YVO’S SHORTIES #140 – Palm Beach Finland & Black Summer

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two titles I’ve been really excited to read; both for the Magical Readathon Winter 2019 challenge. The first is Palm Beach Finland by Antti Tuomainen, which not only has a gorgeous cover but also is a fascinating mix of dark humor and nordic noir. Then we have sequel Black Summer by M.W. Craven, which has proven to me Tilly and Poe deserve their spot as one of my favorite character duos. What a read!


Title: Palm Beach Finland
Author: Antti Tuomainen

Genre: Nordic Noir, Humor
First published: September 2017
Publisher: Orenda Books
Finished reading: December 23rd 2019
Pages: 300
(Originally written in Finnish with the same title)

“The older you are when you wake up to your dreams, she thought, the more vigorous you pursue them. The more desperately. Because with every passing day there’s simply less to lose.”


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I admit that when I bought my copy of Palm Beach Finland I was both lured in by that stunning cover and the promise of a combination of black comedy and a page-turning thriller. I was planning to make this story my first encounter with this Finnish mastermind of black humor and Nordic noir, but fate had other plans in store and I ended up reading Little Siberia first a while back. This first encounter was without doubt a success and I have been looking forward to pick up my pink and fabulous copy of Palm Beach Finland ever since. Now I’ve had the chance to read it, I can confirm it’s another excellent read. It’s the combination of the dark humor and the Nordic noir elements that makes this story so unique… While it might not be for everyone, if you are able connect to the humor and writing you will find yourself to be very entertained by what is going on in the coldest beach resort on earth! Palm Beach Finland has an colorful cast of characters to say the least, each flawed and adding its own problems, views and intentions to the plot. Multiple POVs are used to give us a multidimentional view of what is going on in the small beach town, black humor spicing up the plot in between the other elements. If you are looking for a little something different and don’t mind the plot heating up as well as having unconventional characters, Palm Beach Finland will without doubt peak your interest! A round of applause to the translator David Hackston for enabling us to enjoy this unique and quirky mix of genres. Blacker than black humor and Nordic noir without doubt make for a tasty thriller cocktail!


Title: Black Summer
(Washington Poe #2)
Author: M.W. Craven

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: June 20th 2019
Publisher: Constable
Finished reading: December 25th 2019
Pages: 352

“Poe, we have a problem.”


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I finally had the chance to meet Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw a few months back when I picked up my copy of The Puppet Show, and they are hands down one of my new favorite character duos. I’ve been waiting impatiently to meet up with them again in Black Summer after the first book completely blew me away… And I ended up turning it into a little Christmas gift to myself by freeing my schedule to spend all day with Tilly and Poe. Best decision ever! The gloomy Christmas Day weather seemed to set the perfect atmosphere for this sequel set in Cumbria, and I was of course hooked from the very first chapter. While I do think I loved the first book a tiny bit more (please don’t hit me!), Black Summer was without doubt a brilliant sequel and as soon as Tilly made her entrance there was no way on earth I was putting down my copy. Thankfully I was able to spend most of Christmas Day in the company of my kindle, lots of tea, a sleeping cat closeby and a pile of leftover chocolate, so my wish came true and I was able to reach that final page almost in one sitting. And what a read! The plot, the characters, the twists, the writing, the setting… There is just so much to love in Black Summer and I’m more than addicted to Tilly and Poe’s adventures. This sequel only made me love their characters even more and they definitely deserve their spot on my favorites list. I literally can’t wait to find out what The Curator has in store next, and I can highly recommend this series to any thriller fan. Trust me, you are missing out if you haven’t met Tilly and Poe yet!!


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YVO’S SHORTIES #113 – Where The Crawdads Sing & The Puppet Show

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two titles that have been highly recommended to me multiple times and both turned out to be worth the hype. I can definitely understand the love for Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens now, and while it wasn’t a 5 star read for me I still really enjoyed my time with the story. And I’ve found a new favorite series and character duo with The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven!


Title: Where The Crawdads Sing
Author: Delia Owens

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
First published: August 14th 2018
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Finished reading: July 12th 2019
Pages: 384

“Kya laid her hand upon the breathing, wet earth, and the marsh became her mother.”


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This is such a hyped book and I’ve lost count of the times it has been recommended to me since it was published last year. I definitely understand the love for the story now, and while it wasn’t a 5 star read for me, I still thoroughly enjoyed my time with Where The Crawdads Sing. The pace might be slow in the beginning, but the story will grow on you soon enough and the pace will pick up later on as well. The main focus of this story is on the characters and with the way the marsh is described, it almost feels like it is another important character of the story. Both the character and setting descriptions are extremely detailed and wonderful done, and I think those descriptions are part of the power behind Where The Crawdads Sing. My favorite part of this story is probably related to the many descriptions and references to the marsh and its wildlife. It really made the story come alive for me and was also a perfect backdrop for the development of Kya’s character and those close to her. I also liked how past and present chapters were mixed and slowly helped you understand more about Kya, her past and the events leading to the present. Tate and Jumpin were great characters as well, and I loved to see their development over time. I admit I guessed the ending, but I still think the twist was very well handled. Where The Crawdads Sing gives us a character-driven story set in the marsh wilderness, a story filled with family drama, rejection, loneliness, hope and a dose of courtroom action and mystery to boot. And it’s one of those exceptions where the book is most definitely worth the hype.


Title: The Puppet Show
(Washington Poe #1)
Author: M.W. Craven

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: June 7th 2018
Publisher: Constable
Finished reading: July 14th 2019
Pages: 352

“They were polar opposites – her light and his darkness – but sometimes those friendships were the strongest.”


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I’ve been wanting to read The Puppet Show ever since it was published last year. I have a weak spot for serial killers, and between the blurb and many recommendations by fellow crime lovers I knew was going to be in for a treat. The @criminallygoodbookclub on Instagram picked this first book of the Washington Poe series as their July read and was the final push I needed to stop posponing my meeting with Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw… And boy, what a meeting it was! There is no doubt I have found a new favorite series and character duo in The Puppet Show. I can confirm that there are multiple elements helping me make my decision to hand out that elusive highest rating. First things first though, and there is no denying that the main reason The Puppet Show was such a success for me has everything to do with the new star duo Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw. As fast as lightning, both characters have managed to win over my heart, make me root for them and deliver a fascinating investigation and story in the process. They complement each other so well and they are absolutely brilliant together! The character description and development in general is very well done and in such a way that you won’t see a certain twist coming AT ALL. Oh yes, The Puppet Show has a plot twist bomb under its sleeve that will blow your socks off. Both the writing and plot development are brilliant and together with the well handled suspense and plot twists you won’t be able to put down this story easily before you reach that final page. The wonderful descriptions of the Cumbria setting help set the tone of this story, and on top of that we have a chilling serial killer, a dark dark secret and a scandal of the past… All ingredients that turn The Puppet Show into a new favorite and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of the sequel.


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