Book Review – Mists of The Serengeti by Leylah Attar

by Maryse on January 29, 2017 · 17 comments

in My Book Reviews

Mists of The Serengeti

This was one of the most beautifully written, vibrant, touching and perfectly detailed stories I’ve ever read. I WAS THERE, you guys. I could see it. I could feel it. I could smell it. I could taste it. I was living it. And I never wanted to leave. In fact, this book had me sobbing, wholeheartedly, and that’s when I knew, I was connected, heart and soul, to these characters, and to this land. To their plight. To their roots.

Maryse: Okay I just want to announce that many of you (including me) will likely LOVE “Mists of the Serengeti” by Leylah Attar. I’m reading the ARC, it’ll be out in just a few days, and HOLY MOLY it’s exquisitely written and vibrant. And it starts off with a GASP!!!! I’m still only in the first quarter but yeah… this is one of ours. Like… I’d say it’s for those of us that love those Suanne Laqueur, Emma Scott, Renee Carlino type of epic stories. you know the type of book. Deep, and a grand journey of life and love for sure.

R.: Here let me translate that Maryse, “R. One-click this book!” Got it! :D

Maryse: Exactly for YOU R. You were the first person that leaped into my head when I got the “feel” of the story, and of course, the writing. I thought… Oh R is gonna love it. Fabi too. Probably bev too. MichelleS. Lisa, Jan, Tessa, Jean, Leslie… Cristina. Theresa, Jeannie and Pia. Celeste for sure. All y’all. :D Amy of course!!! (and no!!! That doesn’t mean this is a Marmy – I’m not far enough in yet to know). ;) Grey would love it, too!!!! Oh yes. Definitely Grey.

R: I’m so excited! Thanks Maryse! This will be a **stop everything and read the second it hits my kindle** book! I wish it were up for preorder! I might want this one in paperback.

Fabi: Eeeeek! Maryse is dropping names. I feel another BR coming on.

bev: So I hope it takes place in Africa. That’d be cool.

Maryse: It does bev. This is an AMAZING story.

Cheryl: Woah, the prologue has me in tears. I’m both scared and intrigued to read this….

Maryse: Mists of the Serengeti is just amazing. Big, fat, hot, ploppy tears rolling down my face… and they won’t stop.

R: Now you’re just trying to make me jealous!

Maryse: I had to take a quick break I was crying so hard… I couldn’t see.

R: The sweetest words you could possibly say

Soulla: This book is EVERYTHING! So happy you love it!

What an emotional, heartrending, uplifting journey. From start to finish, this one will capture your whole heart, both in moments of sheer poignant agony,

Mo’s death was like a door that had been sealed shut forever. I could never walk through it, never listen to her go on about all the inconsequential things that I missed so terribly now. There is an invisible threshold of possibilities when someone is alive. It contracts when they’re gone, swallowing up all the worlds that hover around them—names of people they’d never meet, faces of kids they’d never have, flavors of ice cream they’d never taste.

…and fervent joy.

I closed my eyes and thought how there really ought to be a word to describe the sensation when your lungs fill up with the sweetest air, and yet you’re left completely breathless.

It will take you there via moments of utter peace and tranquility, and amidst moments of peril and heart stopping adventure (the fun kind, and the scary kind, too)!

“…if you can’t handle it, you might as well pack your bags and go home, Rodel, because this is not a f*cking tea party in the cradle of Africa.”

Ohhhhh the “tea party”. You’ll get why I’m so fond of that line.

Gahhhhh!!! I’m literally rocking back and forth as I type this with so much pent-up energy and love for a book that I just can’t begin to describe  it to you in it’s purity and perfection. I just can’t do this story justice, in trying to explain everything you will come to feel, everything that you will learn, and most of all, all that you will take away from this tale. I practically highlighted the whole thing, and I was in reading ecstasy. This was classic escapism. I feel like I TRULY travelled to a distant land without even leaving the comfort and safety of my bed.

Amy: You found an epic read for us?? YAY!!! But…what is it about?

Oh yeah!! So what’s it about?

P.S. I went in COMPLETELY blind… didn’t read the blurb. I just knew it was Leylah Attar’s latest book, and that was good enough for me! I’d recommend EVERYONE go in just like that. You get the most *oomph* that way. EVERYTHING was a surprise and affected me tremendously.

“Sometimes we need to be jarred out of our own reality. We base so much of ourselves on other people’s perceptions of us. We live for the compliments, the approval, the applause. But what we really need is a grand, spine-chilling encounter with ourselves to believe we’re freaking magical. And that’s the best kind of believing, because no one can unsay it or take it away from you.”

But for those that want to know more…

Rodel (who lives in England) travels to Tanzania when her sister is killed in a bombing there.

The recording ended. And what had started off as the happiest day of Rodel’s life trailed off, just like the empty, insidious echo at the end of her sister’s call.

Ro . . .

Followed by crackling dead air.

Rodel’s mind raced.

While in her sister’s room collecting her things, she finds a list of names, some crossed off, and some with future dates next to each of them. She discovers that these are names of children that she was expected to transport to an orphanage and safety. Rodel, desperately missing her sister, and reminiscing about her “live-in-the-moment” ways,

She was just greedy for life—for fun, for food, for colors, for experiences. She couldn’t see past what was directly in front of her, and she only did the things that made her happy, but that made her even more of a hero to me.

…she decides to finish what her sister started, and sets out to find the people that can help her complete the mission.

Six kids in six months. That’s what she’d aimed for. There were still three kids left.

I’m going to get them for you, Mo. I’m going to cross off every one of the notes before I head back home.

On the first leg of her journey, she ends up at a coffee farm, meeting a very angry, sullen man (Jack),

“Get off my property,” he said. “You’re trespassing. You’re also barking up the wrong tree. I am in no position to help you or anyone else. And more importantly, I don’t care to.”

…who’s mourning the loss of his tiny daughter,

Jack felt himself rip into two. Before-Jack, who loved black coffee, blue skies, and driving into town with all the windows down, and After-Jack, whose daughter’s sweet smile and cotton-candy ponytail swam before him in the heated, five-alarm blaze of the afternoon.

How do I look?

Beautiful. As always.

and his feisty yet incredibly wise mother (you will LOVE HER!!!),

“Growing old isn’t for sissies,” she said softly. “You lose the people you love. Over and over again. Some get taken away from you. Some walk away. And some you learn to let go.”

who insists on housing Rodel and her quirky-fun driver. She also insists that her anguished son assist them.

Er… here. This bit from the blurb is essentially what I was trying to say. LOL!!

Two ordinary people, bound by a tragic afternoon, set out to achieve the extraordinary, as they make three stops to rescue three children across the vast plains of the Serengeti—children who are worth more dead than alive.

I’ll stop there because the rest is all in the journey. Ugh… *sigh* This book is SO MUCH better than how I just described it. I don’t want to give away too much, because it’s ALL in the revelations, and the experiences that unfold and come to life, for the reader.

It’s about SO MUCH MORE. It’s about both the emotional journey (personal and that of the connections made along the way), but also the actual journey on rugged terrain, in hostile lands, through reserved tribes, and modern civilization. Danger every step if the way, but beauty and serenity abound.

The breeze picked up the scent of Jack’s skin—green coffee beans and soft earth. It was both light and dark, elusive yet rooted, just like the man. I could have gone on breathing the moment, but I had an odd sensation, like I was standing at the edge of something deep and vast, and needed to pull back.

And while I didn’t know much about Tanzania going into this (other than the wildlife), it wasn’t long that I was so fully entrenched in their world. So completely immersed, and I felt it. I got it. And I loved it.

I was also thrilled, realizing that this is pure contemporary romance (or should I say… a “love story” since it’s all encompassing when it comes to the epic personal journey and connection of the characters. Love and awe, on ALL levels).

Suddenly I was in the presence of a flesh-and-blood man that no book boyfriend could ever live up to. He wore a crown of dried twigs and hay, but he was more royal, more magnificent than all the jeweled kings in all the fairy tales because he walked in real life—mortal, vulnerable, broken, jaded, but still a king—with the heart of a lion, and the soul of an angel.

It may be in a different setting than our usual contemporary romance books, but Africa’s modern lifestyle merging with the traditions and customs of the various tribes will absolutely fascinate you. So many intense moments. And so many chuckle-worthy ones, too.

Finding out that this one is inspired by various true stories, and that the author lived there for years, was the cherry on top! No wonder the characters, the locale and the ambiance were so REAL to me. What better person to take us back there, than her? With her. THIS IS HER BEST BOOK YET!!!!

It’s about finding home. Finding your tribe. A cast of characters from different walks of life, thrown together due to circumstance. Some of the worst, heartbreaking and scary situations, and yet their lives just can’t help but merge from there, no matter how hard they might resist at first.

Maryse: I must tell you that the book I just read ROCKED. MY. WORLD!!! “Mists of the Serengeti” is one of the most amazing, soul-moving, beautifully written love stories/life journeys ever, and it had me in TEARS, and I mean the ugly-cry kind (but I promise… SO WORTH IT!!!). I promise you guys!!!

EVERYONE needs to read this. Buckle up and hang on to the “Oh sh!t” handle. ;) You’re in for a ride my friends. P.S. You’ll get why I say that when you read it. *snort*

Ohhhhhhh… you guys, you guys, you guyssssssss!!!! Just you wait and see. You’re TOTALLY going to get where I’m coming from with this. From start to finish, it was reading perfection. No stone left unturned. Right to the very end of the epilogue… it all comes full circle. Magnificently so.

“What do you think of Africa?”

I will always think of you when I think of Africa.

“It’s beautiful and heart-wrenching. It heals you, it destroys you. It’s the place that claimed my sister.” And my heart.

WOW. Just… WOW.

5 stars!!!!!

P.S. Thank you to the author for sending me this review copy.

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

R. Renee January 29, 2017 at 11:41 PM


R. Renee January 29, 2017 at 11:43 PM

So, uh…Leslie…remember when I said I didn’t need to push Danika? That was sort of before this book very rudely released early :-/

So maybe can we go right after this one? :D

Maryse January 29, 2017 at 11:44 PM


Buddy read THIS one, you guys!!!! I can’t wait to re-live it with you.

R. Renee January 29, 2017 at 11:55 PM

Do you think Leslie can handle it? I haven’t read any reviews/spoilers yet. I’m going solely on your rec. Our Leslie is a lightweight. And I mean that with love. And maybe a few snickers :D

Maryse January 29, 2017 at 11:59 PM

Er… how lightweight?

Personally, I think this one has so much depth. It could be turned into a blockbuster movie that nobody ever forgets (and that everyone can watch).

Everyone should read it.

bev January 30, 2017 at 12:03 AM

See I really don’t think my bf is a lightweight. Needs a happy ending but can take a lot of hurt leading up to it, lol. Remember her “light” CR recs. ;)

I’ll go in blind, so not reading the full review, but in a book or two.

bev January 30, 2017 at 12:04 AM

A movie?
Now I’m thinking Out of Africa. …hopefully ends on a happier note.

R. Renee January 30, 2017 at 12:04 AM

That’s true bev. She’s good with the angst! Just needs the HEA.

Lisa Aiello January 30, 2017 at 8:36 AM

I’ve never one-clicked faster in my life…thanks for the heads up!!!

MichelleS January 30, 2017 at 9:57 AM

January has been an amazing month for me: just read three 5-star books in row, so I might as well end it with a bang and go for four! ONE CLICK

MichelleS January 30, 2017 at 11:46 AM

BTW – How beautiful is that COVER???!!!

Amy January 30, 2017 at 1:31 PM

I’m with bev…going in blind. ;)

And yes, that cover!!!! Just as beautiful as 53 Letters and Paper Swan. And those two were both AMAZING reads as well.

I’m so excited!

Maryse January 30, 2017 at 2:09 PM

YAY!!!! I can’t wait to “re-feel” it with you guys!!!

Lori Clark January 31, 2017 at 2:27 PM

OMG. Leylah is my new favorite author. This book. What you said and so much more. I couldn’t put it down because it kept calling me to pick it back up. I loved it. I’ve loved all of her books. <3

Maryse January 31, 2017 at 6:24 PM

YAY Lori!!!!! :D !!! I knew you’d love it!!! *hug*

MichelleS February 1, 2017 at 3:43 PM

So… I finished this book. It’s about a 4 star for me – until I got to the epilogue, and that bumped it to 4.5 stars!

For me, what kept it from being a 5 star was that I could just not relate to the timing. It was just TOO SOON for him to move on. I needed MORE TIME – losing a child must be heart-wrenching – maybe if she had come 3 years later and he’d been brooding around the farm for 3 years and grown a beard and was a jerk for a while longer. That would have totally done it for me.

I loved the secondary characters: Goma and her crankiness, the Warrior (whatever his name was) who prattled on and on. Scholastica for just representing the plight of albino children in Africa. That part was all beautiful. And I felt like I was right there in Africa, seeing it and smelling it. She did a great job with that.

All in all, a great recommendation. I will pass on this title for sure to those who love a sweeping kind of adventure romance.

Grey March 2, 2017 at 8:38 PM

So… funny story. I purposely didn’t read this review until after I read the book. Which I just finished, because I hate to read spoilers. And why is funny, do you ask? Because I literally highlighted every single passage that you quoted in your review. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE.

Wow, when you said, that Grey had to read this one… you were so right. Maryse, you, me and Amy… we tend to be right along the same track most of the time… LOL! I’m finishing my review now… but I’m with you, so with you.

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