Review: My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Satire meets slasher in this short, darkly funny hand grenade of a novel about a Nigerian woman whose younger sister has a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends.

“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.

A kind, handsome doctor at the hospital where Korede works, is the bright spot in her life. She dreams of the day when he will realize they’re perfect for each other. But one day Ayoola shows up to the hospital uninvited and he takes notice. When he asks Korede for Ayoola’s phone number, she must reckon with what her sister has become and what she will do about it.

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

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

My Sister, the Serial Killer will be available November 20, 2018. 

I always enjoy a good serial killer thriller. This one was a little different than others I have read before and from what I was expecting, but I enjoyed it just as much.

I absolutely loved Oyinkan Braithwaite’s writing style. I love short chapters and she was able to really use them effectively. I flew right through this book because I was never able to say “just one more chapter” and actually mean it. Even though the plot was never exactly harrowing, there was definitely a tense atmosphere and I had to do know what would happen next. It also managed to not be a really heavy or somber read. It was just really entertaining.

So how is this different than other serial killer stories? It’s told from the point of view of Korede, the sister of the killer, Ayoola. Korede is the older sister who has always taken care of Ayoola, even into adulthood. That includes cleaning up after her murders. Ayoola always claims self defense, but Korede has kind of stopped believing her. While no deep, psychological explanation is given for Ayoola’s behavior, we do explore the sisters’ childhood with their abusive father that we get to draw our own conclusions from. The story is really more about Korede’s relationship with her sister, who she both loves and resents and the choices she must make when the man she has feelings for falls into Ayoola’s web.

Overall, I really enjoyed My Sister, the Serial Killer. I loved the writing, the short chapters, and the interesting characters. I enjoyed reading about a different culture, as well. The only thing I didn’t really like about it is that I felt it left a few more things open-ended than I like. While it wasn’t the kind of story I was expecting it to be, it was really enjoyable and I definitely recommend it. I look forward to reading more from Braithwaite in the future.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

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Top 5 Wednesday: Books I Want to Read Before 2019

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday, hosted by the Good Reads group, is: Books You Want to Read Before 2019: Our Goodreads goals are quickly closing in. What are you prioritizing for the end of the year? I surpassed my Good Reads goal awhile ago (yay me!). Lately I’ve been having a hard time to find time to read, so I’m going to prioritize the library books I want to read before they expire – and also the ARCS I’ve recently been approved for.

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1. Pride by Ibi Zoboi

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2. Marriage of Inconvenience by Penny Reid

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3. Kiss Her Goodbye by Susan Gee

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4. For Better and Worse by Margot Hunt

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5. I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

What books do you want to read by the end of the year?

Review: In Dog We Trust by Beth Kendrick

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the author of Once Upon a Wine, a new novel set in the charming seashore town of Black Dog Bay, Delaware.

When everything has gone to the dogs . . .

When Jocelyn Hillier is named legal guardian for the late Mr. Allardyce’s pack of pedigreed Labrador retrievers, her world is flipped upside down. She’s spent her entire life toiling in the tourism industry in Black Dog Bay and never expected to be living the pampered life of a seasonal resident in an ocean side mansion, complete with a generous stipend. But her new role isn’t without its challenges: The dogs (although lovable) are more high-maintenance than any Hollywood diva, the man she wants to marry breaks her heart, and she’s confronted at every turn by her late benefactor’s estranged son, Liam, who thinks he’s entitled to the inheritance left to the dogs.

Jocelyn has worked too hard to back down without a fight, and she’s determined to keep her new fur family together. As she strives to uphold the “Best in Show” standards her pack requires, Jocelyn finds love, family, and forgiveness in the most unexpected places.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

In Dog We Trust will be available January 8, 2019.

After a couple of really heavy reads, I needed something light and uplifting and In Dog We Trust was just that. I really enjoyed visiting Black Dog Bay again. It’s such a cute, quirky little town that I wish was real so I could go there. I liked that there were some brief cameos of characters from previous books, but you definitely don’t have to have read any of them to be able to read this one.

I thought the idea of this book was really fun. I’ve heard of eccentric, rich people leaving all their money to their pets, but never really understood how that worked. Jocelyn is named the guardian of three champion show dogs and that means she gets to move into their big, fancy beach house and controls all the money. Despite becoming rich overnight, Jocelyn never goes crazy with the money. She still works her previous job and only makes a couple small purchases that aren’t dog-related. I liked that she stayed so level-headed with all of that money. I also really enjoyed her relationship with the dogs. She is definitely a die-hard animal lover and while I may not entirely relate to it, I know there are lots of dog lovers out there that will really get it.

I liked the romance, though it was not nearly as central to the plot as I expected it to be. Jocelyn and Liam’s relationship grew pretty organically without any big, sweeping romantic moments, but employed smaller sweet and subtle ones. There was a lot more focus between Jocelyn’s relationship with her best friend, Bree, and with her mother, Rachel. I loved seeing these three strong women interact and get stuff done.

There were a few things I didn’t like, though. There are some legal things that happen towards the end of the book that I didn’t love how they turned out, but I also would’ve like a little more clarity on the whole thing. I also expected dog shows to be much more prevalent. We only see one show and none of the diva-like high maintenance upkeep that is described in the synopsis.

Overall, I really enjoyed In Dog We Trust. It was light and fun and I never wanted to put it down. I’ve been looking forward to reading more from Beth Kendrick and she didn’t disappoint. I think Chick Lit fans and dog-lovers would really enjoy this one, as well.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

Top 5 Wednesday: Largest Books on My TBR

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday, hosted by the Good Reads group, is: Largest Books on my TBR. I noticed that a great deal of books on my TBR have “unknown” listed as page numbers, so this may not be entirely accurate. I also thought it was kind of funny that I don’t even remember adding most of these to my TBR. I guess the page number really has intimidated me away from them.

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1. Queen of Air and Darkness (The Dark Artifices #3) by Cassandra Clare. 720 pages.

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2. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry. 689 pages. 

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3. The Black Prison (Lightbringer #1) by Brent Weeks. 629 pages. 

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4. Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff. 615 pages. 

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5. Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern. 585 pages. 

 

What are some of the longest books on your TBR?

Top Ten Tuesday: Backlist Books I Want to Read

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl, is: Top Ten Backlist Books I Want to Read. I’m not sure how everyone else defines “backlist”, but I’m going to use it as any book currently published I haven’t read yet, even if they came out recently.

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Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor. I bought this book from the bargain shelves a couple years ago and still haven’t started it yet.

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The Wolves of Mercy Falls series by Maggie Stiefvater. I got Shiver as a free e-book a couple years ago and I started it once, but never finished it. I’d like to go back and give the series another try.

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Speaking of Stiefvater, I haven’t read All the Crooked Saints yet, either.

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I’ve only read the first two books in the Helen Grace series by M.J. Alridge. I did enjoy them, but somehow it just fell off my radar and I’d like to go back and pick up where I left off.

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The Conqueror’s Saga by Kiersten White. I remember being really excited for this series (mostly due to the beautiful cover, if I’m honest), but I started it once and couldn’t get into it. I’ve read so many great reviews of this series, though, and I want to try it again.

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My brother, who is not a big reader, is obsessed with the Mitch Rapp series and I’ve read the first couple books and enjoyed them, but need to get to the rest. One interesting thing about this series, it recently picked up with some new books written by a different author after the original author (Flynn) passed away.

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Wonder Woman by Leigh Bardugo. This was one of my most anticipated books last year, but I have yet to read it. I did actually start it once, but didn’t get past the first chapter or two.

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From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon. I love Amy Harmon books and this is one of the very few I haven’t read yet.

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All of the Rosato & Associates and Rosata & DiNunzio books by Lisa Scottoline. I’ve read the first book in each series (one is a spin-off of the other, but really I think is just a continuation?) and I need to get to the rest of them.

What backlist books do you want to read?