Sourcebooks Casablanca, $7.99, ISBN 978-1-4926-4698-3
Contemporary Romance, 2017
Now, I know some people say that the Kimani line will be closed by the end of December 2018 because there aren’t enough people who want to read about black people. Aside from the race issue, which I won’t deny is likely one of the reasons behind the demise of that line, I would also like to suggest that another reason for its upcoming croaking is because the quality of that line has taken a nosedive into swill city ever since Harlequin bought it from BET, and it was especially terrible in these last two years. Nearly every book that came out was an advertisement for an entire series, with the author apparently having forgetten to tell an actual story in that book. So many authors wrote their stories with all the emotional intensity put into composing a shopping list – in fact, some of these stories are shopping lists of tropes and what not.
So, when people tell me that Kimani died because many people don’t find black people to be as sexy as vampires and werewolves, I’d say it’s also because the line was horribly mismanaged by corporate cogs who treat both authors and products like everything is one big assembly line.
Still, there may be life after Kimani, I think as I open Kianna Alexander’s full-length effort for Sourcebooks Casablanca. Well, hold that thought. I soon wonder whether Back to Your Love was initially some two-hundred pager meant for Kimani, inflated with another hundred pages of words just to meet the word count. It encapsulates all the bad habits of the Kimani line, only this time they are amplified because the pain takes longer to end.
Let’s see. We have a heroine Imani Grant, at the wedding of a friend and sighing about her first boyfriend Xavier Whitted because apparently weddings make her think about him all the time. And then it turns out that the hero is the best man! Yes, two people who broke up ages ago but still mingle in the same circle apparently somehow never bumping into one another for the last ten years. I wish I know what the trick is – it would make family and school reunions so much easier to sit through, I tell you. Of course, the moment the hero shows up, I am also deluged with details about all his ho bag friends, because look, people, promiscuous males EEEE SO SEXY I WANT ALL OF THEM INSIDE ME buy all their books today.
Oh, and Xavier realizes that Imani is still hot and sexy, and he now has a newfound appreciation of her because she is not like his cheating, lying, skanky, disgusting, vile, conniving ex. Promiscuous males EEEEE PUT IT IN ALL MY SEXY BODY ORIFICES, promiscuous females OMG WHAT SLUTS WE NEED TO BEAT THEM ALL TO DEATH FOR STEALING ALL THE HOT MEN THAT I WANTED SO BADLY BUT THOSE HOT GUYS NEVER LOOKED AT ME EVEN ONCE BECAUSE THOSE SLUTS TOLD THEM I WAS
FAT CURVY AAAAA SKINNY BEAUTIFUL WOMEN HARM ME, I AM TRIGGERED, DIE BITCHES DIE, THAT BOY WAS SUPPOSED TO BE MINE YOU SLUTS!!!… ahem, where were we?
Anyway, if you have read any Kimani story of late, you will immediately notice that this is that story, with those characters, in that plot. Yes, that book. For a long time, these two visit various secondary characters for chit-chat. The guys will tell the hero and hence the readers, “Look at us hot bros, y’all, bet you can’t wait me to see me motorboat some lady you’d imagine to be you when my book comes out, muah muah!” while the female secondary characters will tell the heroine to go let the hero shag her because he’s hot and that’s all the reason women need these days to put out for free. So long as they are not skinny, beautiful whores that actually like having sex, of course, because those aren’t romance heroines, those are slags.
These two won’t talk even when three-quarters of the book has passed. And then, all of a sudden, the author introduces darker elements that feel completely at odds with the childish, borderline imbecile behavior of the main characters up to that point. Whoa, heavy drama, maybe there will be some emotional… nope, all it takes is sex to make the whole world happy again.
So, this is a painfully boring story written like a shopping list meant to please Kimani editors, with added bonus of contrived communication breakdown drama, childish main characters, a romance that seems to be based on the fact that the heroine is not the hero’s ex, and the insulting notion that genuine emotional trauma can be overcome by a healthy daily intake of a man’s pee-pee. Back to Your Love… back into that box that I will eventually give away to people looking for free preloved books, more like.