#MustReadin2018 Fall Check In

September 7, 2018

It’s time for the fall Must Read check in!

Since my last check in, I have read five books, which brings my total up to 14/20 attempted.

Here are the books on my list:

must read 2018

Here are the reviews of the five books I read since my last update:

Long Way DownLong Way Down by Jason Reynolds

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars, rounding up for THAT ENDING

Yeah, so I really loved the end of the book. (Can you tell?) It really made the whole thing work for me.

This is a good look at toxic masculinity (soooo toxic) and violence begetting violence and thinking about when and how to break the cycle of violence and also seeing how toxic masculinity can make breaking that cycle seem impossible. Because there are rules, see?

View all my reviews

Thick as Thieves (The Queen's Thief, #5)Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I read this whole book because I trust Megan Whalen Turner, she of the massive payoffs, but, man alive, I was completely bored through almost the whole thing. It starts and ends interestingly enough but the middle was such a slog.

Also, I know she can write whatever story she wants and tell it however she wants to, but I also found myself increasingly annoyed that she hints at all these fantastic and interesting female characters and yet.

View all my reviews

Sisterhood EverlastingSisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So, this book starts with a tragedy and I was NOT PREPARED. As in, I almost quit reading the book because I was just not in the headspace to deal with a tragedy, and I am at the point in the semester/year/my life where I need stuff like that to be spelled out for me so I can decide if I even want to engage. But I checked in with some friends who read the book, and they told me to keep going, so I did.

I ultimately found the ending satisfying, but, man. This is a reminder to never ask authors to write new books about characters you love because almost always there will be tragedy. REMEMBER THIS, especially because in the end note Brashares said she could see writing another book about the sisterhood. Pretty sure I can’t handle having my heart destroyed again, so no thanks on that one.

Other thoughts:

1. Not enough Carmen. She’s my favorite character, but I felt she was unevenly represented in this book.

2. Lena continues to be the most boring. I found it particularly bothersome in this book because I related to her a lot, which made it 100 times worse.

3. Not enough dialogue. This book is super internally focused, which makes sense, but Brashares summarizes a lot of interactions the women have with other people, which made for a much less engaging read. I mean, sure, they have deep thoughts about things, but it would have been nice to break up all of that introspection with some showing instead of telling re: their relationships with other people.

It took me way longer to read this book than it should have, and that’s in part because of the lack of dialogue. Also, the tragedy, but you knew that.

View all my reviews

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You AreThe Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My reaction to this is just like my reaction to Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead in that it’s fine to read (hence the three stars), and that I flagged quite a few quotes.

I’ve done a lot of work in this area, so this is stuff I already knew. It probably would have had a greater impact on me about five or so years ago. Also, the Breakdown Spiritual Awakening is 100% relatable content, so.

View all my reviews

Alex + Ada, Vol. 3Alex + Ada, Vol. 3 by Jonathan Luna

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Yeah, so I totally didn’t expect Alex (view spoiler). I feel like this probably could have been another volume for that alone.

Ada is great and Alex’s grandmother continues to be the best ever. I wish she were featured more in the story, honestly.

A good conclusion to the story (it’s impulsively readable), but it just felt a little rushed.

View all my reviews



1. The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown

2. Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leah Bardugo

3. Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares

4. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

5.  The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

6. A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams

7. All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin

8. The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

9. Mr. Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo

10. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

11. Black No More by George S. Schuyler

12. The Mother of Black Hollywood by Jenifer Lewis

13. The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

14. Alex + Ada, Vol. 3 by Jonathan Luna

15. Princeless: Raven the Pirate Princess, Vol. 2 by Jeremy Whitley

16. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson

17. After the Funeral by Agatha Christie

18. Thick as Thieves by Megan Whalen Turner

19. Giant Days, Vol. 3 by John Allison

20. Princeless, Vol. 5 by Jeremy Whitley

I really, really want to get to PrincelessMistress of Spices, and The Obelisk Gate before the end of the year. Two out of those three will depend on library availability and also I feel like I need to reread The Fifth Season before I even try The Obelisk Gate because my friend reminded me that SO MUCH happened in that first book, and I’m worried I’ve probably forgotten all of it. So. We’ll see how that goes.

I’m still mad about Sisterhood Everlastingbtw.

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  1. aaroncleaveley

    I also really loved the ending of Long Way Down. I will be interested to see what you think of Wonder Woman. I haven’t tried any of the new YAish super hero books except Jason Reynold’s Miles Morales. I am thinking of adding a Jemisin book for my 2019 list. Thanks for the great post!

  2. lindabaie

    I too loved Long Way Down, thought it was amazing to take that elevator metaphor & carry it throughout. I’ve never heard of Alex & Ada, will look for it! Thanks for your clear & honest reviews. I enjoyed them.

    • Akilah

      Thank you!

  3. cweichel

    Long Way Down wasn’t my favourite Jason Reynolds’ book, but that ending was stellar. I love reading anything by Brené Brown and have a copy of The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are around here somewhere. Happy Reading!

  4. carriegelson

    I love all of your honest reactions and reviews. Like Cheriee, Long Way Down is not my favourite Reynolds book – in fact it is definitely my least favourite but I did appreciate the concept. It was more of a feeling of “this is good” as I read it rather than getting lost in it.


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