YVO’S SHORTIES #138 – The Family & A Curse So Dark And Lonely

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two 2019 releases belonging to two completely different genres… But both turned out to be winners. I already knew I was going to enjoy The Family, as I love everything Louise Jensen writes, and my instincts were absolutely right! And I had some doubts about A Curse So Dark And Lonely, but I ended up enjoying it a lot better than I hoped I would.


Title: The Family
Author: Louise Jensen

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: October 3rd 2019 
Publisher: HQ
Finished reading: November 30th 2019
Pages: 383

“Family should stick together. Protect each other. Instead, I chose to come here.

This is all my fault.”


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It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of anything Louise Jensen writes, so I guess you can imagine how sad I was when I discovered I couldn’t request an ARC this time around… I preordered a finished copy instead, and I’ve been waiting impatiently to read it ever since my copy arrived. I can now guarantee you: Louise Jensen has done it again. I started reading The Family late on a Friday night and after only a couple of pages I decided to stop before I couldn’t stop anymore… Because I already knew I was going to want to keep reading. And that is what I did the next day: I cleared my schedule, sat down and kept turning those pages until I reached the end. The Family is definitely one of those psychological thrillers you will want to read in one sitting! And between the plot, writing, character development, secrets and twists, you will find it a very easy job to do just so. The story is told using different POVs, sometimes staying with the same character during various chapters and sometimes switching rapidly between chapters and characters. These everchanging dynamics add to the overall suspense of the story and definitely gives The Family a little something extra. The plot itself is fascinating as well. The cult like feel of the Oak Leaf Farm and its inhabitants, the vulnerability of Laura and her daughter, the secrets and twists that keep you guessing… And on top of that, the plot development is simply spot on and truly enhanced the reading experience for me. The main characters themselves are without doubt interesting as well. Flawed, well developed and realistic, they form the bricks this story stands on and they help turning The Family into the psychological thriller masterpiece it is. Fans of the genre are missing out if they haven’t read The Family or her other titles yet!


Title: A Curse So Dark And Lonely
(Cursebreakers #1)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: January 29th 2019
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Finished reading: December 1st 2019
Pages: 496

“We are all dealt a hand at birth. A good hand can ultimately lose – just as a poor hand can win – but we must all play the cards the fate deals. The choices we face may not be the choices we want, but they are choices nonetheless.”


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There has been quite some hype around A Curse So Dark And Lonely this year, and you all know how hyped books and me tend to get along… I’ve been avoiding this first book of a new series by Brigid Kemmerer to be honest, but I just couldn’t resist any longer when I was in the mood for a little something different. I haven’t read nearly enough YA high fantasy this year, and it turns out I was long overdue for a dose of the genre. I ended up enjoying A Curse So Dark And Lonely so much more than I hoped I would! While it’s true that I’m not a big fan of Rhen, I LOVED Grey’s character and Harper was a solid lead as well. The details involving Emberfall and its curse are without doubt intriguing and well developed too. It was interesting to see fantasy and the real world collide and there was quite a some action involved as well. I also appreciated that the romance wasn’t omni-present in this first book. Instead, it’s mostly slowburn romance with only a hint at a possible love triangle… And I just loved the romance between Jack and Noah! A Curse So Dark And Lonely definitely ends with a cliffhanger though, so I’m happy the wait for the sequel won’t be too long. I do hope we’ll see more of Grey in the second book, or else I would probably end up quite disappointed…


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WWW Wednesdays #245 – December 4th

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 probably already finished with The Missing Letters Of Mrs Bright by Beth Miller by the time this WWW post goes live, as it is turning out to be a superfast read… It’s also the title for the contemporary read prompt I needed to read for the Magical Readathon Winter 2019 challenge I’ve decided to join again this month. I’m also starting Nine Elms by Robert Bryndza, one of my most anticipated 2019 releases I was stoked to be granted an ARC of the other day.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

Wow, it’s been a while since I last did a WWW post! I won’t be listing every book I read since October 30th (check out my Month In Review post that went live yesterday if you are interested in what I read during my break), but below are the five books that I managed to finish in the last week or so.

1. The Fountains Of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (5/5 stars) REVIEW 22/12
The Fountains Of Silence managed to completely blow me away and I was left without words to describe my feelings about this story as well as with a new all time favorite to add to my list. It shows that so much research has gone into this story and I bow to the author for her detailed descriptions and thorough information about what happened in that difficult time period in Spain. I loved The Fountains Of Silence from the very first page until the very last… If you are a historical fiction fan who appreciates a complex and rich plot with fantastic descriptions and brilliant character development, you are missing out if you haven’t tried this story yet.

2. Recursion by Blake Crouch (4/5 stars) REVIEW 22/12
Dark Matter is on my list of all time favorites, so I’ve been curious about Recursion  ever since I first heard about it. The premise of this story sounds absolutely compelling, and now I’ve had the chance to read this story I can say that it definitely lived up to expectations. Recursion introduces some fascinating concepts that will definitely make an impact on you. And even if you are not really a sci-fi fan, I can still recommend trying Recursion if you enjoy complex, thrilling and captivating stories.

3. The Family by Louise Jensen (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 24/12
I’ve been a huge fan of her psychological thrillers since the beginning, and I can now say that Louise Jensen has done it again! The Family is definitely one of those psychological thrillers you will want to read in one sitting; between the plot, writing, character development, secrets and twists, you will find it a very easy job to do just so. It’s simply a brilliant read and an absolute must-read for fans of the genre!

4. A Curse So Dark And Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (4/5 stars) REVIEW 24/12
I haven’t read nearly enough YA high fantasy this year, and it turns out I was long overdue for a dose of the genre. I ended up enjoying A Curse So Dark And Lonely so much more than I hoped I would!

5. Down The Darkest Road by Kylie Brant (4/5 stars) REVIEW 09/12
I really enjoyed my first meeting with Cady Maddix last year, so of course I couldn’t resist requesting a copy of the sequel as soon as I saw it was available on Netgalley. While I think I enjoyed the first book a tiny bit more, there is no doubt that Down The Darkest Road is a superfast and entertaining thriller with a lot of action and suspense to keep you on edge. I’m not sure about the credibility of certain aspects of the plot, as certain details did become a bit too fantastical, but there is no denying that I had a great time reading this sequel despite this.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m currently drowning in a huge pile of ARCs, so I’ll be reading mostly ARCs this month… First up is The Blossom Twins by Carol Wyer, a title I’ve been looking forward to. Then it’s a little break with my Christmas read of the year: How The Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss. I can’t believe I’ve never read that one before! Afterwards it’s back to ARCs and next up is The Secret Messenger by Mandy Robotham. My latest TBR jar pick is still Like This For Ever by Sharon Bolton, which I’m hoping to read soon, but I’m not sure if I’ll actually get to it this year.


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ARC REVIEW: The Date – by Louise Jensen @bookouture @Fab_fiction

Title: The Date
Author: Louise Jensen
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: June 21st 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: June 3rd 2018
Pages: 315

“It’s far easier to deal with the black and white rather than the shades of grey lurking in the darkest depths of our minds.”

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

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I have been staring at this review for a week now and I still can’t get something proper on paper that isn’t the phrase: ‘just read the damn book‘. Because frankly, The Date left me speechless and blew me away and I’m still not sure how to properly turn this love into a coherent review. Time is ticking away though, so here is me giving a try anyway. First of all let me start with the basics. The fact is that Louise Jensen is one of my favorite thriller authors and of course I had very high expectations about her newest title The Date. I had no doubt this was going to be another excellent read, but what I didn’t expect was to get my socks knocked off and find a new absolute favorite. Holy cow, what a read! I literally dropped everything I was supposed to be doing after reading the first few pages and couldn’t put it down until I reached the very end. Not only is the writing sublime, but the suspense is spot on and I’m always a sucker for the amnesia element. Especially in this case, where the main character is unable to recognize faces (prosopagnosia) after trauma, which is something I had never came across before and is truly fascinating. This element plays a key role in the development of the plot and plot twists and without doubt adds a lot of suspense and intrigue to the story. But The Date doesn’t bet on one horse and an intricate web of twists, little hints and unlikeable discoveries is cast over the plot in a way that will have you fully absorbed. You can guess all you want about the ending and maybe even get one or two little facts right, but you will never be able to guess the full truth early on. The Date is one of the best psychological thrillers I’ve read this year and without doubt a new all time favorite!

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Alison Taylor’s Saturday night started out normal enough. She has recently separated from her husband, and her friends have convinced her to go on a date with a man she met online. While nervous, she is excited to be taking this step towards a possible new future… But what she doesn’t know, is that her life is about to change forever. Because when she wakes up the next day, she is home alone, hurt and has no memory of what happened to her. Even worse, when she looks in the mirror, she doesn’t recognize her own face… And as turns out, she doesn’t recognize the faces of her friends and family either, along with the face of the person who is trying to destroy her in the first place.

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Bring out the superlatives and invite them to this review party, because I’ll need a lot of them to describe my feelings about The Date. I read a lot of thrillers, but this story was simply something else. The Date ticked all the right boxes for me and more, and I literally dropped everything to read this psychological thriller. Fascinating, highly addictive and utterly absorbing! If you are a fan of the genre, you simply MUST try this one. Trust me, you won’t regret it.


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WWW Wednesdays #173 – June 6th

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

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading The Lost For Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland, both a pending ARC due soon and a little break in between my upcoming thriller reads. I’m also starting The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker, a title I’ve been meaning to read for a while and I also have an ARC of the sequel due soon, so it’s kind of two for one with this one. Fingers crossed both will be good reads!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor (5/5 stars) REVIEW 25/06
I already had a feeling about this one, and not just because of the cover… I was going to wait until the sequel was out, but I couldn’t resist and started it anyway. Mistake? I don’t know, but the fact is that this turned out to be my second 5 star read of the year and I absolutely loved it. One of my new favorite characters, gorgeous prose, excellent worldbuilding… What’s not to love? The wait for the sequel maybe.

2. To Die In Vienna by Kevin Wignall (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 14/06
I saw this one on NG when I was actually in Vienna, so of course I couldn’t resist. I ended up reading it only after we came back, but that made being able to revisit some of the places mentioned in the story all the better. This one is a fast-paced and action-packed spy thrillers that will appeal to fans of the genre. Credibility issues aside, this was quite an entertaining read.

3. The Date by Louise Jensen (5/5 stars) REVIEW 11/06
Louise Jensen is one of my favorite psychological thriller authors and she has done her thing once again by writing her newest story The Date. Holy cow, what a read! Not only is the writing sublime, but the suspense is spot on and I’m always a sucker for the whole amnesia element. Especially in this case, where the main character is unable to recognize faces after trauma… Fascinating, highly addictive and utterly absorbing! I literally dropped everything to read this one.

4. What Happened That Night by Sandra Block (4/5 stars) REVIEW 08/06
I just had to request a copy after seeing that gorgeous cover, and the fact that I’m always drawn to dark thrillers does help as well. This story has a lot of trigger warnings (rape, violence, suicide, graphic scenes), but the plot itself is both complex and original. I do have to say I had my doubts about the credibility of it all and unfortunately I was able to guess one or two mayor plot twists early on. But the writing is engaging, the pace superfast and the story itself will chill you to the bone.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to finish my pending June ARCs as soon as possible, so I have three titles lined up next: The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker will be the first, just after I finish the first book. I’ll probably read The Unbinding Of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara after that to take another break from the thriller genre… And I also still need to read Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris. I have a new TBR jar pick as well: When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore. I’m really curious about that one!


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Teaser Tuesdays #174 – June 5th: The Date @bookouture @Fab_fiction

TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme hosted at The Purple Booker. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I actually already finished this one on Sunday, but I just HAD to share a teaser anyway. Louise Jensen is one of my favorite psychological thriller authors and she has done her thing once again by writing her newest story The Date. Holy cow, what a read! Not only is the writing sublime, but the suspense is spot on and I’m always a sucker for the whole amnesia element. Especially in this case, where the main character is unable to recognize faces after trauma… Fascinating, highly addictive and utterly absorbing! I literally dropped everything to read this one.

My teaser (17%):

“Gingerly, I stand, cup my eyes and press my face against the glass.

There’s nobody there.

But that doesn’t mean he has gone.”

What are you reading right now?


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WWW Wednesdays #154 – September 13th

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

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

At the time I’m writing this WWW I’m still reading The Dollmaker Of Krakow by R.M. Romero, but most likely I will already have finished it by the time this post goes live. Because I’m flying through this middle grade historical fiction/fantasy read. Very unique and intriguing so far… I’m also starting Beartown by Fredrik Backman; A Man Called Ove is one of my all time favorites so I still don’t know why it took me this long to pick it up. Straight after I will continue with A Different Blue by Amy Harmon, because it’s been too long since I last read one of her stories. Gotta love finally reading my own books again. ❤

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Surrogate by Louise Jensen (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW
If you are looking for your next psychological thriller, you have just found your story. Because The Surrogate is perfect for any fan of the genre and will leave you both speechless and mindblown by the last page. The story starts out rather conventional and gives you that false security that you have already figured out what is probably going to happen… And then the plot twists bombs start falling and you will discover you were SO wrong about everything. Oh yes, The Surrogate will mess with your mind and you will love every single minute of it. Because this is one brilliantly executed psychological thriller.

2. This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab REREAD (5/5 stars) OLD REVIEW
This one was a reread in preparation of the second and final book of the duology and I loved it just as much the second time around. But then again, it’s Schwab we’re talking about and everything she touches seems to turn into gold in the first place. BRILLIANT.

3. Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (5/5 stars) REVIEW 15/09
Error, page not found… Excuse me while my mind recovers from the blow. Because WOW. Victoria Schwab wasn’t kidding when she said this wasn’t a happy story… I admire her all the more for it even though this book kind of broke my heart… Bulldozer or not, I loved this story and how things developed. I’m not saying this Monsters Of Verity duology can compete with the Shades Of Magic trilogy, but I like to see them as two completely separate series that both deserve all the love.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m pickin up The Mistake by K.L. Slater next even though it’s recently due next month… I loved her previous books so I can’t wait to dive into this one! ! I also want to read Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin as well as Heartless by Marissa Meyer. Both have been on my TBR for way too long now. And my latest TBR jar pick is still Flowers For Algéron by Daniel Keyes, a modern classic that I can conveniently use for one of the challenges as well and hope to read before the end of this month.


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ARC REVIEW: The Surrogate – by Louise Jensen @Fab_fiction @bookouture

Title: The Surrogate
Author: Louise Jensen

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: September 27th 2017
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: September 7th 2017
Pages: 374

“But then, we all have things to hide, don’t we? Our version of the truth is pliable, we mould our reality to mask our lies, and sometimes it sounds so plausible we even convince ourselves.”

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

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After reading The Sister and The Gift last year, I was left no other option than to add any future Louise Jensen books straight to my most-anticipated-releases list. This is exactly what happened as soon as I heard about her newest book The Surrogate and I was over the moon when I was granted a copy early. And WOW. Be ready to get your socks blown off when you read this psychological thriller! Basically I was left speechless and mindblown when I reached the final page, and to be honest I still haven’t recovered fully from this story. What starts out as an excellent, but seemingly straightforward psychological thriller will manage to leave you flabbergasted before you reach the ending… Because there is one thing I know: I was SO wrong about every single suspicion I had while was reading The SurrogateLouise Jensen is a pro at creating the perfect suspenseful atmosphere with that feeling you can’t trust anyone or anything… But she is also brilliant at misleading her readers. It doesn’t happen often, but The Surrogate managed to surprise me entirely with the final twists and I just love whenever that happens! Apart from the final plot twists bombs, the plot itself is very well executed and very capable of misleading you without losing your interest as you suspect you have already figured everything out quite early on. The suspense and suspicions are real until the very end and combined with the excellent writing you will find it really hard to put this story down before you know what happened and will happen to the main characters. The characters themselves are well developed and feel realistic, even though if I am honest I didn’t exactly like them. I found Kat to be a bit too trusting, but I guess this part of her personality does make the story work all the better. And this minor speed bump by no means makes The Surrogate any less brilliant. If you enjoy reading psychological thrillers, I can highly recommend Louise Jensen‘s work in general. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed by her books!

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Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, but maybe it just wasn’t ment to be… Kat cannot get pregnant and their efforts to adopt a little one into their family haven’t been successful. Something always seems to go wrong and they are on the point of giving up; they simply cannot take the stress anymore. But then Kat runs into her childhood friend Lisa by chance and it seems like the couple has been given one last chance to fulfill their wish. It all sounds too good to be true… Can Lisa really be trusted with something this delicate?

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If you are looking for your next psychological thriller, you have just found your story. Because The Surrogate is perfect for any fan of the genre and will leave you both speechless and mindblown by the last page. The story starts out rather conventional and gives you that false security that you have already figured out what is probably going to happen… And then the plot twists bombs start falling and you will discover you were SO wrong about everything. Oh yes, The Surrogate will mess with your mind and you will love every single minute of it. Because this is one brilliantly executed psychological thriller.


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WWW Wednesdays #153 – September 6th

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

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading The Surrogate by Louise Jensen… One of my most anticipated thriller releases and so far it’s GOOD. The only reason I haven’t finished it yet is that I simply haven’t had much time to read in the first place. I’m also starting my reread of This Savage Song to prepare myself for Our Dark Duet. It’s finally happening!!! Although I will be sad to see this duology finished…

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW TODAY!!
I’ve tried really hard to like Never Let Me Go, but I’m convinced that this book/author and me simply aren’t a right fit. Especially since this book has received so much praise over the years… I personally really struggled with both the prose, plot and characters and I had a hard time making sense of it all. It’s almost as if the readers are clueless students as well and quite a lot of key information is left out in the beginning. In the end Never Let Me Go wasn’t my cup of tea, but since most people did enjoy it don’t let my review stop you from picking it up.

2. Cold Blood by Robert Bryndza (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/09
I’m a big fan of the Erika Foster series and book number 5 was definitely one of my most anticipated releases. The wait was worth it, because Cold Blood was definitely everything I  hoped for and more. Suspenseful, fast-paced, a kickass character, thrilling plot, another serial killer thriller and entertaining read in general. This book has only reconfirmed my love for this series and I’m already waiting impatiently for the next one! Oh yes, I’m seriously addicted to Erika Foster adventures. They simply read like a train. ❤

3. I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist (1,5/5 stars) REVIEW 07/09
I was actually really looking forward to this book, but I guess I should have known after reading the blurb. The thing is: I normally like stories that are unconventional. Call me weird, but I find a dose of crazy to be rather refreshing every once in a while… But I wasn’t prepared for I Am Behind You. Because this story will definitely give you an overdose of crazy. The plot is basically absurd and doesn’t make sense and I was clueless even after reaching the final page. I didn’t manage to connect to the characters or writing style and overall unfortunately I had a really hard struggle with it. The fact that it took me about three times as much as normal to just finish it will say enough… Definitely not a story for me.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going to pick up Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab straight after This Savage Song! I also want to read A Different Blue by Amy Harmon soon… I love her books so far and can’t wait to read this one. Black-Eyed Susans by Julia Heaberlin is also high on my list. My newest TBR jar pick is Flowers For Algéron by Daniel Keyes, a modern classic that I can conveniently use for one of the challenges as well. 😉


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Teaser Tuesdays #155 – September 5th: The Surrogate

TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme hosted at The Purple Booker. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I’m SO excited to be reading one of my most anticipated releases this year right now! The Surrogate by Louise Jensen… I’ve only just started reading it, but what I’ve seen is GOOD. I can’t wait to read more of it today, and if I can find the time I’ll most likely finish it in one sitting. 😀

My teaser (2%):

“She wraps her arms around herself as though she is cold, despite this being the warmest May on record for years. Cherry blossom twirls around her ankles like confetti, but there will be no happily ever after for the occupants of this house, the sense of tragedy already seeping into its red bricks.”

What are you reading right now?


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Friday Finds #140 – July 7th

FRIDAY FINDS showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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