ARC Review: The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

Thanks to NetGalley and Faber & Faber for providing the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads: The Death of Vivek Oji
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publication Date: 20 August 2020
Genre: Literary Fiction, Realistic Fiction

Panda Rating:

(4.5 pandas)

What does it mean for a family to lose a child they never really knew?

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.

Note: The quotes below are taken from an advanced/unfinished copy and are subject to change in the final version.

TL;DR: This was an incredible and heartbreaking story about the complexities of love, sexual and gender identity, and self-acceptance in a society that doesn’t accept or acknowledge your existence. It’s about loss, grief, fear and secrets. It’s a stunningly written book that I would highly recommend, although I will say it might not be for everyone as it does involve taboo relationships (sexually explicit) that some readers might find uncomfortable or disturbing. There are still months left to go in 2021, but so far, this is hands down one of my favourite reads of the year!

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Blog Tour Review: His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

I’m back with another Algonquin blog tour and this time it’s for this gem of a debut: His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie. Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

Goodreads: His Only Wife
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Release Date: 01 September 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, African Literature
Panda Rating:

Afi Tekple is a young seamstress whose life is narrowing rapidly. She lives in a small town in Ghana with her widowed mother, spending much of her time in her uncle Pious’s house with his many wives and children. Then one day she is offered a life-changing opportunity—a proposal of marriage from the wealthy family of Elikem Ganyo, a man she doesn’t truly know. She acquiesces, but soon realizes that Elikem is not quite the catch he seemed. He sends a stand-in to his own wedding, and only weeks after Afi is married and installed in a plush apartment in the capital city of Accra does she meet her new husband. It turns out that he is in love with another woman, whom his family disapproves of; Afi is supposed to win him back on their behalf. But it is Accra that eventually wins Afi’s heart and gives her a life of independence that she never could have imagined for herself.

A brilliant scholar and a fierce advocate for women’s rights, author Peace Adzo Medie infuses her debut novel with intelligence and humor. For readers of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Candice Carty-Williams, His Only Wife is the story of an indomitable and relatable heroine that illuminates what it means to be a woman in a rapidly changing world.

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#WWWWednesday: 26 August 2020

Can someone please tell me where August went because… Is it really already the final full week of August?

Hello, hello and welcome back to another episode of WWW Wednesday, a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words, which means I’ll be answering these questions:

  1. What did you read last?
  2. What are you currently reading?
  3. What will you read next?

Since my last WWW check in I’ve managed to read these five books. I feel like I’m missing books that I’ve read and just didn’t mark on Goodreads but if that’s the case then… we might just never know LOL My brain has been shrouded in a fog of lethargy lately and it can get really frustrating when this happens!

Ignite the Sun by Hanna Howard ★★★☆☆
This was an enjoyable, fast-paced and adventure filled story with lots of our favourite magical creatures. It’s the perfect read for fantasy newbies or fantasy lovers who aren’t looking for anything complicated or for anything “new”. Read my review!

Starcross Manor by Christie Barlow ★★★☆☆
This was a fun and easy read about mistaken first impressions, community and good friendships that left me feeling hopeful and warm. Our protagonists are older in this romance and I liked that focus as it’s rare to read about people above the age of 30/35 finding love! Read my review!

The Heart of a Peach by Jess B. Moore ★★★½
With such an adorable cover, I was surprised by the darker themes in this book. CW: abuse (emotional/mental), gaslighting. There’s also insta-love (a trope I hate), but I was able to look past that and rooted for the characters and their HEA. This was a surprising and enjoyable romance. Read my review!

The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea by Jane Linfoot ★★★☆☆
I’ve mixed feelings about this one. I liked the story, most characters and even the slow burn enemies-to-lovers romance, but as the story went on (and it really rolled on for quite a while) I found myself getting too irritated with our MC, Poppy. Still, it’s a sweet story set in a cute town and I wouldn’t mind coming back to read more around the wedding shop. Review coming soon!

Accidentally in Love by Belinda Missen ★★★★☆
This was the romance I didn’t know I needed this weekend. I love me a strong heroine who knows what she’s worth and what she wants out of life and goes for it 100%. Katharine was a great heroine and Kit is a hero that will steal your heart (although he could be immature at times). Loved the family relationships, especially the bond between Katharine and her brother, and the banter had me laughing out loud multiple times! Would definitely recommend it. Review coming soon!

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First Lines Friday – 21 August

Happy Friday book lovers! We’re back with another First Lines Friday, a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines? Here are the rules:

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!

First lines:

“Elikem married me in absentia; he did not come to our wedding.”

Do you recognize the book these first lines come from?

Continue reading “First Lines Friday – 21 August”