YVO’S SHORTIES #57 – Sadie & Spell Bound

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two YA books that sadly didn’t hit the mark for me… The first an unpopular opinion review on Sadie by Courtney Summers, the second being me suffering from a romance and love triangle allergy and those ruining the series for me: Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins.


Title: Sadie
Author: Courtney Summers

Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
First published: September 4th 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Finished reading: October 23rd 2018
Pages: 378

“People don’t change. They just get better at hiding who they really are.”


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WARNING: Unpopular opinion review ahead.

Oh yes, the unpopular opinion curse has struck again… Sadie has been all over the place for a while now. I decided to pick up my copy on a whim, and I was fully expecting to love it: this story gives off all the right vibes, and I still think that the story itself was fascinating. But somehow, I didn’t actually enjoy reading Sadie all that much. I can’t put my finger exactly on the why, but I’ll try to explain anyway. First of all I have to say that the idea of the podcast is very cleverly done, mixing those chapters with Sadie’s POV. There were a lot of different minor characters and locations to keep track of though, which can be confusing… But overall I think the format was a success. The plot development, twists and level of suspense were quite well done as well. There is a lot of mystery around Sadie and her sister, and it’s interesting to slowly figure out more and more about the past. I wasn’t sure what to think of the ending though… I was left wanting for more. I also wasn’t able to connect properly to the characters, and I think that is part of the reason Sadie didn’t work for me in the end. The writing style didn’t click with me either (the same happened with All The Rage, so it might just be that her writing is not for me). Trigger warnings are in place for child abuse, addiction and violence. All in all sadly Sadie just didn’t do it for me, although I know I’m the exception and most people seem to love it. So definitely give it a chance if you haven’t read it yet!


Title: Spell Bound
(Hex Hall #3)
Author: Rachel Hawkins

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: March 13th 2012
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Finished reading: October 25th 2018
Pages: 337

“People are so rarely villains in their own minds.”


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I wasn’t so sure whether to read this one after my disaster experience with the sequel, but since I already had a copy and don’t like leaving series unfinished I decided to give it a go. Initially, Spell Bound went slightly better than the second book, and I started to enjoy the sarcastic kind of humor and writing style in general again. Then… BOOM! The annoying romance and frustrating love triangle was back to ruin the day again, and things went downhill from there. I hate that the romance has ruined a potentially excellent trilogy for me, especially since I really enjoyed the first book and thought it had so much potential. Sadly, the main focus is on the romantic scenes, pushing everything else into the background and making other aspects of the story suffer from lack of development. Potential not exploited for me… Although I’m having a feeling romance fans will react differently to both sequels. Oh well, at least I now know for sure what my reaction was to Spell Bound, and I won’t be left wondering. I guess we can’t like them all, can we? And I guess I’m kind of at least part of the problem here.


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WWW Wednesdays #193 – October 24th

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 Dear Mr Pop Star by Derek & Dave Philpott, a story I’ve been looking forward to ever since I’ve been invited to read it. It’s taking a bit longer than expected to read it, as my kindle doesn’t seem to agree with the file and I have to read it on my laptop, but so far it’s great. I’ve also started The Perfect Family by Shalini Boland, and I’m looking forward to continue this psychological thriller later today.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Book Love by Debbie Tung (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 02/11
Book Love would make the perfect gift for any booklover out there. Adorable illustrations and many many bookish situations you will be able to relate to instantly… This graphic novel is a little goldmine of bookish love and speaks for all of us booklovers out there. Funny, relatable, entertaining and well crafted… Book Love is one to add to your 2019 wishlist!

2. Demonglass by Rachel Hawkins (2/5 stars) REVIEW 25/10
I was fully expecting a repeat experience of Hex Hall, but I guess it just wasn’t in the cards. While I had a blast reading the first book, sadly Demonglass suffers from the so-called ‘weak-sequel-syndrome’. Instead of being entertained, I found myself to be mostly frustrated and just wanting to get it over with, not caring about the outcome whatsoever. It’s not the writing, because I still liked it. It’s not the sarcasm, because that kind of humor almost always hits the mark for me. My main problem is with the tremendous overdose of romance and lack of a proper plot.

3. Pruning Simplified by Steven Bradley (4/5 stars) REVIEW
Pruning Simplified is a great guide for beginners and professionals alike, with an insightful introduction and a detailed instruction on how to prune no less than 50 popular trees and shrubs. Each plant not only has instructions on how to prune and keep your plant healthy, but also when exactly you should prune. Very helpful! There is also a detailed description on how to prune trees and hedges, all combined with illustrations to help visualize where and how to cut. Pruning Simplified is a great reference for anyone wanting to learn more about pruning plants.

4. Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/10
If you are looking for something dark and twisty enough you will get all tangled up in the plot, Before Her Eyes is definitely an excellent choice. I liked how one of the main characters is blind, adding a whole different dimension to the story as our main witness can hear and feel, but not actually see the killer. This kind of ‘twisted’ relationship between the two without doubt added an original touch to the story. There is no doubt that Before Her Eyes is a disturbing, twisted and misleading detective thriller that I can recommend to anyone who loves reading darker thrillers.

5. Rebel by Amy Tintera (4/5 stars) REVIEW 29/10
I have to say that the second book didn’t disappoint and is just as good or even slightly better than the first. Between the writing style and likeable characters it was really easy to fly through Rebel. Sure, I would have liked to see a slightly more complicated and developed dystopian world, but its simplicity didn’t bother me all that much either. The idea behind the Reboot duology might not be completely original, but it works as a charm anyway. This success has a lot to do with the writing, fast pace and the main characters.

6. Before She Falls by Dylan Young (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 26/10
The Detective Anna Gwynne series just keeps delivering and Before She Falls is another excellent edition. This story has everything I could want of a thriller: a creepy serial killer, a clever plot, suspense, plot twists, interesting characters, an original touch… All blended together into a perfect detective thriller smoothie. Before She Falls is creepy, dark and disturbing with a lightning fast pace and a few heartstopping moments; any fan of the genre will be in for a treat with this series is general.

7. Evidence Of The Affair by Taylor Jenkins Reid (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/10
I’ve heard great things about this novella, and there is no doubt that Evidence Of The Affair has only reconfirmed to me that I have to read more of her work. I loved the fact that the story is told exclusively through letters, and just how well we get to know the characters despite its short length. It was interesting to see how things developed, and I actually quite liked the ending as well. It’s short, well written, well crafted and entertaining, and 200% worth your time.

8. Sadie by Courtney Summers (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/11
I was fully expecting to love it: this story gives off all the right vibes, and I still think that the story itself was fascinating. But somehow, I didn’t actually enjoy reading Sadie all that much. I can’t put my finger exactly on the why though… The idea of the podcast is very cleverly done, mixing those chapters with Sadie’s POV. There is a lot of mystery around Sadie and her sister, and it’s interesting to slowly figure out more and more about the past. I wasn’t sure what to think of the ending though… I was left wanting for more. I also wasn’t able to connect properly to the characters, and I think that is part of the reason Sadie didn’t work for me in the end. The writing style didn’t click with me either (the same happened with All The Rage, so it might just be that her writing is not for me).

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to get my pending NG shelf below ten, so I’m probably reading Her Last Move by John Marrs next. And even though I wasn’t sure at first whether to continue the series, I’ve decided to read the final Hex Hall book anyway since I already have a copy and want to cross off another series. So Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins it is… (I did decide not to read the other book set in the same world though.) I also need to read Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier some time soon so I can finally finish the When Are You Reading? challenge. My current TBR jar pick is still An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris; I’ve decided to wait until next month to read that one.


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BOOK REVIEW: All The Rage – by Courtney Summers

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Title: All The Rage
Author: Courtney Summers
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery
First published: April 14th 2015
Finished reading: May 9th 2016
Pages: 321
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“But just because something starts out sweet doesn’t mean it won’t push itself so far past anything you could call sweet anymore. And if it all starts like this, how do you see what’s coming?”

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I have had this book on my radar even before it was first published last year, but somehow it took me a long time to actually pick it up. All The Rage is a story with a complicated topic and definitely shouldn’t be considered as a light or easy read. Why? In this novel by Courtney Summers you will find numerous mentions of sexual violence, abuse and bullying and the way the victim in the story is treated after the facts is quite horrible. I normally don’t mind stories with shocking elements, but in this case it was hard to focus on the actual facts and feel sorry for the main character. I’m not saying what happened to Romy wasn’t horrible and she must feel terrible that nobody seems to believe her, but still… Why has she have to be so unlikeable?! Most of the other characters weren’t exactly likeable either, and that made it really hard to connect to the story itself or have proper feelings while reading it. It’s not that All The Rage is badly written and it actually reads pretty fast, but I’m not sure what happened to Romy and the fact that (almost) nobody seems to help this poor girl is actually credible. What I do appreciate is that this story brings attention to sexual violence and how it can affect its victims. Maybe one day warning signs will actually always be investigated no matter how crazy they might sound. (Unlike in the case of All The Rage, where the suspect is the sheriff’s son and protected by his father and the community.)

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Romy Grey has a horrible secret, and nobody seems to believe her. Kellan Turner is the sheriff’s son and seems to be the perfect golden boy, but Romy knows for a fact that is not true. But no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town and from a family with a bad reputation in the community… In fact, telling the truth about what happened took away everything good in her life. Romy is called a liar by the whole community and bullied by the same people she used to hang out with. The only way she can escape reality is during her shifts at a diner where she works outside of tome, where nobody knows her name or past. Things change forever when both Romy and a girl she used to be friends with go missing after a party… Romy shows up alive the next day, but the other girl isn’t so lucky. Now the whole community seems to wish it was Romy still missing… And Romy doesn’t know whether she should fight to get the truth out or ignore the fact that more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t.

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The message behind All The Rage is an important one and I appreciate the fact that it brings attention to (the consequences of) sexual abuse and bullying. I wasn’t completely convinced by the prose though. I understand the chapters are the way they are to build up tension and keep you guessing about what really happened, but it did make it less enjoyable to read. Still, the main problem probably is the fact that most of the characters are completely unlikeable and almost nobody seems to even consider helping Romy in the first place. It made it a lot harder to connect to the story and feel sympathy for the main character. Would I recommend reading this story? Probably, if you enjoy the genre and don’t mind unlikeable characters.

WWW Wednesdays #90 – May 11th

wwwwednesdaysWWW 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?

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I have been reading Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult, which is this months The Revolving Shelf book club choice. The other book I’ve picked up is The Reader On The 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent, a story originally written in French I’ve chosen as my translated title for the yearly Bookish Bingo challenge.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I managed to finish is The Improbable Theory Of Ana And Zak by Brian Katcher. It was without doubt a very entertaining read and I loved Zak’s chapters with all its awkward, geeky and funny moments, but I wasn’t so charmed by Ana… Still definitely worth reading though.
* I’ve also finished The Strange And Beautiful Sorrows Of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton, which I had mixed feelings about. I don’t think the story actually lives up to the expectations after seeing the gorgeous cover… Some of the prose is more than excellent, but I would have liked to read more about Ava herself and I felt the story lacked cohesion.
* I also finally read Daugher Of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor. I expected to love this story and it started out that way, but this ended up being another of my unpopular opinion titles… Once the insta-love moment happened between Akiva and Karou, I think I stopped enjoying this story. Why o why did a story with so much potential have to be turned into a sappy romance story?!
* The first book I finished during Bout Of Books 16.0 was All The Rage by Courtney Summers, which turned out to be a fast read even though I didn’t find it as good as I thought it would be. The topic is a difficult one (rape and disappearance of a female teenager), but I couldn’t really connect with the main character…
* The last book I finished this week is Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira, which was my latest TBR jar pick. Not as good as I hoped, but not bad either.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Hero by Belinda Crawford is my newest ARC that I am really looking forward to read, since it brings the promise of being a YA sci-fi novel without any sappy romance scenes… Which seems to be a rare thing in this genre nowadays. I also want to try to read another classic this month, and The Time Machine by H.G. Wells is on the top of my list. I still need to read See How They Run by Ally Carter as well… And Stars Above by Marissa Meyer is my newest TBR jar pick. I’ve actually read a few of these novellas in this collection last year, so I will only be reading those I don’t know yet.

Friday Finds #50 – August 21st

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at A Daily Rhythm and 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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Friday Finds #27 – March 13th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Should Be Reading and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. I’m still on a book buying ban, but I cannot help adding new titles to my virtual TBR list anyway… At least I’m slowly downsizing my physical TBR!

My finds this week:

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