YVO’S SHORTIES #53 – The Walls Around Us & Love And Gelato

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around another YA edition, although the books belong to different genres. The first was an absolute cover love case and a story that managed to surprise me. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma has to be one of the few stories were magical realism as an element didn’t actually bother me. The other is a typical contemporary romance story set abroad, Love And Gelato by Jenna Evan Welch, and was too cliche for me to properly enjoy.


Title: The Walls Around Us
Author: Nova Ren Suma

Genre: YA, Mystery, Paranormal
First published: March 24th 2015
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Finished reading: October 6th 2018
Pages: 319

“Our private taste in books showed a hint of our secret selves, and sometimes I was the only one who got to see those secrets.”


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This is one of those books I just knew I had to read without even knowing what it was about… The power of a beautiful cover. It’s also one of those books where it’s better to go in blind, because the full effect of it will be that much more powerful. The Walls Around Us isn’t your ordinary YA story. Strange, captivating. brutal, mesmerizing… You will be in for a ride with this one. You think this is just another thrilling crime story when you start reading, with a hint of a teenage Orange Is The New Black and a bit of Black Swan. But The Walls Around Us offers us more than that. It’s one of the first times magical realism is used in a story that didn’t actually bother me. Instead, the strangeness and beautiful descriptions took me on a journey along with the main characters, enjoying my time discovering what exactly was going on. The prison scenes were fascinating, and the many dance related scenes were a nice touch as well. I can’t say I was a fan of most of the main characters, but they did work perfectly in The Walls Around Us I guess. I enjoyed this story a lot more than I thought I would, and all in all it was more than a pleasant surprise. I don’t think The Walls Around Us is for everyone, but the right person will be just as mesmerized by this strange and magical story as I found myself to be.


Title: Love & Gelato
Author: Jenna Evans Welch 

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: May 3rd 2016
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Finished reading: October 9th 2018
Pages: 400

“You know, people come to Italy for all sorts of reasons, but when they stay, it’s for the same two things.”
“What?”
“Love and gelato.”


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I know contemporary romance isn’t really my thing, but I have fond memories of my various stays in Italy and I really felt like travelling back there again through this story. I mean, who can resist that setting and the possible talk about a lot of delicious Italian ice cream? Because there is one thing true: Love & Gelato makes you crave all kinds of Italian food. And the author did an excellent job at describing the city of Florence and the setting in general. It almost felt I was there along with the main characters! The setting was probably my favorite part of this story, and I liked the idea of the journal and Lina learning more about her mom that way. The writing makes it easy to fly through this story as well… But there were also a few things that really bothered me as well. The first elephant in the room is of course the dreaded love triangle. Why o why do most YA books have to be ruined by this trope? I would have loved this story so much better without it… Because the love triangle (or in fact multiple ones) also ment the introduction of a whole lot of cliches. And cringeworthy moments. And more cliches. It ended up being just too much for me, although I have the suspicion fans of contemporary romance stories will enjoy Love & Gelato a lot better than I did. It’s also the perfect summer/beach read despite some sad and deeper moments.


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WWW Wednesdays #191 – October 10th

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 two creepy reads fitting the Halloween month and also book number three and four for the Charms Extra Credit readathon I’m participating in this week. One Dark Night by Tom Bale and The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson… I’m not that far into either of these, but both look promising from the little I’ve seen so far.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Tell Nobody by Patricia Gibney (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/10
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.

2. The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 13/10
The Walls Around Us isn’t your ordinary YA story. Strange, captivating. brutal, mesmerizing… You will be in for a ride with this one. You think this is just another thrilling crime story when you start reading, with a hint of a teenage Orange Is The New Black and a bit of Black Swan. But The Walls Around Us offers us more than that. It’s one of the first times magical realism is used in a story that didn’t actually bother me. Instead, the strangeness and beautiful descriptions took me on a journey along with the main characters, enjoying my time discovering what exactly was going on.

3. The Passion According To Carmela by Marcos Aguinis (4/5 stars) REVIEW 14/10
The Passion According To Carmela is perfect for both historical fiction fans and those who enjoy a good complicated love story. You will come out both exhausted by everything that happens to the main character and having learned more about the Cuban Revolutions and its effects on the locals. Well written, well translation, well executed… It reads a bit slow at points, but the story is without doubt still 100% worth reading.

4. Closer by K.L. Slater (4/5 stars) REVIEW 18/10
Closer is yet another solid psychological thriller I’ve read by K.L. Slater, and has only reconfirmed to me I will always have my eyes out for any of her feature reads. While not perfect, since I guessed part of the final reveals early on and found the ending a bit abrupt, the plot is still well crafted and the creation of the suspense is spot on. I always have a great time with her books, and Closer is no different. I really appreciated the discussion of eating disorder and bullying as well, since it’s something that cannot get enough attention. If you are a fan of the genre, I can highly recommend all of her books.

5. Love And Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch (3/5 stars) REVIEW 13/10
There is one thing true: Love & Gelato makes you crave all kinds of Italian food. And the author did an excellent job at describing the city of Florence and the setting in general. It almost felt I was there along with the main characters! The setting was probably my favorite part of this story, and I liked the idea of the journal and Lina learning more about her mom that way. The writing makes it easy to fly through this story as well… But there were also a few things that really bothered me as well.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m no doubt going to pick my final readathon title up and hopefully finish it before Sunday: Reboot by Amy Tintera. I’ve been meaning to read this duology for ages, and if I like the first book I’ll probably read the second soon after. I also want to read Before Her Eyes by Jack Jordan very soon, especially since I loved his previous books and I’ve heard great things about it. I’ve also been eyeing my copy of They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera even though it’s not exactly a Halloween read and all. My current TBR jar pick is still An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris. I’m making a promise to myself to finally read it this month!


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WWW Wednesdays #190 – October 3rd

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 still reading Tell Nobody by Patricia Gibney (out today!), but hopefully I’ll be able to finish it before tonight. I’m also starting The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma, a book I picked up because I loved the cover and I’m keeping fingers crossed the story itself will be good as well.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 07/10
In A Dark, Dark Wood is by no means a bad read and is without doubt as dark and menacing as that glass house in the middle of the woods chosen as a setting. The writing is engaging and the suspense is mostly handled well. I had two significant problems with this book though. The first thing that stood out for me was the fact that none of the characters is easy to connect to; most are unlikeable and overall I can’t say I really cared about what would happen to them. There were also several eyebrow raising moments involved, and not in a good way. I did see quite a few of the plot twists coming really early on and I didn’t like how the amnesia angle was incorporated into the story either.

2. Without Merit by Colleen Hoover (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 07/10
While not my favorite and a bit different than I’ve become used to, there is no doubt that it is still a good story and I can understand why so many love it. It felt more YA than NA to me, but that on it’s own wasn’t a problem for me. The romance was also doable for me, which is something I have become used to with CoHo… Somehow she manages to make me forget I’m not into the whole romance genre most of the time. There are a lot of things to love in Without Merit, and I think that this abundance of different elements actually worked against the story in the end.

3. All This I Will Give To You by Dolores Redondo (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/10
I was actually really looking forward to this title, since I love stories set in Spain and the blurb of this one sounded fantastic. Sadly, it didn’t turn out to be the reading experience I was hoping for. Overlong, with difficult to read prose and a writing style that makes it hard to stay focused and has you reading some lines over and over again… Oh yes, I really struggled with this story. The pace was slow and the story felt halted; ever had car engine problems and tried to move the car with your whole body? That’s how I felt while I was trying to make it to the end of this story. I love detailed descriptions, but All This I Will Give To You took it one step too far. I truly think this story would have benefited from a brutal editor cut and at least 150 pages less. Because there is no doubt that the idea behind this story and plot is fascinating, as well as the many secrets of Alvaro’s family and history. It is just buried under so many unnecessary descriptions and overly baroque prose that that intrigue ends up being completely lost.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have a few ARCs coming up I need to read soon… I should read The Passion According To Carmela by Marcos Aguinis first, although I might give in and pick up Closer by K.L. Slater first since I’ve been dying to read it.  I also might read Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt some time soon… And with the N.E.W.T. Readathon over, my current TBR jar pick is back: An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris. I’m making a promise to myself to finally read it this month!


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WWW Wednesdays #189 – September 26th

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 two more titles for the N.E.W.T. Readathon… I think they will be my last two, but who knows, I might squeeze in one more after these. The first is In A Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware, which I haven’t been able to continue since yesterdat but looks promising so far. I’m also starting All This I Will Give To You by Dolores Redondo, a translation and a story set in Spain I’m quite excited about.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The King’s Guard by Rae Carson (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/09
This third and final one is probably my favorite of the bunch. The King’s Guard is partly set in the royal palace and is partly an adventure and rescue mission. Hector makes a great main character of this novella and his character is very easy to like. The writing is solid as always and I managed to read it in no time at all… The plot and setting are well fleshed out for a novella and I had a great time reading this one.

2. Radiance Of Tomorrow by Ishmael Beah (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/09
While Radiance Of Tomorrow is a fictional story this time around, it has the same setting in Sierra Leone and the same emotional rollercoaster ride. Make sure to brace yourself before you start this one, because it won’t be a happy journey. Radiance Of Tomorrow tells the story of what happens in the ruined village Imperi after the war in Sierra Leone ended. The beginning sets the tone of what will become a heartbreaking, devastating and very emotional read, with little lights shining upon the hope the characters have things will become better in the future.

3. Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (4/5 stars) REVIEW 30/09
It was a fascinating and wonderful ride to learn more about all those characters and stories. Norse Mythology is a collection of short stories, but told in a way that really flows and makes it easy to connect the different characters, myths and happenings. The writing is of course rock solid and of a high quality I’ve come to expect of Neil Gaiman. If you are interested in Norse mythology in particular or simply are looking for a well written and interesting collection of short stories, I can highly recommend this one

4. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard (1,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/09
I guess I wish I would have listened to those instincts now, because hello unpopular opinion review once again! Oh yes, there is one thing that is for sure: Pretty Little Liars 200% isn’t for me. The only reason I didn’t DNF is that I needed it for a challenge, and didn’t have time to go looking for a different title that fitted the prompt… That bad? Oh yes. Highly annoying and frustratingly obnoxious characters… Check. One high school cliche stacked on top of another high school cliche… Check. Writing I couldn’t connect to and atrocious behavior of the main characters… Check. Plot that didn’t do anything for me at all… Check. Lack of connection to the characters and plot and overall lack of interest in how things would evolve… Check. I did warn you it was going to be another unpopular opinion review!

5. The Wife’s Secret by Kerry Wilkinson (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 10/10
I always seem to enjoy Kerry Wilkinson’s books, and this one is no exception. The suspense is very well done and I think this is my favorite story yet. The writing is solid, engaging and makes you fly through the pages as you try to figure out what happened to his wife and what she is hiding. What a shocking history! There were a lot of things I definitely didn’t see coming and if you enjoy suspenseful psychological thrillers, I can definitely recommend this one.

6. A Thousand Devils by Frank Goldammer (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/10
This is actually the second book of a series, and one I really enjoy. It’s a mix of historical fiction and detective thriller, with a detective trying to solve cases just after WWII in the German city of Dresden. Learning more about the situation just after the war is fascinating, especially in the subtle way Frank Goldammer incorporates historical elements and develops his setting perfectly. I can highly recommend this series!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

If I’m able to squeeze in one more N.E.W.T. book, it will definitely be Without Merit by Colleen Hoover. I’ve been meaning to read it for a while and I’m looking forward to it! I also need to read Tell Nobody by Patricia Gibney since the publish date is really close… The same goes for The Passion According To Carmela by Marcos Aguinis. I’m also curious about The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma.


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Friday Finds #55 – October 9th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at A Daily Rhythm and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last weeks 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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Friday Finds #25 – February 27th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Should Be Reading and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. I’m still on a book buying ban, but I cannot help adding new titles to my virtual TBR list anyway!

My finds:

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