Fiction, We Chit Chat

We Chit Chat: An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

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But home isn’t where you land; home is where you launch. You can’t pick your home any more than you can choose your family. In poker, you get five cards. Three of them you can swap out, but two are yours to keep: family and native land.”

Taynement: So what did you think?

Leggy: I thought it was okay.

Taynement: Wow. Just okay? I absolutely loved it

Leggy: I have to say. I really didn’t like the blurb the publishers wrote for this book. I hate that they told us exactly what was going to happen so I spent like the first 50 pages just waiting for the “event”. It made my reading experience seriously unbearable.
You know I had the hardcover so the blurb was literally there. I didn’t even go seeking any spoilers

Taynement: Oh per usual, I didn’t read one. Well I’ve always said that you’re a destination vs. the journey person. Because, I don’t think the actual event and circumstance mattered and was more about everyone’s reactions to it. What I loved about the book is that as I get older I’ve been saying how human relations can be so complicated and I think she captured it with this story. The complexity of it all, especially within a marriage.

Leggy: I had intense anxiety just waiting for the event to happen. I was literally like “here it comes, here it comes”. Anyway, what did you think of their marriage before the event? Did you think they were even going to make it even if the event never happened?

Taynement: I don’t think we had enough information to know if they would or not. Roy came off as a fuckboy, albeit a reformed one, but they did seem to have a connection.

Leggy: He really did. I didn’t quite like him

Taynement: Even though, as we got to know him better, he seemed like the embodiment of “masculinity so fragile”

Leggy: Yes, there were so many moments I was just like “screw this guy”

Taynement: But here’s where I give kudos to the writer. It was a complicated scenario. Yes he was in jail but they all knew he was innocent and that has to be the worst thing ever. I give kudos because I could see both sides. I certainly didn’t expect him to be rational.

Leggy: I know the author made it clear to us that he was innocent right from the beginning but a part of me only 100% believed it right at the end when he made that gesture. It redeemed him in my eye and I thought that was the absolute best way to resolve the situation

Taynement: Him not being innocent would have been such a cheap twist to have.

Leggy: What did you think of Andre? Were you ever mad at him at some point? Did you ever agree with Celeste’s father?

Taynement: I didn’t like Andre. I really thought the whole thing was a dick move. And I just saw him as a weak man

Leggy: I hated him so much, What a weak man! You had all your life to get with her.
All your damn life and you waited till this situation happened? I agreed with her dad.

Taynement: I’m trying not to give spoilers but I don’t even care that he’d loved her this whole time. So it was circumstantial love?

Leggy: He’s an arsehole. God and then that whole thing about going to talk to him first to inform him? That was such a dick move. Celeste owed him that trip, she should have been the one to tell him first. I was just disgusted with the both of them for that

Taynement: Roy Snr. for the win, btw! Anyway, If Celeste was as fierce and independent as they intended her to be she wouldn’t have been in this pickle, she came off as unsure. But then I thought of the speech her dad gave her saying she was one of those “lucky” people who’ve never been through much.

Leggy: That’s why her arse thinks she’s so strong and independent when she’s just playing at it

Taynement: Oh there was something I really liked about the couple. Where people have a safe word for sex. I liked that they had a safe word for when their fights were getting too intense. They really seemed to love each other. But it was so new, so who knows if it was young love.

Leggy: Yes, loved that! I’m going to adopt that. I think Roy was just impressed with her and her family. I don’t think they were suited but who knows? What did you think of the whole situation with Davina?

Taynement: I thought him and Davina were convenient, but I liked it. Also, about just being impressed by her family pedigree, that’s a possibility. Roy seemed like he was fighting himself. One of those African Americans who thought themselves bougie because they are educated with money in the pocket, when he was just a big ball of insecurity.
I won’t mention some of the harsh things he wrote in his letters to Celestial but I noted two quotes after his release that showed the kind of man he is. First when he is trying to win her back and he says “Ask me and I’ll forgive you” I’m like excuse you?

Leggy:Omg!! I caught this too. It infuriated me. Like what?!!! You were gone for five years and you need to forgive her? The nerve!

Taynement: And second, when he thought “I swear I didn’t want to hurt Celestial but I needed to know if I could”. This goes back to what I meant about this book encapsulating all of human complexities. There were a lot of emotions and common human feelings expressed so well. I feel like in the hands of a less skilled author, this book could easily have been a mess. There were like 500 different stories going. Family secrets included and not one time did it feel convoluted

Leggy: I think this book would be fantastic for a book club (coincidentally Oprah just made this part of her book club). So many themes to explore and discuss
Is this the author’s first book?

Taynement: Nope. Apparently she has 3 other books. I guess this book helps with your reading goal on reading more African American and female writers that you mentioned here. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was an adult book for lack of a better word. Always good when a book meets it’s hype.

Leggy: Yes, it definitely does. I’m conflicted on this book. Discussing it with you now I’m totally on board and I’m talking about all these layers and human complexities, but when I step away from it I feel a tad bit underwhelmed? I feel like I need to sit with this for a few more days but anyway for now, I gave it three stars and would definitely recommend. Also, can I just say that the cover is absolutely GORGEOUS in person?

Taynement: It is? nice. I gave it four stars.

Let us know your thoughts if you’ve read it. We’d appreciate your comments!


Taynement & Leggy

Chick-Lit, Fiction, Uncategorized

Love Between The Pages – Romance Novel Recommendations

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Ah. ‘Tis the season for love. Valentine’s day is ’round the corner just in case the aisles in your grocery store haven’t reminded you. In honor of lover’s day, I decided to make a list of my favorite Romance books for you lovers out there. I rarely read romance novels these days because many of them are corny, not well written and just make me roll my eyes.

When I was in secondary school (high school for my Americans), I loveddddd romance novels. In fact, I read my first Mills and Boons when I was in Primary 3 (third grade) and I actually still remember the name – “A Night of Possession”. I read romance novels right up to Secondary school then just sort of got tired of the repeated tropes. If you’ve read one, you’ve read them all. But I’m not going to be a grinch. This is my contribution to the “holiday” and my way of spreading love to you guys out there. Here are a few of the romance books that  I have enjoyed over the years:

  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller:

“I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.”

Miller retells the story of one of Greek Mythologies’ greatest heroes through the eyes of his best friend Patroclus. Staying true to the big points of Greek mythology, she weaves the story of an intimate friendship and eventual romance between Achilles and Patroclus with the Trojan war as a huge backdrop for their love. This book was absolutely fantastic and is a take on Homer’s Illaid, the romance is slow burning and believable.

  • Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella:

I love British chicklit. Whenever I want to tune out and cleanse my reading palate, especially after a very gruesome read, Sophie never fails me. I love that her books are funny and fast paced. You can read most of her books in a day. Twenty-eight year old Lexi Smart wakes up in a London hospital and does not recognise herself – she’s skinny, perfect teeth, designer bags- and she has a millionaire (of course!) husband that she does not recognize either. Sophie takes us on a hilarious ride through Lexi’s past and her struggle to come to terms with her current self.

  • One Day by David Nicholls:

“You know what I can’t understand? You have all these people telling you all the time how great you are, smart and funny and talented and all that, I mean endlessly, I’ve been telling you for years. So why don’t you believe it? why do you think people say that stuff, Em? Do you think it’s a conspiracy, people secretly ganging up to be nice about you?” 

I love a good “will they? won’t they?” romance. I love friendship turned lovers stories. I love unrequited love and “I don’t want to ruin the friendship” romance tension. This book is everything I love about a love story all tied into one and has all the aforementioned. Dexter and Emma meet on the last day of college, spend a night together and can’t stop thinking of each other but they slip into the comfortable confines of friendship and the author takes us through the snapshots of their life on the same day – July 15th- over twenty five years. We see so many missed opportunities, so many fights, so many squabbles and breakdowns as they both try to come to terms with how much they really matter in each other’s life.

  • The Sun is also a Star by Nicola Yoon:

“Stars are important,” I say, laughing.

“Sure, but why not more poems about the sun? The sun is also a star, and it’s our most important one. That alone should be worth a poem or two.” 

Don’t you just love it when you see the title of a book inside the book? I just feel like the author is winking at me from afar. Anyway, this is a YA romance novel. I found this author last year and I’ve read two books by her and this is by far the better of the two. I really enjoyed this book. Natasha is a girl whose family came illegally into the states from Jamaica and they’re currently being deported and she’s trying a last hail mary to get a stay before they have to leave in a couple of hours, Daniel is a young man who is on his way to his Yale interview that he is contemplating skipping because it’s just not what he wants and he feels pressured by his parents, who are also immigrants. This book is about their chance encounter and the 24 hours they spend together afterwards.

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” 

Ahhhh, the classics! I am an avid member of the Austen cult, I have read all the Austen books and even the Austen dupes. I know a lot of uptight people dismiss Austen as trivial and chicklit but what do they expect a middle class English woman to possibly write about in the 1800s? Sci-fi? Austen writes and constructs characters that she knows and her observation of human interactions has stood the test of time. There are no wasted plot devices in this book, the plot is tightly woven and not a single word is out of place. Pride and Prejudice is about the proud Mr. Darcy and the very witty and sharp tongued Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues. The Bennet family will not disappoint you with their hilarity and every day living.

I hope you all have a fantastic Valentine’s week. Are you celebrating? Do you like romance novels? Tell me some of your favorites! I’d love to add some to my ever growing TBR list!



We Chit Chat: What it Means When a Man Falls From the Sky

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“When Enebeli Okwara sent his girl out in the world, he did not know what the world did to daughters. He did not know how quickly it would wick the dew off her, how she would be returned to him hollowed out, relieved of her better parts.”

Leggy: So we finally read this book after weeks of calling it “man falls”.

Taynement: Yes. Finally! I’d been avoiding it because Lord knows I hate short stories.

Leggy: Uggh, I do too, just when you’re settling into the drama it ends all of a sudden.

Taynement: Like! It’s so unfulfilling. But this book had a lot of good reviews and me and my FOMO. Can’t be left out.

Leggy: I only read it because you reminded me everyday to, and I promised you I was going to read it before Sunday. So yesterday, I just sat down and finally read it. I was quite pleasantly surprised.

Taynement: Yes, same here. I’m not going to lie and say I went in with an open mind. I remember telling you how I wasn’t quite feeling the first two stories – “The Future Looks Good” and “War Stories”. But I have to say while “War Stories” didn’t really hit me in the face, in hindsight it was one of the many taboo subjects (in Nigeria) that she wove into a variety of stories in a subtle way. In this case – mental illness/ depression.

Leggy: I absolutely loved “War Stories”. I thought it was subtle and well done. I loved the conversation between Nwando and her father about the war:

“So what happened to the lieutenant?” I asked, wanting another story to erase this one.

“He died, Nwando; they all died.”

“How come you didn’t die?”

“Because,” he said, “when the time came, I ran.”

I thought it was very well written and conveyed a lot of hidden emotions and explanations for Nwando’s father’s mental health state mixed in with the guilt he must be feeling.

What was your absolutely favourite story though?

Taynement: I’d have to say it was between “Light” and “Glory” but I’ll go with “Light”  because the end of “Glory” was absolutely infuriating and I have no idea what it was!

Leggy: I loved “Light” too. It was so well written and it sort of broke my heart. I enjoyed “Glory” till the absolute last sentence where I just felt like she deserved all her bad luck if she ended up making the decision I’m scared that she made.

Taynement: Yes, I found that Lesley’s writing shone more when she wrote about family relations within the Nigerian culture. And her weaknesses showed more in the futuristic/sci-fi type stories.

Leggy: I think she could have used a better editor. Some of the writing was awkward.

Taynement: Yes, I agree. I had to reread a lot of things many times over to grasp what she was trying to say.

Leggy: But this is a debut and I expect most good debuts to just be a show of potential not a show of genius.

Taynement: I remember the first story, I read the first few lines so many times trying to make sense of it and I found myself doing that later in some of the other stories.

Leggy: I couldn’t grasp what metaphors the sci-fi ones were trying to portray or maybe they were just stories and I’m thinking too hard.

Taynement: You have to be referring to Who Will Greet You at Home“. I’m not sure I got what that was about. Even at the end.

Leggy: I actually really loved that one as a story in terms of its writing. It’s the ant one I did not get at all – “What is a Volcano?”. I was like okayyy, and sooo? What is the point of this? I understood the end being a metaphor for a volcano and the story being about natural disasters and how a volcano came to be? I don’t know, it just wasn’t tight enough or well done.

Taynement: Goes back to the awkward writing. Which I think as time progresses she will iron out as she has so much great potential as seen in the premises of her stories. They are very ambitious. She is able to create a world in which the reader is interested in what happens to the characters.

Leggy: Yes, I would really love to read a full length fiction book from her with Nigerian characters. I think she does that so well. Like “Light” could have been a full blown book, I wanted so much to read more about the characters in that story. Can we talk about Windfallsplease? How disturbing was that?

Taynement: Hella Hella disturbing and to be honest, I read those characters as Americans. Just couldn’t imagine them as Nigerians in my head. I felt grossed out and couldn’t wait to finish the story. It didn’t fit in with the rest of the theme of the book. When I say themes, one of the things I liked about the book was how it had a consistent theme of Nigerians of two cultures who either lived in America and went back or lived in Nigeria and came to America. That would be very relatable to a number of Nigerians.

Leggy: I guess it’s a case of write what you know. The author was born in the UK but moved back to Nigeria for a couple of years and now lives in the US. Did you absolutely hate any of the stories?

Taynement: Hate is a strong word and I’m sure this would be an unpopular opinion but “Who Will Greet You at Home” just required so much mental labor and I was annoyed by that. I wasn’t prepared for that kind of story and when I thought I was easing in, I got confused again.  Then I felt there was a point being told but for the life of me couldn’t pick out what it is so yeah…

Leggy: I liked that one but I do understand what you mean about the mental labor required to get through that story. It’s a little draining.

Taynement: I feel like you liked more stories than I did.

Leggy: There wasn’t one particular story that I didn’t like. I thought they all had a little something that worked for me even if the general story didn’t. A line here, an image there. She always has a flash of potential that stops you from absolutely hating any of the stories.

Taynement: Actually this is interesting because I think I liked the book but the more I go over the stories, I find there weren’t many stories that I loved. I just liked them enough. But the ones I loved and liked enough, I strongly did. And yes, you have a point. Every story showed her potential which is easy to appreciate.

Leggy: I also think it’s easy to think a book was absolutely great when it exceeds your expectations. I didn’t expect to actually like this book. So because I was pleasantly surprised I thought it was better than it actually was until I started talking about it to you just now. I ended up giving it 3 stars on goodreads because I “like it” but didn’t “really like it”.

Taynement: Heeey, don’t make me sound like the villain. I gave it a 4 but now I think I may have been too generous.

Leggy: Yes, absolutely too generous. ha ha ha.

Taynement: Overall though, I would recommend the book especially if you like short stories. There was something for everyone and I think it’ll be interesting to see what stories resonated with people.

Leggy: Yeah, I would absolutely recommend it and I’m going to keep an eye on this author. She’s going to write greater things in the future.

“If you can’t please the gods, trick them.”


Taynement & Leggy



From Books to Screen

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Book adaptations to TV or Movie Screen is not a new feat. It’s been happening since forever. From the obscure to the popular. Everyone is familiar with the Harry Potter adaptations, Hunger Games trilogy, Gone Girl (I am not sure if it was popular knowledge that it was a book).

Most recently, award shows have been dominated by the cast of Big Little Lies. The HBO mini series adapted from the book written by Lianne Moriarty (who I think is a pretty average, one note writer and this might be the best of her books but now everyone thinks she is great due to the series being great but I digress). The rights were optioned by Reese Witherspoon and it looks like this is going to be the norm moving forward as Reese Witherspoon and a number of other stars (e.g Lupita Nyong’o with Americanah or Kerry Washington with The Mothers) are going down this path and leaving us with a number of adaptations in our future.

Barring few exceptions, if I have read a book I usually end up not watching the movie and vice versa. Here are some books coming down the pike that I have read:

Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple: A book about Bernadette Fox, a quirky architect who doesn’t fit in with the other moms at her daughter’s school and who is married to a serious man. Right before a planned family trip, she disappears but because she is so eccentric and put off by people (she has a virtual assistant in India who does most things for her) is she really missing or is this one of her schemes to avoid the trip. The story shows the search by her daughter.

The book got a lot of accolades but for me it was just okay. I remember feeling annoyed a lot of the times and didn’t quite care for the ending. The movie will be coming out on Mother’s Day starring Cate Blanchett who I think is perfect casting.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn: Camille is a journalist fresh out of a psych hospital and assigned a story about a string of murders in her hometown. Going back means facing her mother who is a hypochondriac and her much younger half-sister who she really doesn’t know. This leads to a journey back to her own childhood memories that unravel a number of family secrets long buried.

If you have read any of Gillian’s books you should know by now that she is one disturbed individual. Her stories get so dark and gory but I think she is a good writer so you are able to digest it and still be intrigued at the same time. This will be an HBO miniseries some time in June starring Amy Adams.

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan: This book takes us to a world full of unabashed, over the top wealth in Singapore. We meet Nick who is a professor in America but is practically a prince in his home country. We get to meet the very many members of his extended family who are so animated and full of personality – some good and some bad.

The first of a trilogy, I loved this book when I read it and found it very entertaining and hilarious in some parts. The wealth portrayed in this book was so lavish that it will be fun to see how it is portrayed in a movie. It comes out in August and will be starring Constance Wu.

The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas: A YA novel that mirrors current events in the world today, 16 year old Starr is a witness to her friend being shot by a cop and has to deal with the aftermath.

What I liked about this book was that it had no airs and was written exactly how I’d imagined the characters would. The conflict Starr feels being in her neighborhood vs. being with her white friends in her private school was very well conveyed and at some point, I forgot I was reading a YA novel. The movie has a slew of stars attached to it like Regina Hall, Amandla Stenberg, Common, Issa Rae to name a few. Looking forward to this one and hope it is done right.

Hello Sunshine by Laura Dave: Culinary star, Sunshine Mackenzie gets hacked and it is revealed that she is a fraud and her recipes are not hers. Some other secrets are revealed and she falls from grace and has to retreat from the public eye to find herself.

The premise sounds like it has promise but I found this book to be quite silly and the reveal unrealistic. Rights have been optioned but nothing else so no idea if it will be a tv movie or big screen movie.

Did any of this catch your fancy? Let me know which of these you would like to read.


Fiction, Uncategorized

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo

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Sometimes I think we have children because we want to leave behind someone who can explain who we were to the world when we are gone.

Yejide and Akin haven’t had a child after four years of marriage. Akin’s mother convinces Akin to marry another wife and give her grandchildren which he agrees to do. The introduction of a second wife into her almost perfect marriage drives Yejide to desperately seek children from anywhere that promises her some. This is an emotional story about polygamy, tradition and love.

What would be left of love without truth stretched beyond its limits, without those better versions of ourselves that we present as the only ones that exist?

It took me such a long time to read this book after it came out because I thought it sounded like every Nollywood movie ever made in book form. I felt like it would turn out to be like “Baba Segi’s Wives” which I found entertaining but not very well written. I think a book should have a story that hooks the reader but when you are raised in Nollywood like I was, most nigerian books just become a caricature of themselves.

I finally read this at the very end of last year when I was desperately trying to complete my goodreads challenge and absolutely loved it. I did not expect it to be an emotional read! This book made my heart hurt for the characters and all the pain they were going through. It is such a treat to find a new Nigerian writer that manipulates words and sentences and makes you want to go back and read that sentence over and over again. It had so many beautiful lines that had me highlighting over and over again.

“I loved Yejide from the very first moment. No doubt about that. But there are things even love can’t do. Before I got married, I believed love could do anything. I learned soon enough that it couldn’t bear the weight of four years without children. If the burden is too much and stays too long, even love bends, cracks, comes close to breaking and sometimes does break. But even when it’s in a thousand pieces around your feet, that doesn’t mean it’s no longer love.” 

Something else I loved about this book was the fact that it was not written in a vacuum. We are given a time period in Nigeria and the writer paints us a picture of exactly what our setting looks like and the changes that were happening in a newly independent country. We see the changes in government, the military coups, the radio broadcasts. This book is set against a backdrop that feels alive. As Yejide and Akin go through the ups and downs and setbacks of their relationship so does the country and city that they are living in and I thought that was very well done.

Shame is such a huge part of this book, the shame of not being woman enough, the shame of not being man enough, the shame of looking your loved ones in the eye and admitting that the version of you they know is a constructed illusion. Akin thinks that all he has to do to repair his marriage is to give Yejide a child no matter what, and this drives him to so many lengths and into too many desperate actions that led to so much pain and despair.

“I was armed with millions of smiles. Apologetic smiles, pity-me smiles, I-look-unto-God smiles—name all the fake smiles needed to get through an afternoon with a group of people who claim to want the best for you while poking at your open sore with a stick—and I had them ready.” 

I do not know what sex education was like in Nigeria in the 70s but it was hard to believe that Yejide was that naive about sex and all it entails. I also thought that Akin could have stepped up to the plate and saved everyone the heartache by just telling a woman he claimed to love the truth. Ultimately, I thoroughly enjoyed this book way more than I thought I would.

Rating – 4 out of 5 stars




A Personal Guide to Fantasy Books with recommendations

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Everybody knows I love fantasy and I think everybody would love fantasy as much as I do if they just gave it a chance. I think that in a world that gets too much at times, it is amazing to be able to escape to a world where nothing is real and everything is dreamed up. Worlds where dragons exists, emperors rule, people have superpowers, and whole new worlds are built for your reading pleasure. Also I know most of you enjoyed The Harry potter series so what are you waiting for?

My journey into being a fantasy reader was a slow one, I started with dystopian novels till I thought I had read all the good ones, then I went into fantasy lite and then epic fantasies. This is the same formula I use whenever I want to lure someone into my fantasy world. I recommend a dystopian novel then scale it up from there.

So this is a recommendation of sorts for anyone who’s thought about venturing into the fantasy genre but not sure where to start:

If you enjoy  fiction  I think the dystopian novel to start with is “Station Eleven“. Station Eleven is a book about the break down of civilization as we know it, an airborne viral diseases hits America and everything crumbles, we’re left with a generation of people who know next to nothing about the world before the apocalypse and we are told the stories of survivors and non-survivors alike,  through a band of traveling performers.

Honorary pick – Never let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

If you enjoy(ed) Station Eleven – and are feeling brave enough to climb the ladder, Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson is my pick for you. A weird sun appears in the sky and suddenly gives people superpowers and the world as we know it changes. The people with superpowers called epics now rule the commoners brutally and the only way to kill these people is to find out their weaknesses but they guard their achilles heel with their lives. When David was 8, he witnessed the brutal killing of his father by one of the epics called Steelheart and vows to one day bring him down.

If you enjoy romance or Young Adult fiction  the dystopian novel for you to start with is Divergent by Veronica Roth. Society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all 16-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between choosing her family’s virtue and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. You also have probably heard of the movie franchise.

Honorary pick – Delirium by Lauren Oliver

If you enjoy(ed) Divergent – you’d like A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas. Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jeweled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

Honorary pick – Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

If you enjoy children’s literature  the dystopian book for you is The Giver by Lois Lowry. Twelve-year-old Jonas lives in a seemingly ideal world. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver does he begin to understand the dark secrets behind this fragile community.

If you enjoy(ed) The Giver –  you’d enjoy The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson. As the son of a lowly chalk maker at Armedius Academy, Joel can only watch as Rithmatist students learn the magical art that he would do anything to practice. Then students start disappearing—kidnapped from their rooms at night, leaving trails of blood. Assigned to help the professor who is investigating the crimes, Joel and his friend Melody find themselves on the trail of an unexpected discovery—one that will change Rithmatics—and their world—forever.

Honorary pick – The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowlings

If you enjoy thrillers – the dystopian novel for you is The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey. In a world in the process of being destroyed by a kind of zombie making virus, an infected girl, Melanie, her beloved teacher, a crazy scientist and a couple of soldiers must survive in a mostly destroyed England. There’s also a movie about this.

If you enjoy(ed) The Girl With All the Gifts – Red Sisters by Mark Lawrence. Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive

Check out these book recommendations and tell me what you think. Is there any you are interested in? Have you read any books on the list? Do you have any book recommendations for me? I’m always interested in increasing my TBR list!!

P.S – While I have read all the books on this list, I did not enjoy all of them. I do believe in finding the books that are right for you and books that you personally enjoy so just because a book was not right for me does not mean it will not be right for you.

P.S2 – I tried not to include epic fantasies that span years, I think this is a suitable entry into the genre regardless and I will make a separate list of epic fantasies another time.




Review – The Red Tent by Anita Diamant

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The book is based on a very minor character in the bible, Dinah. Only daughter of Jacob and Leah and sister of Joseph. If you are familiar with the Bible, then you know the backstory it is based on, which is Jacob and his four wives. Which started with him marrying sisters, Leah and Rachel and eventually adding on their handmaidens, Zilpah and Bilhah.

That is the back story and the rest becomes fictional as Diamant tells an engrossing story of being a woman in the biblical days. The Red Tent is told from the perspective of Dinah and is in reference to the tent where the women gathered during their period, where they gave birth and where they stayed to recuperate after. Traditions, stories and secrets were kept in this tent and bonds formed.

When I started the book, my slow self didn’t realize it was based on the bible (remember how I told you guys, I go in blind on books) and a few pages in was when I realized it. I was ready to drop the book because I wasn’t sure I was feeling it. I decided to keep on trucking and I am glad I did.

The author kept to facts in two areas – the generational tree/family members/characters and the big story about Dinah that was mentioned in the Bible where she was raped by a Prince and her brothers sought revenge – this is slightly tweaked in the book where Dinah is actually in love with the Prince.

I was truly in awe of how Diamant was able to form a whole community and life story for characters that were mentioned only in passing in the Bible. In fact, at some point I went back to Genesis to read how they were depicted in comparison to the book. I was fully engrossed in their life story and genuinely interested to see how it ended up.

In some ways, I see it as the anti-thesis of The Handmaid’s Tale where there is a group of women that aren’t being held down by the system and are instead empowered and encourage each other.

Just in case you were thinking that this book is a religious book, I would like to mention how it totally isn’t one. It just happens to be characters from the Bible. I was reminded while looking up something that the book was turned into a miniseries by Lifetime some time ago, so if you’d like to add the joy of viewing to your reading pleasure, that’s an option too.

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I can see how this book could be polarizing. Either you like it or you don’t. But overall, I found it an enjoyable book and rated it 4 out of 5 stars.