Book Review: The Hoarder/ Mr Flood’s Last Resort by Jess Kidd

This book is one that I think will be appreciated by a select audience. It has a lot of potential and the descriptions of certain characters must be applauded (Mr Flood in particular really stands out as a creepy, yet vulnerable man). However, admittedly, I cannot say that I enjoyed the novel for a simple reason; I could not get along with the style of writing and the overload of information. The following is a spoiler-free review.

The hoarder mr flood's last resort book cover for book review by jess kidd

Book Blurb: Maud Drennan – underpaid carer and unintentional psychic – is the latest in a long line of dogsbodies for the ancient, belligerent Cathal Flood. Yet despite her best efforts, Maud is drawn into the mysteries concealed in his filthy, once-grand home. She realises that something is changing: Cathal, and the junk-filled rooms, are opening up to her. With only her agoraphobic landlady and a troop of sarcastic ghostly saints to help, Maud must uncover what lies beneath Cathal’s decades-old hostility, and the strange activities of the house itself. And if someone has hidden a secret there, how far will they go to ensure it remains buried?

Mr Flood is a most interesting character and the house he lives in is filled with curiosities which will capture your attention. That is a strong point of the book. However, the process of Maud trying to solve a supposed crime felt very dragged out, to the point where when the answers were given it did not feel like it even mattered. The writing of this book was just not to my taste and it is hard to keep your attention on what is going on in the book. The saints in particular had absurdly comic personalities which don’t seem to really match the subject. It is a mismatch of comedy and thriller, and you may find yourself wondering what the purpose of the saints is as most of the action only takes place in the last few chapters. If you are a fan of quaint thrillers then you are likely to enjoy this book. However, for those not used to this kind of writing the novel is not as enjoyable as it could have been. It is really a case of picking this novel if the writing style suits what you enjoy!

R/T: Thorn (Please see About section for more information)

Rating: 2/5

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Book Review: Verity by Colleen Hoover and optional spoiler ending

This book is not for the faint-hearted. Dark and enthralling, Colleen Hoover has taken a walk off the beaten path and produced an absolute masterpiece in thriller fiction. This ending of this novel will make you question every little detail in every chapter that you previously read. Totally mind-boggling. This book deals with some heavy topics so I do have to issue some trigger warnings to the reader (which you can contact me about if this is a concern, as they are spoilers). The following is a spoiler-free review, however a spoiler section is found at the bottom explaining the ending with a spoiler warning beforehand.

verity by colleen hoover book cover for review

Book Blurb: Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish. Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of what really happened the day her daughter died. Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.

The characters in this novel are very unnerving. Everyone from the ‘nice guy’ Jeremy to the nurse, and of course Verity herself. Many of them were alright on the surface but there’s something quite creepy about them. Lowen has some major faults and I disagree with many of the things she did, but you can’t help but read with hunger whenever she hovels up in her room or the study knowing that Verity is in the same household. The characterisation was therefore excellent for the genre.

The story Hoover creates is intricately and beautifully spun like a spider’s web. The author builds pace like a pro, and it is a fascinating read. It is very hard to put this book down so don’t be surprised if you read it pretty quickly! The ending of the book is phenomenally complex. For that alone, I would recommend the book.

R/T: Thorn, definitely a thorn. (Please see About section for more information)

Rating: 4.5/5

Spoiler ending…

Ending explained: So Lowen sees Verity move on the camera and tells Jeremy. Jeremy runs to confront Verity, and as Lowen comes in, Verity moves and responds. It turns out that Verity has been faking her injuries and Jeremy, in a fit of rage, kills Verity with Lowen’s approval. Lowen later finds a letter in the room from Verity addressed to Jeremy explaining that the whole autobiography was just a writing exercise, not to be taken seriously. It then proceeds to write how Jeremy found out about the autobiography and attempted to kill her. She then writes how he did not succeed but she faked her injuries in order to not give him a reason to try again. Her plan was then to run away with the son. Of course, both stories cannot be true. So the question is, was Verity an innocent victim of a misunderstanding, or was she the psychotic liar she appeared to be from the outset?

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Thank you Alex from Whimsy Pages for tagging me! These are some great questions and I’m excited to share more about my blog with others 🙂

the sunshine blogger award nomination for book blog showing flowers.

The rules:

1 – Thank the blogger who nominated you.
2 – Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
3 – Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
4 – List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award in your post/or on your blog.

What other hobbies do you have?

Apart from reading and blogging, I also love gardening, dancing, and scrapbooking.

Share one interesting fact about you!

I speak Russian and am currently learning Turkish.

What was the last place you travelled to?

I went to the local beach. Really great arcade and theme park there too 🙂

What was the last book you read?

Newes from the Dead by Mary Hooper. It is based on the true story of Anne Green who was falsely accused of infanticide and hanged. In the book she is trapped in a society where men have ultimate power and victimise the poor. However, the doctors wanting to dissect the protagonist make a startling discovery. Check out my spoiler-free review to find out more!

What is your favourite review you’ve ever written?

I really like the review of The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson as the book puts a smile on my face and the descriptions of the foods and tourist sites of Vienna remind me of it. I took a different approach to Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller, as I included a spoiler ending (with warning) at the bottom due to much interest in the plot-twist.

Share your reviewing process: From picking up the book until it goes live on your blog! 

Most of the books I own are chosen by my mother who likes to buy a variety of books. I pick a book based on whether it fits a genre I am interested in (such as romance, YA, historical and so on) and how appealing the title and blurb are. I also try books which I think may not be as interesting for variety, and sometimes I have been pleasantly surprised. I then review the book and post it using a familiar format.

How old is your blog? 

My blog is 6 months old, so still a baby! 🙂

Do you plan something special for your next Blogiversary?

I haven’t had a blogiversary before so need to read more about what others have done. I might place a special post on the blogiversary.

Do you love doing Tags? Why?

I enjoy doing tags because it gives us bloggers a chance to get to know each other better ‘beyond the books’. It is lovely to do tag posts other than book reviews all the time. Plus, lots of tags are great fun to do!

Tell us 5 things you love about blogging or this community.

  1. The support for each other, even newbies!
  2. There are amazing book recommendations 🙂
  3. Bloggers come up with new ideas that I would not have otherwise thought about.
  4. I love the creativity around it.
  5. It is a great opportunity to improve my writing.

And to wrap things up, recommend one book to read this summer! 

Fans of…

Romance: It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover

Historical: Newes from the Dead by Mary Hooper

Children’s (but suitable for older readers): Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

THE NOMINEES:

Elaine Insiya Beggy Janet Princess Holly Lorraine Nicole Laura Ame You

Do take part if you would like to, but do not feel obliged if it is not your thing or you have already been nominated!

the questions:

  1. What are your hobbies outside of blogging?
  2. Are you an extrovert or introvert?
  3. Give us one interesting fact about yourself!
  4. What is the best food you have ever had?
  5. What is your favourite ice-cream flavour?
  6. What is your zodiac sign?
  7. Tell us about what inspired you to start your blog?
  8. What is your favourite blog topic?
  9. What is your all-time favourite book (or author)?
  10. What is the post you are most proud of/feel readers should read if they come across your blog?
  11. Any advice to new bloggers?

Book Review: Newes from the Dead by Mary Hooper

The story told in this historical novel is immensely satisfying to read. The book is both imaginative and mesmerising, and the details of the trials of the servant girl and her dissection are chilling yet captivating. This book was very hard to put down and is a prime example of how to write an interesting historical novel. This book is based on a true story, although of course not all of the details are true to the original. The following is a spoiler-free review.

newes from the dead by mary hooper book cover for review

Book Blurb: Anne can’t move a muscle, can’t open her eyes, can’t scream. She lies immobile in the darkness, unsure if she’d dead, terrified she’s buried alive, haunted by her final memory—of being hanged. A maidservant falsely accused of infanticide in 1650 England and sent to the scaffold, Anne Green is trapped with her racing thoughts, her burning need to revisit the events—and the man—that led her to the gallows. Meanwhile, a shy 18-year-old medical student attends his first dissection and notices something strange as the doctors prepare their tools . . . Did her eyelids just flutter? Could this corpse be alive?

Newes from the Dead is a supreme example of the injustice many lower-class people, and in particular women, faced in the past. Anne Green is wrongly accused of infanticide, and in a male-dominated world of courtrooms and aristocracy there is no justice for this woman who is seen as a threat. She is not a perfect human, and it is fair to say that she had her flaws, but they are nothing compared to the characters of Master Geoffrey and Sir Thomas who take advantage of and despise this girl. The medical aspect of the novel is also fascinating and the back and forth chapters between past and present are effective in telling us the story of Anne Green.

In conclusion, I found this to be a highly interesting read and would recommend it to readers who like historical fiction.

R/T: Rose and Thorn (Please see About section for more information)

Rating: 4/5

Book Review: Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Emotive and powerful, Letters to the Lost is a novel that will keep you hooked till the very last page. It is a stunning book in which two characters find each other through their shared pain to build an extraordinary friendship, share words of wisdom, and eventually romance. The following is a spoiler-free review.

letters to the lost by brigid kemmerer book cover for review

Book Blurb: Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope. Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past. When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

Juliet and Declan are very different but fairly likeable characters. They both have their flaws. Juliet is judgemental of Declan’s outward demeanour and past, whereas Declan can be quite passive aggressive. They both, however, manage to add something very meaningful to each other’s lives. The anonymity in their communication is very interesting as they both know each other at school but do not realise this! This enables them to communicate to each other freely and with less judgement. There are many moments in the novel when you think they will reveal or find out who they are.

The book focuses more on their friendship, but romance comes in at the very end of the novel. It is story of friendship turning to romance, which is beautiful in its own way. Overall, this is a heavy read which was well-written and gives a message of hope.

R/T: Rose and Thorn (Please see About section for more information)

Rating: 4/5

Book Review: Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller (Spoiler and Spoiler-free reviews available)

This is one of those books that you may find gripping and hauntingly beautiful…or one that you may hate completely. Fuller creates a bleak world for the proganist, a girl called Peggy who is taken away into a cabin in the middle of nowhere by her father. If you are seeking a light-hearted read, then this is definitely not the book for you. The novel is dark and depressing from the beginning. It deals with some heavy topics, and has a dramatic conclusion which reflects the hidden horrors of her time away from humanity. Because of this, I do have to issue some trigger warnings to the reader (which you can contact me about if this is a concern, as they are spoilers). The following is a spoiler-free review however a spoiler section is found at the bottom with a spoiler warning beforehand.

our endless numbered days book cover by claire fuller for book review

In all honesty, this book was really slow to begin with. Time and time again I found myself thinking, when is the author going to get to the point? What is the point of all this rambling? I read a couple of pages each day, until I reached the last third of the novel where things finally started to pick up and I read the rest in one sitting. The ending was really interesting and it was one of those ‘Oh I see…now that makes sense’ kind of moments, although some people would find it too disturbing and vulgar for the book. The descriptions in the book are very vivid, particularly of Peggy’s time in the wilderness. On the other hand, the characters themselves were not to my liking; almost all of them bore signs of some sort of darkness. I suppose this is the very premise of the novel, so you either would be into that sort of thing or you wouldn’t.

Overall, if it were not for the ending, I would have rated this book 1/5 for the sheer length of time spent on repetitive descriptions. However, the last third of the book made up for it, bringing the rating to 2.5/5. So have a read if this seems like your sort of thing…or you could just read the last few pages if you are only in it for a plot-twist.

R/T: Thorn. This book is definitely a thorn. (Please see About section for more information)

Rating: 2.5/5

Spoiler….

The girl is taken away by her father into the wilderness. Over the course of time the father starts thinking that she is the girl’s mother and starts to lose his grip. The girl, meanwhile, becomes acquainted with a man who lives in the wilderness who her father is not aware of and they have sex. During this time, her father lets her know that he wants to poison them both as he is fed up. The man she meets helps to save her from her father by killing him and they both run away into civilisation. When the girl wakes up the man is nowhere to be seen. It turns out that the man she met had never existed…she had been raped by her father and used her mind to imagine this man in order to deal with this emotional disturbance. She was also the one who killed him, not the imaginary man.

Book Review: Nevermoor (The Calling of Morrigan Crow Series) by Jessica Townsend

Enchanting, exciting, and mesmerising. The Calling of Morrigan Crow series is truly spectacular! If you are looking for a book that is hard to put down, full of magic, twists, and funny but likeable characters then Nevermoor could be right for you. The world that Townsend created is truly imaginative and fans of Harry Potter would be likely to enjoy it. The following is a spoiler-free review.

nevermoor book cover by jessica townsend for book review

Nevermoor introduces us to a strong-willed misfit of a girl called Morrigan Crow who is treated badly but soon finds herself whisked away by the charming Jupiter North into a magical land called Nevermoor. There she must prove her worth if she is to become a member of the infamous Wunder society, by passing four seemingly impossible tasks and showing a talent which she doesn’t think she has. If she does not…she will be sent back to the Republic where she would find herself in mortal peril

There isn’t a dull moment in The Calling of Morrigan Crow series. The pages are action-packed and interesting. The descriptions of the magical world are truly magnificent and the stories flow effortlessly. There are also twists and turns along the way, keeping the reader constantly guessing and eager to read more! I particularly loved Hotel Deucalion with its weird and wonderful rooms, decorations, and parties (such as rooms that change their furniture according to the occupier).

The characters are also highly interesting. I am particularly fond of Fenestra the Magnificat (a stubborn and independent giant cat who talks like a human). The storylines themselves are highly creative, and the tasks remind me a little of the tasks from the Triwizard Tournaments from Harry Potter mixed with the Sorting ceremony. This book is out of this world!

R/T: Rose and Thorn (Please see About section for more information)

Rating: 4.5/5