: SILENCE!😂
I’ve tried writing with music and i get WAY too distracted

Oreoluwa Eunice: If you were to be the president of Nigeria for a week, what among these three — Power & Electricity issues, Education & Youth Empowerment, Works & Infrastructure — would you tackle?
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: Education & Youth Empowerment defintely. That’s something o think needs serious reform in Nigeria

Oreoluwa Eunice: Fully support that!
What color in the rainbow would you rather be and why?
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: yellow. it’s a very happy colour

Oreoluwa Eunice: you are definitely right about that.
What idiom/proverb resonates with you the most?
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: “i once saw a bee drown in honey and i understood.” – nikolas kazantzakis

Oreoluwa Eunice: hmm
Would you rather die for love or kill for love?

Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: would rather not just be in love biko 😭 it’s never that deep
Oreoluwa Eunice: 🤣🤣

Oreoluwa Eunice: okay, moving on, what would you like your readers to take away from your book, Windows?
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: hmmm. it is my sincere hope that at the very least, people enjoy what the read. but as every writer, i hope it provokes something that you can share with your friends.

Oreoluwa Eunice: Before we wrap this up, one last fun question. Never reread one, give one out, keep one forever. Which will it be among Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi, The Famished Road by Ben Okri and Love is Power or Something Like That by Igoni A. Barrett
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: ei. this question is cornering me.
but hm.
never reread: The Famished Road (it’s too long for those games)
keep forever: Freshwater
give out: Love is Power or Something Like That
Oreoluwa Eunice: 😂

Oreoluwa Eunice: Any advice to those hoping to get published anytime?
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: just write. like even if it’s not working, just write. if it’s frustrating write about it.
that way, it’ll all work out. Also: if publishing industry no open door for you, you always fit break window so they fit see you by force.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Totally, absolutely, completely support the last line. 😂

Oreoluwa Eunice: It’s been fun discussing with you, Jesutomisin. Thank you for your time.
Jesutomisin Ipinmoye: thank you so much for the opportunity! i’m very grateful! it’s been really fun!


‘windows’, the debut collection from Jesutomisin Ipinmoye, serves a chance to peer into the collective experiences that make us human, from our pain and loss, to our hope and drive, all while underlining the human capacity for tremendous good and evil. the collection vibrates between different slices of life across Nigeria, all while telling stories from the point of view of otherworldy obervers, fascinated by what they see while unable to interfere.

get the book at
. Roving Heights Bookstore: https://rhbooks.com.ng/product/windows/

. Okadabooks

alternatively, it’s also available internationally on amazon and lulu:

https://linktr.ee/jesutomisin

Book Review: The Death Of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

Book: The Death of Vivek Oji

Author: Akwaeke Emezi

Genre: Fiction, coming of age story

Publication Date: August 4th, 2020

Publisher: Faber & Faber (Hardcover), Riverhead Books (Paperback & Ebook)

Synopsis:

One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.

Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations—a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader. 

My Review

The best thing about this book is the stunning and compelling storytelling. It sucks you in from page one. At least for me, from the first page; the first word, I could not drop the book. I was just flipping the pages till I finished.

The Death of Vivek Orji tells the story of queer people’s reality, their struggles, their hopes as well as society’s roles, parental / family roles in shaping them into being who they want they to be and who they really are. This book highlights homophobia, gender identity, transphobia, grief, love, incest amongst other things and Emezi uses suspense to keep the reader on their toes. Knowing that Vivek Oji died from the beginning does not make the reader feel any better going through the chapters that build up to his death and consequently unravelled the hows and whys they might have.

I gave this book 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 stars because I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It blew my mind and took me through a journey of myriad of emotions I can’t even describe. Reading this has given me the go-ahead to try Emezi’s other books sometime and I hope I enjoy them as well.

Happy Publication Day to this book!


Check Out on Goodreads

Get The Death Of Vivek Oji


I hope you enjoy reading this one as I did if you decide to pick it up.

Thanks to Netgalley for my review copy.

July Wrap Up

Hi! Welcome to August. How are you? How was July for you?

For me, July was just normal and it was a 3/5 for me on reading. It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t good. I got distracted a lot and I was dealing with some things I couldn’t escape from by running into a book. I had to deal with it and make some decisions but I was glad that lines fell into beautiful places for me and I believe it would continue to be so.

So, tell me, how was July for you?

When I said my reading in July wasn’t good and wasn’t bad, here is a pictorial analysis of that 👇🏽

So yeah, I read 14 books in July.

  • Beautiful Mistake by Vi Keeland |lovely read. Enjoyed it.

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"We’re sometimes fooled into thinking hatred doesn’t happen here because magnolias are in bloom. But hatred cannot be hidden." ⁣ ⁣ First things first, I adore the cover of this book. It’s so pretty and easy on the eyes.⁣ ⁣ Few of the things that I liked about this book is that it shed light on the racial injustice done to Black people and also on Jews. I didn’t know much about hate towards Jews but this book sparked my interest to seek more knowledge on that.⁣ ⁣ So here, we have 16-year old Ruth Robb who moved from New York to Atlanta together with her mother and younger sister after the death of her Jewish father. I liked that Ruth Robb’s naivety was not shadowed. She was well portrayed as a teenager who knew not much and had a lot of growing up to do and also made wrong choices. In order to fit in the society that doesn’t care much for Black people and Jewish people, she decided to “white-lie” about her background.⁣ ⁣ In The Neighbourhood of True set in 1958 and it was about Ruth’s coming of age but it also highlighted the racial injustice and discrimination and it is just crazy how this same thing is still been fought against in 2020! It showed history of how there was two of everything to separate the whites and the Blacks. Two water fountains, Two Bibles in a court of law, Two of this, Two of that. There was segregation and it was just to say Blacks weren’t people. The advent and the deeds of the KKK were also talked about; how they set fires on crosses on their Stone Mountain, bomb temples and so on. This book was pretty enlightening.⁣ ⁣ Asides that, I didn’t like much of what else was going on. I definitely didn’t like the misleading synopsis of this book which indicated that there was a love triangle but hmm, there wasn’t actually any love triangle in my opinion.⁣ ⁣ I also didn’t care much for the whole queen stuff and the fake friendships. I honestly wished Ruth had an actual friend in Atlanta, not just those phonies who skipped off when they realised she was Jewish.⁣ ⁣ {Continued in the comments} #bookstagram #intheneighbourhoodoftrue #bookstagrammer

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  • The Most Beautiful Thing by Kao Kalia Yang | very pretty children’s book. When I say very pretty, I mean very pretty. The illustrations are top notch and the lessons from the book are valuable.
  • Ayiti by Roxane Gay | one of my favourite reads of the month.
  • Egomaniac by Vi Keeland | nice read.

  • Dear Girl by Aija Mayrock| love, love, love it. Shared my review on my bookstagram.
  • Last Chance Summer by Shannon Klare| I shared my review here. Was an okay read.

  • Inappropriate by Vi Keeland| recommended by Elma, @thebookfairie_ on bookstagram. It was cute.
  • Some Are Always Hungry by Jihyun Yun.| Love it. Another favourite read.
  • Memoirs of A Lazy Korfa by Tunmise Usikalu| lovely book. A journal on NYSC camp experience.
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I enjoyed reading Memoirs of A Lazy Korfa by Tunmise Usikalu for different reasons. It was such a refreshing read, an enjoyable book and it was really nice to learn of how NYSC was in 2004! (NYSC – National Youth Service Corps; its purpose is to bring Nigeria & Nigerians together and to foster unity by sending young people to places that aren't their "homeland" while also teaching them selflessness & service to the community)⁣ ⁣ Memoirs of A Lazy Korfa is the compilation of the author's journals during her NYSC. I was excited to read this because of the various nice reviews and also because I also wanted to know what it was like to serve those years ago and fam, I wasn't disappointed. It was so funny to me when I read the part in this book where the corpers were excited about getting #75 naira each from 150000 naira that they were given. Imagine o. Also, knowing that allowance was #7500 naira then was just sending me😂 But that aside, it was a lovely read. It is a light read and you can finish it off in few hours. ⁣ ⁣ However, I wished the author touched more on how life in Kano was, how the people were and what cultural shocks she had but then these were just journal entries and what the author decided to pen down about the days she spent on camp. ⁣ ⁣ It would have been wonderful to know if the author later collected her #75 naira or if it was "swallowed" by snake…⁣ @lazykorfa please come and answer o! ⁣ #bookstagram #bookstagramnigeria #bookstagrammer #books #booklovers #memoirsofalazykorfa

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  • The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi| Another favorite of the month. It would be out in 2 days. That is 4th of this month. Review to come but check what I said on it here 👇🏽
  • She Represents by Caitlin Donohue| recommended!!!
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Hi hi, everyone, ⁣ I'm just here to share my current read with y'all; She Represents (44 Women Who Are Changing Politics…And The World) by Caitlin Donohue. It's set to come out September 1st when the elections in the US will be brewing with all tenacity.⁣ ⁣ What this book does is to highlight women who have been in power and doing one thing or the other in politics and the world at large. These stories are empowering. From stories of immigration, to freedom, to choice, to scandals! One thing I particularly liked about the introduction of this book was the fact that Caitlin Donohue wrote that some of these women might be heroes or villains depending on who's talking about them but there is no denying the fact that they are saying "fuck you" to patriarchy. ⁣ ⁣ I also particularly love this one for the cover. Just look at it. It's so pretty. The inside too is very pretty and the stories are easy to read, especially with the font. Gorggggggg 🤩⁣ ⁣ With each story I read and each quote from the women, I feel my IQ rising😂⁣ ⁣ Some quotes from some of the women whose stories I've read 👇🏽⁣ ⁣ 🤯"I always say if you are not at the leadership table, expect to be on the menu." – STACEY ABRAMS⁣ ⁣ 🤯"I am not the first woman to multitask. I am not the first woman to work and have a baby— there are many women who have done this before. – JACINDA ARDERN (Prime Minister, New Zealand)⁣ ⁣ 🤯"There's that kind of double bind women find themselves in. On the one hand, yes, be smart, stand up for yourself. On the other hand, don't offend anybody, don't step on toes, or you'll become somebody nobody likes because you're too assertive." – HILLARY CLINTON.⁣ ⁣ I hope you pick this up sometime. Does it appeal to you?

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  • The Secret Lives of Church Ladies by Deesha Philyaw| Fav! Fav! Fav! Can’t recommend this enough. Review to come.

So that’s about that. My favourites for July are: Ayiti, Dear Girl, Some Are Always Hungry, The Death of Vivek Oji & The Secret Lives of Church Ladies.

Check out this wrap up of July in books by Oreoluwa Eunice.


I made my first IGTV in July too!!! 🙈🙈🙈 You can watch it on my bookstagram. I had fun making the video. I basically just shared my book hauls since the year started and I hope to make more in the future.


I also made TBR list for August. I hope I read them all though. I will also be adding more as I see fit cos I’m a proper mood reader lol.

July’s Literary Gist

The longlist for this year’s booker prize came out and two African books were on the list.

love to see it.

If you don’t tell me at least one thing you were up to in July and you’ve read up to this point, I believe you are wicked😩 so share with me one thing you did in July in the comment section! (I really like to read people’s comments.)

See ya👋🏽

Q&A with Megan McCafferty, author of The Mall

Hi everyone! Today’s my stop for the blog tour for Megan McCafferty’s new book. It’s titled THE MALL (out July 28th 2020)and yay, I got to have a questions and answers time with her. Enjoy!

isn’t the cover gorgeous?🤩

Synopsis

New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty returns to her roots with this YA coming of age story set in a New Jersey mall. The year is 1991. Scrunchies, mixtapes and 90210 are, like, totally fresh. Cassie Worthy is psyched to spend the summer after graduation working at the Parkway Center Mall. In six weeks, she and her boyfriend head off to college in NYC to fulfill The Plan: higher education and happily ever after. But you know what they say about the best laid plans… Set entirely in a classic “monument to consumerism,” the novel follows Cassie as she finds friendship, love, and ultimately herself, in the most unexpected of places. Megan McCafferty, beloved New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series, takes readers on an epic trip back in time to The Mall.


Let’s get right into what Megan McCafferty has to say!


-Hello, I’m Oreoluwa from StoryStoryOh. Please introduce yourself.

I’m Megan McCafferty. I write books for tweens and teens. I was described in my first review as “Judy Blume meets Dorothy Parker.” Twenty years later, I’m still trying to live up to that high praise.

-What inspired you to take up writing as a means of self expression?

It’s who I’ve always been. My first grade teacher gave me a notebook with the words I LOVE TO WRITE on the cover. Those are the words I’ve lived by ever since.

-What is your writing schedule like?

I write in the mornings after I walk my dog Louie. I keep writing for as many hours as he’ll let me type uninterrupted before he claws at my arm because he wants me to cuddle on the couch.

Any particular inspiration behind your new book?

I wrote a book set at a New Jersey mall in 1991 to escape a relentlessly negative news cycle. I hope it cheers readers up during these difficult times.

-What do you hope readers and other writers alike take away from it?

This is a fun book. I want readers to laugh. But there are deeper messages too, about feminism, finding oneself and the transformative power of friendship.

-Do you like any particular character from your new book?

As a writer I have to like all my characters…even the ones I hate! Otherwise it’s impossible to depict them as fully dimensional human beings, flaws and all.

-Do you have any author(s) you particularly admire and why?

Judy Blume will always have more influence on me than anyone else. First, she set many of her books in my home state of New Jersey so I could immediately identify with her worlds. And she was a trailblazer in every way, tackling challenging topics with candor, humor and heart. She never talked down to young readers. That respect for her audience came through in every book.

-Asides from being a writer, what other things do you enjoy doing?

I am a karaoke superstar.

-What surprised you the most on your journey to becoming a published writer?

That I’m still publishing books after two decades in the business! In fact, 2020 is the first time I had two books come out within the same year.

-As a writer and an author, what book(s) or genre of books will you not be caught writing?

I respect sci-fi and fantasy, but those categories are absolutely not my bag.

-Any final words for other writers hoping to get published?

Realize that getting published is not the end of the journey. It does not mean you’ve “made it.” Twenty years into my career and I do not take a single publishing opportunity for granted. I’m grateful to still be around and hope to continue sharing stories with readers 20 years from now. 


Check The Mall on Goodreads

Get The Mall by Megan McCafferty HERE!


I hope you enjoy reading this one if you decide to pick it up! Cheers!

Thanks to Wednesday Books for my advance review copy and interview opportunity.

Book Recommendations from fellow book lovers

Hiya people, how have you been?

Thanks for stopping by on StoryStoryOh to read what I have to write about! These past months, I decided to share a few recommendations that book lovers like you or potential book lover, if that’s you,would find appealing and if you have been following, you have probably read any of these 👇🏽

50 Book Recommendations Just For You

5 Poetry Collections by Nigerian Women You Need To Read

But if you haven’t, now is the time to read and share with others! So, click on the links and enjoyyyy!

Moving on, I decided to compile a list of recommendations from other book lovers and this post contains the books they always find themselves recommending to others. Check through and see if there is any that might appeal to you and don’t forget to share with others!



@wande.ak – Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo, Tomorrow Died Yesterday by Chimeka Garricks.

@aish.dols – Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Kite Runner by Khalid Hosseini.

@tha.tbookishgirl – A Court of Thorns And Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas and Questions for Ada by Ijeoma Umebinyuo. Why: They will engulf you.

@nigerianwhoreads – We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, More Than Enough by Elaine Welteroth

@novels_books_collection – All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover, almost all books written by Brittainy C. Cherry, Steve Cavanagh & Emma Scott, Good Vibes, Good Life by Vex King, Perfect by Judith McNaught.

@kinglawalsalami – Fools Die by Mario Puzo. The Subterraneans by Jack Kerouac. They’re the sexiest books I have ever read. They’re books about life, realistic, broad and I enjoyed the use of language.

@tallosa_reads – Kane and Abel by Jeffery Archer, I Do Not Come To You by Adaobi Tricia Nwabuani.

@nerdyannabelle – A Sackful Of Wishes by Azizah Idris, Daughters Who Walk This Path by Yejide Kilanko.

@_khocee – Buried Beneath the Baobab Tree by Adaobi Tricia Nwabuani, Manchester Happened by Jennifer Makumbi.


Check out these book recommendations by different book lovers!

@nduu.___ – Africa 39. If you want to start African Lit, then I recommend it. In the book, you will find different excerpts of African books. Lastly, I’d recommend The God of Small Things.

@miss_nkredible – I’ll always recommend Educated (for memoirs), The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives (for humor), The Wife Between Us (Thrillers)

@__rheetaog – I’d recommend Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Adichie and It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover.

@thefoodlibrary_ – The Accidental Wife by Abimbola Dare, Daughters Who Walk This Path by Yejide Kilanko.

@melaninreadss – The Black Effect by Charae Lewis & Ain’t None of Your Friends Business by Dee Ann.

@rianat_adedeji – A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

@now_booking – A Broken People’s Playlist by Chimeka Garricks, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, How Not to Die Alone by Richard Roper, Behold The Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue.

@bookishkay – I’d recommend The Guest List for thrillers & The Unhoneymooners for romance…really enjoyed them both. I also recommend Verity by Colleen Hoover and Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe. Why: They Are Very Interesting.


Check out my book rant on The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren featuring Ernestine (tha.tbookishgirl)


@oreleye – The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma & The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

@aggystacked – The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo. Tomorrow Died Yesterday by Chimeka Garricks.

@mheeia_adams – After by Anna Todd and Aeipathy, (a fan fiction on Wattpad) Why:
They are books in which you won’t be able to choose sides between the main characters

@she_reads_and_writes – Easy Motion Tourist by Leye Adenle. The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin.

@feminist_romance – For romance, I always recommend Kingmaker by Kennedy Ryan & The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. I think they exemplify all of the best things about the genre, plus Kingmaker has strong external conflict and The Kiss Quotient has internal conflict so I know it’s good for hooking newbies.


I hope you enjoyed reading through and found any that you might enjoy or you have probably enjoyed before…

Don’t forget to like & comment if there is any book that appeals to you here or any you might even want to add or talk about. Also, please share! Thanks for reading!

5 Poetry Collections by Nigerian Women You Need To Read

One of the things I do for self-care is to read poetry (written by women). There is something about poetry that is generally soothing for me and the fact that, sometimes few words are all you need to drive your point home does it for me. So, I decided to compile a list of collection of poems written by Nigerian women. There are other amazing ones I have enjoyed, some aren’t written by Nigerian women but these are the ones I have thought to bring to your notice if you haven’t heard of them yet.


  1. Questions for Ada by Ijeoma Umebinyuo

Synopsis:

The artistry of QUESTIONS FOR ADA defies words, embodying the pain, the passion, and the power of love rising from the depths of our souls.  Ijeoma Umebinyuo’s poetry is a flower that will blossom in the spirit of every reader as she shares her heart with raw candor.  From lyrical lushness to smoky sensuality to raw truths, this tome of transforming verse is the book every woman wants to write but can’t until the broken mirrors of their lives have healed.  In this gifted author’s own words—“I am too full of life to be half-loved.”  A bold celebration of womanhood.

Get Questions For Ada



2. Woman of a Woman by Funke Awodiya

In this wonderful collection, Funke Awodiya has established herself not only as a poetess following a literary code created by and for men, but also those issues that make a woman, a woman. In WOMAN of a WOMAN, she writes her poetry with confidence and makes a woman’s voice heard where it traditionally does not exist. Even when she makes a man a subject of her poems, she is still able to make him both a muse and an object the way she wants him to be. The heightened sensuality of her verses, particularly for a poetess even though not a new phenomenon still gives her voice a unique cadence and strength which will benefit men and women if they can hearken to her call.

Get Woman of a Woman



3. Now, I Want To Remember by Oyindamola Shoola

I have always wanted to write a collection of love poems to share with you. With my passion for feminism, I have written a lot about women and their problems but I have always asked myself about women and love. I have been curious to see women in love as part of the intent of feminism and its possible experience. So, here is my perspective of a woman solely loving and being loved in return. No sadness or pain or anger here, just love. It is admirable and one that you would hope for.

Get Now, I Want To Remember


Do you like poetry? Here’s a list of five collections of poetry by Nigerian women you should get to!



4. This is How We Disappear by Titilope Sonuga

This Is How We Disappear is at once an exploration of the physical and emotional disappearance of women and a celebration of the magic of shapeshifting as an act of survival too. The poems sit in conversation with each other in a way that highlights how women survive and thrive in spite of the obstacles often stacked against them. collection is about our small and large acts of resistance, how we choose life, how we are the architects of our own joy even in the face of death. 

Get This is How We Disappear


5. The Ashes That Birthed Me by I.R. Adams

Of all that is written beautifully,

Those written in pus and blood transcends.

Get The Ashes That Birthed Me


5 Collection of Poems by Nigerian Women You Need to Read!


So, there you have it. I will be sharing more poetry collections in the future but first, digest these ones if you can.

And while you are here, please check out my other blog posts 😊❤️

See ya! 👋🏼

Book Review: Last Chance Summer by Shannon Klare

Book: Last Chance Summer
Author: Shannon Klare
Publication date: July 21st 2020
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult


Synopsis:

In Shannon Klare’s fun and sexy YA novel Last Chance Summer, a teen is shipped off to work as a counselor at a summer camp―only to butt heads with her co-counselor.

Alex is a sheriff’s daughter with a less than pristine reputation. When she’s caught drinking at a party by her dad’s deputy, she’s in deep trouble. With an already incriminating incident in her past, Alex’s parents ship her off to her aunt’s summer camp to work as a counselor.

What’s worse than spending your summer deep in the mosquito-infested woods of Texas?

Being paired with an obnoxious co-counselor who wants nothing to do with you.

Alex is determined to make the best of her summer, even if it means putting up with Grant, who has secrets of his own that he’s determined to protect. Can Alex and Grant put their egos to the side and find the bright side of a summer that neither of them signed up for?

My Review

This book is my first read from Shannon Klare and it definitely won’t be the last. I got sucked into this book on the first page.

It’s the story of Alex who had gone through tragedy and had a hard time keeping up with the terrible phases as well as bottling up her emotions. It’s the story of grief while being “easy” on the surface level.

I liked the writing style of this book and how it was so easy to get into and read but I didn’t care much for the characters especially the campers Alex was counsellor for. However, I love how Alex was given space to grown and feel and understand herself better. It was beautiful to read.

It is a sweet and quick read while having deep undertones of grief, becoming and finding oneself again, so if this is something you are looking for, you will enjoy this book.

Check on Goodreads


Purchase

Amazon

B&N

iBooks

Kobo

About the Author

Shannon Klare is a writer, teacher, reality TV fanatic, and movie connoisseur. When she isn’t writing or daydreaming new plots, Shannon can be found frequenting Starbucks or hanging out with her family. SURVIVING ADAM MEADE is her debut novel.

Author links:

Website

Goodreads

Twitter

Instagram

Win a copy of this book!

Giveaway:

Tour-wide giveaway (US only)

Print copy of Last Chance Summer

ENTER HERE TO WIN

Goodluck!

Book Review: Miracle Country by Kendra Atleework

Book: Miracle Country: A Memoir

Author: Kendra Atleework

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Publication Date: July 16, 2020.

Synopsis:

Kendra Atleework grew up in Swall Meadows, in the Owens Valley of the Eastern Sierra Nevada, where annual rainfall averages five inches and in drought years measures closer to zero.

 

Kendra’s family raised their children to thrive in this harsh landscape, forever at the mercy of wildfires, blizzards, and gale-force winds.  Most of all, the Atleework children were raised on unconditional love and delight in the natural world. But it came at a price. When Kendra was six, her mother was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease, and she died when Kendra was sixteen. Her family fell apart, even as her father tried to keep them together. Kendra took flight from her bereft family, escaping to the enemy city of Los Angeles, and then Minneapolis, land of all trees, no deserts, no droughts, full lakes, water everywhere you look. 

 

But after years of avoiding the pain of her hometown, she realized that she had to go back, that the desert was the only place she could live. Like WildMiracle Country is a story of flight and return, bounty and emptiness, and the true meaning of home.  But it also speaks to the ravages of climate change and its permanent destruction of the way of life in one particular town.

My review

One thing I love about book is how beautifully poetic it is. The writing is seemless and entralling. The way the author writes on loss, on nature, on family is alluring.

I rarely read non-fiction and while it took me a while to adjust to this one, it is undeniable that this book is a masterpiece. The way Kendra Atleework weaves her story back and forth, only few writers know how to pull that off seemlessly and perfectly.

I was also pleasantly surprised to learn from the book that the name Atleework is actually a combination of the surnames of Kendra Atleework’s parents — Atlee & Work.

I don’t have much words to describe this book or explain a lot about it but if you enjoy memoirs that are poetic, moving, deep and if you love nature, you should read this book. However, as a trigger warning, this book contains themes of sexual assault so take note.

About The Author

Kendra Atleework received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. An essay that formed the basis for a chapter of Miracle Country was selected for The Best American Essays 2015. She is the recipient of the Ellen Meloy Desert Writers Award and the AWP Intro Journals Project Award.

I received a copy of this book from Algonquin Books in exchange for my honest review

Author’sDelight#10: “I have been mistaken as a male countless times because of my pen name.” — I.R. Adams

Hi Readers, welcome to the 10th #Author’sDelight. Wow! We got here! If you have always been following #Author’sDelight from the onset; from #1, the first ever, leave a comment please and tell me if it has been a journey or if you have learnt anything at all through this feature. If this is your first time here too, please leave a comment.

With me, today, is the Mama of writing. She’s someone whose writing I enjoy. Drumrolllllllll🥁🥁🥁 I.R. Adams 🥁🥁🥁🥁 Read along and enjoy! 💃🏽

Oreoluwa Eunice: Hello, I am Oreoluwa from StoryStoryOh. Can you please introduce yourself?
I.R. Adams: I’m Adeyemi-Taiye Rukayat, more popularly known as I.R. Adams 🤗
Oreoluwa Eunice: It is a pleasure to have you here, Rukayat. A lot of people, myself included, know you as I.R. Adams as you said and I am guessing that the R in your initial stands for Rukayat, please correct me if I am wrong. What does the ‘I’ stand for?


I.R. Adams: It is really a pleasure to be here, Oreoluwa.
Yes, ‘R’ stands for Rukayat and the ‘I’ stands for IyanuOluwa, which is one of my Yoruba names.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Wow. Good to know. Have you been in any situation where someone thought I.R. Adams would be male? Does this happen?

I.R. Adams: Yes, quite a number of time. Sometime last year, one of my books, When My Sorrow Was Born was read in The Muslimah Bookclub and in most of the reviews/discussion, I was addressed as “he”.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Oh my. How did that make you feel?
I.R. Adams: I found it funny.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Goodness. I don’t know whether to laugh or not.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Moving on, What are you book interests? Come rain, come shine, they are the books you stan. What books are those?
I.R. Adams: Are you sure you want to do this? Because I have a list of those! 😂
Oreoluwa Eunice: Yessss hit me with this list😂

I.R. Adams: You got it!

I.R. Adams: In no particular order of preference:
• The Abuse of Forgiveness by UmmZakiyyah
• His Other Wife by UmmZakiyyah
• Questions For Ada by Ijeoma Umebinyuo
• When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
• A Temporary Gift by Asma Hussein
• Tell Me Your Dreams by Sidney Sheldon
• Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber
• Reclaim Your Heart by Yasmin Mogahed
• Revolt by T.J. Martins
• Reverencing The Womb That Broke You by UmmZakiyyah
• Between Friends by Debbie Macomber
• The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
• Syrtis by Andy Hare
•Let’s Talk about Sex and Muslim Love by UmmZakiyyah
• The Nectar of Pain by Najwa Zebian.


Oreoluwa Eunice: Wow, wow, wow. I see my faves on this list too. You’ve got elite taste in reading. Well done, Rukayat.


Oreoluwa Eunice: Are you writing anything new?
I.R. Adams: Always. I’m always jumping from one project to another 😂
I’m currently working on two novels: continuing The Choices She Made and rewriting Johara’s Battle.


Oreoluwa Eunice: What book are you currently reading and what are your thoughts on it, if there is any?
I.R. Adams: I’m currently reading two books: Welcome to Lagos by Chibundu Onuzo and My Autobiography by Alex Ferguson. I just started both of them, so I don’t have any thoughts to share yet.


Oreoluwa Eunice: I started Welcome to Lagos last year but did not finish. I hope to, soon, sometime.

I closed my 2019 reading with your book, When My Sorrow Was Born. It was such a beautiful read. Was there an inspiration behind that book?


I.R. Adams: That’s nice to hear.

Inspiration sha. A lot of my books were born from the urge to talk about a particular topic or occurrence.

When I started writing When My Sorrow Was Born, I just wanted to talk about the effects of growing up in unstable or toxic home. How the bitterness or hatred of one’s parent because of this circumstance of upbringing can influence the children’s decisions and lifelong effects of these decisions.


Oreoluwa Eunice: And you did! 👏🏽
Of all your books, which one do you like the most and which one do you wish gained more recognition?
I.R. Adams: Well, that’s a hard one. The book I think I like the most is not unpublished yet. It’s Hajara’s story. She’s one of the friends of the main female character in Johara’s Battle.

I think this is because I can find a lot of me in her. Her spiritual struggles, her strength and of course her tallness. 🤣 Hajara is also very sassy and her story will squeeze your heart no matter how hard your heart.

I.R. Adams: The book I wished gained more recognition. That would be The Ashes That Birthed Me, it is a collection of heartfelt and personal poems.

BLURB
Of all that is written beautifully,
Those written in pus and blood transcends.


A beautiful collection of poems highlighting the everyday pain that comes with being alive.

Oreoluwa Eunice: Do you have a writing schedule and what is it like if you do?

I.R. Adams: I don’t have one in the traditional sense. I just make sure I write something every day and this isn’t restricted to my books because I also work as a freelance content and creative writer.


Oreoluwa Eunice: That’s very interesting. I’m sure this will help with your consistency. What lessons have you learnt in the course of writing and publishing?

I.R. Adams: Writing is a really hard work and trying to get published is the harder part. I’ve also learnt that no matter what you write, there is always a market for your book. So I try not to write based on what I think is selling; I write what my soul begs me to.

Writing is a really hard work and trying to get published is the harder part. I’ve also learnt that no matter what you write, there is always a market for your book. — I.R. Adams, Author of When My Sorrow Was Born.


Oreoluwa Eunice: This is totally valid and important. Which writer do you want to meet one on one desperately?
I.R. Adams: Hmm, this is hard o! Eenie meenie…

I choose UmmZakiyyah. I really admire the way she writes and the topics she writes about. And some of her books have tremendously helped with the parts of religion which I struggle with.


Oreoluwa Eunice: In Tell Me Your Dreams by Sidney Sheldon, Revolt by T.J. Martins, Syrtis by Andy Hare and His Other Wife by UmmZakiyyah, which one will you re-write, re-read, give out, keep but never re-read?


I.R. Adams: No, please! 😂
Rewrite – None of them.

Re-read – Syrtis by Andy Hare

Give out – A mother doesn’t give out her babies. Or do they?

Keep but never re-read – Tell Me Your Dreams, I’ve read it over and over again.


Oreoluwa Eunice: 😂😂 nicely evaded. What colour do you wish doesn’t exist?
I.R. Adams: Now, why would I have a wish like that? 🌚


Oreoluwa Eunice: hehe. One can never tell. What book do you think is very underappreciated?
I.R. Adams: I can’t think of any at the moment.


Oreoluwa Eunice: As a writer, what would you count as the ultimate thing a reader can take away from your books?
I.R. Adams: Hope. Hope in God’s mercy. Hope that the hard times will pass. Hope that they are not unloveable. They’ll always leave with a little more dose of hope to soothe the despair that they might have about any aspect of their lives.


Oreoluwa Eunice: Beautiful. Any final words for someone reading this?
I.R. Adams: Well then, thank you Oreoluwa for having me here. Thank you to everyone who creates a universe we can run into when the world isn’t what we want it to be. Thank you to everyone who reads, because without you writers won’t have a job. 😂


Thanks for reading through today. Please like, comment and share this post with others. (If you scroll down a bit, you will see a couple of share buttons, use whichever suits you the most.)


LINKS TO GET I.R. ADAMS’ BOOKS

When My Sorrow Was Born

PapPub

Wattpad

The Ashes That Birthed Me

PapPub


Book Review: In The Neighbourhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton

Book: In the Neighbourhood of True

Author: Susan Kaplan Carlton

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Paperback Publication: July 7, 2020

Synopsis:

After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club. Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple, Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.

My review

We’re sometimes fooled into thinking hatred doesn’t happen here because magnolias are in bloom. But hatred cannot be hidden.

In The Neighbourhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton

First thing first, I adore the cover of this book. It’s so pretty and easy on the eyes.

Few of the things that I liked about this book is that it shed light on the racial injustice done to Black people and also on Jews. I didn’t know much about hate towards Jews but this book sparked my interest to seek more knowledge on that.

So here, we have 16-year old Ruth Robb who moved from New York to Atlanta together with her mother and younger sister after the death of her Jewish father. I liked that Ruth Robb’s naivety was not shadowed. She was well portrayed as a teenager who knew not much and had a lot of growing up to do and also made wrong choices. In order to fit in the society that doesn’t care much for Black people and Jewish people, she decided to “white-lie” about her background.

In The Neighbourhood of True set in 1958 and it was about Ruth’s coming of age but it also highlighted the racial injustice and discrimination and it is just crazy how this same thing is still been fought against in 2020! It showed history of how there was two of everything to separate the whites and the Blacks. Two water fountains, Two Bibles in a court of law, Two of this, Two of that. There was segregation and it was just to say Blacks weren’t people. The advent and the deeds of the KKK were also talked about; how they set fires on crosses on their Stone Mountain, bomb temples and so on. This book was pretty enlightening.

Asides that, I didn’t like much of what else was going on. I definitely didn’t like the misleading synopsis of this book which indicated that there was a love triangle but hmm, there wasn’t actually any love triangle in my opinion.

I also didn’t care much for the whole queen stuff and the fake friendships. I honestly wished Ruth had an actual friend in Atlanta, not just those phonies who skipped off when they realised she was Jewish.

It was a good read, though I struggled a bit with it, no thanks to the brief illness I had when I started reading it. It took my reading vibe. But you need a YA read that highlights racial discrimination against Blacks and Jewish people, here is a recommendation for you.

About The Author

Susan Kaplan Carlton currently teaches writing at Boston University. She is the author of Love & Haight and Lobsterland; her writing has also appeared in SelfElleMademoiselle, and Seventeen. She lived for a time with her family in Atlanta, where her daughters learned the finer points of etiquette from a little pink book and the power of social justice from their synagogue.

I received an e-copy of this book from Algonquin Books in exchange for a honest review.

June Wrap Up

Hey, Hi, Hello, Welcome to July! So, a half of 2020 is gone. Good news, bad news! But hey, even if you haven’t achieved all you wanted to achieve by mid-year, don’t lose hope, don’t lose faith. I’m proud of you.

June for me was just that month that went by fast in the start of the month and when it got to the middle, it started to drag sort of. How was June for you?

Reading-wise, I was read quite a number of books and I guess this happened because I started with rereads; books that I read when I was a bit younger because I needed and boost my reading more after going through a reading slump( I shared 10 things to do when in a reading slump here) and reading some those books now, i was just wondering what on Earth I was thinking! Goodness! Some of them were downright annoying and I realised some totally irritating things I thought was normal then. Needless to say, I had a long talk with my younger self but I forgive her anyways.

Sooo, in June, I read 18 books. 🤸🏽‍♀️

• Rebel Heart by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward | in May Wrap Up, I spoke about how I got sucked into a series, so yeah, I read the book 2 in June.

• The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena | Mind-blowing thriller. Loved it.

• Hate Notes by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward | Okay read. Didn’t hate it. Didn’t love it.

• Heartless by Michelle Horst. | The reread that made me question the sanity of my younger self.

• Heart of Honor by Kat Martin| A reread. Well, I don’t feel as strongly as I felt about this book before.

• The Wives by Tarryn Fisher | I. Love. This. Book.

• We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | Five stars! Everybody should read this.

• The Naked Truth by Vi Keeland | Didn’t hate it. Didn’t love it.

Not Just Another Interlude by Lara Kareem | Perfect light read. Read this book!!!!

• Dear Ijeawele, Or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie | Amazing book. Loved it!

• Daughters who walk this path by Yejide Kilanko | One of my fav reads for June. I cried while reading😬

• Questions for Ada by Ijeoma Umebinyuo | This book is a gem! Read it.

• Bossman by Vi Keeland | Yeah, Vi Keeland. Full stop.

• A Woman Is A Woman Until She Is A Mother by Anna Prushinskaya (Audiobook) | Didn’t hate it. Didn’t love it. Talked about pregnancy and motherhood and raised some important questions.

She Called Me Woman by Azeenarh Mohammed, Chitra Nagarajan, Rafeeat Aliyu. | My read for Pride Month. What A Book.

Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert | Don’t let me get started on this book. Just know, I love it and Zafir is my book boyfriend.

• Salt by Nayyirah Waheed | Another amazing poetry collection that you need to read.

• The Fire That Is Dreamed Of curated by Ernest Ogunyemi | Good poetry is in here.

I read 18 books in June!

I am currently on my 81st book of 2020. I planned to read 120 books this year and so far, so good, it has been great but for my mid year review, I want to read more African Literature & Literature by more people of colour. Of course, I read a lot of these but I want to be better. You get?

My second read for Pride Month & #ReadCarribean together was Black Leopard, Red Wolf but then I haven’t finished it. Honestly, that book is a lot (not just about the pages) and it might even take a month for me to finish it at the pace I am taking it. I hope not. 😩

Anyhoo, for this month, I think I am feeling the vibe of thrillers so I might read thrillers more this month. I really love good thrillers. I also will be reading Girl, Woman, Other this month🤸🏽‍♀️whoop 🤸🏽‍♀️whoop🤸🏽‍♀️ I got my copy in May and I was so happy. I was also gifted The Girl With The Louding Voice and I can’t wait to read it but I do not know if I will read it in July.

If you didn’t know, I shared 10 Bookish Pet Peeves Every Reader Can Relate With. These pet peeves makes me want to tear my hair out. I also shared My 31 Highlighted Lessons from Smart Money Woman. These tips will help you with your finances. Lastly, Reading Slump is the bane of every reader. I shared 10 things To Do When In A Reading Slump. Check out these articles. I promise you will learn a thing or two.

So tell me, how was June for you, reading wise? How do you see July to be? What books are you planning on reading?

Before you go, I have June Literary Gist for you:

Ouida Books now has Nigerian version of The Girl With The Louding Voice and it is #4,000 naira so get it if you can!

Amazing Follower Award

Ernestine of Time With Ernie Blog nominated me for this award. Ernestine is an amazing fellow book blogger and bookstagrammer. You should definitely check her out.

GUIDELINES

• Put the award logo on your blog post.

• Answer the 8 questions asked by the person who nominated you. Also provide a link to their blog.

• Tell us why you like their blog. How has it inspired you?

• Nominate around 8 other amazing people who have supported you in every step of the way.

• Ask them 8 questions of your choice.

• Follow Time With Ernie

Ernestine’s questions:

How does this blog inspire you?

I am just amazed at how you have done so much for yourself and carved your niche on WordPress. Weldone, Ernestine.

Your favorite post from this blog?

That might be our book rant collaboration.. It was much fun. If you didn’t catch it, Read it here: Bookie Talkie with Ernestine; tha.tbookishgirl on IG

Any suggestions (for this blog)?

Just keep on doing you, girl.

When did you start blogging?

I started my literary blogging officially May 22, 2019.

Has there been a time when you wanted to quit blogging? What made you not give up?

Not yet. There were times I was exhausted though and I took breaks but I never have thought of quitting.

Any fictional character/real person who you wish to impersonate? Why?

None.

Your hobbies amidst the pandemic..

I have been reading, writing, watching DIYs and home tours. Low-key I love interior decor.

The most recent book you read.

Recently, I read Questions For Ada by Ijeoma Umebinyuo. A totally relevant book. It always will be. I recommend you read it too.

So, special thanks to Ernestine for the nomination. I will be nominating:

Damilola of All Shades of Damdam

Katherine of Khayskona Blog

Obianuju of SnoopingBee Blog

Also, an overdue #meettheblogger post is in the works so if there are any questions you would like to ask me, please leave them in the form below.

10 Bookish Pet Peeves Every Reader Can Relate With

P.C: Pinterest

Today, as the post title says, I’ll be sharing 10 out of the numerous bookish pet peeves there are. But, first, what are pet peeves?

A pet peeves is something that is so annoying that you can never get yourself to like. In this case, your bookish pet peeves makes you go like this 👇🏽 everytime.

So let’s get right into it. I’m sure most of the pet peeves I have here, you can relate to them.

Getting interrupted when reading! I’m sure I’m not the only one who hates when this happens, especially when you are just getting into the book or when you are at a very interesting part of the book. It makes me want to tear my hair out especially when it is repeated!

Borrowing people books to end up hearing stories that touch! I’m sure every bookie at a point in their life have had a story to tell in this regard. I have lot of stories. Many times, my books have been borrowed and never returned, sometimes, I want to believe they grew legs and left me because the people I borrowed would claim they returned it. Other touching stories is seeing your beautiful book returned with food stains or tears. It is very annoying and it has made me thick-skinned at this point. For me, anyone that wants to read a book should buy theirs. I will gladly point them in the right direction or give them the e-book 🤷🏽‍♀️ Books are expensive✌🏽

Dogearing books is another pet peeve. Of all the bookmarks in the world, all of the things you can use as bookmarks, you chose to say you have coconut head and dogear a book, why? Just tell me. Apart from the fact that dogearing damages books, it also doesn’t make a book attractive 🤦🏽‍♀️ Stop dogearing books!

P.C: Pinterest

Another pet peeve is book shaming! How do people live with book shaming other people? Readers are readers, please. Let people read what they want. If people like to read romance, let them. If people like to read true crime only, let them. Don’t project your idea of intellectual reading on people. The best you can do is recommend books to them, not project what you think is good to read or book shame them. If you do this, let this be your last warning.

Don’t project your idea of intellectual reading on people. The best you can do is recommend books to them, not project what you think is good to read or book shame them.

Who else hates it when a book does not live up to the hype? This is just very annoying when you have seen the particular book everywhere. Every single soul, plant and animal on earth is talking about the book and then you buy the book and 50 pages in, you are wondering if you haven’t made a grievous mistake. If you managed to finish the book, you are so wondering why you took step to hurt yourself like this. The feeling isn’t good😂

Now, come here, young man, why will you write inside a book with a pen?!!!!!! So, you found the thing you needed to underline or that word you need to check up in the dictionary and the next thing you thought of was taking a pen, A PEN, to write or underline in the book. My goodness! May we not attract curses to ourselves. Dazall I can say.

Poor editing of books. You see this, this right here! My goodness. This irks me! I mean whyyyyyyyyyy? Especially simple but grievous grammar mistakes like using am instead of I’m in a book. I have read quite a number of books with this error. It is really annoying. Hey, if you still use am instead of I’m, you should probably check out my post on it: Wahala dey: The Use of ‘Am’ and ‘I’m’.

Another one is when your phone or e-reader dies and you don’t have a physical copy of the book or another book you need to get to, that’s just pretty sad. Very sad. Extremely sad. Totally sad.

Another completely annoying pet peeve is when someone gets you what you don’t like to read as a gift! I could cry. I mean, I would say thank you for the book but deep down, I’m sad.😭 This is just to inform you that I don’t read Aspaya to Paspaya books very much so don’t gift me them. I will rather read fiction, please. If I want Non-fiction, I will get it myself because it interests me. It’s pretty sad knowing gifting an unwanted book could have been avoided if the ‘gifter’ had asked or made enquiries, yunno.

It’s pretty sad knowing gifting an unwanted book could have been avoided if the ‘gifter’ had asked or made enquiries, yunno.

Now, to the final one for this list, Don’t you just want to slap people who ask you why you buy more books or love to read? I mean, why would you not love to read, sis? I do not understand your plight. Even if you wouldn’t be a voracious reader, not reading at all is tragic and detrimental to you. Annnnnd stop telling book lovers not to buy more books, we are not the cause of your problem. Thaiinks.

This list has 10 Bookish Pet Peeves every reader can relate with. Click the link to read and see which one irks you most.

So there you have the pet peeves I have experienced and I’m sure most bookish people can relate with. Do you have any you have experienced here or any I didn’t mentioned? I know there are lots of bookish pet peeves, so tell me which one I didn’t add and another you can relate with on this list.

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to share to your socials for others to enjoy.

Check out my other posts too. You will enjoy them.

Book Review: Windows by Jesutomisin Ipinmoye

Book: Windows Author: Jesutomisin Ipinmoye Genre: Short stories, Poetry Publication Date: July 29, 2020 Synopsis: windows’, the debut collection from Jesutomisin Ipinmoye, serves a chance to peer into the collective experiences that make us human, from our pain and loss, to our hope and drive, all while underlining the human capacity for tremendous good and […]

August Wrap Up

Hey there! Happy new month! Welcome to September. How did August go for you? Mine was a ride. Different terrible news, good news, just a mix of various things but I’m glad I’m here and I’m pushing on. I would say push on but when you need to rest, please don’t hesitate to take a […]

My 31 Highlighted Lessons from Smart Money Woman by Arese Ugwu

Hey, if you haven’t heard, Smart Money Woman by Arese Ugwu is one of the best books for financial intelligence out there and great news, it even has a sequel! It’s called Smart Money Tribe. But today, I will be sharing lessons from Smart Money Woman which I recently reread after reading it about two years ago.

Let’s get into it.

  • Dismiss the idea that you will always make more money.
  • Building wealth is more about how much you keep.
  • Financial Freedom is when your passive income is more than your expenses. (Passive income is money from investments and whatnot)
  • Confronting money fears is the right way to conquering them.

Confronting money fears is the right way to conquering them — SMART MONEY WOMAN by Arese Ugwu.

  • Difference between successful and average people is that successful people acknowledge their fears but don’t let it overcome them.
  • Always track your expenses.
  • Control your money, not your money controlling you.
  • Debt can be useful in attaining financial success.
  • Plan for emergencies. Don’t be superstitious and think nothing can go wrong with you.
  • A smart woman doesn’t wait for financial surprises.
  • Add money you were not expecting, i.e, money you were gifted, to your emergency funds.
  • Success is deeply rooted in being able to articulate what you want and the solid plan to get it.
  • Budgeting is not scarcity of reduction in station of life.
  • Divide your income into three parts: Long-term goals, short-term goals and living expenses.
  • Your network is your networth.
  • Take advantage of relationships around you.
  • Mentorship is an awesome way to build your network and accelerate your personal growth.
  • Instead of talking about yourself while trying to network, ask the other person questions and find where you both have common interests.
  • Sell your why instead of your what.
  • Family need to have money conversations. Conversations like having joint accounts, next of kin, emergency funds, e.t.c..
  • Money matters should should be a part of premarital counseling.

Money matters should should be a part of premarital counseling — SMART MONEY WOMAN by Arese Ugwu.

  • Partners should understand their money personalities and how to make it work.
  • Things you can invest in: stock, real estate, mutual funds, treasury bills, e.t.c.
  • There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to investment. Look at your situation and your goal and determine what works for you.
  • Write down your investment strategy. This gives you a plan and sets you straight in times of chaos and decision making.
  • Do not invest in things you do not understand.
  • Know your skill-set.
  • Your passion has to solve a problem people are willing to pay for.
  • Not everyone is cut off to being an entrepreneur.
  • Being your own boss is not about working for yourself and avoiding 9-5.
  • A Smart Money Woman would rather live like a princess forever than like a queen for few years!

A Smart Money Woman would rather live like a princess forever than like a queen for few years! — SMART MONEY WOMAN by Arese Ugwu.

So there you have it. These are my highlighted lessons from the book. Which of this lessons resonates with you? Have you read this book?

If you truly read through this, you would see that the book is a gem and it is what you need to get yourself together financially. Don’t say I didn’t do anything for you!

Author’sDelight #9: “I draw inspiration from songs by The Weeknd when I’m writing” — Ada Eze.

Hello, readers of StoryStoryOh. Today’s discussion is one of the most fun Author’s Delight conversations I’ve had. Ada Eze, our guest today even made me answer my own question😂 Read through and don’t forget to comment and share for your friends to read!

Beautiful Ada Eze

Oreoluwa Eunice: Hello, I’m Oreoluwa from StoryStoryOh. Please, introduce yourself.


Ada Eze: Hello, I’m Adaeze. Nice to meet you


Oreoluwa Eunice: Same here, Adaeze. Please share with me three interesting things about you.


Ada Eze: Haha, this won’t be easy for me. I’m ambidextrous, I love making soap, and I’m an award winning rock star–in the shower, of course 😅
Oreoluwa Eunice: 😂 music made in the shower is glorious. As a reader and a writer, what are your book interests, do they vary?
Ada Eze: I think I’m more versatile in reading. I enjoy thriller/suspense, horror, romance, humour, drama, non-fiction (biographies). As a writer, I’m interested in romance, humour. I also love writing dramatic scenes!
Oreoluwa Eunice: I also love me a good thriller and who doesn’t love drama? 👀 I live for drama, haha. Are you currently reading any book?
Ada Eze: They say that drama is life especially when it isn’t happening to you. I’m currently not reading any book. At least for over a week now. But I intend to finish the one I abandoned.


Oreoluwa Eunice: I’ve read Preordained and the one you are currently writing, Improvised Plan and I looove them both. Why did you choose to write stories about these totally complex characters?
Ada Eze: Thank you so much! I always get so happy when people tell me they love my work. You think they’re complex? Haha, that’s new. I wanted to give readers relatable characters in Nigeria. I enjoy adding spice here and there; I suppose it’s just for the fun.


Oreoluwa Eunice: Who is your book boyfriend between Maduka of Preordained and Saheed of Improvised Plan?
Ada Eze: This is a tough one, please don’t make me choose! They’re both different men and I love them both 😅 It’s my readers that should be asked to choose, not me. I can’t be partial 😅 But let’s see. If I wanted mad fun and a lot of laughter, I’d choose Saheed. If I wanted tranquility, then Maduka is the guy.


Oreoluwa Eunice: 😅😅😅I definitely can’t choose but Saheed, oh my God. I think I need to read Preordained again before Saheed takes up Maduka space in my heart o.


Ada Eze: Saheed is a whole vibe, that man. His charm just pulls you in, doesn’t it? I’d say his character development is looking wholesome.

Oreoluwa Eunice: I totally, totally agree with you. He has grown so much.
Ada Eze: Like do you get? I was discussing this with my sisters a few days ago. They asked me how on earth they grew from disliking Saheed to rooting for him 🤣🤣
They were like, “How did you do it, Adaeze?” And I honestly couldn’t explain.

Oreoluwa Eunice: I know right. It’s mind blowing. His character in Preordained wasn’t the most beautiful.

Ada Eze: We all loved to hate the guy.

Oreoluwa Eunice: What lessons did you gain in the course of writing Preordained?

Ada Eze: Over the course of writing Preordained, I learned not to rush. I learned to be patient and easy on myself. I learned to draw inspiration from people, events, places, music.


Oreoluwa Eunice: What are the memorable events and music that helped you with Preordained?

Ada Eze: The Weeknd songs! Then I had this Spotify playlist “Deep Feels”. Awesome songs there. It contained songs by Drake, Bryson Tiller, and many more.

Oreoluwa Eunice: What is your writing schedule like?

Ada Eze: I have no writing schedule. I like how I write when the feeling comes (I’m so sorry, you guys!) because I am doing so many other things. It’s mostly a hobby for now. Sometimes a song, a movie, a conversation can trigger me to open my laptop and put down some words.


Oreoluwa Eunice: A spontaneous writer! Does this not affect your creativity in any way?
Ada Eze: I can’t say, because I only write when the inspiration comes. I don’t make myself write stuff. When I try that, my mind goes blank.


Oreoluwa Eunice: Alright. I will be asking some fun questions. Are you ready?
Ada Eze: Sure I am.


Oreoluwa Eunice: If Preordained was to be adapted into a movie, who would you like to be your lead characters?


Ada Eze: I’m not well-versed in Nollywood, but I think Leo Da Silva would make a wonderful Saheed (just that Saheed is described as light-skinned–sorry to disappoint some of you).
Ada Eze: You, what do you think? Help me out here 😅

Oreoluwa Eunice: 😅😅
Ada Eze: See how difficult it is? You must answer me oh 😂😂😂

Oreoluwa Eunice: I am blank😅
Ada Eze: I no gree, you must talk one.

Oreoluwa Eunice: I have someone in mind for Queen but I can’t remember her name now. I think OC Ukeje will play Maduka well. Okay, I had Ini-Dima Okojie in mind. Lota Chukwu might play Queen well too. Cast is complete😅
Ada Eze: Oh, not bad. OK, OK Ini-Dima is a yes. Makes a lot of sense. I think Leo will complete everything. Am I giving away my obvious love for Saheed, because I’ve mentioned him a million times now 😫😫
Oreoluwa Eunice: Yes, you are. Now I know who your book boyfriend is between both of them. Don’t worry, it is okay. Saheed with the charm.


Oreoluwa Eunice: Moving on, would you rather write in silence or with music?
Ada Eze: I can do both, but I prefer silence. Gives my thoughts time to run around in my head before I express them.


Oreoluwa Eunice: Mention three favorite books in genre of books that you write.

Ada Eze: I have no favourite romance books… But I’ll pick Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and any of Nora Robert’s romance trilogies.


Oreoluwa Eunice: if you could choose to be a book character for a day, which character will that be?

Ada Eze: I’d be Robert Langdon. He’s such a smart fellow and he always has all the fun, albeit grudgingly 🤣


Oreoluwa Eunice: Which scene has been your favorite in Improvised Plan so far?
Ada Eze: My favourite part has to be when Ọla and Saheed first meet. The dialogue makes me smile everytime I read it.


Oreoluwa Eunice: What sacrifices have you made in the course of writing this book?

Ada Eze: I’ve sacrificed a ton of sleep! I’ve also abandoned some assignments (which I later did before deadlines, don’t worry) to write because I just had to. That’s pretty much it lol


Oreoluwa Eunice: Any final words for your readers and those hoping to author books like you?
Ada Eze: I’d like to thank everyone who has ever read, voted, commented and recommended my books on Wattpad, Okadabooks and PabPub. You’re all amazing! For those hoping to author books, just write. Have people around you who are willing to read/offer help; it’s very important.

Get PREORDAINED on:

Okada Books

Pabpub

Blurb:
When Maduka meets Nwanyieze, he is certain they are meant to be. He learns that she is a woman with secrets, but he cannot stay away from her. He also has secrets of his own, of a past that he has been fearing and seeking to confront at the same time…
Nwanyieze, distrustful of the world and scared of showing vulnerability, cant help herself with Maduka. He seems too good to be true, but what will happen when the cat crawls out of the bag?
Burning from rejection, Saheed has refused to back down from his goal. Armed with juicy secrets, he plays a game and bids his time. He is a man who always gets what he wants, and what he wants is Nwanyieze.
Are omitting and lying one and the same, or are they different? Amid secrets and desire set in the Centre of Excellence, will love blossom, or will it wither?

May Wrap-Up

May 2020 is honestly, a month I will never ever forget in my lifetime. This month that just passed is the craziest month so far in 2020 and I just feel like 2020 isn’t done bringing us surprises.

Different triggers upon different triggers for me. At a point, I just wanted to throw my phone away and go live in the middle of nowhere. I even imagined that I will probably come out of that house only when there is a book club meeting and then I go back to my house in the middle of nowhere, where I interact with no human and I just work remotely all day but really, this past month has been exhausting. The world is exhausting, everywhere is so exhausting, people are exhausting.

Sorry, another bad news. I fell into a reading slump as you guys probably know. I couldn’t concentrate on any book. It was horrible. I had to focus on social media and social media was exhausting too. I got out of my slump few days ago and if you have been following this blog, you will see that I shared 10 things to do when in a reading slump. The last suggestion particularly helped me.

Moving on to the books I read. I read 7 books in May. It was supposed to be 8 but I haven’t finished the 8th and I had dumped it for some days now.

The books I read are:

• Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert. I love this book. I shared my unbiased thoughts on it on my bookstagram. Check it out.


• Tamed by Emma Chase. A good read. Funny hero, sassy heroine. A rom-com.

• Keep Forever by Alexa Kingaard. I shared my review on it this month. Click here to read.


• Born A Crime by Trevor Noah. This is such an awesome book. Touched so many sensitive and thought-provoking topics like race, colonialism, apartheid in South Africa, women battery, e.t.c. I shared quotes from this book on my bookstagram. I read it here. I really recommend it.


• Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas. Light read. 3 stars.


• Rebel Heir by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward. Light read. I was surprised when at the end I realised it was a book one of a series. It ended in a cliffhanger. That’s how I was sucked into a series, y’all.


• Smart Money Woman by Arese Ugwu. This book is what you need for financial intelligence, sis. It doesn’t exempt men too. Don’t be carried away with the book title, you can gain value from it. I reread it again this month after reading it few years ago and it is still valid.

My favourites for May are: Born A Crime by Trevor Noah, Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert and Smart Money Woman by Arese Ugwu.

Highlights of the month

• StoryStoryOh clocked a year. I shared lessons I learnt since the past year. I hosted a bookish giveaway that ended yesterday to commemorate it.

• I interviewed Lara Kareem for Author’sDelight. It was such an insightful conversation. Read the discussion here.

• I had a book talk with Ernestine of Time With Ernie. Read it here.

May’s Literary Gist

Lara Kareem published her book, Not Just Another Interlude this month. She spoke about it in the discussion we had and now it is available on Okadabooks. Go read it.

So that’s it for my May wrap-up. Tell me, how are you faring?

10 things to do when in a reading slump

Hiya people!! I just got out of a terrible reading slump and it really really sucked. I tried so many things so I could get my reading groove back. So, I thought, some persons might also need this help and then I decided to share 10 things to do when in a reading slump.

Note: Reading slump is basically the inability to read anything you want to and you if try to force yourself, you might end up hating the book you normally would have enjoyed reading. It is when a reader wants to be able to read and enjoy a book but just can’t.

First thing to do is to acknowledge the fact that you are in a reading slump. It sucks, I know but as people will say, the first step to overcoming a problem is to identify and acknowledge that you have the problem.


Second, Contrary to what people say when one is in a reading slump, if possible, do not read anything. Take a break. Reading slumps, sometimes, are indication that your brain is taking an overload of information and you need to chill and process those information.


Read what you like! You are probably in a reading slump because you are reading what you don’t like to read. Please do not do this. Read what you like to read. Read what pleases you. There is a difference between branching out your reading culture and forcing yourself to read what you don’t like. Perhaps, you are reading what you don’t like to please someone, girl, I’m telling you, reading what you want to, read what you like! I can’t stress this enough.


Switch to a genre you don’t read normally. While in the vein of reading what you like, you might be in a slump because you are tired of that which you like. If this is the case, then you can switch up. Please don’t switch because you want to please someone or seem smart to a certain group of people or even in a community you belong to. Switch because you are tired of what you are reading and are genuinely looking for a change.

These 10 tips will help you with the reading slump you have been battling with!


Declutter your bookshelf or reading nook. This can also help in putting you out of your slump. While decluttering or rearranging your bookshelf, you can find a book that will interest you and spark your reading fire again.

P.C: Pinterest


Read something light. This is also important. You can fall into a reading slump because you have been reading books with pretty heavy themes. If this is the case, you can chill out by reading a cheesy rom-com or even a graphic/comic book.


Re-read one of your favorite books. This can also help get you out of that reading slump. Check your bookshelf, look for a favourite and read. This would either give you a new perspective of the book or also make you thirst for more of that kind of book.


Read short books. Perhaps you are in a slump because you have been reading big books lately, bro, chill out! Find a short story or a collection of short stories to read and enjoy yourself.

Are you in a reading slump? Here are 10 tips to help you get over it!


Discuss books with a fellow bookie. There is so much joy in discussing books with a fellow bookie. I mean, the vibe is not from this world at all, especially if you both like the same books. Doing this can rekindle your reading spirit and so, I encourage it. I’m also here if you need someone to discuss books with. ❤️


Listen to music or an audiobook. You can relax your mind by listening to music. It is even better if the songs you are listening to are ones recommended by an author or the ones an author listened to when writing their book. You can also listen to an audiobook and relax in your reading nook too or while doing this, you can do other productive things. Listening to an audiobook of a physical book I was reading helped me with my slump.

P.C: Pinterest

So there you have it, dearies. If you are in a reading slump, I implore you to try any of this to get out of your slump. If you are in a reading slump, share with me how you have been coping.

Bookie Talkie with Ernestine, @tha.tbookishgirl on IG

Hiya people!!! Today, I have a guest with me, Ernestine Okofar!!! She is a fellow bookstagrammer and book blogger. Her handle is @tha.tbookishgirl and her blog is Time With Ernie.

We decided to share our different rants/reviews on a book we both read at different times. I will be sharing Ernestine’s view first.

We will be sharing our views on The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. Enjoyyy!

Picture credit belongs to me.

Book: Unhoneeymooners by Christina Lauren
Genre:Romance / Contemporary fiction
Pages: 400 pages
Publication: 14th May, 2019 by Gallery books
Goodreads rating: 3.99
Format: Ebook

Ernestine 😍❤️

Ernestine’s review on bookstagram

The Unhoneymooners is a Romantic Comedy that takes a twist in the end but all the same, ends in a cliche manner. To me, the characters having to be so close to each other or related is even what makes it weirder. I’m not really a fan of contemporary romance but even then, it doesn’t sit right. Only the travel in the book and concept of the unplanned honeymoon kept me going.

The highlight for me in the book is how Olive tries to navigate her life and make choices on her own. Impressive!


If you like romcoms and you’re a sucker for contemporary romance and love traveling then this book is for you. I’d totally recommend it. A good read either way. I expected so much from this book but it took me by surprise.

(Ernestine’s rant: May 24, 2020)

I rated this book 3 stars ⭐️
To be honest , the reason why I even added one extra star was just because of the vacation part and the fact that it was so cute and very enjoyable to read.

“I can appreciate my body in a bikini and still want to set fire to the patriarchy.” – Unhoneeymooners by Christina Lauren


This is one of the best quotes in this book and I do not stand corrected. Olive’s character development is all that I can accept and say really shaped this book.

I don’t even know, till now, what was it about this book that irked me asides from the fact that it was so cliche and honestly so bland. So many pages filled with unnecessary info. I was so disappointed because I had heard so much about the book and seen ratings before starting it! Yet, it was something I would DNF if not for Olive.

Ethan, omg! He was so annoying. I understand that all these fine boys have skr skr in their brains oh but abeg, his own was so rushed and annoying. I’m also not denying his sweetness 🥺✨ and disciplined straight forwardness which I adored.

The twists in the book ended up not even being fascinating. I mean ! What was that about the Boss about to hire her and even from the beginning ill luck as a twin. I still don’t get the hype sha oh😂.


Dane is an asshole to me. His character really irritated me through out and her twin sister too. At a point, I wanted them to just be together forever because they fit . So arrogant, only that Dane’s own is juju because his brain wasn’t functioning well and back to Ethan Thomas that didn’t believe the love of his life, Olive, instead believed Dane who was using all their heads to play ten ten. Let me even drop this here, this was what made me rate it too , because there was a lot of emotion and I loved that part a lot.


The vacation was so soothing to read probably because I’m a traveling person (I mean vacations ). I loved it . Then the romance in the book was actually sweet . It’s a lovely read and I know you will enjoy it.

Fav Excerpts

The pain is part of the experience,”

Nothing is harder in a relationship than not respecting the person you’re with.”

“I mean, you’re not horrible to look at.”
“Neither are you.”

But some things are infinitely better when they happen behind closed doors.”
Even Ore can agree that, this is the best excerpt from this book. The scene and everything was just right😻.

I will still end with the fact that I don’t get the hype but we should all read this especially on Vacations. I like the fact that there’s different opinions to this book and will encourage you to read to see from your own point of view.

—Ernestine

MY POINT OF VIEW

“Nothing is harder in a relationship than not respecting the person you are with.” — The Unhoneymooners, Christina Lauren.

My review (written on the 24th of March, 2020. First posted on my bookstagram page)


Wow. This book is nothing short of amazing. I started it last night and I finished it midnight. I. Was. Sucked. In. This social distancing thing has been of great advantage to me as I have read three books in 24 hours+. I read Odriel’s Heirs by Hayley Reese Chow. It is YA fantasy and I loved it. I read My Favourite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren and then The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren.


I think Christina Lauren writes some of the best enemies-to-lovers and friends-to-lovers romances. The Unhoneymooners is light while subtly dealing with the issue of self-esteem and spousal abuse (emotional abuse and infidelity in this case). I love the sense of family sticking together I got in this book though in Ethan’s case (the hero🙄) he kinda fell my hand at a point. I mean what his brother was doing was glaring but in a false sense of loyalty, he chose to believe his brother over his girl and I like what Olive (the protagonist and my God, I think I fell in love with this name) said to him. She said: “You think I’m lying because our relationship is new?” This is why trust is very important in EVERY kind of relationship and Ethan actually over-trusted (if that’s a word. I don’t think it’s a word) his dick of a brother.

I love the fact that I could feel the plot development and I could see the character growth of Olive. It was amazing! And this book is funny too. I laughed multiple times while I was reading in the midnight, not caring who might have heard me laugh😎😎

Have I talked about how the plot angst made me happy?!! 😂 It was slow and deliberate and I liked the way it finally blew up. Kudos to the writing besties, Christina Lauren.

I totally recommend if you want something light amidst all the heavy reading and you just want a good laugh.

My Rant (written May 24, 2020)

Smh, Olive.

The way Olive was going on about how privileged her sister is was just crazy. This was in the beginning of the book where I remember rolling my eyes a lot. Everytime free, free, free that, free this. She reminded me of those who complain about those who go for their gold instead of them doing the same!

But all the same, I loved this book. It’s the kind of book that you need to just cuddle up with on a rainy Saturday with hot, milky black tea on your nightstand. It’s cute and I love the angst. At least, for once, in romance novel, na the Bobo fuck up (which was bigggg time.)

If you have read The Unhoneymooners, please share what you think with us and and if you haven’t, please do asap so we can know your thoughts on it.

Ciao.

One year and counting: Lessons I have learnt and a bookish giveaway

Readers of StoryStoryOh!!! It is one year!!!

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How time flies!

I’m gonna be cliche and tell the story of how I was nervous when I first wanted to start this blog and [my bookstagram]. I was anxious if I was going to get views and how this was going to be received because it is not a regular blog where people come to share their everyday lifestyle! It is basically, mostly only books! I still get nervous! But over the past year, I have found my audience, people with actual interest in what I love to write about and it is so beautiful.

As at now, I have written over fifty blog posts and gotten more than three thousand views, I must be doing something right, lol!

I am just glad that I took this step and through this, coupled with my bookstagram, I have met so many amazing people! So many!

And guys, guess what? I passed 1k followers on bookstagram too. It has been a lovely learning curve this past year, honestly. I have had conversations, learnt to be more open minded and also go for my gold. If someone had told me about two years ago that I would have entered some people’s dms, never will I believe 😂 because I am a kind of a person who doesn’t like to leave her comfort zone, not gonna lie.

 

This is my precious baby haha. The blog logo I started with May 22, 2019.
and then I moved to this
this is the one I’m currently using as you have probably noticed.

THESE HAVE BEEN MY BLOG LOGOS SINCE I STARTED.

Lessons I have learnt on this literary blogging journey

• Don’t be afraid to ask questions or ask for help. You can’t do anything alone.

• Curiosity doesn’t kill the cat every time, haha.

• Just do it. Cliche but honest.

• Literary blogging is not easy and not everyone will be interested.

• Be kind to others.

• Don’t follow the crowd.

• Read what you like.

• By all means, shame book bullies. I’m not even joking. There is something like this and when you meet a book bully, girlllll, shame that person.

• Enjoy the process! This one is quite important to me.

• Stay true.

• Shamelessly self promote yourself and what you do.

these are some of the highlights of my lessons on this journey so far

To commemorate this milestone as well as reaching 1k amazing followers on bookstagram (Instagram), I will be hosting a juicy bookish giveaway in a few days time so you might wanna stay tuned for that one.

Let’s connect on Instagram!

To everyone who has shown love over the past year by visiting this blog, sharing my blog post links, subscribing/following my blog, recommending my blog, commenting on my posts and just being there, I do not take you for granted. Thank you. You are the real MVPs!

Cheers🥂

P.S. I made a bingo. Click on the image to download.

Book Review: Bad Boys Don’t Make Good Boyfriends

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Book: Boys Don’t Make Good Boyfriends (Life Lessons #2)
Author: Melanie A. Smith
Publication date: May 19th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Synopsis:

From best-selling author Melanie A. Smith comes the second book in a new series of steamy contemporary medical romance standalone novels about life lessons that break all the rules.

Even when you know better, sometimes it’s simply too tempting…

Hospital work isn’t for the faint of heart. Becca Dillon knows that firsthand, having worked as a medical assistant in the cardiac unit at Rutherford Hospital for longer than she cares to think about. What she does care to think about is having fun, gossip, and … guys. Her favorite of the three. And why stick to one, when you can sample them all?

That’s exactly her plan when a workplace crush on a mysterious bad-boy orderly unexpectedly takes a very steamy turn. But Vincent DeMarco turns out to be nothing like she expected, and before she knows it, she’s falling hard and fast. She wants him in ways she’s never wanted anyone before, but there’s something he’s keeping from her. Something that’s holding him back. And Becca is going to find out what.

Even though she knows that bad boys don’t make good boyfriends, he seems like he might be so much more. Will her quest unlock the truth behind who he really is? Or will it end their relationship for good? Either way, ready or not, Becca’s world is about to change.

 

badboysdontmakegoodboyfriendstourbanner
My Review
“It is always ‘until,’ my dear. Until you value yourself. Until you find someone who values you. Until you stop letting your past dictate your future.”
Bad Boys Don’t Make Good Boyfriends is that light book you just wanna cuddle up with in your reading book when it is sunset.
It is the story of Becca Dillion from Never Date a Doctor by Melanie Smith and Vincent DeMarco. Becca is someone who on the surface is a ‘feel good’ girl but deep down, she wants more. In this book, we see Becca more than what was portrayed in Never Date a Doctor. She is more complex and has unresolved issues with her immediate family which her trust issues stems from.
Becca’s story is interesting but at a point, I got infuriated by the back and forth between her and Vincent.
However, I learnt lessons from the book. 
Some of these lessons are quotes from the book which I highlighted.
“You gotta go after what you want sometimes, even if it’s scary. Even if you need help to do it.” 
“There is no one model for a perfect relationship. It’s just loving someone enough to get up everyday and decide to be with that person. Despite the weirdness. Or maybe because of it, I don’t know. That’s it.” 
“I knew from the start he had “bad boy” written all over him. But that’s just a label. And you fall for a person, not a type.” 
Purchase:
Giveaway
Tour-wide giveaway (US only)
  •  A signed paperback and matched bookmark, a “Book Boyfriends do it better” tote, a “F*** Off I’m Reading” mug, a gorgeous skulls and roses book sleeve by Rockpaperwords, and a handmade “Read or Die” skull bookmark by BookticketsByAM

Author’sDelight #8: “Romance novels need to project female friendships more. The bitchy female antagonist trope is getting boring” — Lara Kareem, author.

Hello everyone👋🏽👋🏽 I’m so excited to share with you the things I learnt from talking to the newest author in town!!! Drumroll🥁🥁🥁 LARA KAREEM!!! You guys, I learnt quite a lot from this conversation and also Lara cracked me up.  Continue reading annnnnd enjoy!

lara-1

 

Oreoluwa Eunice: Hello. I’m Oreoluwa Eunice from StoryStoryOh. It’s a delight to have you here. Can you please introduce yourself.
Lara Kareem: Hey Ore, I’m Lara. I’m thrilled to be here and doing this.

Oreoluwa Eunice: Same here. So, Lara, what are your book interests as a reader and as a writer?
Lara Kareem: My book interest varies, I would read anything as long as I find it entertaining but I find myself leaning towards romance books more than anything, due to this I tend to write love stories.
Oreoluwa Eunice: I also love to read romantic stories. As a reader, what trope annoys you the most?
Lara Kareem: I don’t know how to explain this but I hate when there’s that designated woman or girl that’s meant to be the enemy of a female main character, whose purpose is to just be a bitch, sabotage and antagonise the mc. I hate it more than I hate love triangles. We need more positive portrayal of female friendships.
Oreoluwa Eunice: There are a lot of books like this. Too much, in fact. I agree with you on that. So, are you currently reading any book?
Almost everyone I know seem to hate love triangles too, haha.
Lara Kareem: I find love triangles to be unnecessary because I am a huge fan of reverse harem haha. I am meant to be reading With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, but I stopped to read a couple of other books, but I’ll go back to it now.

Oreoluwa Eunice: I am yet to read With The Fire on High but I started Poet X a while ago and I enjoyed the writing style. My next question is cliche but I would like to know the answer. What inspired you to write your new book, ‘Not Just Another Interlude’?

not-just-another-interlude
Lara Kareem: Well, you’re a poet right? Finish the book it’s amazing.

I am a romance reader and I read a lot of romance books, especially ones written by whites because they have everything I look for in romance unlike the Nigerian ones I picked up to read which were always preachy in nature and came about as always judgy. The girls were always in distress and then a man would come to the rescue and the icing on the cake having terrible portrayal of female friendships or relations. They were always pushing one agenda or the other, to be honest reading the books felt like one giant propaganda.

Although since I discovered books published by Love Africa Press, it’s different now, I can read and enjoy the romance stories of Africans by Africans, which purpose is just to get us to swoon and be in our feels.
I wrote Not Just Another Interlude because it’s the kind of book I want to read.
Oreoluwa Eunice: This reminds me of Toni Morrison’s quote which says, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it,” so I am glad you took the step. Do you see a future for the romance genre in Nigeria, and Africa as a whole? I feel like it is seen as fickle or frivolous while it is actually one of the realities of most people’s lives.
Lara Kareem: Honestly, it’s quite sad how many people are quick to dismiss romance novels. So many times I’ve been looked down on by Nigerians for enjoying and being a loud advocate of romance novels. Meanwhile there are thousands of us that enjoy romance but suffer from herd mentality.

But I believe many people are finally embracing being them self and enjoying what they like without a care, so yes there’s still hope but within the literary space itself especially concerning the publishers, I don’t know when because the people behind Ankara Press have done a very terrible job.
Oreoluwa Eunice: I totally agree with you. The only reason people book shame readers of romance is because of herd mentality. I also read something somewhere that problems people have are too much for a reader to be book shaming another reader. It is totally appalling. There are a lot of lessons to learn from these books. This is for another day though, haha
I wouldn’t lie, I did not even now that there was anything like Ankara Press until I was researching Nigerian romance books. Publishers here need to do better.

What are the lessons you learnt in the course of you writing and publishing Not Just Another Interlude?
Lara Kareem: Lessons? Writing Not Just Another Interlude was fun all through, I lightly touched on various of the things many Nigerians are quick to condemn women on, by putting a positive spin to it, because we women should be allowed to make mistakes, grow from it and live our lives freely, rather than being punished eternally.

When it comes to publishing, I sent my manuscript to two publishers. One was American and before I found out about Love Africa Press. I passed the first stage of querying with the American publisher but ultimately my book was too Nigerian for them, because our reality is so hard for them to relate to. Luckily I had already sent my manuscript to Love Africa Press while I was waiting for their response. In fact I got their rejection about a month after I had signed the deal with Love Africa Press. It didn’t hurt because I had forgotten I sent my manuscript to them lol
Oreoluwa Eunice: 😂 I’m so glad it turned out well. What is your writing schedule like?

Lara Kareem: I don’t have one, I’m currently not writing 😊
Oreoluwa Eunice: Apart from Not Just Another Interlude, you wrote A Guide To Self Publishing which I enjoyed reading. How was that experience for you, putting all you knew about publishing together…

a-guide-to-publishing
Lara Kareem: It took me about 3 months to gather all the information in one place. I write according to my mood, there are months where I just have to do something and my mind won’t let me rest until I have finished, that’s what happened with A Guide to Self Publishing.

It was easy, I felt like it was a necessary service for people who wanted to self publish here in Nigeria, due to the amount of slightly clueless independent authors I have come across working at bookstores.

Many of them think after writing the story that’s it. To get a cover and print it, not realising there are several processes that have to be taken before they publish their books.

I majorly wrote A Guide to Self Publishing for my consulting sessions. Many authors are always trying to pick my brain for free when it comes to publishing their books and I knew I had to gather it all in one place.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Brilliant idea. There is nothing wrong in monetizing your services. I’m going to be asking a couple of fun questions. Are you ready?
Lara Kareem: Please go ahead.

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Oreoluwa Eunice: What book do you regret reading?
Lara Kareem: It’s very easy. Omo by Alexander Emmanuel. Till date, it’s one book that gets me annoyed when I think about it.
Oreoluwa Eunice: 😂😂
Next question, what book do you think is underappreciated?
Lara Kareem: There are a lot of books that I feel are under appreciated but I’ll stick to David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi David Okungbowa. I know I’m always shouting about this book.

Oreoluwa Eunice: Haha. Chocolate or Ice-Cream?

Lara Kareem: Vanilla Ice-cream. I’m not really a fan of chocolate.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Mention three of your absolute favorite books.
Lara Kareem: 1. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
2. David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi David Okungbowa
3. The Book of Night Women by Marlon James
Oreoluwa Eunice: I LOVEEEEEEEE It Ends With Us. Such an heart wrenching book. So, if you were to give one out with ever having a copy again, re-read one but still own a copy or keep one forever; which one will it be?
Lara Kareem: The one I’ll keep forever is David Mogo, Godhunter. Re-read is The Book of Night Women and Give out without owning a copy again is It Ends With Us. But honestly that’s never going to be possible ☺️
Oreoluwa Eunice: 😂😂 would you rather have endless supplies of historical romance or endless supplies of romantic suspense?
Lara Kareem: Easy romantic suspense, who wants to be stuck in the problematic past.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Your responses are killing me😂😂😭 Last one, Beach or Mountain?
Lara Kareem: Beach
Oreoluwa Eunice: Before we wrap this up, what do you wish you knew before you took step into publishing your book?
Lara Kareem: Is it possible to say, I knew what I was doing? I did my research and I have worked in publishing as well so I didn’t go in blind and unprepared. Maybe months from now my answer would be different, but right now I can’t answer this question because so far I haven’t encounter anything new or unexpected 😊

Oreoluwa Eunice: Great. So, what advice will you give to other persons hoping to get published?
Lara Kareem: It’s important for authors to understand and know what they’re going into when it comes to publishing, they should research on the publishers who are best for the genre they’re writing, and they should try to get a literary agent if possible because these agents will give them access to publishers that aren’t even within their reach.

When it comes to self-publishing, they should follow the due process, research and be very aware of the fact publishing isn’t cheap.
Oreoluwa Eunice: I honestly have learnt a great deal from our conversation, Lara. Thank you for your time. I wish you the very best in all your endeavors in the literary scene.
Lara Kareem: Thanks, Ore 🥰

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Visit Lara Kareem’s website for more info at  www.larakareem.com

Not Just Another Interlude

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release date: May 25, 2020

BLURB
Sewa’s decision to steer her love life in the direction she wants instantly backfires, prompting her to halt her quest for love and focus on other more important things like getting a job. Fate has its own plan and puts her in the path of the man of her dreams, Jide.

Jide isn’t afraid to go after what he wants. Crossing Sewa’s path more than once, he doesn’t leave it up to chance because there is something special about her.

When their budding relationship suffers a huge blow, Jide will have to prove that love is worth fighting for, to Sewa.

ADD TO GOODREADS TBR

 

A Guide To Self-Publishing

For months you’ve worked diligently, dedicated time, stayed up late, overcame writer’s block and finally, you typed the last word and finished writing your book.

Now that you’ve finished writing your book, you’re anxious to know what comes next? You look up publishing firms accepting the genre of your manuscript and query them, hoping they’ll publish your book and you’re on your merry way to the life of authordom.

But, there’s no response from these publishing firms or many apologise but aren’t sure you’re the right fit for the firm and now you’re stumped. Don’t fret too much because there is another way, which is where this book comes in.

Do you really want to publish your book? Self-Publishing is the path to take and this book is filled with all the necessary information needed to get your book ready before hitting the publish button.

 

Add on Goodreads

Buy on Okadabooks

Buy on Amazon

Buy Ebook

Buy Paperback

Book Review: Keep Forever by Alexa Kingaard

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Book: Keep Forever

Author: Alexa Kingaard
Publisher: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: March 28th 2020
Genres: Historical Romance, Women’s Fiction
Synopsis:

“Unlike some war stories that focus on intense, harsh and graphic depictions of post-combat trauma, this tale unfolds gently, like an Edna Ferber novel, spread across many decades, detailing the impact this soldier’s illness has on an entire family, including children and grandchildren. KEEP FOREVER is a wonderful, emotionally satisfying read that I highly recommend. ”
GARY SEIGEL, author of “Haskell Himself”

Paul O’Brien’s idyllic childhood in Southern California comes to a halt when his mother dies in the summer before his senior year of high school and a very different persona of his father emerges – isolating himself inside the house, turning to alcohol for comfort, and barely noticing his only child. Simultaneously, the war in Vietnam is sending shock waves around the world and young men from one coast to the other are being called upon to serve. Paul enlists in the Marines before receiving his draft notice.

Elizabeth Sutton is eager to gain some independence from her father’s old fashioned notions and looking forward to her first year in high school.  At fifteen years old, tragedy strikes with the loss of both parents in an auto accident, turning her childhood into one of responsibility and worry overnight.  The four siblings are scattered when her nine-year-old twin sisters are sent to live with their Aunt and Uncle on Nantucket Island, and Elizabeth is left behind in Boston with their grandmother.  Her older brother, Sam, enlists in the Marines, eager to join the conflict a world away as opposed to dealing with the one unfolding at home.

A bond develops between Paul and Sam in Vietnam, and both are injured in a bloody battle that costs Sam his right hand and sets the stage for a lifetime of nightmares and sleepless nights for Paul.  Matched by similar tragedies at a young age, Elizabeth and Paul’s first introduction by Sam upon their return from Vietnam is the beginning of friendship and love that survives five decades.

After marrying, welcoming their first child, and inheriting a small beach house, the couple adapts to their new surroundings, but distant memories of Vietnam continue to haunt Paul.  In an era when veterans refuse to speak of their pain and the government denies that thousands of soldiers are coming home irreparably damaged, he is left to deal with the challenge of caring for his loved ones amidst his his erratic flashback episodes and moods. As their lives unravel from the lingering effects of PTSD,  Elizabeth learns to accept the burden that Paul brought home, and together they make their own memories to keep forever.

Inspired By A True Story

Check it out on Goodreads
Purchase on: 
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My Review
“You don’t know dark. Dark is a jungle, a long line of weary, battle-scarred comrades, stealthily trudging a breath away from one another, seeking out an enemy you can neither see nor hear. Dark is fear and uncertainty and knowing that death can grab you in an instant. Dark is hearing your heart beat like a giant kettle drum and feeling the blood rush through your veins because there is no sound, no light, and no sense of anything around you but your own terrified soul. That’s all I’m going to say. This backyard is not dark.”
Keep Forever is inspired by the true story of Alexa Kingaard.
She tells this story in character of Elizabeth. This book starts from where Elizabeth lost her parents to discovering that her brother had joined the Marines. From the point onward, it was a ride.
We see young people, some barely out if school, fighting wars; fighting in the jungle and fighting the memories all through the lives. This is not just for the ones on the battlefield, even for people living around them. There are invisible demons as well as visible scars!
This book reminds me a song titled, “Soldier” by Chike. He was telling the soldier not to go to war.
Most times, when soldiers go to war, they don’t leave the war at the warfront. They carry it back home with them.
This book is a necessary read for those who have no idea what war does and who love to be there for those who still carry war and the memories of it in them everyday.
This book is a necessary read for everyone.
About Alexa Kingaard

ALEXA KINGAARD, a California native, currently resides in Carlsbad and is the mother of a son and daughter who continue to be her biggest fans and cheerleaders.

October 13, 2011, was the day that changed her life forever when her ex-husband, a Vietnam veteran, took his life during a PTSD flashback episode. Inspired to share this tragedy that continues to rob husbands and wives of their spouses, children of their parents, mothers of their children, brothers and sisters of their siblings, and comrades of their friends, Kingaard relied on her own experiences to shed light on this crisis. The burden brought home is not partial to Vietnam, but is an insidious aftershock endured by combat veterans of all conflicts.

Kingaard continues to pursue her literary career, writing about nostalgia and the human condition, the common denominator of our lives.

April Wrap Up

Hello everyone. It’s been a crazy month. With the lockdown, alarming, skyrocketing number of cases in Nigeria and other countries, security issues and other happenings, 2020 is not even giving us a break. Phew.

I really, really pray this would be over soon. Please just do your part by observing the set rules and regulations.

God bless us all.

 

Guys, I am in a reading slump. I do not even want to read anything. Not my books, not my school books but I’m working towards it because it is “jengalous” (if you know, you know haha) if I don’t.  

I was able 17 books in April before my slump started. Yay, me. 

1. Paper Heart by Aseoghena Happiness (Wattpad) Office Romance. Light Read with relatable humor.

2. Daughters of Nri by Reno K. Amayo. This one is a fantasy that involves two black girls. Igbo themed fiction. Beautiful read all round but I don’t like the way it ended. I think a second book is coming. It better be cos the ending was not it at all. It was rushed.

3. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. You guys. I love this book. Discusses autism and things it encompasses. Such a cute read.

4. The Bride Test by Helen Hoang. Wanna see how arranged marriage played out in this century even with the male mc being autistic and struggling with his emotions. This is the book. I love it.

5. Ask For It by Slyvia Day. Sigh.

6. 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne. Lovely book all round. At the beginning I wanted to dump. Just like how I felt when I was reading The Hating Game. But I was slowly sucked in.

7. The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai. Nice read. Strong female character. Talks about sexual abuse and threats that come with it; the blow to one’s self esteem, the new way one sees the world. I don’t think how I’m explaining it does justice to the book. It is a good read if you can looking for themes like this in a book.

8. Marry Me Not by Andrea Hare (Pabpub) A very short read. A female character who is afraid to get married due to her father’s cheating ways. This reminds of how much the female MC’s father irritated me. Talmbout giving the girl advice when he is such a fuck up. (Pardon my French, duh)

9. Butterfly in Frost by Slyvia Day. Long hiss.

10. Seven Years to Sin by Slyvia Day. I struggled to finish this. Not that it was bad. I think I read this when my slump began to set in.

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11. Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami.  Everything you need to know about what I think is in my review.| Read my review here

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12. The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams. Imagine a couple of guys forming a book club to read romance novels that will help them sustain their marriage. Haha. The book was so much fun. It was more about repairing a relationship than the normal building a relationship; “boy meets girl” romance we know. I totally recommend if you are looking for a fun, light read. 

13, 14, 15. Royally Series, Book 1-3 by Emma Chase. Just light reads for my slump. I didn’t need to read something heavy. My slump was dealing with me y’all.

16. Rich by Janet Elizabeth Henderson. A book about sexual abuse. Everything else you need to know is in my review. | Read my review here

17. Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal. See this book here. I love it. Tool me days to finish it die to my slump but I’m glad I took it slow. Talks about dealing with patriarchy and patriarchal humans. About Indian women who love in Britain and their community. Wow. This book is huge. Talks about honor killings too. Now, that  reminds me I wanna do some more research on honor killings. 

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My favourite reads of the month were The Kiss Quotient, The Bride Test and Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows.

The most annoying read was Butterfly in Frost by Slyvia Day. I had to force myself to finish it. It was just not it. At all.

Moving on, I also compiled a list of 50 books you might enjoy reading during this lockdown season and even beyond. I suggest you check it if you need recommendations. Read it here.

For April Author’sDelight, I interviewed Hayley Reese Chow. She shared how she balances being a daytime engineer and a nighttime writer. Read the interview here

April Literary Gist

Just so you know, if you haven’t heard by now, Ake Fest 2020 has been cancelled. It will no longer hold physically this year due to the pandemic but it will be online.

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So, that’s it for April Wrap Up.

Stay safe.

Ciao.

Author’sDelight #7: “It was enormously freeing when I realised I could self-publish” —Hayley Reese Chow

Hi everyone. Thank you for reading on StoryStoryOh today. I have with me…drumroll🥁🥁🥁🥁 Hayley Reese Chow!!! Author of Odriel’s Heirs which I absolutely love. You can read my review on it here. Continue reading to know more about Hayley and the deets she has for us! 

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Oreoluwa Eunice: Hello. I’m Oreoluwa Eunice from StoryStoryOh. Can you please introduce yourself?
Hayley Chow: Hi! I’m Hayley Reese Chow. I published my debut YA Fantasy, Odriel’s Heirs, in March, and I’m in the middle of revising my first MG Fantasy. I work as an engineer during the day and spend a lot of evenings running after my two wild boys.
Oreoluwa Eunice: It’s a delight to have you here, Hayley. I read your book and enjoyed it. You mentioned working as an engineer during the day. How do you balance that with being a writer and a published author?
Hayley Chow: It can be tough, but it’s easier with more practice. Basically, I try to write (or revise or edit or outline) between 7-9PM most nights. It’s not a whole lot, but someone once told me that writing is 90% thought and 10% actually writing it down. I’ve got writing on the brain more than I’d like to admit, so that mindset really helps me keep moving forward.

Oreoluwa Eunice: That’s commendable. Well done, Hayley. As a writer, do you have particular genres of books you like to read? Tell me about your reading interest as a reader too.
Hayley Chow: Oh man. I’m all over the place as a reader, but I definitely go through phases. Young adult science fiction and fantasy are definitely my favorites that I come back to the most often. But, I definitely get into more classic literary choices sometimes. Historical fiction, mysteries, action (especially with a side of romance) can all grab my attention too. Basically if someone recommends a book, I’m willing to give almost anything a try. I am extra partial to fast-paced reads with lovable characters and a sweet romance subplot, though.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Beautiful. So are you currently reading any book?
Hayley Chow: Absolutely! I’m actually into two right now: Down a Darker Path by Laura Maybrooke and A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer. Can never get enough Fantasy!
Oreoluwa Eunice: Haha, true. I have heard of A Curse So Dark and Lonely but I haven’t read it yet. My next question is cliche but I would really like to know the answer. What inspired you to write Odriel’s Heirs?

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Hayley Chow: I actually wrote Odriel’s Heirs back in 2012 when I’d just graduated from college, but I feel like the story came to me even before that. Really, I think its heart came from my experiences as a fencer in college and on the US World Cup team. A lot of the thoughts or feelings that Kaia has are things I saw or experienced as an athlete. Dealing with intense pressure, prejudice, training partners, mentors, and even feeling like you’ve lost your skills—those are all things I had a lot of experience with and I think I was still processing at that time in my life. I wrapped it all up in a new fantasy world with magic and strange creatures, and wrote the book I needed to read.

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Oreoluwa Eunice: This reminds me of a quote by Toni Morrison. She said, ‘If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.’

In this course of writing and publishing this book, what lessons did you learn?
Hayley Chow: Fabulous quote! I learned a TON while writing Odriel’s Heirs. Gosh, where do I even begin!?

When I wrote Odriel’s Heirs, I’d never taken a writing course, never spoken to an author, and didn’t really know what to do with it (if anything.) Then, 5 years later, I found the writing community, and my learning curve took off!

Through Twitter, I really learned how to cobble together a team to make a book shine—critique partners, beta readers, an editor, a cover artist, arc readers. I learned about querying and timelines and self-publishing. Sometimes it just felt like a firehose of information, but that was just the nuts and bolts.

I think one of the most important things I learned was how to deal with rejection and how to measure success. Rejection is so hard. Getting a full request from an agent or a publisher and then getting that “sorry, but…” email can be crushing.

Once I realized I just really wanted to connect with readers, and that I had the power to self-publish—that was enormously freeing. Rejections stopped feeling like a failure and more just like another step towards the finish line.

Having the courage to put it out there was the ultimate success, and I’m so thrilled with how it’s all turned out.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Wow. This is huge. Publishing can be daunting but I’m glad you took the bull by the horn. How soon are we getting the second book in your series?
Hayley Chow: Excellent question! While I have the second and third books plotted, drafting is still in the early stages. The sequel will be quite a bit different than Odriel’s Heirs, so I’m trying to get a little distance from it before diving in. I’m hoping to query my new middle grade fantasy this summer and turning my full love and attention to Idriel’s Children. I’m really hoping for a 2021 release, but we’ll see how things go!

 

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Oreoluwa Eunice: I wish you the very best as you write and in the publishing. Who was your favourite character apart from Ka’ia? Lovely character name, by the way.
Hayley Chow: Thank you so much! Isn’t Kaia just a beautiful name? I love it!

But don’t make me play favorites! I love them all! 😭

But I do love Shadmundar whole lot. His cynicism is just such a great balance to Kaia’s naivety, and he’s full of all these years of knowledge, and yet mostly… he just likes to sleep. 😂 He’s definitely one of the characters I want to dive into more in the sequel.
Oreoluwa Eunice: I enjoyed his character too. Sleep is very important😂

Alright, I would ask a couple of fun questions now. Are you ready?

Hayley Chow: So ready!

Oreoluwa Eunice: What book do you think is underappreciated?
Hayley Chow: There is a book called Luthiel’s Song: Dreams of the Ringed Vale by Robert Marston Fannéy. That was really the first indie book I really loved, but it’s super under the radar.
Oreoluwa Eunice: What will you not be caught dead eating?
Hayley Chow: Hmm… that one is tougher. I’m not super picky, but I really can’t stomach Vegemite. Yuck! Sorry, not sorry!
Oreoluwa Eunice: I don’t know what that is I but believe I am going to check the internet after this😂

Chocolate or ice-cream?
Hayley Chow: Chocolate!
Oreoluwa Eunice: Mention three books that are your absolute faves
Hayley Chow: Off the top of my head:
The Legend of Muirwood, Sabriel, and Six of Crows.
Oreoluwa Eunice: So, if you were to never re-read one, give one out without getting another copy or keep one forever, which will it be?
Hayley Chow: I’m keeping Legend of Muirwood, I will give away Six of Crows, and I guesssss physical pain I’d never reread Sabriel. 😭
Oreoluwa Eunice: 😂😂😂Last one, would you rather be invisible or be able to read minds?
Hayley Chow: Eek! That’s hard. If I had control, I’d rather be invisible. If I had to be invisible all the time (that would suck), I’d rather read minds, but it seems like that could really wreak havoc on your sanity too. 

Oreoluwa Eunice: haha! Absolute truth. So, one more question before we wrap this up. What advice will you give to people hoping to get their works published?

Hayley Chow: Keep at it! No matter how good your story is now—if it’s a train wreck or if it’s already fabulous—with work and time and maybe a few extra pairs of eyes, it can always be better.

Remember to enjoy the journey, because beyond this finish line, you’ll find another.

Remember that resting is not quitting. You can always come back to it.

And lastly I’d say if traditional publishing doesn’t pan out, I’d definitely recommend self-publishing. It’s in your power, and the joy of your work connecting with readers is indescribable.

Oreoluwa Eunice: 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽thank you for these words, Hayley. It was fun chatting with you. I enjoyed our discussion.

Hayley Chow: Thank you so much for having me, Oreoluwa! It’s been my pleasure!

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Buy Odriel’s Heirs by Hayley Reese Chow

Synopsis:

The brave, burning with fire, harnessed the Dragon’s Rage….

As the Dragon Heir, seventeen-year-old Kaia inherited the power of flame to protect her homeland from a godlike necromancer’s undead army. But after centuries of peace, the necromancer has faded to myth, and the Dragon Heir is feared by the people. Persecuted and cast out, Kaia struggles to embrace and control her seemingly useless gift while confined to her family’s farm.

But when the necromancer’s undead terrorize the land once again, Kaia runs away to join the battle.

With the help of her childhood rival, the handsome Shadow Heir, and a snarky, cursed cat, Kaia must figure out how to control both her fire and her confidence in time to save Okarria. If she fails, she will sacrifice her family, her new friends, and the enchanting world she has only just begun to see.

And time is running out.

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P.S. Vegemite is a thick, dark brown Australian food spread made from leftover brewers’ yeast extract with various vegetable and spice additives. It was developed by Cyril Callister in Melbourne, Victoria in 1922.
(Wikipedia is my friend, haha!)

50 Book Recommendations just for you| Book Recs for the lockdown season

Need book recommendations? Here is a list of 50 book recommendations that you will love.

Hiya people! How have you been doing? I hope you are staying at home and staying safe.  This time is trying and I hope we come out of this soon.

I have been getting book recommendation requests from few people who are hoping to do a bit of reading this time and I decided to compile a list of book varieties where you can pick whatever rocks your boat as a reader.

Enjoy.

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1. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
2. The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai
3. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
4. Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
5. The American Marriage by Tayari Jones
6. She Would Be King by Wayetu Moore
7. Odriel’s Heirs by Hayley Reese Chow
8. My Favourite Half Night stand by Christina Lauren
9. Born A Crime by Trevor Noah
10. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo
11. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini
12. Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls by Mona Eltahawy.

13. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

14. My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

15. Kintu by Jennifer Makumbi

16. Travellers by Helon Habila

17. Manchester Happened by Jennifer Makumbi

18. Be(com)ing Nigerian by Elnathan John

19. New Daughters Of Africa edited by Margaret Busby

20. The Half-God of Rainfall by Inua Ellams

21. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

22. The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

23. I Do Not Home To You By Chance by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

24. Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones

25. Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

26. Erotic Stories For Punjabi Women by Balli Kaur Jaswal

27. 29, Single and Nigerian by Naijasinglegirl

28. November 9 by Colleen Hoover

29. The Scarlet Thread by Francine Rivers

30. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

31. David Mogo Godhunter by Suyi Davies

32. Easy Motion Tourist by Leye Adenle

33. When Trouble Sleeps by Leye Adenle

34. Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

35. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

36. Thirteen by Steve Cavanaugh

37. The Governor’s Wife by Amaka Azie

38. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

39. Circe by Madeline Miller

40. You by Caroline Kepnes

41. The Girl With The Louding Voice by Abi Dare

42. Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

42. I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika Sanchez

43. Depression and Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

44. Becoming by Michelle Obama

45. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

46. Like A Mule Bringing Ice Cream To The Sun by Sarah Ladipo Manyika

47.  A People’s History Of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian

48.  The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams

49. Girl by Edna O’Brien

50. The Only Child by Mi-Ae-Seo

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With these 50 book recs, I’m sure you will find a book you will enjoy. There are more books I can recommend to you if by any chance, haha, read all the books I have listed. Just tell me in the comments and I will send more recommendations your way.

You can find some of these books on Scribd, in case you are hoping to read e-books.

And as anyways, Pabpub is a great place to find your love for African literature. You can find the app on Playstore for Android users. Sorry, iOS users. You can always visit the website too.

Happy reading!!!

Stay safe!!!

Need book recommendations? Here is a list of 50 book recommendations that you will love.

Book Review: Rich by Janet Elizabeth Henderson

Book: Rich

Author: Janet Elizabeth Henderson (Benson Security, #5)

Publication date: April 23rd 2020

Genres: Adult, Thriller

Synopsis:

Rachel Ford-Talbot has nothing to do with her family or their pharmaceutical business. And she likes it that way. As one of four partners who own an internationally renowned security business, Rachel prefers to leave her past, with all its secrets, deeply buried.

But when a series of thefts reveal that the family business is being targeted for industrial espionage, her father begs Rachel to investigate. His illness makes it hard for her to refuse, but Rachel wonders if he truly understands what he’s unleashing on his company. Because she isn’t the same bright-eyed graduate that walked through their doors years earlier. Now, she’s strong, powerful, and somewhat terrifying. A woman who doesn’t suffer fools lightly and who is afraid of nothing.

She also isn’t alone.

This time, she has the might and expertise of Benson Security at her back. And an ex-CIA agent at her side—because Michael “Harvard” Carter has appointed himself her bodyguard for the duration. Even though Rachel doesn’t need, or want, the annoyingly sexy man’s help. But while the world sees a first-class bitch when they look at her, Michael sees only someone who intrigues him. Which makes him the biggest threat of all.

Purchase:
AUTHOR BIO:
Janet is a Scot who moved to New Zealand fifteen years ago. Among other things, she’s been an artist, a teacher, a security guard at a castle, a magazine editor, and a cleaner in a drop in center for drug addicts (NOT the best job!). She now writes full-time and is working on her 19th book. Her books have won several awards, including the Daphne du Maurier award for excellence in mystery and suspense. When she isn’t living in her head, she raises two kids, one husband, and several random animals. She survives on chocolate and caffeine.
Author links:

Facebook

My Review

“Greed doesn’t need to be logical…It’s nasty and dirty, and it doesn’t care who suffers because of it. Greed is always hungry and no amount of feeding can satisfy it.”

This book is such an exciting read. From the beginning where I was introduced to sassy, beautiful Rachael, I knew I was in for a ride. Rich is a romantic suspense that deals with heavy themes such as racism, rape and trauma amongst others.

The female main character built a wall of bricks around herself after she experienced very traumatic experience which is rape ten years earlier. It was also used as an incentive to threaten her not to return to the company she so much loved. But ten years later, everything is unravelled and Rachael finds the love of her life even.

“Rape isn’t sex. Don’t ever confuse the two”

“Why should I hide from the words? Why should I be ashamed of saying them aloud? Would a person who’d been stabbed of robbed or shot have the same problem? No. It’s only the victims of sexual assault who’re expected to carry the shame for their attackers.”

I love how the author dealt with the themes of rape and trauma and also, racism in this book. It also serves as a reminder that victims should NEVER, EVER be blamed for rape or any type of abuse.

If you are looking for an exciting read that is neither too light or too heavy, Rich is perfect.

3.7 stars.

Giveaway

 

Tour-wide giveaway (INT)
  • 5x winners for an ebook copy + a $10 Amazon gift card. It ends April 30th.

Book Review: Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami

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Book: Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits

Author: Laila Lalami

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Publication day: First published October 7, 2005. Published with a new cover April 14, 2020.

Description:

Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits begins as four Moroccans illegally cross the Strait of Gibraltar in an inflatable boat headed for Spain. What has driven them to risk their lives? And will the rewards prove to be worth the danger? There’s Murad, a gentle, unemployed man who’s been reduced to hustling tourists around Tangier; Halima, who’s fleeing her drunken husband and the slums of Casablanca; Aziz, who must leave behind his devoted wife in hope of securing work in Spain; and Faten, a student and religious fanatic whose faith is at odds with an influential man determined to destroy her future. Through the diverse stories of these deeply sympathetic characters, Moroccan writer Laila Lalami sensitively evokes the grit and enduring grace that is modern Morocco.

Author Bio:

Laila Lalami herself was born in Rabat and educated in Morocco, Great Britain, and the United States, a background that informs her nuanced understanding of the human condition. She is a winner of the American Book Award, the Arab-American Book Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and the National Book Award in Fiction. She has received fellowships from the British Council, the Fulbright Program, and the Guggenheim Foundation and is currently a tenured professor of creative writing at the University of California at Riverside. Even more importantly, she is a champion for African stories and own-voice narratives.

My review

The first thing that drew me to this book was the title — Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits. It left a lot to my imagination and fired up my thinking process. Who are the hopeful? Why is it a dangerous pursuit? What other dangerous pursuits are therein?  

This book is such a unique one. It deals with immigration, fanaticism, hypocrisy, abuse, queerness and many more themes. So many questions were asked in this book and some were answered while some were left to the reader’s thoughts and ability to talk it out with other readers. Questions on the use of hijab, morality of human and their beliefs; questions on the unknown and “mystical” happenings; the role of women and at large, gender roles.

Lalami’s writing is brisk, thoughtful, straightforward and the review by The Washington Post on the new cover is the utmost truth, it is braving and beautiful. Utter beautiful.

This book is divided into two parts; before and after, and every story is vivid and exposing. I love the title each chapters had. Some titles are The Fanatic, The Odalisque, The Storyteller and more. At first, when I saw the content of the book, I thought it was a collection of short stories then I had to reread the synopsis again.

This book was centralized on four peculiar citizens of Morocco hoping to migrate to Spain and their lives before and after The Trip was brought to focus. Murad, (He is my favourite out of the four of them. I guessed I’m biased because he studied English and Literature and that’s what I am also currently studying in the university) Faten, Halima and her children and Aziz went on The Trip and each of them became different. So so different. Life and its different strokes had sharpened them into new beings.

“His future there stands before him, unalterable, despite his efforts, despite the risk he took and the price he paid.” 

This book certified the popular slang, “It is what it is,” for me.

Solid 🌟🌟🌟🌟 stars.

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Get Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami on Amazon

 

 

 

 

Thanks to Algonquin Books for sending me an an e-copy in exchange for a honest review.

 

 

 

Book Review: Odriel’s Heirs by Hayley Reese Chow

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Book: Odriel’s Heirs

Author: Hayley Reese Chow

Genre: YA High Fantasy

Publication Date: March 1st, 2020

Blurb:
The brave, burning with fire, harnessed the Dragon’s Rage….

As the Dragon Heir, seventeen-year-old Kaia inherited the power of flame to protect her homeland from a godlike necromancer’s undead army. But after centuries of peace, the necromancer has faded to myth, and the Dragon Heir is feared by the people. Persecuted and cast out, Kaia struggles to embrace and control her seemingly useless gift while confined to her family’s farm.

But when the necromancer’s undead terrorize the land once again, Kaia runs away to join the battle.

With the help of her childhood rival, the handsome Shadow Heir, and a snarky, cursed cat, Kaia must figure out how to control both her fire and her confidence in time to save Okarria. If she fails, she will sacrifice her family, her new friends, and the enchanting world she has only just begun to see.

And time is running out.

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My review

“To win on the battlefield, you must conquer the fear within”  — Odriel’s Heirs, Hayley Reese Chow.

Odriel’s Heirs is such an intriguing book. It has lovely character growth especially when it comes to Kaia, the protagonist of the book.  When I started reading, Kaia was a girl timid to use her powers. She was curious but allowed people’s thoughts and actions get to her. Bram, her twin, is a prime example of an idiot who would never let her live down the fact that she came first so therefore she had the powers he didn’t get, even to the point of shaming her as a girl. I. Did. Not. Like. Him. At. All.

The book is divided into three parts and it taught me that courage is the way to go. Kaia, at several occasions doubted her own ability. She was afraid of hurting her own people and she was afraid of letting them die. At the end, she had to be courageous and boy, was she!

This book also taught me that people will always be people even after you have done something good for them, so you would rather do good without expecting them to do the same in return.

At various times, this book reminded me that there are still good people in this world.

One thing I especially loved about Odriel’s Heirs are the beautiful quotes I was able to highlight. Some of them are:

“If ever you need light, just remember the one that burns within you never goes out.”

• ” Though you may have fallen in battle, your spirits join the wind on our faces, the air in our lungs,and together, we fight as one for eternity.”

• “Wherever there is light, there is shadow.”

• “To keep the dead from our doorstep, I must ride out to meet them.” THIS ONE GAVE ME SERUOUS GAME OF THRONES VIBES. I LOVE IT!

• “Why do the best of us have to die?”

• “There was history before humans, and there will be history after.”

Wow. Wow. Wow.

The covers, too?! Absolute delights.

This book was such an enjoyable read. I love the beautiful infuse of the enemies-to-lovers trope between Kaia and Klaus too. It was a delight to read.

4 shiny stars for me.

I can’t wait to read more from Hayley Reese Chow.

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Get your copy of Odriel’s Heirs by Hayley Reese Chow from Amazon.

 

 

 

I got this arc from Hayley Reese Chow in exchange for a honest review.

 

 

 

 

March Wrap Up

Wow, who else feels liberated from March cos I sure feel like it. Forget it was my birth month, March felt like 90 days and counting. How are you guys? Truly, how are you coping with the lockdown and social distancing? (this is also for my readers who are not in Nigeria)

I hope you are taking extra precautions. I hope we all laugh and be full of joy when this passes and it will surely pass. I heard of people who have had panic and anxiety disorders since this whole pandemic started, please hold on tight if this is you, too. It will be well in the end.

If you have lost a loved one to the corona virus pandemic, I’m so so sorry about that. I know there is absolutely nothing that can bring them back but I hope you find strength to continue. You are loved.

And yes, there is something I want to bring to your notice. You may or may not have heard about it but it is very crucial; of topmost importance if you may. It is called SHARE THE MEAL. SHARE THE MEAL is a United Nations World Food Programme to help alleviate world hunger. You can donate as low as $0.50 or simply as small as 100 naira to help someone eat.

This initiative is good for everyday but it is even more important now that there is a pandemic and some people literally have no where to go.

So, please I’m imploring you, help. SHARE THE MEAL is an app sponsored by the UNITED NATIONS WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME (WFP) (so you know it is not scam) that you can get from Play Store or your App Store. If you want to donate, download the app and go from there. To download the app from Play Store: click SHARE THE MEAL

To learn more about SHARE THE MEAL, Click here.   

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How was your reading month?! Mine was pretty good. I was able to read 13 books!!! Though when the social distancing thing first started, I was having a good reading time then I suddenly fell into a reading slump. I couldn’t really focus on a particular book enough to enjoy it so I started writing. I was glad to discover that I was out of my writing slump.

These are my March hopefuls  according to February’s Wrap Up. Click HERE if you missed it.

• Roomies by Christina Lauren.

• Beautiful Stranger by Christina Lauren.

• An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.

• The Mountains Sing by Que Mai Phan Nguyen.

• The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang.

• Seaplanes Don’t Fly At Night by Jeff and Clare Curtis.

•Odriel’s Heirs by Hayley Reese Chow.

And I was able to read:

•Beautiful Stranger by Christina Lauren

•Roomies by Christina Lauren

•Neckline Of Colours by Chiziterem Chigozie | Read this on pabpub.com

•Black Rainbow by J.J. Avoy

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•Sea planes Don’t Fly At Night by Jeff and Flare Curtis | Read my review on it here

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•The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai | Beautiful Book! Read my extensive review here.

•Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren

•Odriel’s Heirs by Hayley Reese Chow | I loved this YA Fantasy. Review to come.

•My Favourite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

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•The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren | posted my review on my bookstagram — @a_lit_babe if you want to check or follow!

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•Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jallaluddin

•Tangled by Emma Chase

•Hero by Samantha Young | rolled my eyes a lot while reading this one.

(Picture credit goes to me so please tag me if you are gonna be using them!)

You can say that I had a Christina-Lauren-kinda-month. I enjoyed reading their books. Note: Christina Lauren is the pen name  of two writing buddies; Christina  Hobbs and Lauren Billings.

For March’s  #Author’sDelight, I interviewed Adaeze Feyisayo aka Amethyst Saw. You can check the interview HERE.

I also compiled a list of Nigeria Women Writers to celebrate International Women’s Day which was March 8. The list can be found HERE.

I do not have any April Hopefuls. I just want to read as my mood allows.

Have you read any of the books I mentioned or do you plan on reading any of them? Which one caught your eye? Let me know in the comments.

Don’t forget to always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 30 seconds and in the absence of water, use alcohol-based sanitizer. Try not to touch your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth and avoid crossed places. Seriously, stay safe!

See ya. 👋

 

 

Book Review: Sea Planes Don’t Fly At Night by Jeff & Clare Curtis

 

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Book: Sea Planes Don’t Fly at Night
Authors: Jeff & Clare Curtis
Genre:  Non-Fiction Mystery/ Thriller
Release Date: October 2019

Summary:

It was a small decision that changed their lives forever.

Successful young couple Jeff and Clare Curtis are enjoying a romantic babymoon in the Maldives when Clare goes into premature labour, nine weeks early. The nearest hospital is a storm-ridden boat ride away, as it soon becomes clear that the lives of mother and child are in jeopardy. Can they get medical help in time?

With the storm continuing to rage, the events that follow stretch Clare and Jeff’s mental, emotional and physical limits to breaking point. Working as a team, they call on their own resources, the assistance of strangers and even divine intervention – whatever it takes to save the life of their unborn child.

Clare and Jeff have written this book to thank the many people who did what they could to help save the life of their premature baby. In a world where segregation and violence are often seen as commonplace, the world they discovered was one of kindness and support. Join them on their personal journey back into the depths of their worst fears, as they retell their quest to save the life of their child and bring him home alive.

My Review

Sea Planes Don’t Fly At Night is one of the most engaging books I have read in a while. This book. Is. A. Rollercoaster. I felt a rollercoaster of emotions while reading this book. I don’t usually read memoir but this one is nothing short of amazing. The book took me on a ride from the first page to the last. Starting from where Clare started to discuss about how she and her husband had gone through a lot to conceive a child to when she started having labour pains on a remote island with very little medical care to the different intervals she and Jeff thought they would lose their baby. Wow. This book was such a ride for me. So I thought, if reading the book could make me this anxious, how much more the people who actually went through this dilemma?!

I admire the strength of Clare. So so much. I mean, it’s jarring to think that one’s child would not survive but to see your one’s child struggling for survival is absolutely horrifying. I love that in this book there was so much honesty in the accountability of the writers, Jeff and Clare. They shared their utmost feelings and I loved how Clare shared how she was irritable, annoyed, angry, happy, resigned, sad, grievous. I felt like I was living in her mind. There were many times I wanted to give Clare a knock and tell her, “Come on, you are doing so well. Don’t be so hard on yourself.”

“I had never met the woman before, nor did I know whether she knew my whole story; but I felt an overwhelming urge to be hugged, and for the first time since it had all begun, hot tears stung my eyes as they began to roll down my cheeks. The kind woman held out her hand and I hung onto it as if it were a life preserver. I felt a connection that could not be explained, a consummate bond with a woman who knew I was a new mum without words being spoken.” 

This book reminded me of the fact that there are still kind and good people in this world. Shout out to all the amazing people in this book. Wow. Wow. In a way, they restored my faith in humanity. I read and “saw” honest relationships grow in this book. It was amazing.

“This is not how we will start the evening together. Right now, I need you to be positive. If you are positive, everyone around you will act the same way.”

There was a lot of positivity in this book, especially from Jeff Curtis’ side. He was the perfect example of  “if the going gets tough, the tough gets going.”  I learnt a lot from his personality and I am really glad he was there for his family. I loved it when he said, “There is no glass half-empty in this room tonight. There is not even a  glass half-full. Our glass is overflowing and I need you to have so much positive thoughts that it will be impossible for anything to go wrong.”  I can say that it was this positive outlook on their situation that helped them in the long run because many things could have gone wrong.

Before this book, I used to think lives first, paperwork later (in “advanced” countries) but boy, was I sooo wrong? Jeff and Clare Curtis had to weather through the storm of paperwork and formalities before being attended to. It was very very annoying for me. At a  point, I was screaming in my mind, “Can you just take care of these people first?!!!” I understand they might be trying to follow procedures but then not at the expense of loosing lives.

I also want to use this opportunity to tell women you are not the cause of someone’s or most importantly, am abuser’s disgusting and abusive behavior. It’s all them. Please don’t enable their behavior by not speaking up or blaming yourself. That Clare, who had just given birth and was still weak was sexually molested was just so appalling. Appalling in every sense and the woman in me just wanted the abuser to be arrested and thrown in jail but I got where the Clare was coming from as she didn’t want attention on her after the rigours of the past days. Still, I could help but wonder how many other women the abuser could be accosting and assaulting. I hope he gets caught soon.

I loved this book. It was written in simple and straightforward English to help the reader understand better. It is un-put-downable and fascinating and I’m so glad that The Curtis’ overcame in the end.

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Purchase Sea Planes Don’t Fly At Night by Jeff and Clare Curtis on Amazon.

 

Thanks to Jeff and Clare Curtis and YA Book Bound Tours for gifting me an e-copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

Author’sDelight #6: Write, even, especially when the words are not perfect — Adaeze Feyisayo, author, poet.

Helloooo readers of StoryStoryOh. I’m so glad you are here, reading on StoryStoryOh. Warms my heart a great deal. With me on the 6th Author’sDelight is amazing Adaeze Feyisayo who you might have heard of or known as Amethyst Saw (her pen name). I can’t wait to you read and know the awesomeness she embodies. Leggo!

 

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Oreoluwa Eunice: Hello, I’m Oreoluwa Eunice from StoryStoryOh. It’s good to have you on Author’sDelight. Can you please introduce yourself?
Adaeze Feyisayo: Heyy Gem! I’m Adaeze Feyisayo with the pen name, Amethyst Saw.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Nice to meet you, Adaeze. I would like you to share with me your book interests. What genre of books do you read?
Adaeze Feyisayo: Okay, I read African literature, creative nonfiction pieces, poetry romance and erotic novels, queer fiction, chicklit, oh and psychological thrillers or crime action occasionally.

Oreoluwa Eunice: So, are you currently reading any book?

Adaeze Feyisayo: I’m proofreading a friend’s unpublished historical, queer, romantic short story. I’ll admit I love it so much, I’m dragging it on. I don’t want it to end, at all.
Oreoluwa Eunice: That’s cool. I also can relate to the feeling of not wanting a book to end.
So, Stab Love With Flower Stalks, your beautiful collection of poems. I loved reading it. What is the inspiration behind it?

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Adaeze Feyisayo: Stab Love with Flower Stalks is a collection of flash stories and poems. It was inspired by my observations and experiences with love, its fluidity, falling in love and its pains, the erotic and of course exploring queer passion.

I felt a need to document these in a few flash stories and poems here and there. Then boom a book was born.
Oreoluwa Eunice: 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽Amazing. Were there any lessons you learnt in the course of writing and publishing this book? Please share.
Adaeze Feyisayo: A few. On writing, I learnt I should write. Especially if it feels like the words aren’t perfect. I should just write them first. Find a great publication team. My work was edited by Amaka Amaku (Editor, Communications Consultant, Serial Entrepreneur) and Logan February (Poet and Author, in the Nude) The editing process taught me a fresh, professional pair of eyes are always needed.

 On publishing, I self published this collection. A lot of help came from Lara Tommy Kareem’s A Guide to Self Publishing. A lot goes into publication especially self publication. I’ll advise anyone interested in self publishing to buy her guide. She hosted my wonderful book tour and I’m humbled.

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Oreoluwa Eunice: How then is your writing schedule like?

Adaeze Feyisayo: Well I don’t have a structured writing schedule currently. I’ve been on a blogging/writing break.

I’ve run a Literary Blog (amethystsaw.wordpress.com) where I share erotic flash stories for the past 2 years. I write blog content during the weekends or at night during weekdays. It depends on my day job schedule itself or how inspired I am to write at the moment.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Alright. I will be asking some fun questions now. Are you ready?
Adaeze Feyisayo: Yes, Go!
Oreoluwa Eunice: Who are your favourite authors?
Adaeze Feyisayo: Yo! Don’t do this to me!  Really? I can’t pick.

Oreoluwa Eunice: 😂 Just mention three authors you look up to.
Adaeze Feyisayo: I’ll pick these three from my favourite genres; Logan February’s poetry is phenomenal. I highly recommend Painted Blue with Saltwater and In The Nude. Ayodele Olofintuade’s writing warms my soul like a bowl of soft goat meat peppersoup. I recommend Lakiriboto Chronicles. Tolu Daniel writes creative nonfiction spectacularly. Check out his pieces online, I recommend; What Does it Mean to Survive and The Photograph. He examines unique, difficult life experiences and I love it.
Ayodele Olofintuade weaves Yoruba History and Spirituality into narratives that explore queerness, realities of girls and women. She is so brilliant.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Now, if you have Logan February’s In The Nude, Ayotunde Olofintuade’s Lakiriboto Chronicles and Tolu Daniel’s What Does it Mean to Survive, which one will you definitely keep; give out; never re-read?
Adaeze Feyisayo: Hahaha. One experiences Logan February’s poetry once and never forget so I never re-read that one. I’ll keep Lakiriboto Chronicles. I’d give out What Does it Mean to Survive. I’d like whoever receives it to introspect on death, unearthed trauma from surviving danger/ violence like this piece does.
Oreoluwa Eunice: 👏🏽👏🏽😁 Brilliant.

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Oreoluwa Eunice: What is your favourite color?
Adaeze Feyisayo: I don’t have a favourite really. I love vibrant colors if my creative space is any indication.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Okay, if you were to describe a mix of nude and red to a visually impaired personnel, how will you describe it?

Adaeze Feyisayo: Nude, the smoothness of skin. Red, I’ll say is the colour of intense anger or pain.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Amazing. Would you rather live on the beach, in the mountains or in the sky?
Adaeze Feyisayo: On the beach facing a mountainous range under the sky.
Oreoluwa Eunice: 😂😂 I like it. Last one, chocolate or ice-cream?
Adaeze Feyisayo: Always both. Forever and ever. Always both!
Oreoluwa Eunice: Haha. So, any advice for writers hoping to get published?
Adaeze Feyisayo: Set goals. Research on publishing (Lara’s book is a great guide) Explore your options. Read contracts carefully if you are publishing with a publishing house. Write with your authentic voice. You have what it takes and the world is ready for you.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Thank you, Adaeze. It was a delight discussing with you.
Adaeze Feyisayo: It’s been fun spending time with you, Ore. Thanks for having me, Gem.

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Get Stab Love With Love Stalks on Okada Books

Synopsis:

Journey through time with a Flower Goddess as she grapples with love. Be enamoured with the fluidness of her relationship with love as its vividly painted with fiery passion.

Stab Love with Flower Stalks by Amethyst Saw is a debut collection of 13 flash stories and poems, which are mostly queer romance and erotica, narrating the delicate beauty and jarring pains of falling in love.

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Are you a young author interested in being featured on Author’sDelight? Send a message to oreoluwaogunsina@gmail.com and let’s do it.

Book Review: The Mountains Sing by Nguyên Phan Quê Mai

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Book: The Mountains Sing

Author: Nguyên Phan Quê Mai

Genre: Fiction

Publication Date: March 17, 2020

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Summary:

With the epic sweep of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the BanyanThe Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Trần family, set against the backdrop of the Việt Nam War. Trần Diệu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Nội, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Hồ Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that tore not just her beloved country, but her family apart.

Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Việt Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope.

Author’s Bio: 

Born into the Viet Nam War in 1973, Nguyen Phan Que Mai grew up witnessing the war’s devastation and its aftermath. She worked as a street seller and rice farmer before winning a scholarship to attend university in Australia. She is the author of eight books of poetry, fiction and non-fiction published in Vietnamese, and her writing has been translated and published in more than 10 countries, most recently in Norton’s Inheriting the War anthology. She has been honored with many awards, including the Poetry of the Year 2010 Award from the Ha Noi Writers Association, as well as many grants and fellowships. Married to a European diplomat, Que Mai is currently living in Jakarta with her two teenage children. For more information about Nguyen Phan Que Mai, visit her at www.nguyenphanquemai.com.

 

My Review

“Human lives were short and fragile. Time and illnesses consumed us, like flames burning away these pieces of wood. But it didn’t matter how long or how short we lived. It mattered more how much light we were able to shed on those we loved and how many people we touched with out compassion.”

The Mountains Sing is one book I will forever be grateful for. It brought me to tears severally and I know it would stay with me for a long time.

Written in the point of views of a Grand-mother and her grand-daughter, I was taken through the years of pain, anguish, devastation, hunger, suffering and even love. Their story is gracefully told. The Mountains Sing is deep, engrossing and captivating. War is one thing that will always and forever displace families and cause deep sadness and pain. I could not help but shed tears as I read through this multi-generational story of Diên Lan and her grand-daughter, Hú’óng.

“Oh Guava, I used to think that we were the ones in charge of our destinies, but I learned then that, in time of war, normal citizens were nothing but leaves that would fall in thousands or millions in the surge of a single storm.”

The story showed me the devastation of war and the illnesses it brings with it in form of hatred, grief, blaming self and many more. It showed me  the uncertainty of life, the loss of loved ones and even oneself. “If I had a wish, I would want nothing fancy, just a normal day when all of us could be together as a family; a day when we could just cook, eat, talk and laugh. I wonder how many people around the world were having such a normal day and didn’t know how special and sacred it was.” 

This book also taught me the importance of family, sacrifice and intimacy and also telling them and showing them how much we love them and care for them. This is very important and makes me understand that the only certain thing about life is death. “I know now that true love is rare and once we find our true love, we must hold on to it. I just wished that when Hùng was alive, I’d told him more often how much I loved him.”

“Looking at my children, the desire not just to live, but to thrive, surged into my heart. If those evil people wanted me to surrender, they couldn’t be more wrobg. As long as I was a mother, I would never, ever, give up.”

This book is gold. It also emphasized the beauty, pain and sacrifice that motherhood entails. Diêu Lan is the perfect example of the kind of mother who will do anything to save her children. She is very fierce, strong and amazing all-round.  Diêu Lan showed me that mother’s love is the strongest there is. “Being a mother is not easy though, it is about falling, learning, and then falling again.”

“If our stories survive, we will not die, even when our bodies are no longer here on this earth.” The book teaches hope, healing despite the violence and also that not all humans are unkind. I was particularly grateful for people the amazing people Diêu Lan met in her journey of fleeing the land where her head was desperately wanted. Mentioned more than once in this book was this quote: “As long as I have my voice, I am still alive.” This would stay with me a long time.

There were many other quotes as well as meaning of their local names that I highlighted in the course of my reading of this book and here is a few I’m sharing.

Gieo gió gãt bão — He would sows the wind will reap the storm.

Tú — refined beauty

Hú’óng — fragrance

And also where the book got its name: So’n ca which means The Mountains Sing. It is a name of a bird that sings beautifully.

“Words are like water: once they have escaped one’s mouth, they’ re onto the floor. Words are like knives, leaving invisible wounds that continue to bleed.” Lastly, I learned that we should be careful of words we speak while in pain or on grief. While we are in grief, we must be careful not to also hurt people around us who love us as they are already hurting because of us.

This book will stay with me a long,  long time. Five shiny stars!

Get your copy through Amazon

(Quotes in Bold and Italic formats are from the book, The Mountains Sing.)

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Praises For The Mountains Sing

“…lyrical, sweeping… In a subtle coda, Nguyễn brilliantly explores the boundary between what a writer shares with the world and what remains between family. This brilliant, unsparing love letter to Vietnam will move readers.”

Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A sweeping tale of one family’s shifting fortunes in Vietnam across half a century. …invitingly and gracefully told. [Nguyen] is particularly adept at weaving in folktales and aphorisms to create a vivid sense of placeA richly imagined story of severed bonds amid conflict.”

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“An engrossing story of family, adversity, war, loss, and triumph… Recalling Min Jin Lee and Lisa See, Nguyen displays a lush and captivating storyteller’s gift as she effortlessly transports readers to another world, leaving them wishing for more. This may be Nguyen’s first novel published here, but one can only hope it will not be the last.”

Library Journal (starred review)

The Mountains Sing is an epic account of Vietnam’s painful 20th century history, both vast in scope and intimate in its telling. Through the travails of one family, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai brings us close to the horrors of famine, war, and class struggle. But in this moving and riveting novel, she also shows us a postwar Vietnam, a country of hope and renewal, home to a people who have never given up.”
Viet Thanh Nguyen, author of The Sympathizer, winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize

“A sweeping story that positions Vietnamese life within the ​rich and luminous history of national epics like The Tale of Kieu and the Iliad. Expansive in scope and feeling, The Mountains Sing is a feat of hope, an unflinchingly felt inquiry into the past, with the courageous storytelling of the present.”

—Ocean Vuong, 2019 MacArthur Fellow and author of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

“Good literature frees us from

being trapped in our own skins by allowing us to identify with characters and see the world through their eyes. Reading this novel, I was moved by Nguyen Phan Que Mai’s beautiful, even poetic, depictions of enduring courage. I came away with a deeper understanding of the war in which I fought.”

—Karl Marlantes, bestselling author of MatterhornWhat It’s Like to Go to War, and Deep River

“Quế Mai tells the story of the war that tore apart Việt Nam, and of the generation lost to the war, by braiding around it two beautiful strands told by the older and younger generations of a family. This book is an act of love, compassion, and ultimately healing, and very much needed by all who survived the war.”

—Thi Bui, illustrator, and author of The Best We Could Do

Marvelous…The Mountains Sing is a beautiful story of the simple challenge of keeping a family together and the courage of perseverance.  It is told with the sureness of a master storyteller who has the spirit of a poet. A large and complicated story, marvelous to read.”
Larry Heinemann, author of Paco’s Story, winner of the 1987 National Book Award

“In this moving family saga, author Que Mai gives us a rare glimpse into the lives of ordinary North Vietnamese as they struggle to survive the calamities that descend over their country – from the Japanese occupation during World War II, to the harsh and ideological rule of the communists, to the American bombing of the North, and to the shocks and aftershocks of the Vietnam War.  It is a story of loss and sorrow, of longing for peace and normalcy, and—above all—of the triumph of hope over despair, told in the authentic voices of a resilient and resourceful grandmother and her granddaughter. “

—Mai Elliott, Pulitzer Prize Finalist for The Sacred Willow: Four Generations in the Life of a Vietnamese Family

 

“Over the last two decades we have been gifted with works by Vietnamese writers who have brought us into the consciousness of those that Americans saw only as backdrops for their own stories. Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai not only adds to that rich body of work, she daringly Trầnscends it.”

—Wayne Karlin, author of Wandering Souls: Journeys with the Dead and the Living in Viet Nam, editor of Curbstone’s Voices from Vietnam series

“A poignant and vivid portrayal of a brutal slice of Vietnamese history from a perspective that is so rarely heard abroad: that of the Vietnamese themselves. We are starkly reminded of how those wars—and wars everywhere—wash over and drown both the guilty and innocent alike.”
Doreen Baingana, author of Tropical Fish: Stories out of Entebbe, winner of the 2006 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize

“Based on Quế Mai’s family history and on the lives of the people around her in village and city life, The Mountains Sing is the story of four generations of the Trần family told from the point of view of the family matriarch and her granddaughter, a wise young girl who provides, in contrast to her grandmother’s rich and moving story, the perspective of the generation that literally grew up with the war. But this is not simply another war story, or another example of so-called ‘Vietnam Lit’ because this is a manuscript distinct in its story-telling techniques. This is a story about the power of hope and love in the face of the worst imaginable circumstances, framed by a beautifully clear arc and peopled by the fully developed characters of the Trần family who come alive and seem to sit right there beside us to tell their story. In The Mountains Sing, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai has found a true and clear voice in English that is rich and compelling the way only those who come to English as a second language can sometimes manage.”
Bruce Weigl, Pulitzer Prize Finalist and author of the bestselling memoir The Circle of Hanh

“Although I am hesitant to use the word, this is an epic novel. Quế Mai has pulled off something rather extraordinary here—she is teaching her readers large swathes of Vietnamese history, while never losing a novelist’s connection with the emotional reality of her characters. Since she is writing not simply about a war but one still in living memory, parts of this story are very painful and dark but she neither shies away from this nor alienates the reader from it. There were points when I wanted the horror to stop, but I never wanted to stop reading. The structure is clever, the writing often evocative, the characters convincing and very touching and the whole narrative deeply engaging. And this is a first novel! Impressive.”
Sara Maitland, author of seven novels includingDaughter of Jerusalem, winner of the Somerset Maugham Award

“The Mountains Sing is an enthralling family saga, set against the turmoil of war and a changing political climate. Inspired by real life events, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’s story will thrill, shock and terrify the reader in equal measure. It will also inspire them with its life-affirming qualities of everyday heroism and survival against all the odds.”
Philip Caveney, author of twelve adult novels and winner of the 2016 Scottish Children’s Book Awards

Thanks to Algonquin Books for sending me an e-copy in exchange for a honest review.

List Of Nigerian Women Writers | Happy International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day, everyone!!!

Here is to every woman out there, winning against all odds and paving ways, I love your resilience. Remain strong. The world is at your feet, god.

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To celebrate this day, I compiled a list of Nigerian Women Writers. Enjoy.

  • Hafsat Abdulwaheed
  • Ayobami Adebayo
  • Catherine Acholonu
  • Bisi Adeleye-Fayemi
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Abimbola Alao
  • Lesley Nneka Arimah,
  • Nana Asma’u
  • Sefi Atta
  • Ayo Ayoola-Amale
  • Akachi Adimora Ezeigbo
  • Simi Bedford
  • Buchi Emecheta
  • Bilkisu Funtuwa
  • Karen King Abishala
  • Sarah Ladipo Manyika
  • Amina Mama
  • Nkiru Njoku
  • Martina Nwakoby
  • Flora Nwapa
  • Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani
  • Taiwo Odubiyi
  • Molara Ogundipe
  • Ifeoma Okoye
  • Chinelo Okparanta
  • Ukamaka Olisakwe
  • Ayodele Olofintuade
  • Nuzo Onoh
  • Osonye Tess Onwueme
  • Ifeoma Onyefulu
  • Bukola Oriola
  • Ayisha Osori
  • Helen Ovbiagele
  • Helen Oyeyemi
  • Charmaine Pereira
  • Abidemi Sanusi
  • Mabel Segun
  • Taiye Selasi
  • Lola Shoneyin
  • Zulu Sofola
  • Grace Oladunni Taylor
  • Teresa Meniru
  • Ada Udechukwu
  • Adaora Lily Ulasi
  • Rosina Umelo
  • Chika Unigwe
  • Molara Wood
  • Myne Whitman
  • Balaraba Ramat Yakubu
  • Bassey Ikpi
  • Elizabeth Isichei
  • Betty Irabor
  • Rosemary Esehagu

Do you have any favourite on this list? Please mention them. Is there someone I didn’t add? Let me know.

Enjoy your day!

February 2020 Wrap Up

Happy new month. I’m so so glad we are in the third month in 2020. This year is running so fast, don’t you think? Anyways, I love it that way. Another reason I’m so excited is because the Longlist for Women’s Prize for Fiction was released 2 days ago and some books I am hoping to read are part. This is just going to speed up my reading on them at this point. In Women’s Prize, the winner gets to take home £30,000 and this award celebrates “excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women in English from across the world”. The 2019 Women’s Prize winner is Tayari Jones’s The American Marriage.

Here is the list of the books that made the cut. You might wanna add any of them to your To-be-read (TBR) list.

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Picture credit – goodhousekeeping.com

• Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara

Fleishman Is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

• Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

• Dominicana by Angie Cruz

• Actress by Anne Enright

• Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

• Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

• A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

• How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee

• The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo

• The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel

• Girl by Edna O’Brien

• Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

• Weather by Jenny Offill

• The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

• Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

The Women’s prize will also be celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The shortlist will be announced on 22nd of April, 2020 and the winner will receive an anonymously endowed cheque for £30,000, on 3rd of June, 2020.

Moving on, in my January Wrap up, I posted my February Hopefuls and there were just 5 books but I’m here to tell you I read 15 beautiful books in February.

February Hopefuls according to my last wrap up: 

• Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren
• Heaven’s Open Book by Sheldon Peart
• Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor
• Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
• Lie to Me, Dan by Longtrin Wentrin

What I actually read:

• Beautiful Bastard by Christina Lauren |4 stars

• Keeping Secrets by Kiru Taye | 4 stars

• Making Scandal by Kiru Taye | 4 stars

• Heaven’s Open Book by Sheldon Peart | 3.5 stars

• No Strings Attached by Uwanma Odefa |4 stars

• The Judge’s Secret by Amaka Azie | 4 stars

• Sins of Omission by Catherine Lanigan | 5 stars

• Jagua Nana by Cyprian Ekwensi | 4 stars

• Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor | 3.5 stars

• Regretting You by Colleen Hoover | 5 shiny stars

• Lumberjack by Jenika Snow | 3 stars

• Virgin by Jenika Snow | 3 stars

• Baby Fever by Jenika Snow |2 stars

• Feral by Jenika Snow |3 stars

• Viking by Jenika Snow | 3 stars

My favourite reads for February are Sins of Omission by Catherine and Regretting You by Colleen Hoover.

My March Hopefuls are:

• Roomies by Christina Lauren.

• Beautiful Stranger by Christina Lauren.

• An American Marriage by Tayari Jones.

• The Mountains Sing by Que Mai Phan Nguyen.

• The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang.

• Seaplanes Don’t Fly At Night by Jeff and Clare Curtis.

•Odriel’s Heir by Hayley Reese Chow.

What book are you hoping to read this month? Are there any books you have read in the all the ones listed above or you have some of them in your TBR list? Tell me in the comments.

By the way, you might want to use the pictures below as wallpapers or even your display pictures on your social media handles. Click on them to download. Don’t forget to tag me @a_lit_babe or use the hashtag #storystoryoh when you post it on your social media handles!

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Have an amazing month!

 

 

 

Book Review: Heaven’s Open Book by Sheldon Peart

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Book: Heaven’s Open Book

Author: Sheldon Peart

Publication Date: December 11, 2018.

Length: 190 pages

Synopsis:

Welcome to a peek into the lives of some devout Christians. Meet Clifford and Sandra Campbell, happily married for ten years, until Sandra ‘gives her heart to Jesus,’ and her body becomes the ‘temple of the living God.’
Listen to the charismatic Pastor Gerald Panton, as he electrifies his congregation, and wrestles with his educated and outspoken wife, Catherine. The charming Timothy and Beatrice Henriquez, will impress you with their dogged determination, simplicity and piety. And you may like, or even dislike the uncompromising Deacon Barrington Duncan and his sophisticated wife, Cindy. But, Hector and Jasmine Blackstock, will serve you a treat you’ll never forget.
When deep spiritual thoughts heighten Clifford Campbell’s search for the path to heaven, he is raptured in a startling vision. But Clifford’s wife, Sandra, and some Christian stalwarts from Earth, are missing from the heavenly throng. What will Heaven’s Open Book divulge?
The revelations are instantaneous, detailed, and shocking. But when the smoke clears, Heaven’s Open Book, is a blessing in disguise.

My Review

“You have preached numerous sermons, denouncing society which openly commits or condones such sins as fornication, adultery, homosexuality, abortion drunkenness, drug use, avarice and other outrageous sins. But, because you don’t commit those “horrible” sins, you think you are morally superior and look with disdain on those who do. You forget that your own life  is not without sin, although you choose to consider yours to be petty.” — Heaven’s Open Book, Sheldon Peart.

If there is any adjective to describe Heaven’s Open Book, it’s eye-opening. This book sheds light on the hypocrisy of believers and how most believers tends to feel and act superior to each other and non-believers because they feel they are more righteous and more deserving of the kingdom of God.

This book highlights many atrocities believers commit in the open and also in the secret. From people who are so self-absorbed to the overly righteous to the unforgiving ones and even to those who commit sexual sins on the “altar”.

Heaven’s Open Book is a wake up call for every believer to sit aright and know what they are doing. It is also a signal to everyone that the second coming of Christ is near. Very near.

One thing I like about this book is the author’s easy to read writing style and while it might have some plot holes, I believe the message the author was trying to pass across was the most important.

It’s a good read. 3.5 stars for me.

Get Heaven’s Open Book by Sheldon Peart through Amazon.

This book was sent to me by the author, Sheldon Peart in exchange for a honest review.

Book Review: Never Date A Doctor by Melanie Smith

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Book: Never Date a Doctor
Author: Melanie A. Smith
Publication date: February 25th 2020
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Synopsis:

From best-selling author Melanie A. Smith comes the first book in a new series of steamy contemporary medical romance standalone novels about life lessons that break all the rules.

What’s the first rule of nurse’s club? That’s right: Never date a doctor. Which Sasha Suvorin has no intention of doing anyway, since she’s a nurse at Rutherford Hospital by day and working on her master’s degree by night. Who has time for dating, much less dating someone you work with? Bad idea much?

That is, until the sexy British Dr. Caleb Thompson starts at her hospital. It also doesn’t help that he’s exactly her type with his dark hair, blue eyes, and rockin’ bod. Or that he’s not your typical arrogant and bossy surgeon. But Sasha isn’t so easily convinced, and she soon discovers Dr. Hottie has a past that puts a stop to whatever she might have been feeling before anything ever starts between them.

Unfortunately, working together means facing temptation. Every. Single. Day. Is Sasha strong enough to resist what might just be the perfect man? And if she gives in, will Cal’s past stay in the past? Sasha may be used to playing it safe, but life has a way of teaching its lessons … one way or another.

My Review
Looking for a steamy, fast-paced,  will have you gasping at the slightest provocation? Then Never Date A Doctor is for you. The heroine, Sasha is not the kind that believes in casual flings, she wants the whole connection and this, she gets in the whole meal Caleb Thompson is. What makes it more special was the last time she had such connection was when she was still a teenager.
Never Date A Doctor is one book with a guaranteed happy ending. After the tries of all antagonists to destroy what Sasha and Caleb had, they still came out so in love.
Lessons I learnt in this book are:
1. Don’t let what has happened in the past be the hindrance to your future or happiness.
2. Communication is key. This is one thing every relationship counsellor will say and this does not apply to romantic relationships alone but also our platonic relationships.
If you are looking for some medical hullabaloo, you may not find what you are looking for in Never Date A Doctor. It is plainly a beautiful “office” romance with lots of steam 😎😎😎
In the spirit of love, make sure you read this book. Don’t say I didn’t do anything for you.
💉💉💉💉/5
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Giveaway
Win:
•A peacock book sleeve by SewHappyStitchHappy.
•A peacock artmark by Bookartbookmarks.
•A “Book Boyfriends do it better” tote bag.
•A signed paperback with matched bookmark.
Giveaway is international.

Book Blitz: BE MY VALENTINE

BE MY VALENTINE, VOLUME TWO
A LOVE AFRICA PRESS COLLECTION

 

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Life is beautiful especially when you’re in love.
Dive into these hand-picked contemporary romance novellas and fall in love this Valentine’s Day.

Featured stories:
The Curse of Valentine by Glory Abah
She will be loved by Zee Monodee
When Love Happens by Rosemary Okafor
Until Morning by Mukami Ngari

THE CURSE OF VALENTINE by Glory Abah

Jane fell in love in January, to a man she glimpses every evening after work on the way home. Not bold enough to talk to him, she’s content with just staring at her daily fix from afar.

Until one stupid February day when he approaches, starts a conversation and she bolts.

Because February is the worst month in the history of months. And she’s cursed. Cursed to be dumped and left broken-hearted on Valentine Day.

Can she break the curse of Valentine and keep the man she loves?

SHE WILL BE LOVED by Zee Monodee

This Valentine’s Day, the music scene’s hottest artist, DJ Den, is set to perform his worldwide smash hit in Mauritius. Jaeden Kang—the man from Shetland behind the stage name—is looking forward to a break and some inspiration before his tour gobbles him up again.

Tanzanian medical doctor Zenobia Hashemi is visiting her brother on the island when her path crosses that of Jaeden and they’re off to a rocky start.

Neither of them ‘does’ love … but life has other plans for them during this trip!

WHEN LOVE HAPPENS by Rosemary Okafor

Morgan is ruthless and plays dirty to protect his billion-dollar conglomerate. However, he holds a dark secret that could destroy him if exposed. His relationships with women are about pleasure alone until one weekend with the beautiful Eno leaves him ready to risk everything for her.

Eno was a young journalist when she witnessed Morgan murder his wife. Six years later, she’s ready to do anything to make him pay for his crime. Until she falls for his charms. Now she’s torn between destroying the proud billionaire and allowing herself to fall in-love with him.

UNTIL MORNING by Mukami Ngari

Following a devastating relationship breakup, Zawadi is out on a girls’ night out with friends when she meets a sexy stranger with a deep soulful voice created for baby-making music, the handsome face and hot body of a potential cult leader and who rides a motorbike like a speed demon. He becomes her first one-night stand.

Soon she discovers the sexy stranger is her new investor, Gerald. Things deteriorate when he pretends he’s never met her and then she discovers his unfathomable secret.

Will love win this Valentine season?

 

AVAILABLE ON

AMAZON (US) | AMAZON (UK) | SMASHWORDS | OKADABOOKS | BARNES & NOBLE | APPLE | KOBO

ADD ON GOODREADS

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

GLORY ABAH

Glory Abah is a die-hard romantic whose head has always been in the clouds. She started reading books from a very young age and finally, decided to pen down the love stories she fantasizes about. She lives in Nigeria and loves to hear from her readers.

You can reach her at (cue social media handles and email address)

Join her mail list to have first access to free stories, book releases, discounts and many more exciting offers, including a FREE book. Click the link ( http://eepurl.com/dnpV-r)

ZEE MONODEE

Of Indian heritage & a 2x breast cancer survivor, Zee lives in paradise (aka Mauritius!) with her long-suffering husband, their smart-mouth teenage son, and their tabby cat who thinks herself a fearsome feline from the nearby African Serengeti plains. When she isn’t in her kitchen rolling out chapattis or baking cakes while singing along to the latest pop hit topping the charts, she can be found reading or catching up on her numerous TV show addictions. In her day job, she is an editor who helps other authors like her hone their works and craft.

AUTHOR SITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

ROSEMARY OKAFOR

Born in Nigeria in 1987, Rosemary Okafor graduated from Rivers State University and has since been employed as a broadcaster, news writer, radio script writer, stage play writer and a shop keeper. She writes short romance and other genres on social media for her followers. This would be her first official published prose. When she is not writing, she is busy as an online marketer, a wife and a mother.

FACEBOOKTWITTER | INSTAGRAM

MUKAMI NGARI

Mukami Ngari is from Nairobi, Kenya.

She is the author of the critically acclaimed novel, Pharaoh’s Bed.

She enjoys telling sweet passionate romance and women fiction stories set in Africa.

When she is not writing or reading, she enjoys practicing yoga and watching supernatural T. V shows.

Follow her on her social media account to connect with her and to find out about new releases.

FACEBOOKTWITTER | INSTAGRAM

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Author’sDelight #5: “I believe love is possible for everyone.” — Andrea Hare, novelist, poet.

Hello, readers of StoryStoryOh. I bring yet another amazing author to you. It is the month of love and who else would I interview, if not someone who “grew up on love”. Read through and enjoy the beautiful person Andrea Hare is. 

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Oreoluwa Eunice: Hello, I am Oreoluwa from StoryStoryOh. It’s pleasing to have you on Author’sDelight today. Please introduce yourself.
Andrea Hare: Hi. My name is Andrea Daphne Hare and I’m a romance author. My pen name is Andy Hare as my readers know me.
Oreoluwa Eunice: It’s very good to have you here. You said you are a romance author… Is there a reason you are specific about the kind of books you write?
Andrea Hare: Yes, actually. Since I was little, I’ve always been caught up in the idea of fairy tales and happily ever after. I spent all my lunch money on romance novels throughout high school. I preferred them to food. So I grew up on love, so to speak. I write my genre because I believe in love wholeheartedly and I believe that it’s possible for everyone.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Wow. It’s rare to find someone in this age and time to totally believe in love and believe it for everyone. So can I conclude that your book reading interests do not surpass romance? Do you read other genres?
Andrea Hare: Oh no. I mean, primarily romance novels are my go to. All the time. But I enjoy a little fantasy and sci-fi as well. Both genres are intriguing.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Good to know. So, Andrea, are you currently reading any book?
Andrea Hare: Yes I am. It’s a little slow because I have a lot to write but I’m making my way through it steadily. I’m reading Like Dejavu by Paul Ezeodili. It’s truly an amazing book.
Oreoluwa Eunice: This is my first time hearing about it. I hope I get to read it soon. Among all your books, which one do you think is your best and why?

Andrea Hare: This is a tough one. Okayy. If I absolutely had to choose, I would say Syrtis. I wrote Syrtis after being taught in the Fresh Writers Community. I got better as a writer in my time there. So the plot is more rounded and my writing is way better.

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Oreoluwa Eunice: Are there any specific lessons you learned while writing Syrtis? Please share them.
Andrea Hare: Oh. Okay. Well? My paragraphing is way better and I learned to better place my punctuations. In my other works, I got reviews that my dialogues were confusing and readers couldn’t tell who was speaking at what time . So, I fixed that as well.

For the plot, I learned a lot of things. The book is based off of a real happening in my country.
In summary, a Lebanese establishment banned Liberian women from entering without a male escort.

The idea of Syrtis came to me and I decided to run with it. I had to study our constitution to get the women’s rights and do a ton of research also on women’s rights.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Wow. That’s a lot of development on your side. I’m glad you listened to your readers’ reviews and decided to get better. This shows how amazing you are as an author.
Have you then been able to educate people on women’s rights in your country? Did you get any feedback in that aspect?
Andrea Hare: Yes, I did. The few that have read my book, the readers of the book in my country, especially the women, are thrilled that I wrote it with them in mind.

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Another of Andrea Hare’s books

 

Oreoluwa Eunice: Great. Who are your favorite authors?
Andrea Hare: Okay,  let’s see. I really, really love Colleen Hoover. Her books really speak to my soul; she keeps me believing in love.
I absolutely adore Nicholas Sparks. He’s an amazing author.
Danielle Steele is also a favorite; J. K Rowling; R. L Stine and a few others.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Alright. I want to ask a few fun questions. Are you ready?
Andrea Hare: Yayyy yeah!
Oreoluwa Eunice: What book do you think is very underappreciated?
Andrea Hare: Hmm. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. It’s a really good book; the right amount of intensity and love.
Oreoluwa Eunice: If there is one thing you can change about the world, what would it be?
Andrea Hare: I would change the distinction between rich and poor. People should just be people, what you have shouldn’t affect your attitude towards another human being.
Oreoluwa Eunice: What is your favorite color?
Andrea Hare: Yellow. Definitely yellow.

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Beautiful Andy

Oreoluwa Eunice: Which animal is your spirit animal, if there is?
Andrea Hare: I’d like to think of myself as a dog😅
I’m fiercely loyal and I’ll love you to death.
Oreoluwa Eunice: chocolate or vanilla?
Andrea Hare: CHOCOLATE
Oreoluwa Eunice: would you rather be able to sleep for 10 years without disturbance or travel the world without disturbance?
Andrea Hare: Travel the world 😅
Oreoluwa Eunice: Definitely what I would want to do too.
Oreoluwa Eunice: So, Andrea, what advice do you have for other writers hoping to pursue their dreams like you do yours?
Andrea Hare: I want to let them know that it’s tough out here but if the passion is strong enough to withstand the pressure that’ll hit from all over, it’s beautiful.✨ Oh, and write from the heart. Always.

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Oreoluwa Eunice: Thank you, Andrea. It was really a delight discussing with you. I wish you the best in everything you do.
Andrea Hare: Thank you as well 🤗

 

Links to Andrea Hare’s books

SYRTIS

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Pabpub

COLOR ME INTRIGUED

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CHRONIC INSOMNIA

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Author’sDelight is a platform where young and budding writers are interviewed on StoryStoryOh. If you want to be featured, send an email to oreoluwaogunsina@gmail.com I will be delighted to have you. 

January 2020 Wrap-Up

Hello everyone, happy new month!! Welcome to the month of love and Black History Month. (Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the United States, where it is also known as African-American History Month. It has received official recognition from governments in the United States and Canada, and more recently has been observed unofficially in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom. It began as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It is celebrated in February in the United States and Canada, while in Ireland, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom it is observed in October.    ~Culled from Wikipedia. Read more about this on Wikipedia. 

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Moving on to the books I read in January

• Wallbanger by Alice Clayton
• A People’s History Of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian | ARC read |  A re-read
• The After Wife by Melanie Summers | ARC read | Published January 10th, 2020
• Never Date A Doctor by Melanie Smith | ARC read | To be published February 25th, 2020
• Revved by Samantha Towle
• Rival by Penelope Douglas
• Longthroat Memoirs by Yemisi Abishala | DNF

On my five stars list, I have:

A People’s History Of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian. Click to read my review on it.

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• Wallbanger by Alice Clayton. A beautiful enemies-to-lovers romance. Super slow burn yet satisfying and filling in the end.
• The After Wife by Melanie Summers. I wrote a review on it. Read my review.

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On my four stars list, I have:

• Revved by Samantha Towle | I had issues with the hero in this book but I liked how the author worked on his character growth.
• Never Date A Doctor by Melanie Smith | Look out for my review. I will be posting it here this month.

On my three stars list is Rival by Penelope Douglas.

I did not finish Longthroat Memoirs by Yemisi Aribisala. I cannot really pinpoint why I didn’t. I guess I wasn’t just in the mood for a memoir. Every book has its own time and I will read it again sometime because it is one beautiful book but not anytime soon.

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My best read from January is A People’s History Of Heaven. Read my review on it. I recommend it over and over and over. If you are planning to read any book this year, A People’s History of Heaven should be a part.

February Hopefuls

• Beautiful Bastard by Christine Lauren | Read this already
• Heaven’s Open Book by Sheldon Peart | ARC read | watch out for my review
• Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor | Currently Reading
• Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
• Lie to Me, Dan by Longtrin Wentrin

I would also be reading The Mountains Sing by Que Mai Phan Nguyen. It is set to be published March 17, 2020 and is an ARC sent to me by Algonquin Books.

I would also be reading any book I want to  read. 😁 I am a mood reader. 

Did you read any book in January? Do you have any 2020 reading goals? Have you read any of the books I mentioned? Let’s discuss in the comments.

ARC — Advance Reader/ Review Copy.

DNF — Did Not Finish

Book Review: A People’s History Of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian

Book: A People’s History Of Heaven

Author: Mathangi Subramanian Pages: 209

Genre: Literary Fiction

Synopsis:

A politically driven graffiti artist. A transgender Christian convert. A blind girl who loves to dance. A queer daughter of ahijabi union leader. These are some of the young women who live in a Bangalore slum known as Heaven, young women whom readers will come to love in the moving, atmospheric, and deeply inspiring debut, A People’s History of Heaven. Welcome to Heaven, a thirty-year-old slum hidden between brand-new high-rise apartment buildings and technology incubators in contemporary Bangalore, one of India’s fastest-growing cities. In Heaven, you will come to know a community made up almost entirely of women, mothers and daughters who have been abandoned by their men when no male heir was produced. Living hand-to-mouth and constantly struggling against the city government who wants to bulldoze their homes and build yet more glass high-rises, these women, young and old, gladly support one another, sharing whatever they can.

A People’s History of Heaven centers on five best friends, girls who go to school together, a diverse group who love and accept one another unconditionally, pulling one another through crises and providing emotional, physical, and financial support. Together they wage war on the bulldozers that would bury their homes, and, ultimately, on the city that does not care what happens to them.

This is a story about geography, history, and strength, about love and friendship, about fighting for the people and places we love–even if no one else knows they exist. Elegant, poetic, bursting with color, Mathangi Subramanian’s novel is a moving and celebratory story of girls on the cusp of adulthood who find joy just in the basic act of living.

“Education is the reason we moved to the city in the first place,” her father tells her mother. “We never had it. Our child deserves it.” By child of course, he means his son.

A People’s History Of Heaven – Mathangi Subramanian

 

My Review

A People’s History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian is a book filled with rich, lyrical and dreamy goodness. Mathangi is a demi-god when it comes to descriptions and exposition. With each vibrant word put together, she gave us the readers alive characters in five bestfriends: Joy, Rukshana, Deepa, Padma and Banu. I couldn’t even pick a favourite because they were all wonderful, beautiful and impacting in their own way.

Mathangi explores lives of the castaways and people seen as nonetities in India and instead of the depressing lines I thought I would thread in this book (because she wrote about people living in slums… I thought I would need my box of tissue nearby), I walked through colourful spaces Mathangi created. The people of Heaven are unabashedly living, hopeful and content despite their living conditions. They have ambitions, dreams, lives and hopes.

Boys will be boys, after all. But daughters are not too be trusted. When you are a girl in Heaven, someone is always watching. 

A People’s History Of Heaven – Mathangi Subramanian 

Gender is also a huge discourse in this book. Wavering from how female children are killed at birth because they are female, disregarded if they can’t bring money or food to the table, or are strewn off to their husbands at very tender ages, all these pointed fingers at the fact that daughters in India (and worldwide) are perceived as worthless in every other sense (except for what their vaginas can bring). The boys are allowed to play around, climb trees, man major businesses, live lives but the girls are to sit at home, close their laps and wait for Prince Charming.

 Neelamma Aunty had always thought of motherhood like marriage: a set of duties and obligations, a series of defined tasks. But clutching Deeps to her chest, she realized it was something more. Something she would have to learn. Not the way she had learned tailoring to bring in money but the way she had learned to raise herself.

For days, she waited for the gravity of her epiphany to weigh her down but all she felt was lightness. 

A People’s History of Heaven – Mathangi Subramanian 

Mathangi Subramanian brings to limelight the mothers women of Heaven are. As incapacitated as they might seem, they protect what’s theirs and as much as they follow the narrative of what the female life is “supposed” to be, there was a steady growth in their mentality.

This book is poetic and refreshing and inspiring and joyous. It’s a thin line between light and heavy; not too light you find it fleeting, not too heavy you find it depressing.

A People’s History Of Heaven has all my damn five stars. Truly deserves it.

 

Love isn’t running away to save yourself. It’s staying together to survive. 

A People’s History Of Heaven – Mathangi Subramanian 

Get it through Amazon and give yourself a treat. 

Blog Spotlight: A People’s History Of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian

Paperback Publication date: January 14th, 2020.

Genre: Literary Fiction.

Publisher: Algonquin Books

Synopsis:

A politically driven graffiti artist. A transgender Christian convert. A blind girl who loves to dance. A queer daughter of ahijabi union leader. These are some of the young women who live in a Bangalore slum known as Heaven, young women whom readers will come to love in the moving, atmospheric, and deeply inspiring debut, A People’s History of Heaven.
Welcome to Heaven, a thirty-year-old slum hidden between brand-new high-rise apartment buildings and technology incubators in contemporary Bangalore, one of India’s fastest-growing cities. In Heaven, you will come to know a community made up almost entirely of women, mothers and daughters who have been abandoned by their men when no male heir was produced. Living hand-to-mouth and constantly struggling against the city government who wants to bulldoze their homes and build yet more glass high-rises, these women, young and old, gladly support one another, sharing whatever they can.

A People’s History of Heaven centers on five best friends, girls who go to school together, a diverse group who love and accept one another unconditionally, pulling one another through crises and providing emotional, physical, and financial support. Together they wage war on the bulldozers that would bury their homes, and, ultimately, on the city that does not care what happens to them.
This is a story about geography, history, and strength, about love and friendship, about fighting for the people and places we love–even if no one else knows they exist. Elegant, poetic, bursting with color, Mathangi Subramanian’s novel is a moving and celebratory story of girls on the cusp of adulthood who find joy just in the basic act of living.

About Mathangi Subramanian:

Mathangi Subramanian is an award-winning Indian American writer, author, and educator. She is a graduate of Brown University and the Teachers College of Columbia University, and the recipient of a Fulbright as well as other fellowships. Her writing has previously appeared in the Washington Post, Quartz, Al Jazeera America, and elsewhere. This is her first work of literary fiction.

Praise for A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF HEAVEN:

“The language [takes] on a musicality that is in sharp contrast to the bleak setting…refreshing…a strong debut.”

—New York Times Book Review

“Subramanian writes with empathy and exuberance, offering a much-needed glimpse into a world that too many of us don’t even know exists. This is a book to give your little sister, your mother, your best friend, yourself, so together you can celebrate the strength of women and girls, the tenacity it takes to survive in a world that would rather have you disappear.”

–Nylon

“The novel tenderly guides the reader into and through the struggles of lives lived at the margins, with a sensitivity to experience that can’t be reduced to an apolitical and static image of slum life. If anything, Subramanian deftly explores what political solidarity can look like…A People’s History of Heaven does not reduce its characters to dozens of fists raised in the air, but instead gives a full account of the extraordinary lives that stand shoulder-to-shoulder in the wreckage of a wealthy city, ready to fight against the bulldozers upon the horizon.”

—Believer

“A vibrant novel…a beautiful story of love, loyalty, and female friendship.”

—HelloGiggles

“[A] colorful, dramatic coming of age story.”

—Ms. Magazine

“This novel features a wide cast of characters and each girl has a unique perspective to offer. This book highlights many themes such as poverty, feminism, transgender issues, and living with disabilities. This beautifully written novel follows these girls as they navigate life’s obstacles with the love and support of their friends and family… I also fell in love with each character very quickly. Each girl in the story is very compelling in their own way, and I kept turning the pages to learn more about them…Perfect for readers who want to learn more about Indian and South Asian culture, or for readers who love stories featuring strong female friendships.”

—Reading Women

“Subramanian’s observations are sharp, witty, and incisive; her writing is consistently gorgeous. She is passionate about the plight of Indian girls subjected to a patriarchal system that ruthlessly oppresses and devalues them…In depicting the societal ills that oppress India’s women, Subramanian refuses to acquiesce to the plot that fate seems to have written for these girls. With the assistance of each other, their mothers, and a particularly dedicated headmistress — and in ways that stretch credulity — each girl overcomes seemingly intractable obstacles to face another day.”

—Washington Independent Review of Books

“Spending time with this fearsome five is…just plain fun. Slum life is never romanticized. The narrator, an unnamed member of the girls’ inner circle, delivers enough cynical wisdom and pithy commentary to show just how wise these girls are to their plight without dismissing how insidious cultural messages are. What crystalizes is the sure knowledge that none of them are powerless…A People’s History of Heaven forefronts human dignity and the intelligence it takes to survive at the intersection of so much society uses to set people apart, while also making it clear that, ‘in Heaven, anger is not about any one person. It’s about the whole world.’”

–Foreword Reviews

“Poetic…Subramanian’s rich imagery conjures up the bustle of a diverse city where children live in poverty mere blocks from three-story homes where their mothers work as maids. With its heroic young cast, A People’s History of Heaven has huge YA crossover potential, and its social commentary makes it a wonderful book club selection. As colorful as a Rangoli design, this bittersweet coming-of-age story will linger in the reader’s mind.”

–Shelf Awareness

“Wonderful…The stories of these young women…are full of emotion and drama, and also fierce power and hope. Their relationships and support for one another is inspiring, making this a beautiful testament to friendship and individuality. More LGBTQ+ novels about people of color, please!”

–BookRiot

“Subramanian sets her story within the harsh reality of Indian slum life but neither sentimentalizes the poverty of the girls nor dwells on it. Instead, she shows their potential and the joy that they can find with each other.”

—Real Change News

“Tackling some of the most trenchant issues facing Indian women in particular—casteism, arranged marriage, forced sterilization—as well as women all over the world…It has the heart-on-its-sleeve melodrama of some of the most successful teen novels and films, though it will likely also appeal to adults wanting to tuck in to a novel which is like the brainy big sister of a Lifetime movie. A girl power-fueled story that examines some dark social issues with a light…touch.”

–Kirkus Reviews

A People’s History of Heaven forefronts human dignity and the intelligence it takes to survive at the intersection of so much society uses to set people apart.”

–Foreword Reviews

“How can a novel about a group of daughters and mothers on the verge of losing their homes in a Bangalore slum be one of the most joyful and exuberant books I’ve read? Subramanian writes without a shred of didacticism or pity, skillfully upending expectations and fiercely illuminating her characters’ strength, intelligence, and passionate empathy. A People’s History of Heaven should be a case study in how to write political fiction. Each page delighted and amazed me.”

–Heather Abel, author of The Optimistic Decade

“Strong debut…Subramanian’s evocative novel waves together a diverse, dynamic group of girls to create a vibrant tapestry of a community on the brink.”

–Publishers Weekly

“Everything about A People’s History of Heaven is wonderful: the lyrical, light touch of the narrator, the story, the humor, and most of all, the girls. This novel—as shiny and crinkly and heartbreaking as “cellophane the color of false promises”—overflows with girls I want to meet, befriend, celebrate, and shelter from the ills of their world. But they don’t need me to do that! Faced with bigotry and bulldozers, these girls know exactly what to do: stick together and help each other learn, love, see, fight. These are girls who ache, girls who build, girls who claim or escape girl-ness. Read about Banu, Deepa, Joy, Rukshana, Padma, and Leela: These are girls who save the world.”

–Minal Hajratwala, author of Leaving India

“What a thrill to read a novel as daring and urgent as A People’s History of Heaven. It’s a story about defiance in the face of erasure, about the survival tactics of an unforgettable group of girls. I can’t remember the last time I encountered a voice of such moral ferocity and compassion.”

—Tania James, author of The Tusk That Did the Damage

“Everything about A People’s History of Heaven is wonderful: the lyrical, light touch of the narrator, the story, the humor, and most of all, the girls. This novel…overflows with girls I want to meet, befriend, celebrate, and shelter from the ills of their world. But they don’t need me to do that! Faced with bigotry and bulldozers, these girls know exactly what to do: stick together and help each other learn, love, see, fight. These are girls who ache, girls who build, girls who claim or escape girl-ness. Read about Banu, Deepa, Joy, Rukshana, Padma, and Leela: These are girls who save the world.”

—Minal Hajratwala, award-winning author of Leaving India

GET THIS BOOK ON

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Book Blitz: The After Wife by Melanie Summers

Book: The After Wife
Author: Melanie Summers
Publication date: January 10th 2020
Genre: Women’s Fiction


Synopsis:

From bestselling author Melanie Summers, comes a heartfelt and uplifting tale of love, loss, and letting go…

After losing her husband, writer Abigail Carson has all but given up on life. Having spent the last year cocooned in her Manhattan apartment, Abigail is suddenly forced to find a new home where she can stretch her dwindling savings. Intent on isolation, she moves to a tiny village in Nova Scotia where she’ll have no one to interrupt her solitude.

Little does Abigail realize that small-town life offers far less privacy than the big city. With neighbors knocking on the door bearing homemade treats and invitations, Abby soon finds herself immersed in the lives of the people of South Haven. She forms an unlikely friendship with Liam Wright, the handyman renovating her dilapidated cottage, and his daughter, seven-year-old Olive.

As the dark cloud engulfing Abigail lifts, she begins to believe she may have found love again. But just as Abigail is ready to leap, she discovers Liam carries with him a shocking secret that will ultimately cause everything to unravel. Abigail must decide if she will turn away from his pain or open her heart in the most hopeless of circumstances.

Insightful, enchanting, and filled with hope, The After Wife reminds us of the importance of human connection and the inseparable nature of love and survival.

Read an excerpt from the book

The After Wife – Melanie Summers

Why do I not drink more often? I’m almost through my second pint and I honestly can’t remember feeling so good. I don’t even care how out of place I am. Instead, I happily devour a slice of homemade lemon meringue pie. Dinner service has ended, and most of the guests have filed out, replaced by several locals bearing instruments. A new feeling takes over the restaurant. It’s an easy, relaxed vibe full of inside jokes and laughter as they rearrange the tables into a large horseshoe. I rush to finish my dessert, hoping to make my exit before I attract the attention of every snoopy musician in the village.
Peter gives me a nod. “Liam’s just come in now.”
I turn and see a man standing at the entrance. He looks to be in his early forties. Medium height, with the sturdy build of a fisherman or maybe a miner in days gone by. He has shaggy sandy-brown hair and thick stubble that’s somewhere between needing a shave and needing another couple of months to grow. His eyes, though. There’s something about them that makes me stare a moment too long. They’re the shade of ice blue usually reserved for wolves.
He looks straight at Nettie and Peter, and my gaze follows his. They are standing side by side with matching hopeful grins. They look at me, then back at him, and when I glance in his direction again, I’m met with a look of dread. It doesn’t take me more than a second to figure out he thinks he’s about to be set up and he’s absolutely horrified at the thought of having any of his parts touch any of my parts.
And here I am gawking at him like a moron.
Blue sweater vest woman walks by and touches my arm. “You’ve got a bit of a mustache, love.”
She hurries off in the direction of the ladies’ room while I dab my upper lip with a napkin, confirming that I did, in fact, have a frothy white beer mustache.
Well, that’s that, then. The Millhouse boys it is.
“Liam! Come over and meet Abby!” Peter calls.
No. Please don’t. I swivel my stool to face the bar, and in my overly enthusiastic effort, I swing it too far and bang my left knee on the wood bracket. The force of it causes my body to jar and jerk back to my right and I plant my left hand in what’s left of my pie. I’m a regular Princess Di this evening, all elegance and grace.
Check, please.
Nettie gives me a concerned look. “You all right, love?”
“I’m fine. I just remembered I have to make a phone call. Can you put this on my room?” I smile too brightly as I slide off the stool and start for the side door as fast as my legs can carry me.
“Well, come back when you’re done so you don’t miss the music!” Nettie calls.
“And you still need to meet Liam!” Peter yells.
“I most certainly will!” Not.

Giveaway (International)

Win $100 Amazon gift card & a signed copy of Melanie Summers’ book, The After Wife. Enter Giveaway, ends January 16th.

PURCHASE LINK

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Book Review: The After Wife by Melanie Summers

Clicking on book cover to go to Goodreads

The After Wife
by Melanie Summers
Publication date: January 10th 2020
Genres: Women’s Fiction
Synopsis:

From bestselling author Melanie Summers, comes a heartfelt and uplifting tale of love, loss, and letting go…

After losing her husband, writer Abigail Carson has all but given up on life. Having spent the last year cocooned in her Manhattan apartment, Abigail is suddenly forced to find a new home where she can stretch her dwindling savings. Intent on isolation, she moves to a tiny village in Nova Scotia where she’ll have no one to interrupt her solitude.

Little does Abigail realize that small-town life offers far less privacy than the big city. With neighbors knocking on the door bearing homemade treats and invitations, Abby soon finds herself immersed in the lives of the people of South Haven. She forms an unlikely friendship with Liam Wright, the handyman renovating her dilapidated cottage, and his daughter, seven-year-old Olive.

As the dark cloud engulfing Abigail lifts, she begins to believe she may have found love again. But just as Abigail is ready to leap, she discovers Liam carries with him a shocking secret that will ultimately cause everything to unravel. Abigail must decide if she will turn away from his pain or open her heart in the most hopeless of circumstances.

Insightful, enchanting, and filled with hope, The After Wife reminds us of the importance of human connection and the inseparable nature of love and survival.

My review

The After Wife is a profound story of love, loss, fear, what ifs and more. Melanie Summers does a good job in the character growth of Abby. We are first introduced to her reclusive self; one who repels human contact, doesn’t have the best relationship with her family especially her mom and also would rather bask in memories of her husband than live life. She is angry, sad, depressed and not honest with herself, especially when it comes to how she feels. I love how Abby grows to be better and stands on her own feet. It taught me being courageous is hard but either done with your eyes closed or wide open, at least you have done something to move forward.

I love that Melanie Summers did not rush things between Abby and Liam. She makes room for development on Abby’s part and realisation on Liam’s. It was not just the lets-feel-good-now. Their coming together, their love was that of a slow burn, we-need-to-relish-this-and-know-what-we-are-doing.
Part of Abby’s growth was that she realised she had lost herself and she saddled through the mud to find herself and she did. I also love how she slowly came on good terms with her mother and her family. There is no rush in this book, only growth and growth and more growth, enough to teach us it’s okay not to have all the answers.
This book taught me it’s okay not too feel good all the time. It’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to feel and that courage is a step at a time.

Has all my five stars.

Purchase Links

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Author’sDelight #4: “There is nothing like the best in art” — T.J. Martins, author, poet.

Happy new year, lovelies. It’s Author’sDelight’s time again and the author gracing this interview is no other person than the orchestrator of the “Relationship” genre, T.J. Martins!!! 

If you remember, I wrote my first Spotlight! post on Why You Should Read Every Book Written By T.J. Martins. You can go ahead to read that post after digesting the deets he has for us about writing and books. 

Leggo! 😀

Oreoluwa Eunice: I’m Oreoluwa Eunice and I am pleased to have you on StoryStoryOh’s Author’sDelight. Please introduce yourself.
T.J. Martins: Okay, um, where will I start from?
Isn’t it funny how straight forward questions, are the most difficult to answer? Lol. Like there is no efficient way, to introduce myself wholly in a few words, but I’d try my best.

I’m T.J. Martins, and I’m a novelist who is fascinated and obsessed, with the complexities and intricacies of the vices of human relationship vices, and so I write on them. I’m 19 years, studying Physiotherapy at Redeemers university and I’ve been writing since when I was 16. I’ve written nine books in total—8 novels and one novella, which doesn’t include my collaborations alongside other authors, on some short story anthologies. I’m also a creative writing coach and an ambassador, in the Fresh Writers Community. I like to see myself as an advocate for some causes, like Human relationship vices—which I champion in my works, and mental health also. I’m also a huge Marvel Fanboy, and a music junkie.

I hope this wasn’t too much? Because, well, I don’t exactly know if your question was gunning for just my writing identity solely.

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Oreoluwa Eunice: This is overwhelming. Nine books excluding collaborations. Impressive! Since you have been writing since you were 16, how do you juggle this with Physiotherapy, your youth and other “distractions”?
T.J. Martins: Yes! I intimidate myself a lot, when I reflect on my bibliography, I’m like, “whoa, I’ve written all of that shit?” Lol, sorry. Pardon my language, but you get me. And if I wasn’t someone, who prioritizes quality, over quantity—i’d have most definitely churned out more works than that. So, how do I juggle it with life?

Er, physiotherapy. Well, I just recently gained admission into the university, so I’ve not done any major writing since then. This hiatus is of course, intentional and something I planned well to co incide with school. Right now my priority is bagging a contract with an acclaimed global publishing company, so currently, its more about making some moves and strides towards that venture.

Youth?
Thing is, my persona compliments my art, pretty well. I’m introverted, and so I hardly fancy outings, or social events—and I’d rather stay home, watch a movie and hang out with my small circle of friends, with no interest whatsoever to broaden said circle. And as we all know, being a creative is like, a very consuming and fazing work. Like, it requires a lot from your cognitive and mental faculties, and takes a huge toll on it all. I guess what I’m saying is that, being highly prolific as a writer hasn’t exactly really had a detrimental effect on other parts of my life, like let’s say, my social life—because its not so alive, lol. And as far as “distractions” are concerned, I guess its all about discipline, and how much the art means to you. My art means everything to me, so its that clear cut.
Oreoluwa Eunice: What kind of books do you love to read? Genres? Particular arc you love to see in books? And what kind of books do you stay away from?
T.J. Martins: Ah, one of my favorite questions.
Like I said earlier, I write books on human relationships, where characters are the bedrock of the plot and it thrives on their vices and the varying sort of dynamic relations that they all have with one another. So its natural, that I love reading the type of stuff I write.

So, yeah, basically any book where, amazing characters shine forth and beautiful stories about human struggles are told, I love them. And these kind of stories, you can’t exactly label them and put a genre on them. I’m not a fan of classifying things, with just one word, because its never adequate, but that’s a story for another day. I just love books with compelling stories on people and family.

Most of these type of stories are usually found in Romance. I’m a fan of romance though, as long as its well executed and realistic to a good extent. I mean, most of my books are on romantic relationships also. But it doesn’t stop at romance, and it could extend to any genre, as long as its under the scope of human relationships.

Particular arc? Not really. I love coming-of-age YA stories though, but there really isn’t any particular arc I love to watch out for. Unless you’re talking other elements of art, like music, playing a huge role in the story, then I’m all for it.
Not exactly.
I’m pretty open minded, and would take a chance on any type of story, if I have the conviction that I could like it.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Great. Talking about the Relationship genre, what does this genre have to offer our society?
T.J. Martins: A whole lott!

First and foremost, entertainment. Because, come on, let’s be honest—why splurge a couple of bucks on a novel, if you’re not seeking for a thrill. Great art entertains, before it provides any other beneficial value.

And to educate, also? On what?
On human relationship vices. Vices are the woes and throes, that plague human relationships. Its ups and downs. Basically, its “problems” and numerous challenges that people have to contend, in their day to day relations with fellow humans. And that’s what the relationship genre addresses.

It brings these vices into light, in an unadulterated, unapologetic truth. Gripping, realistic but still retaining its fun element. The relationship genre, is like the perfect bridge between literary fiction and genre/commercial fiction. Because it has the complex, deep themes of literary fiction that explore deep topics of the human condition, while placing characters in the center stage, but still seeks to entertain and place the reader on one helluva rollercoaster ride, in the process of unraveling these mysteries. So, yeah.

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Oreoluwa Eunice: Can I conclude that this is what prompted you to write the Repel Series? Or are there other attachments to it?
T.J. Martins: Yes, you can say that.
But something inspired it, of course.

When I was writing my first two books, I wasn’t exactly conscious of a brand. Just writing what I felt like writing. It was until I stumbled on a novel titled, “Kissing Is The Easy Part” on Wattpad, that I realized my brand. I was absolutely blown away by the book. The realistic relationship portrayed, and the complexities it introduced. I hadn’t seen such in a romance book before. Its usually the “star-crossed” lovers stuff, I usually read, so this was refreshing for me. “Rebellion”, my third novel, which is the first in the Repel Series was basically experimenting, on writing my own take on realistic romantic relationships, and because it received the best, overwhelming reception I ever got, when I put it out—that coupled with the fact, that it felt right, writing on that—i decided henceforth to build my brand on that.

In fact, looking back, my first two books before then were even loosely based on characters and complex relationships. So I was writing relationship already, without being conscious of it. So yeah, it is indeed what I was born to write. I believe that.

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Oreoluwa Eunice: I must say that I absolutely enjoy reading about the complexity of relationships and human nature and reading your books help me see the truth of reality. Not many books or authors achieve this, so kudos!
Are you currently writing any book or are you on a hiatus?
T.J. Martins: No, I’m not actively writing any book now.
Because like I said earlier, my priority for the moment is getting a contract, hopefully. I think I already have enough material out there, to help build a solid following that would propel my cause. Plus, I still have like, three works I haven’t put our there.

But I’m already working on the plot draft of my ninth novel, and its shaping up nicely and I can’t wait to write it. Its not going to be anytime soon though, so I’m taking my time.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Would you like to share with us details about this new novel or it is still best kept a secret?
T.J. Martins: That’s as far as prose is concerned.
For poetry, which I’ve dabbled into once—i have a poetry anthology—I’m currently working on collaborating with a friend and colleague of mine, who is a brilliant poet. I don’t want to disclose the identity of said person now, though.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Alright. A little bird told me Black Rose will be released “properly” on Pabpub this year. How do you feel about this?
T.J. Martins: Haha.
Well, its the second in “The Serenade EP” after “Black Rose”, my seventh novel, and its a spinoff. It follows the life of two teenagers, trying to discover themselves, while battling teen Strifes, parents impositions and pressure—just a classic, coming-of-age story that’s very, very multifaceted and heartfelt.

Yep, released properly, because it originally it was uploaded to Swoon Reads, in the ploy of getting a contract, but since that didn’t come to fruition, I’d be taking it off there to PabPub, since many complained of the problem of even accessing the story on the platform.

PabPub has a lot of potential, and its future is very bright, as a pioneer of the next generation of brilliant African stories. If you’ve been watching, you’d see Africa is making a statement. The huge phenomenal success of comic book material, loosely based on our culture, like “Black Panther” in cinema, which is also the same thread of artistry, Tomi Adeyemi has her blockbuster, “Legacy of Orisha” series pillaged on. And let’s not forget the new Chuck Lorre show, “Bob loves Abishola” that’s gradually becoming another cultural phenomenon, all in this same thread of afro cultural diversity. So I think this is the perfect time for any foreign author, especially Africans to crossover to the western world. And that’s the cause, PabPub is championing for African literature, so I believe its going to be huge. So I’m thrilled to be a part of it.

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Oreoluwa Eunice: I am thrilled also and I’m also glad excited about the amount of work going into Pabpub.
Moving on, you use T.J Martins as your pen name. Why? Also, I would love to know, as well as your readers, what those initials stand for?
T.J. Martins: The funny thing about my pen name, is that those initials don’t exactly stand for anything.

I mean yeah, one half of my surname is ‘Martins’ and my name does start with a ‘T’, but the J doesn’t really stand for anything.

T.J. Martins just came to me, as the sort of name that is strong enough to uphold a brand, you know?

That’s basically it.
Oreoluwa Eunice: I personally think it’s a cool pen name. So, T.J., are there any authors you look up to or enjoy their books?
T.J. Martins: Thank you.
I also like to go by the nick, “Reed”. That’s where I coined out the label, “Reeder” for anyone, that’s a fan of my works.

Well, I do have writers I look up to, and sadly none of them are African/Nigerian, because I have a had time vibing with publisher African works. Asides the ones written by my own colleagues, who are aspiring published authors, like myself.

So, authors I look up to; there is Erin Hahn, Emery Lord, Jamie Reed, Lisa Kleypas, Jennifer Niven, Shelby Mahurin, John Green and some handful others.

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Oreoluwa Eunice: I am familiar with some of the authors you mentioned and they are awesome writers.
I will be asking a couple of fun questions. Are you ready to answer them?
T.J. Martins: Haha, press on.
Oreoluwa Eunice: What was the last gift you gave someone?
T.J. Martins: Um, I’m really not the gift-giving type, so I do it very rarely, but the last time I think I did gift someone something, it was most definitely chocolate chipped cookies. Which is a lot coming from me, because I love cookies a lot also.
Oreoluwa Eunice: If you were a rainbow colour, which colour would you be and why?
T.J. Martins: Definitely Blue, because of the fact that it portends something pleasant, and dear. I like to think of myself in that light, and its also a melancholic, sad color. I’m a very emo/sensitive person, and my emotions are very tumultuous at times, so yeah, blue.
Oreoluwa Eunice: If you could time travel, where will you go?
T.J. Martins: Back to the medieval times! I didn’t mention this earlier, but I love historical romance! So please take me back to the time of horses, and breathtaking castles. The time of ruthless lords and brute rakes. The time of ball gowns and debutantes, and scandals.
Oreoluwa Eunice: I love historical romance too. So, E-book or paperback?
T.J. Martins: Yap. 😂
Actually, I prefer hard copy, so deffs paperback. I prefer hardcover to paperbacks, though.
Oreoluwa Eunice: What was the last awesome book you read?
T.J. Martins: Keep Me In Mind by Jamie Reed.

Its a gripping, heart wrenching story of these two teens, madly in love with each other, and the ensuing change, an accident brings to their relationship.

The girl loses her memory, and battles amnesia, therefore forgetting everything about their relationship and what it was. And the boy, has to contend with giving her space to heal, while still making efforts to make an imprint, and ensure he doesn’t fade away totally. It touches on mental illness, and its one arc that makes it more endearing for me, because I love books that act in that capacity, of creating awareness.
Oreoluwa Eunice: Sounds great. What advice do you have for other young writers like you hoping to get published?
T.J. Martins: What I tell every of my mentee at the FWC. Three things are very vital in becoming the best version of yourself.

1. Perseverance.
This art could be very daunting, when it comes to the area of rejections and disappointment. Every great artist is going to be barraged by rejections, at some point. So there is a need to be dogged and determined, and not to be put down by the constant let downs.

2. Diligence.
Be hardworking, and always give your all. You are contending with hundreds of thousands—if not millions, to win the interest of that publishing agency or agent, so you must be working harder than an awful lot of people. Writing is difficult, and I’m sorry to say this, but lazy