Book Related Topics, Fiction, Young Adult

Favorite Childhood Books

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I was a voracious reader as a child. The fourth of six kids,  I read so many things way earlier than I should have. I started reading Mills & Boons in Primary 4 (4th grade) because my older sisters had them lying around. I looooved romance novels. Growing up, I consumed so many of them which is why I’m surprised I grew up to be an adult who doesn’t love romance novels.

Anyway, in between all that debauchery, I actually read some age appropriate books and I want to share my favorites growing up. I hope when I have kids someday that they love these books too! Also, you’re never too grown up to reread these books to see if they stand the test of time or to read one of these for the very first time!

  • Mallory Towers by Enid Blyton – I read A LOT of Blyton growing up in Nigeria and these books were my absolute favorites. They were so funny, relatable and painted such a fun picture of boarding school that made me want to go to one so bad (my mother vehemently said no!). This was the first school series I ever read. The characters were all fully developed and even the antagonist (Gwendolyn! what a brat!) had a great arc through out the book. This is one I have never reread, I want to do this on audio soon, to see if it holds up but I remember it with such fondness and nostalgia for my childhood days.
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – I reread this book last year and it was just as fantastic as I remember it being. I was so glad that 7 year old Leggy had great taste in books. Claudia Kincaid is tired of being the older sister in her family so she decides to run away. Being the very resourceful and clever girl that she is and knowing her younger brother Jamie has money and thus can help her with a serious cash-flow problem, she invites him along. These two kids successfully run away in New York City to the MET! This is such a fun read and I think even adults who are looking for a palate cleanser would enjoy it.
  • Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene – I have read every Nancy Drew novel that has ever been written! My mom really liked these books, so she bought so many of them for us. There was always a Nancy Drew novel available to read and as soon as I could read, I devoured them. Carolyn Keene was so adept at keeping a young girl’s attention – there was just the right amount of mystery, very mild romance and innocent fun as Nancy and her pals sleuthed around solving not-so gruesome mysteries and murders. I would always beg my mom to let me read just one more chapter but would end up staying up all night to read the entire thing because every chapter pretty much ended on a cliffhanger and I just had to know what happened next! I have not read these books as an adult, I probably won’t get to them anytime soon but I adored them as a child. I’m just going to trust 7 year old me that they were good.
  • The Baby Sitter’s Club by Ann Martin – I loved these books growing up, I have tried to go through the series description to find one that I did not read and I couldn’t find any. My mom bought these books anywhere she could find them because she knew we were guaranteed to love them. This book is about a group of friends who decide to start a baby sitting business in their home town. We followed them through puberty, diabetes, parents getting divorced, moving away and of course, BOYS! These books were just such easy reads but I wonder if they’d really stand the test of time today. I somehow doubt it but they were great to 7 year old me.
  • Famous Five by Enid Blyton – The famous five included Julian, Dick, Anne, not forgetting tomboy George and her beloved dog, Timmy! These books made me feel like a grown up. There were actually high stakes involved unlike Nancy Drew, I actually felt like they were in actual danger of being hurt. After reading these books, I’d beg my older sister to play detective with me but she’d say no because sisters are horrible! I loved George, she was my favorite character. It’s so amazing how progressive her character is by today’s standards to balk at gender roles and expectations and just be herself.

Just as an aside and bonus hot take, you know a book that everybody loved but 6 year old me absolutely hated? Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. I just did not see what the fuss was all about. Wow, I really was a young tough critic.

What are some of the books you enjoyed reading as a young ‘un? I want to know in the comments! Have your read them again recently? Did they stand the test of time? Sound off in the comments, we love reading them!

Leggy

Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult

We Chit Chat: Children of Blood and Bone

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“gods are nothing without fools to believe in them.” 

Taynement: Whew. It’s been a month and some, I think? But I finally got through Children of Blood and Bone. The struggle was real.

Leggy: lol, why do you think you had such a hard time with it? The genre or the book itself?

Taynement: I’ve been asking myself that question. It’s easy to say the genre because it’s all mystical and YA, things i’m not necessarily a fan of but I’ve read other books in that vein that I liked. I really liked it at first but at some point, I just got to a place where I just didn’t care what happened to anyone.

Leggy: I actually agree with you that it lags somewhere in the middle. I think it starts off fast and action packed but the middle brought in the YA love ridiculousness and it just lost its grit. I think it picked up towards the end though. I really wanted to read this book really bad because the premise intrigued me.

Taynement: When I think of this book, I think there was a lot going on. It was part Harry Potter, part Hunger Games. Zellie was basically Harry – Captain “I’m so fierce and I can save everybody”.

Leggy: All the annoying qualities of Harry without the “funness” of Ron to cut through it and make it more palatable. Every time she barged into trouble and made a split second stupid decision I just couldn’t deal.

Taynement: The love part was inevitable. It’s YA.

Leggy: I was annoyed by it though. Like they knew each other all of 5 seconds and were in love.

Taynement: I have to say I like how she led up to it. I liked how the intimacy was formed from his first reaction to her to when they could feel each other’s magic.

Leggy: Blehhhh. This is someone whose father killed your mother and a whole lot of people, someone who himself has chased you through multiple kingdoms and you just decide to trust him just like that because he makes your loins stir? There was nothing I enjoyed about the romance in this book.

Taynement: Now Amari’s I wasn’t so sure about because I honestly thought there was some romantic undertones on how she felt about Binta. And it was cliche to have them fall in love with each other’s siblings

Leggy: All the romance in this book was cliche to me

Taynement: Fair enough. Were you bothered by the no translations?

Leggy: No I wasn’t at all. It didn’t affect my understanding of the book. It’s magic incantations. I don’t care what they literally mean.

Taynement: I really feel bad because I really wanted to like this book. That being said,  expect a lot of Nigerians to like it because of the traditions, the language and being able to recognize the geography.

Leggy: Actually, this is one of the reasons this book fell flat for me. I couldn’t use my imagination because these are real places and her setting descriptions didn’t make any sense with the pictures I had in my mind about the real places. Snow in Ibadan? Also, there is so much to explore in Yoruba god mythology that I think she squandered the chance. I feel like she tried hard to use Nigerian settings and culture and put it into a stereotypical American fantasy trope which is probably why Americans will enjoy it more.

Taynement: Speaking of familiarity, I was a little peeved at some names. Not a big deal but why is a guy who lives in Warri called Kwame? What is Tzain and Zellie? Also, what happened to Amari’s mom? We just never heard from her again? I even did a search to make sure I wasn’t mistaken. And did we get an explanation to Inan’s secret?

Leggy: Nope, we never understood why that happened to him in the first place.

Taynement: I came in fully expecting an experience but was left empty.

Leggy: What did you like about this book?

Taynement: The acknowledgements when she said she wrote this to depict the injustices against minorities specifically black people in the US and how they are treated. I liked the metaphor and it made me understand what she was trying to achieve with this book. I really liked the message.

Leggy: I don’t think there was anything that I specifically liked. I’m really grateful to have a fantasy book with black characters, that’s something you rarely see in this genre and this is one of my favorite genres as everybody knows. I think the sequels will be better so I might check them out when they come out. Also, we have to mention that this was the author’s first book, so congratulations to her! Would you recommend this book to anyone?

Taynement: Yeah. I’m curious to see people’s different takes on it and what they liked about it. So, though it wasn’t for me personally, it’s also not a terrible book that I would tell people to stay away from. I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads.

Leggy: I also gave it 2 stars on Goodreads but I would still definitely recommend this book to other people. I know a lot of people who have personally enjoyed this book and like you said, even though it wasn’t for me, it might be for someone else. Also, the cover of this book is gorgeous so if you want to splurge a little, buy the physical copy.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

“As it fades, I see the truth – in plain sight, yet hidden all along. We are all children of blood and bone. All instruments of vengeance and virtue. This truth holds me close, rocking me like a child in a mother’s arms. It binds me in its love as death swallows me in its grasp.” 

Leggy & Taynement