YVO’S SHORTIES #185 – Maria In The Moon & Clap When You Land @Orendabooks

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time a double dose of contemporary with two absolutely outstanding reads: Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech and Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo.


Title: Maria In The Moon
Author: Louise Beech

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: August 15th 2017
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: October 27th 2020
Pages: 280

“But even with four aces, I always chose to lose.”


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I’ve considered Louise Beech to be one of my absolute favorite authors ever since I first tried her work last year, and I’ve been saving her final backlist titles for special occasions… I thought that Orentober month fitted the bill perfectly! Sadly the blogging slump prevented me from writing a lengthy glowing review in time, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Maria In The Moon absolutely deserves one. While I do confess that initially I wasn’t 100% sure about this story, it soon snuck up on me and it managed to bowl me over completely in the end. The Beech effect has struck again! The writing as well as character development is once again of an extraordinary quality, and the plot itself all powerful, raw, shocking as well as heartbreaking. Maria In The Moon is memory loss as you never saw it before, with a plot and characters that will continue to haunt you long after you reach that final page… Not an easy read, but absolutely worth it in the end. If you enjoy heavier/darker fiction with wonderful writing as well as excellently developed characters, Maria In The Moon should definitely be on your radar.


Title: Clap When You Land
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: May 5th 2020
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Finished reading: November 1st 2020
Pages: 432

“Fight until you can’t breathe, & if you have to forfeit, you forfeit smiling, make them think you let them win.”


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Both The Poet X and With The Fire On High simply blew me away, so I have been eagerly anticipating her newest story Clap When You Land… And I can now say that my expectations were more than met; what an absolutely stunning read! The fact that the story is told through free verse, the glorious writing, the two sisters, the Dominican Republic setting and culture references, the plot itself… There is so much to love in Clap When You Land and it is definitely a story that will stay with me for a long time. I love that the story switches between Camino and Yahaira’s point of view to help us get to know both sisters. It was interesting to see both girls react to the news of the accident as well as see how different their lives are… Especially the chapters set in the Dominican Republic had glorious descriptions that really made the setting come alive for me, but I loved the fact that the culture really shines through throughout the story. I also loved the little Spanish phrases and words thrown in, as they gave the story that extra authenticity without making it too hard for non-Spanish speakers to at least get the gist of what is being said. Clap When You Land is a story of family, loss, love as well as hope, and I personally devoured every single page of that delicious free verse writing. Stunning, unique, powerful and emotional, and absolutely worth the read!


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#ThrowbackThursday – I Am Dust – by Louise Beech #TBT #Orentober @Orendabooks

 

Today is already the last Thursday of the month, and in the spirit of celebrating all things Orenda during #Orentober month I will be joining #ThrowbackThursday one last time to share a previously published review of an Orenda favorite. Deciding which book to choose out of all the fantastic books I’ve had the chance to read so far has been tricky, but the honor this week goes to another of my 2020 top favorites: I Am Dust by Louise Beech. This is actually the second Louise Beech title featured in my Throwback Thursday posts, which shouldn’t be that big of a surprise honestly as she is hands down one of my favorite authors… I Am Dust is another absolutely stunning read I cannot recommend enough. More fangirling in the blog tour review I will be resharing below. You’ve been warned!

Title: I Am Dust
Author: Louise Beech
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
First published: February 16th 2020
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: March 20th 2020
Pages: 300

“We never forget. We choose not to remember.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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Speechless. Absolutely flabbergasted. Mindblown. Oh yes, Louise Beech has done it once again, and left me a complete blubbering mess. Even though I’m a bit late to the whole party, I’ve considered Louise Beech to be one of my absolute favorite authors ever since my first experience with her work last year (Call Me Star Girl). Each backlist title I’ve had the chance to read since has blown me away, so it’s easy to say that my expectations for I Am Dust were skyhigh. But guess what? Louise Beech not only met those expectations, but stamped all over them and went to the next level! It’s nearly impossible to choose a favorite among her books, as I simply treasure them all, but there is no doubt that I Am Dust is another absolutely stunning read and of an extraordinary quality. And yes, expect me to sound like a squeeling fangirl during the rest of this review, because my brain simply cannot deal with just how good this story was even a week after I finished it. That’s the Beech effect!

So, I Am Dust. I confess I knew I was going to love this story as soon as I read the blurb. I mean, the idea of a murder mystery turned ghost story turned dark psychological thriller with a theatre angle? How can that not be the perfect base for another absolutely fantastic story?! I fell in love with the story and characters even before I started reading, and that is something that doesn’t happen often. From that gorgeous cover, the blurb and the actual story afterwards… There isn’t a thing I didn’t love of my time spent with I Am Dust! I read this story as a birthday gift to myself last month to help distract myself from these dark and strange times, and I just couldn’t have picked a better read to do just that as well as making myself feel better in the process.

There are so many things I loved about I Am Dust and I’m having a hard time figuring out where to start to be honest… Let’s talk about the setting and Dust first. I personally loved the setting in a small town and the focus on the musical world as well as the Dead Wilson Theatre setting. The descriptions really made the setting come alive for me, and gave us readers a little insight in what the musical world looks like from an insider view. Directly related to this is the musical Dust of course, which plays an all important role in the plot. I love how both the musical itself and some of the songs are incorporated into the plot and its words are given a hidden meaning as well as give clues to what might happen. Dust gave this dark psychological thriller an unique twist and was also the perfect backdrop for the paranormal elements in I Am Dust.

I confess that I’m normally not a big fan of the paranormal, but I loved how this element was developed in I Am Dust. The murdered Dust actress haunting the theatre and set, the chapters set in the past with the ouija board, the things happening to the main characters… The different paranormal elements are perfectly developed and really added that ominous and daunting atmosphere to the story. I also liked the structure of the plot as a whole, and how past and present are interlaced to slowly reveal more about the past as well as give you a glimpse of what might happen in the future. Plot twists and timeline switches work together flawlessly and really enhanced the reading experience for me.

As for the characters… The main focus is on Chloe, who is an absolutely fascinating character. Flawed, troubled and somehow more open to the spiritual world, she is the perfect character to shoulder this story and take it to the next level. Jess (or Ginger) is likewise important to the plot, and especially the dynamics between Chloe and Jess and her connection to the musical world. It was interesting to see the two interact and slowly learn more about their shared past as well… The realistic and thorough character development really made them come alive for me and my heart ached for them as things were starting to become complicated. The secondary characters are likewise well rounded and each added their own little touch to the story too.

Both the plot development and writing were absolutely fantastic, and I definitely loved the direction this story took. The ending left me brokenhearted and simply speechless, unable to render a word or properly describe my love for I Am Dust. I still felt like a mess days later, and I still feel these rambles I tried putting on paper don’t do this story justice at all. In a way, I should have just kept it short and said: “do yourself a favor and just read the damn book. I Am Dust will sweep you off your feet and will haunt you even days after you reach that final page. You will be missing out if you don’t add I Am Dust to your wishlist!” I already know this story will be on my list of favorite 2020 reads even this early in the year.


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WWW Wednesdays #291 – October 28th

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 the Winternight sequel The Girl In The Tower by Katherine Arden… I’ve been looking forward to return to this trilogy! I’m also starting The Last Resort by Susi Holliday, which sounds like the perfect Halloween read.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Shadow Sands by Robert Bryndza (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 02/11
I’ve been a fan of Robert Bryndza‘s thrillers ever since I read the first Erika Foster book back in 2016, and his newest Kate Marshall series is quickly turning into a favorite too. I loved my time with the first book Nine Elms last year, and I have been eagerly anticipating the sequel for a long time… And now I’ve had the chance to read Shadow Sands, I’m happy to say that it turned out to be everything I hoped for and more. His books are just so damn readable! Highly addictive, fast-paced, dark and suspenseful… Shadow Sands will take you on another exhilarating ride.

2. The Silent Daughter by Kirsty Ferguson (DNF 23%; 0 stars) REVIEW 08/11
I confess that this was what I now call an ‘oops’ request… I’ve learned my lesson not to browse Netgalley while still half asleep the hard way, that’s for sure! Somehow psychological/domestic thrillers haven’t really worked for me lately, and my negative reaction to The Silent Daughter might have had something to do with that… But there is no denying that I REALLY struggled with this story, up until the point I had to make the difficult decision to make this title my fourth DNF of the year. In my DNF review I will be explaining briefly why.

3. The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab (5/5 stars) REVIEW 13/11
Fangirling alert coming in!! I know that I’m a bit biased when it comes to this author… I basically adore anything Schwab writes, and I have been eagerly anticipating The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue. Especially knowing how much Addie’s story means to the author in the first place… I was afraid my expectations would be set too high, but I shouldn’t have worried as I literally devoured each and every single page. I do get why some people might find this story too slow or overlong, but I personally treasured every single minute I got to spend with Addie. Say hello to a new all time favorite!

4. Black Coral by Andrew Mayne (4/5 stars) REVIEW
I’m always in for a solid detective thriller and after highly enjoying my time with the first book of the Underwater Investigation Unit series earlier this year I just couldn’t say no to reading the sequel. The Florida police diver angle had me immediately intrigued, and after an intense and action-packed first book, I had high hopes for an entertaining second round… And Black Coral turned out to be exactly the exhilarating dose of action and detective thriller I was desperately craving!

5. We Were The Salt Of The Sea by Roxanne Bouchard (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 14/11
Okay… I’m not sure what happened here, but I guess it’s unpopular opinion time again? I’m still surprised as I’ve never had an Orenda miss before and fellow bloggers seem to love We Were The Salt Of The Sea… But somehow this story just didn’t seem to work at all for me. It might just have been the wrong time for me to pick up this story, but the fact this that I really struggled with both the writing style and plot in general.

6. We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/11
This was a buddy read with Nicki @ Secret Library Book Blog and we couldn’t have picked a better title! I definitely understand the love for this story now, as it turned out to be such a raw, emotional and simply heartwrenching read… I went in blind not sure what to expect, but I ended up being completely blown away by this story.

7. Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 16/11
I’m a huge fan of her work and I’ve been saving her final backlist titles for special occasions… Orentober month fits the bill right? I wasn’t 100% sure when I started reading this story, but it snuck up on me and managed to bowl me over in the end. The Beech effect has struck again!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I will most likely pick up The Alienist by Caleb Carr next as it’s one of the final titles on my October TBR and I’ve been wanting to read it ever since I watched the Netflix adaptation. Afterwards I want to read The Winter Of The Witch by Katherine Arden so I can cross off another series on my list… I also need to listen to Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez as I got an audio on NG and I’m not sure when it will be archived. And I can’t wait to finally read Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo as I love her writing and I’ve heard so many great things about it.


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WWW Wednesdays #290 – October 21st

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?

Together with Nicki @ Secret Library Book Blog, we are buddy reading We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker… So many call this book their 2020 favorite, so I can’t wait to see how we will react to it! I’ve also started one of my final 2020 ARCs: Shadow Sands by Robert Bryndza. I always enjoy his writing, and I’ve been looking forward to return to this series.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Book Of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult (2/5 stars) REVIEW 25/10
Well, well, well, what do we have here? I guess it’s unpopular opinion time again… Sigh. I have loved Jodi Picoult‘s recent books without fail, so I was fully expecting a repeat experience with The Book Of Two Ways. But fate had different plans in store, and somehow I ended up having a completely different reading experience instead. I’m not sure if this was just the wrong time for me to pick up this story, but the fact is that I struggled considerably with The Book Of Two Ways. More in my review…

2. The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/10
I actually won an e-copy in a giveaway back in March, but with the whole COVID-19 situation I haven’t been in the mood to read it until now… I’m glad I waited, because this story might just have been too much for me back then. Why? The Waiting Rooms is a compelling and terrifying thriller set in a dystopian world that feels a little too realistic to be comfortable… The current state of the world gives this story an even bigger impact and makes the dystopian world seem like a logical possible next step. Most terrifying indeed! If your nerves can stomach it, this story is absolutely brilliant though.

3. Art And Soul by Claire Huston (4/5 stars) REVIEW 26/10
I’ve been looking forward to pick up this contemporary romance story written by fellow book blogger Claire, and it turned out to be such a wonderful and uplifting story! Just what I was craving… I love that this is a slowburn romance built on friendship, the many mentions of cake made me want to bake and Becky and Charlie make for a brilliant pair of characters. Fans of the genre should definitely give this story a go.

4. The Chalet by Catherine Cooper (4/5 stars) REVIEW 30/10
There was just something about the blurb of The Chalet that made it impossible to resist the invitation to read this debut… It might have been the setting in the French Alps, it might have been the mystery around the missing man and the promise of secrets and a potential killer… But my instincts told me I was most likely going to enjoy my time with this story. And my instincts didn’t fail me! The Chalet turned out to be a multi-layered and entertaining thriller with a setting that makes for the perfect backdrop for this story. Fans of the genre will have a great time with this one.

5. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (4/5 stars) 03/11
There has been so much hype around this title, and now I’ve finally gotten the chance to read it I absolutely understand the love for Mexican Gothic. This story is dark, this story is eerie, this story is gothic horror at its best… It’s simply glorious! The ominous atmosphere of the setting simply spot on and this was the perfect story for Halloween month. I can’t deny that the pace is considerably slow in points though… But overall the exquisite writing mostly made up for that. I can’t wait to read more of her work now!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I will most likely pick up The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab next as she is one of my absolute favorite authors and I won’t be able to resist much longer. Afterwards it’s probably The Girl In The Tower by Katherine Arden as I want to continue the series ASAP… And then it’s an #Orentober binge with We Were The Salt Of The Sea by Roxanne Bouchard in preparation for the blog tour next month and Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech. She is another of my absolute favorite authors and this is one of the final titles I still have pending.


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#ThrowbackThursday – How To Be Brave – by Louise Beech #TBT #Orentober @Orendabooks

Today is Thursday, and in the spirit of celebrating all things Orenda during #Orentober month I will be joining #ThrowbackThursday and share a previously published review of an Orenda favorite. Deciding which book to choose out of all the fantastic books I’ve had the chance to read so far has been tricky, but the honor this week goes to one of my 2020 top favorites: How To Be Brave by Louise Beech. I’ve been a fan of her writing ever since my first experience with her work last year, and this is yet another absolutely fantastic read. Highly highly recommended! In case you are curious, I’m resharing my rambles first posted back in February…

Title: How To Be Brave
Author: Louise Beech
Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary
First published: June 1st 2015
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: January 18th 2020
Pages: 300

“You have to know how to be sad to know how to be happy and if you know both of those things you’ll know how to be brave.”

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Oh boy, this book hit me hard! It’s been almost two weeks since I finished How To Be Brave, and I’m still struggling to get something somewhat coherent on paper… Such is the power of anything Louise Beech writes! My first two experiences with her work, Call Me Star Girl and The Lion Tamer Who Lost, already made me an ardent fan of her writing, and How To Be Brave has only reconfirmed my love. What an absolutely stunning read! Before I try to start my rambles about How To Be Brave, I just have to say that Louise Beech is one of the select few authors that can pull off a variety of different topics and genres and maintain that same high quality in each and every single story. For that same reason, Louise Beech now shares a spot right at the top of favorite auto-buy authors I would read no matter what without even checking the blurb or genre first!

Let’s try and discuss How To Be Brave now. There are so many elements I loved in this story, and I’m honestly having a hard time figuring out where to start. I was tempted to leave it at “just read the damn book” and call it a day, which would pretty much be a summary of my thoughts in the first place, but it doesn’t do this stunning and heartbreaking read justice at all… So let’s start at the beginning, and let’s talk about the plot. How To Be Brave is roughly split in two with a dual timeline. On one hand, we have the contemporary family drama storyline where Natalie and her nine-year-old daughter Rose struggle to come to terms with a diabetes 1 diagnosis that changed both their lives forever. To contrast this, we have a historical fiction survivor story set in 1943, where we read about the survivors of a shipwreck during WWII. Both fascinating stories on their own, and combined they truly turn this story into something else. With a technique that had that timeslip vibe, both storylines are combined through the diary of Natalie’s grandfather Colin who was one of the men that survived the shipwreck. Past and present are blurred as not only Colin seems to guide both Natalie and Rose through the changes diabetes 1 introduces into their lives, but Rose also seems to appear in the past… This technique is definitely one of the elements that makes How To Be Brave both unique and a worthy new all time favorite to add to my list.

Let’s talk about the contemporary storyline first. The focus is on Natalie and her nine-year-old daughter Rose, who has just been diagnosed with diabetes 1. I loved how this story was able to teach us more about what it is like to adapt your life after such a diagnosis, and show us how heartbreaking, difficult and seemingly hopeless the struggle can be when it involves a child. How To Be Brave helps shine a light on diabetes 1 and I applaude the author for incorporating a theme so close to home into one of her books. Especially as there is still so much misinformation and ignorance about diabetes 1… The struggle of both Natalie and Rose is portrayed realistically and beautifully, and will most likely break your heart before you reach that final page.

The historical part of this story is set in 1943, with Natalie’s grandfather Colin as the narrator. After a shipwreck, Colin and part of the crew manage to survive and find themselves on a lifeboat waiting to be rescued. We learn about what happens in the days after through Colin’s diary, the same diary Natalie uses to distract Rose during her injections as they start reading the pages. I loved that the lifeboat story of Colin is actually based on what happened to the author’s own grandfather in 1943 and it definitely makes this story feel so much more authentic because of it. Part memoir, part biography, part fiction and without doubt a very powerful combination that takes the story to the next level!

The writing is once again sublime, and the same can be said for the character development of the main characters. Both Natalie, Rose and Colin are thoroughly and realistically developed, making my heart feel for them as I was fully absorbed in their lives. Realistic stories and characters have their ups and downs, and this was masterfully achieved in How To Be Brave. Oh yes, this story is an emotional, raw and heartbreaking story with an ultimate message of hope and learning how to be brave. It’s yet another story that completely blew me away and left me lost for words after that final page… How To Be Brave is simply a fascinating mix of historical fiction and a contemporary family drama, combined through a diary and that timeslip vibe. I’m also already 100% positive it will appear on my list of 2020 favorite books!


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BLOG TOUR REVIEW: I Am Dust – by Louise Beech #blogtour #RandomThingsTours @Orendabooks @annecater

Hello and welcome to my stop of the I Am Dust Random Things Tours blog tour! A huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of this blog tour. I consider Louise Beech to be one of my absolute favorite authors and her stories never fail to blow me away completely. I Am Dust is no exception and without doubt one of my favorite books I’ve had the chance to read so far this year. Want to know why? Please join me while I share my thoughts!

Title: I Am Dust
Author: Louise Beech
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
First published: February 16th 2020
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: March 20th 2020
Pages: 300

“We never forget. We choose not to remember.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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Speechless. Absolutely flabbergasted. Mindblown. Oh yes, Louise Beech has done it once again, and left me a complete blubbering mess. Even though I’m a bit late to the whole party, I’ve considered Louise Beech to be one of my absolute favorite authors ever since my first experience with her work last year (Call Me Star Girl). Each backlist title I’ve had the chance to read since has blown me away, so it’s easy to say that my expectations for I Am Dust were skyhigh. But guess what? Louise Beech not only met those expectations, but stamped all over them and went to the next level! It’s nearly impossible to choose a favorite among her books, as I simply treasure them all, but there is no doubt that I Am Dust is another absolutely stunning read and of an extraordinary quality. And yes, expect me to sound like a squeeling fangirl during the rest of this review, because my brain simply cannot deal with just how good this story was even a week after I finished it. That’s the Beech effect!

So, I Am Dust. I confess I knew I was going to love this story as soon as I read the blurb. I mean, the idea of a murder mystery turned ghost story turned dark psychological thriller with a theatre angle? How can that not be the perfect base for another absolutely fantastic story?! I fell in love with the story and characters even before I started reading, and that is something that doesn’t happen often. From that gorgeous cover, the blurb and the actual story afterwards… There isn’t a thing I didn’t love of my time spent with I Am Dust! I read this story as a birthday gift to myself last month to help distract myself from these dark and strange times, and I just couldn’t have picked a better read to do just that as well as making myself feel better in the process.

There are so many things I loved about I Am Dust and I’m having a hard time figuring out where to start to be honest… Let’s talk about the setting and Dust first. I personally loved the setting in a small town and the focus on the musical world as well as the Dead Wilson Theatre setting. The descriptions really made the setting come alive for me, and gave us readers a little insight in what the musical world looks like from an insider view. Directly related to this is the musical Dust of course, which plays an all important role in the plot. I love how both the musical itself and some of the songs are incorporated into the plot and its words are given a hidden meaning as well as give clues to what might happen. Dust gave this dark psychological thriller an unique twist and was also the perfect backdrop for the paranormal elements in I Am Dust.

I confess that I’m normally not a big fan of the paranormal, but I loved how this element was developed in I Am Dust. The murdered Dust actress haunting the theatre and set, the chapters set in the past with the ouija board, the things happening to the main characters… The different paranormal elements are perfectly developed and really added that ominous and daunting atmosphere to the story. I also liked the structure of the plot as a whole, and how past and present are interlaced to slowly reveal more about the past as well as give you a glimpse of what might happen in the future. Plot twists and timeline switches work together flawlessly and really enhanced the reading experience for me.

As for the characters… The main focus is on Chloe, who is an absolutely fascinating character. Flawed, troubled and somehow more open to the spiritual world, she is the perfect character to shoulder this story and take it to the next level. Jess (or Ginger) is likewise important to the plot, and especially the dynamics between Chloe and Jess and her connection to the musical world. It was interesting to see the two interact and slowly learn more about their shared past as well… The realistic and thorough character development really made them come alive for me and my heart ached for them as things were starting to become complicated. The secondary characters are likewise well rounded and each added their own little touch to the story too.

Both the plot development and writing were absolutely fantastic, and I definitely loved the direction this story took. The ending left me brokenhearted and simply speechless, unable to render a word or properly describe my love for I Am Dust. I still felt like a mess days later, and I still feel these rambles I tried putting on paper don’t do this story justice at all. In a way, I should have just kept it short and said: “do yourself a favor and just read the damn book. I Am Dust will sweep you off your feet and will haunt you even days after you reach that final page. You will be missing out if you don’t add I Am Dust to your wishlist!” I already know this story will be on my list of favorite 2020 reads even this early in the year.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To
Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. Her second book, The
Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her
previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely
reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The
Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic
Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the
Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition,
as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her
husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House
Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.


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WWW Wednesdays #261 – March 25th

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 Josie Quinn book number eight Find Her Alive by Lisa Regan… I have a weak spot for this series and I just couldn’t resist getting a copy of the newest on Netgalley. I’m also starting And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott in preparation for the blog tour of the sequel next month.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. I Am Dust by Louise Beech (5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 18/04
Look out for my review during my stop of the blog tour!

2. She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be by J.D. Barker (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/03
She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be is as unique as its long title, and the right person will treasure this story as much as I did. I had a fantastic time reading every single chapter, and I never felt like the story was overlong or should have gone in a different direction. Big is in this case most definitely better! And this book has only reconfirmed to me J.D. Barker belongs on my list of favorite authors.

3. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW/REREAD
I definitely had a great time revisiting an old childhood favorite of mine. I loved Pippi when I was little and I must have read the book at least a dozen times back then… I remember loving the TV show too, and even dressing up as Pippi during carnaval once. She is a wonderful character most children will be able to connect to instantly!

4. Harry Potter Y Las Reliquias De La Muerte by J.K. Rowling (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW/REREAD
I finally completed my Spanish reread of the Harry Potter series! It had been too long since I last read the seventh Harry Potter book and I had forgotten about so many details… I always love revisiting this world and this has been no exception!

5. The Storied Life Of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin (5/5 stars) REVIEW 04/04
I still can’t believe it took me this long to read this story! I love bookish books and this is without doubt a new favorite. The writing, the bookish elements, the characters, the plot, even the romance… I loved it all.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m picking up the next Hercule Poirot The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd as soon as I finish my current reads… I also need to read the upcoming ARC The Lost Orphan (also known as The Foundling) by Stacey Halls soon. And I don’t think I will be able to resist John Marrs’ newest title What Lies Between Us either even though I have other ARCs I should probably read first haha. I’m also hoping to read Manhunters by Steve Murphy and Javier F. Peña soon, as I have a weird interest in the war on drugs and I loved the Netflix series.


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WWW Wednesdays #260 – March 18th

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 She Has A Broken Thing Where Her Heart Should Be by J.D. Barker, which is as long as the title and a most anticipated 2020 release as I loved his 4MK series. I will also start I Am Dust by Louise Beech tomorrow as a birthday present to myself… There is no need saying that the other reads will be on hold while I read this one. 😉 ❤ And of course I’m still reading the Spanish version of the seventh and final Harry Potter book: Harry Potter Y Las Reliquias De La Muerte… I’m currently about halfway into the book and I’m planning on finishing it within the next week or so depending on how long it takes to finish my other current titles.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 30/03
Look out for my review during my stop of the blog tour!

2. The Missing Sister by Elle Marr (3/5 stars) REVIEW 24/03
There was something about the blurb that intrigued me back when I first saw it on Netgalley, and I couldn’t resist getting a copy… It wasn’t necessarily a bad read and there were things I loved including the setting and premise of the story, but overall I was unable to fully connect to the story or characters and certain aspects of the plot and plot twists were just a bit too farfetched for me.

3. Love And Other Words by Christina Lauren (4/5 stars) REVIEW 04/04
I loved my first encounter with their work back in January, so I’ve been really excited to pick up Love And Other Words to see if their magic would make me enjoy contemporary romance once again. I’m not sure if it was because I was in need of a change of genre, but I had a brilliant time with this story! I literally flew through it and finished it in no time at all.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

It’s been a while since I last read an Agatha Christie title, so I’ll probably end up reading the next Hercule Poirot The Murder Of Roger Ackroyd soon. I also want to read my first Rachel Abbott book, And So It Begins, in preparation for the blog tour of the sequel next month… And I don’t think I will be able to resist John Marrs’ newest title What Lies Between Us much longer, so I’m going to read it as another birthday present to myself. 😉 My latest TBR jar pick is still The Way Back To You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott; it will be the first contemporary I will read when I’m in the mood for a change of genre.


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BOOK REVIEW: How To Be Brave – by Louise Beech @Orendabooks

Title: How To Be Brave
Author: Louise Beech
Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary
First published: June 1st 2015
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: January 18th 2020
Pages: 300

“You have to know how to be sad to know how to be happy and if you know both of those things you’ll know how to be brave.”

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Oh boy, this book hit me hard! It’s been almost two weeks since I finished How To Be Brave, and I’m still struggling to get something somewhat coherent on paper… Such is the power of anything Louise Beech writes! My first two experiences with her work, Call Me Star Girl and The Lion Tamer Who Lost, already made me an ardent fan of her writing, and How To Be Brave has only reconfirmed my love. What an absolutely stunning read! Before I try to start my rambles about How To Be Brave, I just have to say that Louise Beech is one of the select few authors that can pull off a variety of different topics and genres and maintain that same high quality in each and every single story. For that same reason, Louise Beech now shares a spot right at the top of favorite auto-buy authors I would read no matter what without even checking the blurb or genre first!

Let’s try and discuss How To Be Brave now. There are so many elements I loved in this story, and I’m honestly having a hard time figuring out where to start. I was tempted to leave it at “just read the damn book” and call it a day, which would pretty much be a summary of my thoughts in the first place, but it doesn’t do this stunning and heartbreaking read justice at all… So let’s start at the beginning, and let’s talk about the plot. How To Be Brave is roughly split in two with a dual timeline. On one hand, we have the contemporary family drama storyline where Natalie and her nine-year-old daughter Rose struggle to come to terms with a diabetes 1 diagnosis that changed both their lives forever. To contrast this, we have a historical fiction survivor story set in 1943, where we read about the survivors of a shipwreck during WWII. Both fascinating stories on their own, and combined they truly turn this story into something else. With a technique that had that timeslip vibe, both storylines are combined through the diary of Natalie’s grandfather Colin who was one of the men that survived the shipwreck. Past and present are blurred as not only Colin seems to guide both Natalie and Rose through the changes diabetes 1 introduces into their lives, but Rose also seems to appear in the past… This technique is definitely one of the elements that makes How To Be Brave both unique and a worthy new all time favorite to add to my list.

Let’s talk about the contemporary storyline first. The focus is on Natalie and her nine-year-old daughter Rose, who has just been diagnosed with diabetes 1. I loved how this story was able to teach us more about what it is like to adapt your life after such a diagnosis, and show us how heartbreaking, difficult and seemingly hopeless the struggle can be when it involves a child. How To Be Brave helps shine a light on diabetes 1 and I applaude the author for incorporating a theme so close to home into one of her books. Especially as there is still so much misinformation and ignorance about diabetes 1… The struggle of both Natalie and Rose is portrayed realistically and beautifully, and will most likely break your heart before you reach that final page.

The historical part of this story is set in 1943, with Natalie’s grandfather Colin as the narrator. After a shipwreck, Colin and part of the crew manage to survive and find themselves on a lifeboat waiting to be rescued. We learn about what happens in the days after through Colin’s diary, the same diary Natalie uses to distract Rose during her injections as they start reading the pages. I loved that the lifeboat story of Colin is actually based on what happened to the author’s own grandfather in 1943 and it definitely makes this story feel so much more authentic because of it. Part memoir, part biography, part fiction and without doubt a very powerful combination that takes the story to the next level!

The writing is once again sublime, and the same can be said for the character development of the main characters. Both Natalie, Rose and Colin are thoroughly and realistically developed, making my heart feel for them as I was fully absorbed in their lives. Realistic stories and characters have their ups and downs, and this was masterfully achieved in How To Be Brave. Oh yes, this story is an emotional, raw and heartbreaking story with an ultimate message of hope and learning how to be brave. It’s yet another story that completely blew me away and left me lost for words after that final page… How To Be Brave is simply a fascinating mix of historical fiction and a contemporary family drama, combined through a diary and that timeslip vibe. I’m also already 100% positive it will appear on my list of 2020 favorite books!


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WWW Wednesdays #252 – January 22nd

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 The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda; another 2019 most anticipated title I wasn’t able to get to last year. I’m also finally starting The Unlikely Escape Of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry as my blog tour stop is starting to get closer… The blurb of this one sounds absolutely fantastic so I’m excited to finally dive in.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (3/5 stars) REVIEW 30/01
I’ve been meaning to read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened for years now, and although I’m glad I finally did, a part of me was a bit disappointed by what I found. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad read, but somehow that spark of Furiously Happy wasn’t really there for me. The snarky, blunt and sometimes sarcastic humor is still there, and I can’t deny laughing out loud more than once. But other parts felt like the author was simply trying to hard to be funny and quirky.

2. How To Be Brave by Louise Beech (5/5 stars) REVIEW 27/01
It’s easy to say that Louise Beech was one of my absolute favorite new discoveries last year and I was blown away by both titles I was able to read in 2019. I had extremely high expectations for How To Be Brave, and those were more than met. What an absolutely fantastic as well as heartbreaking read! There are so many elements I loved that I honestly don’t even know where to begin… Other than saying: just read the damn book.

3. The Silent House by Nell Pattison (3/5 stars) REVIEW 06/02
The blurb of this one sounded absolutely fascinating, as I don’t think I’ve read about a deaf character in a thriller before. I was really looking forward to this one, but unfortunately the story fell mostly flat for me. The pace was quite slow, the characters unlikeable and I had issues with the credibility of certain aspects of the plot… Also, the ending was quite predictable. All in all not my favorite read, although I still think the premise itself is solid and it has been interesting to learn more about the deaf community and everything it entails.

4. Regretting You by Colleen Hoover (4/5 stars) REVIEW 30/01
I’ve been excited to read this one as, while I seem to have a love/hate relationship with her books, I did enjoy her most recent books without exception. While Regretting You isn’t my absolute favorite CoHo book and there were a few things that bothered me (including the whole cheating angle and certain behavior of certain characters), I can’t deny it was still an excellent read and I had a great time reading it overall.

5. Beast by Matt Wesolowski (5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 21/02
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour next month!!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m taking a little break from ARCs until the end of this month so I can focus on my backlist titles… Especially since I’ll be binge-reading some series in February and won’t have much time for them then. I’m probably picking up When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton next unless I’m in the mood for a thriller… Then it’s probably either My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite or Lock Every Door by Riley Sager next. My newest TBR jar pick is still What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler; it will probably take me some time before I actually read it though as there are a lot of other titles I want/need to read first.


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