YVO’S SHORTIES #16: Born A Crime & Halfway (ARC)

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time about two completely different books… The first a memoir I’ve been meaning to read for some time now: Born A Crime by Trevor Noah. And just as everyone kept saying as they recommended this title to me, it was GOOD. The second was an ARC I’ve been meaning to read for ages now… Halfway by Lokesh Sharma. Unfortunately that one didn’t work for me.


Title: Born A Crime
Author: Trevor Noah

Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir
First published: November 15th 2016
Publisher: Doubleday Canada
Finished reading: January 25th 2018
Pages: 304

“Regret is the thing we should fear most. Failure is an answer. Rejection is an answer. Regret is an eternal question you will never have the answer to.”


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One of my goals this year is to read more memoirs and international authors, and Born A Crime has been on my list ever since it was first published. The apartheid has always intrigued me and Trevor Noah‘s memoir sounded like a fascinating account during that time. Of course the many many recommendations have helped put this story on my radar as well… And I’m glad I finally got the chance to read it. Because there is one thing for sure: Born A Crime is a very powerful and thought provoking read. I already knew the apartheid was going to be an intriguing topic, and Trevor Noah does an excellent job narrating his personal experience during the end of the apartheid as well as his mother’s experience. He balances these personal accounts with a lot of background information and facts about apartheid that are relevant to that particular account he was talking about. These little chapters were both extremely helpful to those who want to learn more about apartheid and fascinating as well. His writing style, honest tone and willingness to put it all on paper, even if it might shed a negative light on his life is something I could highly appreciate. Honest, heartbreaking, funny, engaging and gripping… Born A Crime is a memoir you will not soon forget. Haven’t read it yet? If memoirs are your kind of book, you definitely should remedy that!


Title: Halfway
(Aspiration For Deliverance #1)
Author: Lokesh Sharma

Genre: Science Fiction, Fantasy
First published: January 29th 2017
Finished reading: Januart 27th 2018
Pages: 220

“We want others to care about us. But without feelings, nobody would care about anybody.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***


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True, I don’t read a whole lot of science fiction stories, but I have enjoyed the genre in the past and I had high hopes for Halfway. It took me way longer than expected to finally pick it up, mostly due to the slump, but I was looking forward to it… Sadly I didn’t have the reading experience I was expecting to have. Unpopular opinion ahead! I went in looking forward to emerge myself fully in a new futuristic world, but I was actually mostly confused during a long time. While Halfway has a substantial amount of descriptions, I still feel the worldbuilding of Enigma isn’t really fleshed out and this made me never fully adapt to this world. The many descriptions only slowed down the pace for me… Another thing that bothered me was the lack of a proper plot. Between the descriptions and character background detail that doesn’t have a clear connection to Enigma for a really long time, I didn’t feel the story was really going anywhere. There are some hints at a war and a threat, but it almost feels as if all important details are pushed into the background as Halfway focuses more on the history of some of the main characters. The Enigma chapters and character memoires were so dissociated that I had a hard time connecting everything (again, lack of plot), and this confusion influenced my reading experience considerably. All in all a story that definitely isn’t for me.


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WWW Wednesdays #161 – January 31st

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 Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, a book I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages. I didn’t get a chance to read a lot of it yet, but so far it looks really promising. I’m also about to pick up A Castle In Romagna by Igor Stiks, a Netgalley ARC I picked up as part of my whole ‘read more international authors/translations’ goal.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Best Friends by Carys Jones (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 01/02
If you are looking for a fast-paced and entertaining psychological thriller that focuses on both the characters and the action, you have found a good balance in Best Friends. This thriller has an interesting premise and a lot of action, but the story isn’t solely about the ‘problem’ they have to deal with. The story also focuses on their friendship and how the complicated situation they are in might affect this relationship. Especially in the second half of the story might not be all that believable, but it is still a solid read if you don’t focus that much on the credibility of it all.

2. The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One by Amanda Lovelace (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 06/02
The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One without doubt makes a statement. Not only did I instantly connect with her style of poetry and the way she expresses herself, but I could also relate to some of the topics she discusses in her poems. Powerful, enchanting, inspiring and so well represented in both the words and format of her work!

3. Born A Crime by Trevor Noah (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/02
Born A Crime is a very powerful and thought provoking read. I already knew the apartheid was going to be an intriguing topic, and Trevor Noah does an excellent job narrating his personal experience during the end of the apartheid as well as his mother’s experience. He balances these personal accounts with a lot of background information and facts about apartheid that are relevant to that particular account he was talking about. Born A Crime is a memoir you will not soon forget.

4. The Camera Lies by AB Morgan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 03/02
There is no doubt that both the TV documentary angle and the murder case itself make The Camera Lies a very refreshing, intense and action-packed read. Even though I did see a mayor plot twist coming, there were other things I never would have guessed. There are some disturbing things going on for sure! The story reads superfast and you will be wondering what will happen next and how things will end until the very last page. Entertaining and thrilling for sure!

5. Halfway by Lokesh Sharma (2/5 stars) REVIEW 05/02
This sci-fi story has an interesting concept, but the execution didn’t work for me. The lack of worldbuilding and plot left me feeling confused and Halfway is more of a disjointed character background story than a story set in a properly fleshed out fantasy world. I’m having a feeling I would have enjoyed it better as two completely separate stories: one with the characters and their history, and one fully about Enigma.

6. Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornall (3/5 stars) REVIEW 10/02
I was in the mood for a YA contemporary, so I picked up this title on a whim. I didn’t remember this one had actually a very prominent mental health angle: the main character suffers from agoraphobia and OCD. The author was able to develop this element really well, although I do have to say it all felt a bit too similar to Everything, Everything… And I wasn’t too sure about the ending or credibility of certain parts of the plot.

7. Unclean Spirits by Chuck Wendig (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 13/02
This is one of those cases where I should have investigated better, because I am so NOT the target group for this one… And this had a big influence on the lowish rating. This feels definitely written for macho male readers who like a lot of action, graphic scenes, swearing and adult content. AKA not my cup of tea. I did really like the whole mythology angle though.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m probably reading The Lot Of A Nobody by Dave Johnston next, mostly because I’ve had that ARC on my pile for way too long now… (sorry!) After that, I’ll probably read As Dead As It Gets by Katie Alender so I can cross off another series on my list. I do hope it’s better than book two. I also want to read What Blooms From Dust by James Markert because I’m pretty intrigued by the blurb. And it looks like I will be finally picking up Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly soon! Thanks to the wonderful Nicki who offered to buddyread it with me. ❤


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WWW Wednesdays #157 – October 4th

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 The Rules Of Magic by Alice Hoffman, and I’m still not all that far into it. I normally would have finished it by now, but I’ve been distracted by a new hobby during the last few days. I discovered I absolute love to crochet! I wanted to try a few patterns out of the Snuggle And Play Crochet book I finished last week even though I had no knowledge of the crochet techniques… And it turns out it was easier to learn than I thought! (Or at least the basics haha.) Meet Mr. Red Fox a.k.a. the reason I’ve been slacking on my reading during the last few days. He still needs some arms but I ran out of red yarn. xD I actually made a granny blanket for the zebra I will be making soon as well, but decided to make Mr. Fox first since he seemed to be easier haha.

I haven’t continued with IT by Stephen King yet, but I’m planning to do so soon. I haven’t been reading much during the last couple of days in the first place, so that’s probably why as well.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Heartless by Marissa Meyer (3/5 stars) REVIEW
I really wanted to love Heartless and I was sure I was going to after reading the first couple of chapters. The writing is wonderful and take you right to the magical world these famous characters live in. I just loved Cath and her baking; I’m craving to start baking something myself right now (and eating it afterwards of course!). Everything was going great until the love triangle, which positively ruined Heartless for me. After the introduction of this romance trope, the main focus was on this relation and I felt kind of betrayed. Oh well, most people seem to love this story, so I guess this will be yet another unpopular opinion to add to the mix… If you dislike love triangles as much as I do, consider yourself warned though.

2. Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/10
I know I wasn’t convinced by the first book of this series, but I loved book two and this third book is just as good as the previous one. I literally finished Murder Game in less than a day and found myself on the edge of my seat the whole time! Fast-paced, well written, suspenseful… An excellent serial killer thriller!

3. Bentwhistle The Dragon by Paul Cude (2/5 stars; DNF at 49%) REVIEW 06/10
Honestly, I’ve tried. I’m not saying the writing is bad and it truly shows just how much time is put into the detailed and extensive descriptions and worldbuilding. The thing is, the pace is supersuperslow and I just can’t get myself to keep interest. One superlong and extensive description after the other kind of had the reverse effect on me and instead of finding myself intrigued by another story about my favorite mythical creature, I was rather bored by it all. I don’t think the age group would be happy with so many descriptions and the lack of action either… All in all definitely not for me, and unfortunately I just couldn’t bring myself to torture myself any further with more extensive descriptions (especially since I found the mystery and ‘dangerous’ situation not all that suspenseful to be honest).

4. The Diary Of A Young Girl by Anne Frank (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW
I must have read this classic a dozen of times before and I don’t think I can add anything new to all the reviews that have been written about it before… I had my first experience with her diary during high school, where we read the book in Dutch and went to visit the place where she was hiding with her family in Amsterdam. This diary is such a powerful story and really shows what it was like for Jews in hiding during the war… Very intriguing read everyone should read at some point in their lives.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m picking up The Secret Mother by Shalini Boland next even though the publish date is still relatively far away… I absolutely loved her previous thrillers and can’t wait to start her newest.  Another ARC I need to pick up soon is Halfway by Lokesh/Anubhav Sharma. And after so many glowing reviews, I’m also reading Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. This novel has all the signs of becoming my next 5 star read! My newest TBR jar pick is still Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.


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WWW Wednesdays #156 – September 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 close to finishing Bentwhistle The Dragon: A Threat From The Past by Paul Cude, a YA fantasy read with dragons. The pace is quite slow, but there is no doubt that the worldbuilding is extensive with a lot of attention to details and descriptions. I’m also about to start Heartless by Marissa Meyer, a story I’ve been wanting to read for months… I’m really looking forward to that one. IT by Stephen King I decided to put temporarily on hold until October so I can finish some other books first… Plus, it’s probably the perfect Halloween read for next month in the first place right? 😉

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/09
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I picked up my copy of Flowers For Algernon, but I’m more than happy with what I found. The writing is simply brilliant, as both the progress reports and the prose itself give the perfect insight of what happens to Charlie during the experiment. The way others react to Charlie during different stages of the experiment is both intriguing and unfortunately very accurate as well. Hopefully an eye opener! Flowers For Algernon is able to provoke strong emotions and is utterly heartbreaking in the end.

2. Snuggle And Play Crochet by Carolina Guzman Benitez (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW
These patterns are absolutely adorable! I will be looking forward creating at least a few of these as gifts for a few of my friends who have either young children or are about to be parents… I’m having a feeling the loveys will be a huge success, although the plush animals are adorable as well. I’m still a crochet newbie, so I could really appreciate the helpful explanations of the different stitches and how to put the different parts together!

3. Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/09
This psychological thriller is mostly a character-driven story and the pace was a lot slower than expected. I struggled a little in the beginning, both because of the pace and my lack of connection to the characters, but the second half of the story more than made up for it. I loved the countdown idea and how slowly more of the present day event is revealed… And the final part is more than shocking! The story will make you think a lot of things and suspect a lot of people, but I can garantuee you won’t guess the final truth about what really happened.

4. The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan (3/5 stars) REVIEW 01/10
I’ve only just finished this one so I need a little time to think… It’s a character-driven story set in 1914 on a lifeboat, where the characters have to survive after their cruiseship sinks on the way to New York. The pace is quite slow and I’m not a fan of the characters, but the historical setting is quite well done and it shows in the way the characters interact as well. Nothing much happens during the story though. I’m still on the fence about this one to be honest.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m picking up Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell next even though the publish date is still relatively far away… I’m dying to find out how the series continues.  Another ARC I need to pick up soon is Halfway by Lokesh/Anubhav Sharma. I also want to read I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh; I’ve had that one on my TBR for way too long now. My newest TBR jar pick is still Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, a historical fiction read which I have been wanting to read for ages so I’m really happy this title popped up.


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WWW Wednesdays #155 – September 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 currently reading both my latest TBR jar pick Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes and my 800+ pages book for this year It by Stephen King. I’m only a few pages into both so I don’t have anything substantial to say yet… Other than that I’ll probably end up finishing It next month since I want to read a few other titles first.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Dollmaker Of Krakow by R.M. Romero (4/5 stars) REVIEW
I was sold as soon as I saw the cover and blurb, and there is no doubt that the writing is just as beautiful as the stunning cover. The Dollmaker Of Krakow is a truly unique story that mixes historical events with a fairytale-like fantasy world and sometimes feels a lot like magical realism. This innocent way of approaching the holocaust is a truly fascinating angle and very well executed; the fantasy elements only add to the overal originality of the story.

2. Beartown by Fredrik Backman (4/5 stars) REVIEW 21/09
It took me a while to warm up to this story and to be honest in the beginning I wasn’t convinced by the multiple POVs and the amount of characters introduced. I’m not a hockey fan and I wasn’t sure if I could handle the prominent role the sport has in the story… But all those worries disappeared as soon as I reached the second half and found myself fully invested. I don’t want to give away too much to avoid spoilers (since the original blurb had a few as well), but some things will happen that will provoke very strong emotions and these feelings won’t let you go until you reach the final page. The fact that there are so many conflicting emotions will leave you wrecked, but fully satisfied. The ending is quite interesting as well, and will make you wonder about how the story started. All in all recommended despite the not that convincing start!

3. A Different Blue by Amy Harmon (4/5 stars) REVIEW 23/09
Even though this wasn’t my favorite story, I still very much enjoyed it and I was surprised there wasn’t as much romance involved as I would have expected. Blue was a great character even though she wasn’t exactly likeable and I love her art and what it symbolizes. I wasn’t a big fan of Darcy though and I could have done without the love triangle… But the writing was excellent as always. Beautiful, raw, strong and emotional story!

4. The Mistake by K.L. Slater (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/09
I’ve been looking forward to this one… And although it’s not my favorite of the bunch, it is still without doubt a very well written and suspensful psychological thriller. The main problem I had was with the main characters, which I found highly unlikeable… Rose and Garreth made me cringe A LOT. But. The writing is excellent and the situation and consequences of grooming very well and realistically described. I liked the idea of the chapters going back between past and present; showing this way both what happened all those years ago and how this effected Rose’s life even after all those years.

5. Things I’m Seeing Without You by Peter Bognanni (?/5 stars) REVIEW 26/09
I’ve only just finished this one as I’m writing this WWW, and I’m still struggling to decide what to make of this one. The writing style is very engaging and made this story into a very fast read. The whole funeral business definitely gives this story a unique touch and actually adds to the plot as well. I’m still not sure about the characters, but I’m hoping to write something a bit more coherent in the next few days or so.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m pickin up Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite next even though it’s recently due next month… I’ve been looking forward to this one. I also want to read Heartless by Marissa Meyer; I’ve been posponing this one for way too long now. Another ARC I need to pick up soon is Halfway by Lokesh/Anubhav Sharma… And I have a new TBR jar pick! Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, a historical fiction read which I have been wanting to read for ages so I’m really happy this title popped up. I can’t wait to finally read it!


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Friday Finds #135 – June 2nd

FRIDAY FINDS 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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