YVO’S SHORTIES #89 – Here We Are Now & The Travelling Cat Chronicles

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a story that failed to convince me completely and another that completely won over my heart. Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga wasn’t as good as I hoped, especially after loving her debut… The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa was a fantastic read though.


Title: Here We Are Now
Author: Jasmine Warga

Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: November 7th 2017
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Finished reading: March 7th 2019
Pages: 304

“It’s funny how some places just feel familiar in your bones, even if you’ve never been there before.”


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I have been looking forward to read more of Jasmine Warga‘s work ever since I loved her debut back in 2015… It took me longer than expected to get to Here We Are Now, but I guess better late than never right? It might have been that I had set my expectations too high, but unfortunately I can’t say I was all that impressed by this story as a whole. It’s not a bad read and fans of character driven YA contemporaries will probably have a great time with this one. It’s not the writing either, which felt natural and I just loved the many musical references. But there was just something about the plot and characters that didn’t manage to convince me. The plot is rather simple and nothing much is going on; it shows that this story is mostly focused on the main characters. This means we see a lot of the sixteen-year-old Taliah as well as her parents Julian and Lena and their past. On its own nothing negative, but there was just something about the characters that started to irritate me. Taliah came over as rather childish and whines a lot… Julian can be a bit intense and Lena is rather annoying even though she also has an interesting aspect with her being an immigrant in the US and her having to adapt to a new country (something I can relate to). I didn’t agree with some of the actions and reactions of the characters and I’m not sure parts felt all that natural. Like I said before, the musical elements were a nice touch though and I liked how the story was partly set in the past as Julian tells Taliah how he first met her mother and what happened. Sadly I failed to connect with this story, but I’m sure the right person will absolutely adore Here We Are Now.


Title: The Travelling Cat Chronicles
Author: Hiro Arikawa

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: November 1st 2012
Publisher: Viking
Finished reading: March 11th 2019
Pages: 288
(Originally written in Japanese: ‘旅猫リポート’)

“We cats get all limp and squishy when we have catnip; for humans, wine seems to do the trick.”


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As some of you might already know, I am what you call a true catlover or crazy catlady. I have loved these feline creatures ever since I was tiny, and even a bout of childhood allergy couldn’t cure me of that love… Thankfully I grew over my allergy, and I have been lucky enough to share my life with a bunch of different feline friends during the last eighteen years or so. The Travelling Cat Chronicles is the perfect book for anyone who enjoys being around cats. It’s so easy to relate to this wonderful story! The first thing that stands out and makes this book special for me is the fact that the story is narrated by a cat. Yes, you read that right, the main character of this story is a very special cat named Nana who tells all about his adventures together with his companion and owner Satoru. Very original and it definitely made the story that much more powerful. We get to know both Nana and Saturo better through their adventures as they visit various childhood friends of Saturo. It’s not only a journey within Japan, but also a journey to the past as we learn more about the different characters both then and now. I loved how not only Nana, but other animals get to play a role in the story as well. The descriptions are wonderful as is the writing style in general… The characters will win over your heart in record time and will stay with you for a long time. Warning: make sure you have your tissues ready! Because the end will most definitely make you cry (I know I did, and I almost never cry). The Travelling Cat Chronicles is a fantastic read I could see myself reading over and over again.


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WWW Wednesdays #213 – March 13th

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 another upcoming ARC: The Fourth Courier by Timothy Jay Smith. This story has a fascinating setting, but sadly isn’t really living up to expectations so far… I’m also starting Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell, a story I’ve been looking forward to. And guess who’s finally continuing her Spanish reread of the Harry Potter series! I’m at book number four, and will be reading chapters in between other books so it will probably take me a while to finish it. Harry Potter Y El Cáliz De Fuego it is!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Bones She Buried by Lisa Regan (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 21/03
Detective Josie Quinn has quickly grown into one of my favorite detective thriller series. I like my thrillers fast, entertaining, suspenseful and action-packed, and every single book has delivered exactly that so far. The main character is easy to like and meeting up with Josie Quinn is like visiting an old friend. Things can be said about the credibility of certain aspects of the plot and the fact that a LOT seems to be happening in such a small town and within such a small group of people. But I have to be honest here and say I was far too busy enjoying the ride to really think about it. This is one of those series you will find yourself flying through and it will be hard to let go before you reach the final page. The Bones She Buried is another scorcher!

2. The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 14/03
The Enchanted isn’t for everyone and if you are not a fan of magical realism I won’t suggest reading it. If you are open to the genre though, this story will prove to be a little gem. You will get swept up in the whirlwind that is this magical story and savour each and every single magical realism element that will help soothen the sometimes difficult and disturbing subjects as (child) abuse, violence and mental health. Rene Denfeld did a fantastic job combining the different elements, waving them together in such a way that will leave you speechless by the time you reach the final page.

3. Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga (3/5 stars) REVIEW 15/03
It might have been that I had set my expectations too high, but unfortunately I can’t say I was all that impressed by this story as a whole. It’s not a bad read and fans of character driven YA contemporaries will probably have a great time with this one. It’s not the writing either, which felt natural and I just loved the many musical references. But there was just something about the plot and characters that didn’t manage to convince me.

4. Smoke And Key by Kelsey Sutton (3/5 stars) REVIEW 
There were a lot of things I loved about Smoke And Key and this is by no means a bad read. There were just certain elements that really irked me and failed to live up to the fascinating blurb and fantastic beginning for me. The slow pace, the romantic elements, the love triangle, the predictability of the plot… All things that made me enjoy the story less than I thought I would. I still love the premise of this story as well as the historical setting, Under and its Corpse Bride feel characters and the magic among other things. It’s a very interesting story and I have no doubt this world will stay with me for a while.

5. The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 22/03
Look out for my thoughts during my stop of the blog tour on March 22nd!! Spoiler: I really enjoyed it.

6. The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa (5/5 stars) REVIEW 15/03
The Travelling Cat Chronicles is the perfect book for anyone who enjoys being around cats. It’s so easy to relate to this wonderful story! The descriptions are wonderful as is the writing style in general… The characters will win over your heart in record time and will stay with you for a long time. Warning: make sure you have your tissues ready! Because the end will most definitely make you cry (I know I did, and I almost never cry).

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going to pick up Verity by Colleen Hoover next no matter what… It’s been a while since I last read a CoHo book and I’ve been dying to read this one. I’m also going to pick up The Dry by Jane Harper after the weekend as a birthday present to myself… And I really need to read Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan as my blog tour stop is coming closer. My TBR jar pick is still Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.


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WWW Wednesdays #212 – March 6th

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 another installment of one of my favorite detective series: The Bones She Buried by Lisa Regan. It’s great to meet up with Josie Quinn again! With the pace I’m flying through the pages, I’ll finish it in no time at all… I’m also starting The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld as my next physical copy read. I do love this cover version! Fingers crossed I will be able to connect to the magical realism elements this time around.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 10/03
Yes, the story of The Bird King is without doubt just as beautiful as that stunning cover. It’s a perfect mix of historical fiction elements, a magical realism feel and fantasy elements… With different cultures coming together through the journey of Fatima, Hassan and the people they meet along the way. The historical setting, details and descriptions are perfectly elaborated with a gorgeous and magical prose you will cannot help but fall in love with. The pace of this story is slow, but it will make it that much easier to fully savour every single chapter and detail of their journey. Fans of slower-paced historical fiction stories who don’t mind a little fantasy mixed in will most likely enjoy this fantastic story as much as I did.

2. Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo (DNF 32%; 0 stars) REVIEW 
I feel sad I had to take the decision to DNF as I rarely do that, but I’ll try to explain in my review why I didn’t see other way out. First of all I like to state that this is probably another case of this story simply not being a right fit for me. Sadly, I wasn’t all that impressed by Angie. It felt like an overload of different elements being dumped on you instead of creating a realistic situation and this made the story less credible. I also really struggled with the writing style. Between the writing style, almost cartoonish extreme reactions and violence, overload of different elements stuffed in the same character and that same character being unlikeable I saw no other choice than to DNF Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution.

3. The Secret Child by Caroline Mitchell (4/5 stars) REVIEW 18/03
If you, like me, enjoy fast-paced detective thrillers that aren’t afraid to go dark and twisty, you should definitely meet DI Amy Winter. Not only has she a serial killer connection, but she also isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty in order to get things done. The Secret Child reads like a train and the flashbacks don’t slow down the pace at all… In fact, they only add extra dept and an original touch to the story. I’m really enjoying my time with DI Amy Winter so far and I’ll definitely be looking forward to meeting her again in the future.

4. A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews (5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/03
This is an absolutely fantastic and heartbreaking read! Well worth the 5 stars and without doubt one of my 2019 favorites. There is just something about the writing style that will draw you right in and I wasn’t able to let go until I reached the final page. I loved how big of a role music played throughout the story, the many musical references both relevant to the plot and enchanting at the same time. The power of A Thousand Perfect Notes is in its characters though. A Thousand Perfect Notes will make you laugh and cry and the characters will stay with you for a long time. It’s a fantastic contemporary read which balances happy moments and a romantic interest with a thousand musical notes and a dark twist.

5. And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer And Longer by Fredrik Backman (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 14/03
I normally prefer a more developed story, but there are exceptions where I’m able to connect to a short story in the same way. And Every Morning The Way Home Gets Longer And Longer is one of those exceptions. Not only is it good to see Alzheimer in the spotlight, we also see its effects on both the person itself and those close in a refreshing way. This novella has an almost surreal touch where memories and the real world overlap and exist at the same time.

6. The Fever King by Victoria Lee (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/03
Gorgeous cover aside, this was without doubt an entertaining start of a new dystopian alternative future series. In The Fever King magic is in fact a virus that will kill most and leave the survivors with superpowers. A very interesting take on magic and without doubt one of the stronger features of this story. While the worldbuilding is a bit simple and not that developed, the three most important characters (Noam, Dara and Lehrer) mostly make up for it as they all have something special to add to the story. I would have liked to see the other important characters being more developed though, and the pace did start out a bit slow. But the story ends in a whirlwind and will definitely leave you craving for more.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I was going to read Smoke And Key by Kelsey Sutton last week, but I had some other ARCs popping up I needed to read first… This one is up next now. I don’t want to neglect my backlist titles though… And next up I have Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga because I seem to be in the mood for contemporary and I loved her other story. I’m also keeping my next thriller ready: Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell. My TBR jar pick is still Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.


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Friday Finds #141 – July 14th

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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BOOK REVIEW: My Heart And Other Black Holes – by Jasmine Warga

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Title: My Heart And Other Black Holes
Author: Jasmine Warga
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: February 10th 2015
Finished reading: August 19th 2015
Pages: 320
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“Life can seem awful and unfixable until the universe shifts a little and the observation point is altered, and then suddenly, everything seems more bearable.”

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I’ve had my eyes on My Heart And Other Black Holes ever since I first heard about it last year, and not just because of the beautiful cover. Depression and teenage suicide is a hard topic both to write about and to get right. I’ve read various raving reviews in the past that made me really look forward to this read despite the heavy subject… And now I’ve finished it I can say this novel was just as good as I was hoping for. The story has interesting characters that are well developed and feel ‘real’. Jasmine Warga was able to describe depression really well with the help of both main characters Aysel and Roman. They want to end their lives for different reasons and especially Aysel gives you a really good idea of what depression really feels like. The prose is simply beautiful; I have so many quotes highlighted on my kindle! I really enjoyed the plot as well, and all in all I would definitely recommend My Heart And Other Black Holes to those who enjoy reading realistic fiction and don’t mind a ‘heavy’ read.

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After her Turkish father committed a terrible crime and was sent to jail, Aysel was left to deal with the consequences. The whole town wants to blame her for what her father did and even her own mother can barely look at her…  Her mother has remarried after leaving Aysel’s father a few years ago and Aysel now has to live with her stepfather. Aysel is depressed and feels that most of her ‘new’ family doesn’t really want her there… And when she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, she decides it’s time to say goodbye to this world. Aysel replies to a message and meets the second half of her suicide pact: Roman. They don’t have anything in common and Aysel doesn’t understand why someone like Roman would want to end his life… But it turns out that both have their own reasons why. Will they really go through with their plan?

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My Heart And Other Black Holes isn’t a light read and will definitely make you think. Lately there have been published a lot of books about teen suicide, but this one without doubt stands out from the rest. It’s an original story, the characters are interesting and well developed and I loved both the plot and prose as well. All in all a very interesting read if you like the genre and don’t mind the heavy subject.

WWW Wednesdays #54 – August 26th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’ve started reading The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins the other day and so far I’m really enjoying it. Fingers crossed that it will live up to the hype! I’ve also decided that I want to finish The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt before the end of the month, so I will try to dedicate more time to it. Hopefully I will be able to finish it before my next WWW post!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

Partly thanks to the Bout Of Books read-a-thon last week I was able to finish no less than NINE books. I guess this month is going to be a new record! I’m seriously behind on my reviews though, so I will have to start writing them soon before I start mixing up the different plots and characters…
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The first one on the list is Fairest by Marissa Meyer. Not as good as the main series, but it was interesting to learn more about how Levana became the person she is in the series. The prose was solid as always.
I continued with My Heart And Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga, and it was just as good as I was hoping for. Interesting characters, prose, plot… And the author described depression really well.
I read The Death Cure by James Dashner next and wasn’t impressed. I felt it lacked a proper plot and I wasn’t a fan of the ending… Definitely my least favorite book of the series so far.
Joyland by Stephen King was good: I loved the 1973 carnival setting and the prose was interesting as always. I didn’t see the ending coming for sure!
The Geography Of You And Me by Jennifer E. Smith was my TBR jar pick last week and unfortunately not as good as I thought it would be… Some of  the scenes just were too cheesy for me.
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Next up is Me And Earl And The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. I’m still not sure what to think of it; it’s highly original, but I’m not sure the humor didn’t go too far at points or if I actually liked some of the main characters.
I then couldn’t wait any longer and read Never Never Part Two by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher.  This part was even better than the first and unfortunately ended with a big cliffhanger as well.
Anatomy Of A Misfit by Andrea Portes wasn’t that great. I didn’t like most characters or the fact that it has a love triangle and the ending felt forced.
Last up is All Fall Down by Ally Carter, a read I have been looking forward to and even though it wasn’t what I was expecting, I ended up really enjoying it! The ending is a mayor cliffhanger though; I need the sequel!!!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably try to read The Kill Order by James Dashner so I can finish the series…Hopefully I will like it better than The Death Cure. I have been wanting to read Legend by Marie Lu for ages, so hopefully I will be able to finally start that series… And I have been wanting to read None Of The Above by I.W. Gregorio for a long time as well. The last one on this list is my newest TBR jar pick: I Was Here by Gayle Forman. This one was already on my Bout Of Books TBR, so I will probably get to it soon.

WWW Wednesdays #53 – August 19th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I just started The Death Cure by James Dashner yesterday and I’m not too far into the story yet. I’m not sure what to think of it, but at least I will be closer to finishing one more series… I’m about halfway with Fairest by Marissa Meyer and I still stand by my comment that it’s not as good as the main series. Levana just isn’t a very likeable character! I made some progress with The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt before the read-a-thon started, but I’ve temporarily put it on hold until next Monday.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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Wait a minute; I’ve read EIGHT books since last WWW?! I checked twice, but apparently I’ve been reading like a monster for the last seven days haha.
The first book I’ve read is Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas; such a great read and the ending seriously messed with my mind!
I’ve had some start up problems with The Wrath And The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh; it took me a while to get used to the many foreign names and characters but I enjoyed it afterwards.
I had no such luck with Landline by Rainbow Rowell: I love her YA fiction, but I was seriously disappointed by Landline.
I then finally picked up The Kings Of Cool by Don Winslow, a TBR jar pick I have been posponing for the last I-don’t-know-how-many weeks. It was actually really good and I regret now waiting so long!
I’ve also read The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, a book that has been on my TBR for ages and I enjoyed it just as much as I’ve hoped. I really need to get a copy of the sequels soon though!
I continued with Rarity From The Hollow by Robert Eggleton, an ARC I ended up enjoying despite some problems I had with the plot, characters and prose.
I then read Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher, a quite short and entertaining read that ends with a very painful cliffhanger! I will have to read part two soon and cross my fingers it won’t have such a big cliffhanger as the first…
The last book I finished was The Martian by Andy Weir, by far one of the best reads so far this month. The main character, plot, prose… It really shows why this book was picked as one of the Goodreads Choice winners.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably try to read The Kill Order by James Dashner so I can finish yet another series… Although it will probably depend on how much I enjoy The Death Cure. I’m also looking forward to both My Heart And Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga and The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins. I guess it will depend on my mood which one I decide to read first. The last one on this list is my new TBR jar pick: The Geography Of You And Me by Jennifer E. Smith. I’m normally not a big fan of romance, but this title has been recommended to me various times so I will give it a try very soon.