Combo Weekly/Monthly Round-Up (It’s Monday, y’all!)

February 8, 2016

My eye issue has mostly resolved, so I should be able to keep up with blogs more from now, which is a definite yay. I missed posting last week, so this is a two-fer (though, technically, I guess it’s a three-fer). I read some books is what I’m saying. Let’s get to it.

This past week, I finished:

To Catch a Cheat (The Great Greene Heist, #2)To Catch a Cheat by Varian Johnson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars, rounding up

I love everything about this book (okay, almost everything, hence the 1/2 star deduction), including the cover. So fun! It gave me a happy.

View all my reviews

The week before that, I finished:

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor (An Abolitionist Tale about Harriet Tubman)Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Underground Abductor by Nathan Hale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Harriet Tubman is your OG, and you will respect her as such. Harriet Tubman is a complete and total badass. This book is A++ in showing that and giving an overview of her life. Two thumbs up, fine holiday fun.

Nathan Hale’s art is amazing, and he presents slavery in an unflinching and honest way, which is important given discussions around how children’s books are failing to do that right now.

Read Harder 2016: Read a biography (not memoir or autobiography)

View all my reviews


Watson and Holmes - A Study In BlackWatson and Holmes – A Study In Black by Karl Bollers
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was solid.

I only have two complaints: (1) There were a couple of glaring typos in the first couple of pages and (2) the art work in the epilogue is completely different from the other chapters and it was my least favorite of all the art.

Otherwise, intriguing and an interesting/fun new take on Holmes.

Read Harder 2016: Read a non-superhero comic that debuted in the last three years

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Jessica Jones: Alias, Vol. 1Jessica Jones: Alias, Vol. 1 by Brian Michael Bendis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I first started this book, I didn’t care much for the art–a little too dark and muddled. However, as the story progressed and Jessica’s came out of her depression, the art work shifted. It was subtle, and it worked.

I like Jessica. I liked this. And that ending? Man.

View all my reviews


Yes, Chef: A MemoirYes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

2.5 stars, rounding down

So. Here’s the thing. Marcus Samuelsson has led a fascinating life, and I enjoyed reading about it. But at one point, he reveals that he has a daughter, and he decides to be an absentee father while he pursues his dreams. Which, you know, is fine if that’s the choice he wanted to make. But all I could think as he was talking about his time gallivanting around the world as a chef is “Yeah, but what about Zoe?”


So that tempered my enjoyment quite a bit.

Also, hot tip to all the absentee/deadbeat parents in the world: do not thank the parent who actually did the work of raising the child. That probably annoys me more than women who say their husbands are “babysitting” the children.

Read Harder 2016: Read a food memoir

View all my reviews


So, all in all, January was:

A good reading month! I read 15 books, 5 of which counted for the Diversity on the Shelf challenge. I am running at lower than 50% reads by/about POC, so I want to improve on that next month. We’ll see how it goes. I also read three 5-star books. Wouldn’t it be nice if 20% of my reads this year turn out to be 5-star reads?

As of today, I’m reading:

The Light Between Oceans is slow-going so far, but it’s for book club so I shall power through. I am not sure yet how I feel about Re Jane. I dig a lot of the changes the author has made (I especially love how she deals with the madwoman in the attic–brilliant!) (also, love the word play in the title). However, this Jane is planning to do something original Jane just would not do AT ALL, so I am not sure if I’ll be able to keep reading if this Jane does something the original Jane wouldn’t. I am not even particularly enamored of the original, but I guess even I have my limits. So. We shall see how that goes.

Original now hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. Children's lit version hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts &  Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers.

Original now hosted by Kathryn @ The Book Date. Children’s lit version hosted by Jen Vincent @ Teach Mentor Texts & Kellee Moye @ Unleashing Readers.

Happy reading, everyone!

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  1. Hannahlily

    I have Yes, Chef (bought it for a dollar somewhere) and I am so glad you mentioned the part about his daughter. I know that’s going to bother me a lot too, so it’s a good thing to know before I start reading the memoir. I have not yet read Varian Johnson’s OR Nathan Hale’s books and I don’t know why, I’ve heard nothing but raves about them! Definitely need to pick them up soon.

    • Akilah

      Yeah I think if I had known about his daughter and their relationship going in, it would have bugged me a lot less.

  2. Kathryn

    Seems like your reading is well on track. Yes I did enjoy The Year of Yes! What a woman. It has made me start of watching Scandal which I never watched.

  3. Stefanie

    My tween added that first book you finished to her TBR recently. I disagree about Samuelsson. I loved his memoir. I was totally shocked about the daughter bit but found his memoir raw and real. I give him credit for “airing his dirty laundry” as the old saying goes. He owned it.

    • Akilah

      I enjoyed it and appreciated his honesty, but absentee parents are a sore spot for me, so my response to that is steeped in my own experience. Other than that, I really liked the book, hence the mixed review.

  4. Kellee from Unleashing Readers (@kelleemoye)

    I love the Nathan Hale series, and I agree that the Harriet Tubman one may be one of the bests! I also loved the Donner Party one 🙂
    Varian Johnson is coming to a local school, and I cannot go which makes me so sad, but I put Great Greene Heist on my #mustreadin2016 because I’ve heard such good things.

    Happy reading this week , and thank you for linking up!

  5. Myra from GatheringBooks

    I didn’t quite enjoy The Great Greene Heist as I thought I would, but glad to hear that the sequel is fun. 🙂

    • Akilah

      I liked the sequel more!

  6. Lady Disdain

    Oh dear, I’ve got “Re:Jane” waiting for me, and now I’m a bit apprehensive. I love Jane Eyre, and this will be my first time reading a modern adaptation. Hopefully things tie up well in the end, fingers crossed.

    • Akilah

      You may like it! I guess I’m just more of a purist than I thought.

  7. Crystal

    I’ve enjoyed the Nathan Hale books that I’ve read so far. I’m glad to hear this one is fantastic. I’m looking forward to To Catch a Cheat.

  8. Elisabeth

    My mom gave me a heads-up about Zoe before I started reading Yes Chef. It does help to know that’s going to be problematic, though I don’t think it’s unrealistic, unfortunately. I’m listening to the book on audio (narrated by Samuelson himself) and really loving it. He (along with Veronica Chambers) can really write. I still haven’t read any of the Hazardous Tales books–this looks like the one I want to start with. I just bought To Catch a Cheat to read aloud to my son. He really liked The Great Greene Heist (as did I), though it was a bit too pageturney to make for good bedtime reading (I like books that make him fall asleep!).

  9. Cheriee Weichel @ Library Matters

    I enjoyed The Great Greene Heist and am happy to see that their is a sequel. I’m not sure Yes Chef is a book I will bother to read. Thanks so much for your honest reviews.


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