Books, JJ Reads, the memo pad

Memo Pad: Books – August 2017

I feel like I’m coming out of my reading slump. Maybe. Hopefully. I read four pretty awesome books this month and they were all ARCs and I think the fact they were all great as well as the fact I had to read them to review both helped kick me into reading gear and thank god for that! I seem to be on a contemporary kick right now (I will preface this by saying I pretty much call anything that isn’t scifi/fantasy/dystopian or historical fiction contemporary). I didn’t read any last year but I’ve already read seven this year and I’m planning on reading more. Maybe my reading slump is genre specific?

 Read: 4

mp august 2017

As always none of the reviews have spoilers and all of the links are to the Goodreads profiles for each book


Finding Home by Garrett Leigh *****

Fifteen year old Leo is dealing with grief from losing his mother, worry about looking after his little sister and PTSD from the horrible event that caused it all. They get moved into another foster home, this time with a family who know how to sign for his little sister who is deaf and this is where he meets Charlie. A boy his age who he finds himself growing close to regardless of the situation. I’m normally very stingy with my five stars but I can’t find any reason not to give this five stars. From the relationship that forms between Leo and Charlie, the representation of disability, and the way that PTSD and grief was explored, everything was done so gently and carefully. Well written and at times heartbreaking, you can’t help but get invested in the characters. A perfect example of a book that explores difficult issues well.

Invictus by Ryan Graudin *****

Far wants nothing more than to be captain of a time machine and get to view history first hand. He’s worked hard to be the best recorder at the academy and only his final exam sim is standing in his way. But born outside of time to his missing time traveller mother things have never been that simple for Far.

Time travel books are tricky things to get right. I’m always pretty apprehensive when I read one and I did start this thinking oh here we go a time travel book that’s going to play connect the tropes but holy cow did it exceed my expectations. Finally a time travel book done right!

This book is the Heart-beating-out-of-your chest, turn-the-page-and-another-one, read-another-chapter kind of exciting. There were bits where I just couldn’t put it down and other bits where I HAD to put it down just to get my breath back. I loved all of the members of the crew and I hated Eliot just as much as Far did. I also loved the glimpse of the future they live in. It was all really well imagined and I’m so glad I gave this book a chance.


Blame by Jeff Abbott *****

This is a book that’s quite outside my usual reading habits but it sounded really interesting so I went for it and I really enjoyed it. It follows Jane and starts two years after a crash that killed her friend and left her with amnesia. She still hasn’t recovered her memories of what happened but a suicide note found at the scene turned everyine in her small town against her and she’s still struggling to put her life back together. There are multiple points of view but I didn’t feel like there were too many, they all had a good reason to be there. I loved that no one was perfect, everyone involved had their own stories and faults and the story is woven with loads of twists and turns. I did think that certain things were a bit too simple – a lot of the plot revolves around the fact that people simply didn’t tell her things which makes sense and everyone had their reasons but it left me thinking why hadn’t she asked before? Regardless of that it was a really exciting book and I sped through it to find out what had happened.



The Scandal by Fredrik Backman *****

I’m actually not sure that I can write a review that can explain just how beautifully written and heartbreaking this book is. I really want to write a review that will do this book justice but I can’t because I can’t possibly get across just how amazing this book is. The Scandal (or Beartown as it’s published in America) is set in a small hockey town and deals with what happens when a young girl gets raped by one of the members of the junior hockey team that the whole town support. It deals with a lot: rape culture, sexism, blame, homophobia, loyalty, family.

We were introduced to a lot of characters but they were all rounded and flawed and the author truly makes you understand and feel for them even though we only get short snapshots of each. I got emotionally attached to the characters within the first few chapters and I spent the rest of the book in equal parts absolute dread about what would happen to them and wonder at how brilliantly it was written. My heart was hurting so bad for them as I read this that I had to put it down a few times because it hurt too much only to have to pick it up again within a few minutes because I needed to know what happened and if that doesn’t tell you just how much I loved this book nothing will.

This book was beautifully written, absolutely heartbreaking and horribly honest. Five stars. All the stars.


I started this post by saying I hoped I was coming out of my reading slump but after finished The Scandal I can officially say my reading slump is over. And I narrowly avoided having a book hangover from all the feels by diving straight into another book. Fantasy this time! WOOO.

So how have you been getting on with your reading? What’s the best book you have read lately? And are there any contemporary books that you would really recommend for a genre newbie like me? My goodreads link is below if you would like to check out what books I read or add me as a friend on there.

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

  1. I’m glad to know Invictus is a great book to read and that’s awesome that you enjoyed it. I like “This book is the Heart-beating-out-of-your chest” because this comment really make me want to read it.. haha.. the cover doesn’t grab my attention as much as your review 🙂 Excellent review!

    Liked by 1 person

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