June Wrap Up: #LipglossmaffiaReadingChallenge…

Hi Guys!

Welcome back to the book review category of the Lipglossmaffia blog. This will be my first blog review in almost three months and I have missed you all so so so much.

I would go into greater detail of the past months in the post tomorrow, so watch out for that. Today is purely to catch up on books I’ve read since January. What a joy it has been.

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I challenged myself to read 69 books this year and currently, I have read 29, Goodreads tells me that I am 4 books behind schedule *laughs in fast reader* If this was 2017, I was have read 69 books already by now but, I’m in a new job that involves a lot of research, so by the time I want to enjoy my books, my eyes are tired as hell.

 

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I’m not giving excuses but I want you all to know that pressuring yourself is never a good idea because LIFE HAPPENS! That’s why I created the reading challenge so that it will guide me and reduce the stress of looking for “what to read next“.

Lipglossmaffia 2018 Reading Challenge

June was my laziest month yet because after I read Alan Paton’s Cry, My Beloved Country and my brain got zapped. It didn’t help that work has been a real bitch too. Here is the list of books I read.

JUNE

Cry, The Beloved Beloved Country || Alan Paton

Published 1948 by Scribner Book Company ~ 284 pages~ Contemporary Fiction

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Cry, The Beloved Country || Alan Paton 🌝🌝🌝🌚🌚 It's CLASSICS month, folks! This book is one of those classics that I'm glad I've read, but will probably never read again. The themes are important (racial equality, morality, forgiveness) and the writing is lyrical, but it's still hard to read. Alan Paton doesn't use any quotation marks. Like, at all. He chooses, instead, to preface each line of dialogue with a dash. I could get used to this technique if he were consistent with it, but he's not. Sometimes the dialogue is in the middle of a paragraph, with no indication it's spoken aloud. It drove me crazy, having to re-read everything to figure out if someone was talking, or just thinking, or if it was just the writer giving us information. • • • The story is set in South Africa, and it helped me understand why the country has been having difficulties (race-wise). There are so many different races, languages, belief systems, and classes, it's a wonder anything gets done there at all. It's interesting though to see the effects of apartheid, the growing pains of a country trying to find equality for all races. It was written in the 40s, so things have changed enormously since it was first published, but it still functions as a cautionary tale. Reading this was infuriating, inspiring, slow-moving but worth the time. This book pairs well with Prosecco. #ThankMeLater ****** #LipglossmaffiaReadingChallenge #ReadingIsAwesome #LagosBibliophile #LipglossmaffiaBookclub #ReadingIsSexy #BookReviewer #Bookstagram #BookstagramFeature #Bookaholic #InstaBooks #BookReview #BookBlogger #Bookstagrammer #IgReads #BooksOfInstagram #Bibliophile #BookAddict #RedWineJunkie #GoodReads #ReadDrinkShare #SomethingBookish📚

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My Rating: 3/5

 

No Longer At Ease || Chinua Achebe

Published 1960 by Heinemann ~ 154 pages ~ Contemporary Fiction

I read this in high school but I just had to read this again. So, this is a book that anybody who has had to split two cultures or mesh them should read. It is about a young man who gets an English education and returns to his native country, Nigeria. Inevitably tribal obligations come into conflict with his new idealism related to corruption and progress.

The title is a phrase from a T.S. Eliot poem, “The Journey of the Magi” and the lines are about how when the magi return after seeing the infant king to their own land they are “No longer at ease here, in the old dispensation/ An alien people, clutching their gods/” If I had read this book for this first time at the point in my life, I would have cried a lot. But that’s not hard.

My Rating: 3/5

 

Swallow || Sefi Atta

Published 2011 by AAA Press ~ 196 pages ~ Contemporary Fiction

Tolani, and her friend and roommate Rose, start out as upwardly mobile single women in the big the city (Sex in the City in Lagos!), but then things start to turn south when Rose loses her job for slapping her boss. Which is not to say that Atta shies away from the harsh realities of big African city life. The Nigeria displayed here is a country of extremes. One well-off character has her wedding dress flown in from London as she debates the virtues of various designer labels.

Meanwhile, there’s a beggar on the street who flaunts her elephantiasis in order to get hand-outs. And women are becoming drug mules in order to make a lot of money fast. By the time Tolani loses her job, smuggling cocaine doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Atta has a wicked sense of humor and a lively writing style which prevents the reader from sinking into despair. Although tragedy strikes, there’s hope at the end.

My Rating: 4/5

 

June Wrap Up Lipglossmaffia Reading Challenge

The Doomsday Prophecy || Scott Mariani

Published 2009 by Avon ~ 466 pages ~ Thriller

This is one of those books full of unstoppable action that you can’t put down till you finish it. More or less like Matthew Rilley but with much more realism and an unforgiving hero. It’s the third book of the series so I ran into a broken and depressed Ben Hope trying to change his life and failing badly when a bomb in Greece puts him on a path of death and revenge.

I loved it, lots of action, some history, and an excellent character, I’m looking forward to following the series if I can get my hands on the next books. Totally recommended for fans of this genre.

My Rating: 3/5

 

Deal Breaker || Harlan Coben

Published 2006 by Orion ~ 368 pages ~ Mystery

Lots of violence, intrigue, and men with dubious backgrounds, mixed with a little sarcastic humour. The debut novel in the Myron Bolitar, sports agent and investigator, series. Myron is representing a number of second-rate athletes when he gains a contract with an outstanding young quarterback who is in line for a place in the NFL.

In the background is his missing girlfriend and sister of Myron’s ex-girl, Jessica. On Myron’s side is his psychotic friend and business partner, Win Lockwood. The start of what seems like an excellent series from the king of crime/thriller writing.

My Rating: 3/5

 

JUST A REMINDER: You can join the #LipglossmaffiaReadingChallenge too at any time. All you need to do is post a picture of the book you’re reading on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #LipglossmaffiaReadingChallenge so that I can find you and we can chat or rant about it.
Below is the wrap up of the past few months:

MAY

APRIL

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#AprilWrapUp Contemporary Fiction was the theme this month. And I really enjoyed it. Overall, I read 5 books but the last book I read deserves its own post. When I gather my thoughts, I'll write the review, but guys, Freshwater || Akwaeke Emezie is a beautiful book. • • Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows || Balli Kaur Jaswal 🌝🌝🌝🌝🌚 Admit it: that title caught your eye, didn’t it? If you’re one of those people who “don’t read romance,” let me quickly say before you tune out that this book has so much going on beyond the steamy stuff. There are generational clashes, sisterly complications, challenges to gender roles, and even an unsolved crime. It's not mindblowing but it's a pretty good book. • • An American Marriage || Tayari Jones 🌝🌝🌝🌝🌚 If you can, read this without knowing anything about it. It's is a book about marriage(DUH) and the very specific kind of loyalty it asks us to give. Is that loyalty a fair thing to ask? Is it right? What circumstances excuse breaking this bond? An excellent book club pick. Highly recommended. • • Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine || Gail Honeyman 🌝🌝🌝🌝🌚 What an incredible story! All of us have felt alone at some point in our lives, Eleanor’s story serves as a reminder that we are a lot more alike than we realise. A bit of kindness can go such a long way, friendship can truly be life-saving. Can't talk about it without dropping spoilers so go read it. • • The Sellout || Paul Beatty 🌝🌝🌝🌝🌝 Wow, guys! If Kurt Vonnegut and Dave Chappelle had a baby and like, really screwed with its head, that baby would write this novel. Goddammmmittt! It's hilarious but not for the faint of heart or tired of mind. I had a great time reading it, but I admit now I'm a little hesitant to talk about it. So much in this book is almost untouchable and off limits. But it's also brilliant and constantly unexpected. Thank you for the recommendation @kenyanbibliophile • • This May, the theme is 'A Trip Around The World' Here's a tip: Stay away from American and British writers, wander a little bit. Just in case, y'all forgot, it's from the #LipglossmaffiaReadingChallenge. Swipe for more deets. You can join in at any time😊

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MARCH

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Theme was Non-Fiction and I was able to read three. In total, I read 4 books in March. My average is seriously dropping but… I'm just glad to be alive😛😛😛Anyhoo… • • I'm Judging You:The Do-It Better Manual || Luvvie Ajayi 🌝🌝🌚🌚🌚 I really really wanted to love this book but naaa. The "issues" she talks about are overflogged and there was no fresh perspective. It was just so… basic. Yeah, that's the word. It's a very basic book. So, you can read it if you want to feel among the 'cool kids' or whatever. • • We Survived Genocide in Rwanda || Kigali Memorial Center/Wendy Whitworth 🌝🌝🌝🌝🌝 Wow. I knew it was bad, seen the documentaries, read books but reading the testimonies of these survivors, damn. I'm amazed at the resilience of the human spirit. This book NEEDS to be read by everyone in the world! Disclaimer: Not for the fainthearted. • • Seven Years To Sin || Sylvia Day 🌝🌝🌝🌝🌚 She does erotica so well, I love Sylvia Day. OH MY, the love scenes were the type out of almost every woman's fantasy The book does not just dump the two leads into bed, nope. The build-up is mesmerizing and by the time they are tangled in the sheets, you can feel the passion they had for each other radiating off of the pages. • • We're Going To Need More Wine || Gabrielle Union 🌝🌝🌝🌝🌚 I was pleasantly surprised by her honesty. We’re Going To Need More Wine is a collection of stories that are so transparent and real, from stories about infertility, rape to racism and Hollywood. Really surprised by how candid she is. There’s heartbreaking moments, funny moments and moments where you can just relate. And the title? 👌 • • April is Contemporary Fiction month and I can't wait! Already started on Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows || Balli Kaur Jaswal. What are you #CurrentlyReading ?

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FEBRUARY

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#FebruaryReads The theme was Short Stories and I was able to read just two collections. In total, I read 5 books in February *gasps* I know. I really need to unsubscribe from adulthood, don't think it's for me.😣😣😣 • • • Her Body and Other Parties || Carmen Maria Machado⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ This was a solid collection. It's a blend of erotica, sci-fi, and horror, with a sprinkle of feminism. It's not for everyone but if you're strong(open minded) enough, you should read this. • • • What It Means When A Man Falls From The Sky || Lesley Nneka Arimah⭐⭐⭐ ★ ★ Y'all know how excited I was to get this book, right? *deep sigh* I wanted to love it so bad but struggled to get into it. I did enjoy the innovative touches of magical realism. The writer captured poignant moments throughout these stories. Despite these strengths, I did not connect with the characters that much, maybe because I felt my attention drawn more to the plot and magical realism elements of each story, rather than the characters' internal emotions and thoughts. But I'd still recommend it. • • • Longthroat Memoirs: Soups, Sex And Nigerian Taste Buds || Yemisi Aribisala⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I'm very happy this book exists. She is an amazing writer, her flow is just effortless. I have eaten almost all the food she talked about but it was a trip experiencing each taste through her words. Damn, Ma👏 So, yeah, everybody needs to read this! • • • Interview With The Vampire || Anne Rice ⭐⭐★ ★ ★ Okay, so the book itself isn't bad, really – hence my rating of two stars, which means "it was ok." That's what the book is: just okay. Not my favourite Anne Rice book, but I did enjoy how in-depth Rice went into the psychology of vampires, and I loved her explanation for why they haven't overrun the planet: most vampires are miserable, and end up killing themselves. 😁😁😁 • • • My Absolute Darling || Gabriel Tallent ⭐⭐⭐★ ★ Hard as I tried, I just couldn’t love this book. It’s dark, grim and depressingly disturbing. (which I usually enjoy BTW) But I felt almost angry at the author for putting me through so much turmoil and trauma with barely any relief. I guess this was the power of this book but I struggled to want to read it.(Cont'd in comment)

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JANUARY

You would have to follow me on Instagram to get this one because it wasn’t compiled in one post, this was my best read of the month though.

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#LipglossmaffiaReadingChallenge J A N U A R Y {Debut Novels} An Untamed State || Roxane Gay •|•|•|•|•|•|•|•|•|•|•|•|•|•|•|•|•|•|•|•|•|•|•|• "Once upon a time, in a far-off land, I was kidnapped by a gang of fearless yet terrified young men with so much impossible hope beating inside their bodies it burned their very skin and strengthened their will right through their bones. They held me captive for thirteen days. They wanted to break me. It was not personal. I was not broken. This is what I tell myself." -An Untamed State ~ ~ ~ ~ I can't write much about this story without dropping spoilers, you'd have to go to my blog for that but damn! This book is not for everyone but it's a powerful read if you can get through it. • • • Roxane Gay fills this book with all the right literary elements. Two aspects that stood out for me include her raw, vivid prose and the flashbacks she used to provide character depth while breaking away from the main, horrifying narrative. • • • But An Untamed State reaches far deeper than just an ordinary novel with a solid structure. It acts as an experience, a book that delves into PTSD and the burdens of women and the unbearable pain of the world we live in. Hope and agony run through its pages, as the book centers on the theme of dying every day and still surviving, and fighting, to stay live. I cried when I realized how relatable this message was. • • • Roxane Gay's debut novel reads like nothing else: difficult, honest, heartbreaking, and redemptive. I cannot wait to read more of her work in the future. Officially a fan! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ #RoxaneGay

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Usually, I don’t plan my next reads ahead of time but I’m going to do it this July which is focused on Sci-fi and fantasy. The first books that I want to read are; Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, Zone One by Colson Whitehead & The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor.

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Are you excited for any book on your TBR?

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XOXO