YVO’S SHORTIES #44 – I Let You Go & Hex Hall

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two books with a similar color combination in the cover, but two completely different genres. The first, I Let You Go, is one of those psychological thrillers I’ve been meaning to pick up for years, but only just did so. Hex Hall on the other hand is not my typical genre, but I ended up enjoying it way more than expected.


Title: I Let You Go
Author: Clare Mackintosh

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: November 6th 2014
Publisher: Sphere
Finished reading: August 30th 2018
Pages: 371

“I was stupid to think I could escape the past. However fast I run, however far: I will never outrun it.”


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The fact is that I have been meaning to read this psychological thriller for years, especially since I’ve heard so many wonderful things about it. I’m not sure if it was the original hype around I Let You Go making me set my expectations too high or this being unpopular opinion time again, but sadly I didn’t end up having the reading experience I was expecting. Why? There is no doubt that this psychological thriller is well written and there are some clever twists included that will mislead you. That said, I did encounter a few problems along the way that made me enjoy the story less. The biggest obstacle was the fact that I guessed the big reveal really early on… It was just too easy to figure out the key information after the initial surprise was revealed, and this was quite a let down for me. I also had problems with the two leading detectives of the case; I couldn’t warm up to them and I always hate cheating main characters. The pace was quite slow in points as well, although it did pick up in the second half of I Let You Go. I did like the setting in Penfach and the beach atmosphere… And while at times disturbing to read, I appreciated I Let You Go shining a light on what domestic abuse can do to a person. But sadly overall I can’t say I was all that impressed by this story.


Title: Hex Hall
(Hex Hall #1)
Author: Rachel Hawkins

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magic
First published: March 2nd 2010
Publisher: Hyperion
Finished reading: August 31st 2018
Pages: 323

“Humans are always going to be scared of us. They’re always going to be envious of our powers, and suspicious of our motives.”


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I have to admit I was a bit nervous to pick up Hex Hall, both because it’s not my typical genre and I was afraid there would be too much romance involved. Thankfully I had nothing to worry about, and this first book of a magical series was a pleasant surprise. I still can’t believe how much I enjoyed this story despite a love triangle and the presence of a vampire! There is just something about the writing style that draws you right in and makes you fly through the pages. I literally finished this story in one sitting. Highly entertaining, addictive and just enough magic and supernatural atmosphere to keep that delicate balance with the romance elements. I loved Jenna’s character and while Sophie does come over as a bit annoying at times and there were cliches involved, somehow it just didn’t matter to me. The mystery around the attacks, the magic, Hecate Hall itself, the different supernatural characters… It just all clicked in a way that turned Hex Hall into a very successful and very entertaining ride. I’m definitely looking forward to book two!


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YVO’S SHORTIES #43 – Claw The System (ARC) & The Lying King (ARC)

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around shorties of two short reads and ARCs. The first, Claw The System, is a poetry bundle full of cat photos and funny cat poems and phrases. The Lying King is actually one of the first picture books I’ve read this year, but sadly didn’t reach its potential.


Title: Claw The System
Author: Francesco Marciuliano

Genre: Poetry, Humor
First published: October 16th 2018
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Finished reading: August 31st 2018
Pages: 112

“People keep pointing at us

Whenever something has gone wrong

Saying, “He’s to blame!”

“She’s to blame!”

“They’re the ones who ruined our place!”

But really

Who keeps buying nothing but wicker furniture

And not a single scratching post?”

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


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As a so-called crazy catlady and the proud owner of two cats, I was immediately intrigued by this title. The blurb sounded like my kind of humor as well, so I was sold. Claw The System is a title that will speak to any cat lover in general and will show many situations cat owners can relate to. Poems From The Cat Uprising is divided in parts, each related to a different step of the ‘uprising’. There are many many cat photos to enjoy, most of them related to the text or poems, some funny and others simply beautiful. I would have liked to see more ‘cat’ perspective in the poems, but I still had a blast reading this title. There are definitely a few very funny moments included in Claw The System, a dry and sarcastic kind of humor I personally really appreciate. If you are looking for a book to make you feel better, a bunch of cat photos to look at or are simply curious about what might go on in your cat’s mind: Claw The System is without doubt a very entertaining choice.


Title: The Lying King
Author: Alex Beard

Genre: Children, Picture Books
First published: September 4th 2018
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group Press
Finished reading: August 31st 2018
Pages: 54

“And while such behavior was

thought of quite badly,

what could be done more

than think on it sadly?”

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


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One of my goals this year has been to try and read more children and MG reads, and this picture book somehow managed to grab my attention when I first saw it. Between the clever title and the blurb I was fully intrigued by The Lying King, and I have been looking forward to pick it up. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite the reading experience I was expecting. While I like the simplicity of the cover, I don’t think the same style works as well for the picture book itself. I personally found the illustrations too simple and bare; there is a lot of white on some of the pages and I don’t think it will be all that attractive for children. As for the story: the idea behind The Lying King is clever and it has a strong moral message. As you might have guessed, the message is that lying is wrong and lies will only come back to haunt you… As shown in the case of the lying warthog king. Still, I don’t think that children will actually be able to pick up on that message from reading this story. I felt that it was told in a too ‘adult’ way to be able to actually work as a way to teach children not to lie. All in all sadly this picture book didn’t reach its potential for me.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #42 – Leah On The Offbeat & The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two authors I’ve read books of before that belong to my all time favorites… Although this time around they didn’t manage to get the highest rating. Leah On The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli was definitely the fluffy and feel good read I was looking for. I still prefer Simon, but this one was very entertaining as well. And Jonas Jonasson‘s books seem to be hit and miss for me… I absolutely loved The Hundred Year Old Man, but both other reads (including The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden) didn’t hit the mark for me.


Title: Leah On The Offbeat
(Creekwood #2)
Author: Becky Albertalli

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: April 24th 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Finished reading: August 27th 2018
Pages: 364

“I hate when assholes have talent. I want to live in a world where good people rule at everything and shitty people suck at everything.”


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Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda is definitely one of my all time favorite reads, and as soon as I heard there was going to be a sequel I was jumping up and down out of excitement. Then I started thinking: but how could a sequel ever live up to the first book? Of course there was no way I could keep myself from spending more time with some of my favorite characters though, so I knew I had to pick up Leah On The Offbeat at some point. I’ve heard mixed things about this title ever since it was published, but this didn’t stop me from being curious and wanting to give it a go myself. And while I don’t think it is as good as the original, it does have a love triangle and the main character Leah can get annoying, I do love the diversity in this story. And basically it’s cute, it’s fluffy, it’s lgbt, it has interesting characters and I had a great time reading it. Becky Albertalli is an expert in creating quirky, interesting and well developed contemporary characters and it is exactly those characters that take this story to the next level. Plus, we get a whole lot of Simon and his gang as well! Would I have preferred not having the love triangles? Probably. Could I have done without some of the drama and cliches? Maybe. Did Leah started to get on my nerves at points? Likely. But that doesn’t take away that Leah On The Offbeat was just the cute contemporary read I needed where diversity, quirkiness and uniqueness are not only encouraged but also praised.


Title: The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden
Author: Jonas Jonasson

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Humor
First published: 2013
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Finished reading: August 29th 2018
Pages: 419
(Originally written in Swedish: ‘Analfabeten som kunde räkna’)

“He was being all normal again. He was practically apologizing for existing. Which was, of course, rather contradictory if he didn’t exist”


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I read The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared back in 2015 and it ended up being on my list of all time favorites ever since. It’s true that Jonas Jonasson‘s dry and sometimes sarcastic humor and writing style in general isn’t for everyone, but if it’s your style you will be blown away by it. I’ve been looking for a repeat experience ever since, but sadly I haven’t been able to. Hitman Anders was a total miss for me, although I still had hope for The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden. I tried keeping my expectations low, but still I wasn’t charmed by this one either. Let’s begin with the positive. I do like his writing style and there are definitely some funny moments there. I like how the author incorporated many politically and socially important historical events in his book as a background for the main characters. Nombeko’s history is fascinating and shines a light on the complicated past of South Africa, although it’s not the main goal of the story. The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden has a dual POV structure, where we follow not only Nombeko in South Africa, but also the Swedish Ingmar and later his sons Holger and Holger. I personally wasn’t a fan of the Swedish POV especially in the first half of the book, although I did grow to like Holger Two. Things also improved in the second half as the different storylines merged and the story started to flow better. Still, it was hard to connect to some of the characters and the story did drag considerably at points. It was nice to see how everything did fit together and how small their worlds ended up being, although I don’t think it was exactly credible. I don’t think the story was ment that way in the first time, but it wasn’t the laugh-out-loud funny story I was expecting either. Oh well, maybe the new The Hundred-Year-Old Man sequel will manage to finally blow my socks off again?


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ARC REVIEW: The Confession – by Jo Spain @crookedlanebks

Title: The Confession
Author: Jo Spain
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: January 11th 2018
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Finished reading: August 21st 2018
Pages: 288

“But here’s the thing about fairytales. Sometimes they’re darker than you can ever imagine.”

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

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Fellow book bloggers have been saying I need to try out Jo Spain‘s work for years, but somehow other pending books always got in the way. So when I had the chance to receive an ARC of her newest title The Confession, of course I jumped at it. A lot of people will know this title with a different cover, published back in January, but I actually really like this version and how well it fits the story. Scheduled to be published early next month! I went in with an open mind and found myself really surprised by what I found. The first thing that stands out is the writing style, which is solid, engaging and draws you right in. That and the fact that you find out the identity of the suspect right in the beginning. Talk about unusual! But somehow it The Confession it really works. Because while you know the who, you are completely left in the dark about the why until the very end. Plot twists and false leads will take you on a journey through the lives of both suspect, victim and those trying to solve the case. Very cleverly done! I had my guesses about how it all fitted in, but I definitely didn’t see the final reveal coming. The characters themselves are not exactly likeable, but well developed and feel real. My only problem would be with the cops Moody and Gallagher, who I both found to be arrogant and frustratingly annoying (especially Gallagher). And despite other minor annoyances, this was still a very solid psychological thriller. Well crafted, clever and creative… Three little words will make you want to keep on reading until the very end: WHY? Not your typical psychological thriller, but oh so good.

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The life of the wealthy McNamara couple changes forever when a man walks into their home and brutally attacks Harry while his wife Julie is watching. Not an hour later, the attacker J.P. Carney hands himself in to the police and confesses… Although also claiming he didn’t know the identity of his victim nor was his attack premeditated. But disgraced banker Harry had just been found innocent in a highly sensationalized fraud trial, so can this really be true? Was this an act driven by temporary insanity, or is something more sinister going on?

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Normally, finding out the who behind an attack or murder is one of the main drives of a crime thriller. So how can The Confession work that well if we know who did it right away? It has to do with both the well crafted plot and the also important question ‘why’. We may know the who, but readers are left clueless when it comes to the reason behind this attack. What secrets are J.P., Harry and Julie hiding? What connects them? Why was Harry attacked? Oh yes, you will keep wondering why, why, why as you keep turning pages and encountering the next clever twist. A very solid read indeed!


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ARC REVIEW: The Impossible Girl – by Lydia Kang

Title: The Impossible Girl
Author: Lydia Kang
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
First published: September 18th 2018
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Finished reading: August 13th 2018
Pages: 364

“One always thinks one has forever, and that tomorrow will come to wipe away yesterday’s misfortunes and mistakes to start anew.”

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

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I was intrigued by this title as soon as I saw that cover and read the blurb. I have a weak spot for historical fiction, and the promise of a 1850 setting combined with something a whole lot more sinister (grave robbing) and something fascinating (medical anomalies) sounded too good to be true. But this is exactly what The Impossible Girl delivers, and in a very solid way as well. Between the writing and descriptions it feels as if you were back in 1850 New York along with the main characters, and that is always a great sign of a well developed historical setting. But it is not the setting alone that catches the eye. The main spotlight is for the main character Cora, who is absolutely fascinating. Not only was she born with two hearts, she is also a female resurrectionist in an environment and time not kind to women. Both romance and the mystery of the suspicious deaths are well woven into a plot that will manage to keep your attention. There are also a few twists that will most likely manage to surprise you! It shows that Lydia Kang has medical knowledge, and it was interesting to learn a little more about the different medical anomalies. I also appreciated that while the romance was there, it wasn’t the main focus of the story and therefore didn’t disturb the balance of a very interesting plot. All in all a highly entertaining and slightly disturbing read… Perfect for fans of historical mystery reads with a hint of paranormal! Cora is a character you won’t forget soon.

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Cora Lee has been born out of wedlock, daughter of a wealthy sociality and a Asian immigrant, but that is not the most notable thing about her. In 1850 New York, she is the only female resurrectionist and very good at her job at that. But that is not the only thing; she is also hiding a secret. Because the very same anatomists that pay her big sums of money for bodies with the strangest of anomalies would pay a fortune to get their hands on her very own body. Cora is the girl born with two hearts, a legend among grave robbers and in mortal danger if her secret ever comes out.

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If you are looking for something different to read, don’t mind disturbing the dead and enjoy a well developed historical setting and a strong main character, The Impossible Girl is just the book for you. The perfect balance of a strong historical setting, a dose of creepy, a mystery, some violence and romance makes this story work like a charm. It was interesting to see the story and the characters evolve and I had a great time reading this one.


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ARC REVIEW: Never Say Goodbye – by Richard Parker @bookouture

Title: Never Say Goodbye
(Detective Tom Fabian #1)
Author: Richard Parker
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: August 14th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: July 30th 2018
Pages: 284

“There was never definitive justice but there were pockets of it.”

*** 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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!! Happy publication day !!

After an excellent experience with the author’s previous work, I just HAD to try out his new detective series. My experience with Richard Parker‘s thrillers has shown that he writes them to be dark, disturbing and lightning fast, so I might have set my expectations a tad too high. There is no doubt that Never Say Goodbye was a very interesting start of a new detective series, and I had a great time figuring out the who and why. BUT. I was expecting something with a little more impact to actually be able to blow my socks off. It was fast, it had a creepy serial killer, it had twists and disturbing moments, but overall there was just something about the story that didn’t quite hit the mark for me. It might just have been that I’ve read one too many detective series already, but the new detective didn’t really stand out for me. It’s not that the character development is bad, and I guess there is a strong base for the future books, but I’m not sure detective Tom Fabian and his team stood out from other detective teams so far. The case was an interesting one though, and I liked the idea of the murder map and the different streets in London. It’s weird to say this as the murders are quite gruesome, but I would have liked a little more focus on them and/or more disturbing details to add more suspense? I guess Never Say Goodbye didn’t manage to creep me out as much as I thought it would, but again this could have been just me having different expectations after his previous books. That said, I’m definitely curious about the next book after that cliffhanger ending.

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Detective Tom Fabian hasn’t had a big success on his name after catching the serial killer Christopher Wisher two years ago, and the word is going around that his days are numbered. But then he is put on a new case after an unfortunate incident, and he has another chance to prove himself. What seemed to be a series of random stabbings, might just be something a whole lot more complicated and sinister… And Tom and his team will have to race against the clock to stop the attacker before another person gets hurt.

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If you enjoy detective thrillers and solving whodunits, Never Say Goodbye is a very entertaining addition to your reading list. While for me it lacked the little something extra to really make it stand out from other detective series, there is no doubt that the writing is strong, the plot twists are there and the killer is well disguised. The idea behind the plot is an interesting one as well! And the ending is a killer. All in all not a bad start of a new detective series!


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YVO’S SHORTIES #36: Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops & Click’d

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around again two different genres… A non fiction book about books I’ve been wanting to pick up for a while and a MG read I decided to pick up on a whim.


Title: Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops
(Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops #1)
Author: Jen Campbell

Genre: Non Fiction, Humor, Books About Books
First published: March 27th 2012
Publisher: Constable
Finished reading: July 30th 2018
Pages: 128

“CUSTOMER: I read a book in the sixties. I don’t remember the author, or the title. But it was green, and it made me laugh. Do you know which one I mean?”


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I love books about books and after reading The Bookshop Book by the same author back in 2016, I added Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops to my wishlist. It took me longer than expected to actually get, but this was just the right book at the right time for me. This is the perfect book to use as a gift for anyone working in a bookshop or library, or any booklover in general for that matter! Fun, entertaining and full of weird situations that will make both your eyebrows raise and wonder what those customers were thinking when they opened the door to the bookshop that day… But at least it has given us this book to brighten up our day. I like how Weird Things Customers Say In Bookshops is divided into three different parts, with the last part being little anecdotes from bookshops around the world. It’s good to know there are weird customers out there in every little corner of the world… Although I’m not sure I would still want to work in a bookshop now. (Just kidding; I would still love to!) Remember this title if you are looking for something fun to gift to a bookish friend.


Title: Click’d
(Codegirls #1)
Author: Tamara Ireland Stone

Genre: Middle Grade, Realistic Fiction, Contemporary
First published: September 5th 2017
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Finished reading: July 30th 2018
Pages: 304

“Because I have three best friends.” She pointed to each in turn. “And I don’t need to click with anyone else but you guys.”


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I absolutely loved Every Last Word when I read it back in 2016, so when I was browsing my books the other day and Click’d popped up, I decided to pick it up on a whim hoping to add another favorite to the list. I didn’t realize it was a Middle Grade read before I started it, but I don’t think this has influenced my opinion in a significant way since it’s not the first time I’ve read and loved a MG read. Somehow, Click’d didn’t stand out in the way Every Last Word did, and I ended up feeling slightly disappointed. Click’d wasn’t a bad read and I really liked the idea behind this story, but overall I found the story to be rather bland. The plot has that geeky feel with two of the main characters creating an app/game and the whole progress of coding and dealing with bugs in the code plays a big role throughout the story. The other main theme is friendship, which could work really well, but there were just too many cliches for me involved. I don’t mind a cliche or two, but if there are just too many piling up it starts to get annoying and less interesting. Overall, I think Click’d lacks the little something extra that could have made this story into something wonderful. It’s not bad and without doubt a superfast read, but not the new favorite I was hoping for. The younger half of the MG age group might enjoy the story better though.


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