YVO’S SHORTIES #74 – Artemis & Beneath The Sugar Sky

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time two anticipated releases, one that turned out to be a disappointment and one that turned out to be a success. Artemis by Andy Weir sadly didn’t live up to expectations at all (although I was warned), something I had hoped wouldn’t happen since The Martian is one of my all time favorites. Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire turned out to be a very strong third book and definitely just as good as the first one.


Title: Artemis
Author: Andy Weir

Genre: Science Fiction
First published: November 14th 2017
Publisher: Crown
Finished reading: January 7th 2019 
Pages: 322

“It’s a simple idiot-proofing scheme that’s very effective. But no idiot-proofing can overcome a determined idiot.”


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Part of me already knew this was going to happen, because people did warn me about Artemis before I started reading it… But even lowering my expectations didn’t prevent me from feeling very much disappointed by Artemis, especially since The Martian has a special place on my list of all time favorites. I know it’s not right to compare the two books and I won’t be don’t that here actively, but let’s see if I can put together just exactly why this story didn’t work for me. The first mayor problem has a lot to do with the main character Jazz. Let’s just start with saying I had no clue the main character was actually female until she was referred to in that way. And that was one heck of an unpleasant surprise… Because while Mark Watney’s personality really worked for him in The Martian, having a very much similar attitude and personality implanted in an Islamic young woman REALLY gives off the wrong vibe. I don’t mind sassy, I don’t mind attitude, but what is with the constant sexism, adult jokes and sex references? And why do other treat her that way, talk to her in that way, and think that it’s okay to do so? Not only did it feel unnatural, but I also found it offensive. In short, both Jazz and the way others reacted to her really ruined the story for me. It seems that this personality that was once successful just doesn’t work for a different gender or a situation where a lot more characters are involved. The writing on its own isn’t bad and I do like part of the dry humor (when it’s not sexist); the worldbuilding is also quite interesting and I liked the idea behind the plot. This story could have worked really well, but sadly went in the wrong direction for me… As for the credibility: well, it IS a story set on the moon and sci-fi at that, but I couldn’t help start wondering about how Jazz and only a few others were supposed to do all that without getting killed in the process. Or blowing up the moon. This was only minor compared to my problems with Jazz and what she represented though, and I’m really sad to be feeling this way about what I had hoped would be a new favorite. Oh well, at least now I know for sure…


Title: Beneath The Sugar Sky
(Wayward Children #3)
Author: Seanan McGuire

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magic
First published: January 9th 2018
Publisher: Tor
Finished reading: January 8th 2019
Pages: 157

“There is kindness in the world, if we know how to look for it. If we never start denying it the door.”


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I fell in love with the worldbuilding and writing in Every Heart A Doorway last year, and have been looking forward to read more about the different worlds and doors ever since. Don’t let the shortness of these little gems fool you, because there is a lot to love in each story and the only downside is that it will leave you wanting for more. Beneath The Sugar Sky is already book number three and bumped straight to the top of this series favorites along with the first book. I think part of this has to do with the fact that we go back to the ‘real’ world temporarily and meet a lot of the characters mentioned in the first book again. This mixture of reality and a healthy dose of a glimpse of not one but multiple magical worlds made the story really stand out for me. Old and new characters are mixed naturally and I love just how diverse Seanan McGuire is able to make her characters without them becoming a cliche. I could really appreciate the focus on the whole body image issue through the eyes of Cora… There is so much truth in her experience and it’s sad the real world has to be this way. That said, I loved the whimsical, nonsense and basically impossible quest the main characters find themselves on in Beneath The Sugar Sky and I’m already curious about what the next story will bring us.


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WWW Wednesdays #204 – January 9th

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 trying to start my year in a diverse way with lots of different genres, and Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot sounded like a perfect fit. This memoir has been recommended to me last year and I’ll be looking forward to dive in properly later today. I’m also FINALLY starting my latest TBR jar pick: The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble. I’m not sure what to make of the blurb, but we’ll see how things go I guess.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (3/5 stars) REVIEW 13/01
Dear The Kiss Quotient, it’s not you, it’s me. I should have known better than to pick you up even though contemporary romance isn’t really my thing. I should have investigated better and discovered you were filled to the brim with sexy scenes, because it would have avoided both of us a lot of pain. Oh yes, for someone allergic to adult content and sexy scenes, The Kiss Quotient is 200% the wrong book to go for. Kind of late for that now, isn’t it? Oh well… I guess I have only myself to blame for this. Even though this story was definitely not for me, I can definitely understand why there is so much love for it. Contemporary romance fans are probably in heaven with this book, because there is one thing I can’t deny: Helen Hoang knows how to write.

2. The Crown Of Embers by Rae Carson (4/5 stars) REVIEW 13/01
I admit I had forgotten about a lot of details of the first book and it took a little time to adjust, but I was able to pick up the thread easily enough after a few chapters. The first thing that stands out in this series is the detailed and wonderful worldbuilding. The writing style is engaging and makes it easy to keep reading those pages until you reach the last page. I wasn’t sure about every character; some can get annoying, and I could have done without the romance cliches and love triangle, but overall the story does deliver.

3. Mala Vida by Marc Fernandez (4/5 stars) REVIEW 
If you like stories with an international setting that can offer a little something different and outside the box, you should definitely consider Mala Vida. Part legal thriller, part historical, part mystery and part crime fiction, this story is a mix of a lot of different elements and very well executed at that. I personally loved the Spanish setting, the diversity of the main characters and the story as a whole. The historical element is both well executed and shocking and will definitely leave a mark… A very interesting read and one I’m very glad I came across.

4. The Couple On Cedar Close by Anna-Lou Weatherley (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 18/01
If you enjoy detective thrillers and unreliable characters, you will definitely have a blast with this detective Dan Riley sequel The Couple On Cedar Close. There is a lot of mystery around both Robert and Laurie and their past, adding suspense to the plot and it will keep you entertained as you guess about the details. The flashbacks are interesting as well as you try to fit them into the rest of the story… I did have some issues regarding the credibility of some parts of the plot and wasn’t sure about some of the characters, but overall it was still an entertaining ride.

5. Artemis by Andy Weir (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 15/01
Part of me already knew this was going to happen, because people did warn me about Artemis before I started reading it… But even lowering my expectations didn’t prevent me from feeling very much disappointed by Artemis, especially since The Martian has a special place on my list of all time favorites.

6. Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire (/5 stars) REVIEW 15/01
Beneath The Sugar Sky is already book number three and bumped straight to the top of this series favorites along with the first book. I think part of this has to do with the fact that we go back to the ‘real’ world temporarily and meet a lot of the characters mentioned in the first book again. This mixture of reality and a healthy dose of a glimpse of not one but multiple magical worlds made the story really stand out for me.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to read more backlist titles this year (so far it’s going great), but I also need to work on those upcoming ARCs… Here And Now And Then by Mike Chen and End Of The Lie by Diana Rodriguez Wallach are up next. I also want to read The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson soon so I can cross off my very first series of the year… And I have a new TBR jar pick: The Shattering by Karen Healey. This one is classified as a YA paranormal crime story, so I’m very curious as to how I will react to it.


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WWW Wednesdays #203 – January 2nd

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?

A new year and a new start! After one caipirinha (Brazilian cocktail) on NYE, I needed something easy on the brain so I decided to pick up Goodreads Choice Awards winner The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang. Sadly, it turns out to be another case of not-for-me. Sexy scenes and romance cliches? This isn’t going to end well… I’m also starting the sequel The Crown Of Embers by Rae Carson as part of my vow to finish more series this year. And Mala Vida by Marc Fernandez is an upcoming ARC I need to read ASAP. The blurb sounds fascinating, so I’m looking forward to it now that I have recovered from my hangover.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (4/5 stars) REVIEW 07/01
Once I finally started reading and finished the first few chapters, I knew Outlander and me were going to get along just fine. All in all it took me about a week to finish it, which is not bad at all for such a beast of a book… And I had a surprisingly good time with it as well. Why surprisingly, would you say? Well, there are a lot of sexy scenes involved in Outlander, something that normally makes me drop a book like hot coals and discard it right away. They still made me cringe at points (adult content just isn’t for me ladies!), but the rest of the story was intriguing enough for me to tolerate them. The writing is excellent and the worldbuilding is sublime.

2. The Girl Without Skin by Mads Peder Nordbo (4/5 stars) REVIEW 03/01
I was without doubt more than pleasantly surprised by The Girl Without Skin. I like my crime thrillers dark and disturbing, and an interesting international setting is always a bonus for me. This story isn’t for those with a weak stomach, as there are a lot of graphic scenes involved including violence, bloodcurdling murder scenes and abuse. The Greenland setting is excellently executed and it felt like I were there myself along with the main characters… The story itself chilled me to the bone. If you like dark crime thrillers, you should definitely give this one a go!

3. A Spark Of Light by Jodi Picoult (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 10/01
I’ll start off with saying that abortion is a very tricky topic to write about, and I think Jodi Picoult did it splendidly. Her writing style is just as strong as ever and I also loved the reversed time chapter technique she used. I admit I was confused at first because I didn’t realize that straight away, but I think it adds a little something extra to the story. Why? It’s simply very intriguing to meet the characters at such a critical point in their lives and then slowly find out how they got there… I did see part of the final plot twist bombs coming, although not all. The ending was a bit abrupt for me, and I personally would have liked to see the main characters being followed up for a while longer.

4. Doll Bones by Holly Black (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 10/01
I was looking for a little something different to read and when I came across this title on my kindle I decided to pick it up on a whim. Sadly, I can’t say I actually enjoyed reading the story. I can’t put my finger exactly on the why, but part of it had to do that I didn’t like the characters and I had a hard time connecting to the story. The story wasn’t exactly credible and not as scary as I would have thought either.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have two NG ARCs that are up next: Here And Now And Then by Mike Chen and The Couple On Cedar Close by Anna-Lou Weatherley. I also want to read Artemis by Andy Weir, since I’ve been meaning to do so ever since it came out. The Martian is one of my all time favorites, but I’ve been told not to set my expectations too high to avoid disappointment… Well see how things go I guess. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble.


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Friday Finds #141 – July 14th

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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BOOK REVIEW: The Martian – by Andy Weir

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Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller, Adventure
First published: February 11th 2014
Finished reading: August 18th 2015
Pages: 369
Rating 5

“I need to ask myself, ‘What would an Apollo astronaut do?’ He’d drink three whiskey sours, drive his Corvette to the launchpad, then fly to the moon in a command module smaller than my Rover. Man those guys were cool.”

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The Martian has been all over the blogosphere lately and it sounded like a very interesting read, so I thought it was about time I finally read it. In general I’m a bit hesitant towards overhyped books and I normally don’t read a lot of books set in space either… But I’m glad I decided to read this story by Andy Weir anyway, because The Martian was definitely an exception to the overhyped books rule. This book was simply brilliant. The main character, the plot, the prose… Everything was perfectly done and there were so many quotes marked on my kindle! The story of the main character and astronaut Mark Watney is one of extreme survival, but it’s also full of technical/scientific details I loved and funny moments that made me laugh out loud at points. It’s the perfect mix of science, adventure and humor that will speak to a very broad public… Even to those who normally don’t really like stories set in space like me. The Martian is without doubt one of my favorite reads this year and I would recommend it with my eyes closed!

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A few days ago, astronaut Mark Watney was just one of the first people to set foot on Mars, but things have gone terribly wrong since. A mayor dust story forces the crew to evacuate, but Mark never made it back to the ship… The rest of the crew thinks he’s dead and leave him behind. Mark is now stranded and completely alone on the foreign planet, but his resourcefulness helps him survive the first crucial days. He takes a crash course in Surviving On Mars 101 and soon he found himself a daily routine. He has no way to contact Earth to tell everyone he’s alive, but Mark is working on that. He will have to succeed to survive; there are a lot of things that can kill him on Mars and he is slowly running out of supplies and time…

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I can definitely understand why The Martian has won already so many awards, because this book is simply brilliant. Even if you aren’t into the whole space genre, you cannot help but enjoy this story, feel for the character and be amazed by his resourcefulness while surviving on Mars. The plot keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time and I loved the prose and character development. This book has made it straight to my favorites list and I would love to read more of Andy Weir‘s work in the future. 110% recommended!

WWW Wednesdays #53 – August 19th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I just started The Death Cure by James Dashner yesterday and I’m not too far into the story yet. I’m not sure what to think of it, but at least I will be closer to finishing one more series… I’m about halfway with Fairest by Marissa Meyer and I still stand by my comment that it’s not as good as the main series. Levana just isn’t a very likeable character! I made some progress with The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt before the read-a-thon started, but I’ve temporarily put it on hold until next Monday.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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Wait a minute; I’ve read EIGHT books since last WWW?! I checked twice, but apparently I’ve been reading like a monster for the last seven days haha.
The first book I’ve read is Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas; such a great read and the ending seriously messed with my mind!
I’ve had some start up problems with The Wrath And The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh; it took me a while to get used to the many foreign names and characters but I enjoyed it afterwards.
I had no such luck with Landline by Rainbow Rowell: I love her YA fiction, but I was seriously disappointed by Landline.
I then finally picked up The Kings Of Cool by Don Winslow, a TBR jar pick I have been posponing for the last I-don’t-know-how-many weeks. It was actually really good and I regret now waiting so long!
I’ve also read The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, a book that has been on my TBR for ages and I enjoyed it just as much as I’ve hoped. I really need to get a copy of the sequels soon though!
I continued with Rarity From The Hollow by Robert Eggleton, an ARC I ended up enjoying despite some problems I had with the plot, characters and prose.
I then read Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher, a quite short and entertaining read that ends with a very painful cliffhanger! I will have to read part two soon and cross my fingers it won’t have such a big cliffhanger as the first…
The last book I finished was The Martian by Andy Weir, by far one of the best reads so far this month. The main character, plot, prose… It really shows why this book was picked as one of the Goodreads Choice winners.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably try to read The Kill Order by James Dashner so I can finish yet another series… Although it will probably depend on how much I enjoy The Death Cure. I’m also looking forward to both My Heart And Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga and The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. I guess it will depend on my mood which one I decide to read first. The last one on this list is my new TBR jar pick: The Geography Of You And Me by Jennifer E. Smith. I’m normally not a big fan of romance, but this title has been recommended to me various times so I will give it a try very soon.

Teaser Tuesdays #56 – August 18th: The Martian

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at A Daily Rhythm. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I’ve finally started reading The Martian by Andy Weir yesterday and so far I’m enjoying it. I’m having really high hopes for this one since so many seem to love this book and it was one of the Goodreads Choice winners last year… Fingers crossed it stays this good!

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My teaser (26%):

Communications would be a great thing. But traversing thirty-two hundred kilometers to Ares 4 is incredibly dangerous. We’d rather he stayed put. If we could talk to him, we’d certainly tell him that.

 

What are you reading right now?