Where Honesty Never Ends.
The Colors of Love (Book Two of The Colors Trilogy)
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Urban Drama
Blurb as per Goodreads:
Only two things matter to Lance, protecting his girls and football. After almost losing the girls, Lance is more determined than ever to safeguard them and fulfill his dream to become a professional athlete. With the NFL draft looming, will his promiscuity derail his dream and endanger the girls again?
Imani, proud and Black, continues along the academic path to a chemical engineering degree and a promising career. Will her racist preconceptions thwart her progress?
A shattered Melody is more determined than ever to find true love at college just like her parents. But will she continue to make the same mistakes that almost killed her?
As they attempt to recover from the unimaginable, can their friendship endure…The Colors of Love?
Note: This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Hello and Welcome to The Review Board. Today we bring you the thoughts of Mr. Controversy, Mini Truth and No Labels Unleashed on “The Colors of Love” by K. R. Raye.
First let’s take a look at what Mr. Controversy has to say. Controversy, the floor is yours.
Some time has passed since the events of “The Colors of Friendship.” If you had not read “The Colors of Friendship,” will you kindly do so sooner rather than later? Thank you and you will thank me as well.
Melody’s Disney-esque and Yoshi happy smiling sunshine ball has taken on a darkened hue at the start of this read, reeling from the fateful events of the first book. The poor young college junior is being haunted by her departed former love Kevin who decided that the best way to live within Melody’s memories was to “take one for the team” in the form of a bullet to the temple and blowing off half of his head in the process. Melody is found in the shower, scrubbing away parts of Kevin that are too intimate even for her as they clogged up her shower’s drain. That haunting image which is coupled by Kevin’s ominous words, “I will haunt you forever,” keeps Kevin in Melody’s mind. The counseling does help, yet there are some things in life that cannot be erased, let alone reversed from memory.
Imani is just as frazzled as Melody when Kevin did what he did in the climax of “Friendship,” hoping to sit with Melody that night so the pair could comfort one another. Imani eventually opted for the warmth and safety of their friend Lance Dunn who made a vow to himself that he (The Big Daddy reference from book one that I had mentioned in the first review) will protect his Little Sisters from harm.
Imani’s love life is indeed seeing a lot more action, as she begins to confront her feelings (with her Sonic the Hedgehog attitude, of course). Citing suitors left and right, Imani’s emotional state begins to come into question for not only her, but also the men of interest.
Thankfully, the girls are moving on from the events as best as they can: for now.
As far as Lance goes, who is still reeling a bit from the conclusion of “Friendship”, his vow to remain Melody’s and Imani’s protector is not a difficult task at all during the early goings on of this read. His story takes an unexpected turn when he makes a shocking discovery that makes him question what would be best for him in the realm of understanding, and opening a few new chapters in his life.
Melody is hesitant to date anyone after Kevin, so she has kept to herself in all matters of the heart. Scott, an intern with whom she works at WNBC during the summer, fancies our young protagonist and wishes to get to know her more.
Still seeing Kevin’s face as he jump scares her from time to time like an animatronic from “Five Nights at Freddy’s,” Melody is hesitant to dip a toe into the dating pool. She relents, and then ultimately caves to the beckoning that is Scott’s persistence.
I will not drag this particular story line out any more:
Scott is RACIST. Yeah: I SAID THAT SHIT, AND WE GOT PROOF!
Scott’s distance when it came to Imani and Lance was the start when it comes to this Ron Burgundy wannabe. The first time he met Imani, he showed no interest or pleasure in getting to know her. When Lance introduced himself to Scott at Homecoming, he did not care for the star wide out either.
BOTH Imani and Lance were holding the Sword of Omens at the same time, and the damn Eye of Thundera was going off in ALL directions!
THIS DIALOGUE between Melody, Scott, and Melody’s Caucasian mother Margaret (you will see about what I am talking and why I distinguished Melody’s sweetheart of a mommy in a few seconds):
“Both sets of my grandparents passed.” Melody pointed to an old portrait studio picture of her maternal grandparents. “This was taken about a year before my mother’s parents died. I was seven but I still remember the fun times we spent together. Hard to believe they’d ever quit speaking to my mother.”
Scott looked perplexed. “Why didn’t they speak to your mother?”
Flushing with embarrassment, she focused on the pictures while she responded. “They didn’t quite approve of my father and they disowned mom after they married. It wasn’t until my birth that they forgave her. Soon afterwards they came to know my father and apologized for their ignorance and prejudice until the day they died.”
Scott’s eyes raced across the pictures until they landed on one of a younger Margaret, a toddler-aged Melody, and her proud, Black father smiling for the camera. His voice cracked. “Is this your father?”
“Yes, that’s Daddy,” she said with pride.
“Were you adopted?”
Melody didn’t understand his question. “No, my parents got married and then had me two years later.”
“Natural birth?” Scott blanched.
“Yes, Scott what’s wrong?” Melody checked his head for a fever as he paled.
Scott snapped his head away from her hand as if it’d transformed into a poisonous viper. Fury contorted his features. “You didn’t tell me you had Nigger blood!”
“What?” she gasped, knowing he couldn’t have said what she thought he said.
Margaret poked her head around the corner. “Excuse me young man?”
“You heard me! You should be ashamed letting her pose as a pure-blooded white person. You both make me sick,” Scott snarled then retrieved his coat and belongings. He stopped at the door as Margaret raced over to Melody.
“Freaking fraud!” he yelled then he slammed the door behind him.
Melody’s mouth opened and closed as she stared at the door in disbelief until Scott’s car roared to life and peeled off burning rubber. Only then did she notice Margaret trembling with rage hugging her chest.
“It’s okay, Baby. It’s okay.” Margaret comforted her as the hot tears fell and Kevin’s haunting face leered in triumph.
Up to this point, we knew our precious Melody was biracial. Citing Scott’s reaction in the above dialogue, Melody passed for Caucasian: a real-life phenomenon that DOES occur when certain genetic materials are in place (eye color, hair color, skin tone specifically). This occurred with my Dad’s grandmother. My great-grandmother Mattie Thompson PASSED FOR WHITE FOR YEARS: Blue Eyes and all. It was when her son, my Dad’s Dad, my grandfather picked her up from work in the racist 40s-50s that they discovered that she was biracial (Grandpa Jim is chocolate in skin tone. God Bless and God Rest, Grandpa). Another point: my brother’s best friend Christopher is biracial. He has hair that can pass the texture test as being Caucasian, as well as his skin. Yet with African American features, we can tell that he is biracial. I’ll go one further: my 8-month-old nephews are biracial, and I am VERY EXCITED at seeing them grow up and seeing their features develop.*
It seems that Kevin’s actions that fateful night is still disturbing Melody as she seeks closure and attempts to move forward with her life.
Imani’s love interest from long distance (TRUST ME: a blindfolded Stevie Wonder locked in a dark basement can see this from 500 miles away) is showing how much she REALLY wanted more with him. Her “Don’t Give a Fuck” attitude is very revealing and prevalent, showing that the Woman of Steel DOES have Kryptonite.
Not only that, Imani’s mouth is put to the test when she makes a MAJOR faux pas towards Melody. Let me plainly and simply say that the response was a LONG TIME COMING.
Lance’s endless line of lovelies came to a screeching halt when one tryst HAS, HAD, AND SHOULD HAVE Great Potential to be something special and epic. This particular tryst had me speak one sentence on the bus on my way to my new career on March 25, 2015 to the point where people looked at me and stared. Sadly, he and the other party are not speaking on a wavelength and level to where their maturity is one of strong communication and connection. IF, and this is a B-I-G (space) I-F, they do get their brains in order as well as their cosmics in alignment, you will say that sentence as well.
At this time, I would like to point out Lance’s mother Oleta for a little while.
According to ALL that I read thus far, Oleta is a foulmouthed ignorant ass of a battle-axe who argues about the smallest things (reminds me of a few people that I know). Sadly (YES: SADLY), I understand her type:
She has had her guard up in regards to her emotional well-being during a specific event which is discussed in great detail once you, the reader, get to that point. It will explain A LOT to you.
As I said, I know the type: Incorrectly Labeled Alphas who are In Truth scared and angry children who have not fully healed from the consequences of their actions, let alone forgave those AND themselves specifically for what have transpired in their lives.
I can guaran-damn-tee that there will be A FEW people who will read these words and see themselves. When they see themselves in the description that I have provided, they will either own up to it and change their ways (RARELY HAPPENS), or (AND MOST LIKELY) get mad at me for calling them out because I called a Spade a Spade and see the bullshit for what it is: WEAK BULLSHIT.
Point, Set, and Damn Match.
Now, back to our Melody…
After her very brief interaction with Racist Scott, she is dating an African American basketball player named Aaron Keys. As Imani viewed him, he has a look that is not too desirable, yet the ladies fawn all over him. Aaron chose Melody with whom he would like to have a relationship. Aaron seems to me (as well as Imani) as the spoiled rotten, pampered, entitled and sexist elitist who should get his basketballs stomped out like a forest fire…
Let’s file these two B-O-Y-S to the side for now: something came to mind right there…
May VERY WELL need to write an extra piece after book 3: a proverbial “The Story You Never Knew”.
Back to the story (again…)
September 11 occurred within the pages of “Love,” and a mention of “The Good ‘Ol Boys Network” by way of Imani: two pieces of history woven into this story as well as the recurring themes of interracial relationships and (nearing the end of) College Life once again gives depth to this trilogy’s second installment. In some ways, domestic violence and abuse are seen by those who are paying careful attention to key events. Not only did these events occur, many more have happened to where tears will be shed from a few chuckles, pure shock, and extreme sadness for our protagonists. I will only say that by the end of this book, I can assure you that things are VERY eye opening when it comes to these three and things will become altered in the most unexpected ways.
“The Colors of Love”, as its predecessor had done, progressed very well. A few discrepancies are apparent: ill-shifting in a few paragraphs, and on page 22, the sentence “They’re coming home weekend after next.” is in need of the tiniest of correction:
“They’re coming home the weekend after next.”
Even more minor characters have been introduced outside of Trevor, Erycah, Big Tony, John, and Joe since book one. We now have Marco, Heather, Aaron, Scott, Oleta (who was there in the first book, yet mentioned a little bit), Lance’s new family, Tamyra and a few others. These people have also moved this story and further rounded out even more character development and dynamics in favor of Melody, Imani, and Lance. They helped our trio in favorable ways, despite events that have occurred between them: both separately and jointly. With their personalities combined with their interaction with our three protagonists, it is clear and apparent that there is more to Melody, Imani, and Lance that we have yet to discover.
I will not give away any more than what I just did, yet I will say that “The Colors of Love” DEFINITELY picked up from where “The Colors of Friendship” left off for our Melody, Imani, and Lance. Book three should HOPEFULLY answer a few personal inquiries that I have in my mind and give me the sense of satisfaction that I desperately crave.
PERFECT SCORE: 10 out of 10
Once again, Mrs. K.R. Raye has exceeded my expectations with “The Colors of Love” as she did “The Colors of Friendship.” She has kept my attention for a second time: a VERY RARE feat when it comes to me in regards to one author. Her storytelling prowess as well as her ability to show me personally a deep and engaging story that tackles more than just Domestic Abuse and Violence, Interracial Relationships, college and post-college life has earned her My Respect. Despite minor cosmetic discrepancies, “The Colors of Love” did not fail in its effectiveness to once again tell AND continue to tell a compelling story.
Take a bow, Mrs. K.R. Raye: YOU are Two for Two in the Perfection Department for me!
Well, Thank you Mr. Controversy, for your detailed and insightful review of this work!
Now, let’s give the floor to Mini Truth. Mini …
Hmmm. Where to start, where to start?
There is so much to be said about this work that I’m finding it difficult knowing where to start. Maybe a short synopsis will do the job …
“The Colors of Love” in essence is the story of true friendship, life and love in modern times. Moreover, it reflects on the Urban community. Allow me to elaborate.
This is the story of 3 friends; Melody, Imani and Lance. Three very different people, each with their strengths and weaknesses. It is an Urban Drama. Truth be told, from the three friends, my favorite was Lance. Now, getting back to what I was saying, the overall gist of the story speaks of what true friendship can endure, as well as what things can happen during the quest for love. Particularly, when you are young (of college age).
At first, we find ourselves in the midst of a very intense suicide scene. Kevin, whom is Melody’s ex-boyfriend and consequently also an abuser, has her held captive while Imani watches—Lance is on his way. Kevin’s whole mentality is “If I can’t have her, no one will” but subsequently ends up killing himself. The entire scenario is horrific, and truly traumatizing.
After all of this Lance pledges his allegiance to the girls and swears to be their ‘forever protector‘. And so, the story goes on.
From there the story takes an interesting turn. Suddenly, the reader is being thrust into Imani’s love endeavors. I suppose that this is where they title stems from.
Imani is a hard headed female, with her mind set on her studies and future career. With all of her virtues, Imani has one problem, she is too stubborn to allow herself to fall in love. And love has come knocking at her door time and time again. It’s come in the form of DJ, Marco, Trev, and so many others that I lost count.
Lance and Melody remain in the background of this story for most of it.
The drama is intertwined with all sort of goodies for the Drama-Lover. Love, loss, heartache, complicated relationships, twisted emotions, even bigotry is thrown in the mix. Truth be told, it reminded me of a Soap Opera.
Not wanting to give too much of the story away, I suppose I should get into my Pros and Cons.
Let’s start with the Cons.
All right, that covers the cons. Now on to the Pros.
While you will see that my list of Pros isn’t all that long, trust me when I tell you that they are enough to keep the reader hooked.
Without the shadow of a doubt, while the technical bits needed some work, the overall story was fascinating. I really recommend this one. 8 TRB Stars.
Last, but not least, let’s look at what the Unleashed One has to say. No Labels, you’re up!
Warning: Minuscule spoilers, just to point out certain reference points.
Since Mr. Controversy had plenty to say in reference to The Colors of Love, I won’t be as long but there are quite a few things that did stand out in the second installment.
First Off, to Stand Alone or not to Stand Alone, that is the question.
There have been moments in The Review Board when the author has been asked if books in a series (in this case, a trilogy, can stand alone). I know an author thinks this isn’t important, but believe me, it definitely is. You see, if the books CAN stand alone, then the same reviewer doesn’t have to do all of the books. However, if the books are NOT stand alone, then a reviewer can be placed on the 1st book and not the rest but if one is doing the 2nd or 3rd book, the one(s) before it must be read as well.
Example: The author of The Gray Tower trilogy told the administrator that the titles COULD NOT stand alone: that all had to be read for the action to make sense. Going by the author’s words, the same reviewers were assigned to all three titles. As it turned out, none of them had much to do with the other. Therefore, a reviewer could have read Circadian Circle and still made sense of it without reading Tower’s Alchemist or Dark Rift.
So … how about The Colors Trilogy?
Well, the way the beginning was brought it suggests not, although if the start was presented a bit differently, then in my mind, The Colors of Love could have stood by itself.
Here is what I mean.
There is a peak of excitement introduced in the first few chapters of The Colors of Love, which makes one think it is the focal point of the story. However, soon that ebbs away because the main focus is on Lance and Imani, as opposed to the tragedy presented at the start of The Colors of Love. Therefore, I can understand why Mini Truth was confused.
Yet, the only reason I wasn’t confused is that I was on the first book and know the first part of the second book was some intense residual from the first. Some flashbacks here and there with Melody and her friends involving the tragedy would have worked better to present this as a standalone, as opposed to taking a bulk of action from the 1st book and making it prominent chapters in the 2nd book.
I am a fan of the abstract cover concept. However, with this particular cover, the author may have missed the mark slightly. In the first book, The Colors of Friendship, the young lady in the yellow (Melody) is standing in the center. For me, whenever a character is in the center, it represents one being the focal point of the story, which she was for the very 1st book. In this cover, Lance looks to be the one in the center; however, the story really does seem a bit more about Imani with Lance sprinkled in here and there. It is slightly misleading.
In addition, the author is still very heavy with starting off sentences with conjunctions, both in narrative and in dialogue. I understand that in dialogue, it may be more natural, yet I do think they should be used within reason.
Supplemental characters were brought into the mix, and some were quite crucial in dictating the lives of the main characters. However, there were a few that were brought in way too soon, and others that were given a name, were in a couple of chapters, and then disappeared. One for example was the very wacky roommate that did the bird calls. Another was the guy Scott and Melody introduced Imani to—the one who had the very fancy wheels. Although he made things interested, he wasn’t entirely necessary: Marco served the role just enough, in my opinion.
Another thing was the comparison of some of the characters to actors in movies. Yes, I know some of the actors mentioned in The Colors of Love. As a matter of fact, Johnny Depp is one of my favorites. If there are readers who don’t know those actors or who don’t look at movies, they may be loss when the author says that “so-and-so reminds me of the Johnny Depp that was in Pirates of the Caribbean” (for an example).
The Colors of Love touched on a lot of topics, including but not limited to:
Handling of tragedy on college campuses: The reality is that what happened between Kevin and Melody has fast become the norm as opposed to the exception. Yet, not many people report it. One is because of shame and two, because the college is more concerned with covering things up than dealing with the problem. What would the donors say? How would it affect the college’s reputation? I do wish that how everyone was handling the tragedy was touched on a bit more beyond Imani was handling it fine, while Melody was still struggling and needed more therapy sessions.
The difficulty of long distance relationships: The strong demeanor of Imani was tested due to moments when she had to deal with long distance. Her desire to control everything, in many situations, cost her some key relationships. One that stood out in the beginning was the connection she experienced with Julian aka DJ. They appeared to have a good thing going, but when it got time to go their separate ways, Imani suggested that he “experience what’s out there first” despite him saying that he wanted to be exclusive with her.
I say that to say this: If a woman is serious about being with a man, she should never give him “free reign” to “test the waters” or be with someone else. If a female does and he does get with someone else, she has no one to blame but herself.
For me, Imani lost a whole lot of kudos, and it all started with this incident.
My disdain with her increased because of her Pride, as well as her Pro-black stance.
Let me explain.
Many times, Imani would throw out mixed signals to different guys, as far as her interest. Yet the moment the guys recognized it and responded in kind, Imani would revert to behaving like a scared little girl or ultra defensive. In the first book, it was Trevor she was throwing signals to, yet all the time, rationalizing “he’s not my type”. In this book, it was a little of the same. The thing that angered me the most about the scenario in The Colors of Love was that it was with someone she had always been fully open with before, yet the moment he went out of his comfort zone, rather than both of them having an adult conversation about it, she assumed that she was just like the rest. To her rejection, he believed that everything was a mistake. Because of her pride (fear that she was just one notch in the belt as opposed to special), Imani put a great strain on a friendship that didn’t need to be there. Yet, at the same time, she would act weird, as well as get defensive, whenever someone would ask about him.
The more Imani’s character developed, the less respect I had for her, particularly during her interactions with Melody (the Pro-black issue). At times, Imani seemed to forget Melody’s nationality, and I cheered when Melody finally had her fill and told her off. If a woman wants to stick to her own race, that’s fine, but there’s no need to do it in a way that causes disrespect to someone else. Especially when you are friends with someone who is biracial. Although she somewhat redeems herself at the end, for me, it still wasn’t enough for me to feel as much fondness about her as I did before.
Melody, I would have loved to have tracked her progress, outside of her being hungry for love and just wanted to be in a relationship because other people around her were in relationships as well.
I do like the way the author painted out that the mentality of all New Yorkers isn’t the same. Many people, when they think of New York, they mainly think of New York City as opposed to New York. When, in reality, New York City is liberal, yet other parts, like upstate New York, can be quite conservative as well as discriminatory. There were key scenes that placed spotlight on that fact, and I applaud the author for interweaving that into the storyline as well.
So how did I feel about The Colors of Love? Let me do the overall Pros and Cons breakdown, followed by the verdict.
Unleashed Verdict: 6.5 out of 10 Stars
Despite the narrative voice and the touching on important topics, The Colors of Love had a bit too much going on with it. The filler chapters slowed down quite a bit of the action, and the resolution seemed thrown together and rushed to make for it. It was too Imani centered when it should have been Lance centered, and Melody’s coping with her tragedy felt brushed over, making it seem insignificant. Yes, I will proceed with the next installment because there is a great story line here, but in comparison to the first book, The Colors of Love’s reflection is not as strong.
Now let’s take all the ratings and divide by 3.
8 out of 10 Stars
Overall, The Colors of Love receives 8 out of 10 Stars from The Review Board.
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