2014 Reading: #37 Robert Galbraith’s The Cuckoo’s Calling

Book number 37 is Robert Galbraith’s The Cuckoo’s Calling, the first book in the Cormoran Strike series. Robert Galbraith is a pseudonym, the author of this novel also goes by J. K. Rowling! And what a novel it is…!

I have read all the Harry Potter novels, and loved them – I even queued at midnight for the release of the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – so when I discovered that Robert Galbraith was actually Rowling, I was eager to read this book. Recently, I have found my reading tastes have changed a little. In the past, I wouldn’t have read a detective novel, for fear of it scaring me I think, yet over the past year or so I have started to really enjoy them. This book is no different. I started it as an audiobook, but about halfway in, I was so eager to find out what happens in the end, I downloaded the book and read it much quicker than it would have been read to me. I really enjoyed this book, I couldn’t put it down. I recommended it to my Mum (no surprises there!) and she also enjoyed it. This is such a good read – and not at all like Harry Potter!

Addition: E-book and audiobook
Genre: Mystery, crime, detective
Published: 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5

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2014 Reading: #36 John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars

Book 36 in 2014 was John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. I have been wanting to read this book for ages, and yesterday decided that even though I have several books on the go, I was going to read this anyway. Oh my, this book is incredible. I read it in one sitting – I stayed up late to finish it as I couldn’t put it down. This is a sad and fantastic read. This is a must-read book and easy to rate 5 out of 5. I don’t want to say too much, but this is well written, captivating and so sad, yet a great read. I still feel like I’m processing the book this morning.

Addition: E-book
Genre: Young adult
Published: 2012
Rating: 5 out of 5

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Jamaica Inn by Daphne du Maurier

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Gothic fiction
Published: 1935
Rating: 4 out of 5

Her mother’s dying request takes Mary Yellan on a sad journey across the bleak moorland of Cornwall to reach Jamaica Inn, the home of her Aunt Patience. With the coachman’s warning echoing in her memory, Mary arrives at a dismal place to find Patience a changed woman, cowering from her overbearing husband, Joss Merlyn.

Affected by the Inn’s brooding power, Mary is thwarted in her attention to reform her aunt, and unwillingly drawn into the dark deeds of Joss and his accomplices. And, as she struggles with events beyond her control, Mary is further thrown by her feelings for a man she dare not trust….

This is the second Daphne du Maurier book I have read, back in 2008 I read and enjoyed Rebecca. I was inspired to read Jamaica Inn because a few months ago the BBC made it into a mini-series, and I thought I would read the book before I watched the show.

The story is based around Mary. She is sent to live with her Aunt Patience and her husband Joss Merlyn at Jamaica Inn, after the death of her mother. The inn is not at all what she expected – and neither are Patience and Joss. There are dark and mysterious goings-on at Jamaica Inn, and everyone in the surrounding area gives it a wide berth. Joss seems to be the ring leader in some awful gang, and Patience has just turned away and become fearful and weak. Mary is not like that, and her curiosity draws her into what Joss is caught up in, with potentially deadly consequences.

This book almost immediately reminded me of Wuthering Heights. Set out on the Cornish moors, there is fear and darkness. Joss is like Heathcliff, unpredictable and not particularly nice. Although written in the 1930s, this book has all the feelings of a gothic novel – death, fear, the supernatural, love and the unknown. I was drawn in immediately, and all I can say is this is a very good book!

I liked Mary. She was courageous and strong. She had a good sense of right and wrong, and I liked her adventurous spirit. She seemed fearless and I loved how much she wanted to save her Aunt. Her Aunt however did annoy me! She was so weak and pathetic. I really wanted to tell her to pull herself together. I thought Joss was very well-written. I didn’t like him, but he was a great character.

What pleased me most about this book is guessed the baddie! That never happens! I kept saying to my Mum, “I don’t trust…” She wouldn’t comment, but it was satisfying to be right! This was a great read – full of danger and suspense. I was hooked from the beginning. My only complaint was that the book didn’t read fast enough for my liking! This novel has it all – death, suspicion, fear, danger and love. The prose are wonderful, and the descriptions of the moors are beautiful.

This is a great book and if you love classics like Wuthering Heights, you will love this book. It has made me want to re-read Rebecca, and read more of du Maurier’s novels (good thing my Mum owns them!) This was a brilliant read, and I rate it 4 out of 5.

In case you are interested, the inn, Jamaica Inn, does exist! du Maurier based the novel on the place, but her story is entirely fictional. You can find out more about Jamaica Inn here.

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2014 Reading: #35 Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn

Book number 35 in 2014 was Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn. My Mum is a fan of du Maurier’s novels and for years I have stared at their covers on the bookshelf in their lounge. Earlier this year, the BBC produced a mini-series based on this novel so I thought, why not read it? I have read Rebecca by du Maurier (many years ago), which I also enjoyed and I am glad I made that decision to read Jamaica Inn – this is a good book! This is a gothic novel, which reminded me quite a lot of Wuthering Heights – a book I must re-read soon. Jamaica Inn was dark and mysterious. Set on the Cornish moors, there was fear, love and death. It wasn’t a fast read, but a very good one. Now I need to watch the series – hopefully it is as good as the book!

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Gothic fiction
Published: 1935
Rating: 4 out of 5

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A Confident Heart by Renee Swope

Addition: E-book
Genre: Christian, non-fiction
Published: 2011
Rating: 5 out of 5

Often the biggest obstacle to living out our faith is our own doubt–about our worth, our abilities, our relationship with God, and situations in our lives. “A Confident Heart” gives voice to the questions, doubts, struggles, and hopes so many women have. Author Renee Swope shows women how to identify, overcome, and even use doubt in order to live confidently in God’s power, truth, and grace. Perfect for women’s small groups or individuals, “A Confident Heart” is an authentic, insight-filled and encouraging message for any woman who wants to exchange destructive thought patterns with biblical truth that will transform the way she thinks, feels, and lives.

Renee Swope is part of the Proverbs 31 Ministries, who I follow on Facebook and receive their daily devotions. I noticed on Facebook a while ago that for one day only this book, A Confident Heart, was free on Amazon so I immediately downloaded it (who doesn’t love a free book?!) I am so glad I chose to read this book, it is excellent.

This book is full of truth about God, our loving Heavenly Father. Swope addresses issues about how we doubt ourselves, and how we doubt God, and then brings us back to the Bible to show us the truth about who we are in Christ. She shows us how we can be confident to walk with God, how he can heal the pain of our past and use it for his good, and she repeatedly brings us back to what God has done for us and how he loves us. She uses examples from the Bible of the Samaratian woman at the Well and how God knew all about her and her past, yet loved her and spent time with her. Swope uses Gideon and how fearful he was to show us that these feelings don’t surprise or hinder God, and how when we trust him, he will use us for great things.

Swope was very honest about her life, her past and her current struggles. In these reviews, I often comment about how I felt towards the fictional characters, and yet here I feel compelled to say how much I liked Renee Swope, even though she isn’t fictional and we are never likely to meet. I found her honest and helpful. She was so likeable and so encouraging.

I loved this book and I can’t wait to go through it again, noting down Bible verses and encouragements in my journal. This book is well written, easy to read and full of the Bible. Swope is open with her past and her the things she battles with today. She uses excerpts from other resources to help her and I found this an excellent, encouraging, helpful read; filled with amazing truth about God, who I am in Him and how He can and will use me, and this book has left me wanting to know God better. It is very easy to rate this 5 out of 5, what a great resource.

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2014 Reading: #34 Renee Swope’s A Confident Heart

Book number 34 in 2014 is Renee Swope’s A Confident Heart. Renee Swope is part of the Proverbs 31 Ministries, who I follow on Facebook and receive their daily devotions. I noticed on Facebook a while ago that for one day only this book, A Confident Heart, was free on Amazon so I immediately downloaded it (who doesn’t love a free book?!) I am so glad I chose to read this book, it is excellent. This book is all about realigning your thoughts, fears and doubts with God, and seeing that we don’t need to be afraid, because in God’s strength we can do all things. This book was full of verses, and confirmations about how I am in Christ and how much God loves me. It was a great read and I am already looking forward to going through it again with my journal.


Addition: E-book
Genre: Christianity, non-fiction
Published: 2011
Rating: 5 out of 5

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Only Remembered by Michael Morpurgo

Addition: Netgalley review e-book
Genre: History, non-fiction
Published: 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5

2014 will mark one hundred years since the outbreak of the First World War. To mark the date, this beautiful anthology will collect favourite extracts, images and poems from some of the UK’s leading cultural, political and literary figures.
     Poems, short stories, personal letters, newspaper articles, scripts, photographs and paintings are just some of the elements of this astonishing collection, with cover and artwork by renowned illustrator, Ian Beck. Among the many contributors are: Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, Sir Andrew Motion, Miranda Hart, Jacqueline Wilson, Anthony Horowitz, Eoin Colfer, Antony Beevor, Emma Thompson, David Almond, Dr Rowan Williams, Richard Curtis, Joanna Lumley, Raymond Briggs, Shami Chakrabarti and Sir Tony Robinson.

I received this book from Netgalley to provide an honest review.

When I saw this book was available on Netgalley, I was excited and desperately wanted to read it. I have really enjoyed Michael Morpurgo books, and I love history books, so to put the two together did excite me! However, this book is not actually written by Morpurgo, it is edited by him, but it is a great read.

This book is aimed at children and it looks back at World War One. This is a collection of poems, stories, memories and pictures from the Great War. They are incidents and people who have influenced well known celebrities today. It is an intimate view of what was an awful time.

I thought this book was put together so well. It is engaging and honest, yet it wasn’t scary or horrific, as it could well have been. The book is sensitively produced and I think children will gain so much from it. I couldn’t put it down, I was drawn in to these stories, these moments in one person’s life.

My only complaint about this book is that it isn’t long enough! I know this is for children so needs to be short, but I think a longer novel for adults should be released too! This is a great read and an excellent glance into history. I am rating it 4 out of 5 because it is well edited, engaging, and a sensitive and different view of the Great War.

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2014 Reading: #33 Michael Morpurgo’s Only Remembered

I received this book from Netgalley to provide an honest review.

I like Michael Morpurgo and I like history, so when I saw the two combined, I was quite excited. However, this book isn’t written by Morpurgo, it is edited by him. This is a collection of memories and reflections from celebrities on World War One, as the Great War began 100 years ago. I did really enjoy this read. It was a fascinating look back at the war, and well worth reading.

Addition: Netgalley review e-book
Genre: History, non-fiction
Published: 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5

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2014 Reading: #32 John Hart’s Down River

Book number 32 was John Hart’s Down River. This book is from my Mount TBR challenge – it has been sitting on my shelf for a few years…

I think I had been putting off reading this novel in case I found it scary (yep, I’m a wuss…!) however, I wish I hadn’t put this book off, I really enjoyed it! It was fast-paced and well written. I didn’t guess the murderer and was gripped until the end. I thought this was a really good book and have now given it to my Mum to read.

Addition: Paperback
Genre: Crime
Published: 2007
Rating: 3 out of 5

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Most Abandoned Books

I was flicking through Facebook the other day and came across this:

What an interesting list. So for me…

Top 5 Most Abandoned Books:

The Casual Vacancy – started on holiday in May, not finished it yet. I haven’t abandoned it, I just haven’t picked it up for a few weeks
Fifty Shades of Grey – not started and not interested
Eat, Pray, Love – not started. I have thought about reading this book a few times but never actually done it
Wicked – finished! The review is here. Not a great read but I did make it through. And yes…I read it because I had seen the show, and yes, it is nothing like the show!
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – not started it. My Mum read it and said I wouldn’t like it, so I haven’t gone near it.

Top 5 Most Abandoned Classics:

Catch-22 – I own this book, but not started it. My husband started it a couple of years ago and hasn’t finished it yet…
The Lord of the Rings – I have read all three books! I did put The Two Towers down and pick it back up several months later, and yes there were a difficult read, but I am pleased to say I have read them
Ulysses – not started it
Moby Dick – not started it
Atlas Unplugged – not started it

…to be honest, I don’t read many classics!

How about you? Have you abandoned any of the above books?

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/most-abandoned-books-list-on-goodreads-2013-7

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