Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Twisted in a Positive Way by Chikamso Efobi

Twisted in a Positive Way is a charming novel by UK author Chikamso Efobi. I love a good coming-of-age story and this one doesn't disappoint. The story follows Adaugo, a young Nigerian girl on the brink of big life changes. She comes from a large and happy family who encourage her to strive for success.

When Adaugo is ten she leaves home for boarding school. That's when she discovers a voice inside her that helps guide her through these difficult new experiences.

As an adult Adaugo is expected to conform to cultural standards. She has a job, lives in her father's house, and is supposed to be finding a husband. But she knows that she wants something more for herself. She realizes that she has to stop caring about the opinions of others and take a chance on her future.

Twisted in a Positive Way is elegantly written. I felt the nervous excitement of Adaugo as she left home as a little girl and the heartbreak when she struggled through the trials of growing up away from her family. The contrasts of Adaugo's world to my own are what kept me glued to the story.

Chikamso Efobi has painted a stunning picture of Nigerian culture. I loved that this book took me into a world that's completely unfamiliar to me. By her use of dialogue, the reader is immersed in the language and culture of Nigeria. I could hear the voices and inflections of the characters in my head. Efobi explained her style to me:
"I wrote the story to reflect the local Nigerian expressions. Translations of most of the expressions are written immediately after, so as not to lose people who are not very familiar with how Nigerians speak in an informal setting. Nigeria has over 52 languages and it is not uncommon to find the average Nigerian inserting words from various languages into one sentence. There is also a lot of animation when we speak, that's why you may see the odd 'o' here and there."
If you're looking for something beyond the same old story, Twisted in a Positive Way is definitely a novel of substance. This book will inspire you to strive for the things you're told you can't have. If not, well your life must already be pretty awesome.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Why wasn't my review accepted?

The Internet is full of book review blogs similar to this one. Most of these bloggers are backlogged with books to read, which makes finding a reviewer for your own book a nearly impossible task. Nevermind the Furthermore has only been up for a few months and my calendar is already full through the summer.

Unfortunately, most of the requests that I get are moved to my "Rejected" folder. Usually the reason is that the book just didn't catch my interest. Sometimes a book is rejected because I've recently promised a review for a book that's very similar. I'm trying to keep Nevermind diverse.

But some requests are rejected quickly and it has nothing to do with the book itself. Here are some reasons your request may have been tossed at first glance:

You didn't tell me anything about the book. Remember, you can't judge a book by its cover or its title.
There were no links in the email to back up your request. I always research a book and/or its author before I agree to do a review.
Your book falls outside of my list of types of books I like to read. Seriously, when I specifically say I don't read a genre I really mean it.
You offered only to send your book in a format I don't accept. I'm not flexible on this at all.
Your email was poorly written and full of grammatical errors. You're a writer. You have to be able to write. Unfortunately, some self-published authors choose to skip the professional editing process, resulting in a painful read. I have no way of knowing if you're one of those authors. An incoherent email will not build faith in your work.

That's it. And good luck.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Paperback Giveaway!

I'm currently giving away one signed copy of my YA novel Here with Me Now. You can enter for a chance to win at by using the link below. Good luck!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Here with Me Now by Rebecca Markus

Here with Me Now

by Rebecca Markus

Giveaway ends March 27, 2016.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Princess and the Dragon by Marjorie Bayes

The Princess and the Dragon is a humorous children's book about a sassy and comfortably-dressed princess who befriends a laid-back dragon.

In the first chapter, the princess reluctantly tries to save a prince from the cave of the dragon. The dragon doesn't really want to keep the annoying prince but is governed by the bureaucratic Department of Dragons. The princess must complete three impossible tasks which she does by thinking outside the box.

The princess and the dragon form an alliance in which she bribes the dragon with large quantities of food. They go on to save the environment and stop a war.

My daughter laughed. She loved the dynamic between the two characters. She said she loved the princess' outfit (jeans and a t-shirt). I enjoyed reading the dialogue of these fun characters. We've already read The Princess and the Dragon a half dozen times. The story was witty and is currently our favorite bedtime story.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Poetry Break!


By Lewis Carroll
’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
      The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
      Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree
      And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
      The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
      And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
      He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
      He chortled in his joy.

’Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Dark Destiny by Thomas Grave plot: Sebastian, an average high school student with an above-average girlfriend, has just discovered that he is the reincarnation of Death. He must come to terms with his job as the Reaper even as it means he has to usher his friends out of this world. But he immediately decides to break the rules, setting in motion a chain of events that threatens all existence.

The good: The idea of this book intrigued me, which is why I agreed to review it at the author's request. I thoroughly enjoyed the concepts of the world of the dead and the souls in Pergatorium. My favorite scene involved an old woman eternally baking cookies in her apartment while waiting for her husband to cross over. The author created interesting layers of the afterlife and rankings of souls.

The bad: Unfortunately, in creating a great underworld, the author threw too much information at me. Many of the chapters involved lengthy, fast-paced battles and I couldn't keep track of who was involved. Part of this issue was that some of the characters were referred to by multiple names. Other characters took on multiple identities.

I felt that the writing in general could have been more polished. To begin with, it wasn't clear whose point of view the story was being told from. The writer changed point of view so frequently and without warning that I often lost track of what was going on. The narrator seemed to be in everybody's head at once.

There were also a lot of lengthy descriptions in the first few chapters of the book. As each character entered they were described methodically from their hair color, their eye color, to the outfit they were wearing. Even minor characters were described this way. I don't need to know that the detective that we see one time has brown eyes because it's not relevant to the story.

Conclusion: Dark Destiny, while a great concept, could have been better executed. If you enjoy non-stop fight scenes of the paranormal variety I would recommend this book. Otherwise, I'd say just skip it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are by Dr. Seuss

Today I'm reviewing my very favorite Dr. Seuss book in honor of his birthday. Theodor Seuss Geisel was born this day in 1904. His books are notoriously colorful and silly but some are filled cover to cover with profound wisdom.

Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? was my favorite Dr. Seuss book as a child. I loved the rhythm of the poetry, but mostly I was fascinated with the detail in the pictures on every page. Sometimes I would stare at those pictures long after my mom had finished reading the story.

In this story, a boy visits an old man perched on a cactus in the middle of the desert. The old man proceeds to remind the boy how good he has it by telling him of people and creatures who are trouble in the most creative, Seuss-style ways. 

When I was in high school I rediscovered my hardcover copy in the back of my closet. I read it out of nostalgia, but found that it had taken on different meaning. The silly rhymes that made me giggle as a little girl were actually hiding brilliant life advice. Whenever I felt that teenage angst creeping in I would let Dr. Seuss remind me in his absurd way that things could be worse. So I kept the book on my shelf by my bed and took it out whenever I needed a boost. 
I still own the same hardcover copy today. I read it to my kids whenever they'll let me. But I always get choked up at certain parts, like when Harry Haddow can't make a shadow. And my eyes always well up for poor Gucky Gown floating all alone in his pool ninety miles out of town. I still love to read about the bee watchers the most.

"Well, the bee-watcher-watcher watched the bee-watcher. He didn't watch well so another Hawtch-Hawtcher had to come in as a watch-watcher-watcher! And now all the Hawtchers who live in Hawtch-Hawtch are watching on watch watcher watchering watch, watch watching the watcher who's watching that bee. You're not a Hawtch-Watcher you're lucky you see!"

If you haven't read Dr. Seuss in a while, I encourage you to check out Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? You might pick up a new appreciation for the good Dr.