Books, JJ Reads

Memo Pad: December Books

The last monthly book wrap up of the year! This year has gone so quickly it’s unbelievable. I’ll be doing a 2017 book survey and a best books of the year post over the coming week or two which I’m looking forward to. But for now lets look back to this month.

Right at the end of November I saw an advert for a 3 months free trial of amazons kindle unlimited. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a lending library where you can read as many books from their kindle unlimited catalogue for, usually, £7.99 a month. The catch is that most of the big sellers and hyped books are not on there, in fact having gone through the hundreds of books on my tbr, I only found 7 on kindle unlimited. But the opportunity to read those 7 books for free (and probably more because 3 of them are series that are all on there) was too good to pass up.

That means that most of the books I read this month were from there. It also means I’ll be concentrating on reading those for the next two months rather than anything else that comes my way (other than earcs from netgalley). It hopefully means I won’t be spending any money on books over the next couple of months….. Okay, scrap that because I’ve already bought two in a sale and I’ll probably buy more if they go on sale after Christmas.

But onto the books!

mp dec 2017

Read: 4                DNF: 1


A Court of Thorns and Roses ( by Sarah J Mass *****

I’m going to start this review by being very honest, I was kind of expecting this to be meh for me, everybody always talks about it and I see quotes and things and think oooh that looks interesting but whenever I read the blurb I just think -nah. Which is why I’ve never read it before now even though it feels like the whole world has read it.

Feyre (also I find that name very annoying) lives in a village near the wall separating the fairy kingdom from humans, one day to stop her family from starving she shoots a fairy in wolf form dead, breaking the treaty been fey and humans. To atone for it her life is forfeit but after striking a bargain with the fey who comes for payment she ends up travelling beyond the wall as a captive to spend her life there.

I actually really enjoyed the first third a lot more than I was expecting too, but then it got all eye-rollingly and creepily romantic. It’s beauty and the beast but somehow much more icky. And it just kept being dragged out. At that point it was looking at a two star but then Rhysand appeared and saved the day. That’s not a spoiler by the way, I’m not saying he saved THE day, I’m saying he saved MY day by stopping this book from being rubbish. Harsh but true. Although I liked Lucien as well. The last third was actually really good we got more action and intrigue and less angst and it could have earned this book a four star if it wasn’t for that middle bit. Although I have to say the logic used to save the day was weak at best but I probably will read the sequel at some point* because, well from what I’ve seen other people say, there is more Rhysand and other better characters get introduced. I’m also hoping for less creepy romance with the other guy.

*The two sequels went on sale for 82p each last week so I’ve bought them and will read them at some point.


A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness *****

This is a emotional story about a kid trying to deal after his mum gets diagnosed with cancer. He has nightmares that terrify him and that he wakes up screaming from but one night he wakes up to an actual monster outside his window.

First of all this is a short book about truth and honesty and how stories help us understand the world around us so don’t go in expecting action or a lot of things to happen. They don’t, but it doesn’t take away from the emotional punch this book delivers. Conor’s emotions are so raw and the writing is on point. You really feel how he feels and understand what he is going through. It all flows so well and everything adds up slowly until he can’t deal with it anymore. I did guess what the nightmare was from pretty early on which I think might have taken some of the intrigue away for me but, as I said, it didn’t stop this book from making me cry when we finally get to him dealing with the truth. My only real pet peave about this is that 13 year old bullies just don’t act like that. And considering that’s quite a big part of the story it annoyed me.


My Name is Simon (I, Dragon Book 1) by Nathan Roden *****

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book. I found it while browsing on kindle unlimited and it sounded interesting but I had never heard of it before.

Simon is the son of the king but on the day he is supposed to be sworn in as heir on his sixth birthday his father is killed and he is cursed. Turned into a dragon in a kingdom that hates the creatures, and only turns back into a boy one day a month with the full moon. He runs and has to try to find allies and stay safe.

I was pleasantly surprised. It’s a really good story, the plot is exciting and the characters are great. The only thing I would say is that the writing could have been much better. There wasn’t anything wrong with it but it just didn’t bring me into the story. I was being told what happened rather than feeling it. Perhaps with a little more editing i would have felt more of an emotional connection with Simon rather than just having him telling us the events. But, I have to say, the dialogue was a shining light and made up for this. It really carried the book. I especially loved the friendship between Simon and Boone. And this is pretty much completely shown through dialogue.



The Queen’s Poisoner (Kingfountain #1) by Jeff Wheeler *****

I’ve seen this book in my recommendations for a couple of years now and it always sounded like something I’d like but I never got around to it. I’m very glad I did because it was brilliant. I’m dithering about whether to give it four or five stars so I’m going with 4.5!

King Severn has been on the throne for two years since his brother died, disposing his brothers children and claiming the throne for himself. He is cruel and paranoid and, when Owen’s father gambles on the opposition at a rebellion, eight year old Owen is the one that pays the price. Sent to live in the court of Kingfountain as a hostage. away from his family, he must find a way to survive and earn the kings favour even if he is so terrifying that Owen can’t even speak in the same room as him. But with the help of a few friends he might just make it.

I have to admit that it took me an embarrassingly long time to realise this was based on King Edward/ King Richard and the War of the Roses but in a fantasy setting where King Richard eventually won. if you’re aware of that history then it’s really interesting to see how it’s been changed and, if not, then you don’t need to know any of it. I really liked little Owen but the whole cast of characters were great. From the nasty King Severn, to the boisterous Evie, to the protective cook and of course the mysterious queens poisoner. We see them all start out as cutouts, a child’s first impression, but each of them gets developed and become three dimensional as Owen gets to know them. The magic system was subtle and we learn about it slowly. Even by the end of the book we’ve only really touched on some of what it can do. Some people might find that not that much happened and it’s more set up for the next book but I thought the world was well built and I really enjoyed getting to know the characters. I’m looking forward to finding out more about the magic system, seeing where it goes and what happens next.





Happily Ever Awkward by T.L Callies

Sigh. I just don’t get on with whimsical books. I hear about them and think ooooh, that sounds hilarious but then I read them and – just sigh. But I’m still recommending this to everyone who does like whimsical books because I think it’s a really good book it’s just not for me. It’s about a prince charming who gets cursed with insecurity when he’s born and he has to try to save a princess.


I actually read ACOTAR at the end of November but it was after I’d posted my wrap up so it goes on this post. The rest of the books were all kindle unlimited. Also I’ve probably finished another book by now but I didn’t want to be spending Christmas writing up reviews so had written this post in advance. And I’ve also probably already bought more books in the kindle sale but shhhhh!!!! Nobody needs to know about that yet. I hope you’ve all had lovely christmasses and gotten loads of book presents!

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4 thoughts on “Memo Pad: December Books”

  1. I am with you on thorn and roses. I enjoyed it, felt drawn in, liked a strong seeming female character but the unnecessary romance grated on me. That said, I’ve listened to the second one and got the third. It felt like it let the book down and seemed an easy plot device. I did a kindle unlimited trial about a year ago and enjoyed the paper magician and there was a good series which for the life of me I can’t remember… Will let you know if I do!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Did you like the sequels more? I’ve got them so I’m sure I’ll read them at some point either way. And oooh. I’ve heard of the paper magician. I’ll have to see if that’s still on it.


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