JJ Reads

Memo Pad: November Wrap Up

Another month down and it’s nearly the end of the year. It feels so strange to say that when it’s still sunny outside here. I can’t actually believe I’m ending 2019 having moved to my dream home. But we’re  at the end of the year yet so back to this month.

I didn’t officially take part in NaNoWriMo but my goal was to finish this draft of my new story about a chronically ill witch and… *Drum roll*I did it! Okay so it wasn’t actually that big a goal and I finished over a week early but I’m so happy that it’s down. On the page. A real thing. It’s only 45k and I do have to go back and change that draft zero into a proper first draft by writing in full sentences (I draft weird okay?). It’ll take me about 2 months when I dive back in and I expect it to be between 60-70k once  that is done. But it’s there and fully formed. My outline led me well and I’m very happy with how it shaped up.

Book-wise I’m still on course for reaching my 100 books this year reading challenge which I am NEVER DOING AGAIN. I’ve loved reading so many amazing books but I’ve definitely felt the pressure and so many longer and heavier fantasy books that I really want to read have ended up on the backbench because of it.

Life wise. We have a Christmas tree! It’s a fake one as I don’t even think they sell real one here which makes sense with it being an island off Africa which is 20 degrees during Christmas. It’s still a very nice tree and we’ll be decorating it this weekend. So I’m looking forward to seeing the Christmas lights. Although normally the Christmas lights are a crutch for me to get through the cold and dark winter which I won’t need to do here. I actually keep forgetting it’s ‘winter’.

Enough of me gloating about the lack of winter though and onto the books. Here’s a quick summary of the books I read this month and then onto my favourite (which was super hard because I read four 5 star novels this month). And stick around for my favourite quote too!

Book Summary

All links go to goodreads

Emergency Contact by H,K Choi ***** – Upper YA contemporary about two awkward collage kids falling in love over text and dealing with life

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant *****Adult horror about a killer mermaids and a fake docu-science expedition. Super gory and exciting.

Exo by Fonda Lee ***** – Heartbreaking and action packed YA Scifi about a teen soldier working for the aliens who rule earth.

The Kill Club by Wendy Heard ***** – Adult thriller that feels like a YA about a must club killing off each others abusers so they don’t get caught.

MEM by Bethany C Morrow ***** – Literary speculative short story set in Montreal in an alternate 1920s where clones are created from removing bad memories.

Chainbreaker (Timekeeper #2) by Tara Sim *****YA fantasy sequel about an alternate history where time is controlled by clocks and mechanics have to keep them working.

Favourite Book of the Month:

Break the Fall by Jennifer Iacopelli ***** 

I’m one of those people, and I’m sure many others are the same, that gets completely swept up in Olympic fever every four years. But, more specifically, I get completely obsessed with gymnastics at the Olympics. I google scoring and historical competitions, I YouTube relays and compilation videos. I watch films and TV show like stick it and make it or break it. And of course I watch the events religiously. So when I heard about this book I wanted it SO BAD. And let me tell you this book is everything my little Olympic Gymnastics obsessed heart could ever want distilled and sharpened down to a few hundred pages of excitement and tension.

It’s set around the USA women’s gymnastics team on the way to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo when their head coach gets arrested for sexual abuse. It centres on 17 year old Audrey who, because of injury, is hoping to win her spot at trials for what will be her only chance at the Olympics before the news breaks. It has all of the tension and heartbreak of what a decade of training comes down to for all the girls involved, knowing that some of them won’t make it. And with the added confusion and conflicting feelings about what is happening around them and what has happened to their teammates.

I absolutely loved the dynamics and the relationships between all the girls. The competitive nature of the situation made it complicated and bittersweet but ultimately supportive as the girls learn to stick together and take on the world as a team. Audrey is a great main character, she’s Korean American (though this isn’t Ownvoices rep which would have been great), and trying to fight for her dream and support those who have come forward about the abuse which often conflicts. Its an important look at the power imbalance of the situation that can – and did – lead to so much abuse but it’s also an exciting page turner that focuses on an intense competition with female friendship at the heart.

TW: aftermath of sexual abuse and grooming

Favourite Quote of the Month:

Daryl was convinced that the word for a group of scientists ought to be a blackout, because that was what the fuckers seemed determined to cause.

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant

How did everyone else’s November go? Are you prepping for Christmas, did you have a nice Diwali or Thanksgiving? Did you take part in Nano and if so, how did you do?

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