Monday, 22 February 2021

Reading Round Up 2021 #8

 Hello fellow bookworms. It is time for another reading round up. 

Despite it being half term last week, I actually didn't manage to do a lot of reading, what I actually managed to do was a lot of napping instead. I guess my body relaxed just a little bit too much having a time off from the pressures of school.

I did however get some fantastic book post in the shape of A Court of Silver Flames. I'll admit I forgot I'd even pre-ordered it so that delivery made my day and my poor other to be read books got pushed to the bottom of the pile.



Here are the fantastic novels that I did have the pleasure of reading this week:



Kololo Hill by Neema Shah 5 out of 5 stars

Uganda 1972

A devastating decree is issued: all Ugandan Asians must leave the country in ninety days. They must take only what they can carry, give up their money and never return.

For Asha and Pran, married a matter of months, it means abandoning the family business that Pran has worked so hard to save. For his mother, Jaya, it means saying goodbye to the house that has been her home for decades. But violence is escalating in Kampala, and people are disappearing. Will they all make it to safety in Britain and will they be given refuge if they do?

And all the while, a terrible secret about the expulsion hangs over them, threatening to tear the family apart.

From the green hilltops of Kampala, to the terraced houses of London, Neema Shah’s extraordinarily moving debut Kololo Hill explores what it means to leave your home behind, what it takes to start again, and the lengths some will go to protect their loved ones. 

                                                                                                                                                                           

A devastatingly, beautiful book.

This debut novel commences in the year of 1972 in Uganda. Ugandan’s president, Amin, has declared the expulsion of all Ugandan Asians. They are given just 90 days to leave Uganda or face horrifying consequences. They could fall victim to things like rape, internment or even death.

The focus of the story is on one family. They, like so many others are forced to flee their homes with much reluctance.

The question is can they find a way to stay together?

Unfortunately the choice is not theirs to make, they need to find refuge but not everyone has a valid passport and certainly not all to the same countries. An already heartbreaking situation is being made worse at the thought of being separated from the ones that they love.

Told from varying points of view, different family members. It was interesting to read just how they saw things, the differences in their opinions and the fairness of everything political and perhaps racial that they had to face and endure. There seemed to be differences between young and old, male and female. Their upbringings - generations - certainly playing a part.

What was refreshing was that each and every character was well-rounded, we were given the chance to really get to know them all, every person just as important as the rest. There were no supporting roles, they were all equal even though they were in-fact facing their own individual journeys.

Dynamics between the family members were a prominent feature, showing growing tensions between them all with each day that passed.

How do you learn to navigate new landscapes and languages, building alternative lives to the ones they've always known?

Neema has created a moving tale. Every detail was enriching, I could truly imagine the scenery, the food (so tantalising) and the traditions they had built over the years. The question that I found myself asking by the end is where do we truly call home? Is it the place that we live, the four walls the enclose us, the country in which we reside, a place that we hold dear in our hearts?

I'll be perfectly honest, before I read this novel I knew nothing of the expulsion of Asians from Uganda but upon finishing Kololo Hill, I feel well informed, but actually I think I'd now like to know more. This has given me a thirst for knowledge that I wasn't even aware I wanted to drink up before delving into this novel.

The author has created a tale that is unique, honest and poignant.

I look forward to being able to read more books from Neema Shah in the future.


Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw 5 out of 5 stars

New Orleans Fang Fest, 1995.

Mina’s having a summer to die for.

17-year-old Mina, from England, arrives in New Orleans to visit her estranged sister, Libby. After growing up in Whitby, the town that inspired Dracula, Mina loves nothing more than a creepy horror movie. She can't wait to explore the city's darkest secrets - vampire tours, seedy bars, spooky cemeteries, disturbing local myths...

And it gets even better when Mina lands a part-time job at a horror movie mansion and meets Jared, Libby's gorgeous housemate, co-worker and fellow horror enthusiast.

But the perfect summer bliss is broken when, while exploring the mansion, Mina stumbles upon the body of a girl with puncture marks on her neck, clutching a lock of hair that suspiciously resembles Libby's... Someone is replicating New Orleans' most brutal supernatural killings. Mina must discover the truth and prove her sister's innocence before she becomes the victim of another myth. 

                                                                                                                                                                           

Ok I'll admit it, I'm a sucker (pun intended) for vampires.

And this book fits the bill.

If you are a fan of shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then you will love Mina and the Undead. I'll have a full review up for you on publication day but for now just know that I recommend you read this thrilling tale.


Burying the Newspaper Man by Curtis Ippolito 4 out of 5 stars

A dead body. A dark past. An ordinary man with everything to lose.

Marcus Kemp is a regular beat cop living a normal life in San Diego, California. Until the day he makes a shocking discovery: a dead body in the trunk of a stolen car. Worse, the victim turns out to be the man who abused him as a child.

Marcus instinctively wants to help the killer get away with murder and, disregarding his police oath, will stop at nothing to make it happen. With both his job and freedom in jeopardy, his investigation leads him to an unexpected killer, and Marcus is soon faced with an impossible decision.

Can he finally bury the past before it drags him under?

                                                                                                                                                                           

We follow Marcus, I guess you'd say a typical cop. He works the streets but his seemingly normal life is turned upside down when he unfortunately discovers a dead body, but not just any dead body, it is someone from his past. His abuser.

Rewind to his past when Marcus is working for a local newspaper. His friendly boss Bill, who at first seems like the ideal manager, turns out to be a horrid pervert, taking advantage of young boys. But why is Bill now lying on the ground murdered in a place thousands of miles away from where Marcus last had eyes on him?

What happens after is a serious game of cat and mouse.

Bury the Newspaper Man has more than one mystery running parallel alongside each other. From Marcus taking on his own investigation, to the detectives trying to work out just why Bill was murdered and why Marcus is so invested in the case. Each part of the puzzle was pieced together methodically.

Short, sharp chapters keep things intense. As the reader I felt the need to carry on turning the pages at a rapid rate as I wanted to know what path the author was taking us down. 

I have a full review coming next month but lets just say I'm hoping we get to see more from these characters in subsequent books.


I am currently working my through Dangerous Women (which is dark and tantalising). Did you get any books through the post last week? Any stand out favourites?

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