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We ChitChat: “My Sister, the Serial Killer” by Oyinkan Braithwaite

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“The most loving parents and relatives commit murder with smiles on their faces. They force us to destroy the person we really are: a subtle kind of murder” 

Taynement: I felt like there was a stretch of time last year when I saw this title everywhere. The Nigerian name caught my eye and I added it to my TBR list.

Leggy: So, what was your first impression of the title?

Taynement: I didn’t think anything of it per se. I think I just assumed it’ll be a book similar to Helen Oyeyemi’s style. Which is funny because I have only successfully finished one Helen Oyeyemi book (I generally find her tedious), so it’s interesting that I still wanted to read this. I’m glad it’s nothing like her work though.

Leggy: It was definitely the title that caught my eye and I thought it would be fantasy or some kind of metaphor but it is actually quite literal. I wanted to read it because a lot of book people were talking about it and it’s on the indie next list so I figured it was worth my time. Also, because I couldn’t find it on the “just released” table at Barnes and Noble and that table usually has everything! So what did you think of the book?

Taynement: I really liked it. I think it was straight to the point, easy read (hovers a little above 200 pages) and enjoyable. It’s a simple story of an older sister, Korede who protects her younger sister, Ayoola (the alleged, more beautiful one) who has a bad habit of murdering her love interests when she tires of them. I enjoyed that it was set in Lagos, Nigeria because knowing how terrible the system is, it made me wonder how a serial killer would fare.

Leggy: Yes, I really liked that it was short. It told a good story in a concise amount of words. It’s an easy read and I was intrigued by the familiar places in Lagos I could recognize. I’ve always thought serial killers would thrive in Nigeria so it was fascinating even watching them try to cover their tracks.

Taynement: Quite honestly, a lot of books could take a cue from that. Strip off all the extras and just dive to the point. But on the flip side, it did have that element of a short story (I hate short stories) where it leaves you unsatisfied as I did not feel we got an understanding as to why Ayoola kept killing these men.

Leggy: I didn’t feel that way at all. It didn’t leave me feeling unsatisfied. She was very clear that she killed the men because they were all terrible and treated women like objects. I think she considered herself some sort of sexist avenging queen. And she managed to convince Korede of that at the end when a male character, Korede thought was a paragon of goodness turned out to be just another man.

Taynement: I also think the author handled the flashbacks very well, weaving the current murders to their childhood and fear of their father.

Leggy: I thought the flashbacks involving their father was so well done, and showed how far back the older sister has been playing protector to her younger sister. I also liked how modern this book was. It incorporated social media in a way that was relevant and not gimmicky. When she writes about how her younger sister has to act on social media to project the grieving girlfriend part. I quite enjoyed the commentary about our social media selves and our real selves.

Taynement: I think it will be nostalgic for a lot of Nigerians – the nosiness of coworkers, the mother obsessed with marriages and many mentions of familiar Nigerian dishes.

Leggy: Definitely – The father who was terrible at home but obsessed with this reputation outside the home, the mother obsessed with marriage for her daughters despite having had a terrible marriage herself etc. I think the writer didn’t try to cater to the western gaze. The writer calls things what they are and instead invites the reader to explore another culture that they might be unfamiliar with in its authenticity.

Taynement: Yes, that was refreshing. It had to have been done well because usually whenever I read foreign books, I wonder how the west would receive it but I actually didn’t wonder about that while reading this book.

Leggy: What did you think of the whole coma story?

Taynement: Earlier, I was going to say that another thing I liked about this book was that it was layered, I think the coma story is an example of that. On one hand, it could be seen as random but I don’t think so. I think it served as an outlet for Korede carrying this huge burden. And the aftermath of the coma as probably a wake up call for her to live a life that isn’t one always borne from a direct comparison to her sister, because she might have her own world where people see her as a star.

Leggy: I just knew he was gonna remember once he woke up, would you have told as the patient?

Taynement: Definitely not. I would have been too freaked out. I think a huge part of this book is Korede easily blaming her sister for everything without acknowledging using her as a shield. She gave up on herself from childhood, and assigned roles – she chose the ugly and protective sister role. She didn’t have to always save her younger sister but she chose to, it was safer for her to live in her sister’s shadow even when she’s murdering her ex-lovers.

Leggy: Did you like how it ended? I was super satisfied with it.

Taynement: I think I was okay with it. I’m not sure I can go into detail without it being a spoiler but I think it was true to how life can be.

Leggy: Would you recommend this book to anyone? I’ve recommended it to so many people. I think it’s a good read and short, so it’s easy to get through.

Taynement: Absolutely! I thought it was a great book and a great intro, if anyone asked for a Nigerian author that isn’t Chimamanda. I also think this would make a good book club pick.

Leggy: I think so too, there are so many layers to discuss and analyze. I gave this 4 stars on good reads.

Let us know what you think in  if you have or when you read the book.

Leggy&Taynement.

Book Related Topics

Our 2019 Reading Goals

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Taynement

Happy New Year, everyone!! New year, new reading goals. Last year, I went rogue and was saying I had no goals and yada yada but this year in my life, I have a goal of being intentional and I am applying it to everything in my life, including my reading.

Majority of my reading is mostly newly released fiction/memoirs so this year so, I want to try and be all inclusive with stuff on my backlist. My dirty little secret is that, I have not read a lot of classics. So this year, I am going to try and include 2-3 classics and get in with the cool crew.

Going through Leggy’s books for the year, I admire how diverse a reader she is because I can acknowledge I am not (y’all I told you I am a fraudulent reader!). She is also very big on fantasy books and *say it with me* I am not. Last year, she had a goal to make me read Red Rising and she failed with that, so I might humor her and read it and add another fantasy book.

I did not change my number of books for the year and left it at 35. I anticipate audio books will be a big part of my reading this year, so I wonder if it’ll be more or less. Oh, one last thing, I joined a reading challenge to help in diversifying my reading. I don’t think I will do all of it but these are the guidelines:

a book you’ve been meaning to read
a book about a topic that fascinates you
a book in the backlist of a favorite author
a book recommended by someone with great taste
a book you chose for the cover
a book by an author who is new to you
a book in translation
a book outside your (genre) comfort zone
a book published before you were born

Leggy

I enjoy picking a number of books on goodreads every year because I think it challenges me to read more and try to make or beat my number. Last year, I picked 70 books and ended up reading 83 books. This year, I’m still going to leave it at 70. I think this is a comfortable number for me where I do not feel too much pressure but also a big enough number where I feel challenged to read more books every year.

As usual, every year I always try to have goals in mind. Last year, one of my goals was to read more female and minority writers which is a goal we as a blog collectively achieved. I read a lot of women last year and I’m super proud of that. I also finally tackled “The Count of Monte Cristo” by Alexandre Dumas which is a super readable book if anyone is looking to put it on the TBR for the year.

This year, my two big goals are:

  • Read self-help books more intentionally. I don’t read a lot of self help but I do want to be intentional in the way I pick these books and then try to apply them more or at least actually take one thing away from the books that I read. The first book that I already finished this year is “Crucial Conversations” by Kerry Patterson and I hope to incorporate some of their tips into my every day discussions.
  • And as always, tackle a classic. My classic this year is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Last year, my second option was “War and Peace” by Tolstoy but I never got around to it but who knows? Maybe this year?

Other than that, I really hope I have a good reading year.

Happy reading year everybody!

Do you guys make reading goals? Tell us what they are in the comments!

 

Leggy&Taynement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Related Topics

End of Year Housekeeping: We Want Your Feedback!

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It’s been a year since we started this blog and we hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as we have enjoyed writing it. It’s been a labor of love, library runs and book acquisitions this past year. Also, a learning process for us, as we try to build an audience and make a space on the internet for ourselves and our love for reading.

We want to always check in with you guys to make sure we are giving you the best we can on this blog. As this is our last post of the year, we are using this opportunity to give you guys a chance to let us know what you would like to see from us next year.

Are there any particular type of reviews you would like?

If we started a book club would you participate and how would you like us to conduct it? Via twitter? or comment sections? How often would you like to have it?

How can we make our posts more interactive? What would make you more likely to leave a comment?

How can we improve our social media presence? Is there something you’d like to see on our instagram or twitter that we are not doing now? (please follow us on instagram @nightstands2 and twitter @2nightstands and tell a friend to tell a friend)

Any personal questions you’d like to know about us? Get to know us as bloggers!

Let us know in the comments because we want this blog to be your go-to destination to express your love for books and your feedback will help us build a better community of like minded people.

Thank you!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays! Hope you guys come back next year for a wonderful year of all things books!

P.S We were a little disappointed that no one shared their best and worst books of the year 😦 We were looking forward to seeing what everyone else thought and also adding to our TBR lists. So if you so feel inclined, it’s never too late to let us know 😀

Leggy & Taynement

Uncategorized

Our Best and Worst Books of 2018

That time of the year, full of year end lists and reading recaps. You can see our best and worst of last year here. Here’s what we thought for this year:

OUR BESTS

Taynement:

18

I had to beg Leggy to let me cheat. I have been mulling and mulling all year trying to pick which I liked better of these two and I just can’t pick one over the other. Considering my favorite book last year was Backman’s Beartown, I guess you could say I am a fan girl. You can see what we though of American Marriage, here and Us Against You, here. That being said, I am such a stingy bitch. I don’t think I gave a single book (not even my faves) 5 stars this year.

Other favorites:

  • Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  • Becoming by Michelle Obama

Leggy:

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My favorite book this year was A Place For Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza. I knew immediately I read this that it would be my favorite of the year. I just enjoy the slow burn of this book, how it builds and how well written it is. You can see me gushing about this book here.

Other favorites:

 

OUR WORSTS

Taynement:

 

Windfall -  by Jennifer E. Smith (Hardcover) - image 1 of 1

Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith. I don’t even know how I made it to the end of the book.  It got a 1-star from me and reminded me why YA isn’t always my favorite genre because the mindset is completely far removed from me. She buys her crush a lotto ticket for his birthday, he wins and wants to give her some and she declines and makes such a big deal about it. I mean who declines $20 million? Anyways, its my fault for reading it.

Leggy:

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I couldn’t decide between Emergency Contact by Mary H. K. Choi and Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool by Peter Turner. You can see what I thought about Emergency Contact here, but I didn’t think the relationship was romantic or appropriate for an 18 year old freshman. I wrote a full review on it on the blog and it’s worth a read, I gave it one star on good reads.

My other pick, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool was just terrible. It’s not a well written book and there was no point to the story. At the end, I was like okay, what was the point of this book? He writes about a movie star he once had a relationship with and spending the last days of her life with him in Liverpool but she was not conscious for most of the book so it really wasn’t about her or her life at all. There was a movie about  it and I definitely didn’t watch it.

We’d love to hear what your best and worst books were for the year. Let us know in the comments!

 

leggy and taynement

Fantasy, Fiction

Book Review: The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin

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The premise of this book is amazing. It’s 1969 and 4 siblings go see a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell people when they will die, right down to the age and exact date. With this information – Daniel, Varya, Klara and Simon- go ahead and live their lives with this information with Varya the only one who shares her age. They live their lives not knowing whether it was living out a destiny or a self-fulfilling prophecy. The book follows the life of each sibling and gives more insight into how they live.

With such a captivating cover, I feel like I saw this book everywhere and I had high hopes for this but unfortunately, this book was a let down. It had my interest in the beginning and I was curious to see how they would go ahead with life having an alleged expiration date, especially getting the info as teenagers. I feel like the first sibling story was quite interesting and captivating but as we progressively went through each sibling, it became more boring. By the time, we got to the story of the last sibling, I was bored out my skull and uninterested. There was so much focus on their work too, and while I got the connection, I just didn’t care.

Nothing about the writing stood out and it’s quite forgettable. I don’t have much to say about it to be honest. If this is on your TBR list, I honestly let you know that you won’t be missing much if you skip it.

Taynement

Book Related Topics

‘Tis The Season – Gift Ideas For The Book Lovers In Your Life

Christmas is right around the corner and with Thanksgiving over, this is the perfect time to talk about Christmas gifts! Finding gifts for that friend of yours who has an obsessive reading hobby with their head always in a book, it can be tough sometimes to figure out what to get them, especially when you don’t want to keep giving them only books year after year. We’ve come up with some gift ideas that we hope makes your gift shopping a little bit easier

SUBSCRIPTIONS

Giving your friend subscriptions to literary services is one of the best gifts you can give because they can use it to get books that they actually like and eliminates you having to guess and decide for them. Our recs:

COOKBOOKS

I love cookbooks (Leggy here!) and I have a ton of them that I read and do not even make a single recipe out of. I love the ones where the authors take the time to write the background of each recipe where I feel like i’m reading a book instead of just a set of instructions. I like funny and literary books from professional chefs and home cooks from all around the world, it gives me an insight into various cultures through food. Some of my favorites (and recs)for the year:

  • Chrissy Teigen’s Cravings books (the first is better than the second but they’re both still very accessible to the average cook)
  • Ina Garten’s “Cook Like A Pro” is super good (you can never go wrong with Ina)
  • Magnolia Table by Joanna Gaines (Taynement actually got me this for my birthday!)

Also, there are plenty of cookbooks that are exclusively dedicated to recipes from books. How fun is that!:

  • The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook by Dinal Bucholz
  • The Jane Austen Cookbook by Maggie Black 
  • The Book Lover’s Cookbook: Recipes Inspired by Celebrated Works of Literature, and the Passages That Feature Them by Shaunda Kennedy Wenger and Janet Kay Jensen

  • If cocktails are more of their thing hit them up with Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Ferdele. Besides the fun title, it is a fun cover.

STATIONERY 

Every book lover I know loves them some stationery. Our recs:

  • Beautiful journals for the beginning of the year, actual book lover’s journals that lets your loved one record their books and reviews for the year.
  • Personalized pencil and book websites that’ll let you print their favorite book quotes on any item you get. There are book lover’s post it notes, note cards, note pads, calendars.

So much you can do in this category. You can’t go wrong with this! Oh and etsy is a huge gold mine for gifts like these, they are a tad bit on the expensive side but on the plus side, you’d be supporting small businesses.

COFFEE TABLE BOOKS

Coffee table book add such beautiful visual components to fascinating subjects and interests. I love coffee table books and if I were a grown up I’d have one too! There are so many insightful, educative and funny coffee table books to choose from. Our recs:

  • The Barack Obama Pete Souza picture book is still one of my favorites and is a throw back.
  • The Diary Of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-portrait by Carlos Fuentes
  • The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big and Small by Kath Stathers
  • Buckingham Palace: The Interiors by Ashely Hicks (especially since people haven’t come down from the high of the Royal Wedding!)
  • Havana: Split Seconds by Abe Kogan
  • I Too Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100 

JEWELRY 

Yes, we love the finer things in life too. There are so many literary inspired jewelry out there that are beautiful and so unique. Diamonds and books are forever so why not put them together? There are so many everyday accessories your loved ones wear that can be customized to show off their book nerd pride in really unique ways – bracelets, rings, necklaces, watches etc. Once again, Etsy is a gold mine for things like these. Our recs:

HOME DECOR

This is for your friend who likes book and more books and would love to be surrounded by them at all times. Our recs:

GOOD OL’ REGULAR BOOKS 

If you are brave and want to take a chance on getting your loved one an actual book that they’ll love, it’s good to do your homework first. Try to find out what their favorite books and genres actually are before giving them a book you think they’d enjoy. When gifting books it is very necessary to not just give books that you enjoyed but consider if this is a subject they are interested in. Our recs:

  • We have so many recommendations on our blog by genres like cozy mysteries, romance novels, fantasy that you can’t go wrong as long as you do your homework.
  • Celebrity memoirs by people you know they like, for example the new Michelle Obama book “Becoming” is currently the best selling book of the year, Gabrielle Union’s “We Are Going to Need More Wine” is still one of my favorite collection of essays.
  • Anne Bogel’s “I’d Rather Be Reading”
  • A book about their favorite TV show like Kelsey Miller’s “I’ll Be There For You – the one about Friends”.
  • For the Beyonce lover in your life – Beyoncé in Formation: Remixing Black Feminism by Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley

BONUS

If you decide to give the gift of Michelle Obama’s “Becoming”, you could go all out and complete it with this journal and candle (below) that will provide inspiration for your loved one. These can be found here.

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This was a fun post to curate for us and we really hope you find something your loved ones will truly enjoy. Have a lovely holiday season!

 

leggy & taynement

 

 

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Chick-Lit, romance

Review: The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory + GIVEAWAY WINNERS ANNOUNCEMENT!

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“I’ve spent so long being afraid of love, because the last time I was in love, the man I loved only loved one part of me, but not all of me, and I thought love meant having to sacrifice a part of yourself”

I quite enjoyed The Wedding Date earlier this year and like most romance writers who write multiple books a year, Jasmine has just dropped another one in the same series. This book came out a couple of weeks ago and it was my Book of the Month pick for November. Even though I added this book BEFORE it came out, I was no. 126 in my library. 126?! I just couldn’t wait.

It was such a delight to read. The main female character, Nik, is completely blindsided when she is publicly proposed to at a baseball game by her boyfriend of just 5 months. She says no, is rescued by the main male character, Carlos, and goes viral. Guillory is very big on having a lot of diversity in her books. Nik is an African American freelance writer while Carlos is a Hispanic doctor who is cute, polite, smart and loves to cook – the absolute total package. We get to see the two of them build a friendship, with a dash of sex. Neither of them wants anything serious and Nik is just looking for a rebound so they keep it casual for most of the book. You get to see the slow burn of their relationship and this is what I love about this book. You actually feel them falling in love and there is no mention of love at first sight or instant love which is a trope I can’t stand in romance novels.

“Deciding to spend your life together shouldn’t be a surprise”

I know a lot of people didn’t like the amount of sex in The Wedding Date and I think the editor or author listened and kept this to a minimum. There was more insinuation than actual sex.   The female friendships in this book was another thing I liked. Nik had a strong support system in her friends – Dana and Courtney- and they almost stole the show. They looked out for each other and were there every time she needed them. I also enjoyed how both the characters were already fully formed individuals who communicated very well. I hate miscommunication in romance novels. I’m reading about adults not teenagers!

I did not particularly enjoy the last 50 pages of this book. The way the author wrote the final declaration of love, especially the scene where Carlos realizes that he loves Nik, was bleh to me. It was hard to believe because it just didn’t jive with the character she spent more than 250 pages building. Carlos acted questionably and that part dampened my enjoyment of the book because I expected more from him. Her editor should have had her rewrite the declaration. It took my rating down a star.

You do not have to read The Wedding Date to read this. Yes, we know Carlos is Drew from The Wedding Date‘s best friend and the couple shows up a couple of times in this book but they don’t have prominent parts in this story so you should be fine. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would totally recommend it if you’re looking for something light and well written to combat this bleak weather we’re currently having. I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads.

Leggy

GIVEAWAY WINNERS

Now for the exciting part.

*Drumroll please*

 

The winners are:

 

Estti E. and Edirin!!!!!! 

Congratulations guys! Please visit www.theluxecandles.com and DM via twitter or instagram to let us know what scents you would like and where to send to. Thank you all for your participation. Till the next giveaway, have a happy Thanksgiving!