Memo Pad: Book Reviews July 2016

mp july2016

Read: 3

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater *****

Blue has spent the majority of her sixteen years being told that if she kisses her true love, he will die. When Blue meets Gansey’s spirit on the corpse road she knows there is only one reason why – either he is her true love or she has killed him. Determined to find out the truth, Blue becomes involved with the Raven Boys, four boys from the local private school (lead by Gansey) who are on a quest to discover Glendower – a lost ancient Welsh King who is buried somewhere along the Virginia ley line. Whoever finds him will be granted a supernatural favour. Never before has Blue felt such magic around her. But is Gansey her true love? She can’t imagine a time she would feel like that, and she is adamant not to be the reason for his death. Where will fate lead them?

I’m not sure where to start with this book. I’ve been struggling with my thoughts on this one. Objectively, this is a book about a special snowflake of a girl with a unique name to boot that meets a bunch of boys from a local private school who shes sworn never to get mixed up with. But oh, these boys are different from all the others and romance ensues. But- and its a big BUT – I loved this book. I fell in love with the characters pretty much from chapter one. This isn’t a book about a girl falling in love. This is a book about the friendship dynamics between the boys and it broke my heart. Even just thinking about this book weeks later my heart is aching. I wanted to give them all a hug and never let go. And I guess when a book makes you that invested in the characters then objectivity has to go out the window. The only reason this doesn’t have five stars (and if I could rate it 4.5 I would) is that I thought the ending was very blunt and sudden. But then, it’s part of a series and I’m sure it will be expanded on in the next book. If you love books that focus on friendship and group dynamics (like I do) then I recommend you read this book.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers *****

Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species, and one patched-up construction vessel is a mere speck on the starchart. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there. But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she‘s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war. Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.

This book is something a little different. It’s a story set in space that isn’t a rip roaring adventure with the universe at risk. It’s set mainly on a small ship that only has a handful of crew and we get to know them all pretty well. We get introduced to different species and cultures and, while there isn’t a massive adventure. it has just enough happening to keep you hooked. Think Star Trek without the life or death missions. We get some amazing world building (galaxy building?) and all the characters have their own backstories and lives. I thoroughly enjoyed it but for some reason, while I liked the characters, I didn’t feel as invested in them as I’d have liked.

The Beginning Woods by Malcolm McNeill *****

The Vanishings started without warning. People disappearing into thin air – just piles of clothes left behind. Each day, thousands gone without a trace. Max was abandoned in a bookshop and grows up haunted by memories of his parents. Only he can solve the mystery of the Vanishings. To find the answers, Max must leave this world and enter the Beginning Woods. A realm of magic and terror, life and death.
But can he bear the truth – or will is destroy him?

This book is a whole host of magical fairytales mixed in with a good dose of adventure. If you want to know how snowflakes are made, learn about the forest dwelling dragons that only eat certain types of trees or the magic of old light then this book is for you.

Unfortunately, the amazing stories and ideas in this book have a way of slowing the pace down. The writing is beautiful but during the first third of the book while we are being introduced to all these different magical stories the plot comes to an almost standstill. It is worth carrying on though. As, when all the elements finally come together, we get an exciting story that I didn’t want to put down.

It’s just a shame about the start otherwise I would have given this a higher rating than three stars.


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Shop Logo (SAL update)

Since the last time I shared my cross stitching with you I’ve started a new project and finished it as well. It was only a small little thing. It’s 2.5″ wide on 22 count aida (yes i went back to the horrible fabric that I said I wouldn’t use again but I didn’t have any other 22 or 20 count fabric and I wasn’t going to buy a whole sheet of it for such a baby project!). Anyway, here it is:

It’s a cross stitch version of the logo I designed for my Etsy shop as I thought it would make a nice picture and once I’d thought of it, I couldn’t get the idea of cross stitching a tiny little gecko out of my head. logo_snip_vectorized

My Etsy shop is coming along VERY slowly seeing as I want to test all my designs before I sell them. So right now it’s only got two cross stitch patterns up although I have just started stitching a third.WP_20160713_17_08_43_Pro

These are all the lovely people taking part in the stitchalong:

Avis / Claire / Gun / Carole / Kate  / Wendy / Lucyanne / Sue / Constanze / Debbie / Christina / Kathy / Susan

You should check out what they’re stitching. And if you would like to take part in the SAL you can get in contact with Avis on the link above.

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I have no special talents but to try and try again (sal)

I have another update on my stitching to share as part of our Stitch a long. The group posts every three weeks and all the links of everyone else taking part in the SAL is near the bottom of the post.

Here is the photo of where I was last time:passionatelycurious sal

I’ve just about managed to finish it this time. I had to rip then re-rip sections of it out as I wasn’t happy with the colours of the book.

These were my first two attempts at it.


I didn’t think the first one showed the contrast between the pages enough, it’s actually showing up in that picture a lot more than it did in real life. The second I thought the contrast was too much!

So after a short break where I calmed down, I re-ripped it. Please excuse the bad quality photo, I should have taken one like the other two so you could see the difference better. But I’m happier with the colours now and I can breathe a sigh of relief that I don’t have to rip it out again (I’m not sure the fabric would hold up to another rip anyway!).

WP_20160623_21_46_51_Pro 1

Other members of the SAL are:

Avis / Claire / Gun / Carole / Kate  / Wendy / Lucyanne / Sue / Constanze / Debbie / Christina

You should check out what they’re stitching. And if you would like to take part you can get in contact with Avis on the link above.

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Memo Pad: Book Reviews

A look at the books I’ve read this month.  

Read: 3

Storywalker by David Bridger *****

The story follows Molly Mathews who suffers from an illness called ME. Through her illness she has relied on books to comfort her specifically her favourite series of books called Tamass the Fearless written by Paul Best. When a particularly bad day for Molly ends with her actually inside her favourite story she learns that these stories aren’t just fictional ideas Paul has written, but a real place. Part of a multiverse that connects our own world of water with the world where Tamass the Fearless lives. On the same particularly bad day for Paul, he discovers the same thing and that Tamass the Fearless, the hero he thought he’d made up in his books is actually his brother, separated at birth to protect them. Their paths intertwine as they all discover a plot that would enslave both their worlds

I really liked this book.  I especially loved Molly, as someone who retreats into books to cope with illness too, she was a lovely character to read about and spend time with. I’m not normally one for quests that mean lots of travel but its done really well here and we don’t spend much time on the road. I especially loved the way that the history of the worlds intertwine with myths and legends. I mean, the legend of atlantis and avalon had to come from somewhere right? The characters in the story are a diverse bunch and there’ll be at least someone for everyone to connect with. They’re done very realistically and all have their own motivations. The only thing that prevents me from giving this five stars is that I thought some of the introductions of new elements of the story were a little convenient but for me it didn’t take away from the overall enjoyment of the story.

The Three by Sarah Lotz *****

Four simultaneous plane crashes. Three child survivors. A religious fanatic who insists the three are harbingers of the apocalypse. What if he’s right?

The world is stunned when four commuter planes crash within hours of each other on different continents. Facing global panic, officials are under pressure to find the causes. With terrorist attacks and environmental factors ruled out, there doesn’t appear to be a correlation between the crashes, except that in three of the four air disasters a child survivor is found in the wreckage. Dubbed ‘The Three’ by the international press. When a rapture cult led by a charismatic evangelical minister insists that the survivors are three of the four harbingers of the apocalypse. The Three are forced to go into hiding, but as the children’s behaviour becomes increasingly disturbing, even their guardians begin to question their miraculous survival…

I really enjoyed this book. It’s billed as a horror and that’s not something I would normally read but the blurb grabbed me. Having finished the book, I really wouldn’t call it a horror story. It’s written in a documentary style with the chapters being news stories, first hand accounts or chat and interview transcripts. That sounds pretty boring to me but it isn’t. I loved the style of writing and it worked really well at building up a story. I really enjoyed reading but I can also see why people wouldn’t like it. It’s just one of those books.  If you like it you’ll love it. 

The Iron Trial (Magisterium #1) by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare *****

Call has no idea what he’ll come up against in THE IRON TRIAL but he knows that if he passes the test, he’ll become a student of magic at the Magisterium. Only, all his life, Call’s been warned to stay away from magic, so he tries his best to do his worst – but fails at failing. Now he must enter the Magisterium, and it’s even more sensational and sinister that he could ever have imagined.

A lot of people I’ve seen have compared this book to Harry Potter but it really didn’t feel that similar to me. I did find it very similar to Foundation: The Collegium Chronicals by Mercedes Lackey. A young boy goes to magic school. Makes friends and finds out more about his parents and new world. There were parts where I thought it was more four stars but overall a very solid three. I’ll probably read the next in the series and see where this goes. 

DNF: 1

The Constitution (The Legacy Fleet #1) by Nick Webb

This book has a blurb that reads a lot like battlestar galactica. Old enemy comes back, new technology is useless. Our only hope is an almost retired guy on an almost antique ship. Sounds like it should be a good read. 

I only got a few chapters into this one before I gave up. I got fed up of the characters having conversations explaining the history/plot that they both already know. Find a better way to fill me in because it just sounds way too fake. 

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