Book Review: The Mastery of Self

Title: The Mastery of Self by Don Miguel Ruiz Jr

Hands down, one of the best books I have ever read in my life!!

Don Miguel Ruiz Jr did a great job on this one.

I learned so much about domestication and attachments, unconditional love for yourself and others, comparison and competition, goal setting and other things which could be subconscious mind traps.

If you’re looking for a great self-help book to start the year, this is the one for you!

Watch my review of this lovely book on my YouTube channel!

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Hi Guys!

I’m happy to announce that my Youtube Channel, BooksWithRachelEyo is now live!

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Book Review: Swallow (#26/30)

Title: Swallow

Author: Sefi Atta

Published By: AAA Press

Release Date: 2011

Genre: Fiction

Format: Paperback

Length: 196 pages


It is the mid 1980s in Lagos and the government’s War Against Indiscipline and austerity measures are in full operation. Tolani Ajao is a secretary working at Federal Community Bank. A succession of unfortunate events lead Tolani’s roommate and colleague, Rose, to persuade her to consider drug trafficking as an alternative means of making a living. Tolani’s subsequent struggle with temptation forces her to reconsider her morality and her mother Arike’s, as she embarks on a turbulent journey of self-discovery.


And to think I was randomly gifted this book not too long ago? I do not know if I would have come across it if it had not been a gift. How have I not stumbled on Sefi Atta’s work until now? *wails in French*. Anyway, better late than never.

I was immediately drawn to the first few pages of this book for a number of reasons.

First, it’s set in Lagos, a city that will forever have my heart. Some parts of the book are set in Lagos Island where I grew up and instantly connected to, so I had no problems with conceiving images in my head of the different scenarios the author effortlessly painted.

Second, the book is set in the 80s which is quite an interesting era for me. Considering the fact that I was not born in the 80s, I definitely could not have experienced what life was like at that time. I was therefore left to my prior knowledge about the 80s and the author’s use of imagery to create a Lagos, set in the 80s in my head.

Boy, was I mighty impressed!!

Whenever I opened the pages, I was immediately transported to the an ever-bustling city with monumental buildings and strict laws, a city with no mobile phones where people had conversations by kerosene laterns and the likes. I may not have been born then, but this book definitely brought Lagos in the 80s to life. I also noted some similarities in Lagos in the 80s and contemporary Lagos. Amazing stuff.

I loved the fact that as the author told Tolani’s story in first person narrative, she found a commendable way to weave in Tolani’s mother’s story into the book, which was also told in part in first person by Arike (Tolani’s mother). The stories of these two women perfectly told, enabled me to make a subconscious comparison between life as a woman and societal obligations during Arike’s era and that of Tolani’s.

I only wonder why what I would consider as the main plot of the book started about halfway into the book…but because I loved reading it, I’m ready to make the excuse that the first part explores Tolani’s background and gives readers the opportunity to see life through her eyes.

All in all, an absolutely great read.


A strong 8.8/10 from me.

Book Review: Born on A Tuesday (#24/30)

Title: Born on A Tuesday

Author: Elnathan John

Published By: Cassava Republic Press

Release Date: 2015

Genre: Bildungsroman

Format: Paperback

Length: 261 pages


Dantala lives in Abatan Latin and studies in a Sufi Quranic school, far away from home. By chance he meets gang leader Banda, a nominal Muslim. Dantala is thrust into a world with fluid rules and casual violence. In the bloody aftermath of presidential elections he runs away and ends up living in a Salafi mosque. With a simple and practical approach to life, as he teaches himself English, Dantala slowly embraces the Salafism preached by his new benefactor, Sheikh Jamal.

He falls in love with Sheikh’s beguiling daughter, Aisha, and tries to woo her without breaking the rules. All the while, Sheikh struggles to deal with growing jihadist extremism within his own ranks.

Narrated in Dantala’s raw yet inquisitive voice, this astonishing debut novel explores brotherhood, religious fundamentalism and loss, and the effects of extremist politics on everyday life in contemporary Northern Nigeria.


I loved Becoming Nigerian by the author so I was eager to see if this book was any good because I had heard quite a lot of good reviews.

I was not disppointed. IN THE LEAST BIT!


This book is absolutely amazing. Where do I even start from?

This book, although fictional was absolutely life-changing for me, more so because it hit close to home in every sense.

Have you ever turned on the news to hear of some young, uneducated Northern men who are paid to vote illegally during elections or vandalize items or even kill people who may be contesting elections? Have you ever peered out of your car window in curiosity or watched a short clip of a video of young men, some of whom may not even be up to 18, from the North causing a ruckus, ready to kill or be killed fighting the police and willing to risk it all?

Have you ever wondered what goes on in the minds of some of these young men? Why they would carry out some of these gruesome acts seemingly unfazed?

This book gives its reader an open window into the mind of a young man from the North who finds himself in the midst of all these.

Through Dantala’s eyes, I experienced some parts of Northern Nigeria that I have never visited and may never visit. I tasted Northern street delicacies and felt the comfort and satisfaction derived from them. I grieved with him when he lost a close friend in the midst of election violence, islamic extremism and chaos. I felt his pains, regret and doubts about some of his life choices and accompanied him on his journey of self-discovery.

Through Dantala’s eyes, I understood, without really understanding, what it felt like to be stuck in poverty while utilizing whatever means necessary to survive. I understood the huge role religion plays in the decision-making process of humans.

Dantala humanised the stereotypical “Northern jobless youth out to incite violence and chaos willing to die for whatever cause”.

This book exposed me to another world I never knew existed. I don’t know if it is because I tend to be quite deep or passionate, but it was life-changing in the sense that since I read this book, whenever I look at a male youth from the Northern parts of Nigeria, I see life through his eyes. I understand that there are hidden factors that I know nothing of, behind where he is in life and the decisions he makes, good or bad.

I loved the fact that the book is written in the first-person narrative because it allowed me to go deep into Dantala’s mind. The themes of brotherhood, religious fundamentalism and loss, and the effects of extremist politics on everyday life in Northern Nigeria were greatly explored in the book. No matter where I found myself, whenever I opened the pages of the book, I found myself thrust into Dantala’s world, as though a fly on the wall.

I loved the simplicity of the writer’s style and the fact that excerpts of Dantala’s journal were included in the book to give it a more realistic vibe. I also love the realistic ending of the book (which I promise not to spoil).

Unputdownable. A must-read.

Arrgghh! Elnathan is one of my faves.


Definitely a 9/10 in my books!!

Book Review: The Four Agreements (#22/30)

Title: The Four Agreements

Author: Don Miguel Ruiz

Published By: Amber-Allen Publishing, Inc.

Release Date: 1997

Genre: Self-help

Format: Paperback

Length:129 pages


In The Four Agreements, the author reveals the source of self-limiting beliefs that rob us of joy and create needless suffering. Based on ancient Toltec wisdom, the Four Agreements order a powerful code that can rapidly transform our lives to a new experience of freedom, true happiness and love.


Hands down, one of the best books I have ever read in my life.


I know I say that some books are great and all that? But hear me out, this little book is ALL THAT (big things come in little packages). I am in awe of how the author discusses these simple four agreements but shares some profound truths on them. The Four Agreements are:

  1. Be impeccable with Your Word
  2. Don’t take anything Personally
  3. Don’t make assumptions
  4. Always do your best

By reading and mindfully absorbing the profound gems contained in this book, I am learning to be careful of the words I tell myself. Words are so powerful in that they can lift you up or break you down.

I am also learning not to take things personally. What people do or say is a reflection of who they are and not who you are. It has nothing to do with you.

I am also realizing the importance of not making assumptions and communicating at every level of relationships I have with people. You do not know what goes on in the mind of another person so why assume? Communication should be present to ensure that you do not suffer needlessly.

And of course, I have been encouraged to constantly do my best, which may change at different stages in life, as change is constant, but to keep striving to do my best; in my relationships, the achievement of my goals, my career and whatever phase of life I find myself in.

This book is a blessing.


A huge 9.5/10 FO’ SURE!!!

Book Review: The Old Man and The Sea (#19/30)

Title: The Old Man and The Sea

Author: Ernest Hemingway

Published By: Jonathan Cape/Arrow Books

Release Date: 1952 and later 2004

Genre: Fiction

Format: Paperback

Length:99 pages


Set in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Havana, Hemingway’s magnificent fable is the story of an old man, a young boy and a giant fish. In a perfectly crafted story, which won for Hemingway the Nobel Prize for Literature, is a unique and timeless vision of the beauty and grief of a man’s challenge to the elements in which he lives.


Have you ever fallen in love with someone and their story but you’ve never met them? That’s my case with Ernest Hemingway. I do not know what it is about him, but I fell in love.

Now, I am on a quest to read all his works and got started with this one. This book was actually Hemingway’s last work of fiction published while he was alive. The Old Man and the Sea was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and it was cited by the Nobel Committee as contributing to their awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to Hemingway in 1954.

I finished this little piece in just two days and it took me on a trip. I loved the simplicity of language used so my imagination could enjoy its journey.

The book tells the story of an old fisherman who has had an unlucky streak for months without catching any fish, to the mockery of other fishermen. He ventures out into the seas to catch a fish and catches a giant fish but his luck runs out.

So simple in its storyline and plot, yet so profound with numerous lessons. Each page taught me a valuable lesson! Some of the amazing lessons I learned from this book are:

  1. Think positive thoughts…always
  2. Hope will take you places. 
  3. Believe in yourself even where it seems like the odds are against you.
  4. Your thoughts are powerful. Be careful what you feed your mind.
  5. Sometimes you can work so hard and have nothing to show for it. That’s part of life.
  6. Disappointments are a part of life.
  7. Stop wishing that you had more. Make do with what you have presently.
  8. Know your craft…to perfection.
  9. Man can be destroyed but not defeated.
  10. Never, ever, ever give up.
  11. Some people who play no active role in in your hard work, often attempt to reap the rewards with you. 
  12. Certain things in life are beyond your control. 
  13. People will always talk.
  14. Never make “what people say” your motivation.
  15. You’re so much more stronger than you think. 
  16. Do not be afraid to get back out there and start again.

“No good book has ever been written that has in it symbols arrived at beforehand and stuck in …. I tried to make a real old man, a real boy, a real sea and a real fish and real sharks. But if I made them good and true enough they would mean many things.”
Ernest Hemingway in 1954


Definitely a strong 8.9/10. Loved it!

Book Review: The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck (#14/30)

Title: The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck

Author: Mark Manson

Published By: HarperCollins

Release Date: September 2016

Genre: Self-help

Format: Hardcover

Length: 204 pages


In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger shows us that the key to being happier is to stop trying to be “positive” all the time and instead to become better at handling adversity. Manson brings a much-needed grab-you-by-the shoulders moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and profane, ruthless humour. This manifesto is a refreshing slap in the face for all of us so that we can start to lead more contented grounded lives.



Talk about not judging a book by its cover!

I know the title makes some people cringe (which is why I love it secretly) but this book is waayyy more than its title.

Mark Manson presents some brilliant wisdom as well as cold-hard facts and truths to the table about getting to know our limitations and accepting them. He advises readers that in accepting our limitations and faults, instead of always looking on the positive side of things and ignoring them, we can embrace our fears and uncertainties. Furthermore, he says that by running from and avoiding painful truths, we can begin to find the courage and confidence we desperately seek.

“We must give a fuck about something. To not give a fuck about anything is still to give a fuck about something. The real question is, What are we choosing to give a fuck about? What values are we choosing to base our actions on? What metrics are we choosing to use to measure our life? And are those good choices- good values and good metrics?”

Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck

Admittedly, some of these truths were seemingly a little too harsh and quite hard to swallow but others were just the great reminders that I needed while I read. The author presented what I would call profound, deep, useful and points which are very much applicable in every-day life that promise to be life-changing.

“Denying negative emotions leads to experiencing deeper and more prolonged negative emotions and to emotional dysfunction. Constant positivity is a form of avoidance, not a valid solution to life’s problems-problems which by the way, if you’re choosing the right values and metrics, should be invigorating you and motivating you…Negative emotions are a necessary component of emotional health. To deny that negativity is to perpetuate problems rather than solve them.”

Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck.

I learned a whole lot of valuable lessons about embracing fear and pain, choosing what to care about and the importance of choosing my struggle every single day, the importance of defining good and bad values and having metric systems for values that matter, understanding that everything I do is a choice, learning how to respond to tragedy as well as coming to terms with my mortality and making peace with the fact that death is a part of life.

Travel is a fantastic self-development tool, because it extricates you from the values of your culture and shows you that another society can live with entirely different values and still function and not hate themselves. This exposure to different cultural values and metrics then forces you to reexamine what seems obvious in your own life and to consider that perhaps, it is not necessarily the best way to live.

Mark Manson, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck.

A great read which I would definitely recommend to anyone eager to learn and come to terms with amazing hard truths of life


Definitely an 8.9/10 in my books.

Book Review: Before Dawn (#17/30)

Title: Before Dawn

Author: Naomi Isimemen

Published By: Naira Books & Press

Release Date: June 2019

Genre: Non-fiction

Format: Paperback

Length:56 pages


Before Dawn is the true story of a young woman whose idyllic marriage is hit by a rollercoaster of a series of heartbreaking events. When she finds herself headed towards a rendezvous with heartache and loss, will she be swept away by the storms of fate or will she stand fast as an anchor for herself and her young family? Naomi’s story sheds light on the worst types of pain that any woman can experience.


Okay, so I got this amazing book sent to me from the author’s publicist a little while back and had planned to read it towards the end of July. However, I was quite intrigued by the book’s synopsis which caught my attention over and over again. I guess it’s safe to say my curiosity got the better part of me.

Being a pretty short book, I finished reading it in one sitting. Let’s just say, the best time to read this book is on day when you’re curled up at home with tea or coffee or whatever rocks your boat, so you can bawl your eyes out and feel the writer’s pain and learn from her experiences.

The book tells a gripping story of the shattering experiences of a young resilient single mother of four who tries to navigate her way through life after experiencing some of the worst kinds of pain and loss.

As I read this book, I was easily immersed in the writer’s world and stages of grief as well as the hope, pain and denial deeply felt by her. I appreciated the simple use of language to convey essential themes present in the book such as the intricacies of family ties in an African setting, love, pain and loss. So many valuable lessons were hidden and laid bare in the central themes of the book. I also appreciated the writer’s use of imagery as my imagination created her world and lived in it as I read.

The book is divided into two parts: Book One- Pain and Book Two- Survival. I expected much more from Book Two as I felt the ending was quite hasty and clumped together. I would have loved a more detailed expression of the writer’s survival process as well as that of her kids which could serve as a guide to people going through or having experienced the same kind of loss and hardship from family. As I do not know the writer personally, I also found it quite difficult to place the timeframe of certain experiences as they unfolded.

All in all, I would say this book is a great read full of valuable lessons. It makes one reevaluate a lot about life and put things into perspective.


I would definitely give this book a strong 8.5/10

P.S You can follow the author on instagram or twitter. You can also purchase a copy of the book here or on amazon.

Book Review: Daughters Who Walk This Path (#5/30)

Title: Daughters Who Walk This Path

Author: Yejide Kilanko

Published By: Kachifo Limited under Farafina imprint (2014)

Release Date: 2012

Genre: Coming-Of-Age Fiction, Domestic Fiction

Format: Paperback

Length: 315 pages


Spirited and intelligent, Morayo grows up surrounded by school friends and family in Ibadan. There is Eniayo, her adoring little sister- for whose sake their middle-class parents fight stigmatising superstition-and a large extended family of cousins and aunts who sometimes make Morayo’s home their own. A shameful secret force upon her by Bros T, her cousin, thrusts Morayo into a web of oppressive silence woven by the adults around her. Morayo must learn to fiercely protect herself and her sister as young women growing up in a complex and politically charged country.


Mahn, where do I even start from?

This amazing book tells the story of two female cousins who both experience child sexual abuse. Morayo, the major protagonist, is repeatedly sexually assaulted by a family member, while her older cousin, Aunty Morenike, is raped by a trusted family friend which leads to a teenage pregnancy. The book simultaneously follows the lives of these two women who are surrounded by other major and minor characters whose combined presence give a glimpse into life from the 70s to 2007 in Western Nigeria.

The novel is also seen to explore and highlight themes such as patriarchy, sexual superstition and cultural tradition while also demonstrating how family custom and African traditions serve to strengthen, uplift and guide.

I love how the author effortlessly transports readers through time as the novel spans three decades- from Ibadan in the 1970s, through Morayo’s traumatic adolescence, into her troubled twenties and thirties. I also fell in love with the sisterly bond between the major Protagonist, Morayo and her younger sister, Eniayo as it constantly reminded me of my relationship with my sister.

I must say that this book evoked so many emotions in me as I read. I cried, laughed, got sober, angry, frustrated and threw the book away several times and ran after it while it was mid-air. So many valuable lessons were hidden and laid bare in the central themes of the book.

My favourite quote from this book would have to be:

“We do not abandon the business of living life because of what people will say about us.”

I love how easy this book was to read, the language flowed into each other and it enabled me focus on using my imagination to vividly bring scenes to life without concentrating on the use of difficult language. Beautiful story-telling, unputdownable work, an emotional rollercoaster and a favourite for times to come.


Definitely a whooping 9.5/10 in my books!

P.S. If you are in Nigeria and looking for where to get a copy of this book, you can click here and order

Daughters Who Walk This Path

Book Review: To Kill A Mockingbird (#4/30)

Title: To Kill A Mockingbird

Author: Harper Lee

Published By: J. B. Lippincott Company

Release Date: July 1960

Genre: Novel, Bildungsroman, Southern Gothic, Domestic Fiction, Legal Story

Format: Paperback

Length: 309 pages


A lawyer’s advice is to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel-a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch.

Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the 19302. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man’s struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.


Okay, I must confess, I had mixed feelings about this book. I had mixed feelings because globally, the book is a huge success and is described as a classic and the works. BUT, I liked it but did not love it.

The book was actually chosen as our book of the month earlier in the year at The Readers’ Hub book so naturally, I had to read it. I however kept an open mind while I did.

While I deeply appreciated the author’s warm expression of deep and sensitive issues such as rape, racial injustice, racial inequality and gender roles inherent in the book as its central themes, I still found that I focused more on the difficult wordings and as such, it took me longer than normal to finish.

I did love and appreciate the way the author was able to write from the mind of a six-year old girl living in America in the 60s. In a way, as I read, I was able to intricately travel back to a time that never existed in my mind in much detail and imagine things I had probably never seen or heard of before. I was able to gain perspective on issues through the eyes of a young girl living in America in the 60s. I also appreciated the author’s expression of the healthy father-daughter relationship between the main character and her father from which valuable life lessons through out the book flowed.

All in all, I would say this book is at least a must-read for any book lover seeing as it is a global classic, but would I read it again? eeehhh….maybe not.


A 7.5/10 would do in my books