YVO’S SHORTIES #149 – Things In Jars & The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry

Time for another round of Yvo’s Shorties! This time around two titles I have been really excited about and I’m still not sure why it took me this long to pick them up… I won a gorgeous hardback copy of Things In Jars last year and I have been eyeing it ever since; I’m still kicking myself for not reading it sooner as I absolutely loved it. And I had high hopes for The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry as Harold sounded like my kind of character, and he is definitely the reason this story worked so well for me.


Title: Things In Jars
Author: Jess Kidd

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy
First published: April 4th 2019
Publisher: Canongate Books
Finished reading: February 8th 2020
Pages: 416

“Here is time held in suspension.

Yesterday pickled.

Eternity in a jar.”


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I actually won a gorgeous hardback copy of Things In Jars in a giveaway last year, but somehow it took me way longer than expected to actually read it… I’m kicking myself now, because it was an absolutely brilliant read. I admit that I was sold as soon as I read the blurb, with that Victorian London vibe as well as the supernatural feel and the detective angle. And the execution definitely lived up to expectations and more! The wonderful prose only enhances that Victorian London feel of the plot, I loved the hint of the surreal and the Irish folklore and this is definitely magical realism and Gothic mystery at its best. The characters are definitely part of this story works so well, and both Bridie and the other important character form a fascinating cast and take the story to the next level. Their descriptions and development really made them come alive for me and they are without doubt quirky and colorful! The supernatural aspect of the plot with the Irish folklore elements is simply spot on, and gave the story a vibe that is probably best described as a mix between Gothic and magical realism with a hint of (Victorian) urban fantasy. Quite an impressive cocktail, but one that works splendidly! The suspense and plot twists are also well handled, and I liked how the whole detective angle was incorporated into the plot. The different elements in Things In Jars are well balanced in general and together form an absolutely intriguing story that will stay with me for a long time.The unique and diverse cast of characters, the folklore, the plot, the writing, the suspense… There is just so much to love!


Title: The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry
(Harold Fry #1)
Author: Rachel Joyce

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary
First published: March 15th 2012
Publisher: Transworld Digital
Finished reading: February 13th 2020
Pages: 297

“But maybe it’s what the world needs. A little less sense, and a little more faith.”


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The truth is that I have been wanting to read The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry for years now. There was just something about the blurb and main character Harold Fry that made me think it would be my kind of book, and I thought his character was giving off seriously A Man Called Ove vibes too… My instincts turned out to be right on both counts, and Harold Fry is without doubt the reason this story worked so well for me. While the pace might be a tad slow, this can be explained by the fact that despite the pilgrimage and constant moving on the main characer this book is mostly a character-driven story. Harold Fry takes the spotlight of course, but the diverse, unique and quirky collection of people he meets along the way really made the story come alive for me. Harold Fry decided to walk across the UK in order to save an old colleague, Queenie, who sent him a goodbye letter stating she has terminal cancer. Harold decided on the spur that a response letter wasn’t enough, and started walking all unprepared without proper shoes or equipment. It was fascinating to follow his journey, learn more about the people he meets along the way and seeing how his pilgrimage changes Harold as well… I did guess the truth about his son really early on, which was a shame, but I liked how the story ended overall. And I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel to read more about Queenie’s story now! The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry is both a heartwarming and heartbreaking journey and a character-driven story with a wide cast of quirky characters… Recommended if you enjoy slower fiction reads!


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WWW Wednesdays #255 – February 12th

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 Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, and basically the only reason I haven’t finished it yet is that we went on an impromtu camping trip these last few days and I didn’t have much time to read. I fully expect to finish it today though! Afterwards I’m finally starting my first series binge-read with Deep Down Dead by Steph Broadribb. I loved my first encounter with Lori and I definitely can’t wait to (re)read all books in order!

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. Perfume by Patrick Süskind (4/5 stars) REVIEW 28/02
This story had intrigued me ever since I first watched the movie years back, but somehow it took me a long time to finally make time for the original story. I’m definitely glad I finally did read the book! Patrick Süskind has a way with his words that really makes the descriptions come alive and Grenouille’s story is both horrifying and absolutely fascinating at the same time. I already knew what was going to come as I’ve seen the movie muliple times, but even so I highly enjoyed reading this modern classic.

2. Death Deserved by Jørn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger (4,5/5 stars) BLOG TOUR REVIEW 20/02
Look out for my full review during my stop of the blog tour!

3. Things In Jars by Jess Kidd (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 17/02
I won a gorgeous hardback copy of Things In Jars in a giveaway last year, but somehow it took me way longer than expected to actually read it… I’m kicking myself now, because it was an absolutely brilliant read. The wonderful prose only enhances that Victorian London feel of the plot, I loved the hint of the surreal and the Irish folklore and this is definitely magical realism and Gothic mystery at its best. The unique and diverse cast of characters, the folklore, the plot, the writing, the suspense… There is so much to love!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

After finishing my current reads, I’ll continue my series binge-read with book two and three of the Lori Anderson series: Deep Blue Trouble and Deep Dirty Truth. I might even read the fourth book too depending on if I feel like writing a blog tour review haha. I also can’t wait to finally pick up my ARC of Amy Harmon‘s newest story Where The Lost Wander. I absolutely love her work and I fully expect this one to be another favorite! My latest TBR jar pick is still The Way Back To You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott, which I’ll probably pick up soon as I love roadtrip stories and it would be a perfect break in between my thriller series binges. 😉


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WWW Wednesdays #254 – February 5th

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 Things In Jars by Jess Kidd, which was way overdue as I won a gorgeous hardback copy in a giveaway last year and somehow never actually picked it up afterwards. The blurb sounds fantastic and I’ll be looking forward to continue it today! I’ll also be starting Death Deserved by Jorn Lier Horst & Thomas Enger as my blog tour stop is coming closer…

WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 09/02
While I admit I did love Elisa and Marisol’s story a tiny bit more, there is also no doubt that I had a brilliant time with When We Left Cuba as well. have always found Beatriz an intriguing character and she is without doubt perfect to describe and show us what happens to Cuba and the Cubans in the years after Fidel Castro took over. There are a lot of different elements in play, including high society, forbidden love, politics, revenge, espionage, crime, Cuba and the Cold War, but everything was well balanced and I had a fantastic time reading this story.

2. A Study In Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/02
I’ve been meaning to meet up with the original Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson for ages now, and after watching the Netflix series and a recent mention in another book, I finally had the perfect excuse to do so. I must have read various retellings over the years as well as watch more than one screen adaptation, but it was without doubt fun to go back to the roots and see how the original Holmes Arthur Conan Doyle created was like

3. The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 28/02
The movie adapation of The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button recently popped up in my mind and I remembered I somehow never read the short story it was based on despite wanting to do so. Since it’s a supershort read with only 41 pages, I decided to squeeze it in between my other books I was planning to read… It is without doubt a quick and quite entertaining read, although it did leave me wanting for more.

4. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager (3/5 stars) REVIEW 09/02
Oh yes, hello unpopular opinion, we meet again! I know a lot of people love Riley Sager‘s books and I did enjoy The Last Time I Lied considerably when I read it last year, but mostly the hype around his work ends up bringing me down… Sadly, this was once again the case with Lock Every Door and I ended up being considerably underwhelmed by what I found. Not only did I guess more than one mayor plot twists as well as villian VERY early on, the ending was completely unsatisfying and just too plain simple for me. It really let that ominous feeling of the beginning of the story as well as the Bartholomew itself completely down…

5. Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet by Jamie Ford (4/5 stars) REVIEW 11/02
I think it’s probably known by now that I have a weak spot for WWII historical fiction and this story is able to give us an original angle. Set in Seattle during the war, the focus is on the Chinese and Japanese community and the threats the Japanese community receives as a direct consequence of Japan’s role in WWII. Hotel On The Corner Of Bitter And Sweet is a beautifully written, poignant and sometimes heartbreaking read, but not without a note of hope… And it is able to describe the race problematics and injustice for all those innocent Japanese families perfectly.

6. What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler (4/5 stars) REVIEW 11/02
I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy read with that rape and victim blaming topic, and it is without doubt trigger warning worthy… That said, I thought the author did an excellent job portraying the whole situation as well as shining an all important light on the topic. Sadly the events as described What We Saw are all too real and sadly rape victims like Stacey become victims all over again when nobody believes their story and simply say ‘she had it coming’ or ‘she asked for it with the way she dressed and by being wasted’… It was also interesting to see the whole story from Kate’s POV as she wasn’t directly involved or too close to the victim.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m probably reading The Unlikely Pilgrimage Of Harol Fry by Rachel Joyce next as I have been wanting to read it for ages now… For the same reason, I’ll likely read the modern classic Perfume by Patrick Suskind soon as I’ve been curious ever since I watched the movie adaptation years ago. Then it’s finally time for some series binging! First up is Blue Night by Simone Buchholz (and Beton Rouge afterwards) in preparation of the blog tour for the next book in March. And I have a new TBR jar pick too! The Way Back To You by Michelle Andreani & Mindi Scott, which I’ll probably pick up soon as I love roadtrip stories and it would be a perfect break in between my thriller series binges. 😉


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