Books, JJ Reads, the memo pad

Memo Pad: Books March 2017

I’m marching on (pun!) with my reading this month and managing to keep up to quite an amazing pace for me. Another 5 books read, this was helped greatly by receiving some brilliant books for review (opinions are always my own honest thoughts) and I was doing really well in the not buying books stakes but then….well, I’ll get to that later.

mp march2017

Read: 5                Bought: 0 (+7)


Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb *****

Ship of Magic begins an epic tale of pirates, sentient ships, magic, sea serpents, slave revolts, dashing heroes and bloody battles. On the northernmost point of the Cursed Shores lies Bingtown, a bustling hub of exotic trade and home to a proud merchant nobility famed for its extraordinary vessels. Only Bingtown liveships can negotiate the perilous waters of the Rain Wild River and plunder the riches found upstream, but such vessels are made from the most precious commodity in the world – a material with the ability to become sentient – and so are extremely rare. The fortunes of one of Bingtown’s oldest families rest on the newly awakened liveship Vivacia.

Very simply, this book was just too long. I don’t mean books shouldn’t be this length, I’ve read some amazing, long books, just that there needs to be a reason that it’s this long. First off the ending wasn’t really an ending, it wasn’t a climax or resolution and the book could have been ended anywhere without making it that long but more than that the reason this book is so long is because each of the characters seem to go off down memory lane a lot. They have internal monologues pondering things that are just not relevant enough to include, some backstory and exploration of character is good but not when it adds a couple of hundred pages to a long book .

I DID enjoy reading this, it’s a very vivid world and characters all had distinct voices and were from different backgrounds and you always wanted to know what happened next. The characters are not perfect, they are flawed and they got MORE flawed as the book went in rather than better. Personally there’s only so many bad decisions for a character to make and things going wrong for them until I stop being invested. If the book had ended sooner maybe I would have still cared about the characters.


Raining Embers by Jessica Dall *****

Palmer Tash always follows the path of least resistance. He has an unusual disability involving his hearing. But in theocratic Latysia, being different isn’t a good thing, so he conceals his problem. Brier Chastain’s malady is even more debilitating, and she often must take to her bed for long periods. Her days are spent in meaningless pursuits as she awaits an arranged marriage. When Palmer and Brier are kidnapped on the same night, they meet and discover that their so-called disabilities are actually budding powers. They are the incarnations of Order and Chaos. With their country on the brink of war, the two must step into their predestined roles and learn to take control of their own destinies.

This is exactly what I was expecting it to be. A fun, fast, exciting adventure. Exactly what I wanted it to be after reading a long book. Something to note: the blurb makes their disabilities sound like a large part of the plot but they aren’t, in fact, they disappear completely within the first few chapters.

I also thought that the magic was a bit unexplained towards the end. As if the author was just adding whatever sounded exciting with no reasoning. And there’s no doubt this is exciting, I finished it in two sittings, but it would have been nice to have the magic elements a little bit more explained.


The Enemy Within by Scott Burn *****

Seventeen-year-old Max has always felt like an outsider. When the agonizing apocalyptic visions begin, he decides suicide is his only escape. He soon finds himself in an institution under the guidance of a therapist who sees something exceptional in him. Just as he begins to leave the hallucinations behind, Max discovers the visions weren’t just in his head. There are three others who have shared those same thoughts and they’ve been searching for Max. Like him, they are something more than human. Each of them possesses certain abilities, which they’re going to need when a covert military group begins hunting them down. As the danger escalates, Max doesn’t know which side to trust. But in the end, his choice will decide the fate of both species.

This is a short but exciting page turner of a novel, it’s a fast paced adventure following a teenager called Max as he gets admitted to a mental hospital after struggling to deal with his visions of an apocalypse. It’s a very quick read at only 160 pages and unfortunately I think this meant that I couldn’t quite connect with the characters as much as I’d want to meaning they came across as a little 2d at times. It would have been great if more time could have been spent on them. I think this is natural for a book of this length though and the plot is enough to keep you interested and racing to the finish.


Recruits by Locke Thomas *****

For a decade now, seventeen-year-old twins Sean and Dillon Kirrell have been drawn to a mysterious alternate world they’ve translated into hand-drawn images covering their bedroom walls. It’s a world they’ve only seen in their dreams until now–when a stranger recruits them to train for a mind-bending mission of survival.

I could tell from the first couple of pages that I was going to enjoy this book. Something about the way the author writes is just so enjoyable to read. I’d mark this down as science fantasy, it’s set on multiple different worlds so has a very sciencey futuristic feel at times but is also set a lot on regular, modern day earth too. The two main characters, Dillon and Sean, turn out to be gifted individuals called transitors, and they develop… Magic powers basically. So that’s the fantasy part. The twins both have very different personalities and they love each other dearly, but they are brothers and they fight and argue just as much as they should. The only thing I would say is that I found them being seventeen slightly unbelievable. I read books where kids do ridiculously awesome things all the time so it wasn’t necessarily that, I think more the way they interacted with the “adults” was what jarred me a bit. The end section of this book definitely ramped up the tension and stakes and I raced through it. Overall this is a fast paced, exciting and easy to read science fantasy with brilliant world building.


Inherit the Flame (Scorched Continent #3) by Megan O’Keefe *****

I’m not going to add a blurb here because this is the third book in a series and it has spoilers in it.

I was so excited to read this book  but at the same time sad because this is the last book in the scorched continent trilogy. There’s always a bit of anxiety for me  when it comes to reading the last book in a series that I’ve absolutely loved. You are always hoping that it will do the series justice and end well. I’m sad that it is over but this is the ending that the series deserved. 

The brilliant characters, witty banter and high stakes were all there and I am so glad this was up to the standard of the previous two books. All of the characters come back for one final adventure, everything in their series so far cumulates in one very big problem for Detan and the crew to solve. 

I would say that there were certain parts that I don’t think were intertwined as well as they could have been and, especially at the start, I felt like Detan was a little bit TOO lost for me. But then I always like my characters to hsve an ace up their sleeve. It was still a very enjoyable read and I think anyone who likes reading heist/conmen books like The Gentleman Bastards or Six of Crows should give this series a read. It’s a bit lighter and more fun but still in the same vein with plenty of action, cleverness and heartbreaking moments. 


Books bought:

I was doing really well and didn’t buy ANY books, that was helped greatly by the fact that I received three of the books I read this month free for review. But then….I mean, I’m going on holiday next month so I started planning what I wanted to buy for my holiday and I bought them too. Now, I’ll only actually manage at most four books on holiday but I wanted choices…. I ended up buying another seven books. Whoops.

Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A Neilson, The Untimely Deaths of Alex Wayfare by MG Buehrlen, Blue Lily, Lily Blue (Raven Boys #3) by Maggie Stiefvater, Elantris by Brandon Sanderson, Willful Machines by Tim Floreen, Inkheart by Cornelia Funke and The Captive Prince by CS Pacat.

Phew, that’s quite a lot of books. All I need to do now is not read them until my holiday…

But let’s chat. Have you read any of these books, the ones I’ve just bought or the ones I read this month? What did you think? Which ones would you recommend I read first? What was your favourite book that YOU read this month?

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7 thoughts on “Memo Pad: Books March 2017”

  1. I finally got a book for review that should have come in January, but somehow I was missed on the list and then was too sick to do anything about it. I think I need to re-read all the other books again to get the feel of it! I’ve been reading HP and Laura so much lately that I’m completely immersed in those worlds.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Knowing me I’ll end up wanting to read something else but I tried to give me a wide range. Long books, short books, easy books, epic books….hopefully I’ll have what I want 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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