Book Review: Manchester Happened by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

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Title – Manchester Happened

Author – Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

Publication – May 23rd, 2019.

Publisher – One World Publications

Genre – Short Story Collection & Ugandan Fiction

An ambitious and assured collection of short stories from the internationally acclaimed author of Kintu

If there’s one thing the characters in Jennifer Makumbi’s stories know, it’s how to field a question.

‘Let me buy you a cup of tea… what are you doing in England?’

‘Do these children of yours speak any Luganda?’

‘Did you know that man Idi Amin?’

But perhaps the most difficult question of all is the one they ask themselves: ‘You mean this is England?’

Told with empathy, humour and compassion, these vibrant, kaleidoscopic stories re-imagine the journey of Ugandans who choose to make England their home. Weaving between Manchester and Kampala, this dazzling, polyphonic collection will captivate anyone who has ever wondered what it means to truly belong.

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I’ve read many collections of short stories which endings leave me feeling unsettled and bothered because of how abrupt the stories end but this isn’t the case with this book. All stories end perfectly and I found myself chuckling out loud in public spaces while reading this book, which is the best collections of short stories I have ever read since my primary school days.

I laugh in the face of people who think writing short stories is easier than writing a novel. And not just any kind of short story, one with the all the best characteristics of a novel, go ahead…try it, let’s see how easy it is.

I highly love Jennifer Makumbi’s writing and I am so happy she fought for this collection to be published! This pressed on the fact I need to read Kintu ASAP.

One thing I learnt from reading this collection is that we African’s really have characteristics that bind us despite how different our traditions and culture are. I really loved reading about the Ugandans and is it just me but I spotted some connections in the stories that were told, like “Our Allies the Colonies” and “The Nod”

“Let’s Tell This Story Properly” had my heart in my throat and my anger, but what is wonderful throughout is how powerful and inspiring Nnam is.

Of course, my favourite story in the collection is “Memoirs of a Namaaso” because hello a huge canine lover over here. It’s also a story that leaves me 100% curious because of how bittersweet it is.

Of all the humans in the story my favourite was Poonah and I love how we get to follow her in not one but two stories. “In Love Made in Manchester” Masaaba had me in shock and anticipating how the story would end and I love I felt all the intended emotions the story was meant to evoke.

If I was a white person or someone of lower intellect I would be complaining about how this book doesn’t explain the many Ugandan words and expression and be crying about the—*blasphemous* fact there’s no glossary to explain them. Ladies and gentlemen, there’s google and let it be the norm for writers whose indigenous languages aren’t English to use their indigenous words in their books because it is 100% normal for them.

Each of the stories are wonderful and portray beautiful people going about their normal lives. The writing is well put together and definitely unproblematic. The storytelling is seamless and easy to follow. Need I say more? What are you waiting for? Add this book to your TBR if you’ve not read it already!

5

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Falling Down the Rabbit Hole that is Bully Romance.

It started with a twitter thread about a high school bully romance The Secret Girl by C.M. Stunich and I was intrigued because I love reading enemies-to-lovers stories…I didn’t know getting my hands on this book would set me on a dangerous path down the world of bully romance that can be alarmingly dark at times and I haven’t really reflected on what that says about me because I read them.

I only know I’m able to dissociate because I take it for the fictional narrative it is and I definitely do not want any of the so-called bullies in my life as a romantic partner, because I give back as good as I get, I will not take anyone’s bullshit ever. I will snitch and do everything in my power to protect my mental health, hence my favourite reads in the category are ones with heroines that kick ass.

From reading The Secret Girl, I found myself joining C.M. Stunich Facebook page because I needed the next book ASAP and wanted to be kept in the loop, I didn’t know I would stumble upon so many recommended reads and I went further into inhaling books in the category and with this category comes many Reverse Harem books, in which a girl has more than one or two love interests, where she doesn’t have to make a choice but gets them all.

FYI I actually have read other bully romance over the years prior to this year but I didn’t actually know they were defined as Bully Romance. The book that started this journey for me was Bully by Penelope Douglas, I read it the year it got republished and was eagerly devouring each book in the series and other books Penelope released, but still the category didn’t click even though it was glaring lol.

Another obvious sign was when I read The Royal Series by Erin Watt A reminder I won’t take for any kind of bullying, mansplaining, dominating, domineering, possessiveness or controlling spirit from a man, in reality, so I really don’t understand why reading such in books releases my endorphins, which is why I devour so many dark-themed romances.

Don’t get me wrong some of them are just plain bad, which perpetuates nasty and bad actions that need to be burnt to ashes and condemned so I shall not be giving them any spotlight in this post.

Fall Away Series by Penelope Douglas

 

 

4

The Royals Series by Erin Watt

 

 

4

Adamson All-Boys Academy Series by C.M. Stunich

 

 

4.5

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3.5

And there you have my recommendations but please proceed at your own caution.

On Writing David Mogo, Godhunter Q&A with Suyi Davies Okungbowa

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Title – David Mogo, Godhunter

Author – Suyi Davies Okungbowa

Publication – July 9th, 2019.

Publisher – Abaddon

Genre – Urban Fantasy

Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard.

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I Published A Guide Book to Self-Publishing!

Hello there! I’m Lara Kareem aka Naija Book Bae, the runner of this wonderful literary blog, who reads and reviews book, however, due to how hectic my year has been I haven’t really read and reviewed a book by an independent author recently and I haven’t had time for my Review Request Form.

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I took a very long break from accepting books from my request form because not only do I have a backlog of pending reviews, many of the few I have collected aren’t of the best quality, because of this I went ahead and used my few years of experience working in the publishing sect to write A Guide to Self-Publishing.

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For months you’ve worked diligently, dedicated time, stayed up late, overcame writer’s block and finally, you typed the last word and finished writing your book.

Now that you’ve finished writing your book, you’re anxious to know what comes next? You look up publishing firms accepting the genre of your manuscript and query them, hoping they’ll publish your book and you’re on your merry way to the life of authordom.

But, there’s no response from these publishing firms or many apologise but aren’t sure you’re the right fit for the firm and now you’re stumped. Don’t fret too much because there is another way, which is where this book comes in.

Do you really want to publish your book? Self-Publishing is the path to take and this book is filled with all the necessary information needed to get your book ready before hitting the publish button.

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Book Review: Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy

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Title – Once & Future #1

Author – Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy

Publication – March 26th, 2019.

Publisher – Rock the Boat

Genre – Science Fiction, Fantasy & Young Adult Fiction

I’ve been chased my whole life. As a fugitive refugee in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.

Now I’m done hiding.

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.


When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

No pressure.

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Set in space and way into the future where the earth isn’t inhabited and the current way our world functions is a thing of the past and people just live their life and love without discrimination.

Gender fluid and disabled? Check. Lesbians? Check. Gays? Check. Asexual? Check. Pansexual? Check.

This book is diverse through and through, where there’s a common and oppressive evil organisation called Mercer who wouldn’t rest until it completely controls and robs the world, Ari…King Arthur lives in of all resistance to its power.

Merlin is sure if that happens the world will be completely doomed and it’s up to him to shape King Arthur and her mismatched band of knights to save humankind from doom, but is it?

Amy Rose and Cori have pulled off quite a feat writing about a female King Arthur and interweaving the old tale including Lancelot, Percival, Sir Kay, Guinevere, Merlin, Morgana and Lamarack in a futuristic setting that is interesting to read.

Oppression is a huge theme in this book, so are power, greed, capitalism and hope. I know a lot of people want to read books which tackle on the problems of society and whatnot, but I’m also fine with it being in the background of a story, I personally get a headache when politics and etc. are highly focused on in books not to talk about fictional young adult books.

After all, I have shared can you imagine the antics and how everything plays out in this very unique book? Because there’s a lot going on in this book, with the limelight shining on Ari and Merlin.

I was intrigued by the blurb of this book because a female King Arthur, in my mind I was wondering how does this work? I didn’t know I was going to get a whole lot more representation, so I am highly pleased because of that.

It took me a bit to really get into the story but once I got through the first few parts of the story to where the action really started I settled in and finally finished the book in one sitting.

The pacing of the story is a bit wonky and instances that were pretty surreal, I had to ask myself did that happen and finally many times I found the story to be dragging and all I wanted was to get on with it and get to the part where everything finally goes down, which is really all the cons I can think about this book.

I really fell in love with Morgana and wish Ari and her could get together but like I understand it’s not possible and could be icky because after all Morgana is Arthur’s sister and that’s all I have to say regarding  Ari’s love life.

I found Merlin gay relationship to be sweet and just found Merlin to be eye-rolling cute. Both he and Ari arc growth from the start to finish of the novel which was perfectly executed and I am really glad I was given a copy of this book to read.

Once & Future is a light read and I can’t wait for book 2! This is a book that’s worthy of support! Buy, borrow and read it, while dropping a review or sharing your opinions as well, because it does a lot of good for the literary world and it would encourage the authors to write more inclusive stories and publishers to publish more like this one!

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