I had a lot of fun with the readathons I did last year; they really pushed me step outside of my comfort zone and read books that I otherwise might not have picked up – and I wound up favoriting so many of them! So this year I decided to kick it up a notch and do five readathons. The first that I’m doing is a Black History Month readathon.
Black History Month was officially recognized in 1976 and aims to honor the contributions that African Americans have made and to recognize their sacrifices. There are no real “rules” to my readathon other than to read books by Black authors and/or about Black characters.
These are the books I’ve chosen for the readathon: When the Reckoning Comes – LaTanya McQueen (horror) The Weight of Blood – Tiffany D. Jackson (horror) The Merciless Ones – Namina Forna (fantasy) Black Girl Unlimited – Echo Brown (fantasy) Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevedo (contemporary) Monday’s Not Coming – Tiffany D. Jackson (mystery) The Black Queen – Jumata Emill (mystery) Yellow Wife – Sadeqa Johnson (historical fiction)
Eight books is a lot, but a lot of these are YA which makes me have faith that I’ll be able to get through them pretty quickly! I’ll review books throughout February and do a final summary post at the end of the month.
It’s crazy to me to think that an entire month of the new year is already gone! It passed so quickly, but it was honestly a pretty good month for me. I consumed more media than I normally do — I watched four movies: M3gan (★★★★★), Black Phone (★★★), A Dark Song (★★★★), and The Invitation (★★★). More importantly, I read TEN books this month, which I’m super proud of considering that’s more than I read in both November and December combined. Here are all the books I read this month, with ratings:
Summary: Naomi Shaw used to believe in magic. Twenty-two years ago, she and her two best friends, Cassidy and Olivia, spent the summer roaming the woods, imagining a world of ceremony and wonder. They called it the Goddess Game. The summer ended suddenly when Naomi was attacked. Miraculously, she survived her seventeen stab wounds and lived to identify the man who had hurt her. The girls’ testimony put away a serial killer, wanted for murdering six women. They were heroes.
And they were liars.
For decades, the friends have kept a secret worth killing for. But now Olivia wants to tell, and Naomi sets out to find out what really happened in the woods—no matter how dangerous the truth turns out to be.
Genre: thriller, mystery, horror Rating: ★★★★
When I saw that What Lies in the Woods was a BookoftheMonth pick, I immediately added it to my box. The book is inspired by the Slenderman stabbing that happened in 2014, when two 12-year-old girls lured their friend into the woods and stabbed her 19 times to appease Slenderman so he would reward them by taking the girls to his mansion. This story has always fascinated and confused me, so I was curious to see how a book inspired by that case would be.
Summary:When She Woke tells the story of a stigmatized woman struggling to navigate an America of a not-too-distant future, where the line between church and state has been eradicated and convicted felons are no longer imprisoned and rehabilitated but chromed―their skin color is genetically altered to match the class of their crimes―and then released back into the population to survive as best they can. Hannah is a Red; her crime is murder.
In seeking a path to safety in an alien and hostile world, Hannah unknowingly embarks on a path of self-discovery that forces her to question the values she once held true and the righteousness of a country that politicizes faith.
Genre: science fiction, dystopia Rating: ★★★
When She Woke was an eerily realistic dystopian story that had me hooked from the very first page; I was rooting for the protagonist to escape the harsh reality she faced; I was excited to see where this story could possibly go – until the last 100 pages where it suddenly took a nosedive that left me feeling confused and unsure of what this story was really trying to say.
Summary: A lot has changed in years since Ambrosia Wellington graduated from college, and she’s worked hard to create a new life for herself. But then an invitation to her ten-year reunion arrives in the mail, along with an anonymous note that reads, “We need to talk about what we did that night.”
It seems that the secrets of Ambrosia’s past—and the people she thought she’d left there—aren’t as buried as she believed. Amb can’t stop fixating on what she did or who she did it with: larger-than-life Sloane “Sully” Sullivan, Amb’s former best friend, who could make anyone do anything.
At the reunion, Amb and Sully receive increasingly menacing messages, and it becomes clear that they’re being pursued by someone who wants more than just the truth of what happened that first semester.
Genre: Thriller, mystery Rating: ★★★★
This is a book that you’ll either completely love or absolutely hate. There is no middle ground here. When I was reading reviews from other readers, the biggest point that stood out was that they despised all of the characters in this book. Ambrosia Wellington (I think her name alone says a lot about the type of person she would turn out to be) is insufferable, dependent on others’ validation, and a straight up bully. Her partner in crime, Sloane, is the type of cool girl that all the boys want and all the girls want to be, but she’s dangerous. These things are absolutely true about The Girls Are All So Nice Here, but what made me sink right into the heart of this story is how well-written these girls are.