YVO’S SHORTIES #74 – Artemis & Beneath The Sugar Sky

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time two anticipated releases, one that turned out to be a disappointment and one that turned out to be a success. Artemis by Andy Weir sadly didn’t live up to expectations at all (although I was warned), something I had hoped wouldn’t happen since The Martian is one of my all time favorites. Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire turned out to be a very strong third book and definitely just as good as the first one.


Title: Artemis
Author: Andy Weir

Genre: Science Fiction
First published: November 14th 2017
Publisher: Crown
Finished reading: January 7th 2019 
Pages: 322

“It’s a simple idiot-proofing scheme that’s very effective. But no idiot-proofing can overcome a determined idiot.”


myrambles1reviewqqq

Part of me already knew this was going to happen, because people did warn me about Artemis before I started reading it… But even lowering my expectations didn’t prevent me from feeling very much disappointed by Artemis, especially since The Martian has a special place on my list of all time favorites. I know it’s not right to compare the two books and I won’t be don’t that here actively, but let’s see if I can put together just exactly why this story didn’t work for me. The first mayor problem has a lot to do with the main character Jazz. Let’s just start with saying I had no clue the main character was actually female until she was referred to in that way. And that was one heck of an unpleasant surprise… Because while Mark Watney’s personality really worked for him in The Martian, having a very much similar attitude and personality implanted in an Islamic young woman REALLY gives off the wrong vibe. I don’t mind sassy, I don’t mind attitude, but what is with the constant sexism, adult jokes and sex references? And why do other treat her that way, talk to her in that way, and think that it’s okay to do so? Not only did it feel unnatural, but I also found it offensive. In short, both Jazz and the way others reacted to her really ruined the story for me. It seems that this personality that was once successful just doesn’t work for a different gender or a situation where a lot more characters are involved. The writing on its own isn’t bad and I do like part of the dry humor (when it’s not sexist); the worldbuilding is also quite interesting and I liked the idea behind the plot. This story could have worked really well, but sadly went in the wrong direction for me… As for the credibility: well, it IS a story set on the moon and sci-fi at that, but I couldn’t help start wondering about how Jazz and only a few others were supposed to do all that without getting killed in the process. Or blowing up the moon. This was only minor compared to my problems with Jazz and what she represented though, and I’m really sad to be feeling this way about what I had hoped would be a new favorite. Oh well, at least now I know for sure…


Title: Beneath The Sugar Sky
(Wayward Children #3)
Author: Seanan McGuire

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magic
First published: January 9th 2018
Publisher: Tor
Finished reading: January 8th 2019
Pages: 157

“There is kindness in the world, if we know how to look for it. If we never start denying it the door.”


myrambles1reviewqqq

I fell in love with the worldbuilding and writing in Every Heart A Doorway last year, and have been looking forward to read more about the different worlds and doors ever since. Don’t let the shortness of these little gems fool you, because there is a lot to love in each story and the only downside is that it will leave you wanting for more. Beneath The Sugar Sky is already book number three and bumped straight to the top of this series favorites along with the first book. I think part of this has to do with the fact that we go back to the ‘real’ world temporarily and meet a lot of the characters mentioned in the first book again. This mixture of reality and a healthy dose of a glimpse of not one but multiple magical worlds made the story really stand out for me. Old and new characters are mixed naturally and I love just how diverse Seanan McGuire is able to make her characters without them becoming a cliche. I could really appreciate the focus on the whole body image issue through the eyes of Cora… There is so much truth in her experience and it’s sad the real world has to be this way. That said, I loved the whimsical, nonsense and basically impossible quest the main characters find themselves on in Beneath The Sugar Sky and I’m already curious about what the next story will bring us.


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramFacebookBloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #204 – January 9th

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 trying to start my year in a diverse way with lots of different genres, and Heart Berries by Terese Marie Mailhot sounded like a perfect fit. This memoir has been recommended to me last year and I’ll be looking forward to dive in properly later today. I’m also FINALLY starting my latest TBR jar pick: The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble. I’m not sure what to make of the blurb, but we’ll see how things go I guess.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (3/5 stars) REVIEW 13/01
Dear The Kiss Quotient, it’s not you, it’s me. I should have known better than to pick you up even though contemporary romance isn’t really my thing. I should have investigated better and discovered you were filled to the brim with sexy scenes, because it would have avoided both of us a lot of pain. Oh yes, for someone allergic to adult content and sexy scenes, The Kiss Quotient is 200% the wrong book to go for. Kind of late for that now, isn’t it? Oh well… I guess I have only myself to blame for this. Even though this story was definitely not for me, I can definitely understand why there is so much love for it. Contemporary romance fans are probably in heaven with this book, because there is one thing I can’t deny: Helen Hoang knows how to write.

2. The Crown Of Embers by Rae Carson (4/5 stars) REVIEW 13/01
I admit I had forgotten about a lot of details of the first book and it took a little time to adjust, but I was able to pick up the thread easily enough after a few chapters. The first thing that stands out in this series is the detailed and wonderful worldbuilding. The writing style is engaging and makes it easy to keep reading those pages until you reach the last page. I wasn’t sure about every character; some can get annoying, and I could have done without the romance cliches and love triangle, but overall the story does deliver.

3. Mala Vida by Marc Fernandez (4/5 stars) REVIEW 
If you like stories with an international setting that can offer a little something different and outside the box, you should definitely consider Mala Vida. Part legal thriller, part historical, part mystery and part crime fiction, this story is a mix of a lot of different elements and very well executed at that. I personally loved the Spanish setting, the diversity of the main characters and the story as a whole. The historical element is both well executed and shocking and will definitely leave a mark… A very interesting read and one I’m very glad I came across.

4. The Couple On Cedar Close by Anna-Lou Weatherley (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 18/01
If you enjoy detective thrillers and unreliable characters, you will definitely have a blast with this detective Dan Riley sequel The Couple On Cedar Close. There is a lot of mystery around both Robert and Laurie and their past, adding suspense to the plot and it will keep you entertained as you guess about the details. The flashbacks are interesting as well as you try to fit them into the rest of the story… I did have some issues regarding the credibility of some parts of the plot and wasn’t sure about some of the characters, but overall it was still an entertaining ride.

5. Artemis by Andy Weir (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 15/01
Part of me already knew this was going to happen, because people did warn me about Artemis before I started reading it… But even lowering my expectations didn’t prevent me from feeling very much disappointed by Artemis, especially since The Martian has a special place on my list of all time favorites.

6. Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire (/5 stars) REVIEW 15/01
Beneath The Sugar Sky is already book number three and bumped straight to the top of this series favorites along with the first book. I think part of this has to do with the fact that we go back to the ‘real’ world temporarily and meet a lot of the characters mentioned in the first book again. This mixture of reality and a healthy dose of a glimpse of not one but multiple magical worlds made the story really stand out for me.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to read more backlist titles this year (so far it’s going great), but I also need to work on those upcoming ARCs… Here And Now And Then by Mike Chen and End Of The Lie by Diana Rodriguez Wallach are up next. I also want to read The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson soon so I can cross off my very first series of the year… And I have a new TBR jar pick: The Shattering by Karen Healey. This one is classified as a YA paranormal crime story, so I’m very curious as to how I will react to it.


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Bloglovin’.

YVO’S SHORTIES #70 – The Deal Of A Lifetime & Down Among The Sticks And Bones

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a Christmas themed novella by one of my favorite authors and a sequel I have been meaning to read for a while. The first, The Deal Of A Lifetime, surprisingly turned out to be kind of a disappointment, while the second, Down Among The Sticks And Bones, definitely did deliver.


Title: The Deal Of A Lifetime
Author: Fredrik Backman

Genre: Novella, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: October 31st 2017
Publisher: Atria Books
Finished reading: December 17th 2018
Pages: 96

“A second is always a second; that’s the one definitive value we have on earth.”


myrambles1reviewqqq

I’m a big fan of Fredrik Backman’s books and I really needed to start reading more Christmas themed stories, so I thought this would be a perfect fit… But I guess it just wasn’t ment to be. Why? I have to say I was very surprised to have a less than positive reaction to the novella, especially since I seem to love his stories in general. I admit the story is clever in a way, but somehow I wasn’t able to connect to the characters or writing and the plot was all over the place. The Deal Of A Lifetime has an interesting premise, but this time around the author failed to hit the mark for me. Such a shame, because I really thought I would be adding another favorite!


Title: Down Among The Sticks And Bones
(Wayward Children #2)
Author: Seanan McGuire

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Horror
First published: June 13th 2017
Publisher: Tor
Finished reading: December 21st 2018
Pages: 190

“Children have preferences. The danger comes when they, as with any human, are denied those preferences for too long.”


myrambles1reviewqqq

I fell in love with Every Heart A Doorway earlier this year and I have been meaning to read the sequels ever since. I have been looking forward to learn more about the background of some of the characters, and Jack and Jill were definitely among those I was most curious about. And there is no doubt that Down Among The Sticks And Bones without doubt delivers that. I gives you both their background story and a very detailed description of both their world and what happened during their stay. The whole idea of them being twins and roles being forced on them is disturbing, but fascinating. And it’s probably one of the few times vampires are involved in a story and I don’t really mind. This is quite a dark read, fit with the image we received in the first book of the characters. I really enjoyed reading it, although I did prefer book number one… But that doesn’t take away I’m looking forward to continue the series soon.


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramFacebookBloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #201 – December 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’m in the middle of the Christmas At Hogwarts #magicalfeast2018 readathon, and currently I’m on to book number four A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig. I discovered this series some time ago when I read the ARC of the third book of the series, and I’m excited to be binge-reading the first two books this close to Christmas! I’m also enjoying my time with Outlander so far, although I’ve put it on hold until I finish the readathon titles. I’m currently at 16%, so there’s still a long way to go…

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Vengeful by V.E. Schwab (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 20/12
As soon as I started, I just couldn’t make myself stop… V.E. Schwab is one of my absolute favorite authors, and Vengeful is without doubt a brilliant sequel. It’s been too long to properly compare it with the first book, but what I do know is that I loved every single minute of my time with book two. While the plot is actually quite simple, it is both the writing style and character development that blow you away.

2. Perdimos Nuestro Camino (I Have Lost My Way) by Gayle Forman (4/5 stars) REVIEW 21/12
I was super excited to receive my very first book mail ever through the Masa Critica program at Babelio, and of course I couldn’t resist picking it up straight away. It’s the Spanish translation of I Have Lost My Way by Gayle Forman and without doubt an excellent title. Both the writing style and character development really stood out for me. The author sure has a way of creating unique and diverse characters! My heart went out for them and the ending left me craving for more…

3. The Deal Of A Lifetime by Fredrik Backman (3/5 stars) REVIEW 26/12
I’m a big fan of Fredrik Backman’s books and I really needed to start reading more Christmas themed stories, so I thought this would be a perfect fit… I was surprise to have a less than positive reaction to the story. I admit the story is clever in a way, but somehow I wasn’t able to connect to the characters or writing and the plot was all over the place. Interesting premise, but this time around he failed to hit the mark for me.

4. Sorry Not Sorry by Sophie Ranald (/5 stars) REVIEW 23/12
I know contemporary romance isn’t really my thing, but I like to step out of my comfort zone every once in a while and this title sounded like a lot of fun. The writing is fast and there were without doubt some very witty moments, but there were also characters who started to get on my nerves and there were quite a few cliches involved. I admit I had a good time reading this one though.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

There is no doubt I’ll pick up The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig next as I want to read both books in a row. I’m then reading Down Among The Sticks And Bones by Seanan McGuire next, which is also my final #magicalfeast2018 book. I loved the first book, and I’ve been looking forward to continue the series ever since. And as an early Christmas present to myself I will be reading Bridge To Burn by Rachel Amphlett during the weekend! I can’t wait to spend more time with Kay Hunter. ❤ My newest TBR jar pick is still The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble.


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Bloglovin’.

WWW Wednesdays #200 – December 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’m going to try and focus solely on Outlander by Diana Gabaldon during the rest of the week to see if I can make a proper dent into the story. It’s going to be tricky though, because I have a copy of Vengeful staring at me demanding to be read… I’m not sure how much longer I can resist temptation.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Girl With A Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 13/12
Girl With A Pearl Earring turned out to be a very interesting story set in the 1660s in a Dutch city called Delft. The description of both the setting and era is very well done, and I like how the author stayed true to the Dutch names. The writing was solid and made it easy to follow Griet’s story as things develop. There were a few things that rubbed me the wrong way though.

2. My Life In A Cat House by Gwen Cooper (4/5 stars) REVIEW 18/12
I knew I wanted to read My Life In A Cat House as soon as I saw the gorgeous cat on the cover. A memoir written by a fellow cat admirer? Yes please! I admit I hadn’t heard of Gwen Cooper before I started this memoir, but this hasn’t prevented me from highly enjoying her different ‘tails’ about her five cats. We get to know each of them through memories and anecdotes about why each cat is unique in its own way. My Life In A Cat House will make a great gift for any cat owner or cat lover in general.

3. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena (4/5 stars) REVIEW 20/12
There have been a lot of mixed reviews around this one, and I definitely think I have benefitted from waiting until the hype died down. I ended up enjoying this domestic thriller way better than I thought I would .There are some things to be said about the writing style and the credibility of it all, but overall it was without doubt an entertaining ride and the ending definitely was unexpected. I’ll be looking forward to read more of her work now!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab has been calling me ever since I got a copy and I don’t think I can resist much longer. I’ve been dying to find out how things continue! I’m also planning to read the pending ARC Sorry Not Sorry by Sophie Ranald soon as it sounds like a fun read. And as part of the whole gift to myself and reading mostly my own books until next year, I want to read Down Among The Sticks And Bones by Seanan McGuire. I loved the first book, and I’ve been looking forward to continue the series ever since. My newest TBR jar pick is still The Insect Farm by Stuart Prebble.


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Bloglovin’.

YVO’S SHORTIES #38: The Masked City & Every Heart A Doorway

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time two Tor books and two books belonging to a series. The first a sequel, The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman, which I enjoyed slightly better than the first book, but still didn’t manage to convince me. The second, Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire, was absolutely wonderful and I’m glad I finally did pick it up.


Title: The Masked City
(The Invisible Library #2)
Author: Genevieve Cogman

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Adventure
First published: December 3rd 2015
Publisher: Tor
Finished reading: August 7th 2018 
Pages: 340

“People want stories. You should know that, more than anybody.”


myrambles1reviewqqq

I  admit I wasn’t completely convinced by the first book when I read it last year, mostly because the whole just felt a bit too chaotic and too many different elements trying to be squeezed into one story. I picked up the sequel anyway, both because I was curious to see how things would continue and because it fitted the Magical Readathon challenge… While things did improve and the story seemed to be more coherent, I still wish more focus would have been on the Library. This element is one of the most unique features of this story, and I think any booklover out there would love to see more of it. In The Masked City, there is a lot going on: we have werewolves, dragons, fae and magic, the story is partly set in Venice… But somehow I feel the spark is missing? The whole thing actually felt a bit dull and rather slow-paced for a story about magical creatures and a plot to start a war that might destroy an alternate world or two. I did love the fact that part of the story was set in Venice, the idea of different chaos/order infested words and both the worldbuilding and plot have potential. I’ll probably end up reading the next book at some point since I already own a copy… But the first two books didn’t convince me enough to do so straight away.


Title: Every Heart A Doorway
(Wayward Children #1)
Author: Seanan McGuire

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Mystery
First published: April 5th 2016
Publisher: Tor
Finished reading: August 11th 2018
Pages: 176

“The duality of the phrase was like the duality of the doors: they changed lives, and they destroyed them, all with the same, simple invitation.”


myrambles1reviewqqq

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. The idea of different realities, belonging to different directions like Nonsense, Logic and Wicked is simply fascinating and I love how each world is reflected in the different characters as well. For such a short read, the character development is sublime and part of the reason this story works so well. Nancy, Sumi, Kade, Jack and Jill… I just loved the diversity of the characters, and I can really appreciate the inclusion of lgbt elements. The mystery around the deaths gives the story a purpose and direction, giving you something to hold onto while you try to absord everything about the different worlds. A shame we only get a glimpse of the worlds the characters once lived in, but as far as I can see the sequels will give us more. I’m already looking forward to see more of these characters!


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. InstagramFacebookBloglovin’.

 

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.


signature

You can also find me at Goodreads. Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Bloglovin’.