Title: My Sister, the Serial Killer

Author: Oyinkan Braithwaite

Pages: 226 Pages

Publisher: Doubleday Books

The Blurb

“Femi makes three, you know. Three and they label you a serial killer.”

Korede is bitter. How could she not be? Her sister, Ayoola, is many things: the favorite child, the beautiful one, possibly sociopathic. And now Ayoola’s third boyfriend in a row is dead.

Korede’s practicality is the sisters’ saving grace. She knows the best solutions for cleaning blood, the trunk of her car is big enough for a body, and she keeps Ayoola from posting pictures of her dinner to Instagram when she should be mourning her “missing” boyfriend. Not that she gets any credit.

Korede has long been in love with a kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where she works. She dreams of the day when he will realize that she’s exactly what he needs. But when he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and how far she’s willing to go to protect her.

Sharp as nails and full of deadpan wit, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s deliciously deadly debut is as fun as it is frightening.

The Review

Some books can completely grab you by the title alone. That was the way I felt about Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut My Sister, the Serial Killer.

It is a story that focuses on the sisterly relationship between Korede and Ayoola. Their relationship, like most relationships between sisters, is complex. Ayoola seems to have it all – the good looks, the seemingly easy existence, and any man that she wants. Korede’s life is almost the antithesis. She works hard, gets less respect from home and she is in love with a colleague. On the side of all of this she has to help her sister clean up the messes that she has made because Ayoola can’t seem to help herself from killing the men she dates.

My Sister, the Serial Killer is dark and macabre but so glib and witty that I read it in one sitting. I chuckled through it all and then, rather worryingly, found the story relatable. Not in the sense of murder but in the sense that my sister and I grew up with pacts like this. For example, if one of use found it hard to conceive a child the other would do it for them, so the closeness of the sisters in such dark and dramatic circumstances was acutely relevant for me and my sister.

I really enjoyed reading My Sister, the Serial Killer and it absolutely any and all of the praise that is showered upon it and its author, Oyinkan Braithwaite.

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite is available now.

For more information regarding Doubleday Books (@DoubledayUK) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.

Title: Allegedly

Author: Tiffany D. Jackson

Pages: 400 Pages

Publisher: Harper Collins

The Blurb

Mary B. Addison killed a baby.

Allegedly. She didn’t say much in that first interview with detectives, and the media filled in the only blanks that mattered: a white baby had died while under the care of a churchgoing black woman and her nine-year-old daughter. The public convicted Mary and the jury made it official. But did she do it. She wouldn’t say.

Mary survived six years in baby jail before being dumped in a group home. The house isn’t really “home” – no place where you fear for your life can be considered a home. Home is Ted, who she meets on assignment at a nursing home.

There wasn’t a point to setting the record straight before, but now she’s got Ted – and their unborn child – to think about. When the state threatens to take her baby, Mary must find the voice to fight her past. And her fate lies in the hands of the one person she distrusts the most: her Momma. No one knows the real Momma. But does anyone know the real Mary.

In this gritty and haunting debut, Tiffany D. Jackson explores the gray areas in our understanding of justice, family, and truth, acknowledging the light and darkness alive in all of us.

The Review

Allegedly is one of those really intense books that messes with your mind. It focuses on Mary, a young girl who is trying to survive a group home for ex-convicts – girls – like her – who have been charged with committing serious crimes. Allegedly.

All throughout the story we are faced with this conundrum. How allegations may or may not be accurate. Whether or not the justice system is right or wrong and at what point does a person earn redemption or a second chance. It really is a lot of heavy subjects for a YA book. However, that is actually Allegedly’s strength. It doesn’t undermine young adults. It gives them a hard hitting and unique story to come to terms with and challenges the reader to have a voice, have an opinion.

Allegedly is one of the most powerful YA fiction books that I have read in a long time.

Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson is available now.

For more information regarding Tiffany D. Jackson (@WriteinBK) please visit www.writeinbk.com.

For more information regarding Harper Collins (@HarperCollinsUK) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: Bibliophile – An Illustrated Miscellany

Author: Jane Mount

Pages: 224 Pages

Publisher: Chronicle Books

The Blurb

Searching for perfect book lovers gifts? Rejoice! Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany, is a love letter to all things bookish. Author Jane Mount brings literary people, places, and things to life through her signature and vibrant illustrations. It’s a must-have for every book collection, and makes a wonderful literary gift for book lovers, writers, and more.

Readers of Jane Mount’s Bibliophile will delight in:

  • Touring the world’s most beautiful bookstores
  • Testing their knowledge of the written word with quizzes
  • Finding their next great read in lovingly curated stacks of books
  • Sampling the most famous fictional meals
  • Peeking inside the workspaces of their favorite authors

A source of endless inspiration, literary facts and recommendations: Bibliophile is pure bookish joy and sure to enchant book clubbers, English majors, poetry devotees, aspiring writers, and any and all who identify as book lovers.

If you have read or own: I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life; The Written World: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, and Civilization; or How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines; then you will want to read and own Jane Mount’s Bibliophile.

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

For my 35th birthday I bought myself a gift. I bought myself Bibliophile by Jane Mount. I saw it, I weighed up the pros and cons of spending a fair bit of money on a book and I decided that yes, I deserve the book, it’s my birthday and you cannot take the money with you. All of this was a fruitless action because the moment I saw Bibliophile I knew it would be mine.

Bibliophile is made up of gorgeous illustrations, lists, shops to visit, bookish history and the all powerful cover design. You get so much from this book – including another load to add to your TBR pile.

I have read a lot of books about books and Bibliophile has to be one of my favourites. It is so tactile and beautifully put together. It is an absolute treat.

Go on, treat yourself. You deserve it!

Bibliophile – An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount is available now.

For more information regarding Chronicle Books (@ChronicleBooks) please visit their Twitter page.

Title: The House with Chicken Legs

Author: Sophie Anderson

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Usborne Publishing

The Blurb

Marinka dreams of a normal life, where her house stays in one place long enough for her to make friends. But her house has chicken legs and moves on without warning.

For Marinka’s grandmother is Baba Yaga, who guides spirits between this world and the next. Marinka longs to change her destiny and sets out to break free from her grandmother’s footsteps, but her house has other ideas…

(AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

Oh dear.

I bought into the hype of The House with Chicken Legs. Everyone was raving about it. Twitter went nuts. Teachers were singing its praises.

For me, I felt a little confused.

Ok so the story is of a young girl who has a destiny to become the next guardian. The one who helps the dead cross over to the other side. I don’t understand why the house had to have legs like a chicken.

Also, as one of my students who attends book group said to me, “this book could have ended half way through it.” Sadly, I have to agree.

It was not for me.

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson is available now.

For more information regarding Sophie Anderson (@sophieinspace) please visit www.sophieandersonauthor.com.

For more information regarding Usborne Publishing (@Usborne) please visit www.usborne.com.

Title: Furious Hours – Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee

Author: Casey Cep

Pages: 336 Pages

Publisher: Random House UK

The Blurb

The stunning story of an Alabama serial killer and the true-crime book that Harper Lee worked on obsessively in the years after To Kill a Mockingbird

Reverend Willie Maxwell was a rural preacher accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s. With the help of a savvy lawyer, he escaped justice for years until a relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim. Despite hundreds of witnesses, Maxwell’s murderer was acquitted – thanks to the same attorney who had previously defended the Reverend.

As Alabama is consumed by these gripping events, it’s not long until news of the case reaches Alabama’s – and America’s – most famous writer. Intrigued by the story, Harper Lee makes a journey back to her home state to witness the Reverend’s killer face trial. Harper had the idea of writing her own In Cold Blood, the true-crime classic she had helped her friend Truman Capote research. Lee spent a year in town reporting on the Maxwell case and many more years trying to finish the book she called The Reverend.

Now Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to the racial politics of the Deep South. At the same time, she offers a deeply moving portrait of one of the country’s most beloved writers and her struggle with fame, success, and the mystery of artistic creativity.

This is the story Harper Lee wanted to write. This is the story of why she couldn’t.

The Review

I have never come across anyone who didn’t love To Kill A Mockingbird. Equally, I have yet to meet someone who wasn’t slightly disappointed with Go Set a Watchman. After all those years of wanting more from Harper Lee her audience weren’t exactly infused with joy with her second release. Having said that, we all would probably have wanted more from Harper Lee.

In Casey Cep’s Furious Hours – Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee we get to see an inside picture of why we had to wait so long for Harper Lee’s work and more importantly how she struggled for decades to write something as good, as important as To Kill a Mockingbird.

Furious Hours is a good read. Casey Cep is a good writer. However, I do feel that Furious Hours could have been much shorter. There was an awful lot of background information given that had very little impact in the overall story of Harper Lee planning to write her novel on a crime that took place. A lot of it was irrelevant.

That being said, Furious Hours is an interesting read, it is well researched and the insight into Harper Lee’s life is fascinating. We finally get an impression of who this reclusive writer was.

Furious Hours – Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Cep is available now.

For more information regarding Casey Cep (@cncep) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding Random House UK (@PenguinRHUK) please visit www.penguinrandomhouse.co.uk.