YVO’S SHORTIES #125 – Muse Of Nightmares & Hope And Other Punchlines

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a YA edition: two most anticipated books that both lived up to expectations for me. Muse Of Nightmares  by Laini Taylor is the duology conclusion and I once again fell in love with the wonderful wonderful prose. I have loved Julie Buxbaum‘s books in the past, and while Hope And Other Punchlines isn’t my favorite of the bunch, it’s still an excellent read and the 9/11 element is well handled.


Title: Muse Of Nightmares
(Strange The Dreamer #2)
Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: October 2nd 2018
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Finished reading: September 15th 2019
Pages: 528

“Wishes don’t just come true. They’re only the target you paint around what you want. You still have to hit the bull’s-eye yourself.”

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I admit I’ve been afraid to pick up my copy of Muse Of Nightmares… After being blown away by the first book of this duology, I was afraid it was going to be almost impossible for the sequel to live up to expectations. But I shouldn’t have doubted the power of Laini Taylor‘s absolutely gorgeous prose! Like with Strange The Dreamer, I was absolutely mesmerized by the words she uses to describe both the high fantasy world, its characters and the plot itself. Things can be said about the fact that not all that much seems to be happening considering its 500+ pages, although I did feel there was more going on in the sequel. But personally I didn’t really care as long as I was going to be able to keep lapping up those gorgeous sentences. Muse Of Nightmares proves that the writing and characters truly can make up for a plot that is slightly bland in places and this story blew me away. I mentioned the characters, and they are definitely one of the reasons this duology is on my list of all time favorites. Lazlo, Sarai and the others won over my hard so fast and my heart really went out for them. I love that a lot of the characters are not either good or bad, walking that grey area instead of simply being described as monsters. The worldbuilding of this high fantasy world is again beautifully done and set the right tone for this sequel. I would definitely suggest reading these in order, as Muse Of Nightmares picks up right where the first book ended and you won’t be able to appreciate the sequel without the character and plot development in Strange The Dreamer. Then again, if you don’t mind a slower and more character driven YA fantasy, you will want to spend time devouring the stunning prose in both books anyway.


Title: Hope And Other Punchlines
Author: Julie Buxbaum
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: May 7th 2019 
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Finished reading: September 26th 2019
Pages: 311

“I’m so, so tired of always worrying about our world splitting into a before and an after again.”

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Julie Buxbaum is one of the select group of authors who can make me enjoy the contemporary romance genre. After loving her first two YA books, it’s easy to say that my expectations were sky high for Hope And Other Punchlines. It might have been the wrong time to pick up this title, or it might have been that my expectations were a tad unrealistic, because while there is no doubt that this story is an excellent read, it didn’t blow me away as I thought it would. There is a lot to love in Hope And Other Punchlines though. First up is the 9/11 element, an event that has made a huge impact on countless of lives and I could really appreciate how Julie Buxbaum incorporated this into the plot. While both the town and the Baby Hope photo are fictional, I do feel they represent the aftermath of 9/11 realistically and show us just how devastating the impact of this single event is even all those years later. Then we have the main characters Abbi, Noah and Jack. While I had certain issues with some actions in the beginning (blackmailing!!!), it is still quite easy for these three characters to win over your heart. The dynamics between geeky Noah, Jack and Abbi will grow into something absolutely adorable and they are definitely part of the reason this book works. Abbi (Baby Hope) is a very interesting character and she makes you think about the impact one little photo can have on both the life of those portrayed and on many others as it becomes a symbol of hope. I personally adored the camp scenes and I thought the story was well balanced in general. Lighter moments are contrasted with not only 9/11 details, but also other heavy themes as Alzheimer and cancer. I finished this story in no time at all and while I do admit it’s not my favorite Julie Buxbaum, I can definitely recommend it to any fan of the contemporary romance genre looking for a story that is both adorable and heartbreaking.


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WWW Wednesdays #238 – September 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 binge reading the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy by Lilja Sigurdardottir in preparation for my stop of the blog tour for the third and final book… I’m currently reading book number one Snare. I’m also starting Finding Henry Applebee by Celia Reynolds and I’m looking forward to the change of genre and read a contemporary again.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. All Cats Are Introverts by Francesco Marciuliano (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 15/10
I know I don’t read a lot of poetry, but give me cat photos, give me humor and give me a relatable topic and I’m sold. As a true introvert and a cat owner, it was extremely easy to relate to the poems included in this bundle. I literally laughed out loud multiple times, my own cat Delilah Bard frowning at me as apparently I was making too much noise to her liking. The dry, sometimes slightly sarcastic humor is right up my alley and some poems definitely have a mean pun. The cat photos in this bundle are of a high quality and it shows that they have been chosen carefully as they suit each poem extremely well.

2. The Birthday House by Jill Treseder (3/5 stars) REVIEW 08/10
Look out for my review during my stop of the blog tour next month!

3. Muse Of Nightmares by Laini Taylor (5/5 stars) REVIEW 11/10
After being blown away by the first book of this duology, I was afraid it was going to be almost impossible for the sequel to live up to expectations. But I shouldn’t have doubted the power of Laini Taylor‘s absolutely gorgeous prose! Like with Strange The Dreamer, I was absolutely mesmerized by the words she uses to describe both the high fantasy world, its characters and the plot itself. Things can be said about the fact that not all that much seems to be happening considering its 500+ pages, although I did feel there was more going on in the sequel. But personally I didn’t really care as long as I was going to be able to keep lapping up those gorgeous sentences.

4. Here To Stay by Mark Edwards (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/09
I just HAD to get a copy after reading Meggy’s review and seeing others raving about it as well… And there is no doubt that this book delivered. I basically felt uncomfortable and threatened during the whole book, feeling what the main character feels while also just wanting to shake him and tell him to do something about his situation. I definitely didn’t see the ending coming either! I might need some time before I can get my thoughts together and write a review that does it justice. Mark Edwards has a new fan!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I just remembered I still had to read this month’s Criminally Good book club read! Since I really want to read it in the first place, I’m picking up The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup next. Afterwards it’s time for more ARCs… First up are The Huntress by Kate Quinn and I Will Make You Pay by Terese Driscoll. My latest TBR jar pick is still The Museum Of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman… I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get to it this month as I have a huge pile of books I need to read first. xD


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WWW Wednesdays #237 – September 11th

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 needed to cleanse my palate after finishing Blood Song, so I decided to finally pick up Muse Of Nightmares by Laini Taylor. I LOVED Strange The Dreamer when I read it last year, and I’m still not sure why it has taken me this long to pick up the sequel… The writing is definitely just as gorgeous as the first book so far, and I can’t wait to read more of it today. I’m also picking up the ARC Here To Stay by Mark Edwards soon, as I don’t think it will take me long to finish Muse Of Nightmares at this pace.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Liar’s Sister by Sarah A. Denzil (4/5 stars) REVIEW 13/09
The Liar’s Sister is a psychological thriller filled to the brim with secrets and lies and without doubt packs a mean punch. Both focused on family relationships, grief and something possibly sinister happening in past and present, this story will appeal to both fans of more domestic thrillers and those who enjoy a healthy dose of suspense and action.

2. Secrets Of The Mist by Kate Ryder (4/5 stars) REVIEW 19/09
I know romance is not my typical genre, but I do love my historical fiction and there was just something about this timeslip romance story that caught my attention. Not only has Secrets Of The Mist a stunning cover, but the blurb instantly intrigued me. And I’m definitely glad I made the decision to read this story, because it was without doubt a beautifully written and poignant read.

3. The Lies We Tell by Debra Webb (4/5 stars) REVIEW 17/09
I had The Lies We Tell wrongly identified as romantic suspense (I’m not sure why), but there is nothing mild or tranquil about this story. Oh no, this is a full blown serial killer thriller where things will get dark, disturbing and violent and some scenes are definitely not for those with a weak stomach. The fact that the main character is an undertaker and her connection to everything that is happening gives the story an unique touch. Fans of darker and fast-paced crime thrillers will have a great time with this series!

4. Sorry I Barfed On Your Bed Again by Jeremy Greenberg (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 07/10
I’m what you call a cat lover and I just couldn’t resist what sounded like a combination of a fun read and cat photos. It’s without doubt a great gift for anyone who likes cats and some of the letters are very funny. I do hope they will make the photos less dark in the printed version, because some details were lost in the ARC copy.

5. Blood Song by Johana Gustawsson (5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 20/09
Look out for my review during my stop of the blog tour!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Next up are more ARCs… The Birthday House by Jill Treseder for an upcoming blog tour and All Cats Are Introverts by Francesco Marciuliano because I’m in the mood for a funny read. I also want to pick up Snare by Lilja Sigudardottir in preparation for the blog tour of the third book Cage next month. My latest TBR jar pick is still The Museum Of Extraordinary Things by Alice Hoffman… I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get to it this month as I have a huge pile of books I need to read first. xD


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