Mini Book Reviews: Keeper |The Phone Box at the Edge of the World | Tales From the Cafe | Writers and Lovers | Summer

Today I’m sharing another selection of mini book reviews. I read most of these books before my reading slump really took hold so am now trying to get back to blogging and catch up on my reviews.

Keeper by Jessica Moor

I’ve been in an awful reading slump recently but I kept thinking about this book so decided to pick it up and I’m so glad I did. I found this to be such a stunning read and I found it really hard to put down. The novel opens with Katie Shaw meeting a man in a nightclub, the storyline then splits into past and present as we learn what happened to Katie and how she got to where she is now. I found this to be such a powerful read with a really sensitive and realistic portrayal of the aftermath of domestic violence and stalking. I know how hard it is for women to access support and this book really explores so many angles to this. The story is compelling and it is such a page turner as well as it being eye-opening. I finished reading this book a while ago now and I still keep thinking about it. I’m currently trying to work out my favourite books of the year post and I’m sure this book will be on my list. I highly recommend it!

The Phone Box at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina

This novel is such a beautiful and moving read, I loved it. It follows Yui who lost her mum and her daughter in the tsunami. She discovers that there is a place where you can go and use a phone and talk to those you’ve lost and she decides to go there. While there she meets Takeshi and his young daughter who hasn’t spoken since her mum died. The novel follows both characters as they work through their pain and grief and as they try to find solace and a way to hold on to the past whilst also moving on. I found this book so hard to put down, it’s a novel that made me really tearful at times as I thought about that phone and how it must be to find some way of talking to those you’ve lost but ultimately I found this a really beautiful book and I very much enjoyed it.

Before the Coffee gets Cold: Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

I got a copy of this book from NetGalley and I read it before reading the first book about the cafe but it worked fine as a standalone. This novel all takes place in a cafe in Japan but it’s not an ordinary cafe. There is a table and chair in the cafe and if you sit down there you can go back in time to meet up with someone from your past but you have to leave them before the coffee gets cold. I loved this book, it was really moving to read the back stories of the characters and to find out why they have come to the cafe and why they feel they need closure regarding the past. I hope to read more about this cafe in the future!

Writers and Lovers by Lily King

This novel follows Casey who is dealing with heartbreak over a break-up and the grief of losing her beloved mother. She is working as a waitress and also working on her novel, which has been a work in progress for quite a few years now but she never seems to finish it. Then she finds herself in the middle of a love triangle and is finally pushed to make a decision about what she wants from life. I really enjoyed this book. I picked it up after reading the blurb as Casey seemed like her life was in a similar place to mine when I was her age. Casey’s life gets way more complicated than mine ever did but I could really identify with the grief she had for her mum and the way this seems to impact on her decision making. I read this novel quite a while ago now and it hasn’t stayed with me as much as I thought it would but I did really enjoyed it and I would recommend it.

Summer by Ali Smith

I’ve read and loved the previous three novels in this seasonal quarter so had been eagerly anticipating Summer and I’m so pleased to say that I loved it every bit as much, if not even more, than the previous books. Summer is set during World War 2 and during the pandemic in 2020 and I found it incredible. It was strange to read about the pandemic while we’re still living through it but it never felt too much. I loved how characters from previous books in the quartet appear in Summer and it felt like it brought us full circle. I will miss this quartet now it’s completed but I think I would read all of the books again in the future, it will be interesting years down the line to look back and see how they feel then. I definitely recommend all four books but start at the beginning with Autumn.

14 thoughts on “Mini Book Reviews: Keeper |The Phone Box at the Edge of the World | Tales From the Cafe | Writers and Lovers | Summer

  1. These do sound like good reads, Hayley, and I’m glad you were able to enjoy them. I hope your reading slump is ending, and that you’ll get your appetite back for books. It’s been a strange and difficult year for us all, and I’m hoping the new one is kind to you.

    • Thank you! I feel like I’m starting to come out of my reading slump at long last. I’ve read two of my new Christmas books and I’ve started one on my Kindle so fingers crossed. I do miss reading when I can’t seem to concentrate on anything. I hope this year is kind to you too. x

  2. Wonderful reviews Hayley. I read a children’s picture book called THE PHONE BOOTH IN MR. HIROTA’S GARDEN, similar to The Phone Box at the Edge of the world.

  3. Great reviews. I would be too feeble to read the ones about going back to past lost folk but appreciate it’s comforting and interesting for a lot of people. I want to read Ali Smith’s quartet now it’s all out and done, although I read a pandemic novel recently and it felt a bit too soon, somehow, so maybe a set to do in a few months’ time! Happy New Year!

    • Thank you. I have to be in the right mood to read books about people going back to people they’ve lost but when I am I find it really comforting. Ali Smith’s quartet is incredible, I very much enjoyed all four books. The pandemic parts of Summer aren’t too overwhelming, it just felt like a reflection of where the world is right now rather than overly dwelling on it. I hope you enjoy the books when you do decide to pick them up.

  4. As ever, thoughtful and beautifully written reviews, Hayley. I’m very tempted by the quartet – I’m intrigued by the dual narrative that includes the pandemic and WWII.

  5. Pingback: My Favourite Novels of 2020! | RatherTooFondofBooks

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