YVO’S SHORTIES #32 – Champion & The Year Of The Rat

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! Another YA edition… The first a final book of a trilogy, Champion by Marie Lu, which I didn’t find to be as strong as the first two books. The other title is my first Dutch read of the year. A Dutch translation of The Year Of The Rat by Clare Furniss, which was quite good overall.


Title: Champion
(Legend #3)
Author: Marie Lu

Genre: YA, Dystopia, Romance
First published: November 5th 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Finished reading: July 8th 2018
Pages: 384

“Sometimes, the sun sets earlier. Days don’t last forever, you know. But I’ll fight as hard as I can. I can promise you that.”


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I decided to pick up Legend book number three shortly after finishing the second one as part of the promise to myself to start finishing more series. After enjoying the first two books, I was actually quite surprised I didn’t enjoy the final book of the trilogy as much as the previous two. I can’t put my finger exactly on the why, but I think it has to do with the fact that I just didn’t think the plot was as interesting as I would have hoped for a final book. Also, the love triangle really started to get on my nerves… But then again I’m never a fan of those in the first place. Champion wasn’t a bad read, but it lacked the little something extra from the previous books for me. Sure, the writing has the same quality and I guess fans of the genre and series will have a good time with it, but I hoped for something more. This also goes for the ending, which I didn’t like at all. It’s kind of an ending that can go either way for you though, because there are some twists that will definitely mess with your emotions and it depends on how you react to that. All in all not a bad read, but I had hoped for a stronger ending of the Legend trilogy.


Title: The Year Of The Rat
Author: Clare Furniss

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fiction
First published: April 24th 2014
Publisher: Querido
Finished reading: July 10th 2018
Pages: 272
(Read in Dutch: ‘Het Jaar Dat De Wereld Op Zijn Kop Stond’)

“You shouldn’t be wasting your time worrying about what’s going to happen after you die. It’s pointless. Think about what’s happening now. In your life. That’s what’s important. ”


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I still can’t believe I was able to finish my Dutch read of the year this quickly! The Dutch translation of The Year Of The Rat was quite a fast read and that definitely helped me reach the final page easily. I’m not a fan of reading in Dutch, but I liked this story well enough and it was interesting to see what loss and grief can do to a person. Although not perfect, the story itself was well developed and I definitely appreciated that there almost wasn’t any romance included in the plot. The Year Of The Rat is a mostly family focused and character driven story where we follow the main character Pearl as she tries to deal with the fact that her mother died giving birth to her little sister. While I can’t say I was able to connect to the main character, there is no doubt some very powerful emotions are described; it’s a story that will make you think. If you are looking for something easy and fluffy, you are definitely looking at the wrong story, because you will find some very difficult moments in this read.


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WWW Wednesdays #178 – July 11th

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 finally continued Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut yesterday as part of my promise to read more (modern) classics this year… I can’t say it’s my cup of tea unfortunately, but that might have to do with the science fiction angle (I like the WWII bits though). I’m also starting with The Death And Life Of Eleanor Parker by Kerry Wilkinson since it’s the last pending NG ARC this month and I also started Misery by Stephen King as another backlist read.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Secret by K.L. Slater (4/5 stars) REVIEW 13/07
Let me tell you a secret: the secrets and twists in The Secret will have you flabbergasted by the time you reach the last page. Oh yes, you will be in for one hell of a surprise and shocking ending with this one… Make sure to brace yourself. It is true that the strong dislike for one of the main characters did get a little frustrating, but the story would not have been the same otherwise and the suspense and general plot made up for it. What a read!

2. Charlie And The Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl (3/5 stars) REVIEW
While without doubt still an entertaining story with the wonderful illustrations of Quentin Blake and the same writing that is able to enchant child and adult, I don’t think it’s as strong as his other books. Or in fact the first book and highly popular Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. After such a strong first book, the sequel falls kind of flat for me and doesn’t have the same magical feel despite the space adventure.

3. Oh, The Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW
For a story that is ment for such a young audience, it is surprising just how much you will be able to relate to the underlying message as an adult. The illustrations and easy and well written prose are to help kids understand and enjoy, but I truly think this is a story for all ages. Oh, The Places You’ll Go! has a strong moral message and shows us that there is a whole world out there… Waiting for us to just step outside and discover it

4. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green (3/5 stars) REVIEW 16/07
Do I regret reading the story? No, because I would have always wondered otherwise. Is it a bad read? Not exactly. But it was definitely one of those cases where the story just didn’t work for me. Which is actually kind of strange, because I’m always intrigued by a story with a mental illness theme and I do love my quirky and unique characters. But there was just something about Aza that just didn’t do it for me.

5. The Getaway Girls by Dee MacDonald (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 14/07
If you love a good road trip story with well developed and interesting characters, lots of sightseeing, funny moments, a dash of suspense and a dose of romance that is just right, you will love The Getaway Girls as well. I had so much fun following Connie, Gill and Maggie around and I loved the fact that they were seventy-year-olds, as I don’t see older main characters around that often. Entertaining, uplifting, a pinch of suspense and a healthy dose of summer romance… This story will make you forget about your own problems for a while as you join the main characters on their journey.

6. Champion by Marie Lu (3/5 stars) REVIEW 22/07
I didn’t enjoy the final book of the trilogy as much as the previous two. I didn’t think the plot was as interesting and the whole love triangle was quite annoying as well. It just lacked that little something extra from the previous books for me… Also, I didn’t like the ending at all. But I guess it’s kind of an ending that can go either way for you, because there are some twists that will mess with your emotions for sure.

7. Het Jaar Dat De Wereld Op Zijn Kop Stond (The Year Of The Rat) by Clare Furniss (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 22/07
I still can’t believe I was able to finish my Dutch read of the year this quickly! The Dutch translation of The Year Of The Rat was quite a fast read and that definitely helped me reach the final page easily. I’m not a fan of reading in Dutch, but I liked this story well enough and it was interesting to see what loss and grief can do to a person. Not perfect, but well developed and I definitely appreciated that there almost wasn’t any romance included in the plot.

8. Hell To Pay by Rachel Amphlett (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 20/07
I’ve become a huge fan of Kay Hunter in the short time I’ve gotten to know her, and this book is no exception. This might just be my new favorite! Although it’s hard to pick favorites when all the books are good… The writing is excellent, the plot well developed and this one definitely has some shocking surprises in store. Like an explosive ending? This one will more than deliver that. SO good!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to clean out my NG shelf so Broken Dolls by Sarah Flint is next. And as I’ve been saying I need to read more Agatha Christie, I’m starting with Hercule Poirot book number one The Mysterious Affair At Styles. Also, as I’m trying to read all the books on my monthly TBR for the second month in a row, I want to pick up The Way Back To You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott. My newest TBR jar pick is Thin Wire by Christine Lewry, a memoir about a woman addicted to heroin and her mother. I’m having a feeling it’s going to be a tough read, but the blurb sounds pretty good.


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WWW Wednesdays #177 – July 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 SO excited to be reading The Secret by K.L. Slater right now! I’m a huge fan of her psychological thrillers and I’m positive this will be yet another winner. I’m also starting Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut as part of my promise to read more (modern) classics this year… Well see how that one goes I guess.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Saigon Dark by Elka Ray (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW
Saigon Dark is without doubt an interesting read. The main character Lily’s situation is a very complicated one and while I don’t agree with her actions, I can see how grief can make people do things they normally wouldn’t. There is no doubt she saved the girl from more abuse and neglect in the years that followed, but denying her the truth about her past isn’t exactly ethical either. It was interesting to see how things slowly started to unfold though, although I still would have wished a less abrupt ending. I’m having a feeling especially fans of domestic thrillers will enjoy this one.

2. One To Watch by Rachel Amphlett (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW
Detective Kay Hunter is without doubt one of my new favorite characters and I just love spending more time with her. My experience with book number three One To Watch was no different and I literally devoured this story in one sitting. Highly addictive, well written and a plot and plot twists that will keep you hooked until the very end! Oh yes, if you are a fan of the genre, you are missing out if you don’t read this series. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed by Kay Hunter and her investigations.

3. Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios (4/5 stars) REVIEW 08/07
Bad Romance will make you feel uncomfortable, frustrated, outraged and basically an emotional wreck. Oh yes, this is not an easy read and painfully accurate in describing how a toxic relationship can destroy a person. I could have done without the love triangle, which put kind of a damper on things for me, but overall Bad Romance is a very strong read that will stay with me for a long time. Emotionally draining, but o so satisfying in the end.

4. Harry Potter Y La Camera Secreta by J.K. Rowling (4/5 stars) NO REVIEW
I always love rereading the HP series and when I was thinking of which Spanish read to pick up, I decided to treat myself and read book number two in Spanish. It’s not my favorite of the series, but I had so much fun reliving the story anyway! There will be no review as I did one a few years ago of the English version, but my experience was pretty similar. I also can’t believe how easy it was to read in Spanish! Using the language all day every day definitely does help. xD

5. Prodigy by Marie Lu (4/5 stars) REVIEW 16/07
I’m trying to take my goals more seriously so this is me trying to finish another pending series. I actually read book one back in 2015, so it was about time I picked up the sequel… I really enjoyed this one as well, although the double love triangle was a bit of a let down. I’m looking forward to the final book though!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m reading Hell To Pay by Rachel Amphlett next, both because I need to catch up with the series ASAP and I want to find out what happens next. I haven’t read a Stephen King in ages, so of course I have to remedy this and I’m picking up Misery soon. I’m also finally picking up my first Dutch read of the year: a Dutch translation of The Year Of The Rat by Clare Furniss (Het Jaar Dat The Wereld Op Zijn Kop Stond). Fingers crossed it won’t take me too long to actually read it haha. My newest TBR jar pick is Thin Wire by Christine Lewry, a memoir about a woman addicted to heroin and her mother. I’m having a feeling it’s going to be a tough read, but the blurb sounds pretty good.


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