Fiction Snippets – Zev’s Afrotheria Part 6

In a blink, Zev joined the most powerful army in the Afrotheria Empire at the age of seventeen. He had chosen to become one of those most feared and revered gangs of the land: The Theria Guild Guardians.

In his heart, he knew his choice had to do with the need to expend the rage that now ruled his life at the memory of watching a pack of ghost wraiths attacking his brothers and Gen.

If it weren’t for those ghost wraiths, he would have been there for Amare. He would have been able to keep her safe. A dark cloud of grief threatened to take him over.

Zev shook his head, pushing the constant grief aside.

His lungs burned for air, and sharp pain on his right side made it harder to run. Zev ignored the pain and powered through, his gaze on the red line drawn across the track ahead. He pushed his body harder and managed to run across the red line just as his body felt like it might collapse. He fell to his knees on the track and sucked in harsh breaths, hoping to relieve the pain. His t-shirt was soaked with sweat.

“Again, Mablevi! You’re too slow,” the instructor shouted, blowing his whistle. “One delayed second and you’re ghost wraith meat. Push harder. Get up and do it again!”

Zev glanced at his training officer standing on the sidelines caught between hate and worship.

Zev was in a class of fifteen cadets. Their instructor was a no-nonsense slave driver. The instructor subjected them to relentless running drills to improve their speed. Every part of Zev’s body felt sore, and his muscles burned. He took in air, his lungs desperate for it.

 Zev worried he would never get up to run again.

A strong hand gripped Zev’s left arm, pulling him up before he decided to lay down on the tarmac and give up. On his feet, Zev tugged down his sleeveless gray t-shirt and turned to his left to find an older boy grinning at him.

“He keeps yelling until you stop collapsing at the finish line. Hi, I’m Saul. I joined a month ago The trick is to remain standing at the finish line.”

Zev nodded.

A second boy around his age came up on Zev’s right and gave him a nod in greeting.

“I’m Noah. I will pace you so that you cut your time,” Noah said.

They headed back to the starting line, and Zev was oddly glad that he was not doing this alone. Noah and Saul each took a spot on each side of him. The instructor blew his whistle and they took off, Noah and Saul running next to him in camaraderie. It suddenly felt like training might turn manageable.

Three days later, Zev decided he was in over his head.

Zev stood in a Santi Corp Simulation Training Room. He was dressed in his white cadet armor, smart VR glasses clipped on the bridge of his nose. He held a Santi Sword, the blade designed to work in the simulation world.

“Mablevi, you’re seventeen, and you’ve never been in a simulation room. That means you’re late to the party. You have to work harder to catch up. We are starting you at the basic level,” the instructor’s voice rang through the large dome-like room. “This is your first test. Scenario: A forested village in the hills of Teru is facing a ghost wraith reap. There is no way to know the size of the ghost wraith pack. You only know the pack is traveling fast heading to unprotected villages. Your goal is to take down any ghost wraiths coming your way. Mission Commence: Cadet Mablevi, Basic Simulation 001, Start.”

Zev had no time to think, as the room turned dark and vegetation filled his vision.

The call of birds filled his ears with the sun high up above him. Zev imagined if he closed his eyes, he might inhale the scent of fresh crisp air. He took one step forward, and a ghost wraith jumped out of nowhere. He had no chance. The ghost wraith crushed him and the simulation ended.

 “You are dead,” the instructor said. “You have failed an entire village, Cadet. Only one rule matters: Stay focused, Mablevi. This is not a game. There is no one coming to save you. You are doing the saving. Do it again. Mission Commence: Cadet Mablevi, Basic Simulation 002. Start.”

Zev died ten more times in the simulation managing only two steps.

At the fifteenth session, he managed five steps, hoping by the thirtieth session, he would be able to see the ghost wraith coming at him. The realization of how fast a ghost wraith moved had Zev wondering if he could make it as a guardian.

***

Find the rest of this chapter on Wattpad or here: Zev’s Afrotheria Chapter 6

What Information Goes on the Copyright Page of a book in Kenya?

You have completed your book.  You are now ready for publishing in our beautiful country of Kenya. You need a copyright page in both the e-Book and Printed Format.  The copyright page is the second or third page depending on the items you have planned for the first pages. It should contain the following information:

1. Title of the Book

– This one is easy. Your Book’s Title and the Subtitle if you have one.

2. Name of the Author

– The author who has written the book.  Make sure to add in all authors and contributors if there is more than one.

3. Copyright Holder

  • This looks like this: Copyright © Year by (Name).  If there is more than one author, include their names.
  • Copyright holders should be named for the text contributed, and images found in the book or the book cover. Sometimes, the image owner may give copyright to the owner but require a credit on this page for producing the image.
  • Copyright holders can be authors, publishing companies, businesses, and organizations.

4. ISBN Number

  • If you have an ISBN from the Kenya National Library, include it here. You can write the number and/or include the barcode that comes with it.
  • If you are internationally based, you might have a Library of Congress number, which you can include on this page too.

5. Rights & Permissions

This is the paragraph that reads, All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. There are different variations of this paragraph, ending with the means to contact the copyright holder for permission to quote, use or adapt the content in the book.

6. Contact Information

  • You will most likely put down the contact information of the person who will be responsible for handling the permissions in the Rights & Permissions paragraph. This can be the publisher’s contacts or the author’s contacts.

7. Permissions

  • If you quote or use information from another publication, author, or image copyright owner, you need to credit their work. You can use this page to include the permissions given or granted to you by the owner of the borrowed content.
  • This includes lyrics from songs, which do have copyright ownership.  The Kenya Copyright Board has a site for these registrations and searches. Consult with the site to check out who owns what and how to get permissions.

To remember:

  • If the author is the writer/ editor/ and publisher, then he or she will include their information in all the parts mentioned.  Otherwise, include the names of those who have contributed, depending on agreements of services rendered.
  • If more than one author writes the book, make sure to add in all authors.
  • Images and book cover creators may ask you to credit their names on the Copyright page.
  • A Printing press/ book formatting service may include their logo on the copyright page, as well as their information.

Here is a copyright page sample to see what it should look like:

Title
Author

Copyright © 2022, Author
Cover Art © 2022 (Moon Artist)

Edited by Awesome editor
Published by (Abc Publishers)
ISBN Number: 
(ISBN barcode) optional
Library of Congress Number:

All Rights Reserved.
All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole
or in part in any form.
Or
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book
with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each reader. If
you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your
use only, then please purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard
work of these authors.

For Permissions reach out to Abc Publishers info or Author’s Information/ email and phone number and/or Address.

You can include a disclaimer if you have written fiction.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual
events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Some publishers in Kenya do include the Kenya Copyright Law that governs copyrights on this page. You may include this part depending on how much space you have left on your book’s page.

The copyright page is there to say who the copyrights belong to, and who to contact for permissions to reproduce, copy, adapt, quote or reuse the content found in the publication. It also helps to know who has contributed to the work.

Do not forget to visit the Kenya Copyright Board website to copyright your work.  You get a certificate for your efforts, and your rights are searchable in the database.

3 Popular Questions Asked about e-Books in Kenya

Question 1: How do I create an e-Book in Kenya? Is it easy?

A. This depends on the type of book you want to create. A book filled with prose like a story, or a non-fiction book with no graphs, tables, and pictures is easy.  You only need Microsoft Word/Apple’s Pages to create an e-Book.  You can turn your word document into a PDF, and/or ePub with Pages, and voila, you have an e-book.

The challenge starts when you have graphs, tables, and pictures that need specific formatting and layout requirements.  You then have to think of how your readers will access the e-book and the type of app they will use to read your e-book.

If you are selling your e-book yourself, there are decisions to make, for example;

  • Do you want the e-book printable? If you do, the PDF version is sufficient.  You only need to make sure it is formatted correctly so that the graphs fit within the margins and are readable on a phone/tablet/ laptop etc.
  • Do you have a print book and do not want the e-book printable? My advice would be to keep the book in print form. Do not turn the print book into an e-book if you’re absolutely against getting it in an e-book and having it printed out by readers that way. I tell you this because a motivated reader will find a way to turn your unprintable e-book into a printable version. We are in an age when there is always software somewhere that can do the conversion.
    • In any case, if you must turn the e-book non-printable, ePub is your best option.  ePub allows you to disable the printing option at creation ePub reading apps do not provide a means to print the eBook. Once again, it depends on the platform you have chosen to use to distribute your ePub.  When you are creating PDFs, you do get to choose whether to make the PDF nonprintable too, but you have to have software that allows you to lock up the contents.  Otherwise, as I said earlier, motivated readers will find a way to bypass the password version. ^_^

I hope this sheds some light on this constant question in my inbox. ^_^

Question 2: What type of software do I use often to make e-books?

  1. Microsoft Word

The most basic and easiest way to create an e-book in Kenya is to use Word from Microsoft Office, or its equivalent on Apple called Pages.  This is because I have used Word for a long time, since my school days, so I find it easiest to use.  I am able to make the necessary formatting changes on Word without problems. It is also easy because platforms like Smashwords take the word documents and turn them into PDF/Epub/and all other types of formats for the different types of devices on the planet.  Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing can also use .docx for their Kindle Create software to make upload files for Kindle. Word is quite diverse and easy to use.  Microsoft Office 360 is also a great way to save documents online so I don’t worry about crashing laptops and loss of work.  You can also do that with Google Docs, though I rarely use google docs as a way to work on ebooks to publish unless I’m doing a collaboration with someone else and we’re storing notes or giving feedback that needs everyone’s input.

  1. Publisher

I love Publisher for when I’m creating mini books that will not be uploaded online, or used as e-books. I use this software for little books we are printing ourselves.  It has a lot to offer in terms of formatting, and the little bubbles and asides and graphs and ways to arrange pictures excite me.  It’s my favorite for brochures, info notebooks, or just a short printed book.  I do not use this for e-books though.  I also do not use this software when sending a document to the printers.  The few times I tried it, we had great and epic mix-ups with formatting issues, so I reverted to word, and shifted to Indesign.

  1. Adobe Indesign

This is my favorite software.  It offers a very wide range of possibilities and is perfect for magazines, novels both non-fiction, and fiction, brochures, ebooks, and anything you can think of creating that will open like a book.  It is important to note that it also has a wide learning curve.  You’ll need to take the time to get to know how to format paragraphs, shapes, designs, images, and all that, but once you master it, anything is possible.  You can save your documents as per the printer’s requirements, and create ebooks turning them into PDFs or ePubs. The only limitations with this software are caused by the wallet ^_^. You can work on upgrading it as you grow.

Question 3 – Where do I sell my e-Book in Kenya now that I have made it?

Everywhere!  There is no limitation on where you can sell your e-book or printed book for that matter.  What I can do is give you three ideas on how you can create outlets for your ebook.

There is no limitation on where you can sell your e-book

  1. Create a Page on your preferred Social Media Platform. There are very many: Facebook /Instagram/ Tiktok/ Twitter to name some of the most popular. Discuss and talk about your book on your pages.  Facebook/ Instagram allows you to create a shop and you can sell your book through them.  Tiktok allows you to direct your followers to your Instagram page. Well, you can also Tweet the process of how to get the book. (This is the least amount of work for setup) You can also sell your ebook through Whatsapp.
  2. Create a website and make a landing page for your book.  Do you know how to create a website? If you do, then we’re halfway there. Create a landing page highlighting your e-book. I’m hoping you have a following or have at least been marketing it by this point. Explain to your potential readers how to buy your Printed Book/e-book. Provide an email, phone number, and how to pay for it.  Please make this process seamless for the reader. (An Mpesa plugin allows you to set up a seamless payment system. This method does require a considerable amount of knowledge when it comes to setting up a website. You can learn to do it yourself, or reach out to the website designer of your choice.)
  3. Signup on an ebook selling platform like OkadaBooks/ Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing/ Smashwords / Draft2Digital/ Litireso.  What these platforms allow you to do is upload your word document or pdf, please check their requirements, and sell your book through their shops and/or distribute to other ebook selling shops like Barnes & Nobles and Apple Books, etc. This method is the easiest as you rely on already established resources.  The cost of this is that each of these platforms does take a percentage of your sales. Decide which platform best fits your needs.

I hope this information gives you some insight into creating your own e-book for distribution to your readers. Find the software you are most comfortable with and work on mastering it, formatting documents, so that you are able to send out beautiful ebooks to your readers. Most of all, I wish you the best of luck on your publishing journey.

Ash Princess

Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

Summary

Ash Princess is a story about Theo, a princess of Astrean, who is living in an enemy’s palace ruled by the cruel Kalovaxian King. This king has murdered thousands of Theo’s people. He also takes pleasure in humiliating the Astrean Princess, calling her the Ash Princess. Theo even wears a crown forged of ash to parties thrown in her honor. When the man she thought would rescue her from the Kalovaxian King dies, by her hand no less, she is forced to start thinking of the future. Of her people’s suffering and the truth that no one is coming to the rescue, Theo must rescue herself.

I enjoyed the pacing of this novel. Once again, I have picked up a second series that is a quick, don’t-think-too-much kind of story. The plot line is not new, nor is it ground-shaking. It has been done before and reminds me a lot of Red Queen by Victoria A. Still, Theo is her own character and she takes charge in this book, doing what she can to survive her circumstances. Read it for a good easy time. There are heavy nuances of cruel behavior, obviously war, and slavery. It is a Young Adult novel at its fullest fantasy mode.

Caraval – Book Review

Caraval Book Cover

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless, she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . beware of getting swept too far away.

Book Review

Caraval Aesthetic

Scarlett Dragna loves her younger sister Tella very much.  Their father is cruel and abusive, and he uses their love for each other against them. When he arranges a marriage for Scarlett, she decides to go through with it, in the hope that she will be able to take her sister with her. She hopes her arranged marriage will allow them to escape their abusive father.

Scarlett will do anything to protect Tella. It is to the point of giving up her dreams and sense of adventure.  When Scarlett was young, she longed to see the Caraval – the magical, faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the magical show. She wrote letters to Master Legend, asking for the Caraval to visit their tiny island, hoping for a chance to watch the Caraval. She never gets a response and loses hope as she grows up.  And then, days before her arranged marriage, Scarlett receives a letter from the Master of Caraval, Legend, inviting her to the magical show on Isla De Los Suenos. Enclosed in Legend’s letter are three tickets to the show.

Scarlett must now make a choice whether to follow through on the arranged marriage or follow her dreams and whims and attend the Caraval.

It's only a game

A series of events ensues, and after a kidnapping and a near drowning, Scarlett does end up at the gates into Caraval.  The ticket master has a set of rules for Scarlett and her companion.  Most important of all is to remember that it’s all a game.

It all does seem like a game until Scarlett realizes that her dear sister Tella is at the center of the game.  She is missing, seemingly kidnapped by Legend.  The players are in a race to find Tella and win the prize, but Scarlett is in it to save her sister before the day she has to marry a man her father found for her.

I think the rules of Caraval apply while reading this book.  It is simple good fun, and entertaining.  It’s about Scarlett finding a footing, finding what matters to herself and what she wants to do with the rest of her life. She does it while playing a game of make-believe that might cost her more than she bargained. Reading Caraval had me wanting to go to a magic show, or visit the circus. It’s all make believe, don’t get carried away.

I hope your weekend is full of beautiful magical moments.

April 2022’s Reading List

The April Reading List only has two books. ^_^That’s about how many I could get in this April. They were both intense books. I now think I probably needed the month to read both of them. My excuse is very valid. ^_^ Here is my list for April 2022 :


Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

It is about:

Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

Book Review

I loved the movement of African history through the eyes of the characters in this book.


A Thousand Splendid Suns Cover

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

It is About:

Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them-in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul-they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman’s love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival.

Book Review


On a very exciting note, I would like to thank Christine Warugaba for inserting a few words from this blog’s review of Belonging on her book cover. I’m truly honored.  Thank you for making my month! Belonging is now available for purchase on Amazon, and through Furaha Publishers, Kigali.

A Snippet of Fiction – The Price of Amber

Happy May! I’m so excited to share snippets of the story Ram and Amber, which now has a tentative name ‘The Price of Amber’. Still not in love with the title, in any case, I’m excited to have a 10K word count on this project.  There is nothing like getting started and having something to work on, instead of only planning.  Here is a look at the first chapter.

Chapter One

Kata right, kuja, kuja, sawa. Hapo! Hapo!”

Ram Jelani hit the brakes, stopping the tipper truck.  He leaned out his window to see his friend and business partner talking to their client.

“Amos,” Ram called out.

Amos hurried to the back of the truck and spent a few minutes unlocking the tailgate.

Mwaga,” Amos called to him and hurried to the side, giving Ram a thumbs up.

Ram nodded and engaged the controls to lift the tipper’s dump body.  The dump body of the truck lifted on hydraulics, letting out thirty tones of sand brought from the river.  Ram waited until it was all poured before he drove the truck forward to allow any excesses to pour out.

Ram’s phone rang and answered it, hands-free. His attention stayed on Amos and the two young men working with them.

“Ram, it’s Mom,” Candace Jelani’s voice filled the cabin.  “Where are you?”

“At a construction site in Othaya delivering sand,” Ram said.  “What’s wrong?”

“I don’t always call you because something is wrong,” Candace said.

“I told you I would be far today.  You must have an issue to call me,” Ram said, giving Amos a thumbs up when Amos called out that they had emptied the truck.

Ram lowered the dump body, drove forward, and brought the tipper to a full stop.  He parked and removed his phone from the hands-free mode.  He took it from its holder and brought it to his ear.

“What’s wrong?” Ram asked.

“Naria needs you,” Candace said with a sigh.  “She is stranded in Nyeri Town.  Her friends left her alone to pay for the table.”

“Mpesa her,” Ram said, annoyed by his little sister’s consistent letdowns.

“She doesn’t have her phone,” Candace said.  “She says she lost it last night.”

Ram bit his bottom lip not wanting to curse for his mother to hear.

Sawa, I’ll deal with it,” Ram said.  “Where is she?”

“White Rhino,” Candace said.

“Her tastes are getting expensive, Mom.  One of these days, you’re going to need to use your mwiko on her.  Why is it I’m the only one who knows what that mwiko is used for?”

“Keep complaining and I’ll give it to you when you get Naria home,” Candace said.  “You might be taller than me, but I can still smack you with a mwiko, Ram.  He, who are you joking with?”

Ram chuckled.

“Relax, Mom.  I’ll make sure Naria gets home after lunch,” Ram said. “Let me call when I have news.”

“Thank you, Ram,” Candace said and ended the call.

Ram started the truck and drove it out of the tight path leading to the construction site.  He drove it out to the exit of the access road and parked on the side of the main road.  Taking the keys, he jumped out of the cabin and stretched his arms over his head.

Amos hurried to meet him.

“Have they paid?” Ram asked.

“Yes, thirty thousand,” Amos said, waving their business phone. “Thank you for maneuvering the tipper.  The driver would not have made it.”

“I have to head out,” Ram said.  “Let’s meet in Karatina this evening.”

“Where to?” Amos asked, reaching into his pocket for car keys.  He handed them to Ram in exchange for the truck keys.

“To rescue Naria,” Ram said.  “I don’t know what to do with her.  Her friends are not friends.  She won’t believe it.”

“What happened now?” Amos asked.

Ram scratched his chin and shook his head.

“The story she gave mom sounds incomplete,” Ram said.  “I’ll need to hear it from her to know the truth.”

We,” Amos sighed.  “I’ll do the next delivery and call you later. Let’s meet at the usual place.”

Ram thanked Amos and hurried to the black SUV parked on the side of the main road.  He jumped into the driver’s seat and drove off with a wave at Amos.  Ram thought about Naria and his mother on his drive to Nyeri Town.

Naria was his half-sister.  She was younger than he was by ten years.  His mother had gotten her with her boyfriend, Zion Kavinde.  His mother, Candace, was soft with Naria.  She spoiled Naria and gave her everything she could.  Candace said she did so because Naria was a child born into an unsteady home.

Ram scoffed at the description.

Unsteady was a mild way to describe their tumultuous home life.  Broken home was more accurate.  The truth was that Candace Jelani still loved her husband, and Ram’s father.  She refused to divorce him and the affair she had with Zion was an attempt to heal her heartbreak.  Naria was born into a messy situation and there was nothing to do but cope.

Ram parked his car at the White Rhino Hotel and went in. He found Naria sitting at a table for two on the terrace.  She smiled when she saw him.

“Ram to the rescue,” Naria said with a quick smile, though it did not reach her eyes.

Ram pulled out the chair opposite her and sat.  He placed his phone and car keys on the table.  Crossing his arms against his chest, he sat back.

“I’ll settle the bill in exchange for the truth.”

Naria started to talk but Ram shook his head.

“If you don’t give me the truth, I’ll walk away,” Ram said, not caring that his mother would find her cooking stick and hit him with it.  He could take a little pain.

“Ram,” Naria said, her voice shaky.

Her eyes filled with tears and in a different setting, he would fall for this, but not here.

Ram pushed his chair back and started to stand up.

“Wait!” Naria said, reaching for him in a panic.  “Just wait a sec. I’m just…”

“The truth, Naria.”

“Fine,” Naria said, sitting back.  “Relax, please don’t leave me here.  I don’t want to call Mom again.”

“If you tell me, I’ll even buy you lunch,” Ram said, glancing at his watch.  It was just past twelve o’clock and he was hungry.

Naria sighed.

Aki, Ram,” Naria shook her head.

“Why are you here?” Ram asked, looking around the high-end hotel with a frown.  “Your budget does not allow you to be here.”

“I came with friends,” Naria started, clasping her hands on the table.  Her nails were a brilliant shade of green.  She was in a short black dress, her leather jacket shiny and there was smudged eye shadow around her eyes.

Ram sat back and crossed his arms against his chest, waiting.

To Be Continued!

Look for it on Wattpad, or Here. Hope your Friday is full of great vibes!

A Thousand Splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns Cover

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

A Thousand Splendid Suns is a breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years – from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding – that puts the violence, fear, hope, and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war, where personal lives – the struggle to survive, raise a family, find happiness – are inextricable from the history playing out around them.

Propelled by the same storytelling instinct that made The Kite Runner a beloved classic, A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once a remarkable chronicle of three decades of Afghan history and a deeply moving account of family and friendship. It is a striking, heart-wrenching novel of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love – a stunning accomplishment.

Book Review

I have no sufficient words.  All I can say is that Mariam’s character makes me feel very angry about what she had to endure at the hands of people who should have afforded her better. Even as I understand her decisions and feelings by the end of this book. 

“Mariam wished for so much in those final moments. Yet as she closed her eyes, it was not regret any longer but a sensation of abundant peace that washed over her. She thought of her entry into this world, the harami child of a lowly villager, an unintended thing, a pitiable, regrettable accident. A weed. And yet she was leaving the world as a woman who had loved and been loved back. She was leaving it as a friend, a companion, a guardian. A mother. A person of consequence at last. No. It was not so bad. This was a legitimate end to a life of illegitimate belongings.” 
- A Thousand Splendid Suns

I wish and hope with all my heart that the realities found in this book do not repeat, even as they do even now in some versions across the globe. I wish and hope that all who do walk these paths forged by war, unbending wills, and downright cruelty find the strength to live and survive as Mariam and Laila do, and make it to the other end of the dark tunnel with hope.  This book is very raw, immersing, and speaks of a strength forged when there is nothing else to hold on to, nothing else.

“‎I know you’re still young but I want you to understand and learn this now. Marriage can wait, education cannot. You’re a very very bright girl. Truly you are. You can be anything you want Laila. I know this about you. And I also know that when this war is over, Afghanistan is going to need you as much as its men maybe even more. Because a society has no chance of success if its women are uneducated Laila. No chance.

Khaled Hosseini, A Thousand Splendid Suns

Homegoing – Review

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.

Book Review

I just want to say that Homegoing is required reading. It is also important to say that this book is not an easy read.  It is always heartbreaking to read about the slave trade, and the roles fellow tribes’ people played to sell off their own people into the slave trade.  Yaa explores the two different sides of the slave trade by following two half-sisters, Esi and Effia.  The two women do not meet each other, but they are born to the same mother. 

Esi is sold into slavery, and her descendants grow up as slaves, and end up in the slave struggle in the U.S.  Effia is married off to a British slave merchant.  Her descendants remain in Ghana, and struggle with the realities of being born from a slaver, and what is their true place, their tribe.  In seven generations from the eighteenth century to the present, Yaa explores the great civil rights struggles and cultural shifts in the U.S. and in Ghana, and how these struggles affect Esi and Effia’s descendants.  Each experience somehow tied back to the moment Esi became a slave, and Effia married a British slave merchant. The vast journey Homegoing takes spans seven generations in a breathtaking and emotionally brutal story.

March 2022’s Reading List

Belonging

This book is available from Furaha Publishers in Kigali, Rwanda.

It is about:

Keza, who is in search of a place she can truly call hers.  She carries on her shoulders a difficult past faced by her ancestors: her parents, grandparents, and relatives in her Tutsi tribe. Because of this past, and an initial loss of her homeland, Keza becomes a woman forged by three distinct cultures from three different countries: Uganda, Rwanda, and the Western world.

Book Review


A Torch Against the Night

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

It was so much fun getting back to this series. Elias and Laia are on the run with Helene in pursuit. They really found themselves in a tough spot often.

Blurb

Elias and Laia are running for their lives.

After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Book Review


Slay Book Cover

Slay by Brittney Morris

Slay is one of those books written to make you think of racial issues from a different perspective.  Kiera is a truly strong and unique character.  I loved her passion for gaming.  Most important is the pure intention of providing a safe space she pours into the creation of her game, Slay.  It’s admirable and this book should be read by more people.

Blurb

By day, seventeen-year-old Kiera Johnson is a high school student and one of the only black kids at Jefferson Academy. By night, she joins hundreds of thousands of black gamers who duel worldwide in the secret online role-playing card game, SLAY.

No one knows Kiera is the game developer – not even her boyfriend, Malcolm. But when a teen in Kansas City is murdered over a dispute in the SLAY world, the media labels it an exclusionist, racist hub for thugs.

With threats coming from both inside and outside the game, Kiera must fight to save the safe space she’s created. But can she protect SLAY without losing herself?

Book Review


A Reaper at the Gates and A Sky Beyond the Storm bring this series to the end.  Elias and Laia had a great adventure.  They changed their worlds and brought what they thought of as happiness to life. Despite the many losses they faced.  I’m so glad Sabaa Tahir chose to write this series.  She’s a great kehanni.

Book 3 Review & Book 4 Review


March 2022 was filled with Sabaa Tahir’s series.  I’m very lucky it is complete and all four books are available.  April starts with Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi. 

If you would like a book review, or a book feature, just email me or message me on this blog.  I’ll get back to you.  I wish you a very beautiful April. Easter is coming up, have a good one.

Check out Zev’s Afrotheria on Wattpad, or Here if you love reading online.