YVO’S SHORTIES #94 – Release & How To Walk Away

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a title I ended up having mixed thoughts about (Release by Patrick Ness) and another I picked up based on recommendations and ended up really enjoying (How To Walk Away by Katherine Center).


Title: Release
Author: Patrick Ness

Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: May 7th 2017
Publisher: Walker Books
Finished reading: April 4th 2019
Pages: 287

“Blame is a human concept, one of its blackest and most selfish and self-binding.”


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I had been meaning to pick up another Patrick Ness title for a while now, and thought the Magical Readathon was the perfect excuse to do so. I’ve been seeing mixed things about Release ever since it was… errr… released, so I decided to keep expectations low. I’m glad I did, because I ended up having mixed thoughts about this story as well. In fact, something similar happened with The Rest Of Us Just Live Here (the chapter introductions vs. the rest of the chapters) so I’m guessing this particular writing style and me just don’t really get along. What do I mean? Well, while I mostly enjoyed Adam’s chapters, I wasn’t so sure about the other more fantastical one (Katie). Both were so extremely different in tone and even genre that they mostly just clashed for me (like what happened in The Rest Of Us Just Live Here). I know magical realism can go both ways for me and this time around it definitely wasn’t a positive reaction… I had a hard time making sense of Katie’s POV and it mostly just distracted me considerably from what was happening to Adam. The way both POVs finally ‘met’ wasn’t really satisfactory for me either, but that might just be me reacting to the magical realism. I did enjoy the writing in Adam’s POV and I really loved that while the story is basically taking place in just one day, there is a lot going on and you won’t find yourself bored. Adam sure is having a pretty bad day! Religion is involved since it plays such a vital role in Adam’s family (and part of his misery), but nothing too preachy so I didn’t mind. The story wasn’t too heavy on the romance as a whole (something I could really appreciate), and the lgbt elements were well developed. If Release would have been just Adam’s POV and nothing more, I would probably have ended up rating it higher… But Katie’s more unique magical realism chapters kind of put a damper on things for me. Depending on how you react to those chapters you will either absolutely love it or end up having mixed thoughts like me.


Title: How To Walk Away
Author: Katherine Center

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: May 15th 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Finished reading: April 13th 2019
Pages: 320

“There are all kinds of happy endings.”


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There has been so much hype around How To Walk Away ever since it came out last year that I’ve been a bit afraid to pick it up myself. But after seeing so many raving reviews, I was also curious to find out what I would make of this story myself. I think I’ve become an instant fan of Katherine Center‘s writing, and she is a new addition to my short list of contemporary romance writers that are able to make me enjoy the genre. It took a few chapters to warm me up completely to the characters and the situation, but once I did I was hooked. The writing is excellent and one of the things that really stood out for me. Following the main character as she has to learn to live with the consequences of the accident was both heartbreaking and intriguing, as her struggles and fears are realistically and well described. Chip made me want to hit something, but I guess that fits the purpose of his character… I liked seeing Margaret’s character develop and grow over time though. How To Walk Away isn’t just about recovering after an accident, having to learn to live with a disability and Margaret seeing her life changed forever though. It is also about family and the estranged relationship with her sister. All characters in general are well developed, feel realistic and add there little something to the plot. I could really appreciate this was more of a slowburner romance and instead there is a lot more focus on Margaret’s situation and personal development. The chapters set in Belgium brought back memories of Bruges and made me crave chocolate! The ending of How To Walk Away was without doubt satisfying and I would recommend this story to anyone who enjoys the genre.


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WWW Wednesdays #217 – April 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 the final book I need to complete the exams for the Magizoologist career in the #OWLsReadathon2019 which is The Wolf Border by Sarah Hall. I’ve been curious about this title ever since I found it during our trip last year; fingers crossed it’s a good one. I’m also starting Final Betrayal by Patricia Gibney as it’s due soon. I’m looking forward to spend time with Lottie Parker again!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Release by Patrick Ness (3/5 stars) REVIEW 14/04
I ended up having mixed thoughts about this story. In fact, something similar happened with The Rest Of Us Just Live Here (the chapter introductions vs. the rest of the chapters) so I’m guessing this particular writing style and me just don’t really get along. What do I mean? Well, while I mostly enjoyed Adam’s chapters, I wasn’t so sure about the other more fantastical one (Katie). Both were so extremely different in tone and even genre that they mostly just clashed for me (like what happened in The Rest Of Us Just Live Here).

2. The Dare by Carol Wyer (4/5 stars) REVIEW 25/04
If you are looking for a well written, suspenseful and entertaining detective thriller that reads like a train, you know you can always turn to Carol Wyer. Both this series and her detective thrillers in general have been consistently solid so far and The Dare is no exception to that rule. I found myself flying through those pages to discover more about the killer and how things would unfold… It’s true I never grew to like Natalie as a character, but her team’s chemistry mostly makes up for that. And I’ll definitely be looking forward to discover whatever will be thrown at them next.

3. The Murmur Of Bees by Sofia Segovia (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 16/04
I really loved this historical fiction story set in early 20th century Mexico. With a Gabriel Garcia Marquez feel, The Murmur Of Bees tells us the story of a wealthy land owner family and how the appearance of the mysterious Simonopio both saved and changed their lives forever. Historical facts are mixed with the surreal in such a way that will keep you invested until the very end… The writing is lush and wonderful and will take you to a different time.

4. Song Of Sacrifice by Janell Rhiannon (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/04
I love Greek mythology retellings, and Song Of Sacrifice is a new favorite. If you enjoy reading about the Troyan war and what happened to cause it, I can without doubt recommend this first book of a new series… The writing is more than solid and while there are many different characters involved it never distracted me (I guess it does help having a general idea of who the main characters involved are). I really liked that the story doesn’t focus on one character, and instead offers us multiple views and stories to treasure.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’ve been trying to work through my ARCs and since quite a few were longer reads I didn’t get as far as I hoped. Little Darlings by Melanie Golding is up next; I’ve been hearing good things about that one. I also need to continue reading books for the #OWLsReadathon2019 challenge so How To Walk Away by Katherine Center and The Guernsey Literary And Potato Pee Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows are up soon… My TBR jar pick is still Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain; I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get to it this month since I still have three more ARCs and a bunch of readathon books (five including the two I mentioned here) I still need to pick up first.


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WWW Wednesdays #216 – April 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 currently reading two books for the #OWLsReadathon2019 challenge, the first a backlist title and the second an ARC. I’ve heard mixed things about Release by Patrick Ness so I’ve gone in with low expectations and I’ll be crossing my fingers… And I’m excited to be reading another Carol Wyer title and to be meeting Detective Natalie Ward again in The Dare.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
Tell The Wolves I’m Home is a (recent) historical fiction slash contemporary story with a focus on family, AIDS and death. Tough themes that are very tricky to get right and sometimes not that easy to talk about, but the 1987 setting made for a very interesting backdrop for this story. I can’t put my finger on the why, but while I did find the Tell The Wolves I’m Home a very interesting read, there was also something about it that didn’t work for me. Part of this might have to do with the main characters…

2. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/04
With this new story she has once again proven to me she belongs on my list of favorite authors. What a read! What really stands out for me is the uniqueness of the format of Daisy Jones & The Six. The story is told through a series of interviews with the different members of the band and a few others close to them. This is done in a way that you start wondering if your memory failed you and there really was a band called Daisy Jones & The Six in the seventies… The different characters really came alive for me and it felt like a real biography of a rock band with a very colorful history.

3. Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine (4/5 stars) REVIEW 07/04
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.

4. The Blue by Lucy Clarke (4/5 stars) REVIEW 08/04
The Blue turns out to have been an excellent choice. As someone who has been lucky enough to travel quite a bit in the past, I love reading travel related stories. Add a destination I haven’t been able to visit myself and that is another bonus… And if you combine it with one of my favorite genres (suspense), the book and me most likely are going to get along. This is exactly what happened with The Blue.

5. The Silver Ladies Of Penny Lane by Dee MacDonald (2/5 stars) REVIEW 11/04
I was really looking forward to this one as I loved The Getaway Girls last year, but I guess it wasn’t ment to be… I had quite a few issues with this story and surprisingly none had to do with the fact that contemporary romance normally isn’t for me. I’m going to try to keep things easy in my review, but it might turn out into a rant… You’ve been warned.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I need to get a few ARCs in before the due date, so both Song Of Sacrifice by Janell Rhiannon and The Murmur Of Bees by Sofia Segovia are up next. They both fit the prompts for the #OWLsReadathon2019 challenge so that is a bonus. 😉 I’m also picking up The Guernsey Literary And Potato Pee Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows for the same challenge. My TBR jar pick is still Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain… I’m hoping to read that one once my ARC schedule has cleared up a bit.


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WWW Wednesdays #215 – March 27th

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?

It took me a little while to pick up Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt and keep reading because I wasn’t in the mood… But I’m finally making good progress and will probably finish it today. Afterwards, I’m going to dive straight in one of my most anticipated releases Wolfhunter River by Rachel Caine as my first book of the O.W.L.s readathon.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Dry by Jane Harper (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/03
I’m glad I finally picked up my copy of The Dry, because I’ve become an instant Jane Harper fan. What a fantastic read! The setting, the writing style, the plot and character development: I found each element to be extremely well executed and I can see why this debut has received so much love. This is one of those stories you will want to clear your schedule for… Once you have turned the first few pages, you will find yourself stuck in Kiewarra until you discover what really happened to Luke and his family and if it has to do with something that happened long ago.

2. Harry Potter Y El Cáliz De Fuego by J.K. Rowling (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW 
No review this time as this is a reread… But of course it’s easy to say the Harry Potter series is one of my all time favorites and it’s always great revisiting the world. Book number four is among my favorites of the series!

3. I Know You by Erik Therme (3/5 stars) REVIEW 
I Know You is a story with an interesting premise and mix of different elements. I liked how the focus of this story wasn’t just on the kidnapping case, but also on the family drama and flawed characters in general. It is without doubt a superfast read perfect for when you need a little break from life and forget about your own problems. I personally ended up having mixed thoughts, mostly related to the credibility and lack of dept in and connection to the characters… But there is no doubt the story was still entertaining enough.

4. Every Exquisite Thing by Matthew Quick (3/5 stars) REVIEW 02/04
While I can say this was a superfast read, the tone and writing style of Every Exquisite Thing really started to get on my nerves and made the reading experience less enjoyable than expected. I also had problems with the main characters… While I like that they are flawed and unique and especially Nanette evolves over time as the story progresses, there was also something about them that really annoyed me and I wasn’t able to connect to them in general. I did love the fact that this story is build around a book called The Bubblegum Reaper, where we see both the influence of the writing on its reader and learn more about the author himself.

5. We Are Of Dust by Clare Coombes (4/5 stars) REVIEW 30/03
I guess you might know by now I have a weak spot for WWII historical fiction… So as soon as I read the blurb, I knew I HAD to accept this request to read We Are Of Dust. This is without doubt both a solid and heartbreaking story based on true events. It shows that the author has investigated the details painstakingly and I liked how we see multiple sides of the war with the help of the different characters. This is actually the first book of a series (something I didn’t know), and the ending will leave you wanting for more… But I guess that is always a good sign.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I was going to wait a little while longer, but I just couldn’t resist after seeing one raving review after the other so I’m picking up Daisy Jones And The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid next. I’m also thinking about picking up Fruit Of The Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras as I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now. Depending on if it’s April already, I’ll start with the O.W.L.s readathon and pick up Release by Patrick Ness. My TBR jar pick is Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain


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BOOK REVIEW: Monsters Of Men – by Patrick Ness

Title: Monsters Of Men
(Chaos Walking #3)
Author: Patrick Ness

Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopia
First published: May 3rd 2010
Publisher: Candlewick
Finished reading: August 28th 2017
Pages: 602

“Choices may be unbelievably hard but they’re never impossible. To say you have no choice is to release yourself from responsibility and that’s not how a person with integrity acts.”

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Warning: unpopular opinion ahead. Dun. Dun. Dun. The unpopular opinion curse has punished me once again… Because behold: I didn’t love the final book of the Chaos Walking trilogy as much as I expected and hoped I would. And trust me, I am still shocked myself I feel this way as well. Despite some minor issues with the slang used in the first two books, I was actually really enjoying this series so far. Like most people who have read at least part of this trilogy, I have really grown attached to both Todd and Viola and I was really looking forward to find out how things would end for both of them. I was expecting to devour Monsters Of Men despite its whopping 600 pages… But that wish didn’t came completely true in the end. Why? First of all, I want to make clear I didn’t hate this story despite the things Patrick Ness does to make my poor heart suffer. I just don’t think it was as good as the first two books. I have been wondering if this has to do with the fact I read A Monster Calls in between and nothing will ever be able to live up to that story… But here’s me trying to explain why I gave Monsters Of Men a lowish rating compared to most. I will not take into account the use of the slang, which I have repeatedly said I didn’t like and since the use is consistent throughout the series won’t affect my relative opinion of Monsters Of Men. It wasn’t the how Patrick Ness decided to end it all or how he made us readers suffer along with the characters either. No, my mean problem with Monsters Of Men is the new POV that is suddenly introduced into the story. A new POV, would you ask? Isn’t this series just about Todd and Viola? Well, the third book is now also about ‘The Return’. This new POV and its chapters left me mostly feeling confused and instead of adding an interesting new angle to the story, I mostly struggled trying to understand what they were talking about or who/what they were referring to. Honestly, I was never able to warm up to those chapters and even confess I started skimreading them at one point. I can’t deny they are beautifully written and Patrick Ness is a pro at creating creative and unique prose, but this POV just wasn’t for me and put a real damper on the rest of the story. I just wish he would have sticked with the Todd/Viola POVs instead… But I guess we can’t have it all. I feel really sad I wasn’t able to like this final book better though.

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

Todd and Viola will have to face some very difficult decisions as the situation starts to escalate further. Not only are the indigenous Spackle a threat, but the different human leaders will also do whatever it takes to make sure they reach their goals… Even if this means others will have to suffer for it. They all will defend their own ideas at all costs; endangering the others in the process. Who will win this demostration of power? And what about the convoy of new settlers?

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I was so sure I was going to enjoy Monsters Of Men just as much as the previous two books, but I guess my instincts were wrong. It wasn’t the prose. Besides the slang I still find annoying, the writing was just as strong as ever. I still love Todd and Viola just as much as in the first books. And it wasn’t the fact that Patrick Ness is basically an expert at breaking my heart and crushing my feelings either. I had one big problem with Monsters Of Men: ‘The Return’ and his newly introduced POV. This POV is more lyrical and in a way very beautiful, but unfortunately it left me mostly confused and I had a hard time figuring out the who and what of the things mentioned in those chapters. I actually found myself starting to skimread them at some point… Definitely not a good sign. It’s the main reason I had to lower the rating considerably despite my overal positive opinion about the rest of this final book.


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WWW Wednesdays #152 – August 30th

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 finally continuing with Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro despite the fact I just couldn’t get into the story the first time around… I’m planning to finish it before the end of the month for a challenge even if I’m still struggling with it. I’m also about to start I Am Behind You by John Ajvide Lindqvist, one of my last! pending Netgalley ARCs before I can finally fully concentrate on my own books again. It’s a horror story and sounds pretty promising despite the very low Goodreads rating. Fingers crossed!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Missing Girls by Carol Wyer (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
The Missing Girls is a true detective thriller winner for quite a few reasons. Fast-paced, well written, a healthy dose of suspense, one creepy serial killer, plot twists, an interesting character… This third book of the DI Robyn Carter series has all that and more. I really liked the way the social media and cyber bullying theme is incorporated into the story and how it shows the dangers of using those apps. The story definitely ends with a bang though and I will be waiting impatiently to find out what will happen next. Recommended!

2. Little Fire Everywhere by Celeste Ng (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 31/08
Even though I ended up giving Little Fires Everywhere a slightly lower rating than expected, there is no doubt that this was still a very good read. Both the writing, character development and twists were very well done and turn Little Fires Everywhere into an excellent contemporary fiction read with a healthy dose of drama, secrets and lies. The flashbacks to the past are interesting as well as the way as some sensitive themes as abortion are incorporated. And I just loved the photography elements! Fans of the genre will love this book.

3. The Accident by S.D. Monaghan (3/5 stars) REVIEW 01/09
Action-packed, thrilling, suspenseful, crazy, rollercoaster ride… All words that apply to The Accident and its plot. Fans of action thrillers will devour this story and will especially love the final part, which almost reads like one of those popular action movies. That said, I personally did have some problems with the credibility both of the characters, their actions and the plot in general. It felt almost like too many different angles where squeezed into an already eventful plot and it started to have the opposite effect on me. I wasn’t a fan of the characters either, but I can also see how the right person would love this book.

4. Monsters Of Men by Patrick Ness (3/5 stars) REVIEW 03/09
I was so sure I was going to enjoy Monsters Of Men just as much as the previous two books, but I guess my instincts were wrong. It wasn’t the prose. Besides the slang I still find annoying, the writing was just as strong as ever. I still love Todd and Viola just as much as in the first books. And it wasn’t the fact that Patrick Ness is basically an expert at breaking my heart and crushing my feelings either. I had one big problem with Monsters Of Men: ‘The Return’ and his newly introduced POV. This POV is more lyrical and in a way very beautiful, but unfortunately it left me mostly confused and I had a hard time figuring out the who and what of the things mentioned in those chapters. I actually found myself starting to skimread them at some point… Definitely not a good sign. It’s the main reason I had to lower the rating considerably despite my overal positive opinion about the rest of this final book.

5. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (4/5 stars)  REVIEW 05/09
I kept the summary supershort since I’m positive just about everyone will already be familiar with this classic in the first place. Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland is surprisingly easy to read for a classic and quite short as well; I was able to fly through it in a blink of an eye. There isn’t much of a plot to talk about and basically nothing really makes sense, but in the end this story was able to bring a smile to my face and sometimes that is just the most important thing. I do realize now most of the retellings are way more detailed than the original story… Something that has truly surprised me.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

No matter what happens, I’m going to pick up Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab next.  I’ve been suffering for way too long already and it’s been a miracle I haven’t run into spoilers so far in the first place! 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 #154 – August 29th: Monsters Of Men

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 finally reading the final book of the Chaos Walking trilogy (most likely I will finish it today), and I’m having mixed feelings about Monsters Of Men right now. Mostly due to the new POV of ‘The Return‘ which I’m finding rather confusing instead of intriguing, and a little because of the same slang that has been bothering me since the beginning. It’s not that I don’t like it, but I don’t LOVE love it either. Maybe I just have myself to blame for picking up A Monster Calls first and therefore destroying any chance for Patrick Ness‘  other books to live up to it??? 😉

My teaser (26%):

“The Sky left me today, to be alone, as the Sky occasionally does. It is a need of the Sky, of any Sky.

But he returned with new words.

So where did he hear them?”

What are you reading right now?


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