Ankara Press: A New Kind of Romance – Two NEW stories!

I’d like to give a special thank you to the lovely ladies over at Ankara Press for reaching out to me and sending me two e-copies of the new additions to their African romance fiction collection. Ever since they launched as an imprint of Cassava Republic Press (Nigeria) in 2014, I’ve always wanted to read some of the stories so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity!

Ankara Press aims at publishing a new kind of romance, for the modern African woman where stories are more grounded with a healthy thrill of fantasy. Stories published by Ankara Press feature young, independent, ambitious African women who are unafraid to love, in African cities from Lagos to Cape Town. Their books challenge African romance stereotypes by portraying women who embrace their sexuality and are open to finding true love.

Mini reviews of the two ebooks are below:

The Seeing Place by Aziza Eden Walker

Date Read: March 1st 2016The Seeing Place

Published: February 14th 2016

Publisher: Ankara Press

Pages: 171

 

 

 

Review – ★★★ (3 stars)

I enjoyed this African romance/chic lit novel. The story takes place in Cape Town and Johannesburg and follows the growing relationship between caramel-colored beauty, Thuli and dark chocolate hunk, Andile. Andile works as a barman but is actually a talented actor, waiting for his next gig; Thuli works as a TV/Film producer. They meet at Andile’s workplace – a bar, when Thuli sought refuge there after she twisted her ankle, trying to evade the rowdiness of a wild street party in Cape Town. They are instantly attracted to one another when their eyes meet and the story takes readers on a rollercoaster of incidents and emotions these characters endure.

The sex scenes in this story were surprisingly quite explicit (I ain’t complaining, haha) and I think readers should be 18 years or older to read this. The storyline was very fairytale-ish, as most romance books are. I don’t know if the average South African woman would identify with Thuli, since her life seemed perfect, despite the ‘hardships’ she faced as a child – does the average 28 year old South African woman drive a matte black Mercedes-Benz and own her own film producing company? All in all, I liked that I learned something from this novel (the importance of communication and being honest) at the end and it wasn’t a flippant tale – as most perceive romance novels to be. Aziza Eden Walker is a great writer! Her writing style was clear and vivid and I enjoyed her way with words. I give The Seeing Place 3.5 stars!

★★★ (3 stars) – Good book. I recommend it, I guess.


Love Next Door by Amina Thula

Love Next DoorDate Read: March 6th 2016

Published: February 14th 2016

Publisher: Ankara Press

Pages: 152

 

 

 

Review – ★★★ (3 stars)

Love Next Door is a cute story about Abongile (or Abby) and Kopano in Johannesburg, South Africa. Abby, an ambitious business analyst is finally independent and has moved into her new apartment in Johannesburg. Next door to her new apartment is school teacher and artist, Kopano. Once they meet outside Abby’s door as she struggles with hauling groceries into her new home, it is like at first sight and readers follow the blooming love affair between Abby and Kopano.

This was a quick read and I loved how the author incorporated a lot of South African culture into the story, for example: Amina Thula enlightens readers on the negative and positive stereotypes surrounding Xhosa women and the Xhosa language peppered throughout the novel gave the story an authentic feel. I didn’t even need a glossary at the end of the book as it was easy to infer the meanings of the various foreign words. The intimate moments between the main characters were milder than that of The Seeing Place, so I guess readers of all ages could enjoy this book. But the writing style wasn’t as vivid as I had liked and the book could have been edited a little more closely. The ending was quite abrupt for me… or maybe I just didn’t agree with how the characters seamlessly reconciled their love after all the ups and downs they endured. Perhaps Love Next Door targets a younger, teenage audience as the tale was quite juvenile… or maybe the characters were a bit juvenile to me. On the whole, this book was well thought-out and I commend Amina Thula for writing this modern love story.

★★★ (3 stars) – Good book. I recommend it, I guess.

 

Ankara Press Cover Artt

Image via http://www.ankarapress.com

How amazingly chic is the cover art? Onyinye Iwu (@only_onyi) designed the cover art for the novels published by Ankara Press and she does a lovely job at highlighting the vibrant colors of the Vlisco cloth, as well as portraying African women of all skin tones, shapes and sizes.

I’m fairly new to the African romance genre, but it would be cool for Ankara Press to explore:

  • Maybe having some stories written by men? Men write romance tales too! In the Valentine’s Day Anthology 2015, (an anthology Ankara Press published last year, featuring writers like: Sarah Ladipo-Manyika, Eghosa Imasuen, Chuma Nwokolo and my favorite- Binyavanga Wainaina) men penned a good number of the stories. I’d love to read a romance novel from a man’s perspective and also see men on the book covers wearing amazing ankara fabric shirts!
  • It would also be cool to read a romance novel featuring characters in a same-sex relationship.
  • Do all romance novels have to end happily-ever-after? It would be interesting to read a tragic African love tale too.

Thank you again to Ankara Press for the ebooks. I enjoyed the stories and look forward to reading more soon! Please do check out blurbs of the various stories published by Ankara Press at www.ankarapress.com.

Valentine’s Day Anthology 2015

 

VDA_COVER_FINAL_large

 

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Ankara Press gave us a special treat today, by publishing a Valentine’s Day anthology featuring 7 short stories by some great contemporary African writers. According to Ankara Press, this lovely collection shows that “romance can be empowering, entertaining, and elegantly written, by men as well as women.”

Some of the writers and readers of the stories include: Sarah Ladipo-Manyika, Eghosa Imasuen, Helene Cooper, Chuma Nwokolo and my favorite- Binyavanga Wainaina, amongst others!

The stories are written in English with some translations in Pidgin, Kiswahili, Yoruba, French, Kpelle, Igbo and Hausa languages. There are also audio versions of the stories in this anthology- such an awesome treat!

I’m enjoying all the stories thus far, I hope you all enjoy them too!

Read, listen and download (for free!) Valentine’s Day Anthology 2015HERE

To find out more about Ankara Press – A New Kind Of Romance, click – here or follow them on Twitter @ankarapress.