Books, JJ Reads

Memo Pad: November Books

This was a bit of a weird reading month for me. I previously mentioned I didn’t want to read any fantasy books as it confuses me when I’m writing the same genre as I’m reading. And seeing as I am writing a fantasy for nanowrimo that was out. I had quite a few contemporary books saved up on my kindle that I’d bought over the last few months that were mostly on offers that I was going to read. That might have contributed to the fact I DNF’d three books this month. Maybe there was a reason some of them were on offer? I was also in a reading slump at the start of the month which also didn’t help. But the good news is some of them were amazing! The two books I most wanted to read this month were brilliant, but I put them off until I was back in a reading mood (so I didn’t ruin them) and Silent got me back in the mood to read so phew.

READ: 3                   DNF: 3




Silent by Sara Alva *****

Alex lives in a poor Hispanic community in LA but after an incident with his mothers boyfriend ends up being sent to foster care where he meets Sebastian, a mute boy who goes to a special school. They develop a friendship as Alex tries to deal with everything that’s going on and then they get taken away from each other just as their feelings are developing into something more. This isn’t a happy book. This is a look at the people who are struggling to survive and doing what is needed to get by, families who are doing the best they can. Alex is only fifteen but is no stranger to it all and when Sebastian gets taken away from him he goes to drastic measures to get him back. It’s a book about poverty, family and learning to be yourself.



Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan *****

This book was amazing. It had me smiling all the way through even in the sad bits because you just understand both of the main characters so much. They’re so relatable. It’s told in alternate POVs from Emmett who is autistic and Jeremey who is struggling with depression and anxiety as they meet and form a relationship. I’ve seen some reviewers say that its a little bit explanation heavy but I really didn’t feel that. The parts where Emmet describes his own autism are brilliant and yes, he’s a white male who’s good at math and likes trains but there’s also so much more than that and he also explains how every autistic person is different like his aunt who’s pretty much his opposite. Jeremey on the other hand doesn’t know what’s wrong with him and needs lots of help explaining things. They have such a wonderful relationship and you just route for them both so much as they deal with therapy and their families and understanding each other and becoming independent. It does get a bit adult in the middle, which I never like much, but overall it was such a brilliant read.


I am not a serial killer by Dan Wells *****

I picked this book up and loved it straight away, I read a third of it in one sitting but unfortunately had to stop for this thing called sleep that is apparently important. It follows John who has anti social personality disorder, (or you know, is a psychopath) he’s only 15 so he hasn’t actually been diagnosed yet but he has it. He is also obsessed with serial killers so when someone starts killing people in his small town he is more than a little bit interested. I thought this was a contemporary but it does have supernatural horror elements to it. But whatever, because it was brilliant. John struggles the whole time with trying to not be a bad person but the more he gets involved with what is happening the more difficult it becomes. It’s not a heavy difficult read either, I think I read it in three days and that was while I was very busy so you should all go pick it up.





Switch by AW & Nathanael Hill *****

I don’t normally rate DNF’s but I got this book in exchange for a review and normally I try my hardest not to DNF eARCs that have been given to me but I just had to for this one. I did manage to get halfway which is why I’m reviewing it properly. (normally I’ll DNF books by 20% or before).

The main issue I had with it wasn’t that it was badly written or boring it was just that the target age felt wrong? I was expecting YA and the main character is 15 which I guess is on the lower edge but he really came across younger than that. The writing and storyline both came across more as middle grade fantasy too. Which is fine, I like a good middle grade adventure but it just felt a bit confused which is sad because the idea is great. Also sometimes the characters motivations were vague. Sometimes the main character cared greatly about everything and other times he didn’t seem to care at all. Going from not being bothered that your best friend is gone to risking everybodys’ lives for a girl you had a crush on is – off. I feel like that was the only reason the character was made 15. If the character had been aged down to 12 then I think everything would have fitted a bit better. The other thing is that it’s written in a humorous, diary type way that pulls you away from the plot which again is fine in some cases but maybe if it had been written in a deeper pov the motivations and feelings would have been clearer. As it is, it distances you from the action which I feel like is a no go for YA.  It could have been a great middle grade fantasy and maybe people who enjoy those exciting but lighter books would really like this one but for me everything was just a little bit confused.


Violence Begets by PT Denys

I don’t think there’s any way to explain away hitting people just to keep them afraid of you. Just because someone protects you from someone else doesn’t make it okay. Maybe this gets better and he sees the error of his ways but I got the feeling that wouldn’t happen.


Salted by Aaron Galvin

Nothing wrong with it. I just didn’t really care for it, I think this is partially because I was in a bit of a reading slump and partially because its just a bit…eh?


I hadn’t finished any books by the halfway mark of the month but thankfully that changed quickly. Silent got me back in the mood to read and Carry the Ocean and I am not a Serial Killer were just brilliant books that I didn’t want to put down.

How has your reading this month been? Are you doing Nano and has that affected your reading? What’s the best book you’ve read this month? For those of you who get arcs (advanced reading copy), do you have a policy of always finishing an arc? This is the first time that I have ever not finished one.

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