YVO’S SHORTIES #104 – And The Ocean Was Our Sky & The Thirteenth Tale

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two stories belonging to completely different genres, but both were excellent reads. And The Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness has the most beautiful illustrations and a very interesting retelling of the Moby Dick classic. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield might have a slow pace, but the story itself is one that will stay with me for quite some time.


Title: And The Ocean Was Our Sky
Author: Patrick Ness

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: September 4th 2018
Publisher: Walker Books
Finished reading: May 30th 2019
Pages: 160

“Here is the truth behind the myth: all men are Toby Wick. For who needs devils when you have men?”


myrambles1reviewqqq

I’ve been excited about this title ever since it was published last year, especially since I kept seeing photos of the illustrations and they looked absolutely gorgeous. Now I’ve had the chance to read And The Ocean Was Our Sky, I still believe the illustrations are the true power behind the story. They really take the writing to the next level and turn this story into something special; it wouldn’t have been the same without them. As for the story itself: I admit things can get a bit confusing and sometimes it felt more magical realism than a fantasy retelling, but overall I really liked how Patrick Ness turned the original Moby Dick story into something completely new and original. The idea of the whales and men both roaming the seas and hunting each other is fascinating. Even more intriguing is that the main focus is on the whales, and their world is basically upside down. Bathsheba is a very interesting character and basically the one to challenge the world as they know it and also the one trying to understand men instead of just trying to fight them. Not much is told about Toby Wick, adding to his mystery and myth while also adding intrigue to the story. And The Ocean Was Our Sky is without doubt a story you won’t come across every day and it might not be for everyone, but there is one thing for sure: the illustrations are absolutely wonderful.


Title: The Thirteenth Tale
Author: Diane Setterfield

Genre: Historical Fiction
First published: September 12th 2006
Publisher: Atria Books
Finished reading: May 31st 2019
Pages: 416

“A birth is not really a beginning. Our lives at the start are not really our own but only the continuation of someone else’s story.”


myrambles1reviewqqq

I’ve been meaning to pick up The Thirteenth Tale for years now, but it was simply one of those titles that kept slipping between the cracks of my enormous TBR mountain… I’m glad I was finally able to dig it out and read it though. It was my first experience with Diane Setterfield‘s work and I already know it won’t be my last. What a wonderful and atmospheric way of describing the setting and characters! The Thirteenth Tale has that gothic feel and the fact that you don’t know exactly when the story is set makes it all the more intriguing. A lot of speculation about the time period can be found on the internet, but there seems to be no clear winner and I like how it leaves the answer wide open for each reader to decide on their own. It’s true that the pace can be considerably slow at points and there are parts where nothing much is happening, but the power of The Thirteenth Tale is in the different characters, their development and their role in the story of famous author Vida Winter. Both the Angelfield house and family give off that creepy and gothic vibe and there are some moments that will make your hair stand on end. I like how Margaret not just believes everything Vida Winter tells her (especially with her history of lying), but instead starts her own investigation as well. Past and present are mixed and fully intertwined in such a way that the separation becomes liquid and all characters fully come alive. The Thirteenth Tale has secrets, twists and turns to reveal and some you definitely won’t see coming. But like I said before, the power behind this story is in the characters and fantastic descriptions, and fans of slower, atmospheric and character-driven historical fiction will love The Thirteenth Tale. Bonus: there are a lot of bookish references to be found including classics like Jane Eyre!


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramFacebookBloglovin’.

YVO’S SHORTIES #98 – Fun Home & Five Feet Apart

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a graphic novel memoir and a YA contemporary romance read; one I almost wish I had DNFed and another I enjoyed despite a few issues. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott.


Title: Fun Home
Author: Alison Bechdel

Genre: Non Fiction, Memoir, Graphic Novel
First published: June 8th 2006
Publisher: Mariner Books
Finished reading: April 30th 2019
Pages: 232

“It could be argued that death is inherently absurd, and that grinning is not necessarily an inappropriate response. I mean absurd in the sense of ridiculous, unreasonable. One second a person is there, the next they’re not.”


myrambles1reviewqqq

Warning: unpopular opinion ahead!

I’m keeping these rambles short, because honestly I don’t feel I have a lot to say about this graphic novel. It’s true I wasn’t sure if Fun Home would be for me even before I started reading it, but I needed a graphic novel for my BTB Bingo challenge and my TBR choices were limited. I enjoy reading memoirs and the idea of reading a memoir in graphic novel form intrigued me. Sadly, I wasn’t able to connect to the tone or writing style of the author. The many many references to classic literature for me were, instead of an unexpected bonus, rather a hint to feelings of self-importance and superiority. I wasn’t a fan of how the whole lgbt element was handled nor how characters were portrayed. I honestly wish I would have just taken the decision to DNF, because I had a really hard time reaching that final page. This definitely wasn’t a story for me, although I should note others have highly enjoyed it and it has a high overall rating on Goodreads, so it might have been just me. Still, the fact is I had a really hard time reaching that final page of Fun Home and I can’t say I had ‘fun’ while I was trying to get there. If you are looking for an original memoir, enjoy reading in graphic novel form and don’t mind classic literature references in abundance, you will probably be a better match for this story though.


Title: Five Feet Apart
Author: Rachael Lippincott

Genre: YA, Fiction, Romance
First published: November 20th 2018
Publisher: Simon & Schuster For Young Readers
Finished reading: April 30th 2019
Pages: 288

“Everyone in this world is breathing borrowed air.”


myrambles1reviewqqq

I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while… Especially since I’ve been hoping to watch the movie adaptation some time soon. The first thing that stood out for me was that this story has that The Fault In Our Stars and Everything, Everything vibe down to the terminal illness and cheesy romance. I’m still deciding whether that is a good or a bad thing, but there is one thing for sure: you will find yourself flying through this story. I literally finished it in less than a day, and a lot of this has to do with the writing style. I appreciated the focus and insight in CF and how the story shows the impact of this disease on someone’s life (once it is in an advanced stage). BUT. I’m not sure up to what point some aspects of the plot are exactly credible. I don’t want to end up including spoilers, but let’s just say part of it has to do with the unnecessary risk taking (something similar happened in Everything Everything). I don’t think it’s encourageable to have main characters who are that ill taking significant risks that basically endanger their lives. It gives a bad example and it is simply not credible. The same goes for the sudden change in attitude towards safety of Stella. The romance itself was cheesy, but somehow I found myself liking it anyway. Five Feet Apart is a story that will both make you smile and make your eyes water… Perfect if you enjoy the genre and don’t mind a considerable amount of cliches and some inconsistencies.


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramFacebookBloglovin’.

 

YVO’S SHORTIES #51 – Norse Mythology & Pretty Little Liars

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a hit and a miss… Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman turned out to be just as wonderful as the cover and I had a great time exploring the different Norse myths. Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard on the other hand turned out to be a huge disappointment I wish I would have DNFed… Unpopular opinion review ahead!


Title: Norse Mythology
Author: Neil Gaiman

Genre: Short Stories, Fantasy, Mythology
First published: February 7th 2017
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
Finished reading: September 20th 2018
Pages: 304

“The Norse myths are the myths of a chilly place, with long, long winter nights and endless summer days, myths of a people who did not entirely trust or even like their gods, although they respected and feared them.”


myrambles1reviewqqq

I’m a huge fan of both anything that Neil Gaiman writes and the Vikings TV show, and I’m always interested in mythology stories as well. So basically Norse Mythology is a triple hit, and I knew there was a good chance I was going to enjoy this one. And that is exactly what happened! I didn’t know that many details about the Norse myths apart from the known Odin, Thor, Loki and a few other elements mentioned in the TV show, so 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. Let’s face it, the cover art alone makes you want to own a copy in the first place!


Title: Pretty Little Liars
(Pretty Little Liars #1)
Author: Sara Shepard

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery
First published: October 1st 2006
Publisher: HarperTeen
Finished reading: September 21st 2018
Pages: 304

“I’m still here, bitches. And I know everything.” -A”


myrambles1reviewqqq

I have been doubting whether I should read this series for years now… I know it is a popular series and there is even a TV show, but I just got that vibe that this one won’t be for me. 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! Let’s think what I did like… Probably the fact that Aria lived a while in Iceland and the European references. Although it’s mostly about the booze and how liberal everything is supposed to be, so still a let down. Yeah, Pretty Little Liars and me definitely didn’t get along, but at least it’s one more series to cross off the to-read list.


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramFacebookBloglovin’.

BOOK REVIEW: Sharp Objects – by Gillian Flynn

brsharpobjects

Title: Sharp Objects
Author: Gillian Flynn
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
First published: September 26th 2006
Finished reading: February 14th 2016
Pages: 272
Rating 4qqq

“There was nothing I wanted to do more than be unconscious again, wrapped in black, gone away. I was raw. I felt swollen with potential tears, like a water balloon filled to burst. Begging for a pin prick.”

myrambles1reviewqqq

I’ve heard a lot of people say they liked Gillian Flynn‘s debut novel best, and I have to agree Sharp Objects is my favorite as well. The story is sick, twisted, disturbing, full of unexpected plot twists… Which is highly typical for all her work, but somehow Sharp Objects managed to convince me better. It’s not that I actually liked her main character; Camille Preaker is just as dark and problematic as the characters in Gone Girl and Dark Places. Camille still suffers from both her complicated childhood and her history as a cutter. When she has to travel back to her hometown for an assignment, she will have to face her ghosts of the past as well as doing her job as a reporter in covering the murder of two young girls. The whole murder and disappearance of the two girls is a very intriguing plot on it’s own, and the situation with Camille’s family only adds an extra layer to it. Sharp Objects has a fast pace and is well written, with many plot twists that will keep you guessing about what really happened to those poor girls. Dark and twisted, but highly recommended if you like the genre!

shortsummary1reviewqqq

Camille Preaker has had a very complicated childhood and her body shows the proof: she has been cutting words all over her body ever since she was a teenager. As an adult she finally had a chance to escape her hometown and she now works as a reporter in the big city. Her cutter history got her into a psych hospital, and things didn’t get better when she is released as her boss tells her she has to return to her tiny hometown for an assignment. A young girl was murdered last year, and now another one is missing… Camille doesn’t want to go, but her boss convinces her it will be her best chance to finally move up the ladder. She hasn’t been home for a long time or spoken to her mother or her half-sister, and they are all surprised when Camille shows up at the door of the family’s Victorian mansion. Things don’t exactly go smoothly and Camille soon finds herself both fighting against her old demons as well as trying to get a proper story so she can finally leave the place that has tormented her for so many years…

finalthoughtsreviewqqq

Sharp Objects might be Gillian Flynn‘s debut novel, but for me it is her strongest work yet. Almost every main character in the story has some dark, twisted or disturbing secret and the two different storylines (the murder investigation and Camille’s family history) slowly intertwine as Gillian Flynn throws one plot twist after the other at you. Sharp Objects is a fast-paced and intriguing read that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very end. If you like the genre, make sure you read this book.

BOOK REVIEW: On The Jellicoe Road – by Melina Marchetta

bronthejellicoeroad

Title: On The Jellicoe Road
Author: Melina Marchetta
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: August 28th 2006
Finished reading: October 20th 2015
Pages: 432
Rating 3,5qqq

“It’s funny how you can forget everything except people loving you. Maybe that’s why humans find it so hard getting over love affairs. It’s not the pain they’re getting over, it’s the love.”

myrambles1reviewqqq

On The Jellicoe Road has been on my radar for a while now and it actually has been recommended to me various times in the past. I ended up really enjoying this read, but I have to say the first part of the story is quite confusing. Luckily I was warned that the first part is exactly that and they told me to just keep reading and things would soon start to make sense. They were right. This novel by Melina Marchetta is without doubt very well written and the whole confusement in the beginning is actually part of the charm. Why haven’t I given it an even higher rating? It may seem that I’m contradicting myself, but I don’t think I would have continued reading without the warning that the beginning is hard to understand. The characters are very well developed though and once you get an idea of the whole situation the prose and plot just suck you right in. If you like realistic fiction and don’t mind a confusing beginning, On The Jellicoe Road might just be the perfect read for you!

shortsummary1reviewqqq

Taylor was abandoned by her mother on the Jellicoe Road when she was eleven and ended up at a boarding school. When she was fourteen, she decided to run away and try to find her mom, but she was tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now she is seventeen and the leader of the school’s underground community, having to lead the annual territory war with the Townies and the visiting Cadets. This year the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, a guy she has some history with. When the only adult Taylor trusts, Hanna, disappears, things get even more complicated for Taylor… Now she not only has to make sure they don’t lose any more territory, but she also wants to try and piece together the clues Hannah left behind. What is the real history of Jellicoe Road?

finalthoughtsreviewqqq

The beginning of On The Jellicoe Road didn’t completely convince me, but the rest of the story more than made up for it. The prose, the characters, the plot and plot twists… Melina Marchetta used those in a way that once you are past the confusing part, you just can’t stop reading. I will probably try to do a reread at some point, since I will most likely enjoy this read even better the second time around. If you like the genre, I would definitely recommend this one; just remember that it may take a while before you can fully understand what the story is about.

BOOK REVIEW: An Abundance Of Katherines – by John Green

branabundanceofkatherines

Title: An Abundance Of Katherines
Author: John Green
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: September 21st 2006
Finished reading: October 4th 2015
Pages: 229
Rating 3qqq

“Books are the ultimate Dumpees: put them down and they’ll wait for you forever; pay attention to them and they always love you back.”

myrambles1reviewqqq

I know I had promised myself not to read anything by John Green for the rest of the year, but I wanted to read something short and easy before starting with my creepy reads and this one sounded like it would do the job. I was right: An Abundance Of Katherines was exactly the short and entertaining read I was looking for. Maybe I wasn’t blown away by it and I did have some problems with some of the plot and characters, but overall it did the job. As a math/science geek I could really appreciate the math references and as always John Green does an excellent job with his teenage dialogues. The characters were well developed, although they did come over as a bit whiny and annoying at points. As for the plot: I liked the idea of a road trip, but some of the things that happened in the small town they decided to stay were a bit farfetched. John Green used quite a few foreign words and phrases during his story, so remember to check out the glossary… Although it’s not too difficult to guess what they mean from the context. There are quite a few funny moments in this novel and I’m sure that most YA contemporary fans will probably enjoy An Abundance Of Katherines.

shortsummary1reviewqqq

Colin Singleton happens to really like Katherines, and has dated no less than nineteen girls with that same name over the years. And every time Colin starts dating another Katherine, he ends up getting dumped. Katherine XIX has dumped him recently and his best friend Hassan decided to take him on a road trip to help him get over her. The two make an interesting pair and end up in a small town working for a woman that owns a tampon-string factory. Colin is on a mission to finish his Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he wants to use to predict the future of any relationship. He has been having more problems than thought he would have with it and he keeps getting distracted by Lindsey and his other new friends. Will he be able to finish his theorem and finally get over K-19?

finalthoughtsreviewqqq

An Abundance Of Katherines is without doubt entertaining, but I wouldn’t call it mindblowingly good. It’s short, easy to read and the teenage dialogues are very well done as always, but it’s not a perfect read. I had some issues with both the plot and characters and that’s probably why I gave it only 3 stars. If you like YA contemporary, you will most likely enjoy this read though. It’s a feel good story with a geek factor (math and anagrams!) and a great choice if you are looking for a light read.

BOOK REVIEW: Don’t Tell Mummy – by Toni Maguire

brdonttellmummy

Title: Don’t Tell Mummy
Author: Toni Maguire
Genre: Memoir, True Crime
First published: 2006
Finished reading: May 13th 2015
Pages: 352
Rating 4

“The smile on his lips was always the smile of the nice father, but in his eyes I could see the nasty one, the one invisible to everyone else, the one that lived inside his head.”

myrambles1review

This memoir is not for the weak-hearted and will probably leave you with tears in your eyes. Toni Maguire didn’t have an easy childhood. Or more precisely said: a childhood from hell. Growing up with an abusive father, a mother who prefers to look the other way and family and friends who don’t see what’s happening behind closed doors… A recipe for every young child’s worst nightmare. The author was very brave to let her skeletons out of the closet and admit all those horrible facts actually happened to her all those years ago. Don’t Tell Mummy is a truly heartbreaking story that will definitely move you… It’s not a happy story, but one that has to be told as there are so many cases of child abuse still out there. Without doubt a memoir I would recommend; it’s very well written and not only tells us the facts of the abuse, but also the way people judge her when the truth comes out.

shortsummary1review

The first few years of Toni Maguire’s life were almost perfect, but things change when they decide to move back to Ireland where her father is born. Their new idyllic life is marked by a terrible secret… When Toni is six years old, her father made his first improper move on his daughter and he doesn’t stop there. He warns her not to tell anyone, because they would end up blaming her for allowing him to do those things… And in the end even her mother prefers to look away. When Toni finally gathers the courage to tell her father’s little ‘secret’,  her mother simply says to never talk about it again. Soon Toni is alone and isolated from friends and family, with nobody to turn to. The abuse goes on for years, and even ends up in a pregnancy; the abortion almost killing Toni. And when people find out, they end up doing what her father warned her they would do: the end up judging and rejecting her for what he has done…

finalthoughtsreview

This memoir tells a truly shocking story that will leave you without words and reaching for a box of tissues. Toni Maguire has had a horrible childhood and she is very brave to write down her story. The acts of her father nearly destroyed both her and her childhood, and it’s shocking that nobody noticed something in all those years before her pregnancy. Don’t Tell Mummy is a true eye opener and a very well written story that I would definitely recommend to those who enjoy reading memoirs and true crime stories. Beware: this is not a happy story and it won’t be for everyone…