So many readathons are happening in February! I forced myself to limit which ones I’m participating in to be realistic about how much I can read, and I probably still went overboard. I’ll be joining Tarotathon, Blackathon, and getting to my Buzzwordathon and roll100 prompts. Here are the books I’m planning to read next month.
Tarotathon: 10 of Swords (part of a series and either featuring a battle or historical)
The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks by Mackenzi Lee
Adrian Montague has a bright future. The sole heir to his father’s estate, he is an up and coming political writer and engaged to an activist who challenges and inspires him. But most young Lords aren’t battling the debilitating anxiety Adrian secretly lives with, or the growing fear that it might consume him and all he hopes to accomplish. In the wake of his mother’s unexpected death, Adrian is also concerned people will find out that he has the mental illness she struggled with for years.
When a newly found keepsake of hers-a piece of a broken spyglass—comes into Adrian’s possession, he’s thrust into the past and finds himself face to face with an older brother he never knew he had. Henry “Monty” Montague has been living quietly in London for years, and his sudden appearance sends Adrian on a quest to unravel family secrets that only the spyglass can answer.
In pursuit of answers about the relic, the brothers chart a course to locate their sister Felicity. But as they travel between the pirate courts of Rabat, Portuguese islands, the canals of Amsterdam, and into unknown Artic waters, the Montague siblings are thrown into one final adventure as they face a ghostly legend that threatens their whole family.
Tarotathon: Page of Swords (has a young character and either featuring a battle or historical)
Endymion Spring by Matthew Skelton
In the dead of night, a cloaked figure drags a heavy box through snow-covered streets. The chest, covered in images of mythical beasts, can only be opened when the fangs of its serpent’s-head clasp taste blood.
Centuries later, in an Oxford library, a boy touches a strange book and feels something pierce his finger. The volume is blank, wordless, but its paper has fine veins running through it and seems to quiver, as if it’s alive. Words begin to appear on the page–words no one but the boy can see.
And so unfolds a timeless secret . . . .
Tarotathon: 2 of Wands (has a couple and either featuring magic or a fantasy)
The Sumage Solution by G. L. Carriger
Max fails at magic, relationships, and life. So he works as a sumage, cleaning up other mages’ messes. The job sucks and he’s in no mood to cope with redneck biker werewolves. Unfortunately, there’s something irresistible about the sexy muscled Beta visiting his office for processing.
Bryan is gay but he’s not out. There’s a good chance Max might be reason enough to leave the closet, if he can only get the man to go on a date.
Everyone knows werewolves hate mages, but Bryan is determined to prove everyone wrong, even the mage in question.
Blackathon: by a trans black diasporic author
The Deep by Rivers Solomon
Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.
Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.
Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.
Blackathon: features impressive architecture or largely in one building
This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron
Briseis has a gift: she can grow plants from tiny seeds to rich blooms with a single touch.
When Briseis’s aunt dies and wills her a dilapidated estate in rural New York, Bri and her parents decide to leave Brooklyn behind for the summer. Hopefully there, surrounded by plants and flowers, Bri will finally learn to control her gift. But their new home is sinister in ways they could never have imagined–it comes with a specific set of instructions, an old-school apothecary, and a walled garden filled with the deadliest botanicals in the world that can only be entered by those who share Bri’s unique family lineage.
When strangers begin to arrive on their doorstep, asking for tinctures and elixirs, Bri learns she has a surprising talent for creating them. One of the visitors is Marie, a mysterious young woman who Bri befriends, only to find that Marie is keeping dark secrets about the history of the estate and its surrounding community. There is more to Bri’s sudden inheritance than she could have imagined, and she is determined to uncover it . . . until a nefarious group comes after her in search of a rare and dangerous immortality elixir. Up against a centuries-old curse and the deadliest plant on earth, Bri must harness her gift to protect herself and her family.
Blackathon: features wealthy characters or explores class
Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony in her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody’s mother, for her own ceremony– a celebration that ultimately never took place.
Unfurling the history of Melody’s parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they’ve paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives–even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.
Blackathon: features aquatic themes or water magic
Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen
Simi prayed to the gods, once. Now she serves them as Mami Wata–a mermaid–collecting the souls of those who die at sea and blessing their journeys back home.
But when a living boy is thrown overboard, Simi goes against an ancient decree and does the unthinkable–she saves his life. And punishment awaits those who dare to defy the gods.
To protect the other Mami Wata, Simi must journey to the Supreme Creator to make amends. But all is not as it seems. There’s the boy she rescued, who knows more than he should. And something is shadowing Simi, something that would rather see her fail . . .
Danger lurks at every turn, and as Simi draws closer, she must brave vengeful gods, treacherous lands, and legendary creatures. Because if she fails, she risks not only the fate of all Mami Wata, but also the world as she knows it.
Blackathon: spiritual or character with fantastical capabilities
Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens by Lilith Dorsey
Throughout Africa and beyond in the diaspora caused by the slave trade, the divine feminine was revered in the forms of goddesses like the ancient Nana Buluku, water spirits like Yemaya, Oshun, and Mami Wata, and the warrior Oya. The power of these goddesses and spirit beings has taken root in the West. New Orleans, for example, is the home of Marie Laveau, who used her magical powers to become the “Voodoo Queen” of New Orleans.
Orishas, Goddesses, and Voodoo Queens shows you how to celebrate and cultivate the traits of these goddesses, drawing upon their strengths to empower your own life. In addition to offering a guided tour of the key goddesses of the African religious traditions, the book offers magical spells, rituals, potions, astrological correspondences, sacred offerings, and much more to help guide you on your own transformational journey.
Blackathon: set in Jamaica or on an island
Sweethand by N. G. Peltier
After a public meltdown over her breakup from her cheating musician boyfriend, Cherisse swore off guys in the music industry, and dating in general for a while, preferring to focus on growing her pastry chef business.
When Cherisse’s younger sister reveals she’s getting married in a few months, Cherisse hopes that will distract her mother enough to quit harassing her about finding a guy, settling down and having kids. But her mother’s matchmaking keeps intensifying.
Cherisse tries to humour her mother, hoping if she feigns interest in the eligible bachelors she keeps tossing her way, she’ll be off the hook, but things don’t quite go as planned. Turns out for the first time in ages, she and Keiran King, the most annoying man ever, are on the island at the same time. Avoiding him is impossible, especially when Keiran’s close friend is the one marrying her sister, and he’s the best man to her maid of honour.
Keiran doesn’t know what to make of Cherisse now. They’ve always butted heads. To him she’s always been a stuck-up brat who seeks attention, even while he secretly harbored a crush on her. Now with Cherisse’s sister marrying one of his good friends he can’t escape her as the wedding activities keep throwing them together.
When things turn heated after a rainy night of bedroom fun, they both have to figure out if they can survive the countdown to wedding day, without this turning into a recipe for disaster.
Blackathon: centering on a tight-knit group of friends or unlikely allies
Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler
In 2025, with the world descending into madness and anarchy, one woman begins a fateful journey toward a better future.
Lauren Olamina and her family live in one of the only safe neighborhoods remaining on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Behind the walls of their defended enclave, Lauren’s father, a preacher, and a handful of other citizens try to salvage what remains of a culture that has been destroyed by drugs, disease, war, and chronic water shortages. While her father tries to lead people on the righteous path, Lauren struggles with hyperempathy, a condition that makes her extraordinarily sensitive to the pain of others.
When fire destroys their compound, Lauren’s family is killed and she is forced out into a world that is fraught with danger. With a handful of other refugees, Lauren must make her way north to safety, along the way conceiving a revolutionary idea that may mean salvation for all mankind.
Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride
Sam leads a pretty normal life. He may not have the most exciting job in the world, but he’s doing all right—until a fast food prank brings him to the attention of Douglas, a creepy guy with an intense violent streak.
Turns out Douglas is a necromancer who raises the dead for cash and sees potential in Sam. Then Sam discovers he’s a necromancer too, but with strangely latent powers. And his worst nightmare wants to join forces . . . or else.
With only a week to figure things out, Sam needs all the help he can get. Luckily he lives in Seattle, which has nearly as many paranormal types as it does coffee places. But even with newfound friends, will Sam be able to save his skin?
Wolves at Our Door by Jim and Jamie Dutcher
For centuries, wolves have haunted the human imagination. It has been accepted as conventional wisdom that they are savage predators, creatures of nightmare. Determined to overcome such misconceptions, Jim and Jamie Dutcher spent six years in a tented camp on the edge of Idaho’s wilderness, living with and filming a pack of wolves. Now, in this lyrical memoir, the Dutchers share their experience of life among these intelligent and elusive animals.
By socializing with the pack from the time they were pups, the Dutchers were able to gain the wolves’ trust and observe their behavior in a way that few people ever have. What they witnessed was remarkable: a complex nature oriented toward family life and strong social bonds.
Wolves at Our Door is much more than a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Dutchers’ Emmy Award-winning Discovery Channel documentary. It is the story of two people brought together by their devotion to wildlife and held together by their belief in each other. It is about their struggle to keep the project alive amid marauding mountain lions, forest fires, subzero temperatures—and the never-ending storm of controversy that surrounds the wolf.
Smoke by Dan Vyleta
In an alternate Victorian England those who are wicked are marked by the smoke that pours out of their bodies. The aristocracy are clean, proof of their virtue and right to rule, while the lower classes are drenched in sin and soot.
Thomas Argyle is the only son of a wayward aristocrat. Charlie Cooper is his best friend. When Thomas finds himself under the boot heel of a sadistic headboy in the treacherous halls of their elite boarding school, he and Charlie begin to question the rules of their society. Then the boys meet Livia, the daughter of a wealthy and powerful family. She leads them to a secret laboratory where they learn that smoke may not be as it seems, and together they set out to uncover the truth about their world.
God is Disappointed in You by Mark Russell
God Is Disappointed in You is for people who would like to read the Bible… if it would just cut to the chase. Stripped of its arcane language and its interminable passages of poetry, genealogy, and law, every book of the Bible is condensed down to its core message, in no more than a few pages each. Written by Mark Russell with cartoons by New Yorker cartoonist Shannon Wheeler, God Is Disappointed in You is a frequently hilarious, often shocking, but always accurate retelling of the Bible, including the parts selectively left out by Sunday School teachers and church sermons. Irreverent yet faithful, this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to see past the fog of religious agendas and cultural debates to discover what the Bible really says.