YVO’S SHORTIES #121 – Smoke In The Sun & The Cellar

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around to YA reads that I fully expected to enjoy thoroughly, but failed to blow me away in the end. The first is the duology conclusion Smoke In The Sun by Renee Ahdieh, which I was expecting to be another 5 star read after loving the first book last year, but it wasn’t ment to be. And while the premise of The Cellar by Natasha Preston is absolutely fascinating, I didn’t enjoy the actual story as much as I thought I would.


Title: Smoke In The Sun
(Flame In The Mist #2)
Author: Renee Ahdieh

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: May 1st 2018
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books For Young Readers
Finished reading: August 20th 2019
Pages: 416

“Honor was a thing to hate. It drove people to act foolishly, as though they were heroes. As though they were invincible.”


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I’m still surprised I reacted this way to this duology conclusion, because I absolutely loved Flame In The Mist last year and it was one of my 2018 favorites. It might have been that my expectations were set too high, it might have been that I should have reread the first book before starting Smoke In The Sun because I had forgotten about a lot of details… But the fact is, I never felt that same love for the sequel. Even with the help of the glossary in the back, I kind of struggled to keep all the different characters, POVs and plotlines apart, and that made me enjoy the story a lot less. The writing is solid, and I liked the Japanese elements incorporated into the story, as it gives the story the right atmosphere. I would have liked to see the magic more developed though, as it would have given the story that little something extra. Instead, Smoke In The Sun focuses a lot on the relationships between the different characters. To make things worse, we have a love triangle to deal with… And I wasn’t sure if I liked the character development of certain characters. I still think Mariko is a very strong and resourceful main character, and I still liked Okami, but for me Smoke In The Sun lacked some of that special ‘magic’ that turned the first book into a favorite for me. It’s not a bad read, but sadly it wasn’t what I hoped it would be either.


Title: The Cellar
(The Cellar #1)
Author: Natasha Preston

Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
First published: March 1st 2014
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Finished reading: August 22nd 2019
Pages: 368

“This was a morning from a nightmare – one that I couldn’t wake up from.”


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I’ve had The Cellar on my TBR for quite some time now… When my TBR jar decided it was time to read it and I reread the blurb, I was instantly excited to finally pick it up. The premise of this story is absolutely fascinating and I’ve been looking forward to read it ever since. But somehow, I didn’t enjoy the actual story as much as I thought I would. The elements are there: a twisted serial killer, a kidnapping, a prolonged hostage situation… But somehow it was all overshadowed by just how whiny and annoying the main character Summer was. I get that she is in an impossible situation and to say that she is having a hard time is an understatement, but I really couldn’t stand her character and the chapter set before the kidnapping only reconfirmed those feelings. There was too much romance and teen angst involved for me to take the plot seriously, and the final twists were not at all credible either. Another thing about the plot: the whole ‘trapped inside a room by a twisted individual’ scenario has clearly been done before, and sadly executed better in other stories I’ve had the chance to read so far (including Room, The Butterfly Garden, The Bunker Diary). It’s by no means a bad read and the serial killer we are introduced to is without doubt seriously twisted, but somehow The Cellar didn’t manage to convince me completely despite the promising premise. I don’t think I will be reading the sequel any time soon…


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YVO’S SHORTIES #117 – The Rose & The Dagger & An Unwanted Guest

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two titles I’ve been meaning to read for a while and I both ended up enjoying a lot. The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh is an excellent conclusion of the duology and I loved the premise of An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena.


Title: The Rose & The Dagger
(The Wrath & The Dawn #2)
Author: Renee Ahdieh

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: April 26th 2016
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Books For Young Readers
Finished reading: July 30th 2019
Pages: 420

“True strength isn’t about sovereignty. It’s about knowing when you need help and having the courage to accept it.”


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Let’s face it: I’ve been meaning to read this sequel for years. I really enjoyed the first book of the The Wrath & The Dawn duology back in 2015 despite the slow start, but somehow I never picked up the second book when it came out in 2016… I’m glad I finally did though, because it’s without doubt a worthy sequel! While it’s true that it has been four years (whoops!) since I read the first book and it’s a bit hard to compare the two as it has been so long, I think I actually prefer The Rose & The Dagger over the first book. The annoying love triangle is still there, and it’s still one of the main focuses of the story, but I liked what the rest of the story had to offer. Between the writing, bantering between characters and the magical elements I had a great time reading The Rose & The Dagger and I had forgotten how interesting this high fantasy world was… Some aspects of the plot came a bit as a anticlimax, but overall I liked the developments of this story. War, love, magic and despair; you will find it all in The Rose & The Dagger. It’s without doubt a worthy ending to this duology and Shahrzad and Khalid’s story. Also, I adored the epilogue! If you enjoyed the first book, you will without doubt have a great time reading the sequel as well.


Title: An Unwanted Guest
Author: Shari Lapena

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: July 26th 2018
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Finished reading: August 2nd 2019
Pages: 304

“I’ve told the truth, but I’ve found that people believe what they want to believe. I can’t help that.”


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After enjoying The Couple Next Door last year, I’ve been looking forward to try more of Shari Lapena‘s books. I came across An Unwanted Guest when I was putting together my N.E.W.T.s Readathon TBR, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to finally read it. I definitely enjoyed what I found! The plot of this story kind of has that Agatha Christie and And Then There Were None feel, with a limited amount of characters being ‘trapped’ in a remote location and one by one characters starting to turn up dead. I always have a weak spot of this kind of premise and I definitely loved how Shari Lapena developed the plot in this story! The beginning of An Unwanted Guest might be a tad confusing with the introduction of so many characters in such a short time, but as soon as you are able to keep them apart it is really easy to start enjoying yourself. The setting in the remote hotel in the middle of winter is an interesting one, and definitely works perfectly for the plot. And as soon as the first body is discovered, you will feel the suspense building up page after page. Was it an accident? Or is there a murderer amongst the small group? The character and plot development is really well done and helps build up the suspicion between the different characters. Plot twists and secrets are used to keep you on the wrong track, and the situation quickly spins out of control. And that ending! If you are looking for an entertaining psychological thriller with a violent twist and, like me, love the whole ‘locked room’ premise, An Unwanted Guest is without doubt a great choice.


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WWW Wednesdays #234 – August 21st

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

I’m baaaack!! ❤ I should have known not to take a break during #NEWTsReadathon2019 month, as I couldn’t resist reading a LOT for the readathon and spending a lot of time on Twitter anyway. xD Below an update of what I’ve been reading since my last WWW post three weeks ago!

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently reading three books for #NEWTsReadathon2019: a new Carol Wyer and sequel The Sleepover, which I will probably finish soon, the TBR jar pick The Cellar by Natasha Preston and the modern classic The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway. I’ve had the last two on my TBR for quite some time, and I’m looking forward to finally read them.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh (4/5 stars) REVIEW 26/08
2. Dead Scared by Sharon Bolton (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW  25/08
3. The Archived by Victoria Schwab (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 25/08
4. An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena (4/5 stars) REVIEW 26/08
5. Apple Of My Eye by Claire Allan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 03/09

6. What You Did by Claire McGowan (3/5 stars) REVIEW 29/08
7. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/09
8. The Willow Woman by Laurence Westwood (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/08
9. Outrun The Moon by Stacey Lee (4/5 stars) REVIEW 03/09
10. Date Night by Samantha Hayes (4/5 stars) REVIEW 23/08

11. The Sixth Wicked Child by J.D. Barker (5/5 stars) REVIEW 27/08
12. Darius The Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram (4/5 stars) REVIEW 08/09
13. To Drink Coffee With A Ghost by Amanda Lovelace (4/5 stars) REVIEW 16/09
14. 29 Seconds by T.M. Logan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/09
15. Twisted by Steve Cavanagh (5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/09

16. I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 12/09
17. Smoke In the Sun by Renee Ahdieh (3/5 stars) REVIEW 15/09

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’ll be reading more #NEWTsReadathon2019 titles next… I’ll probably pick up Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco first, a title I’ve been meaning to read for ages. Then I’ll read Keeper by Johana Gustawsson, which I’m so SO excited about because it has Jack The Ripper references too and the first book was fantastic… I already have a feeling it will be a new favorite. I also want to read The Hiding Place by C.J. Tudor. And I have a new TBR jar pick! The sequel The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson; I really enjoyed the first book so I have high hopes for this one. It’s also the third story that has references to Jack The Ripper on this list… xD


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WWW Wednesdays #233 – July 31st

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 Dead Scared by Sharon Bolton, a title I picked up on a whim when I was browsing for a quick read before the Magical Readathon N.E.W.T.s Edition starts tomorrow. I can’t believe it took me this long to meet up with Lacey Flint again! So far I’m flying through it and it’s turning out to be another winner.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Her Silent Cry by Lisa Regan (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW
I’ve been a fan of this series ever since I read the first book about eighteen months ago. With each new meeting with Detective Josie Quinn, my love for this series is only reconfirmed all over again and each book brings the promise of yet another intense and suspenseful ride. Her Silent Cry is no exception to the rule, and already the sixth successful installment of this detective series. If you are a fan of intense and thrilling detective thrillers that pack a punch, you should definitely schedule yourself a meeting with Detective Josie Quinn soon!

2. Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 03/08
After multiple recommendations and reading fantastic reviews about both Block 46 and Keeper, I knew I could not go wrong with this series and I’ve been meaning to pick it up for quite some time now. I think the only reason I hesitated was that I knew I was going to be blown away and it would be impossible to write a decent review afterwards… Guess what? That is exactly what happened! I’m still recovering from the shock of this brilliant and harrowing read and I’m hoping I will be able to get something constructive on paper in the next few days. But in short: go get a copy and meet Emily Roy and Alexis Castells if you haven’t already!!

3. The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White (0 stars; DNF at 38%) REVIEW
I never in a million years would have guessed I would be having this reaction to The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein. I’m really sad I ended up having to make the decision to DNF The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein, especially as I fully expected to love this Frankenstein retelling… Was it simply the wrong book at the wrong time? Or did the unpopular opinion curse strike again? Who knows, but the fact is that this story and me really didn’t get along.

4. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides (4/5 stars) REVIEW 
There has been so SO much hype around The Silent Patient ever since it came out earlier this year, and honestly I’ve been too afraid to pick it up myself. Hyped books and me don’t tend to get along, so I thought it was wise to stay away for the time being, but curiosity took over and I ended up giving in anyway. I’m happy to report that I definitely understand the love for this story now! True, I didn’t LOVE love The Silent Patient like most, but I still thought it was a more than solid psychological thriller that made me race through the pages like there was no tomorrow.

5. The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh (4/5 stars) REVIEW 26/08
I really enjoyed the first book of this duology back in 2015 despite the slow start, but somehow I never picked up the second book when it came out in 2016. I’m glad I finally did though, because despite the love triangle being just as annoying as ever, I really enjoyed the new developments and appearance of magic in The Rose & The Dagger. Finally reading this one also means I now have one less series to finish!

6. Física Hasta En La Sopa by Hernán Grecco (4/5 stars) BABELIO
I also read and reviewed Física Hasta En La Sopa, a book I received through the Masa Crítica Argentina program at Babelio and was provided to me by the publisher earlier this month. This title can’t be found on Goodreads and as it’s only 48 pages long anyway, I won’t count it towards my read books this year… If you are interested in what I thought of this title, you can find my review (in Spanish) clicking the Babelio link above. It’s a great website for anyone who reads in Spanish!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

The Magical Readathon N.E.W.T.s edition starts tomorrow, and during the month of August I will only be reading titles that fit the different prompts… First up are An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena and Apple Of My Eye by Claire Allan; both titles I’ve been looking forward to finally read. I also plan to read Outrun The Moon by Stacey Lee soon. My latest TBR jar pick is still The Cellar by Natasha Preston, which I will definitely pick up later in August as soon as I have ‘unlocked’ the prompt it belongs to.


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WWW Wednesdays #232 – July 24th

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 so excited to be finally reading Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson! I’ve heard so many fantastic things about this series in general and I’ll be looking forward to catch up and join the blog tour for the third book in September. ❤ I’m also very excited to be meeting Josie Quinn again in Her Silent CryLisa Regan sure knows how to write a fast and suspenseful ride, so I can’t wait to see what she has in store for Josie and her team this time around. And I’ll be reading the Frankenstein retelling The Dark Descent Of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White, a title I’ve been meaning to pick up for ages…

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/07
I’ve been looking forward to read it, and I definitely didn’t realize just how twisted things were going to get during this story. Oh yes, Pretty Girls is without doubt a breathtakingly disturbing read that will chill you to be bone… Just when you think it can’t get more disturbing and twisted, Karin Slaughter let’s you know another nugget of the full truth and disturbing is taken to a whole another level. And again. And again. My main issue with Pretty Girls is simply the credibility of it all. The writing itself was of course excellent and twistedness of the story without doubt made my blood curl. I just think that less would have been more in this case.

2. Along The Broken Bay by Flora J. Solomon (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 26/07
I admit I was sold as soon as I read the blurb of Along The Broken Bay, as you don’t often see a WWII fiction setting in the Philippines and Gina’s story of working in the resistance sounded absolutely fascinating. I was looking forward to fully emerge myself in what I thought would be a new favorite story, but sadly fate had a different reaction for me in store. Because while I still think that the premise of this story is fascinating, unfortunately I can’t say I enjoyed the execution all that much. More in my review on Friday.

3. The Escape Room by Megan Goldin (4/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 05/08
My full review will be available during my stop of the blog tour on August 5th!

4. The First Girl Child by Amy Harmon (5/5 stars) REVIEW 22/08
This story has once again proven to me that Amy Harmon is a truly brilliant writer and can tackle completely different genres with utter and total success. This is the first time reading one of her fantasy stories (I’ve been meaning to try The Bird And The Sword for ages though), and I was blown away by it. The worldbuilding, the Norse mythology influences, the characters and their development, the plot, the writing… Oh yes, there were plenty of reasons that made me give The First Girl Child the full five stars it deserves.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m looking forward to a little break from ARCs and finally start reading those titles I’ve been meaning to read for ages… First up is The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, which I’m a bit afraid to pick up to be honest because it’s so SO hyped; fingers crossed the hype won’t affect me this time around. I’ve also be meaning to finish another duology by reading The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh, which is also one of the last pending titles I need for my BTB Bingo challenge. And I think it’s about time I read Malala Yousafzai’s memoir I Am Malala as well.  My latest TBR jar pick is still The Cellar by Natasha Preston.


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WWW Wednesdays #135 – May 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’ll probably finish Anything For Her by Jack Jordan later today, which has been a very good thriller read so far. I’m definitely glad I finally picked it up! And as soon as I’m finishing that title, I’ll be diving into another Netgalley ARC: The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite. I’ve heard great things about that title and it has all the signs it’s going to be another Bookouture winner! I’m also still reading Enchanters by K.F. Bradshaw, although it’s still temporarily on hold until I’m in the mood for (high) fantasy again.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

* The first title I finished since last week is Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult, which turned out to be a brilliant read. I’m still kicking myself for not picking it up sooner! From the writing style, character development, plot to it’s very important topic; I just couldn’t find one detail I didn’t like about this powerful story.
* I then read The Car Bomb by T.V. LoCicero, which I ended up having quite a lot of issues with. It took a long time for the chapters to connect, the plot felt chaotic and there was excessive swearing, but that was only minor compared to my biggest problem with this story: the main character. I absolutely despised him and it was really hard to enjoy a story involving such an arrogant, cheating, drunk, womanizing bastard. Definitely not for me…
* Afterwards I decided to try my hands at fantasy again, especially since I enjoyed the first book of The Hero Rebellion series last year. Riven by Belinda Crawford was without doubt an entertaining read and the best part is that it’s a YA sci-fi series that is actually 100% romance free. Yes, you read that right, there’s no romance in this series and the story focuses on the worldbuilding and action instead. It took me a bit longer to adapt to the worldbuilding and some of the unique features and the plot wasn’t as strong as the first book, but there is definitely a lot of potential for what is still to come. Action-packed and very entertaining!
* The last book I picked up is Flame In The Mist by Renee Ahdieh, one of my most anticipated releases this year. I still can’t believe my request was actually approved!! I had high expectations after reading a teaser earlier this year, and somehow this book managed to be even better than expected. I practically devoured its pages and LOVED it. The setting, the writing style, the characters (Mariko, Okami!!!), the plot… It doesn’t happen often I have two 5 star reads in a week, but I just couldn’t give this one anything lower than perfect rating. The wait for the sequel is going to be painful though…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Like I’ve said before, I still have a huge pile of ARCs pending so I’ve made May into another ARC month. I have the following four ARCs lined up to be read next, depending on the genre I’m in the mood for... Be My Killer by Richard Parker and The Roses Of May by Dot Hutchison are both Netgalley ARCs and titles I’m looking forward to. Heartborn by Terry Maggert is another pending fantasy ARC I’ve been meaning to read for a while. I also want to pick up the ARC Manipulated Lives by H.A. Leuschel, which sounds like a fascinating read.


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BOOK REVIEW: The Wrath And The Dawn – by Renee Ahdieh

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Title: The Wrath And The Dawn
(The Wrath And The Dawn #1)
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: May 12th 2015
Finished reading: August 13th 2015
Pages: 404
Rating 3,5

“Love is a force unto itself, sayyidi. For love, people consider the unthinkable…and often achieve the impossible. I would not sneer at its power.”

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l have been debating for the last week on how to rate this novel. I cannot deny I enjoyed the second part of The Wrath And The Dawn, but it took me a really long time to get a proper feel for the story. I had a hard time remembering all the foreign names and places and it was just hard to get into the story in general. I actually started reading this novel by Renee Ahdieh three times before actually deciding to continue and finish it… This surely isn’t a good sign. I’ve thought about giving it a lower rating, but I don’t think it would do justice to the quite impressive worldbuilding, interesting characters and prose. Once you get used to the world The Wrath And The Dawn is set in, it is truly a delightful A Thousand And One Nights retelling. The only minor drawback of the second part would be the cliffhanger at the end… With the expected publish date for the sequel set in May 2016, it sure is a long and painful wait to find out what happens next to the main characters. Would I suggest reading this one? Probably, although it might be better to wait until the sequel is published…

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Khalid is the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan and many people think he is a monster. Every night he takes a new bride and every dawn he kills them with a silk cord wrapped around her throat without explanation… After Shahrzad’s best friend becomes one of his victims, she decides she wants to kill Khalid to avenge the dead women… And she volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined to stay alive and end the suffering of the people of Khorasan. She enchants the king with her stories when he comes to her chamber night after night, knowing that each dawn could be her last… But it seems that Khalid isn’t quite the monster she had imagined him to be. What will happen to them? And why did Khalid kill his brides in the first place?

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I have to be honest and say I finished The Wrath And The Dawn mostly because I joined Bibliophile Gathering‘s read along this month; I don’t think I would have continued reading to the point I started to enjoy this novel otherwise. The Wrath And The Dawn has a really slow start and the many foreign names and places make it hard to get a proper feel for the story. I’m glad I decided to continue though, because I really enjoyed the second part. For those who are struggling to start this novel: try to give it a chance, it does get a lot better after a while! But it definitely wasn’t as good as I was hoping for…