Monday Musings: I See Y’all, Or Rather, I Don’t

Ok, I’ma just say it because I see it too damn often.

Y’all. Ain’t. Slick.

What am I talking about? An author writes a series, and the one book with a Black female heroine has the least reviews and/or lowest ratings. And don’t give me that maybe people need time to catch up on the series

Chile, bye! I’ve seen subsequent books in the series featuring non-Black heroines released with more than twice the reviews and higher ratings. So, why is that? These Black women be the most ambiguous Black women I’ve read, save her “mocha”, “cocoa”, or other food-related description and kinky/curly/coily tresses.

And what do I mean by ambiguous Black women? Okay, I recognize that we are not a monolith, but I’m specifically referring to her mannerisms, her “flavor”, her culture. There are some things about being a Black woman that are inherently universal, and I know some of these authors neutralize their Black characters, for lack of a better term, to make them more palatable to their base.

And the books still go relatively unread. All I can do is SMH. It ain’t hard to read and review stories about women who look like me. Hell, I been reading about everybody but me since Jack and Jill went up the hill.

I’ll holla…

See Me With Love by Renee Malay

First of all, somebody was chopping onions while I was reading this book, and that was rude af! Oh, it was the author, Renee Malay (Yeah, I’m calling you out, lady!) I’m a thug in these reading skreets, and Ion’t cry over nobody’s characters–except when that ish touches me in a way that even my hardened heart can’t deny.These weren’t tears of sadness–or joy necessarily but tears of awww, damn, that was just…

Sahgara is a music teacher. She also happens to be blind and lost her sight at age twenty from a degenerative eye disease and has not allowed her disability to hinder her from enjoying her life. She does, however, grapple with feelings of inadequacy and being a burden on those she loves and depends on as she navigates through her world as she knows it. Romance was the last thing on her mind until a chance meeting at the park.

Chao is a single father who’s moved back to Syracuse, NY for a fresh start after the tragic and unexpected death of his fiancee and mother of his child. Chao’s sole focus was being a good father to his daughter and acclimating to starting a new job and being back in his old stomping grounds. The last thing on his mind was women. The death of his fiance had him shook and he wasn’t about to subject himself to the possibilities of love and loss again. Yeah, no…

Well, that all changed when his five-year-old daughter Lyfe (Chile, I love these larger than “life” names. Pun intended) took an instant liking and attachment to a friendly Labrador at the park.

I must caution you: This story is a slow burn. Don’t expect insta-love right from the first jump. For the romantic in me, I was a lil impatient, not gon lie, because Sahgara and Chao didn’t hit their stride until about 50% into the story. I was cool wit it, though, because I was invested by then and was determined to see it through. Not only that, it was a damn good story. I didn’t even skip any pages looking for the hookup (which I’ve admittedly done and still do.)

Their relationship developed organically, and I love that Sahgara’s blindness wasn’t used as some prop just to be all edgy and shit like, Ooh, look, I wrote about a blind character… Yes, Sahgara’s blindness was an intregal part of the story, but it was more about how others reacted to it and how she dealt with their reaction to it than her wanting to wallow in the self-pity of her not being able to see. Again–this story ain’t about a blind woman but a woman who happened to be blind if that makes any sense.

So, yeah, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. If I had to categorize the romance, I’d call it sweet-n-spicy because the moments were spicy but the way they went about it was so sweet. Click it up.

Monday Musings: Shake Means No; Nod Means Yes

Okay, so I’m a lil anal when it comes to choice of words to convey an action. In my world, this means no:

And this means yes:

So, why, when I read, more often than not, when a character is in agreement with someone or something, they shake their head?

Bruh, I’m ready to pull a Shenehneh and set it off! I’m like, where they do that at? Is it regional?

One more pet peeve: Stop saying “I’m on lunch.” That shit burns me up, lol. It’s either I’m at lunch (meaning, I’m no longer on the clock working) or I’m on my lunch break. Yeah, I’ve been reading a lot this last month, and some of the dialog has just triggered me into orbit. I’m fine now that I’ve put my anal pettiness out in the blogosphere. I’ll holla…

I Read a Book: Uncovering Love by M. Monique

If you’re anything like me and like to check out new authors (to you–not necessarily first-time authors) but don’t want to commit to buying a book that you may not like, then consider Kindle Unlimited (That sounds sponsored, but it is not. Amazon needs to holla, though…) I have discovered so many authors that I’ve come to love thanks to KU, one of them being M. Monique, and her latest is called Uncovering Love.

This story has everything that I love in a good romance–drama, overcoming some sort of tragedy, a hot-ass dude who is just alpha enough not to be a consummate dick, and bomb-ass sex. Personally, I do consider this an urban romance and mainly because of location, the plot, and the characters. These are my people! And by that, I mean that I could relate to them on every level, from their personalities to their mannerisms, to their language. I was immersed from beginning to end.

Uncovering Love is a romantic suspense or a suspenseful romance, depending on your takeaway. Y’all know me: the romance will always come first. Everything else is secondary. Here’s the synopsis:

One night changes everything in Gianna Phillips’ seemingly perfect world. She’s in love, months away from having their first child, and rising in her career as a designer. Nothing could be better in her eyes. Tragedy changes her perception, and in the middle of the dense fog, she collides with a mountain.

As a seasoned detective, Grey Summers is heavy on the “To Protect and to Serve”. But sometimes the physical body isn’t what needs protecting. He’s captivated from the very beginning by the cocoa beauty who invades his mind in ways no other woman has.

When a case dear to Grey’s heart opens a Pandora’s box of secrets and lies, will Grey be able to protect the heart of the only woman he’s willing to risk it all for?

Grey Summers–chile, that name alone with his fine Blatino ass. And I found Gianna instantly likeable and someone I could see being friends with (and I don’t like nobody, lmaooo…just kidding). If you’re looking for your next good hood romance or want to dip your toe for the first time, then Uncovering Love is it.

Monday Musings: I Am an Around the Way Girl

and always will be. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you’ll already know–or sense–that.

I’ma let y’all know from the jump: This blog is urban fiction friendly. I read hood fic and romance with aplomb, and there will be no urban fiction slander of any kind on this blog. Just as with all other genres, everythang ain’t for everybody, so, yes, I am just as selective with what I read in urban fiction as I am with interracial romance, for example.

But what I won’t do is turn my nose up at a community of writers and readers who have one of the most faithful and loyal relationships I’ve seen in these literary skreets.

Black folks are not a monolith, and our backgrounds, personalities, and experiences should also reflect that in fiction. I also want to point out that all urban fiction ain’t about drug cartels and ratchetness. My favorite urban fiction subgenre, of course, is hood romance. I love that shit! I see my twenty-something self in so many of these characters because I grew up amongst them.

I’ll admit that I messed with a few street dudes back in the day, so I find these stories a relatable blast from the past. I was the college girl who fell in love with the corner boy. I was the young professional who still lived in the hood and aspired to move up and out (which I did) then met a great guy with a past that he overcame to be an upstanding, productive citizen. Many of these stories are my stories.

So, with all this yakkity yak being said, you will begin to see that I showcase more of these stories on this blog because there are some really good ones out there that deserve a read–even if it isn’t your preferred genre. I’ll be back later this week with one of those stories. I’ll holla…

Enemies-to-Lovers: Being Barron by SK Hardy

Ugh, I hate that logo plastered over the model’s face

This one is an oldie but goodie because it’s stuck with me all these years. Being Barron offers an inside look at the Black bourgeoisie and them mfs put the uppity in uppity negroes! But damn if them Barron boys ain’t the total package: wealthy, powerful, protective, arrogant, and nurturing with a bomb-ass stroke game.

Lane Barron is the unofficial patriarch of the rich and powerful Barron clan. This brotha put the D in drip, and the word no doesn’t exist in his vocab unless he’s the one saying it. When Lane’s older brother, along with his side piece, is killed in a car accident, all hell breaks loose–one, cause nobody knew, two, he has a four-year-old nephew resulting from bro’s hoeing around, and three, the side ho’s sister, Miranda Turner, ain’t giving up the baby without a fight.

That’s it. That’s the story. Everything is just filler compared to the above, lol. But it’s soooooo good, y’all. Lane and Miranda give each other the business–figuratively and literally. They can’t stand one another but the chemistry is fuego from their first encounter.

They made me laugh, made me sick, pissed me off, and everything in between, yet I couldn’t put it down. Click it up.

Monday Musings: I Hate You/I Love You

Welcome to the finale of my trope musings. I could go on for months because there are so many tropes to discuss, but a sista is tied, ya hear?! I haven’t blogged this consistently since…2017? Big shout out to content creators because I just can’t…

Antyway, this week’s trope is all about couples who started out hating each other’s guts then ultimately end up in each other’s guts (see what I did there?)

Ahhh…enemies-to-lovers…how do I love thee, let me count the ways. This one is an admitted fave because the discontent, the vitriol, the disgust is so palpable that you practically explode in anticipation of the couple’s coming together (pun intended).

My favorite part of these stories is when they just surrender to their feelings and literally smash together in the throes of passion. And then after they’ve finished, they’re disgusted with themselves and go back to hating each other until they can no longer deny how they feel. Yeah, I like them types…

Second Chance Romance: Seven Days in June by Tia Williams

I’ve always loved Tia Williams’ books. I read her first book The Accidental Diva back when they had actual book clubs. You know, order five books for a dollar then pay full price for one within two years or some wild shit like that? Fun times… Well, fast forward fifteen sum years later, and here’s her latest–and greatest (in my biased opinion).

TW: This story may be triggering for some. It involves drug use and cutting (Once you learn of Eva’s and Shane’s past…), but the biggest trigger for me is my feels.

Why she make me tear up like dat?

Why she make Shane riddled with flaws yet so incredibly sexy and lovable in spite of them?

Why she make Eva so relatable and funny and fucked up and someone you just want to literally hug all the pain away?

Why she make these two stay in each other’s hearts and minds over the years through their writings (Lawd, this was the swoon fa me.)

Why she make twelve-year-old Audrey have more common sense than Eva and Shane combined?

Why I read this story in one sitting knowing I was gone have multiple fits of sadness, anger, and surprising joy?

Tia Williams, if you Google yourself and this post comes up in the search, sis, I need an actual book for Cursed and Eight.

IYKYK…

Click it up!!!

Monday Musings: One More Chance…

🎶🎶Biggie, give me one more chaaance…🎶🎶

OK, you (should) get it by now. This week’s trope is all about second chances. I’ll admit that I like this one, but sometimes, more often, rather, this is my face by 50% in

Y’all know some of these couples have no damn business getting back together once the cause or source of the breakup is revealed. Abuse of any kind is a major hell nah for me. Willful cheating (not my partner caught me in bed after I was drugged or some other crazy shit and they assumed the worse and ended it) is a fool me once, bye asshole.

But, I concede that the more egregious the offense, the sweeter the second chance (I’m sure there’s a clinical term for this foolery.) The swoon factor be too powerful to ignore, and I’m a sucka for a good swoon-worthy moment.

How do y’all feel about second-chance romances? Yaaas, girl or girl, bye?

May-December Romance: Crash by Pepper Pace

Y’all! They say there’s an exception to every rule, right?

After talking all that smack about generational lovers, I do have a story that I actually liked. Not gone lie, there is still a slight ick factor for me because the female lead is 42 and the male lead is 22. But I let the storytelling speak for itself. This book had me all in the feels.

Crash is the story of a much-older Black woman and a much-younger white man who come together as complete strangers under the most tragic circumstances. That was the hook for me and allowed me to get past the dry heaves and immerse myself in this tearjerker (a trope within a trope!)

Sophie is a reclusive writer of interracial romance who finds a vagrant in her yard one evening. Upon closer inspection, she finds this meager “boy” who is badly battered and assaulted (TW). She invites him into her home and discovers that Lucas is not some teenage boy but a young man of legal age. Sophie and Lucas whose relationship goes from employer/employee to friendship and eventually to lovers (trope city!)

The story is a slow burn but a good one. Pace takes the time to develop the relationship and allows Sophie to organically address those same ick factors that some readers may have but when they finally do come together…

This is a good narrative and Pepper Pace never shies away from the weird or unconventional, which makes her such a great storyteller. Give it a click and lemme know what you think!