YVO’S SHORTIES #72 – A Spark Of Light & Doll Bones

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around the final two books I managed to read in 2018. A Spark Of Light by Jodi Picoult turned out to be a powerful and thought provoking read that will stay with me for a long time… While Doll Bones by Holly Black mostly only managed to disappoint me.


Title: A Spark Of Light
Author: Jodi Picoult

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: October 2nd 2018
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Finished reading: December 30th 2018
Pages: 352

“We are all drowning slowly in the tide of our opinions, oblivious that we are taking on water every time we open our mouths.”


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After my experiences with Jodi Picoult‘s recent novels, I couldn’t wait to read A Spark Of Light. There has been a lot of hype around this title, and I can understand why now. Abortion is actually quite a controversial and ‘hot’ topic right now in Argentina, so it definitely came at an interesting time for me… Disclaimer: I won’t be discussing pro-life or pro-choice politics here, just the story itself. I’ll start off with saying that abortion is a very tricky topic to write about, and I think Jodi Picoult did it splendidly. Her writing style is just as strong as ever and I also loved the reversed time chapter technique she used. I admit I was confused at first because I didn’t realize that straight away, but I think it adds a little something extra to the story. Why? It’s simply very intriguing to meet the characters at such a critical point in their lives and then slowly find out how they got there… I did see part of the final plot twist bombs coming, although not all. The ending was a bit abrupt for me, and I personally would have liked to see the main characters being followed up for a while longer. Still, I also understand why she decided to end it in that way, as the main event was over by then. A Spark Of Light brings a very controversial but important topic to light and while especially pro-life supporters might be offended by the story, I would still recommend reading it as it does show both sides (although not equally, which is a hard balance to obtain in the first place). For me it was one of the stronger books I read during 2018 and without doubt one that provoked strong emotions as well. A good way to finish the reading year!


Title: Doll Bones
Author: Holly Black

Genre: MG, Fantasy, Horror
First published: May 7th 2013
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderrly Books
Finished reading: December 31st 2018
Pages: 256

“He wondered whether growing up was learning that most stories turned out to be lies.”


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I was looking for a little something different to read as my last read of 2018 and when I came across this title on my kindle I decided to pick it up on a whim. Sadly, I can’t say I actually enjoyed reading Doll Bones. I can’t put my finger exactly on the why, but part of it had to do that I didn’t like the characters and I had a hard time connecting to the story. The story wasn’t exactly credible and not as scary as I would have thought either. This is more a coming of age story with Zach in the spotlight as he struggles with the consequences of growing up… And then we have Poppy who is the person behind the quest and most of the action even though she is not the main character, which throws off the balance of the story considerably. I felt Doll Bones lacked cohesion and a proper plot, although I did like the idea behind the three creating their own magical world where their toys go on adventures. The paranormal aspect of the story could have been interesting, but it just didn’t manage to convince me… And I had a lot of doubts about the credibility of it all. All in all not the experience I was expecting, but twelve-year-olds might enjoy the story better.


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ARC REVIEW: The Girl Without Skin – by Mads Peder Nordbo

Title: The Girl Without Skin
(Greenland #1)

Author: Mads Peder Nordbo
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: April 27th 2017
Publisher: Text Publishing
Finished reading: December 29th 2018
Pages: 352
(Originally written in Danish: ‘Pigen uden hud’)

“If you want to understand why a ball is rolling, you need to find out what set it in motion. The rest is nothing but effect, and the effect is visible to everyone.”

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

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I’ve been meaning to read more Nordic crime, so when I saw this title popping up I just couldn’t resist. That cover does look kind of daunting, doesn’t it? I went in The Girl Without Skin full of expectations and they were more than met. The first thing that stood out for me was the setting. It shows that the author knows Nuuk and Greenland from his own experience living there, because he is able to describe it in a way that makes it truly come alive. I also like that the main character Matthew is a Danish ‘outsider’ like the author himself. Being able to see both Nuuk and Greenland through his eyes was truly insightful, and I feel like I’ve learned a bit about the life there as well as having read a solid crime thriller. Because solid it was. Bloodcurdling, twisted, disturbing and bodies piling up as you turn the pages… Oh yes, The Girl Without Skin isn’t for those who don’t like to see their crime thrillers bloody. But if you, like me, don’t mind things getting messy, you will have a great time with this little shocking story. I really liked the writing style, which was engaging and made me keep reading until I suddenly reached the last page. The pace is good and I liked how the plot was constructed, which 1973 flashbacks as well as the current (2014) storyline. It was interesting to see how the author slowly tried to link both point of views and there is one thing for sure: The Girl Without Skin will have some shocking surprises for you in store!

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Journalist Matthew Cave is called in to investigate the body of what is suspected to be a mummified Viking discovered out on the edge of an ice sheet. He is eager to cover the story, knowing that this discovery might just be his big break… But the next day the body is gone, and all evidence with it, leaving only the mutilated body of the policeman who was keeping watch. Gutted and flayed, his death resembles the victims of a chain of murders back in the 1970s, crimes that were never solved. Are the two crimes linked? Matthew might be in more danger than he realizes as he tries to investigate.

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I was without doubt more than pleasantly surprised by The Girl Without Skin. I like my crime thrillers dark and disturbing, and an interesting international setting is always a bonus for me. This story isn’t for those with a weak stomach, as there are a lot of graphic scenes involved including violence, bloodcurdling murder scenes and abuse. The Greenland setting is excellently executed and it felt like I were there myself along with the main characters… The story itself chilled me to the bone. If you like dark crime thrillers, you should definitely give this one a go!


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ARC REVIEW: Bridge To Burn – by Rachel Amphlett @RachelAmphlett

Title: Bridge To Burn
(Detective Kay Hunter #7)
Author: Rachel Amphlett
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: January 13th 2019
Publisher: Saxon Publishing
Finished reading: December 25th 2018
Pages: 360

” ‘Two steps forward, one step back,’ said Carys. ‘It’s like the murder investigation version of bloody tango,’ said Barnes.”

*** 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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Detective Kay Hunter has quickly grown into a new favorite series and character of mine this year. I’m sure you’ve seen me mentioning this series numerous times during 2018, and I’m sure this won’t stop in the future. Why? Every single book so far has been a complete hit for me, of a consistent quality and well written story after story after story. Bridge To Burn is already book number seven and trust me, if you are a detective thriller fan and haven’t tried this series yet, you have been seriously missing out. Bridge To Burn is yet another winner and I loved every single minute of it. Make sure to have your schedule clear, because you will want to read it in one sitting if possible! Kay Hunter is one of my favorite detective characters and reading about her adventures is like returning to and old friend. The writing is excellent, the plot was once again intriguing and the main characters will win over your heart all over again. There are lots of twists and turns to consider and Bridge To Burn has just the right dose of suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat. And honestly, this series in general just has it all.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first six books of this series yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

When a mummified body is found in a recently renovated building, detective Kay Hunter and her team are called in to discover what happened and who was behind the crime. It turns out to be a far more complicated investigation than initially expected… And includes men who will do anything to protect their business interests. Kay Hunter and her team will have to tread carefully to discover the truth before it’s too late…

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It’s always a wonderful feeling meeting up with an old favorite again, and that is exactly what I feel every time I get to spend more time with detective Kay Hunter. This series has quickly become one of my favorites and I can highly recommend it to any fan of the genre. If you enjoy reading detective thrillers, getting to know Kay Hunter is a must! Every single book so far has been well written with intriguing plots, interesting and easy to like characters and just the right amount of suspense and plot twists. What is not to like? Trust me, you don’t want to miss out…


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YVO’S SHORTIES #70 – The Deal Of A Lifetime & Down Among The Sticks And Bones

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a Christmas themed novella by one of my favorite authors and a sequel I have been meaning to read for a while. The first, The Deal Of A Lifetime, surprisingly turned out to be kind of a disappointment, while the second, Down Among The Sticks And Bones, definitely did deliver.


Title: The Deal Of A Lifetime
Author: Fredrik Backman

Genre: Novella, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: October 31st 2017
Publisher: Atria Books
Finished reading: December 17th 2018
Pages: 96

“A second is always a second; that’s the one definitive value we have on earth.”


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I’m a big fan of Fredrik Backman’s books and I really needed to start reading more Christmas themed stories, so I thought this would be a perfect fit… But I guess it just wasn’t ment to be. Why? I have to say I was very surprised to have a less than positive reaction to the novella, especially since I seem to love his stories in general. I admit the story is clever in a way, but somehow I wasn’t able to connect to the characters or writing and the plot was all over the place. The Deal Of A Lifetime has an interesting premise, but this time around the author failed to hit the mark for me. Such a shame, because I really thought I would be adding another favorite!


Title: Down Among The Sticks And Bones
(Wayward Children #2)
Author: Seanan McGuire

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Horror
First published: June 13th 2017
Publisher: Tor
Finished reading: December 21st 2018
Pages: 190

“Children have preferences. The danger comes when they, as with any human, are denied those preferences for too long.”


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I fell in love with Every Heart A Doorway earlier this year and I have been meaning to read the sequels ever since. I have been looking forward to learn more about the background of some of the characters, and Jack and Jill were definitely among those I was most curious about. And there is no doubt that Down Among The Sticks And Bones without doubt delivers that. I gives you both their background story and a very detailed description of both their world and what happened during their stay. The whole idea of them being twins and roles being forced on them is disturbing, but fascinating. And it’s probably one of the few times vampires are involved in a story and I don’t really mind. This is quite a dark read, fit with the image we received in the first book of the characters. I really enjoyed reading it, although I did prefer book number one… But that doesn’t take away I’m looking forward to continue the series soon.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #69 – A Boy Called Christmas & The Girl Who Saved Christmas

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! And with Christmas Eve being tonight, what better stories to review than not one, but TWO Christmas themed stories! The first two books of the Christmas MG series by Matt Haig… Both absolutely adorable books that will get you in the right mood in record time.


Title: A Boy Called Christmas
(Christmas #1)
Author: Matt Haig

Genre: Middle Grade, Fiction, Fantasy
First published: September 12th 2015
Publisher: Canongate Books
Finished reading: December 20th 2018
Pages: 272

“An impossibility is just a possibility you don’t understand yet.”


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I have been wanting to read the first Christmas book ever since I received and read the third book as an ARC a while back, and I thought December would be the perfect month to do so. And it turned out to be another magical experience. A Boy Called Christmas is the perfect Holiday season read for children and adults alike, and also perfect for reading out loud to the younger ones. Matt Haig’s writing style is spot on. Funny, entertaining, engaging and easy to read; you will find yourself turning pages admiring both the story the author has been able to create and looking at those adorable illustrations which connect really well with the plot. There is sadness, there is even some violence, but overall it is mostly a happy story full of joy and goodwill… And a healthy dose of humor as well. Perfect for the season as well as a perfect gift!


Title: The Girl Who Saved Christmas
(Christmas #2)
Author: Matt Haig

Genre: Middle Grade, Fiction, Fantasy
First published: November 3rd 2016
Publisher: Canongate Books
Finished reading: December 22nd 2018
Pages: 337

“Life is like a chimney – you sometimes have to get through the dark before you see the light.”


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I couldn’t NOT read the second book after finishing the first, especially since it’s exactly that time of the year when these little stories are to be appreciated most. The Girl Who Saved Christmas is without doubt a worthy sequel. I admit it took me a little while to get into the story, but that was probably mostly me and not the book itself. The writing is just as spot on as in the first and third book, and I’m adding Matt Haig to my list of authors I need to read more of ASAP. His middle grade writing is absolutely adorable with just the right amount of humor and spark to give it that special feel. This story is another one that is perfect to read out loud to children; I’m positive it will be a big hit with all those funny moments and characters to follow! The illustrations fit the story perfectly, and add a nice little touch to what is already a wonderful story. I can completely recommend all three books of the series both as a Holiday read and the perfect gift for young and old!


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ARC REVIEW: Sorry Not Sorry – by Sophie Ranald

Title: Sorry Not Sorry
Author: Sophie Ranald
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Humor
First published: February 13th 2019
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: December 19th 2018
Pages: 329

“Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere – including heaven.”

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

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I know, I know, contemporary romance isn’t really my thing, but I like to step out of my comfort zone every once in a while and there was just something about this title that made me want to read it. It sounds like the perfect and fun summer or beach read… And I still believe it fits that title perfectly. You see, I think the problem here was mostly me, and not Sorry Not Sorry. There were things I liked about the story, and the humor is definitely more than present. I was able to click with the funny moments, and I like the sharp, quirky and entertaining writing style in general. It sure is a superfast read as well! But I wasn’t prepared for the many so-called ‘sexy’ scenes, which are quite a turn off for me. I also don’t like seeing tropes as cheating and a love triangle in a story… (There are others as well, but I can’t mention those due to possible spoilers.) This overdose of romance cliches in general was just way too much for me. I also didn’t really like at all the bitchiness of some of the characters or the way some of them behaved in general… Also, Charlotte herself could get quite annoying at points. I do believe that contemporary romance fans who love a good dose of humor in their stories will have a blast with Sorry Not Sorry though.

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Charlotte has always made the sensible decisions, being the essentially good girl. But she is tired of her in her eyes boring life, looking for a way to spice up her life and find a new man in her life. A popular podcast, Sorry Not Sorry, seems to be the solution. A popcast challenging its listeners to embrace their inner bad girl by proposing a series of challenges. The New Charlotte is ready to wave goodbye to her comfort zone and embrace her inner bad girl; but will these challenges actually help her change around her life?

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As the cover already suggests, Sorry Not Sorry is a fun, quirky and entertaining read and perfect for those hot summer days while sipping on a cocktail (or juice if you don’t drink alcohol). The writing style is engaging and the humor was actually one of the things I really liked in Sorry Not Sorry. Then again, I like my humor a bit sarcastic and spicy. There were other things I didn’t like in Sorry Not Sorry, but I have the feeling that is mostly my own fault and not the story itself. Fans of the genre will have a great time with this one!


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ARC REVIEW: Perdimos Nuestro Camino (I Have Lost My Way) – by Gayle Forman

Title: I Have Lost My Way
Author: Gayle Forman
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: March 27th 2018
Publisher: Puck LATAM
Finished reading: December 17th 2018
Pages: 256
(Read in Spanish: ‘Perdimos Nuestro Camino’)

“To be the holder of other people’s loss is to be the keeper of their love. To share your loss with people is another way of giving your love.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Urano Argentina and Puck LATAM through the Masa Crítica program at Babelio in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I don’t read in Spanish nearly enough, so I was over the moon when I found out I was selected for the Masa Crítica program at Babelio and I was going to be receiving my very first bookmail ever. Christmas truly came early this year! I’ve been meaning to pick up another Gayle Forman title for a while now, so I Have Lost My Way came at exactly the right time. There was just something about the blurb that caught my attention straight away, and I have been looking forward to dive in ever since. There is no doubt that I had an excellent time reading this story. I found myself fully invested right from the first chapter, fully aware of the signs this was going to be an emotional rollercoaster… But ready for it being so. The first thing that stands out in I Have Lost My Way is the writing style, which is very easy to enjoy and makes you read it superfast. There are also a lot of quotable lines here! Another thing that stands out for me are the characters and their development. Freya, Harun and Nathaniel are basically what made this story into such a success for me and their development is both realistic, well executed and spot on. I loved the diversity of this story! All three main characters are so unique and each have their own background story and problems, and I just loved reading about how they found each other and how this affects them. There are some very emotional moments here and this story will without doubt mess with your heart, especially since the main characters are so easy to like and connect to. You’ve been warned! I had a wonderful time reading I Have Lost My Way and I can definitely recommend this story to any contemporary romance fan looking for a well written, diverse and emotional ride.

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Three strangers find each other in the middle of New York City as they each are trying to facetheir own problems. Freya loses her voice while recording her debut album, and suddenly isn’t so sure about her future as a budding star anymore. Harun is planning to run away from home to be with the boy he loves… And Nathaniel arrives in New York after a family tragedy leaves him all alone. Their lives collide literally in Central Park, and slowly they will help each other find the way back again to who they are supposed to be…

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This Spanish translation of I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman was without doubt an excellent read. Both the writing style and character development really stood out for me. The author sure has a way of creating unique and diverse characters! My heart went out for them and the ending left me craving for more. The multiple POV chapters are by no means distracting and only add more to the story for me. If you are a fan of the genre, this one should definitely be on your wishlist.


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