My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite – A book review

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite – A book review

I had been meaning to pick up My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite for a long time now, having seen the countless reviews and posts on bookstagram. But after hearing Ms Braithwaite speak (virtually) at the Emirates Litfest this year, I grabbed it immediately. Read my book review of My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite to know more.

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About My Sister, the Serial Killer

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite book review

Book Name: My Sister, the Serial Killer

Author: Oyinkan Braithwaite

Genre: Fiction – Thriller, Drama

Characters: Korede, Ayoola, Tade, Muhtar Yautai

Setting: Lagos, Nigeria

Plot Summary of My Sister, the Serial Killer

Set in the modern day Lagos, Nigeria, My Sister, the Serial Killer opens with Korede helping her younger sister Ayoola get rid of her latest victim’s body. Ayoola tells her it was a self defense, but Korede is not convinced entirely.

Korede, a sincere nurse with a crush on her coworker, the handsome doctor Tade. Her only “friend” is a patient in comatose, to whom she confides about her suspicions about her self absorbed sister, who might be a serial killer.

What happens when Ayoola and Tade fall for each other, and her friend who knows all her deep and dark secrets, is no longer in a comatose? You have to read My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite to know more.

Book review of My Sister, the Serial Killer

I loved the plot and while not being original, I wanted to know more about the sisters and what happens to them. There are some flashbacks that talk about their childhood and their late father.

The chapters are quite short and you can race through the book in a sitting, like I did. But the short chapters made it seem like it was rushed and underdeveloped at places.

The small snippets about their abusive tyrannical father, which offer some glimpse into why Ayoola might be doing whatever she does. And the fact that we may never know the full story made it more interesting for me.

I wanted to like Korede, but unfortunately she seemed too passive about her situation and life in general. On the other hand, I loved reading the social commentary about the modern day Lagos and their inept and corrupt police force.

[wpdiscuz-feedback id=”cl9hemzmnn” question=”Please leave a feedback on this” opened=”0″]My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite is my first book set in Nigeria, is there any other Nigerian books that I should be reading?[/wpdiscuz-feedback]

What worked for me

  • I loved the premise and it had me hooked from the first sentence.
  • The short chapters with cliffhangers got me reading the entire book in a single sitting. My Sister, the Serial Killer is a perfect popcorn fun read!
  • I loved reading about Lagos and Nigerian lifestyle and I will definitely watch out for the author as well.

What may have been better

  • The short chapters made it seem like there was more to the story and it was rushed through.
  • I wanted to like characters but sadly none of them had any character development to start with.

Content warning

Parental abuse

Bottom line

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite is a short fun read that may have not lived up to the hype for me. Nevertheless, it is still a good thrilling read that you can breeze through in an afternoon.

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The One about Navaratri – a Hindu festival: Sunday Musings #97

The One about Navaratri – a Hindu festival: Sunday Musings #97

As I mention recently, this week has been filled with celebrations and traditional food given that we celebrated a nine day (or ten day) long Hindu festival called Navaratri (or Navratri).

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Navaratri (means 9 nights) is celebrated all over India, though the mythological story and reasons behind it differs from region to region.

We (from South India) celebrate this festival to pray to the Goddesses (of education/arts, wealth, and power, respectively) and seek their blessings. This is usually celebrated in a grand manner for the women in the family because this is mostly a matriarchal festival.

We arrange dolls (figurines) on tiers for display during the period and invite other women (from the neighborhood and family) for an evening of snacks and devotional music. Usually, these dolls are at least a hundred years because they are passed over generations.

This is our first to time celebrate Navaratri golu (arrangement of dolls) after moving to Dubai. And sadly, that means all our dolls are newly bought. My mom still showcases 100+ year old dolls at my native. Just arranging the dolls here filled me with homesickness and nostalgia.

Of course considering the current COVID situation, we didn’t entertain many guests and kept the socializing part to the minimum. So did my mother and many of my relatives, in India.

What I read this week

I finally completed reading The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner this week. And that brings me with 4 letters remaining on my A to Z reading challenge.

I am currently reading The Quiet Side of Passion by Alexander McCall Smith. And it is crazy that this is my first ever McCall Smith’s book. I will let you know how it goes for me next week.

What I watched this week

Believe it or not, this is the first time I watched the movie One flew over a cuckoo’s nest. I had been holding on to it for long, because of the “book first” motto.

But I gave in finally, because I don’t have the book and I wanted to watched Nurse Ratched on Netflix. I will let you know how it goes next week.

I also watched HBO’s Third Day and I really enjoyed it.

On my blog

In case you missed the posts from my blog, last week.

Social media for authors – Tips to build your online presence

Social media for authors Featured

10 Best books for your book club

10 Best books for book clubs Featured

Book review of The Kinship of Secrets by Eugenia Kim

The Kinship of Secrets Featured

Another week flies past: Sunday Musings #95

that blindsided me

I will be linking today’s post with Caffeinated reviewer’s Sunday post Meme.

From the Insta-world

Here is what I posted on Instagram during the week. Give me a follow, will you?

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Navaratri golu

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Have you heard of Navaratri celebrations? Are you interested in collecting such figurines? What else is happening these days with you? Let’s talk.

10 Best books for your book club

10 Best books for your book club

I terribly miss meeting my book club and hanging out with friends, thanks to 2020, again! But that has not stopped us from reading books together as a club (and then argue over a Zoom meet) and buddy reads. Since we discovered several gems this year, here is my list of best books for your books club.

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Best books for your book club

I am sure these book suggestions would keep the conversations coming, during your book club meets.

Where the Crawdads Sing Book cover

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say.

Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved.

When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine

Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.

But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living. Ultimately, it is Raymond’s big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. If she does, she’ll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi book cover

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 thousands 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 children 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 captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere Cover

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned–from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren–an enigmatic artist and single mother–who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town–and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Educated by Tara Westover

Educated by Tara Westover - books for your book club

Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.

Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.

Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

Red at the bone

As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony in her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody’s mother, for her own ceremony– a celebration that ultimately never took place.

Unfurling the history of Melody’s parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they’ve paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history.

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The bell jar

The Bell Jar chronicles the crack-up of Esther Greenwood: brilliant, beautiful, enormously talented, and successful, but slowly going under—maybe for the last time. Sylvia Plath masterfully draws the reader into Esther’s breakdown with such intensity that Esther’s insanity becomes completely real and even rational, as probable and accessible an experience as going to the movies.

Such deep penetration into the dark and harrowing corners of the psyche is an extraordinary accomplishment and has made The Bell Jar a haunting American classic.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society—born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island—boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Daisy Jones & The Six Cover

Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six: The band’s album Aurora came to define the rock ‘n’ roll era of the late seventies, and an entire generation of girls wanted to grow up to be Daisy. But no one knows the reason behind the group’s split on the night of their final concert at Chicago Stadium on July 12, 1979 . . . until now.

Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock ‘n’ roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.

Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road. Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.

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The Extraordinaries by T J Klune – A book review

The Extraordinaries by T J Klune – A book review

Who among us would not love reading about superheroes? Well, that was rhetorical! I love superheroes and so does our protagonist Nick Bell. Let’s talk more about The Extraordinaries by T J Klune in my review below.

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About the book

The Extraordinaries by T J Klune Cover

Book Name: The Extraordinaries

Author: T J Klune

Genre: Fiction – Romance, Young Adult

Characters: Nicholas (Nick) and Aaron Bell, Seth Gray, Lola (Gabby) Gibson, Jasmine (Jazz), Oliver Burke, Shadow Star, Pyro Storm.

Setting: Nova City

Plot Summary

Nicholas Bell has the biggest crush on Shadowstar and his long running fanfiction is a proof of that. Shadowstar is one of The Extraordinaries from Nova City who keeps the city safe from his arch nemesis Pyro Storm.

Nick is just an ordinary high school student living with his father who is a cop. In order to gain the attention and respect from his crush, Nick decides that he should become an extraordinary himself, with the help of his reluctant but supportive friends.

Does this doomed plan ever take off? How long would it take for Nick to see the truth forms the rest of the story in The Extraordinaries by T J Klune.

Book review

I can’t think of a book that made me chuckle, roll my eyes and laugh as many times as The Extraordinaries by T J Klune did, in the recent past. Nick being “extra” was so endearing and I just wanted him to be an Extraordinary just for his sake (even though I am sure it would be a terrible terrible idea).

I am glad we have moved on forward from making it all his queerness just the main theme of the book. I strongly believe that books need not be written solely to educate people about LGBTQAI+ and The Extraordinaries passes this test colorfully.

Yet, I learned quite a bit about ADHD and Nick’s issues with dealing them. Disclaimer: All I know about it is from the mainstream – I am not the correct person to say if the portrayal was real.

It might be an awful timing like the author explained here, but Nick’s father (who is a cop) punching a guy and still being on the force didn’t sit well with me. We learn that he was just demoted because his buddies “from the force” stood by him and it is so not fair.

And the whole attitude of “good people sometimes do bad things, and that doesn’t make them bad” was off-putting to say the least, given what the police force has been doing in the USA and even India, (and now Chile).

I wish the author and the publishing team had paid a bit more attention to what is happening in the real world. #BlackLivesMatter

What worked for me

  • I loved how well written and colorful the younger characters were. Undoubtedly, Nick is one of the most entertaining protagonists I have read in a while.
  • The writing is witty and engaging. And a special mention to the author’s sense of humor. I would definitely be reading more of Klune’s books.
  • I loved the portrayal of Nick’s ADHD and it helped me appreciate understanding it better. Additionally. Nick’s queerness is not the main focus of the book, which I loved!

What may have been better

  • I sincerely wish the team should have handled the “cops punching people” situation better.
  • While I love the way the younger characters were written, I felt all the adults sounded and behaved the same (Nick’s dad, the captain, his wife, the nurses and even Seth’s guardians). After a minute, I couldn’t stop seeing the pattern between these characters.

Bottom line

The Extraordinaries by T J Klune is one of the most entertaining books that I read recently. I loved reading it and loved the portrayal of characters with ADHD.

Despite all the positives, Klune’s choice to take the police’s side makes it harder for me to recommend the book to everyone. If you are okay with that, please read The Extraordinaries by T J Klune.

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Virgin River by Robyn Carr – A book review

Virgin River by Robyn Carr – A book review

Virgin River by Robyn Carr is the book chosen for the month of Aug’20 by Maureen‘s book club and it is the first book of the club too. The Netflix series adaptation is already out and I hear it is good. Let’s see how the book turned out for me, alright?

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About the book

Virgin River cover

Book Name: Virgin River

Series: Virgin River #01

Author: Robyn Carr

Genre: Fiction – Romance

Characters: Jack Sheridan, Melinda Monroe, Preacher Joey, Mark, Doc Mullins, Joy, Connie

Setting: Virgin River, CaliforniaThe USA

The plot

Melinda Monroe devastated by the sudden death of her husband, uproots her entire life and career as nurse/midwife in LA and moves to Virgin River, California. When she first arrives, she has been duped by old Mrs McCrea about the town and doesn’t even have a decent place to sleep.

She understands that her move was a huge mistake and can’t wait to leave the town. But an abandoned baby, local women who definitely would love her expertise and a particular ex-marine turned bar owner change her mind.

Jack Sheridan is not one for long term commitments, well until he meets Mel. But how much is he willing to give up for a woman who is still in love with her late husband? Whose baby was it and the rest forms the story of Virgin River by Robyn Carr.

My initial thoughts

I have not seen the Netflix series but I have heard lot of good things about the author and have been meaning to pick one of hers soon.

I love books with a small town set up with zany people with their eccentricities, so Virgin River was a good choice for me. And I really liked the small town characters like the Doc and the friendship between Joy and Connie.

Jack was a great guy, who genuinely liked helping people and contributes to the town and they love him back.

I am not a huge fan of the love at first sight trope, so I had a hard time understanding why and how Jack started falling for Mel.

On the other hand, I loved the way the Ms Carr had handled Mel’s grief and trauma over her loss, and how she overcomes them. I am glad that Mel and Mark had a happy backstory and that had a huge impact on her relationship with Jack.

What worked for me

  • I liked the small town scene and I wish I had met more people. But I guess that should be happening in the other books in the series.
  • It is always a pleasure reading about men who genuinely want to help others and be good to the society. Undoubtedly, I liked Jack, despite having issues with the “insta love” trope.
  • To be honest there are not many conflicts in the plot and it is a book that is straight sweet romance.

What may have been better

  • The graphic teen age sex scene between a 14 and 16 year old was completely unnecessary to the story and should turn off anyone who reads.
  • Motherhood, pregnancy and men “loving” pregnant women form a huge part in Virgin River. While I understand that Mel is a midwife and thus it makes sense, consider this as a warning if it were something you would avoid reading.

Bottom line

If you are looking for a small town romance that has a very few conflicts and is quite fun to read, Virgin River by Robyn Carr should be your pick. Maybe check the Netflix adaptation which I heard was better.

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