YVO’S SHORTIES #100 – The Death Of Mrs. Westaway & Circe

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! Already shorties post number one hundred! and what better way to celebrate than with two fantastic backlist titles I both loved. The Death Of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware is probably my new favorite by the author and I absolutely loved my time with Circe by Madeline Miller. I love mythology stories in general and this one was brilliant.


Title: The Death Of Mrs Westaway
Author: Ruth Ware

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: May 29th 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Finished reading: May 7th 2019
Pages: 384

“You can’t influence fate, or change what’s out of your control. But you can choose what you yourself do with the cards you’re dealt.”


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I’ve been meaning to read another Ruth Ware book for a while now… While I was tempted to finally pick up The Woman In Cabin 10, I decided to stick to my 2019 priority title list and read The Death Of Mrs. Westaway instead. I can’t say I’m complaining, because after a few disappointing reads I finally found something that managed to blow me away again. This might just be my new favorite Ruth Ware title… What a creepy and suspenseful read! The house in Cornwall is such an excellent setting for this story filled with secrets and lies, and gives The Death Of Mrs. Westaway that gothic atmosphere. It definitely sets the right tone for this story! The story starts out in Brighton where we get to know the main character of this story and her desperate situation. I was intrigued by Hal’s situation from the start and while she is without doubt a flawed character and sometimes difficult to like, you will find yourself rooting for her soon enough. The writing is engaging and beautifully crafted and the descriptions gave off that creepy and eerie vibe. There are a lot of secrets and lies involved in the Westaway family and its past, and while I admit I saw part of them coming, I never guessed the full truth. In short, The Death Of Mrs. Westaway was a delightfully twisty and eerie psychological thriller packed with secrets and a dangerous side. If you are a fan of the genre, you will most likely have a great time with this one.


Title: Circe
Author: Madeline Miller

Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology
First published: April 10th 2018
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Finished reading: May 9th 2019
Pages: 336

“I thought once that gods are the opposite of death, but I see now they are more dead than anything, for they are unchanging, and can hold nothing in their hands.”


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I admit it was a pretty safe bet I was going to enjoy reading Circe, considering my love for Greek mythology stories in general and the fact that I loved her previous book The Song Of Achilles. My instincts turned out to be right, because I loved this story just as much as the gorgeous and shiny cover! If you enjoy (Greek) mythology retellings, Circe definitely is a must-read. Madeline Miller uses Circe’s immortal character to weave in a variety of different myths and stories about Gods and famous mortals alike. This is done exceptionally well and in a way that makes the story flow naturally. It’s true that time passes slower or more quickly at times and sometimes decades or centuries pass in a blink of the eye. But for me it only demonstrated the immortality of Circe and the way passes differently for her. The pace is slower at times, but I personally didn’t mind as it gave me more time to truly savour this little gem. I loved reading about Circe’s time living in the house of her father Helios and all the events that followed. You will find references to for example Daedalus, the Minotaur and the famous labyrinth, Icarus and his wings, Achilles and the Troyan war… The main secondary role is left for Odysseus though, as both him and his sons play a role during a big part of the story. We learn more about his adventures, his past and the influence he has had on Circe’s life. Witchcraft also plays a big role throughout the story, and I really enjoyed learning more about Circe’s gift. I can see why Circe wouldn’t be for everyone, but if you enjoy Greek mythology retellings and don’t mind a slower pace at times, you will most likely enjoy it as much as I did.


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WWW Wednesdays #222 – May 15th

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 trying to work through my ARCs so I can take the month of June off and read mostly my own books… I’ve been trying to resist new ARCs and so far things are looking up if I can only get through the current ones (about 8 left with these included; whoops?). I’m currently reading The Wisdom Of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan even though it’s a June ARC, mostly because I’ve been wanting a break from the mystery genre… It’s still early days so we’ll see how things go. I’m also starting with Breakers by Doug Johnstone, which I should try to finish quickly since my blog tour post is due next week. I’m really excited to be reading it though!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Circe by Madeline Miller (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 16/05
I loved this story just as much as the gorgeous and shiny cover! If you enjoy (Greek) mythology retellings, Circe definitely is a must-read. Madeline Miller uses Circe’s immortal character to weave in a variety of different myths and stories about Gods and famous mortals alike. This is done exceptionally well and in a way that makes the story flow naturally. It’s true that time passes slower or more quickly at times and sometimes decades or centuries pass in a blink of the eye. But for me it only demonstrated the immortality of Circe and the way passes differently for her. I can see why Circe wouldn’t be for everyone, but if you enjoy Greek mythology retellings and don’t mind a slower pace at times, you will most likely enjoy it as much as I did.

2. Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small (3/5 stars) REVIEW 17/05
Look out for my thoughts on Bright Burning Stars during my blog tour stop on Friday!

3. The Vanishing Season by Dot Hutchison (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
The Vanishing Season has definitely succeeded in making this series go out with a bang. Things are going to get very personal and cold cases are going to get mixed with a current kidnapping case in a way you won’t be able to guess easily. There are twists and turns involved to mislead you and while you may get some details right, it will be impossible to imagine the full truth about the who, how and why until the very end. And you won’t be able to keep it dry by the time you reach the final page either… I found myself flying through the pages as I was dying to discover how it all ended; I literally couldn’t put down my kindle until I got there. I liked how everything wrapped up nicely and I was more than satisfied with this final book of the series. The Vanishing Season and The Summer Children are now tied for series favorite!

4. The Dead Girls Of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 21/05
I’ve enjoyed Katie Alender‘s books in the past so I was excited when my TBR jar thought it was time to pick up this title. I admit I was expecting something a little more creepy than what I found. There are elements of suspense and there are some creepy moments and secrets hidden in Hysteria Hall, but overall I found most of them to be cliche. I also didn’t find the main character Delia strong enough to carry the story; for example Maria came over as a considerably more interesting character to follow. There are a lot of cliche involved in general, related to both ghosts, family drama and even a love triangle… On the other hand it was still quite a fun and fast read; just don’t expect to be scared away, as for a haunted house story it’s surprisingly light on the horror.

5. Trouble Makes A Comeback by Stephanie Tromly (3/5 stars) REVIEW 21/05
I think I had the same issues with this sequel as with the first book… I should have checked that review better before deciding to read Trouble Makes A Comeback. I ended up having mixed thoughts about this story. It’s true the story reads superfast and there are entertaining parts. BUT. I had huge doubts about the credibility of it all and the fact that you are constantly reminded of THE love triangle is beyond annoying. In fact, it’s more than a triangle; a square maybe? Anyhow, this story is packed with high school and romance cliches and between those and the lack of credibility of the plot I had a lot of eyebrow raising going on.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

As I said before, I’m trying to get through my May and June ARCs ASAP so I can start reading my own titles for a while… I’m really excited to read Dead Inside by fellow blogger Noelle Holten though! And I enjoyed Nathan Ripley’s other story Find You In The Dark last year, so I’m having high hopes for Your Life Is Mine. The only reason I didn’t read Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech yet is that I’ve been reading ARCs and was in the mood for something lighter in between… I’m picking it up soon though. And I have a new TBR jar pick! The Problem With Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout… Isn’t that cover gorgeous?! I’m not sure if the story itself will be for me, but I’m looking forward to find out either way.


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WWW Wednesdays #221 – May 8th

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 Circe by Madeline Miller, a book I’ve been meaning to pick up for a while and I’m really excited about. I’m also starting Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small as my blog tour stop is getting pretty close.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/05
Sweetheart has definitely reconfirmed my love for this series. What a delightfully disturbing and twisted read! I always love it when we get to see a serial killer up close and Gretchen Lowell is without doubt one to reckon with. This story has twists, turns and a healthy dose of action and suspense as well as an insight in the psychological aspects. You’ll be having a hard time putting this one down before you find out what happens, and the cliffhanger will most definitely leave you wanting for more.

2. Middlegame by Seanan McGuire (DNF at 41%; 0 stars) REVIEW 
First of all I have to stress that I feel really bad about the decision to DNF, especially since I almost never have to resort to such a drastic decision and Middlegame is such a highly anticipated title. Trust me, I haven’t taken this decision lightly,and I have really tried to overcome my initial feelings and warm up to the story. But after a second, third and fourth chance, I had to throw in the towel at 41%. More about why I took the decision to DNF in my review.

3. Alice In Zombieland by Gene Showalter (1,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/05
Unlike what you might guess from the pun in Alice In Zombieland, this first book of a series actually has very little to do with the original story. Wait, this isn’t a retelling? Nope, I would never consider calling it that. Why? Well, apart from the main character being called Alice and a white rabbit cloud appearing repeatedly, there are no references to or similarities between the classic and this concoction. Instead, we have a story about zombies where we encounter a different kind of unread this time around; they are basically spirits and a lot more difficult to fight than your regular brain eaters. This could have been a premise for a very bloody and disturbing read, but sadly the fighting scenes and horror have been taken over almost completely by an overdose of cheesy and sappy romance scenes, a very frustrating love triangle and a whole lot of high school drama.

4. The East End by Jason Allen (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/05
Look out for my thoughts on The East End during my blog tour stop tomorrow!

5. The Death Of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW  16/05
Finally a story that managed to convince me again! I’ve been meaning to read more Ruth Ware for a while now and I’m definitely glad I picked up my copy of The Death Of Mrs. Westaway. What a creepy and suspenseful read! The house in Cornwall is such an excellent setting for this story filled with secrets and lies… I admit I saw part of it coming, but I never guess the full truth.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have a final May blog tour book I need to get to, which is also a title I’m really excited about: Breakers by Doug Johnstone. I also need to pick up my ARC of The Vanishing Season by Dot Hutchison,  which is another highly anticipated title. And my copy of Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech finally arrived! I can’t wait to read this story, so I’m probably going to ignore my May TBR and pick up this one ASAP. My latest TBR jar pick is still The Dead Girls Of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender.


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WWW Wednesdays #220 – May 1st

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 never thought I was going to be typing this, but I’m really struggling with Middlegame by Seanan McGuire. So far I’m feeling mighty confused and nothing much is making sense… There are so many 5 star reviews already that I’m almost wondering if I’m reading the same story. I confess I’ve been picking up other titles instead… Including my long pending TBR jar pick Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain, which I’ll most likely finish  first as well.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Murder On The Links by Agatha Christie (4/5 stars) REVIEW
I really enjoyed spending more time with Hercule Poirot. He is such an interesting character! I love the way he investigates by using what he calls using his grey cells, and deducts and discovers the truth by noticing things others might overlook. The writing makes it very easy to fly through this classic, and I had an excellent time trying to discover the hidden clues along with Poirot. Mr. Hastings can get quite annoying, but I tried not to focus on that and enjoy the investigation instead. I had a great time with this second book and I will definitely be looking forward to see more of Hercule Poirot in the future.

2. Before She Knew Him by Peter Swanson (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
the story definitely lived up to expectations… What a read! After a string of reads that failed to blow me away completely, I finally found myself fully absorbed in a story again and posponed all plans until I had reached the final page. Before She Knew Him is well written, suspenseful and has an enormous plot twist bomb towards the end that will leave you with your mouth hanging wide open. I love it when a story is able to mislead me so well I actually yelled ‘WHAT?!?!’ when I stumbled across the reveal. If you enjoy the genre, Before She Knew Him is definitely a story not to miss.

3. These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner (2/5 stars) REVIEW
There is one thing that is certain, and that is that These Broken Stars is oozing with sappy romance scenes. What I hoped would be an interesting science fiction story set in space, soon turned into a survival story on a foreign planet after only a few chapters… The survival angle could have been interesting enough once you get over the fact you won’t be getting more space actions or a true explanation behind the crash, but to be honest I was rather bored instead most of the time. For such an interesting setting, nothing much was actually happening. The story instead focuses almost completely on Lilac and Tarver and their complicated relationship. Romance fans who enjoy a forbidden romance story with a space setting will probably appreciate this first book of the Starbound series a lot more though.

4. Romanov by Nadine Brandes (4/5 stars) REVIEW
This retelling mixes historical facts and magic in an expert way and gives us a whole new take on the events set in 1918 Russia. While Romanov can mostly be considered and in fact mainly reads like a historical fiction story, there are also magical elements incorporated that give the story a little something extra. I enjoyed the writing style, although I do have to admit that the pace is considerably slow and this might be a turn off for those who don’t enjoy slower and more character driven historical fiction. Romanov focuses mostly on the characters and their development, and only gives you a healthy dose of action and magic more towards the ending.

5. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (1/5 stars) REVIEW 04/05
It’s true I wasn’t sure if this one would be for me, but I needed a graphic novel for my BTB Bingo challenge and my TBR choices were limited. I enjoy reading memoirs and the idea of reading a memoir in graphic novel form intrigued me. Sadly, I wasn’t able to connect to the tone or writing style of the author. The many many references to classic literature for me were, instead of an unexpected bonus, rather a hint to feelings of self-importance and superiority. I wasn’t a fan of how the whole lgbt aspect was handled nor how characters were portrayed. I honestly wish I would have just taken the decision to DNF, because I had a really hard time reaching that final page. This definitely wasn’t a story for me, although I should note others have highly enjoyed it so it could have been just me.

6. Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 04/05
I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while, especially since I want to watch the movie adaptation some time soon as well. The first thing that stood out for me was that this story has that The Fault In Our Stars and Everything, Everything vibe down to the terminal illness and cheesy romance. I’m still deciding whether that is a good or a bad thing, but there is one thing for sure: you will find yourself flying through this story. I literally finished it in less than a day, and a lot of this has to do with the writing style. I appreciated the focus and insight in CF and the impact of this disease on someone’s life. BUT. I’m not sure up to what point some aspects of the plot are exactly credible. More in my review, but it has to do with the unnecessary risk taking (something similar happened in Everything Everything). The romance itself was cheesy, but somehow I found myself liking it anyway. A story that will both make you smile and make your eyes water… Perfect if you enjoy the genre and don’t mind a pile of cliches and some inconsistencies.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have a few May blogtour reads I need to get to ASAP, and The East End by Jason Allen and Bright Burning Stars by A.K. Small are up first. I’m also finally picking up my copy of Circe by Madeline Miller (it’s already waiting for me next to my reading chair!). I’m having high hopes it will finally give me another 5 star read. I also have a new TBR jar pick! The Dead Girls Of Hysteria Hall by Katie Alender… I have really enjoyed her books so far, so I’m definitely looking forward to this one.


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BOOK REVIEW: The Song Of Achilles – by Madeline Miller

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Title: The Song Of Achilles
Author: Madeline Miller

Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Fiction
First published: September 20th 2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Finished reading: February 28th 2017
Pages: 352
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“He is a weapon, a killer. Do not forget it. You can use a spear as a walking stick, but that will not change its nature.”

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To take a little break from my ARC mountain, I decided to pick up one of my Beat The Backlist titles. Basically, I have been wanting to read The Song Of Achilles for YEARS. I still don’t know why I haven’t picked up this modern mythology adaptation of the Achilles and Troyan War story written by Madeline Miller before… Especially since so many fellow booklovers seemed to have enjoyed it and I also I read (part of) Homer‘s Iliad during my Ancient Greek classes back in high school and wanted to revisit the story. The Song Of Achilles surely didn’t disappoint; I can understand the love for this book now! Not only is this a very well written story and a lot more pleasant to read than the Iliad translations I’ve seen around, but the character development is very well done as well and I especially loved Patroclus’ character. The pace is quite slow at points, but I personally didn’t mind and I practically devoured this book. If you like mythology, good stories and want to refresh your memory on the Achilles and Troyan War facts, The Song Of Achilles is an excellent choice!

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Patroclus isn’t exactly the perfect young prince and his awkwardness makes his father very frustrated with him. When he accidently kills another boy, his father exiles him to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. Against odds the two princes become friends and as they grow up together their bond grows stronger and stronger, despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother and sea goddess Thetis. One day word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, and Achilles must go to war and fulfull his destiny. Patroclus isn’t exactly a skilled fighter, but he would follow Achilles everywhere including to the distant Troy. What will happen to the two during their journey?

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I think most people are at least vaguely familiar with the details around the Troyan War and Achilles. It’s quite a popular Greek mythology story and popular movies have helped to promote it, but it is important to realize those movies have been (heavily) adapted to please the masses. If you want to have a better idea of the ‘real’ story, this mythology adaptation by Madeline Miller is an excellent choice. It reads a lot easier than the Homer translations without changing too much of the plot, and while the pace is a bit slow I had a great time reading this story.


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WWW Wednesdays #126 – March 1st

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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?

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I have only one current read right now, which is basically a miracle haha. I’m trying to get rid of the backlog of reviews before I start a new story, so that might explain why though. I’ve only just started my ARC copy of I Found You by Lisa Jewell, but it’s without doubt a story I’ve been looking forward to.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished since last week is The Killing Game by J.S. Carol, an ARC I wasn’t able to read before the publish date and I feel kind of bad now I’ve waited this long to finally pick it up. I ended up really enjoying this disturbing and plot twist-packed thriller! The plot was quite refreshing as well; a hostage situation where you learn more about the POV of both the bad guy, the victims and the press. Fast-paced, well written and REALLY hard to put down before the story was finished!
* I then read A Gentleman In Moscow by Amor Towles, a historical fiction story I have been looking forward to ever since I first heard about it and I was delighted to receive an ARC copy of. I LOVED the setting and the prose! This is without doubt a beautifully written novel and even though the pace isn’t fast, the character development and many many descriptions made up for it. Fans of the genre will more than appreciate this story.
* The last book I read was The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller; just in time to count as one last book for February. I’ve been wanting to read this one for ages now… And not just because so many fellow booklovers seemed to enjoy it; I’ve read/translated part of the ‘original’ story during my high school Latin/Ancient Greek classes and I really wanted to revisit the story. I definitely understand the love for this book now! Not only is the story well written, but the character development is very well done and I loved Patroclus’ character. The pace is quite slow at points, but I personally didn’t mind. This mythology adaptation of the Achilles & Troy story is without doubt excellent!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I’ve decided to use March to try and get rid of the backlog of pending ARCs, so I have the following three lined up to read next: Bull by David Elliott, Silence Under Screams by Collin Henderson and The Last Gods of Indochine by Samuel Ferrer.  I also want to read Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken as part of my promise to start finishing more pending series.


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Teaser Tuesdays #129 – February 28th: The Song Of Achilles

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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 basically drowning in a pool of ARCs right now, but I decided to give myself a little break and pick up my copy of The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I have been wanting to read this story for ages now, and so far it’s just as good as everyone kept promising me! I’m definitely going to try and finish it before the end of today.

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My teaser (20%):

“There was something in Chiron’s face, firm and calm and imbued with authority, that made us children again, with no world beyond this moment’s play and this night’s dinner. With him near us, it was hard to remember what might have happened on the day by the beach.”

What are you reading right now?


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