My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite




Right thats got the disclaimers out of the way.

Now to chat about this amazing bloody book.

When i first saw this on someone’s You Tube channel i cringed, both at the striking cover and the title.

It’s not for me i thought, oh no!

But i was wrong because its bloody fantastic both inside and out.

Korede and her sister Ayoola (the serial killer mentioned above) have a love/hate relationship but Korede cant help looking after her sister the way she’s always done since Ayoola was born. So everytime Ayoola kills a man, Korede helps her out by cleaning up the evidence, disposing of the body and lying to everyone.

I cant help feeling sorry for poor Korede. She justs wants a quiet life with a doctor she has a crush on at the hospital she works in as a nurse, but she keeps getting roped in to help her sister after another failed relationship ends in the death of one of Ayoola’s boyfriends.

Tade, the doctor Korede fancies ends up involved with Ayoola (the women is a temptress who can lure men with her stunning beauty just by smiling at them) and of course Korede as much as she loves her sister cant let the relationship happen in case her precious Tade is the next body she has to clean up. But the outcome of this is classic and we get a glimpse at just how far Korede will go to protect her murderous sibling.

Its very black humour and a light read considering the subject matter and there are lots of little ‘laugh out loud moments’ too.

I felt there would be a twist at the end whereby maybe it was someone else doing the killing or even Korede herself as she kept getting ‘bad heads’ but instead the ending is just perfect without that.

The police in the story are the most incompetent i’ve ever read about in a book and its apparently so easy for the same two women to be involved with these men and yet never suspected, astounding!

Its my first book of the year and what a way to begin 2019. I urge you all to read it.

You’ll thank me.

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Teensy, tiny book haul

Where has this David Levithan book been all my life?  Its meant for younger readers, doesnt have a lot of writing on some pages, has photographs and looks and sounds wonderful!
cool book covers or what?
I am so looking forward to reading it and adding it to my ever growing collection of David Levithan books. I’ve actually been avoiding the Evelyn Hardcastle book because i thought it was just another book with a women in the title like the run of books after the weird Elinor Oliphant thing, but it seems this is something quite different and because the protagonist wakes up each day as someone else also a bit like Every Day by David Levithan! Talking of which David has a new book coming out tomorrow, connected to Every Day and Another Day, Yay! In fact October is a damn fine month for new books with three tomorrow and another four on the 18th. There goes my bank balance!

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Books they made me buy

I want to do a kind of books that BookTube made me buy or just books that I had to have because of all the hype around them and I didn’t wanna miss out!

Phew, what a mouthful!

I’ll split it into several posts as there are loads over the months/years but I’ll stick to the best and most exciting ones.

There’s quite a mix of genres here.

I felt compelled to buy Circe by Madeline Miller because I enjoyed what I’ve read so far of The Song of Achilles. I actually requested proof copies no less than 4 times but never heard a thing so ended up buying it in hardback even though I hate a hardback! This is the power of wanting to be a part of the conversation and just needing to own the book.

I haven’t read it yet and probably won’t for a while (shakes head at own foolishness)

I bought the Alice Oseman book as everyone says her books are so good but I’ve never seen anything special in her writing and this doesn’t sound any better really. In fact its very similar to Songs About a Girl by Chris Russell with a couple of diverse characters to make it seem like an original work.

The Becky Albertalli books were bought because I’d seen Simon all over social media but never fancied it until Leah came out and the cover is just adorable so I had to check them out. I’m halfway through Simon and it’s so so good! I guess it will teach me not to pre judge books so much in the future eh?

And you couldn’t get much further away from the previous YA books than with Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and The White! It’s so unusually written as the narrator takes you on the journey with him which is a way of writing I’ve not encountered before. It’s a chunker though so will most likely take me months to get through but it’s a real treat nonetheless.

So those are just a small sample of books I felt pressured to buy either because they are all over social media or a booktuber ‘sold it to me’ rather too well, damn them!

Edwardian postcard – The Lovers Seat, Hastings, Sussex

I recently bought this postcard to add to my ever growing Edwardian postcard collection because of the amusing message on the back and the intriguing picture on the front. All those prim and proper ladies!

When it arrived I felt drawn to investigate the writer and subject matter further.

The writer, Harold describes the ladies sitting on the ‘lovers seat’ as being ‘Giddy Old Kippers’ which made me laugh. I immediately liked Harold’s sense of humour so had to know more about him.

But first, the ‘lovers seat’ mentioned was on a cliffside in Hastings, Sussex UK. I found two websites with lots of information about it.

My postcard was posted in 1905 but in 1910 there was a landslide and the sloping rock and a lot of ground disappeared down to the sea below.

A fence was then erected for safety but over the years that too fell down and later photos show it without any protection once again.

Its interesting to see it from a different perspective and appreciate the view and why they liked to sit there.

I’m borrowing this from a post on the 1066online forum for Hastings.

1851 – Pre-Raphaelite artist William Holman Hunt painted his greatest landscape, Our English Coasts, later known as Strayed Sheep, looking west across Fairlight Glen from ‘Lovers Seat’.

1910 – A land slip took away a large section of cliff including the large reclining rock shown in many images. After this the edge was mostly fenced off.

1932 February – Lovers Seat (wooden) was heavily vandalised and had to be replaced.

18 December 1960 – A landslip carried away the terrace on which the Lovers Seat (wooden) stood.

1961 February – The actual seat finally also slipped over the edge.

1961 Feb – The Lovers Seat ‘stone’ fell down the cliff in a landslide. A crane pulled it back up.

1980/81 – A major landslide completely destroyed the famous sandstone Crag at ‘Lovers Seat’.

Anyway, back to the writer and recipient.  It was sent to a Miss Fricker in Hornsey, Middlesex by someone called Harold.

After some digging I discovered that Miss Fricker was Lucy Fricker, born 1885 in Brentford, Middlesex to Arthur Fricker and Annie Baggallay.  Harold was Harold Burnett Smith born 1885 in Crouch End.

He begins the postcard Dear Sis, which led to me to think that he was Lucy’s brother but I found that Lucy brothers were both younger than her and called William and Arthur. It may have been a nickname of sorts i’m guessing.

The address on the card is 97 Turnpike Lane, Hornsey. Lucy and her family are listed as living there in 1901 & 1911 census.

I then searched for Lucy in the BMD records and found a marriage record in 1911 alongside a Harold B Smith. Could this be our Harold?

After some searching for Harold I found his occupation (stationers assistant) and parents details.

I later found a Church of England Marriages and Banns record which showed that Harold’s middle name was Burnett. The parents details matched up with what i’d found for them. They did indeed get married on 24th April 1911 in Hornsey.

They went on to have two children, at least thats all I could find.

Joan Kathleen Smith in March 1912 and Joe W.A Smith in 1914

Harold joined up during World War 1 and served as a rifleman in the Queens Westminster rifles. Sadly the story does not end well as Harold was killed in action on 30th November 1916. He is buried at Cambrai in France and is listed on Panel 12 of the Cambrai memorial

I haven’t been able to find any service papers for him but i’ll keep looking.

Its amazing what you can find from just a short note on the back of a postcard written over 100 years ago.


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Six books by non British authors

This year one of my reading resolutions was to read more books by Japanese authors. I find them to be – the ones I’ve read anyway – gentle, fascinating and beautifully written and I wanted more of the same.

In this round up I have included four books by Japanese authors and I’ve also added two more books by non UK authors as they just sound so amazing.

EXIT WEST by Mohsin Hamid

This has been all over social media and i cant wait to give it a go. Its written by a now quite famous Indian author.

The next four are by Japanese authors

The Housekeeper and the Professor

 by Yoko Ogawa

A really pretty little floppy book with shiny cover and a gorgeous premise

Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa

I heard about this on Ariel Bissett’s channel, its another gentle, sweet sounding story

The Nakano Thrift Shop by Hiroki Kawakami

Another from Ariel’s channel. She has the best recommendations.  I have started this and its a bit slower than i like but I find the Japanese way of life endlessly fascinating.

What I talk about when I talk about running by Haruki Murakami

Yep you guessed it I saw this on Ariel’s channel too! A strange little book and one I would enjoy more if i was a runner myself but I shall persevere.

Inside out & back again by Thanhha Lai

This is a recommendation from Russell over at Ink & Paper blog. Its written in poetry form with very few words per page and comes in a gorgeous shiny, floppy edition with an amazing cover. Thanhha is a Vietnamese author.

I’m very much an armchair traveler so these books will transport me round the world to places i’d never otherwise visit.

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A Life Discarded – I wish i’d found them

This is my current read

Its about 148 diaries found thrown away in a skip back in 2001 i think it was.  How i’d love to have found those!  Its my dream to find old diaries, documents, journals and photos at bootfairs and the like.  I am such a nosy parker into the past and peoples lives, its true.

But look at the cover, especially the quote on the top right.

Yes! Benedict Cumberbatch says he couldnt put it down! What more incentive do i need to read it than this?

Incidentally, I am gripped so far!

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January in pictures (so far)

Its been a month of contrasts in weather has January. It begun mild but then we’ve had a really cold snap resulting in some nice frosty pics but no snow.

lovely snowdrops


frost on the Schumach (spelling?)


cobwebs on bird table


chilly strawberry plants


cheeky grape hyacinth poking through

Then we had a fascinating sky last night

heavy, swirly, yellowy cloud (very scientific)

And I discovered a great app for my phone. Its called Colorburn and colours in your images in a huge range of shades so you can get some really cool effects. And it has some nice frames and layouts too.







Its been a good month for taking pics so far. All these have been taken using an iphone in case you are interested though I am thinking of digging out my DSLR soon. Havent used it in ages (shameful)

I’ll post anything I snap once I remember how to use it!