YVO’S SHORTIES #105 – We Are Never Meeting In Real Life (DNF) & The Confectioner’s Guild

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around I was less lucky with my reading choices… The first, We Are Never Meeting In Real Life by Samantha Irby, ended up being a DNF for me as we definitely didn’t get along. The second, The Confectioner’s Guild by Claire Luana, started out good enough, but things soon fizzled out and the story failed to impress me in the end.


Title: We Are Never Meeting In Real Life
Author: Samantha Irby

Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir
First published: May 30th 2017
Publisher: Vintage
Finished reading: June 4th 2019
Pages: 272
DNF at 42% (114 pages)

“And if that doesn’t work, I’ll just tell some more stupid jokes. Good thing I’m hilarious.”


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Give me a cat on a cover and I’m immediately intrigued, and give me a promise of a potentially funny memoir and consider me signed up for the challenge. I’ve been looking forward to pick up We Are Never Meeting In Real Life despite the mixed reviews and despite the fact I hadn’t heard of the author before. Maybe I should have checked out her blog to see if her writing style would be for me, because there is one thing for sure: her writing and me definitely didn’t get along. I love my snarky humor, but we are most definitely NOT going to be meeting in real life or getting along for that matter… I’m going to be honest here and say I just felt the author was too full of herself (see quote above) and trying way too hard to be funny and it had the complete opposite effect on me. Add an overdose of sex references to the whole self-centeredness and I had no other option than to simply throw in the towel at 42%. I never like making the decision to DNF a story, but sadly the writing style and content was such a struggle for me that I just couldn’t force myself to read the other 58% of the essays. Hereby I declare We Are Never Meeting In Real Life officially my fourth DNF of the year and it’s easy to say it wasn’t the reading experience I was hoping for. Note to self: next time, don’t get distracted by a cute cat on the cover and investigate first before deciding to read another ‘funny’ memoir. If you are able to connect to her humor and don’t mind a lot of sex-centered comments, you will probably have a better time reading We Are Never Meeting In Real Life though.


Title: The Confectioner’s Guild
(The Confectioner’s Chronicles #1)
Author: Claire Luana

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magic
First published: October 23rd 2018
Publisher: Live Edge Publishing
Finished reading: June 5th 2019
Pages: 327

“Small things change the course of history.”

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I stumbled upon this series while browsing for books with a food element for a challenge, and both cover and blurb sounded positively delicious. I’ve been looking forward to bite into The Confectioner’s Guild ever since (did I mention before I love baking?), and when I started reading I really liked what I was tasting. The fantasy world, the many many baking references, the mystery around Kasper’s death and Wren’s past, the existence of the Gifted… Oh yes, there were a lot of interesting ingredients in play. The Confectioner’s Guild reads quite fast at first and part of this has to do with the writing, which starts out engaging and interactive. It’s true though that things start slowing down a bit after a while and the initial flame peeters out mostly… I think a lot of it has to do with the introduction of sappy romance in the plot, which distracts from the murder conspiracy and delicious baking elements. It also had to do with Wren, who started to get on my nerves with the whole ‘I can’t trust anyone’ and then ‘I’m trusting them anyway’ repeating over and over again. The romance itself mostly felt forced and unnatural for me, but at least we don’t have a love triangle (or at least for now). I ended up having mixed thoughts about The Confectioner’s Guild, because while I loved certain elements, there were others that failed to convince me including the ending. But there is one thing for sure: you will crave lots of baked goods before you reach the final page! I’m really tempted to make another batch of these rose buttercream cupcakes I prepared two weeks ago for a birthday party just because they match the cupcake that changed Wren’s fate so well. 😉


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ARC REVIEW: Final Betrayal – by Patricia Gibney

Title: Final Betrayal
(Detective Lottie Parker #6)

Author: Patricia Gibney
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: April 18th 2019
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: April 11th 2019
Pages: 484

“Her subconscious was telling her she had made a mistake all those years ago. Her conscious self told her she hadn’t. Which was correct?”

*** 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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Most of you are probably already aware of the fact I have been a detective Lottie Parker fan ever since the first book came out and I’ve been closely following the series ever since… The thing is, I’m starting to wonder whether this is turning out to be one of those series that has been going on for too long. Don’t get me wrong, but while I absolutely loved the first four installments, I struggled to warm up to number five and sadly my reaction to book six wasn’t what I was expecting either. I’m not saying Final Betrayal is a bad read at all (I want to make that clear before I continue), but once again I felt that somehow the spark of the first four books was missing. Detective Lottie Parker is known for her complex and shocking detective adventures, and it’s true that this new installment mostly delivers that. But… I felt like Final Betrayal was almost trying to take too much on its plate at the same time. There are so many different POVs, characters and different angles that it’s hard to keep track of it all and instead of adding more tension and suspense, I mostly ended up being frustrated by having to deal with yet another POV jump within the same chapter. There is so much going on at the same time that it feels like you are juggling ten balls at the same time and only have time to look at your hands and not at what really is going on. I had my doubts about the credibility as well, and like in book five, the negative attitude and swearing of some characters started to get on my nerves. As for the plot twists and surprises… I guessed part of the final reveal early on, and I’m not sure I find the final explanations completely satisfying. Sure, there is a lot of action and tension involved in the plot and things will get very personal on multiple levels for Lottie Parker. But unfortunately Final Betrayal failed to hit the mark completely for me this time around. Did I mention it was unpopular opinion time again?

WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first five books yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Amy Whyte and Penny Brogan both disappear after leaving a local nightclub early Sunday morning, but it isn’t until Monday that someone realizes they are gone. Amy’s father reports her missing, and it’s up to detective Lottie Parker to try and discover what happened that night. What originally was a search for one woman soon turns out to be two as Penny cannot be found either. When their bodies are found days later, they are desperate to close the case fast as Amy’s father has a lot of influence. Then things turn even more desperate as two more girls are found… And danger seems to be around every corner.

I was really hoping to fall in love with this series again, but once again the story failed to hit the mark completely for me… It’s not a bad read, the writing still reads lightning-fast and there are a lot of twists and turns involved, but for me sadly the spark of the first four books was missing. I felt there was almost too much going on in Final Betrayal, with multiple characters and POV switches even within the same character. Instead of adding the characteristic dept and complexity to the plot, I rather found it confusing and almost irritating this time around, especially since you never seem to get to settle down with one character for a little while. I had my doubts about the credibility and wasn’t convinced by the final reveals either… It has convinced me Lottie Parker and me are overdue for a little break and I have decided to step away from the series and leave it for those who still feel the same love for Lottie Parker.


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ARC REVIEW: Wolfhunter River – by Rachel Caine

Title: Wolfhunter River
(Stillhouse Lake #3)
Author: Rachel Caine
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: April 23rd 2019
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: March 30th 2019
Pages: 330

“My past is a wrecking ball. I’ve always known it was out there, rushing toward me. I just never imagined how much it would hurt when it finally hit.”

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

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I’m a huge fan of the first two Stilhouse Lake books (both were 5 star reads for me, and I don’t hand those ratings out easily), so it’s easy to say I might have screamed when I saw that an ARC of Wolfhunter River was up for grabs on Netgalley. I have been highly anticipating this third installment of one of my all time favorite serial killer thriller series… And this might just have been the problem, because while I still highly enjoyed my time with Wolfhunter River, I don’t think the story actually lives up to the first two books. I’ll try to explain why without giving away any spoilers. The first thing I wasn’t 100% convinced about was the plot. I’m not saying it’s a bad plot and there are definitely fireworks and a lot of action and violence involved, but the first part of the story went on too long about previous events and the Wolfhunter part was a little too much for me to consider it completely believable. Plot twists, flying bullets, conspiracy theories, a kidnapped little girl, a shady town… There is a lot going on and having all of this linked with Gwen Proctor and her family can get a little too much. The whole Lost Angels and secret past element is something that can go both ways for you, because if you think about it it can come over as a bit cliche. The writing is mostly on fire though and once I was past the first few chapters and the focus turned to Wolfhunter, I dropped everything I was doing and kept turning those pages to see how things would end. While I did started to doubt the credibility of it all and some things were just a little too farfetched to be believable (and the ending was just too convenient of a wrap up), Wolfhunter River was still a very entertaining ride with a lot of promise for the next book.

WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first two books of this series yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Gwen Proctor might be wanting to move on after being acquitted of helping her serial killer husband and then having to escape him all over again, but there are others who don’t believe in her innocence and want to make her pay no matter what. Gwen no longer wants to hide as she’s trying to build a normal life for her kids, but that is easier said than done as she still has a lot of enemies set out to destroy her. When a woman from Wolfhunter calls Gwen asking for help, she initially doesn’t take notice but soon sees it as a way to escape life in Stillhouse Lake for a little while… But things turn out to be way more dangerous and shady in Wolfhunter than she could ever imagine.

While I don’t feel Wolfhunter River was as good as the previous two books, I can’t deny I still highly enjoyed my time with this serial killer thriller. Suspenseful, twisted, explosive and lightning fast: once you get past the first few chapters and the setting changes to Wolfhunter, it will be really hard to stop reading before you reach that final page. I had some doubts about the credibility of the plot and the way things wrapped up was a bit too convenient to my taste, but the story has a lot of promise for what it yet to come and I’ll definitely be looking forward to the next book.


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ARC REVIEW: Bridge To Burn – by Rachel Amphlett @RachelAmphlett

Title: Bridge To Burn
(Detective Kay Hunter #7)
Author: Rachel Amphlett
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: January 13th 2019
Publisher: Saxon Publishing
Finished reading: December 25th 2018
Pages: 360

” ‘Two steps forward, one step back,’ said Carys. ‘It’s like the murder investigation version of bloody tango,’ said Barnes.”

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

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Detective Kay Hunter has quickly grown into a new favorite series and character of mine this year. I’m sure you’ve seen me mentioning this series numerous times during 2018, and I’m sure this won’t stop in the future. Why? Every single book so far has been a complete hit for me, of a consistent quality and well written story after story after story. Bridge To Burn is already book number seven and trust me, if you are a detective thriller fan and haven’t tried this series yet, you have been seriously missing out. Bridge To Burn is yet another winner and I loved every single minute of it. Make sure to have your schedule clear, because you will want to read it in one sitting if possible! Kay Hunter is one of my favorite detective characters and reading about her adventures is like returning to and old friend. The writing is excellent, the plot was once again intriguing and the main characters will win over your heart all over again. There are lots of twists and turns to consider and Bridge To Burn has just the right dose of suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat. And honestly, this series in general just has it all.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first six books of this series yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

When a mummified body is found in a recently renovated building, detective Kay Hunter and her team are called in to discover what happened and who was behind the crime. It turns out to be a far more complicated investigation than initially expected… And includes men who will do anything to protect their business interests. Kay Hunter and her team will have to tread carefully to discover the truth before it’s too late…

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It’s always a wonderful feeling meeting up with an old favorite again, and that is exactly what I feel every time I get to spend more time with detective Kay Hunter. This series has quickly become one of my favorites and I can highly recommend it to any fan of the genre. If you enjoy reading detective thrillers, getting to know Kay Hunter is a must! Every single book so far has been well written with intriguing plots, interesting and easy to like characters and just the right amount of suspense and plot twists. What is not to like? Trust me, you don’t want to miss out…


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ARC REVIEW: Tell Nobody – by Patricia Gibney

Title: Tell Nobody
(Detective Lottie Parker #5)
Author: Patricia Gibney
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: October 3rd 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: October 3rd 2018
Pages: 458

“Now she was on the road with no idea whether she had successfully escaped the veil of evil that had shrouded her life, or if she was being catapulted head-first into a new horror show.”

*** 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 closely following detective Lottie Parker and her team ever since the first book came out, and each new book that comes out gives me that feeling of Christmas having come early. The series has been constantly excellent so far, delivering another complex, shocking and well developed story to feed our hungry detective thriller minds. This is why it comes as a total surprise to me I wasn’t able to enjoy Tell Nobody as much as the previous four books. Don’t get me wrong, book number five is still a solid detective thriller, with the same complexity and well crafted plot I have become used to, but for me some of the spark was missing this time. I can’t put my finger exactly on the why, but I think part of it has to do with the fact that the behavior of the main characters really annoyed me this time with the constant negative attitudes, swearing and other unpleasant traits. This made me feel not as connected to the story, as I was distracted by my feelings of frustrations towards them. As for the investigations in Tell Nobody: trigger warnings are in place for abuse and child abuse, violence and possible graphic scenes. As always, there are a lot of different characters in play and a lot of twists and turns to distract you from the truth. I guessed part of the final reveals, but there were also a few things I definitely didn’t see coming. Disturbing, twisted and unsettling… Make sure you brace yourself before you start this one. The ending will be a shocker!

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first four books yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

One evening eleven-year-old Mikey disappears after scoring the winning goal for his soccer team and celebrating together in McDonalds. Two days later his lifeless body is found and Lottie Parker and her team are called in to investigate. They are having their hands full, as they are also investigating another case where the body of a newborn was found by no other than Lottie Parker’s own son Sean and his friend. Things are becoming personal, and quickly spin out of control… Will they be able to solve the cases in time?

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While Tell Nobody without doubt still is a solid detective thriller, I don’t think it hit the mark completely for me this time. A lot had to do with the fact that somehow the main characters and their negative attitude started to frustrate me, and maybe also with the fact that I saw part of the final reveal coming quite early on. That said, the writing was as solid as always as well as the construction of the plot and plot twists. There are some difficult themes involved including child abuse and this story definitely isn’t for the weak hearted.


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ARC REVIEW: The Wife’s Secret – by Kerry Wilkinson @bookouture

Title: The Wife’s Secret
Author: Kerry Wilkinson
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: October 10th 2018
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: September 22nd 2018
Pages: 338

“You hear people saying it’s the not knowing that really affects a person. If there’s a death, you can start the process of grieving; without that, you’re left hoping – and it’s the hope that gets you in the end.”

*** 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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!! Happy publication day !!

I have enjoyed Kerry Wilkinson‘s books in the past, and combined with an intriguing sounding blurb I found The Wife’s Secret to be impossible to resist. I’m definitely glad I followed my instincts, because I found myself hooked from the moment I sat down and opened the first page. This might just be my new favorite story by this author so far! The writing is solid, engaging and makes you fly through the pages as you try and figure out what happened to Seth’s wife and what she is hiding. And what a shocking history that is! I literally finished The Wife’s Secret in less than a day and there were a lot of things I didn’t see coming. The suspense is very well done and the plot and plot twists crafted in a way that will keep you guessing as certain aspects are only revealed towards the ending. I always love it when a psychological thriller manages to surprise me! And such shocking reveals at that… As for the characters: most of them are not exactly likeable, but somehow that didn’t bother me all that much. I was too focused on the whole mystery around Charley, both around her past and her disappearance, to be put off by them. If you like suspenseful psychological thrillers, you will be in for a treat with this one.

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Charley Willis was only thirteen years old when her famous parents were killed in their own home. She was found unharmed and hiding in a closet upstairs… Fifteen years later, Charley is marrying Seth Chambers. It is her chance at a clean slate, as Seth doesn’t know much about her past apart from the facts known to the general public. But the past may have come back to haunt her… Hourse after the wedding ceremony, Charley is missing. And Seth is about to find out his new wife kept a lot of things from him…

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I like Kerry Wilkinson‘s writing style and The Wife’s Secret is no exception. Suspenseful, well written, shocking twists and slightly disturbing… There is a lot to love in this story and there is a lot to keep you on the wrong path for a long time. There are definitely plot reveals that will manage to surprise you before you reach the final page! The Wife’s Secret is an excellent psychological thriller and a true pageturner.


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ARC REVIEW: Lies Between Us – by Ronnie Turner

Title: Lies Between Us
Author: Ronnie Turner
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: October 1st 2018
Publisher: HQ Digital
Finished reading: September 18th 2018
Pages: 384

You miss the truth in its brutal, disgusting form. Far better to only see the sweet picture. But by missing the small things, you miss everything. Everything.

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

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First of all, it’s SO exciting to see another fellow book blogger getting her book published! I’ve been looking forward to read Lies Between Us ever since I first saw that cover, and there is no doubt that this is a very cleverly constructed psychological thriller debut. I admit it was a slowburner for me for reasons mentioned below, but above all the potential shines through and I will already be looking forward to what she will come up with next. Let’s talk a bit about my experience with Lies Between Us. Like I said before, I admit it took me some time to get used to the multiple POVs and I was confused as to how everything fit together at times. Especially the second person POV took some time getting used to, but that doesn’t mean it’s badly written or doesn’t fit the story. In fact, it only enhances the dark and slightly disturbing feeling around this character and adds to the overall suspenseful atmosphere of the book. There is no doubt that Lies Between Us is a complex and very cleverly executed psychological thriller that will keep you on edge. I did guess come of the twists though and some of the names are misleading… Those who have the chance to read this debut will probably understand what I’m referring to (don’t want to give away any spoilers!). Also, I was left with some questions after the final page, and would have liked to have some details explained to avoid the confusion. Still, Lies Between Us was a very satisfying psychological thriller with one heck of a creeper as one of the main characters… Talk about getting a look inside the head of a very disturbing individual! Fans of the genre will have a great time read this one.

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Three people with very different lives will soon be crossing paths under circumstances nobody wants themselves to find to be in. They all have something in common, although none of them know it yet… But the truth will not stay hidden forever. John has had a comfortable and happy life so far, but this is about to change as his daughter goes missing. Maisie is a nurse in a hospital and very dedicated, but hides a very traumatic experience in her past. And Miller has been struggling ever since he was little to fit in and be a ‘good boy’. How will they react to the things that happen to them and how does everything connect?

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While a slowburner for me, once I got the hang of the story I found myself to be absolutely hooked. Lies Between Us is a well crafted and complicated psychological thriller with multiple POVs and flashbacks that will keep you on your toes as you try to take everything in and fit everything together. The writing is solid and especially ‘Miller’s character development is extremely well done and spot on; he sure will give you goosebumps before the story is over. And despite a few minor problems mentioned above, I enjoyed spending time with Lies Between Us and it is without doubt a very promising debut.


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