YVO’S SHORTIES #39: Ink And Bone & The Mysterious Affair At Styles

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around another two titles for the Magical Readathon: O.W.L. Edition. The first, Ink And Bone, I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages, but wasn’t as good as I would have hoped after absolutely loving the Stillhouse Lake series. The second, The Mysterious Affair At Styles, is part of a promise to myself to finally start reading more of Agatha Christie‘s work… It was entertaining enough, but I still prefer her And Then There Were None.


Title: Ink And Bone
(The Great Library #1)
Author: Rachel Caine

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Dystopia
First published: July 7th 2015
Publisher: NAL
Finished reading: August 15th 2018 
Pages: 352

“You have ink in your blood, boy, and no help for it. Books will never be just a business to you.”


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I have had The Great Library series on my TBR for way too long… After my love for the Stillhouse Lake books, I just knew I had to give in and finally try more of her work. And let’s be honest: who can resist after that cover and blurb? I had really high expectations when I started reading Ink And Bone, and this just might have been the problem here. I was really surprised it took me a long long time to get into the story… I can’t exactly put my finger on the way, because the writing itself is excellent, but it might have been the slowish pace or my lack of connection to the plot itself. There is no doubt there is a lot to love in Ink And Bone, from the main bookish references, the idea of the Library to the main characters being trained to work for the Library and the steampunk elements… And of course the war and the Burners threatening the peace. But somehow, I just didn’t feel it. I felt some of the spark was missing, and only towards the final part did that spark finally ignite. The conspiracy plot and the promise of a whole lot more action and twists makes me curious about the second book, and the final part of Ink And Bone is definitely what saved the story for me.


Title: The Mysterious Affair At Styles
(Hercule Poirot #1)
Author: Agatha Christie

Genre: Classics, Mystery, Thriller
First published: 1920
Publisher: HarperCollins
Finished reading: August 15th 2018
Pages: 304

“You gave too much rein to your imagination. Imagination is a good servant, and a bad master. The simplest explanation is always the most likely.”


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I’m almost ashamed to admit I’ve only recently started discovering Agatha Christie‘s books, starting with And Then There Were None in 2016. I then read Murder On The Orient Express earlier this year, going against my self imposed rule to try and always read series in order. So this is me trying to make up for that and starting at the beginning, where it all once started. The Mysterious Affair At Styles is actually her very first book and it was interesting to discover how her long career had begun. This first introduction to the famous Hercule Poirot was an interesting one. The references to the war were interesting and gave the story a little something extra. True, the pace was a tad slow and this story is more about cleverly concealed twists and descriptions than real suspense. It was interesting to see how the case evolved over time and how Hastings tried to figure out what really happened, and his interactions with Poirot himself. I figured out the basics of the ending early on, but being able to see the techniques Agatha Christie used to reach that ending was still satisfying. All in all not my favorite, but I’m definitely looking forward to continue the series.


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WWW Wednesdays #184 – August 22nd

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 Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronovitch… Mostly because I’ve started a new crochet project and I can’t crochet AND read a physical copy at the same time. I can combine it with my kindle, so that’s basically why I’ve been reading other titles instead. I’m putting crochet on hold today though so I can hopefully finish it! I’ve also started reading The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson, a title I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages and I’m really excited about.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Ink And Bone by Rachel Caine (3/5 stars) REVIEW 23/08
I had really high expectations when I started reading Ink And Bone, and this just might have been the problem here. I was really surprised it took me a long long time to get into the story… I can’t exactly put my finger on the way, because the writing itself is excellent, but it might have been the slowish pace or my lack of connection to the plot itself. There is no doubt there is a lot to love in Ink And Bone, but somehow I just didn’t feel it. I felt some of the spark was missing, and only towards the final part did that spark finally ignite.

2. The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/08
The Mysterious Affair At Styles is actually her very first book and it was interesting to discover how her long career had begun. This first introduction to the famous Hercule Poirot was an interesting one. The references to the war were interesting and gave the story a little something extra. True, the pace was a tad slow and this story is more about cleverly concealed twists and descriptions than real suspense. It was interesting to see how the case evolved over time and how Hastings tried to figure out what really happened, and his interactions with Poirot himself. I figured out the basics of the ending early on, but being able to see the techniques Agatha Christie used to reach that ending was still satisfying.

3. Truth And Lies by Caroline Mitchell (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 19/08
I have a weak spot for serial killer thrillers, and I really like the original angle used in Truth And Lies. It’s not the first time I’ve read a story written from the perspective of a serial killer’s daughter, but it hasn’t been done a lot either. The details about the past, the memories resurfacing, the broken family story… It definitely adds something fascinating to the story. But for me this element kind of got a bit lost in between all the other elements used in this story; there was simply too much going on, too many different elements and subplots to make for a proper coherent and believable plot. I felt some angles were left unfinished and I think the story would have benefitted by simplifying things and leaving some elements out. That said, it was still an entertaining read and a good start of a new series.

4. Uprooted by Naomi Novik (3/5 stars) REVIEW 26/08
Initially, I really enjoyed this story and I was positive it would receive a really high rating. The writing style is just wonderful, the worldbuilding is intriguing, I loved the many references to the Polish culture and Agnieszka’s character has an interesting background. I liked seeing the magic evolve and even tolerated the Dragon. But why o why does this story have to be destroyed by unnecessary and disturbing romance?!?!

5. The Shadow Cats by Rae Carson (3/5 stars) REVIEW 26/08
The Shadow Cats is actually a prequel to the first book and focuses more on Elisa’s older sister Alodia. I never really liked her, but if possible she comes over as even worse in this novella. In fact, I had a problem with a lot of the characters in general. The writing is solid though and I loved the use of many Spanish words, both in names and other descriptions. Very creative!

6. The Confession by Jo Spain (4/5 stars) REVIEW 27/08
Normally, finding out the who behind an attack or murder is one of the main drives of a crime thriller. So how can The Confession work that well if we know who did it right away? It has to do with both the well crafted plot and the also important question ‘why’. We may know the who, but readers are left clueless when it comes to the reason behind this attack. What secrets are J.P., Harry and Julie hiding? What connects them? Why was Harry attacked? Oh yes, you will keep wondering why, why, why as you keep turning pages and encountering the next clever twist. A very solid read indeed!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m starting Call To Arms by Rachel Amphlett as soon as I finish my current read on my kindle… I need another dose of Kay Hunter! I also want to read both I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh and Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt, depending on how long it takes to finish the other three titles. As soon as my N.E.W.T.s readathon begins on the 31st, I won’t be having time for other reads! My newest TBR jar pick is still An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris.


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WWW Wednesdays #183 – August 15th

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 close to finishing Ink And Bone by Rachel Caine, a series I’ve been wanting to start for ages and since it worked perfectly for the Magical Readathon I’m finally doing so. I’m not as impressed as I thought it would be though… The idea behind the story is interesting, but I’m just not feeling it. I’m also currently reading The Mysterious Affair At Styles by Agatha Christie… I thought it was about time I read her first book, and it fits a bunch of challenge prompts as well, so that’s a huge bonus. And I’m still reading Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronovitch as well, which I’m really enjoying so far. And I love LOVE the cover art. ❤

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Harry Potter Y El Prisionero De Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (4,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW
I always love rereading Harry Potter, and book number three is one of my favorites of the bunch. I started my reread in Spanish some time ago and The Prisoner Of Azkaban was up next; it fitted one of the prompts for the Magical Readathon perfectly so it was an easy choice. It was so great rereading this one again! It’s always great rediscovering little details I had completely forgotten about.

2. The Tango War by Mary Jo McConahay (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
If you enjoy reading non fiction historical texts and have an interest in the Second World War, The Tango War will without doubt interest you. It’s not the fastest read of the world and the essay-like chapters might slow you down, but this book shines the light upon a wide variety of topics related to the role of Latin America during the war. Would I have liked to see a more neutral point of view instead of a clearly US influenced perspective? Maybe. Would I have liked to see more of Latin America itself? Probably. But there is no doubt The Tango War is still a little goldmine of information.

3. Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 19/08
After Ali mentioned this book in one of her posts, I had no other choice but to stop procrastinating and start reading Every Heart A Doorway. I’ve been wanting to read this story ever since I first heard about it, and it looks like first impressions sometimes really hit the right spot. What a wonderful wonderful read! My only complaint would be that I wish the story would have been longer, because there is so much to love and only a limited amount of pages to do so.

4. The 7 Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton (5/5 stars) REVIEW 17/08
This was a buddy read with Nicki @ Secret Library… We’ve been taking things slow as to fully savour this little masterpiece. WHAT A BOOK!! Claiming that The 7 Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle is absolutely brilliant and a true masterpiece might just be an understatement… I’m not sure how to properly describe my feelings for this book other than the phrase ‘just read the damn book‘, because that actually seems like the right thing to say here. Yes, this debut is THAT good, as you might have guessed from all the other (and most definitely more proper) reviews out there… What are you waiting for? My only complaint would be that this book might have ruined any future books of the same genre for me… How on earth can they still be satisfying after The 7 Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle has raised the bar that high?

5. The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang (4/5 stars) REVIEW 20/08
If you are looking for something different to read, don’t mind disturbing the dead and enjoy a well developed historical setting and a strong main character, The Impossible Girl is just the book for you. The perfect balance of a strong historical setting, a dose of creepy, a mystery, some violence and romance makes this story work like a charm. It was interesting to see the story and the characters evolve and I had a great time reading this one.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to read the books for the Magical Readathon in time, so I need to pick up Uprooted by Naomi Novik ASAP (I don’t care about Divination, so I’m probably not picking up that title). I also need to read the ARC Truth And Lies by Caroline Mitchell and The Confession by Jo Spain some time soon since the publish date is coming up. My newest TBR jar pick is still An Officer And A Spy by Robert Harris.


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ARC REVIEW: Stillhouse Lake – by Rachel Caine @rachelcaine @ThomasMercerUK

Title: Stillhouse Lake
(Stillhouse Lake #1)
Author: Rachel Caine

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: July 1st 2017
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: July 18th 2017
Pages: 302

“There are no limits for the hate. It’s free-floating, a toxic cloud of moral outrage and mob mentality, and it doesn’t care who it hurts. Only that it does.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I have heard a lot of excellent things about Stillhouse Lake so far, so you can imagine my happy dance when I saw the message in my inbox that my Netgalley wish was granted. It took me less than a week to pick up my copy and I still kind of wish I would have done so earlier. Because wow. Just WOW. It’s been over a day since I finished reading Stillhouse Lake and I am still lost for words. I should probably have taken more time to cool off before writing my review, because this thriller has been one hell of a ride…But let’s see if I can say something somewhat coherent about it. First of all Stillhouse Lake is hands down one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year and just so damn intense! Make sure to clear your schedule before starting this one, because you will want to sit down and read it in one go. The story had me hooked from page one and didn’t let me go until the very end… Why? Here are some bulletpoints to give you an idea. Highly creepy serial killer: CHECK. Intriguing plot and plot twists:CHECK. Constant suspense and feeling something is off: CHECK. Brilliant writing style that keeps you on the edge of your seat: CHECK. Inability to trust any character: CHECK. Being sure you figured it all out and finding out you’re wrong over and over again: CHECK. Very realistic character development: CHECK. Do I have to go on? Dark, twisted, messed up and oh so good…As you can imagine, I can highly recommend Stillhouse Lake. Where can I sign up for the sequel?!

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The life of Gina Royal seemed to be nothing but average: a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two children. But that is until a car crashes into their garage and her husband’s secret life as a serial killer is revealed. People can’t believe she never knew about it and blame her just as much as her husband… After one too many death threat, stalkers and internet trolls, Gina is forced to run and create a new identity to keep both her and her kids safe. Her ex is now in prison, but that doesn’t mean danger isn’t out there… Not only has her husband connections and seems to find her wherever she hides, but there are many others who wish her harm. Gina, now called Gwen, thinks she is finally safe in their new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. But just as the three are starting to feel at ease in their new identities, a body turns up in the lake…

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Like I said before, Stillhouse Lake is hands down one of the best thrillers I’ve read so far this year. This story is dark, disturbing and intense right from the very first page and will have you hooked until you reach the end. I love my serial killer thrillers and this focus on the relatives and the consequences of being linked to a serial killer is such an original perspective! I loved every single moment of this disturbing ride and I can highly recommend it to fans of the genre. SO good!


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WWW Wednesdays #146 – July 19th

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 started with Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira yesterday since I needed a change of genre after Stillhouse Lake… Somehow I didn’t think another thriller would have been able to live up to that story right now. I’m keeping my fingers crossed the change of genre will work, because I want to continue with Girl In Snow by Danya Kukafka afterwards… And I’ve read about 30 pages of Sister by Rosamund Lupton (which I’m actually reading in Dutch) and the struggle is real haha. I’m not convinced so far and I’m not sure if it’s because of the language barrier or the story itself…

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The List by Patricia Forde (3/5 stars) REVIEW 
The List is without doubt based on a very fascinating and original concept I would easily have given the highest rating for. The language elements are very interesting as well and this was definitely my favorite element of the story. That said, it did take me way longer than expected to read this Middle Grade story and I had difficulties connecting to both the writing style and the characters. I ended up having mixed thoughts about The List, but I guess the story can go either way for you.

2. The Breakdown by B.A. Paris (4/5 stars) REVIEW
I’m aware that The Breakdown has been receiving a lot of mixed reviews, but I personally had a really positive experience reading this psychological thriller. Then again I’m a sucker for any story with an amnesia/dementia angle and I found this element very well executed in The Breakdown. I didn’t particularly like Cass or the other characters, but the character development and growing forgetfulness and paranoia was brilliantly executed. In short I would definitely recommend giving this one a chance if you like the genre.

3. Confess by Colleen Hoover (2/5 stars) REVIEW TODAY
First of all I have to say that Confess by no means is a bad read, and I’m probably partly to blame for this story and me not being a right match. The writing style is just so readable and I do love the idea of the confessions turned into art and the way confessions are incorporated into the story itself. Confess isn’t just another sappy romance story and has a few very dark themes, but in the end it was the instalove overdose and inability to tolerate the main characters that ruined the reading experience for me. Oh well, I guess we can’t like them all… And what I said before is true: Colleen Hoover is always able to provoke very strong reactions with her stories whether they are positive or negative. And that is always a good sign.

4. Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine (5/5 stars) REVIEW 20/07
Wow. Just WOW. I will need time to cool off, because this thriller has been one hell of a ride… Stillhouse Lake is hands down one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year and just so damn intense! Highly creepy serial killer: check. Intriguing plot and plot twists: check. Constant suspense and feeling something is off: check. Brilliant writing style that keeps you on the edge of your seat: check. Inability to trust any character: check. Being sure you figured it all out and finding out you’re wrong over and over again: check. Very realistic character development: check. Do I have to go on? Dark, twisted, messed up and oh so good… I’m going to keep my fingers crossed I will be able to squeeze out a somewhat more coherent review by tomorrow.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m getting closer towards my goal of finishing most of the ARCs on my Netgalley shelf, which means only one NG title on here: The Girls In The Water by Victoria Jenkins. I’ve heard lots of great things about that one! I also want to read The Secret Of Heaven by Felix Alexander, a Reading Alley ARC that will help me change genres a bit. And…. *drumroll* I’m finally going to read Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton! I’ve been posponing it for way too long now, so fingers crossed I will be able to move it to my currentlyreading pile by next week. My newest TBR jar pick is still Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard, which I’m hoping to read before the end of this month.


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Teaser Tuesdays #149 – July 18th: Stillhouse Lake

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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 was stoked when I found out my Netgalley wish was actually granted and I lasted less than a week before I gave in and picked it up. After a long line of books that were either disappointing or didn’t manage to blow my mind completely, Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine seems to be doing the job and more. I know it’s still too early to tell, but what I’ve read so far is just. SO. DAMN. GOOD!!! I will definitely finish devouring this thriller before the end of today.

My teaser (12%):

“To this particular crop of vigilantes, the victims didn’t matter alive, and they don’t matter now. It’s an excuse to let their vilest impulses out to play. These trolls are no different from Mel in many ways – except that unlike him, they probably won’t act on those impulses. Probably.”

What are you reading right now?


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WWW Wednesdays #145 – July 12th

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 only started reading The List by Patricia Forde yesterday… Just look at that gorgeous cover! It’s one of my first middle grade reads this year and I’m having a feeling I will be able to finish it very soon. I’m picking up The Breakdown by B.A. Paris straight after since the deadline is only 6 days away; I’ve been putting it off since I’ve seen a lot of mixed reviews, but we’ll see how it goes I guess. And I’m actually going to read Sister by Rosamund Lupton in Dutch! Yes, I’m finally going to keep the promise I made in January and try to read a book in Dutch… Fingers crossed it won’t take me too long since my Dutch is preeeeetty rusty. xD

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Court Of Lions by Jane Johnson (3/5 stars) REVIEW 
I was looking forward to read Court Of Lions as soon as I read the blurb. This novel seemed to combine two of my favorite things: historical fiction and Spain. I have wonderful memories of the city of Granada and this story without doubt triggered them. I enjoyed reading the many descriptions of the city and I loved the historical storyline and its characters. I probably would have given Court Of Lions a much higher rating if it would have been just that storyline… Because I wasn’t as charmed by the contemporary chapters. I couldn’t connect to Kate or the other characters, had a negative reaction to the adult content and wasn’t sure about the cliches either. Her history is without doubt both frightening and intriguing, but reading about it just didn’t work for me. Such a shame!

2. Jeopardy In July by Barbara Venkataraman (4/5 stars) REVIEW
I normally prefer my mysteries to be a little more ‘thrilling’, but every once in a while I like to endulge myself with a cozy mystery. Jeopardy In July turned out to be just the highly entertaining, fast and easy read I was craving and I had a lot of fun reading this story. The writing style is very enjoyable and the case in Jeopardy In July is quite interesting. I’m enjoying to see Jamie Quinn’s character evolve over time and the ending definitely made me wonder what’s next in store for her!

3. Aristotle And Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe (4/5 stars) REVIEW
I know it took me way to long to finally read this book, but I’m definitely glad I did. Although I didn’t LOVE love it myself and some parts were a bit slow, I can’t deny that both the characters and writing style are wonderful. Things only got better in the second half ofAristotle And Dante and I really loved to see their characters develop. The ending was exactly what I wished for while reading this story, although it did feel abrupt and I will be keeping my fingers crossed we will be able to read more about these characters in a sequel soon.

4. Slip by David Estes (3/5 stars) REVIEW TODAY
There is no doubt the concept behind Slip is very interesting even though I’m not sure if the story is actually all that original. With so many storylines and characters the plot feels a bit chaotic at points and it can get a bit confusing, but I guess it does add some dept to the story. The tone was a little off for me as well, but in general this was still a solid dystopian read. Plus, not having to deal with a huge dose of sappy romance was an added bonus!

5. Reported Missing by Sarah Wray (2/5 stars) REVIEW 13/07
I was really looking forward to Reported Missing, but unfortunately I ended up having a completely different reading experience. While the concept sounded really promising, there wasn’t much happening during the story and the pace is considerably slow. This psychological thriller is mostly focused on the character development, but I found myself unable to connect to the main character and this made it really hard to keep interested in the story. In short unfortunately not what I was expecting at all.

6. Little Monsters by Kara Thomas (?/5 stars) REVIEW 16/07
After hearing raving feedback I couldn’t wait any longer and decided to pick up Little Monsters before going back to my regular ARC schedule. And I completely agree this is a highly entertaining and superfast read! I’m still getting my thoughts in order so no rating yet, but I guess you might have already guessed it’s going to be a high one. 😉

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m slowly trying to get rid of my NG ARC mountain so I have three more ARCs coming up next: The Lost Book Of The Grail by Charlie Lovett, Girl In Snow by Danya Kukafka and Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine. I have high hopes for all three so fingers crossed they will be good! And my newest TBR jar pick is still Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard, which I’m hoping to read before the end of this month.


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