Of Blessed Princes: A review

The Blessed Princes: A ReviewBlessed princes book review

The Blessed Princes is a novella by Micheal Mc Portar Mupotaringa and Monalisa Chishato.

This easy read  37 pages long is an intriguing short story that’s next to impossible to give a summary or review of without giving away any spoilers. Blessed Princes explores the whirlwind dynamics of relationships, marriage and cheating.

The book opens with an unlikely chance encounter, a wife meets her husband’s mistress…..thats some real drama right there and of course you will want to know how  the everything gets resolved especially if you throw in that both the the wife and mistress are pregnant and the mistress  is engaged to be married to someone else. You can even tell that from the cover page art… What a tangled web they weave.

The book title is curiously interesting but you will have to read it to for yourself, a book gotta have its mystery…. and of course a cliff hanger at the end…..

Its way too short to totally do justice to the intricate dynamics of relationships, the lies, deception and the secrets entangled and woven into the fabric of our interactions. A few continuity errors which could have been easily fixed by fleshing out the plot also jar the reading experience of an otherwise interesting way to spend a few minutes of your life seeing what the plot unravels.

A link to where you can download the book The Blessed Princes

 

Monalisa Chishato and Mcpotar

In an interesting aside, the co-authors begun working on this project just after they started dating bu the book got published a week after they broke up one would wonder if it were an intricate publicity stunt….They say it was not but of course thats what anyone behind a publicity would say

“No it’s not a publicity stunt but yes it’s an opportunity.”

~Michael Mupotaringa

I guess that means dont hold your breath waiting for a sequel to the cliffhanger ……

~B

PS would you date your co-author?

Day 8 of my blog everyday challenge themed Africa: Stories From Home

Photocredit mcpotar.com

 

 

 

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Of Coffee With Lydia and Girls With The Sky In Their Eyes

Coffee With Lydia and Girls With The Sky In Their Eyes

If you were having coffee with me, I would be happy to introduce you to writer, poet and blogger Lydia Chiseche and her book of poetry For Girls With The Sky In Their Eyes.

For girls with the sky in the eyes

B: Hello Lydia, a pleasure to have you here, first question Tea or Coffee?

L: Most definitely, Tea

B: What would your ideal coffee date be like?

L: At my favourite teahouse, on a warm and sunny August day

B: Describe for us your perfect writing environment

L: I can write anywhere; but possible the perfect environment for me is in the moment where it would be most inappropriate for me to write. There is just something about doing what you aren’t supposed to be doing which inspires me

B: How long have you had a blog, are you a blogger?

L: I do…or, I did. I started blogging consistently in 2016; it was poetry for the most part, and then branched off to think pieces on different issues. It was only recently when I decided to be real with myself and said I’m not a writer of current events, but a dreamer of things made up in my head. My blog pages are still open, they just have not seen some love in a while.

B: For Girls With The Sky In Their Eyes; what does  the title mean; where did that come from?

L: This must be the most difficult question I’ve received on the book so far.

I always knew that this was a collection directed towards girls….but men and boys are also encouraged to read it! For me, the sky is a representation of so many things; hope, limitlessness, the world, heaven

So…it’s a representation of those who have a steady eye on hope despite whatever is going on around them.

B: Why did you release it as an e-book?

L: Truth be told, I was afraid; I was afraid of the reception, of the questions I would get…I was afraid no one would read it.
I was finished with the final proof by November 2017, and I put the release off to January. January came, and I put it off to March, and so on. By the time April came around, I knew that if I waited any longer, I would never release it.
So, the e-release happened; and I chose the e-platform because there is no really turning back from it, and at least a bunch of unread books won’t be looking back at me *laughs*
A paperback version will be out in October this year.

B: I read it, finished it then read it again, its beautiful, its touching, its haunting. Whose story is it, is it simply made up poetry? Who did you write it for?

L: Wow.. thank you so much. I honestly did not know I was writing a story until nearly halfway through the body when the ending was so clear…and then that’s when i scrapped the first draft and began to write it differently.

It started as a story of one girl; the Girl who saw Sky. But then it ended up being a story of the girls and women around her; so, by the end of it all we had the Bride, the Women, the Other Sister, Mother- once, Mother- a second time, etc.

I’ve always been drawn to stories which had female characters in the leading roles…and not just female characters, but female characters that are flawed, complicated, nuanced, real.

So, it’s every woman’s and girl’s story. I based each scene on something that has happened before; either to me….or to girls and women I know, or heard about. It is our story.

B: I know this an unfair question but ……Which one is your favourite poem and line from the book?

L: This is quite the unfair question indeed
Push to shove…I’d perhaps say my favourite poem is the last one (I did not title that on purpose)- this is because I am a fan of callbacks…and I feel like that poem sort of wrapped the entire collection together.

B: For me the most intriguing was the Dear God series of letters. Its relatable, I have even asked similar questions…… Do you think there’s a plan for all THIS? *gestures hands grandly to encompass everything*

L: Sometimes, I think everything is by design…like some elaborate domino effect. Then other times I think everything is a mistake. At the end of it all, I get back to truly believing the design theory of things. I think there is a plan…whatever God’s plan is, and however mildly sadistic it may be *nervous laughter*, I’m pretty sure it will all have meaning.

B: Allow me to quote  you:

God is strange. He takes on so many faces. To

some, he’s vengeful, returning sacrifice with

blood and fire. To others, he’s loving, patient, and

kind. To some, he’s on the sidelines, watching

until he gets bored. He forgives even those that

won’t forgive themselves, like the Women.

To me, God is the gust of wind in the middle of

an August storm, God is the tiny crack in the

building they said was indestructible. God is

nowhere, and everywhere. To me, She is

beautiful

B: How has your book of poetry been received?

L: Oh my gosh! The reception has been overwhelming…it is more than I could have expected. I have people asking me questions, quoting my work….it is such a wonderful, humbling feeling. The reception has been so far mainly local….and hopefully the work will be able to reach a wider audience with time.

B: Any final words to those who can’t forgive themselves?

L: It’s difficult to get into the head of someone else and see through their eyes the things they feel are unforgivable. So, I honestly don’t know what I can say that would be enough.
I think Time; time may not completely heal someone, but it sure does change their circumstances in one way or another. So, let them give it time.

B: A few words to fellow sisters out there

L: It is so important to remember that you are still capable of love. And this also goes to the brothers. You are allowed to love, and be loved without fear of what happened to you, or what you did in your past.

B: Any shout outs to people out there, do it like you are doing it for TV.

L: This is so exciting! Okay
So, first of all I want to shout out my best friend Miriam; ours is a special friendship
My sisters, my friends Ruth, and Grace who read proof after proof. I want to shout our Itati, the crew at Lusaka Writer’s Room…and the Women; I cannot mention them by name but this book would not be what it is without them.

B: What’s next?

L: I am underway with my second collection…I am yet to title it. Will it be linked to For Girls With SKY In Their Eyes? I’m yet to see

B: last Question, what is the weirdest question anyone has ever asked you about your book?

L: Have I been asked difficult questions? Yes. Many. I am yet to be asked something I could say is a weird question.

B: Thanks Lydia, you have been a star.

L: Thank you so much for having me.

BIO:

img_0497-1.jpg

Lydia Chiseche is poet and writer based in Lusaka, Zambia. She is one of seven children, and is a self-proclaimed daydreamer. When she is not writing, she works as a Banker, and supports a few philanthropic projects.

LINKS:

Twitter: @LydiaNgoma

Instagram: lydiangoma

Blog: EyeWoke

BOOK DOWNLOAD LINK:

Of The Gold Diggers: A book Review

Guest Post: A Book ReviewThe gold diggers Sue Nyathi

Gold Diggers 

We all know our final destination but we have no idea what will cross our path as we journey” is testament to the latest instalment from the Bulawayo born writer Sue Nyathi. Titled “Gold  Diggers”, one would mistake the title and its cover for a novel about women and men who dig  for the finer things in life. However once you open the book you learn that it is about several Zimbabweans from different walks of life who embark on a journey to the “City of Gold”.

The Gold Diggers a novel by sue nyathi

Set in Johannesburg, the writer journals the various experiences of fellow Zimbabweans who sought for a better life in Johannesburg during the 2008 economic demise.  For most of the characters in the book, hope and the itch to realise their dreams propels them to  pave their way in the  city and they soon discover that there is more to the city than its beautiful skyscrapers.

The writer explores the question that often hangs in the air. “What does one need to endure in order to thrive in an unknown land?” This question opens a Pandora box of themes namely sex work, human trafficking, family disintegration, xenophobia, illegal border jumping and resilience. Through these themes, this book allows you to see the faces behind the headlines, the spirits and souls behind the stories; the reader learns that the victim of xenophobia has a name, the illegal border jumper is that unemployed graduate who wants a better life and yes even your own kin can turn their back on you when desperate.

In this book the writer removes the blinders and allows the reader to see the struggles of being an immigrant in a foreign land; the good, the bad and the nasty and to acknowledge its effects on the family that’s left behind,…..”For those left behind ,bonds withered and the only connection they had with loved ones was the foodstuffs and letters brought by the malaitshas” (sp)

As I reached the ending I realised the “gold” is subjective to each being, it is there but the journey to the pot is a trial in itself and that we need to be a bit kinder to each other its the least we can do with what we face.

A simple fast-paced read which begs the reader to realise that no matter where you are and who you are, fate awaits but before then a journey ought to be taken to meet fate.

 

 

Guest Book Review by Melody Chingwaru

Melody Chingwaru Book review Gold Diggers

Bio:

Melody Chingwaru is a book lover, avid reader, soapie fanatic and the editor of Untitled263 . She tutors French and Portuguese.

You can find her on twitter: @melching91

 

 

 

 

Of Sworn To The Depths Of Inyangani

Sworn to the depths of Inyangani

Sworn into the depth of inyangani

is a short novel, a collabowriters project by four authors Lindiwe Dhlakama, Takatso Sibanda, Rejoice Moyo and Banabas Karuma. .

The collabowriters project is a creatively innovative project which brings together different writers who are you doing today then challenged to create a work of fiction one chapter at a time.

Writer A does first chapter, Writer B reads the
first chapter and composes chapter 2, Writer C reads A and B and
builds Chapter 3 and so on……..

Sworn to the depths of inyangani Published in 2018 by Multimedia Box, Zimbabwe and made possible by support from various partners including British Council, Zimbabwe German Society

Sworn to the depths of the Inyangani is an African Fantasy work of fiction based on the myths and folklore of the Inyanga Mountains.

The Inyanga Mountains found on the Eastern part of the country have long since had an air of mystery which this story explores in this YA Fantasy where a young lad Elisha struggles to find balance between his Catholic religion and the mysterious world of the old ways, tradition and the secrets his parents have kept from him, secrets that now haunt his dreams because the past always catches up……

Sworn to the depths of the Inyangani, takes you to the depths of the Inyangani with its sacred healing pools and mermaids who spirit away people, never to be seen again and sometimes a chosen few come back, with healing abilities and a supernatural understanding of the world around, and where a past wrong if not corrected might have fatal consequences….. .

I love this book and read it at a time I have been thinking of how we are losing certain legends and lores from our culture, the unwritten myths that the modern world has no place for, maybe they are only that, legends; maybe they are a more but we shouldn’t let them fade into no more than barely remembered curiosities.

I never did try to figure which author wrote which part but in some chapters the were rather jarring differences in the story telling and some continuity issues where a chapter would begin on a different track leaving empty gaps in an otherwise captivating plot. Well I guess considering it was the work of four different people, it’s not unexpected that sometimes the difference would show.

It’s a short story which I wish could have been a bit longer to do justice to some aspects and flesh out some one dimensional characters that felt a bit rushed.

Still I loved the concept and I am tempted to start a collaborative blog post project… who is up for challenge?

~B

Of House of Stone Book Review

House of Stone

House of stone

House of Stone is a book by Novuyo Tshuma first published 2018 in Great Britain by Atlantic Books.

House Of Stone might be a work of fiction but it’s premise is based on real events from the history of Zimbabwe; the struggle for independence and the mostly untold, unwritten, unspoken and barely confessed about Gukurahundi Massacre……

The main character Zamani, is a young man, an orphan with a desperate need for a family of his own, a father and mother to call him son, and to chronicle the history of his surrogate parents in an attempt to recreate himself with a new past.

As he finds out the past from his surrogate family you get a glimpse of what might have been experienced during the Zimbabwean struggle for independence, the falling out of comrades in arms in the post independence era which led to the Gukurahundi massacre and the infamous farm invasions that dispossessed settler farmers………….

This is the first book I have read which touches on the Gukurahundi killings which were a near genocide decimation of the Ndebele people. For the longest time this dark period of our history has been buried and never outright referred to as if by some collective amnesia it would be like it never happened and even now 35 years later it’s still a triggering topic. When you reading this book you will be able to relate to why the people who experienced these atrocities never got closure nor outright talk about it………

Novuyo manges to capture the essence of the past without turning the book into a dark and heavy read with the story unfolding from Zamani’s perspective as it his related to him and of course you are on a dizzy ride trying to figure Zamani out, since the rest of the characters are spelt out for you but Zamani, Zamani, Zamani, what can I say read the book……

~B

Of The Hairdresser Of Harare Review

 

The hairdresser of Harare by Tendai Huchu

hair dresser of harare Tendai Huchu

The hairdresser of Harare is a story about. .. ..well a hairdresser in a hair salon in Harare, Zimbabwe; but not only that, it is also a story that navigates the socio-economic and political dynamics of Zimbabwe set in the hyper-inflatory era of 2008.

It’s strange reading this book 10 years later from when it’s set and seeing how things have changed and yet stayed the same.

The Hairdresser of Harare is peppered with colourful characters whom you experience from the perspective of the main character Vimbai who reigns like a queen in MaKhumalo’s Hair Salon, until a position for a new hair dresser opens up and Dumi enters the picture then everything gets tangled up into an unlikely love story……..

I loved how the book captures the duplicitous nature of society having one set of standards other people expected to live up to and another for yourself, mixed together with the judgement, through whose glasses we peer at the world…….

Chapters in the book end with a predictive statement which is a highlight of what comes next, at first I found it interesting but after a couple of chapters; it stops being cute as it felt at times like a spoiler; the way it forced me to start anticipating the story, aspects of it wound up disappointing compared to how I imagined would unfold, and how it took away the element of surprise as you already have been primed to see it coming and you justing wait for the other shoe to drop……

The book is easy to read although it has a few colloquial phrases and slang words in the Shona language which are relatable to Zimbabweans but jarring for non-Shona readers and without a glossary at the end, well you simply have to figure out from the context of the italicized words that this is probably a greeting or better yet make friends with someone who speaks the language……. I can be your friend 😂 😉

~B

Of Beasts Made Of Night: A Review

Beasts Made Of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi

Beasts made of midnight

For the fantasy lovers

Beasts made of night is a book set in a strange world where mages can cast sin out from people and the sin takes the shape of a beast:

“Sin made into living, breathing flesh by dark magic”

The Aki or Sin Eaters either devour or die trying, to absolve the sin so royals, nobles, and those who can afford, get to walk around pure and free; while the Aki carry the permanent marker of the sin they devour, as a tattoo of the beast on their skin. Sins are written on their bodies until the pain becomes too much and they go mad or crossover.

“Sin-beasts are shadows, beasts made of night. And an aki is like a ray of sunlight that comes down from the sky and shatters the sin, kills the shadows.

This fantasy novel explores dynamics of society, the difference between those with and those without and how some customs and beliefs, are simply a tool to keep those rich richer and those without, well less without…….

And in between all that drama the book is also a coming of age story, the main characters are simply young people trying to find their way and maybe love or at least somewhere to belong.

And why it wont score a perfect hundred, first of all it’s rather slow paced, (well it could be because of setting up the awesome world building so you get to understand the land of Kos) and then the time-frames sometimes get blurry, time passes and it’s a bit hard to figure out if it’s been a day a week or months after. Then when the pace picks up everything starts rushing to The Ending. The book ends, just when everything finally starts to get really interesting, this book feels like drawn out intro for the real fun which begins in the next book, maybe………

~B

PS the sequel is coming out October 16 2018…………
Crown of Thunder

Crown of Thunder

 

Photo Credit PenguinTeen

Of Kintu: A Review

Book Review

Kintu By Jennifer Mukumbi

Kintu by Jennifer Makumbi

Kintu is a novel by Ugandan author Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi. First published by Kwani Trust, Nairobi Kenya in 2014 after winning The Kwani Manuscript Project in 2013 then published by Transit Books in 2017; then in March 2018 awarded (alongside seven others) for the Windham-Campbell Prize for how Kintu:  “opens up a bold and innovatory vista in African letters, encompassing ancient wounds that disquiet the present, and offering the restitution to be found in memory and ritual

“This prize for me is like having been working without pay for a long time and then someone comes a long and says, ‘Will a salary for the past ten years do?‘ Then you’re left speechless.”

~JENNIFER NANSUBUGA MAKUMBI

Kintu by Jennifer Makumbi

The name Kintu (pronounced with a soft ch sound as in chin; ChinTu) might come from the legend of the first man to walk in Buganda just like Adam in the garden of Eden yet it passes down to the fictional central character in the book, Kintu and lives on in various forms, as we follow several generations of his progeny from precolonial times to the modern day.

Kintu is a fictional novel but the history, culture and traditions portrayed are as real as any tale a grandparent has told, around a warm fire in the cold night; tales of our ancestry, tales never forgotten, because to forget is to lose your roots…..

The book is unapologetically Ugandan, written in context for Uganda and reading it one gets offered, a rare perspective, of how the past, becomes the present, real and imagined.

If you are not Ugandan, this is book won’t be an easy read. There are phrases whose meaning you won’t quite understand, you will get names wrong and trying to navigate this epic multi-character African story; where siblings can be cousins and parents not parents; through several generations of lineage, in which some of the same names keep coming back and others have more than one name….. (I would suspect even if you are Ugandan  keeping track of the storyline) is quite a chore but in the end, it’s a worthwhile journey, you finish the book with a rich understanding of Uganda and by extension Africa’s complicated journey.

Reading this book reminded me somewhat of reading Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell the way souls are linked across time and space.

Though Jennifer Makumbi says her book is not a feminist work, her book delves into aspects of patriarchy and paternity; showing up its fragility, illusion of control, and the roles society imprisons itself.

The book also explores mental health, characters battle depression, schizophrenia, and psychosis. If mental health problems were caused by the supernatural, then in this book mental illness seems to travel along Kintu’s kin like its a blood curse…..

…badly wired, short-circuited, fuse-blowing mental kind of madness….

Kintu is a story about how far you will go to find your roots and sometimes your roots find you no matter where you travel.

From the Kintu Introduction by Aaron Brady:

History as it’s written down in books is one thing, but history as it’s lived is another.
how the past recedes into the background as we race irrevocably forward….

This is Kintu: the story of how the old pasts are forgotten so that new pasts, new families, and new nations can be remembered into existence…..

Kintu was written, then, for people for whom the name Kintu means something. Now you are one of those people.
Good travels. Kulika o Lwera.
-Aaron Bady

~B

PhotoCredit: Brittle Paper

Of Bare: The Blesser Game. A Review

Book Review

A book review: Bare

#TheBlesserGame #TheBreedingOfAnUnderDog

The breeding of an underdog

Bare: The Blesser Game is a coming of age fairy tale, no it’s not a fairytale, it’s about how the real world eats and spits out naive souls…

The Blesser Game follows the as yet unspoken of fundamentals of The Blesser, Blessee relationship. You know, when a rich usually an older male, spoils rotten a younger usually female (also known as Slay Queens), in return for a life of pampered luxury in exchange for sexual favours, maybe even dignity and before you know it your soul……

Jackie Phamotse Bare

The novel Bare follows the story of Treasure Mohapi’s journey from the her childhood, in the turbulent post apartheid era, hailing from mining town of Westonaria where her father has sweated to move them from Soweto.
Treasure’s father barely makes ends meet and carries around a dark temper with his wife being on the receiving end. Treasure dreams of one day living “The Dream” like in The Devil Wears Prada. Well be careful what you wish for, sometimes the devil wears a million dollar suit and might be a government minister even.

There is no fairy Godmother in this story but there’s a character who could easily be a Godfather, or a minister of finance as Blessers are known.

Being blunt about it The Blesser phenom is just a way to put lipstick on the pig that is predatory behavior by the privileged.

Jackie Phamotse’s Bare is a novel reminiscent of Jackie Collins novels but instead of being in the larger than life Hollywood drama, Bare is set in the glitzy Sandton streets of Johannesburg, with its the shadowy world of The Hockey club, a League of the filthy rich.

Jackie Phamhotse has a story a tell and she tells it in this book which is a fictionalised biography, she mentions during book launch pressers that aspects of this book are from her real life experiences and others loosely based on the lives of all the victims of sexual predators to whom this book is dedicated:

“You are nobody until someone kills you, then you become a story that others
call history.”

Jackie Phamotse #TSAON3 Trending SA

Each chapter in the book begins with a different quote, sometimes they are a clue on how the story unfolds, other times, seem just like a wise quip the author picked up from her family and friends.

you see a girl dressed to say…
No one tells me what to do!
You know someone once told her what to do.
– Jennifer Michael Hecht

The Blesser Game is not the best written book I’ve read neither is it the worst, Jackie gets my points for graphically telling a story,  an elephant in the room, the things that happen behind the closed bedroom doors of the rich and powerful. At a book launch interview Jackie even hinted that a government minister, whom she would not name, tried to block the publishing of the book.

I feel the book has some awkward sentence construction and expressions which jar one away from the story, but overally its a book one must read and get one’s fellow females to read especially those who want to be slay queens, live jet setter lives with flashy social media pages where they flaunt their swag.

The book feels incomplete, like there so much more left unsaid and guess what Jackie is working on sequel, maybe then will get to learn more of the infamous Hockey Club which is only given a glancing mention. The Hockey Club is a gentleman’s club of millionaires and not really about hockey or sports; although golf seems the interaction medium for initiation…… Is it a cult? Who knows; I don’t know?

WOMEN, FIND YOUR VOICE AND LIVE WITHIN YOUR POWER!
You are enough.
Jackie Phamotse

~B

This might not be the best Mother’s Day gift but its a story every mother must read and get for her daughter, her sister, her niece her aunt and her friend

 

Photo Credit: Trending SA #TSAON3

Of A Book Review: Children Of Blood And Bone

My go to book genre is Epic High Fantasy. Why? Because it’s an escape and I love how it addresses “issues” without actually calling a spade a spade… In the way folklore stories teach you about humanity whilst telling you of talking animals……

Just as I got to the end of my last fantasy book series The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson:

I happened to ask suggestions on what to read next and Mable suggested Children of Blood and Bone. Coincidentally a friend who was also reading the Stormlight Archive was going to read that book next…..

If you know me by now you’ll know when the universe seems like its sending me a signal I go where it leads….

Right now the universe is telling you if you haven’t read Tomi Adeyemi’s book what are you waiting for?

My favourite thing about Children of Blood and Bone is that, well, it’s fantasy but not only that, it’s set in Africa, with African characters based upon the author’s own Nigerian roots and Yoruba lore.

On the surface, Children of Blood and Bone is the story about a quest to bring back magic to the mythical kingdom of Orïsha.

“One day magic breathed. The next, it died”

The Divîners who have distinct white hair are left without their magic, powerless to defend themselves from a King determined to eradicate the whole lot of them…….

If I was asked to name the story I would have called it: The Prince, The Princess and The Reaper. The plot unfolds through three different character viewpoints whose perspectives you get to be intimately familiar with and come to understand their actions…..

Children of Blood and Bone is a story of survival in an oppressive system, when the difference between upholding the rule of law and tyranny is simply the uniform your enforcers wear, when the colour of your hair changes whether people fear you or hate you and how all that fear and hatred turns to violence.

This book is about way more than what it is about, as you journey 500+ pages across the land of Orïsha with Zélie

Children of Blood and bone is a story of hope and perseverance.

They killed my mother.

They took our magic.

They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.

From the author’s note

Although riding giant lionaires and performing sacred rituals might be in the realm of fantasy, all the pain, fear, sorrow, and loss in this book is real.

“Abogbo wa ni ọmọ rẹ nínú j àti egungun.”
“We are all children of blood and bone.”

~B
PS Children of Blood and Bone, is the first book of three in the Legacy of Orïsha Series by Tomi Adeyemi, when you get to the end you start looking up the author to see how soon the next book is out because……. I went out of my way to not include spoilers in this review 😂

Also there’s a movie coming along!!!!!!!