YVO’S SHORTIES #110 – Jar Of Hearts & The Problem With Forever

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time two books written by a Jennifer and both with trigger warning worthy topics, although they do belong to two completely different genres. The first is a brutal thriller and a title I’ve been wanting to read ever since it came out a year ago: Jar Of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier. The second was a TBR jar pick and my first experience with Jennifer L. Armentrout‘s work… Although I can’t say it was a positive experience. Unpopular opinion review ahead!


Title: Jar Of Hearts
Author: Jennifer Hillier 

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: June 12th 2018
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Finished reading: June 27th 2019
Pages: 320

“In every story, there’s a hero and villain. Sometimes one person can be both.”


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Jar Of Hearts has been on my radar ever since I first heard about it last year, and all those raving reviews I’ve been seeing have only made me want to read it even more. Why did I wait this long to finally pick it up then? Good question, and to be honest I have no idea why exactly. The fact is that I’m now kicking myself for waiting this long to read Jar Of Hearts and I definitely understand the love for this story now. What a twisted and fascinating ride! While it’s true that there were a few minor things that prevented me from handing out the full five stars, there is no denying that both the premise and plot itself are absolutely brilliant. There is nothing ordinary about Jar Of Hearts and you will have to brace yourself for a very intense ride. Trigger warnings for abuse, rape, graphic scenes and violence are in place and if you have weak stomach it’s probably best to avoid this story… But if you enjoy a good complex and twisted thriller, you will be in for a treat with Jar Of Hearts. Why complex? Well, you will get a variety of different elements and storylines in one giant package with this story. You have the storyline set in the past where the main characters were still teenagers and Angela disappears. That part almost read like a teen angst story with a violent twist and wasn’t my favorite part of the story to be honest. Then we have the part set during the trial and then Geo’s time in prison, which is probably my favorite part of the story and I love how this storyline was developed. Then we have the present, where Geo is out of prison and things are escalating. Without doubt interesting as well, although I’m not sure about the credibility of some aspects of the plot in general and I wasn’t sure I actually liked the ending as it felt a bit too ‘neat’. I can’t deny this was still a fascinating and pretty brutal story that I will stay with me for quite some time.


Title: The Problem With Forever
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: May 17th 2016
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Finished reading: June 28th 2019
Pages: 480

“Words were never the problem. I had them, always had them, but it was plucking the words out and putting a voice to them that had always been tricky.”


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WARNING: unpopular opinion review ahead.

There is a reason I’ve been posponing my first meeting with Jennifer L. Armentrout‘s books, and it has a lot to do with the fact that a combination contemporary romance AND a hyped book is normally a sign of trouble for me. I should have listened to my instinct instead of to my TBR jar, because sadly The Problem With Forever weren’t ment to be. Before I start explaining why, let us all take a moment to appreciate that absolutely gorgeous cover… Ok, ready? First of all I want to state that I’m happy so many people seem to love this story, but sadly there were a lot of reasons why The Problem With Forever didn’t work for me personally. I’ll try to keep my rambles short so it won’t turn into a fullblown rant…

Let’s start with the basics. I personally found The Problem With Forever to be overlong and as a consequence the story dragged in various parts… I even found myself skimreading at times and that is never a good sign. The skimreading also had a lot to do with the romance though. Not only is there a love triangle, I also found the romance in general to be rather cringe-worthy and unbelievable, especially in the case of Mallory’s character. As you can guess, this was a mayor turn off for me… Likewise, I had serious issues with the main characters in general. While Mallory’s PSTD condition and her issues with speaking are interesting, I feel like she is mostly turned into a cliche; her whole personality is basically build on her speaking issues and she lacked development as a whole. A lot of cliches are involved when it comes to the characters in general… Seriously, why do they all have to be gorgeous?! And the whole ‘poor Latin character’ reference and everything related to Hector and his family is basically an insult. And what about the Spanish? Seriously, saying that they know something is ‘Puerto Rican’ based on a few words is absolutely ridiculous and people don’t talk like that at all… Ugh. There are other issues to address as well, but I will leave it at this as my rambles are already turning into a rant as it is. Let’s just say that The Problem With Forever has an overdose of high school cliches and didn’t feel realistic at all; on top of that we have to deal with a love triangle and what is basically an overlong story… And I’m not even talking about the constant drama everywhere. Oh yes, this story and me definitely didn’t get along… I did warn you this was going to be another unpopular opinion review though. 😉


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WWW Wednesdays #229 – July 3rd

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 copy of The Boy Who Steals Houses by fellow book blogger C.G. Drews! I have superhigh expectations for this one and I’m not sure my heart is ready for this story. xD I’m also starting another pending ARC: Trance by Adam Southward. And my Spanish reread of the fifth Harry Potter book Harry Potter Y La Orden Del Fénix. is going pretty well as I’m about a third into the story now… Not bad considering it has almost 900! pages haha.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Jar Of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier (4/5 stars) REVIEW 07/07
I definitely understand the love for this story now. What a twisted and fascinating ride! While it’s true that there were a few minor things that prevented me from handing out the full five stars, there is no denying that both the premise and plot itself are absolutely brilliant. There is nothing ordinary about Jar Of Hearts and you will have to brace yourself for a very intense ride.

2. The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout (2/5 stars) REVIEW 07/07
WARNING: unpopular opinion ahead. There is a reason I’ve been posponing my first meeting with Jennifer L. Armentrout‘s books, and it has a lot to do with the fact that a combination contemporary romance AND a hyped book is normally a sign of trouble for me.

3. The Victim by Max Manning (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/07
The premise of this story is fascinating, where we follow two alternative storylines based on the decision of the main character Gem to fight or surrender during an attack. It definitely makes for an unique read, although things can get confusing as we not only have to keep apart two different versions of Gem’s story, but also other characters. While at all times it is specified which storyline you’re reading (fight or surrender), it is kind of hard to keep track of which event belongs to what storyline and it takes away some of the reading pleasure. It’s very original though!

4. The Broken Ones by Sarah A. Denzil (3/5 stars) REVIEW 12/07
I was looking forward to The Broken Ones, but while I finished it in record time, I have to say I ended up having mixed thoughts about this story. It’s a super quick read and the plot as a whole is quite interesting, but I had serious issues with the main characters (couldn’t stand them for different reasons) and some plot twists were quite farfetched. I also saw one of the big twists coming quite early on… All in all not my favorite.

5. Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie (3,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW
I won’t be writing a full review for this short story collection, but what I can say is that I always enjoy my time with Hercule Poirot and his investigation methods. I was craving another Hercule Poirot story after watching The Murder On The Orient Express movie again the other day, and this short story collection did the trick. I’m looking forward to read another full story again soon though! I’ve heard The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd is excellent, so I’l be looking forward to pick it up soon.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have a few ARCs left that are pending in July and August and The Silent Ones by K.L. Slater is up next. I can’t wait to read this one! I also still want to read House Of Furies by Madeleine Roux soon… And I’m in the mood for historical fiction, so I’ll probably pick up Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens as well. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Cellar by Natasha Preston.


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WWW Wednesdays #228 – June 26th

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?

Guess who is finally reading Jar Of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier? I’ve been meaning to do so ever since I saw all those raving reviews last year and I’m definitely excited to be reading it now. I’ve also picked up my TBR jar pick The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout… It’s my first experience with her work and I’m hoping it will be a good one. And I’ve finally started my Spanish reread of the next Harry Potter book I had pending: Harry Potter Y La Orden Del Fénix. I admit book five isn’t my favorite of the series (mostly due to Umbridge) and this Spanish version has a whopping 893 pages so it will take a while for me to finish it… I’ve been reading a chapter or two a day and so far I’m enjoying myself; I’ve missed the Harry Potter world!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/06
I’ve been wanting to try his work for a while now, so I was stoked when I received the news my request for an ARC was approved a few months ago. I mean, the whole the serial killer isn’t on trial, he’s on the jury on the cover instantly makes the heart of any thriller fan skip a beat, or am I wrong? Reading that kind of phrase on the cover gives you a lot of expectations, and those were definitely met with this story. What a ride! While this is actually book four of a series, I’m happy to announce it can be read as a stand-alone as well. A fast, disturbing and shocking legal thriller with a serial killer twist… Oh yes, I’m definitely a Steve Cavanagh fan now.

2. The Woman In Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/06
I think what made me enjoy The Woman In Cabin 10 was the Agatha Christie like feel of the plot and the whole premise of having a small group of people ‘trapped’ in a small environment and the possibility of something dodgy going on… I have a serious weak spot for those kind of stories. I do have to say that the main character is beyond annoying. Lo Blacklock is one of those spineless and whiny women without a real personality and I didn’t appreciate how her anxiety was used as an excuse for her actions. Things can be said about the credibility of the plot in general, and I also found the ending to be too abrupt and it left too many questions unanswered. I can’t deny I still mostly enjoyed reading The Woman In Cabin 10 though, both due to the writing, the Agatha Christie feel and the travel/Norway element.

3. Us Against You by Fredrik Backman (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/06
I think most of you will know by now I’m a huge Fredrik Backman fan, and I’ve been saving Us Against You as it was the final fiction book I had pending and I wasn’t ready for it to be over. I couldn’t resist any longer though, and I’m glad I finally read it. While, like with Beartown, I initially thought it was going to be slowburner for me, things soon improved and this story quickly won over my heart. Then it took hold firmly of that same heart, ripped it out and teared it into a million tiny pieces… I don’t cry often while reading, but this story definitely made my eyes water. Trigger warnings are in place for abuse, rape, alcoholism, LGBT discrimination and violence… Difficult topics, but the author is able to incorporate them realistically and respectfully into the story. Fredrik Backman has done it again! It’s not my absolute favorite, but without doubt an excellent albeit heartbreaking read.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have a few ARCs left that are pending in July and August and The Victim by Max Manning is next… It’s been on my shelves for a while and I can’t wait to finally get to it. I’m also finally picking up my copy of The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews! My copy is already waiting for me next to my reading chair, although I’m not sure my heart is ready for it. I also still want to read House Of Furies by Madeleine Roux soon. And I have a new TBR jar pick! The Cellar by Natasha Preston; yet another title I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages.


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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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