DNF ARC REVIEW: Not A Clue – by Chloe Delaume

Title: Not A Clue 
Author: Chloe Delaume
Genre: Fiction, Mystery
First published: December 1st 2018
Publisher: University Of Nebraska Press
Finished reading: November 16th 2018
Pages: 276
DNF at 9% (25 pages)
Originally written in French: ‘Certainement Pas’

“I’m Dr. Black, I’m dead. There are six of you, and you killed me.”

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


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The truth is that I have been looking forward to read this one. I like reading international authors and I was completely fascinated by the blurb. A mystery, a crime and a mental health angle? Sounds like a pretty good recipe for a successful read to me. Sadly, it wasn’t ment to be. As soon as I started reading Not A Clue I knew we won’t be able to get along. Why? The writing style. Right from the very first sentence, I found myself scratching my head and wondering what the heck I just started reading. The writing style is just one big humble bumble of random words and nonsense being woven together, short ‘sentences’ mixed with randomness and endless weird descriptions and repetitions over and over again. I get that the patients have mental health problems, but that doesn’t mean I should feel so confused they could lock me up myself along with those patients, right? And I also get it, they killed him. But who on earth are they in the first place? And how am I supposed to make sense of this mess? I’ve decided to include a sample to give you a hint of what the writing looks like.

“There are six of you, you are alone, a stuffed mynah bird stands in for your memory, your tartarclot tears scratch your corneas plow your cheekbones into furrows more sterile than horror could ever be.”

Someone please make sense of that sentence for me? Or the rest of the sentences for that matter? I’m not sure if this is a case of ‘lost in translation’ or a writing style that is 200% not for me, but I just couldn’t bring myself to keep struggling through the pages. I almost never make the decision to DNF, especially this early in a story, but sadly Not A Clue and me just weren’t ment to be.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #21: Wink Poppy Midnight & My Sister’s Keeper

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two books that didn’t turn out to be positive reading experiences, and both had something to do with a character and the way they behaved. Winky Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke and My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult… Continue to find out more about the why of the lower ratings.


Title: Wink Poppy Midnight
Author: April Genevieve Tucholke

Genre: YA, Mystery, Paranormal
First published: March 22nd 2016
Publisher: Dial Books
Finished reading: March 10th 2018
Pages: 352

“All the strangest things are true.”


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Wink Poppy Midnight was a tbr jar pick and a title I have been looking forward to read despite the mixed reviews. I mean, just look at that gorgeous cover! And the story itself sounded really promising as well. As soon as I started reading Wink Poppy Midnight, I was blown away by the writing style. So so beautiful, mysterious and intriguing! The writing style is by far what stood out most for me in this book and it’s the only reason I’m giving this story the benefit of the doubt. Because I absolutely loved how April Genevieve Tucholke tells her stories, and I can’t wait to read more of her work. Why the low rating, would you ask? I’m keeping things simple and give one main reason: Poppy. I understand we are not supposed to like her in the first place, but I absolutely utterly despised her character. This extremely negative feeling for Poppy ruined the reading experience for me and made it really hard to just forget about her and enjoy the other chapters. Wink Poppy Midnight is told from the POV of the three main characters Wink, Poppy and Midnight, whimsical names that alone set the right tone for this story. This multiple POV layout didn’t distract me, since I liked discovering new things and see how the personality of each character shines through in the writing and dialogue. BUT. While I absolutely adored Wink and liked Midnight as well, my negative feelings for Poppy were so strong the rest was kind of blurred out. Gone were my feelings for the fabulous writing, gone was my love for the whimsical and magical realism feel of the plot and incorporation of fairy tale elements (my second favorite thing of Wink Poppy Midnight!). What was left were the ashes of a story that could have ended up being one of my all time favorites… If it wouldn’t have been for Poppy dancing on its tomb.


Title: My Sister’s Keeper
Author: Jodi Picoult

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: April 6th 2004
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Finished reading: March 14th 2018
Pages: 423

“It is the things you cannot see coming that are strong enough to kill you.”


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WARNING: Unpopular opinion review and rant ahead. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 😉

Trust me, I’m still shocked about this rating and reaction I had to My Sister’s Keeper, especially since I’ve read and enjoyed several of Jodi Picoult‘s other novels in the past. I fully expected to add this title to that list, but unfortunately it didn’t turn out to be the reading experience I was hoping for. I’m not saying the writing is bad, which would be a lie since it is just as strong as ever and of a quality I’ve become to expect of her work. And without doubt the plot is complex and well developed with many different POVs and angles to try and get a full picture of what is going on. BUT. What ruined this story for me and basically turned me into a giant red angry monster spitting out flames and throwing things at the wall (no actual objects were harmed during this read), was the topic and more especifically the views on that topic. As soon as I got a glimpse of what really was going on, I started to get very angry very fast. Honestly, I don’t think I would have ever read it if I would have known My Sister’s Keeper was centered around these views. Complicated and uncomfortable moral topic and unorthodox views? Maybe, but I couldn’t care less if they were represented right because I was just too angry to pay attention. People might be offended by this, but I’m totally on Anna’s side here. She should NOT be treated as a walking human donor bank and just being pressured to give up everything and go through all those treatments just because her parents say so… It should be her choice and her choice alone. And honestly, the whole reason they had her in the first place made me sick. This book and especially Sara were so SO infuriating! Her with her saying she ‘cares’ for Anna, but only thinks of Kate and having Anna as a spare ready to give up whatever part of her body they need next. And I’m not even talking about their older brother, completely ignored as well. I get that having a child with leukemia is horrible and kind of makes you forget about anything else, but still… It’s no excuse to treat your other kids that way, and definitely not to do those things to Anna, treating her like she’s some object and ignoring her when she’s not needed. Ugh. I’m feeling the anger rise again just as I type up this review… Simply disgusting. These strong negative feelings made it impossible for me to try and enjoy the other aspects and side stories of My Sister’s Keeper, which had potential on it’s own but lost its charm since I was seeing everything through a red haze. Oh yes, this book was able to provoke strong feelings, just not the positive ones I was expecting. Most people do seem to enjoy it though, so if you think you would enjoy it, don’t give up on it yet. Just don’t make me discuss this story ever again…


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Grant Comes East – by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen

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Title: Grant Comes East (A Novel Of The Civil War)
Author: Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen
First published: June 1st 2004
Finished reading: July 28th 2013
Pages: 404

This book is the second out of three books about the US Civil War. The story is a direct sequal of the first, so it’s a tad confusing for those (like me) who haven’t read the first book Gettysburg. In Grant Comes East we follow Ulysses Grant on his quest trying to make an end to the Civil War. The South with General Lee is standing strong and planning to invade Washington D.C. with the help of the Army of Northern Virginia. Meanwhile, Lincoln is trying to save the nation by naming Grant general of the Northern army. Not everybody agrees with Lincoln’s choice, and Dan Sickles is trying to sabotage the plans Grant makes in order to get his own chance of glory. An interesting piece of historical fiction. A bit slow, but Gingrich and Forstchen were able to make the battlefront and other scenes come alive through the eyes of soldiers and other little known characters. This one might interest you if you like to read books about the US Civil War…

BOOK REVIEW: Nighttime Is My Time – by Mary Higgins Clark

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Title: Nighttime Is My Time
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
First published: 2004
Finished reading: July 20th 2013
Pages: 434

Rating 1,5

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I might not have read many books by Mary Higgins Clark, but until now they don’t really seem to enjoy me. Taking this Nighttime Is My Time as an example; it’s writing is too forced and the suspense she tries to build up so desperately only makes the story and the ending less satisfying. Mary Higgings Clark tries real hard to keep all the men on the suspect list at all cost… And I must say the whole trying not to reveal the name of the serial killer seems forced and not really believable. I actually became irritated to the point that I was wishing she would name the killer and just get it over with… So I guess I wouldn’t really recommend this book unless you want to end up feeling frustrated.

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The story is about a twenty-year class reunion of the Stonecroft Academy where seven members are to be honored. Jean Sheridan is one of them and the main character of the book. There seems to be a curse hanging over Jean and her six female friends, since five of them have mysteriously died over the last twenty years. Only Jean and Laura Wilcox, the actress, are left after the last of five women drowned in her own pool only a few days before the reunion weekend. Jean has a really bad feeling about the whole weekend which is reinforced by an anonymous fax threatening her daughter Lily, a child she gave up for adoption twenty years ago… And not without cause, since the same serial killer that calls himself The Owl and that actually murdered the other five women is planning to finish the job that weekend. The women had humiliated him after a school play where he played an owl twenty years ago, and he feels they all have to be punished. Every important male attendant of the reunion is becoming suspect of being The Owl

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Mary Higgins Clark tried to keep us readers guessing at the identity of the killer until the end, but it makes the story less believable. And more importantly I ended up being so frustrated that I wanted the whole story just to be over with. True, the real identity of the serial killer was a slight surprise, but as a whole I wouldn’t read it again nor recommend it. Only unless you have absolutely nothing else to do and no access to a different book…

BOOK REVIEW: Forest Of The Pygmies – by Isabel Allende

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Title: Forest Of The Pygmies
(Eagle And Jaguar Trilogy #3)
Author: Isabel Allende
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Adventure, Children
First published:  2004
Finished reading: December 20th 2012
Pages: 296
(Originally written in Spanish: ‘El Bosque De Los Pigmeos’)

Rating 2

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I have to admit I didn’t realize Forest Of The Pygmies was a childrens book when I first started reading it, and that might have influenced my rating in a negative way. I was expecting another of her well written adult literature novels, and unfortunately I didn’t like the way Isabel Allende changed her original writing style in Forest Of The Pygmies. I also haven’t read the first two parts of the trilogy, which may or may not have worked against the story. But all in all, unfortunately I cannot describe the story in any other way than uninspiring, dull and almost boring. Allende used ‘magic realism’ to spice up the story, but it couldn’t convince me to think otherwise. I know she wrote it for children, but still… I have read way better children literature, and I was highly disappointed especially after having read other work of her in the past.

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Forest Of The Pygmies is the final adventure of Alexander Cold and Nadia Santos in the Eagle and Jaguar trilogy.  Alex and Nadia are in Kenya, Africa together with Alex’s grandmother. This time, she is writing a story for International Geographic about an elephant safari operation. Just before they go home, a Catholic missionary asks for their help in finding two fellow missionaries who have disappeared. They agree to help him, but soon find themselves lost in the swamps when their plane crashes. They discover a clan of Pygmies, and when they see they are treated unfairly, they try to set them free…

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Like I said before, I couldn’t really enjoy this novel. I normally like reading children stories; it makes me feel nostalgic. But Forest Of The Pygmies was just plain boring and cannot be compared to Allende‘s adult fiction work. If you have never read her work before, please don’t choose this one as your parameter!