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Recent Reads: Summer 2016

Hello everyone, and welcome back to The Bookworm’s Fantasy. I hope you’re all well! As the title suggests, this post will give you the run-down of what I’ve been reading recently. I’ve included the blurbs and my thoughts and feelings on each of these books. Here goes…



Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens.

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The story of the orphan Oliver, who runs away from the workhouse only to be taken in by a den of thieves, shocked readers when it was first published. Dickens’s tale of childhood innocence beset by evil depicts the dark criminal underworld of a London peopled by vivid and memorable characters — the arch-villain Fagin, the artful Dodger, the menacing Bill Sikes and the prostitute Nancy.


This is one of the novels set on my Victorian Literature module for university. The book is obviously very well-known so I knew of the story roughly beforehand. I love Charles Dickens’ work so I was pretty confident that I’d enjoy this. It’s all about the orphan Oliver Twist’s life and the hardships that he has to deal with. He is moved around from home to home and encounters many obstacles along the way. I really enjoyed reading this and can’t wait to study it!

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We Were Liars by E Lockhart.

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We are the Liars.
We are beautiful, privileged and live a life of carefree luxury.
We are cracked and broken.
A story of love and romance.
A tale of tragedy.
Which are lies?
Which is truth?


This is probably an unpopular opinion, but I didn’t enjoy this very much. This book is really highly raved about, so I had high expectations. I’m not really into YA Fiction any more, but was hoping that this would change my mind. The story was good and was written in a unique style, but I personally wasn’t a fan of the style in which it was written. I ended up getting confused and if I’m honest, the book just didn’t excite me. The twist at the end was good and unexpected, but I don’t really understand what all the hype is about. Sorry!

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The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell.

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When a tragedy breaks a family apart, what can bring it back together?

The Birds seem to be the perfect family: mother, father, four children, a picture-book cottage in the country.

But when something happens one Easter weekend, it is so unexpected, so devastating, that no one can talk about it.

The family shatters, seemingly for ever.

Until they are forced to return to the house they grew up in. And to confront what really took place all those years ago.


I’d never read anything by Lisa Jewell before this, but I know she’s a very well received author. The book started off quite slowly and I wasn’t too keen at first on the story or the characters. But the plot soon kicks in and my interest was hooked. The characters were well portrayed and the book taught me a lot about family life, and how tragedies can affect people in different ways. Personally, I don’t feel that the book is particularly outstanding, but I definitely enjoyed it. I’d like to read more by Jewell in the future.

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Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris.

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Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do.
You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.
Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.


I read this whilst I was working at Glastonbury (blog post to come soon!), and finished it in a day. It was suspenseful and thrilling, and I absolutely loved the story. The narrative is based around a woman who has been majorly deceived by her husband, and is now trapped in a controlling relationship. It would be one of my favourite books, but I personally wasn’t very keen on the ending. Loved the rest of it though! Behind Closed Doors is a very good thriller, and I recommend this to all.

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Second Chance by Jane Green.

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Holly Macintosh is sitting round her kitchen table with her oldest friends – friends she hasn’t seen since school – now reunited by an unexpected tragedy and catching up on the past 20 years.

On the surface, they are all successful and happy. But scratch a little deeper after that extra glass of wine and it’s not quite so straightforward: Paul and Anna are struggling to have a baby, Saffron the actress is still waiting for that really big break that – at 39 – is looking less and less likely, and Olivia, always the wallflower of the group, is newly single and mourning her lost love.

And what about Holly Mac? Can she and her husband Marcus get their marriage back on track for the sake of the children? Or has someone just come back into her life who will change everything forever?


I really liked this book! I’m a massive fan of Jane Green, having read a few of her novels previously, and I think her stories are always thoughtful and brilliant. Her character portrayal is always excellent and this is a perfect Summer read. I wasn’t a massive fan of this at first but once the story kicked in I found myself addicted. It’s all about a group of friends who have drifted apart over the years, but are brought together by the death of their friend. A very good read.

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The Lie by C.L. Taylor.

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I know your name’s not really Jane Hughes . . .

Jane Hughes has a loving partner, a job in an animal sanctuary and a tiny cottage in rural Wales. She’s happier than she’s ever been but her life is a lie. Jane Hughes does not really exist.

Five years earlier Jane and her then best friends went on holiday but what should have been the trip of a lifetime rapidly descended into a nightmare that claimed the lives of two of the women.

Jane has tried to put the past behind her but someone knows the truth about what happened. Someone who won’t stop until they’ve destroyed Jane and everything she loves . . .


I’m not going to talk about this too much, as I’ve already reviewed it here. This is a brilliant read, and I absolutely loved every minute of it. I thought the book was brilliantly written and I really got sucked into this. It’s based around a group of friends who go on a trip to Nepal, and Taylor slowly uncovers what happened on that fateful trip. I highly recommend this!

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Moll Flanders by Daniel Defoe.

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These are the fortunes and misfortunes of Moll Flanders: born in Newgate Prison, twelve years a prostitute, five times a wife (once to her own brother), twelve years a thief and eight years a transported felon in Her Majesty’s colony of Virginia. Daniel Defoe’s rollicking tale presents life in the prisons, alleyways and underworlds of eighteenth-century London, and gives us Moll – scandalous, unscrupulous and utterly irresistible.


This is another university read, this time for my Stories Of The Novel module. This was one of the first novels to be published in the English language, all about a woman living in the late 17th/early 18th century who is very promiscuous. The novel discusses very controversial topics and I really enjoyed it – I can’t wait to study this! The language is quite difficult to understand at times but it was a very interesting read.

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Happy reading 🙂

One thought on “Recent Reads: Summer 2016

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