YVO’S SHORTIES #104 – And The Ocean Was Our Sky & The Thirteenth Tale

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two stories belonging to completely different genres, but both were excellent reads. And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness has the most beautiful illustrations and a very interesting retelling of the Moby Dick classic. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield might have a slow pace, but the story itself is one that will stay with me for quite some time.


Title: And The Ocean Was Our Sky
Author: Patrick Ness

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: September 4th 2018
Publisher: Walker Books
Finished reading: May 30th 2019
Pages: 160

“Here is the truth behind the myth: all men are Toby Wick. For who needs devils when you have men?”


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I’ve been excited about this title ever since it was published last year, especially since I kept seeing photos of the illustrations and they looked absolutely gorgeous. Now I’ve had the chance to read And The Ocean Was Our Sky, I still believe the illustrations are the true power behind the story. They really take the writing to the next level and turn this story into something special; it wouldn’t have been the same without them. As for the story itself: I admit things can get a bit confusing and sometimes it felt more magical realism than a fantasy retelling, but overall I really liked how Patrick Ness turned the original Moby Dick story into something completely new and original. The idea of the whales and men both roaming the seas and hunting each other is fascinating. Even more intriguing is that the main focus is on the whales, and their world is basically upside down. Bathsheba is a very interesting character and basically the one to challenge the world as they know it and also the one trying to understand men instead of just trying to fight them. Not much is told about Toby Wick, adding to his mystery and myth while also adding intrigue to the story. And The Ocean Was Our Sky is without doubt a story you won’t come across every day and it might not be for everyone, but there is one thing for sure: the illustrations are absolutely wonderful.


Title: The Thirteenth Tale
Author: Diane Setterfield

Genre: Historical Fiction
First published: September 12th 2006
Publisher: Atria Books
Finished reading: May 31st 2019
Pages: 416

“A birth is not really a beginning. Our lives at the start are not really our own but only the continuation of someone else’s story.”


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I’ve been meaning to pick up The Thirteenth Tale for years now, but it was simply one of those titles that kept slipping between the cracks of my enormous TBR mountain… I’m glad I was finally able to dig it out and read it though. It was my first experience with Diane Setterfield‘s work and I already know it won’t be my last. What a wonderful and atmospheric way of describing the setting and characters! The Thirteenth Tale has that gothic feel and the fact that you don’t know exactly when the story is set makes it all the more intriguing. A lot of speculation about the time period can be found on the internet, but there seems to be no clear winner and I like how it leaves the answer wide open for each reader to decide on their own. It’s true that the pace can be considerably slow at points and there are parts where nothing much is happening, but the power of The Thirteenth Tale is in the different characters, their development and their role in the story of famous author Vida Winter. Both the Angelfield house and family give off that creepy and gothic vibe and there are some moments that will make your hair stand on end. I like how Margaret not just believes everything Vida Winter tells her (especially with her history of lying), but instead starts her own investigation as well. Past and present are mixed and fully intertwined in such a way that the separation becomes liquid and all characters fully come alive. The Thirteenth Tale has secrets, twists and turns to reveal and some you definitely won’t see coming. But like I said before, the power behind this story is in the characters and fantastic descriptions, and fans of slower, atmospheric and character-driven historical fiction will love The Thirteenth Tale. Bonus: there are a lot of bookish references to be found including classics like Jane Eyre!


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WWW Wednesdays #225 – June 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 one of my last pending June ARCs The Woman In Our House by Andrew Hart. It’s still early days, but it seems like a fast read and I’m hoping ot finish it later today. I’ve also started The Confectioner’s Guild by Claire Luana for a challenge… I’m looking forward to the change of genre. I’m also about to start The Marriage Betrayal by Shalini Boland, a title I have been looking forward to as she is one of my favorite psychological thriller authors.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool (2/5 stars) REVIEW
The mix between historical fiction and adventure sounded absolutely fascinating and right up my alley, and with so many high ratings I was confident I was going to enjoy the story as well. Somehow, I turned out to be wrong in the end. Warning: unpopular opinion rambles ahead! So… Why wasn’t Navigating Early for me? I can’t pinpoint the exact reason, but there is one thing for sure and that is that I couldn’t connect with this story at all. I know I’m in the minority here since most people seem to love it, but despite the historical setting, WWII references, maths references and the promise of an adventure, basically I couldn’t care less what was happening to the main characters. Both Jack and Early were unable to win me over at all, which is strange especially in the case of Early as I normally love my quirky and complicated characters. I’ve tried really hard connecting to both these characters and this story in general, but I feel I should have just given in and DNFed it instead.

2. And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness (4/5 stars) REVIEW 07/06
Now I’ve had the chance to read And The Ocean Was Our Sky, I still believe the illustrations are the true power behind the story. They really take the writing to the next level and turn this story into something special; it wouldn’t have been the same without them. As for the story itself: I admit things can get a bit confusing and sometimes it felt more magical realism than a fantasy retelling, but overall I really liked how Patrick Ness turned the original Moby Dick story into something completely new and original. The idea of the whales and men both roaming the seas and hunting each other is fascinating.

3. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (4/5 stars) REVIEW 07/06
I’ve been meaning to pick up The Thirteenth Tale for years now, but it was simply one of those titles that kept slipping between the cracks of my enormous TBR mountain… I’m glad I was finally able to dig it out and read it though. It was my first experience with Diane Setterfield‘s work and I already know it won’t be my last. What a wonderful and atmospheric way of describing the setting and characters! It’s true that the pace can be considerably slow at points and there are parts where nothing much is happening, but the power of The Thirteenth Tale is in the different characters, their development and their role in the story of famous author Vida Winter.

4. Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 11/06
I’ve been meaning to read Six Stories for a long time now, ever since I kept seeing those fantastic reviews when it was first published. I knew it was a pretty safe bet I was going to enjoy the story, and I definitely won that round. What makes this story stand out from the rest is the format; the way the story is told in six different stories and podcast episodes. I bet Six Stories would be fantastic as an audiobook! The writing drew me right in and made it easy to fully focus on the mystery around Tom’s disappearance and death. The suspense is subtle rather than constant, fed with a little folklore and a monster story, only to punch you in the gut just before you think things are being wrapped up rather blandly. I definitely didn’t see that suckerpunch coming!

5. We Are Never Meeting In Real Life by Samantha Irby (DNF at 42%; 0 stars) REVIEW 13/06
Give me a cat on a cover and I’m immediately intrigued, and a promise of a potentially funny memoir and consider me signed up for the challenge. I’ve been looking forward to pick up We Are Never Meeting In Real Life despite the mixed reviews and despite the fact I hadn’t heard of the author before. Maybe I should have checked out her blog to see if her writing style would be for me, because there is one thing for sure: her writing and me definitely didn’t get along. The humor was definitely not my cup of tea and felt forced… The writing itself too self-important and sex-centered to add anything interesting to the mix. Without doubt not the reading experience I was hoping for.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have a blog tour stop coming up so I will probably pick up Wolves At The Door by Gunnar Staalesen next. I also can’t wait to finally read my ARC of The Friend Who Lied by Rachel Amphlett!! That will by my last ARC for a little while as well as I’m going to try and only read my own books for the rest of June… I’m ready for a little break. I’m probably reading Queens Of Geek by Jen Wilde soon for Pride month and my TBR jar pick is still The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout.


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WWW Wednesdays #224 – May 29th

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 still reading Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool… It’s taking way longer than I thought to get through this MG story, both because I’m not able to connect to the story or characters (do I smell an unpopular opinion review coming up?) and because I haven’t had much time to read as I’ve been baking like crazy for our niece’s 15th birthday. As of today, I’m free to read again though, and I can’t wait to properly dive into The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Especially as so many have recommended this title to me over the years!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech (5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/05 
Call Me Star Girl left me absolutely speechless staring at that final page, wondering how long it would be before my heart would be whole again. How do I even begin reviewing this title? It doesn’t happen often that a book is able to provoke reactions this strong, but Stella’s story is one of them. The writing style is absolutely wonderful of course, but it is the characters who steal the show in Call Me Star GirlLouise Beech should receive an award for being able to create such fascinating characters that are both flawed, strong and essentially unlikeable, but are able to win over your heart anyway. This story was so so so cleverly written! More raving in my review tomorrow.

2. The Paper Wasp by Lauren Acampora (3/5 stars) REVIEW 04/06
Even though the blurb itself sounded intriguing enough to have my interest piqued immediately, I’m afraid the actual story ended up being not exactly my cup of tea. It’s hard to put my finger exactly on the why, but I think a lot of my lack of connection to the story had to do with the writing style. The writing and tone of The Paper Wasp was too aloof and cumbersome to my taste and it almost felt as if it was trying to hard to be overly complicated and ‘literary fiction worthy’. And between the writing style, unlikeable characters and an unconvincing plot development, sadly The Paper Wasp wasn’t for me. But I also know that the right person will love spending time with this story.

3. In An Absent Dream by Seanan McGuire (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 07/06
book four is without doubt another excellent addition to the series. The writing style sweeps you away, makes you forget about daily chores and feel yourself part of the story. I LOVED both Lundy as a character and the fantasy world that fits her personality. Goblin Market is a wondrous world of fair value, debts and birds; the description of both world and the characters that inhibit it are excellent and truly make it come alive. In An Absent Dream is one of my favorites of the series and I’m already looking forward to the next installment which is scheduled to be published early 2020.

4. The Disappeared by Amy Lord (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 10/06
Look out for my thoughts on The Disappeared during my blog tour stop next month June 10th!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going to try and keep reading mostly my own books, and my final May TBR title is up next: Six Stories by Matt Wesolowski. I can’t wait to finally try his work! I do have a few ARCs still left to read, and next up is The Woman In Our House by Andrew Hart. Also up soon is We Are Never Meeting In Real Life. by Samantha Irby, which I will approach with care as I’ve been hearing mixed things about it. My latest TBR jar pick is still The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout.


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WWW Wednesdays #223 – May 22nd

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 Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech! I’ve heard so many fantastic things about it and I’m so excited to be finally getting to know her work… I have my tissues ready just in case. 😉 I’m also starting another blog tour read which is due early next month: The Disappeared by Amy Lord. I’m really curious about this title as the blurb sounds intriguing.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Wisdom Of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan (3/5 stars) REVIEW 
The Wisdom Of Sally Red Shoes is by no means a bad read (quite the contrary in fact) and the three star rating reflects my personal experience with the story rather than the quality itself. Every book has its target group and while the story sadly wasn’t a right fit for me, I could also really appreciate it for what it was. The power behind this read is Ruth Hogan‘s ability to create quirky, flawed and unique characters that will most likely stay with you for quite some time. A lot of time is invested in the description and development of the different characters. While I could really appreciate that and I do love my quirky and unique characters, for me personally it slowed down the pace too much and I struggled to connect and stay invested in the story.

2. Dead Inside by Noelle Holten (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 24/05
I literally cancelled all plans, settled down in my favorite reading chair and flew through Dead Inside in one sitting. It was simply brilliant! Dead Inside shines a light on domestic abuse from the point of view of both victims and (in a less direct way) abusers. At the same time, we also have an active murder investigation going on with ‘victims’ who don’t exactly arise sympathy. This story is lightning fast and isn’t afraid to go dark and messy. There are various twists and turns involved in Dead Inside, and while I did see part of it coming, I definitely didn’t guess the final reveal. And what a way to end the story! Crime thriller fans, you have found a new title for your wishlist! Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this outstanding crime thriller debut.

3. The Sleep Tight Motel by Lisa Unger (4/5 stars) REVIEW 27/05
I know I don’t read a lot of short stories, but I’ve enjoyed Lisa Unger‘s writing in the past and The Sleep Tight Motel fitted a couple of challenge prompts… Making it easy to make an exception and give it a go. Between the cover and blurb I knew I was in for a creepy read, and I can say this short story would have been a perfect fit for the Halloween month. What starts out as a simple crime thriller with the main character on the run and hiding from someone, turns out to be so much more by the time you reach the final page…

4. Breakers by Doug Johnstone (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/05
Look out for my thoughts on Breakers during my blog tour stop tomorrow!

5. Your Life Is Mine by Nathan Ripley (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/05
I think there is a lot to love in Your Life Is Mine, but in the end the story failed to convince me completely. A big part of this feeling had to do with the very slow pace during most of the story. The slow pace came as a surprise especially considering just how twisted things get at points… Especially in the second half you will find a lot of action as things are spinning out of control, but somehow the overall plot still feels slow? It sounds contradicting, but sadly it was how I felt about the story as a whole. Your Life Is Mine is by no means a bad read and it has some very interesting and twisted elements, but sadly it failed to stand out above other recent thrillers I’ve read.

6. The Last Of August by Brittany Cavallaro (2/5 stars) REVIEW 27/05
I wasn’t expecting to be having this reaction, especially as I really enjoyed the first book of the series, but The Last Of August turned out to be a mayor disappointment. About 90% of the story is filled with a frustrating love triangle,  a whole lot of ‘does he/she love me?’ and ‘I don’t know what to do with my feelings’ and basically an overdose of teen angst in general. The whole Sherlock Holmes investigation was mostly pushed into the background and the only thing that stopped me from DNFing was the promise of Berlin and Prague descriptions (and even those were not as present as I hoped). I’m definitely giving up on this series for now.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going to try and squeeze in more of my own books before continuing with my ARCs… Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool and The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield are up next. Then it’s ARCs again and I’m probably going to pick up The Paper Wasp by Lauren Acampora if I’m in the mood for it. My latest TBR jar pick is still The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout.


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