Book number 41 (I’m still excited that I have passed my goal!) was Robert Galbraith’s The Silkworm. This is book number 2 in the Cormoran Strike series. I had reserved this book from the library, as soon as I had finished The Cuckoo’s Calling but I couldn’t wait to read this book so ended up borrowing my Mum’s Kindle to read it!

This story is a lot darker than the first in the series, and I’m sure there were parts I didn’t quite understand but overall – great book! I couldn’t put it down. I was gripped. I didn’t guess the ending and I just really enjoyed this book. I hope we get more books in this series.

Addition: E-book and audiobook
Genre: Mystery, crime, detective
Published: 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5

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I HAVE FINISHED MY READING CHALLENGE!!!! But more on that another time!

Number 40 was Debbie Macomber’s 74 Seaside Avenue, a Cedar Cove novel. I haven’t read a Cedar Cove novel in a long time. I read a load of them together and got a bit fed up with them, however, I have been enjoying the series on TV and thought I would have another go. I am pleased to say I did enjoy this read. It was nice to spend time with old friends! I found some storylines a bit predictable, others a but unbelievable, but I still enjoyed the book. It didn’t take long to read it and I am considering reserving the next one at the library.

Addition: Paperback, library book
Genre: Chick-lit
Published: 2005
Rating: 3 out of 5

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

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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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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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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Addition: Netgalley review e-book
Genre: Chick-lit
Published: 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

England, 1932: Grace Hamblin is growing up in a rural idyll. The beekeeper’s daughter, she knows her place and her future – that is until her father dies and leaves her alone. Alone, that is, except for one man who she just can’t shake from her thoughts…
Massachusetts, 1973: Grace’s daughter Trixie Valentine is in love with an unsuitable boy. He’s wild and romantic, and in a band that might be going somewhere. But when tragedy strikes and he has to go home to England, he promises to come back to Trixie one day, if only she will wait for him.
Both mother and daughter are searching for love and happiness, unaware of the secrets that bind them. To find what they are longing for they must confront the secrets of the past, and unravel the lies told long ago…

I received this book from Netgalley and Simon and Schuster UK Fiction to post an honest review.

I loved this book! I had been jumping between books, trying to find one that kept my attention, and this is the book. I found the beginning of the book, where we focus on Trixie and her new-found love, Jasper, a bit slow, but as soon as we jumped back to 1932 I was hooked and didn’t want to put the book down. I have never read a novel by Santa Montefiore before, but I will certainly be looking out for more books by her.

This story is set in three time periods – the 1930s, the 1970s and the 1990s. I really enjoy a book which moves around in time and focuses on more than one character – and this is just that sort of book. The focus of the book is on a mother and daughter – Grace and Trixie, and the way love can join them in a story neither of them would have imagined. I just loved the way this book was written. There were characters I liked, and one’s I didn’t, I loved the locations and I loved the history.

This is a great story. Grace grows up in a small community as the bee keeper’s daughter. She knows her destiny, and is happy with it. But she falls in love with two men, one far out of her reach and social standing – but war changes everything. After the war, she relocates to America with her husband Freddie, with no explanation. They have Trixie and but life isn’t as happy as it could be. Trixie is a rebellious girl, who likes to fall in love and break the rules. She falls for Jasper, a young English musician, but when he has to return to Britain, her heart is broken. Neither Grace nor Trixie truly recover from their heart break, but it isn’t until much later that they realise how entwined their stories are.

I liked Grace, but I didn’t really like Trixie. Grace was gentle, caring and kind. She loved her father and worked hard. Trixie was headstrong and I found her a bit disrespectful towards her parents. They both made decisions and choices I wasn’t sure about, but that didn’t spoil the book for me. I like it when I can think about decisions, even disagree (I even like disliking characters!), I feel it enhances the book if it doesn’t go the way I expect/would have written it.

There is a lot in this book – love, family, friendship, bee keeping and war, but this is essentially chick-lit at it’s best. I am rating this 4 out of 5 as there were some scenes I found crude and unnecessary but I did enjoy this book so much. As I have said, I didn’t want to put this book down. There were some surprises, some things which made me chuckle, and just a really great story.

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Delirium

Addition: E-book
Genre: Young adult
Published: 2011
Rating: 3 out of 5
Synopsis:

Ninety-five days, and then I’ll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It’s hard to be patient. It’s hard not to be afraid while I’m still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn’t touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don’t.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started reading this novel. I’d had it on my Kindle for a while and then a friend mentioned how good it was and I thought, “OK, I must read that book.” To be honest, it wasn’t what I thought it would be like. I guess I imagined it would be like the Divergent series, or the Hunger Games trilogy – a novel with action and war. In some ways, it was similar to those trilogies as it is a dystopia novel, but that seemed to be where the similarity ended. It was more a love story than anything else. I found the beginning slow and the romance a bit dull – although the ending was good. It took a while to get going. I expected more danger in the book and didn’t get it until the last few pages. Although this wasn’t a bad book, it didn’t live up to my expectation of it.

The characters didn’t stick out in my mind much either. I could take them or leave them – except perhaps Grace, Lena’s mute cousin, who was so sweet. Her role at the end of the novel was amazing! I liked Lena, and her best friend Hana, but there didn’t seem to be anything particularly special about them.

Having been quite critical about this book, I did enjoy it enough to get the second book out the library.

Pandemonium

Addition: E-book
Genre: Young adult
Published: 2012
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

I’m pushing aside
the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana
and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

I enjoyed Pandemonium a lot more than Delirium. Lena has escaped from Portland and the dystopia society that she was living in. Here, there are no rules, no set homes and out here, you are the enemy. This novel contained a lot more of what I expected in the first book. There is action, fear and danger. Lena is fighting for a cause, healing a broken heart, and of course, falling in love again. I thought Pandemonium had a lot more interesting content than Delirium. It was more exciting and much more gripping. Lena finds herself trapped and fighting to survive, there were new characters and a completely new way of life that Lena has to learn to adjust too.

Oddly, I disliked Lena more in this book than I did in the first one! Taken out of her safe home, she is fearful and grumpy. She acts like a sulky teenager a lot in this novel. I did like Raven though, a fearless leader, and Tack, her side-kick. I also liked Blue – who was a lot like Grace – and like with Grace, I found myself feeling so sad for Blue.

There is a predictable cliff hanger at the end of Pandemonium, yet it was brilliant! This book left me wanting more, so it was good news that there is a third book in this series!

Requiem

Addition: E-book
Genre: Young adult
Published: 2013
Rating: 3 out of 5
Synopsis:

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has transformed. The nascent rebellion that was underway in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight. After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven. Pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels.

As Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain of the Wilds, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor. Requiem is told from both Lena and Hana’s points of view. They live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

Requiem is written differently to the first two books in this trilogy. This time, the novel follows both Lena in the Wilds, and Hana in Portland, about to get married. Hana has been cured, Lena has not. They are no longer friends or connected in any way, in fact, they barely think of each other. Yet their lives will become entwined again.

This book had a lot of promise and started so well, yet I found that by halfway I was ready for the story to move on. It started to drag, and felt like it was repeating itself. Again, like Delirium, this book was also a big love story – who would Lena chose? There were revelations in this book and I did enjoy jumping between Lena and Hana, but I did think it took too long for the final climax to happen. I also felt that the ending was rushed. I was left asking questions, and I hate that in a book!

The Delirium Series
I did enjoy this series, I just didn’t like it as much as the Divergent series or the Hunger Games series. I was hoping for more from this book than I got. Reflecting on the series, there isn’t anyone that stands out and I still find it annoying that the ending was so abrupt. I would rate this series 3 out of 5 because it was good, it just wasn’t what I expected, and at times I felt the books were similar and I wanted the stories to move on.

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Book number 29 was the final book in the Delirium trilogy, Requiem, by Lauren Oliver.

I wasn’t sure what to make of this book. I wasn’t too excited by Delirium, the first book, but did really enjoy Pandemonium, book two. I was eager to start reading Pandemonium, and the for a while was really enjoying it. However, I did find that around halfway through the book I was ready for the story to move on. Like Delirium, I found the end of the book the most exciting. I did enjoy this novel, but not as much as I enjoyed Pandemonium.

Addition: Library book
Genre: Young adult
Published: 2013
Rating: 3 out of 5

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