About Yvo

Thank you for visiting my blog! Let me introduce myself: I'm Yvonne, or Yvo for short... I was born a Dutchie, but felt that that tiny, rainy country known for tulips, windmills, cheese and of course Amsterdam wasn't my place to be. O no, the world was a lot bigger that and was calling me to start discovering it. Carpe Diem and all. So I learned Spanish (I actually have a degree in Spanish philology), went to study in Madrid, Spain when I was 20... And after that I decided to try and find my place in the world. I travelled around a lot during the last few years, and finally settled down in lovely Argentina after having found the love of my life while travelling in Colombia.

ARC REVIEW: The Merchant’s Pearl – by Amie O’Brien @merchantspearl

Title: The Merchant’s Pearl
(The Merchant’s Pearl Saga #1)
Author: Amie O’Brien

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
First published: July 24th 2016
Publisher: BookBaby
Finished reading: June 23rd 2017
Pages: 466

“I just wish I understood what it all means sometimes—why one person rises while the other falls? Why one set of feet must be kissed while the other’s gets stepped upon?”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I confess it took me longer than expected to finally pick up my copy of The Merchant’s Pearl. I had been saying I was going to pick it up for ages, but somehow I was afraid this historical fiction story was going to be way too heavy on the romance for me after rereading the blurb a while ago. Thankfully this was actually one of the few exceptions were I was wrong. There is no doubt that I ended up enjoying way better than I ever could have hoped for… I enjoy reading historical fiction in general and the Ottoman empire setting is without doubt well executed in The Merchant’s Pearl. The many descriptions of the palace, its surroundings and the things that happened there helped create a very vivid and rich image of how it would have been like living there as a concubine. I’m not sure if it all actually felt late 19th century, but I personally didn’t mind as those descriptions were more than enough to set the right atmosphere. I do have to say it took me a lot longer than expected to actually finish The Merchant’s Pearl. Part of it might have been me, part of it might have been the somewhat slower pace, but at 466 pages the story might possibly have felt a bit overlong… There is no doubt that I still very much enjoyed reading this story though. Especially the first half or so stood out for me, not only due to the lack of romance but also because of the dynamics between Leila and Emre. The second half had considerably more romance scenes, drama, jealousy and a few other cliches that made me enjoy the overall story slightly less than I expected after the first few chapters. Especially anything related to the drama between the concubines was a bit too much for me, although I guess this probably did happen all the time in a harem. I did like both Leila and Emre more in the first half though, as they started to get on my nerves sometimes later on in the story. Like I said, the second half had too much drama in it to my taste, but I still liked it and the descriptions stayed strong until the very end. All in all The Merchant’s Pearl is a very interesting historical fiction read that romance fans will appreciate even better than I did.

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Sarai grew up as a missionary’s daughter and lived a happy life up until the day her parents are murdered when she’s eleven. The people that took her in initially sold her to the palace, where she was to be a concubine-in-waiting for the Ottoman Sultan Aziz. Now called Leila, she tries to be invisible, but one of his sons, Prince Emre, has set her eyes on her and claims her for his own. Leila never wanted this life in the first place, but now she has to compete against the other girls in his harem… And one of them seems to be determined to make her life miserable. Will Leila ever adapt to her new life?

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My favorite part of The Merchant’s Pearl is hands down the existence of many detailed descriptions of the inner workings of the Ottoman palace and empire of that time. It was really interesting to see how things worked back then and how life was for a concubine… The pace was a bit slow, but the writing style was beautiful. I liked most of the characters as well, although some of their actions started to annoy me during the second half of the story. But that might just have been me and my aversion to anything too overly romance/drama in the first place. If you like historical fiction and romance, you will enjoy reading this one!


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Bookstagram Sundays #4 – June 25th

I’ve recently decided to create a separate place to share my recent Bookstagram photos rather than squeezing them all into one huge wrap up post every month. I’ve only started using Instagram for my bookish photos back in January but I have quickly fallen in love with the Bookish community there. And while I don’t think my photos come even close to the many gorgeous accounts and photos there, I’m having a lot of fun adding my own photos to the mix!

This week I only posted three new photos, mostly because it took me ages to read The Merchant’s Pearl. Not sure why though besides the slower pace and romance, because in general I enjoyed it and with 466 pages it’s not THAT long either. I sure do hope this isn’t the start of a reading slump! Fingers crossed Each Little Lie (and afterwards What To Say Next) will help me get back on track… My favorite photo this week is definitely the last one: just LOVE the contrast between the old wood/berries and my kindle. ❤

Feel free to add me at @yvo_about_books if you want to! I will always follow back bookish accounts.

On to the photo spam:


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Stacking The Shelves #23 – June 24th

Stacking The Shelves is hosted at Tynga’s Reviews and is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

I know I know, I wasn’t going to request any new titles, but I’m super excited about both of these new books on my kindle so that’s something right? And I’ve been thinking of making July into a Bookouture thriller month with all those thrillers I have pending now. xD

# NETGALLEY ARC #

 

I hope everyone is having a great weekend! ❤


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It’s All About Books goes #Litsy !!

Confession: I hadn’t heard about this bookish App until earlier this week. I’m not sure if I’ve been living under a rock or if it’s just that I don’t really use a lot of Apps in general on my phone… But after having great experiences joining both Twitter and Instagram this year, I decided to give this one a go.

What is Litsy all about? It’s a free App you can download on your phone and share book reviews, quotes and other bookish posts with fellow book lovers. As the official Litsy website puts it:

I’ve been asking around about this App on Twitter and people seem pretty positive about Litsy… So It’s All About Books now officially has its own Litsy page!

Feel free to follow me at yvo_about_books . (The same username as my Twitter and Instagram accounts)


So far I’ve managed to spam my new account with a bunch of reviews of a few of my favorite reads, but I will keep uploading new content during the next few weeks.

Feel free to add me if you have a Litsy account! I will always follow back. 🙂


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Friday Finds #138 – June 23rd

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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ARC REVIEW: The Weight Of Lies – by Emily Carpenter @EmilyDCarpenter @AmazonPub

Title: The Weight Of Lies
Author: Emily Carpenter

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: June 6th 2017
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Finished reading: June 19th 2017
Pages: 382

“Sometimes, in our lives, we do what other people want us to. Simply because we can’t muster the strength to go another, braver way.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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Around the publish date a few weeks back glowing after glowing review started popping up everywhere, so I just had no other choice but add The Weight Of Lies to my wishlist instantly. And I’m definitely glad I listened to those reviews now, because boy this was GOOD. I was hooked as soon as I started reading The Weight Of Lies and it managed to hold my attention until the very end. The story POV switches between the so-called ‘Kitten’ chapter bites out of the book the main character’s mother Frances wrote 40 years ago and the actual story. Those little chapters definitely added a little something extra to the story: a unique feel, a healthy dose of suspense and intrigue about what is still to come… But this doesn’t mean that the actual plot isn’t anything less than brilliant. Besides the fact that I fell in love with the writing style almost instantly, The Weight Of Lies is also packed with plot twists, secrets, lies and unreliable characters that will keep you wondering about both what really happened all those years ago and what is happening right now. I found myself eagerly turning the pages (or in this case, finger-stabbing my kindle) to try and find out what everybody was hiding and what secrets the island will reveal. Another bonus: this story managed to surprise me more than once, which trust me doesn’t happen all that often anymore. I also liked the plot itself and the fact that both writing and books themselves play such a big role in the story. I admit I wasn’t a fan of every character, but the relationship between Meg and her writing mother is well developed and brilliantly executed. Then again, the descriptions in general were very well done and really set the right atmosphere for this story. If you enjoy reading psychological thrillers, you will be in for a treat with this one!

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Meg Ashley doesn’t exactly have a good relationship with her mother Frances, who is a very successful writer. Frances wrote her first bestselling horror novel almost forty years ago, a story inspired by a murder on the island she stayed at that time. And while Meg has had a privileged life because of her mother’s work, the two have never had a good relationship and her childhood wasn’t exactly a happy one. Then one day Meg accepts a proposal to write a scandalous, tell-all memoir and reveal all the dirty secrets and truth about her childhood. Not only that, she will also investigate the murder her mother used to create her first bestseller. But this might be even more dangerous than she initially had guessed… Because some secrets are best left alone.

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Like psychological thrillers? Like a well developed plot packed with plot twists and suspense? Like reading a story within a story? Like being surprised? Like conspiracy theories and book-obsessed fans? Like a writing style that will tempt you from the very first page? Then definitely give The Weight Of Lies a go. This story managed to grab my full attention from the very first page and I couldn’t stop reading until I reached the last page. Without doubt worth the read if you like the genre!


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WWW Wednesdays #142 – June 21st

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently still reading The Merchant’s Pearl by Amie O’Brien, a historical fiction ARC set in the Ottoman empire of the late 19th century. I can’t wait to dive into Each Little Lie by Tom Bale afterwards though. I have been reading less mystery/thrillers than usual this month and I’m really missing them! And after loving his other book last year, I can’t wait to read his newest story. I haven’t made progress with Little Women though, mostly because I finished part one last week and I haven’t decided yet whether to just review that part separately or read part two as well and review it as a whole. I’m not enjoying it as much as I thought I would and it’s taking longer than expected, so I’m not sure what to do…

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Book Of Whispers by Kimberley Starr (2/5 stars) REVIEW 
I like stories with a medieval setting and I was definitely looking forward to The Book Of Whispers, but in the end it just wasn’t for me and not just because of the demon overload. The writing style, the demon descriptions, the characters, the romance… There was a lot that unfortunately didn’t work for me and the historical setting couldn’t make up for this. The idea behind The Book Of Whispers is very original though and it must have been a lot of work to mix both elements. There is no doubt this story had a lot of potential…

2. Can’t Buy Forever by Susan Laffoon (1,5/5 stars) REVIEW
I was actually looking forward to Can’t Buy Forever as the blurb sounded quite interesting, but unfortunately I ended up having a completely different experience instead. I won’t repeat all the details I’ve mentioned above since I’ve already talked about each point extensively, but it does become clear it was far too easy to find things that didn’t work for me in the story. Was it just me or is the book to blame as well? I won’t be the judge to read the sentence, but at least I’ve put in my two cents.

3. Four Days by Jamie Campbell (3/5 stars) REVIEW
Four Days is without doubt less of a romance story and more of a road trip and sports-focused contemporary read. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the local scenery and the writing style was quite enjoyable to read. I liked the Dutch words popping up every once in a while and how sports played such an important role throughout the story. I wasn’t sure about the characters though and the steamy scenes were a huge turn off for me. But like I said before, if you don’t mind those you will probably enjoy this story a lot!

4. The Weight Of Lies by Emily Carpenter (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 22/06
I requested a copy of this story after seeing various glowing reviews and I will definitely be adding another one to the mix tomorrow. After a few mediocre reads, I finally found something again that was able to grab my full attention! I loved the Kitten chapters in between the ‘normal’ ones and the story itself is intriguing. I found myself eagerly turning the pages to try and find out what her mother was hiding and what secrets the island hides… Very good psychological thriller indeed! More in my review tomorrow. 😉

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have more pending ARCs to get to, but luckily the pile seems a little smaller now… So I’m keeping my fingers crossed nothing interesting will come up for a while so I can get to my own books instead. 😉 I need to read The Lost Book Of The Grail by Charlie Lovett, an ARC that was approved a day before it was archived so naturally I didn’t get to it on time. xD I might read What To Say Next by Julie Buxbaum first thought because it has been calling my name ever since I was granted a copy! I also need another dose of mystery/thriller and want to pick up one of my own titles instead of an ARC just this once: Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton. Slip by David Estes is still high on my list as well.


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