YVO’S SHORTIES #161 – The Guest Cat & The One-In-A-Million Boy

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around a double dose of contemporary and two titles I’ve been looking forward to: The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide and The One-In-A-Million Boy by Monica Wood. Sadly both ended up disappointing me…


Title: The Guest Cat
Author: Takashi Hiraide

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: 2001
Publisher: Picador
Finished reading: April 26th 2020
Pages: 146
(Originally written in Japanese: ‘猫の客 [Neko no kyaku]’)

“There’s a photographer who says cat lovers always believe their own cat is better looking than anyone else’s. According to her, they’ve all got blinders on.”


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I’ve been curious about this title ever since I finished The Travelling Cat Chronicles last year and saw it recommended under similar Japanese fiction titles… I think it’s no secret that I’m a huge catlover, so I was looking forward to dive into some cat infused fiction again. It’s easy to say that I ended up to be quite quite disappointed by The Guest Cat instead. In fact, I’m really not sure why this book even has this title, as the focus is mostly on the guest house and the couple which POV the story is narrated from… Sure, we have Chibi and later some other cats, but they didn’t really play as big of a role as I thought they would. Instead, The Guest Cat is a story where nothing much happens, and it’s mostly one elaborate description after the other. And while I can appreciate beautifully written descriptions, it was just too much to have to read a story build up out of 90% of those descriptions and only 10% what you can call a very meager plot. The writing didn’t fully convince me either (I think the phrase ‘lost in translation’ might apply here), and overall I had a really hard time keeping focused. In fact, I struggled reaching that final page, and the only reason I finished it is because it’s so short in the first place. The open ending was yet another disappointment, and I was honestly seriously underwhelmed by the whole experience.


Title: The One-In-A-Million Boy
Author: Monica Wood

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: April 5th 2016
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Finished reading: April 29th 2020
Pages: 336

“How tranquilizing it was to arm yourself with information, how consoling to unpack the facts and then plan them like fence pickets, building a sturdy pen in which you stood alone, cosseted against human fallibility.”


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I’ve been curious about The One-In-A-Million Boy ever since I first heard about it a few years back, and both the cover and blurb had me convinced I was going to enjoy my time with this story. Sadly, I somehow ended up having mixed thoughts instead… I’m not sure if it’s just the wrong time for me to read this story, as my reading taste has been all over the place in these strange times, but the fact is that I somehow expected more of this story. There were things I loved in The One-In-A-Million Boy, while other elements of the story ended up letting me down a bit… The main star of the story is 104-year-old Ona of course, who I adored and she is basically one of the sole reasons I kept reading. The glimpses you get of the boy makes it really easy to like him too and it makes you wish you could have met him properly… I loved learning more about Ona’s past and she is such a fascinating character and oh so easy to connect to; the boy is quirky and very loveable too. As for the other characters: Quinn isn’t too bad and I liked the music elements he helped including in the plot. I wasn’t a fan of Belle at all though and her actions and the way she keeps treating Quinn were starting to get very very annoying. I felt like I would have loved a story solely based on Ona and the boy more, as they made up the best part of this story and I felt the other characters and subplot started to let the story down. I do get that one of the big elements, grief and moving on, wouldn’t be possible without things going the way they are, but still… Somehow I just expected more of The One-In-A-Million Boy, and the actual story, while by no means a bad read, just fell a little flat for me.


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WWW Wednesdays #267 – May 6th

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 need to get cracking on my May blog tour reads, and I’m currently flying through Ash Mountain by Helen Fitzgerald. I really hope to finish it today! I’m also starting Tweet Cute by Emma Lord as I still seem to be in the mood for cute contemporaries.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The One-In-A-Million Boy by Monica Wood (3/5 stars) REVIEW 08/05
I’ve been curious about The One-In-A-Million Boy ever since I first heard about it a few years back, and both the cover and blurb had me convinced I was going to enjoy my time with this story. Sadly, I somehow ended up having mixed thoughts instead… I’m not sure if it’s just the wrong time for me to read this story, as my reading taste has been all over the place in these strange times, but the fact is that I somehow expected more of this story.

2. Pet Sematary by Stephen King (4/5 stars) REVIEW 14/05
I’m planning on slowly making my way through Stephen King‘s backlist and as I’ve been wanting to watch the new movie adaption I decided to pick up Pet Sematary first… And I ended up having an excellent time reading this story. While I expected the story to be more creepy and full-scale horror than it turned out to be, as a paranormal thriller with psychological horror elements Pet Sematary still aimed to please.

3. Swipe Right by Stephie Chapman (3/5 stars) REVIEW 11/05
I’ve been in the mood for a good romcom and I thought that I had hit the nail on the head with Swipe Right… It’s by no means a bad read and I think romance fans will have a great time with this one, but there were a few things that bothered me enough to end up having mixed feelings about this one. And yes, that includes having more than one love triangle in the mix and basically an overload of cliches…

4. Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight (3/5 stars) REVIEW 14/05
I’m not sure if the unpopular opinion curse has struck again, but the fact is that somehow Reconstructing Amelia and me didn’t get along as well as I thought we would. My reading mood has been all over the place lately, so this might just not have been the best time for me to read this story… But the fact is that I ended up having mixed thoughts about Reconstructing Amelia.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I have one May blog tour read left: This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf. Afterwards, I will probably either start my Eddie Flynn series binge-read with The Defence by Steve Cavanagh or read Running Barefoot by Amy Harmon depending on what genre I’m in the mood for. I also have a new TBR jar pick: Evil At Heart by Chelsea Cain. I already wanted to continue this series some time soon, so I guess my TBR jar selecting this title is a sign I should do so! Probably not until after I finish the Eddie Flynn binge-read though.


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WWW Wednesdays #266 – April 29th

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 The One-In-A-Million Boy by Monica Wood as I was craving another dose of contemporary… With the speed I’m reading right now, I’ll probably ended up finishing it before this post goes live haha. I’m also starting (finally!) Pet Sematary by Stephen King, a title I’ve been wanting to read for a while and decided to pick up so I can watch the movie afterwards.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon (2/5 stars) REVIEW 03/05
I really enjoyed When Dimple Met Rishi back when I read it, and I’ve been wanting to try more of Sandhya Menon‘s books ever since. I was craving a cute contemporary, so I decided to pick up From Twinkle, With Love on a whim as I thought it would be exactly the story I needed at the time. I guess I was wrong! Between the high school cliches, love square, despicable behavior of Twinkle and the writing sounding too forced, I really struggled reaching that final page… Oh yes, From Twinkle, With Love definitely didn’t have that spark for me.

2. The Creak On The Stairs by Eva Björg Ægisdóttir (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 09/05
Look out for my review during my stop of the blog tour next month!!

3. Danny The Champion Of The World by Roald Dahl (3,5/5 stars) NO REVIEW
I won’t be writing a full review for Danny The Champion Of The World… I’ve been slowly going through the books of one of my favorite childhood authors, Roald Dahl, rereading old favorites as well as some stories I missed when I was little. I did read Danny The Champion Of The World a couple times when I was little, and although it’s not my favorite I remember still enjoying the story quite a lot. It’s not as fantastical as some of his other stories, but I liked the relationship between father and son and the ‘secret’ and creative poaching ideas. It’s definitely a fun story for kids to read.

4. The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide (2/5 stars) REVIEW 08/05
I’ve been curious about this title ever since I finished The Travelling Cat Chronicles last year and saw it recommended under similar Japanese fiction titles… I think it’s no secret that I’m a huge catlover, so I was looking forward to dive into some cat infused fiction again. It’s easy to say that I ended up to be quite quite disappointed by The Guest Cat instead.

5. Good Samaritans by Will Carver (5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/05
It had been a while since my last 5 star read, and I really needed a story to completely blow my socks off again… I turned to my Orenda backlist and I couldn’t have picked better! Good Samaritans is dark, sexy and utterly disturbing; a complex and well written story that grabbed me from the start and was pitch black and twisted to the core. Say hello to a new favorite! I just can’t wait to read the sequel now.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

May is around the corner which means I need to focus on my ARCs again… I’m planning on reading my three remaining May ARCs next. First up is Swipe Right by Stephie Chapman, and then it’s two blog tour reads with Ash Mountain by Helen Fitzgerald and This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf. I will also read my latest TBR jar pick Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight somewhere in between.


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WWW Wednesdays #265 – April 22nd

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?

It’s another dose of contemporary for me right now with From Twinkle, With Love by Sandhya Menon. I’ve been meaning to try more of her books for a while now! I’m also starting blog tour read The Creak On The Stairs by Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir, which I’ve been looking forward to.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. One Summer In Paris by Sarah Morgan (3/5 stars) REVIEW 24/04
Things started out great (and also a lot darker than expected) and there were a lot of things I did love in One Summer In Paris, including the Paris setting and the dynamics and growing relationship between Grace and Audrey as well as the bookshop, French language learning, explaining of dyslexia and alcoholic parents past and even Audrey romance with Etienne. BUT. I absolutely hate it when the cheating/affair element plays a big role in a story.

2. The Girl In The Tree by Sebnem Isiguzel (DNF 11%; 0 stars) DNF REVIEW 28/04
I was actually really looking forward to The Girl In The Tree, as the blurb sounded intriguing and I always love discovering new international authors. I certainly wasn’t expecting to have the reaction I had when I finally started reading it… But it is what it is I guess. I hate DNFing this early in a story and I feel more than guilty, but I just couldn’t take it anymore… More about the reasons why I decided to DNF this early in the upcoming DNF shorties review.

3. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (4/5 stars) REVIEW 28/04
I’ve been meaning to pick up The Light Between Oceans for years now. I’m not sure why it took me this long to actually read it, as I’m a big fan of historical fiction and settings that enable me to travel to places I’ve never been… But what I do know is that I regret not reading this story sooner now. The Light Between Oceans is a mostly character driven book with a fascinating setting that gives the story the perfect backdrop to develop both plot and characters. And while there were certain elements/details especially in the second half that started to irk me, I still ended up really enjoying my time with this historical fiction read.

4. Little Whispers by K.L. Slater (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 07/05
K.L. Slater‘s psychological thrillers are must-reads for me, so having the chance to read two new titles in the same month is definitely a huge bonus. As always the writing is solid and it is without doubt an entertaining read, although I did feel the spark was a bit missing in Little Whispers… Or it might just be that these kind of domestic psychological thrillers are not a good match for me right now.

5. Woven In Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez (4/5 stars) REVIEW 03/05
I admit that it was coverlove at first sight when I first heard about this book, but as soon as I read the blurb I was fully convinced that this story would be for me. I love it when stories incorporate foreign cultures and Woven In Moonlight is filled with Bolivian culture and folklore… It’s a story that mixes real life elements with fantasy and I especially loved the magic incorporated into the story. Another bonus: the dose of romance is pretty mild!

6. What Lies Between Us by John Marrs (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 30/04
Holy guacamole, what did I just read?! So dark, so twisted, and oh so glorious! I’m a big fan of John Marrs‘ writing and his newest title definitely didn’t disappoint. I have to admit that I saw some of the plot twists coming very early on, but I was too busy devouring this story to really care. What Lies Between Us is a dark dark and oh so disturbing psychological thriller, but apparently just what I needed right now.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m taking a little break from ARCs next to focus on my backlist titles again… First up are The Guest Cat by Takashi Hiraide, Pet Sematary by Stephen King and The One-In-A-Million Boy by Monica Wood depending on what I’m in the mood for. My newest TBR jar pick is also up soon: Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight.


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