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.

WWW Wednesdays (30 Sep 20)! What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

I’m just reading one book this week and it’s an audio book. I’ve only just started listening to it but I’m enjoying it so far!

House of Correction by Nicci French

Recent Reads

I’ve finished five books this week and enjoyed all of them. Two of them were shorter reads and two were audiobooks so it meant I got more books read than I might have done. I’m still not feeling much like picking up print or kindle books but when I do pick books up I enjoy them. I hope this mood passes soon.

Older and Wider by Jenny Eclair

The Power in You by Henry Fraser

The Stolen Sisters by Louise Jensen

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Takes from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Summer by Ali Smith

What I Might Read Next

These are two of the oldest books on my NetGalley shelf and I’m still really keen to read them both so hopefully I can read them this week.

The Hidden Girls by Rebecca Whitney

The Sight of You by Holly Miller

WWW Wednesdays (23 Sep 20)! What are you reading this week?

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading!

Current Reads

I’m still struggling to pick up books so I’m sticking to one Kindle book and one audio book and this seems to be working for me at the moment. The Stolen Sisters is really good and I’m intrigued to see where this book is going. I’ve only just started listening to Summer but am enjoying it so far and am looking forward to listening to more.

The Stolen Sisters by Louise Jensen

Summer by Ali Smith

Recent Reads

Four of the books I finished this week were audiobooks and this is definitely the way for me to read just now. I enjoyed all five of these books and would recommend them. My review of In Black and White will be posted on my blog on Friday so please look out for it then.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

I Thought I Knew You by Penny Hancock

In Black and White by Alexandra Wilson

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

Writers and Lovers by Lily King

What I Might Read Next

I’m still reading by whim just now but would like to read through some of my NetGalley books this week so these are the three that are jumping out to me the most at the moment. I’ve also Tales from the Cafe on audio so will be able to listen to that one as I read.

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

The Split by Sharon Bolton

Home Stretch by Graham Norton

What are you reading at the moment? I’d love to chat about your current read in the comments. If you’ve posted a WWW Wednesdays post please feel free to share your link before and I’ll read your post. 🙂

Stacking the Shelves with a new Book Haul (11 Jul 20)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

Purchased eBooks

The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy

I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages but hadn’t got around to buying it so when I spotted it in a Kindle Daily Deal yesterday I snapped it up. I’m looking forward to reading this one.

In 1988 Saul Adler (a narcissistic, young historian) is hit by a car on the Abbey Road. He is apparently fine; he gets up and goes to see his art student girlfriend, Jennifer Moreau. They have sex then break up, but not before she has photographed Saul crossing the same Abbey Road. Saul leaves to study in communist East Berlin, two months before the Wall comes down. There he will encounter – significantly – both his assigned translator and his translator’s sister, who swears she has seen a jaguar prowling the city. He will fall in love and brood upon his difficult, authoritarian father. And he will befriend a hippy, Rainer, who may or may not be a Stasi agent, but will certainly return to haunt him in middle age. Slipping slyly between time zones and leaving a spiralling trail, Deborah Levy’s electrifying The Man Who Saw Everything examines what we see and what we fail to see, the grave crime of carelessness, the weight of history and our ruinous attempts to shrug it off.

The Hopes and Dreams of Libby Quinn by Freya Kennedy

I downloaded this on Kindle recently when it was free. I love the author’s work under her alter-ego so am intrigued to read a novel by her that’s a completely different genre!

Libby Quinn is sick and tired of being sensible. After years of slogging her guts out for nothing at a PR company, she finds herself redundant and about to plough every last penny of her savings into refurbishing a ramshackle shop and making her dream become a reality. She hopes the opening of bookshop on Ivy Lane will be the perfect tribute to her beloved grandfather who instilled a love of reading and books in her from an early age. When her love life and friendships become even more complicated – will Libby have the courage to follow her dreams? Or has she bitten off more than she can chew?

Seven Lies Elizabeth Kay

I’ve had my eye on this book for a while and decided to buy it this week. I’m really intrigued about all the lies in this novel and what is going to happen. I don’t think this will be waiting very long to be read!

It all started with one little lie . . .Jane and Marnie have been inseparable since they were eleven years old. They have a lot in common. In their early twenties they both fell in love and married handsome young men. But Jane never liked Marnie’s husband. He was always so loud and obnoxious, so much larger than life. Which is rather ironic now, of course.Because if Jane had been honest – if she hadn’t lied – then perhaps her best friend’s husband might still be alive . . . This is Jane’s opportunity to tell the truth, the question is: Do you believe her?

No Win Race: A Story of Belonging, Britishness and Sport by Derek A. Bardowell

I spotted this one on Kindle just the other day and I immediately bought it. I’m trying to read and educate myself on racism at the moment and as a football fan this perspective really called to me. I hope to get to this one very soon.

In the eighties, black footballers emerged from the dressing room to find bananas being hurled from the stands. But the abuse didn’t stop at the full-time whistle – racial harassment in sport mirrored the experience of many in society. As a kid from the East End, Derek Bardowell found solace in the success of black athletes. It is what bonded three generations of his family. Yet even now, success on the field seldom converts to power or justice away from it. No Win Race is Bardowell‘s deeply personal exploration into the complexities and biases implicit in being black in Britain, told through the prism of sport. Covering the period between the Brixton ‘riots’ and Brexit, this visceral, powerful book is for those who want an honest insight into UK race relations, and for anyone who understands that sport is more than just a game. 

Review Books

Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

I read and love Dear Martin a few weeks ago and as soon as I heard there was to be a follow-up novel I knew I wanted to read it. I was delighted to be approved to read this one on NetGalley this week and plan on reading this very, very soon.

In the stunning sequel to the New York Times bestseller Dear Martin, bestselling author Nic Stone unflinchingly explores race and inequality and the impact of both on young black lives.  Vernell LaQuan Banks and Justyce McAllister grew up a block apart in the Southwest Atlanta neighborhood of Wynwood Heights. Years later, Justyce walks the illustrious halls of Yale University . . . and Quan sits behind bars at the Fulton Regional Youth Detention Center. Through a series of flashbacks and letters to Justyce, Quan’s story takes form. Troubles at home and misunderstandings at school give rise to police encounters and tough decisions. But then there’s a dead cop and a weapon with Quan’s prints on it. What leads a bright kid down a road to a murder charge? Not even Quan is sure…

West of Jim Crow by Lynn M. Hudson

I downloaded this from the Read Now section of NetGalley this week as it sounded like a fascinating read and one that will give me a greater understanding of race issues across America.

African American resistance to white supremacy from California statehood to the 1950s. African Americans who moved to California in hopes of finding freedom and full citizenship instead faced all-too-familiar racial segregation. As one transplant put it, “The only difference between Pasadena and Mississippi is the way they are spelled.” From the beaches to streetcars to schools, the Golden State—in contrast to its reputation for tolerance—perfected many methods of controlling people of color. Lynn M. Hudson deepens our understanding of the practices that African Americans in the West deployed to dismantle Jim Crow in the quest for civil rights prior to the 1960s. Faced with institutionalized racism, black Californians used both established and improvised tactics to resist and survive the state’s color line. Hudson rediscovers forgotten stories like the experimental all-black community of Allensworth, the California Ku Klux Klan’s campaign of terror against African Americans, the bitter struggle to integrate public swimming pools in Pasadena and elsewhere, and segregationists’ preoccupation with gender and sexuality.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Tales From The Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

I’m fascinated by this novel and have been wanting to read it for a little while now so was thrilled to be approved on NetGalley.

In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time… From the author of Before the Coffee Gets Cold comes a story of four new customers each of whom is hoping to take advantage of Cafe Funiculi Funicula’s time-travelling offer. Among some faces that will be familiar to readers of Kawaguchi’s previous novel, we will be introduced to: The man who goes back to see his best friend who died 22 years ago; The son who was unable to attend his own mother’s funeral; The man who travelled to see the girl who he could not marry; The old detective who never gave his wife that gift… This beautiful, simple tale tells the story of people who must face up to their past, in order to move on with their lives. Kawaguchi once again invites the reader to ask themselves: what would you change if you could travel back in time?

Have you got any new books this week? I’d love to know what you got. Or have you read any of my new books and recommend I get to any of them sooner rather than later? If you’ve shared a book haul post this week then please feel free to share you link below and I’ll make sure to visit your post! 🙂