YVO’S SHORTIES #30 – When The Moon Was Ours & Bad Romance

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two YA reads I’ve been meaning to read for a while. While the prose in When The Moon Was Ours was absolutely gorgeous, I struggled with the magical realism elements. Bad Romance is such an emotionally difficult read! The love triangle was a let down and things can get frustrating, but there is no doubt Heather Demetrios described a toxic relationship perfectly.


Title: When The Moon Was Ours
Author: Anna-Marie McLemore

Genre: YA, Fantasy, Magical Realism
First published: October 4th 2016
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Finished reading: June 26th 2018
Pages: 288

“He was a comet burning through the night sky, and Samira was the trail of dust and ice streaking after him.”


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Dear magical realism, it’s not you, it’s me. See, somehow we just can’t seem to get along… I’ve tried, really tried, but I think we should take a break from each other for now. Oh yes, it’s unpopular opinion time again. When I first started reading When The Moon Was Ours, I was blown away by the gorgeous prose and I was sure I was going to absolutely love the story. And there are definitely a lot of things to love in the story. Where did it go wrong for me then? Like I said, the problem is me, not When The Moon Was Ours. This simply is another case of the magical realism and me not being able to connect rather than a story not well written. The writing style is beautiful, lyrical and something to fall in love with on its own. The main characters are both so unique, mysterious and fascinating that you cannot help but feel for them. I LOVED the Spanish elements included (alfajores!!) as well as the queer references and Sam and his ‘bacha posh’ life. This book is an ode to unique and quirky characters and diversity in general. Sam and Miel are both wonderful characters and I loved the dynamics between them. But. Like I said before, I really struggled with the magical realism and it made it harder to fully appreciate the story. Otherwise When The Moon Was Ours is an absolutely stunning read, so if you don’t mind magical realism in your stories, this one is an absolute must-read.


Title: Bad Romance
Author: Heather Demetrios

Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: June 13th 2017
Publisher: Henry Holt And Co.
Finished reading: June 30th 2018
Pages: 368

“When I feel trapped, afraid, lonely, I only have to look up at the sky and think: this is what people in Morocco look at when they see the sky. And India, Thailand, South Africa. Korea and Chile and Italy. The world, I remind myself, is mine, if only I have the courage to grasp it when the opportunity is given to me.”


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I’ve had lots of people warning me to brace myself before picking up Bad Romance, because it would be an emotionally draining read. I can definitely understand that warning now. Bad Romance will make you feel uncomfortable, frustrated, outraged and basically an emotional wreck. Oh yes, this is not an easy read and painfully accurate in describing how a toxic relationship can destroy a person. Coming from someone who had the back luck of being in a toxic relationship once, I can fully relate to the main character Grace. Did I want to scream at her to get the hell out? Yes. Was I frustrated by how blind she was to what Gavin was doing to her? Yes. Did I shake my head as she let him take away her freedom piece by piece? Yes. But this is exactly what a toxic relationship will do to the victim and while painfully frustrating at times, Heather Demetrios deserves a round of applause for getting these words on paper no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel. I could have done without the love triangle, which put kind of a damper on things for me, but overall Bad Romance is a very strong read that will stay with me for a long time. Emotionally draining, but o so satisfying in the end.


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WWW Wednesdays #176 – June 27th

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 Saigon Dark by Elka Ray, an ARC I’ve had pending for way too long now. It’s still early days, so I can’t say much about it yet. I also started with Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios, the last pending book on my June TBR. I loved her other book and I’m really excited to finally read this one! Although I’ve heard it’s a pretty tough read.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Upside Of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli (3/5 stars) REVIEW 06/07
Oh hello unpopular opinion review! I guess we meet once again… I truly wish we wouldn’t have crossed paths this time around though. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda has to be one of my all time favorite YA books, so of course I was fully expecting to love this story as well. I’m still kind of shocked I ended up having this reaction, but I guess it is what it is. More about the why in my shorties review.

2. The Perfect Friend by Barbara Copperthwaite (4/5 stars) REVIEW 05/07
If you are looking for a well written, engaging, twisty and surprising psychological thriller, The Perfect Friend is just the book for you. Trigger warnings are in place for abuse, (mental) illness, eating disorder and some sensitive scenes, but overall nothing too shocking to handle. This is not the easiest read and there is no doubt you will find yourself tangled in a web of lies and secrets along with the main character. I always love it when a story manages to mislead me! I also really liked the relationship between Alex and Carrie and how the story unfolded. All in all a very solid read.

3. The Border by Steven Schafer (5/5 stars) REVIEW 06/07
The writing style managed to put me under its spell and I couldn’t let this story go until the very end. Ever feel like putting everything on hold until you reach the final page? That is what happened while I was reading The Border. This is not a happy story and the characters truly struggle; some parts are truly heartbreaking and make sure you have some tissues at hand just in case. But this realistic rendering of the four Mexican teens trying to cross the desert to reach the safety of US territory is simply sublime.

4. The Year Of The Snake by M.J. Trow (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 01/07
This was actually a buddy read with the wonderful Nicki @ Secret Library Book Blog… I was really looking forward to this one since I can’t seem to find that much historical fiction reads with an ancient Rome setting, but sadly this one didn’t hit the mark for me. While the general idea behind The Year Of The Snake sounds promising and has a lot of potential, I ended up struggling considerably with the story itself. Thanks again Nicki for making this ride more bearable! The story wasn’t all bad and has it’s positive points, especially in the second half when things become more intense. But between the chaotic feel, lack of proper plot, too many POV switches, crude language and lack of connection to both the writing style AND characters, it definitely wasn’t an easy read for me.

5. Her Mother’s Grave by Lisa Regan (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 19/07
I really enjoyed the first two books of the series, so deciding whether to read book number three was an easy one. And I have to say Her Mother’s Grave is the strongest book yet of this series! Lightning speed pace, excellent writing, dark, twisted, disturbing, suspenseful… Oh yes there is a lot to love here. I loved how big a role the personal life of Josie Quinn plays in this book and you will be in for a whole lot of shocking plot twist bomb surprises along the way!

6. When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore (3/5 stars) REVIEW 08/07
I really thought I was going to love this story, and in a way there are a lot of things to love here. This is just another case of the magical realism and me not being able to connect rather than a story not well written. The writing style is beautiful, lyrical and something to fall in love with on its own. The main characters are both so unique, mysterious and fascinating that you cannot help but feel for them. I LOVED the Spanish elements included as well as the queer references and Sam and his ‘bacha posh’ life. This is an ode to unique and quirky characters. But. I really struggled with the magical realism in this one and I wasn’t a fan of the Bonner girls at all.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m reading One To Watch by Rachel Amphlett next, both because I need to catch up with the series ASAP and I want to find out what happens next. I also want to read The Library At Mount Char by Scott Hawkins soon; I’ve had that title on my TBR for way too long now. And I haven’t read a Stephen King in ages, so of course I have to remedy this and I’m picking up Misery soon. My new TBR jar pick is Thin Wire by Christine Lewry, a memoir about a woman addicted to heroin and her mother. I’m having a feeling it’s going to be a tough read, but the blurb sounds pretty good.


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Teaser Tuesdays #177 – June 26th: When The Moon Was Ours

TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme hosted at The Purple Booker. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I’m finally picking up my latest TBR jar pick! Just in time for Pride Month as well… I’ve been seriously lacking in picking up books with queer characters this month, shame on me! When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore has always intrigued me, although I’ll be keeping my fingers and toes crossed I will react well to the supposedly magical realism elements. I’m not that far into it yet, but so far I love the writing style!

My teaser (1%):

“Without her, he had been nameless. He had not been Samir or Sam. He had been no one.”

What are you reading right now?


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WWW Wednesdays #175 – June 20th

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 so excited to be currently reading The Upside Of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli! Besides the fact that I was in need of a change of genre after so many (psychological) thrillers, I have been wanting to read this title for ages now and it fits the Pride month theme as well. I’m also about to start another Bookouture ARC: The Perfect Friend by Barbara Copperthwaite. I’ve been looking forward to pick up another of her psychological thrillers!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW
I’m aware of the fact that Bring Me Back has been receiving a lot of mixed reviews, and I can understand why. If you read a lot of psychological thrillers and go in with high expectations, you will probably be disappointed by the rather predictable plot and completely implausible ending and final twist. But if you instead take it slow and don’t focus too much on those points, you will be able to enjoy the solid writing and an otherwise slower paced but enjoyable story. And trust me, you won’t be looking at Russian dolls in the same way after finishing Bring Me Back.

2. The Map Of Us by Jules Preston (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 23/06
The Map Of Us has a lot of potential, both because of the general idea behind it and the two most important characters Tilly and Violet. I honestly feel that with more development and focus on those two characters, a more fluent writing style and less jumping between different characters would have made The Map Of Us into another fantastic read similar to the likes of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. As it is, I don’t think that comparison would do The Map Of Us a favor, since unfortunately they are not on the same level. But I do want to stress that especially Tilly has the same potential and quirkiness in her personality that made Eleanor Oliphant into such a success for me. So again, with more focus and development of that character (and Violet as well), I would probably have enjoyed The Map Of Us considerably better.

3. The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/06
I’m a sucker for a good serial killer thriller and this series is quickly turning into one of my new favorites. If you like your thrillers dark, gritty, disturbing and don’t mind graphic scenes, you will be in for a treat with this series. Trust me, reading these two thrillers in order will be worth your time! You will find yourself staring at the last pages wanting for more though, because the cliffhanger ending is pretty brutal. What a way to reveal something like that and leave us staring open mouthed knowing we won’t find out more until the next book comes out! It’s been a while since an ending hit me that hard.

4. The Silent Sister by Shalini Boland (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 29/06
I’m a huge fan of her psychological thrillers, so I was actually really surprised by my reaction to this newest story. It took me a long time to warm up to the story, mostly because there just was something about the main characters that irked me. The beginning wasn’t as suspenseful and absorbing as I would have hoped, but I do have to say that things improved a lot as the story continued and the second half definitely has a lot more twists and turns. I had an idea of what was happening, but I wasn’t able to guess the full truth at all.

5. Will To Live by Rachel Amphlett (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 24/06
I’m still kicking myself for not starting this series sooner, but I’m glad to be slowly catching up now! My second experience with Kay Hunter was another good one, and I had a blast spending more time with her. This series is quickly turning into another favorite of mine, and I’m definitely curious about her personal story. The case they had to investigate was another interesting one, although I did guess a few of the twists early on. But I was too busy turning pages and enjoying myself to really let that bother me. I can’t wait for book three!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m reading The Year Of The Snake by M.J. Trow next since the publish date is coming up soon… I can’t wait to dive into the ancient Rome setting! I also need to read the ARC Saigon Dark by Elka Ray soon since it has been on my TBR for too long. The Border by Steve Schafer is also high on my list, both because I’ve been meaning to read it for ages and because it’s on my June monthly TBR. And I’m probably going to try and read my latest TBR jar pick When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore before the end of Pride month.


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WWW Wednesdays #174 – June 13th

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 still reading Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris… Although I might have finished it by the time this post goes live (the power of scheduling posts 😉 ). I’m continuing with the 4MK sequel The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker straight afterwards, because I’m dying to find out what happens next.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Lost For Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland (3/5 stars) REVIEW 18/06
On its own, The Lost For Words Bookshop seems to be having all the right elements. It has a lot of bookish references to fall in love with, complicated and well developed characters, suspense and a mysterious past, drama, a healthy dose of romance for the romance fans… I was expecting to love this one, but somehow I wasn’t completely convinced. Between the lack of connection to the characters, love triangle and past-present storyline switches that didn’t feel natural to me, I ended up taking a lot longer than I thought I would to finish this one. There were elements I loved of course, including the bookish elements and Archie’s character. And I’m positive most of you will enjoy this story a lot more than I did.

2. The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 25/06
What a read! I like my thrillers dark and twisted, and J.D. Barker has definitely created a very disturbing serial killer to follow in this story. We get a glimpse of his childhood through a diary, and hints at his previous ‘work’ as the plot develops. And you will encounter a few plot twist bombs along the way, surprises that will catch you unaware as you are too stunned by just how twisted things were back at the killer’s home or how the case develops in the present. Oh yes, The Fourth Monkey isn’t for those with a weak stomach and if you can’t handle graphic scenes and violence, I advice staying clear. Otherwise, if you have a twisted mind like me, you will have a great time meeting the 4MK Killer and his work.

3. The Unreading Of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara (2/5 stars) REVIEW 22/06
I still love the idea behind this story and I truly wish I could have enjoyed The Unbinding Of Mary Reade better. Unfortunately, I found the execution lacking in various ways, and I had a hard time finishing this one. Between the chaotic writing style that didn’t flow, a rather dull plot, bland characters, lack of action and a not so credible display of emotions, I can’t say I was impressed. Where were the pirates, were was the action? Why did we have to read so much about Mary’s past in London, if her life on the Caribbean Sea is what really counts for this story? Why wasn’t there more focus on Mary and Anne? Why the excessive amount of sexism, homophobia, transphobia and sexual assault? The tone for this supposedly YA rated story was completely off, especially since Mary felt younger than the age group during most of the story. All in all not the story I was hoping for.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m probably picking up The Upside Of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli next, both because I have been wanting to for ages and because I’ll need a little break from the thriller genre. Afterwards I’m finally picking up the Kay Hunter sequel Will To Live by Rachel Amphlett in the hope to get through all five remaining books in the next month or so. I’m SO excited to be finally doing so! I also have a copy of the new Barbara Copperthwaite ARC waiting for me on my kindle: The Perfect Friend. My newest TBR jar pick is still When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore.


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WWW Wednesdays #173 – June 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’m currently reading The Lost For Words Bookshop by Stephanie Butland, both a pending ARC due soon and a little break in between my upcoming thriller reads. I’m also starting The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker, a title I’ve been meaning to read for a while and I also have an ARC of the sequel due soon, so it’s kind of two for one with this one. Fingers crossed both will be good reads!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor (5/5 stars) REVIEW 25/06
I already had a feeling about this one, and not just because of the cover… I was going to wait until the sequel was out, but I couldn’t resist and started it anyway. Mistake? I don’t know, but the fact is that this turned out to be my second 5 star read of the year and I absolutely loved it. One of my new favorite characters, gorgeous prose, excellent worldbuilding… What’s not to love? The wait for the sequel maybe.

2. To Die In Vienna by Kevin Wignall (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 14/06
I saw this one on NG when I was actually in Vienna, so of course I couldn’t resist. I ended up reading it only after we came back, but that made being able to revisit some of the places mentioned in the story all the better. This one is a fast-paced and action-packed spy thrillers that will appeal to fans of the genre. Credibility issues aside, this was quite an entertaining read.

3. The Date by Louise Jensen (5/5 stars) REVIEW 11/06
Louise Jensen is one of my favorite psychological thriller authors and she has done her thing once again by writing her newest story The Date. Holy cow, what a read! Not only is the writing sublime, but the suspense is spot on and I’m always a sucker for the whole amnesia element. Especially in this case, where the main character is unable to recognize faces after trauma… Fascinating, highly addictive and utterly absorbing! I literally dropped everything to read this one.

4. What Happened That Night by Sandra Block (4/5 stars) REVIEW 08/06
I just had to request a copy after seeing that gorgeous cover, and the fact that I’m always drawn to dark thrillers does help as well. This story has a lot of trigger warnings (rape, violence, suicide, graphic scenes), but the plot itself is both complex and original. I do have to say I had my doubts about the credibility of it all and unfortunately I was able to guess one or two mayor plot twists early on. But the writing is engaging, the pace superfast and the story itself will chill you to the bone.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m trying to finish my pending June ARCs as soon as possible, so I have three titles lined up next: The Fifth To Die by J.D. Barker will be the first, just after I finish the first book. I’ll probably read The Unbinding Of Mary Reade by Miriam McNamara after that to take another break from the thriller genre… And I also still need to read Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris. I have a new TBR jar pick as well: When The Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore. I’m really curious about that one!


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