Book Review- The Keeper of Lost Things

Thursday, 25 May 2017
Title: The Keeper of Lost Things
Author: Ruth Hogan
Published: 21st February 2017
Pages: 288
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary

Rating: 5/5

A charming, clever, and quietly moving debut novel of of endless possibilities and joyful discoveries that explores the promises we make and break, losing and finding ourselves, the objects that hold magic and meaning for our lives, and the surprising connections that bind us.
Lime green plastic flower-shaped hair bobbles—Found, on the playing field, Derrywood Park, 2nd September.
Bone china cup and saucer-Found, on a bench in Riveria Public Gardens, 31st October.
Anthony Peardew is the keeper of lost things. Forty years ago, he carelessly lost a keepsake from his beloved fiancée, Therese. That very same day, she died unexpectedly. Brokenhearted, Anthony sought consolation in rescuing lost objects—the things others have dropped, misplaced, or accidentally left behind—and writing stories about them. Now, in the twilight of his life, Anthony worries that he has not fully discharged his duty to reconcile all the lost things with their owners. As the end nears, he bequeaths his secret life’s mission to his unsuspecting assistant, Laura, leaving her his house and and all its lost treasures, including an irritable ghost.
Recovering from a bad divorce, Laura, in some ways, is one of Anthony’s lost things. But when the lonely woman moves into his mansion, her life begins to change. She finds a new friend in the neighbor’s quirky daughter, Sunshine, and a welcome distraction in Freddy, the rugged gardener. As the dark cloud engulfing her lifts, Laura, accompanied by her new companions, sets out to realize Anthony’s last wish: reuniting his cherished lost objects with their owners.
Long ago, Eunice found a trinket on the London pavement and kept it through the years. Now, with her own end drawing near, she has lost something precious—a tragic twist of fate that forces her to break a promise she once made.
As the Keeper of Lost Objects, Laura holds the key to Anthony and Eunice’s redemption. But can she unlock the past and make the connections that will lay their spirits to rest?
Full of character, wit, and wisdom, The Keeper of Lost Things is a heartwarming tale that will enchant fans of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, Garden Spells, Mrs. Queen Takes the Train, and The Silver Linings Playbook. -Goodreads

I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley in return for an honest review.
I loved this novel! It was the perfect light read after Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner which was a dark subject and quite a dark novel. The Keeper of Lost Things is the complete antithesis of that, it's light, funny and whimsical, and has a warm fuzzy feeling throughout which I really enjoyed!
This is a beautiful story, with great storytelling from Hogan, and it was a genuine pleasure to read.
The basis of the story is a collection of lost objects that have been gathered over the years by an elderly gentleman called Anthony Peardew. Since his fiancee died, and he lost an object given to him by her, he has collected other lost objects. In his will, he leaves his assistant Laura his house, all the lost objects, and a task: to return the lost objects to their rightful owners. Laura doesn't have to complete this task alone though, she has help from Freddy the gardener, and her new friend Sunshine. Alongside this narrative we get passages about certain lost objects, about their owners and how they were lost in the first place; whether purposefully left or accidentally misplaced. We also follow Eunice, who is an assistant to a publisher. She is an integral part of the story, although this only becomes clear towards the end of the novel. 
The stories/narratives that are inserted into the main narrative make this novel a quirky read, but I enjoyed this, it was a breath of fresh air in terms of narratives, and was created so skilfully by Hogan. She manages to link all the threads of the stories and narratives together so beautifully, it was lovely to read the completed novel and see how everything was woven around the central thread of the lost objects.
I especially enjoyed the chapters featuring Laura, Freddy and Sunshine. They were such a cosy three-some to read about, their family dynamic was very warm and comforting, I wouldn't mind reading more about them!! 
All the characters are well developed in the novel, they are definitely an eclectic mix of people (and dogs!!) but all were wonderfully created and all had so many dimensions to them. Hogan has done a great job of writing quite a large group of characters, and managing to flesh them all out equally well. 
Another aspect of this novel that I enjoyed was the touches of magic and ghost-like instances. This was a complete surprise to me, I had not read of this element in any of the summaries or reviews I had read, but it actually fitted into the novel really well. It was well handled by the author, and it developed the narrative, but it never crossed into the ridiculous.
Overall I really loved this novel, I gave it 5/5 stars and it's definitely one of my favourite reads of the year. I enjoyed the author's writing style and I look forward to reading more of her work when it is available!

Happy reading!

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Shelf Control 23/05/17

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

This is a weekly feature that I will be posting on a Tuesday, where I will be spotlighting a book that I have on my shelves that I haven't read. This is a great idea for a weekly post, as I have loads of unread books, and i find it really interesting to read why others have purchased and want to read certain books!! This is hosted by Bookshelf Fantasies.

~~~
This Week's Book: 
Title: The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Author: Neil Gaiman
Published: 2013
Pages: 178

Synopsis: Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.
A groundbreaking work from a master, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is told with a rare understanding of all that makes us human, and shows the power of stories to reveal and shelter us from the darkness inside and out. It is a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly's wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark. -Goodreads
How/When I Got It: 
A few years ago a huge number of Gaiman's novels were on offer on Kindle, like 99p a book and I bought all of the ones that were on offer!!

Why I Want To Read It:
I love Neil Gaiman! I love his Doctor Who episodes and I've read a couple of his novels, so obviously I want to read them all!! This one in particular has a gorgeous cover and a really intriguing blurb!!

Happy reading!

Twitter | Goodreads 

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Monday, 22 May 2017

This meme is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date.

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I'm finally off University for summer, this semester feels like it has lasted an age! I'm hopeful to get a lot of reading done, around working of course! Here's my week!


What I Read Last Week:


This was a lovely novel, I gave it 5/5 stars.













What I Am Currently Reading:


This is a novel I received from Net Galley for review, so I'm hopeful to get it finished in the next week!











As you can see, I'm currently reading a number of books at the same time, which is a normal occurrence for me!! I'm definitely going to finish this series by the end of 2017, I've owned the books for so long and I need to get them off my TBR pile!








I've been reading this novel for about a month now. It's set during World War I and although it's quite lengthy I'm really enjoying it, albeit quite slowly!!










Up Next:



























Happy reading!!



It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

Monday, 15 May 2017

This meme is hosted by Kathryn at the Book Date.

~~~
I finished my final exam of 3rd year on Friday, so I've finally got some time to do some reading and blogging! So I can't wait to increase my reading!!



What I Read Last Week:


This is my only read of the last couple of weeks, I gave it 3.5/5 stars, and you can check out my review here








What I Am Currently Reading:














Up Next:


























Happy reading!!


Book Review- Goodbye Days

Title: Goodbye Days
Author: Jeff Zentner
Published: 7th March 2017
Pages: 405
Genre: YA, Contemporary

Rating: 3.5/5

What if you could spend one last day with someone you lost?
One day Carver Briggs had it all—three best friends, a supportive family, and a reputation as a talented writer at his high school, Nashville Academy for the Arts.
The next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.
Now Carver can’t stop blaming himself for the accident, and he’s not the only one. Eli’s twin sister is trying to freeze him out of school with her death-ray stare. And Mars’s father, a powerful judge, is pressuring the district attorney to open a criminal investigation into Carver’s actions.
Luckily, Carver has some unexpected allies: Eli’s girlfriend, the only person to stand by him at school; Dr. Mendez, his new therapist; and Blake’s grandmother, who asks Carver to spend a Goodbye Day with her to share their memories and say a proper goodbye to his friend.
Soon the other families are asking for a Goodbye Day with Carver, but he’s unsure of their motives. Will they all be able to make peace with their losses, or will these Goodbye Days bring Carver one step closer to a complete breakdown or—even worse—prison? -Goodreads
I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley in return for an honest review.

This is the story of Carter, who is 17 when he loses his 3 best friends in a car accident that may or may not have been his fault for texting the friend who was driving. We follow Carter as he attends their funerals and deals with the aftermath of the events and the decisions he made that night. 
As this novel is written from Carter's point of view, Zentner actually does a creditable job of replicating the voice of a 17 year old, for the most part it reads fairly accurately. That being said there are sections of the text which are quite unlike a 17 year olds manner, but I just put these very pretentious passages down to Carver's past-time as a writer!!
This novel is sad; Zentner's depiction of grief is powerful and moving. The novel as a whole was quite moving and I was appreciative of Zentner's ability to give the grief its space to breath and grow in the novel. 
I also thought that Zentner's description of panic attacks and anxiety was excellent. The author got the feelings and experiences across in the narrative very well, in addition to keeping the narrative voice from Carter realistic to the experience. I appreciated this, it gave the character another layer, and its always good to read about mental health in novels, especially young adult ones. 
In terms of plot, there isn't a lot to get excited about, it is a fairly typical YA contemporary, although I was very pleased that the romance there was felt realistic, there was no sight of 'insta-love'. 
The reason I gave this novel only 3.5/5 was for a couple of insensitive jokes in the novel. At one point two of the characters made some crude suicide jokes because they are not enjoying a class in school. This is extremely insensitive from the author, and particularly because his novel had dealt with grief and mental health sensitively through the rest of it. The author also made some homophobic jokes when the characters are teasing another character, who actually turns out to be gay! As if that somehow makes it ok, it just felt unnecessary to the storyline, and frankly I was really disappointed when I read it.
Overall I gave this novel 3.5/5 stars, and I thought it was an ok depiction of grief, but it was let down by some crude and insensitive jokes in the narrative which didn't sit well with me.

Happy reading!

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Book Review- The Wingman

Wednesday, 5 April 2017
Title: The Wingman
Author: Natasha Anders
Published: 7th March 2017
Pages: 316
Genre: Romance, Contemporary

Rating: 3.5/5

She was supposed to be his one-night distraction. But their attraction is undeniable.Introverted Daisy McGregor is used to being a wallflower, but what she lacks in style, she makes up for with an acerbic wit, a passion for life, and a deep devotion to her family. So she’ll suffer through her sister Dahlia’s bachelorette party and accept the cloud of pity for going stag to the wedding.
Out at the pub, sexy bad boy Mason Carlisle is a reluctant wingman tasked with entertaining Daisy while his brother flirts with her oldest sister, Daffodil. When the plan fails and Mason’s true intent is revealed, he feels intense guilt—and a sensual spark of desire for the unlikeliest of women.
Daisy decides to use this unfortunate encounter to her advantage: to make it up to her, Mason will be another kind of wingman, playing the role of her boyfriend and wedding date. Will their ruse unravel completely—or will Mason and Daisy’s undeniable attraction ignite a scorching love affair that knows no rules? -Goodreads

I received this novel from Net Galley in return for an honest review.
This is the story of Daisy, who is the youngest sister of 3, and is known as 'the other, clever one'. We can all get this as a poorly disguised reference to her not being 'typically' pretty (or thin or straight haired etc). 
I thought the premise of this novel was intriguing, but I soon got annoyed with Daisy. She has no self esteem or confidence, and it soon got boring and irritating hearing her refusing or compliments. 
She is approached by Mason in a bar, because his brother is trying to hit on her sister, and need Daisy distracted. Mason and Daisy hit it off, but Daisy finds out that he was only chatting to her to keep her busy, and she decides to blackmail Mason into accompanying her to her other sister's wedding. 
I liked the relationship between Mason and Daisy, there was plenty of sarcasm and sass, and their interactions were fun to read. 
There was a pretty ludicrous and irritating twist towards the end to keep our main couple from being together, and a couple of twists within the story that felt a little to predictable and cliche, but overall this was a laid back and enjoyable read.
Overall, if you're looking for quick and relaxing read, that is pretty feel good, this one will definitely fit the bill.

Happy reading!

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February Wrap Up!

Thursday, 2 March 2017
I'm not sad to see the back of February, it's one of my least favourite months. It's still a long time until spring, and Christmas is a distant memory. Anyway, I didn't manage to read many novels in February, hopefully I can pick it up in March!




The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman- Mindy Mejia

This novel is published on the 9th of March, and is a mystery thriller with interesting characters. It features a murder, manipulative characters in a small town setting.
My rating: 3.5/5 (my review)







The Black Monk- Anton Chekhov

I had to read this short story for one of my psychology modules. My assignment was then to diagnose the main character with a mental disorder. I enjoyed the assignment, but the story itself was nothing special.
My rating: 3/5







The Buddha of Suburbia- Hanif Kureishi

This was another novel I had to read for uni, this time for my Contemporary Lit module. In this novel we follow Karim as he grows up in suburban London, with an English mother and an Indian father. This had some interesting parts, but overall I found Karim to be an irritating narrator, and the whole novel boring.
My rating: 2.5/5





Happy reading!!

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March 2017 Anticipated Releases

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Book Review- The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman

Saturday, 25 February 2017
Title: The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman
Author: Mindy Mejia
Published: 9th March 2017
Pages: 352
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Rating: 3.5/5

Seventeen-year-old Hattie Hoffman is a talented actress, loved by everyone in her Minnesotan hometown. So when she's found stabbed to death on the opening night of her school play, the tragedy rips through the fabric of the community.
Local sheriff Del Goodman, a good friend of Hattie's dad, vows to find her killer, but the investigation yields more secrets than answers; it turns out Hattie played as many parts offstage as on. Told from three perspectives: Del's, Hattie's high school English teacher and Hattie herself, The Last Act of Hattie Hoffman tells the story of the real Hattie, and what happened that final year of school when she dreamed of leaving her small town behind . . .
Wonderfully evocative of its Midwestern setting and with a cast of unforgettable characters, this is a book about manipulation of relationships and identity, about the line between innocence and culpability, about the hope love offers and the tragedies that occur when it spins out of control -Goodreads
I received a copy of this novel from Net Galley and Quercus Books in return for an honest review.

This novel is a murder mystery set in a small Minnesota town. 17 year old Hattie was an inspiring actress who had plans to move to New York as soon as she could. However, when she is found murdered, its up to family friend and Sheriff Del Goodman to solve the murder.
This novel is told through three points of views. We follow Del as he solves the murder in the present day, and we also read Hattie and her English teacher's perspectives from the months leading up to her death. This split perspectives works well in this novel, the split timeline also leaves the puzzle unsolved for a long time, it takes a large part of the novel before all the pieces fit together.
This novel definitely has elements of the psychological thriller about it. The split perspectives, which create a tension and mystery in the novel, and the mystery around Hattie and her 'true' persona created this feel to the novel, and I have seen this novel compared to Gone Girl, and there are similarities, not in plot but in the thriller aspects.
Hattie is a fascinating main character, because she isn't honest to anyone you never know whether you are actually seeing the 'real' Hattie in her perspectives or not. This unreliable narrator adds another layer to the narrative as you have to take everything you are told with a pinch of salt! Mejia also deserves praise for her excellent writing of a 17 year old girl. Some authors struggle to accurately replicate the voice of a 17 year old, but I think Mejia has got it exactly right in this instance.
If you are looking for an exciting 'who-dunnit' this isn't the novel for you. There are very few suspects from the beginning of the novel, it is more about piecing the events together, and less about the big reveal of the murderer.
This novel also wasn't the quickest read, the first 70% or so was quite slow, the pace of the novel only picked up in the last 30%, and I was a little disappointed that I wasn't drawn further into the story than I was.
Overall I enjoyed this novel, it was an interesting story about a murder in a small town where everyone knows everyone, with some interesting twists and turns within. However it just didn't draw me in, it felt slow paced and laboured at parts.

Happy reading!

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February 2017 Anticipated Releases

Friday, 10 February 2017
There are many books being released this month, and I'm excited to get my hands on quite a few of them. These are books being released in the UK in February that I'm excited to read and are definitely getting added to my TBR pile!!

*The link will take you to the book's Goodreads page!

                                             Whenever I'm With You- Lydia Sharp












Lost Girls- Merrie De Stefano













Freeks- Amanda Hocking












History Is All You Left Me- Adam Silvera













Kill the Father- Sandrone Dazieri












This Is How It Always Is- Laurie Frankel












Wait for Me- Caroline Leech












I Liked My Life- Abby Fabiaschi












All Our Wrong Todays- Elan Mastai












To Catch a Killer- Sheryl Scarborough












Love and Gravity- Samantha Sotto












The Impossible Fortress- Jason Rekulak












Gilded Cage- Vic James












We Are Okay- Nina LaCour













The Keeper of Lost Things- Ruth Hogan












10 Things I Can See from Here- Carrie Mac













Happy reading!!

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