Ties that Tether – ARC Tuesday Review & Blog Tour

Synopsis – Goodreads

When a Nigerian woman falls for a man she knows will break her mother’s heart, she must choose between love and her family.

At twelve years old, Azere promised her dying father she would marry a Nigerian man and preserve her culture even after emigrating to Canada. Her mother has been vigilant about helping–forcing–her to stay well within the Nigerian dating pool ever since. But when another match-made-by-mom goes wrong, Azere ends up at a bar, enjoying the company and later sharing the bed of Rafael Castellano, a man who is tall, handsome, and white.

When their one-night stand unexpectedly evolves into something serious, Azere is caught between her growing feelings for Rafael and the compulsive need to please her mother who will never accept a relationship that threatens to dilute Azere’s Nigerian heritage.

Azere can’t help wondering if loving Rafael makes her any less of a Nigerian. Can she be with him without compromising her identity? The answer will either cause Azere to be audacious and fight for her happiness or continue as the compliant daughter.

The Great: My absolute favorite aspect of this book is the characters. I loved how relatable the main character, Azere is, how badass her younger sister Efe is, how loving and caring her cousin (who’s more like a brother to Azere) Jacob is. And how complex yet simplistic, the other main character and love interest, Rafael is. Not to mention Azere’s best friend Christina! Their friendship felt most genuine especially during some of the dramatic parts of the story. And the fact that Christina and Azere have rocky moments when they’re not seeing eye to eye, even with the best of intentions, was absolutely amazing to read.

I also enjoyed Azere’s character development. Azere’s development isn’t linear nor perfect. It’s choppy, often misguided, and steeped in familial guilt. I’m extremely happy that her journey didn’t have a resolution midway through the book. But that it progressed over the entire course of the story.  

Next, we have the plot and themes. I lived for the narrative of how being different (race, culture, gender identity etc.) isn’t inherently bad. And that love can conquer all sometimes, even when it’s difficult and heartbreaking. And there is strength in unity.

The Good: Of course I have to discuss the romance. Simply put, I loved the good, the bad and all of the ugly involved in Rafael and Azere’s love story. The fiery hot chemistry, the forbidden yet sort of insta-love. The curveball of a lifetime, and a touch of some of the realities interracial relationships deal with. Especially regarding family and respective cultures. The chart-topping chemistry was also to die for. Although it did get a bit rom-com towards the end, I really appreciate how perfect yet imperfect the romance is.

Finally, we have the cultural aspects of the story. (new section alert) It felt amazing to get a small glance into Nigerian and Spanish culture. Whether I was imagining myself with a gele of my own or basking in the beautiful landscape of Valencia, Spain. Every part of this book gave me a new experience into three fascinating cultures.

The Not-so-good: Okay don’t get me wrong, the pace was damn near perfect throughout most of the story. However, the end felt a bit rushed and wrapped up way too many issues in a short amount of time. Though, I absolutely swooned while reading the epilogue.

Also, wasn’t a big fan of all of the rom-com references. I understand that its an important part of the character but it was overdone. 

Overall, I highly recommend this story! Ties that Tether is a tale of self-discovery, triumph, loss, and star-crossed love.

Special thanks to the Berkley Publishing/Berkley Romance team for sending an e-Advanced Reader’s Copy my way in exchange for a review! Receiving this e-ARC did not affect my rating or review.

Publication Date: September 29, 2020

Author: Jane Igharo

Genre: Contemporary Romance