Wild is The Witch by Rachel Griffin
On the romance blog Kat mentioned that the thing with enemies-to-lovers is that if it is not done well you end up hating both characters and Wild Is The Witch gets real close.
Wild is the Witch is set in a contemporary world where witches live out in the open. The story follows Iris , a young witch who has recently settled in the Pacific Northwest.…
Scenes From My Life by Michael K. Williams
I am the last person who should be reading Michel K. Williams’s memoir. I have never seen an episode of The Wire. I only know him from his 3 episode stint on Community. In Season 3 episode 1 he says the line “I know who Sean Penn is! I seen Milk!” and I think about the way he delivered this line all the time.
I also remember how, back in the day, The Wire got so much press because they hired actors with the same lived experiences as the show. Notably, Williams was not from Baltimore and the New York projects he grew up and lived in were culturally different from the Baltimore projects…though I’m sure the producers didn’t get that nuance. 🙄
The memoir is a fascinating dive into Williams’ journey to fame and how he used his fame to become a juvenile incarceration reform advocate.
Williams was a queer Black man living in New York City during the 80’s–part of his early young adulthood was spent in the underground ballroom scene. He spent much of his life balancing his queer and Black identity. I will say–it did sort of stand out to me that there was very little about his romantic relationships or his thoughts on having his own family.
William is brutally honest about his failures and mistakes. Despite becoming a pop culture icon and renowned actor–Williams struggled to support himself and manage money well into his 40s. He found renewed purpose later in life and became an advocate for reforming juvenile incarceration.
Williams struggled with addiction his entire life which ultimately lead to his passing before this book could be completed. Williams’ addiction was often triggered after performing violent street roles that mirrored his real-life trauma. I can’t help but think that if there were more diverse roles for dark-skinned Black actors– Williams could have had a chance to expand his range and side-step his addiction.
I probably won’t watch The Wire (BTW this book spoils the show so …*20 year spoiler alert* ??) but I do want to check out his Vice show Black Market and the documentary he made about juvenile incarceration.
If you want a cliff notes version of this book check out Vanity Fair’s Michael K. Williams Breaks Down His Career video on YouTube. I think they used this interview to help flesh out the book.
No Filter and Other Flaws by Crystal Maldonado
Contemporary YA | Holiday House | Published : 02/08/2022
17-year-old Kat Sanchez is a photographer and free spirit. She loves herself and her plus-sized body but can’t help but to obsess over the low engagement her photography gets on Instagram. On a whim, she uses photos of her beautiful blonde co-worker and creates “Max”– a fake social media influencer who becomes an instant success.…
On Rotation by Shirlene Obuobi
On Rotation is as close as I’ll ever come to medical school.
This novel follows twenty-something Angie Apia as she tackles her third year of medical school, demanding residents and her parents’ high expectations. To top it all off she can’t stop pining over a charming sensitive artist… who has a girlfriend. Talk about a quarter-life crisis.
This was a fun slice-of-life with an angsty emotional romance subplot that will appeal to Kennedy Ryan fans. Medical school is not glamorized at all and I felt like I was being let into a world I will probably never experience. I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that Shirlene Obuobi is a physician. Obuobi is also a cartoonist and I believe she designed the book cover.
Angie is supported by her group of wild and successful friends. A large part of this book is about how those friendships can change and grow. The pace of the book was a tad slow for me and we probably could have dropped a few side characters.
My only other critique is that the first few pages of this book had a much different tone than the rest of the book. The book starts with Angie confidently monologuing about her body and curves…then it never comes up again. I mean the cover has ‘peach’ earrings on it so I sort of thought her relationship with her body would play more into the book. Instead, her biggest hurdle is overcoming her imposter syndrome.
Single Black Female by Tracy Brown
Urban fiction is a genre I’ve always wanted to explore. Going in, I was expecting this book to be about hustling and doing what it takes to make it big on the streets– but this book takes a slightly different perspective. It focuses on three women searching for stability and success decades after their lives intersected with the high-powered Brooklyn drug game.
Ivy has spent 16 years supporting her incarcerated husband Mikey and raising their sons, but she’s ready to start over in Staten Island along with Deja, who became a suburban mom instead of holding down her wrongfully convicted boyfriend. Ivy’s sister-in-law, Coco, is a top executive whose education and success are owed to Mikey but she is ready to strike out on her own.
The book is compulsively readable and you get sucked into the melodrama. The character’s backgrounds feel real and complicated. I don’t know if this is a function of the genre, but I found the book does reiterate plot points and character relationships quite often. It was a little jarring
You also never have to worry about trying to figure out what a character is thinking because this book seamlessly shifts POVs in the middle of scenes in a way I don’t think I’ve read before.
My favorite character was Deja’s sister Nikki–an Instagram model and professional party girl. She brings a lot of humor and provides plenty of unfiltered advice to the characters. She doesn’t have a storyline but is played up as a main character in the marketing for some reason ? I’m curious if she will get her own book.
The last 20% of this book focuses on police brutality and the shooting of an unarmed Black teenager. The shift was sudden but I think the plot line was well done.
I can’t wait to read more urban fiction and maybe dive into Tracy Brown’s backlist.
Brown was getting her feeling out about 2016 in this book. Tr*mp supporters get dragged (one literally) left and right in this book.
This book is also not the Lifetime movie of the same name. I’m sure the publishers must have been annoyed by that.