YVO’S SHORTIES #148 – Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet & What We Saw

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time two backlist titles I’ve been wanting to read for a while, and both turned out to be excellent reads. Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet by Jamie Ford was both hardbreaking and heartwarming at the same time, and while What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler is without doubt a darker read, the heavy elements including rape and victim shaming are excellently and realistically portrayed.


Title: Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet
Author: Jamie Ford

Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
First published: January 27th 2009
Publisher: Allison & Busby
Finished reading: February 3rd 2020
Pages: 396

“The hardest choices in life aren’t between what’s right and what’s wrong but between what’s right and what’s best.”


myrambles1reviewqqq

I confess I have been meaning to read Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet for years now, and last year I thought getting a physical copy would help making me finally read it. It still took me way longer than expected, but I finally did! I think it’s probably known by now that I have a weak spot for WWII historical fiction and this story is able to give us an original angle. Set in Seattle during the war, the focus is on the Chinese and Japanese community and the threats the Japanese community receives as a direct consequence of Japan’s role in WWII. Main characters Henry and Keiko are able to describe this inner conflict, the racism and the consequences for the Japanese community perfectly. Switching between 1942-1945 and 1986 and between young and old Henry, we slowly learn more about the events that started and blossomed the friendship between Henry and Keiko as well as the more serious events involving the Japanese community as a whole. On top of that we have a wonderful extra element in the form of jazz music and Sheldon, who was such a lovely character and he definitely added a little something extra to the story as well as both him and his music providing a red thread to weave the past and present together. Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet is a beautifully written, poignant and sometimes heartbreaking read, but not without a note of hope… And it is able to describe the race problematics and injustice for all those innocent Japanese families perfectly. I’m positive any historical fiction fan will have an excellent time reading this wonderful story about Henry and Keiko!


Title: What We Saw
Author: Aaron Hartzler

Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: September 22nd 2015
Publisher: Harper Teen
Finished reading: February 4th 2020
Pages: 336

“I wonder which is worse: the fear of the unknown? Or knowing for sure that something terrible is true?”


myrambles1reviewqqq

I’ve been wanting to read What We Saw for a while now, and I’m definitely glad my TBR jar thought it was time to finally pick it up. I already knew this wasn’t going to be an easy read with the rape and victim blaming topic, and it is without doubt trigger warning worthy… That said, I thought the author did an excellent job portraying the whole situation as well as shining an all important light on the topic. Sadly the events as described What We Saw are all too real and sadly rape victims like Stacey become victims all over again when nobody believes their story and people simply say ‘she had it coming’ or ‘she asked for it with the way she dressed and by being wasted’ without knowing the facts… It was interesting to see the whole story from Kate’s POV as she wasn’t directly involved or too close to the victim. Instead, we see the whole situation as an ‘outsider’ wanting to uncover the truth and not accept what everybody wants or finds it easy to believe as the truth… And showing in the process how hard it can be to go against the popular kids and just how far victim blaming can go. What We Saw is definitely a darker read, but the heavy elements including rape and victime blaming/shaming are excellently and realistically portrayed. If you can stomach it, it makes for a very interesting read!


signature

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

WWW Wednesdays #254 – February 5th

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 Things In Jars by Jess Kidd, which was way overdue as I won a gorgeous hardback copy in a giveaway last year and somehow never actually picked it up afterwards. The blurb sounds fantastic and I’ll be looking forward to continue it today! I’ll also be starting Death Deserved by Jorn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger as my blog tour stop is coming closer…

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/02
While I admit I did love Elisa and Marisol’s story a tiny bit more, there is also no doubt that I had a brilliant time with When We Left Cuba as well. have always found Beatriz an intriguing character and she is without doubt perfect to describe and show us what happens to Cuba and the Cubans in the years after Fidel Castro took over. There are a lot of different elements in play, including high society, forbidden love, politics, revenge, espionage, crime, Cuba and the Cold War, but everything was well balanced and I had a fantastic time reading this story.

2. A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/02
I’ve been meaning to meet up with the original Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson for ages now, and after watching the Netflix series and a recent mention in another book, I finally had the perfect excuse to do so. I must have read various retellings over the years as well as watch more than one screen adaptation, but it was without doubt fun to go back to the roots and see how the original Holmes Arthur Conan Doyle created was like

3. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/02
The movie adapation of The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button recently popped up in my mind and I remembered I somehow never read the short story it was based on despite wanting to do so. Since it’s a supershort read with only 41 pages, I decided to squeeze it in between my other books I was planning to read… It is without doubt a quick and quite entertaining read, although it did leave me wanting for more.

4. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager (3/5 stars) REVIEW 09/02
Oh yes, hello unpopular opinion, we meet again! I know a lot of people love Riley Sager‘s books and I did enjoy The Last Time I Lied considerably when I read it last year, but mostly the hype around his work ends up bringing me down… Sadly, this was once again the case with Lock Every Door and I ended up being considerably underwhelmed by what I found. Not only did I guess more than one mayor plot twists as well as villian VERY early on, the ending was completely unsatisfying and just too plain simple for me. It really let that ominous feeling of the beginning of the story as well as the Bartholomew itself completely down…

5. Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet by Jamie Ford (4/5 stars) REVIEW 11/02
I think it’s probably known by now that I have a weak spot for WWII historical fiction and this story is able to give us an original angle. Set in Seattle during the war, the focus is on the Chinese and Japanese community and the threats the Japanese community receives as a direct consequence of Japan’s role in WWII. Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet is a beautifully written, poignant and sometimes heartbreaking read, but not without a note of hope… And it is able to describe the race problematics and injustice for all those innocent Japanese families perfectly.

6. What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler (4/5 stars) REVIEW 11/02
I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy read with that rape and victim blaming topic, and it is without doubt trigger warning worthy… That said, I thought the author did an excellent job portraying the whole situation as well as shining an all important light on the topic. Sadly the events as described What We Saw are all too real and sadly rape victims like Stacey become victims all over again when nobody believes their story and simply say ‘she had it coming’ or ‘she asked for it with the way she dressed and by being wasted’… It was also interesting to see the whole story from Kate’s POV as she wasn’t directly involved or too close to the victim.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m probably reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harol Fry by Rachel Joyce next as I have been wanting to read it for ages now… For the same reason, I’ll likely read the modern classic Perfume by Patrick Suskind soon as I’ve been curious ever since I watched the movie adaptation years ago. Then it’s finally time for some series binging! First up is Blue Night by Simone Buchholz (and Beton Rouge afterwards) in preparation of the blog tour for the next book in March. And I have a new TBR jar pick too! The Way Back To You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott, which I’ll probably pick up soon as I love roadtrip stories and it would be a perfect break in between my thriller series binges. 😉


signature

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

WWW Wednesdays #253 – January 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 finally reading When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton! I have superhigh expectations for this one as Next Year In Havana was one of my 2019 favorites. I’m also going to start A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle as part of a promise to myself to read more classics I’ve been meaning to read for ages this year. My meeting with the original Sherlock Holmes is definitely waaay overdue!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda (3/5 stars) REVIEW 31/01
I’m not sure why it took me this long to pick it up; it might have been the hype, it might have been the mixed reviews, but I’m actually kind of glad I waited until the hype died down a bit now. Why? Well, let’s just say that somehow I was quite underwhelmed by what I found in The Last House Guest. It’s not necessarily a bad read, but I don’t think it lives up to the quality of especially All The Missing Girls either… I found the plot to be rather dull, slow-paced and predictable most of the time, and the tension took a loooooong time building up. So long, that I found myself losing interest along the way, and this definitely wasn’t the unputdownable pageturner I thought it would be.

2. The Unlikely Escape Of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry (5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 04/02
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour next month!!

3. My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite (4/5 stars) REVIEW 31/01
This is a dark dark but also weirdly funny read. Sounds contradicting right? But My Sister, The Serial Killer almost reads like a satire and murder definitely isn’t taken too seriously in the story… Nor are the characters in general for that matter. It’s a superfast read and extremely entertaining, although I did struggle considerably with the characters.

4. Keep You Close by Karen Cleveland (2/5 stars) REVIEW 07/02
I have heard so many wonderful things about the author’s other book Need To Know and I liked the sound of the blurb of this one, so I couldn’t help getting a copy on Netgalley… I kind of wish I didn’t now. Honestly, I was seriously underwhelmed by this story. The plot and flashbacks are all over the place, I’m not a fan of the writing or characters and I had a hard time to stay invested… I just didn’t feel the suspense at all. Also, the plot wasn’t credible at all and way over the top; the ending open and not satisfying at all either. Oh yes, Keep You Close and me definitely didn’t get along.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m probably reading Lock Every Door by Riley Sager next as I’m curious to see how I’ll react to it now that the hype has died down a bit. I also want to read the modern classic Perfume by Patrick Suskind as part of my promise to read more (modern) classics. I’ve been wanting to read it for ages now; basically ever since I saw the movie and discovered it was based on a book. Afterwards I will most likely read Death Deserved by Jorn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger for my upcoming blog tour stop in February. My newest TBR jar pick is still What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler; I’m hoping to get to it next month as I haven’t really in the mood for YA lately.


signature

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

WWW Wednesdays #252 – January 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?

I’m currently reading The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda; another 2019 most anticipated title I wasn’t able to get to last year. I’m also finally starting The Unlikely Escape Of Uriah Heep by H.G. Parry as my blog tour stop is starting to get closer… The blurb of this one sounds absolutely fantastic so I’m excited to finally dive in.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (3/5 stars) REVIEW 30/01
I’ve been meaning to read Let’s Pretend This Never Happened for years now, and although I’m glad I finally did, a part of me was a bit disappointed by what I found. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad read, but somehow that spark of Furiously Happy wasn’t really there for me. The snarky, blunt and sometimes sarcastic humor is still there, and I can’t deny laughing out loud more than once. But other parts felt like the author was simply trying to hard to be funny and quirky.

2. How To Be Brave by Louise Beech (5/5 stars) REVIEW 27/01
It’s easy to say that Louise Beech was one of my absolute favorite new discoveries last year and I was blown away by both titles I was able to read in 2019. I had extremely high expectations for How To Be Brave, and those were more than met. What an absolutely fantastic as well as heartbreaking read! There are so many elements I loved that I honestly don’t even know where to begin… Other than saying: just read the damn book.

3. The Silent House by Nell Pattison (3/5 stars) REVIEW 06/02
The blurb of this one sounded absolutely fascinating, as I don’t think I’ve read about a deaf character in a thriller before. I was really looking forward to this one, but unfortunately the story fell mostly flat for me. The pace was quite slow, the characters unlikeable and I had issues with the credibility of certain aspects of the plot… Also, the ending was quite predictable. All in all not my favorite read, although I still think the premise itself is solid and it has been interesting to learn more about the deaf community and everything it entails.

4. Regretting You by Colleen Hoover (4/5 stars) REVIEW 30/01
I’ve been excited to read this one as, while I seem to have a love/hate relationship with her books, I did enjoy her most recent books without exception. While Regretting You isn’t my absolute favorite CoHo book and there were a few things that bothered me (including the whole cheating angle and certain behavior of certain characters), I can’t deny it was still an excellent read and I had a great time reading it overall.

5. Beast by Matt Wesolowski (5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 21/02
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour next month!!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m taking a little break from ARCs until the end of this month so I can focus on my backlist titles… Especially since I’ll be binge-reading some series in February and won’t have much time for them then. I’m probably picking up When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton next unless I’m in the mood for a thriller… Then it’s probably either My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite or Lock Every Door by Riley Sager next. My newest TBR jar pick is still What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler; it will probably take me some time before I actually read it though as there are a lot of other titles I want/need to read first.


signature

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

WWW Wednesdays #251 – January 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 finally reading Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson, a memoir I’ve been wanting to read ever since I finished Furiously Happy back in 2016. I still can’t believe it took me this long to get to it! I’m also finally starting my next Louise Beech read: How To Be Brave. I’ve been stocking up on tissues and chocolate as I already know I will need both before I reach the final page… I’m superexcited to be reading this one!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 26/01
I know I’m not really one of the biggest romance fans around, but I do love a change of genre every once in a while and there are a select few romance authors that can make me actually enjoy the genre. I have now confirmed Katherine Center is one of them. Heartwarming, poignant, honest, brutal and sometimes even shocking: Things You Save In A Fire will take you on a rollercoaster ride filled with emotions.

2. The Electric Heir by Victoria Lee (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 05/03
I enjoyed reading the first book last year, and I’ve been looking forward to read the sequel… The second book of this duology was another interesting ride, and what might be a not all that original dystopian world is filled with heavy elements and deeper meanings that definitely take the story to the next level. Some parts were a bit slow and there are cliches involved, but overall it was a solid conclusion.

3. The One by John Marrs (5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/01
The One has once again reconfirmed that John Marrs deserves to be on my list of favorite thriller authors and this story was absolutely brilliant. I literally cancelled all plans and flew through it in less than a day… The One might be based on the very romantic idea of finding your perfect Match, but it’s definitely mostly a mix of (family) drama and a solid thriller with a healthy dose of suspense and even crime sprinkled on top. A perfect recipe for a perfect read I already know will appear on my list of 2020 favorites!

4. A Dark And Twisted Tide by Sharon Bolton (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/01
I decided to go ahead and read the fourth and final book of the series while memories of book three were still fresh… Especially since it ment I would have one less unfinished series to worry about in 2020. A Dark And Twisted Tide wasn’t my favorite of the series and could be a bit slow and chaotic in points, but overall it was still an entertaining ride.

5. The Home by Sarah Stovell (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 22/01
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour!!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to get my Netgalley shelves under control again and next up is ARC The Silent House by Nell Pattison. The blurb of this one sounds fantastic and I’m looking forward to it! Then it’s back to backlist titles and I’m reading two 2019 most anticipated releases I wasn’t able to get to last year: Regretting You by Colleen Hoover and The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda. My newest TBR jar pick is still What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler; it will probably take me some time before I actually read it though as there are a lot of other titles I want/need to read first.


signature

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

WWW Wednesdays #250 – January 8th

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 finally reading Things You Save In A Fire by Katherine Center, a title I’ve heard lots of fantastic things about and one I’ve been looking forward to since finishing How To Walk Away… I’m also starting The Home by Sarah Stovell for my upcoming blog tour stop, and I’m fully ready to be blown away as I already know I will most likely love it if it’s anything like her debut Exquisite.

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren (4/5 stars) REVIEW 21/01
This book came exactly at the right time for me and I ended up having so much fun reading it! Nothing better than a proper and funny contemporary romance to help taking a little break from all those thriller reads… This was definitely a winner for me.

2. Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire (5/5 stars) REVIEW 
I loved every single minute with Come Tumbling Down and I already know it will appear on my list of 2020 favorites even this early on in the year. Oh yes, it’s THAT good! Simply electrifying.

3. Nothing To Lose by Victoria Selman (4/5 stars) REVIEW 21/01
I have to admit that while book three is still my favorite of the series, I had a great time reading Nothing To Lose and managed to finish it in less than a day. If you like your thrillers fast, action-packed and filled with suspenseful moments, this series is definitely for you!

4. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming (3/5 stars) NO REVIEW
I loved the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang movie adaptation with Dick Van Dyke when I was little… Even though I don’t remember all the details of the movie and it has been at least 20 years since I last saw it, I was curious to see what the original story was like. I’m not sure if my memory completely failed me, but this definitely wasn’t what I remembered of the movie, and I wasn’t all that impressed by what I found to be honest… I felt the spark the movie had was missing, and the plot and writing style just didn’t do it for me. The illustrations were a nice touch though!

5. Big Lies In A Small Town by Diane Chamberlain (4/5 stars) REVIEW 12/01
Big Lies In A Small Town is a historical fiction read that isn’t afraid to go big and throw a complex and wide-ranging plot with a deeper meaning at you; well researched and well developed, the result is an abundant story following two flawed but absolutely fascinating characters. Fans of the genre who don’t mind a slower pace will most likely devour this one!

6. Dark Mother Earth by Kristian Novak (DNF at 31%; 0 stars) DNF REVIEW 14/01
I hate having a DNF this early in the year already, but I just couldn’t get myself to keep reading this. The story is too chaotic, superslow, nothing makes sense and nothing much seems to be happening even almost a third into the book. The characters are despicable and hardly make any sense. Also, there is way too much sex talk involved… More in my DNF review.

7. The Liar’s Daughter by Claire Allan (4/5 stars) REVIEW 20/01
I loved my first experience with her psychological thrillers last year and I’ve been looking forward to read this one… I literally started and finished it in less than a day! Some of the plot was quite predictable, some parts quite uncomfortable, but overall it’s a super engaging, quick and interesting read.

8. Like This For Ever by Sharon Bolton (4/5 stars) REVIEW 26/01
I finally came around reading my TBR jar pick and it has been interesting to meet up with Lacey Flint again and see how past events affected her. I fully thought I had the whole book figured out, and I was starting to feel disappointed, only for the plot twists to be thrown at me from an angle I definitely didn’t see coming. This is one of those books you will finish in record time, and it has an ending that will most likely surprise you!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

After finishing my last January ARC, I’m going to take a break for a bit and read a few backlist titles… First up are thrillers The One by John Marrs and The Defence by Steve Cavanagh, both titles I’ve been wanting to read for a long time now. And if I’m in the mood for something different, How To Be Brave by Louise Beech is definitely up first! And I finally have a new TBR jar pick: What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler.


signature

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