JJ Reads

Memo Pad: November Book Wrap Up

It’s nearly December! Christmas time! And I have officially got my owned tbr down to just 50 books which was my goal way back in June when I went on my book buying ban! My goal for next year will be to keep that number from going above 50 which means however many books I can read next month is the amount of books I’ll be allowed to buy for Christmas. If I’m lucky I’ll read four or maybe five.

Race on!

In other news related to the fact it’s nearly next year already, I went through my list of 2018 releases I want to read and managed to narrow it down to a shortlist of 15….

I also went through all of the backlist books on my out of control tbr on goodreads (so anything published before 2018) and narrowed that down to a list of 38 books I want to read the most. So when Christmas comes I’ll only have a very reasonable list of 53 books to choose from. *cries*

The good news is, with 2019 so close, I might be able to get to some 2019 releases by…. 2020? If I’m lucky.

In non book related news….. Um. Really nothing much has happened this month? I’m doing a first round of edits of my #ExcitingSpaceWIP which feels like it’s taking ages but I’m 85% in and should finish it next week. I feel like I’ve named it aptly because I am muchly excited. I’ve also finally started making Christmas cards which is about a month late but is progress!!

mp nov 2018

On to my book stats for the month:

Books on owned tbr at start: 55

Books bought/acquired: 0/0

Books read: 4

Books DNF’d: 1

Books on owned tbr at end: 50!!!!


The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard) by Rick Riordan *****

I missed the boat on the Percy Jackson series, it was something that I think I would have loved if I’d read it as a kid but couldn’t get into it so when I found out there was a new series with a slightly older main character I knew I wanted to give it a try. And I loved it. Which is rather obvious by the five star rating.

Magnus is a 16 year old homeless kid when he finds out he’s the son of a Norse God and gets forced into a quest.

There were a few small moments where I thought it was a little bit too whimsical for my taste but over all it did feel more my jam. I could have knocked a star off for that but didn’t because Chase is the most sarcastic little shit I’ve ever read and I laughed a lot, then went back to reread those passages and laughed again because snark level 1000 reached. I loved the diverse cast around him and from what I’ve heard the series just gets more diverse in the next books. I also loved that there was a central male and female friendship that has zero romantic feelings attached which is so rare. I’ll definitely be continuing with this series.



Isle of blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier *****

I want to start this review by saying that there is no way I am going to be able to capture just how much I loved this book. I’m going to try. Obviously. But just know that this book was even better than whatever I say, okay? Okay.

So 19 year old Elias is a mapmaker and royal Explorer and when two maps that seem to be made by his dead father appear with a riddle about the two princes who disappeared with him his best friend, the king, tasks him with solving it.

I mean it sounds amazing. Maps. Riddles. Lost princes. I’m sold.

This book is set on an island and is so full of wanderlust I’m surprised it doesn’t burst. It makes me think of the sea so much I can actually smell it. I loved the friendship between Elias and Ulises (the king) so much. It’s one of the best friendships I’ve read and I was INVESTED. The trust and respect between them reminded me of the friendship between Merlin and Arthur in the BBC show Merlin (But with cooler names). I loved that the main characters were 19 instead of younger. There is a small amount of romance plot but it never overtook the plot like I worried it would. There is also a 12 year old girl who is just as badass as the boys, massive sea serpents, haunted forests, and did I mention mapmaking, exploring and wanderlust? I also love the cover, I know some people don’t but I really do. (And remember, I loved it better than I explained okay?)


The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke *****

This was a quiet book that snuck into five star territory without me realising it.

A band of four young mercies, woman who have chosen to carry out mercy kills for payment to survive, are tired of all the death and when they hear about a reward for killing a monster they decide to take the chance at glory to change their fate.

The writing is thick with atmosphere. The world was dark and cold and full of magic with sea witches and Robin Hood like bands dwelling in forests and Norse myths and legends told around camp fires. All of the characters were well fleshed out and distinct.  A lot of relationships in YA seem to be life or death, almost symbiotic in the way the characters need each other and would collapse alone but in this book the relationships felt fluid. They loved and cared for each other and would do anything for each other but they also had their own dreams and goals and it was always apparent that they could choose to make their own decisions and futures. It didn’t lessen the strength of the relationships at all and was actually one of my favourite parts of this book. Atmospheric, dark and gory but full of love and girls forging their own paths.

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Investigating Julius Drake by Daisy Harris *****

This is basically a Sherlock high school AU and if you just accept that then it’s a very enjoyable read.

14 year old Henry has just moved to a posh new school on a scholarship because his dad is in the army. He meets Julius, a genius outcast who he has to work with to find out what caused another boy to try to commit suicide before they get the blame. But concentrating on the case is difficult when you’re trying to work out if you have a crush on your fellow investigator.

So first off I just have to say the rep in this is all over the place. Julius is written as if he could have autism but he has a line where he brushes it off saying he’s been misdiagnosed with a bunch of things but there’s nothing wrong with him he’s just smart. Which kind of felt like the author was trying to get away with writing him quirky without being held accountable. but if you’re willing to put aside the questionable rep and the fact this is an obvious AU that even follows a similar story as A Study in Pink then this is actually a really cute, fluffy and fun read. I got through it really quickly and thoroughly enjoyed it.



Den of Shadows by Christopher Byford

This is about a casino on a train travelling through a quasi-Midwest with a thief so between that and the cover I figured it would be an exciting MG/YA adventure. It was actually written like a classic in distant omniscient third person following the adult owner. I’ve never been shy about saying how much I dislike this style of writing. I didn’t connect with the characters and nothing much really happened so DNF@15% (this is earlier than I normally DNF but the writing style was never going to work for me)

Currently reading: City of Brass by SA Chakraborty – so far I’m really enjoying it.

My favourite book of the month was definitely Isle of blood and Stone. Even though I rated 3 books five stars this month it was an easy choice. I loved it so much and I’m so happy because it was actually the one book that I was most anticipating this year. Normally I end up hyping a book and it not delivering.

What about you? What is the best book you’ve read lately? Are there any 2018 releases that you recommend (not that I need more recs!)? And have you started writing Christmas cards or deciding what books to buy for Christmas/sales yet?

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