YVO’S SHORTIES #175 – Fruit Of The Drunken Tree & The Bookish Life Of Nina Hill #20BooksOfSummer

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time two books I’ve had really high expectations for… Sadly, Fruit Of The Drunken Tree didn’t live up to those expectations at all, but The Bookish Life Of Nina Hill turned out to be a delightful read.


Title: Fruit Of The Drunken Tree
Author: Ingrid Rojas Contreras
Genre: Historical Fiction
First published: July 31st 2018
Publisher: Doubleday
Finished reading: July 21st 2020
Pages: 304

“War always seemed distant from Bogotá, like niebla descending on the hills and forest of the countryside and jungles. The way it approached us was like fog as well, without us realizing, until it sat embroiling everything around us.”

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Okay… I’m still not sure what happened here, as I really expected to find a new favorite in this story instead. I’ve always had a special interest in stories set in Latin America, and even more so if they are related to the drugs world and/or war on drugs… I thought this story with its 1990s Colombian setting would be a perfect fit for me, and the blurb of Fruit Of The Drunken Tree sounded fantastic as well, but somehow in the end it wasn’t ment to be. Even though I still believe the premise is both powerful, shocking and heartbreaking, the story itself failed to blow me away. I think the main reason I had such a strong negative reaction to Fruit Of The Drunken Tree despite my fascination for the topic had probably to do with the fact that I felt a strong aversion towards the writing style. I didn’t feel it flowed properly and I never connected to the writing, making it very hard to convince myself to keep reading as a result. I have to confess that I skimread at least half of the story; wanting to DNF, but not being able to let the story go completely until I knew what happened. This mostly had to do with the plot and the historical details rather than the main characters themselves, who in turn I never managed to warm up to either. I think this might have been due to the way they were described as well as the way they acted, or maybe even due to the fact that the writing style itself rubbed me the wrong way to such extreme. Either way, sadly Fruit Of The Drunken Tree ended up mosty definitely not being my cup of tea.


Title: The Bookish Life Of Nina Hill
Author: Abbi Waxman
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: July 9th 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Finished reading: July 23rd 2020
Pages: 351

“She enjoyed people – she really did – she just needed to take them in homeopathic doses; a little of the poison was the cure.”

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I have been craving a good contemporary, and I admit that I have been eyeing The Bookish Life Of Nina Hill for a while now. I love bookish elements in my stories, and this book sounded like a perfect fit… And I definitely ended up having a brilliant time with this story. As I already expected, Nina was easy to like and relate to, and I loved getting to know her better. The characters in general are easy to connect to and I enjoyed spending time with them. Of course I love just how big of a role both books and pop culture play in Nina’s life and the story itself; with references to multiple books, the Harry Potter fandom, Game Of Thrones, The Simpsons, Friends… And we have the bookstore itself in the spotlight too of course. The plot might be a bit cheesy and predictable in points, but personally I was having too much fun to be bothered by it. The romance is quite cheesy as well, but as I liked both characters I really didn’t mind all that much either. I loved seeing Nina connect to the newly found family, and the trivia element was brilliant. The writing itself is super engaging and I literally flew through this story. Fans of the genre will most likely enjoy The Bookish Life Of Nina Hill as much as I did!


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WWW Wednesdays #278 – July 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 still trying to get those August ARCs read before we reach the painting/cleaning stage of our home improvement project (probably in two weeks if all goes well)… Currently I’m making my way through Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks for the upcoming blog tour in August. I’m also planning to start Playing Nice by JP Delaney straight after as it’s due soon.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Shadows by Alex North (AUDIO) (4/5 stars) REVIEW 28/07
While I have to say that I’m an audiobook newbie, I think I picked the right book to give them another chance. This dark and atmospheric story managed to grab me from the start, and that sense of foreboding and danger kept me interested the whole time.What a delightfully creepy and engaging read! Fans of well written thrillers with that psychological horror vibe will be in for a treat.

2. Lobizona by Romina Garber (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 07/08
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour!!

3. The Silence by Luca Veste (4/5 stars) REVIEW
This was my first time reading one of Luca Veste‘s books, and it definitely won’t be my last as The Silence made me an instant fan of his writing. Engaging, suspenseful and intense: this story had me in its claws and I wasn’t released until I reached that final page. This was without doubt a highly successful serial killer thriller and I will be looking forward to read more of his work in the future.

4. His & Hers by Alice Feeney (AUDIO) (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/07
I’ve been meaning to try one of Alice Feeney‘s books for a while now, and I thought that listening to the audiobook with the new Netgalley Shelf App feature would be the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone. The fact that the blurb of His & Hers intrigued me immediately and I’ve seen positive reviews popping up everywhere only made this decision easier to make… And I’m definitely glad I did choose the audiobook option, because I ended up having a fantastic time with this story and I think the audio only enhanced the experience for me. What a read!

5. Fruit Of The Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras (2/5 stars) REVIEW 08/08
Okay… I’m still not sure what happened here, as I thought this story would be a perfect fit and the blurb sounded fantastic. I have a special interest in stories set in Latin America, and even more so if they are related to the (war on) drugs world… I still think the premise itself is fantastic, but somehow I felt such aversion towards the writing style that I seriously struggled to finish this story.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’ll probably take a little break from thrillers and ARCs next with The Bookish Life Of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman. I’ve been looking forward to this one! Afterwards, it’s back to my August ARCs with two blog tour reads: The Night Swim by Megan Goldin and  Sight Unseen by Sandra Ireland. My newest TBR jar pick Dead Girls Don’t Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf will probably have to wait until at least mid August, as I really don’t have time for it right now (and I also have a bunch of other reads I want to read first 😉 ).


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WWW Wednesdays #277 – July 15th

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 couldn’t resist giving audiobooks another chance and I’m trying out the new Netgalley audiobook ARC feature… Of course the fact that The Shadows by Alex North was a most anticipated release and I didn’t have a copy yet did play a part too. 😉 So far I’m enjoying my time with it! I also really need to get those August NG ARCs read before we reach the painting/cleaning stage of our home improvement project (probably in two or three weeks if all goes well), so I’ve started another ARC Readathon to get them done. Currently I’m making my way through Lobizona by Romina Garber (also a blog tour read), and I’m loving the many Argentinian culture references so far! I’ll also be starting Playing Nice by JP Delaney as soon as I finish my audiobook.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Broken Hearts, Fences And Other Things To Mend by Katie Finn (3/5 stars) REVIEW 19/07
I was in the mood for a cute contemporary, and really thought Broken Hearts, Fences And Other Things To Mend was going to be a perfect fit… But I guess things weren’t ment to be. Things started out well as Katie Finn has a very readable and engaging writing style that makes it easy to fly through the pages. I initially really enjoyed this story, and was looking forward to see what would happen that summer in the Hamptoms… BUT. Things started to get really frustrating, as it was so clear what was really going on and I really just can’t believe Gemma didn’t realize what was happening right under her nose.

2. Deadly Vengeance by OMJ Ryan (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 16/07
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour!!

3. Save Her Soul by Lisa Regan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 02/08
I know that I’ve said this before, but there is no denying that the Detective Josie Quinn series is one of my favorite detective thriller series and I’m always looking forward to a new installment. Save Her Soul is already book number nine of the series, and without doubt another excellent ride. This series just doesn’t stop delivering!

4. Echoes Of Guilt by Rob Sinclair (4/5 stars) REVIEW 23/07
I enjoyed the previous two books of this series, and I’ve been looking forward to meet up with DI Dani Stephens again. Echoes Of Guilt is without doubt another solid detective thriller, and I loved the Romanian angle and the significance of the Strigoi folklore element. I did feel that the whole serial killer twin Ben storyline and his involvement was a bit forced this time around, but that might just have been me… The case itself was fascinating.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m still not done with my August ARCs after my current reads, and next are two blog tour titles: Sight Unseen by Sandra Ireland and Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks. I might take a little break and finally read Fruit Of The Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras in between though, as I’ve been dying to read it. My newest TBR jar pick Dead Girls Don’t Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf will probably have to wait until at least mid August, as I really don’t have time for it right now (and I also have a bunch of other reads I want to read first 😉 ).


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WWW Wednesdays #276 – July 8th

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 in the mood for a cute contemporary so I decided to finally pick up my TBR jar pick Broken Hearts, Fences And Other Things To Mend by Katie Finn. I’ll also be starting the third Detective Jane Phillips book Deadly Vengeance by OMJ Ryan for the upcoming blog tour…

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone (4/5 stars) REVIEW 27/07
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour!!

2. Opium And Absinthe by Lydia Kang (3/5 stars) REVIEW 12/07
I admit that it was cover love at first sight when I saw Opium And Absinthe, but I was completely sold as soon as I read the blurb. I’ve enjoyed Lydia Kang‘s books, including The Impossible Girl, in the past, and another historical setting with a medical twist sounded simply fantastic. I liked the historical setting, the Dracula element and the investigation into Lucy’s death as well as the medical details… But the slow pace, the repetitive and sometimes dull plot and constant focus on the substance abuse instead of a proper focus on character and plot development ended up being mostly a letdown for me.

3. Dear Martin by Nic Stone (5/5 stars) REVIEW 19/07
I already knew Dear Martin was probably have an impact on me after all those raving reviews, but I was blown away by just how much it hit the mark and left me reeling. This is such an important, powerful and absolutely heartbreaking debut and helps educate us just how real the American race problematics are even to this date. In the light of recent events, Dear Martin is even more of an eye opener and I cannot thank the author enough for getting Justyce’s story out in the world.

4. Entre Senderos De Lavanda by Mariela Gimenez (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 25/07
I read this book as part of the Masa Critica Argentina program through Babelio, and I had an excellent time with this story! It’s a contemporary romance read set in France with a wonderful cast of characters. I really enjoyed the building up of the different relationships despite the appearance of the love triangle, and I think this has to do with the fact that a lot of the focus is on familiar relationships as well as self discovery too. I wasn’t going to post a full review on my blog at first, but as I prefer writing my reviews in English first anyway before I translate them to Spanish, I decided to put it on my blog too in case someone is interested in a Spanish read.

5. The Cry Of The Lake by Charlie Tyler (2/5 stars) REVIEW 21/07
I admit that it was cover love at first sight for me, but I liked the sound of the blurb too… Sadly, I wasn’t too convinced by the story itself. The three different POVs didn’t complement each other but distracted instead, the plot itself felt too chaotic and unrealistic and I couldn’t warm to the writing either. The lack of information was confusing instead of adding the intended dose of suspense, and the characters themselves didn’t feel realistic and were hard to like. All in all not the experience I was hoping for.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I need to make my way through my August ARCs ASAP as we have started a huge home improvement/DIY project and once the painting/cleaning phase of the project arrives I probably won’t be having any free time/energy left to read. xD First up are two thrillers: Save Her Soul by Lisa Regan and Echoes Of Guilt by Rob Sinclair. I’ll probably take a break from ARCs in between with Fruit Of The Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras as I’ve been dying to read it… And I have a new TBR jar pick! Dead Girls Don’t Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf. I can’t say I’ve had this one on my radar lately, and I’m not sure how long it will take to actually read it as I have a pile of other books I want to read first, but we’ll see how things go I guess.


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WWW Wednesdays #275 – July 1st

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 my second Spanish read of the year and pending Masa Crítica Argentina title: Entre Senderos De Lavanda by Mariela Giménez. It sounds like an interesting mix of mystery and romance and I hope it will be as good as the stunning cover! I’ve also started my upcoming blog tour read The Big Chill by Doug Johnstone, as I always like keeping a title on hand on my kindle whenever I’m not feeling like reading in Spanish and/or handling a physical copy.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver (4/5 stars) REVIEW 14/07
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour!!

2. The Love Story Of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey (4/5 stars) REVIEW 06/07
I admit that I was sold as soon as I saw the comparison to A Man Called Ove and Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. I adored both books and its characters, and I just knew I HAD to meet Missy Carmichael to see if she could win me over too. The Love Story Of Missy Carmichael turned out to be both charming and heartbreaking at the same time. While I confess that it took me some time to warm up to Missy, once I did I found myself to be completely under her spell. I loved seeing Missy develop and blossom over time, and if you are craving a heartfelt contemporary with well developed characters and don’t mind shedding a tear or two, this debut is an excellent choice.

3. Good Girl Bad Girl by Michael Robotham (4/5 stars) REVIEW 11/07
I’ve been meaning to try this author for quite some time now, and being approved for an ARC of the Cyrus Haven sequel was the perfect excuse to finally do so. Good Girl Bad Girl is without doubt an engaging as well as twisted start of this series. Recommended if you like a good crime thriller with a psychology angle and don’t mind things getting pretty dark and twisted in points.

4. When She Was Good by Michael Robotham (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 16/07
The first book kind of left me wanting to know how things would continue with Cyrus and Evie, and this sequel will without doubt explore more of Evie’s past. I have to be honest here and say I felt that the plot and plot twists ended up crossing the boundary of credibility for me and some of the twists were just too over the top to be believable. Sure, if you like plenty of action and a whole lot of dark twists and shocking details you will be in for a treat, but I don’t think this sequel was as good as my first meeting with Cyrus and Evie.

5. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 11/07
I’ve heard nothing but great things about this title and it turned out to be just as good as I hoped it would be! The perfect mix of paranormal mystery and crime thriller that had me racing through the pages. I loved the dual POV, with its clever use of twists to keep you in the dark and only slowly reveal what Viv discovered in the past as well as what Carly finds out in the present. Creepy, ominous and oh so engaging!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m probably picking up another 20 Books Of Summer title next: Fruit Of The Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras. I’ve been wanting to read it for ages now! I also want to read The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel ASAP. Then it’s back to ARCs with an August blog tour read: Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks. My latest TBR jar pick is still Broken Hearts, Fences And Other Things To Mend by Katie Finn, which I’m planning on reading some time this month.


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WWW Wednesdays #215 – March 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?

It took me a little while to pick up Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt and keep reading because I wasn’t in the mood… But I’m finally making good progress and will probably finish it today. Afterwards, I’m going to dive straight in one of my most anticipated releases Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine as my first book of the O.W.L.s readathon.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Dry by Jane Harper (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/03
I’m glad I finally picked up my copy of The Dry, because I’ve become an instant Jane Harper fan. What a fantastic read! The setting, the writing style, the plot and character development: I found each element to be extremely well executed and I can see why this debut has received so much love. This is one of those stories you will want to clear your schedule for… Once you have turned the first few pages, you will find yourself stuck in Kiewarra until you discover what really happened to Luke and his family and if it has to do with something that happened long ago.

2. Harry Potter Y El Cáliz De Fuego by J.K. Rowling (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW 
No review this time as this is a reread… But of course it’s easy to say the Harry Potter series is one of my all time favorites and it’s always great revisiting the world. Book number four is among my favorites of the series!

3. I Know You by Erik Therme (3/5 stars) REVIEW 
I Know You is a story with an interesting premise and mix of different elements. I liked how the focus of this story wasn’t just on the kidnapping case, but also on the family drama and flawed characters in general. It is without doubt a superfast read perfect for when you need a little break from life and forget about your own problems. I personally ended up having mixed thoughts, mostly related to the credibility and lack of dept in and connection to the characters… But there is no doubt the story was still entertaining enough.

4. Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick (3/5 stars) REVIEW 02/04
While I can say this was a superfast read, the tone and writing style of Every Exquisite Thing really started to get on my nerves and made the reading experience less enjoyable than expected. I also had problems with the main characters… While I like that they are flawed and unique and especially Nanette evolves over time as the story progresses, there was also something about them that really annoyed me and I wasn’t able to connect to them in general. I did love the fact that this story is build around a book called The Bubblegum Reaper, where we see both the influence of the writing on its reader and learn more about the author himself.

5. We Are Of Dust by Clare Coombes (4/5 stars) REVIEW 30/03
I guess you might know by now I have a weak spot for WWII historical fiction… So as soon as I read the blurb, I knew I HAD to accept this request to read We Are Of Dust. This is without doubt both a solid and heartbreaking story based on true events. It shows that the author has investigated the details painstakingly and I liked how we see multiple sides of the war with the help of the different characters. This is actually the first book of a series (something I didn’t know), and the ending will leave you wanting for more… But I guess that is always a good sign.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I was going to wait a little while longer, but I just couldn’t resist after seeing one raving review after the other so I’m picking up Daisy Jones And The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid next. I’m also thinking about picking up Fruit Of The Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras as I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now. Depending on if it’s April already, I’ll start with the O.W.L.s readathon and pick up Release by Patrick Ness. My TBR jar pick is Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain


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WWW Wednesdays #214 – March 20th

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 The Dry by Jane Harper, an author I’ve been meaning to try for ages now and it’s definitely living up to expectations so far. I’m also starting my latest TBR jar pick Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt… I’m going to finish my Spanish reread of the fourth Harry Potter book Harry Potter Y El Cáliz De Fuego first though as I’m having too much fun revisiting their world.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith (2/5 stars) REVIEW 
I really wanted to enjoy The Fourth Courier and it initially had all the signs I would. But between the chaotic plot, too many characters, sexist comments and negative stereotypes and cliches I ended up really disappointed by this story. I confess I probably would have DNFed if it wouldn’t have been an ARC… And I can’t say that reaching the final page was all that satisfying, with the forementioned negative comments and plot getting on my nerves every single page. Like I said before, I might have been the wrong target group here, so I suggest deciding for yourself if you want to give this story a try or not.

2. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 24/03
While I did find it an entertaining read in general I can’t say the story managed to blow me away completely. It was fast-paced and the writing is engaging and really flows, but I found the plot to be quite predictable and I saw most plot twists coming from a mile away. This lack of surprise was a bit disappointing, but because I was warned before starting Then She Was Gone I already saw this coming.

3. Verity by Colleen Hoover (4/5 stars) REVIEW 24/03
While not my all time favorite CoHo, I still had an excellent time reading this story. Some parts were a bit predictable and I did see some twists coming, but I think the shock of that ending made me completely forget about that. What a way to mess with our minds and leave us hanging like that! It’s an open ending that will most definitely leave you wanting for more and second-guess what you just read and thought was true. And aren’t those just the best feelings when reading this genre?

4. 99 Percent Mine by Sally Thorne (2/5 stars) REVIEW 28/03
There is one thing for sure: this story was most definitely not for me. Why? Let’s just say that the sheer amount of adult content and sexy scenes made me want to throw my kindle against the wall and run away screaming. I know this has everything to do with me and nothing with the book, but it did mean 99 Percent Mine and me started off the wrong foot… While I can normally tolerate a certain amount of steam if the rest of the story makes up for it (her debut proves that for example), I didn’t feel the plot or characters made up for those scenes in this case.

5. Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 27/03
Look out for my thoughts during my stop of the blog tour on March 27th!! Spoiler: I really enjoyed it.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m picking up I Know You by Erik Therme next as I’m trying to make a dent in my NG shelves… And I’m not sure how much longer I can resist Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine as it’s one of my most anticipated releases, so I’m going to read that one soon as well even though I shouldn’t. I’m also thinking about picking up Fruit Of The Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras as I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now. And I have a new TBR jar pick! Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain… I’ve been saying I was going to continue the series for years now, so I’m glad my TBR jar thought it was about time I really made that happen.


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