BOOK REVIEW | Knots and Nine by Mark Ayieko Wandera

markBook: Knots and Nine – Thoughts and Poems
Author: Mark Ayieko Wandera
Format: PDF
ISBN: None
Publisher: Self-Published
Reviewer: Vincent de Paul

Mark Ayieko Wandera is a young promising Kenyan poet with a magical way with words. This collection of poems, which he has self-published for reasons I don’t want to speculate, speaks volumes of what he wants to tell the world. Though it sometimes comes off as musings of a heart hurt and broken by love, the writer has addressed quite a number of themes: love, healing, relationships, hope, peace, war, parenthood, and much more.

Mark has broken several poetry rules, but yet which avant-garde poet doesn’t? He has not laboured the reader with intricate traditional styles that follow a specific template. The language is simple and straightforward, the kind of poems you read like lyrics (of your favourite song).

In the poem ‘Love Builds Father’ absentee fatherhood is shown how it affects children, and how couples grow apart and what happens to them is shown in ‘Growing [too] Apart’, something many of us can relate to. I have several favourites there, to select one would be injustice to the others. The good thing is, they are relatable, address issues affecting the society today in a simple yet powerful manner.

Apart from the good of it all, there are weaknesses that the writer should check on: use of sheng. Seriously, that is a total put off, and it is the first poem that greets you – ‘Recovery’. Were it not for giving him the benefit of the doubt I would have stopped right there and trashed the book. Such language is cheap for any poet, avant-garde or not, to be taken seriously by a large audience who find pleasure in literature.

Also, the self-published tag screams right from the first page, interior design, copyrighting, and all. Understandably so, self-publishing is revolutionizing publishing, but when one goes that route risks being vanity writer if they don’t employ professional services or don’t have a professional look in their works.

That said, the book is good, connecting. I would give it three stars.

BOOK REVIEW ~ Flashes of Vice: Vol I by Vincent de Paul

flashes of vice 3d (2)Reviewer: Tabitha Makumi
Book: Flashes of Vice: Vol I
Author: Vincent de Paul
Genre: Flash Fiction
PUBLISHER: Mystery Publishers (K) LTD

Thing is, it so happens that after reading one too many crime thrillers, they all start to look the same. A serial killer in a Jeffrey Archer novel is as twisted as one on a Lee Child’s thriller. Just as a pissed off detective in a Greg Iles novel has the same temperament as one on Kathy Reich’s Bone collection series. What am I getting at? Every now and then I am looking for something new… something fresh… something with a different kind of oomph.

Found “it” in Flashes f Vice which is a collection of short stories written by Kenyan author, Vincent De Paul. (Can I get a whoop whoop for our Kenyan writers!) If you are looking for “have been told African literature” or “I think I have read that before” kind of stories, then Flashes of Vice won’t do it for you. Vincent De Paul (Don’t you want to know if that is his national ID name though? Or just a fancy pseudonym?) Point is, he writes as well as I can down a cheap bottle of dry red wine on a Friday night.

His short stories won’t bore you to death. Short, entertaining and adopting that straight forward Humans of New York style of writing. Whether he is writing about hookers, terrorism, or love rigmaroles, he will make you appreciate raw and well written African literature. Plus, you will have more cred for knowing and having read more than two notable African writers. C’mon, who do you currently know of? Chimamanda? Ngugi? Wainaina? Well, add Vincent on that list.

Read more at Being Makumi (Tabitha’s blog)

PRE-RELEASE BOOK REVIEW | Thrills and Chills by Boniface Sagini

thrills and chills front coverBOOK: Thrills & Chills
AUTHOR: Boniface Sagini
REVIEWER: Nancy Oyula
GENRE: Non Fiction
ISBN 10: 1540529177
ISBN 13: 978-1540529176
FIRST PUBLISHED: Release Date 13th December, 2016
PUBLISHER: Mystery Publishers (K) LTD

Boniface Sagini shares his story during his formative years. Born in Kisii, a county in western Kenya, he was a bright kid. He started his primary school education at age four, that is not a common thing. He was a sharp student. With the encouragement from teachers and his academic excellence, the future seemed bright and full of hope. Unfortunate for him, it wasn’t smooth all through. Life doesn’t always come out as planned.

He started writing while in high school. He kept a memoir. The author talks about life from different angles. He shares his life’s experiences. The good side he’s enjoyed, the bad and ugly, and sad memories. He explains the different perspectives one can view the world from. He tells of his lowest moments, and highlights of his life. Encouraging.

Read full review at Nancy Oyula’s blog, LightenUp.