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I love mittens - they're so convenient and much easier to get onto (and off) cold hands than a pair of fiddly gloves.  They're not something you regularly see in shops, so I knew that if I wanted new pairs I would have to knit them myself.  Well, actually, that's my rationalisation of the situation: in truth I love knitting mittens.  They have just enough technique to make them satisfying, plenty of quick work and a pair of warm mittens in a few days.  Patterns, though - where do you get them from? [[The Mitten Handbook: Knitting Recipes to Make Your Own by Mary Scott Huff|Full Review]]
I love mittens - they're so convenient and much easier to get onto (and off) cold hands than a pair of fiddly gloves.  They're not something you regularly see in shops, so I knew that if I wanted new pairs I would have to knit them myself.  Well, actually, that's my rationalisation of the situation: in truth I love knitting mittens.  They have just enough technique to make them satisfying, plenty of quick work and a pair of warm mittens in a few days.  Patterns, though - where do you get them from? [[The Mitten Handbook: Knitting Recipes to Make Your Own by Mary Scott Huff|Full Review]]
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Revision as of 15:18, 17 August 2019

The Bookbag

Hello from The Bookbag, a site featuring books from all the many walks of literary life - fiction, biography, crime, cookery and anything else that takes our fancy. At Bookbag Towers the bookbag sits at the side of the desk. It's the bag we take to the library, the charity shop and the bookshop. Sometimes it holds the latest releases, but at other times there'll be old favourites, books for the children, books for the home. They're sometimes our own books or books from the local library. They're often books sent to us by publishers and we promise to tell you exactly what we think about them. You might not want to read through a full review, so we'll give you a quick review which summarises what we felt about the book and tells you whether or not we think you should buy or borrow it. There are also lots of author interviews, and all sorts of top tens - all of which you can find on our features page. If you're stuck for something to read, check out the recommendations page.

There are currently 15,425 reviews at TheBookbag.

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Drowned Lives by Stephen Booth

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime

When council officer Chris Buckley is approached by an old man who wants his help in healing a decades' old family rift he's reluctant to get involved, but then Chris is reluctant to get involved in anything but a pint in the pub these days. It could just be the way that he is, or the fact that he's just lost both his parents within three months of each other. He's currently existing in the family home and wondering when he's going to be made redundant from his job with the council. The short answer to that one is 'soon'. Chris does his best to deter the old man, but it's not before he's left a lot of papers with his neighbour. Then the old man is murdered and the police come calling on Chris. Full Review


Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Teens, Graphic Novels

Harleen Quinzel is new in town. She always, to me, seems new in town, even if she's been around a long time, for she always has a very fresh attitude, and seems to look out of those large eyes at everything anew each time. But here she is new in town, and the town is Gotham City. Expecting a year-long furlough from life with her mother, she finds her gran dead and herself with no option but to stay with a bunch of drag queens. She also finds school is a drag, she also finds the whole neighbourhood is being redeveloped by a large and uncaring corporation – but she also finds two characters that will have a big impact on her life. One is a civil-minded lass called Ivy, the other someone she only meets at night – a lad with a singular graffiti tag and a mind for violence and chaos, who calls himself The Joker… Full Review


The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Literary Fiction

Tove Jansson's short novel about Summer is several worlds away from the Moomintrolls she is most famous for outside her native Scandinavia. Book yourself an afternoon this Summer, and take yourself and The Summer Book somewhere quiet, preferably within sight and sound of the sea, settle back and prepare to be transported. Full Review


The Dirty Dozen (Jane Tennison 5) by Lynda La Plante

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime

Jane Tennison had worked hard to get a place on the Flying Squad and she felt that she was there on merit. The Squad wondered who she'd slept with to get the place and bets were being taken as to who she'd sleep with in the first week. What none of them - Jane included - knew was that she was there as an experiment, in the hope that a female presence would have a calming effect. The job had been advertised and Jane was the only female who applied who ticked all the boxes. She doesn't tick all the boxes for the head of the Squad, DCI Murphy. He wanted someone with at least ten years' experience, and the appropriate set of genitals - and he's determined that Jane will fail. Full Review


The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction, Paranormal

Trudy Heaton is going home, to a house where her roots burrow back through the centuries and to a mother she hasn't spoken to for sixteen years. Home, her refuge, Ponden Hall, where she can heal herself and try to come to terms with the traumatic loss of her husband. She needs to build bridges with her mother and convince her grieving son that his father is dead. Where better than the house full of light and shadow, that nurtured her throughout her childhood? Full Review


We Are The Dead by Mike Shackle

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Fantasy

Mike Shackle has written a really interesting and unusual story in We Are The Dead; the tag line for the novel is 'No More Heroes' and that is what makes this story so different. There are villains galore but no specific heroes; rather the story is scattered with characters doing their own small part to survive, to fight back, and to find vengeance, in a world that has been utterly torn apart. The plot does not hang on any one character, no one is important, anyone can die and many do, but, like ants working together, each small character achieves their own part of a much larger plot that is rich and complex and keeps the reader glued to the story. Full Review


Cost Accounting & Management Essentials You Always Wanted To Know by Vibrant Publishers

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Business and Finance, Reference

I'm capable of drawing up a profit and loss account (income statement in the USA) and a balance sheet and I do so for my own business and for another organisation. The accounts give me broadly what I need: I know whether we're making a profit or a loss and I can look at the expenses and see what looks as though it could be trimmed back in future years. My problem was that the accounts didn't really give me any help in making decisions, which was why I turned to Cost Accounting and Management, part of Vibrant Publishers' Self-Learning and Management series. Cost accounting provides the information required by authorities external to the company and to those within it who need to make decisions, so don't worry that you're going to have to draw up two sets of accounts! Full Review


A Dance of Cranes by Steve Burrows

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime, Thrillers

DCI Domenic Jejeune is no longer with Lindy Hey, the estrangement being of his making, not hers. He hasn't explained to her that he is doing this - and leaving for his native Canada - because he thinks that this will keep her safe from his nemesis, Ray Hayes. Lauren Salter has been promoted to sergeant and now has her first murder case. It looks as though there's an obvious suspect, but Salter isn't so certain. Sgt Danny Maik is (unofficially) keeping an eye on Lindy Hey, whilst Jejeune embarks on a treacherous journey to rescue his brother, Damian, who has gone missing in one of Canada's largest national parks. Full Review


The Triumph of the Spider Monkey by Joyce Carol Oates

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime, Thrillers, General Fiction

Bobby is an angry, damaged man - damage that came from being abandoned as a baby in a bus station locker, and then being thrown from one foster home or detention centre to another, never far from violence or abuse. Eager to succeed as a musician, he arrives in Hollywood to find his dream - but it soon becomes clear that his paranoid delusions and seething rage will enable a capacity for acts of extreme violence. Unpublished for 40 years, this edition of The Triumph of the Spider Monkey comes combined with a connected novella – Love, Careless Love. Full Review


The Last Spell Breather by Julie Pike

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers

Rayne lives in the small, hidden village of Penderin where she is a somewhat unwilling apprentice to her mother, the spell breather. Not everyone can spell breathe, you have to born with a magic spark and Rayne wishes she hadn't been born with one. She's a terrible spell breather, her attempts are always followed by disaster and she positively hates Mam's spell book with it's sharp teeth that suck your blood. When a stranger finds their village one day, Mam must set off on a journey to the great library, leaving Rayne in the village as their chief spell breather, but an unfortunate mistake sees Rayne breaking her mother's book and turning everyone in to monsters. She must face her fear travel across the monster-ridden country to find Mam and restore the book to save their village. Full Review


I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers

Cosmo's family is in crisis. Mom and Dad argue all the time. Emmaline doesn't quite understand it because she's too little but she feels it. And Max, who is bigger, does understand it and is terrified by it. Long ago, when Max was just a baby, Cosmo made a promise to protect Max forever and so he sets about his mission of repairing the family with everything he's got... Full Review


Don't Drink the Pink by B C R Fegan

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews For Sharing

Madeline is very fond of Grandfather Gilderberry. He's always busy in his workshop, creating crazy potions, and he always has a smile on his face. Madeline's dad thinks he's a bit bonkers and Madeline's mum thinks the same but gives him a pass because he's old. But Madeline? She thinks Grandfather Gilberberry is just great. Particularly on her birthday when he unfailingly arrives with a selection of potions and allows her to choose one as a gift. And he always says the same thing... Full Review


The Years of Fading Magic by Kenelm Averill

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Fantasy

What if you could subtly change the lives of ordinary people around you?

Jessica Turner was one of the more radical teens to come out of Eastfield. A youth spent hanging out with a close crowd of friends was characterised by Jessica's role as trendsetter, as influencer, as leader. Strangely charismatic, Jessica invited fascination and obsession. Nobody who met her, forgot her. Or the days they spent in the Enclosure, a clearing in Eastfield woods that Jessica felt gave her power. But the group went its separate ways, as adolescent groups do, and her influence faded...Full Review


Clear My Name by Paula Daly

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime, Thrillers

Tess Gilroy works for Innocence UK, a charity investigating the cases of prisoners who can convince them that they've been wrongly convicted and they're just moving on to their next case. She's somewhat surprised when Clive, the head of the charity, announces that she'll have someone shadowing her. Avril's in her mid twenties and rather gauche as well as prone to putting her foot in it. One of the reasons they're now going to look at the case of Carrie Kamara is that she's female and Innocence have never yet taken up the case of a woman: such impressions matter. Full Review


The Simple Act of Self-Publishing With Amazon: A Simple Step by Step Guide by Georgianne Landy-Kordis

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Business and Finance, Reference, Self Publishing

I frequently meet authors who are struggling to be published by the traditional houses, but when I suggest self-publishing they explain that they don't have the big bucks required to go down that road with Author Solutions or Matador or their like. I then ask if they've considered Kindle and the answer is inevitably that they wouldn't know where to start. I can empathise with that. Despite having used a computer for about thirty years, running most of my life and a website on line, I'm still nervous when it comes to starting something new. I like someone to hold my hand as I go through it for the first time. That was why I was very interested when The Simple Act of Self Publishing With Amazon came across my desk. Author Georgianne Landy-Kordis doesn't profess to be a computer expert: she's simply someone who has done this many times and she's giving us the benefit of her experience and without any added chitchat. Full Review


Just Another Girl on the Road by S Kensington

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Historical Fiction

When Sergeant Farr and Corporal Valentine first encountered Katrinka Badeau she was just eighteen years old and fleeing from a farmhouse and a group of German deserters who had raped her. Despite being outnumbered she was giving just about as good as she got when Farr and Valentine intervened and finished the group off. It was 1944 and Farr and Valentine were part of the Jedburgh unit, EDMOND, lead by Major Willoughby Nye. Nye recognised Katrinka immediately - he'd worked on her father's merchant ship and Katrinka had once had a crush on Nye. When he offered her a job with his unit, she accepted. Full Review


Rose, Interrupted by Patrice Lawrence

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Teens

Rose and her brother Rudder have recently escaped from cult-like fundamentalist Christian sect, the Pilgrims, along with their mother. While Mum works endless hours at agency cleaning jobs trying to keep the rent paid on their tiny flat, Rose and Rudder are trying to navigate the worldly world. It's not easy when everything is new and the rigid rules you've always lived by are suddenly missing. Full Review


Something to Tell You by David Edwards

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Dystopian Fiction

Sam Murray and Bert Leinster had been friends for a long time. Bert was Sam's boss at CERN, but this never seemed to affect the way that the families got on. Bert's wife, Natalia, was Russian and seriously rich. Their twins, fifteen-year-olds Allie and Josh, went to a private boarding school, but at weekends they were great friends with Sam's two children, Liam and Hannah. Sam's wife, Briony, was head of product research at Nestlé. Life was good for all eight of them, until Sam - a particle physicist - spotted that the rate at which Higgs Boson particles were hitting the earth had risen exponentially. It's enough of a problem for Sam and Bert to drag the head of CERN, Prof Ralph Moyeur, out of a family lunch. Then Bert started having conversations with a plant called Lily. Full Review


You're the Froth On My Soy Cappuccino: Poems for the Present by Don Behrend

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Anthologies

You're the Froth On My Soy Cappuccino begins with A Modern Love Story:

You’re the froth on my soy cappuccino
You’re the spread on my paleo toast
You’re the nose of my GM-free Pinot
You’re organic, my love. You’re the most!

Ha! How can you not laugh at this gently mocking take on love in the hipster world? Full Review


The Mitten Handbook: Knitting Recipes to Make Your Own by Mary Scott Huff

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crafts

I love mittens - they're so convenient and much easier to get onto (and off) cold hands than a pair of fiddly gloves. They're not something you regularly see in shops, so I knew that if I wanted new pairs I would have to knit them myself. Well, actually, that's my rationalisation of the situation: in truth I love knitting mittens. They have just enough technique to make them satisfying, plenty of quick work and a pair of warm mittens in a few days. Patterns, though - where do you get them from? Full Review