My first reading update of the new year! #IMWAYR

January 13, 2020

Welp, I said I wasn’t participating in any reading challenges, and then here comes Audible with their three  audiobooks in three months challenge, complete with a $20 gift card if you complete it.

Audible Challenge 2020

And if you thought your girl wasn’t going to read and WIN MONEY for doing so, then you don’t know me at all. Not to mention I have (a) plenty of audiobook credits to spare and (b) a 20-minute commute Monday-Thursday while I teach the winter session. So. Here we are.

I chose Sadie by Courtney Summers as my first book to read for the challenge.

Sadie by Courtney Summers

It has a full-cast audio, which I love. As a bonus, Rebecca Soler, the A+++ narrator of the Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series, narrates Sadie’s parts. Plus, I was thinking about teaching this in my mystery and crime class next time, so it was on my to-read list anyway.

I’ve read the following books since my last post.

First, those books finished in 2019 (on Dec. 31, no less):

QueenieQueenie by Candice Carty-Williams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars, rounding up

I listened to the audio, and I have to say the narrator is fantastic. Everyone sounds different, and I loved hearing all of the characters’ different accents. A++

The book itself, I liked quite a bit for its exploration of generational resistance to trauma. At times, this was hard to read because it was a little too real and the author spends quite a bit of time on Queenie’s self-destructive behavior. The details about her sexual exploits are NOT fun, though they do say a lot about the character and how much help she needs.

I loved all of the stuff with Queenie’s family, and may we all be so lucky to have a friend like Kyazike.

The only thing I wanted more of is an acknowledgment that Queenie was often a TERRIBLE friend and that her ex was the actual worst.

View all my reviews


A Girl Like ThatA Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 stars, rounding up

I love that this book is about girls’ rage and anger at living in a deeply patriarchal society that has clear and (as always) hypocritical double standards. I also like that their responses aren’t necessarily pretty or good but that they fall within the realms of their control (like Mishal’s gossip Tumblr or Zarin pushing the limit with boys).

The cover–though a stunner and not inaccurate–is a bit misleading. This is not a happy nor light-hearted story as the pink would suggest. In fact, when I read the prologue, I almost set it aside because I was expecting something a little frothier. I’m glad I didn’t since I wound up quite invested in the characters in the story, but that’s just a heads up for anyone considering the book.

My biggest issue with the book is the ending. I didn’t love it, and, in fact (view spoiler) It felt like a cop out, and I thought both characters deserved better.

Still, I rounded up the rating because it didn’t make me hate the book; it actually made me wish the book were longer so more of those issues could be explored.

View all my reviews


And my first reads of this year:

Ship ItShip It by Britta Lundin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was a fun plane read, wholly engaging and a fast read. The author’s note says this was originally a screenplay, and I can see that because all of the scenes were super vivid and the dialogue was on point.

While I really enjoyed reading the book, I am torn on a rating. See, the thing is Claire engages in a lot of Very Bad Behavior, and she never faces any consequences for any of it–in fact, she is REWARDED for doing things that are ethically challenged and, in some cases, borderline illegal. As another matter of fact, the other characters suffer for her actions, and she still somehow…doesn’t care? The character engages in zero self-reflection and is only genuinely hurt by the things that happen to the fictional characters in her world, and no one ever calls her on the fact that she does Awful Things. I mean, more than one character enables her! And, I mean, that’s certainly a choice for the author to make.

Also, and it can’t be said enough: Tess deserves so much better. You can take that in any way you like.

So, 3.5 stars, rounding down

View all my reviews


Pumpkin HeadsPumpkin Heads by Rainbow Rowell

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was super cute and fun, and I loved the artwork. It also has two of my favorite tropes (action happens in one night, unrequited love), so that was a delight. I did keep wanting just a little bit something more from it, though, so there’s also that.

View all my reviews


Giant Days: Early RegistrationGiant Days: Early Registration by John Allison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just love these characters so much.

I prefer the new artwork, and I’m glad the more outlandish elements are no more, but, in general, as a fan of the series, it was nice to see the beginnings and to know that my love for Daisy is pure and deep.

View all my reviews


Unforgivable Love: A Retelling of Dangerous LiaisonsUnforgivable Love: A Retelling of Dangerous Liaisons by Sophfronia Scott

1/7/20: This book is getting on my nerves, and I can’t tell if it’s the narrator (I feel like she’s doing an affectation for the voices, and it bugs) or the actual story. So, anyway, I’ll give it a try in print before chucking it completely.

I made it to chapter 5.

View all my reviews


Happy New Year, everyone!

You May Also Like…


  1. lindabaie

    I’m glad you decided to share as I noted some of these books for my list! And hope you made that challenge! Thanks!

  2. cweichel

    I also loved that audiobook of Sadie. I didn’t realize before that it was Rebecca Soler who narrated the Lunar Chronicles. I listened to that one too and loved her voice. If you haven’t listened to Will Patton’s narration of Maggie Stiefvater’s series, Raven Cycle, I highly recommend it. It’s the perfect match of voice and story.

  3. aaroncleaveley

    I have been wondering about Pumpkinheads, as Faith Erin Hicks has some popular books in my library. And I really need to read Sadie, it seems interesting. Thanks for the shares.

  4. Rebecca Herzog

    I really enjoyed Pumpkinheads. And A Girl Like That sounds like a book I would enjoy.

  5. Shaye Miller

    I really, REALLY enjoyed Sadie as an audiobook. So much so that it’s probably the only book I can think of that I’d prefer as an audiobook than a text book. Oh wait, that and Becoming by Michelle Obama. I’ve heard good things about Queenie, but I do think there would be very difficult parts for me to digest. Thank you for all these shares, Akilah! My apologies for linking up to #imwayr so late this week. But at least I made it. LOL

    • Akilah

      Yes, at least you made it! I usually don’t haha.

  6. Chandra Lynn

    Soooo…all this time, I thought I was following you, and I wondered why I never saw your posts in the reader. Now, I know. I wasn’t following. Smh…


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *