ARC REVIEW: Stage Four – by Sander Kollaard

Title: Stage Four
Author: Sander Kollaard

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: February 20th 2018
Publisher: AmazonCrossing
Finished reading: January 18th 2018
Pages: 148
(Originally written in Dutch: ‘Stadium IV’)

“Everything she was, was stored in her soft brain tissue. The tumor growing in that tissue – the meteorite on its way to destruction – threatened not so much her life as her identity.”

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

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I vowed to read more international authors/translations this year, and somehow this book spoke to me when I saw it mentioned. I know technically I could have tried reading Stage Four in Dutch, but my language skills are more than rusty so I decided to cheat and read the translation instead. This story was first published five years ago, but its translation is scheduled to be published next month. There is no doubt that Stage Four is a very interesting read. It tells the story of a Dutch couple who first met in Sweden back in 1968, and now want to enjoy their golden years by traveling around Europe in a camper van. Those dreams are crushed as Sarie is diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer before the trip has even started… Stage Four both shows us the past, how the two main characters first met, and how they react to the terrible news all those years later, try to live with this new reality and make the most of the time they have left. The writing is interesting and includes a lot of descriptions of both the places they visit (which made me feel as if I were visiting Sweden myself) and facts related to Sarie’s illness. The decline in Sarie’s character is tragic and heartbreaking; their love and devotion beautiful. I have to say I was quite shocked by the ending though!

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Dutch couple Sarie and Barend Vervoort decide to celebrate their retirement by buying a camper van and travel around Europe. They also want to return to some of the places in Sweden where they traveled together when they first met back in 1968. But this dream is shattered before the journey has even started as Sarie falls ill in Belgium and is diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. After one too many invasive treatments, Sarie decides to face the inevitable head on and wants them to go to Sweden anyway… Going back to where it all started all those years ago.

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Stage Four is both a beautiful, tragic and heartbreaking love story of a couple trying to accept and live with the diagnose of stage IV lung cancer. The flashbacks to 1968 help build their characters and it was interesting to see their relationship evolve as well as how they deal with the progress of the disease. There are lots of descriptions of the Swedish destinations included, making it feel as if you were there yourself… A very intriguing read although the ending was quite shocking.


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WWW Wednesdays #160 – January 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 currently reading a pending NG ARC: Best Friends by Carys Jones. It’s still early days since I didn’t have much time yesterday, but I’m having high hopes for it. I’m also about to start with Born A Crime by Trevor Noah, a story I have been looking forward to and has been highly recommended to me a couple of times.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The New Hunger by Isaac Marion (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/01
The New Hunger is a prequel novella and I think I actually enjoyed it better than the first book. It might have been because of the lack of romance in this one, but The New Hunger turned out to be quite an interesting read despite the fact I’m not really into zombie stories. The writing and pace make it into a superfast read and I enjoyed reading about the background of the Warm Bodiescharacters and how it is to survive in this dystopian world in the first place. Short, but sweet with a healthy dose of fresh brains.

2. The Silent Girls by Dylan Young (4/5 stars) REVIEW 
There is no doubt that The Silent Girls is a very promising start of a new detective series that will be on my radar from now on. From a flowing, engaging writing style, interesting plot, refreshing cold case angle to great characters and a healthy dose of suspense and creepy suspects; The Silent Girls has it all. I can definitely recommend this new series to fans of the genre. Detective Anna Gwynne is one to keep an eye on.

3. Stage Four by Sander Kollaard (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 26/01
I vowed to read more international authors/translations this year, and somehow this book spoke to me when I saw it mentioned. Stage Four is both a beautiful, tragic and heartbreaking love story of a couple trying to accept and live with the diagnose of stage IV lung cancer. The flashbacks to 1968 help build their characters and it was interesting to see their relationship evolve as well as how they deal with the progress of the disease. There are lots of descriptions of the Swedish destinations included, making it feel as if you were there yourself… A very intriguing read although the ending was quite shocking.

4. From Bad To Cursed by Katie Alender (3/5 stars) REVIEW 02/02
Sadly I wasn’t able to enjoy this sequel as much as I thought I would. I still love the writing style, which is engaging, flowing and makes you fly through the story. But I wasn’t so sure about the plot. The idea behind From Bad To Cursed is an interesting one and definitely involves a healthy dose of creepy, BUT I wasn’t so happy with all those high school cliches included as well as a lot of ‘perfect pretty girl’ cliches. A bunch of teenage girls playing perfect and bitching to others if they don’t dress perfectly, eat the right food and say the right things? No thank you.

5. Vanishing Girls by Lisa Regan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 28/01
If you like dark, intense, action-packed thrillers, you will be in for a treat with Vanishing Girls. The case described in this first book of a new detective series is both disturbing and fascinating, and this story is not for the weak-hearted. Trigger warnings are in place for violence, abuse and graphic scenes! Vanishing Girls is without doubt my kind of thriller and I had a blast following this rollercoast ride. The plot is so packed with action and twisted that it’s on the border of credible, but there is no doubt you won’t find a boring minute while reading this one. The main character Josie Quinn is on fire in this one!

6. The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 02/02
I was fully expecting to be loving this read, but I ended up feeling the complete opposite. I don’t think my opinion has all that much to do with the fact I don’t really know her… It’s more that her writing style, crudy humor and sexual talk simply aren’t a right fit for me. I guess her humor and writing style either works for you, or it doesn’t. Unfortunately I belong to the second group, and honestly I kind of struggled making it to the last page. Oh well, we can’t like them all, can we?

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I really want to read The Camera Lies by AB Morgan after my current reads since the publish date is coming up soon… And after that I want to read my ARC copy of The Witch Doesn’t Burn In This One by Amanda Lovelace because I’m in the mood for some good poetry. After that, I’ll probably read As Dead As It Gets by Katie Alender so I can cross off my first series of the year… I do hope it’s better than book two. My latest TBR jar pick is still Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly. (I’ve been saying this for too long now; really have to kick my own butt and read it soon!)


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