Book Review – Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀


Goodreads Synopsis:

‘There are things even love can’t do… If the burden is too much and stays too long, even love bends, cracks, comes close to breaking and sometimes does break. But even when it’s in a thousand pieces around your feet, that doesn’t mean it’s no longer love…’

Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, and she has tried everything – arduous pilgrimages, medical consultations, dances with prophets, appeals to God. But when her in-laws insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear. It will lead to jealousy, betrayal and despair.

Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 80s Nigeria, Stay With Me sings with the voices, colours, joys and fears of its surroundings. Ayobami Adebayo weaves a devastating story of the fragility of married love, the undoing of family, the wretchedness of grief, and the all-consuming bonds of motherhood. It is a tale about our desperate attempts to save ourselves and those we love from heartbreak.


This is another book I received as an eARC as I thought it would an interesting book to read for the final Book Riot Challenge – “Read a book wherein all point-of-view characters are people of color.”. I was drawn to it by the cover and because I’ve been reading a lot of Nigerian literature recently and wanted to read some more.

I really enjoyed this book, although it’s going to be hard to write a review without spoilers due to the nature of it as it follows Yejide and her struggles with her husband as they try their best to conceive a child. All the characters are really well written and very realistic in their actions. You both like and dislike characters and they’re all very much painted as neither good nor bad, but simply human. The POV alternates between Yejide and her husband, Akin, and so seeing the story from both sides is particularly interesting. The story also jumps around in the timeline from their current struggles, to their courtship in the past and then to over 10 years after the main events of the book. I really enjoyed the story and loved how it ended – especially as the writing was just so lovely to read.

I would definitely recommend this book to those wishing to diversify their reading more, it’s an excellent story focusing on the everyday lives of an ordinary couple and their struggles.


Book Review – The Best of All Possible Words by Karen Lord


Goodreads Synopsis:

A proud and reserved alien society finds its homeland destroyed in an unprovoked act of aggression, and the survivors have no choice but to reach out to the indigenous humanoids of their adopted world, to whom they are distantly related. They wish to preserve their cherished way of life but come to discover that in order to preserve their culture, they may have to change it forever.

Now a man and a woman from these two clashing societies must work together to save this vanishing race—and end up uncovering ancient mysteries with far-reaching ramifications. As their mission hangs in the balance, this unlikely team—one cool and cerebral, the other fiery and impulsive—just may find in each other their own destinies . . . and a force that transcends all.


So, this is another book I got because the one I originally wanted (Redemption in Indigo) wasn’t available and again, I’m super glad I got it instead because I adored this book. I loved the characters, I loved the setting, I loved everything about it.

The Sadiri used to be the rulers of the galaxy but due to an attack on their planet, there are now only a few of them left. A group of refugees settle on the planet Cygnus Beta and are on a mission to find potential wives due to the fact that the majority of the survivors are male. Delarua is a civil servant from Cygnus Beta and is assigned to work with the Sadiri as they travel around the planet to various communities to see how similar they are to the Sadiri, who have strong telepathic abilities, and to find out if they would be willing to consent to be their wives. The story follows the adventures of the small group as they travel around visiting all these groups and the adventures that follows. The plot is not very fast paced, indeed it moves very slowly and focuses more on the relationships between the characters, particularly those of Delarua and Dllenahkh, one of the Sadiri, as they learn more about each others cultures.

Now, the characters in this are all fantastic. I loved them all and they all seemed very well developed with their own goals and personalities. The interactions between them all were great and I enjoyed watching them develop together as a team. One of the characters, Lian, is also gender neutral and it mentions that they may potentially be Asexual however it is not confirmed due to the fact that Delarua just states that it is “none of their business”. I was really pleased to see the inclusion of a potential Asexual character and indeed the way Lian acts throughout the novel does seem to confirm it.

The worldbuilding of this novel was also super interesting and I really enjoyed seeing all the different regions of the planet and the different communities in them. One of my favourites was definitely the group that were having difficulties agreeing on minor points of their culture, so decided to adapt a completely new one together along with a new language and so ended up being a mixture of Celtic fairy folk (They spoke Welsh, but were part of the Seelie Court from Scottish myth).

Due to the slow-paced nature and heavy focus on relationships between characters, I know that this book might not be for everybody. Personally, I adored it and would highly recommend it, however if you’re looking for something fast-paced then this is probably not the book for you. It’s definitely fantastic though and I can’t wait to read more of her books!

Also, as this is set in space it definitely counts as more than 5000 miles from my location for the ReadHarder challenge! (I mean I will be reading other books that are set 5000 miles from my location on Earth, but I adore this one so much that I’m putting it down for the challenge)

Book Review- Sister Mine by Nalo Hopkinson


Goodreads Synopsis:

We’d had to be cut free of our mother’s womb. She’d never have been able to push the two-headed sport that was me and Abby out the usual way. Abby and I were fused, you see. Conjoined twins. Abby’s head, torso, and left arm protruded from my chest. But here’s the real kicker; Abby had the magic, I didn’t. Far as the Family was concerned, Abby was one of them, though cursed, as I was, with the tragic flaw of mortality.

Now adults, Makeda and Abby still share their childhood home. The surgery to separate the two girls gave Abby a permanent limp, but left Makeda with what feels like an even worse deformity: no mojo. The daughters of a celestial demigod and a human woman, Makeda and Abby were raised by their magical father, the god of growing things–a highly unusual childhood that made them extremely close. Ever since Abby’s magical talent began to develop, though, in the form of an unearthly singing voice, the sisters have become increasingly distant.

Today, Makeda has decided it’s high time to move out and make her own life among the other nonmagical, claypicken humans–after all, she’s one of them. In Cheerful Rest, a run-down warehouse space, Makeda finds exactly what she’s been looking for: an opportunity to live apart from Abby and begin building her own independent life. There’s even a resident band, led by the charismatic (and attractive) building superintendent.

But when her father goes missing, Makeda will have to discover her own talent–and reconcile with Abby–if she’s to have a hope of saving him . . .


This was the only book by Nalo Hopkinson that my library had , so I had to get it instead of Brown Girl in the Ring which is what I originally wanted. Turns out, I’m very glad this is the book they had because I adored it, and it’s definitely made me want to read the rest of her books!

The book starts off with Makeda looking at a new place to live as she wants space from her twin, Abby, and because unlike her sister, she has no magic, known as “mojo”. However, the next day it turns out that their father has gone missing from the care home he was in and nobody has any idea where he’s gone.

One thing I really liked about this book was the characters. They were all very diverse in a variety of ways – Abby has one leg shorter than the other and so relies on crutches to get around while Makeda suffers from seizures, a lot of them are queer and of course they’re not white either. Their family, a mix of human and non-human, are also all very interesting ranging from their Uncle, who is literally Death, to their twin cousins who watch over twins. One of the main themes of the book was family and relationships and it was really nice to see the relationship between the two sisters and how they both dealt with their various issues.

The worldbuilding and descriptions in the book are just fantastic. You feel really immersed in the story and despite not having much familiarity with the myths that inspired it, I was still able to enjoy the story. It definitely made me want to learn more about Orishas though as they feature heavily in this book and I feel there were a lot of references that went over my head. Despite that, I still adored the book and would highly recommend it. One thing I should mention is that there is some incest in the book, as that may make some uncomfortable, however it makes complete sense in the book given that it deals with supernatural entities – so it’s similar to that found in the Greek pantheon.

Book Review – Butterfly Fish by Irenosen Okojie


I picked this book up from the library both for #DiverseAThon and because it seemed like a perfect choice for task number 2 of the Read Harder Challenge – “Read a debut novel”. I didn’t know much about it before I started, but the cover really appealed to me and the blurb sounded interesting.

The book focuses mainly on two characters. Joy is a young woman in modern day London, coping with the death of her mother and has received a strange inheritance of a brass head and the diary of her grandfather. Adesua is a young woman from a village in the Benin Empire (now Nigeria) and has just been chosen as the latest wife of the King. She is given a gift of a brass head by him and has to deal with the jealousy of the other wives. The book alternates between the two of them, along with a couple of chapters focusing on Queenie, Joy’s mother, and then also starts sharing entries from the diary. The book is a journey, focusing on Joy discovering more about the history of her family and all the characters are linked together by the brass head.

The writing in this book is an absolute delight to read, the descriptions and choice of language is wonderful and made you want to read slowly and savour it. My favourite character was Adesua and I would keep reading to get back to her chapters. I found it quite slow to start as at the beginning, I was not the biggest fan of Joy but I grew to like her more as the book went on and by the end I was hooked. All the characters are really well developed, including all the side characters like the wonderful Mrs Harris, Joy’s neighbour, and the various settings were fantastic. I really enjoyed reading about Benin and plan to read some non-fiction to learn more about the empire.

This is a book I would definitely recommend, particularly to those readers who enjoy magical realism.

Book Review – Astonishing the Gods by Ben Okri


This is one of the books I managed to pick up during my huge charity shop haul when I went home to visit my family. I picked it up because I already own a book by Ben Okri that I keep meaning to read and this looked a lot shorter and so I felt it would a much better introduction to his writing. It also just sounded magical and had such a beautiful cover I couldn’t resist.

The blurb on Goodreads reads:

From the Booker prize-winning author of The Famished Road comes this bewitching novel. It is a modern fable about the relationship between love, suffering and creativity. Set on an enchanted island, Astonishing the Gods is shot through with the gentle magic of Ben Okri’s imaginative prose.

The book follows the journey of an invisible man, who reaches an island where all the inhabitants are also invisible but in a different way than he is. He has a series of guides to help him navigate the island and eventually attain the same level of invisibility. The book focuses a lot on perspectives and different ways of thinking and believing and throughout it all, it is full of magical descriptions and the text is just beautifully written.

Although I really enjoyed the writing, I was not as big a fan of the book itself although I definitely felt it was worth reading and would still recommend it to others, it’s just not personally my taste. I’m definitely planning on reading more of his books, especially as I’ve heard that The Famished Road is much better than this, but still with the beautiful prose.