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.

BLOG TOUR REVIEW: The Pursuit Of William Abbey – by Claire North #blogtour @Tr4cyF3nt0n @OrbitBooks

Hello and welcome to my stop of the The Pursuit Of William Abbey blog tour! A huge thanks to Tracy Fenton for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I’ve been meaning to try Claire North‘s books for ages now and there was just no way on earth I was going to be able to resist that blurb. Today I’m interrupting my blogging break to talk about this most intriguing story… Please join me while I share my thoughts!

Title: The Pursuit Of William Abbey
Author: Claire North
Genre: Historical Fiction, Magical Realism
First published: November 12th 2019
Publisher: Orbit Books
Finished reading: November 13th 2019
Pages: 432

“And whatever you love most is the thing the shadow kills. That is the first lesson of the curse that was laid upon me.”

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

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As soon as I started reading the blurb, The Pursuit Of William Abbey started ticking all the right boxes for me. A historical and international setting: check. A shocking event that changes the life of the main character forever: check. A curse and everything it entails: check. The promise of a lot of movement: check. That feeling of impending doom: check. Oh yes, the blurb alone already fully convinced me I was going to be in for a VERY interesting ride. And now I’ve had the chance to read The Pursuit Of William Abbey, I can state that this story has one of the most compelling and captivating premises I’ve had the chance to encounter this year.

There are quite a few different elements I loved in The Pursuit Of William Abbey. I’m struggling a bit to decide where to start, but I guess we’ll keep it simple and return to the core of this story. And there is just no way to describe the plot without calling the curse the key stone on which the rest of the story is build. I don’t want to give away too much, but as you might have guessed from reading the blurb, the main character William Abbey is cursed in the beginning of this story and his life changes forever after that. In the rest of the story, this curse is omnipresent and will determine every movement and even thought of William Abbey and those close to him. The curse gives The Pursuit Of William Abbey a touch of the mystical and what I personally would call magical realism. Why? This story isn’t full blown fantasy; instead it’s rather a work of literary fiction with a historical setting and a blurred line between the surreal and reality. This mix of genres is most fascinating and while it might not be for everyone, (historical) fiction fans will find it probably very easy to warm up to this story.

Another thing that stands out in The Pursuit Of William Abbey is both the international setting and diversity of different countries, local customs and politics incorporated into the plot. The nature of the curse alone forces William Abbey to travel a lot, and as the story develops he will have more than one reason to travel the globe. The many many references to different countries, local events and culture definitely made my travel heart happy and gives this story a complex, multifaceted and global feel. From Europe to Asia to Africa to the US; William Abbey never stops and as a consequence we never stop either.

The structure of the plot is also very intriguing. Basically, we start at the end, set in 1917, and then slowly learn more about the events in 1884 and the years after as William Abbey narrates his story through flashbacks. This way, his motivation for his actions in 1917 France are not clear for a long time, and this technique definitely helps you stay invested as you try to find all the answers. There are also quite a few characters in play, and this might be a bit of a juggle in the beginning, but my advice would be to just take your time with this story… This won’t be too difficult, as the pace in The Pursuit Of William Abbey is surprisingly slow in general despite the many different settings, events and quite some action. Part of this slower pace can be explained through the detailed descriptions that help this story come alive… If you are a fan of elaborate and thorough descriptions, you will definitely be in for a treat.

The slower pace in The Pursuit Of William Abbey can also be explained through the extensive character development, and the fact that this book can be considered a mainly character driven story. While the different international settings and events of course play a role, I felt the main focus was on William Abbey, the other key characters and their development. A lot of thought was put in both their descriptions and growth over time. It was also fascinating to see the different attitudes towards and reactions to the curse. The characters helped build the bridge that connects the surreal with the more worldly elements… And they are definitely the reason why this mix of different genres works so well.

I don’t want to talk too much about the plot itself and the things that happen to William Abbey to avoid spoiling the fun of discovering it all on your own… But I can say this about The Pursuit Of William Abbey in general: if you are a fan of slower character driven (historical) fiction, don’t mind a hint of magical realism and love a multilayered international plot, you should definitely add this fascinating story to your wishlist.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Claire North is the pen name for the Carnegie-nominated Catherine Webb, who also writes under the name Kate Griffin. Her latest book, 84K has been shortlisted for the Brave New Words and Philip K. Dick Awards. Catherine currently works as a live music lighting designer, teaches women’s self-defense, and is a fan of big cities, long walks, Thai food and graffiti-spotting. She lives in London.


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Blogging Break for It’s All About Books!

I’ve mentioned it already in the last two weeks, but I’ve decided to take a break from blogging in November as the blogging slump has been killing me. I’ve been struggling with a blogging and social media slump for months now, and even going light for the Winter season didn’t give me my blogging mojo back… So I’ve decided to go on a full blogging and social media break during the rest of the month (with the exception of two blog tour reviews which will go up on the 16th and 26th). I will also most likely cut back on blogging in December as well, hoping that this way I will be able to start 2020 refreshed and ready to read and review all the books again.

The funny part of this blogging slump is that I still enjoy reading, but I’m currently dreading actually finishing books because it means I have to write review afterwards. I’ve been considerably struggling with my reviews for a while now, not being able to write them straight away as usual and not wanting to read just so I wouldn’t have any new books to review. I’m hoping this break will give me my blogging mojo and review writing inspiration back! Right now, blogging has been feeling like a chore instead of a hobby; the sheer pressure of deadlines and posting every day driving me away instead of making me love blogging again. I’m sure you have noticed I’ve been around less these past few months, bloghopping and answering comments a lot less than usual… That’s 200% the slump talking, as somehow I’m finding it impossible to find that motivation to blog. I’m hoping that this break will help me fall in love with blogging again!

So that’s why It’s All About Books will be mostly silent during the month of November… If you need me for anything, your best bet would be Twitter as I’ll probably still be lurking around there. Thanks for taking the time to read my rambles and I hope you will all have a wonderful month!!  ❤ ❤ ❤


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Stacking The Shelves #101 – November 2nd

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’m taking a break from ARCs, but some titles are just impossible to resist… And of course the minute I decide to take a break, a new K.L. Slater becomes available on Netgalley. Soon after, I saw the second Cady Maddix book was a Read Now, and as I loved the first book last year I just couldn’t resist adding it to my shelf as well. And I honestly didn’t think my request for the new Jo Spain was going to be approved, but I’m not complaining it’s now hanging out on my kindle. 😉

Afterwards, I just couldn’t resist snatching an ARC of Deadly Silence after reading Meggy’s review… Best decision ever! ❤ I’ve already read and reviewed it, so it doesn’t count right? xD A few days later, I made the mistake of reading the blurb of Snakes And Ladders… Not one, but TWO serial killers and a profiler as a main lead?! How can I resist that, especially with that Read It! button right below?! You guessed right, I didn’t. xD Then Bookouture struck again and uploaded a new installment of one of my favorite detective series… I loved the first six books, so of course I HAVE to read book seven as well. 

# NETGALLEY #

Click on the summaries below to go to the Goodreads page…

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Month In Review: October 2019

October is from now on known as #Orentober as well as Halloween month!! I had a fantastic time reading books for both, and I have so many new Orenda beauties waiting for me on my TBR after reading all those fantastic reviews… As it’s currently Spring, I’ve been spending time prepping the garden for the season as well as doing a couple of smaller DIY projects around the house. More of that will follow in the next month as well as some long overdue self-care time and a couple of trips out of town (maybe even a camping trip if the weather plays nice?). I also did the necessary baking during October, although that will probably on hold during November as I’m trying to eat healthier this month. xD

Now to the bookish numbers:

  • Number of books read in October: 24
  • Total number of books read this year: 223
  • Total number of pages read in October: 7.591
  • Total number of pages read this year: 74.016

My reading definitely picked up again in October, and I think I have the Orenda beauties and Halloween reads to thank for that. I also reread two of my all time favorites… And I found a new 5 star read as well! I did have two DNF reads this month, but with those being the only two below 3 stars, I’m still very happy with the books I was able to read in October.

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November 2019 TBR

I can’t believe it’s November already! I mean, how is it possible that we only have two months left of 2019?! Anyway, October turned out to be a pretty good reading month with lots of #Orentober and Halloween reads. I didn’t get to all of the books on my October TBR, but I read the mayority so I’m calling it a success. 😉

>>> Find a complete list of my TBR on Goodreads <<<

I’ve decided to take a break from blogging in November as the blogging slump has been killing me. More about that in the post scheduled to be posted on Sunday… That will also be the last post for November except for a blog tour review on the 16th and the 26th. First things first, and let’s talk TBR. I’ve been really struggling with my reviews, not being able to write them and not wanting to read just so I wouldn’t have any new books to review. Especially those Orenda books, while absolutely fantastic, have practically destroyed me each time I tried to review them… So in November, I’m going to stay away from them (as much as it pains me as I have so many titles I want to read!) and I’m staying away from ARCs as well.

What will I read then? Since each November the Goodreads Choice Awards go live, I will mostly be reading 2019 releases I have been looking forward to in preparation for that. I’ve added a few backlist titles too, but basically November will be all about 2019 books.. This is only a tentative TBR as I might pick up different titles when the Goodreads Choice Awards nominations are announced; I always like reading as many titles as I can to see if I actually agree with the nominations and winners haha. I’m not sure if I will review all of these as I really need to take a break from blogging, but I know I will most likely end up writing at least shorties reviews for most of these anyway. xD

# TBR #

  • Recursion by Blake Crouch (336 pages)
  • After The End by Clare Mackintosh (384 pages)
  • The Assistant by S.K. Tremayne (400 pages) NETGALLEY
  • The Fountains Of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (512 pages) 
  • The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup (528 pages)

  • VOX by Christina Dalcher (336 pages)
  • Nevernight by Jay Kristoff (429 pages)
  • Triptych by Karin Slaughter (514 pages)
  • The Turn Of The Key by Ruth Ware (384 pages)
  • The Family by Louise Jensen (384 pages)

  • The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary (400 pages)
  • The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda (336 pages)
  • Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner (400 pages)
  • With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo (400 pages)
  • Next Year In Havana by Chanel Cleeton (361 pages)

Have you read any of these and/or do you recommend them?


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#ThrowbackThursday – The Closer I Get – by Paul Burston #Orentober #TBT @Orendabooks

Today is Thursday and also the last day of October, and in the spirit of celebrating all things Orenda during #Orentober month I will be joining #ThrowbackThursday again and share a previously published review of a Orenda favorite. Deciding which book to choose out of all the fantastic books I’ve had the chance to read so far has been tricky… I’ve decided to stick to to titles I reviewed at least two months ago, and the honor this week goes to a story that left me struggling to put a coherent sentence on paper: The Closer I Get by Paul Burston. I was part of the blog tour for this title, and it left me both breathless and lost for words. Want to know why? If you are curious, I’m resharing my rambles first posted back in July…

Title: The Closer I Get
Author: Paul Burston
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: July 11th 2019
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: July 11th 2019
Pages: 276

“The whole online world is one big stalking exercise. If I’m guilty, then so are millions of others.”

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

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I admit it doesn’t happen often, but every once in a while I come across a story that is able to blow me away in such a way that I find myself unable to put a coherent sentence on paper, let alone write a review that would do it justice. The Closer I Get is one of those stories. I normally write my reviews almost immediately, not wanting to forget about the details of the story as well as conveying my thoughts accurately. This time around, I found myself unable to conjure the words to describe my thoughts for more than a week, my brain still recovering from the impact of Tom and Evie’s story. In the end I simply had to put my foot down, make myself open my WordPress draft, start my rambles and see if it would make my creative juices start flowing. Let’s see if I can get my thoughts on paper somewhat coherently, shall we?

The first thing that stands out in The Closer I Get is the focus on social media and the dangers behind online presence and relationships. It’s a theme extremely relevant in today’s society, as a lot of people give more and more importance to their online presence and frequently ‘hide’ behind their online personality. Frankly, the online stalking as described in The Closer I Get chilled me to the bone and made me seriously wonder if I should just shut down all my social media accounts to be on the safe side. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my time on bookish Twitter and Instagram and I love sharing the bookish love, but we all know that trolls are out there and the possibility of online stalking is evidently real. This is only confirmed by Paul Burston‘s interview in the Guardian which I saw shared on social media a while back, where he tells us about his personal struggle with being stalked by someone… Adding even more authenticity and power to message of The Closer I Get. It’s true that one of the perks of social media is getting to meet new people with similar interests you probably won’t be able to meet otherwise, but who can garantuee your new follower/friend is who they claim to be? Or if they have an ulterior motive for befriending you? If you start standing still by these questions, social media quickly becomes a scary place to be…

The Closer I Get isn’t just a story about online stalking though. With the help of an intricate and well developed plot, the story focuses on two flawed and complex characters with their own secrets and past. It’s a tale of obsession and unrequited love, one that ends up in court and has serious consequences for both sides. Told with the help of a daunting, sharp and flawless writing style, The Closer I Get will grab you from the first chapter and will have you looking over your shoulder and biting your nails sooner than later. The story alternates between the POV of Evie and Tom, giving us the chance to get to know better both stalker and victim and giving you a (seemingly) less biased view of the situation. You will learn more about Evie’s story through the letters she writes to Tom after her conviction, letters she can never send due to her restraining order. She tries to explain her view on the situation in these messages, never faltering in her belief that her actions are justified and her feelings for Tom mutual. On the other side we have Tom, who is clearly affected by the whole online stalking situation as well as his struggle with writing another successful story after his second book flopped. Reading about his deteriorating mental state as well as his decision to leave London find inspiration to finish his book Hastings was without doubt intriguing. And while it’s true that I didn’t find Tom or Evie particularly likeable characters, it’s also true that I found their development on its own to be both fascinating and realisticly done.

What makes this story even more intriguing is that basically both Tom and Evie are unpredicable and unreliable characters. There are no clearly defined boundaries between the so-called good and bad guys. Instead, we have two characters that you will find basically cannot to be trusted. Who is lying? Could part of their story be true? What secrets are the characters hiding? Life as well as The Closer I Get is not black and white, instead giving us blurred boundaries between truth and lies and that haunting. feeling that somehow part of the puzzle is missing. The plot will slowly evolve and escalate up until the point you will find yourself unable to sit still and biting your nails to the quick. The tension might be slow building at first, but this story will have some spectacular surprises for you in store and an ending you won’t be able to see coming.

Evocative, daunting, well versed and simply shocking… The Closer I Get will leave you breathless and disquieted about your own online presence and the possible consequences and dangers it entails. As you might have guessed already, I can highly recommend this title to any fan of the genre.


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DNF ARC REVIEW: The Noble Path – by Peter May

Title: The Noble Path
Author: Peter May
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
First published: May 31st 1992
Publisher: Quercus Books
Finished reading: October 27th 2019
Pages: 544
DNF at 35% (190 pages)

“Nothing was more difficult in life than coming to terms with your own limitations.”

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

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I have been meaning to try Peter May‘s books for a long time now… In fact, I have a physical copy of Entry Island waiting on my shelves, but somehow I haven’t been able to find time to read it yet. I was stoked when I received the email that my request for The Noble Path was approved a few months back, and after multiple fellow bloggers recommending his work, I fully expected to enjoy my time with this story. And I most definitely never would have guessed I would end up DNFing it instead!

First of all I have to say that this is most likely a case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me‘, especially since it has such a high rating on Goodreads and overall positive reviews. I’ve tried really hard to warm up to the story, giving it a second, third and fourth chance and even reading other books in between to see if a change of scenery would help me finally connect to The Noble Path afterwards. But no such luck, and after days of struggling and seeing myself starting to skimread just to try and turn those pages, I knew it was time to just throw in the towel and let this story be. I hardly ever DNF a story and I still feel mighty guilty about this, but it has become painfully clear that The Noble Path just isn’t the right story for me and I might just not have been the right target group to begin with.

I still think that the historical background and setting of The Noble Path is absolutely fascinating. 1978 is a turbulent, dark and bloody time for Cambodia, with the Khmer Rouge reign and devastating genocide. A very disturbing and heartbreaking backdrop for this story, and I do believe the author does a great job with his descriptions of both the Cambodian and Thai setting and the events related to that era in history. It shows a lot of work has gone into research of this period, and I can really appreciate that. That said, I’m just not sure if I’m the right target group for this story. The Noble Path has that Rambo/Die Hard typical action movie vibe with an overload of action, violence and bloody scenes; especially once Elliott is in Asia it almost feels like you reading about a  Rambo II spin-off… Not necessarily a bad thing, but not exactly my cup of tea and it made me struggle to connect to the story.

The Noble Path has quite a few different POVs, and it can be a challenge (especially in the beginning) juggling them as well as trying to connect them to get a full picture of what is going on. I wasn’t really a fan of how the different characters were described, and I once again felt like the wrong target group as the story seemed written for the typical white male audience with its sometimes sexist comments, excessive violence and graphic scenes. I by no means have a weak stomach and don’t mind things getting bloody,dark and violent, but the tone in The Noble Path really put me off. Once again, this is a personal reaction and I’m by no means saying this is a bad read, but it did prevent me from actually reaching that final page. I’m really sad my first encounter with Peter May‘s work ended on this negative note, but I still have hope for his other books… Although I confess that I’m going to take a little break for now.


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