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*REVIEW* My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Genre: Fiction
Published: November 20, 2018
My Rating: 2/5

Goodreads Synopsis:
When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other…

                         My Thoughts

This one popped up everywhere! And I mean EVERYWHERE! The hype was so real and I got swayed.

Unfortunate for me.

I found this book unmemorable. Even while reading it, I kept thinking, ‘what’s her name again?’, or ‘oh yeah – that dude.’ There just wasn’t much there that kept me rapt or in belief of Ayoola’s psychopathic tendencies or her sister’s flip-flopping jealousies and momma-hen loyalty. The premise of My Sister, The Serial Killer is attractive enough. (Come on, the name alone stirs intrigue). Oyinkan Braithwaite’s novel tracks the lives of two sisters as they navigate the trials of dating, family and the etiquette of covering up crime scenes.

Ok, ok, I’m being sassy. But really. These characters, (even for sociopaths), were just the worst. One sister’s entitled, actually psychotic and prefers a good stabbing to old-fashioned dumping, and the other is the strange dichotomy of a stabby enabler and resentful big sister. And I have no gripes with an unlikeable character, or 5 – sometimes the unlikeability of a character is the drug of a book. You read on and on because you’re so enamored with the awfulness of them. But that wasn’t the case here – with My Sister, The Serial Killer I was just annoyed. The women were manipulative and petty and the men shamefully one-dimensional. I understand Braithwaite’s embellishment of society’s vanity, but there was an uncanny amount of irrelevancy to these characters and their arcs.

It felt as though the writing style could have been brilliant for the book I had been anticipating to read – something cryptic, full of dark humor and salacious intent. Not this weirdly unremarkable story that didn’t let itself become fully facetted. Admittedly, I finished it up in a day or two and that means something kept me interested enough, but I also attribute the quickness to its shallow nature – there wasn’t much hard-hitting stuff here.

It wasn’t all bad though. The writing itself wasn’t bad. There were moments of clever foreshadowing and I enjoyed Braithwaite’s ability to slip into that darker prose with the perfect amount of attention fed to detailing. But all in all, it just sort of let me down. I love clipped prose and this premise could have been so sophisticated alongside that style, but I felt the execution wasn’t there. It’s a read that’s left me feeling pretty ‘meh’. I guess I’m glad I read it to satisfy the curiosity behind the hype, but otherwise, it’s not one I’ll really recall months from now.

The Fight to Concentrate

We’re a generation all too familiar with instant gratification and of living deep in the delusion of being multitasking phenoms. We’re one of shiny new phones with apps that buzz, ping and glow to announce all manner of distraction. One with a surplus of ‘friends’, ‘followers’ and pressures we create for yourselves out of comparison and self-consciousness.

All the makings of a complex.

We’ve bred ADD and ADHD into ourselves and those to come – an evolutionary adaptation at the whim of technology and modern convenience. Food is a click away, communication quite literally at our fingertips at all hours of the day. Need anything and the internet will answer in access. And if that’s not enough to tempt distraction, we’ve also piled on all our own self deprecating insecurities, the skepticism of older generations and stocked and lit our own fires for aspiring to create something impactful in the world. So it’s no wonder concentration comes and goes so unsparingly. It’s not an easy task to hone in on one thing, to live in a single moment and exercise patience in the times that seem most chaotic.

That said, there are still ways to boost that attention span and give yourself a much-needed break from overwhelming stimuli.

Change It Up

Really as straight forward as it sounds. Move, switch physical locations, relocate. It’s easy to find comfort in the familiar – procrastination in the ‘must-dos’. If you notice you’re efficiently tackling everything but your work, try putting some space between you and all those convenient chores. Concentration comes sometimes by pure force of having nothing else to do.

Try It Out Loud 

Whether reading, writing or buckling under the weight of a work problem, try talking to yourself. Be weird. Embrace the void.

Continue reading The Fight to Concentrate

*Review* The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: February 2018 by Martin’s Press
My Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Synopsis:
Alaska, 1974.
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.

Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.

Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if it means following him into the unknown

At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strongmen and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.

But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.

In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska―a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.

My Thoughts

What a satisfying read! This is my second Kristin Hannah read, (the first being The Nightengale), and I’m starting to get a good feel for her style. The Continue reading *Review* The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

* Inspiration!* – Your October Dose of Pep

A Reminder to Just Keep Writing

I’m taking it upon myself to share some bouts of inspiration with you guys! Every month I’ll post a few of my favorite quotes, photos, and pic-art to hopefully spread some of that (sometimes much needed), motivation to write. If all you get out of this is the thrill of procrastinating another minute before you start, then at least there are worse ways to waste time. Happy Writing!

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” 
― Ernest Hemingway
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“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
― Sylvia Plath,

 

 

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0849ba1ac889a29cf9a896f78e13738d--quotes-about-writing-writing-advice“The scariest moment is always just before you start.”
― Stephen KingOn Writing: A
Memoir of the Craft 

 

Seeking Breadcrumbs

A trickle of stale bread to lead the way – to find one’s way home. There’s no more useless a trick than that of marking a path with edible, highly-popular crumbs of gluten-y goodness. Destined to be sabotaged by everything from birds and squirrels to mother nature herself, you’re competing against a raucous group of scavengers and downpours that’ll wipe out your markers as they fall.

Hansel and Gretal, you done fooled up.
Continue reading Seeking Breadcrumbs

When All Else Fails, Write.

Write when it makes sense. Write when it makes no sense.

Write when you’re dejected and the dam is thick with suffocated vowels. Write when you’ve succeeded; when the good news pours in and accomplishments are ripe. Write when writing is the least of your wants or concerns. Write when you think you’ve deserved to not write. Write when you think you don’t need to write.

Write as the rain falls, then freezes to hail and until that softens to snow and finally melts beneath a bare sky.

Write when you’re sad. When your tongue is weighted by words too bloody with meaning to speak. Write to give them credit, to spoil a wasted plot of silence and make everything real.

Write at dusk, at dawn, within earshot of waves, under a blazing sun, to the sounds of cities and rushing lives. Write when the world spins too fast. Write when it’s slowed to a stop.

Write to explain. Write to distort.

Write for them. Write for you.

Write passages, words, stories, novels, epics. Write to create. Write to breath life into something that’s other. Write to immortalize both fantasy and life.

Write to remember.

Write because it’s right.

Write to taste life twice.

Write because to become a writer is to make, to be astonished by nothing, to celebrate the weird, to pin, to mark, to build, to watch and to collect all life and its maybes with words.

Write to be a writer.

My Year Of Writing: A Reality Check

I’m an infant in the world of publications and story-telling. Young in more ways than one, really. Still small in the world of adulthood and smaller still in that of writers. In just over a year now, I’ve uprooted, reevaluated, reset and reorganized everything – unfortunately for me, in that order.

Looking back, I’m sure that those first few months were direct bullet-points from a ‘what-not-to-do’ list – A verbatim screw up impending foreshadowed from every lifestyle post in existence. So for the sake of all those itching to dive without looking as I did, or even just for the sake of my own reminiscing, here’s the reality of my poorly not planned foray into the world of writing and how you can hopefully bypass my blunders.

The Reality of Uprooting
I’d taken a step that many would applaud, balk at and ultimately praise me as being bold to my face while secretly, and realistically set bets as to when this choice would slap me silly.
I’d quit a job that demanded sixty hours of my life per week so I could pursue writing, but that job had also cushioned that same life financially. With only this vague desire to write still damp with the remnants of a recent dip into the waters of vet school, and nothing but a laptop and a story, I had torn from a system that was definite and comfortable. Peeling away from that job was both liberating and terrifying. The step I had missed here was a hefty one, though.   Continue reading My Year Of Writing: A Reality Check

2016: My Top 5 Reads in a Year of Turmoil

So maybe 2016 was a little bit of a crap shoot for the world. I very intentionally avoid talking politics or scandals or cringe worthy news updates on here because there’s enough of that pressing in on all sides of us. There’s fake news filling our Facebook feeds, anger, disappointment, confusion and fear pulsating everywhere. Right here, this blog of mine, has been my own personal reprieve from all of it. I hope that my readers can know that I feel just as much emotion regarding the events of the world around me as any of you and I have difficulty, not in acknowledging it, but in coping in ways that are still responsible and intelligent. One way I honour this criteria is by encouraging and demanding of myself a constant strive for knowledge.

Reading is one of the most powerful resources we have to bettering ourselves and our responses to the curveballs the world throws our way. There’s so much to learn from the words of others and the incredible insights that they can spark in our own minds. So without further adieu, here’s my top five books that’ve gotten me through this year and promise to be lifetime favourites:

#5. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
18803640.jpg “I think of what wild animals are in our imaginations. And how they are disappearing not just from the wild, but from people’s everyday lives, replaced by images of themselves in print and on screen. The rarer they get, the fewer meanings animals can have. Eventually rarity is all they are made of.
Continue reading 2016: My Top 5 Reads in a Year of Turmoil

Lessons In Writing: How It Changed The Way I Read

Prior to this whole publication thing and before my life changed due a visit from the editing fairies, I read books differently. Once upon a time, you could say I read for entertainment – for pleasure, even. But a lot of that changed after that first traumatizing round of editing that my book went through.

Now, I read critically. I dissect narratives and word choices and examine prose like a fiend. I’m a spy now, infiltrating this secret world of successful authors and gathering intel.  Continue reading Lessons In Writing: How It Changed The Way I Read

Thinking Writing – Banishing the Block

There are elements to writing that can be incredibly frustrating and sometimes flat-out annoying. There’s sleeping limbs and the consequent pins and needles, tingling toes. There’s shoulder tension, neck pain, cramped fingers, tired eyes, paper cuts, ink stains. There’s wandering minds and distracted days. But the absolute worst culprit is writer’s block.

It’s that singularly crippling affliction of the brain that sets out to devastate your page output and leave you the victim of your our doubt filled thoughts while your fingers hover over the keyboard, frozen in deadpan. Writer’s block is just horrible. Absolutely horrible.

So I’ve complied a little list of my tried and tested methods to banish this most pesky of writing alignments:


1. Favourite Author Acknowledgement.

Keep a book you love close at hand at all times. Carry it around with you when you go to write somewhere. Preferably Continue reading Thinking Writing – Banishing the Block