YVO’S SHORTIES #192 – The Coral Bride & The Guest List

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a double those of suspense with The Coral Bride and The Guest List… With the first I have confirmed that the writing style of the author just isn’t for me, but the second has me wanting to read more of the author now.


Title: The Coral Bride
(Enquêteur Moralès #2)
Author: Roxanne Bouchard

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: June 18th 2020
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: November 7th 2020
Pages: 355
(Originally written in French: ‘La mariée de corail’)

“The dead leave everything behind them. Especially the living.”

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


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So… The Coral Bride. I’m still surprised myself this happened, but apparently this series marks the first time an Orenda title somehow didn’t work for me. I struggled considerably with the first book, which was my reason to swap my stop of the blog tour last month to a content post just in case… I’m kind of glad I did, because this sequel has confirmed to me that there is just something about Roxanne Bouchard‘s writing that simply isn’t for me. I did enjoy The Coral Bride slightly better, which might have something to do with less repetitive phrases and different characters in the spotlight. I liked how both detective Moralès and his son make their appearance and are important in the plot here, and I can’t deny the power of the sea and its many descriptions. BUT. Somehow I found the actual plot and development to be a little slow, and the whole cheating element and objectifying of women was a real turn off for me. I enjoyed the detective angle a bit more in The Coral Bride, although I did see part of the ending coming… But overall I’ve decided to just leave this series be in the future, as it clearly shows that Roxanne Bouchard‘s writing style and me don’t see eye to eye.


Title: The Guest List
Author: Lucy Foley

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: February 20th 2020
Publisher: HarperCollins
Finished reading: November 24th 2020
Pages: 400

“In my experience, those who have the greatest respect for the rules also take the most enjoyment in breaking them.”


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Between the fact that I love a good locked room mystery and that I’ve been meaning to try this author for quite some time now, I decided to just give in and pick up my copy of The Guest List. And I definitely liked what I found! Engaging and fast writing style, fantastic eerie setting, multiple characters with something to hide… And multiple POVs along the way to keep you on your toes. The small island definitely makes for the perfect ominous backdrop for this story, and it is one of the reasons The Guest List works so well for me. The descriptions really made the setting come alive for me, and the bad weather fits the building up of tension perfectly too. I do have to admit that I guessed some of the twists early on, but I never guessed the full truth about it all so that was still a win for me. I will most definitely be looking forward to read more of Lucy Foley in the future! Starting with The Hunting Party which I’ve failed to get to until now…


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YVO’S SHORTIES #191 – You Had Me At Hola & All Boys Aren’t Blue

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two more Goodreads Choice Awards nominees, belonging to two completely different genres… I was craving romance and You Had Me At Hola turned out to be exactly what I was hoping for. All Boys Aren’t Blue is a memoir I’ve been curious about ever since I first heard about it, and it turned out to be a very powerful read.


Title: You Had Me At Hola
Author: Alexis Daria

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: August 4th 2020
Publisher: Avon
Finished reading: November 19th 2020 
Pages: 384

“Crushes were fleeting. Family teasing was forever.”


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I admit that I was sold as soon as I saw that cover and read the blurb. I’ve been craving more romance stories than usual these last couple of months, and the promise of Latinx characters and a Hollywood angle sounded absolutely brilliant. I had high hopes for You Had Me At Hola, and it turned out to be just what I was hoping it would be! Sure, the sexy scenes did made me cringe as I already suspected. Sure, some of it might be a tad cliche, the insta-love vibe wasn’t for me and the attitude of the main characters can be annoying in points. BUT. Overall I was just having too much fun too care! I love that this story isn’t just focused on the romance, but is also about family and the filming of the show. I had a great time learning more about the background of both main characters, and I loved focus on the Latinx community and the fact that the show is actually bilingual. You will find many Spanish phrases and words in You Had Me At Hola, but don’t worry: even if you don’t speak Spanish, it is easy to understand the meaning by context alone and the Spanish really makes this story feel more authentic. And while there were some more serious moments involved, overall this turned out to be such a fun and uplifting read! Definitely perfect if you enjoy the genre.


Title: All Boys Aren’t Blue
Author: George M. Johnson

Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir
First published: April 28th 2020
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
Finished reading: November 21st 2020
Pages: 304

“Knowledge is truly your sharpest weapon in a world hell-bent on telling you stories that are simply not true.”


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I confess that I have been really bad at reading non fiction this year… Probably partly because I preferred escaping the real world with fiction reads instead. I couldn’t resist picking up All Boys Aren’t Blue though when I saw it was a Goodreads Choice Awards finalist, as I have been wanting to read it for a while in the first place. It most definitely turned out to be such an important and powerful memoir! George M. Johnson not only tells us his own story and struggles relating to his black and queer identity, but tries to speak to the YA black/queer community to show them they are not alone. For this alone I consider this a must-read for any reader young and old, as it helps giving insight in both the black and queer community and the discrimination and struggles they have to face to this date. This memoir is presented as a series of essays, and mixes lighter moments with heavy topics while also trying to open our eyes as a reader. It is a story about family as well as the author’s journey finding himself and his real identity… It’s a memoir that is both informative and moving and I can highly recommend it.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #190 – Cemetery Boys & One By One

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two more Goodreads Choice Awards nominees belonging to completely different genres… Cemetery Boys is a YA fantasy with a Latinx trans main character which I now understand all the hype about. And I’ve enjoyed Ruth Ware‘s books in the past, so there was no way I could resist One By One for long… Sadly I ended up feeling underwhelmed by the story though.


Title: Cemetery Boys
Author: Aiden Thomas

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: September 1st 2020
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Finished reading: November 14th 2020
Pages: 352

“Why do you have to prove anything to anyone?”
“It{s just how it is, how it’s always been. In order for them to let me be a brujo—”
“You don’t need anyone’s permission to be you, Yads.”


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I’ve been seeing Cemetery Boys mentioned a lot and as it was nominated in two Goodreads Choice Awards categories, I decided to see for myself what the hype was all about. And I must say that I definitely understand now why so many people rave about this debut! I haven’t seen many books with a well developed trans representation before, and to have a Latinx trans main character at that? Talk about a double bonus! I especially loved the building up of the fantasy/paranormal part of this YA urban fantasy, as it’s packed to the brim with Latinx culture and references to the Dia de Muertos celebrations. On top of this, we have a lot of diversity in the cast and I just LOVED both Yadriel and Julian. Sure, I wish some of the other characters would have been fleshed out beyond a few key characteristics, as some fell a bit flat for me… But the spark of Yadriel and Julian mostly made up for that. And I most definitely didn’t see those final twists coming! I liked how everything was wrapped up too and this is without doubt an excellent read for anyone who enjoys a well written YA urban fantasy that will both make you cry and bring a smile to your face.


Title: One By One
Author: Ruth Ware

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: September 8th 2020
Publisher: Scout Press
Finished reading: November 17th 2020 
Pages: 384

“They think that life can’t touch them – just like I used to do.

Only now it has. Now life has them by the throat. And it won’t let go.”


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 Well well well, what do we have here? I guess it’s another unpopular opinion review to add to the pile. While I tend to have mixed reactions to Ruth Ware‘s books, I did love her previous two titles so I had high expectations her newest One By One would be another winner. Especially since I always love a good locked room mystery in the first place, and the blurb sounded absolutely brilliant… Sadly, somehow I ended up feeling quite underwhelmed by this story. It’s not a bad read perse, but it’s considerably slow and I found the whole thing to be rather boring most of the time? Not up to the point that I would DNF of course, but I never felt invested in the story either and there were a lot of parts that dragged for me. I also saw at least one of the big twists coming quite early on, which put a damper on things… And the whole Snoop stats each chapter were quite annoying. The dual POV is cleverly done to get a better perspective on what is going on and I really liked the setting, but I didn’t feel anything for the characters in play so it was more difficult to connect to them or care what happened. All in all not my favorite read of hers by far, but I know others who have loved it so don’t give up on my account.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #189 – Dead Girls Don’t Lie & Beach Read

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a TBR jar pick and a new release belonging to different genres… Dead Girls Don’t Lie sadly ended up being a miss for me, but I’m happy to say that Beach Read most definitely lived up to the hype for me.


Title: Dead Girls Don’t Lie
Author: Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
First published: September 17th 2013
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Finished reading: November 11th 2020 
Pages: 352

“Everyone is equal, right? Just some people are more equal than others.”


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It has been months since my TBR jar decided it was about time for me to finally read Dead Girls Don’t Lie, but somehow I never actually picked it up until now. The blurb sounded interesting enough, and I was curious about it, but I guess in the end my instincts did smell something funny and made me look in the other direction for months. Don’t get me wrong; it is not necessarily a bad read, but most of it turned out to be just so darn cliche! Sure, the ending came as a surprise, but overall there were so many cliches involved, both relating to high school, teenage relationships and immigrant talk (some even felt a bit racist?!)… Especially the way the Mexican community was described and Eduardo’s constant use of ‘boba‘ was a really turn off for me, but that might just be a personal thing. The characters themselves fell rather flat for me, or were at least partly described with cliches and weren’t exactly easy to connect to as a result. What I thought was going to be an investigation into Rachel’s death turned out to be a rather bland and slow journey packed with cliche references to Mexican gangs and high school jocks and students. Dead Girls Don’t Lie didn’t end up being my cup of tea at all, but if you enjoy the genre and don’t mind cliches/bland characters/a slower pace, this story might work better for you.


Title: Beach Read
Author: Emily Henry

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: May 19th 2020
Publisher: Berkley
Finished reading: November 12th 2020
Pages: 384

“Happy endings don’t matter if the getting there sucks.”


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I’ve honestly been a bit hesitant to pick up my copy of Beach Read. There has been a lot of hype around this title, and you all know how hyped books and me tend to get along… But my curiosity won in the end and I just couldn’t help myself reading it despite the sometimes mixed reviews. And guess what? Beach Read turned out to be an exception to the rule and I loved my time with this story! I’m glad of the warnings this wasn’t going to be a light read though, because I would definitely have expected a romcom judged by the cover… But I think I liked what I found even more. Both January and Gus managed to grow on me quite quickly and I loved the bookish element in Beach Read. Sure, there might be some cliches involved and I felt like the whole ‘enemy to lover‘ trope didn’t reach its full potential, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this was exactly the kind of story I was craving. Heavier topics and sad moments are mixed with lighter ones and I loved the banter between January and Gus. And to my surprise the sexy scenes didn’t even bother me that much, which once again proves I can tolerate them as long as they are written in a certain way… I also liked how everything wrapped up in the end, although I do admit the secondary characters lacked fleshing out a bit. Still, as a whole Beach Read is without a doubt one of my romance highlights of the year and I do hope she will write more similar stories in the future as I like the way she writes her romance.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #188 – He Started It & Only Mostly Devastated

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two Goodreads Choice Awards nominees belonging to different genress. He Started It sadly didn’t live up to expectations for me; something I’m still surprised about… Only Mostly Devastated turned out to be a great read though.


Title: He Started It
Author: Samantha Downing

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: April 30th 2020
Publisher: Penguin
Finished reading: November 10th 2020
Pages: 400

“I wonder how many bad things have been explained by such a simple phrase, a simple idea. Because I could. Because no one stopped me. Because it was easy.”


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Well, well, well, what do we have here? I guess it’s unpopular opinion time again… So many people have praised He Started It and after loving her previous book My Lovely Wife I was fully expecting to have a repeat experience with this one. Especially since I always enjoy road trip stories in the first place… I’m not sure if it’s because psychological thrillers don’t seem to work as well for me right now, but the fact is: I was bored. A LOT. Up to the point that I kept wondering when the cursed road trip was finally going to end so I could get this story over with. The pace was just way too slow for me, which is strange as the characters are basically in constant movement… But there was just something static about the whole story. Top this with highly unlikeable characters and I had a really hard time to stay invested. True, there were some surprises including the ending, but overall sadly I can’t say I enjoyed my time with this one.


Title: Only Mostly Devastated
Author: Sophie Gonzales

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: March 3rd 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Finished reading: November 13th 2020
Pages: 272

“We had no way of knowing what the future held. People changed their minds, people passed away, people moved unexpectedly. The only thing we could ever really do was play it by ear.”


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I admit that I was sold as soon as I saw the Grease mention… I must have watched that movie a million times as a kid, so I simply HAD to read Only Mostly Devastated for nostalgic reasons alone. I must say that I was expecting more of a fluffy romcom after the cover and blurb, which I can confirm that this story is not. In fact, Only Mostly Devastated is quite heavy on the more serious topics and has a healthy dose of drama as well as heartbreaking moments. And no, they are not just relating to the relationship between the main characters as the blurb might make you think… There is a big focus on Ollie and his parents trying to help his aunt and her family as she is fighting cancer, which might be triggering for some readers. That said, I did think this topic was quite well handled. Thankfully we will see lighter moments too, and I especially loved seeing Ollie interact with his new friends as well as his niece and nephew. Both Will and Ollie could get a little frustrating at times, but overall I did have a great time reading this story. Would I have loved to see more Grease elements? Most definitely. But I liked this spin off very much and it has a great cast of characters that will most likely appeal to those who enjoy the genre. Just make sure to brace yourself for quite a few heartbreaking moments thrown in instead of just your regular dose of fluff… Chocolates and tissues are probably mandatory.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #187 – Get A Life, Chloe Brown (DNF) & Such A Fun Age

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a YA romance and a contemporary… The first, Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert, I sadly ended up DNFing as the sexy scenes were just WAY too crude and explicit for me. Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid turned out to be a great read though, and I understand why so many people seem to love it.


Title: Get A Life, Chloe Brown
(The Brown Sisters #1)
Author: Talia Hibbert

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: November 5th 2019 
Publisher: Avon
Finished reading: November 5th 2020
Pages: 366
DNF at 45% (165 pages)

“When it comes down to it, everything we feel is in our head.”


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Okay… I’m not sure what happened here. Or actually I do. I guess it’s unpopular opinion time again! I was in the mood for some romance, and Get A Life, Chloe Brown sounded like such a fun read, so I thought I had hit the jackpot when I started reading it. I connected to the writing and characters almost immediately. The snarkiness, the humor, the flawed and intriguing characters… I really enjoyed getting to know both Chloe and Red better, and I really thought I was well on my way to adding a new author to my romance list. But then… BOOM!! The first crude and WAY too explicit sexy scene showed up. I can normally tolerate them if they are not too explicit and I’m enjoying the rest of the story (which I was), but there was just something about the crude way of describing the scene that literally made me gag. Still, I decided to give the story another go, as I felt a connection to especially Chloe and wanted to know more about her. I tried to overcome that scene and it seemed to be working, up untill… BOOM!! Another even more crude and explicit sexy scene showed up that had all the signs of being even longer, and I just couldn’t bring myself to keep reading or even skimming to the end of the scene. Why not even skimming? I figured it wouldn’t be the last scene as there was still more than half of the story left, and I seriously felt like vomiting already. Ugh, this was most definitley not the story for me. *shudders* It’s such a shame, because I was really looking forward to spend more time with Chloe and Red… But it is what it is I guess. If you can stomach some serious adult content and enjoy the genre, you will probably have a great time with Get A Life, Chloe Brown though. Personally, I’ve decided to stay away from Talia Hibbert‘s books for now even though I did love her writing, character development as well as her sense of humor.


Title: Such A Fun Age
Author: Kiley Reid

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: December 31st 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Finished reading: November 8th 2020
Pages: 320

“I don’t need you to be mad that it happened. I need you to be mad that it just like… happens.”


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There has been so much hype around this title and to be honest I was a bit hesitant to pick it up myself as hyped books and me don’t tend to get along all that well… But I’m glad I did pick up Such A Fun Age in the end, as I understand why it has been receiving so much praise. I’m definitely in love with the writing style, which made the story so damn readable! I literally finished it in less than a day, unable to pace myself or to stop reading… Racism is such an important topic and this story shows us so well that it is so easy to seemingly do the right thing for all the wrong reasons. I never did warm up to Alix, but I LOVED Emira and Briar together. Both won over my heart immediately and made it really easy to care about what was happening in the story… Lighter moments are mixed with heavier topics, and I definitely enjoyed how the story ended. If you enjoy a well written contemporary with interesting characters and a powerful message, Such A Fun Age is without a doubt worth reading.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #186 – We Were The Salt Of The Sea & Anxious People

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! Today is translated fiction day with two translations… The first, We Were The Salt Of The Sea, somehow sadly didn’t work for me at all, but I absolutely loved my time with Anxious People. No surprise here, as I adore everything Fredrik Backman writes in general…


Title: We Were The Salt Of The Sea
(Enquêteur Moralès #1)
Author: Roxanne Bouchard

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: 2014
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: October 25th 2020
Pages: 300
(Originally published in French: ‘Nouse étions le sel de la mer’)

“Sometimes all we want is for time to stop catching up with us.”


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Okay… I’m not sure what happened here, but I guess it’s unpopular opinion time again? I’m still surprised as I’ve never had an Orenda miss before and fellow bloggers seem to love We Were The Salt Of The Sea… But somehow this story just didn’t seem to work at all for me. It might just have been the wrong time for me to pick up this story, but the fact this that I really struggled with both the writing style and plot in general. Somehow, I was never able to connect to the writing, and the catch phrases of some of the characters (‘Heee’ and ‘Christ in a chalice!’) REALLY got on my nerves after a while. Instead of making it easier to recognize the characters, it only made me like both the characters and the story considerably less… Always a complication but even worse in a mostly character-driven story. And as much as I loved the setting and the many descriptions of the sea, the plot was a bit all over the place for me as well. On top of this, We Were The Salt Of The Sea also included one of my mayor pet peeves: cheating. I never react well to this element and although this is a personal reaction, it made me dislike Morales considerably. It didn’t really help improving my reaction to the story in general either… All in all We Were The Salt Of The Sea definitely wasn’t my cup of tea, but most people do seem to enjoy it a lot better so don’t give up on my account.


Title: Anxious People
Author: Fredrik Backman

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: April 25th 2019
Publisher: Atria Books
Finished reading: November 3rd 2020
Pages: 336
(Originally written in Swedish: ‘Folk med ångest’)

“Anyone can nurture a myth about their life if they have enough manure, so if the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, that’s probably because it’s full of shit.”


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This was easily one of my most anticipated releases this year and I simply couldn’t wait to pick it up… I know that I am a bit biased when it comes to Fredrik Backman‘s books, but I absolutely adored every single minute I spent with Anxious People. There is just something about his writing and humor that is a match made in heaven for me and this newest story has once again shown me why he is one of my absolute favorite authors. He is an absolute master in creating flawed and strangely likeable characters, and we have another fantastic cast in Anxious People. True, there are a lot of different characters in play here, but each is so unique that it is really easy to keep them apart… And they all add there little something to the plot too. I liked the structure of the plot, with different POVS mixed with police interviews with the different witnesses. You are kept in the dark along with the police officers about what really went on inside that apartment, and I thought that the different twists and the hidden identity of the bank robber was cleverly done. Humor and heavier elements are blended perfectly, and I found myself snickering more than once along the way. Fredrik Backman‘s characters have once again won over my heart and this is hands down one of my favorite stories I have had the chance to read this year.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #185 – Maria In The Moon & Clap When You Land @Orendabooks

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time a double dose of contemporary with two absolutely outstanding reads: Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech and Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo.


Title: Maria In The Moon
Author: Louise Beech

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: August 15th 2017
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: October 27th 2020
Pages: 280

“But even with four aces, I always chose to lose.”


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I’ve considered Louise Beech to be one of my absolute favorite authors ever since I first tried her work last year, and I’ve been saving her final backlist titles for special occasions… I thought that Orentober month fitted the bill perfectly! Sadly the blogging slump prevented me from writing a lengthy glowing review in time, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Maria In The Moon absolutely deserves one. While I do confess that initially I wasn’t 100% sure about this story, it soon snuck up on me and it managed to bowl me over completely in the end. The Beech effect has struck again! The writing as well as character development is once again of an extraordinary quality, and the plot itself all powerful, raw, shocking as well as heartbreaking. Maria In The Moon is memory loss as you never saw it before, with a plot and characters that will continue to haunt you long after you reach that final page… Not an easy read, but absolutely worth it in the end. If you enjoy heavier/darker fiction with wonderful writing as well as excellently developed characters, Maria In The Moon should definitely be on your radar.


Title: Clap When You Land
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: May 5th 2020
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Finished reading: November 1st 2020
Pages: 432

“Fight until you can’t breathe, & if you have to forfeit, you forfeit smiling, make them think you let them win.”


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Both The Poet X and With The Fire On High simply blew me away, so I have been eagerly anticipating her newest story Clap When You Land… And I can now say that my expectations were more than met; what an absolutely stunning read! The fact that the story is told through free verse, the glorious writing, the two sisters, the Dominican Republic setting and culture references, the plot itself… There is so much to love in Clap When You Land and it is definitely a story that will stay with me for a long time. I love that the story switches between Camino and Yahaira’s point of view to help us get to know both sisters. It was interesting to see both girls react to the news of the accident as well as see how different their lives are… Especially the chapters set in the Dominican Republic had glorious descriptions that really made the setting come alive for me, but I loved the fact that the culture really shines through throughout the story. I also loved the little Spanish phrases and words thrown in, as they gave the story that extra authenticity without making it too hard for non-Spanish speakers to at least get the gist of what is being said. Clap When You Land is a story of family, loss, love as well as hope, and I personally devoured every single page of that delicious free verse writing. Stunning, unique, powerful and emotional, and absolutely worth the read!


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YVO’S SHORTIES #184 – The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue & The Girl In The Tower

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time a historical fantasy edition with The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab and The Girl In The Tower by Katherine Arden.


Title: The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue
Author: V.E. Schwab

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
First published: October 6th 2020
Publisher: Tor Books
Finished reading: October 23rd 2020
Pages: 448

“He may be a sun, but she is a shining comet, dragging their focus like burning meteors in her wake.”


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Fangirling alert coming in!! I know that I’m a bit biased when it comes to this author… I basically adore anything Schwab writes, and I have been eagerly anticipating The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue. Especially knowing how much Addie’s story means to the author in the first place… I was afraid my expectations would be set too high, but I shouldn’t have worried as I literally devoured each and every single page. I knew I was going to love this story as soon as I first met Addie… She is a force to be reckoned with, and so easy to warm up to! The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue is part historical fiction, part supernatural fantasy and part romance, all combined together into what is without doubt one of my 2020 favorite books. The story switches back between the past and 2014, always told from Addie’s POV.  A dual timeline can always go both ways for me, but somehow in this case I loved both equally and this probably has a lot to do with Addie’s constant presence. We have her past, starting in late 17th century and early 18th century France and later jumping to different times in history as the years go by. We see Addie develop over time, learning to live with her curse and thriving against all odds. Then we have the present, where both Addie and Henry will win over your heart without fail. The writing is simply glorious, and somehow the slower pace actually did me a favor and made me slow down to fully savour each sentence. I do get why some people might find this story too slow or overlong, but I personally treasured every single minute I got to spend with Addie. Say hello to a new all time favorite!


Title: The Girl In The Tower
(Winternight Trilogy #2)
Author: Katherine Arden

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
First published: December 5th 2017
Publisher: Del Rey
Finished reading: October 31st 2020
Pages: 383

“Every time you take one path, you must live with the memory of the other: of a life left unchosen. Decide as seems best, one course or the other; each way will have its bitter with its sweet.”


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I’ve been meaning to read this trilogy for so long now… So after finally reading and loving the first book a few weeks ago, I decided to pick up the sequel while memories were still fresh so I could actually try to finish a series in a timely matter for a change. Once again I had a fantastic time with this medieval Russian story filled with folklore and magic! True, I did enjoy the first book a tiny bit better than The Girl In The Tower, but that same magic of the first book was still there, and I already can’t wait to pick up the third and final book after that ending.

The descriptions once again truly made the setting come alive for me, and I love how the author incorporates not only Russian history, but also Russian folklore and culture into her story. It really makes this trilogy stand out for me, that’s for sure. I do have to say that I found the pace to be a tad slower in this sequel, and the plot a tiny bit less intriguing, but getting to meet up with Vasya again most definitely makes up for it. My love for her character has only grown since the first book, and there are some interesting developments in this sequel that make me wonder what the final book has in store for us. This trilogy is quickly turning into a new favorite!


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YVO’S SHORTIES #183 – The Bird Tribunal & Mexican Gothic

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around It’s All About Books has turned to the dark side with an eerie nordic noir story (The Bird Tribunal) and a piece of historical gothic horror set in Mexico (Mexican Gothic).


Title: The Bird Tribunal
Author: Agnes Ravatn

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: September 1st 2013
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: October 11th 2020
Pages: 192
(Originally published in Norwegian: ‘Fugletribunalet’)

“But here was the thing: it required willpower to build willpower.”


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I’ve had The Bird Tribunal on my radar for a while now, and after a fantastic experience with her newest title The Seven Doors I decided to simply give in and finally read it. I’m honestly a bit lost for words as this turned out to be such an odd and intriguing story! Basically there isn’t all that much happening plot wise; the focus is instead on the main characters and what is an absolutely fantastic description of the Norwegian setting. Oh yes, both the setting and the brilliant creation of that eerie and ominous vibe steal the show and are definitely the strongest asset of this piece of nordic noir together with the beautiful writing. Where the characters were a tad too unlikeable for me and I found the ending to be too predictable, it was the writing and the stunning descriptions of the Norwegian setting that swept me off my feet… And we even get a dose of Norse mythology along the way as well. Like I said, I wasn’t really a fan of the characters though, which did cause some inconvenience as this is mostly a slower-paced and essentially character-driven story. Somehow I was never able to warm up to Allis nor Sigurd… But that might just have been me. You will want to read The Bird Tribunal for the stunning writing and descriptions alone though if you are a fan of the nordic noir genre.


Title: Mexican Gothic
Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Genre: Historical Fiction, Horror
First published: June 30th 2020
Publisher: Del Rey
Finished reading: October 20th 2020
Pages: 304

“The serpent does not devour its tail, it devours everything around it, voracious, its appetite never quenched.”


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I confess that I was going to try Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s other story Gods Of Jade And Shadow first, but there has been so much hype around Mexican Gothic that I simply couldn’t resist trying it myself. Now that I’ve finally gotten the chance to read it, I can understand the love for it. This story is dark, this story is eerie, this story is gothic horror at its best… It’s simply glorious! I loved the 1950s Mexico setting and the ominous and gloomy atmosphere of the High Place mansion is simply spot on. Historical elements are mixed with horror and even the supernatural and the writing itself is simply exquisite. I can’t deny the pace is considerably slow in points though… And this can definitely be a turn off for those who prefer a story with a faster pace. The glorious writing mostly made up for this feeling of slowness for me, and I liked how the secrets of High Place are only slowly revealed as the main character Noemí discovers them herself. She might seem like a flighty character, but I liked how she reacted to the situation in High Place as well as her determination in doing what is best for her cousin. The plot itself is once again quite slow-paced, but does work towards a final escalation and the story definitely ends with a bang. If you enjoy the gothic horror genre, don’t mind a slow pace or a touch of the supernatural and appreciate dark and atmospheric reads, Mexican Gothic might just be the perfect match.


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