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- Publisher : Independently published (July 14, 2019)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 418 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1080438157
- ISBN-13 : 978-1080438150
- Item Weight : 1.55 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.95 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,519,418 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I’m beginning to wonder if this book was set in the 1930’s or maybe the 1950’s because it seems everyone and their dogs had it out for this duo.
Back when they started dating they were called racist names. Zora was verbal and physically abuse and I can’t fathom how this was only happening to this flaky couple. The name calling, the verbal abuse and the constant flashbacks were tiring, overdone and a major turned off.
Since when it is a Sin for interracial couples to date after all these many years? In this book it seems like it was a crime to date outside your race. I’m baffled. I mean what’s so exceptional about these two dimwits?
Why did everyone hated them?
The parents, the siblings, the cops, the exes, I mean everyone, even a dam tree hated this couple. That was annoying and irksome to constantly learn about.
Also, why didn’t the author deem it necessary to permit the reader to know whose POV by simply tying the characters name on the start of a new chapter??
This book was not only horrifying, but it was the worse Second Chance, hiding baby Trope I’ve even read in my life.
It took the author’s endless, pointless flashbacks to reveal that the Ditzy Zora had the child and didn’t and still haven’t had the heart to tell Luke, who is supposedly a famous Quarterback that he was a father. I still don’t know how he was famous other than it was mentioned, yet there wasn’t anything eluding that he was such. She kept this secret for eight years selfishly thinking she was doing the right thing.
How? Stubbornness is to nice of a word to describe this one dimensional character.
It took the reader up until the 87% of this horrendous book for the hero to find out accidentally that the same child he had met countless times and felt an instant connection is actually his.
That reveal was like finding out someone step on a bomb and it turned out to be a cream pie.
These five stars are very misleading and this is one of the worst books I’ve encountered. I bid to wash this filth from my memory.
Luke and Zora as well as the other characters were engaged in several conflicts. The storyline stayed on track during the entire story. The use of flashbacks in telling the story from Luke and Zora's viewpoint was distracting at first, but was an interesting way to develop subplots for the characters. The flashbacks also gave you glimpses of the back stories for most of the characters as well their reaction to the fact that Luke and Zora were an interracial couple. Racism is alive and well even in 2018. As disgusting as what racists will do to others, the author handled the subject extremely well.
Just when you thought the conflict was at its peak and you thought Zora got the short end of the stick, someone else in the family came to her defense. Even when there seemed to be no viable solution for Zora, Luke steps up as did Zora's family. Zora went through a lot of unnecessary hell because she refused to tell Luke the truth.
There were things in the story that kept me from rating it 5 stars. The grammatical errors were too frequent even to the point of interfering with my understanding of what the author meant. Even though the sex wasn't overly graphic or erotic, some of the words used to describe anatomy parts and the act itself were vulgar and juvenile. Taking the Lord's name in vain and cursing during the acts of lovemaking was offensive. It didn't happen often enough for me to discontinue reading the book.
All the conflicts were resolved adequately with HEAs for most of the characters, especially Peyton who was a real doll. I wouldn't mind reading more about Luke and Zora and their interaction with their families.
Another big problem was her family and their willingness to allow others to disrespect their daughter. As a parent, you may have problems with your child and who they choose to date. But you wouldn't allow family friends or relatives to call your child a whore, etc.. That was completely unbelievable. It was also hard to understand how a well to do family, like Zora had, could be so clueless.
It seems as though the author took every possible stereotype and put it into this book.
I also had a problem with keeping the child from her father for almost eight years. There was no reason, once she knew that he had achieved his dream of becoming an NFL player, that she couldn't have gotten in touch with him to let him know he had a child.
The couple did have chemistry and you wanted them to get their happy ending. The situation with Melissa was realistic. Zora should've understood that. Peyton was a very mature seven year old.
The reveal took way too long to happen and then it was all wrapped up too quickly. There needed to be way more dialogue once the reveal happened. This family and that town needed to see therapists.
Some beta readers and a good editor would have caught numerous grammar issues.
Top reviews from other countries
This story was sooooooooo good. I've taken a bit of a break from reading romances, but I'm so glad that I took a chance on Tiya Rayne because this was such a classic in the making and relevant romance. I almost feel like the description for the plot of 'First Love' doesn't do it justice!
The plot dealt with the existence of racial tension, past & present, in society. It showed the trials that unfortunately many interracial couples have fought and continue to face. And beautifully it explored that the road to happily ever after doesn't always run straight.
I could go on and on about what I enjoyed in this story, but I'll pick out my favourite 3.
1) The characters had depth! They were complex characters that went through a lot of development and grew.
Zora went through a lot! Like there were times where I was screaming internally at my kindle for her to just go back to Chicago. But gosh I was glad she didn't. She ran once before and through an inner strength that beggars belief she stood her ground and fought for her family & romantic ending.
Luke was woke. Now I've grown to hate how overused that word is but I have to hold my hands up and thank Rayne for crafting a character that recognised racism without having a god-complex. Luke was grounded and had dreams he grafted to fulfil. Now I'm sure some people are looking at the picture of the American football on the cover of 'First Love' and going 'Sigh....another athlete...first love romance....ew...' I'm not going to lie Tiya Rayne...I was as well. But Luke isn't just an ordinary athlete or a stereotype of one for that matter. He's a man that plays hard and loves harder.
And their families: They actually had dimensions and we got to see them mature too. That is so rare! Usually they're either just bad or scarily, ethereally good. Their presence wasn't just to provide a sounding board or to play nonredeemable villains. They were humans who made mistakes. Bad, annoying and often time’s cruel mistakes. But they were human nonetheless and through a lot of grovelling and growing the heck up- still family.
2) The flashbacks. Now should mention...I'm usually too impatient of a reader to enjoy flashbacks in stories, but gosh I went mushy every time I got to peer into Luke & Zora’s romance. It made their actions or lack of acting not only understandable but relatable. But they also showed a very real glimpse into the hardships that real interracial couples go through and have gone through in our judgemental & unforgiving society.
3) How cruel society is to black women. I don't know if this was done on purpose but Rayne explored throughout this story how unforgiving society is to black women. How often it is our own community & families that sees us as 'failing' to upload our black kings. And kings they are, but we are goddesses. Goddesses that deserve to love whomever we want. Goddesses that have a right to make choices for ourselves. Goddesses who make mistakes and should not be penalised for being human at times.
And with that I type my thanks to Tiya Rayne for a story that not only has brought me back to romances, but has done so in such spectacular style. I happily read this in one sitting and urge everyone else to do the same because this is a darn good'en!
Great story. I did not love the flashbacks. I too would have preferred the back story up front and then just deal with here and now. Nevertheless it was done nicely because each flash back dealt with the relevant part of the story. Great read would definitely recommend it. Great reading.
The only down side that i'm going to sandwich in here between all the good points, is the editing - lots of wrong verb tenses, incorrect plurals and spelling mistakes which alter the context. It did not in anyway destroy the story for me but it would have been a shame if someone put the book down in disgust because of poor editing! If you write more books, I definitely volunteer my time to proof read!!
I was truly saddened and disturbed by some of the atrocities happening to our young heroine and was so proud of how she came back and stood her ground when she returned to that racist little (fictional, i hope!) town. As a woman in a mixed race marriage for 13 yrs, I am very fortunate that I never experienced anything like this! Both families were accepting of us (or at least no one ever said anything to me about it and I never felt it was an issue).
Already I'm assuming that it would be me, (as the black half of the marriage) and not my husband who would have been "attacked" for this. And this is something which the author brings out through the characters. Even the media focus in the book was targeted /derrogatory for Zora (being black) rather than Luke (being white). It is a given in society that being Black is the "wrong" end of the situation. It shouldn't be, but it is...
I like that Luke fought all enemies equally, black or white, for his great love! Good for him - "Don't let them win!" It was chilling when he threaten his father. And when Luke walked out of the cafe and said "I hate this f*cking town!" I think I fell just a little bit in love with him myself!
Overall, I have never cried so much or laughed so hard at a book - sometimes both at the same time!! When he shouted a challenge to "Calvin" on the Henderson's porch - Priceless!! I laughed till my sides hurt and then sobbed on the next page!
Some other great points:
- Characters had depth - on both sides
- The story touched on some deep racial issues whilst showing the racially independent humanity in the characters
- The "past stories" were strategic in thier contribution to the story - their timing really enhanced it for me. Like finding out why Luke's dog had such an interesting name...
- The story showed how people can develop and change for better or worse. Life isn't static.
I'd like to see this made into a Film - although it can never be as good as the book!! even with Zoe Zaldana and a young Brad Pitt version playing the parts!
I wish i could be more eloquent in my review of this book to do it justice. But I'll leave that to all the Authors out there ...
More please Ms Connor (aka Tiya Rayne) !!