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: Small Spaces – by Katherine Arden

Title: Small Spaces
(Small Spaces #1)

Author: Katherine Arden
Genre: MG, Fantasy, Paranormal
First published: September 25th 2018
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers
Finished reading: July 16th 2019
Pages: 224

“Even bad things can lead to good.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I’ve been meaning to try Katherine Arden‘s work for a long time now… It’s true that I was planning to read the Winternight trilogy first, but I simply couldn’t resist the sound of this middle grade paranormal horror story when I saw it on Twitter. The grey and cold weather we are facing down here was the perfect backdrop for Small Spaces, a story that it set close to Halloween and gives off that creepy and dark October vibe. Although it shows that Small Spaces written for younger middle graders, it’s probably still a fun read for the older half of the target group as well. The key is in the story giving off the right horror vibe with the help of the descriptions… Although I wish there would have more dept and development in both the worldbuilding and characters, I really liked the idea behind Small Spaces. Ollie is without doubt an interesting character, and it’s understandable why she has the leading role in this first book of the series. It’s true I would have loved to see her character more developed, but she did grow over time and I enjoyed learning more about her relationship with her parents. The writing is engaging and makes you fly through the pages… I did find some of the dialogue to be too childish and not all that natural, but overall Small Spaces was still an interesting read. The story in the book Ollie snatched from the mysterous lady, the mist, the disappearances, the situation Ollie, Coco and Brian find themselves in afterwards… They all give off that paranormal horror and ghost vibe that is both properly creepy while still being appropriate for the target group. Small Spaces is without doubt a story that would be perfect addition for your Halloween month TBR.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #112 – Ivory And Bone & House Of Furies

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two YA fantasy read, one that sadly ended up disappointing me and one that definitely hit the mark. The writing style, POV and dull plot turned Ivory And Bone by Julie Eshbaugh into a struggle for me… House Of Furies by Madeleine Roux on the other hand was creepy, intriguing and very easy to read.


Title: Ivory And Bone
(Ivory And Bone #1)
Author: Julie Eshbaugh

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Historical Fiction
First published: June 7th 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Finished reading: July 5th 2019
Pages: 384

“It’s strange how living things seem to shrink when the life is drained from them.”


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I’ve had Ivory And Bone on my radar for a long time now… Despite the mixed reviews I decided to give this story a chance anyway, mostly because I don’t come across pre-historic settings that often and the premise sounded fascinating. I still think the pre-historic timeframe is the most interesting aspect of this story, and I don’t think I would have made it to the last page without it. Oh yes, sadly I belong to the group that didn’t react well to Ivory And Bone. I’ll try to explain briefly why. A lot of my reaction to the story has to do with the fact that part of it is told from a second person POV. I had forgotten how much I despised this technique and I only refrained from DNFing because thankfully it was only used when Kol was talking about or interacting with Mya. Still, I feel I would have enjoyed the story significantly better if it would have used a third or even first person POV instead. Apart from the POV, I found the plot of Ivory And Bone to be rather dull and uneventful during mosty of the story. Which was a huge surprise, considering the pre-historic setting and the situation between the clans. The focus of the story was mostly on daily life within the clans and the whole romance/having to find a mate ordeal. To make things even worse, we even have to deal with a love triangle as well… But at least the romance is mainly slowburn. We do have a bit more action in the second half of the story, but overall I found the plot too slow and too uneventful to keep my attention. I wish I would have loved Ivory And Bone, but sadly we weren’t ment to be…


Title: House Of Furies
(House Of Furies #1)
Author: Madeleine Roux

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Paranormal
First published: May 30th 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Finished reading: July 7th 2019
Pages: 416

“They do not know why they come, but they do, and once they step through the doors, their fate is sealed.”


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My first meeting with the work of Madeleine Roux was with the Asylum series, and I loved my time with those books. I’ve been wanting to pick up House Of Furies ever since… And I thought a dark and cold winter day would be a perfect alternative for the Halloween month to finally pick this paranormal horror/fantasy read up. This new series is without doubt another excellent creation! In fact, I think I might like it even more than the Asylum books… Both the historical setting in general and the descriptions are detailed and give the story the right eery and haunted atmosphere. I think part of the success of this story is the 1810 setting in the Coldthistle House and the sheer creepiness of it all. The writing itself was engaging and made me fly through this story in no time at all. The mystery around the Coldthistle House and its inhabitants is well handled and the not knowing exactly what is going on only adds suspense to the story. We have regular criminals as well as the supernatural incorporated into the plot, and I personally loved the little folklore stories as found in Mr. Morningside’s book. There is no doubt that House Of Furies would make a perfect Halloween read and I’m already looking forward to read the sequel! Because there is one thing for sure: the first book leaves the ending wide open and you will be left craving answers.


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WWW Wednesdays #231 – July 17th

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 picked up Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter on a whim as I’ve been meaning to read another of her titles for ages… I was planning to finally meet Will Trent, but I opted for one of the stand-alones instead. I’m enjoying it so far! I’m also starting a pending WWII fiction ARC: Along The Broken Bay by Flora J. Solomon. I’ve heard mixed things so fingers crossed I’ll end up enjoying it.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Closer I Get by Paul Burstonby (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 22/07
My full review will be available during my stop of the blog tour next Monday!

2. Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/07
This is such a hyped book and I’ve lost count of the times it has been recommended to me since it was published last year. I definitely understand the love for the story, and while it wasn’t a 5 star read for me, I still thoroughly enjoyed my time with it. The pace might be slow in the beginning, but the character descriptions and setting are extremely detailed and wonderful done. I think my favorite part of this story were the many descriptions and references to the marsh and its wildlife… I also liked how past and present chapters were mixed and slowly helped you understand more about Kya, her past and the events leading to the present. I admit I guessed the ending, but I still think the twist was very well handled.

3. The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven (5/5 stars) REVIEW 25/07
Another title that has been recommended to me multiple times… So I was very happy the Instagram @criminallygoodbookclub picked it as their July read. I have found myself a new favorite character duo in Washtington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw! These characters are probably one of the main reasons I had no option but to give The Puppet Show the full five stars, because Poe and Tilly are absolutely brilliant together. Apart from that, we have brilliant written, a fascinating plot, wonderful descriptions of the Cumbria setting, a chilling serial killer and a dark dark secret and scandal of the past. What’s not to love?

4. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson (3/5 stars) REVIEW 30/07
I picked up this Peter Pan retelling on a whim, looking for something a little different to read… It served that purpose just fine, but I ended up having mixed thoughts about the story itself. While I liked how the story was told from Tink’s POV and Tiger Lily was an interesting character, I felt that the so-called “spark” was missing and certain characters really started to get on my nerves. I wasn’t a fan of the romance either; it felt forced and the love triangle (should I say rectangle?) was quite frustrating as well. Can’t say I was happy with how the abuse and Tik Tok not being like the rest of the men of the tribe was handled either.

5. Small Places by Katherine Arden (4/5 stars) REVIEW 19/07
An entertaining middle grade horror read that would have been perfect for the Halloween month. More in my review on Friday.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I need to get those blog tour and ARC reviews in so I can take a proper blogging break in August, so I’ll probably read The Escape Room by Megan Golding and Her Silent Cry by Lisa Regan next… And since it’s a blogging and not a reading slump I’m facing, I’ve decided to pick up the second Outlander book Dragonfly In Amber by Diana Gabaldon in between ARCs, which will take probably me a little while to finish with its 900+ pages and I won’t have to worry about writing reviews in the meantime. 😉  My newest TBR jar pick is still The Cellar by Natasha Preston.


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Magical Readathon #NEWTSReadathon2019 TBR

It’s almost time for another Magical Readathon! In case you hadn’t heard of this readathon before, it’s a Harry Potter themed readathon hosted by the wonderful Book Roast and divided into two parts: the O.W.L.s in April and the N.E.W.T.s in August. The  readathon runs the whole month of August and you can find more details in the video below!

 

Back in April I participated in the O.W.L.s, and after passing all twelve Hogwarts subjects I had a free pass for any career. I’ve decided to officially go for the Magizoologist career this year, which means I will be concentrating on the N.E.W.T.s for Care Of Magical Creatures, Charms and Herbology. Below I’ll reveal a tentative TBR, which might change as there are still two weeks left before the readathon starts and who knows what I might read until then. 😉

First up the subjects needed for the Magizoologist career! For this career I need an O in Care Of Magical Creatures, and E in Charms and an E in Herbology, which basically means I need to read 7 books before the end of August… The needed titles are highlighted in the picture below and the prompt descriptions are on the left.

I don’t think I’ll be able to read the amount I did last year and complete almost all subjects (especially since I’ve decided to go on a two-week blogging break in August), but I’ve made a tentative TBR for the remaining nine Hogwarts subjects and we’ll see if I can manage to pass them all with an Acceptable at least. I won’t be stressing too much about reading them all though, but I guess it does help that a lot of these titles are books I can’t wait to read in the first place. 😉


Are you joining the N.E.W.T.s readathon this year? Have you read any of the titles on my TBR yourself? Any title you think I should read first?


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June #bookhaul

It’s time for another #bookhaul post! Technically, a lot of these arrived in the first week of July and not June, but as they were delayed I’m sharing them all together anyway. 😉 This haul includes a book (The Willow Woman) I won in a giveway hosted on Instagram: thanks again Kelly for hosting and to the author for sending a signed copy! ❤ I also finally received my contest prize I won back in December 2018 on Babelio, and I was able to get an ARC of a children’s book through the Masa Crítica Argentina program hosted on the same website.

And because I couldn’t resist, the photo above also shows off my new paperback booksleeve I made in June with leftover scraps of fabric I had lying around. It turned out way better than expected and I definitely want to make more of these.

 A full list of all 9 books with details below!

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YVO’S SHORTIES #111 – The Broken Ones & The Boy Who Steals Houses

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two different genres and two different reactions to the stories. I picked up The Broken Ones on a whim and while it was a fast read, it failed to blow me away. The Boy Who Steals Houses on the other hand was one of my most anticipated releases this year and an absolutely brilliant read.


Title: The Broken Ones
Author: Sarah A. Denzil

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: May 24th 2016
Finished reading: June 30th 2019
Pages: 199

“Sometimes I wonder who is hunting whom. There are times when I feel like an animal stuck in a trap – and there are other times when I feel like a hunter stalking a dangerous wild animal, treading softly through the forest.”


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I was browsing my kindle the other day and picked up this title on a whim as I was looking for a quick dose of psychological thriller. This is my first experience with Sarah A. Denzil‘s work, although I do have other titles waiting on my TBR. I was looking forward to The Broken Ones, but while I finished it in record time, I have to say I ended up having mixed thoughts about this story. One of the main focuses of the story is on Alzheimer, and while it can be hard for those who have seen the disease destroy memories of someone close to them (like myself), it was also interesting to see its effects on both Sophie’s mother and those close to her. I would have liked a little more development to give it a more realistic representation, but overall it’s not too bad considering the length of the story. Sophie’s mother has a horrible personality though and I despised her even thoughI thought I would feel bad for her for having early onset Alzheimer. The same goes for Sophie herself: she is a rather spineless woman who basically suffered emotional abuse by her mother her whole life, never got to live her own life because of it and still doesn’t stand up for herself even now. Utterly frustrating and it made it hard to connect to characters and story because of that. The plot itself is interesting, although the plot twists are a bit farfetched and I did guess the big surprise quite early on in the story. The Broken Ones isn’t a bad story and without doubt a quick read, but sadly it failed to blow me away.


Title: The Boy Who Steals Houses
Author: C.G. Drews

Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: April 4th 2019
Publisher: Orchard Books
Finished reading: July 3rd 2019
Pages: 347

“A family. A home. I really want a… h-home.”
“But you can’t steal it.”
“I know,” Sam whispers. I know I know I know.
“You have to build it.”


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I’m still kicking myself for not reading A Thousand Perfect Notes sooner, and I knew I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice. I’ve been dying to read The Boy Who Steals Houses ever since my preorder arrived in April, and I’m so glad I finally had time to do so! This title was one of my most anticipated releases this year and I can say it has without doubt lived up to expectations. What an absolutely wonderful and heartbreaking read! You will want to clear your schedule for this little gem, because once you meet the main characters Sam, Moxie and Avery you will find yourself unable to say goodbye to them and stop reading. The writing style is engaging and wonderful; the characters and their descriptions are likewise excellently done. There is just something about Sam, Moxie and Avery that made them win over my heart almost immediately, and my heart ached for them as their story slowly revealed itself. Their development is realistic and the incorporation of the anxiety and autism elements are both authentic and brilliantly handled. Wonderful prose, characters that will win over your heart, anxiety and autism rep, tragedy and lots of food references… What more could you wish for? Trigger warnings are in place for elements such as violence, abuse and bullying, but each element is well incorporated into the plot. The Boy Who Steals Houses is a heartbreaking read and you will want to have a box of tissues at hand just to be safe, because I myself couldn’t keep it dry… And trust me, that doesn’t happen often. Sam, Moxie and Avery won over my heart, crushed it into a million pieces and left me a complete puddle of mess by the time I reach the final page. Go read this absolutely wonderful story if you haven’t already! You won’t regret it.


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ARC REVIEW: Trance – by Adam Southward

Title: Trance
Author: Adam Southward
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: July 1st 2019
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: July 4th 2019
Pages: 332

“We understand so much, yet so little. Delving into people’s minds is an immature science, even for those of us who have studied it for years.”

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

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I admit it was hook, line and sinker when I saw the cover of Trance and read the blurb. The promise of a dangerous character with the ability to control minds sounded absolutely fantastic, and there was no way I was going to be able to resist reading it. It might have been that I had set my expectations too high, because unfortunately I can’t say I was convinced by the story itself and I ended up having mixed thoughts. I still think the premise of this story is absolutely engrossing and probably the strongest aspect of this book. The suspect of this story, Victor Lazar, is a fascinatingly disturbing character; his mental ability makes this story step on the border of science fiction and paranormal activity and without doubt gives Trance a unique touch. As a result, it is hard to place Trance into a single genre and box, and instead we have an interesting mix of elements and storylines. It was especially fascinating to read more about Victor’s past and everything that happened in Romania. It might not be all that credible, but if you keep your mind open and don’t mind a sci-fi feel, you will find it to be an intriguing angle.

Now we arrive at one of the problems I had with Trance: the main character Alex Madison. On its own, I could really appreciate the psychology angle of this story. Instead of focusing on the crime and detective elements, Trance is more about trying to understand Victor Lazam and using psychology to analyze what goes on in his mind. The thing is… Alex basically is a spineless and despicable person; a pathetic whiner who is addicted to Xanax and an adulterer at that. I found the characters in general to be unlikeable, but my aversion to Alex made it very hard to keep invested in the story or care about what happened to them. Victor, disturbing as he was, at least made for an interesting character… Alex not so much. I also found part of the plot and character development to be rather unbelievable and this lack of credibility kind of put a damper on things. Things were too conveniently connected and the transition between different scenes and chapters wasn’t always all that fluid. I also struggled with the abrupt ending, and found the final scenes to be rather lacking. I still think the premise of Trance is simply captivating and the genre fluidity gave the story an unique touch, but sadly I ended up having mixed thoughts about the execution.


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