Memo Pad: Book Reviews – June 2017

I only read four new books this month which is the least that I’ve read in a while but this was purely down to the fact that, only a week after reading them for the first time, I decided to reread the All For The Game trilogy to start the month off (and I have to say I only very narrowly avoided reading them for the third time in as many weeks). Even though I’ve read four books since then I am still in a book hangover from them and its very possible that I’ll end up rereading them again before the year is out. Which brings me on to another point. Goodreads has a new feature that means you can add a reread date to books now so I’m now counting rereads towards my reading goal for the year/goodreads challenge. Is anyone else doing this? I’ve never counted them before but….

In other news I’m now just one book away from actually reaching my goodreads challenge of 40 books! We’re only half way through! The most I’ve ever read in a year is 46 so it looks pretty set that I’ll beat that! My ultimate goal was 52 books but I didn’t want to set it that high because I didn’t want to be counting books rather than enjoying them but unless something goes horribly wrong, I’ll manage that too!

mp june17

Read: 4           Reread: 3           DNF: 1


Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz *****

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

I liked it. I enjoyed reading it but that was it? I didn’t think it was as amazing as the hype had set it up to be.  I think a lot of the rave reviews are because of the subject matter/characters which is fair enough, there needs to be more books like this.

It was really well written and I definitely FELT how Aristotle was feeling. I do think that it got resolved very easily at the end. After everything we learn about Aristotle, I don’t think a kid like that would just accept it so easily.


Glamour by Kayla Bain-Vrba *****

Pip is a hopeless romantic living in a small town with his cobbler father and stepmother. His stepmother’s greatest wish is to move to court, but his father insists they find Pip a husband first. Not willing to wait any longer, his evil stepmother spreads a rumor that Pip can turn pebbles into jewels, and make those precious gems into slippers.  When the Aelfin king hear’s of this, he has Pip captured and thrown in the dungeon. Pip has one night to make the king a pair of gemstone slippers, or his life is forfeit. Luckily for Pip, who has never worked with a single gemstone much less an entire slipper’s worth, the king’s son has magical powers that can make bejeweled slippers—and he wants revenge on the king for casting him out. The two strike a bargain, but one pair of jeweled slippers leads to more and more demands, and Pip swiftly runs out of things to trade, until all that remains is his heart…

I enjoyed reading this book but I feel like it was confused about what it was trying to be. It reads like a fairytale but the middle bit has some rather explicit scenes. If this had been aimed at children and had, say, true loves kiss as a part of the bargain rather than what happened then this could have been a really brilliant children’s fairytale with a gay main character. It’s the right length, right tone (apart from the middle bit), lovely main character… If that was what it was then it would have been a four star easy, maybe more. But as it is, it’s a rather confused book.


The God Eaters by Jesse Hajicek *****

Imprisoned for ‘inflammatory writings’ by the totalitarian Theocracy, shy intellectual Ashleigh Trine figures his story’s over. But when he meets Kieran Trevarde, a hard-hearted gunslinger with a dark magic lurking in his blood, Ash finds that necessity makes strange heroes… and love can change the world.

“I love you,” he said and realised it was a lie.

I think that’s my favourite line that I’ve read this month (at least).

This book is set around the idea of native American like Gods and tribes being squashed by a new religion and culture set in a quasi wild-west that has magic. I can honestly say that I’ve never read a book set in a world anything like that before. It was interesting and I’d definitely recommend it just for the setting. The characters were flawed and broken and they evolved brilliantly as they started to let each other in and build up trust and there was enough action to keep you turning the pages. It has a pretty awful cover but the story is definitely worth checking out, especially because it is available online for free.


Scourge by Gail Z. Martin *****

The city-state of Ravenwood is wealthy, powerful, and corrupt. Merchant Princes and Guild Masters wager fortunes to outmaneuver League rivals for the king’s favor and advantageous trading terms. Lord Mayor Ellor Machison wields assassins, blood witches, and forbidden magic to assure that his powerful patrons get what they want, no matter the cost. Corran, Rigan, and Kell Valmonde are Guild Undertakers, left to run their family’s business when guards murdered their father and monsters killed their mother. Their grave magic enables them to help souls pass to the After and banish vengeful spirits. Rigan’s magic is unusually strong and enables him to hear the confessions of the dead, the secrets that would otherwise be taken to the grave. When the toll exacted by monsters and brutal guards hits close to home and ghosts expose the hidden sins of powerful men, Corran, Rigan and Kell become targets in a deadly game and face a choice: obey the Guild, or fight back and risk everything.

This story is absolutely packed full of Magic and monsters. It’s an epic fantasy following three brothers who are all likeable and face their own problems. I liked all three brothers, and enjoyed reading about them. There was plenty of action but I felt like some of the monster attacks and and the guard showdowns started to feel quite repetitive in the middle. On top of that one of the POV’s is very slow. I actually ended up skimming pretty much all his chapters and I honestly don’t think I missed much. I do expect a certain amount of politics in an epic fantasy but it was just stretched too far. Half of the things we’re told, we just simply don’t need to know let alone in the amount of detail we’re given it (repeatedly). If those chapters had been more succinct I think this would have been a four star for me. I did really enjoy the brothers and a lot of the side characters were great too, I think it should have stuck to those characters a little more.




Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Neilsen

I picked this book up because I absolutely loved The False Prince by Neilsen, (as in one of my FAVOURITE books) and this book is about thieves which is, um, my favourite thing? So I thought this would be amazing but for some reason I just didn’t get into it? I’m not sure why. But I’m very disappointed, possibly with myself for not enjoying it more.


So that was my reading month. I’m really excited about nearly reaching my goal. I wonder how many books I will read by the end of the year. Have you read any of these? What is the best book that you have read this month? And do you count rereads towards your reading goal?

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Cross Stitch SAL

I have – kind of – a finish to show you!

I’ve done all the cross stitching that I’d planned to do. So without further ado here it is: WP_20170616_18_28_27_Pro

I have two questions now. 1) shall I fill in the words with white stitching to cover up the rather holey looking fabric or leave it as is? It makes everything else look raised a bit not having it but not sure if it would look better with. I’m leaning towards not stitching it.

2) shall I do back stitching around the individual leaves? I think some of them kind of blend into each other so it might be good? I’ve given it a little go and I’m not sure I like it. Some bits look good and others look bad. But maybe if it was the whole thing it might look better? Or should I just leave it without any back stitching?!? Ahhh.

Photo 21-06-2017, 15 15 25

In other news, the fabric for the next project arrived. It’s this lovely Christmas red 18 count aida. It will mainly be stitched in white but with either gold or a variegated thread of a similar colour. I’ve never used a variegated thread before so that might be interesting.


I haven’t actually finished the design yet though so we’ll see when I get around to it. I might end up stitching my next Hogwarts house pin cushion first. It’s Gryffindor’s turn next (although I haven’t finished designing that yet either….)

The other people taking part in the stitch along are below:

Avis / Claire / Gun / Carole / Kate / Lucyanne / Sue / Constanze / Debbie / Christina / Kathy / Margaret / Cindy / Helen / Steph / Linda / Catherine / Wendy / Mary Margaret and Timothy

We post progress on whatever cross stitch protects we’ve been working on every three weeks. So its a lovely selection of different things to look at.

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WIP Revelations – Writing Tag


I saw this over on twitter and I really enjoyed reading through the questions. The tag is hosted by @ScarletteWilder on twitter. Instead of posting an answer a day throughout the month of June on twitter like you’re supposed to, I thought it would make a good blog post instead. I don’t talk about writing that much and thought it would be a fun post to do. So let’s get started:

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1. About how old were you when you stayed writing?

I’ve seen a lot of people answer those saying something really young but honestly, I didn’t really start writing until I was about 14-16.

2. What is the first story you remember writing?

I remember as part of my English class when I was in year 10 (14/15) we had to write a ghost story. I ended up writing a horror story about someone abducting people and hanging them from a tree in the woods and draining them of blood…. And then I remembered it was supposed to be a ghost story so added something like and now the woods are haunted by the victims at the end of it. Whoops. I’m sure my teacher was worried about me. After that, when I got sick, I remember writing a few scenes of me just waking up/relaxing in some really lovely places like by a waterfall or on the beach.

3. What is it that made you want to write?

Escapism. I like being other people in other situations, it’s interesting. Whenever I have time to think I’m always somewhere else.


**WIP means Work In Progress

4. What would you do if you had to stop writing?

Right now, I’d be mega bummed because I’m one chapter away from finishing my first full draft of something.

5. What is the most active WIP’s you’ve had going at the same time?

Well, actually writing wise, I’m writing two stories at the moment. An original story and a harry potter fan fiction. But story idea wise, I have at least 30 that run through my head. I’ll visit all of them and spend time in them. It’s a constant thing, I’m always in one of them. Some are more developed than others, some I’ve written notes down for, others are just scenes or small situations that are interesting.

6. Imagine you had to switch the genre you write. What do you write now?

I think I’d probably give contemporary a go. It’s probably the furthest from fantasy/scifi. It’s not something that I ever thought I’d write but recently I’ve had some story ideas for them. I’m not really sure I could do it well because I really don’t read that much real world contemporary stuff but it’d be good to try.

7. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever searched for in the name of writing?

Haha. …. I look up broken bones and serious injuries a lot but I think that’s natural for a writer? For my current wip I was looking up a lot of physics and chemistry. Oh. Probably temperature changes due to altitude? Just so you know, it gets 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit colder ever 1000 feet you go up…. I’m not sure about weirdest but that’s probably the most specific thing I’ve ever looked up.

8. You’re computer crashes. Everything on it is unsalvageable. Be honest, do you have a backup?

Yes! I’m pretty paranoid about it actually. I just know that if I lost everything I would never have the motivation to start again so it’s really important. I have them saved on my computer and two different clouds as well.

9. Have you ever missed work/class etc. Because of your writing?

I didn’t really start writing until after I got ill and I’m housebound/bedbound so have never really had any commitments to put off. I do put my life on hold sometimes, but its only things that I choose to do rather than anything important.

10. We’ve all written in weird places but what’s the weirdest place you’ve ever written?

I haven’t, like I said I’m bedbound most of the time, so I write in bed. I think about what I’m writing in the shower, I guess I’ve written in a hotel room bed on holiday before but that’s it.

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*MC means Main Character

11. Does MCs name have deeper meaning behind it?

I really love looking up name meanings but sometimes you just know a characters name straight away. It’s like they introduce themselves. My MC’s fake surname is O’Broin though, Broin is apparently Celtic for raven and he has raven coloured hair. But other characters in my story do have more meaningful names (and others have less meaningful names!). It all depends on what sounds right.

12. MC is dead now. Who becomes the new protagonist?

That’s a really good question. It’s an ensemble so there are multiple main characters anyway but I think it would be either Allie, his best friend or Alfie, the love interest. It would be really interesting to switch to one of the other people though as it would be a completely different take on everything.

13. How would the story change if MC was gender swapped?

It honestly wouldn’t change much? The world is really unequal but not at all in gender roles. So he’d be a she but that’s pretty much it.

14. Is MC your favourite character?

No. I love my main characters (for both my original story and my harry potter fan fiction) but I always seem to love the best friends and love interests more. I guess that’s natural though, right? If your main character is who you are telling the story through, then you are going to like ‘your’ best friend or lover more than yourself. Normally.

15. Who sees MC as the villain of the story?

A whole hell of a lot of people. I’d say almost most people. Actually this is true in both stories haha.

16. What makes MC worth reading about?

It’s to do with the above actually. I just really like writing conflicted / grey characters. Is it right or is it wrong? Are they good because they want to help or are they bad because they’ve made bad decisions? Are they good because they know what they’re doing is right even if everybody else thinks they are bad? Is it cowardly or is it brave? Hmmm, questions, questions.

17. The most important person to MC was just murdered. How does MC handle it?

Answering both ways to prove that I’m not just writing the same story in two different universes! In my original story he’d carry on and pretend he was fine. He’d die inside but he’s been dying inside for a while now so that’s nothing new. For my harry potter fan fiction he would literally curl up in a ball and just stop because keeping them safe was literally the only thing he was trying to do.


18. Does your story take place in our world or another?

Another world. It’s more interesting that way. Also, I like making things difficult for myself, okay?

19. Is your time period most reminiscent of the past, present, or future?

Past, although they are rather advanced in chemistry because of the magic system that I made up.

20. What is the biggest difference between the world in your story and the real one?

Magic, flying airships sailing through the sky? Yeah, probably those.

21. How about supernatural/alien creatures? Got any of those running around?

Well, I have magic and a type of magic that people think makes you a demon but no creatures, not really. Also a goddess of the religion. Religion is supernatural, right?

22. Is superstition prevalent in your world?

Yes, extremely. People are a lot less likely to go out at night unless the stars are shining because they think the goddess can’t protect them in the dark. Also they think some people are demons so…

23. How likely is something like the witch trials to occur in your world?

Very likely, see demons…

24. Imagine a highly contagious and very lethal viral infection is spreading through your world. How is it combated?

They’d find the right chemicals to combine to kill it and everyone rich would be fine but they’d probably only give the cure to the poor in exchange for work/subservience.


25. Are you a The Sims fan?

No, actually. I always really liked building the houses and the people (I’d spend ages imagining the people) but I never liked playing the actual game.

26. Be honest, do you control your story or do your characters?

My characters have absolute control. Save me!

I make up the world/situation and put the characters there and they decide what happens. I don’t even fully make up my own characters, they just introduce themselves and let me find out more about them.

27. How do you keep your characters in line when they are misbehaving?

There’s a way to do this? They do what they want.

28. Have you ever gone on a torture/killing spree in a novel because you’ve had a bad day in real life?

I have honestly never needed an excuse to be mean to my characters. I’m a very, very mean god.

29. Have you ever gotten into a fight with your current MC?

No, I love them all too much. I’m more likely to want to hug them until they feel better than to be angry at them.

30. Have you ever broken up with an MC and had to suspend the WIP or change the protagonist out?

No but that’s a horrible thought.



These were actually really fun to answer and I hope they were interesting to read. If any of these answers made you want to ask me any questions then feel free to do so in the comments. I’d love to hear some of your answers too and if you want to look up more people answering these then the hashtag on twitter is #WIPrevelations

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Sal Update

I’ve gotten quite a lot of cross stitching done these last three weeks and its time to share my progress with you as part of our SAL. The stitch a long is a group who posts their progress every third Sunday. We all do our own projects so its really fun to see what each other do and help motivate is to keep going. We’re always happy to have new members.

But back to my cross stitch.

Last time I said I wanted to get my blue-ish oak leaves done which I managed but I also managed to move on to the top part and get some of that done.

Here it is then and now:

And also a close up of the oak leaf.

The inner blue was suppose to be a dark shade but its actually really bold and bright so I might change that for a darker one (who am I kidding? I’ll probably just change it on the pattern rather than actually re stitch it!).

I really think I might be able to finish this for next time. There are a lot of colour changes on the top part because they’re all small leaves and I need to find one colour that seems to have gone missing from my stash but if all goes to plan I might show you a finish next time. I doubt I’ll have time to wash/press and frame it though.


I’ve been busy designing a Christmas cross stitch for my next project. It’s not finished yet but it might be by the time I move on from this. It’s a little big right now. It’s going to be a wall hanging and right now its over half a metre long. Eeek! I keep running out of space and adding a few more inches. I’m trying to peg myself back but its still going to be BIG!


Here are all the others currently taking part in the Sal.

Avis / Claire / Gun / Carole / Kate / Lucyanne / Sue / Constanze / Debbie / Christina / Kathy / Margaret / Cindy / Helen / Steph / Linda / Catherine / Wendy / Mary Margaret and Timothy

I’m looking forward to seeing all the progress.

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