Many authors have what I call a theme or a formula for their books. For many, it could be the genre, e.g., mafia, baby, etc., but for some, it could be the actual characters themselves. Let me explain. Author Blue Saffire, in her recent release of the Yours series, discusses briefly why she, in many of her books, describes her black female characters with less than traditional African American features. For instance, many, if not most of her black heroines have light eyes and/or blonde hair. As we all know, black people come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and skin tones, and I think it’s great that we celebrate our own diversity. But you know me; there is always a “but” in there; it just seems, and not just this author, that I have noticed in the IR genre in general, an overwhelming amount of seemingly black heroines possess European features. Again, I completely understand that we all don’t have brown eyes and kinky hair, etc., but goodness, what is the percentage of us who do have “chocolate” skin also have blonde hair and blue eyes? And, is it so wrong to write a character with traditional African features? With “chocolate” skin, curvy body, natural hair, and brown eyes? I honestly get what the author is doing and am impressed that throughout her story, she touches briefly on colorism and loving your features no matter how different they are from the “norm”. But is this celebrating our diversity or is it mainstreaming your work? (This is not to say this author does this. I honestly want to know because this has been more prevalent in this genre in an effort to be more universally appealing to non-black readers). Ok, I am going to get off my soapbox and get to this review:
This review, as you will soon be able to tell, will be a combination of both books in the series.
One thing I will say is that because all of these stories contain characters from her other series, a clearer family tree is sorely needed. Though the author does provide a character roster in all of her books, a clearer and more structured family tree or list is needed because there is constant crossover and new additions with each new installment or series. I say this because, and I don’t know if many other readers caught on to this, but in the first book of the series Yours, Kimmie is “pregnant”, but readers don’t know this because it’s not discussed in the first book, although the author gives it away in her list of characters.
Sephora is a beauty, but with like most of these stories, she doesn’t realize her own worth or appeal. Her mother has always put her down, and she feels like the ugly duckling. One night, she meets the handsome and dominant (Although, as a reader, I really didn’t get that vibe from him) Nick Lincoln who changes her life. Nick enjoys being in control of all things and because of his past has many demons. He is captivated by Sephora, and once she comes of age, whether she knows it or not, she is his.
In the first story, Sephora is running from Nick and essentially from herself. She doesn’t know who she is (not in an amnesiac way, but trying to find her way), and everyone has an opinion about how she should live her life. I get that this series is supposed to include BDSM, but honestly, it didn’t read like a BDSM story. It did include some BDSM elements like the collar and playroom, but it wasn’t fully fleshed out. I just felt like this was added as a tag-on. Let me explain. Nick collars Sephora, but she doesn’t even know the significance of a collar until her brother explains to her what the necklace represents. Huh? Isn’t that a Dom’s responsibility? And all the men, including Sephora’s brother Luke, have a “darkness” that can only be explored through BDSM because of their past. (Sounds cliché much?)
Now in the second story, it’s all the back and forth with Sephora and Nick, the “I love you’s and I will never leave you’s:, we get it. There were chapters of them saying the same thing repeatedly but in different POVs. I felt like it was more to the story, but the author wasted space going over the same thing. I actually liked the idea of this story but more was needed to the story. The author kept repeating herself with these characters. It was the same fight and argument every other chapter. And the sex scenes? Nothing seemed fresh, which is sad because this story could have been better if the author explored more of the suspenseful aspect of the story and not just adding superfluous scenes.
The author mentions that all of her stories build on each other and that readers will see a crossover of many characters from her other series. I don’t take issue with this, but a timeline is sorely needed. Because there are so many characters in these books, it’s virtually a mind overload trying to keep up with all of them and figure out what’s going on, and the actual time the story is taking place. The many nicknames that each character has only adds to the confusion. It is honestly difficult to say that this was truly Nick & Sephora’s story because there were so many characters and aspects of the story.
I will say that editing is much improved from her earlier series, but it was still hard at times to tell who was doing the talking. Things are happening in these stories, but they are not really fleshed out. A new chapter begins, and the reader is to infer what happened next. Events and happenings seem a little all over the place and include many chapters of just the author narrating and no character interaction or movement. And all of Sephora’s insecurities are like whiplash— she is strong and confident and proclaims to fight for her man one minute and then the next, one misunderstanding or Nick speaking with another woman, she becomes withdrawn.
When Sephora does finally find’s her voice, she makes silly decisions. For example, she knows the story of his ex and his parents and is warned repeatedly to stop digging. Although she knows it’s dangerous, she continues on, yet one disparaging comment about Nick and she breaks down? These stories, although fused with a promising element of suspense, are drowned out by the characters defending their relationship and Sephora trying yet again to come to terms with their relationship.
In conclusion, this is not a personal attack on the author, so please don’t take this personally. As a reader, this is my opinion, and yes, a review is an opinion. This is not the gospel, and no, I don’t expect others to agree with me, so save the comments from the fan girls. While this wasn’t my favorite book by the author, this is not to discourage others from reading the series. I’ve actually enjoyed Blue Saffire’s work, specifically, The Brothers Black series. I just didn’t love this story. It seemed rushed and not fully fleshed out. Please don’t judge this book based on this one review but for yourselves.