JJ Reads

Memo Pad: March Wrap Up

I’m late with this post. Again. But life. Alas.

How are we all doing in lockdown? My life really hasn’t changed much but I’m going to use that as an excuse for why this post is LATE LATE LATE. I just avoided writing my review for one of the best books I’ve read this year because my brain refused to work so had to put this post off a week. (Sorry, Book)

Anyway, what else happened in March? Well, I took a small step back from social media. I’m still going on twitter to interact with any notifications, posting thoughts and updates, and checking in on people via their profiles whenever I can manage it, but I’m not scrolling through my feed anymore and it’s definitely made a difference to my mental health. I wish I could keep up to date with everyone but it’s just not possible to take it all in right now. It’s a little lonely so I love when people do reach out and tweet or private message me.

I wrote a few chapters of a experimental story idea while I’m waiting for feedback on my finished stories, it was definitely interesting, but now I’ve reached the quarter point I’ve shelved it. I may come back to it at some point but not right now. Otherwise I’ve been doing a little crochet, doing a little reading, doing a lot of lying around and listening to music and RESTING. Anyone else been up to much?

Mini Reviews:

Sixteenth Watch by Myke Cole***** (Review copy)

Set on a the brink of a territory war on the moon, the US coast guard must wrestle control away from the navy and marines by winning a space boarding gameshow before their aggressive nature cause war. I loved the action and politics that make up this book, it was exciting and complicated, and i also loved a lot of the side characters and their personalities but for me the story lost ground with the main character. There are many slower, indecisive scenes where the admiral looks to others to tell her what to do and it took me out of the story.

We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver *****

Told in letters to her absent husband, a mum recollects on her whole life building up to her son who became a school shooter. It was a bit too rambling for me when it went on some unnecessary tangents. I also found the parents both infuriating throughout, though the mum became much more understandable as it went on. It was chilling to read a twenty year old book about how shootings were getting out of hand, knowing they have only got worse. Content warnings for pretty much every bigoted thing you could think of.

Favourite Book of March:


Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray ***** (Review Copy)

This children’s fantasy is stuffed full of magical adventure, exciting all the way through with amazing characters and enough bravery to control the ocean. Set on a small half-flooded island in the middle of the ocean, a young boy washes up in the belly of a whale with no memories and 12 year old orphaned inventor Ellie must save him when the island wrongly accuses him of being the Enemy – the god who drowned the world.

The characters in this are so loveable. Independent and fierce because of their situations but oh so vulnerable and unwilling to admit it. The friendships between the children and how they rely on each other is everything. I loved Ellie, the main character, and all her sea life inventions, from mechanical crab-like oyster catchers and harpoon guns to an underwater ship that so far she’s only been able to make sink. She’s struggling with being alone and yet fighting against letting anyone closer to keep them all safe.

The island setting was vivid and imaginative (I love sea and island fantasy settings SO MUCH), and the dark cloud of the Enemy hanging over their shoulders and haunting the people, affecting everything about island life was real and ever present. You could smell the ocean and imagine wading in, splashing across sunken rooftops or watching the waves far below. The magic was suitably ocean themed and mysterious!

But if an amazing setting, brilliant characters and ocean gods and magic aren’t enough then let me tell you, that’s not all, because THAT TWIST! I read a lot of books but it’s been a while since a book has made me audibly gasp and say OH CRAP! It was so clever! This whole book is amazing and one of my all time favourite. A super magical children’s adventure.


So how are you all doing? How is lockdown, read or baked or watched or made anything good lately? Or just hunkering down and looking after yourself?

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