short fiction review

Ake Review Volume 6, 2019; My Christmas Read

I’ve been reading my copy of Ake Review, Volume 6, 2019 this pre-Christmas weekend under twinkling Christmas lights. I’ve been mentally fatigued and disinterested in reading. But short fiction and poetry exploring #BlackBodiesGreyMatter are giving me life amongst other things.

Some lies are necessary to keep the work rotating, necessary to keep from going mad, necessary. However, the lies we tell ourselves to keep from going mad are the very ones that make us go mad.

-The Landscape of Tally, An Inheritance by Tobi Afolabi

Shout-out to Ake Festival Team and Molara Wood for this volume. Tsitsi Dangarembga (whose Aké Life and Times Interview I wrote a blog review of) is truthful, brave in her Feature. I loved Molara Wood’s questions. Iconic really.

That which is traumatized is that which has been unable to prevent the trauma. In other words trauma occurs in conditions of powerlessness.

-Tsitsi Dangarembga

The Landscape of Tally; An Inheritance by my girl Tobi Afolabi, An Oak Tree Dies Slowly by Ani Kayode Somotochukwu are BRILLIANT!

Standing under the burning sun. They taught us how to fit into our bodies.

-An Oak Tree Dies Slowly

Happy Holidays Gem 🥳

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.

Spotlight Read: Of Good Destiny


Of Good Destiny by Tope Omamegbe (Tajmao)

Series Synopsis:

Every girls dream is to grow up, find the man of her dreams and get married. But Anaborhi is finding that things do not usually go as planned especially in her family. She must face a family secret and discover the sins of an ancestor for which a curse has prevailed in their lineage. Racing against time to save the life, and sanity, of her beloved, Anaborhi discovers a mysterious side of her family she never knew existed.

I read #3:Of Good Destiny first before realising it was part of a series. After reading the discussion between three female characters (Akunna and her daughter, Anaborhi and Akpobome) and their references to a dreadful family curse I was intrigued. Part 3 ended with these women deciding to go on a journey and more revelations.

I like the names of the characters which sound Igbo, Efik. Of Good Destiny is a Supernatural Drama published on TommySlav Island. It’s written in simple English and with the right twinge of suspense. It has themes of family, sacrifice, secrecy and irony. There is an interesting dynamic among the female characters. Plus adventure! I feel the series has more to offer and I look forward to reading Parts 4 and 5. With its current pace, I recommend OF GOOD DESTINY, if you want to follow an intriguing drama series.

I read the first part here and second part here.

More info..

Tope Omamegbe (Tajmao) is a fiction blogger, screen writer and comic book editor. She is the author of Twice A Bride published on Okadabooks. What Tides Fortell is another published fiction series. Connect with her on Instagram and read her fiction blog here.