Posts tagged book review

BOOK REVIEW || The Masterpiece

Heyyo!! I’m quite convinced that with changing my hosting service provider last year, I lost most of my book review readers. Most.

Notwithstanding, I’m still reviewing books if you like it or not. 😊


Title: The Masterpiece
Author: Francine Rivers
Number of Pages: 496
Publisher: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2018

I’ll have you know I only support the first paragraph of the blurb (and I debated uploading it or not). Its continuing paragraphs causes the book to lose its fancy to me; it creates some cliche and exhausting summary whereas I like the book for it’s Biblical message. Don’t be discouraged by the blurb, it’s a good read. And my review is right beyond it.


Book blurb

New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers returns to her romance roots with this unexpected and redemptive love story, a probing tale that reminds us that mercy can shape even the most broken among us into an imperfect yet stunning masterpiece.

A successful LA artist, Roman Velasco appears to have everything he could possibly want―money, women, fame. Only Grace Moore, his reluctant, newly hired personal assistant, knows how little he truly has. The demons of Roman’s past seem to echo through the halls of his empty mansion and out across his breathtaking Topanga Canyon view. But Grace doesn’t know how her boss secretly wrestles with those demons: by tagging buildings as the Bird, a notorious but unidentified graffiti artist―an alter ego that could destroy his career and land him in prison.

Like Roman, Grace is wrestling with ghosts and secrets of her own. After a disastrous marriage threw her life completely off course, she vowed never to let love steal her dreams again. But as she gets to know the enigmatic man behind the reputation, it’s as if the jagged pieces of both of their pasts slowly begin to fit together . . . until something so unexpected happens that it changes the course of their relationship―and both their lives―forever.


Review

I love the plot employed in Masterpiece. It begins on a high pace street chase but goes deeper to unravel the lives of two adults.
These are far reaching walls built with each betrayal experience.

Roman Velasco and Grace Moore are off to a rocky but civil start as they nurse old wounds and protect themselves from new ones in the course of working together.

Grace finds support system in her friends to keep her accountable. Roman cuts off everyone and maintains an identity crisis till he comes to the borders of death.

Will their shortcomings be the passageway for being redefined as masterpieces?

I like the writing techniques. I suggest the romantically tense scenes were well written, as Francine is wont to doing. When the (symbolic) bird’s wings are cut off, I felt it personally. I liked how the writing danced around Roman’s art.

I’m not certain I have a favourite character, but perhaps Roman cuts it for me.

Likes
I’m made to appreciate the ordering of steps of the believer with Grace’s housing provision.

Disslikes
I slightly disliked the hurried yet dragged hospital experience. Seemed deficient.

In this book, the themes of toxic relationships and healthy relationships stand out to me.

I think the overarching message is well phrased by this (totally unrelated to the book,) quote I found from Sarah Jake Roberts:

The bridge from who you once were to who God has ordained you to be is created from bricks of vulnerability, humility as strong as a mortar, and master plan so perfect even the things that once hurt you would serve you in making you better”.

Overall, the story telling is gripping. I rate it 3.5 out of five stars. It would’ve been four stars but I really have no quotes to take away.

Oh wait, there’s a quote:

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago

Ephesians 2:10

Have you read this book? What are your thoughts on it? Or are you up for reading it?

Love and Light,

Debby

BOOK REVIEW; Little Fires Everywhere

Title: Little Fires Everywhere

Author: Celeste Ng

Publisher: Penguin Press (2017)

Pages: 237 (my copy)

Celeste Ng compels readers to trace blurred lines of morality.
To trace the dynamics of good intentions and bad choices.
To analyze harrowing motherhood. That’s what Celeste Ng does.

Little Fires Everywhere reveals the clarity and disruption Mia and Pearl Warren bring with them in a fifteen year old VW Rabbit car to Shakers Height, Ohio in 1996/1997.

“She looked at him fiercely, almost a glare. Moody saw that her eyes which he thought were hazel, were a deep jade green. And that moment, Moody had a sudden clear understanding of what had already happened that morning: his life has been divided into a before and an after, and he would always be comparing the two.”

Pearl Warren will do that to all four of the Warren children in her quiet and brilliant way. All will find their lives in intertwined threads that never get untangled.


Without glaringly being a Young Adults fiction, Little Fires Everywhere builds up primarily around the lives of five teenagers, and that of their parents. It has a subplot of a court case with the end point of gaining custody of baby May Ling/Mirabelle.

This will be the opening to the questions:
Who is a mother? What makes a woman a mother? Biology? Or love?


Little fires everywhere will answer questions such as:
Will a two year old child betray a loving mother for a biological mother?
Will a teenager betray the well organized and suburban mother for the enigmatic and unpredictable mother? Or will it be vice versa?

Will a woman decide she is a mother against the contracts she had signed otherwise?

Will another woman decide she isn’t a mother based on the time the child arrives?


What I liked

The theme of motherhood is explored magnanimously.

What I didn’t like

The book has a slow pace.

 

Written in third person point of view, a reader is exposed to why each character does the things they do.

The book also explores the privilege of wealth and opportunities.

They dazzled her, this Richardsons: with their easy confidence, their clear sense of purpose no matter what time of the day


You should consider taking portraits professionally” Mrs Richardson suggested. She paused, “Not that you aren’t a photographer professionally of course. But in a studio maybe, Or for weddings and engagements. You’d be highly sought after“. She waved her hands at the photographs on the wall as if they could articulate what she meant. “In fact, perhaps you could take portraits of our family. We’d pay of course”
Perhaps“, Mia said ” But the thing about portraits is that you need to show people the way they want to be seen. I prefer to show people as I see them. So in the end, I’d probably just frustrate us both” She smiled placidly, and Mrs Richardson fumbled for a response.

 

“Everyday it appeared, Pearl absorbed something new from the Richardson family, a turn of phrase (I was literally dying), a gesture (a flick of the hair, a roll of the eye). She was a teen, Mia told herself over and over; she was trying on new skin as all teenagers did but privately she stayed wary of every change she saw”

 

They have secrets. They have diverse personality traits. And we, have one haunting yet relieving story.

The writing style is simple and in fact very straight forward for a novice reader. The characters are credible.

Immediately after reading it, I rated it 4/5 stars. On reflecting, maybe 3.75/5 stars or the average of both.

There’s an adaptation of the book into a television miniseries which I saw on DSTV. With the licence movie producers have, the series is a berth away from the novel. Both do good though, so you could as well watch it.

I particularly think Young Adult fiction readers, mothers and intending mothers will find this book enjoyable.

Have you read this one? Do you think you are interested? Let me know below.

*I did not complete War Story as promised in my last post. I’ll get there.

Love and light,

Debby.

BOOK REVIEW; The Circle by Ted Dekker

We double through two realities. A startling question is asked “which is the real reality”.


There are certain points to note before going into the review in full.


1. As a general rule, I don’t read reviews on a book I’m about to review.

At first, it never crossed my mind to do so. When it did occur to me, I thought I didn’t want any other voices shaping how I thought of a book before I would pen down my first thoughts. (See how I got in three thought’s in there. I may have got my groove back). But this is Ted Dekker. Ted Dekker. He leaves my head reeling sometimes. I had to glance at some reviews for my thoughts to come together on this one. Moreover, I read this book close to a year ago – my last novels before resuming at Law school – and I’m only just reviewing it.

2. In the course of reading a review, I noted a reviewer wrote that this book is fantasy! Wait, what? Oh that’s so true. I rarely ever set out for fantasy books. Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti’s books do pull me to that side though.
Sit tight to know why this is one fantasy book you would want to read, even if its not usually your genre.


Ever saw Hannah Montana? She sang “you get the best of both worlds”. Yes, that’s the play in these four books – Black, Red, White, Green.

Thomas Hunter awakens in a different reality after a gunshot wound to the head. His life is never stable after that, and neither is anyone’s globally. The world powers would come to depend on this guy for information – what is he exactly? A psychic?

He oscillates between two worlds as a hero of a sort. His actions( including possible death) in one world affect his actions in the other, and vice versa. But his help is needed as the world is running towards destruction. Which world, you may ask? Both.


The book is a four-in-one series. It starts with Black, then Red, White, and Green. Green can as well be book one. Someone said its book 0. The series has a cyclical projection with the last book merging into the first, resulting in no ending. It begins at the end, and ends at the beginning. (read “Circle Series”).

Its gripping. Full of rocky uncertainty and it keeps a reader locked in. Not necessarily the most artful wordsmith there is, Dekker is however gooood with his imagery and anticipation antiques.

Anticipation is built up by the happenings in both worlds though set apart by eons.

Book’s spiritual realities, especially the portrayal of sin is crazy. You’d be reading and you’d find out you know exactly what present reality the future description is pointing out. Launching into Elyon’s presence is made possible as it is a pool. Changing from Horde to Albino is made possible only through death when you drown(new birth in Christ) – in this drowning, blood-water pushes super violently against your lungs and everything you’ve ever been, you choke, gasp, do nothing to save yourself.

Sin is in the awful skin scabs, jaundiced eye and stink. But this sin is the norm, so the fresh-skinned are the outcasts, the albinos, hated and incomprehensible.

What else is efficient? The themes from Black running through into Green. In White alone, the themes race from the great deception, to the Antichrist, Mark of the best and Amargeddon and contrary to what you may think, there’s no bore.

Hidden spiritual battles in the past world (our time) are revealed in the future world as physical realities.


Raison Strain is the deadly virus terrorists are employing in the past world. How can Tom’s “best of both worlds” experiences stop the Raison Virus? Will the presidential seat of the United States give enough credibility for ruling the nation to someone who appears to know things from his sleep? No one knows what will happen globally in the face of the terrorists spreading the raison strain. No one knows what will befall the circle who seek Elyon. No one knows anything but that ruin is on speed-drive.


To have my bases covered, I’ve got those of you who’ve been waiting for it; yes, there’s love in this book. Male-female relationship love. Thank you. And it brims with radical meaning.


At the end of it all, what I’ve written is a book review cum recommendation. I’m still willing to discuss on Ted Dekker, and these series in particular with any willing takers.

I reccomend this book to persons interested in the Christian faith in some capacity (being an allegorical work which helps expand some scriptural revelation). If you’re a fantasy-thriller reader, go for this. Looking for some fast-paced read or a challenge? you’re welcome.

Indicate if you’re willing to read the book and I hope you enjoy it when you do. If you’ve read the book, do give your thoughts. You can share this link with your friends who read too. Till next week Saturday.

Love and Light,

Debby.

Writing Travails | Book Review; City Of Angels

I still can’t believe I’m doing this.

Writing the first draft of Saturday’s post on Friday. That rubs off on me as pure plain unserious. That’s twice in a row…oh wait, last week’s was even written on the selfsame Saturday.

I attempted writing this week. Writing just to get in back in groove. And guess what I attempted writing? Fiction. I know! Its been forever. Earlier this year I got the impression I’d be writing some more this year, fiction inclusive. Right now, I’m wondering if I got that impression right.

Even book reviews scare me! Imagine.

If you’re very concerned about my writing life, kindly order me a pile of novels to read. Paperbacks. Any books by Khaleed Hoseinni may do right now.

If there’s one thing you can take away from law school, its discipline. Lol, I kid. I’m just trying to attach more depth to law school. All I’m heading to is that in the spirit of discipline, I managed to write a passable book review. The strain of it.

City of Angels by Jamie Peterson and James Scott Bell.

It wasn’t exactly my kind of novel. I was on a road trip. It was a book lying around and so I flipped one page after another until I found out I was in fact reading it.

Kit’s shoulders are squared, she would not listen to the naysayers and to the pressure put on women in society simply spelt as attending or hosting dinner parties while adhering to etiquettes. Kit Shannon has come to Los Angeles to be a lawyer or so she thinks.


The themes of this book center around courage, mentorship, faith, and the crookedness of law practice back in the 1900s. The show book is further spiced by edgy courtroom drama.
The characters are credible and I’d empathize with aunt Freddy any day. They however don’t necessarily hook a reader.


The plot heightens with a certain court room case that’ll determine everything in Los Angeles.
Who’s the killer? Who’s mentally deranged?
That has to be my favourite part of the book.

What happens to attractive Kit Shannon in the world of Los Angeles and in a profession for the ruthless men?

Disslikes

1. I had absolutely no clue it was part of a series until I ran a google search after completing the book.

2. The story line also starts out as a cliche.

Who should read this book? Anyone who’s free for some easy yet gripping and interesting read.

Another thing you should note if you try buying the book is that there are other novels with the same title, so note the authors carefully.

I hope you had a good read. Till next week Saturday guys. Don’t forget to share with your friends.

Love and Light,

Debby.

BOOK REVIEW || Crazy Rich Asians

Heyyy guys. Hello. Today I’m reviewing a book long over due. I have so many books left unreviewed, please help me. Enjoy.


This is how it went: I loved the book. Then I didn’t love it anymore. I even started to hate it. And now, reading it again after many months, I love the book again.

I love the book outside of the general buzz of it and outside of my dislike for its irrelevant series continuation (my opinion). The book did just well with only the first book but then Kevin Kwan went ahead to stretch it into a trilogy (China Rich Girlfriend & Rich People’s Problems). The second was averagely okay for me because I was already enjoying the Asian escapism I got from the first book. The third would’ve just bored me so I skipped it altogether.

Not withstanding, I would always recommend it for a pleasurable holiday read.
My review in a sentence: CRAZY RCH ASIANS DEALS WITH ASIANS WHO ARE RICH AND CRAZY.
My review in full:
Rachel Chu(A Prof of economic development) meets Nicholas Young(Prof of history and law) and they fall in love in New York. But Nicholas’ family aren’t in New York, they’re in Asia(Singapore) where it gets crazy.

Its two years into their relationship and Nick coaxes Rachel to travel home with him for his best friend’s wedding and there she meets the craze. The book takes us on a ride along with Rachel through Nick’s stupendously rich and quiet elitist family. The wealth and snobbery of the Singaporeans gets Rachel Chu’s head spinning. Would she stand the anger and jealousy thrown at her from all around or will she balk?

The Singapore where they live, is akin to a big village where everyone is in everyone’s business. Take Eleanor for instance:

“To Eleanor, every single person occupied a specific space in the elaborately constructed social universe in her mind. Like most of the women in her world, Eleanor could meet another Asian anywhere in the world- say, over dim sum at royal chia in London, or shopping over in the lingerie department of David Jones in Sydney – and within thirty seconds of learning their name and where they lived, she would implement her social algorithm and calculate precisely where they stood in constellation based on who their family was, who else they were related to, what their approximate net worth might be, how the fortune was derived, and what family scandals might have occurred within the past fifty years.”

The gossip in this book is lit – everyone has (interesting, scandalous) background story you’ll have to know of.
The book presents Singaporeans who can figuratively die over food; eating five times a day and arguing about the best food spots. We’re introduced to other characters like Astrid,Charlie Wu, Peik Lin etc.

At a point you just might get tired of the wealth description. There are articles in a house (ceramics) worth thirty million dollars, every jewelry is scrutinized to the last detail, the clothes they put on are from the next season.

“Forbes only reports on the assets they can verify, and these rich Asians are so secretive about their holdings. The richest families are always richer by billions than what Forbes estimates”

I think for those who are unaware, you also get to learn secrets like this:

“let me share a secret with you, Nick. As much as a girl might protest, you can never go wrong buying her a designer dress or a killer pair of shoes”

And simple songs like this:

“it only takes a spark,
To get the fire going.
And soon all those around,
Can warm up in its glowing.
That’s how it is with God’s love,
Once you’ve experienced it.
You want to sing,
Its like fresh spring,
You want to pass it on”

Likes
I must tell you the truth – dialogue in this book is fun!

I like the fact that the book also picks up quickly.

Dislike
The characters come off as so many at the beginning, and they’re unfamiliar Chinese names so it gets difficult to hold on sometimes. You’ll however get the hang of it later.

This book is in essence – Rich entitled delusional Chinese families 101; which in spite of its light humour strokes subjects such as family bond, identity, self-worth and belonging. It is cool for what its worth and helps transport you to Asia. I generously rate it a 4 stars in its own right.

P.S: I’ve seen the movie adaptation and I think its wack.

Have you read this book? Have you seen the movie? Are you interested in reading it? If you’ve read it, are you like everyone else who likes Astrid?

Love and books,
Debby.

BOOK REVIEW–And After Many Days

Title: And After Many Days
Author: Jowhor Ile
Publisher: Tim Duggan books
Review
The book traces the Utu family in PortHarcourt, Nigeria. The setting of the conflict period is 1995. It’s an interesting tale of children growing up in a privileged middle class family in Nigeria. The oldest son, seventeen year old Paul gets missing and we’re confronted with a personal loss and on a larger scale, political loss.
Political loss as evidenced by failure in virtually all sectors of the society. I think it’s despairing that the challenges faced back then in Nigeria, mostly as a result of political failure are all very much present in this day – even worse. The plot is rich and devastating. It however doesn’t hit you badly until the climax.
And after many days lends credence to the voice about the Niger Delta crisis in Nigeria; the development of the crisis and it’s impact (oil spills, gas flares, western oil companies arrival, the humiliating and harrowing experiences the military forces the members of the community through, the desecration of all indigenous land and even streams by the companies) – all from an insider’s point of view.
There’s also an exposure to the way the military government ran things at that time.
Jowhor is deserving of his award in the Etisalat prize for fiction in 2017. He is a delicate story-teller. This is his debut novel. The book employs a seamless technique of moving back and forth through time. The book has an intriguing and hooking opening, coupled with the author’s timeless and endearing way of describing events. It’s written in a third person omniscient perspective.
The characters are absolutely believeable and they draw the reader in. I think most Nigerians would relate with the upbringing of the Utus children. This book takes you back in time to your childhood.
One last credit: it had me checking the dictionary for the meaning of some words. What else can I ask for?
Excerpts

“You might be carrying a document instructing you to be sold and you won’t know it. Won’t read and can’t read would land you in the same place”

God forbid!” He spat out. He looked like the sort of man for whom all strong emotions came out looking like anger. Ajie couldn’t tell if he was angry that Paul was missing or angry with Paul for going missing or whether he was angry at all. Whichever way, it was clear his sympathy was with Ma “

“But whatever there was to know about desire and it’s cost was beyond Ajie then. He was at that time completely passionate and pure. He imagined himself, his brother, and his sister to be people who would shoot into the world and burn, fiery arrows set free by their parents from their home here at number 11. they would love greatly and do useful things. Bbi would become rich and important and build houses and hospital for the poor. Paul would simply change the world”

“When misfortune befalls you, people secretly blame you. Ajie noticed this. People can’t help it. They do it so they can believe it won’t happen to them. They haven’t done whatever it is you did to deserve this suffering.”

I like this book. I generously give it 5stars.
P.s for the those who’ve read the book: what do you think of Bendic and Ma’s parenting style?
Yours sincerely,
Debby.
So tell me, what do you think?

BOOK REVIEW–HOMEGOING

Title: HOMEGOING
Author: Yaa Gyasi
Publisher/publication date: Alfred A. Knopf/2016
ISBN: 9781101947142
Pages: 310 pages(my copy)
Blurb
Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of cape coast castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousand s of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery.
One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization.
The other thread follows Esi and her grandchildren into America. From the plantations of the south to the civil war and the great migration, from the coal mines of Pratt city, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of a captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

Review
Can I request that you go back to read the blurb again. Patiently this time. Word for word, in case you sped through. Thank you.
Homegoing is a heartrending read. It follows two sisters separated at birth and explores if either of them ever had much hope as the white man breathed down their necks. Each alternating chapter traces the two generations through the evolvement of slave trade and there is an aching cry for the enslaved and those involved in selling their own brothers to the white man. Each chapter reads like a short story of people whose lives are scarred by the actions of other humans like themselves. Its haunting because just when you get drawn into the characters and empathise with their plight, the story for that person’s generation just ceases.
In short, it traces the legacy of slave trade in people’s every day lives and is a perspective of racial history. Life during the tribal wars in 1700, the transatlantic slave trade, the effect or lack of effect of the fugitive slave act, and how oppression of the blacks by the white shifted from that of the body to that of the mind.
We read of the way a people’s mother tongue was whipped out of their mouths; five lashes for every one word of Twi their children would unwittingly speak. We’re enraged at how humans are shackled to owners by a piece of paper so declaring them; people who in their own rights, should have mattered.

you want to know what weakness is? Weakness is treating someone as though they belong to you. Strength is knowing that everyone belongs to themselves”
”but for the rest of her life Esi would see a smile on a white face and remember the one the soldier gave her before taking her to his quarters, how white men smiling just meant more evil was coming with the next wave”

I don’t know if a reader can read this and justify certain actions ever again in their lives.
For me, Esi’s story was particularly haunting as she saw part of the undoing of her own people by her hands, and didn’t know it for what it was, until it was completed.
Yaa Gyasi has this as her debut novel and I say its worthy of praise. Effort is clearly put in (I saw a quote where Gyasi said she wrote the most part of the book in a dark and dingy room in her house, giving off a dungeon vibe).Her language is the envy of other writers, and her story-telling skills seamless.
There is a family tree at the start of the book which is very important for when the reader begins to get winded keeping up with who’s who from each generation.
Some people lament at the way each character’s story ends just when the reader starts to fall in love. I suppose that this is a way of stating the obvious; evil would not give closure. Mothers are separated from their children, lovers are killed or sold and the reader wants closure?
For those who have read this book, these characters remain my favourite: Esi, Ness, Kojo, Majorie.
It’ll help if you already know one or two things about the American civil war, slave trade, racism. If you don’t, I suppose this book can be a background for further learning. I recommend this book for the preservation of history. I rate the book 4.5 stars out of 5.

Excerpts:
”It was one thing to research something, another thing entirely to have lived it.”

”When he was younger, his father told him that black people didn’t like water because they were brought over on slave ships. What did a black man want to swim for? The ocean floor was already littered with black men”

”Esi stared at her mother then, and it was as though she were seeing her for the first time. maame was not a whole woman. There were large swaths of her spirit missing, and no matter how much Esi loved her, they both knew in that moment that love could never return what maame had lost. And Esi knew too that her mother would die rather than run into the woods ever again, die before capture, die even if it meant in her dying that Esi would inherit that unspeakable sense of loss, learn what it meant to be un-whole”

”Ness would fall asleep to the images of men being thrown into the Atlantic ocean like anchors attached to nothing: no land, no people, no worth”

“The mud wall of the dungeon made all time equal. There was no sunlight. Darkness was day and night and everything in between. Sometimes there were so many bodies stacked into the women dungeon that they all had to lie, stomach down, so that women could be stacked on top of them”

” ‘don’t matter if you was or wasn’t. all they gotta do is say you was. That’s all they gotta do. You think cuz you all muscled up, you safe? Naw, dem white folks can’t stand the sight of you. Walkin’ round free as can be. Don’t nobody want to see a black man look like you walkin’ round proud as a peacock. Like you ain’t got a lick of fear in you… I’ma tell you, war may be over but it ain’t ended’

‘you have to understand, H. the day you called me another woman’s name, I thought ain’t I been through enough? Ain’t just about everything I ever had been taken away from me? My freedom. My family. My body. And now I cant even own my name? aint I deserve to be Ethe, to you at least if nobody else? My mama gave me that name herself. I spent six good years with her before they sold me to Louisiana to work them sugarcanes. All I had of her then was my name. that was all I had of myself too. And you wouldn’t even give me that’.”

”She wanted to explain that at home they had a different word for African-Americans, akata. The akata people were different from Ghanaians, too long gone from the mother continent to continue to call it the mother continent. She wanted to tell Mrs.Pinkston that she could feel herself being pulled away too, almost akata, too long gone from Ghana to be called a Ghanaian. But the look on Mrs. Pinkston’s face stopped her from explaining herself at all.”

So people, what do you think? Read this? Interested in doing so? Or do you have a comment about the slave trade? Or you just want to say hello? Comment people. Thank you!

BOOK REVIEW– Smart Money Woman

Title: The Smart Money Woman
Author: Arese Ugwu
Publisher/publication date:
Matador, Troubador publishing ltd/ 2016.
Review
I didn’t know what to expect from this book, I only hoped in all sincerity that it wouldn’t bore me because at the time I picked it up, I had no patience for troublesome reads.
I had seen recommendations(not reviews) of it on the internet. My friend Chizaram gave me the e-book. If you’re interested, you can e-mail me.
It wasn’t a boring read in spite of discussing a bit of what is often considered the ‘professional stuff’ in finance. It takes the form of a light hearted fictional read. Considering the reader is aware the book isn’t for all purposes fictional, the lack of exceptional fictional narrative skills, is forgivable.
For me, it was an enlightening read.
The foreword was written by Nimi Akinkugbe, CEO BESTMAN GAMES, money matters with Nimi. She wrote:

”For many people, the subject of personal financial management can be somewhat daunting. The book presents the basic concepts of earning, budgeting, spending , borrowing, saving, investing as well as behavioural and emotional aspects of money In a personal way that makes it easy to personalize.”

This book isn’t vague about the ‘woman’ mentioned in it’s title, even though it is very well profitable to all sexes. It uses the story of a Nigerian woman, Zuri, to bring home the points.
After each chapter, there are highlighted lessons in which the concepts explored through story telling for that chapter, are discussed. Afterwards, there are exercises for the reader to carry out, for example, calculating your own net worth.
Zuri, a 28 year old senior manager at Richmond developments( a real estate firm), has good financial potentials as she earns a salary which the average Nigerian aims to earn. Regardless, Zuri discovers she is broke. This is a journey on how she climbs out of it.

”Broke means, if you lost your primary source of income today, you wouldn’t be able to maintain the lifestyle you have become accustomed to because you have no assets to rely on”

”Broke people think its about how much you earn and spend while rich people know it is about how much your are able to convert of your current earnings into an asset for the future.”

This book broaches the manner in which money is spent from the perspective of different individuals. We take a look at all four of Zuri’s closest friends together with their families and what financial strategies they employ.
It also broaches the subject of peer pressure(especially payment for aso ebi*); building an emergency fund; articulating what it is you exactly want your money to do for you in life; sacrificing comfort; having financially conscious friends with the same ideals who gear you on to financial accountability; setting boundaries in helping family relations; the impact of societal gossip; handling money fears, financial analysis; diligence at work; having a partner who understands financial success; the making of Wills in Nigeria(how it’s seen as a taboo); discussing family securities etc.
Furthermore, the role of employers and other mentors in the society is also considered; the benefit of organizational programs such as WIMBIZ (the largest and most substantial women organization that empowers working women in Nigeria).
Exploring this book, as is the same with other works of literature, you must be conscious of what you’re learning. Some other people can float through the whole experience and end up not realizing the gem of wealth in the book(perhaps just admiring Tsola).
Some of the points well scored in the book:

  • The average wealthy Nigerian has an ayeye** mentality. Upon the death of someone in the book, the family threw a big burial party despite the fact that the deceased’s will had been read and huge debts had been unraveled. Family finances must be discussed. Understand your spouse’s money personality. Is there life insurance? What are the responsibilities of each family member?
  • It teaches you that you should understand investment. Don’t just assume you’re cool because you’ve started investing. What are your investment goals and strategy? What is your risk profile? know the classes of investments that exist and very importantly, speak to an investment adviser or stockbroker.
  • As an entrepreneur, do you have financial records; balance sheet, cash flow, profit or loss statement’? or are you just shining teeth that ”hello I’m an entrepreneur”?
  • Everyone doesn’t have to be an entrepreneur.

”you know leveraging on your set skill to maximize your earning potential doesn’t have to mean starting your own business, right?”

  • What you can do to leverage your earning potential, is to maintain a habit of thinking outside the box and to have multiple streams of income. In essence, not necessarily following the herd mentality that comes from over glamorizing entrepreneurship, if that is not your thing.
  • Look beyond making money, seek to create value, to make an impact.

There’s some humour and general consideration of what it means to live in Nigeria.
I consider this book helpful in that the vibe it gives off is one of the author trying to help the reader. She goes ahead to critically explain even the downside to engaging an investment firm, what questions you should ask etc. She insists no one should dismiss your concerns. In essence, be the boss of your own money.
However, I am not wholly in support of the story’s plotline.
I rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it to anyone on a quest to learning on finances (and you should be!).
Excerpts:

She felt like she was no longer on a career ladder to nowhere…Zuri had discovered she was her own hero

The smart money woman has positioned herself for success. For her, improving her net worth is more important than improving her wardrobe.

”In sub-Saharan Africa, less than one percent are born into wealth, and under ten percent are born into middle class. In general, we are not taught in any formal framework, how to keep money or grow it- basic personal finance skills are difficult to learn. As a result, when a young adult starts earning more than they need to survive, they still end up living from paycheck to paycheck”

”What you deny or ignore, you delay; what you accept and face, you conquer”

”People associate the word budget with scarcity or a reduction in station in life. Therefore budget is a word they’ve come to resent. The truth is budget is something that tells you how to allocate your resources, and it should reflect what you value”

”Your network is your net worth”

”Soji and I never discussed about money without tension. At first, it was normal because that was how I grew up as well. My parents never really discussed money with us or with each other. But now with everything that is going on, I realise Its something we should have discussed even before we got married”

”The cardinal rule is when you invest; don’t invest in anything you do not understand.”

Have you read my post on Finance and perspective? What is your view on managing finances? Have you read this book? Are you interested?
* aso ebi stands for the culture of sewing the same clothes for big events
**Ayeye is a Yoruba word meaning fanfare.
As always,
Love, Debby.

BOOK REVIEW– Bridge To Haven

Title: Bridge to Haven
Author: Francine Rivers
Publisher/Publication date: Tyndale House Publishers Inc./2014
Edition: 1st ed. 
Paper back copy. 459 pages.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-6818-4

What does Haven signify? Literally, it is a place of rest or safety.
In this book, Haven is the name of a town. The book title signifies a place of grace and mercy for each person. Literally, to enter the town of Haven, you must pass through a particular bridge. Abra Matthews found it hard to come to that bridge once again.
Metaphorically, she also found it hard to pass through that redemption bridge which only Jesus provides.
The Story.
Abra doesn’t feel like ‘somebody’. She feels neglected and unloved. She believes she was adopted at age 5, out of a sense of Christian duty, from the couple who had earlier rescued her when she was found abandoned as a day old baby.
With Mitzi though, she feels differently. Old Mitzi shares her taste for music, is fashionable and doesn’t hesitate to give a piece of her mind.
Pastor Zeke has this to think of Mitzi:





Zeke knew Mitzi as a woman of wits and wisdom… Life experiences didn’t always bring wisdom but in Mitzi’s case it brought a great deal more. She said she’s been passionate in sin, but she was even more so in repentance. She had the gift of compassion for outcasts to prove it.


At age17, this growing red-haired beauty gets lured away from the ones who love her to a place of fame- Hollywood.
She think she’s found love but she is in for a rude awakening. She thinks she’s finally become accepted and respected but finds out fame comes at a terrible price.
Review:
I’m afraid of giving spoilers but I find the plot to be predictable in any case. Inspite of this, it’s a very loaded book, with lots of suspense.
I find the root of Abra’s problem to be the thought that she is unloved. Several references were made as to her thoughts of being a castaway even though she was hugely loved.
We get to contrast love and lust. For one, love is patient.
Francine is good with evoking emotions and well, emotions matter greatly.
It’s a lovely and warm read. I think lots of lessons can be gleaned from the book ranging from patience as an attribute of love, to parenting, and life choices. The Story also had to do with the war between North and South Korea and America’s involvement owing to the United Nations.
Francine Rivers brings it as true and as hot as it gets again. I respect the writing process of this book. Francine always appears diligent with her research and I respect that. Fine details of the Hollywood life and fine attention to every character.
The main characters are Abra, Joshua, Pastor Zeke, Penny, Ryan and Franklin Moss. My favourite character is Joshua.
I think this is a good read. I’ll buy this book for every young and ambitious girl with stars in her eyes. I’ll also recommend it to everyone for its central theme which I deduce to be “Love is patient”.
I recommend it very greatly to teenagers and to everyone at large. I rate it 4.0/5 stars.
On the war:










Every soldier who goes looking for comfort, comes back with VD…I have my pocket Gideon bible on me at all times and read it every chance I get. It calms me, gives me hope. Men call me “preacher”, and not in the mocking way they did in boot camp. When death hunts men, they look for God…”

“Being with Gil made Joshua remember the things he’d been taught. “I forgot the rules” he’d addmited to Gil once during one of their early conversations.
What rules?” Gil had asked.

Rule no one: young men die. Rule number two: you can’t change rule number one. I heard it in training, but forgot it in battle
.”

Sometimes God has to destroy in order to save. He has to wound in order to heal”

 As always,
Debby.
Have you read this book? Are you interested in reading this? Do you have another recommendation for share? Pray tell…

26a–BOOK REVIEW

Long time no book review, eh?
I have this condition where my eyes feel so heavy, even when I’ve done nothing but sleep conveniently. I’ve Google searched (why not? this is 2017) and I’ve started praying.
Right now I could just close my eyes and refuse to write this post but then I’d be hard pressed to repeat a post on blogging and consistency.
26a. Can I start by saying I had reservations about reviewing this book. I know that a book review doesn’t mean total endorsement. I also know that appreciation of a book doesn’t mean acceptance of the author’s worldview and all of the book’s message.
However, not all readers know that. Hence my express disclaimer: I do not agree with some of the messages of this book but it piques my interest well enough and I’m willing to review it as a piece of art.
Title: 26a.
Author:Diana Evans.
Publisher/publication date: Vintage books/ 2006
ISBN:978-0-099-47904-8

I love the title. Simple. Enthralling. I first knew of this book when there was a book fair in my school in 2015. I’d gone to Trenchard hall where the book fair held, with my friend. At a certain stall, I picked this book up, glanced at it and snapped it. I didn’t have enough money to purchase it. I simply judged the book by its cover and was impressed (books still get judged by their cover. Forget that English idiom).
Twice, I started reading this book and twice, I dropped it. It was incomprehensible. A world of twin jargon involving Gladstone, hamster, beanbag.
In other words, the book demands your attention. You don’t go in casually. You ask, seek, knock.
The Hunters live in no 26a, Waifer avenue, Neasden. The mother is a Nigerian who constantly battles homesickness and puts cayenne pepper on her Yorkshire pudding. When depressed, she goes into the bathroom for hours, having mental conversation with her mother in an Edo village in Nigeria.
The father, Aubrey, works hard to satisfy the family and on certain nights, he changes character.
The children are older sister Bel, the twins; Georgia and Bessi, and baby sister Kemy who desperately longs to belong to the twins’ inner circle.
It’s a coming of age tale of the twins. 
The book deals with togetherness and separation. Togetherness of a family unit and separation of it. Togetherness of twins and separation.

“and this: Oneness in twoness in oneness- for ever. But how?”

This book touches on identity, culture and roots. Aubrey’s stay in Nigeria is horrible for him and Ida’s stay in England, horrible for her. It questions how far a person’s tradition goes with them

 “Ida had retreated back into her dressing gown as the Sekon Sun had faded. For her, home was not homeless; it was one place, one tree, one heat. She made herself a bubble and It was called Nigeria-without-Aubrey. Her children were allowed inside, Bel on her right, Kemy always on her lap where the lastborn never left, and the twins a little way off, in a bubble of their own. At dinner, Ida sometimes said “pass the salt” in Edo and Aubrey would stab something on his plate; or in the early mornings, she said, ‘at home now, they’re singing.’ She held Edo lessons in Bel’s room on Saturdays, because language was loyalty and Ida was not pleased when Aubrey told her to stop. ‘We’re in England now,’ he said ‘the girls don’t need Nigerian here. They’ll forget It soon enough’…”

It also touches on sexual assault and its reverberating effect; On peer pressure and the loss of innocence; On depression and its every fibre, even the thought of purchasing milk.
One thing that makes this book quite difficult at its end, is that it deals with loss. And no study on loss is ever easy. Loss, is never easy.
It’s reflective of the separation that comes to ties that were meant to bind forever.
Inspite of its solemn theme, lots of pages in the book are exhilarating. I was taken on a ride to Neasden. I understand “it’s good, eve”, “the Apple tree”, “Bessi’s best bed”, “mr hyde”.
I certainly won’t be able to share the good excerpts without revealing too much. We’ll make do with this:

“It was foreign to them, living like this, coming across each other in the playground the way others did, as if they were the same as them, the twinless ones. It felt to them like being halved and doubled at the same time.” 
“Neasden was easier. A little hilly place next to a river and a motorway with nodding trees and one stubby rows of shops. One bank, one library, one optician, one chemist, one chip-chop, one Chinese takeaway, pub, hairdresser, off-licence, cash ‘n’ carry, green grocer and two newsagents, a full stop at each end of Neasden lane”
“It could be the sound of the youngest screaming . Or it could be the sight of the oldest hurt, that makes a woman lose completely the order of things, the sense of past and future and what if, what would happen if.”

It’s a good piece of literature. Diana Evans has a sharp eye that I commend. All the details about Nigeria are credible.

“Very enjoyable, Evans writes with tremendous verve and dash. Her ear for dialogue is superb, and she has wit and sharp perception…a constantly readable book filled with likeable characters; a study of loss that has great heart and humour”
-Independent

I’ll love to have some discussion with someone who has read this book. I judge this to be art because it provokes something that was previously resting.
What are your thoughts? Are you interested in reading this? Have you read this? What can you judge from this review?