Books, JJ Reads, the memo pad

Memo Pad: Books – January 2017

This month has been a really good start to the year and I managed 5 books, okay so one of them was only a novella but still, that’s pretty good for me. I finally got around to reading Crooked Kingdom and The Dream Thieves, which were both sequels I couldn’t wait for and yet, there were so many other books I wanted to read that I did indeed have to wait for them. Neither of them disappointed. Hopefully I can keep up this reading form and get to some more of the books I-cant-wait-but-have-waited-for.


Read: 5

Note: I normally include blurbs for all the books here but I’m not going to for the two sequels because they are riddled with spoilers for the first books in their respective series.


Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows Duology) by Leigh Bardugo *****

What can I say? This book is amazing. Kaz is just as brilliant as before. He’s a big ball of menace and revenge prowling about with a lead lined cane but we see some more cracks in his armour this time around. Those moments are beautiful. The whole team is back and schemes upon schemes are formed and foiled. If you like books with heists or thieves or intellectual protagonists then why haven’t you read these books yet? I would say that overall, it’s not as much a five star as Six of Crows but this one has my favourite scenes in so it evens out. It’s still an absolutely amazing book. I’m not ready for this duology to end.


The Girl in the City by Philip Harris *****

With the oppressive Transport Authority controlling every aspect of their existence, Leah and her father do what they can to carve a good life for themselves. Leah spends her nights scavenging in the rural zone around the City, risking capture by the Wild Ones as she hunts for salvage her father can trade for food and other essentials. But when Leah takes a bag of salvage from a dying stranger, she and her father are drawn into the world of Transport and its war against the terrorist organization, TRACE. A war that could cost them both their lives.

The world building in this is great, even though it’s only a novella I could still picture the world clearly. Unfortunately, I didn’t really identify with the main character. I didn’t think her motivations for doing certain things made sense, it felt like the author needed her to do something so she did. Maybe that’s because this is a really short novella and so we didn’t really have enough time to really get in her head and understand why she was acting a certain way. The story could have been a bit longer while still staying a novella and that way it could have developed her character a little more.


The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare by M.G Buehrlen *****

For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair. But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them. It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories. Fifty-six lifetimes to explore: the prospect is irresistible to Alex, especially when the same mysterious boy with soulful blue eyes keeps showing up in each of them. But the more she descends, the more it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Alex to travel again. Ever. And will stop at nothing to make this life her last.

I was not expecting this book to be as good as it was. This book is time traveling done right. Which is very difficult to do. I’ve been pretty disappointed in other time travel books lately but everything wrapped up well and was very cleverly intertwined. And mixing time travel with reincarnation and past lives was very interesting.

I loved the characters, it’s refreshing to see a teenage character who acts like a teenager rather than always doing what’s best for the world. Teenagers get panicky and self conscious and irrational but the author’s done this really well to make you still really root for Alex. I don’t normally like books with romance but I really enjoyed this. It had a lot of complicated relationships as well as the romantic one and the romance was never the be all and end all like it seems to be in a lot of YA.  I’ll definitely be reading the sequel.


Hold Back the Stars by Katie Khan *****

Carys and Max have ninety minutes of air left. None of this was supposed to happen. But perhaps this doesn’t need to be the end…
Adrift in space with nothing to hold on to but each other, Carys and Max can’t help but look back at the well-ordered world they have left behind – at the rules they couldn’t reconcile themselves to, and a life to which they might now never return. For in a world where love is banned, what happens when you find it?

First of I’ll say that both the title and the cover are gorgeous. But quickly behind that, I didn’t get on with the writing style. It’s written in the present tense that makes it sound like stage direction.

Carys and Max hold onto the rope tethering them together in the asteroid belt, quiet and contemplative

It was jarring and not the kind of jarring you get used to and then don’t notice again.

The book is split into two timelines, what’s currently happening ie drifting out in space and flashbacks of the two main characters relationship. They live in Europia where everyone has to move every three years to a new area or Voivode so there are no borders/national pride to start wars over. It was a really interesting setting and concept and I wish it had been explored a little more. I liked Carys and Max, in fact their first conversation when they met was so brilliant I laughed aloud and then went back and re read it. A lot of the present time is just a set up to show certain flashbacks and at times it really is obvious that they’re going through a list of moments rather than having a natural conversation. I feel like there needed to be a little bit more happening plot wise in the present timeline to make this book better also I felt like the ending was cheating. Without giving any spoilers away, all I’ll say is there was absolutely no reason in the plot for that to happen.


The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2) by Maggie Stiefvater *****

This book is ridiculously well written, I mean forget about the characters and the story for a second. The writing is beautiful. But back to the characters and story because no one reads a book just for the writing. I am still completely in love with the raven boys. They all need a hug and I can’t wait to read the next book. 


I’m not sure what wrong with me. Last year I think I only gave out five five-star reviews all year and I’ve given three in just one month. 

How have your first reading month of the year been? Read any five-star books? Have you read any of these and what did you think?

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4 thoughts on “Memo Pad: Books – January 2017”

    I just finished The Raven King this January, actually, and while I wasn’t particularly fangirling ocer the Raven Cycle before, I definitely am fangirling WAY MORE after reading The Raven King. 😛
    Great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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