Top Ten Tuesday: Places in Books I’d Love to Visit

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

How it works:

She assigns each Tuesday a topic and then posts her top ten list that fits that topic. You’re more than welcome to join her and create your own top ten (or 2, 5, 20, etc.) list as well. Feel free to put a unique spin on the topic to make it work for you! Please link back to That Artsy Reader Girl in your own post so that others know where to find more information.


I get my best travel ideas from reading. Because of that, I have a list of countries and cities that I am burning to visit. So, here are my top 10 places that I want to visit that have been inspired by the books I have read.

Let me know if you have visited/want to visit any of these places!! Also, let me know if you have read the book!!

Enjoy!


1. Seattle, Washington — Forget Me Not by Alexandria Oliva

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2. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula – The Marsh King’s Daughter by Karen Dionne

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3. Regency England – Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

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4. Scotland – MacFarland’s Lass by Glynnis Campbell

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5. Nigeria – The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

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6. South Korea – Please Look After Mom by Shin Kyung-Sook

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7. The Yukon Wilderness in Canada – City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

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8. Modern Day England – Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

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9. Ireland – Shearwater by D.S. Murphy

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10. Iceland —Sucked by Yrsa Sigurdardottir (I read the translated version)

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#SixforSunday—Books That Made You Cry

SixforSundays is a meme hosted by A Little But A LotEvery month there is a theme and that is broken down on Sundays into categories.

This week’s theme is:

Books That Made Me Cry


When I saw this prompt, I thought to myself “Only 6 books”….lol. I am an emotional reader and there are instances where I have cried over the littlest things in books. The books I have picked for today, though, are ones that made me cry from page one.

Please let me know what books bring on the waterworks for you!!


  1. The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi
The Death of Vivek Oji

2. White Oleander by Janet Fitch

White Oleander

3. Doll House by John Hunt

Doll House

4. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Me Before You (Me Before You, #1)

5. Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp

Before I Let Go

6. The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo by Kerrigan Byrne

The Duke with the Dragon Tattoo (Victorian Rebels, #6)

#SixforSunday—Books that Made Me Feel

SixforSundays is a meme hosted by A Little But A LotEvery month there is a theme and that is broken down on Sundays into categories.

This week’s theme is:

Books That Made Me Feel


I wasn’t too sure how I wanted to go with today’s prompt. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to list books that made me feel happy, angry, sad (insert other emotions here). After some thought, I decided to go with them all!! Enjoy the rollercoaster of my emotions….lol. Also, let me know what books made you feel in the comments below!!


  1. Cold-Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas
Cold-Hearted Rake (The Ravenels, #1)

2. The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

The Death of Vivek Oji

3. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

Alex, Approximately

4. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire (Girls of Paper and Fire, #1)

5. The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski

The Midnight Lie (The Midnight Lie, #1)

6. White Oleander by Janet Fitch

White Oleander

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

The Death of Vivek Oji
The Death of Vivek Ojo by Akwaeke Emezi

Publisher: Penguin Group Riverhead

Date of publication: August 4th 2020

Genre: Contemporary, Fiction, Queer, LGBT+, Africa

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | Powell’s | IndieBound | Indigo | Audible | Apple Books | Better World Books

Format read: eBook

Got book from: NetGalley as a Non Arc

Trigger Warnings: Homophobia, Transphobia, Domestic Violence, Rape, Incest, Violence, Drug Use, Alcohol Use, General Violence


Goodreads Synopsis:

What does it mean for a family to lose a child they never really knew?

One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.

Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations—a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.


First Line:

They burned down the market on the day Vivek Oji died.

The death of vivek oji by akwaeke emezi

The Death of Vivek Oji is one of the best books that I have read in the past six months (I would say year, but it is only February). I could not put the book down; that is how much I liked it.

I will admit that it took me a chapter or so to get into the book’s rhythm. But once I got the rhythm, the book went fast. There was no lag and no excess storyline. That made for a delightful read.

The Death of Vivek Oji is written mainly from the 1st person perspectives of Vivek and Osika. There are some 3rd person chapters written when describing the events around specific events in Vivek’s life (mainly their death and their mother’s meetings with the Nigerwives). Some people might have an issue with that, but I didn’t, which surprised me. I was quickly able to follow when the book switched perspectives and people.

The author did a great job of showing how repressed Nigerian culture was for gay/trans people. The main scenes that stand out to me were when Vivek grew their hair out, and their parent’s first response was to cut it. Vivek was not allowed out because of how they looked. Their aunt had a preacher beat them to “get the demons out.” It was heartbreaking to read.

I felt for Osita the entire book. He loved Vivek with his whole heart but couldn’t share that love with the world. Instead, the small group of friends Vivek and Osita had known. It must have been so tiring to live like that. My heart hurt for him.

There is sex in The Death of Vivek Oji. I won’t lie and say that it isn’t graphic because it is. 

The end of Vivek Oji’s death was one of the rawest that I have read to date. I am not going to get into it, but it was intense. I do like that Vivek’s parents finally understood their daughter and honored her. But, it was the final scene with Osita that made me cry. That poor, poor man!!


The Death of Vivek Oji was a fantastic book to read. It was fast paced and was able to deliver a heavy plotline with the grace that it was due. I am actively looking for other books by the same author to read!!!

After much thought, I will recommend The Death of Vivek Oji for anyone over the age of 21. There is a scene of attempted rape. There is talk of domestic violence. There is deadnaming. There is graphic sex.

WWW Wednesday: February 3rd 2021

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

I skipped doing all bookish meme’s last week and Sunday of this week. I have a couple of reasons. The first one being: I was busy. I had appointments almost every single day last week and by the time I got home, I wasn’t in the mood for sitting at the computer and blogging. The second reason: A lot of the weekly memes were repeating themselves. I don’t know how many times I could answer what books/authors I want to read in 2021. So, I made the decision to skip them until February.

Miss R has to get braces on her top teeth. We had an orthodontist appointment yesterday and he had made the decision that she needs them. The oral surgeon removed too many teeth on top and they all shifted. Now, she doesn’t have enough room for her canines to come through. Add to that they are coming in sideways. I feel that I am going to get judged because she’s only 7. Sigh.

Mr. Z has an interesting project that he’s doing for social studies. To celebrate Black History Month, his school does a wax museum featuring prominent and famous African Americans. For this project, he has to dress up and deliver a speech about his chosen person. The person he chose was Thurgood Marshall. We got glasses (which Mr. Z wears anyway) and a fake mustache. On the list of what we need to get: a robe (Thurgood Marshall was a Supreme Court Justice), a collared white shirt and a tie.

Nothing to say about Miss B. She’s doing well in school (right now: A/B honor roll) and is generally loving life.

I finished His Dark Materials last week. I was NOT happy about how it ended and wanted to scream!!!! I also have made it to episode 5 of Bridgerton. The end of the episode was….memorable. If you’ve watched it, you know what I’m talking about….lmao. I’ve also started Titans on HBOMax. Talk about a darker take on the Teen Titans!!! I’m also thinking of restarting Raised by Wolves. BK and I watched episode 1 but never resumed the series.

Blog:

Like I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I started taking review requests again. I posted 1 review request last week (along with 1 review of a book that I had on my TBR). I have two upcoming reviews this week. It feels good to be back reviewing!!!

I still need to clean up my previous posts. I did start on my Tag/Categories section last weekend but got sidetracked by cleaning and family stuff. I plan on doing more at some point.

Reading:

I had a good reading week last week, for the most part. I finished 4 books last week.


I recently finished reading:

The Death of Vivek Oji
What does it mean for a family to lose a child they never really knew?

One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.

Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations—a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.

Reading The Death of Vivek Oji destroyed me. It destroyed me in a good way. I was in no way prepared for the range of emotions this book put me through. Now, saying that, there were some parts of the book the made me go “eh“. I’m not going to go into it now (wait for my review) but that did not affect how I viewed the book.


What I am currently reading:

How to Train Your Earl (First Comes Love, #3)
A roguish earl must fight using his honor and not his sword to win his lady’s hand in How To Train Your Earl, the third book in the First Comes Love trilogy from bestseller Amelia Grey.

Brina Feld has settled into a life devoted to helping others since the sinking of the Salty Dove left her widowed. She has no need for a man in her contented life. But when the notorious and handsome Lord Blacknight returns and awakens her desires, her peace and serenity vanish. If she agrees to an alliance with him, she knows she will have to battle her heart to keep from being snared under his spell.

Zane, the Earl of Blacknight, was never supposed to inherit the earldom, so he didn’t much care to lead a respectable life before then. Fistfights, card games, and drinking are the order of the day. Now he’s determined to change his rakish ways and he knows the proper lady who can help him. There’s just one problem: He’s already bet he’ll win her hand before the Season is over. With her resolve to out-scheme him, how can he show her that his love is true?

I just started reading How to Train Your Earl and I am loving it. The way Zane and Brina were introduced was funny (and a little scary) and I am a little irritated by how Zane’s family treated him (if you read the first few chapters, you know what I’m talking about). I am hoping to have this read by Friday and the review up on April 27th.


What books I think I’ll read next:

MacFarland's Lass (Scottish Lasses #1)
(Formerly published as Captured by Desire by Kira Morgan)

SCOTTISH LASSES

Meet the lasses in the world of Mary Queen of Scots…Like the Scottish thistle, they’re lovely yet tough, beautiful yet prickly, and only the strongest and wisest heroes are able to elude their thorns to discover the tender blossom within.

MacFARLAND’S LASS
by Glynnis Campbell – writing as Kira Morgan (formerly Captured by Desire)

A woman on the run…a man on the hunt. He has forty days to earn her trust. She has forty days to win his heart. They have forty days to outwit
their enemies.

When Florie Gilder, the once-respected jeweler to Queen Mary, claims sanctuary in an abandoned church for a crime she didn’t commit, huntsman Rane MacFarland, a local hero of the common folk, vows to protect her. But when his overlord charges him with preventing the fugitive lass’s escape, Rane finds himself torn between duty and desire when he begins to fall for his spirited captive. And when powerful foes conspire to turn Rane and Florie against each other, they need courage, wits, and, most of all, love, to survive.
Exploited (The Dark Redemption #1)
WARNING: This book contains some dark, dirty and dangerous situations before ending in a jaw-dropping cliffhanger. The debauchery will continue in the second book in the series, Redeemed.

I’m going to hell, and my angel’s about to lose her wings.

For years I’ve left a path of death and destruction wherever I go. I promise myself that after one last job I’ll have the money I desperately need to quit taking lives. That’s how I find myself back in my hometown of Lexington.

So beautiful and innocent, I unknowingly end up saving the life of the one girl I was supposed to keep silent…the one girl I was supposed to end.

She’s my fallen angel sent from above.

I can’t resist staining her pure white wings with my darkness when I use her. Defile her. Deceive her.

The two of us were both ruined by our pasts when they intersected. Pasts that we’re still trying to escape with the hounds of hell on our heels.

Fate brought us together. Now, I’ll do anything to protect my angel from the demons that haunt her. I won’t stop until I slay the devil himself to keep her safe, the man who ruined both of our lives.

The only problem is, my silent angel is keeping secrets from me – the biggest of which is that I’m not the only one who wants to exploit her.
The Last City of America
A virus stole fertility from many people long ago, ending society over several generations. The United States became the Seven Cities of America.

Chicago, cut off from the other cities, ruled in darkness, is home to the scientist who created the virus. Hateful of humanity, hateful of himself, the dying scientist passes his knowledge on to his apprentice, who he believes will use it to damn all life to everlasting misery.

The apprentice, Harold, his own past stained with unforgivable acts, does not share his master’s hatred. But he wants this knowledge, and would shamelessly kill innocents to get it. But to what end, he struggles to realize— all the while wondering if humanity, worthless as it seems, deserves compassion more than he deserves omniscience.

As Harold struggles with his future and his identity, Chicago’s ruler, the host, learns of the knowledge he has. Harold is has to flee his home.

The host, Grakus, is on a journey of his own— to prove that humanity should never have existed, to guide it to its destiny of self-destruction. He will not allow the apprentice to thwart his delicate plan to do so.

But the apprentice will not allow the host to steal his decision before he
‘s had the chance to make it.

The Last City of America is a character-driven epic touching every corner of America, exposing every level of its beauty. The individual emulates humanity, and humanity’s faults are written in the individual. The two walk with one another into the final decision. Cities fall one-by-one to man’s ignorance. The world is ending. This time forever. Two hands reach out to save it: good and evil.

This is the story of how we will be remembered.
A Cowboy Kind of Love (Heart of Texas #6)
Who wants to rodeo again?

Jace Wilder has been rebuilding his life since the love of his life, Taryn, up and left town unexpectedly. But when she mysteriously returns, Jace’s dependable world comes crashing down. Taryn is hiding a dangerous secret, and no matter how hard he tries, Jace can’t stay away―especially when Taryn is at risk. And especially when the attraction he thought he’d buried long ago is back and hotter than ever. Will he be able to trust Taryn again?

Taryn Hillman’s world fell apart one horrifying night, and it’s never been the same since. When she sees a small chance at untangling herself, she takes it, though it means returning to Clearview – and seeing Jace again. But when he vows to protect her, will Taryn take a chance, and this time, never let him go?

I am hoping to read at least 3 of these books by the next WWW. I think I can do it (without late nights hopefully). I am also hoping to knock some books off my reading challenges (3 out of the 4 are on there).

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organize yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.

Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.


What I am Reading Now:

The Death of Vivek Oji
What does it mean for a family to lose a child they never really knew?

One afternoon, in a town in southeastern Nigeria, a mother opens her front door to discover her son’s body, wrapped in colorful fabric, at her feet. What follows is the tumultuous, heart-wrenching story of one family’s struggle to understand a child whose spirit is both gentle and mysterious. Raised by a distant father and an understanding but overprotective mother, Vivek suffers disorienting blackouts, moments of disconnection between self and surroundings. As adolescence gives way to adulthood, Vivek finds solace in friendships with the warm, boisterous daughters of the Nigerwives, foreign-born women married to Nigerian men. But Vivek’s closest bond is with Osita, the worldly, high-spirited cousin whose teasing confidence masks a guarded private life. As their relationship deepens—and Osita struggles to understand Vivek’s escalating crisis—the mystery gives way to a heart-stopping act of violence in a moment of exhilarating freedom.

Propulsively readable, teeming with unforgettable characters, The Death of Vivek Oji is a novel of family and friendship that challenges expectations—a dramatic story of loss and transcendence that will move every reader.

The Death of Vivek Oji had been sitting on my NetGalley shelf for months before I decided to download it. I had originally wished for it but then went on my hiatus shortly afterwards. During that time, my wish got granted (go figure, my wishes NEVER get granted from there….lol). So, this book breaks my self-imposed NetGalley ban and I am glad to be back. I should be posting the review next week!!

What I plan on reading this week:

How to Train Your Earl (First Comes Love, #3)
A roguish earl must fight using his honor and not his sword to win his lady’s hand in How To Train Your Earl, the third book in the First Comes Love trilogy from bestseller Amelia Grey.

Brina Feld has settled into a life devoted to helping others since the sinking of the Salty Dove left her widowed. She has no need for a man in her contented life. But when the notorious and handsome Lord Blacknight returns and awakens her desires, her peace and serenity vanish. If she agrees to an alliance with him, she knows she will have to battle her heart to keep from being snared under his spell.

Zane, the Earl of Blacknight, was never supposed to inherit the earldom, so he didn’t much care to lead a respectable life before then. Fistfights, card games, and drinking are the order of the day. Now he’s determined to change his rakish ways and he knows the proper lady who can help him. There’s just one problem: He’s already bet he’ll win her hand before the Season is over. With her resolve to out-scheme him, how can he show her that his love is true?

How to Train Your Earl was a publisher request that I decided to accept last week. This is my first ARC review since I went on break and I am excited about it!! I am a huge Regency/historical romance fan, so it was a no-brainer that I was going to accept this book. Since this is an ARC, my review will not be published right away. Look for it around April 27th!!

MacFarland's Lass (Scottish Lasses #1)
(Formerly published as Captured by Desire by Kira Morgan)

SCOTTISH LASSES

Meet the lasses in the world of Mary Queen of Scots…Like the Scottish thistle, they’re lovely yet tough, beautiful yet prickly, and only the strongest and wisest heroes are able to elude their thorns to discover the tender blossom within.


MacFARLAND’S LASS
by Glynnis Campbell – writing as Kira Morgan (formerly Captured by Desire)

A woman on the run…a man on the hunt. He has forty days to earn her trust. She has forty days to win his heart. They have forty days to outwit their enemies.

When Florie Gilder, the once-respected jeweler to Queen Mary, claims sanctuary in an abandoned church for a crime she didn’t commit, huntsman Rane MacFarland, a local hero of the common folk, vows to protect her. But when his overlord charges him with preventing the fugitive lass’s escape, Rane finds himself torn between duty and desire when he begins to fall for his spirited captive. And when powerful foes conspire to turn Rane and Florie against each other, they need courage, wits, and, most of all, love, to survive.

MacFarland’s Lass has been sitting on my TBR shelf on Goodreads since 2018. I was supposed to get to it a couple of weeks ago but got sidetracked by review requests/library books coming off hold.

Exploited (The Dark Redemption #1)
WARNING: This book contains some dark, dirty and dangerous situations before ending in a jaw-dropping cliffhanger. The debauchery will continue in the second book in the series, Redeemed.

I’m going to hell, and my angel’s about to lose her wings.

For years I’ve left a path of death and destruction wherever I go. I promise myself that after one last job I’ll have the money I desperately need to quit taking lives. That’s how I find myself back in my hometown of Lexington.

So beautiful and innocent, I unknowingly end up saving the life of the one girl I was supposed to keep silent…the one girl I was supposed to end.

She’s my fallen angel sent from above.


I can’t resist staining her pure white wings with my darkness when I use her. Defile her. Deceive her.

The two of us were both ruined by our pasts when they intersected. Pasts that we’re still trying to escape with the hounds of hell on our heels.

Fate brought us together. Now, I’ll do anything to protect my angel from the demons that haunt her. I won’t stop until I slay the devil himself to keep her safe, the man who ruined both of our lives.

The only problem is, my silent angel is keeping secrets from me – the biggest of which is that I’m not the only one who wants to exploit her.

Exploited is another book that has been sitting on my Goodreads TBR shelf since 2018. I got it in a mass purchase of free books with MacFarland’s Lass and The Last City of America.

The Last City of America
A virus stole fertility from many people long ago, ending society over several generations. The United States became the Seven Cities of America.

Chicago, cut off from the other cities, ruled in darkness, is home to the scientist who created the virus. Hateful of humanity, hateful of himself, the dying scientist passes his knowledge on to his apprentice, who he believes will use it to damn all life to everlasting misery.

The apprentice, Harold, his own past stained with unforgivable acts, does not share his master’s hatred. But he wants this knowledge, and would shamelessly kill innocents to get it. But to what end, he struggles to realize— all the while wondering if humanity, worthless as it seems, deserves compassion more than he deserves omniscience.

As Harold struggles with his future and his identity, Chicago’s ruler, the host, learns of the knowledge he has. Harold is has to flee his home.

The host, Grakus, is on a journey of his own— to prove that humanity should never have existed, to guide it to its destiny of self-destruction. He will not allow the apprentice to thwart his delicate plan to do so.

But the apprentice will not allow the host to steal his decision before he’s had the chance to make it.

The Last City of America is a character-driven epic touching every corner of America, exposing every level of its beauty. The individual emulates humanity, and humanity’s faults are written in the individual. The two walk with one another into the final decision. Cities fall one-by-one to man’s ignorance. The world is ending. This time forever. Two hands reach out to save it: good and evil.

This is the story of how we will be remembered.

The Last City of America is the last of my 2018 trio that are on this list. This is a HUGE book (647 pages) and I am hoping that I can at least start it by the weekend.


Have you read any of the books on my list? Let me know!!