September 2018 Reading List

September2018Reading List

September is coming to an end and it feels like it just started the other day. As much as I think it was short, I got a lot of reading done and am so excited to share my reading list. The books I read this month were all so interesting and even though three of them were from the same genre, I did not get bored or feel like I was reading the same thing. I hope that makes sense. The stories were all different and delivered in different yet enticing ways. I can even say that two of the authors are slowly becoming my favorite authors 🙂

September 2018 Reading List

1. When Breath Becomes Air

I do not even think I can master the right words to explain what I felt/feel about this book. It reminded me about The Fault in our Stars. I remember crying so much while reading the latter and this one was not any different. It was so sad and even more so that it was written while the author was battling cancer.

Paul writes about his journey through the disease and gives us his perspective as both a physician and a patient. I think it’s harder when you know exactly what is happening to you. When the symptoms start to show and you know just what the possibilities are because as a physician you have almost all the facts at your fingertips.

He had worked with cancer patients before so he knew what to expect at every stage and how to tell if the treatment was working or not.

Knowing you are not getting better and any day might be your last cannot be easy for anyone and yet his biggest worry was leaving his wife and his only daughter alone.  He tried to be happy, spending the last couple of days with his loved ones even though he was in unbearable pain and was constantly sick from the cancer and the chemo.

As sad as Paul’s POV was, it is the epilogue however that really got to me. I remember reading it on my way home and had to stop because I almost begun crying in public. When I got home, I read the whole of it and I cried the whole time because reading the wife’s point of view was just heartbreaking.

She sat by his side and held his hand and she watched him breathe his last. I cannot even begin to imagine what she felt.

2. Imitation In Death

This one is about a copy cat serial killer who imitates some of the most famous serial killers we have had in the past like Jack the ripper who is known for the WhiteChapel murders committed between 1888 and 1891 in London.

He leaves a note after every murder some of which are gruesome. From the notes Eve deduces that he is after her as well. Dr. Mira confirms this to be true. Eve and Peabody work hand in hand to bring in the killer and prevent more murders.

The chase is as thrilling as the action and of course it is always a pleasure to meet Roarke whom if you’ve read my April 2018 reading list, you know is Eve’s husband and a breath of fresh air. He also happens to be extremely wealthy and handsome with an appeal that can lure in any woman.

3. Divided in Death by J. D. Robb

I love a good conspiracy just as much as the next person and Divided in Death was nothing short of that. It is about a Homeland Security Operation’s agent who goes rogue. He kills his lover and his brother and frames it on the wife after making it appear like he was the one who had died. So basically a secret agent fakes his own death and frames his wife who is heartbroken when she finds out that he not only cheated on her with her best friend but also their whole marriage was a lie.

He had married her so that he would get intel on Roarke’s latest project. Eve and Peabody uncover the whole thing even though Peabody misses most of the action as she is busy studying to become detective. Spoiler alert; she passes and Eve keeps her on as her partner.

In the process, they discover that another Homeland Security Operation’s agent was not only aiding the suspect but he was also the brains behind the whole thing. Blair Bissel, the agent who had gone rogue was just a tool to carry out the dirty work.

4. Invisible by James Patterson

I just finished reading this today and I couldn’t keep still. But that is the thing with James Patterson, he takes you through these twists and turns that leave your mouth wide open because you just don’t see them coming.  The suspense is also another thing I like about his books; you can never tell how they are going to end.

Take this one for instance; an F.B.I data analyst is put on probation when she loses her sister over a fire that she thinks was arson. She cannot get anyone to believe her even though there are series of deaths across different states that have happened the same way. No one believes her because the deaths are set up to look accidental.

It is only after collecting loads of data and relentless calls and emails to the F.B.I head that she gets a case. Now this killer is so smart and so strategic that they miss him so many times. One time they even have him in witness protection without knowing because spoiler alert; it’s actually a she and not a he.

I would totally recommend reading all these books because they were all so good. The last three are of the same genre. I will try to get books from different genres for next month’s reading list. You can also check out last month’s reading list, you might find a book that tickles your fancy.

Until next time 🙂

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August 2018 Reading List

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August has been an amazingly productive month. Plans were set in motion, books were read and completed and I can honestly say I am proud of myself. I totally loved all the books I read this month; Save The Date was warm and hilarious, The 50th Law was empowering, Digital Fortress was not all that impressive compared to the other Dan Brown books but it was still a good one and Portrait In Death like all the other In Death books was nothing short of thrilling.

I have already started on Imitation in Death and I’m already on the hunt for other books for September which despite the Nairobi cold and the inflation in fuel prices, I think is one of the warmest and easiest months.

August 2018 Reading List

The 50th Law by 50 Cent and Robert Green

This is 50 Cent’s story told by Robert Green. He not only wrote about 50’s experiences but also the lessons he learnt and thus the lessons to be learnt. This made the book a motivational one as opposed to a memoir and if you ask me, a lot of people need motivation.

It reminded me a lot about the Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson. The two books make you realize that people push their own agendas and it is more than ok for you to do that as well. They show the importance of having a thick skin, which means accepting that shit happens and not feeling sorry for yourself once it does but looking for ways to get back on track.

I would recommend these two books mostly because I see people almost on a daily feeling sorry for themselves when things go wrong and this is just not right.

Digital Fortress by Dan Brown

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I especially loved this one because the main character, Susan Fletcher is not only female but also a bad ass cryptographer. She is the perfect combination of brains and beauty. It was one of Dan Brown’s earlier books and technology and programs have come a long way since then. This one is about a code (Digital Fortress) that could potentially destroy the National Security Agency’s code-breaking super computer, TRANSLTR if not broken in time.

Susan Fletcher has to find a way to break the code all while worrying about the love of her life who is sent half way across the world to try and locate the key. He has to escape an assassin who is after the same key, the same assassin that is responsible for the death of the creator of Digital Fortress.

Portrait In Death by J.D. Robb

I fell in love with the series after reading the first book which ironically wasn’t the first in the series. It’s like those homicide detective shows on tv only better because these are books. The series reminds me of Bones and Castle, especially the latter.

In this one, someone goes around killing young people and taking their pictures and sending them to Nadine the reporter. From the letters he sends with the pictures, he says that he does this so as to preserve their light forever and make them immortal.

Dallas has to find him so as to prevent more murders from taking place mean while Roarke is facing a personal turmoil because of new information that he discovers about his mother. It seems that the demons from their pasts can never let them be.

Save The Date by Morgan Matson

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The book is written in first person with Charlie the youngest of the five Grant kids as the narrator. The five meet up together for the first time in what seems like ages for Linea’s (who is the second born) wedding.

Charlie cannot be happier and works to make sure the five have one last perfect weekend before the house is sold. There is a problem though, almost everything is a disaster. The wedding planner is changed last minute since the one they had was embezzling money from the company and mixing up events.

This among a series of other mishaps make for a really interesting weekend for the Grants but their parents’ revelation after the wedding is the icing on the cake.

You can also check out my previous reading lists, you might find a book or two that tickles your fancy. Until next time 🙂

Kiss Me Like You Mean It: My Two Cents

Kiss Me Like You Mean It Review

Kiss Me Like You Mean It

I had written a whole post on this then I lost it. So here I am writing it again.  I got this book about four months ago which is when I started reading it. I kept stopping which explains why I have taken so long to finish it.

I picked it up again last week and it almost seemed like some sort of twisted fate. I almost felt like this time I could relate to Gwen, to the heart breaks and the pain. I felt like I could empathize with her anger at the world and even tried to justify her actions to some extent.

I can’t though, because I am not her and because even though I have my own story and I have faced my own demons, I have not lived through hers. One thing I can however truly say is that depression is a monster that can eat you whole if you let it and Gwen almost let it. Despite the drama and the constant  ‘bad choices’ I felt like Gwen has a big heart even though she doesn’t see it and Connor confirmed this when he finally told her why he loved her.

His reason makes me think that once you have experienced exactly how cruel the world can be, you begin to see its ugliness more vividly and you begin to see the hurt it has caused people. You begin to see the pain it has brought people.

Gwen saw this and she felt it and Connor finally saw it. He tells her that he fell in love with her because of this. She had been abused and hurt but her depression ran further. It was because of this that she could see the hurt in others and mirror it as her own.

I feel like she didn’t know how to react to these emotions and thus ended up being the train wreck that she was. Having hope that everything could be better in one minute and losing it the next. She says that sex was her weapon; it made her feel like she had control, like she was on top of things. It also numbed the pain away and acted as a temporary distraction.

We all have different ways of coping but I feel like hers broke her some.

Hers and Connors is a story about love and want and hurt. They both loved each other with such intensity until they didn’t and they both hurt each other deeply but both in different ways and at different times. We are hurt the most by the ones we love.

She then fell in love with Logan who although had a deep emotional connection with her didn’t mirror the love and although it broke her, she stayed. She stayed because she felt like he was the one that could get her because he had been through what she had been through. He understood how she felt and knew just what to stay. Something that Connor was never able to.  She stayed because she found solace in lies rather than the truth and Logan was this. He was a lie that she grew dependent on until she did not.

“Love is never enough, is it?” “No. You have to find someone who wants to do the hard things with you.”

She loved Logan but said “I do” to Connor and even that didn’t last. She left him. She ran. She was good at running but for whatever reason she always came back; at least to Connor. When she finally did come back though it was because she was ready to get rid of the lies and live her truth. She was ready to get into her feelings and tell her story not on paper but to therapy as well. Connor had suggested it before but she turned it down. She didn’t want someone who felt like she wasn’t whole enough for him. But she wasn’t and when she finally admitted it to herself she agreed to the therapy. She finally saw that this man right here was the one person that saw her scars and the ugliness and darkness in her heart but still loved her even when he didn’t.

He wasn’t a lie. He was her truth and she was finally willing to work on their truth.

I feel like even though the ending is not filled with roses and rainbows and the promise of brighter days, it is still a happy one. I still can’t get over how raw and honest it felt even if it was not. If there is one thing I appreciate in books, it is the ability to stir my emotions and this one did just that. It made me sad and angry and made me smile at the same time.

I don’t know why, but it reminds me of “Author Anonymous: A true Story by EK Blair.” I still don’t know how I feel about this one but that is a story for another day.

Nairobi Then: A Coming Of Age Story

I started reading Nairobi Days by Shelina Shariff in March and this review has been a long way coming. I honestly can’t say why I have taken so long to write it especially since I enjoyed the book so much and related to it in a way I didn’t think I would.

Nairobi Days for me was like a coming of age story. This is because most of it tells us about the author’s young days and how it was growing up in Nairobi, her experiences in primary school and generally about her life.

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I love hearing my parents tell stories about Kenya while they were young because it was so different back then. Most of the buildings and roads we have now were not there and technology had not even advanced as much as it has today.

This is of course the case worldwide but Kenya is home that is why the stories mean so much more. I found myself feeling the same way while reading Nairobi Days.

I think the trip to Kampala via the train was one of my favorite parts because now with the introduction of the SGR, it shows how far our infrastructure has come and of course Shaza’s experience with Idi Amin added to the adventure.

I use adventure because Idi Amin had a reputation and not a good one. He was feared and even dreaded by most because of his cruelty. She even says she didn’t like him especially after he smiled because his smile reminded her of a
crocodile’s, the hungry smile before they ate you up. She says the he looked haraami, so evil and that his eyes were bloodshot as he leered at her.

Another reason as to why I loved the book is because it was interesting to read how things were for someone from another community. You see my parents are from the Kamba community so their story was from that perspective. Shaza, the main character is an Indian from the Gujarati community and it was very refreshing to here how things were from where she stood.

She also uses Hindi words like,“Malika is a kaari saap,and Raazia and Zareena are Lila saap.” Which translates as, “Malika is a black snake that strikes without warning and Kiswahili words like “Mungu” which translates to God in English. This adds to the authenticity of the book .

You can tell that her parents are big on education because they take her to strict schools one of which she tries to run away from and it is in these schools that she also makes friends and begins to discover boys and from this we get to see how her cultural and religious upbringing and back ground play into her life.

One of the boy she meets and likes is while she is Muslim. The difference in religion hinders their being together which makes them result to sneaking around but this is nothing new because if African parents had their way most of us would begin dating at twenty five. It is especially harder for African girls because they tend to be more sheltered than the boys.

I also found Shelina’s style of writing impressive because she starts off writing in the present time, a time I and most if not all Kenyans remember all too well. She starts off the story during the Westgate saga and tells us how it was for the diaspora; “KENYA -Without warning, gunmen stormed the mall, shooting people outside the five storey structure and then inside it. Shoppers who managed to escape said they also heard grenades exploding. Attackers went from store to store, taking hostages or randomly firing upon people. Gunmen asked customers whether they were Muslim. The terrorists apparently allowed people of that faith to escape from the Mall. The Mall is still being held by Al-Shabaab gunmen. Smoke has been coming out of the building and explosions have been heard…” This is information as they were getting it from here and I cannot even imagine how hard it was for those who had family here. The story is then cleverly shifted to the colonial era and this in my opinion is why the book was so relatable.

All in all Nairobi Days for me was more than a novel, it was a memoir, a recollection of life in the olden days. I would certainly recommend it to everyone even those not from Kenya because you get to learn about our heritage as a county and even learn a little bit of hindi while you are at it because as I mentioned a lot of hindi words are used throughout the whole book while you are it.

 

 

 

 

April 2018 Reading List

Hey guys!!! I have been really out of it and this time I will not even try and give an explanation because anything I say will just be an excuse. The truth is life just happened and I let it. I really feel bad for not posting my monthly reading list last month though. I’ve been having a bit of a readers block and schedule has been hectic as well. I however managed to squeeze in three books this month and by the time I was finishing the second one I was so excited I could not wait to tell you guys about them.

April 2018 Reading List

In Death Series by J.D. Robb

So the three books are from Nora Roberts or should I say J. D. Robb’s ‘In Death’ series. I have not read them sequentially seeing as I got Reunion in Death as the first one and it’s like the 16th book in the series. The book was given to me by my amazing colleague/friend and it got me out of my readers block. The second book I read was Purity in Death which is the 17th book in the series. The reason I chose it as my second in the series is rather obnoxious and has everything to do with the fact that my name is Purity. 🙂

The third one which I just finished while still writing this is Naked in Death which just happened to be the first one in the series. It introduces us to how the main characters Eve and Roarke met.

From what I gathered from the three books, the series is basically a crime/romance fiction filled with just about the right amount of action and romance for my liking. Now I didn’t research on why Nora Roberts uses an alias to write the series but judging by her previous works I could deduce that it is because this is a different style hence the different persona.

In the three books, Eve Dallas is the lead role and I assume that it’s the same with most if not all of the other books. She is a bad ass lieutenant out for blood and will stop at nothing to make sure that justice is served. I call her bad ass because she does not take nonsense from anyone and is not afraid to go after bad guys even if they are in positions of power.

Eve Dallas is not your average woman. She doesn’t pay attention to fashion or conform to the societal norms of how a woman should look like or act. Her subordinates and juniors address her as sir but that does not make her any less of a woman.

She is married to Roarke who is the people’s sweet heart. I’m sure you are familiar with the phrase most men want to be like him and most women want to be with him. That is Roarke for you. He is extremely wealthy, powerful, handsome and smart with just about enough charisma to charm you to your knees.

One thing I liked about the three books is that even without reading the first ones you can tell there is a lot of individual history that influences their current lives. The three books repeatedly mention the past but in a way that is informative and doesn’t leave you lost. You can therefore read the books as stand alones but are still compelled to look for the others just to find out what happened and also because they are just too interesting to pass on.

Their pasts make them blend together so well because they get each other and even though they have their fair share of arguments, they are able to get through them.

I like how Nora Roberts makes out Eve to be a strong, brave and independent kind of woman. One who would probably do without a man in her life but then makes Roarke bring out the vulnerability in her. Being a feminist of some sort I hold a deep admiration for strong women more so women who realize that it’s not about how others perceive you but how you see yourself and are at piece with being different. Eve is portrayed as such a woman and I appreciated that.

I totally loved reading the three books and they’ll make my April’s Reading list because I found them truly amazing and I can’t wait to get my hands on more from the series. You can find my previous reading list here.

Until next time 🙂

February 2018 Reading List

People!!!! I am really sorry I know I had promised to update more this year but this month has just been so short you know.

Any way, I have had like three posts pending but before I post them I am going to post my monthly reading list.

Like I said this month has been so short and I honestly didn’t think I’d read that many books but I think I managed just fine.

I loved the books that I read this month because as much as they were different, they had one thing in common, they got to me. And when I say they got to me I mean that they managed to fuck with my emotions.

When a book manages to hook me in and leave me feeling some type of way then in my opinion it is a good book.

N. Y. P. D Red by Robert Patterson and Marshall Karp

This is the second book written by James Patterson that I have read and I just can’t help but wonder, do all of his books involve mentally unstable murderers? Not that I am complaining, Along came the Spider was a deeply engrossing book and so was N. Y. P. D Red 2.

I loved the suspense and also speculating about who the murderer could be although in the latter book he or rather they were very evident from the start.

This book definitely left me conflicted because these guys were only killing criminals or so they thought and at some point I actually rooted for them until they were not and almost killed an innocent woman then I realized two wrongs really don’t make a right.

You might think you are righting a wrong by doing something equally wrong but you become the same as the wrong doer. I really hope that makes sense.

We’re Going To Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

This one literally made me want to grab a glass of wine, a comforter and sit at a cozy corner somewhere and just immerse myself.

Maybe I am being biased because let’s face it Gabrielle Union is an icon to most, me being one of them and reading about how her life was and has been was just something.

I saw a woman who like most women has been through a lot in her life and has had to live with insecurities and doubts about herself.

From living in a time where skin color was an issue for most to going through the hardships that come with losing a baby and lest I forget, dealing with a cheating husband who she not only loved but also supported.

These are things that most women face and I imagine this book must have given hope to someone who has gone through the same. Hope in that they knew they were not alone and that at some point it gets better.

Go Ask Alice

I felt really shitty after reading this one because it was so sad and yet so true. The book is actually based off of a diary of a fifteen year old drug addict.

It is a clear depiction of what goes through a teenagers head, the things that lead them to taking drugs, the way their lives are affected and the aftermath.

Alice goes through a lot of shit because of turning to drugs as an escape and also as a way to fit in.

At first she is not able to come to her parents; a thing that most teenagers seem to be incapable of for one reason or the other.

The aftermath though is what really got to me. She had started getting her life in order towards the end of the book and bum! She is found dead and it is not known whether it was because of an intentional overdose or if it was accidental. Whatever the reason though, this book just goes to show the fate that many young drug addicts face.

I would really recommend this one to all the parents or guardians struggling to understand their teenage children. It really brings a lot to perspective.

Storm & Silence by Robert Thier

Robert Thier is the name that he goes by on wattpad and he is the author of this amazing series of books that I have come to fall in love with.

Wattpad has a lot of amazing author’s and this guy is on top of the list. His books are extremely long but oh so engrossing and because it is set in what I believe to have been the past like women-couldn’t-wear-trousers past, it is abit modest but then again when it is not it is not.

Lord Rikkard Ambrose and Miss Lilly Linton’s relationship is so refreshing and oh so funny. I laughed so much while reading and even cried at the Titanic-like scene. Although their relationship is dragged out all through the four books, the latter being where he finally confesses his love, there is never a dull moment.

Nairobi Days by Shelina Shariff-Zia

It starts off with talk about the Westgate Saga. If you are a Kenyan then you know very well how trying a time that was for all of us.

I got to experience not only what growing up in Kenya in the past was like but also experience life from a different perspective in terms of culture and religion from the book.

While in the States the author tells her sister in law stories from her young age while she lived in Kenya. At first the stories are meant to distract them both from the fear that her brother might have been in the the mall during the attack but as she continues, she gets more engrossed.

We see what it was really like for a young girl growing up in the 60’s in Kenya. This was the time when Kenya was just beginning to develop, it was just immediately after getting independence.

I am actually supposed to write a review for this and thus won’t dwell on it as much as I would have loved to.

This right here is my February reading list. I really did try to have it up on time😅 You can refer to my previous post for Last month’s reading list.

Until next time😘

January 2018 Reading List

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I know, I know. This post should have been up about two weeks ago but life happened and I let it.

It’s actually a pity because it’s the first post of my monthly reading list segment and also because I really enjoyed writing it.

I had set a goal; to read a book each week of the month and I achieved it. I was on my book-a-week groove this month and it gave me a sense of accomplishment to achieve what I had set out to do.

This is one of those small achievements that shouldn’t really make that much of difference or impact but they do.

I managed to lock in five books, four of which I absolutely loved and would recommend for different reasons.

Two of these were motivational books, one a tragic romance and the other two were historical fiction. Here is my January 2018 reading list:

1.Angels And Demons by Dan Brown

Now Dan Brown’s books are known to be controversial and although some of his facts are usually not accurate, I am a big fan of his work.

Angels and demons is part of the Robert Langdon series. Robert is a symbology Professor at Harvard. In the books he finds himself solving murder cases where his knowledge in symbology is required.

Interestingly, I had watched the movie before I read the book so I knew what to expect. This was about ten years ago and even though I could remember almost every scene, I still enjoyed reading the book very much. I preferred reading the book because as much as my imagination was influenced by the movie, it was still better and also I am a sucker for anything that involves the classical elements; Earth, Water, Wind and Fire.

Robert is called to help in an investigation when a Physicist/Priest is found dead with a missing eyeball and the words Illuminati branded on his chest.

It turns out the deceased had invented high amounts of antimatter which is highly unstable and if it collides with matter it causes annihilation which is usually in form of an explosion as energy is produced.

They have to find the killer (Hassasin) hence finding the antimatter and they only have six hours to do so and oh did I mention that the story is set in one of my favorite cities in the world: The Vatican City!

And of course my favorite line: “You’ve never been to bed with a yoga master, have you?”

You would think that the action, controversy, solving murder mysteries and the suspense gets old but it really doesn’t.

I was young while watching the movie and hadn’t really taken that many Chemistry or Physics lessons so the idea of antimatter wasn’t really that intriguing at the time. It’s probably because I didn’t even understand the concept at the time.

2.The Origin by Dan Brown

I had mixed feelings about this one because it felt like he was trying to fuck with my religious beliefs(excuse my language ) but then again our beliefs are only as strong as our faith. I remember mentioning a thing or two about this in my previous post.

I can’t say I agree with Dan Brown’s line of thought in this or any of his previous books but I will not deny that the book was well written.

I will not even deny that I enjoyed it because I did. It was a lot to take in and I would recommend it if only it were to be read solely as a work of fiction and not as something that would be used to sway ones beliefs or lack thereof.

Robert finds himself in yet another murder mystery only this time he is not trying to prevent an explosion but to accomplish the deceased’s goal of explaining where humanity came from and where we are going or in other words how we continue evolving; where we are going while also disapproving the concept of God.

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3.The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I enjoyed reading this book. In fact it was one of those books I simply could not put down and had it not been for work or life, I would have finished reading it in a day. After all, who needs sleep any way?

OK, so I might be exaggerating a bit but i really did love how it was able to play with my emotions.

Like seriously one minute I’m on the verge of tears and the next I’m laughing or doing both because Hazel Grace was just so funny but then again the whole cancer situation and loosing the love of her life thing was just sad.

I lost a person that was really important to me and it was at such a young age too.I remember bawling my eyes out at his funeral and I don’t think anyone really ever understood the magnitude of that loss for me.

To this day I feel the impact and maybe it is because of this loss that I felt like the book was somewhat relatable. I want to compare it to tragedies such as William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet but I will let you be the judge of that.

4. The Magic of Thinking Big by  David J. Schwartz

My brother sent me this one sometime last year and I kept off reading it until the beginning of this year.

It felt like the perfect timing because it helped set the pace for the year and even helped me in making my goals and resolutions for the year.

In fact, the very first post of the year was on the lessons I had picked up from this book.

5.The Secret by Rhonda Byrnes

I was so pumped when I got this book and could not wait to read it. I remember looking for it last year because I had seen the cover somewhere and it looked intriguing.

Remember the saying “Never judge a book by its cover”?

I wrote what I thought about the book in my previous post and would probably not recommend it unless you were in desperate need for motivation and was willing to trade off reality and practicability for a dose of “you are solely responsible for everything that happens to you.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there are things that happen to us that are beyond out control. How we react to them however is usually up to us.

There you go; My January 2018 reading list. I shall really try to have these posts up on time which will mostly be the last week of each month or the first week of each month.

Until next time😙

The Not-So-Secret Secret.

It wouldn’t be me if I didn’t start off this blog with a quote, now would it? You could say that this was the quote of the week last week because it not only made a lot of sense but also left quite an impression. It was like an answer that I didn’t know I was looking until I found it.

Aristotle

I found myself referring back to it a few times during the week. One time was when I was telling my friend about this book I had been reading; The Origin by Dan Brown. It is a well known fact that almost all of his books are centered on the conflict between religion, science and well secret and not-so-secret societies.

This one was not any different. It is about a young man who sets out to disapprove religion and use science to explain our existence and where we are going. In other words, it basically challenges the concept of God.

When I tried explaining some more of what the book was about to my friend, he stopped me and then without any attempt at being subtle asked if I had become an atheist. It didn’t help that we were in a family restaurant in a highly religious country.

Some people turned to look at me, disdain clearly written on their faces. I wish I had read that quote earlier because that simple sentence right there would have been the explanation to my answer which was (after an awkward laugh) no.

Like every other thing in this world, religion is and should be a choice. ‘I choose to be a Christian’, ‘I choose to believe in God’ or ‘I choose to be a Muslim’ and so on and so forth. I fall in the former category not because I was told to but because I chose to and I am confident and secure enough in my choices to read about other cultures, religions(or lack there of) and beliefs without letting them influence my own.

The second time I found myself referring to that quote was while I was reading The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I got my hands on this book for a couple of reasons; it came highly recommended (Oprah had the author talk about it in her show a few years back), it has enjoyed immense success and sold millions of copies and also I was curious as to what this secret was.

The Secret

The Secret – Rhonda Byrnes

My expectations for the book were pretty high, I expected it to be nothing short of phenomenal and I think that was the first step to disappointment where the book is concerned. I found it lacked the flow that I was used to finding in most books I read and what’s more, the secret was not really a secret!

“BOB PROCTOR

You’ve probably been sitting there wondering, “What is The Secret?”  I’ll tell you how I’ve come to understand it.  We all work with one infinite power. We all guide ourselves by exactly the same laws.

The natural laws of the universe are so precise that we don’t even have any difficulty building spaceships, we can send people to the moon, and we can time the landing with the precision of a fraction of a second.

Wherever you are—India, Australia, New Zealand, Stockholm, London, Toronto, Montreal, or New York—we’re all working with one power. One Law; It’s attraction! The Secret is the law of attraction!

Everything that’s coming into your life you are attracting into your life. And it’s attracted to you by virtue of the images you’re holding in your mind. It’s what you’re thinking. Whatever is going on in your mind you are attracting to you. “Every thought of yours is a real thing—a force.” Prentice Mulford (1834-1891)”

I had barely finished reading the first chapter and I was already thinking, “Why am I reading this book?”. I realized that as I went further, my thoughts only grew more negative and if I was going to achieve my goal for this year which was being positive about everything, I needed to stop reading, gather my thoughts and start again with an open mind and a positive attitude.

Negativity is like a pool that seems shallow at first and it is so alluring that it appears as the only possible reality but then you get in and it gets deeper and deeper but the process is so subtle that you don’t even notice until it is almost too late.

Thankfully, I came across the quote and realized that I didn’t really have to agree with everything that Rhonda Byrne had written for me to read the book, I didn’t have to like it nor did I have to accept it. I could however pick the positive parts of the book because let’s face it, as much as I thought the book to be nothing but a good marketing scheme, it harbored a good message; positivity.

It is no secret that positive people are far happier and often more successful than negative people. It is also no secret that positivity or negativity towards people, things and circumstances begins with our mindset.

James Allen’s tells us as much in his book, As a Man Thinketh and I believe that that same message is what Rhonda Byrne was trying to sell or at least, that is what I got.

Being positive is such a vital attribute to taking on the world but it can also be hard to master at times especially if you feel like things are really not working out. Negativity however, is easier to master. It seems to be an automatic reflex and an automatic reaction to most ‘bad’ things that happen to us, to some it almost comes naturally.

“Nothing can come into your experience unless you summon it through persistent thoughts.” The Secret

I however do not agree that all of the negative things that happen to us are as result of our negative thoughts because I do not think that an accident, rape or a war victim attracted that. (One of the things I disagreed with The Secret on.)

I do believe however our reactions to the bad things that happen to us are entirely up to us. We have been gifted with the power of free will which means we have the power to choose. I get a sense of déjà vu as I write this because I have written it down so many times, it’s almost as though I am trying to hammer the message into my mind.

In fact, I remember phrasing it like this in a previous post, “You are the C.E.O of your life…”.

I had written a whole review about this book and most of it was focused on the negative attributes about this book but I chose not to post it here because I believe that my negativity will not do anyone any good so I chose to write and post this instead.

Until next time 🙂

Thinking Big And Coffee.

New Year, New Better Me 🙂

“Success means many wonderful positive things. Positivity is one of my goals this year 🙂 Success means freedom: freedom from worries, fears, frustrations, and failure. Success means self-respect, continually finding more real happiness and satisfaction from life, being able to do more for those who depend you.

Success means winning.”

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Shwartz

The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Shwartz

I was just noting down notes while reading this book that my brother sent me last year; The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz and thought why not share it here with you guys.

  1. Believe you can succeed and you will.

Having a strong belief system is one of the most practical success-building wisdom; believe you can and you will.

Not many people believe that they can move mountains. So, as a result, not many people do.

But make no mistake; there is a difference between wishful thinking and belief. You can’t wish something up, you can however wish yourself into working on something, believe you can and start.

I just got to reading this book and it’s like the perfect time because part or rather most of my resolutions for this year happen to resonate with this book so well.

I am almost the most pessimistic person I know but like many others, I call myself a realist. I didn’t need the book to help me realize that when I constantly doubt myself or subconsciously foresee failure I am in fact, sabotaging myself.

No, I didn’t need a book to tell me that, I had that all figured out by myself but like many bad habits, it’s hard to get rid of this one without any help and that is where the book comes in.

Maybe I need to read the phrase ‘Believe in yourself’ 1000 times so that it is planted in my brain and becomes a subconscious action. I don’t know. I do know however that you can will yourself into doing anything you want by believing in yourself.

“The “Okay-I’ll-give-it -a -try-but -I -don’t -think-it -will-work” attitude produces failures(trying to get rid of that one this year).”

Goal No. 1: Believe in myself!

  1. Excusitis.

I don’t even think that is a word but let’s use it because it has been used in the book. It’s actually quite catchy. Anyway, sometime around May last year, I made a mental note to stop giving excuses for my failures, take responsibility for them and move forward. Of course it does not help when you are constantly asked to explain yourself but hey that is life.

I had just started getting around to really listening to successful people and you know the saying “great minds think a like”? It is true. Most if not all of them agreed that all the excuses made by the mediocre fellow could be but aren’t made by the successful person.

Most successful people have the I-went-and-did-it story that translates back to belief. Some were at their lowest but believed they could be great and great they became. They didn’t give excuses.

Goal No. 2: Cure myself of Excusitis!

  1. Build Confidence. Destroy fear.

I didn’t even change the title for this one. It just sounded right. I didn’t know it when I was young, I didn’t even know it as I grew older but as I continued to learn myself I realized that I did lack confidence and my fear of failure has stopped me from trying so many things that I would have probably not sucked at.

I remember being to afraid to recite a solo poem in class five and letting my friend do it instead even though my teacher had insisted that I do it. My lack of confidence and fear blinded me from seeing what my teacher saw in me at that time and so many other times.

I would imagine all sorts of scenarios on how things could go wrong in my head and as much as the scenarios were and are a figment of my imagination, the fear was and still is very much real.

This is where I am right now, I have established the root of my problem but like all the other ailments, a diagnosis is only good if you can establish the cure.

Well, according to David J. Schwartz, Action cures fear and when you think about it, this makes sense. It’s like learning to ride a bike, even though you know you are going to fall the first few times, you still get on otherwise how else do learn?

“When we face tough problems, we stay mired in. the mud until we take action. Hope is a start. But hope needs action to win victories.”

It is the same for confidence. To think confidently, act confidently. Act the way you want to feel. Do not be afraid to be conspicuous, sit at the front, make eye contact, stand taller, sit a little straighter, speak up and most importantly smile. 🙂

Goal No.3: Work on my confidence, get rid of the fear and put the action principle to work.

  1. Know thyself.

When most people embark in the journey towards learning thyself, more often than not, they end up finding out their negative attributes. The focus on their weaknesses and forget to find out their strengths. I have been guilty of doing this so many times and it goes back to lack of self- confidence.

It is good to learn our weaknesses but learning only the negative and failing to recognize the positive leads us to value ourselves lower than we actually are.

Find out what your strengths are and exploit them! Work them to your advantage. Use them to add value to things, to add value to others and to add value to you and most importantly do not be afraid to think/dream big.

David lists some things that in my opinion can help in achieving this.

    • Learn not to sell yourself short instead, concentrate on your assets because you’re better than you think you are.
    • Be Positive. Use words that promise victory, hope, happiness and pleasure; avoid negative words; words that create unpleasant images of failure, defeat and/or grief.
    • Stretch your vision: See what can be, not just what is. Practice adding value to things, to people, and to yourself.
    • Get the big view of your job. Think; really think your present job is important. That next promotion depends mostly on how you think toward your present
    • Think above trivial things. Focus your attention on big objectives. Before getting involved in a petty matter, ask yourself, “Is it really important?”

Goal No.4: Learn my strengths and use them to make and achieve bigger goals.

Part of the initiative I am taking this year to working towards becoming a better version of myself hence the goals above. It’s all about growth and making myself a better person rather than focusing my energy on new resolutions that I can never quit follow though.My overall goals in life are to achieve inner peace (my cousin once called me a hippie for this), attain self-freedom and most importantly attain happiness in its truest and most genuine form; everything else is just a bonus 🙂

I know what you’re think, this post had nothing to do with coffee and you are absolutely right! I just thought it was time my favorite drink in the world got to feature here.

Until next time 🙂

Taking Stock: 2017

Taking Stock:2017

“Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later. ”

Every New Year feels like a new chance to start over and do things right. That is why most people come up with resolutions and write down things that they hope to achieve. Or maybe it’s just me. Haha.

When I was in high school, I thought I had everything figured out. I had planned out my life to the letter and I was so sure that by now I would be running my company or at least hold a managerial position or something higher in some company.

Life however had other plans. Nothing of what I had planned has happened and I was scared for a while; I still am but one of my resolutions this year is to let go of that fear, to stop being so rigid and let life be. ‘Everything happens for a reason.’ is what I keep trying to remind myself hence the quote.

“God give me the serenity to accept the things that I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.”

So much has happened in 2017 and I have found myself on the edge more than once. I have cried more times than I care to count and at some point I think I even forgot what it means to be happy. While I know reminding myself won’t be easy, I am hell bent on trying and getting rid of the negativity in my life while at it and that quote right there is my prayer as the year starts.

Don’t get me wrong, not all of 2017 was bad. I remember some good times and I am grateful for them. I think sometimes we go through hard times so that we can appreciate the good ones even more.

While that is my goal and part of what my next post is going to be about, this post was solely meant for stock taking. I am going to do this by listing 5 of my favorite books in 2017; the motivational ones at list. I would need a whole other post or three to list the fictional ones.

I managed to read 11 books in that genre in 2017. I would have loved for that number to be higher and I plan on making it higher this year but before then, here you go:

1. Developing The Leader Within You by John C. Maxwell.

I went back to reading motivational books in March because life has no hand book and such books are as close as you get. This was the very first book I read in 2017 and it was well needed because it came at time where everything was continuing to fall apart and I was struggling to find my own person.

I didn’t even know it when I began reading it but I realized that with every page, learning to lead myself was the reason as to why I was reading this book. It would soon become the reason as to why I read all the other leadership books after that.

John C. Maxwell in my opinion has a way of making you see things from a different perspective. He makes you want to take ownership of your life and steer it in the direction that you want. That has always been my biggest challenge especially in a world where everyone has a certain expectation of who you ought to be.

Taking Stock: 2017

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.

I think this one was my favorite after Developing the Leader Within You. I remember insisting that my friend read it because it would absolutely change his life forever! I might have exaggerated a bit but this book can be compared to the type of spouse that makes you want to change for the better. You know the kind of person that makes you want to be good just for them? Yea that one.
“…I really want to change. I read all the new information, I set goals, I get myself all psyched up with a positive mental attitude and tell myself I can do it. But I don’t. After a few weeks, I fizzle. I just can’t seem to keep a promise I make to myself.”

At the time it was like reading into my head. I could totally relate. This book helped me see that in order to initiate the change that I wanted in life, I needed to accept the person that I was first and where I was then work on moving to where I wanted to be.

3. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell.

Just because the first one had not disappointed, I had no qualms about reading another one of his books. I remember I was reading this during my country’s  election period and things had been a bit intense because we had had a bad election year before; 2007 and everyone was afraid of experiencing it again.

As I read this book I kept thinking, “I wish my president would read this or I wish my governor could practice this or has my boss ever come across this book?” John C. Maxwell stated qualities that I would not only like to posses but also qualities that I would like my leaders to posses but most importantly I was reminded that it is not about the title or the position.

I was reminded that people need to know that you care before they can buy into your vision as a leader.

“People respond to benevolent intentions to a greater degree than they do to competence when reacting to authorities.”

4.What I know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey.

I loved this one probably because I’ve always been a fan of hers since I can remember. I loved watching her talk shows and was always fascinated at how good she looked for her age. However, like most people, it was her generosity that won me over. I cannot remember an episode of Oprah where the audience or someone didn’t get to walk away with anything.

What I know for sure is simply written and it makes you forget for a minute that she is one of the most powerful and most influential women in the world. She comes out as just another normal woman who has had to go through her share of hardships to get to where she is and it is because of this reason that you can relate so well to the book.

“Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and step out and dance – to live free of regret and filled with as much joy, fun and laughter as you can stand.

You can either waltz boldly onto the stage of life or live the way you know your spirit is nudging you to, or you can sit quietly by the wall, receding into the shadows of fear and self-doubt. You have the choice this very moment.”

They might be simple words but they hold so much depth.

5. Things I will Tell My Daughter by Joan Thatiah.

This was the last book that I read of this genre this year and I could not be more proud that it is written by a Kenyan author. She is authentic in that the lessons are from her experiences in life. It is relatable in that most women go through some of the challenges that she went though.
She is bold in that she rose up, dusted herself and ignored the scornful voices of disappointment when she fell and pressed on to become a success in her field.

She didn’t let her unfortunate background or failures define her. She chose to define herself and chose who she was going to be and worked towards where she wanted to be. This book makes you think the world is crappy but everything will be alright.

This is my first stock taking and hopefully not the last. As I look back, 2017 wasn’t all that bad because I learnt and I grew and I became stronger and somewhat bolder (still working on that one).

Taking Stock:

Until next time 🙂