YVO’S SHORTIES #107 – Two Boys Kissing & My Lovely Wife

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time two different genres, a backlist title and a new release… The first is Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan, which I picked up both for Pride month and for the banned books prompt. Sadly, I wasn’t able to connect to the writing style at all though. New release My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing turned out to be a delightfully shocking read though.


Title: Two Boys Kissing
Author: David Levithan

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: August 27th 2013
Publisher: Egmont UK
Finished reading: June 15th 2019
Pages: 239

“He has no idea how beautiful the ordinary becomes once it disappears.”


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I was browsing banned books for a challenge, came across Two Boys Kissing and thought it would be a perfect choice for Pride month as well. I was curious to see why this story ended up on the banned books list, although I already feared (correctly) that it would have to do with the LGBT element. Sadly, I ended up having mixed thoughts about Two Boys Kissing… It had nothing to do with the actual content, and I’m sad this story was put on the banned books list, but there was something else I really struggled with. What? While I loved the idea behind this story and the symbolism in general, I wasn’t a fan of the writing style at all. The whole second/third person POV was both alienating and extremely annoying and made me enjoy the story a lot less than I thought I would. It might be an original way of telling the story (I don’t deny that), but sadly I really didn’t get along with the writing style at all. I’m positive I would have rated this story a lot higher if we would have read about the main characters from their POV; dual or multiple would have been the same. Instead, we have the strange voice of ‘past unidentified LGBT persons’ and a whole bunch of random characters the story keeps switching between… It takes a long time to keep them apart, seeing how everyone fits and realize which is actually the main story; the fact that there were so many character/POV switches made it really hard to keep track of the story and stay invested. I can’t deny Two Boys Kissing has a strong LGBT message though, and I loved the idea of the record breaking and the background of each character. Two Boys Kissing wasn’t for me due to the writing style, but I can see why so many love it.


Title: My Lovely Wife
Author: Samantha Downing

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: March 26th 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Finished reading: June 16th 2019
Pages: 384

“Now I see my mistake. Focusing only on my family has left me isolated and alone, except for one old friend who can never know the truth.”


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My Lovely Wife has been everywhere these past couple of months and I finally found time to see what all the buzz is about. I admit I went in blind, thinking I was going to find a nice and docil domestic thriller despite the knife on the cover… I couldn’t have been more wrong. What a delightfully twisted and properly disturbing read! If you are, like me, strangely into serial killer stories, imagine finding not one, but TWO in one story… And a couple at that! As soon as I was hit with that mindblowing information, I was hooked. And not just ‘normal’ hooked; I literally read the whole thing in one sitting by candle light (not by choice though as we had a country wide power failure that day), not caring if I was basically ruining my eyes or if had other things to do. I just HAD to know how things would develop and how twisted things were going to get. Trust me, you will never guess just how crazy and disturbing My Lovely Wife is prepared to go for our reading entertainment. I’ve seen people questioning the credibility of it all, and they do have a point, but I was too busy devouring every single world of this twisted masterpiece to really care. A double dose of secret identities, two serial killers, a conspiracy plot, lots of twists and one heck of a shocking surprise as the story takes a turn you won’t see coming… If you haven’t read My Lovely Wife yet, make sure to clear your schedule before you start, because trust me, you will find yourself unable to stop reading.


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WWW Wednesdays #227 – June 19th

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 was going to take a break from ARCs, but the NG titles that are left are almost all highly anticipated titles so I don’t think I will resist them much longer. 😉 I’m currently reading one of them: Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh. It’s still early days, but I’m excited to be finally reading one of his titles! I’m also starting The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware, a book I’ve been meaning to read for years (and also the final backlist one I needed to read before her newest comes out). And I’m also finally picking up Us Against You by Fredrik Backman, one of my absolute favorite authors.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman (3/5 stars) NO REVIEW
Overall it’s an interesting collection of stories. I liked some better than others and wasn’t impressed with the adult content in some of them. Some were creepy while others were mild, some long and some short and had a poetry feel. I really liked how Neil Gaiman included his inspiration for each story in the very beginning of the collection. It wasn’t my favorite, but I’m glad to have finished my Dutch read of the year haha.

2. The Weight Of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore (4/5 stars) REVIEW
I’m happy I finally got the chance to read it, because I fell in love with both the writing and the story itself. It’s such a beautiful and well crafted story! It’s magical realism, but not too ‘heavy’ to distract or complicate you… Instead, you will find yourself mesmerized by the lives of the Corbeau and Paloma families and their performances. There is a hint of the magic, but mostly The Weight Of Feathers is a classic forbidden love story where two characters of rival families fall in love against all odds.

3. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 22/06
Sadly, I ended up having mixed thoughts about Two Boys Kissing… It had nothing to do with the actual content, and I’m sad this story was put on the banned books list, but there was something else I really struggled with. What? While I loved the idea behind this story and the symbolism in general, I wasn’t a fan of the writing style at all. The whole second/third person POV was both alienating and extremely annoying and made me enjoy the story a lot less than I thought I would. I can’t deny Two Boys Kissing has a strong LGBT message though, and I loved the idea of the record breaking and the background of each character.

4. My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 22/06
I admit I went in blind, thinking I was going to find a nice and docil domestic thriller despite the knife on the cover… I couldn’t have been more wrong. What a delightfully twisted and properly disturbing read! If you are, like me, strangely into serial killer stories, imagine finding not one, but TWO in one story… And a couple at that! As soon as I was hit with that mindblowing information, I was hooked. And not just ‘normal’ hooked; I literally read the whole thing in one sitting by candle light (not by choice though as we had a country wide power failure that day), not caring if I was basically ruining my eyes or if had other things to do. I just HAD to know how things would develop and how twisted things were going to get.

5. Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich (3/5 stars) REVIEW 27/06
I’ve had Dear Evan Hansen on my radar for a while and decided to pick it up on a whim while browsing my kindle for contemporary titles. The focus is on the main character and his mental health issues and anxiety. I’m always interested in stories with that angle, so I didn’t mind that much at first, but I’m not sure I actually like the execution here. Why? Well, I felt there was just too much focus on Evan’s mental problems as a personality trait and I didn’t feel his character was all that developed otherwise; making him essentionally one dimensional and not at all easy to connect to.

6. The Lynmouth Stories by L.V. Hay (4/5 stars) NO REVIEW
It’s true that I don’t read a lot of short stories, but I’ve been meaning to try L.V. Hay‘s work for a while now… After reading Sarah’s review and learning it was currently available for free on Amazon (still is last time I checked!), I decided to jump in and give it a go. This bundle includes three short, but dark stories which all share a Lynmouth setting. This setting sets the right atmosphere for three eery and slightly disturbing reads, where the characters discover the unpleasant side of Lynmouth. A kidnapping/hostage situation, the busy summer months turning into a lonely winter and  an abuse story turning into a natural disaster… Three different stories, but they all have that daunting feel and are very well written and without doubt make me want to read more of her work. If you are looking for a quick dose of excellently written suspense, you should definitely try The Lynmouth Stories.

7. The Secret Diary Of Hendrik Groen by Hendrik Groen (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 27/06
I already had a feeling I was going to enjoy this title, and my instincts turned out to be right. If you, like me, loved A Man Called Ove, you don’t want to miss this one! I bet Hendrik and Ove would be the best of friends… Funny, entertaining and heartfelt; I definitely can’t wait to get a copy of book two.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to work towards finishing some of my challenges early, and the next couple of titles will help with that. I’ve heard mixed things about Ivory And Bone by Julie Eshbaugh and I’m not sure if the writing will be for me, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway… And I’m excited to finally pick up Jar Of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier after reading so many raving reviews. I’m also picking up House Of Furies by Madeleine Roux soon. My TBR jar pick is still The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout… I definitely need to read that one soon.


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BOOK REVIEW: Every Day – by David Levithan

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Title: Every Day
(Every Day #1)
Author: David Levithan
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: August 28th 2012
Finished reading: February 18th 2016
Pages: 322
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“There will always be more questions. Every answer leads to more questions. The only way to survive is to let some of them go.”

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To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first picked up Every Day. It’s the first time I read a novel that has been written solely by David Levithan even though I’ve read some of his work in the past. To be honest I wasn’t fully convinced by either his short story in My True Love Gave To Me or his Dash chapters in Dash & Lily’s Book Of Dares he wrote together with Rachel Cohn, but luckily enough I was able to enjoy this novel a lot better. Every Day is an intriguing story told from the point of view of A, who wakes up in a different body everyday and doesn’t have a fixed gender. The how and why is never explained and brings a little magical realism into this contemporary romance story. Because if you leave out the body-switching and paranormal element, this is basically a simple love story where A asks the Rhiannon to see past the everchanging physical appearance and love A for who ‘he’ is essentially. I wasn’t really a fan of Rhiannon’s character, but I really liked the fact that David Levithan incorporated a lot of glbt-friendly characters in the different bodies A changed into. And this multidimentional character basically is what makes this book so special and combined with a fast pace and easy-to-read prose I would definitely recommend Every Day.

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A has been waking up into a different body every day since ‘he’ can remember. Every day means a different life and it is never the same body twice… Years of practice has shown A it is best to not get involved with the individual lives of the bodies ‘he’ wakes up in. Any mistake A makes can change the life of that particular person in a bad way, and A never wants to get too attached for that to happen again. A knows not to interfere, but that becomes impossible the day ‘he’ wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend. Rhiannon manages to dazzle A and ‘he’ doesn’t want to live by ‘his’ own rules… A no longer wants to make peace with the fact that ‘he’ wakes up in a new body every day, because I finally found someone ‘he’ wants to be with forever. Will A find a way to make this happen? And what does Rhiannon think of A’s situation in the first place?

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I was expecting a sappy romance story and part of it maybe is, but Every Day is so much more. The multidimentional character A is what makes this read into something truly special and I really liked the ‘hidden’ messages in David Levithan‘s prose (about for example equality). It’s a very intriguing read with just the right dose of mystery and romance that I would definitely recommend to those who enjoy the genre.

WWW Wednesdays #79 – February 24th

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 still haven’t finished All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr… Don’t get me wrong, I love this book so far both because of the prose, setting and characters, but somehow I haven’t been in the mood to read it. I’m fearing a starting reading slump, so I am trying to read quick, ‘easy’ or different reads instead. I’ve just picked up Bestiario by Julio Cortázar as well to start working on my promise to read more Spanish books; I’ve read a lot of his short stories during Uni and it’s nice to revisit them.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was Every Day by David Levithan. I had my reservations and wasn’t sure what to expect, but it turned out to be an excellent read.
* I then read Charm & Strange by Stephanie Kuehn mostly because I needed something short and entertaining to get me to read again. Like the title says, this book is without doubt strange, mysterious and very intriguing! Recommendable.
* I also finished Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas, a book I picked up on a whim after remembering how much I loved Dangerous Girls last year. I still prefer that one, although Dangerous Boys is almost as good. Abigail Haas knows how to play with the reader’s mind!
* The last book I finished is Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas, a Veronica Mars sequel that didn’t really live up to expectations. I loved the first book, but the sequel read a bit slow and failed to keep my attention. There was too much focus on the relationship between Veronica and Logan and politics and the actual case they were working on was pushed to the background…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I really want to pick up The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton soon; both because I have been looking forward to it for quite some time now and I need it for a challenge as well. I might read Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson first though if I’m in the mood for a light read…. And I also finally want to stick to my promise and start with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, but that depends on how I feel after finishing my current reads. The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney is still my newest TBR jar pick.

WWW Wednesdays #78 – February 17th

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 started All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr a few days ago and so far I’m in love with the prose. It’s so beautifully written! It’s been a while since I last read a WWII themed story as well, so I’m really enjoying this novel. I’ve also started Every Day by David Levithan, although it’s still too early to tell if I like it or not.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider, my last TBR jar pick. I literally flew through the pages and I really loved the story and its characters.
* I then read Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, which turned out to be a lot better than both Gone Girl and Dark Places. Sick, twisted, disturbing, but very well done.
* The last book I finished since last week is Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, and it sure took me a long time to do just that. I know everybody seems to love this read, but unfortunately I wasn’t blown away by it. I didn’t hate it either, but I just expected more of it… More about my problems in the full review.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I really want to pick up The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton soon; both because I have been looking forward to it for quite some time now and I need it for a challenge as well. I might read Mr. Kiss And Tell by Rob Thomas first though since I’m in the mood for a mystery read and I loved the first book. I also finally want to stick to my promise and start with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon as soon as I finish All The Light We Cannot See… And The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney is my new TBR jar pick.

BOOK REVIEW: My True Love Gave To Me – by Stephanie Perkins

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Title: My True Love Gave To Me
Author: Stephanie Perkins 
Genre: YA, Romance, Contemporary
First published: October 14th 2014
Finished reading: December 29th 2015
Pages: 336
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“He says presents aren’t important, but I think they are – not because of how much they cost, but for the opportunity they provide to say I understand you.”

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Another Christmas read I end up reviewing in January… Although I’m finally starting to catch up with my reviews! Since My True Love Gave To Me is actually a collection of twelve Holiday themed short stories, I’ve decided to to this review slightly different from my normal format and discuss every story separately. As a whole this bundle edited by Stephanie Perkins is without doubt an entertaining read and perfect for the Holiday season, although I did like some stories better than others. If you haven’t read this one yet and like themed reads, put this one on your December 2016 TBR! On to the separate stories…

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell. (4,5/5)
This is such an adorable little story to start the collection with, and also very Rainbow Rowell! Without doubt one of my favorites… Midnights is basically story about what happens between two teenagers on various New Years Eves.  It’s funny, it’s awkward, it’s adorable and very well written as well.

The Lady And The Fox by Kelly Link. (2,5/5)
Meh I didn’t particularly like this one. It was without doubt an original story with a touch of magical realism, but I can’t say I was put under its spell. This is one of those stories that might have worked better as a longer novella… Because I felt it lacked proper explanation and character development.

Angels In The Snow by Matt De La Peña. (3/5)
This one was better than the second story, but I can’t say I was a fan of the prose. The story itself is quite funny where the main character is cat sitting and doesn’t have money for food, and the only other person in the building is a girl his age with a broken shower… You get the idea. The story itself sounds interesting, but like I said, I didn’t particularly like how it was told.

Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han. (4/5)
Such a cute little story! I love the idea of a human being ‘rescued’ by Santa and living with the elves. I also like the fact that this story was different from the others and the fact that it took place on the North Pole. Original, interesting and adorable!

It’s A Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins. (4/5)
I enjoyed this story! It was sweet but not too sugary, and that is just how I like my Holiday themed reads. It’s about a girl who wants to ask a favor of a guy who sells Christmas trees and ends up buying a tree she doesn’t have room for… And he offers to help her organize her home.

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan. (3,5/5)
This story was quite entertaining and I liked the glbt angle. I wasn’t 100% convinced by the prose, but I have had problems with his work in th epast. It’s a cute story though and perfect for the Holiday season; a boy who dresses up as Santa so he can convince his boyfriend’s sister that Santa is real.

Krampuslauf by Holly Black. (3,5/5)
This one was interesting enough, although not amazing. I liked the fantasy element in the story and the prose and descriptions… I have a feeling it would have worked even better as a longer story, because the characters sound interesting.

What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? By Gayle Forman. (4/5)
Quite an entertaining story! Not the best of the lot, but definitely one of the better stories. I’m seeing a lot of race/religion/sexuality diversity in these short stories and I like it! I wasn’t completely convinced by the main characters, but it did made me crave winter food.

Beer Buckets And Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire. (3/5)
I can’t say this was a great story, but it was not that terrible either. I just wasn’t convinced by the general plot or actions… Although I know others loved this one. Somehow a boy who is in love with the pastor’s daughter and accidentally burns down the church just before Christmas is just a little too cheesy to my taste.

Welcome To Christmas, CA by Kiersten White. (4,5/5)
YESSS! Food AND Spanish?! I’m sold. If this isn’t my favorite story it would come a close second, because I really loved this one. A girl lives in a town called Christmas and works at a diner when a new chef arrives… And he is not only a great chef, but attractive as well. Cute, well written and the perfect Holiday read!

Star Of Bethlehem by Ally Carter. (3,5/5)
This was such a sad story! Well written like I would expect of Ally Carter (I loved reading All Fall Down last year) and definitely worth reading, even though it’s not one of my favorites of the bunch.

The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer by Laini Taylor (4/5)
This story confirmed to me that I really have to start the Daughter Of Smoke And Bone series soon, because I loved the prose. Very beautiful and such a creative worldbuilding for a short story. It was a little confusing and strange, but without doubt very interesting.

BOOK REVIEW: Dash & Lily’s Book Of Dares – by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan

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Title: Dash & Lily’s Book Of Dares
Author: Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fiction
First published: October 26th 2010
Finished reading: August 8th 2015
Pages: 260Rating 3

“We believe in the wrong things, that’s what frustrates me the most. Not the lack of belief, but the belief in the wrong things. You want meaning? Well, the meanings are out there. We’re just so damn good at reading them wrong.”

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I know Dash & Lily’s Book Of Dares is more of a Holiday themed read, but it was chosen as this month’s read by The Book Club Of Opinionated Hufflepuffs so I decided to give it a go anyway. I ended up enjoying this read, although I still think I would have liked it better if I would have waited until December. This novel is written by both Rachel Cohn and David Levithan; writing respectatively the chapters told by Lily and Dash. I personally liked the Lily chapters better; mostly because of the prose. I also really loved all the bookish facts that are included in this novel! But some of the characters weren’t that credible OR likeable… Especially Dash and his friends. I like the weird-factor of Lily though; she sounds a lot like me at points. In short: I like the plot and the notebook that travels back and forth between Lily and Dash, but not all characters were to my taste or credible for that matter. Still, if you are looking for a nice and easy Holiday themed read, I think I would still recommend Dash & Lily’s Book Of Dares.

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Lily doesn’t want to spend her Christmas vacation alone and her brother talks her into leaving a red notebook full of challenges on a shelf in her favorite bookstore. She hopes that the right teenage boy will eventually find it and except her dares… When Dash goes to his favorite bookstore and finds the notebook, Lily’s wish seems to have come true. But is Dash really the right guy? Will they be able to keep sending dares as they pass back and forth the notebook? And will they be able to finally meet and not be disappointed by the ‘real’ persons behind their notebook versions?

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Dash & Lily’s Book Of Dares has all the signs of a feel good Holiday read that will be perfect to read just before Christmas. I didn’t like all the characters and the Dash chapters weren’t as good as the ones written by Rachel Cohn. Still, this is a short and entertaining read that is worth reading at the right time, even though it’s not perfect.