YVO’S SHORTIES #87 – Be Frank With Me & A Thousand Perfect Notes

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time a story that unfortunately disappointed me and another that completely blew me away. The only thing that saved me from DNFing Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson was the main character… While I enjoyed every single perfect second of A Thousand Perfect Notes by our fellow book blogger C.G. Drews.


Title: Be Frank With Me
Author: Julia Claiborne Johnson

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Humor
First published: February 2nd 2016
Publisher: William Morrow
Finished reading: February 25th 2019
Pages: 309

“Sometimes just explaining your predicament–to a bartender, a priest, the old woman in a shift and flip-flops cleaning the lint traps in the Laundromat dryers–is all it takes to see a way out of it.”


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I have been meaning to pick up Be Frank With Me for quite some time now, mostly because I love my quirky characters and Frank sounded like someone I just HAD to meet. My TBR jar thought it was about time I finally read it, and although my experience wasn’t all that positive there is one thing for sure: I’m glad I finally did get to know him. The premise behind this story on its own is quite interesting, with the reclusive writer being forced to write a few book after falling for a ponzi scheme. But M.M. Banning, also Mimi, doesn’t steal the show nor is the main character here. Not even the narrator of this story, Alice, seems to be in the true spotlight. Oh no, that place is reserved for the young Frank. He is the sole reason I made it to the final page, because there were things I unfortunately struggled with considerably… There was just something about the writing style in Be Frank With Me that made it hard for me to stay focused and the slow pace didn’t help either. The plot is pretty basic and I really felt the story dragged in parts. I wasn’t at all interested in what was happening in the Bel Air house in general or if Mimi would ever finish her book… Not a good feeling to start with. The many Hollywood references and Frank being Frank were what made me keep reading though. His character is both quirky and unique and is definitely what makes me give this story the benefit of the doubt.


Title: A Thousand Perfect Notes
Author: C.G. Drews

Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: June 7th 2018
Publisher: Orchard Books
Finished reading: March 3rd 2019
Pages: 288

“Music is nothing unless it fills your soul with colour and passion and dreams.”


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It’s always fantastic to see a fellow book blogger being published and I’m sure a lot of you now C.G. Drews for either her Paperfury book blog or gorgeous Instagram account (or both!). Her debut A Thousand Perfect Notes was published last year and I’m still kicking myself I didn’t pick it up sooner… Because the reviews are right: this is an absolutely fantastic and heartbreaking read! Well worth the 5 stars and without doubt one of my 2019 favorites. There is just something about the writing style that will draw you right in and I wasn’t able to let go until I reached the final page. I loved how big of a role music played throughout the story, the many musical references both relevant to the plot and enchanting at the same time. The power of A Thousand Perfect Notes is in its characters though. Both Beck, August and Joey are so easy to love; you will adopt them straight away and your heart will ache for them as the plot evolves. I love how the personality of Beck and August are completely contrary and balance each other that way. The Maestro is a horrible character and source of a few trigger warning worthy elements including abuse and violence. She is the perfect villian for this story though and I loved her background and the fact German words are incorporated in the text. A Thousand Perfect Notes will make you laugh and cry and the characters will stay with you for a long time. It’s a fantastic contemporary read which balances happy moments and a romantic interest with a thousand musical notes and a dark twist. If you like the genre and haven’t read this debut yet, you should definitely remedy that. I personally can’t wait until her new story comes out in April!


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WWW Wednesdays #212 – March 6th

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 another installment of one of my favorite detective series: The Bones She Buried by Lisa Regan. It’s great to meet up with Josie Quinn again! With the pace I’m flying through the pages, I’ll finish it in no time at all… I’m also starting The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld as my next physical copy read. I do love this cover version! Fingers crossed I will be able to connect to the magical realism elements this time around.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 10/03
Yes, the story of The Bird King is without doubt just as beautiful as that stunning cover. It’s a perfect mix of historical fiction elements, a magical realism feel and fantasy elements… With different cultures coming together through the journey of Fatima, Hassan and the people they meet along the way. The historical setting, details and descriptions are perfectly elaborated with a gorgeous and magical prose you will cannot help but fall in love with. The pace of this story is slow, but it will make it that much easier to fully savour every single chapter and detail of their journey. Fans of slower-paced historical fiction stories who don’t mind a little fantasy mixed in will most likely enjoy this fantastic story as much as I did.

2. Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo (DNF 32%; 0 stars) REVIEW 
I feel sad I had to take the decision to DNF as I rarely do that, but I’ll try to explain in my review why I didn’t see other way out. First of all I like to state that this is probably another case of this story simply not being a right fit for me. Sadly, I wasn’t all that impressed by Angie. It felt like an overload of different elements being dumped on you instead of creating a realistic situation and this made the story less credible. I also really struggled with the writing style. Between the writing style, almost cartoonish extreme reactions and violence, overload of different elements stuffed in the same character and that same character being unlikeable I saw no other choice than to DNF Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution.

3. The Secret Child by Caroline Mitchell (4/5 stars) REVIEW 18/03
If you, like me, enjoy fast-paced detective thrillers that aren’t afraid to go dark and twisty, you should definitely meet DI Amy Winter. Not only has she a serial killer connection, but she also isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty in order to get things done. The Secret Child reads like a train and the flashbacks don’t slow down the pace at all… In fact, they only add extra dept and an original touch to the story. I’m really enjoying my time with DI Amy Winter so far and I’ll definitely be looking forward to meeting her again in the future.

4. A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews (5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/03
This is an absolutely fantastic and heartbreaking read! Well worth the 5 stars and without doubt one of my 2019 favorites. There is just something about the writing style that will draw you right in and I wasn’t able to let go until I reached the final page. I loved how big of a role music played throughout the story, the many musical references both relevant to the plot and enchanting at the same time. The power of A Thousand Perfect Notes is in its characters though. A Thousand Perfect Notes will make you laugh and cry and the characters will stay with you for a long time. It’s a fantastic contemporary read which balances happy moments and a romantic interest with a thousand musical notes and a dark twist.

5. And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer And Longer by Fredrik Backman (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 14/03
I normally prefer a more developed story, but there are exceptions where I’m able to connect to a short story in the same way. And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer And Longer is one of those exceptions. Not only is it good to see Alzheimer in the spotlight, we also see its effects on both the person itself and those close in a refreshing way. This novella has an almost surreal touch where memories and the real world overlap and exist at the same time.

6. The Fever King by Victoria Lee (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/03
Gorgeous cover aside, this was without doubt an entertaining start of a new dystopian alternative future series. In The Fever King magic is in fact a virus that will kill most and leave the survivors with superpowers. A very interesting take on magic and without doubt one of the stronger features of this story. While the worldbuilding is a bit simple and not that developed, the three most important characters (Noam, Dara and Lehrer) mostly make up for it as they all have something special to add to the story. I would have liked to see the other important characters being more developed though, and the pace did start out a bit slow. But the story ends in a whirlwind and will definitely leave you craving for more.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I was going to read Smoke And Key by Kelsey Sutton last week, but I had some other ARCs popping up I needed to read first… This one is up next now. I don’t want to neglect my backlist titles though… And next up I have Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga because I seem to be in the mood for contemporary and I loved her other story. I’m also keeping my next thriller ready: Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell. My TBR jar pick is still Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.


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WWW Wednesdays #211 – February 27th

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 a recent NG approval soon to be published by what is now my third auto-approve publisher… ❤ Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo. I was attracted by the cover and blurb and while I didn’t realize it was actually the second book of a series, I’m hoping I will be able to enjoy it as a stand-alone as well. I’m also reading The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson, a book I’ve been super excited about and hopefully is as good as the stunning cover.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
Wintergirls is a story that will bring those cold and chilling winter feels and is an emotionally draining read that shows us the struggle of the main character with her eating disorder and the way she sees herself and her surrounding world. It’s not an easy or happy read, but I thought the topic was well handled and represented in Lia. The prose is both beautiful, almost bordering the magical realism realm and at the same time somehow irked me at points.

2. Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch (4/5 stars) REVIEW 28/02
Moon Over Soho can be read as a stand-alone, although you do miss background information about the characters and magic… I suggest reading them in order anyway, since the stories are without doubt entertaining. Book two has a musical twist and includes the London jazz scene as one of the elements of the story. The focus of this story is on Grant and Nightingale again, and we have new supernatural beings to hunt. The writing style makes it easy to read the story and the sarcastic and dry humor was right up my alley.

3. The Pumilio Child by Judy McInerney (3/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 01/03
Look out for my thoughts on The Pumilio Child in my blog tour review going live this Friday March 1st!

4. The Woman In The Window by A.J. Finn (3/5 stars) REVIEW 28/02
I ended up having mixed feelings about this story. In a way this is quite an entertaining psychological thriller with the typical unreliable narrator you understand right away can’t be trusted to tell you the truth. I appreciate the focus on agoraphobia, as this story might help people understand better what it is like to have to live with it. The writing flows and makes it easy to keep turning those pages, although I do admit the pace was slower than I would have expected and especially in the first half of the book. The Woman In The Window is mostly focused on the main character Anna and nothing much happens until you reach the final part. Another thing that was a huge turn off for me: I was able to guess almost every plot twist from a mile away. Especially the first big one was so easy to see through that I was really disappointed.

5. Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/03
I love my quirky characters and Frank sounded like someone I just HAD to meet. My TBR jar thought it was about time I finally read it, and although my experience wasn’t all that positive there is one thing for sure: I’m glad I finally did get to know him. The premise behind this story on its own is quite interesting, with the reclusive writer being forced to write a few book after falling for a ponzi scheme. There was just something about the writing style in Be Frank With Me that made it hard for me to stay focused and the slow pace didn’t help either. The plot is pretty basic and I really felt the story dragged in parts. Frank’s character is both quirky and unique and is definitely what makes me give this story the benefit of the doubt though.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I need to work on my upcoming NG ARCs, so I’m probably going to read Smoke And Key by Kelsey Sutton and A Place For Wolves by Kosoko Jackson next. I don’t want to neglect my backlist titles though… And next up I have A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews. I won a preorder of her new book in a giveaway (still can’t believe that happened!!!), and I really want to read her debut before it comes out in April. I also have a new TBR jar pick: Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. I’ve been meaning to read this story for ages, so I’m glad my TBR jar thought it was time to finally do so.


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