YVO’S SHORTIES #132 – The Flatshare & Rayne And Delilah’s Midnite Matinee

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time a dose of 2019 contemporary releases… The Flatshare was the winning title on Twitter last month as the first 2019 contemporary romance title I should pick up; it was an excellent choice and I really enjoyed it! And I’ve been meaning to pick up Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee ever since it was released, because I LOVED his previous books.


Title: The Flatshare
Author: Beth O’Leary

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: April 10th 2019
Publisher: Quercus
Finished reading: November 3rd 2019
Pages: 336

“There is no saving of people–people can only save themselves. The best you can do is help when they’re ready.”


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I’ve been hearing great things about The Flatshare even before I was released back in April… While the contemporary romance genre and me don’t always get along, there are exceptions and sometimes I’m just in the mood for a good romcom. I asked romance readers to help me with my next read, and The Flatshare turned out to be a clear winner on Twitter (I’m reading the Goodreads winner soon as well). And I’m definitely happy with the choice of the Twitter voters, as I had an excellent time reading this story. If you are looking for a fast-paced and entertaining romcom that isn’t afraid to go heavy as well, The Flatshare is an excellent choice. Because this isn’t just a romance story. So many different elements are in play… We have the book editor angle, as one of the main characters Tiffy works editing crafts books and is currently working on a crochet book. I loved the little insights in the industry as well as the crochet mentions! We also have the pallative care angle, involving the other star character Leon. I really liked how this element was developed and how certain patients ended up playing quite an important role. We then have the psychological abuse and abusive ex-boyfriend element, which definitely gives the story a heavier note and is the cause of frustration when it comes to how Tiffy handles the whole Justin situation. BUT. As someone who has suffered from a toxic relationship herself in the past, I do think the author did a good job showing us just how difficult it is to escape and recover from such relationship. And this is not all that the story has in store for us. We also have Leon’s brother Ricky, who has been charged for a crime he didn’t commit, and is fighting to prove his innocence. On top of that, we have Leon’s hunt to find someone before it’s too late… It might seem like a lot going on, but all these different elements helped enrich the plot and make the whole ‘flat and bed sharing’ basics of the plot a whole lot more interesting. I really liked the characters too despite the fact that I was SO frustrated with some of Tiffy’s actions… But characters were portrayed realistically and the flaws only made them come alive. In short, if you are a fan of the genre and haven’t read The Flatshare yet, you should definitely add it to your wishlist straight away.


Title: Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee
Author: Jeff Zentner

Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: February 26th 2019
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Finished reading: November 6th 2019
Pages: 400

“For a long time I shined my light for someone other than me. But not anymore. Now I shine bright for me. You can create light even when everyone’s left you behind because that’s what you do. It’s what I do.”


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I absolutely adored Jeff Zentner’s previous books, so it’s easy to understand that Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee was on my list of most anticipated 2019 releases. I’m still not sure why it took me this long to actually pick it up, but I’m definitely glad I did. I do have to say that this book felt quite different from his other two books… Unique and quirky once again, but somehow a lot more upbeat and a different tone? Not necessarily a bad thing, but I did feel the spark of the previous books was missing somehow. I’m not say I didn’t enjoy reading Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee and I definitely loved the idea behind the old horror movies TV show and everything it entailed. The humor was right up my alley as well, and there were quite a few funny moments included to lighten up the story after more heavy moments. Still, somehow the story never managed to blow me away completely… And yes, that is even with easy to like main characters and prose that is extremely easy on the eye. Were my expectations too high? Maybe. Would I still recommend it to fans of the genre? Most definitely. Because while it’s not my favorite Jeff Zentner, it still makes for a very quirky, goofy and sometimes even heartbreaking read.


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ARC REVIEW: A Castle In Romagna – by Igor Stiks

Title: A Castle In Romagna
Author: Igor Stiks
Genre: Historical Fiction
First published: 2000
Publisher: AmazonCrossing
Finished reading: February 2nd 2018
Pages: 128
(Originally written in Croatian: ‘Dvorac u Romagni’)

“He was overcome by the immobility one feels upon meeting something long sought after, that silent tension of the body that, before we take the object into our hands, forces us to pause for a moment, as if every passing second increases its value.”

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

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One of my goals this year is to read more international authors and translation, and I’ve been meaning to read more historical fiction that is not set during WWII as well. A Castle In Romagna manages to tick both boxes, and the blurb itself had me more than intrigued. Sadly, my reading experience wasn’t what I hoped it would be… Here’s why. First of all, I REALLY struggled with the writing style. I’m not sure if it’s because of the fact it is a translation and some of the magic is lost, but I do know it was really hard to stay focused and keep reading. The prose doesn’t flow and more often than not ‘formal’ or less natural phrases are thrown in. This slows down the pace considerably and kept distracting me from trying to follow the plot. Another thing that didn’t work for me was the dual storyline. I felt neither story had enough dept because of it, especially since this novel is not that long to start with. Both plot, background and characters in both storylines lacked fleshing out and honestly I think I would have rather seen two completely separate stories. Also, I think the connection of the two storylines through the 1995 setting and friar telling both stories was actually quite weak, as apart from the fact that both storylines are about doomed love they do not have all that much in common. I do have to say both the 16th century setting and the one in 1948 have a lot of potential, and I truly wish each would have been more developed. As it is, I failed to connect to any of the characters and I’m afraid to say I wasn’t able to enjoy my time with A Castle In Romagna.

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A young refugee of the Bosnian conflict decides to visit the old Mardi castle in the north of Italy in 1995. But instead of wandering around exploring the fortress, he will meet a guide who will tell him all about the past: both his own and how he ended up as a refugee himself in Italy in 1948 and the tragic fate of the poet Enzo Strecci back in the 16th century.

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I had such high hopes for this story, especially since the blurb sounded really promising, but unfortunately the story fell completely flat for me. Between the writing style, lack of dept and development in both the plot and characters and the failed dual storyline, I had a hard time reading A Castle In Romagna. Although I keep wondering if some of its charm has been lost in translation.


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WWW Wednesdays #162 – February 7th

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’m so excited to be finally starting our buddy read of Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly with Nicki @ Secret Library! This title was actually a TBR jar pick months ago, but somehow I never actually picked it up… But no longer! I’m so excited to be finally reading this one. Also on my currently reading list is Take The Key And Lock Her Up by Ally Carter, a 2016 most-anticipated release I somehow never actually picked up either. It’s the third and final book of the series, so I’ll be able to cross off yet another series on my to-do list soon!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/02
I’m definitely happy I finally gave this one a go… I went in completely blind and was pleasantly surprised with the whole dystopian angle being dropped after what seems like a contemporary beginning. The writing is enchanting and I really liked the ‘after’ storyline set twenty years after the disaster… Very intriguing. I did feel the plot felt a bit disjointed with all those different storylines, and things might get a bit confusing with all the different characters in the beginning, but that doesn’t take away I really enjoyed reading it.

2. As Dead As It Gets by Katie Alender (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 18/02
While I still think the first book is the strongest, As Dead As It Gets without doubt makes a comeback from what I call a ‘weak-second-book-syndrome’. The writing is engaging and reads superfast as always, making it a fun, exciting and speedy paranormal read. The plot is darker than the second book and adds a level of suspension to the story… Without doubt an interesting final adventure, although I’m still on the fence whether I like the ending or not.

3. A Castle In Romagna by Igor Stiks (2/5 stars) REVIEW 08/02
I had such high hopes for this story, especially since the blurb sounded really promising, but unfortunately the story fell completely flat for me. Between the writing style, lack of dept and development in both the plot and characters and the failed dual storyline, I had a hard time reading A Castle In Romagna. Although I keep wondering if some of its charm has been lost in translation.

4. The Lot Of A Nobody by Dave Johnston (4/5 stars) REVIEW 11/02
I needed something fun to brighten up my day, and this was EXACTLY the read I needed in my life. I already knew I would probably like it after seeing positive reviews a while back from bloggers with a similar taste, and I will definitely add myself to that group. I was able to take to the main character straight away and the writing style is just spot on. Engaging, quirky, direct, funny, a little blunt… The right kind of tone for a story I didn’t even know I was looking for when I started reading The Lot Of A Nobody. I LOVED the Nobody quotes at the beginning of each chapter as well as the perfect balance of contemporary and fantasy elements. Maybe even magical realism? Although only in the best possible way… Definitely a winner.

5. Black Heart by Anna-Lou Weatherley (4/5 stars) REVIEW 12/02
I couldn’t resist requesting a copy after certain bloggers (hint hint) kept going on about how great this detective thriller was… And I definitely agree. It’s refreshing to follow a male detective again for a change, even though he has the ‘usual’ complicated past baggage with him… And I do have a weak spot for a serial killer thriller. The writing draws you right in and it was without doubt a lightning-speed fast thriller ride… The plot was a bit predictable though and it was quite clear early on who the killer really was. There just weren’t all that many plot twists and surprises? That doesn’t take away I had a blast reading this one and I will definitely look forward to the next book in the series.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m probably reading Hollo by Devon Michael next depending on what genre I’m in the mood for. It’s another ARC I was supposed to read ages ago… (sorry!) I also want to read What Blooms From Dust by James Markert because I’m pretty intrigued by the blurb. And since I don’t have any pressing NG thriller releases anymore (YAY!!!!), I’ll be finally picking up my very first Karin Slaughter book The Good Daughter. I know I’m more than fashionably late to the party, but I’m having high hopes of becoming an instant fan of her work. I also should pick up The Last Star by Rick Yancey to get rid of another unfinished series on my list… I can’t say I was a fan of the first two books, so it will probably be a bit of a struggle reading that one though.


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WWW Wednesdays #161 – January 31st

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’m currently reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, a book I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages. I didn’t get a chance to read a lot of it yet, but so far it looks really promising. I’m also about to pick up A Castle In Romagna by Igor Stiks, a Netgalley ARC I picked up as part of my whole ‘read more international authors/translations’ goal.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Best Friends by Carys Jones (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 01/02
If you are looking for a fast-paced and entertaining psychological thriller that focuses on both the characters and the action, you have found a good balance in Best Friends. This thriller has an interesting premise and a lot of action, but the story isn’t solely about the ‘problem’ they have to deal with. The story also focuses on their friendship and how the complicated situation they are in might affect this relationship. Especially in the second half of the story might not be all that believable, but it is still a solid read if you don’t focus that much on the credibility of it all.

2. The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One by Amanda Lovelace (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 06/02
The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One without doubt makes a statement. Not only did I instantly connect with her style of poetry and the way she expresses herself, but I could also relate to some of the topics she discusses in her poems. Powerful, enchanting, inspiring and so well represented in both the words and format of her work!

3. Born A Crime by Trevor Noah (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/02
Born A Crime is a very powerful and thought provoking read. I already knew the apartheid was going to be an intriguing topic, and Trevor Noah does an excellent job narrating his personal experience during the end of the apartheid as well as his mother’s experience. He balances these personal accounts with a lot of background information and facts about apartheid that are relevant to that particular account he was talking about. Born A Crime is a memoir you will not soon forget.

4. The Camera Lies by AB Morgan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 03/02
There is no doubt that both the TV documentary angle and the murder case itself make The Camera Lies a very refreshing, intense and action-packed read. Even though I did see a mayor plot twist coming, there were other things I never would have guessed. There are some disturbing things going on for sure! The story reads superfast and you will be wondering what will happen next and how things will end until the very last page. Entertaining and thrilling for sure!

5. Halfway by Lokesh Sharma (2/5 stars) REVIEW 05/02
This sci-fi story has an interesting concept, but the execution didn’t work for me. The lack of worldbuilding and plot left me feeling confused and Halfway is more of a disjointed character background story than a story set in a properly fleshed out fantasy world. I’m having a feeling I would have enjoyed it better as two completely separate stories: one with the characters and their history, and one fully about Enigma.

6. Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall (3/5 stars) REVIEW 10/02
I was in the mood for a YA contemporary, so I picked up this title on a whim. I didn’t remember this one had actually a very prominent mental health angle: the main character suffers from agoraphobia and OCD. The author was able to develop this element really well, although I do have to say it all felt a bit too similar to Everything, Everything… And I wasn’t too sure about the ending or credibility of certain parts of the plot.

7. Unclean Spirits by Chuck Wendig (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 13/02
This is one of those cases where I should have investigated better, because I am so NOT the target group for this one… And this had a big influence on the lowish rating. This feels definitely written for macho male readers who like a lot of action, graphic scenes, swearing and adult content. AKA not my cup of tea. I did really like the whole mythology angle though.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m probably reading The Lot Of A Nobody by Dave Johnston next, mostly because I’ve had that ARC on my pile for way too long now… (sorry!) After that, I’ll probably read As Dead As It Gets by Katie Alender so I can cross off another series on my list. I do hope it’s better than book two. I also want to read What Blooms From Dust by James Markert because I’m pretty intrigued by the blurb. And it looks like I will be finally picking up Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly soon! Thanks to the wonderful Nicki who offered to buddyread it with me. ❤


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