Review: Love and Hiplife – Nana Prah
by Nana Prah
Publisher: Love Africa Press
Publication Date: January 9, 2020
I received an advance review copy of this book from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
Lamisi Imoro will do anything to complete her PhD before the extension is up. It doesn’t matter who dies, leaves her high and dry, or hates her guts, she’s on fire. But, her supervisor wants to prove just how much he’d love to see her fail by throwing obstacles to thwart her from reaching her goal. Desperate for help and nowhere else to turn, she’s forced to ask for the assistance of the hiplife artist who once saved her from a nasty fall. She finds that their scorching attraction is a problem and is determined to tamp her rising emotions because nothing will stop her from getting what she set out to accomplish.
Blaise Ayoma is on the verge of taking African Francophone countries by storm with his new style of music. Learning how to sing in French without butchering the beautiful language is harder than he thought. Multi-linguist, Lamisi is the key to his success. When his presence in her life puts her in danger, will he end the budding relationship in order to keep her safe?
Content warnings: View Spoiler »violence (including an acid attack that turns out to just be water), harassment, blackmail « Hide Spoiler
I first read about this book in Alyssa Cole’s newsletter, and when I had the chance to review a copy, I jumped on it. A super smart academic heroine and a rock star? Yes, please!
Lamisi’s stubbornness and willingness to tough it out has served her well getting through her PhD program, but maybe it’s not such a good thing when climbing a mountain! Though it does lead to a chance encounter with her musical idol, Bizzy, known as Blaise to his friends. Even a sprained ankle can’t stop the obvious chemistry between Lamisi and Blaise, but Lamisi hasn’t got time for anything but finishing her PhD – until Blaise’s help may be the only thing that will allow her jump through the ridiculous hoops her advisor has set. Blaise is ready to give up on his dreams of taking over the Francophone music world, but maybe all he needs is lessons from a particular smart woman who understands his music. But other forces aren’t pleased with the burgeoning relationship between the two. Is their new relationship the key to their dreams, or will they both lose everything they’ve been working for?
“Your songs inspired me to write my PhD dissertation on the use of mixed languages in music and the impact on the listener.”
His smile broadened.
“I don’t know what impresses me more: myself for inspiring you, or the fact that you’re studying for your PhD.”
“Since I have you injured ankle in my lap, if I were you, I’d praise me for going for my doctorate.”
He touched his hand to his chest. “But my magnificence brought it out in you. I deserve the credit.”
I loved how smart Lamisi was and how she stood up for herself, even to Blaise’s best friends when they were being rude. She’s worked hard for her doctorate, and even a possible relationship with the very musician who inspired her wasn’t enough to make her lose sight of that. I also loved how down-to-earth Blaise was, even though he was such a successful musician – one who writes his own music and lyrics, in multiple languages no less! Blaise’s father called him “emotional,” but honestly I felt like he was just in touch with his feelings, and he put all that into his lyrics. He thought he knew what he wanted in a woman – someone who’s laidback like him, willing to support his career, and, above all, a nice Muslim girl he could bring back to his parents. But he couldn’t ignore what he felt for Lamisi and how much fun he had bantering with her. I loved that they shared the same sense of humor and playfulness. I also loved that Blaise really appreciated (and envied!) her intelligence and language skills – even before it was a benefit for him! While it took a bit before they actually were in a relationship – Lamisi had several reservations – it was so sweet how absolutely jittery and first-date-nerves they got around each other.
I loved the glimpse into Ghanian life – the music styles, the food, the languages. I’ll be honest in that I assumed all of the West African countries spoke French, so finding out that Ghana didn’t was fascinating. A good portion of the book, naturally, revolves around Blaise’s music, and in particular hiplife. In case, like me, you don’t know what hiplife is, the author shared this playlist in Alyssa Cole’s newsletter – my personal favorite is Becca’s “Beshiwo”!
As for cons, the main conflict was caused by a jealous (not even) ex, and that’s one of my least favorite tropes. I thought it was well enough done for that trope, but I personally don’t like reading about women who are pitted against other women. I also didn’t like that it was resolved by View Spoiler »Blaise blackmailing her with photographs of her engaged in BDSM « Hide Spoiler. Blaise also spent a lot of time initially worrying that Lamisi wasn’t Muslim, which was sweet in that he was already looking for something long term with her even from the start, but it was something that could’ve been resolved with a simple conversation – though, to be honest, he did ask her, but it was when they’d barely met and I can’t blame Lamisi for not answering such a rude question!
Overall, I loved this book, and I’ll definitely be looking for more books from the author in the future!