Category Archives: For The Love Of Books

Book Review + Giveaway!


Have you ever wanted to read a ‘Christian Romance’ novel by a Nigerian author? Well, your prayers have been answered. Curl up with a cup of tea (or coffee, if that’s your thing), and a copy of Still , the first of a four-part novel from the promising writer/blogger, Eniola Prentice. I had the privilege of reading this book a while before it was released and I’m posting this review as part of an ongoing blog tour.

About the novel
A broken soul, an alcoholic, a certifiable genius, a Christian man, and a secret that will destroy the bonds of their friendship…read more.

Review
I have always found Medical Fiction fascinating (think, Grey’s Anatomy), little wonder I was immediately captivated by this coming of age story set in a world of hilarious hook ups and breakups, legendary parties and incessant studying, the experience of success and disappointment of failure, that is first year medical school.
The story is woven around several characters, medical students,who try to navigate their way through the complicated mess that can be life on the way to becoming a doctor. You’ll meet Fadesola, a self-proclaimed atheist and broken soul who considers her time in medical school a fresh start of sorts but finds herself having to face her past in the person ofTayo Smith, legendary party boy and alcoholic, who seeks an opportunity to correct his ways, and redeem himself in the eyes of his family. The plot gets even more complicated whenNikky, a certified genius and pretty soul, ignores Fadesola’s warnings and decides that Tayo is the man for her. There’s also Ladi, Christian man with a heart of gold, and a friend of the group. His innocent friendship with Fadesola slowly develops into smouldering relationship with both too afraid to give in to or even acknowledge their mutual feelings.

The book is written in first person narrative, through the eyes of each character. It is fascinating how Eniola is able to capture the ‘voice’ of each character and give life in a way that makes it easy to flow from one person to the next without confusing parts. After the first few chapters, the reader gets so used to each voice that you do not have to check to see whose narrative it is. I like the way the plot sucks you in, making you feel like you’re a part of the medical school community. I actually missed my ‘new friends’ for a few days after I was done with the book. Still definitely reads like insider information of the lives and times of the first year medical students.

Nikky is my favourite character of the bunch, mostly because it is easy to see through her. I generally tend to fall in love and identify with complicated characters, but in this case, Nikky makes it hard not to love her. She isn’t stuck up or obnoxious. For a certified genius, she’s very fun and honest; makes you see the world through rose-coloured glasses. Sometimes, her innocence and naivety makes for a good laugh.

Eniola does a pretty decent job of keeping the story moving and the reader guessing, with credible character and a believable story. This is more than just a love story, it is a story of friendship, pain, loss, success, failure, joy and grace; a fine cocktail that just about sums up life. If you do pick a copy of this book (and I recommend that you do), then be prepared to be captivated by God’s redemptive grace. Happy reading!

*Now for the more fun part, GIVEAWAY!!!!
To celebrate the release of the novel, there is an ongoing giveaway which you should totally enter for. You get a signed copy of the book, a $40 Amazon gift card, AND a mystery gift. Get excited people!!!!!

NOTE: Due to shipping difficulties, this giveaway is only open to residents of the USA and Canada.

To enter, go here.

The giveaway will run from May 26th to June 26th, so there’s plenty of time to enter.

Author Bio

Eniola Prentice was born in Lagos, Nigeria, where she began to pen her stories as early as nine years old, inspired by an eclectic group of writers. Her budding writing career was put in the back burner as she pursued her dream of becoming a medical doctor, completing her undergraduate degree inn Washington, DC. However, in the third year of medical school, inspired by the Holy Spirit, or the voices in her head (she would prefer to blame God for this one), and the unique and inspiring stories of friends that became family, she began to write her debut novel and series, Still. She hopes that her writing compels, challenges, inspires, and draws people to the Christian God’s redeeming love.
You can connect with her by visiting her blog, Twitter, Facebook, or Google+.

Get a copy of the novel on Amazon HERE!

Books I Want For Christmas + Giveaway


Christmas Wishlist

Christmas Wishlist

All I want for Christmas are books! Okay, maybe that’s not exactly correct but it’ll be great to have new books before the new year gets here.
Last night, I put together a list of the books I want now!!! so Santa doesn’t have to worry his head too much about that. (By Santa, I mean you by the way :D). Without further ado, here goes *drumroll*

  • One Day I Will Write About This Place – Binyavanga Wainaina
  • Ghana Must Go – Taiye Selasi
  • Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth – Warsan Shire
  • And The Mountains Echoed – Khaled Hosseini
  • The Hairdresser of Harare – Tendai Huchu
  • I Wrote This For You – Iain Thomas
  • The Anatomy of Being – Shinji Moon
  • Crush (Yale Series of Younger Poets) – Richard Sikin
  • The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives – Lola Shoneyin
  • Pole Dancing To Gospel Hymns – Andrea Gibson
  • There you have it… If you click on the links you’d find details/reviews of each book.
    To help ‘Santa’ along, I’ve gone ahead to purchase three (3) of these books for myself (viz; Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth – Warsan Shire, The Anatomy of Being – Shinji Moon, and The Hairdresser of Harare – Tendai Huchu), so you still have seven(7) more to choose from if you’re wondering what to get me for Christmas 😀

    This brings us to the second reason we are here…

    Giveaway!!!!
    This is my first official giveaway here and I’m super excited. I’ll be giving away a kindle-branded Amazon giftcard for Warsan Shire’s Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth (Yup, it’s the book I’m most excited about) and two other books of your choice from my list above. That’s three(3) books in all.
    To enter for the giveaway, all you have to do is subscribe to this blog (if you haven’t already) and leave a comment below with your name and email, stating what books you’d choose if you won and why. Winner will be randomly selected.
    *Entry closes at 12midnight (GMT) on the 26th of December, 2013. Winner will be announced on the 27th.
    Again, subscribe and comment… That simple.

    Love and kisses,
    Kovie.

    Americanah


    I finally read Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah today. I’m glad I didn’t read it months ago when everyone had an opinion about it. I’m glad I read it away from the noise of intellectual reviews, and overly enthusiastic gushing of Adichie devotees.
    This in itself is not a review, we already have enough (more than enough) of that…. This is me sharing a few of the feelings/thoughts I had while reading.

    Americanah made me think about love. Of holding hands and evening walks. Of eating nearly overripe avocados in my grandmother’s verandah. Of wearing an oversized tee to bed and drinking tea from a coffee mug.
    Obinze’s mother made me want to put the book aside for a minute just so I could pick up my phone, call my mother and tell her I love her.
    It made me remember late night drives to buy suya and masa. It brought on the overwhelming need to be touched. To be held by a man. My man. It made the sound of that somewhat appealing… My Man. It made me want to be chased.
    It made me think about the great love of my life. Of sharing a joke with my Abba, then I pictured Him chuckle and say in His rich, endearing voice, “Child…”.
    It made me think about home. About book shelves that reach the ceiling and love seats with the softest cushions. About pianos and a music room. About the beach and sand between my toes. About potted plants and the smell of lilies.
    It made me think about twist outs for my natural hair. Made me long for a deep condition.
    I loved that it made me feel. Really feel without necessarily being mushy. Honest.

    It’s funny that most of these things have nothing to do with the plot of the book per se… I just generally liked the way I felt while/after reading. And if I close my eyes right now to sleep, these are most likely the things I’d dream about.

    The Nadir


    I came across this conversation in a book I’m currently reading and it struck me in a way nothing has in a while. I’m sharing this hoping that it’ll make some sense to someone else too. I won’t be explaining it, I’ll leave you to peruse on it, get a message and possibly share in the comments….

    **************************
    Awake again.

    Back-and-forth, back-and-forth.

    Stop it.

    We do this every night Mark. You make an attempt at sleep only to have the thoughts come back.

    I can’t help it.

    Right. You can’t help it.

    I lay here trying not to worry, not to be fearful, but everything in my life that seems to be falling apart rushes into me like Attila the Hun.

    That’s because your problems are the center of your life.

    What’s that supposed to mean?

    God isn’t the center of your life. Worry is. Anxiety is.

    That’s ridiculous.  Don’t go blaming this on me. I have been diagnosed! I have sleep apnea! I can’t help this!

    You tell yourself that. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

    Nothing helps me sleep at night.

    Exactly.

    How can you say God is not the center of my life when I am constantly bringing all these anxieties to Him, begging Him to change them?

    Yeah. You consider God for a fleeting moment just before you spend the next three hours obsessing over the unfairness of it all.

    What would you think? My head is a mess, my marriage is stale, my children are constantly bludgeoned by this and that-just look at Charlie down there at the foot of my bed.

    I know.

    The cast is all the way up to his hip! He’s in a wheelchair, for crying out loud! He can’t walk, can’t swim- all I can picture are those few seconds when he was skipping happily right before the screaming.

    Lots of screaming.

    He thought his awful summer was finished.  We all thought it was finished. He was hurt so badly. I can’t imagine the next time he will skip like that.

    You’ve got to stop replaying it in your head.

    Do you know what he said while I was carrying him to the car?

    Stop.

    He said, “YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE JUMPED WITH ME! ”

    You’ve got to stop.

    And I said, “But you asked, ” and he screamed, “I DIDN’T KNOW IT WOULD HURT SO BAD!”

    Mark?

    I just know that clinic is going to think we’re doing something awful to him.

    MARK!

    What?

    You’re stuck in the circular.

    Huh?

    You’re still not learning.  This is the way you’ve always lived. Sure, it’s ramped-up this time. It’s suddenly a melodramatic version, but it’s still the same garbage over and over with no change or growth in your reaction to it.

    Oh. So, this is all about me, then.

    Nothing is all about you. But, you seem to think everything is all about you. That is exactly my point.

    Well, I don’t care what you think, because my life is not circular. I am pushing through all of this rough stuff and I just know that any moment, I’m going to reach my half-point.

    What are you talking about?

    My life-my faith has felt like an uphill climb and I’m ready now.

    Ready for what?

    For my half-life.

    Your what?

    The apex of my experience where learning turns to application and the circular path finally gives way to the straight and narrow.

    Where did you hear that?

    It’s in the introduction.

    So let me get this straight.  Your life has been a challenge.

    Yes.

    So, your perspective is- expend all your energies attempting to get to the point where challenges are suddenly over?

    I wouldn’t exactly…

    You really think there is supposed to be some euphoric summit that cancels the climb and begins a slide?

    Of course not.

    Well, you’ve been living that way. You’ve been living as if all of your pursuits are grasping at easy.

    Have not.

    Have so. It’s a lame duck way to live. That’s you, Mark. You’re the Lame Duck Christian.

    I resent that.

    Think about it. Think about what you’ve missed spinning your wheels just to escape lousy. Life isn’t rosy, but it’s certainly not all eye herpes either. It’s a collision of the two and you’ve missed the better half trying to scrape your way out of the stink. There is no top of the hill-and you have most certainly not been climbing.  There is only one you facing the fact that joy can definitely be found on this path, but you’ve got to fight for it because the fight builds character. It turns you into something beautiful.  You really thought you were at your apex?

    Well, it’s just a theory.

    You do realize what an apex is, don’t you?

    It’s the half-point.

    No, Steele. It’s the high point. The high point doesn’t change you-and that’s a good thing, because this moment is certainly not the high point.

    Then, what is it?

    The nadir.

    The nadir?

    The Lowest point possible.  It’s when you come to the end of yourself. When you die to your selfishness and surrender to God. But, you won’t do that if you are pretending you’ve scaled some triumphant peak. You are not a martyr, Mark.  You’re just figuring out that life can be hard, but that is okay.

    The nadir.

    If you’re looking for a halfway point- this is it, baby.

    The low point of my life.

    Embrace it, brother! It’s a great thing to come to the end of yourself because it’s the only place you can truly rely on God’s power.
    Accept it. Surrender.
    It’s the only way to truly tackle your grief. Die to yourself, and you’ll start rolling despair over and spanking it in public.

    But I’ve been through so much.

    And, you’re going to go through more, but your perspective on what you’re going through could change everything.  Take a moment and look at your wife.

    I can’t.  Her face is covered with pillows.

    Well, take some action-lift them off her. Look at her. Do you remember?

    Of course I remember!

    Well,  then FIGHT for her! Get off your fat patoot and live in a way that will get her and keep her. FIGHT for you. Get yourself back.

    I keep TRYING to get myself back!

    No. You keep trying to get comfortable back. Trying to get the past back.  The naive, undisciplined you back. Forget that garbage. You’ve got to die to that.

    That’s exactly what I’ve been avoiding.

    Of course it is, because it’s even more painful than what you’ve been wallowing in this past year, but it’s just going to keep getting worse until you decide to dive in and face what is down in the darkest depths.

    You say that as if it is easy. I am at the end of myself here.

    No. You just think you are. If you were really at the end of yourself, you would start seeing what God is doing. You’re actually quite full of yourself and all the agony that comes with constantly staring in the mirror. You aren’t even close to the end of yourself. You keep saying you are ready for all God wants to do inside you, but you’re not letting any old garbage out to make new space.

    You’re telling me this year-all this pain-has been selfishness?!

    I’m telling you that you know the one thing you have to do and keep refusing to do it.

    I’ve done everything I know to do!

    Have not.

    Have too!

    Have not!

    Okay, wise guy, what is this one thing left that I have not done.

    Die already.

    Die already?

    Die already.

    You mean-now?

    Yes. Now. You’ve been stretching this angst out a bit, don’t you think? Make a move. Stomp on that despair. Kill that sucker-punk moneychump.

    But death is what I’ve been doing my best to avoid.

    Exactly.

    I don’t understand.

    You think you’ve been clinging to God because you love Him and you want to be who He has created you to be, but the moment that becomes painful, you decide that you love comfort more. So, you try to pray the pain away, refusing to acknowledge that pain itself might actually be a part of the way out of the pain. Everybody hurts, Mark. Everybody dies. But there is much to embrace, to find joy in, to hold onto throughout that very same path. You’re in agony every single day. And you will be until you finally decide to die already. Until then, you’re only living half a life.

    But, how on earth do I do that?

    You really want to know?

    Of course I do!

    You cannot possibly really want to know it unless you are really ready to do it.

    I’M READY! JUST TELL ME!

    Okay….
    Open your mouth and close your eyes.

    And what is that supposed to mean?

    Don’t worry.
    You’ll figure it out.

    ********************************
    From the book: HALF-LIFE, DIE ALREADY (How I died & lived to tell about it) – Mark Steele.

    Thoughts?

    Off The Bookshelf… Must-Read Books


    Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to get my reading mojo back as far as novels are concerned and I mentioned to a friend that I’d love to read some classic novels, even the ones I’ve read before. Fortunately, I randomly stumbled upon this list and it spurred the desire to go through even more of such lists available on the internet. Well, let’s just say I’ve come up with my own list of 30 must-read novels, at least they are a must-read for me.
    These are books that I hope to go through over the next 30weeks. Surely, reading one book from this list every week for the next 30weeks (in addition to other books I have to read) is not too much. Hopefully not. I’d also like to have hard copies of said books in my personal library (no, my mother’s library doesn’t count) so that’s a hint if you were thinking of adding me to your christmas list, I’ve been really good this year. 😀
    Without further ado, I present to you my list of 30 must-read books in no particular order:
    1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
    2. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
    3. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
    4. 1984 – George Orwell
    5. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
    6. Tess of the D’urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
    7. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
    8. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
    9. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffeneger
    10. Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell
    11. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
    12. Bleak House – Charles Dickens
    13. Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
    14. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
    15. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
    16. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
    17. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Márquez
    18. Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
    19. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
    20. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
    21. Lolita – Vladimir Nobokov
    22. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
    23. The Secret Garden – Hodgson Burnett
    24. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
    25. Half of a Yellow Sun – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    26. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
    27. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
    28. Purple Hibiscus – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    29. The Thing Around Your Neck – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    30. Everything Good Will Come – Sefi Atta

    There you have it. What books do you think should have made the list? Share your thoughts (maybe overlook the fact that there are way too many Charles Dickens’ books on my list.. Lol).
    Kisses,
    FutureNewYorker!