Harmattan and the holiday season is upon us, and I think it is the perfect time to snuggle up and find some new reads.
For the past few days, I’ve been on a binge reading spree.
First of all, I’d like to say a prayer of thanks to the book gods for helping me discover some new Nigerian authors.
Been a while since I read this much, because I’m old-fashioned when it comes to books and I prefer the sturdy feel of a book in my hands to reading from a phone. But right now, no such luck.
I did almost all of my reading this time using the Okada books app on my Samsung phone. I did read the reviews though, before shelling out my hard-earned scarce money to buy the books.
In the wise words of Abraham Lincoln, “My best friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read”. You know I’m your best friend, right? So I’m sharing a list of my top 5 favourite books I read this season, in no particular order.
5. QUEEN OF ICE BY AMINAT SANMI-KAMAL
Mo, a princess, survived a rape attempt after her father rescued her. However, life wasn’t the same with her after that. She shut out completely and refused to trust or love again. Society did not take time to name her Queen of Ice. Even without anyone trying to find out why she suddenly became cold.
To thaw her frozen heart, Mo must journey several centuries back to meet the real Queen of Ice. A woman with extraordinary powers, a woman who was different, a woman society misunderstood. A woman who just like Mo had loved and lost.
Will Mo learn what true forgiveness and love means? or will she let the only man who truly loves her genuinely walk away, while her business consumes her completely?
This is a tale of love entwined in the lines of the past awaiting freedom in the present.
Amina through the protagonist Ademolawa depicts the psychological trauma that rape/near rape victims go through and how they always first consider suicide as an escape from stigma.
I loved that as opposed to the usual flashback techniques employed by a lot of writers, Amina made her protagonist read a story to allow her readers travel through the history of the original princess, Ademolawa who has supernatural ice power and was the first Queen of Ice.
The book is available on Okada books. The author Aminat is also a blogger. Yayy! You can check out her personal blog at www.aminatawastories.com. I just did, and trust me, it be lit.
4. REBIRTH BY JULIANA OLAYODE AKA TOYO BABY OF JENIFA’S DIARY
Rebirth is a story of thriving in the midst of hardship. It is rightly subtitled, from Grass to Grace. Juliana Olayode tells of the many hurdles she had to surmount in becoming one of the most sought after actresses in Nollywood.
From hawking on the streets to contending with sexually abusive neighbours to dropping out of school to failing at several auditions, she fought for relevance.
This book is one that resonates with everyone that seeks to be more; dissatisfied with being ordinary. Juliana did not hold back in sharing her failures, her struggles, fears and accomplishments in this riveting telling of her life’s journey.
It took me about 3 hours to finish reading the book, but it was well worth the time. The book had me laughing, crying, cringing and laughing all over again.
I don’t want to post any spoilers, so you can go get it on Okada books. You can also click the link in her bio @rebirthbyjulianaolayode to download a free copy.
3. TENDERFOOT BY NOYA SEDI
Tenderfoot is a book that follows the first year of a pampered upper middle-class girl in a Northern University. However, such a simple description does no justice in explaining the themes this book delves into.
Do you like character-driven, slice of life coming of age stories with relatable protagonists? Do you like your fiction with a healthy dose of social commentary that questions and deconstructs the fallacies and contradictions of modern day society?
If you answered yes to any of the above,then Tenderfoot is the book for you. Here, the main character learns from experience and matures without reducing the supporting characters to plot devices; here, society is called out without the ‘soapboxing’ or heavy-handedness we see in too many literary works.
Tenderfoot doesn’t impress moral lessons on its readers, this book never tries to tell you what to think, rather, it lays all the cards on the table and forces you to make a choice.
Interesting, funny, relatable. University is a different world on its own (especially if you live in the school hostel), and Noya brought this to life in Tenderfoot.
All the characters were familiar and authentic. We all had that hostel mate (Delilah) who went from bucket to bucket stealing a bowl of water, and of course there was Blessed the ‘spirikoko’ who was always inviting Onome and her friends to church whilst sleeping with Dr. Attairu, their lecturer.
I loved that she didn’t try to paint Onome and Shamar as some kind of saints.
I totally enjoyed it, and even when I read the last page, I kept turning the blank end pages. I just didn’t want it to end.
Tenderfoot is available on Okada books.
2. 29, SINGLE AND NIGERIAN BY NAIJA SINGLE GIRL
Edikan is naive, materialistic, incredibly thirsty and bordering on delusional. This lady has nothing going for her and is completely unprepared for ‘adulting’. You would think the reverse would be the case, considering her background, but it turns out growing up in poverty doesn’t necessarily make you realistic.
This book is absolutely hilarious, but it’s not all fun and games and in the midst of the humour, the author touches on some serious issues. Like the experiences of unemployed graduates in this current clime, with unscrupulous people looking to swindle you at every point, everybody’s obsession with marriage in this country and the patriarchal system that dictates that a woman is nothing if she doesn’t have a man.
When I first saw the title, 29, Single and Nigerian, I had a clear inkling of what I was expecting from this book.
29, Single and Nigerian, gives a clear and relatable account of what it means to be a single 20-something year old Nigerian woman, living in Nigeria. From her experiences with her strict disciplinarian aunt whilst growing up (I feel like we all have that one aunt), her NYSC experience, her endless job hunt as a graduate, and her love life. Her problems are familiar. Almost 30, unemployed and unmarried. God forbid!!
The author goes by the name Naija Single Girl and she also blogs at www.naijasinglegirl.com. In her hands, this story of growing up poor and struggling to find a job becomes not just relatable, but vividly familiar and hilarious.
I especially loved the ending part.👇👇
” The post was splattered with photos of my birthday party. In the last photo, I was captured covering my face with my hands to shield my eyes from the camera flash. My position made my cleavage visible. The post had eighty-nine comments and I proceeded to read all of them. The first of them read, Ashawo, stay there and be exposing your sagging breasts at 30. Better go and look for who will marry you if you know what is good for you.”
Buttressing the reality of the society we live in. A society in which a woman is nothing if she doesn’t have a husband.
The book is available on Okada books and Kindle. I only have the e-book though. Just in case you were thinking of getting me a present, the hard copy is needed in my life right now. Sow a seed bruva. Thanks in anticipation.
1. LOVE, REMEMBER ME BY BERTRICE SMALL
This is my favourite book of all time. I’ve had a love affair with this book since 2007, and it doesn’t look like I’m gonna be falling out of love with it anytime soon.
Love, Remember me is set in the times of Henry Tudor. The court of Henry VIII offers an unending supply of plots and counterplots.
The heroine is Nyssa, daughter of Blaze Wyndham, one of Henry’s former paramours. Nyssa has been brought to serve the Queen Anne, Henry VIII’s fourth wife.
But no one pretends that Nyssa merely goes to serve the Queen. “Once you find a husband, you will marry and live happily ever after. That is the whole purpose of your coming to court.”
When Henry had his marriage annulled, because the Queen could not meet the insatiable desires of the bawdy King, lovely, spirited Nyssa soon catches the eye of the King, along with Catherine Howard.
Catherine’s uncle, an already powerful duke, recognizes the power he will gain if his niece becomes the next Queen of England, and so he arranges for Nyssa to appear compromised by his bastard grandson, Varian de Winter.
The duke’s plan succeeds, and Nyssa and Varian are married off and they begin their love life together, enjoying great sex (the sex scenes are bomb) and eventually great love. Sounds like the perfect happy ending, right?
Nyssa and Varian are forced back to the royal court based on Queen Catherine’s order, where they again become involved in the dangerous intrigues that surround the King.
By creating a hero who is related to Catherine and a heroine who is a friend of Catherine, Bertrice Small created a reason for focusing on Catherine, her relationship with the King, her imprisonment in the tower, and the time prior to her death.
Beyond being about the romance between Nyssa and Varian, the book told about the life and wives of King Henry.
Okay, enough spoilers already. Go read the book.
Its available on Kindle and Amazon. Thank me later!
There we go, guys. Have you read any of the books on my list? What did you think of it? Do you have any books you think I might like to read that you can recommend? Do drop your comments. Y’all know I love to hear from you.