Wednesday, 12 December 2018

My Sister, the Serial Killer

Read the World: Nigeria


Korede's sister, Ayoola, is beautiful, charming and possibly a serial killer. How many murders does it take? Ayoola's third boyfriend in a row is dead and Korede is there to help clean up the mess. Because that's what being a sister is all about.

Ayoola lives in a world where things must always go her way. It's a law as certain as the law of gravity.

Korede works as a nurse and has a crush on one of the doctors at the hospital. Of course, the day her sister walks in, he is immediately drawn to Ayoola, wants to ask her out. Korede likes this man, she doesn't want him getting hurt, so how can she warn him away.

My Sister, the Serial Killer is fantastic piece of dark comedy, but ultimately is about sisters and the lengths you'll go to, to protect those you love.

I loved how Korede confesses everything to a coma patient, never even considering he might wake up and remember everything. Whilst Ayoola isn't a likeable character, she's also not what you'd expect from a serial killer. Except for the fact everyone loves her, she's a fairly regular person who just seems incapable of ending a relationship the normal way.

Is it in the blood? But his blood is my blood and my blood is hers.

There are some great observations on human behaviour. Korede does get annoyed with her sister and I liked that she acted in a logical manner. Sometimes with these kinds of stories I get irritated at the stupid things they do, but she was sensible and her motives (protecting her sister) were understandable.

My Sister, the Serial Killer is published by Atlantic Books in the UK and will be available in hardback and ebook editions from 3rd January 2019. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.

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Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Pride

Pride transports the well known story of Pride and Prejudice to a Brooklyn neighbourhood overshadowed by the risk of gentrification. Zuri lives in an apartment with her four sisters, across the road from a newly refurbished "mini-mansion". When the new family move in, they are excited by the presence of two hot boys.

Of course, the family across the street are the Darcys. Zuri (the Lizzie of this version) takes an instant dislike to Darius Darcy. He doesn't act the way she thinks a boy in the 'hood should act, and his distance and money come across as arrogance. Her older sister Janae (Jane) takes a shine to Ainsley Darcy though and neither of their siblings are happy about it.

It's a truth universally acknowledged that when rich people move into the hood, where it’s a little bit broken and a little bit forgotten, the first thing they want to do is clean it up. But it’s not just the junky stuff they’ll get rid of. People can be thrown away too.

It's incredibly close to the original plot, without feeling stale. Scenarios are tweaked to make them believable in the modern world. Instead of fearing homelessness due to their marital status, they are seeing their 'hood being gentrified. Rents going up, families being pushed out. I appreciated the point at the end that they should make the place better, but better for themselves so they don't have to "get out". Earlier on it seemed liked Zuri was nostalgic for bad things but letter she clarifies that this is just what she knows.

The characters' names are all slightly similar to the originals, helping you to place who'll do what, but it doesn't matter if you don't know they story. Marisol is obsessed with money rather than God (Mary). Layla gets a slightly modernised version of Lydia's personality and story-line, involving Warren (Mr Wickham). There's even a Charlotte and Mr Collins!

I'm not so sure about making the Mr Bingley character Darius' brother though. Isn't it a bit weird for two sisters to be dating two brothers? I suppose there were not many relationship scenarios which would have allowed for them to be spending so much time together.

Listening Notes

Elizabeth Acevedo's narration makes a world of difference, I'm not sure I'd have enjoyed this book quite so much if I'd read it. She's perfect for Zuri and reads her poetry beautifully.

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Wednesday, 5 December 2018

The Light Between Worlds

During an air-raid, three siblings are transported to another world, one with talking deer and an empire intent on destroying the natural world. There they live and help the people of the Woodlands for years. When they return to the real world, their lives will never be the same again.

I may be young, but I've lived for years in a world where the language of force is the one used most readily. I don't like the shape of its words. I don't like the way it tastes on my tongue.

I love the idea of books that explore what happens to children who have spent years in a portal world only to return to their child bodies in the real world. The Light Between Worlds explores the associated depression and guilt, and perhaps a touch of PTSD.

The official blurb centres gives away something that happens a good halfway through the book. The first half is told by Evelyn, the youngest child who felt like the Woodlands was home. She grew up there and was suddenly returned into her eleven year old body. It doesn't talk about going through puberty twice, but that can't have been enjoyable. She struggles to find her place in the real world, feels abandoned and betrayed by her sister and suffers from depression as a consequence.

I don't know how to live in this grey country - how to find the light and shadow when they all run together so.

The second half is from Philippa's perspective, the older sister who promised to protect her family and always wanted to return. She had to make difficult choices and feels guilty about her sister. This second half was much stronger and made me feel quite emotional.

I didn't care at all for the sections taking place in Woodlands. It was trying hard to be like Narnia and it felt unrealistic, like it could have been made up by a child wishing to escape the war.. Yet her brother and sister remember it too, so it's not just in her head. It was a bit like having Narnia fan-fiction sandwiched in between a quite beautifully written story about not belonging. Having to read these sections distracted me from Evelyn's story, hence why I preferred the other half.

I am thawing in this overheated, crowded kitchen. I can feel my winter melting into spring.

For more of this kind of thing, make sure you check out Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children novellas.

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Book Source: Purchased

Sunday, 2 December 2018

The Month That Was... November 2018

+ International Giveaway

Are you feeling the festive spirit yet? The last few days has started to feel very Christmassy and I'm nearly done with my present shopping already. Woop! I have been a bit slack on blog stuff though, only doing about half the Nonfiction November prompts and I still have a pile of reviews to catch up on. At least I have half of December off work, so hopefully I can start next year all caught up.

I've not much bookstagram stuff either so I'll just leave you with a photo of Scully surrounded by autumn colour. I got a new phone this month too, I'm loving the photos from it but it did mean moving from iOS to Android, so I'm still having to learn where everything is.


Here's what made it onto the blog...

Book of the Month:
East of Croydon by Sue Perkins

Reviews: