It’s Monday & I am plugging away at the Read Harder challenge

December 19, 2016

To be quite honest, though, I did feel like chucking it all after I made my post about my planned reads. I mean, do I really want to spend my winter break doing a bunch of required reading? Especially when there are other books I want to read but probably don’t meet the challenge? But then I had to remind myself that none of this is actually required, and I am doing this for fun (and also because I am committed to winning–even if it’s just at this one thing with no actual prize except the thrill of victory). Plus, some of these books I actually want to read. So on I go.

Me after finishing this challenge, probably (source)

Me after finishing this challenge, probably (source)

I went to three parties this weekend and overate at almost every single one of them. Why is brie so delicious? On top of the brie, I made a pretty slamming sweet potato pie that was also delicious. For yesterday’s party, I had learned my lesson, though: Do NOT go to a party starving (which, honestly, I knew but had to remind myself of).

So yeah, now I’m ready to really buckle down and start reading in earnest. After I clean my dining room so I can put up my Christmas tree.

Last week, I posted two things:


This past week, I read:

HeartlessHeartless by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, let me say that I liked this book in general. It was a little slow to start, which was fine. I figured out what was going to make Cath turn out to match the epigraph at the beginning of the book pretty early on, which was also fine. The way that whole ending presented itself didn’t happen in any way I predicted, which was super A+.

However, I found the ending unsatisfactory. (FOR SOME REASON, when I copy/paste the review from Goodreads, it keeps exposing the spoilers. If you’re interested, you can click through to the full review to see those.)

As for non-spoilers, I definitely started having way more sympathy for Mary Ann (Cath’s maid) than Cath around the midpoint of the novel and that didn’t change at all by the time the book ended.


I Am JazzI Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My favorite thing about children’s literature is that it treats children as intelligent human beings who can understand things about the world if those things are explained to them in plain language. I mean, really. It’s not that complicated.

Read Harder 2016: Read a book by or about a person that identifies as transgender


If I Ran for PresidentIf I Ran for President by Catherine Stier
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I wonder how long it will take for me to not be sad when I read a book that treats the presidency as a serious job that the person running for the office should take seriously.

“Then I’d ask myself: ‘Am I the best person for the job? Am I ready to work VERY, VERY, VERY hard for my country? Do lots of people believe in me, and will they help me run for office?’

If I could answer yes to all of those questions [emphasis mine], then I’d declare my candidacy.”


As for the book itself, it’s a little boring, though straightforward and informative. I enjoyed the watercolor art on some of the pages.

Read Harder 2016: Read a book out loud to someone else / Read a book about politics, in your country or another

View all my reviews

As of today, I’m reading:

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff: This is a lot of fun so far. I’m enjoying the badassery that is Delilah and that Selim, so far, just seems to be along for the ride.

Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta

Tell the Truth, Shame the Devil by Melina Marchetta: This is an adult (not YA) novel though there is a strong teen component. It’s also a mystery that deals with politics (immigration!) so even though this isn’t for the reading challenge, it may wind up ticking one of the boxes anyway. I need to finish this fairly quickly since it’s due back to the library, oh, today, and someone else has a hold on it (I try to be courteous about such things).

Kidlit version hosted by Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen of Teach Mentor Texts; original version hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.

Kidlit version hosted by Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen of Teach Mentor Texts; original version hosted by Kathryn at Book Date.


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  1. Jenny @ Reading the End

    I am delighted to hear that you have been having success with brie. I am planning to make a brie jam pastry thing for our family Christmas Eve morning thing, and I’ve never made it before so I am nervous. If it works I will appear extremely fancy.

    Meanwhile I super want to read the Melina Marchetta book. I’ve read all her YA fiction and was a little leery of her branching out into a new genre. Eek what if I do not love it the same!

    • Akilah

      The brie jam pastry thing CANNOT LOSE. It is so delicious. You will appear to be the fanciest, I promise.

      I enjoyed the book! It wasn’t quite the same as her YA, but the signature markers were there.

  2. Jane the Raincity Librarian

    YES – the best children’s books are the ones that respect children, and speak to them in honest, clear language that doesnt hide behind euphamisms and fluff. Kids are smart, and kids are honest. They are curious, and typically very accepting, until grown ups tell them not to be. I really value books that treat kids as the little human beings they are.

  3. crbrunelle

    I love your collection of quotes in the Picking Favorites link. I will go back through that again more slowly soon. Happy reading.

  4. cweichel

    There is a reason I think why children’s books that adults enjoy are often the ones that kids like best.

  5. Sharlene

    Sweet potato pie! I keep meaning to try that….!

    • Akilah

      The key to good sweet potato pie is that it taste like sweet potato pie and NOT pumpkin pie. So many people get this wrong and it makes me sad.

  6. Elisabeth Ellington

    I had to bail on pretty much all of my reading challenges this year. It just hasn’t been a great reading year. (Though it’s been a really good year for scrolling aimlessly through Facebook for hours every day. When I think about the books that could have been read….) But I have tried to give myself willing permission to bail so that I can avoid reading guilt! I might try the Read Harder challenge next year, however. Good luck finishing it up! And don’t forget: there’s a picture book for everything! (Even the 500+ page category, if they have one of those. Thank you, Brian Selznick.)

    • Akilah

      I have had the same reaction to FB and Twitter! Sometimes when I find myself clicking back and forth between the two, I am like, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING? DO SOMETHING ELSE.” So yeah, it’s a problem.

      I didn’t even think to link for a picture book dystopia. Hmm.


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