Book Wishlist for the Blog’s Reading List

Nairobi is super hot right now, and 2 pm is almost like mandatory naptime. It’s too hot to be outside, it’s better to be inside reading or checking out your FYP on TikTok (careful with this vortex though, you might not get any work done). It’s almost the end of March and I’m like, ‘where did the rain go? Cool-weather please come over now’. Funny that when June gets here, I’ll be like, ‘where did the sun go?’ Such a fickle heart when it comes to the weather. Oh well, global warming is real.

This Monday, I’ve been spending some time on the world’s bookshelf called Amazon Kindle. Hahaha.  I found books on my wish list that I’ve wanted to read for a while.  I’m excited to discover I’ve gotten to some of them, but there are still some epic ones on the list.  I hope to find time to review them as the year goes on.  Here’s my book wish list this March.

  1. Amanda Gorman’s Call Us What We Carry
Call Us What We Carry book cover

Formerly titled The Hill We Climb and Other Poems, the luminous poetry collection by #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing. In Call Us What We Carry, Gorman explores history, language, identity, and erasure through an imaginative and intimate collage. Harnessing the collective grief of a global pandemic, this beautifully designed volume features poems in many inventive styles and structures and shines a light on a moment of reckoning. Call Us What We Carry reveals that Gorman has become our messenger from the past, our voice for the future.


I’ve been waiting for this since I heard it was going to come out. I loved her poem ‘The Hill We Climb’.  One of my favorite parts of this poem that I feel defines all the places we call home and the strife often found among us all as humans,

Scripture tells us to envision
that everyone shall sit under their own vine and fig tree
and no one shall make them afraid.
If we’re to live up to our own time,
then victory won’t lie in the blade.
But in all the bridges we’ve made,
that is the promise to glade,
the hill we climb.
If only we dare.

The Hill We Climb, Amanda Gorman

I enjoyed reading and listening to Miss Amanda Gorman’s delivery of The Hill We Climb.  I can’t wait to read and discover more poems in Call Us What We Carry.

  1. Homegoing by Yaa Gyaasi

Ghana, eighteenth century: two half-sisters are born into different villages, each unaware of the other. One will marry an Englishman and lead a life of comfort in the palatial rooms of the Cape Coast Castle. The other will be captured in a raid on her village, imprisoned in the very same castle, and sold into slavery.

Homegoing follows the parallel paths of these sisters and their descendants through eight generations: from the Gold Coast to the plantations of Mississippi, from the American Civil War to Jazz Age Harlem.

Yaa Gyasi’s extraordinary novel illuminates slavery’s troubled legacy both for those who were taken and those who stayed.

This book was recommended to me last year. I’ve had it on my reading list for a while thanks to the epic reviews and mentions.  It’s ended up on the reading list for April 2022. 

  1. Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Caraval Book Cover

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved 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 far-away, 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. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

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

I am late to this fandom.  I love the book cover.  Yes, I also pick up books based on how awesome their book covers look.  This one does it for me and I can’t wait to get into this book.  Caraval has three books in the series.  I’m excited to finally discover what the fandom is about.

  1. The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna
The Gilded Ones Book Cover

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one is quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

I read book one last year, so I’m excited for Book Two.  Once again, the cover is so beautiful, and the story itself is so epic. I’m hoping to get book two when it’s out in May and put out a review for both.

  1. An Ember in the Ashes Series by Sabaa Tahir

I’m crazy for this series.  In case you haven’t discovered my reviews for the first two books, you’ll find them here and here.  Sabaa Tahir’s epic is amazing, and I am currently in deep with book three. So, definitely sharing a review of the end of this series soon. I’m both excited and sad to get to the end because Elias and Laia are so grand.  Helene is a very frightening warrior, and Sabaa should definitely wear the Kehanni’s crown from now on. I’m in this one full throttle.

A Reaper at the Gates
Book Three of An Ember in the Ashes Series

The Merciless Ones book cover

So, my reading list is packed with a bit of poetry, a bit of Yaa Gyaasi, and a trio of series books. I’m in a love/hate relationship with a series of books.  When you can get all the books on the line, it’s exciting to get into the series and read to the end.

It’s different when you have to wait for the next book in the series.  The Gilded Ones – Book Two comes out in May 2022.  Which means waiting a year between books.  Oh well, here’s to rereading the first part as we wait for Book 2.

If you’re in Nairobi, stay cool. Cold watermelons and hot tea. hahaha, if you know, you know. The sun loves us too much oh! Happy reading trails!

A Torch Against the Night – Review

 A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

A Torch Against the Night
A Torch Against the Night Book Cover

In A TORCH AGAINST THE NIGHT, 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.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

Book Review

I read A Torch Against the Night in one afternoon. It continues from where An Ember in the Ashes ended. Elias and Laia are on the run from the masks and need to get out of the city.  Elias is determined to get Laia out and help her save her brother from prison.  Laia needs Elias’s considerable skills to stay alive, and escape a city locked down by masks who are determined to capture Elias.

Helene Aquilla has become the Blood Shrike. She answers to the new brutal emperor Marcus and he has a terrible mission for her.  Track down her friend Elias and bring him back to the city for a public execution.

A Torch Against the Night is an action-packed read.  Laia is stronger this round, more decisive which is grand to see.  She supports Elias as they race to save Laia’s brother.  Helen remains a character caught in a terrible nightmare.  She must hunt for Elias, even though it means killing him.  Her quest is designed to break her and Marcus knows it.  There was no moment of softness for Helene, the Blood Shrike.

The field of battle is my temple.  The swordpoint is my priest.  The killing blow is my release.  I’m not ready for my release. Not yet. Not yet.

Elias Veturius, A Torch Against the Night

Elias, my favorite character, chooses a tough road in this book.  His only wish has been to live a quiet life, one of peace.  But, he has only lived by the sword and been trained to be the best warrior.  His willingness to sacrifice himself is both admirable and something to be sad about at every step. By the end, he has reached a point of no return and makes a choice that will change his and Laia’s lives forever.

The fight against the chains of slavery forged by the martial forces is underlying, growing by each chapter.  I loved meeting Elias’s adoptive mother most.  She is a skilled Kehanni (storyteller) and her tale helps Elias and Laia escape a tight spot.  Her words spark a revolt and I thought that was such a powerful scene.  As with Book One, there are terrible losses in Book Two.  I was happy and sad as I read the last chapter of A Torch Against the Night.  I cannot wait to get A Reaper at the Gates to discover the consequences of Elias’s decision.

Belonging – Review

Belonging by Christine Warugaba

Published by Furaha Publishers, based in Kigali, Rwanda. This book is available in March 2022. I received an Advanced Review Copy from C. Warugaba.

Summary

Belonging by Christine Warugaba is about Keza Rugamba, who was born in Kampala, Uganda to parents originating from Rwanda.  Their tribe is Tutsi and her parents fled Rwanda to escape the genocide of the Tutsi in the early 1960s. Keza grows up in Kampala, Uganda amidst the background of a military regime marked by raids in their home, and deadly robberies that stole her uncle’s life.  Despite the chaos, Keza’s family lives a relatively peaceful life and she completes her primary and high school education.

Two years before Keza’s high school graduation, Rwanda endures a tumultuous period, and soon after welcomes the restoration of peace.  A peaceful Rwanda has Keza’s father thinking of a return to their homeland.  However, Keza’s mother is traumatized by the loss of their extended family and is unwilling to return, so they remain in Kampala. In contrast, Keza’s Aunt Stella, her mother’s sister, makes the decision to return to Kigali, Rwanda.

Fresh out of high school, Keza begs her mother’s permission to go along with her Aunt Stella to see their homeland.  To her mother’s surprise, Keza insists on attending university in Rwanda.  Keza arrives in Kigali to live with her Aunt Stella and attend med school at the National University of Rwanda.

Belonging is a
Conversation Starter

ellyinnairobi.com

Rwanda soon becomes Keza’s second home. In a reflective moment, between holiday visits to see her parents in Kampala, Keza wonders, “Where is home?”

When Keza completes her university, she applies for and wins a green card.  A new adventure in a foreign country begins when Keza lands in New York. She finds herself working to survive a fast-paced, alien-biased world.  She is a qualified doctor in Rwanda, but in the United States, she needs to return to school and qualify for an American Medical License.

She works odd jobs to help meet basic needs and afford her new life in New York.  Keza almost drowns in the tedium of shift jobs, paying rent and upkeep, while studying for her medical license examinations.  She catches a break when she lands a job working at a weight-loss clinic in New York and gains a Kenyan friend and boss who does understand her struggle.  Keza strikes a work/school life balance as she works at the Makena Clinic.  She remains at the clinic for six years before she is disillusioned by the American Dream, and she finally decides to return to Kigali with a new dream, starting her own business.

The moment Keza lands in Kigali, her cousin Ivan warns her that Aunt Stella will make it a mission to get Keza married.  True to Ivan’s prediction, Aunt Stella embarks on a full campaign to get Keza married, which includes prayers and fasting.  Despite Aunt Stella’s obvious efforts, Keza starts a sincere journey to solidify her roots and create something belonging to her.

Thoughts

Belonging as a novel illustrates a quest to find a home.

Keza 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.

She is highly educated.  Thanks to the experiences she faced in each world, she becomes intensely hardworking and independent.  By the time she is landing in Kigali, her mind is set on a specific goal, that is, building a successful business.  A goal she finds difficult to push aside to accommodate her aunt’s search for a husband for her.

At every step, Keza’s family remains supportive.  From her steadfast Aunt Stella who gives Keza unconditional love and support, marriage plans aside. To her cousins and nieces who help Keza when she is at her lowest and in grief.  They also celebrate with her during her highest moments.

Belonging does showcase impact points meant to start a larger conversation. The most prominent point speaks on the weight of traditional expectations concerning marriage beset on African women’s shoulders.  No matter the extent of their education or accomplishment.

Aunt Stella’s quest to get Keza married before she turns forty serves as a perfect example of this expectation.  In sharp contrast, Aunt Stella does not show the same desperate concern for her own son.  Her quest climaxes in a party with a house full of bachelors so that Keza may try to find someone who sparks her interests.  Aunt Stella’s desperation and concern for Keza’s marriage leads to health problems caused by constant fasting.  Concern for her aunt’s health forces Keza to the extreme idea of getting a fake boyfriend.

It was probably the only way Keza was going to meet someone. The experiences Keza lives through forge her character and her ultimate goals. The events of her life give her the strength to build a successful business in Kigali.  They also make her opinion on marriage different from Aunt Stella’s. I do appreciate the fact that in the end, these life experiences help Keza choose a partner who is right for her, on her own terms.

Belonging unfolds in the form of flashbacks at the start.  Much of the first part of the novel is told in a memory stream.  Keza remembers her past as she packs to return to Kigali. It is not a fast romance read. The story needs time to assimilate, as Keza works to find her place in the many worlds she encounters.

February 2022 Reading List

My February 2022 was filled with ACOTAR. I wonder if a series of books fill other people’s months. I went into ACOTAR with the same excitement I had when I was reading The Throne of Glass Series. I faced some disappointments, however, Sarah J. Maas does write a great epic, with fantastic world-building.


A Court of Thorns and Roses

We started with A Court of Thorns and Roses

Book 1 of the ACOTAR series introduces Feyre and Tamlin.

Blurb: –Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator, and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Book Review


A Court of Mist and Fury

The second week of Feb was filled with A Court of Mist and Fury. Feyre has become the Cursebreaker. She and Tamlin are on the verge of a marriage, but there are complications.

Blurb: – Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people. Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court.

Book Review

This Book is available at Nuria Bookshop.


A Court of Wings and Ruin

A Court of Wings and Ruin took up Week Three. This is the last part of Feyre’s main story. Though not the last time we meet Feyre. I loved A Court of Wings and Ruin. I loved the development of Rhys and Feyre’s relationship and their fight at the end was worth the journey.  Their supporting characters are great and I enjoyed getting to know all of them.

There is a fourth book after this one called A Court of Silver Flames. Where you get to follow Nesta, Feyre’s sister’s world.

Book Review


An Ember in the Ashes book Cover
An Ember in the Ashes

The last week of Feb, I jumped into another series by Sabaa Tahir called An Ember in the Ashes. I love, love this series. I’m definitely going to start a club called the Great Kehanni’s Club after getting to the end of this series. I truly love Book One of this series.

Blurb: —Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
 Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
 It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

Book Review


If you live in East Africa and you’re wondering where to get any of these books, download Amazon’s Kindle on your phone or pad. You can Sign up for Digital Subscription Kindle Unlimited. It is $9.99 per month. Around Kshs. 1,200. You get unlimited access to thousands of ebooks per month. If you like holding a book in your hands, Nuria Bookshop in Kenya allows you to order books with them. Ask them how.


March comes along and We’re starting with Rwandan Author, Christine Warugaba’s Belonging.


Belonging by Christine Warugaba Book Cover
Belonging by Christine Warugaba
After an unsatisfactory stay in the United States, Ugandan-born Keza returns to Rwanda, her country of origin, and becomes a successful entrepreneur. However, her family believes something is missing in her life: a husband. When her old aunt embarks on a forty-day fast so that Keza may get a partner before she turns forty, Keza makes a desperate move: she decides to hire a fake boyfriend. Things take an unexpected turn after Kampala’s most eligible bachelor takes on the role.

Will she ever find true love, and is marriage the measure of a woman’s worth? This multifaceted story traces Keza’s struggle to belong as she walks the fine line between preserving her independence and meeting cultural and societal expectations. 

Wishing you a Wonderful March 2022!

An Ember in the Ashes – Book Review

An Ember in the Ashes book Cover

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
 Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
 It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
 
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
 
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Book Review

Life is made of so many moments that mean nothing.  Then one day, a single moment comes along to define every second that comes after.

Laia, An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes is the first book in a series of four books.  It starts with Laia who lives with her grandparents and her older brother Darin.  They are scholars living in a world ruled by martials.  Scholars are classified as slaves in the martial world.  Laia learns the healing arts from her grandfather, and her family has chosen to live without standing out in a world that views them as slaves.  They are happy until Darin, Laia’s big brother, chooses to stand out and a mask, the cruelest of the martial soldiers, comes to their house to arrest Darin.  Laia’s quiet world changes and she is thrown into a new path.  One where she needs to survive and find a way to get her brother released from prison. Laia is not privileged, and she is not free. Her greatest wish in this book is to find a way to save her brother Darin from a cruel prison ran by the martials.

Elias is the son of the powerful ruthless commander who rules the martial military academy called Blackcliff.  He is the best of his class, a prince of the silver masks training at Blackliff.  Problem is, Elias does not subscribe to the cruelty and ruthless nature beat and drummed into him at the academy.  He wants out and can’t wait to escape the military life he hates.  He just needs to escape without anyone knowing, otherwise deserters face death by his own mother’s hand.  Elias is privileged but he is not free. His biggest wish is to live a life of his own choosing, away from Blackcliff.

When these two characters meet, Laia must get over the fact that Elias is a mask.  His people oppress hers and one of the masks killed her grandparents and imprisoned Darin.  Elias must deal with the fact that Laia looks at him and sees a martial who oppresses her people.  She only sees the nature of a mask: cruelty, ruthlessness, murderer. Even if Elias secretly rejects all these things and wishes to do right by the innocent.

An Ember in the Ashes is about these two characters finding each other at Blackcliff Military Academy. Laia ends up serving The Commandant in a strange twist of fate and survives her brutality.  In a way, Elias fights to hold on to his soul despite his mother, The Commandant, and survives her too.

I loved the contrast of these two characters most.  Their realities are different, but their thoughts align.  They both want freedom, even though it is not obvious to them, which makes the atrocities they endure apart quite profound.  Blackcliff comes close to what I imagine hell to look like, Elias goes through brutal training.  It is made even more rough because the head task master is his mother, The Commandant.  She is frightening and cruel.  Laia gets to see and endure the Commandant’s cruelty, which gives her a strong resolve to survive, to fight and find a way to get her brother Darin out of prison. Laia’s daring resolve brings this novel to a stunning ending that makes you want to get to the next book.

An Ember in the Ashes has a host of unforgettable characters.  Of note is Helene who takes on a role of righteous martial.  She believes in the martials orders and the rule of law laid down by the martials.  She is the character Elias is fighting not to become and the character Laia is fighting against.  Their world from Helene’s perspective is quite severe, there is no room for the gray parts, only black and white and no changes or deviations allowed. She is the product of the current system, and comparing her to Elias, I was excited to see him break away from the expected mold.

The world in An Ember in the Ashes is harsh and full of characters on the cusp of a revolution.  Slaves (Scholars) fighting back against the Martials.  The Martials meting out their version of justice in the most harsh and cruelest of ways. In the midst of the chaos, Laia never stops trying to free her brother, Darin from prison.  At the same time Elias seeks a way out of the madhouse he calls home even when he knows the path is not easy.  As Cain tells Elias, “You’re an ember in the ashes, Elias Veturius.  You will spark and burn, ravage and destroy. You cannot change it.  You cannot stop it.” Book One is a great introduction of these amazing characters who are all thought to be An Ember in the Ashes. Sabaa Tahir is a a brilliant kehanni.

Where to Sell or Share your Complete Story in East Africa

The one thing writers all need no matter the level of their creative journey is feedback from readers.  Readers who will dive into your work and get back to you with legitimate feedback on what they think/thought about your work. Feedback will help you grow as a writer, and gaining readership will allow you to discover what else you can do with your work.

This post compiles a list of options to use as an author based in East Africa and hoping to grow your readership.  From sites to post free content for immediate feedback to e-book and printed book distribution websites to aid in your book sales.

Here are platforms that offer authors options on what do with their work:

Five Free Reading/Writing Sites:

These sites allow you to post your work in chapters or episodes.  You can publish the entirety of your work in one go, or post from week to week to gain followers and readers.

  1. ebonystory.com

Ebonystory.com is branded as the Home of Interesting African Stories.  It is quite easy to create an account and start posting your chapters.  You’ll be in the company of fellow African writers and a very diverse readership ready to consume your content. They offer you a slew of story genres you can choose to write for.

2. Wattpad.com

Wattpad brands itself as ‘…the world’s most-loved social storytelling platform, where new voices write and share, and readers connect with the stories they love.’ Writers can create an account and start posting their story chapters right away.  Readers access books on the web or using the Wattpad App.  It is a highly competitive environment for authors.  You need to do a bit of work and social sharing to get your work read.  If you’re hoping to get feedback right away, you’ll need to be proactive in directing readers to your page and your stories. Wattpad.com offers authors different types of opportunities like Wattpad Stars, Ambassadors, and chances to get books in awards like the #Wattys.  They also offer paid stories and authors may apply to join this program depending on content and readership base. ( It is important to note that Wattpad is a platform still finding its footing in the African Continent and they have yet to trickle down these opportunities to African Authors, if it has, it is happening in a slow trickle.) This aside, Wattpad allows you to have a platform to share your work for free at no cost and you can gain readership with some hard work.

3. Inkitt.com

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors.  This platform is similar to Wattpad, in that they allow you to create an account and you can publish your stories chapter to chapter to gain readership.  The more popular your work, the more likely you are to get published by Inkitt’s unique publishing system.  It is worth a try if you’re hoping to gain readership and build on your body of work.

4. Webnovel.com

Web Novel's Inkstone platform
Web Novel’s Inkstone

Webnovel.com – Webnovel is a Chinese-owned publishing platform. They brand themselves as >>>Webnovel is a global online reading platform for all kinds of marvelous novels and comics. It daily updates serialized content, dedicating to micro-transactions and in-game-purchase mode, defining new trends in the online publishing industry. They mostly publish stories translated to English from Chinese or Korean.  However, they do offer a platform named Inkstone that allows you to share your work chapter by chapter.  Webnovel’s author platform takes a bit of work to understand.  Their library of stories is full of Chinese/Korean translated works.  If you do decide to delve into this platform, you may choose to create the same types of stories or create your own brand. Either way, it’s a great way to introduce your work to new readers.  My only tip would be to read more about Webnovel before you decide to publish. Read more about them.

5. . Dreame Storiesstarywriting.com

To write for Dreame Stories is to write for Stary Writing, which offers the platform.  They offer the opportunity to become an exclusive stary writer and get paid an income.  Dreame Stories does have a large readership base. As always, work does fall to the author to direct readership to the page and gain a following to reach paid status.  Please read up on the requirements at starywriting.com so that you know what kind of content they accept, and what they expect of their writers.

Ebook Distribution Platforms

Okada Books (Nigerian-based)

This platform allows you to become a published author in less than 5 minutes, their quote not mine.  You can showcase your books to a massive African readership base.  Check them out if you’re hoping to get your ebook before more African readers. They allow you to distribute both free and paid ebooks.

Smashwords.com / Draft2Digital

I’m a longtime fan of Smashwords.  It offers authors a great service in distributing books to various ebook stores like kobo/ Barnes and Nobles / Sony / Scribd and Amazon among others.  Smashwords.com also has its own store that allows the purchase and download of ebooks. 

To note: Smashwords.com has recently merged with Draft2Digital.com.  I hope it remains as amazing as it has been.  You can publish both free and paid ebooks.

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing

This is a great platform to get your e-books published.  You can bring your work to a global audience as Amazon’s Kindle is worldwide.  Their only downside is payment for Kenyans.  Kenyans can only receive $100 checks in their mailbox. Which is very old-fashioned in a world of digital money. Hahaha. Amazon’s payment offer for Kenyans is still wanting.  They do not allow us to use PayPal/or our banks. (This might be different for authors with bank accounts and addresses abroad) You can however showcase your books on Amazon for anyone in the globe who might purchase your books. Your payment comes when you manage $100 in sales in the form of a cheque to your mailbox.

Printed Book Distribution Platforms

Rafu Books in Kenya (Printed Books)

Rafu Books has a platform called Rafu Merchant Services.  This platform allows authors, publishers, and others to partner with Rafu, who sell printed books through their website platform.  The platform offers a backend that allows you to manage stock and offer same-day delivery in Nairobi or the next-day delivery of your books to other parts of Kenya. Register for an account and follow their directions to get your books distributed.

Litireso in Nigeria (Printed Books)

Litireso is most similar to Amazon’s KDP.  They allow you to publish an ebook or printed book, or both.  They also offer shipping across the globe.  I would advise reading up on their offers, requirements, and system information before you get started.

Jumia.co.ke (Seller Account)

Interesting is that if you have a seller account on Jumia, you can sell your printed books as long as they have an ISBN barcode on the back cover.  All you would need to do is follow Jumia’s seller account guidelines and make sure your book is well stocked to meet Jumia’s delivery demands.

International Book Printing Platforms

  1. Lulu.com
  2. Ingramspark.com
  3. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing

These three international platforms have long-established guidelines on how you can sell e-books and get your books printed.  If you’re in Kenya /East Africa, each of these three will require that you contend with fluctuating global shipping rates.  If these shipping rates are doable for you, then these platforms are a great resource to tap into and get your books to a wider audience.

Please Note: The platforms listed above allow you as a writer/author to sign up with minimal fuss.  You register an account, follow guidelines as specified on each website, then do your best to market yourself. Registration is free for all of them, with no money required for membership/or to get your book or work listed. All you need is your own work/ebook, a reliable computer or mobile phone, and internet access.

Happy Writing and Selling.


Zevs Afrotheria - Fiction

Check out Zev’s Afrotheria

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

About Zev’s Afrotheria:

Also, find it here: Zevs Afrotheria – Wattpad


Afrotheria is facing a crisis. The magma vents in the Njaro Mountains have released deadly creatures called Ghost Wraiths. Afrotheria's Sable Council orders the recruit of every able man to fight and protect the citizens, creating the Protection Class, and a guardian army called the Theria Guild.
After a tragic raid destroys his home, Zev Joins the Theria Guild to become a Guardian. He learns how to fight the ghost wraiths coming to wreak havoc on innocent villages. He trains to be the best, joining the Strike Force by the age of Twenty-Five. Zev's main goal is to gain enough power in the Theria Guild. A power that will help him find his sister who was lost to him during the raid in their village when he was seventeen.
His goal to find his sister falters when he meets Dalia Taj, the Elderon's daughter. Dalia is a gifted researcher with a plan to end the Ghost Wraiths for good. She needs the Strike Force to end the great invasion and restore peace.
Zev must now decide what is more important to him, his family, or his country.

A Court of Wings & Ruin- Book Review

A Court of Wings and Ruin

A Court of Wings & Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre will bring Vengeance.

She has left the Night Court – and her High Lord – and is playing a deadly game of deceit. In the Spring Court, Tamlin is making deals with the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees, and Feyre is determined to uncover his plans. But to do so she must weave a web of lies, and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre but for her world as well.

As mighty armies grapple for power, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places. But while war rages, it is her heart that will face the greatest battle.

Book Review

A Court of Wings and Ruin is Book 3 in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.  Feyre has sacrificed herself and returned to the Spring Court with Tamlin in a bid to protect her chosen family from the villainous King Hybern.  Her sisters have faced a life-changing trial and Rhys is without his High Lady as Feyre is now in enemy territory on her own.

Feyre has grown into herself.  As she stays in the Spring Court a second time, it is easy to see she has changed.  She is calculating risks, gleans motive easier, and is no longer clueless about the dangers and machinations hidden behind the beautiful Spring Court.  She is different from the Feyre in the first book.  She knows who she is, and what she wants and I found that part of her growth inspiring.

A Court of Wings and Ruin is focused on bringing Rhys and Feyre together as a power couple.  They are High Lord and High Lady of the Night Court.  Their journey starts with Feyre living in the enemy’s camp to get vital information for the coming fight.  The two, Rhys and Feyre, endure a separation. This series has developed a large emphasis on adopting or choosing a family of your own.  None of the people Feyre comes to love as her family is related to her. 

Rhys, Cassian, Azriel, Mor, and Amren have become her true family who now takes on the care of Feyre’s blood sisters. This court has a very strong sense of loyalty and love for each other.  It is also important to note that each of these characters has gone through a trial of their own at a point in their lives.  From Rhys who is shunned by his mother’s people for being a hybrid, Mor has endured unimaginable abuse from her own family in a bid to choose her own life.  The most impressive, Cassian and Azriel, who endured savage childhoods, conquered prejudice, and rose up in the ranks to become the strongest warriors known to their kind.  Amren is constantly in search of where she belongs after having endured horrors in prison. Together, this group of characters becomes a strong foundation, strong family support, protecting and loving each other as only family can. A foundation Feyre knows can now help her support her blood sisters who now need help adjusting to a new world. I found this aspect of a chosen family to be the most endearing part of this series.  A theme that works, that anyone can relate to.

A Court of Wings and Ruin redeems Book One and Book Two for me.  Feyre and Rhys hold the story as they bring different courts together to face down an enemy who could cost them their very lives.  They compromise and open themselves up to potential friendships and allies.  This book becomes the strongest part of this series.  Each character grew and played an important part in the larger plot.  It even managed to redeem Nesta, Feyre’s big sister, who I’ve had a hard time getting to like.

The burgeoning number of characters in this series is its greatest strength and weakness.  Each court has a strong character deserving of a story.  They cannot get it told in a book about Rhys and Feyre, so I felt it was a great weakness. As noted before, Tamlin’s storyline is quite unfair, to him. He suffers from a broken heart, holds a massive power he fights to control, and is perceived as a villain through Feyre’s eyes.  Tamlin goes through the wringer with Feyre and Rhys, I feel from another point of view, he would be better understood.  Characters like Lucian, Mor, and even Amren have stories that are deserving of more. They could each have a standalone book. A Court of Wings and Ruin is also very long, as the war is fought, allies come together and new villains emerge. I wished the ending did not feel like a plan to bring more books ahead. ^_^ This is a problem of late, as series books work to keep their worlds open and with that maybe…for the next book.

It makes sense why there is A Court of Silver Flames after this, a story about Nesta, Feyre’s big sister, and Cassian.  Of which, I will not be going into because I think I’ve had my fill of ACOTAR this month.  I loved the development of Rhys and Feyre’s relationship and their fight at the end was worth the journey.  Their supporting characters are great and I enjoyed getting to know all of them.  However, it is hard to continue with Nesta who is a difficult character to understand through Feyre’s eyes. On her own, I have not done so well and could not finish her story.

A Court of Thorns and Roses Series is written by Sarah J. Maas. She has also written The Throne of Glass series which I truly enjoyed, all seven books and side stories. You can check out more about the Throne of Glass series here.

A Court of Mist and Fury – Book Review

A Court of Mist and Fury - Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

Book Review

I loved A Court of Mist and Fury more than ACOTAR 1.

Rhys is a great character to follow. Feyre is also going through a rebirth, rediscovering herself and her strengths. It feels like Sarah J. Maas wrote book 1 in anticipation of book 2. Her characters show their true colors in Book 2, while Book 1 felt like a very quiet introduction with a very angry villain named Amarantha.

In Book 2, Feyre observes that her love for Tamlin came about because she fell for the first nice person she ever met, the first person to show her kindness. I agree with this assessment fully. Book 1 had its moments of bravery and fighting to survive, but the romance between Feyre and Tamlin felt too weak, placed on a shaky foundation. It was a huge issue for me and I didn’t love it.

Book Two has Feyre with Rhys. He becomes a source of strength for her as she fights her demons, finds confidence in herself and her abilities. Their relationship has a lot more growth as opposed to Feyre’s relationship with Tamlin. The big bad grows, and a host of new characters to love emerge.

I do admire how Maas depicts difficult family relationships. No character in this book has an easy relationship with family, from bastards born unwanted, to Feyre who was the breadwinner of her family during their difficult times, perceiving that her sisters did not help in her efforts to feed them. No one has a perfect homey life, but they do try their best to create moments of happiness.

A Court of Mist and Fury is a better book than A Court of Thorns and Roses. I enjoyed it more and found the characters much more agreeable. I do think Tamlin continues to get the short end of the stick. He had potential in book one, book two turns him into an unagreeable sort. It’s a tragedy.

I find myself both enjoying and struggling with the ACOTAR series. My fault for having read Throne of Glass first. Feyre is a good strong character, but she’s not grabbing at me the way Aelin Galathynius (ToG) stood out. Their fight is different, in a way. I know the comparison in my head has to stop for Feyre to get a chance as I continue to Book 3 and Book 4. Still, Throne of Glass remains a more compelling tale at this point.

What is Self-Publishing?

What is Self-Publishing?

Self-Publishing is the act of an author taking on the process of writing, editing, formatting, printing, and marketing your fiction or non-fiction book. Following are five important aspects of self-publishing.

  • The author publishes their work independent of any publishing houses.
  • The author takes on all the costs and expenses of the process.
  • The author does receive all the sale profits: He or She retains control and ownership of his or her content.
  • The author registers ISBNs and Copyright Licenses in person. He or she is responsible for fulfilling any legal requirements needed in the process of publication.
  • Marketing and promotion falls to the author.  The author needs to work at discovering and cultivating readership in order to make sales.  It helps if you have a large network of supporters online and offline.  If you don’t, then it is a great idea to get started on cultivating readership of your work.
What is Self-publishing? Five points on Self-Publishing in Kenya.

Self-Publishing is different from Traditional Publishing.

In Traditional Publishing, a publishing house accepts an author’s work, edits and formats according to house standards, prepares the work for printing and takes on the marketing of the work. In this day and age, the author is no longer exempt from the marketing efforts and may have to complete tasks as assigned by the publishers to promote the work.

In Kenya, publishing houses do not need you to have a literary agent.  However, they do need you to send work that has content centered on the publishing houses’ preferred publishing genres.  Check out these four traditional publishing houses submission guidelines: East African Publishers / Moran Publishers / Storymoja Publishers / Mystery Publishers

Of course, there are more than these four publishing houses in East Africa, but I have highlighted companies who have clear submission guidelines on what they are looking for on their websites and the process of submission.

Now you know what Self-publishing is, and what to expect from the process.  Here is a tip on what you need to do to see profits from your hard work.  Approach self-publishing as you would a startup business.  Your books are a product.  A product that requires smart marketing and constant refining to attract your readers and keep them.

It is no longer about just uploading your book on Amazon’s KDP or Smashwords and keeping quiet, waiting for a reader to stumble upon your work.  The industry has grown and changed.  There are a lot more authors who are publishing on the same platforms, in the same way.  You now need to market your work and be outgoing about it, online and offline.

Self- Publishing will give you results depending on the amount of effort (time + money) you choose to pour into it. Don’t be afraid to take the first step.