Book Recommendation

I recommend these reads.

AkeFest19 Review Series: Book Chats, Helpful Tips and my Bookstagram Squad.

Find Book chats, Helpful tips and Peep my bookstagram squad. I may share moments of me being a fangirl.

Aké Festival Bookstore. Image source: Nonku Magi-Africa

I attended the 7th Edition of Aké Arts and Book Festival from 24th -27th October 2019 at Alliance Française|Mike Adenuga Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos. It was a literary indulgence. I got to watch, listen to, meet, converse, take pictures with all my favourite literary creatives.

Brilliant Book Chats

Lessons on life and writing from these brilliant book chats at AkéFest19. Watch them on YouTube.

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo, Patsy by Nicole Dennis-Benn hosted by Kola Tubson

“What do we gain or lose when we chose ourselves as women?” -Nicole Dennis-Benn

I was most excited for this book chat with Bernadine and Nicole. Their books expertly explore intersectionality for Black women. Plus the Jamaican and Black British realities of diverse female characters were uniquely new experiences for me. Generational trauma, identity, queerness, motherhood, racial identity, child abandonment, colorism, immigrant struggles, mental health, self healing and acceptance, gender expression, sexual violence and more themes were discussed.

Its a privilege listening to Bernadine talk about her writing process and style that I love so much. Later, she indulged me in a chat about Mr Loverman, my favourite book of hers. Graceful icon, she is!

The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls by Mona Eltahawy hosted by Fakhrriyyah Hashim

Mona Eltahawy gave me solidarity, permission and fire power. Her quotes;

“When you’re uncomfortable, your privilege is being questioned.”

“You have to liberate yourself from this war that they impose on just us women.”

“Why are women’s bodies the battle ground between religion and culture??.”

“I own this body, I take care of it.”

“I do not want crumbs; I want the whole fucking cake. And I do not want patriarchy’s cake. I want my own fucking cake”

‘Patriarchy demands of feminism to constantly clip our wings, my definition of feminism now is the total dismantling and disruption of patriarchy.’

“Imagine patriarchy as an octopus. The head of the octopus is misogyny and the other tentacles are the tools of patriarchy

My war is against patriarchy and not men.”

“It’s too late for equality, i want liberation.”

Fakhrriyyah was unforgettable! Her questions highlighted important inquires.
‘We have this idea that we are purists and anything that doesn’t fall within our cultural and religious ideals is bad.’

Do You Dream of Terra-Two by Temi OH and Incomplete Solutions by Wole Talabi hosted by Tolu Daniel

“What happens to our consciousness when we realise we are truly alone?”-Temi OH

“People think science fiction is about the future. But it’s not. I can use science fiction to investigate the now. I use it to reflect Nigeria.”-Wole Talabi

Do You Dream of Terra-Two is an introspective book on space and interstellar travel, explorong loneliness, climate change and faith by a young crew of astronauts on a mission to colonise another planet. I can’t wait to read it!

I agree with Tolu, the lyrical quality of ‘Incomplete Solutions’ sentences are commendable. Wole advised the audience;
Writing is a personal thing, you need to find your own voice. Your voice will help you write interesting stories that will get recognised. A strong base of realistic science helps root any narrative for science fiction. Instead of looking at infrastructural challenges as limits, let them inspire your work to proffer solutions.

A Particular Kind of Black Man by Tope Folarin hosted by Tobi Jaiyesimi

“The pathway to acceptance in a system that was constructed against you is constructing a better sense of self.”

A Particular Kind of Black Man explores masculine identity, self acceptance and reinventing yourself through art and music, immigrant experience of black men, depression, father-son relationships, domestic abuse of men by their spouses. It’s such a wholesome book! It made me realise that I need to pay more attention to the mental health and self development of men in my life. Tope speaks fondly of his father’s loving and positively impactful presence in his life. I love how I can connect to this because of my loving, supportive father.

Intruders by Mohale Mashigo and When Trouble Sleeps by Leye Adenle hosted by TJ Benson

This book chat introduced me to Mohale Mashigo’s writing. I love how witty she is. She writes fantastical short stories which reflect and investigate how Africans who live on the continent deal with change, trauma, identity, violence, drug abuse and more. She warns about labels put on writers which may not reflect their works.

I’m now a Stan for Leye Adenle’s When Trouble Sleeps. The jaw dropping prologue got me intrigued. I love how he writes dynamic African women characters.

Hey Gem, you’ve read halfway. 🎺🥳📯You’ve earn these 8 helpful tips for buying books, networking with book bloggers and being a thoughtful fan at literary festivals. Continue scrolling to see my bookstagram squad.

Bookstagram Squad

Gallery of all my bookstagram friends, literary bloggers, Creatives and Authors I had the privilege of linking up with at Aké.

The Content Media work schedule was hectic. My breaks were spent giving hugs, quick chats and introductions. I managed to take pictures on Day 4 although I was sniffling and weak from flu.

(L-R) Amethyst Saw, Fatima (Writer, Contributor to Art at Aké) Thanks for insisting we take pictures on Day 3.

(L-R) Lara Kareem(Author, A Guide to Self Publishing), Amaka Amaku (Communications Manager, Ake Festival Team)

Ella Chikezie (Filmmaker, Writer)

L-R) Bernadine Evaristo (Author, Booker Prize Winner), Kayode Adeyemi (Book Blogger on Instagram)

I and Kayode The Coded Reader. He kept calling me Gem, it was so sweet.

I and Alessandra of Literanda (Literary Hub) from the UK. She was incredible and as witty as her book reviews!

Lara and I 🧡

Nicole Dennis-Benn (Author, Patsy & Here Comes the Sun), Lara Kareem (Author, Blogger-NaijaBookBae)

I and Mona Eltahawy(Author, The Seven Necessary Sins for Women and Girls). She listened to me talking about Fatima’s project & loved my orange lipstick. Epic fangirl moment!

My efficient boss, Amaka & fiery Mona Eltahawy

Ezinne Ogwuah(Author, Self Apology) A remarkable friend who slayed me with this sheer Bubu and intuition.

Amaka Ehiem (Lifestyle Blogger-The Life of Amaka).I literally screamed and hugged her after she introduced herself and I recalled who she is. I had to return to live tweeting so I couldn’t take a picture with her. I think I and her are the only attendees that bought 1 book.

Copyright: Photos not taken by me are used with permission and/or referenced. Use any of these photos and reference Amethyst Saw and other owners.

Thank you for reading this far.

Get Your Weekend Read: Stab Love with Flower Stalks

Stab Love with Flower Stalks is indeed a collection of love notes, drenched in distinct art of subterfuge. Amethyst Saw collection is filled with odes of lovers of all kind..

Praising review by Naija Book Bae

Buy Stab Love with Flower Stalk by Amethyst Saw on Okadabooks.

Journey through time with a Flower Goddess as she grapples with love. Be enamoured with the fluidness of her relationship with love as its vividly painted with fiery passion. Stab Love with Flower Stalks is a collection of 13 flash stories and poem, which are mostly queer romance and erotica, narrating the delicate beauty and jarring pains of falling in love.

Don’t forget to leave a review!

Hot Love Inferno

Hot Love Inferno by Nicky Blue

“Maybe that’s what being ‘at one’ with yourself means, to collect all other versions of you in existence.”

I clapped when I finished reading this novella and grinned. What’s not to love about this novella! Comedy, Action, Deadly Samurai warriors, Multi-dimensional Basset Hound, Descriptive goodness, Time travel and a Countdown to save Barry’s world. There is actual comic relief amidst bad situations and near death experiences. The author was kind to explain British references so you are immersed. It’s a quick, humorous read that will have you tensed in action also.

Check out about my Reading Update here!

Book Blurb

When seven-foot ghost warriors are trying to kill you, a multidimensional Basset Hound might be the only friend you need.
A half-woman, half-cockroach fused in a bizarre gardening accident? That would be Mrs Jittery Twitch, dwelling in the shadows of our misdeeds. If in danger, you can call upon her help… all she asks is your soul as payment. But she’s just a legend, so no need to worry.
Barry Harris is a 28-year-old man, still living with his dear old mum in a little flat above a hairdresser. His obsession with Star Trek and the martial arts won’t help him when he’s forced out on a date.
And nobody knows about the weird string of events that’s about to put everyone’s lives in danger. A trio of samurai warriors and the strangest offer of help lead Barry on a perilous mission to save the day.

(This book is the second in the Prophecy Allocation series but works fine as a standalone read.)

Categories for Hot Love Inferno:
Dark humour books, Comedy Fantasy, Fantasy Adventure, Time Travel, Dark Comedy,
Comedy, Humorous Fantasy, Humorous Fantasy Books,
Urban Fantasy Humour, Comic Fantasy,sci fi comedy books, sci-fi comedy,

Culled from Amazon.

It’s initial chapters dragged on. I was bored with Barry’s routine life in Portsdale. But then during his movie date with Jo, things switched up. Then got gory and Barry had to get past the shock and begin a perilous mission to save everyone. At this point I missed the “boring” routine.

It is narrated by Barry and a third person who explains terms, cultural references of the 90s and some jokes in footnotes. I was curious about this third person narrator, the footnotes narrator. I had a suspicion who it was and was correct. But I won’t give spoilers. One of the main characters is Keith, an multi-dimensional Basset Hound, who has numerous time/multiverse altering lights on his collar. Plus he talks and is another hero in this story.

Molly, Barry’s mother and her friend Merritt who is Jo’s aunt will make you smile. Jo herself is an interesting but random woman who is enough motivation for our save-the-day team. Besides having a dog as a character, there is a community of active elderly characters-Dr Harper was a delight! I love how the book highlights on how to treat your pets, sex positivity and BDSM kinks, how the police attend to complaints, unhealthy eating, dating someone with an illness, gardening, etc. It set in Portsdale, a small British town in 1995.

There is the sci-fi, fantasy bit that impressed me. Prophecy Allocation referred to in the novella, “You know I said the multiverse only has two dimensions? The Prophecy Allocation Department links them both together. Essentially, it is an
office block at a crossroads between the seen and the unseen worlds. The Department owns the fabric of existence, and they control everything within it.”

The ebook typesetting is artsy. Novella’s descriptive imagery is really enjoyable. “The Factory’s doors flung open, and fog slithered in, slowly engulfing the aisles of erotic delectation.” A lot old English phrases and slangs matched the geographical and time setting of the book. I couldn’t locate wher its title came from. You know I love find this out. But a plot resolution came with the Pleasure Factory blowing up.

There are loose ends in the plot but it’s safe to presume new novellas in this Prophecy Allocation Series will tie them up. I look forward to listening to Keith again, Mrs Jittery Twitch and Barry and Jo’s buddy romance. I recommend this book with 3.5 fireworks.

Do buy it here on Amazon

More info..

Join Nicky Blue’s reader’s list here to get updates about book three. Connect with him on Instagram.

The first book in the series is Escape from Samsara. A Watched pot published under the pen name, Mr Blue are worth checking out.

Spotlight Read: The Small Margins of Friendship


The Small Margins of Friendship by Tolu Daniel

It wasn’t like I didn’t believe in prayers or in God or any of those things, I just didn’t agree with mother’s notion of continuous badgering of God for answers I can use my brains to birth.”

This short story is necessary, intrigue-filled, sad and painfully relatable. But before it became that it was beautifully sad. Yemi’s patience, naivety, forgiveness, longing were endearing and upsetting.

The themes of toxic friendship, infidelity, missing an abuser, domestic violence and deception make this short story powerful, shocking and just sad. I love that its themes address violence and abuse men face from female partners in romantic relationships. I won’t lie I don’t like Toyin and all the shit she put him through. I wanted to throttle Ade, such a scandalous man. I buddy-read with my book girlfriend, Habeebah the weekend the story debuted.

The language is simple. Flashbacks, imagery, rhythm are employed to richen the plot. The story is mostly narrated in first person by Yemi. I love how his narration would shift from the church during the wedding to the past that built up to the present. I finished reading and reread it refusing to believe who the groom was. Like why are some people toxic?

Read here

More info..

Tolu Daniel is is a writer and editor. His essays and short stories have appeared in numerous literary magazines, journals and publications. This short story is published on Scarlet Leaf Review.