20/11/2016

Book Review: Good As Gone by Amy Gentry



This year, I've read and dropped and didn't finish a lot of thrillers. I was scared the same would happen with Good As Gone, but then I read the first page, and I knew this was one thriller I'd be finishing in a long while. You have my review:


This book was one hell of a good one! I loved it entirely! From start to finish! The kind of book that when done you just have to read the author’s acknowledgement note to get more of a glimpse of her than her bio allows. πŸ˜‰ Amy Gentry writes well! This year I’ve started and stopped, started and not finished a lot of thrillers, because they weren’t well-written. I mean, if you want to keep me glued to my seat holding your book whilst ignoring a splitting backache, your book has got to be literary and well-written! Suspenseful! Original story-telling! πŸ˜‰ Imagine This: Your daughter gets kidnapped, according to the version of events of your youngest daughter who must have stayed hidden in the closet and screamed three hours later after the shock wore off. Though with help of the media, the cops, the posters you put around, the fake callers who tell they might just have spotted an exact girl being clubbed somewhere, the search is getting nowhere. Now, years later, you have got to keep on living. Even though your life has become this unfeeling void. Now that you’re done with hope you’ve got to reclaim the pieces of what is left of your family: a daughter who changes her hair colour than she does her underwear, a husband whose hoping you’re beginning to find cloying and irritating. Then one day, YOUR DAUGHTER APPEARS. You’re happy and relieved. But there’s this nagging thought that her eyes are a shade darker than the original. Who’s this girl and what does she want with your family?πŸ˜„ #Goodasgone #amygentry #bookstagram #malemodel #bookporn #bibliophile #menwhoread #African #KNUST #thrillers #goodmorning #blackman
A photo posted by Kobby Ben Ben (@bookworm_man) on

10/11/2016

Book Review: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Joanna Bolouri





Joanna Bolouri is always on my must-read list! I read her debut, The List, last two years, and I've been promoting her as the funniest Chick-lit author on the block. She cracks me up! Her leads are hilarious! Her characters so easy-to-fall-in-love with even when they are cocky as hell.

The Most Wonderful Time of The Year was no different! But I did wish, it was as better than her previous, I Followed The Rules. Either way, it's a go-buy-go-buy!


"Maybe not. Look, if he loves you, he'll put up with your family. Between you and me, I cannot stand John's mother, but I only have to see her once or twice a year and, well, she'll be dead one day. Anyway, he's my boyfriend—it's not such a huge sacrifice." πŸ˜‚ Imagine This: Your boyfriend decides to bail on you on seeing the family for Christmas—due to a shocking reason for which you really hate him now. He's garbage. He's an asshat. You deserve better. πŸ˜‚ Your family wants you over for Christmas with your man, and you can't stand their pitiful, condescending looks and the jokes they might have at your expense when they are stoned (—because your family is nuts). Your neighbor. He's good on the eye. You hate him for his louder parties and his even louder sex. But, really your cuckoo mother, your bugging little sister, your brother's bad table manners and his girlfriend, might be too much even for a fake boyfriend.  Have a merry Christmas as you encounter the biggest, bestest Christmas holiday with your fake boyfriend and your wacko family. All the while, your boyfriend who your fake boyfriend is impersonating is lurking in the shadows, waiting to attack. πŸ˜‚ #bookstagram #bookporn #malemodel #themostwonderfultimeoftheyear #hilarious #bibliophile #menwhoread
A photo posted by Kobby Ben Ben (@bookworm_man) on

03/11/2016

Book Review: Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Theine






Loved this books so! So worthy to be on the Manbooker shortlist. Here are my thoughts on it!


Great read! Took me a week to read it because, well, School, and it didn't feel like a book you needed to finish in a sitting. It's slow plot documents the happenings in both present and past. Showing the effects of communism in China from the past to the present. While I loved Madeline Theine's writing style (very literary!), and loved her characters (though it's written in English you could still feel the peculiarities of Chinese culture in the language used and in the mannerisms and words spoken by the characters), and the documentation of the horrors lived through that dark time in China's past (very fast-forward scenes but still you could feel the pains in the evocative writing), I found it hard relating to this. Because a) I have no background in music and b) I'll be biased because The Sellout is a novel that portrays, describes my being and existence. πŸ˜” I feel sad for the judges who are on this panel. While I don't want all the other three books I haven't read to win, I'm bloody frightened this novel may take it! Bloody frightened. But we'll see. πŸ˜₯ Anyway, do eat something this morning. I pushed my Brunch to earlier this morning. 😎 #MadeleineTheine #DoNotSayWeHaveNothing #Bookstagram #Foodstagram #bookporn #foodporn #manbookerprize2016 #African
A photo posted by Kobby Ben Ben (@bookworm_man) on

17/10/2016

Book Review: The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen




I did enjoy this book so, so much! I'm highly recommending it for lovers of anything geriatric (hopefully, the term is not as demeaning and there are a lot of young at heart fans out there!). Check out my review on instagram:




"Another year and I still don't like old people. Me? I am eighty-three years old." πŸ˜€ Haha! The quote above! This book is just so quotable! It's funny! It's all kinds of humorous! I have never read something funny like this in a while. It documents the life of Hendrik Groen, his diaries, full of heart, full of charm, and an expose of what goes on inside the walls of an old people's home! Hendrik's almost ninety and he's not mastered the art of cantankerousness, unlike all his contemporaries! There's Evert, the friend behind the goldfish murders, Eejfe the nicer old Lady our main character has a crush on (—Yes, stand the risk of your parents falling in love when you've locked them up!), Mrs Stewalgen the director whose known to abuse the seniors in the home (—you'll find lots of startling statistics on bullying seniors at  homes). It's very hilarious! With people from the dementia unit getting lost and found! It's what you get when you decide to pick up a book on old people and more. Lots of philosophies from the old on how to live, lots of gibes against policy-makers who make laws affecting finance of their children so the children do not visit as much! All through it's soulful as well, you'll find it gutting that contrary to popular belief old people have heart and all the exposure in the media these days are all very crippling, says Hendrik πŸ˜žπŸ˜™ GO GET THIS BOOK! 5★ πŸ˜€ #hendrikgroen #old #pension #pensioners #bookstagram #funny #humor #bookporn #bookish #bibliophile #bookworm #malemodel #Ghana #africanman #actionhero #jamesbond #gorgeous #black #fashion #mensuits #jackets #menwhoread #readingissexy #menreading
A photo posted by Kobby Ben Ben (@bookworm_man) on

28/09/2016

National Book Awards Review: Colson Whitehead, Underground Railroad




The National Book Awards Longlist is in! And well, yes, Colson Whitehead's Underground Railroad. Going down as one of my Black Lives Matter novels, by me, this book is recommended for your reading! My review on Instagram:




I love being home! I love completing a book! Finally! Amidst all my project work chaos, completed Colson Whitehead! πŸ˜€ Well, I loved this one too. Another read that shows just exactly how #BlackLivesMatter and how we built, made, created #America as it stands! Another read that documents the harsh trans-atlantic slave trade! A thriller! Yes, despite it being about slavery, a thriller-element is included when our lead character escapes her master to freedom. But she doesn't exactly get freedom, does she? The most painful form of slavery is always the one with phantom shackles, the one that enslaves the mind and slowly seeks to cripple the body! It doesn't help that through all the small jobs she finds, experimentation made on blacks to reduce fertility because of the fear of revolution against the "white" race, the ruthless gunning down of blacks by "law enforcement officers", there's a slave-catcher on her tail! Brilliant! Except I do have one problem: the writing; done, done, done-before! I wanted an original style to meet this amazing storyline. Yet, this is a book you should pick up if you're in the mood for a bit of slavery fiction with thriller elements! Yup, enjoy! πŸ˜€ Oh, plus, the food, nothing like a welcome home meal (waakye with rice, see waakye recipe in previous posts) ... made by my own hands with the mum eating most of it! πŸ˜’ #colsonwhitehead #undergroundrailroad #fiction #bibliophile #foodporn #meals #recipe #foodstagram #foodie #bookstagram #African #slavery #thriller #Oprah #bookish #bookporn
A photo posted by Kobby Ben Ben (@bookworm_man) on

27/09/2016

Manbooker Review: Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh


OK, honestly, I was thrown when Eileen made the short-list. It wasn't disappointing, it was highly suspenseful, but I found the ending forced and highly anti-climaxed. Still, the writing was good, the anal imagery pervading the writing was unusual and interesting. Here's my review on Instagram, 'followed by my congratulations for making the short-list' photo:


Would it make Tomorrow's MANBOOKER shortlist? 😐 Well, Eileen was something else. Eileen the book takes patience to read, the narrative is slow. A short story of a few two hundred pages that focuses on one single event: her escape from her small-town. πŸ˜• While I thought an amazing work was done on character development of Eileen, her drunkard father who emotionally abuses her, the prison guard she's romanticized and loves from afar, the woman, Rebecca, who eventually leads her to her escape, the characters are not exactly likable. All very quirky like the lead Eileen. This is a very strange book with lots of unsettling (bordering on disgusting) imagery. I wished the narrative was fast. The writing was good enough and its main character detestable enough to keep me reading. 😈 Photo Info: #AfricaThroughABook, it's rumoured that in Ghana you could get designer shades for as little as ten cedis, that's a $3. But if you hold a good bargain, you could get two that price. πŸ‘“ #Eileen #Manbooker #bookstagram #ottesamofegh #bookish #bookporn #bookworm #bibliophile #bookish #literary #fiction #sunglasses #Africa #trade #manbookerprize
A photo posted by Kobby Ben Ben (@bookworm_man) on

26/09/2016

Book Review: Between The World and Me by TaNehisi Coates

As part of my off-the-track reading, I was gifted this book by an amazing friend to probably teach me a lesson. A lesson which I learnt with a wince! This book has made me begin compiling a BlackLivesMatter list which I'll host up for you all to check out. And now my review for this book on Instagram:




"This is your country, this is your world, this is your body, and you must find some way to live within the all of it." 😞 I believe @ttchume gifted me with this book because she wanted me to learn the harsh realities of the America I'd romanticized and that the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter is really a thing. 😱 Well, it worked. I read this book with a wince! Between the World and Me is an amazing account of racism in America and the degeneration of the word 'Black' in Western societies. To be "Black", is to be preyed, victimized and made to look like the villain. To be Black is to live in fear of your life, to live in the deep trenches of injustice no amount of freedom could haul you out. I've never really been emotional about a book on racism this much. A moving tale told from the point of view of a father making his little boy conscious to all the evils inflicted on his race by the "whites". Evils which till this day continue to persist. I haven't teared up enough. I think I'm going to comfort eat from my piggy-bank savings—the one labelled "Welcome To New York" 😭 #betweentheworldandme #tanehisicoates #racism #bookstagram #nonfiction #literary #bibliophile #injustice #black #bookporn #currentread #
A photo posted by Kobby Ben Ben (@bookworm_man) on

25/09/2016

Manbooker Review: The Sellout by Paul Beatty




When the Manbooker shortlist, came out, I was unsurprised to see The Sellout on the list, although it was one of two books I'd read from the longlist. So, yes, I believed it would make the short-list because of its unusual style. And yes, I believe you should all read it. Here's my post about it on instagram.


"You stupid overmedicated bitch. If you don't back that fucking jalopy out of my space, I swear to God, I'm going to punch you in your anti-ageing-cold-cream face and permanently reverse five hundred years of white privilege and five hundred thousand dollars of plastic surgery!" πŸ˜‚ OMG! To have a father like that! πŸ‘† This book is all kinds of crazy! In fact, if there's a word to describe this book, it would be bat-shit-crazy! πŸ˜€ A satire that would stay forever in the hallmarks of Black American Literature, and I even envision this becoming a classic studied by schools on post-racism literature! I loved, loved it so much, I found myself deducing what all those absurd situations represented in real-life and what structures the writer was criticizing. There are two ways you could read this book: the first and ugliest is laughing only to the humorous bits and its highly absurd scenes, closing it and not taking any lessons because you just thought it was a funny book. The second and best way, is to consider this a literary masterpiece—because that's what it is, as you ask yourself the reason the main character is pressing for the cause of segregation when some of America's best memories are not from that era, or the existence of Hominy, the self-imposed slave who expects the main character to whip him, who only is afraid of abolitionists. 😯 5 stars and highly recommend! ⭐ @ns510reads that guy in the background is dressed up as Hominy, so I immediately took this pic. πŸ˜‰ @ttchume I listened to your convo with Nana about slavery and racism in America, and I know you'd love this! 😁 #thesellout #funny #hilarious #satire #literary #blacklivesmatter #paulbeatty #bookstagram #bookporn #bookish #manbooker2016 #Africa #Accra #slavery #racism #sharp.
A photo posted by Kobby Ben Ben (@bookworm_man) on

06/09/2016

Killer Review: A Different Class by Joanne Harris

The King of DNFing thrillers because they are unoriginal is back! And in these times of the influx of Domestic/Psychological Thrillers, where you could read a hundred titles and still feel like you read one with a twitch here and a twitch there in the overall plot, THIS IS THE THRILLER YOU NEED TO READ! πŸ˜„ I'm all for discovering underrated books! And trust me, this a book that would get you saying 'Urethra, urethra, I've found the one book that has helped me gain mastery over my bladder!" 😜 I never intended to pick this book to read early! I just picked it because I was running for @brunchoverbooks (over @teabaagh) and it matched with what I was wearing (—you know, for us bookworms, a wrong book can nail your outfit in the coffin even more than a wrong purse!). 😝 Anyway, 'how's this thriller like, and why's it so special?' you'd ask. (Well, my answer wouldn't be 'You just have to read it and see', sadly). How many of us are Potter fans? (I mean, Harry Potter fans. You'd be surprised I'm African and have shockingly never set eyes on a potter before! Till recently, I believed pot was planted!) Imagine Professor Snape starring as lead in a thriller. His voice in first-person narrating a thriller to you. Yes, you're imagining now! That's exactly how this book's lead is! He's a sixty-year old latin master in a boy's school who has no clue what an email is, until, a new Head who happened to be one of his own boys takes over the reins, and decides to usher a school built on Old Guard traditions into the new age. The whole thriller part of this summary is: the new Head is dark, and he's back, to make someone pay for all the wrongs done to him as a student! GO GET THIS! GO GET THIS! IT'S HARRY POTTER WITHOUT THE PARONUM SPELL! (Oh, plus, she's the author of Chocolat, which became a movie starring Johnny Depp! So you can imagine how impeccable the writing would be) 😘 #thriller #bookstagram #differentclass #joanneHarris #bookish #bookporn #currentlyreading #malemodel #sipnswap #accra #teabaa #osu #smile #gorgeous #black #menwhoread #readingissexy #happysunday #goodmorning
A photo posted by Kobby Ben Ben (@bookworm_man) on

03/09/2016

Book Review: Death by Water by Kenzaburo Oe


"I've noticed young women nowadays don't appear to have any regrets about anything, or any awareness of the possibility that their present actions might be sowing the seeds for future regrets. That's perfectly natural, of course, since they probably haven't had time to do anything they regret. They seem to feel completely fine about everything." 😀

This book! Literary in every sense of the word. Throw in haikus, past civil wars, military coups, a writer going back in time to write the "drowning novel" chronicling the life and 'death by water' of his father. Nobel Literature Prize Winners write with this ease! You're comfortable in their craft, and you're in no mood to finish early. The introduction to lots of traditional symbols of Japanese culture was insightful. And so are all the characters, though they are mostly developed in—wait for it—DIALOGUES! This book is a dialogue book, sometimes from start to finish of a scene. And all action, the plot actually happens in the dialogue. I do hope to read more from Kenzaburo Oe! 😊

25/08/2016

Killer Review: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware



Claudia's Review

After weeks of futilely trying to find a book on my TBR that was actually readable, I finally pulled out Ruth Ware's "The Woman In Cabin 10"-best decision of my life (okay I'm exaggerating)—★

 All I had to do was read the first page and I couldn't put it down. I loved the main character not only because of her claustrophobia which I can relate to but how she was portrayed. The fact that  every single decision she made I understood,every step she took I took and how I felt her fear and anxiety—★★ 

This book was perfect in so many ways one of which was its use of future news articles to fortell impending doom yet being vague enough to leave the reader with so much uncertainty.—★★★


The woman in cabin 10 was a thriller in every sense of the word-from start to finish-there was never a dull moment.—★★★★

I finished this book feeling exhausted but in a good way,the kind that is exhilarating like the aftermath of a rollercoaster ride.—★★★★★

I give this book a ten star because I think it deserves more than a five star and I think Ruth Ware just raised the bar for every other book I'm going to read in the future and thanks to her I am never ever going on a cruise.

17/08/2016

Book Review: Under The Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta




Imagine This: Who do you love most? Your religion? Or your sexuality? If you love both, could  there be a reason to merge the two? What if your religion does not accept your sexuality? What would you do then? 😩

It's the year of the Biafra war, Which has taken your dad. And left your mother to become this sour bitch readers cannot recognize. She goes to leave you in the care of some other family. As most poor widows did during the war so they can sort themselves out and come for their kids afterwards. Then you meet this amazing Girl you fall in love with. Like you she's lost so much. Unlike you though, she's from a different tribe. The tribe warring against yours. Difficult. But you love her anyway because you can't fathom your life without her. But your mother, society, all of who are religious extremists, decide it's not possible for a girl and another to be in an intimate relationship. Pray the gay away. Avoid all things gay at all costs. But whatever you do, the gay finds you, catches up with you and once again you're restless! The time has come for you to decide what to choose: religion, your family, blind culture or sexuality 😩

God! This is such an emotional read! It starts out very literary with experiences of Ifeoma with the Biafra war. And how the war affected her community. And her family. Could get graphic at times, so reach for your tissues! Then it peters into upmarket fiction (a sad move for me really, as the writing became more commercial) documenting the mechanisms of Ifeoma's relationship with Amina! This book offers insights into Africa and Homosexuality! Africa's first LGBT book! You'd be moved! You'd be awed. And you'd be gutted! I recommend this to all you looking for insightful reads into other cultures in relation to controversial almost taboo topics! So bookclub fiction! And sadly, like Homegoing, one of those books that didn't make the Manbooker selection this year, but you'd be darn sad if you miss out  of it! 😝

10/08/2016

Event Review: Sip N Swap part Deux! (Book Club at the Tea Baa cafe)






You meet Nice people. You Swap Nice books. You eat Nice food. You talk Nice books!

I loved this month's Sip N Swap! At Tea Baa (amazing place in Accra, Nice food, Great Ambience, see pictures!). A Nice avenue set up by Brunch Over Books to discuss must-read African fiction, or anything written of importance to Africa that you'd advice even your grandmum to go get (—chances are she wouldn't, she's still complaining about her  bad sight even though she's got six contacts in different frames!).

This month's (see last month's) event was more personal. The crowd more open. Discussions starting even before the event commenced. Yes, you won't find it difficult starting conversations with a bunch of bookworms because no one is looking into their phones! I must add, I ordered The Half of A Yellow Sun cocktail and the Things Fall Apart cheesecake! (I'll tell you one thing! I didn't DNF the Half of a Yellow Sun cocktail on the first Sip, like I did the book! And The Things Fall Apart cheesecake, didn't leave a sour taste in my mouth! Like the book did!)

The books that went on everyone's Must Read List:

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi 


Under The Udala Trees by Chinelo Okparanta
LaDivine by Marie Ndiaye
Go Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
So Long A Letter by Mariamaba
The Memory of Love by Aminata Forna
The Book of Memory by Pettina Gappah.


The Lazarus Effect by H. J Golakai.
Dietland by Sarai Walker.
  

09/08/2016

Book Review: LaDivine by Marie Ndyiaye



Imagine This: All your life you've lied. Lied about your life. Lied that your parents have died. But you do believe in these lies. These lies that have suddenly become your new life. 😝 

Your poor, Black, servant mother. In your old life. Only remembered when you have to make those dreaded visits. Those dreaded visits when you're not elegant Clarisse with a family so cultured! When you just become a Malinka! The daughter of a servant! 😀

You hide your mum from your husband and your daughter. So well-structured, these two lives, both worlds do not confluence. But the pressure to keep this up. All these lies and secrets. Soon is too overwhelming. And suddenly you're being transformed into something your daughter and your husband can't recognize. And have to abandon you. 😟

Nowhere else to be. No Clarrisse to be. You decide to retreat to Malinka. But it's written in the stars, fate, that the daughter of a poor, black servant, like her mother is bound to have a tragic end! Malinka! Malinka! Malinka! Oh, Malinka! 😭


Great. All that, whatever that up there was, over, you need to understand reading this book is a challenge! I am not kidding here! You need to be an advanced, advanced reader to be able to appreciate this piece of poignant literature! Because that's what it is, poignant literature with a complex writing style (multi-phrased sentences) that evokes powerful emotions. If you have a thing for dialogues, no this book is not for you! As its only 10% dialogue. You have to love very, well-written monologues to be able to appreciate it as the plot doesn't move. As the plot doesn't move as fast as the (complex) characters' monolgues! That said, so many times I wanted to shut this book, put it down! But it was the complex writing (which I even had a hate-love relationship with) that drew me in! Till the marvelous end! If I have to give this book a genre: It would be literary, literary, literary fiction! 😨 

My rating: 4 stars [(just because so many times I'd given up on it, only to pick it up again because I couldn't imagine not knowing what happens to Malinka, Ladivine (her daughter) and the other Ladivine (her mother)] ⭐

03/08/2016

Book Review: Black Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin



My Review 
Imagine This: A flower. A killer. On the loose. A killer you'd thought you'd jailed years ago. But suddenly Black Eyed Susans have began sprouting underneath your window, a message from the killer or just a coincidence? 😩

Not just a coincidence! 😭

But you'd have to confront the fact that the real killer may not be in prison. That all those years ago, your testimony is going to put an innocent Man on Death Row and he has few days left! 😟

Never mind this innocent Man about to be executed is the least of your problems. Never mind more messages are being 'planted' by this serial killer. Never mind your daughter may be also be in the trouble of also being a Black Eyed Susan. But maybe, unlike you she may not be lucky to survive being buried alive for days under a patch of innocent flowers. Because you were the only one out of four girls who did! 😨

My rating: 5 ⭐

You would love this book, if you're looking to be gripped by suspense!—★ I forced myself to read it all in one-go, but God, I began having a raging migraine (because I was so grogged out that day) and fell asleep dreaming I was continuing it, the words playing in my head! (Does this happen to anyone?)—★★★ If you're looking to read something with amazing writing!—★★★★ If you're looking for something well-researched!!!—★★★★★

Please, Please go read this book! Before it's made into a movie!  Because it's been optioned for film! That's just really one of the tiny reasons to read this very, original thriller! (And trust me, when I say this because I am one of those that have DNFed thrillers for not being original!) And the writing is amazing!!!! Characters well-developed!!!! 😍

24/07/2016

Blog Tour: Q&A, My Last Continent by Midge Raymond




As you know already, I have reviewed and adored My Last Continent by Midge Raymond. So for her blog tour: 


1) How were Deb and Keller born? I was thinking from Jack and Kate in Titanic. But these characters had more substance than an overprivileged girl and one underprivileged boy.
Deb was created when I wrote a short story called “The Ecstatic Cry” shortly after returning from my own visit to Antarctica. I was so in love with the continent and the penguins—and also worried about tourism, climate change, and other issues affecting Antarctica—and I channeled all this into the character of Deb. Of course, she’s not like me in that she’s a scientist and loves the cold—as a writer and native Californian, I’m quite opposite in these respects. I enjoyed developing her further as I began writing the novel, and I knew that for her to fall in love, it had to be with someone who is as passionate about Antarctica as she is. So this is where I began with Keller—figuring out what brought him there and why he felt such a strong a connection to the continent.

2) All the research that went into this…what actually entailed the research of this novel?

Much of my research was firsthand—from my visit to Antarctica and all that I learned while I was there, as well as a stint as a penguin researcher in Argentina, at the Punta Tombo colony in Chubut Province. However, I’ve never been to McMurdo and so I had to research what life is like at the station (through books, documentaries, and the U.S. Antarctic Program’s newspaper, The Antarctic Sun). And reading about the explorers also provided a wonderful sense of history as well as setting.

3) I loved your writing so much. Any strong influences to your style?

My writing background is in journalism, and so I love details. My photos and journals were a big source of inspiration for writing the novel. I love the austerity of writers like Ernest Hemingway and Amy Hempel, and they’ve both been big influences for me.

4) Because everyone reading this would want a standard published-author question: How did you get your agent? Had it been a tough process?

I feel very fortunate to have such a fantastic agent. I had no special connections or anything like that — I simply sent a query via her website. I think it’s wonderful that there are agents out there who are still open to reading everything, even if it’s a debut novel from an unknown writer.

5) You chose to leave your readers reeling from heartbreak after turning the final page. What influenced this decision? That same tragic ending of the Titanic

As readers know from the early pages of My Last Continent, the Australis does meet the same fate as the Titanic. I didn’t know, however, what would happen to the characters, and this was a process of discovery as I wrote the novel. And the ending actually changed a couple of times before I felt I got it right. I had a lot of tough decisions to make, but in the end I feel as though the story went where it was meant to go.

6) I was telling some friends on Instagram how much this book has not received the praise it deserves. And one of them suggested people are bound to make more fuss about a book if it’s the author’s debut and it’s this great. What do you think? (And by praise, I mean reader popularity on Goodreads.)
I certainly hope that readers enjoy the novel and share it with other readers! As an author, you have to accept what readers feel about your book because there’s nothing you can do about this aspect of it — all you can do is write the very best book you can. I’m grateful to all those who have embraced the book so far, and I hope it continues to find more and more readers.

7) Your book talks about strong themes. Global warming. Saving Antarctica. Women in science. What one, important lesson do you want readers to take from it?

Most of all, I hope readers enjoy the story. But I do also hope that it makes people think about the continent and how important it is that we protect it.

8) What are you working on next? And when is it due?
I’ve got a new novel in mind, but so far that’s exactly where it is — still in my head. I look forward to having more time later this year to start writing. I have no deadline, so I’ll need to come up with one to keep myself on track. 


MIDGE RAYMOND TOOK A TRIP TO ANTARCTICA, AND BELOW ARE THE LOVELY PENGUINS SHE FELL IN LOVE WITH:





MY LAST
CONTINENT
 MIDGE
RAYMOND

Published on 28th July 2016 by Text Publishing in TPB, priced at £10.99

‘Midge Raymond has an extraordinary gift for description that puts the reader bang in the middle of the action, bang in the middle of its dangerous and endangered world. She is clearly a writer in command of her craft.’  ML Stedman, author of The Light Between the Oceans

Blurb: It is only at the end of the world – among the glacier mountains and frigid waters of Antarctica – where Deb Gardner and Keller Sullivan feel at home. For the few blissful weeks they spend each year studying the habits of penguins, Deb and Keller can escape the frustrations and sorrows of their separate lives and find solace in each other. But Antarctica, like their fleeting romance, is tenuous, imperiled by the world to the north.
A new travel and research season has just begun, and Deb and Keller are ready to play tour guide to the passengers on the small expedition ship that ferries them to their research destination. Except that this year, Keller fails to appear on board. Shortly into the trip, Deb’s ship receives an emergency signal from the Australis, a cruise liner that has hit desperate trouble in the ice-choked waters. And among the crew of the sinking ship is Keller…
An unforgettable debut love story, set against the dramatic landscape of Antarctica. Lyrical, page-turning and emotionally intelligent, My Last Continent is a stunning novel of love and loss in one of the most remote places on earth.
About the Author:  Midge Raymond is an award-winning short-story writer who worked in publishing in New York before moving to Boston, where she taught creative writing. She has published two books for writers, Everyday Writing and Everyday Book Marketing. Midge lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is co-founder of the boutique publisher Ashland Creek Press. My Last Continent is her first novel.



18/07/2016

Book Review: My Last Continent by Midge Raymond



My Synopsis 
Imagine This: You are a natural scientist. Specializing in the conservation of birds in Antarctica. Penguins.

You love the Continent so much that every time you're departing you feel like you're leaving a great deal of yourself behind. But you'll come again. You're sure of it. Even though these days, your willingness to return, may be because of a little added incentive. A man. A good man. A kind man. Who loves you back. With whom your relationship begins and ends every time you depart. A cozy arrangement in a place so cold, warmth, company, body heat is very essential. 

But this year, your love affair would face its biggest trial ever. When the continent attacks. After all the harm done to it by tourists, by cruise ships. In Titanic proportions.

Deb and Keller's impending disaster summed for your delight. 

My Review

I loved, loved this book!

Frankly, honestly, I only decided to read this book because I found it was set 'at the bottom of the world'. You don't get to read books like this all the time. So I snapped it up. Thinking, I really hope this author is going to make Antarctica like a third main character in this book. Except I hadn't expected to enjoy it so much! Everything I asked for was here in this book:

Amazing storyline with lots of info about penguins, and the planet (made like a main character!). I love highly informative fiction about different animal specie. And this book never lacked info. Well-researched. You will learn so much—★

Great writing. I didn't expect the writing to be that seamless and easy to read and enjoy, and still possessed a literary quality.—★★


Two main characters. DEB, was amazing. I loved reading from her point of view. A woman scientist made a loner because of her job. It's always nice to read titles about women with fascinating careers. Keller, was also quite the charmer. Except by the end, I found myself seething because of decisions he made. Stunning romance between the pair. And I said these days, I hate romance... pah!—★★★

Other characters were amazing as well. None lacking in development. Thom, Deb's research partner. Glenn, the cruise coordinator who's really a pain in the arse. Richard and Kate, a married couple on the cruise who are having more fights—there's a note that most marriages brought to the Antarctica never return the same.—★★★★


First, I found this book a lazy read. Something to sit back, relax and enjoy. But then it dawned on me that something disastrous was about to happen. And I could no longer read it like I would a lazy afternoon read. I was on the edge of my seat. Panting. And when it was all over, I was so down. A heartbreaking tale I would recommend to anyone who wants a tear-jerker. And more.—★★★★★

My rating: 5 stars.

14/07/2016

Book Review: The Paris Secret by Karen Swan



Blurb: Not every door should be opened . . .
With stunning locations and page-turning tension, The Paris Secret is an intense and gripping tale from bestselling author Karen Swan.
Somewhere along the cobbled streets of Paris, an apartment lies thick with dust and secrets: full of priceless artworks hidden away for decades.
High-flying fine art agent Flora from London, more comfortable with the tension of a million-pound auction than a cosy candlelit dinner for two, is called in to assess these suddenly discovered treasures. As an expert in her field, she must trace the history of each painting and discover who has concealed them for so long.
Thrown in amongst the glamorous Vermeil family as they move between Paris and Antibes, Flora begins to discover that things aren't all that they seem, while back at home her own family is recoiling from a seismic shock. The terse and brooding Xavier Vermeil seems intent on forcing Flora out of his family's affairs - but just what is he hiding?

My Review 
This year debut authors are taking over the publishing scene than established authors. For me. Why? Every established author's book I read hasn't been as memorable as their previous title. A disappointment! Winter 2014 Karen Swan released Christmas in the Snow. And since then she's released two other books that were good. But they couldn't make me forget Christmas in the Snow. This year, the Paris Secret has made me forget how thrilling Christmas in the Snow was. Finally! Evidence that authors can write books so much better than their previous title if they put extreme effort! A fucking star to this!—★

The storyline of this book is amazing! I watched Woman in Gold last year(?) and I was so intrigued by the art world and the looting of art by Nazis during the second world war! Now a book that can be compared to Woman in Gold! I can see this book with its edge-of-seat suspense being adapted into a movie!—★★

You'd also love the main character Flora Sykes. I don't need to tell you how great Karen Swan is good with developing sophisticated females in high-flying careers!—★★★

I must also add that books written in third-person do not draw my interest as much. But always, always, Karen Swan writes in third-person and makes me feel as though I'm not being locked out of the character. She's about one of the few authors that make third-person very personal and fun to read.—★★★★

Setting, suspense, romance! Vienna, Paris, London, Antibes. The mystery behind the secret apartment with lots of art by notable artists. The taut, tension-filled romance between Vermeil and Flora. God, I said I hate romance, but try as I did, I couldn't hate Flora and Vermeil! A remarkable, magnetic duo! Karen Swan's romances are worth reading for readers who've fallen out of love with the genre. Since I read Christmas in the Snow I asked Swan to give me mystery, suspense that isn't tied with the romantic plot, and finally, she has and I have enjoyed it! So much! I wouldn't naturally enjoy anything about WWII or anything historical, but the vibrancy Swan injected into this book made me sit up rather than read with one-eye closed.—★★★★★★

My rating is definitely six out of five stars!!

I recommend this novel to anyone who wants glamourous-lit with writing that isn't shallow but well-written! Some authors can do glamorous-lit and make you feel as though you're reading something you could have written at 12 or lower. (Won't give names but you mostly find this with old, established authors) Karen Swan is certainly not one of them! If you've always been looking for a book that injects the contemporary into WWII narratives, this book is so up your lane!

12/07/2016

Book Review: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi



Blurb: Two half sisters, Effia and Esi, unknown to each other, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and will live in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle, raising children who will be sent abroad to be educated before returning to the Gold Coast to serve as administrators of the empire. Esi, imprisoned beneath Effia in the Castle's women's dungeon and then shipped off on a boat bound for America, will be sold into slavery.

Stretching from the wars of Ghana to slavery and the Civil War in America, from the coal mines in the American South to the Great Migration to twentieth-century Harlem, Yaa Gyasi's novel moves through histories and geographies.



Claudia's Review 

This book didn't feel like fiction at all, it felt like I was reading biographies of different people. I had to keep reminding myself it wasn't .
Homegoing talks about the slave trade in a way rarely seen  and the story telling is so perfect that I found myself reliving an escursion I once embarked to the slave dungeons.

It spuns on centuries over centuries telling stories of different characters and their generations giving it a feel of a book made up of of short stories
This book would have received a 5 star from me since it's about my home country but I give it a four because the characters became too many and I had to go back to see which character was which and getting to the end it got boring. But you can't take this fact away: this book is a must-read for all you fans of African Literature and Literary Fiction.