Review: When the Reckoning Comes by LaTanya McQueen

Summary: More than a decade ago, Mira fled her small, segregated hometown in the south to forget. With every mile she traveled, she distanced herself from her past: from her best friend Celine; from the eerie Woodsman plantation rumored to be haunted by the spirits of slaves; from the terrifying memory of a ghost she saw hen a dare-gone-wrong almost got Jesse—the boy she secretly loved—arrested for murder.

Now Mira is back in Kipsen to attend Celine’s wedding at the plantation, which has been transformed into a lush vacation resort. But for all its fancy renovations, the Woodsman remains a monument to its oppressive racist history. Yet the darkest elements of the plantation’s past have been carefully erased—rumors that ghosts roam the lands, seeking vengeance on the descendants of those who tormented them, which includes most of the wedding guests. As the weekend unfolds, Mira, Jesse, and Celine are forced to acknowledge their history together, and to save themselves from what is to come.

Genre: Horror, thriller
Rating: ★★★★★

When the Reckoning Comes is a book that will stay with me for a long time. I spent a lot of time ruminating on what I’d just read when I finished this story, because the truth is that this book made me incredibly uncomfortable, angry, and heartbroken. This was an amazing book, but the content is so heavy-hitting, and it just left me feeling raw in the aftermath.

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black history month readathon · readathon

Black History Month Readathon

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.


January Wrap Up

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:

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Review: What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall

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.

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Review: When She Woke by Hillary Jordan

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.

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