First Lines Friday #4!

Here is how it works:

– Pick a book and open to the first page.

– Copy the first few lines without revealing which book it is.

– Reveal the book!

So… do these first lines entice you?

By day, I’m an honours student at Jefferson Academy. At night, I turn into the Nubian Goddess most people know as Emerald.

The second bell rings, I’m out of my desk seat and bolting through the classroom door. There’s a battle tonight between PrestoBox, a master wizard from the Tundra, and Zama, a Voodoo queen from the same region. I absolutely can’t miss it. Once safely in the hallway, I pull out my phone and open WhatsApp to find a new text from the game mod, Cicada.

Cicada: You watching the tundra semifinals tonight?

Scroll down to reveal the book!

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SLAY: the Black Panther-inspired novel about virtual reality, safe spaces  and celebrating your identity: Morris, Brittney: Books
Slay by Brittney Morris

That first section is definitely not one that would entice me, which is surprising and kinda sad! I already own this book (I was gifted it by the wonderful Kari) and I’m excited to read a Black gaming book. I really hope that I enjoy the writing more as the book carries on. Fingers Crossed!

Freshwater by Akwake Emezi, a review


I’ve heard a lot about Akwaeke Emezi recently, and I had thought that my first read from them was going to be Pet (which sounds absolutely amazing and I NEED TO READ IT!) but instead it was Freshwater. This story follows Ada who has multiple entities from the Mothergod Ala inside of her. She begins her life in southern Nigeria after being prayed into existence, but her life is no easy ride.


I picked this up specifically for the fuck slut shaming prompt for the Fuckathon, and although it covers many different topics this will be the one I talk about first. There is sex positivity in this book, with our main character Ada having sex freely with both men and women and feeling no shame, she is also slut shamed by those around her but she sticks to her guns and doesn’t let them shame her. Also prevalent within this book is the rape of Ada. It is referred back to throughout the book as a major plot point.

The next two topics very much combine and this is spirituality and multiple personalities. This is approached by having separate beings who each narrate the story in their own chapters and are said to be linked to Jesus. I really enjoyed how they switched between “everyone” and we get to see from all of their viewpoints. The first have been sent by Ala, the others crystallise after traumatic events and this changes how they act and interact with Ada’s life. I can’t say much more about this without spoiling the plot but the presence of these different viewpoints is utilised incredibly well throughout the story.

The one “diverse” topic within this book that I have personal experience with is depression, and so this is the one where I can comment on the representation. I think the metaphors used are incredibly well done and unique, Emezi deep dives into the mind and I love their approach to this topic and also how they depicted the various people around Ada and their reactions to her depression.

The topic of racism is lightly touched upon here, with our Nigerian main character living in the US the main racist point I saw was the encouragement of relaxing and straightening her hair rather than leaving it natural. In the latter parts of the story we also delve deeper into Ada’s non-binary preferences, which have developed slowly as the plot moves through.

I of course cannot speak to the representation of most of the aspects of this book, so I recommend finding own voices reviewers to see their opinions. I’ll be doing that myself. However, Akwaeke’s website says that this is an autobiographical novel which suggests that she is writing this as an own voices author and therefore I see this as her view of her own experiences. I really enjoyed this book. It was heart wrenching, incredibly interesting and so so absorbing. I am now so excited to read Pet as I loved the writing style.

Have you read anything from Akwaeke Emezei? Have you read Freshwater? If you have tell me what you thought of them down below! I totally need to chat about this!


Mermaids with a Dark Past

The Deep by Rivers Solomon is a book that I’m mad I didn’t hear about sooner. Inspired by a song from Clipping for the “We Are In The Future” of This American Life (I had never heard of it before, blame me being British), this book follows the water-breathing descendants of African enslaved women who were tossed overboard from ships. They have built up their own society deep beneath the waves, but they don’t interact with their past. One individual holds all of the memories for their people, and we follow Yetu as she tries to cope with these traumatic memories invading her head since she was young.


This is a short story, at only 166 pages, but it packs a heck of a punch. Talking in an indirect way about the intergenerational trauma that Black people in the US face and how this can weigh too heavily on one individual.

Yetu, our protagonist, is just a young girl and yet the Wajinru have made her become the holder of all of these memories. She can feel them inside of her at all times and it hurts. I enjoyed seeing Yetu coming to find herself, with this being done surprisingly in depth considering the short length of the book.

I also really liked lots of the small details, like the Wajinru speaking using vibrations and scales rather than above-surface methods that you can figure out all too easily wouldn’t work if you stick your head under water and try to talk. The way in which the Wajinru came to be is also explored, I love the story of survival and how within the realms of fantasy it could actually make sense.

All in all this was an amazing book and one I urge you to pick up. It was a clear five stars for me and I look forward to reading more from Rivers Solomon and seeing what else they publish!

Talking about racism in the UK


Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge was born from a blog post made in frustration. A frustration at the inherently racist system that British society runs and the way in which white people are complicit. This blog post sparked something, and grew further. In the end, clearly, Reni published this book. It’s clear why I read this, or it should be. I am white, and I have not been doing enough. So here I am, educating myself about white supremacy and the struggle of Black Britons to be seen as equal.

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This non-fiction work is written in a manner which makes it easier than many other books of the genre, this is a book that you can read without too much effort. I don’t know if this was a purposeful move by Reni or not, but it does allow her message to be more easily shared. It also packs a big punch, but not in the same way as The Hate U Give or other similar works of fiction. Instead this is a slow build, as you realise (at least this was my experience reading it as a white British female) how much privilege you’ve had throughout your life and how much others have had to struggle to even reach the block you started from. This book is incredibly well researched, with references for further reading at the back of the book, as well as including anecdotal evidence and her own personal life experiences which really helps to personify the situation and make it hit home even harder.

Eddo-Lodge talks about the racism prevalent throughout feminism, classism, the prison system, education, the work force and more in chapters dedicated to each area. She also talks about the history of racism in the UK. As a Brit I really appreciated the British focus of this book, so many anti-racism/pro Black works are written by Americans (understandably, and these are incredibly important books too), so seeing a point of view from someone from my own country and learning more about our particular history rather than that of another country made this book stand out even more for me.

I highly recommend this book, no matter what country you’re from. The breakdown of issues is one that can resonate with anyone. I do insist, however, that you read this if you are white and in the UK. It will make you take a step back and notice that which was “hiding” in plain sight.



If you follow me on my twitter or instagram you’ll have seen me and everyone else posting about the BLM movement right now. It’s for this reason I’ve been silent this week. I am white. The book reviews I would have been putting up were for white authors. This was not the time.

I rescheduled all of my posts to next week. My usual posting will resume then. But I won’t be tweeting about them. My voice isn’t important right now.

Please go and check out and also check this carrd here for more links on places that you can donate to bail funds, petitions you can sign, and resources for you to educate yourself (if nb) and assist you in this time (if you’re Black).

There is a lot I need to do. Despite being anti-racist I have not been using my privilege to its full potential, and importantly for a reader I have not been reading enough books by PoC. I naively thought that I was reading equally until I went and looked at the stats. I am not. My aim this year was to empty my shelves but there are only FIFTEEN PoC authors on my physical shelves right now. FIFTEENThere are over 150 books on my shelves. I am disgusted with myself. It should have happened before, but the least I can do it make it happen now. I am actively diversifying my reading, promoting Black authors and doing my best to actively use my white privilege. I’m going to make mistakes. I’m going to be called out. Good. But I’m working on it. You should too.

Black lives have always mattered, society just doesn’t agree. Make them. Black Live Matter.