Summer 2019 Reading List

A friend and I was discussing our high school summer reading list mandated for English class and how I never read the books until a few days before school started. It got me thinking of creating a short summer reading list of my own and encouraging others to join. This summer, I will read 3 books with different genres, cultures and each set in different times. I think this will be a fun challenge along with finishing up graduate school and having Sunday brunch.

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The Wife between Us by G.Hendricks and S.Pekkanen

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions. Itโ€™s about a jealous wife, obsessed with her replacement. Itโ€™s about a younger woman set to marry the man she loves. The first wife seems like a disaster; her replacement is the perfect woman. You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships. You will be wrong – Goodreadsย 

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A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

A breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty yearsโ€”from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuildingโ€”that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal livesโ€”the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happinessโ€”are inextricable from the history playing out around them –Goodreads

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that the perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.- Goodreads

I will start with The Wife Between Us,ย make sure you follow myย instagram for updates.

Do you have any books you’ll be reading this summer?

If you’d like to join for all three or any of them, please comment or email.

B.

Book Review : Ghana Must Go

Ghana Must Go
By: Taiye Selasi
Publisher: Penguin Group
Pub Date : 03/05/13
Buy or Borrow : Buy

A renowned surgeon and failed husband, Kweku Sai dies suddenly at dawn outside his home in suburban Accra. The news of his death sends a ripple around the world, bringing together the family he abandoned years before. Moving with great elegance through time and place, Ghana Must Go charts their circuitous journey to one another and, along the way, teaches us that the truths we speak can heal the wounds we hide.- Penguin Random House

Ever been left speechless after a book, shocked that you can say a million things you disliked but in the same breathe, a million for why you love it just as much? Ghana Must Go was that. I began this book a few years ago and left it unfinished on my bookshelf. Looking to read beyond my usual YA novels, I chose to give it one more shot. After the first few chapters, I remembered why I dropped it years ago; the story unraveled in an unusual way. The author’s style required patience and she was building a world that couldn’t be rushed. So this time, I became patient. I read and went back throughout the book to make sure I got the message she was trying to convey.

Honestly, Ghana Must Go lit a fire in me that I haven’t felt in a while. I felt so connected to these weird, weak yet strong characters and I was left feeling uncomfortable with that. I felt uncomfortable because I saw myself as well many other people I know in similar situations that Selasi wrote about. The brokenness and need for answers within each character was so real, you may even shed a tear. I learned from Selasi that, lack of communication is a deep rooted issue that can create a lifelong damage to people you care about. Many people, especially Africans, do not like to talk about their feelings, the things that hurt them and often shoulder pains that should not be carried alone. I don’t know if it’s more prevalent in Africans than other ethnicities, or we’re just more ashamed to show others our broken hearts.

If you are like me, and you didn’t finish Ghana Must Go, then give it another try. Be patient and let each character guide you through the turmoils, the revelations and the resolution.

If you’re up for the challenge, you’ll appreciate this well written work of art.

B.

Dear NICU….

A change. I may or may not have prepared for it, but it wasn’t waiting for me to get it together. My body has become the vessel for a new being and I was elated, scared, anxious and whatever other feelings I could feel. I imagined who you’re going to be, how the delivery would go and what type of mother I’d be. The whole months that passed by, I heard congratulations, advice, appointments and the whole village was awaiting your presence.

But oh no…….

A declaration was made. My deceleration were wild, my membrane ruptured too early, the amniotic fluid was very little, the cord was wrapped around you, who knows what, it all sounded like jargon and they must bring you out immediately. Wait, I didn’t finish your crib, I wanted a home birth, I don’t want a csection, the baby shower is still weeks away, I didnt even get to push!

But you’re here now……

Way earlier than we planned and whisked from my stretched & tattered flesh into the arms of strangers. I didn’t hear your cries, someone said you’re all blue, no movement as I lay not feeling my lower body. Everyone in the room springs into action. I wasn’t your first hug or your first touch. You’re suctioned, probed, masked, pricked, infused with various drugs/fluids and placed in an incubator, secluded from my warmth, my touch, my heart beat.

Away from me….

Seeing the world but without my touch or my voice along side you. The team is now with you all day. Some stranger who earned a MD NP, PA, RN, RT behind their name spend more time with you than I can. The updates are sporadic, late phone calls to bring breastmilk, to keep pumping, lines all hooked up to you, the stares, audience when I’m forced to bond with you in front of people who doesn’t know me. Some will see me, smile, try to accommodate while hoping I don’t ask too much questions. They’re waiting for me to abide by their requests and not flinch when asked for permissions to continue probing you. The slightest frown or repeated question got a raised brow from them. All just wondering why I just don’t get it and be okay with everything.

How can I be okay….

Do they not know that I can see them? Hear their whispers about me and my baby? Can’t they see how I feel? The anxiety, the shame, the energy it takes to walk out and not leave with you in my arms? Have they placed their feet in my shoes? Didn’t they dream of the perfect baby like I did? Don’t they hurt when days turn to weeks then into months in the hospital and only allowed to visit my own child during visiting hours?

They must know….

They consoled when there was no progress, when you lost weight and nothing could stop the cries, my defeated walk out of the door, my frustration trying to get you latched onto my breast… or at least some of them knew. They smiled and laughed during discharged . They joked about my lack of sleep from here on out, couldn’t wait til I visit & show them how beautiful he/she would look. Or atleast that’s what we was all hoping for. Some didn’t get the luxury of going home with the baby. Prayer was a constant factor with hope that we got to take you home to help you grow some more into a beautiful member of the society.

And you do grow...

You grew before my eyes because of their help. I praised the strangers who became family during the stay. They brought you to a state a I couldn’t. I smiled, thanked them for their efforts and appreciated each one because I knew with certainty I was walking out with you in my arms. I accepted that I may have overreacted when they called one or few times, I took out my frustration on them when I shouldn’t and we both weren’t perfect. They were doing their job. One they must love and care. So I apologized to the team about their difficult jobs but to understand where I was coming from.

This experience was new, unlike what I planned for and each day was not guaranteed. I was only human. With that, I smiled then waved goodbye knowing that the true journey has just begun.

—————————————————————–

p.s: I am not a mother, I’m simply an observer. This piece is not to insult families who have had to go through NICU, not to disrespect the staff that works tirelessly to help or to ridicule the fragile state everyone is in during their stay. I just wanted to write again, to dig into the other part of myself I often neglect. And I appreciate you for reading this far.

B.

Book Review : The Hating Game

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Rated โคโคโคโค/5
Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: 08/09/16
Buy or Borrow: Buy

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Both are Co Executive Assistant to a publishing company Co Ceo and now must complete for a promotion. Lucy cannot understand Joshua’s joyless uptight attitude and he is baffled with her bright and always helpful attitude. As they both continue to play their games, they realize there is something building between them, but is that another game they’re playing? And who will come out victorious?

Looking for a cute, fast and easy to read RomCom? The Hating Game delivers. I enjoyed the banter between Lucy and Joshua, the games were fun to read through and interesting to see how they both soften towards each other.

I liked how it took placed within a publishing company, I’m a sucker for character who love and breathe books. The tension between Josh and Lucy was funny and felt very real as I read it. Their relationship evolved gradually and with the usual bumps and glides that an authentic one usually has. Love them.

Lucy was a semi-likeable character. I found her somewhat annoying in some scenes but she grew on me towards the end of the book as she became more assured of herself. Love a great character ARC. Makes the book feel more real and true.

Overall, The Hating Game was a sweet read and great debut for the author!

You can buy or Borrow, but totally recommend of you’re in the mood for a light read.

With Love, ๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’›

Book Review: Stay With Me

Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
Rated โคโคโคโคโค/5
Publisher: Canongate
Published: 03/02/2017
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Yejide and Akin have been married for quiet some time and trying to get pregnant. Their family members are putting pressure on them, especially Yejide, to find a solution and give them an heir. As the pressure increase, choices are made by all parties involved to make the best of the situation and protect their loved ones. But no one considered the consequences of their decisions and how fate has it’s own idea of how their lives will turn out.

Stay With Me is a story that will make you grab on from the first page and never let you go. I went from trying really hard not throw away the book after a couple of chapters, to wishing and praying for better choices for the characters, to rooting then begging the characters to just figure out their life! It was a rollercoaster and I was not disappointed.

I felt that I may have loved this book alot more than other readers because I’m from Nigeria. I’ve seen a lot of the actions in the book played out when I lived there or when a fellow Nigerian share their story. So, it wasn’t just a “fiction” novel for me. This book could honestly be a Nigerian family’s reality and that’s what I loved most about it.

I liked Yejide’s character. She tried and went through so much and often time, when a family is planning for a child, a woman receivesย majority of the blame, when everyone knows, it takes two to get pregnant.

I was very invested and I loved it. I was not ready for the impact that this book was going to have on me. As a woman, I saw several issues that I’ve discussed with my friends and family in this book: how society looks at woman, treat women and men and the unbalanced responsibities placed in a marriage. (If you’d like to have a discussion on this topic, comment below, I can creat another post on this). Each character in this book felt real to me, they evolved accordingly and Adebayo did an amazing job crafting a story I’ll remember, share and recommend to others.

Buy this book and thank me later.

p.s.: I already gave my copy to a friend to read.

๐Ÿ’›

Book Review: When Dimple Met Rishi

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon
Rated โคโคโคโค/5
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Published: 05/30/17

Buy or Borrow: Buy

Dimple is a coder. She has plans to win first place at Insomnia Con and win first place then go on to college. Her plans doesn’t include a boyfriend. Rishi is also going to the Con, but he is only going to meet and get to know Dimple, because their family wants both of them to get married after college. Only problem is, Dimple is not aware of the arrangement. So what happens when Dimple finds out why Rishi is at the program and what does that mean for what she wants for herself?

When Dimple met Rishi is one of the cutest YA books I’ve read. I enjoyed reading about India and the culture, how much Dimple loved to stand up for the people she cared for, how supportive the parents were, the strong female friendship and all the technology and art details involved in the book.

I thought Rishi was a perfect complement to Dimple. He supported her dreams and I believe this is very important in relationships. I also enjoyed how Menon wrote about the struggles of trying to be independent and having a relationship. They are not mutually exclusive no matter what society says.

I wished for more scenes of Dimple and Rishi working on their project together. I think the romance kind of took away from that, but overall it was a fun read.

I’d recommend the book to other readers.

Happy Reading,

๐Ÿ’›๐Ÿ’›

ARC Book Review: Orphan Monster Spy

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen
 Rated: โคโคโคโค/5
 Publisher: Viking Books
 Publish: 03/20/18
 Buy or Borrow: Buy

After her mother is shot at a checkpoint, fifteen-year-old Sarah meets a mysterious man with an ambiguous accent, a suspiciously bare apartment, and a lockbox full of weapons. He’s part of the secret resistance against the Third Reich, and he needs Sarah to hide in plain sight at a school for the daughters of top Nazi brass, posing as one of them. If she can befriend the daughter of a key scientist and get invited to her house, she might be able to steal the blueprints to a bomb that could destroy the cities of Western Europe. Nothing could prepare Sarah for her cutthroat schoolmates, and soon she finds herself in a battle for survival unlike any she’d ever imagined. But anyone who underestimates this innocent-seeming girl does so at their peril. She may look sweet, but she’s the Nazis’ worst nightmare. – First to Read.

As a person who rarely reads spy, crime or mystery novels, this was a great choice.

Matt Killeen created a world that was intense and eye opening about the time in history no one can ever forget, WWII. He put in time to display alot of history that happened throughout the book. Although you’ll find certain parts a tad bit slow, it’s was overall a fast read.

Sarah was a strong, sharp and refreshing female protagonist. Honestly, she was the best part of this novel. She molded herself to get her job done and proved many times that she should not be underestimated. Her struggle to figure things out and not get caught will have you rooting for her! There are several characters that you would never forget as well.

It became very hard to keep reading and finding out how much crazier the world around war truly can be as I made my way toward the end of the novel . It was sometimes difficult to read through some scenes, but it paid off. I think the book may have a sequel as we’re left with some questions that I need the author to answer!

I’d recommend this book to the older teens (>16) even though it’s YA.

I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review .