JJ Reads

Memo Pad: July Wrap up

This post is a little late but I’m officially moving this week! It’s all a bit up in the air even though I’m literally leaving everything up to other people to sort out! All I need to do is pack some clothes and my favourite pillow and get on a plane but knowing that all my creature comforts will be in a van for a week (I.e not with me!) is not great. (also my laptop, so if you don’t hear from me anytime soon then well, something may have gone wrong!)

But anyway, back to July. My month started out with me still being completely obsessed with the new story idea that I started outlining in June, and when I’m completely obsessed with writing my reading time suffers. A lot. So the start of the month was a bit rocky. In fact, to try to help me get into the reading mood and feel like I had at least read something I read a short story. Then I read a novella…. But then I finished my story outline! 48,500 words of obsession over and suddenly I had a lot of free time again.

Photo 23-07-2018, 3 40 29 pm


I ended up reading three books in a week and the I still had ten days left of July. At which point I realised I was going to have to write loads of reviews (because I never manage to do them as I go and always end up doing them all at the end of the month) so I looked through some of the longest books on my kindle to help prevent the number from getting out of hand and (with the help of twitter) I picked a book.


I also wanted to update you all on my book buying ban. It has officially been 7 weeks since it started and I caved this week and bought 2 books in the kindle summer sale because I really wanted them and they were less than £1 each. BUT, I still think it is going well. In the first 6 months of the year I bought 30 books which amounts to over a book a week (plus arcs!) so 2 books in 7 weeks is still an improvement and the number of books on my kindle is still going down. Which is good because trying to pick between the 60+ books on my kindle is very overwhelming (hence needing the help of twitter even after I’d narrowed it down).

Books on kindle at the start of the month: 69

Books bought: 2

Books left: 65

I’m looking forward to seeing this number drop as the months go on. I want to get down to at most 50 books on my kindle by christmas. I could say less than that but I’m planning on writing the first draft of my new story outline between now and then and, as I mentioned, I’m terrible at reading while I’m writing.

mp july2018

Read: 6

Format: 1 short story, 1 novella, 4 novels


The Cybernetic Tea Shop by Meredith Katz *****

This is a short story set in a futuristic but still very familiar world where a robot owns a teashop but is slowly failing as nobody knows how to fix robots like her anymore. The story is about when she meets a girl who fixes AI pets for a living and it’s just a really cute f/f romance short story with an asexual main character (the girl not the robot). It was a great read and I loved the vivid setting and the slowly developing relationship.


Viral Airwaves by Claudie Arseneault *****

I picked this up for the asexual rep but didn’t actually notice it (I had to go online and check which character it was supposed to be) which was probably my fault for not noticing it. The book is about Henry, who lives in a small dying town and refuses to face the prospect of needing to leave. Then a rebellion shows up on his doorstep and he finds out a lot of things he didn’t want to know! I did really like the characters and it was really nice to read a character who doesn’t want anything to do with what’s going on, is scared and anxious and is doing his best anyway but at times I did feel Henry was acting out of character and his decisions sometimes didn’t feel right to me. But that’s one of many point of view characters in this diverse fantasy and the whole cast are really intriguing and well built.


The Wicker King by K Ancrum *****

This book was very hyped in my mind which is odd because contemporary isn’t my favourite genre. I was fully expecting it to be a five star read so I was super disappointed when I didn’t love it. I so badly wanted to. The main issue I had with it was the writing style. I was expecting an epic, deep and painful story about two boys struggling to get through life together but it was written in very short choppy scenes. I understand why it was written like that, but for me, it just meant that I couldn’t connect and really feel for the characters because it kept jumping around and was quite confusing in parts. It is heartfelt and desperate but it just didn’t dig anywhere near as deep as I thought it would and because I was expecting all the feels from this book it just fell flat for me. I also thought some of the side characters were very 2D and would have loved more of them, especially the twins, but I think they were casualties of the writing style. I enjoyed it, it was an interesting and easy read I just wish it had been more.


All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells *****

The main character in this scifi novella is so relatable and her reactions to thing are just hilariously spot on. Definitely one of my favourite characters of the year. The story is a self contained plot set around a survey expedition to a new world where the character, an apathetic and socially anxious bot has been employed as security. Sometimes in novellas I feel like things are rushed or underdeveloped and try to fit too much into such a short story but this one felt fully realised and was exactly the right length. None of the page count was wasted on erroneous information (no unnecessary back story, info dumps or heavy descriptions) which is exactly how I like my books. It was exciting and funny and I can’t wait to read the rest of the novellas in this series.


Thick as Thieves (Queens Thief #5) by Megan Whalen Turner *****

I’m going to be a complete hypocrite here and I don’t even care. This is one of my all time favourite series ever and I was so excited to go back into the world of the Queen’s Thief. For most of the book, honestly, there was a lot of walking around and not that much happened (I normally hate this which is why I’m a complete hypocrite) but I don’t even care. It follows a completely new character but there’s so many little homages back to the series. And the last third, where everything comes together and we find out the large scheme of things, is just SO CLEVER. I love this series so much. This series is the ultimate in clever schemes and I’m always here for it. It isn’t packed full of action but the payoffs but always love the characters and the payoffs at the end of each book are always so worth it. I can’t wait for the next book but I’m simultaneous terrified for it because it will be the last in the series and I am not ready for it to be over.


The Poppy War by RF Kuang *****

I really enjoyed this fantasy, it’s based on a historical Chinese inspired setting Which is very vivid and well developed. I especially loved the dynamic and setting of the academy. The main character, Rin, a war orphan starts off as a very strong clever character.

The first half of the book reminded me strongly of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (when Kvothe is at the university and wants to learn what everyone else thinks is myth). I really loved this but the second half of the book is very different. We switch from the academy training to war. The tone gets much darker and the setting changes completely the good and bad thing about this is we get introduced to some new characters. The good part is I loved the new characters but the bad part for me is they are barely there. I wanted so much more of them, their relationships and personalities are hinted at but not developed. It is set up to suggest they’ll be expanded on in the sequel but instead of enticing me to read the next book it just made me frustrated reading this book. Rin also became much more hot headed and lost the clever cunning she had at the start which, for me, was a bit annoying but mainly because I prefer cunning characters to reactive characters. Overall I loved the first half and while the second half had all the potential to be brilliant I was left disappointed by the character development/lack of. It was still an excellent read and I really enjoyed the Chinese inspired setting.


Overall I had a really good reading month in july, even if I did slip on my book buying ban but hopefully there won’t be anymore kindle sales for a while….

How was your month? What was the book you enjoyed the most?

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3 thoughts on “Memo Pad: July Wrap up”

  1. Ohh congrats !! Both for the writing AND the reading! I think you did pretty good regardless 🙂

    Wow! Buying ban also going well, such a difference with the first 30!
    I am sorta in one aswell as I am now 5books behind on my Netgalley & review requests.. so I refuse myself to buy anything before I can get ahead again xd I havent bought any since february ithink? So definately going well aswell ahah

    Goodluck for the moving!! Hopefully the week will pass pretty quick, id personally wouldve brought my macbook with me, and the weeins of course, and the rest could wait! (As for books.. as I said I have 5 to read still on my kindle .. so I could be good until then ahah)

    Liked by 1 person

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