Books, JJ Reads, the memo pad

Memo Pad: Book Reviews – June 2017

I only read four new books this month which is the least that I’ve read in a while but this was purely down to the fact that, only a week after reading them for the first time, I decided to reread the All For The Game trilogy to start the month off (and I have to say I only very narrowly avoided reading them for the third time in as many weeks). Even though I’ve read four books since then I am still in a book hangover from them and its very possible that I’ll end up rereading them again before the year is out. Which brings me on to another point. Goodreads has a new feature that means you can add a reread date to books now so I’m now counting rereads towards my reading goal for the year/goodreads challenge. Is anyone else doing this? I’ve never counted them before but….

In other news I’m now just one book away from actually reaching my goodreads challenge of 40 books! We’re only half way through! The most I’ve ever read in a year is 46 so it looks pretty set that I’ll beat that! My ultimate goal was 52 books but I didn’t want to set it that high because I didn’t want to be counting books rather than enjoying them but unless something goes horribly wrong, I’ll manage that too!

mp june17

Read: 4           Reread: 3           DNF: 1


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz *****

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

I liked it. I enjoyed reading it but that was it? I didn’t think it was as amazing as the hype had set it up to be.  I think a lot of the rave reviews are because of the subject matter/characters which is fair enough, there needs to be more books like this.

It was really well written and I definitely FELT how Aristotle was feeling. I do think that it got resolved very easily at the end. After everything we learn about Aristotle, I don’t think a kid like that would just accept it so easily.


Glamour by Kayla Bain-Vrba *****

Pip is a hopeless romantic living in a small town with his cobbler father and stepmother. His stepmother’s greatest wish is to move to court, but his father insists they find Pip a husband first. Not willing to wait any longer, his evil stepmother spreads a rumor that Pip can turn pebbles into jewels, and make those precious gems into slippers.  When the Aelfin king hear’s of this, he has Pip captured and thrown in the dungeon. Pip has one night to make the king a pair of gemstone slippers, or his life is forfeit. Luckily for Pip, who has never worked with a single gemstone much less an entire slipper’s worth, the king’s son has magical powers that can make bejeweled slippers—and he wants revenge on the king for casting him out. The two strike a bargain, but one pair of jeweled slippers leads to more and more demands, and Pip swiftly runs out of things to trade, until all that remains is his heart…

I enjoyed reading this book but I feel like it was confused about what it was trying to be. It reads like a fairytale but the middle bit has some rather explicit scenes. If this had been aimed at children and had, say, true loves kiss as a part of the bargain rather than what happened then this could have been a really brilliant children’s fairytale with a gay main character. It’s the right length, right tone (apart from the middle bit), lovely main character… If that was what it was then it would have been a four star easy, maybe more. But as it is, it’s a rather confused book.


The God Eaters by Jesse Hajicek *****

Imprisoned for ‘inflammatory writings’ by the totalitarian Theocracy, shy intellectual Ashleigh Trine figures his story’s over. But when he meets Kieran Trevarde, a hard-hearted gunslinger with a dark magic lurking in his blood, Ash finds that necessity makes strange heroes… and love can change the world.

“I love you,” he said and realised it was a lie.

I think that’s my favourite line that I’ve read this month (at least).

This book is set around the idea of native American like Gods and tribes being squashed by a new religion and culture set in a quasi wild-west that has magic. I can honestly say that I’ve never read a book set in a world anything like that before. It was interesting and I’d definitely recommend it just for the setting. The characters were flawed and broken and they evolved brilliantly as they started to let each other in and build up trust and there was enough action to keep you turning the pages. It has a pretty awful cover but the story is definitely worth checking out, especially because it is available online for free.


Scourge by Gail Z. Martin *****

The city-state of Ravenwood is wealthy, powerful, and corrupt. Merchant Princes and Guild Masters wager fortunes to outmaneuver League rivals for the king’s favor and advantageous trading terms. Lord Mayor Ellor Machison wields assassins, blood witches, and forbidden magic to assure that his powerful patrons get what they want, no matter the cost. Corran, Rigan, and Kell Valmonde are Guild Undertakers, left to run their family’s business when guards murdered their father and monsters killed their mother. Their grave magic enables them to help souls pass to the After and banish vengeful spirits. Rigan’s magic is unusually strong and enables him to hear the confessions of the dead, the secrets that would otherwise be taken to the grave. When the toll exacted by monsters and brutal guards hits close to home and ghosts expose the hidden sins of powerful men, Corran, Rigan and Kell become targets in a deadly game and face a choice: obey the Guild, or fight back and risk everything.

This story is absolutely packed full of Magic and monsters. It’s an epic fantasy following three brothers who are all likeable and face their own problems. I liked all three brothers, and enjoyed reading about them. There was plenty of action but I felt like some of the monster attacks and and the guard showdowns started to feel quite repetitive in the middle. On top of that one of the POV’s is very slow. I actually ended up skimming pretty much all his chapters and I honestly don’t think I missed much. I do expect a certain amount of politics in an epic fantasy but it was just stretched too far. Half of the things we’re told, we just simply don’t need to know let alone in the amount of detail we’re given it (repeatedly). If those chapters had been more succinct I think this would have been a four star for me. I did really enjoy the brothers and a lot of the side characters were great too, I think it should have stuck to those characters a little more.




Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Neilsen

I picked this book up because I absolutely loved The False Prince by Neilsen, (as in one of my FAVOURITE books) and this book is about thieves which is, um, my favourite thing? So I thought this would be amazing but for some reason I just didn’t get into it? I’m not sure why. But I’m very disappointed, possibly with myself for not enjoying it more.


So that was my reading month. I’m really excited about nearly reaching my goal. I wonder how many books I will read by the end of the year. Have you read any of these? What is the best book that you have read this month? And do you count rereads towards your reading goal?

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4 thoughts on “Memo Pad: Book Reviews – June 2017”

  1. You got me curious to figure out how many books I’ve read this year. I think I’ll have to start tracking that for fun. It was easy to see my digital library account, but the actual books was more challenging!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I wish I could read half as many books in a year. I tend to only read at lunch time, on some days, so each book takes me forever to get through. But I have recently decided to devote a little more time to my books, so we shall see how I do with that. I have so many books on my shelves that need read and I have picked up another trilogy this week. You are a great reader.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve pretty much given up watching TV (apart from sports) so that’s how I fit my reading in. Instead of watching an episode of something before bed I read for a bit.


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