BOOK REVIEW: History Is All You Left Me – by Adam Silvera

Title: History Is All You Left Me
Author: Adam Silvera

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
First published: January 17th 2017
Publisher: Soho Teen
Finished reading: March 31st 2017
Pages: 320

“People are complicated puzzles, always trying to piece together a complete picture, but sometimes we get it wrong and sometimes we’re left unfinished. Sometimes that’s for the best. Some pieces can’t be forced into a puzzle, or at least they shouldn’t be, because they won’t make sense.”

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This title has been on my list of most anticipated releases ever since I first heard about it and is also a case of insta-coverlove (I’m sure I’m not the only one on both counts). It took me longer than I hoped to be able to finally pick up my copy of History Is All You Left Me, but I’m definitely glad I finally did. I can completely understand why so many people seem to love this book now! It’s true my own expectations were set just a tiny bit too high, but there is no doubt that this newest novel by Adam Silvera is a great read. The writing style is excellent as well as the character development, and it definitely would be wise to keep a box of tissues ready. Because History Is All You Left Me is filled raw, realistic emotions and talks about both grief and how to deal with the death of someone close. It might not have been the 5 star read I was expecting, but that doesn’t take away I was thoroughly absorbed by the story and I couldn’t stop reading until I knew how the story ended. The characters are realistic and have their own little quirks… And while some things about certain characters annoyed me a little, they were able to win me over anyway. Kuddos to the author for the inclusion of OCD in the plot and I loved the different relationships. True, I felt the whole story was a bit messy, but mostly a good messy. If you are a fan of the genre, realistic and quirky characters and don’t mind a healthy dose of sad, you will probably love History Is All You Left Me.

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Theo was Griffin’s first love, and also the first time he ‘came out’. He had to let him go as Theo left for California to study last year, and now Griffin lost him all over again in a drowning accident. In an attempt to hold onto every piece of the past, he wants to talk to Theo’s last boyfriend Jackson as well. When Jackson starts to show signs of guilt, Griffin starts to suspect he is hiding something… And he is determined to find out the whole truth about Theo’s death.

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There is no doubt that History Is All You Left Me is both a well written and emotional read with excellent characters. It shows a wide variety of emotions and I loved learning more about how the different relationships started and developed. Reality is added to those emotions by the fact that the author doesn’t leave out the ‘ugly’ parts. If you like the genre, I can definitely suggest giving this one a try!


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WWW Wednesdays #131 – April 5th

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 three books; the first two being for the Beat The Backlist challenge because I have been neglecting this challenge terribly in March. The Color Purple by Alice Walker is a (modern) classic I somehow never picked up before and I’m still deciding what to think of it. And I’ve been wanting to read the sequel ever since I finished the first book, so I’m hoping to continue Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken as soon as I finish  the first. Although I might read the ARC sequel Sleep Tight by Caroline Mitchell first, because I’m in the mood for another thriller.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

* I first finished The Yellow Envelope by  Kim Dinan, which didn’t turn out to be as good as I was hoping for. Instead of a travel memoir, it was more of a self-discovery journey and I had a lot of problems with the tone, focus of the story and (negative) cliches. More details in my review
* I then read the collection of short horror stories Silence Under Screams by Collin Henderson, and it sure turned out to be a proper horror read. There are four stories in total and each is unique in its own way and represents a different subgenre. Warning: some of them have very graphic descriptions!
* The last book I was able to finish in March was History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera and I can definitely understand why so many people seem to love this book. I enjoyed reading this book, although it kind of feels bad to say that since part of it is really sad. Excellent character development and loved the prose! Not a 5 star read as expected (it felt a bit messy), but definitely more than recommended for fans of the genre.
* My first April read was an ARC: Blood Moon by John David Bethel. The fact that this story is somewhat based on a true event is without doubt shocking, because the main character sure has to go through a lot. Interesting read with a lot of action and graphic scenes (warning if you don’t like those!), and I liked the use of Spanish even though there were quite a lot of mistakes.
* My last read was actually a reread: The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda. Back in January I couldn’t help myself and had to read this ARC as soon as I got a copy, and I decided to reread it before writing my review, since it’s going to be published soon. I enjoyed this thriller just as much the second time around. She is definitely one of my new favorite authors of the genre. I love LOVE her writing style.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Next up are three more ARCs… All for the April ARC month. What Doesn’t Kill You by Ed James is a Netgalley ARC and part of a detective series I’ve been enjoying so far. Among Friends: Travels In Cuba by Heather Murray was sent by the author and sounds like an intriguing travel read. Enchanters by K.F. Bradshaw is a Reading Alley ARC and will give me just the dose of fantasy I need (hopefully). I also still want to read Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult , probably after I finish these three ARCs though.


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WWW Wednesdays #130 – March 29th

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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 about to finish one of my pending Netgalley ARCs: The Yellow Envelope by Kim Dinan. I was really looking forward to this travel memoir, but it sort of fell flat for me. Rather than a true travel memoir, this story has mostly been a (rather self-centered) description of the author’s failing relationship with her husband and feelings; definitely not what I expected at all and not as enjoyable to read… I’ve also started History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera, which I will continue as soon as I finish the memoir. I’m so excited to be finally reading it!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

* YESSSS!!! I’ve finally been able to read A Conjuring Of Light by V.E. Schwab, the final book in one of my all time favorite fantasy series. And it sure didn’t disappoint; I loved every single minute of this third book and I still sort of have a book hangover (the fact that I didn’t really like the next three books I picked up didn’t help either). I’m going to miss this fictional world and its characters; luckily I have my own little Delilah Bard to keep me company now. 😉

Little Delilah Bard, Lila for short.

* I also read The First City by Joe Hart, another final book in a trilogy… And I had a really hard time finishing this one. I’ve never liked the main character Zoey, but in this third book she is becoming almost impossible to tolerate. I’ve seriously considered DNFing it at various points… Her self-centered, annoying and whiney dialogues and actions made this read into a true struggle. The other POVs were slightly better, although I’m not too sure about the plot either. The ending is ok enough I guess.
* The last read I finished is Rose Petal Graves by Olivia Wildenstein, which started out interesting enough and I liked the general idea behind this story (faes and fae hunters). That said, this turned out to be yet another YA fantasy series destroyed by a… yes, you can already guess… a freaking LOVE TRIANGLEEE!!! I’ve become seriously allergic to them, and all these forbidden love interests and love triangles just made me enjoy the story a lot less. Also, the main character changes ‘teams’ constantly and it’s not really realistic.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Next up are two more ARCs… The horror story Silence Under Screams by Collin Henderson has been on my list for way too long already, so I’m hoping to finally read it this week. I also need to read Blood Moon by John David Bethel. After so many ARCs, I’m hoping to finally read more of my own books as well, and both Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken and Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult are high on my list.


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WWW Wednesdays #129 – March 22nd

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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 finally reading A Conjuring Of Light by V.E. Schwab, and so far I’m loving every single minute of it even though it’s a lot longer than expected. I’m not ready for this story to be over though! I’m going to miss my favorite characters… I’m also still reading The First City by Joe Hart, the final book of The Dominion Trilogy that I put on hold to start ACOL. To be honest, I’m having a hard time with this book so far and the main problem is one of the main characters: Zoe. I seriously can’t stand her and she’s starting to make me feel the same about the story as well. Not good…

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

* I’ve been looking forward to another Erika Foster adventure ever since I finished the third book, and I literally requested a copy the minute it appeared on Netgalley and started reading it soon after. Last Breath is without doubt my new favorite Erika Foster novel! Fast-paced, full of twists, well written, interesting plot, disturbing killer and just the right amount of creepy; what more to ask? I’m already looking forward to book five and this one hasn’t even been published yet. xD
* I then read Bull by David Elliott, a mythology retelling of the classic minotaur story. This SO wasn’t what I was expecting!! I’m still not sure what to make of it, although I can’t deny it was an entertaining read… Bull is a retelling fully written in verse and each character has its own style, which was inventive. The writing style made me laugh more than once, although I’m not sure if the tone is actually appropriate for the story. To get an idea: this is how the story started:

“POSEIDON

Whaddup, bitches?

Am I right or am I right?
That bum Minos deserved what he got.”

Not exactly what you would expect when starting a Theseus and the minotaur retelling right?!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Next up are three more ARCs… The horror story Silence Under Screams by Collin Henderson has been on my list for way too long already, so I’m hoping to finally read it this week. But I also have the release date of both The Yellow Envelope by Kim Dinan and Rose Petal Graves by Olivia Wildenstein coming up, so I should probably read those first… And I really REALLY want to read History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera some time soon as well.


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Friday Finds #124 – March 17th

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FRIDAY FINDS showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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WWW Wednesdays #127 – March 8th

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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 two pending ARCs… March is really turning into an ARC month, but at least my Netgalley ratio is finally above 80% again! 😀 The first one is The Missing Ones by Patricia Gibney, a psychological thriller I’ve heard great things about and I’ll be looking forward to. The second title is an historical fiction read that the author sent to me: The Last Gods Of Indochine by Samuel Ferrer. It took me longer than expected to finally pick that one up, but I’m hoping to finish it before the weekend.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

* The first book I finished since last week is I Found You by Lisa Jewell, which was even better than I thought it would be. Without doubt an excellent psychological thriller that had me on the edge of my seat and guessing about the facts until the very end. And even though the amnesia element isn’t all that original on its own, it works perfectly together with the rest of the plot. Recommended!
* I then read The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, which I picked up on a whim when I wanted a little break from my ARCs. I totally didn’t realize this was actually a series! There were things I loved about this book, especially the Library/Language elements, but it wasn’t as good as I hoped. Part of the problem is that so many different elements are being squeezed together in the plot that it just all seems a bit chaotic… I mean: magic, science fiction/steampunk, supernatural creatures (vampires, fae, werewolves AND dragons), a superdetective and an evil supervillian in one story? It just seemed a bit too much and mostly distracted from the very interesting idea behind the Library, Language and alternative worlds.
* Next up was The Wanderers by Meg Howrey, a book I was really looking forward to, especially after it was compared to The Martian. Unfortunately, this turned out to be false advertisement, because the two basically have NOTHING in common. The Wanderers mostly focuses on the psychological effects of a Mars mission SIMULATION (Yes, the astronauts don’t even go to Mars), which definitely wasn’t what I had signed up for. Sure, a psychological analysis can be interesting and I liked the diversity of the characters, but overall the pace was quite slow and the sometimes dense prose didn’t really help either. Things improved later on, but I don’t think I would have actually made it to that point if this wouldn’t have been an ARC: In one word: disappointment.
* After two mediocre reads, I had both my fingers and toes crossed when I started reading Renegade Red by Lauren Bird Horowitz. I ran out of time and dived straight into the second book, but it by no means ment I enjoyed it less. I definitely understand the love for this series now, because I had a blast reading this story. A fast pace, interesting characters and plot, well written… It does have a love triangle I’m not sure about, but this is one of the exceptions where I’ve forgiven the story for it.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Guess who is finally going to pick up her copy of A Conjuring Of Light?! I’m a huge V.E. Schwab fan and I’ve been wanting to read this final book ever since I finished AGOS last year, so I guess you can imagine how excited I am to be finally reading it. I was initially going to reread the first two books before, but I really don’t have time right now with all those pending ARCs…. Looks like I will be having a Shades Of Magic reread later this year! 😉 I also need to read the two ARCs Bull by David Elliott and Silence Under Screams by Collin Henderson, and I might read History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera after that just to change genres a bit. (Ok I confess, it’s also because I REALLY want to read it in the first place.)


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BOOK REVIEW: More Happy Than Not – by Adam Silvera

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Title: More Happy Than Not
Author: Adam Silvera
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
First published: June 2nd 2015
Finished reading: June 4th 2016
Pages: 336
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“Memories: some can be sucker punching, others carry you forward; some stay with you forever, others you forget on your own. You can’t really know which ones you’ll survive if you don’t stay on the battlefield, bad times shooting at you like bullets. But if you’re lucky, you’ll have plenty of good times to shield you.”

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More Happy Than Not was on my list of most anticipated 2015 releases and I added it to my list months before it was even published, but somehow I never actually picked up my copy until now. It’s easy to say I had really high expectations for this book, and that may or may not have influenced my opinion in a negative way. Because it’s a fact that it took me ages to read this novel by Adam Silvera and I can’t say I enjoyed the first part. The prose and dialogues felt a bit forced and I felt like the story dragged to much in the beginning. To be honest, I actually thought about DNFing it at one point just because it took me so long to get a proper feel for the story… That said, I’m glad I continued reading because the last part of the book was brilliant. I’m not saying it completely made up for the slow start, but it did explain more about what the main character was going through. More Happy Than Not mixes the average contemporary romance story with science fiction elements, which definitely transforms it into an interesting read. The message behind this story is also inspiring, and especially the last part had a lot of really interesting quotes. I have debated whether to give this novel a higher rating, but I can’t ignore the fact that the beginning just didn’t do it for me. Would I recommend it? Probably, with the advice to keep reading even if you don’t really like the beginning.

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 Aaron Soto has been struggling to find happiness again in the months after his father committed suicide. Things have been tough, but his girlfriend Genevieve and his mom have been trying to get him back on the right track. After he tried to end his own life not long after his father died, they seem to be more worried than ever… Because it seems like Aaron is slowly drowning in his own grief. When Genevieve has to leave town for a couple of weeks, Aaron starts hanging out more and more with a new guy, Thomas, instead of with his friends. Thomas seems to understand him a lot better than his old friends and Aaron can’t deny Thomas makes him feel happier than he has been in a long time. But are these feelings just about friendship, or something deeper? And how does Thomas feel about all this? Aaron feels he is making a mess of his life, and is starting to think the revolutionary memory-alteration procedure at the Leteo Institute might be his only way out for a happy and normal life…

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Like I said before, I had really high expectations of More Happy Than Not and the first part actually disappointed me a lot. It took me a long time to get a proper feel for the story; the first part was both slow, the prose felt forced and the story dragged a lot. Still, there is no doubt that the last part of the story is really good and probably would have gotten one of the highest ratings on its own. It’s an interesting topic that manages to raise important questions about glbt acceptance, suicide, happiness and life in general… In short: after a slow start, the second half of the book is definitely a reward and makes this novel worth reading in the end.