Blurb:Ten years ago, Efe Sagay dreams of winning the United States Visa Lottery, until she meets Kevwe Mukoro in University. Kevwe is happy to remain in Nigeria; only he wants Efe by his side. Over time, Efe finds true love with Kevwe, and promises to marry him. Their dreams unravel when Efe wins an American Visa, and fresh violence erupts between their warring ethnic groups. Now, Efe is back in Nigeria, and she knows it’s a matter of time before Kevwe returns to her life. They finally meet again, but renewed desire is no match for bitter memories of heartbreak. Efe wants the traumatic events of the past resolved before she gives in to rekindled love.
Do you really want to know what I thought about this book?
Well, I'll tell you one thing: I'm still on the fence about it.
I didn't necessarily hate the book or loved the book. It wasn't great yet it wasn't mediocre. I think it has great potential, but did this book blow me out of the water?
Not at all.
Would I read another book by this author?
Because I just couldn't connect with the author or the book itself. I want a book that moves me and makes me hunger for more. This book didn't do that in the slightest. In fact, I was about to not finish the book at all. Yes, I was that frustrated with it.
It has SO much potential, but then there is this issue staring me right in the face and keeping that wall up that kept me from connecting to it: Vocabulary.
I have to say this is the main reason why I couldn't just get with the program and love it. I couldn't understand the culture, the jokes, the vocabulary usage, the history or anything. And when the author explain a little bit, all she gave me was a nibble and not the whole thing.
Did I expect that she would spoon feed me ALL of the fascinating history of Africa?
Would I have appreciated more than a paragraph of background information on the culture?
I just couldn't understand half of what was going on and I was just so frustrated. It's not like I was expecting her to give me a history book on Africa. Granted, maybe I should have done some research about this topic, but I did expect for some help at least in the lingo department from the author.
At certain times, I couldn't even understand what the characters were saying!
But let's break it down even further as to why I wasn't particularly love struck with this romance book.
Plot: I have to say, this is her weakest point. Hands down. I could follow it. I could see the plot arch and the plot fall, but did it take FOREVER and a lifetime to get there. I mean, the ending was just awful. Near the end of the book, I was fed up. I was tired of being left out of the picture and wanted in and wanted to move on to the other books I had.
I fully admit that I was tired of this book.
And yet, just like Stephenie Meyer did, she extended the ending for no good reason. Yes, she wrapping things up but didn't need to take like fifty pages to do. Especially when it could have been wrapped up in like ten pages, twenty pages max. I would say that also the big romantic moments (which I'll describe in detail later on) that were important to the story just fell flat.
And even though there weren't many of them, I just felt like this was a clean romance turned into a regular romance book. So I think the genre was wrong.
For like half of the book, there's not any intimate moments shared at all. Which is fine and dandy. If it's a clean romance book then market it as such. If it is a regular romance book with some sex in it, then please tell me so. If it a heated erotica book, then just say so! There's nothing wrong with any of these genres, and in fact, I love them all.
However, when you're asking me for me to review your book, then please be honest and tell me upfront that this is a clean romance book. I would have been fine. But without the warning, I'm left frustrated for some intimate moments. Instead she told me this was a multicultural contemporary romance story.
Which means sex. More then once. Most of the time.
I really wonder folks if people know their genre. I just have this feeling that she didn't know. Either that or she thought that since romance is romance that it would be okay to label her book a romance.
And it's not.
There's a distinct difference in the plot from all three romance genres.
When you're talking about clean romance, then you're left with no sex in it at all. Maybe a kiss or two.
When you're dealing with romance, you're going to have sex more then once between the characters.
When you're dealing with erotica, you're guaranteed graphic sex from like the word jump. And at least ten times, probably more.
Do you see the development plot differences there?
With clean romance, you would start off slowly with the romance and end the book with the proclamation of love probably with a kiss.
With romance, you'll probably start off with some heat then slowly turn up that dial and have sex in the middle of the book and continue doing so until the end with a declaration of love with probably a wedding proposal.
With erotica, the romance part doesn't start right off. It's more about sex and intimacy in the very beginning. Usually just the need taking over, then feelings develop. Then the declaration of love and marriage isn't always guaranteed here.
Now do you see why I'm a little testy because her book doesn't really fit the typical romance genre. And I know some of you are going, "Yes, it does, there's sex in it!" But you're forgetting folks, the development of the relationship is quicker in romance then in clean romance.
The development of the relationship in this book is like clean romance, but then a fire erupts just like in romance books. I say it sits comfortably in the middle but I still consider it, from my opinion, clean romance. It just doesn't sit right in the romance genre. The development is completely different.
Some of you are welcome to try to read it and categorize it for yourself, but for me, it's not romance.
It's clean romance.
And here's another plot problem I had with this story: The flashbacks.
Oh. My. Goodness. Gracious. I was so annoyed with those things. At first, they were charming and informative but they continued throughout the whole book when it wasn't necessary. I understand that glancing back in the past is necessary, but omg, God knows she didn't need THAT many flashbacks.
I'm sorry, but those things detracted from the current romance story and in essence, slowed it down. Maybe without the flashbacks, or at least if she would cut half of them out, then I think the romance would have developed more and made it an actual romance instead of a clean romance.
Another problem I had was that it became confusing after a while. I know she put the dates and everything on the top of the pages, but it was still confusing as all get out. I didn't know which place I was at what time. It didn't help that I didn't have the historical and cultural context, but then the time was lost too?
I was just so confused for so many reasons on this front. I think she needs an editor to help her with her book and make it the best it can be.
Character: I didn't mind the characters. I have to say, the constant showing of twins did bother me though. The fact that Kevwe had a twin brother didn't bother me, but then it seemed to spread throughout the novel.
What is the purpose of this?
When you're a writer, you don't put symbols or constant themes running through your book for no reason. Even though it looks cool and seems fun to do, there has to be a purpose there or it just comes across as a literary writer wanna be. I'm sorry, but it does.
I know this is probably ironic coming from a soon-to-be English teacher, but I have to say, I pay attention to those kind of things. I spent four years in college being trained how to pick up these sorts of things in stories and novels. Do you really think I would miss that? But I just don't understand the purpose or how it relates to the novel as a whole.
It seemed like she did it for fun instead of creating a real reason for it.
Other then that though, I wasn't too impressed or annoyed with the characters. Efe was most of the time fine and Kevwe seemed like a good guy.
But will I remember them?
And that's a problem.
Setting: Even though this was constantly being reminded of where we were, I still got confused. She split the book into two places and she kept bouncing between each place. Then on top of all this, we're in a foreign country. Therefore, it makes it even more confusing.
So yeah, the flipping back and forth between the present and past didn't help.
It seemed that the places she chose were nice though. I just couldn't really get a good description of them. I'm trying to think what they look like but instead all I'm getting is my description of a world I created. So that's not a good sign.
Dialogue: Most of the dialogue was realistic. There were some phrases in there that didn't sound right but that could be that she's not an English Language Native Speaker. It could be but somehow I doubt it. The way she put words together seems like she knows the language fluently, so maybe it's woopsies.
I don't know, but I have to say the one character sounded like a robot and like a stock character. I won't say who but she knows which character to work on.
So yeah, not too much of an issue with dialogue except in some places.
Ending: Too long like I mentioned. She should have curbed it a long time ago.
Intimate Moments: I can hear the moans and groans from the peanut gallery, but I'll make this as painless and non-awkward as possible.
The build up to the intimate moment was wonderful. It took my breath away actually. It was like clean romance up until one point in the story, then I was like fanning myself.
Then when they actually kissed or *cough cough* had intercourse then it was like, "This is what I waited for? 100 pages of nothing, then this? Can you say disappointed?"
It was awkward, word choice was poor and I just didn't get into it. Not that it was nasty or anything but some of the word choices were just not fitting for the mood.
That's why writers, are you taking notes?
Good, take notes. When you are writing anything, you have to be very particular about word choice. It's everything. It doesn't matter the language, the moment, or even the time. You must be picky about word choice.
As a poet, I am VERY VERY VERY picky of word choice and it has worked out in my advantage because it easily translates to my writing. And it actually, being that picky, has made me expand my vocabulary so that when I don't want to use one word, I'll have multiple choices to pick from instead of just two.
That's why, it's what class?
Chorus: Important to constantly read and write in your genre.
Therefore, I cannot say this enough, but be careful with your word choice. It can kill or destroy any novel. It can change fates. It can change the world.
But only if you choose the right words.
"How will I know if it's the right word?"
You'll know. Just like you know when you are picking out shoes. You know when you see the right shoe, you go "That's the EXACT shoe I was looking for this EXACT occasion!"
You just know.
Anyway, let's not prolong the torture and end this.
Would I recommend this book?
It's a tough question, but I have to say, overall, no.
Unless you know the African culture, then you will not understand or connect to this book. If you do, and you've done your research, then please feel free to read it and enjoy it.
I still say there are some other fundamentally problems here, but if you can overlook them then please feel free to enjoy it and review it for her. Heck, even join her blog here to see what she's cooking up next: www.mynewhitmanwrites.com
Until next time, I bid you good reading!