YVO’S SHORTIES #133 – SHOUT & With The Fire On High

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! …


Title: SHOUT
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir, Poetry
First published: March 12th 2019
Publisher: Viking Books For Young Readers
Finished reading: November 7th 2019
Pages: 304

“untreated pain

is a cancer of the soul

that can kill you”


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While it’s true that I’m not exactly a big fan of poetry, I do like to try it every once in a while if the subject matter speaks to me. SHOUT has been recommended to me a couple of times, and when I saw it was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards I decided to give in and finally read it. First of all I have to say that I truly admire Laurie Halse Anderson for not only speaking up about what happened to her, but also inspiring others to open up and talk about their own experiences. I confess I’ve yet to read Speak, but it’s on my TBR and I’m definitely hoping to get to it some time soon. SHOUT is 100% free verse, so don’t expect clear poetry structure and elements, but I guess the structure works as it helps the author talking about a wide variety of subjects including her childhood experiences, her time in Denmark and more recent events including author related experiences. Trigger warnings are definitely in place for difficult elements as (child) abuse, rape, violence, mental illness, alcoholism and drugs. They are the main reason behind this poetic memoir though: SHOUT is all about the author wanting to give victims the right to shout what happened to them from the rooftops as well as telling about her own experiences. I have to be honest here and say I wasn’t always able to connect to the writing style all that easily, and some ‘chapters’ worked better for me than others. This is purely talking about the form, not the content, which is both powerful, heartbreaking and harrowing. This memoir might not be for everyone, but there is no denying its power.

Title: With The Fire On High
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: May 7th 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen
Finished reading: November 10th 2019
Pages: 400

“And I know the past isn’t a mirror image of the future, but it’s a reflection of what can be; and when your first love breaks your heart, the shards of that can still draw blood for a long, long time.”


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Elizabeth Acevedo’s books have been on my radar for quite some time now, and as I’m a huge foodie I just couldn’t resist picking up her newest book With The Fire On High first. My expectations were high after reading various glowing reviews, and I have to say that expectations were more than met. Because from that gorgeous cover to the very last page this story simply delivers. The driving force behind With The Fire On High is the main character Emoni. Strong, driven, talented and determined to do whatever is best for her family despite difficulties life keeps throwing at her… The fact that she is a teenage mom, but not afraid to fight the prejudices, show the world what she is worth and fight for the ones she loves is truly inspiring. The development of both Emoni and the other characters is thorough, spot on and really made them come alive for me. As a girl with Puerto Rican/black heritage, Emoni’s character is able to teach us more about prejudices, race related struggles as well as community and culture. I loved the introduction of not only Spanish words and sentences, but also Latin flavors, spices and food in With The Fire On High. I also loved just how big of a role food plays in the story in general, and all those mouthwatering descriptions and recipes definitely made me crave food. And as someone who has lived in Spain and visited Sevilla herself, those chapters brought back great memories. The writing itself is beautiful and something to savour on its own, but With The Fire On High turned out to be the perfect YA realistic fiction recipe with a dash of slowburn romance to sweeten it all. Recommended!


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YVO’S SHORTIES #129 – Fever 1793 & The Museum Of Extraordinary Things (DNF)

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two historical fiction reads that I fully expected to love, but somehow failed to connect to. The historical aspect of Fever 1793 was brilliantly handled, but the characters fell a bit flat for me… And with a superslow pace and flat characters, I saw no other option but to DNF The Museum Of Extraordinary Things. Oh yes, sadly it’s time for a double dose of unpopular opinion reviews!


Title: Fever 1793
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Genre: Middle Grade, Historical Fiction
First published: September 1st 2000
Publisher: Aladdin
Finished reading: October 17th 2019
Pages: 252

“Life was a battle, and Mother a tired and bitter captain. The captain I had to obey.”


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WARNING: unpopular opinion ahead!

I was browsing for possible titles that are set in the 18th century to read for the final era for the When Are You Reading? challenge when I saw this title pop up. I enjoyed her other title Wintergirls when I read it earlier this year and the historical setting and plot sounded fascinating, so I immediately knew I wanted to read this title. I’m not sure if this was the wrong book at the wrong time for me, or if it’s just that I’m not that used to middle grade books in the first place… But the fact is that I couldn’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed by this story. First things first, and I have to say that the historical setting is well developed and detailed when it comes to the facts of 18th century Philadelphia and the yellow fever outbreak. It shows that the author has investigated historical facts thoroughly and the descriptions feel realistic and help teach the readers more about yellow fever and the impact of the outbreak back then. I could also appreciate the explanation of what was based on historical facts and what might have been changed in the story. That said, I struggled to connect to the story. I’m not sure exactly why, but I think it has somewhat to do with the fact that I never felt a real connection with the main characters, making me feel mostly detached from  everything that happened to the main characters. In short, while the historical aspect of Fever 1793 was brilliantly handled, the characters somehow ended up falling a bit flat for me… I seem to be in the minority though, so if you haven’t tried this story yet and are intrigued by the blurb, you shouldn’t hesitate to try your luck.


Title: The Museum Of Extraordinary Things
Author: Alice Hoffman

Genre: Historical Fiction, Magical Realism
First published: February 18th 2014
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Finished reading: October 21st 2019
Pages: 385
DNF at 38% (146 pages)

“Coney Island was, above all else, a place of dreams, with amusements like no others, rides that defied the rules of gravity, concerts and games of chance, ballrooms with so many electric lights they glowed as if on fire.”


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WARNING: unpopular opinion ahead!

I’ve been meaning to read this title for a long time, so I was excited when my TBR jar decided it was time to finally read it. The premise of The Museum Of Extraordinary Things sounds fantastic, so I fully expected to enjoy the story… Sadly, surprisingly enough it wasn’t ment to be. I’m not sure if it was just the wrong time for this story or if my book hangerover after finishing The Lion Tamer Who Lost the other day would have made me struggle with any book in the first place… But the fact is, I REALLY struggled with The Museum Of Extraordinary Things and I just couldn’t force myself to keep reading any longer. The pace is so so slow in general and the parts written in cursive are even slower… I had a hard time staying focused on the story and even started skimreading certain parts; definitely not a good sign. On top of that, I found the main characters to be quite flat and cliche… They lacked development for me to make them more rounded (at least in the part I read), and as The Museum Of Extraordinary Things seems to be a more character driven story, this became a real issue for me. I do have to say that the historical setting in early 20th century New York/Coney Island is absolutely fascinating and the historical references are probably the main reason I even made it this far. But as a whole, this story and me definitely didn’t get along.


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WWW Wednesdays #243 – October 23rd

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 two ARCs that are due soon… The first is Cold Fear by Mads Peder Nordbo, a nordic noir sequel set in Greenland I’ve been looking forward to as the first book was excellent. The second is my first Peter May read (finally!): The Noble Path. I’m looking forward to see how I will react to his writing! And I’ve also decided to continue my Spanish reread of the Harry Potter series… Book number six it is!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Thin Air by Michelle Paver (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/10
Partly a historical adventure story set in the 1935 Himalayas, partly a ghost story, Thin Air turned out to have a very interesting mix of different elements and it’s a story perfect for this Halloween month or the winter months for that matter.

2. Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson (3/5 stars) REVIEW 28/10
I’m not sure if this was the wrong book at the wrong time for me, or if it’s just that I’m not that used to middle grade books in the first place… But the fact is that I couldn’t help but feel a bit underwhelmed by this story. While the historical aspect of Fever 1793 was brilliantly handled, the characters somehow ended up falling a bit flat for me… I seem to be in the minority though.

3. The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 27/10
After reading Call Me Star Girl earlier this year, I already knew I was going to be in for a treat with this title. I’ve been warned to keep tissues and comfort food close, and that was without doubt solid advice as this story left me with my heart shattered into a million little pieces. The Lion Tamer Who Lost isn’t my usual genre, but I should have worried as Ben and Andrew’s story won me over right from the very first chapter.

4. The Museum Of Extraordinary Thingsby Alice Hoffman (DNF 38%; 0 stars) REVIEW 28/10
I’m not sure if it’s just not the right time for this story or if my book hangover after The Lion Tamer Who Lost would have made me struggle with any book in the first place… But the fact is, I REALLY struggled with The Museum Of Extraordinary Things and I just couldn’t force myself to keep reading any longer. The pace is so so slow and I find the main characters to be quite flat and cliche… I’m really struggling to stay focused and even started skimreading some bits; I definitely wasn’t expecting this reaction as the premise of The Museum Of Extraordinary Things is fascinating.

5. The Neighbours by Nicola Gill (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/01/2020
That’s my first 2020 release in the pocket! xD If you are looking for a fun and entertaining romcom with that Bridget Jones vibe, The Neighbours should definitely be on your 2020 wishlist. It’s a superfast read and has both funny and more serious moments incorporated into the plot. Ginny and Cassie make a very unlikely pair, but I had a great time following them despite some of their character traits starting to get on my nerves…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

As the blogging slump is getting worse every day and it’s becoming almost impossible to write a proper review, I’ve decided to put those ARCs and Orenda beauties on hold and only read backlist titles I can write shorties reviews for. I feel sad for having to do this, but I see no other way out… Also, I’ve decided to go on a blogging break in November (and maybe December too); more about that soon.

I’m hoping to read The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab next as I’m really in the mood for a Halloween read… I’m also going to try and finally read The Whisper Man by Alex North to see what the hype is all about. And what is Halloween month without a Stephen King read?! I was going to read Pet Sematary, but then I remembered I had promised myself to finish the Bill Hodges Trilogy first, so Finders Keepers it is. Hopefully I’ll enjoy it better than the first book. xD And I have a new TBR jar pick! The third Lacy Flint book Like This For Ever by Sharon Bolton… I really enjoyed the first two books, so I have high hopes for this one.


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WWW Wednesdays #242 – October 16th

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 Thin Air by Michelle Paver, a cover love buy with a very promising premise and a title I thought would be perfect for this Halloween month. I’m also finally starting The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech, although I admit I’m a bit worried my heart will suffer immensely before I reach the final page… And also that I’ll have yet another impossible review to write afterwards. xD

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Little Siberia by Antti Tuomainen (4/5 stars) REVIEW
The first thing that people seem to mention when it comes to Antti Tuomainen‘s recent books is the way he is able to introduce dark comedy more than successfully into an already solid crime thriller. Nordic noir with a healthy dose of blacker-than-black humor? You can definitely count me in for that! I’ve been looking forward to finally discover his work for some time now, and while I thought it was going to be my pink and fabulous copy of Palm Beach Finland, I’m more than happy my first introduction has been Little Siberia in the end. If you like your humor dark and your Nordic Noir lighting fast, bloodchilling and touching at the same time, Little Siberia is simply a must-read. It’s like a big black bowl of delicious and hilarious crime magic!

2. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (5/5 stars) REREAD
Ove is easily one of my all time favorite characters, and A Man Called Ove was long overdue for a reread… After watching the Swedish movie adaptation last week, I decided to just give in and meet up with Ove again, and the story was just as magical the second time around. The Swedish movie adaptation is highly recommendable as well as it stays so close to the original story and it portrays Ove and the other characters perfectly. I won’t be writing a new review, but you can find my 2016 review here if you are interested.

3. Hydra by Matt Wesolowski (5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/10
Boy, this book blew me away! I already had a brilliant experience with the first Six Stories book, but Hydra left me lost for words and unable to write a proper review… The podcast format, the premise, the characters, the paranormal and horror elements, the writing, the suspense and plot twists… I don’t even know where to start my review, as everything was just pure magic.

4. Like Follow Kill by Carissa Ann Lynch (4/5 stars) REVIEW 20/10
The writing is solid and makes it really easy to fly through those pages. The plot is also well constructed and handled perfectly to keep building up that suspense as well as managing to mislead you successfully. Things can be said about the credibility of certain aspects of the plot, but there is no denying that Like Follow Kill was a very entertaining ride with an ending that I never saw coming and left me flabbergasted. Those final chapters are on fire!! If you enjoy reading psychological thrillers with an unreliable narrator and an explosive twist, Like Follow Kill should definitely be on your wishlist.

5. Infinity + One by Amy Harmon (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/10
I think most will be aware of the fact that I adore Amy Harmon‘s books by now… I’ve decided to make the wait for her next story Where The Lost Wander a little less painful by tackling some of her backlist titles I still had pending. I was going to finally pick up The Bird And The Sword, but my heart screamed for a dose of contemporary romance and Infinity + One sounded perfect for the job. And it definitely was! While this story isn’t my absolute favorite of her work, it’s undeniably an excellent read fans of the genre will love.

6. The Other Daughter by Shalini Boland (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/11
I’ve been a fan of her psychological thrillers ever since the first one came out, and The Other Daughter is another excellent read. Well written and with a humongous plot twist bomb I never saw coming!!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m probably reading Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson next so I can finally finish the final era for the When Are You Reading? challenge… I also need to read the ARC Cold Fear by Mads Peder Nordbo some time soon. And it’s time for another dose of Matt Wesolowski with the third Six Stories book Changeling as soon as I’m able to get my thoughts together and actually finish my review for Hydra. I also need to finally read my latest TBR jar pick The Museum Of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman some time soon.


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WWW Wednesdays #211 – February 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 reading a recent NG approval soon to be published by what is now my third auto-approve publisher… ❤ Fat Angie: Rebel Girl Revolution by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo. I was attracted by the cover and blurb and while I didn’t realize it was actually the second book of a series, I’m hoping I will be able to enjoy it as a stand-alone as well. I’m also reading The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson, a book I’ve been super excited about and hopefully is as good as the stunning cover.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
Wintergirls is a story that will bring those cold and chilling winter feels and is an emotionally draining read that shows us the struggle of the main character with her eating disorder and the way she sees herself and her surrounding world. It’s not an easy or happy read, but I thought the topic was well handled and represented in Lia. The prose is both beautiful, almost bordering the magical realism realm and at the same time somehow irked me at points.

2. Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch (4/5 stars) REVIEW 28/02
Moon Over Soho can be read as a stand-alone, although you do miss background information about the characters and magic… I suggest reading them in order anyway, since the stories are without doubt entertaining. Book two has a musical twist and includes the London jazz scene as one of the elements of the story. The focus of this story is on Grant and Nightingale again, and we have new supernatural beings to hunt. The writing style makes it easy to read the story and the sarcastic and dry humor was right up my alley.

3. The Pumilio Child by Judy McInerney (3/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 01/03
Look out for my thoughts on The Pumilio Child in my blog tour review going live this Friday March 1st!

4. The Woman In The Window by A.J. Finn (3/5 stars) REVIEW 28/02
I ended up having mixed feelings about this story. In a way this is quite an entertaining psychological thriller with the typical unreliable narrator you understand right away can’t be trusted to tell you the truth. I appreciate the focus on agoraphobia, as this story might help people understand better what it is like to have to live with it. The writing flows and makes it easy to keep turning those pages, although I do admit the pace was slower than I would have expected and especially in the first half of the book. The Woman In The Window is mostly focused on the main character Anna and nothing much happens until you reach the final part. Another thing that was a huge turn off for me: I was able to guess almost every plot twist from a mile away. Especially the first big one was so easy to see through that I was really disappointed.

5. Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/03
I love my quirky characters and Frank sounded like someone I just HAD to meet. My TBR jar thought it was about time I finally read it, and although my experience wasn’t all that positive there is one thing for sure: I’m glad I finally did get to know him. The premise behind this story on its own is quite interesting, with the reclusive writer being forced to write a few book after falling for a ponzi scheme. There was just something about the writing style in Be Frank With Me that made it hard for me to stay focused and the slow pace didn’t help either. The plot is pretty basic and I really felt the story dragged in parts. Frank’s character is both quirky and unique and is definitely what makes me give this story the benefit of the doubt though.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I need to work on my upcoming NG ARCs, so I’m probably going to read Smoke And Key by Kelsey Sutton and A Place For Wolves by Kosoko Jackson next. I don’t want to neglect my backlist titles though… And next up I have A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews. I won a preorder of her new book in a giveaway (still can’t believe that happened!!!), and I really want to read her debut before it comes out in April. I also have a new TBR jar pick: Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt. I’ve been meaning to read this story for ages, so I’m glad my TBR jar thought it was time to finally do so.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #85 – Shatter Me (DNF) & Wintergirls

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two books that have been published over five years ago and titles I’ve been meaning to get to for a while. The first, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, sadly turned out to be my first DNF of the year. The second, Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson, is without doubt an emotionally tough read to read with lots of trigger warnings and a prose that is both beautiful, almost bordering the magical realism realm and at the same time somehow started to irk me.


Title: Shatter Me
(Shatter Me #1)
Author: Tahereh Mafi

Genre: YA, Dystopia, Romance
First published: November 15th 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Finished reading: February 13th 2019
Pages: 357
DNF at 51% (182 pages)

“The moon understands what it means to be human. Uncertain. Alone. Cratered by imperfections.”


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WARNING: It’s unpopular opinion time again! Please don’t feel offended if you love this series. We are all entitled to our own reactions and feelings after all…

Ever had your sixth sense screaming at you to back off and stay away? Well, that is what happened to me whenever I started thinking about trying the Shatter Me series. I’m not sure why or how, but there was just something about it that made me think it wouldn’t be for me… But curiosity won in the end and made me ignore my instincts. I should have known better… Because sadly this turned out to be my very first DNF of the year. Why? There were various reasons, but the main one is this: I absolutely could not stand the writing style. The endless metaphors, the short sentences, the wacky grammar, the 1 2 3 4 numbers… It seemed like every single word and page was destined to annoy me to the limit and I simply reached a point where I couldn’t take it anymore. I feel sad for reacting this way to a story I know so many seem to love, but that doesn’t take away that Shatter Me and me definitely didn’t get a long. Nothing much was happening in the pages I read either; lots of words, metaphors and feelings, but no real actions or proper worldbuilding descriptions. The fact that I could already see a love triangle coming from a mile away didn’t really help either. Things might have improved in the second half, but since I had such an extreme reaction to the writing style and had already started skimreading just to reach the end faster, I decided to throw in the towel and leave this series alone to be enjoyed and treasured by those who can connect to it. Oh well, at least I know for sure now… Intuition, you were right. Sorry I didn’t listen to you.


Title: Wintergirls
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: March 19th 2009
Publisher: Speak
Finished reading: February 20th 2019
Pages: 300

“The sentences build a fence around her, a Times Roman 10-point barricade, to keep the thorny voices in her head from getting too close.”


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I have been meaning to try one of Laurie Halse Anderson‘s books for years, but somehow other books always ended up getting in the way. The BTB Epic Bingo challenge was the perfect excuse to finally pick up Wintergirls. I didn’t know what to expect when I started reading this story, and if you go in blind you will definitely be up for a surprise. Trigger warnings are in place for eating disorders, self harm, cutting, suicide and mental health problems… Wintergirls is a story that will bring those cold and chilling winter feels and is an emotionally draining read that shows us the struggle of the main character with her eating disorder and the way she sees herself and her surrounding world. It’s not an easy or happy read, but I thought the topic was well handled and represented in Lia. The prose is both beautiful, almost bordering the magical realism realm and at the same time somehow irked me at points. I named magical realism because the writing sometimes almost has that otherwordly and magical feel, especially the descriptions of how Lia sees herself and the world. The story also has a hint of paranormal with a symbolic feel; those two aspects making it hard to properly place the story in just one genre. I suppose you can say this is mostly a realistic fiction story with a mental health angle, where we can see how the eating disorder takes over Lia’s life through her very own eyes. I had a hate/love relationship with the writing style, but there is no doubt that the writing has that original and almost otherworldly feel and I can understand why so many people seem to love this story.


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WWW Wednesdays #210 – February 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?

My first blog tour of the year was getting very close, so I’m currently reading The Pumilio Child by Judy McInerney so I can get my post in place before the tour starts on the 25th. I also started reading the Peter Grant sequel Moon Over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch. I’m really enjoying it so far and I would have finished it already if we wouldn’t have been out of town… I only brought my kindle as I don’t like possible damage to my physical versions. 😉

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi (DNF at 51%; 0/5 stars) REVIEW 24/02
WARNING: Unpopular opinion ahead! Sadly this turned out to be my very first DNF of the year. Why? There were various reasons, but the main one is this: I absolutely could not stand the writing style. The endless metaphors, the short sentences, the wacky grammar, the 1 2 3 4 numbers… It seemed like every single word and page was destined to annoy me to the limit and I simply reached a point where I couldn’t take it anymore. I feel sad for reacting this way to a story I know so many seem to love, but that doesn’t take away that Shatter Me and me definitely didn’t get a long.

2. Colombiano by Rusty Young (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/02
I have a special interest in the war on drugs and Latin America related stories, so when I saw Colombiano I immediatedly knew I had to read it. Colombia has a special place in my heart as it gave me three wonderful months of memories during my time in Cartagena as well as being the place where I met my hubby. Colombia has a complicated history though and Rusty Young does a fantastic job portraying the struggles between the Guerrilla, army and Autodefensas. It’s a huge book with over 800 pages, but it’s worth ever single minute of your time as facts and fiction are mixed in Pedro’s quest for justice for the death of his father.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Since I wasn’t able to read that much during the last week, the books that are up next are the same as the previous WWW… The NG ARC The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson is probably up next, a story with a gorgeous cover and one I’ve been looking forward to for months. I also want to read Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson and The Woman In The Window by A.J. Finn as my next backlist titles. My new TBR jar pick is still Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson.


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