Book Reviews

Top 5 Wednesday – Samples

This Wednesday, I'm testing a few books for a good read.

So this Top 5 Wednesday, I want to go off the script. Top 5 Wednesday is a community blogging event hosted on Goodreads, where participants are asked to list five things related to the novels they’ve read and the week’s topic. Participants are sometimes given the option to do something different, and that’s what I’m doing this week. 

So I’ve spoken before about my need to make my way through my Kindle Library, and I figured a good way to do it would be to clear the book samples. That way, I can decide whether or not I should waste time going forward with the actual novel. Coincidentally, I only had five samples, so I decided to substitute out one of my Top 5 Wednesdays. 

Hopefully, I find something worth continuing. 

Neighborly by Ellie Monago

I have no idea why I sampled Neighborly, but I feel like it might have been a Bookbub situation. That being said, it’s supposed to be a suspense thriller, but there’s not much suspense going on in the sample. 

The protagonist, Kat, seems to have wanted to move to a new neighborhood to give her newborn a chance at life that she did not have. Unfortunately, Kat seems to have a ton of insecurities, and what looks like a possible former alcohol issue. To me, this would make her an unreliable narrator, but again, the sample didn’t really move me. 

I will say this, the protagonist makes comparisons to Pleasantville and The Stepford Wives which lets me know that there’s something wrong with this neighborhood. There’s also the reference to no fat people, which, to me, means something is up. 

Personally, I think that I would have done better if I had just bought this book. However, I can’t say that would have made for a more favorable review. 

War Girls by Tochi Onyebuchi

I like afrofuturism, and I have a special place in my heart for Nigerian writers. War Girls stood out to me because it kind of has both. I’m quite sure that this is one of my most recent acquisitions, but I couldn’t say for the life of me how I stumbled upon it. Something something Amazon. 

In any case, War Girls is about a group of women and girls who are fighting against Nigerian forces in the year 2172 for the independence of a place called Biafra. The sample didn’t say why Biafra wanted independence from Nigeria specifically or why they would only accept females, but apparently this war had been going on for a while. Also, this war has something to do with all the white nations’ decisions to leave Earth and put colonies on the moon. 

(One of the Goodreads reviewers was nice enough to note that the Nigerian-Biafran War was a real thing, and that it was basically an effect of British colonialism and greed. This same reviewer was nice enough to leave a link to the Wikipedia page about it, and I honestly recommend the read. It’s because of this wiki, that I am now more inclined to finish this book.)

I like the main protagonist, Onyii, as she seems to have most of the good backstory, and she gets to be involved in all the action. Ify, the younger sister, could be fun, but I expect to either be annoyed by her childishness, or for some part of whatever happens in this story to be her fault. Because that’s what child characters are for: causing chaotic things that would never have happened if they had just listened to their elders.  

I could see myself reading this one at a later date, though I wouldn’t know when that would be. Again, Afrofuturism is a type of sci-fi that is right up my alley, but I’m too much in a romance mood at the moment. 

We’ll see. 

Xeni by Rebekah Weatherspoon

Xeni is the second book in Rebekah Weatherspoon’s Loose Ends series, and I will admit that I have been eyeing this one for a while. The cover alone makes the book look like a fun read about a black woman just trying to enjoy her life. Like a sitcom meets a rom-com, but I can’t remember the word for it. 

Regardless, I found the sample to be very entertaining and I plan to continue it. As the subtitle says, Xeni is about a marriage of convenience, or rather inconvenience. Xeni is bequeathed a large fortune upon the death of her aunt, and, in order to claim it, she has to marry Mason, another recipient of her aunt’s will. Neither expected this outcome, but they just may have to go through with it. 

I feel like I’ve seen Rebekah Weatherspoon on Twitter at some point talking about her novels, but I didn’t take much note of what was said to remember more than just her name and the fact that she is an author. It’s probably because of this that I downloaded the sample for Xeni. I know that I had considered reading the first book in the Loose Ends series at least a week ago, but I’m happy that I decided to read this sample of Xeni first, because I would have hated to be disappointed. 

Looking at the rest of her works, Rebekah Weatherspoon seems to be a woman after my own heart. I think that we can all look forward to her making a reappearance on my blog.

The Chocolatier’s Wife by Cindy Lynn Speer 

From the moment I read the first line, I knew this book was for me. The soulmate trope is my jam, but I can’t remember the last time I encountered it outside of fanfiction. I was ready to buy this novel without having finished the sample, but decided to continue anyway. This was a good choice on my part. 

The Chocolatier’s Wife is about a set of soulmates from two separate sides of one kingdom that used to be at war with each other half a century ago. When something gets in the way of the couple’s happily ever after, they try their best to make sure it doesn’t stop them. 

This book reads like Eva Ibbotson and the rest of those Fantasy Adventure books that were aimed at young girls. I feel like YA Fantasy back in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s had a softer tint to it. I can’t fully explain it, but there wasn’t much that was dark or gritty or overtly sexual. That’s what The Chocolatier’s Wife feels like. I could be wrong though, so look out for the review, whenever I get to it. 

The Complete Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson

I haven’t finished this sample, but I have learned, quite thoroughly, never to read a sample for a whole series. I’ve been trying to read it over two days, and I’m still at seven percent – not because it’s boring, but because it’s just that long. 

Highest of keys, I am a fantasy/adventure girl. I always have been. Sci-fi is cute, but it’s ultimately not magic, and that’s what seals the deal for me. So when Bookbub – because how else would I have found this one – came with their deal, I was of course intrigued. It probably wasn’t free at the time, so I decided to try a sample. 

Never again will I do such things to my life. Ever. 

Eventually I’ll finish this sample and probably go on to read at least one book out of the series. I started A Game of Thrones with a sample nine years ago, and I ended up loving the whole series. Who is to say that this one won’t end up the same? 

That’s it for this week, and hopefully I’ll either get back on track or just be posting an outright review next week. However it goes, I’ll still be reading and writing, so I hope you’ll still be here with me. 

‘Til Next Time!

If you would like to keep up with me and my adventures in appreciating the many different types of literature, please be sure to subscribe to this blog. If you just want to chat with me about these particular authors, make sure to hit me up in the comment section.

1 comment

  1. War Girls is on my tbr. I just love sci-fi and female fighters, and this books sounds like taking this to another level. Very interesting to hear that the historical background is real too!

    Liked by 1 person

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