YVO’S SHORTIES #188 – He Started It & Only Mostly Devastated

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two Goodreads Choice Awards nominees belonging to different genress. He Started It sadly didn’t live up to expectations for me; something I’m still surprised about… Only Mostly Devastated turned out to be a great read though.


Title: He Started It
Author: Samantha Downing

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
First published: April 30th 2020
Publisher: Penguin
Finished reading: November 10th 2020
Pages: 400

“I wonder how many bad things have been explained by such a simple phrase, a simple idea. Because I could. Because no one stopped me. Because it was easy.”


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Well, well, well, what do we have here? I guess it’s unpopular opinion time again… So many people have praised He Started It and after loving her previous book My Lovely Wife I was fully expecting to have a repeat experience with this one. Especially since I always enjoy road trip stories in the first place… I’m not sure if it’s because psychological thrillers don’t seem to work as well for me right now, but the fact is: I was bored. A LOT. Up to the point that I kept wondering when the cursed road trip was finally going to end so I could get this story over with. The pace was just way too slow for me, which is strange as the characters are basically in constant movement… But there was just something static about the whole story. Top this with highly unlikeable characters and I had a really hard time to stay invested. True, there were some surprises including the ending, but overall sadly I can’t say I enjoyed my time with this one.


Title: Only Mostly Devastated
Author: Sophie Gonzales

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: March 3rd 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Finished reading: November 13th 2020
Pages: 272

“We had no way of knowing what the future held. People changed their minds, people passed away, people moved unexpectedly. The only thing we could ever really do was play it by ear.”


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I admit that I was sold as soon as I saw the Grease mention… I must have watched that movie a million times as a kid, so I simply HAD to read Only Mostly Devastated for nostalgic reasons alone. I must say that I was expecting more of a fluffy romcom after the cover and blurb, which I can confirm that this story is not. In fact, Only Mostly Devastated is quite heavy on the more serious topics and has a healthy dose of drama as well as heartbreaking moments. And no, they are not just relating to the relationship between the main characters as the blurb might make you think… There is a big focus on Ollie and his parents trying to help his aunt and her family as she is fighting cancer, which might be triggering for some readers. That said, I did think this topic was quite well handled. Thankfully we will see lighter moments too, and I especially loved seeing Ollie interact with his new friends as well as his niece and nephew. Both Will and Ollie could get a little frustrating at times, but overall I did have a great time reading this story. Would I have loved to see more Grease elements? Most definitely. But I liked this spin off very much and it has a great cast of characters that will most likely appeal to those who enjoy the genre. Just make sure to brace yourself for quite a few heartbreaking moments thrown in instead of just your regular dose of fluff… Chocolates and tissues are probably mandatory.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #187 – Get A Life, Chloe Brown (DNF) & Such A Fun Age

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a YA romance and a contemporary… The first, Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert, I sadly ended up DNFing as the sexy scenes were just WAY too crude and explicit for me. Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid turned out to be a great read though, and I understand why so many people seem to love it.


Title: Get A Life, Chloe Brown
(The Brown Sisters #1)
Author: Talia Hibbert

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: November 5th 2019 
Publisher: Avon
Finished reading: November 5th 2020
Pages: 366
DNF at 45% (165 pages)

“When it comes down to it, everything we feel is in our head.”


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Okay… I’m not sure what happened here. Or actually I do. I guess it’s unpopular opinion time again! I was in the mood for some romance, and Get A Life, Chloe Brown sounded like such a fun read, so I thought I had hit the jackpot when I started reading it. I connected to the writing and characters almost immediately. The snarkiness, the humor, the flawed and intriguing characters… I really enjoyed getting to know both Chloe and Red better, and I really thought I was well on my way to adding a new author to my romance list. But then… BOOM!! The first crude and WAY too explicit sexy scene showed up. I can normally tolerate them if they are not too explicit and I’m enjoying the rest of the story (which I was), but there was just something about the crude way of describing the scene that literally made me gag. Still, I decided to give the story another go, as I felt a connection to especially Chloe and wanted to know more about her. I tried to overcome that scene and it seemed to be working, up untill… BOOM!! Another even more crude and explicit sexy scene showed up that had all the signs of being even longer, and I just couldn’t bring myself to keep reading or even skimming to the end of the scene. Why not even skimming? I figured it wouldn’t be the last scene as there was still more than half of the story left, and I seriously felt like vomiting already. Ugh, this was most definitley not the story for me. *shudders* It’s such a shame, because I was really looking forward to spend more time with Chloe and Red… But it is what it is I guess. If you can stomach some serious adult content and enjoy the genre, you will probably have a great time with Get A Life, Chloe Brown though. Personally, I’ve decided to stay away from Talia Hibbert‘s books for now even though I did love her writing, character development as well as her sense of humor.


Title: Such A Fun Age
Author: Kiley Reid

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: December 31st 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Finished reading: November 8th 2020
Pages: 320

“I don’t need you to be mad that it happened. I need you to be mad that it just like… happens.”


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There has been so much hype around this title and to be honest I was a bit hesitant to pick it up myself as hyped books and me don’t tend to get along all that well… But I’m glad I did pick up Such A Fun Age in the end, as I understand why it has been receiving so much praise. I’m definitely in love with the writing style, which made the story so damn readable! I literally finished it in less than a day, unable to pace myself or to stop reading… Racism is such an important topic and this story shows us so well that it is so easy to seemingly do the right thing for all the wrong reasons. I never did warm up to Alix, but I LOVED Emira and Briar together. Both won over my heart immediately and made it really easy to care about what was happening in the story… Lighter moments are mixed with heavier topics, and I definitely enjoyed how the story ended. If you enjoy a well written contemporary with interesting characters and a powerful message, Such A Fun Age is without a doubt worth reading.


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AUDIO ARC REVIEW: Furia – by Yamile Saied Méndez

Title: Furia
Author: Yamile Saied Méndez
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: September 15th 2020
Publisher: Workman Audio
Finished reading: October 30th 2020
Pages: 368

Duration audiobook 8 Hours, 51 Minutes, 38 Seconds
Narrated by Sol Madariaga

“I’d leave this house the first chance I got, but not by chasing after a boy, including my brother. I’d do it on my own terms, following my dreams, not someone else’s.”

*** A copy of this audiobook was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Workman Audio in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I confess that I have a weak spot for any story with a Latin American setting, and any story set in Argentina will instantly have a special place in my heart. As an immigrant who has had the opportunity to live in Argentina during (most of) the last decade, I love seeing the Argentinian culture and customs portrayed in my stories. As soon as I read the blurb of Furia, I knew I was going to be in for a treat. The setting in Rosario (a city I’ve had the chance to visit a couple of times over the years) as well as the prejudice the main character has to face as a female soccer player had me fully intrigued… And it most definitely turned out to be a powerful listen.

I know that I’m still a newby when it comes to the whole audiobook experience, and I also confess that I still prefer reading the stories myself, but there is just something about listening to a book set in Argentina that is narrated by someone with an Argentinian accent. While I do understand that some might be put off by this as non-Spanish speakers might be having a more difficult time understanding the many Spanish phrases thrown in, I personally felt it gave the story a real sense of authenticity. Sol Madariaga‘s voice grew on me almost immediately and I applaude her fluidity switching between English and (Argentinian) Spanish flawlessly. The pace and flow of the audiobook were just right for me, and I had no problems at all keeping up with the story. And I think that this audiobook might just only have enhanced my experience with this story for me.

Like I mentioned before, Furia is set in Argentina and it shows. Not only do we have many thorough descriptions of Rosario and Argentinian customs in general, but this story also deals with social issues including domestic abuse and violence. The all-popular soccer is another very important element of course, and the power of this sport can be felt throughout the story. It doesn’t stop there though, as Furia is made even more authentic through the use of many many (Argentinian) Spanish words and phrases that are woven expertly into the plot and dialogue. While I do understand that non-Spanish speakers might seem them as a burden, I personally loved how it gave the story that true Argentinian flavor.

I personally more of a rugby fan, but I have seen with my own eyes just how important soccer is in Argentina and I really liked how the sport was incorporated into the plot. Furia is about soccer as well as the struggles of the main character as a female soccer player, and the writing really made the sport and its players come alive for me. As for the characters… Camila was quite easy to warm up to, although I did end up having mixed thoughts about her. Why? I don’t want to give away spoilers, but the constant lying and ‘hot and cold’ treatment of Diego did get on my nerves… And I particularly found the whole keeping her soccer playing a secret for over a year unbelievable. Again, why? Well, let’s just say that people love to talk and gossip down here, and the soccer passion is in the blood of most… So I just don’t believe nobody ever mentioned something to her parents before, especially with her brother being a well known player too.

That said, I did enjoy most of this story and it felt like a true ode to Argentinian soccer and culture. Lighter moments and romance are mixed with heavier topics, and all in all Furia turned out to be a satisfying story to listen to. I can definitely recommend the audio version, but I would advice non-Spanish speakers to approach with caution as you might struggle understanding the Spanish words and phrases in the audio even though they do make the story feel more authentic.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #185 – Maria In The Moon & Clap When You Land @Orendabooks

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time a double dose of contemporary with two absolutely outstanding reads: Maria In The Moon by Louise Beech and Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo.


Title: Maria In The Moon
Author: Louise Beech

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: August 15th 2017
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: October 27th 2020
Pages: 280

“But even with four aces, I always chose to lose.”


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I’ve considered Louise Beech to be one of my absolute favorite authors ever since I first tried her work last year, and I’ve been saving her final backlist titles for special occasions… I thought that Orentober month fitted the bill perfectly! Sadly the blogging slump prevented me from writing a lengthy glowing review in time, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Maria In The Moon absolutely deserves one. While I do confess that initially I wasn’t 100% sure about this story, it soon snuck up on me and it managed to bowl me over completely in the end. The Beech effect has struck again! The writing as well as character development is once again of an extraordinary quality, and the plot itself all powerful, raw, shocking as well as heartbreaking. Maria In The Moon is memory loss as you never saw it before, with a plot and characters that will continue to haunt you long after you reach that final page… Not an easy read, but absolutely worth it in the end. If you enjoy heavier/darker fiction with wonderful writing as well as excellently developed characters, Maria In The Moon should definitely be on your radar.


Title: Clap When You Land
Author: Elizabeth Acevedo

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: May 5th 2020
Publisher: Quill Tree Books
Finished reading: November 1st 2020
Pages: 432

“Fight until you can’t breathe, & if you have to forfeit, you forfeit smiling, make them think you let them win.”


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Both The Poet X and With The Fire On High simply blew me away, so I have been eagerly anticipating her newest story Clap When You Land… And I can now say that my expectations were more than met; what an absolutely stunning read! The fact that the story is told through free verse, the glorious writing, the two sisters, the Dominican Republic setting and culture references, the plot itself… There is so much to love in Clap When You Land and it is definitely a story that will stay with me for a long time. I love that the story switches between Camino and Yahaira’s point of view to help us get to know both sisters. It was interesting to see both girls react to the news of the accident as well as see how different their lives are… Especially the chapters set in the Dominican Republic had glorious descriptions that really made the setting come alive for me, but I loved the fact that the culture really shines through throughout the story. I also loved the little Spanish phrases and words thrown in, as they gave the story that extra authenticity without making it too hard for non-Spanish speakers to at least get the gist of what is being said. Clap When You Land is a story of family, loss, love as well as hope, and I personally devoured every single page of that delicious free verse writing. Stunning, unique, powerful and emotional, and absolutely worth the read!


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YVO’S SHORTIES #184 – The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue & The Girl In The Tower

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time a historical fantasy edition with The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab and The Girl In The Tower by Katherine Arden.


Title: The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue
Author: V.E. Schwab

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
First published: October 6th 2020
Publisher: Tor Books
Finished reading: October 23rd 2020
Pages: 448

“He may be a sun, but she is a shining comet, dragging their focus like burning meteors in her wake.”


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Fangirling alert coming in!! I know that I’m a bit biased when it comes to this author… I basically adore anything Schwab writes, and I have been eagerly anticipating The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue. Especially knowing how much Addie’s story means to the author in the first place… I was afraid my expectations would be set too high, but I shouldn’t have worried as I literally devoured each and every single page. I knew I was going to love this story as soon as I first met Addie… She is a force to be reckoned with, and so easy to warm up to! The Invisible Life Of Addie LaRue is part historical fiction, part supernatural fantasy and part romance, all combined together into what is without doubt one of my 2020 favorite books. The story switches back between the past and 2014, always told from Addie’s POV.  A dual timeline can always go both ways for me, but somehow in this case I loved both equally and this probably has a lot to do with Addie’s constant presence. We have her past, starting in late 17th century and early 18th century France and later jumping to different times in history as the years go by. We see Addie develop over time, learning to live with her curse and thriving against all odds. Then we have the present, where both Addie and Henry will win over your heart without fail. The writing is simply glorious, and somehow the slower pace actually did me a favor and made me slow down to fully savour each sentence. I do get why some people might find this story too slow or overlong, but I personally treasured every single minute I got to spend with Addie. Say hello to a new all time favorite!


Title: The Girl In The Tower
(Winternight Trilogy #2)
Author: Katherine Arden

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
First published: December 5th 2017
Publisher: Del Rey
Finished reading: October 31st 2020
Pages: 383

“Every time you take one path, you must live with the memory of the other: of a life left unchosen. Decide as seems best, one course or the other; each way will have its bitter with its sweet.”


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I’ve been meaning to read this trilogy for so long now… So after finally reading and loving the first book a few weeks ago, I decided to pick up the sequel while memories were still fresh so I could actually try to finish a series in a timely matter for a change. Once again I had a fantastic time with this medieval Russian story filled with folklore and magic! True, I did enjoy the first book a tiny bit better than The Girl In The Tower, but that same magic of the first book was still there, and I already can’t wait to pick up the third and final book after that ending.

The descriptions once again truly made the setting come alive for me, and I love how the author incorporates not only Russian history, but also Russian folklore and culture into her story. It really makes this trilogy stand out for me, that’s for sure. I do have to say that I found the pace to be a tad slower in this sequel, and the plot a tiny bit less intriguing, but getting to meet up with Vasya again most definitely makes up for it. My love for her character has only grown since the first book, and there are some interesting developments in this sequel that make me wonder what the final book has in store for us. This trilogy is quickly turning into a new favorite!


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ARC REVIEW: Art And Soul – by Claire Huston

Title: Art And Soul
Author: Claire Huston
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: April 23rd 2020
Publisher: Goldcrest Books
Finished reading: October 17th 2020
Pages: 395

“If you willingly enter the dragon’s lair, best to wait to see how it will react, rather than poke it.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I’ve been looking forward to pick up this contemporary romance story written by fellow book blogger Claire, so when I found myself in the mood for the genre I decided to simply give in and do so. And boy, I am kicking myself for not picking up Art And Soul sooner now! It turned out to be such a wonderful and uplifting story, and it was exactly what I was craving. If you enjoy a well written romantic story with a wonderful cast of character and a healthy dose of cake, you should definitely add Art And Soul straight to your wishlist.

The story is told with the help of a dual POV structure, switching between our two star characters Becky and Charlie. I was able to warm up to both characters almost immediately, and the same goes for the rest of the cast. I loved Becky with her strength and resourcefulness, Charlie with all his flaws and artistic talent, Ronnie with her baking skills, Lloyd with his flamboyance… And I can go on and on. The cast of characters made it really easy to warm up and connect to the story too, and reading Art And Soul felt like sitting down with a slice of your favorite cake and a steaming cup of tea. You will find yourself rooting for the main characters and keeping your fingers crossed everything will work out in the end… Trust me, Becky and Charlie will manage to win over your heart in record time.

I loved that this is a slowburn romance built on friendship. I’m not a big fan of the whole insta-love trope and I liked how the dynamics between the main characters were slowly build up and changed. I also loved that there are multiple elements in play in Art And Soul… We have the food element with the many mentions of cake, we have the art element with Charlie’s paintings and the art gallery, we have the struggles of a single mother/father… They all enrich the story even further and added a little something extra to the plot. A little warning: Art And Soul will leave you wanting to bake/eat cake, so make sure you have the ingredients or a cake at hand to satisfy those cravings. You can never have enough cake in the first place, right?

In short, Art And Soul is a well written, delightful and uplifting slowburn romance with a healthy dose of cake and art to brighten up your day. If you enjoy the genre, I can definitely recommend meeting up with main characters Becky and Charlie! Trust me, you won’t regret it.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #182 – Kiss My Cupcake & Tender Is The Flesh

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! Today two books that couldn’t have been more different… But both ended up being a success. Kiss My Cupcake was exactly the fun contemporary I was craving, while I still can’t wrap my head around just how twisted Tender Is The Flesh was. Definitely perfect for Halloween that one!


Title: Kiss My Cupcake
Author: Helena Hunting

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: August 11th 2020
Publisher: Forever
Finished reading: October 9th 2020
Pages: 368

“I’d rather struggle to make ends meet for a while than give up my own dreams.”


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I was in the mood for a good contemporary and I always love a food element in my stories, so I figured that Kiss My Cupcake would probably be a good choice. And it ended up exactly the type of story I was craving! Sure, there are quite a few cliches involved… For example: why does the male lead always have to be dropdead gorgeous?! Sure, there are quite a few sexy scenes involved and we all know how allergic I am to those. BUT. Somehow I didn’t really care too much as I was too busy having fun seeing Ronan and Blaire pitched against each other. The whole ‘enemy to lover’ vibe isn’t as strong as I thought it would be initially, but I loved how they are not two competing bakers, but instead competing business owners and neighbors. Both have their own background and dreams, and I had a great time getting to know them better and see their relationship evolve. It definitely made me want to bake my own batch of cupcakes though, as those descriptions of Blaire’s creations sounded heavenly. Another bonus: no love triangle to ruin the day, which I was particularly happy about myself. Fans of the romcom genre who like their stories sweet as well as sexy will have a great time with this one.


Title: Tender Is The Flesh
Author: Agustina Bazterrica

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia, Horror
First published: November 29th 2017
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Finished reading: October 13th 2020
Pages: 224
(Originally written in Spanish: ‘Cadáver Exquisito’)

“Today I’m the butcher, tomorrow I might be the cattle.”

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Holy cow, this was one dark, brutal and twisted story! I’m kind of lost for words when it comes to Tender Is The Flesh… I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while now, and while I intended to read the original, I ended up picking up the translation instead (call me lazy). And boy, this is a story I won’t forget any time soon… Think dystopia. Think a world where cannibalism is legal and humans are breeded like cattle only to be slaughtered for their meat. This will give you some idea of where this story might go… A word of advice: definitely don’t read Tender Is The Flesh if you have a weak stomach, and definitely don’t read it just before dinner. It’s been a while since I read a story this brutal, this shocking, but somehow it is powerful as well and the writing is without doubt enchanting. Marcos makes for a very interesting main character and I liked seeing him evolve over time. If you are looking for a dark, gory and shocking horror read and aren’t put off by cannibalism being the star of the show, Tender Is The Flesh would without doubt make for the perfect Halloween read.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #180 – Dead Wrong & A Heart So Fierce And Broken

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two sequels, albeit two completely different genres. Dead Wrong turned out to be just the dose of crime thriller I was craving and A Heart So Fierce And Broken made me realize I really need to dive into the high fantasy genre more often again.


Title: Dead Wrong
(DC Maggie Jamieson #2)
Author: Noelle Holten

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: March 14th 2020
Publisher: One More Chapter
Finished reading: September 27th 2020
Pages: 432

“She was always in awe of the landscape around some prisons and secure units. Beautiful on the outside, but housing evil behind the walls.”


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I really enjoyed my time with the first book Dead Inside last year, and I have been looking forward to continue the series ever since… I’m not sure why it took me this long to actually do so, but I guess that in a way I’m kind of glad I did now because that cliffhanger ending is nuclear!! Oh yes, Dead Wrong has the most shocking ending and I will definitely be diving into book three ASAP to find out what happened there. The ending isn’t the only exciting thing happening in this sequel though. While Dead Wrong has a slightly different feel than the first book due to the focus on the murder investigation this time around, both the psychology angle with criminal psychologist Kate and the probation angle with probation officer Lucy will make its appearance along the way. Both women give this crime thriller series a refreshing touch and I really liked the balance with the rest of the murder investigation team. We get to know main character Maggie a little better this time around too, and she is a great character to follow while you are trying to uncover the truth about it all. Dead Wrong will definitely have some twists and surprises for you in store! The writing reads like a train too, and if you are looking for a well written and suspenseful crime thriller, this series in general is an excellent choice.


Title: A Heart So Fierce And Broken
(Cursebreakers #2)
Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: January 7th 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Finished reading: September 29th 2020
Pages: 464

“Choices are never easy. There are good and bad options, but the most dangerous is to not make any choice at all.”


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I really enjoyed A Curse So Dark And Lonely when I read it last year, so I have been looking forward to read the sequel ever since… It took me longer than expected to finally do so, but I ended up really enjoying my time with A Heart So Fierce And Broken too despite the slower pace in points. There is a shift in focus on the main characters in this sequel, but I actually liked spending more time with Grey instead of Rhen. While I did miss Harper, most of the other interesting characters of the first book take the spotlight along with Grey and a couple of new characters; some might be disappointed by this, but I personally didn’t mind. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that I love Grey’s character, and I really liked new character Lia Mara and what she added to the plot. A bonus: no clear love triangle and instead a slowburn romance between two interesting and easy to like characters. I call that a win! On top of this, we have more magic, a fascinating creature (scraver) and a whole new complicated situation in Emberfall… And that ending!! I definitely can’t wait for book three now to see how things will develop next.


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YVO’S SHORTIES #179 – Heart Bones & A Boy And His Dog At The End Of The World

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two titles I’ve been looking forward to read… The first, Heart Bones by Colleen Hoover, turned out to be a new favorite, but sadly A Boy And His Dog At The End Of The World by C.A. Fletcher somehow just didn’t work for me.


Title: Heart Bones
Author: Colleen Hoover

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: August 19th 2020
Publisher: Hoover Ink
Finished reading: September 19th 2020
Pages: 338

“Damaged people recognize other damaged people. It’s like a club you don’t want a membership to.”


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Colleen Hoover titles can go both ways for me, but I’ve enjoyed her recent titles without fail so I have been highly anticipating her newest story Heart Bones. Both the blurb and the first reviews sounded fantastic, so I had high hopes it would be a good one for me as well… And the CoHo magic struck again, because I absolutely loved this story. Beyah’s character won me over from the very beginning, and I really liked Samson and the other main characters in play as well. They are realistic, flawed and so easy to warm up to that you cannot help but root for them almost immediately. I wasn’t even that bothered by the sexy scenes as I was too busy wondering how the plot and characters would evolve, and that is a true achievement as I normally hate any form of sexy time in my stories. The writing is engaging, flows easily and is packed with emotions. It’s a story about two broken individuals being drawn to each other and finding a connection that seems impossible to break… Both have their secrets and past, and there were definitely a few reveals I didn’t see coming. Heart Bones will mess with your heart and feelings, but the journey is oh so worth it. A new CoHo favorite to add to the list!


Title: A Boy And His Dog At The End Of The World
Author: C.A. Fletcher

Genre: YA, Dystopia, Science Fiction
First published: April 23rd 2019
Publisher: Orbit
Finished reading: September 26th 2020
Pages: 384

“If we’re not loyal to the things we love, what’s the point? That’s like not havign a memory. That’s when we stop being human.”


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I have been looking forward to A Boy And His Dog At The End Of The World ever since I read the first reviews last year. I love a good dystopian story every once in a while, and add an animal character in the spotlight and I’m immediately sold. I was fully expecting to find a new favorite, so that’s probably why I felt even more disappointed when I ended up having a completely different reading experience instead. It’s unpopular opinion time again! Don’t get me wrong: I still love the premise of this story and the idea behind this dystopian future as well as its development was interesting. I also like the idea behind Griz’ character and the dogs… But somehow, the actual story just didn’t work for me personally. I wasn’t a fan of the writing style somehow; I wasn’t able to warm up to the tone or the way the story was told in the form of Griz’ memoir written after the events. Somehow I wasn’t really a fan of how the plot developed either… I found the story to be considerably slow, and while I did enjoy the development of the dystopian world, I didn’t exactly have a good time following Griz’ story itself. I can’t put my finger on the why, but the story just wasn’t able to grab or hold my attention and I found myself skimreading more than often just to get to the end. I know I’m in the minority though as most people do seem to love A Boy And His Dog At The End Of The World, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that this story somehow definitely wasn’t for me. I definitely need a different dystopian read now to properly satisfy my dystopian cravings…


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ARC REVIEW: Love Among The Recipes – by Carol M. Cram

Title: Love Among The Recipes
Author: Carol M. Cram
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: October 20th 2020
Publisher: New Arcadia Publishing
Finished reading: September 15th 2020
Pages: 325

“I think that’s what we all want. To be left alone to make our own decisions, even if they’re the wrong ones.”

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

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I know that contemporary romance isn’t my typical genre, but I seem to be craving more contemporaries than usual lately and I do always love a food or travel element incorporated into the plot. Once I realized that Love Among The Recipes would have both, it sounded like a match made in heaven… Sadly, this blind date turned out to be mostly a disaster. I’ll try to explain briefly why below.

First of all,  I do have to say that I loved the travel element with its many sights of Paris. During this story, you will visit many many known and lesser known sights within the French capital and the descriptions really made the city come alive for me. It almost felt like I was walking through Paris exploring the city myself! The whole travel/cookbook combination is a brilliant idea and the way different recipes are combined with the different sights is probably the main reason I kept reading. It definitely does make you crave French food though!

That said, sadly the travel and food elements were the only parts of the story I did enjoy. The rest of the story somehow simply didn’t do it for me… Why? A lot of reasons, but my first main hurdle was with the main character Genna. While I loved the idea behind her character, her being a cookbook author moving to Paris to work on a new cookbook, her actual personality and character development were kind of off-putting. Her way of constantly mentioning ‘what Drew did to her’ without clarifying started to get old really fast, and instead of adding intrigue I just wanted to slap her and spit it out already. I didn’t like how she acted or interacted with most of the characters either, and actually felt bad for poor Pierre and Bill and how she treated them. As for the whole home situation… I didn’t like how it was developed at all, the ‘secret’ only revealed towards the ending while it was quite obvious for a long time what probably happened. Drew was despicable and somehow I didn’t really warm up to especially Becky either. This lack of connection to the characters in play made it really hard to stay invested to be honest.

On top of this, I felt that the pace was rickety and slowed down considerably in parts. The recipe and visiting the different sights in Paris part of the story was basically the only part that did keep my interest, but mostly I started skimreading whenever there wasn’t any food or travel talk going on, which is never a good sign. The romance itself was quite frustrating as well, and then I’m not even talking about the love triangle (or should I say square?). There were lots of events and elements in Love Among The Recipes that unfortunately ended up annoying me considerably, and I personally struggled to reach that final page. Like I said before, I basically only kept going for the food and travel parts… But otherwise this story sadly turned out to be a quite a disappointment. Fans of the genre might have a different reaction though depending on how they react to the main character and the romance.


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