YVO’S SHORTIES #23: Salt To The Sea & Ready Player One

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two titles I’ve been meaning to read for ages and that both turned out to be excellent reads. Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys and Ready Player One by Ernest Cline… Popular hyped books that actually lived up to the hype and without doubt worth reading!


Title: Salt To The Sea
Author: Ruta Sepetys

Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
First published: February 2nd 2016
Publisher: Philomel Books
Finished reading: March 27th 2018
Pages: 393

“War had bled color from everything, leaving nothing but a storm of gray.”


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I’ve been wanting to read this novel for a long time now, probably ever since I first heard about it. I’ve become a fan of Ruta Sepetys‘ writing after reading Between Shades Of Gray and Out Of The Easy; both because of the fantastic writing and well researched and detailed historical settings and descriptions. Salt To The Sea without doubt fits all these points above. I have a weak spot for WWII historical fiction in general and I hadn’t heard about the Wilhelm Gustloff incident before, so that was a double bonus for me. It truly shows in the little details just how well researched this novel is and the descriptions made it feel as if you were there yourself along with the characters. The plot is an interesting one and shows just how difficult it was to find your way to safety close to the end of the war. I admit it took me a while to get used to the multiple POVs and remembering who is who, which slowed down the pace inicially, but each different character and POV does show a different view on the situation and add something to the story. I was a bit annoyed by Alfred, who I didn’t like at all and I wasn’t sure about the particular style of his chapters. But the rest of the characters were interesting and I liked how the different styles used in each POV showed their different personalities. There is even some sort of interaction between the POVs and sometimes different characters tell their personal experience of the same event… Adding power to what was happening to them. Salt To The Sea is without doubt a very strong historical fiction read that shines the light on an event that is not all that well known. It’s not my favorite Ruta Sepetys novel, but without doubt worth reading.


Title: Ready Player One
Author: Ernest Cline

Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Dystopia
First published: August 16th 2011
Publisher: Broadway Books
Finished reading: March 31st 2018
Pages: 386

“I felt like a kid standing in the world’s greatest video arcade without any quarters, unable to do anything but walk around and watch the other kids play.”


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I have been meaning to read this one for years (and that is without exaggerating). Somehow, the enormous hype around Ready Player One made me a bit afraid to actually pick it up, especially considering my complicated relationship with hyped books in the first place. I finally read Armada first last year, and I can’t say I was that impressed by it… But since people kept telling me that Ready Player One was so much better, I was determined to give it a go one day. And I’m glad I finally did do so, because I loved it so much better than I thought I would! Science fiction can go both ways for me, but as a (former) gamer myself I just loved the general worldbuilding and many many game references… The 80s references didn’t hit home, but that is mostly because I was too young to actually remember that time in the first place. And from what I could see, everything was well researched. Ready Player One is set in the future, and a dystopian future at that. A very interesting backdrop for this story and very well developed! The worldbuilding wasn’t the only thing that worked well for me. I also really enjoyed the writing style itself and of course the plot, which both made me want to keep on reading to find out what would happen next. The characters are well developed and easy to like, and I could also appreciate the fact we get to see both the online side and the ‘real’ side of the main characters involved. All in all a superentertaining and well written sci-fi and gaming adventure I can recommend to fans of the genre.


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WWW Wednesdays 169 – March 28th

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 reading one my pending ARCs The Good Twin by Marti Green yesterday evening, and although it’s still early days, I’m having high hopes for this one. I’m also about to finally pick up Ready Player One by Ernest Cline… I’ve been saying this for ages, but now the time has finally come! Definitely looking forward to it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Deadly Secrets by Robert Bryndza (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/03
I had high expectations for this newest DCI Erika Foster story and I’m happy to say those expectations were more than met. I enjoyed every single minute of Deadly Secrets! Book number six takes a bit of a different direction and Erika Foster is not as present as normal, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of action and a very interesting police investigation to follow. This case is another disturbing one that will lead to many misleading twists as the team is trying to untangle the lies and secrets that surround the life of the victim. Very much recommended for fans of the genre!

2. Wing Jones by Katherine Webber (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/03
Wing Jones is a YA contemporary romance story with a twist. You will find a healthy dose of drama, with the main character Wing’s brother being in a coma after a car accident he was to blame for. There will be romance scenes as well, which can be distracting, but gladly at least did not include a love triangle. But the main element of Wing Jones, besides showing how they have to live with the aftermath of the accident, is running. I just love how important running is in this story and how Wing uses this newly found talent to try to move on and make a life for herself.

3. The Elephant Keeper’s Daughter by Julia Drosten (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 31/03
I really wanted to like this one and I still think the plot itself has a lot of potential. The worldbuilding and descriptions of the era and setting are thorough and it shows the background of The Elephant Keeper’s Daughter was very well researched. Sadly, I’m still on the fence about this one, as I didn’t manage to enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Part of the problem was the tone and writing style as well as the fact the story didn’t really flow… Which made it hard to properly connect to the story. The setting is fascinating though as well as the time period the story is set in with its consequences of the British invasion.

4. Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys (4/5 stars) REVIEW 08/04
I have a weak spot for WWII historical fiction in general and I hadn’t heard about the Wilhelm Gustloff incident before, so that was a double bonus for me. It truly shows in the little details just how well researched this novel is and the descriptions made it feel as if you were there yourself along with the characters.  I admit it took me a while to get used to the multiple POVs and remembering who is who, which slowed down the pace inicially, but each different character and POV does show a different view on the situation and add something to the story.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have two pending ARCs lined up next. The first, Jilliand by Clare Gutierrez, I’m super excited about since it’s a historical fiction read about vikings that made me think of the TV show Vikings immediately (which is a good thing, since it’s one of my favorites!). I’m looking forward to A Secondhand Life by Pamela Crane as well since the blurb sounds brilliant. And I’m superhappy to be finally starting with the Kay Hunter series! I will definitely be starting with Scared To Death by Rachel Amphlett ASAP. My latest TBR jar pick is still Summer Of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider.


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Teaser Tuesdays #171 – March 27th: Salt To The Sea

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’m finally reading Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys! I’m a big fan of her other novels, so I’m still not sure why it took me this long to actually pick up this title. I’m having very high hopes for this one, so fingers crossed it will be another good one.

My teaser (4%):

“I thought of the countless refugees trekking toward freedom. How many millions of people had lost their home and family during the war? I had aggree with Mother to look to the future, but secretly I dreamed of returning to the past.”

What are you reading right now?


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WWW Wednesdays #99 – July 13th

wwwwednesdaysWWW 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?

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I’m currently reading Wanderlost by Jen Malone, which is turning out to be a quick and entertaining road trip story from what I can see so far. I’ve also started reading The Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse because I was in the mood for a Peter Pan retelling, but I can’t say I’m enjoying it. The tone and prose don’t seem to fit the theme at all and I’m struggling to continue this one… Same goes for The Stepmother by Claire Seeber: I started reading it last week, but I couldn’t get into the story and decided to keep it temporarily on hold and read a few other titles instead.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished since last week is My Girl by Jack Jordan, which is probably one of the most twisted and disturbing thrillers I’ve read so far this year. If you are into the genre, definitely make sure to check out this book!
* I then finished Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys, which is without doubt my new favorite of this author. The setting, prose and character development are excellent and I really felt like I was right there in the 1950s along with the characters.
* I also read The Night Stalker by Robert Bryndza, which by no means suffers from the ‘weak-second-book’ syndrome. It’s fast-paced, well written and has an intriguing plot and plot twists. It’s without doubt a very entertaining read!
* I then read The Straw King by Danielle Paige. This novella was surprisingly good compared to the last few previous stories, but I still wasn’t overwhelmed by it.
* I’ve also been able to finish Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon, a title that was on my 2015 most-antipated-releases list. I enjoyed reading it and I admit it was a ‘cute’ read, but I did have some problems with the credibility of the plot. I mean, if the main character is really that sick, doing what she did is incredibly stupid.
* The last book I managed to finish is The Sister by Louise Jensen, which I ended up really enjoying. It’s dark, messed with your mind and has many plot twists… The story jumps back and forth between the past and present and there are quite a few unreliable characters, but it only added to the whole mystery around Grace and Charlie.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Depending on what genre I’m in the mood for, I will read When We Collided by Emery Lord. Although I really want to read The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne as well, both because I’ve heard great things about it and because I want to The Fire Child by the same author. If I want something different, The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey is also high on my list… And my latest TBR jar pick is still The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz. (Which I should read soon since it’s been too long since I last read a TBR jar book.)

BOOK REVIEW: Out Of The Easy – by Ruta Sepetys

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Title: Out Of The Easy
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Mystery
First published: February 12th 2013
Publisher: Philomel Books
Finished reading: July 7th 2016
Pages: 346
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“Sometimes we set off down a road thinkin’ we’re goin’ one place and we end up another. But that’s okay. The important thing is to start.”

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I have been wanting to read another Ruta Sepetys novel ever since I finished Between Shades Of Gray last year. Since I don’t have a copy of her newest novel yet Out Of The Easy was an easy choice, especially since this title has been recommended to me various times in the past. I’m glad I finally took the time to read this story, because I really enjoyed reading it! In a way it’s difficult to compare the two books because the setting in Out Of The Easy is completely different, but I think I have found my new favorite Ruta Sepetys novel. The 1950s setting in the French Quarter of New Orleans is really well done and I truly felt like I was transported back to that era while I was reading this novel. Both the prose and character development are also excellent and it was really easy to connect to the main character Josie Moraine. I liked how determined she is to change her life even though she’s had a rough start, and also enjoyed the fact that the book shop was quite an important part of the story. The plot itself is also interesting and I definitely didn’t see some of the plot twists coming. If you like a well written, fast-paced and interesting historical fiction read, make sure to try Out Of The Easy!

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Josie Moraine has had a rough childhood growing up as the daughter of a brothel prostitute in the French Quarter of New Orleans. She doesn’t want to end up like her mother and is determined to make more out of her life… But things aren’t easy. She has been living in the book shop she works for quite a few years now, and is currently working on a plan to make it out of New Orleans and start a new life in college somewhere. But her plans get a whole lot more complicated when a mysterious death in the Quarter might be linked back to her or her mother… She isn’t close to her mother in the first place, and Josie is even more worried now her mother’s old ‘boyfriend’ is back in town looking for trouble. Josie is now caught between her dreams of attending an elite college and a clandestine underworld… Will she be able to escape New Orleans?

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Historical fiction is a genre I enjoy reading in general, and Out Of The Easy is definitely one of my favorites of the year. The setting, prose and character development are excellent and I really felt like I was right there in the 1950s along with the characters. All in all it was a very entertaining read that combines character development with action and a novel that is definitely worth reading if you like the genre!

WWW Wednesdays #98 – July 6th

wwwwednesdaysWWW 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?

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I’m currently reading one of my pending Netgalley reads: My Girl by Jack Jordan. It’s still too early to tell what I will think of it, but it looks like it’s a fast read. I have also finally started Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys; a book I have been wanted to read for a while and it is a nice change of scenery after all those mystery/thriller reads. So far I’m really enjoying it! I also want to continue Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain, but I might read another pending Netgalley mystery/thriller or two before that.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* After a few disappointing reads last week, All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda definitely made up for it all. This book is without doubt one of the best mystery/thriller reads I’ve read this year and on my favorites list!
* I then finished Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate, which was quite good, although the many different POVs did make this read a little more difficult to read and less entertaining. Also, I liked some of the characters and prose better than others and I would have liked to see the whole seven sins theme playing a bigger role in the book.
* Last To Die by Arlene Hunt started off slow, but completely recovered with an explosive ending that definitely made this read worth reading! If you like twisted, creepy and intense reads, this one is definitely for you.
* I also read As Red As Blood by Salla Simukka on a whim after thinking about possibly seeing one of my Finnish friends again this summer (who lived in Tampere as well). I really liked the beginning of this read and the setting, but the whole plot and main character was a bit fantastical for a mystery/thriller read and it wasn’t as good as I hoped.
* I’ve also been able to finish Cascadia by H.W. “Buzz” Bernard yesterday evening. I ended up really enjoying this suspense/natural disaster/science story, definitely worth reading! More in the upcoming review…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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As soon as I finish at least one of my current reads, I will most likely start reading The Night Stalker by Robert Bryndza. I really enjoyed the first book, so I was so glad Netgalley approved my request for the sequel! 😀 I also want to read Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon, a book that has been on my TBR pile for way too long now and really want to read. The Ice Twins by S.K. Tremayne is high on my list as well, both because I’ve heard great things about it and I was able to get a Netgalley copy of the just published The Fire Child by the same author and I want to read the other book first. My latest TBR jar pick is still The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz. (Which I should read soon since it’s been too long since I last read a TBR jar book.)

WWW Wednesdays #97 – June 29th

wwwwednesdaysWWW 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?

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I have actually almost finished All The Missing Girls by Megan Miranda already and will do so after finishing this post, but technically I’m still currently reading this… This book is without doubt one of the best mystery/thriller books I’ve read so far this year and a must-read for fans of the genre! I’m also in the middle of Seven Ways We Lie by Riley Redgate, which I picked up on a whim and I’m enjoying so far despite a few flaws. I haven’t made much progress with Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain due to the Netgalley books, but I’m continuing it as soon as I finish the other two current reads! And I’ve decided to put all fantasy reads on hold until I’m in the mood for the genre again…

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I already knew Hitman Anders And The Meaning Of It All probably wasn’t going to be as good as Jonas Jonasson‘s other book The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared, but that doesn’t take away the fact that I was REALLY disappointed by this read. It was boring, had flat characters, wasn’t funny, it took me ages to finish and I actually thought of DNFing it at one point. More details in the review that will be published later today.
* I also read We Awaken by Calista Lynne, which unfortunately turned out to be another disappointing read. I loved the cover, the blurb and the fact that it talks about asexuality, but the rest of the book just didn’t convince me. It was a fast read, but that didn’t make up for the flaws. More in my review…

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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As soon as I finish my current reads, I will pick up my oldest ARC: Cascadia by H.W. “Buzz” Bernard. It promises to be an adrenaline-filled suspense story about the after effects of extreme natural events (in this case a massive earthquake and tsunami), so I’m definitely looking forward to it. I also still want to read Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys… And the Netgalley ARC Last To Die by Arlene Hunt is also on my list. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz