Whew. Okay. Tomorrow is Halloween, and my plans as of this moment are pretty much to go to a showing of the 1978 Halloween and ignore everyone. But before that, let’s get into some books!
Fumbled – Alexa Martin
You may remember how much I loved the first Alexa Martin book I read [Intercepted], so it should come as no surprise that reading the second in her ‘Playbook’ series was an excellent tonic for the onset of the fall blues. This one features Poppy Patterson, a single mom who’s spent the last decade avoiding the man who fathered her child and broke her heart…and is now one of the star players of the Denver football team, TK Moore. But when she runs into him at work the sparks are still there and she’s faced with incorporating TK into their son’s life while figuring out if the two of them can make it work as a couple.
I wasn’t quite as into this one as I was with Intercepted [which, to be fair to Fumbled, was QUITE A LOT]; the love interest was a harder sell for me and for very understandable narrative reasons, the relationship between them took a bit long to get going. That being said, I still liked it a lot! Poppy was a delightful and compelling protagonist, and Martin’s sense of humor is absolutely wonderful. She’s also excellent at filling out her protagonist’s lives with tender and supportive friendships. I also really appreciated that this book dug a little deeper into some of the issues in the football industry — particularly the high-impact injuries players experience which often have long-ranging consequences far past a player’s career trajectory. Martin herself is a former football wife and her characters’ complicated feelings about the sport their loved ones play feel sincere and grounded while not overshadowing the relationships between the characters themselves. The next book in the series, Blitzed, comes out the first week in December and I am COUNTING THE DAYS! 
I love a book of essays, especially from someone I’ve been following on Twitter and then have the chance to take in their thoughts in long-form. Keah Brown is a disabled Black writer and activist whose essays are both personal reflection and cultural analysis. She writes about her personal love of fashion while critiquing its lack of inclusion, the ways in which jealousy has influenced her relationship with her sister, how society’s rampant ableism makes it difficult for disabled people to love themselves and their bodies, and a wide range of other topics.
Every single essay in this book is infused with thoughtfulness, warmth, and necessary call-outs on the imperative need for all of us to combat ableism, racism, homophobia, and sexism on both individual and societal levels. Brown’s essays are deeply lifelike, positioning all parts of her life as interconnected and informative of one another; she explains how disability inclusion is often the last item on the agenda and how the inclusion that does happen almost always centers whiteness, right alongside why Paramore is her favorite band. I can’t wait to find out (and read) what she does next!
[tw: suicidal ideation]
That’s all for this week! Stay safe, stay respectful, and eat lots of candy!