YVO’S SHORTIES #31 – Prodigy & Turtles All The Way Down

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a YA edition… The first book is the sequel of a series I was supposed to continue ages ago: Prodigy by Marie Lu. It was just as entertaining as the first book! The other title is one I wasn’t sure I wanted to pick up, but after seeing Ashley @ Socially Awkward Bookworm mention it as her biggest surprise of 2018 so far I decided to give it a go. Turtles All The Way Down by John Green… And maybe it was just that I wasn’t in the mood for it, but I wasn’t able to enjoy it as much as I hoped I would.

Title: Prodigy
(Legend #2)
Author: Marie Lu

Genre: YA, Dystopia, Romance
First published: January 29th 2013
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Finished reading: July 3rd 2018
Pages: 372

“Maybe I’ve been trying to escape the wrong place and run away from the wrong things.”


I read Legend back in 2015, and even though I quite enjoyed the first book and vowed to read the sequels soon, somehow that never happened. One of my goals this year is to finish those poor neglected started series, and when I came across my copy of Prodigy I decided to pick it up on a whim. It was surprisingly easy to pick up where the first book had left off without rereading Legend, and there is no doubt this sequel is a very entertaining read. I managed to finish it in no time at all! The dystopian world is quite interesting; not that original maybe but I liked the dynamics. Could I have done without the multiple love triangle trope? Hell yes. Did that made me lower the rating slightly? Positive. But otherwise I found Prodigy to be a fast-pace and engaging YA dystopian read with a lot of promise for book number three. A healthy dose of action and twists are in place, and while not the most original plot, it will manage to grab your attention anyway. I’m looking forward to find out what the final book will bring.

Title: Turtles All The Way Down
Author: John Green

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fiction
First published: October 10th 2017
Publisher: Dutton Books For Young Readers
Finished reading: July 6th 2018
Pages: 298

“True terror isn’t being scared, it’s not having a choice in the matter.”


There is always such a hype around John Green‘s books and I’m sure you are already aware of just how well hyped books and me are getting along. I had made a promise to myself to leave his books be for now after a few ‘it’s not you, it’s probably me‘ experiences… But my curiosity was piqued by Ashley @ Socially Awkward Bookworm when she mentioned Turtles All The Way Down was her biggest surprise of 2018 so far. 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. There is nothing wrong with the character development and I think John Green did a great job giving us a peek inside her head and how it would be like being her. It just didn’t work for me in particular. The same goes for Daisy, although I do love the fact she writes fan fiction. The plot is a bit farfetched, but it adds a certain air of mystery to the story, transforming it from just another contemporary romance with mental illness angle to something a little more complicated. I do have to admit the pace was pretty slow though, and I could have done without annoying YA tropes like instalove. And was the story exactly credible as a whole? I’m still on the fence about that. But I guess fans of the genre who like their characters unique, flawed and intriguing will probably like Aza and her story as well. Hello, new hyped title on my unpopular opinion review list… Do make yourself comfortable.


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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.


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.


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!


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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BOOK REVIEW: Let It Snow – by Maureen Johnson, John Green and Lauren Myracle


Title: Let It Snow
Authors: Maureen Johnson, John Green, Lauren Myracle
Genre: YA, Romance, Contemporary
First published: October 2nd 2008
Finished reading: December 24th 2015
Pages: 352
Rating 3qqq

“Once you think a thought, it is extremely difficult to unthink it.”


You know you’re terribly behind with your reviews if you have to review a Christmas themed read in January… Sigh. That said, it took me a long time to actually finish the three stories in Let It Snow by Maureen Johnson, John Green and Lauren Myracle. The main problem with the first story was that I wasn’t exactly in the mood for this kind of read when I first picked up Let It Snow. The result: me being annoyed with Jubilee and a story so sweet it was giving me a tootache. The second time around I actually ended up enjoying The Jubilee Express, and it is my favorite of the three stories. (3.5 stars)  The second story, A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle, is a typical John Green story and unfortunately not one of my favorites. It almost felt like he was trying too hard to be funny and the whole cheerleader thing was really getting on my nerves… (3 stars) Things got worse though with the last story: The Patron Saint Of Pigs. That one is without doubt my least favorite of the stories and I REALLY disliked the main characters. (low 2.5 stars). I did appreciate the fact that all the stories are kind of connected with each other and I guess it is a pretty good Holiday themed read. But if I have to be honest, I would only recommend reading Maureen Johnson‘s (the first) story.


In three different short stories written by Maureen Johnson, John Green and Lauren Myracle we read about the adventures of three different groups of teenagers after a storm on Christmas Eve buries the residents of Gracetown under multiple feet of snow. In the first, Jubilee has to travel to her grandparents after her parents were arrested in a very embarrassing incident. A storm takes her train by surprise and she ends up stranded in Gracetown with the rest of the train passengers… She braves the storm to a still open Waffle House and the rest soon follow. Soon various lives will be changed forever… Three friends also try to reach the Waffle House that night in a race. Whoever gets there first can stay and hang out with a group of cheerleaders that is also on the train. And more importantly, eat hash browns. Also the fate of a teacup pig will depend on a girl that can only seem to think about herself… And that is even more troublesome since she is currently very much lovesick after her (ex)boyfriend stood her up.


Like I said above, I liked the fact that all stories were connected. Unlike with other short story bundles, this one almost felt like one big story. And I say almost, because you could see obvious quality difference between them. The first one is almost too sweet, but very well written and I actually liked the cliche ending. The John Green story was quite a disappointment and the constant repetition of the cheerleaders’ presence became seriously annoying. The last story was the worst; the main problem being the horrible main character. In short: what started off as a promising collection ended up getting worse as I continued reading… And I stick with my opinion that I only would recommend the first story.

WWW Wednesdays #71 – December 30th

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



I have finally started reading my last TBR jar pick: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I’m still not too far into the story, but so far I’m really enjoying it… Hopefully I will magically find time to finish this read before the year is over!



Three books finished this week, and only because I managed to finish the last two yesterday…
* The first book is Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. I ended up quite enjoying the first story, but things went downhill from there…
* I then finished My True Love Gave To Me by Stephanie Perkins and a bunch of other authors yesterday. I loved some stories while I didn’t really like others… But overall it was an entertaining bundle of short stories.
* Last up is The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. I really like her prose and the story, although I could have done without the love triangle. It’s quite a sad read for the Holiday season though!



Now I have a copy of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, I want to start reading it ASAP! Although I might wait until after Bout Of Books 15.0 because it’s quite a long read… I also want to read The Death Code by Lindsay Cummings so I can cross of another series from my to-finish list. The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury looks like a quick read, so I might pick that one up for the read-a-thon… And Serafina And The Black Cloak by Robert Beatty is my new TBR jar pick.

WWW Wednesdays #70 – December 23rd

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below. But first: Happy Holidays!!! I hope everyone will have a wonderful time.





I have started reading The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson the other day and so far it’s just as good as I’ll Give You The Sun. The story is a bit sad though; not exactly the right mood just before Christmas. That’s probably why I’m going to try and finish Let It Snow by John Green today or tomorrow as well.



Four books finished since last week, although two of them were short and quick reads…
* The first book I finished is The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It’s not a terrible read, but somehow this project would have been more interesting if it was about someone with a less privileged life and more interesting goals… I don’t mind the author wanting to be happier, but she did come over as a tad arrogant.
* I then picked up my last pending ARC of 2015: Rough Roads With Reckless Drivers by Lara Pass. A short read, which was probably the only reason why I actually finished it because it wasn’t good at all. More details in the upcoming review…
* I also finished Memories by Lang Leav; a collection of poems and thoughts that wasn’t necessarily bad, but I just couldn’t relate to the sad broken relationship poems…
* The last book I finally finished is The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, a book I have been wanting to read for too long now. I really enjoyed it and it’s definitely a lot better than the Wolves Of Mercy Falls series, but I did have some minor issues with it.



I want to try and read My True Love Gave To Me before the Holidays are over, and I have been wanting to read The Young Elites by Marie Lu as well. I might pick up The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury as well and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman is still my latest TBR jar pick.

WWW Wednesdays #69 – December 16th

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



I have started Rough Roads With Reckless Drivers by Lara Pass yesterday evening since it’s my only pending ARC… I’m not too far into the story yet, but hopefully I will be able to finish it today. I’m also about halfway through The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, a book I picked up at a hostel book exchange during our trip to the capital… And I’m still trying to finish The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater as well. Let It Snow by John Green I’ve put on hold for now because the first story is just too sappy… Hopefully I will be in the mood to continue soon.



December is a difficult month to actually read! Still, three books isn’t that bad considering I was away for two days.
* The first book I finished is November 9 by Colleen Hoover, which I absolutely loved even though I’m not into the genre.
* I then picked up My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris solely to help complete the When Are You Reading? challenge. Which is probably why I actually finished it, because I didn’t like it at all.
* The last book I was able to finish is Hamlet by William Shakespeare, which means I was able to finally complete the When Are You Reading? challenge! 😀



I want to read Memories by Lang Leav next, a collection of poems and one of the last two titles I need to complete the full BINGO of the Bookish Bingo 2015 challenge. I will probably try to read My True Love Gave To Me at some point before Christmas as well.. And if I’m in the mood for fantasy, I’m going to try and pick up either The Young Elites by Marie Lu or Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (latest TBR jar pick).

WWW Wednesdays #68 – December 9th

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



Since I’m still not completely out of my reading slump, I have been trying to read genres I haven’t been reading a lot lately… Romance is one of those, so I started November 9 by Colleen Hoover the other day. I think this might actually one of the first romance novels to receive one of the highest ratings; I’m loving it so far! I started Let It Snow by John Green as well, but I put it on hold because I don’t really like the first story so far. And I’m trying to finish Hamlet by William Shakespeare so I’m one step closer to finally completing my last two pending challenges. It’s been too long since I last read his work!



Only two books this week… Between my reading slump and Christmas decorating I just didn’t have a lot of time to read.
* The first book Takeover by Lisa Black was mostly a disappointment with very boring characters, plot and prose in general. More about my complaints in the full review…
* I then finished Paperweight by Meg Haston, a very well written book about eating disorders. The main character is not exactly likeable, but very realistic. Recommendable!



I have a new ARC pending: Rough Roads With Reckless Drivers by Lara Pass. I will probably read that one next… I also want to read Memories by Lang Leav, a collection of poems I need for a challenge. If I’m in the mood for fantasy, I’m going to try and pick up either The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater or Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (latest TBR jar pick).

BOOK REVIEW: An Abundance Of Katherines – by John Green


Title: An Abundance Of Katherines
Author: John Green
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: September 21st 2006
Finished reading: October 4th 2015
Pages: 229
Rating 3qqq

“Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.”


I know I had promised myself not to read anything by John Green for the rest of the year, but I wanted to read something short and easy before starting with my creepy reads and this one sounded like it would do the job. I was right: An Abundance Of Katherines was exactly the short and entertaining read I was looking for. Maybe I wasn’t blown away by it and I did have some problems with some of the plot and characters, but overall it did the job. As a math/science geek I could really appreciate the math references and as always John Green does an excellent job with his teenage dialogues. The characters were well developed, although they did come over as a bit whiny and annoying at points. As for the plot: I liked the idea of a road trip, but some of the things that happened in the small town they decided to stay were a bit farfetched. John Green used quite a few foreign words and phrases during his story, so remember to check out the glossary… Although it’s not too difficult to guess what they mean from the context. There are quite a few funny moments in this novel and I’m sure that most YA contemporary fans will probably enjoy An Abundance Of Katherines.


Colin Singleton happens to really like Katherines, and has dated no less than nineteen girls with that same name over the years. And every time Colin starts dating another Katherine, he ends up getting dumped. Katherine XIX has dumped him recently and his best friend Hassan decided to take him on a road trip to help him get over her. The two make an interesting pair and end up in a small town working for a woman that owns a tampon-string factory. Colin is on a mission to finish his Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he wants to use to predict the future of any relationship. He has been having more problems than thought he would have with it and he keeps getting distracted by Lindsey and his other new friends. Will he be able to finish his theorem and finally get over K-19?


An Abundance Of Katherines is without doubt entertaining, but I wouldn’t call it mindblowingly good. It’s short, easy to read and the teenage dialogues are very well done as always, but it’s not a perfect read. I had some issues with both the plot and characters and that’s probably why I gave it only 3 stars. If you like YA contemporary, you will most likely enjoy this read though. It’s a feel good story with a geek factor (math and anagrams!) and a great choice if you are looking for a light read.

WWW Wednesdays #59 – October 7th

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



I’ve started reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern earlier this week and so far I’m really enjoying this read. Hopefully it stays this way! I’ve also decided to start reading my last pending ARC Firebolt by Adrienne Woods yesterday evening… It’s been a while since I’ve read stories with dragons and so far it looks promising.



Five finished titles this week… Looks like I’m getting back on track!
* Americosis Vol. 2 by Haydn Wilks was a novella full of chaos and madness I was able to finish the same day I posted my last WWW.
* I then finished The Kill Order by James Dashner, which means I can finally leave The Maze Runner series behind… I can’t say I was impressed by this prequel story either.
* Before starting with my creepy reads, I decided to read An Abundance Of Katherines by John Green first. It’s a quick and entertaining feel-good story, although nothing mindblowing. The teenage dialogues are very well done like always.
* My first creepy read of the month was Asylum by Madeleine Roux, a story with just the right scary factor and a bunch of creepy old asylum photos to look at.
* The last book I finished this week is I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells. I had high hopes for this series, but it turned out to be a bit of a disappointment… I just wasn’t expecting the whole supernatural-demon-serial killer angle.



I have said it probably a million times before already, but this time I’m really going to read And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini next. This title has been on my TBR pile longer than any other book and it’s about time I read it… Plus, it will help me finish two challenges. I also want to read On The Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta and I should read The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey since I have been starting way too many new series without reading sequels. The last one, The Valentine Circle by Reinaldo DelValle, is my newest TBR jar pick and looks like an interesting read as well. (Although I might try to read a few titles on my October/Halloween TBR first…)

BOOK REVIEW: Paper Towns – by John Green


Title: Paper Towns
Author: John Green
Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: October 1st 2008
Finished reading: January 22nd 2015
Pages: 305
Rating 3,5

“It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”


Paper Towns is my third John Green read in less than a year, and I think it is about time to ‘de-Green’ and put his other titles on my TBR pile on hold for now. Don’t get me wrong; I have enjoyed both The Fault In Our Stars and Looking For Alaska previously and now Paper Towns as well. But I have no other choice than agreeing with those who say there are many similarities between his books. I’m not saying that is necessarily a bad thing, but it does kinda lead to a John Green overdose. Like when you eat so many homemade brownies you actually feel sick… And I do love brownies. No doubt the way John Green is able to write teenage dialogue is simply brilliant. I didn’t necessarily like the main characters, but their personalities and the way they interacted just worked. The literary quotes were a nice touch and I’m definitely going to check out the work of Walt Whitman in the future. In short: the prose is interesting, the dialogue brilliant and while the characters are not exactly likeable, you want to continue reading anyway.


Quentin Jacobsen and Margo Roth Spiegelman had two things in common: they are neighbors and they discovered the body of a man who committed suicide when they were younger. They used to be friends, but that didn’t last through high school. As they are about to graduate, she suddenly appears at his bedroom window one night. Dressed like a ninja, Margo tells Quentin she has chosen him as the get-away driver in a series of well-planned revenge attacks on some of her friends and former-boyfriend. Quentin has no other option than follow her, and he ends up having the night of his life.

The next day Quentin discovers Margo is not at school. It is not the first time she disappears for a few days so they don’t think too much of it. But when she doesn’t show up for quite a few days, Quentin starts to worry. He finds out that Margo left some clues behind that can possibly lead to her hiding place, but they are not that easy to understand… And while others give up and try to move on with their life, Quentin doesn’t stop looking. Will he be able to understand the clues and Margo herself for that matter?


The teenage dialogue is hands down the best part of Paper Towns. The way the different characters interact is simply brilliant and at times even hilarious. John Green is able to mix humor with more serious messages and poetry without it becoming boring, which is a gift. I wasn’t able to connect to all the characters, but I think in this case the rest of the book makes up for it. Paper Towns is definitely recommended, but if you have read other books by him in the near past it might be better to wait a bit before reading this one. Maybe just before the movie comes out in June?