Difference between revisions of "Book Reviews From The Bookbag"

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{{Frontpage
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|author=Gregg Hurwitz
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|title=Into The Fire
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|rating=5
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|genre=Thrillers
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|summary= Grant Merriweather is a forensic accountant.  Or rather, was.  He was brought into an ER room after an alleged car crash, his friend pleading with the medics to keep him alive.  He was needed alive just long enough to give up a name.  His cousin, Max.
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|isbn=0718185501
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{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
 
|isbn=1529124395
 
|isbn=1529124395
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|genre=Crime
 
|genre=Crime
 
|summary=A very beautiful, but extremely distressed teenage girl was picked up by a minicab driver on the outskirts of Oxford.  She didn't want to go to the police station or the hospital: she just wanted to be taken home.  The driver wasn't so certain though - and after dropping the girl at home he went to the police, which is why DI Adam Fawley found himself talking to Faith Appleford and her mother.  Both were adamant that this was nothing more than an April Fool's joke which had gone wrong.  No crime had been committed and Faith didn't want to take the matter any further.  Fawley and his team weren't prepared to leave it at that and they began investigating.  What they found strange was that Faith Appleford didn't seem to have much of a history.
 
|summary=A very beautiful, but extremely distressed teenage girl was picked up by a minicab driver on the outskirts of Oxford.  She didn't want to go to the police station or the hospital: she just wanted to be taken home.  The driver wasn't so certain though - and after dropping the girl at home he went to the police, which is why DI Adam Fawley found himself talking to Faith Appleford and her mother.  Both were adamant that this was nothing more than an April Fool's joke which had gone wrong.  No crime had been committed and Faith didn't want to take the matter any further.  Fawley and his team weren't prepared to leave it at that and they began investigating.  What they found strange was that Faith Appleford didn't seem to have much of a history.
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
|isbn=1529400279
 
|title=Six Wicked Reasons
 
|author=Jo Spain
 
|rating=4.5
 
|genre=Crime
 
|summary=It was early summer 2018 and Adam Latimer returned home to Spanish Cove after an absence of ten years.  The family had thought him dead - in fact, that's what the private detective his mother had insisted upon had told them.  He was cagey about exactly where he'd been but he seemed content, if not happy, to be home.  What brought him?  Well, nine years ago his mother died and he'd seen the ''in memoriam'' in the paper: this was the first he'd heard about what had happened.  His three sisters and two brothers had mixed feelings about his return, but his father is delighted.  In fact, he's determined to have a party.  Only, with Frazer Latimer, what happens has to be about him. He has an announcement to make - it's nine years since Kathleen died and he's been lonely.  He's met Ana, a Polish immigrant, and they're getting married.
 
 
}}
 
}}

Revision as of 08:55, 19 February 2020

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 15,384 reviews at TheBookbag.

Want to find out more about us?

Reviews of the Best New Books

Read new reviews by category.

Read the latest features.

0718185501.jpg

Into The Fire by Gregg Hurwitz

5star.jpg Thrillers

Grant Merriweather is a forensic accountant. Or rather, was. He was brought into an ER room after an alleged car crash, his friend pleading with the medics to keep him alive. He was needed alive just long enough to give up a name. His cousin, Max. Full Review

1529124395.jpg

When You See Me by Lisa Gardner

4star.jpg Crime

For Janet and Chuck, it was a hiking break in the Appalachians in Georgia and pure chance that Chuck went off the beaten track to find a stick. What he found was a human bone and SSA Kimberley Quincy was called in, along with Sergeant D D Warren. Both women were experienced in this type of rather gruesome work but they also called on the services of Keith Edgar, a computer analyst, and Flora Dane who brought something unique to the table. Flora had been kidnapped and held for 472 days by the notorious killer, Jacob Ness. If Ness had anything to do with the current discoveries then what Flora had to say could be invaluable. Full Review

1529009677.jpg

A Window Breaks by C M Ewan

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

Tom Sullivan and his wife Rachel are having problems. It's not just the usual growing apart after more than a decade of marriage. Their son, Michael, was killed in a car crash some months before: he was driving his father's Audi and at sixteen wasn't legally entitled to drive. Not only did he kill himself when the car rammed into a tree, but he also killed his girlfriend, fifteen-year-old Fiona Connor. Tom can't think about Michael without a sense of shame and guilt. Rachel is broken, but she wants to forgive Michael. To give some space, Tom's moved out of the family home, but stresses to his thirteen-year-old daughter, Holly, that it is only a trial separation. Full Review

0241985153.jpg

The House on the Lake by Nuala Ellwood

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

We know that something has gone wrong - badly wrong - when the woman who was alone in the house is taken away by the police, but it's going to be a while before we learn exactly what has happened. Full Review

0241384435.jpg

Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray and Manuel Sumberac (illustrator)

5star.jpg Confident Readers

In the last city on Earth, anyone can be the vessel of The Enemy - the god who drowned the world - who has come to wreak havoc on the last of humanity. When a mysterious boy is pulled from the corpse of a whale, the citizens immediately believe him to be the Vessel - all except for young Ellie Lancaster, a girl inventor. As the ruthless Inquisition prepares to execute the boy, Ellie must prove that he is innocent - even if it means revealing her deepest, darkest secrets.... Full Review

0008297169.jpg

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

4.5star.jpg Crime

The boat trip out to Inis Amploir, off the Irish coast, might have been enough to put some guests off, but it was the wedding of the year. Will Slater (television personality, if not yet a celebrity) was to marry Jules Keegan, online magazine publisher, in the ruined chapel on the island. The bride's sister, Olivia, would be her only bridesmaid and the wedding planner and chef are Aoife and her husband, Freddy. They gave a huge discount to get the couple to the island, but surely it would be worth it for the publicity? Full Review

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In Plain Sight (D I Clare Mackay) by Marion Todd

4.5star.jpg Crime

It was a coincidence that Detective Sergeant Chris West and DI Clare Mackay were at the beach when the baby was stolen. They were there for the fun run and their attention was taken by the NEFEW protesters who tried to disrupt the race. They're against the planned McIntosh Water bottled water plant to be constructed on Priory Marsh and the firm is sponsoring the fun run. It was Lisa Mitchell's scream which stopped everything. Her daughter, six-month-old Abi, had been taken from her pram whilst no one was looking. It's a major incident when any child is abducted but Abi needs regular medication because of a heart problem: without it, she might have only forty-eight hours to live. Full Review

1471180921.jpg

Firewatching by Russ Thomas

5star.jpg Crime

Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler is in the Cold Cas Review Unit at South Yorkshire Police and there are those who think that he's lucky to be there, given that he decked a superior officer. He's there because Tyler came off worse in the exchange - there's a scar on his face to prove it - and the superior officer was forced to take early retirement. There's a suggestion too that Tyler's godmother (she's on the force too) has looked after him and that his current boss is keen to have a tame gay to put on the town hall steps come Pride. Either way, he's there, but without anything really interesting to get his teeth into. Full Review

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The Unspoken Name by A K Larkwood

4star.jpg Fantasy

What does it mean to betray someone? What if that someone is a god? Csorwe has been raised knowing that she would be sacrificed to her god on her fourteenth birthday, yet when the opportunity arises, she chooses to abandon everything she knows and flee with her life. Who can blame her? Her god's reach is limited and Csorwe intends to stay far beyond it, yet fate is a funny thing and when circumstances bring her back within the reach of her god Csorwe learns that her god remembers her, and blames her very much indeed. Full Review

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The Highland Falcon Thief by M G Leonard and Sam Sedgman

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Harrison Beck, or Hal as he prefers to be called, isn't exactly pleased when his parents send him off with his uncle Nat, a travel writer, on a long train journey. Although, this isn't any old train; this is the Highland Falcon, the royal train, and this is its last ever journey before it gets sent to a museum. A number of high-society figures, including film stars, millionaires and aristocrats, will be on this train, so it is quite the event on the social calendar. However, when an expensive brooch is stolen, Hal realises that maybe this trip won't be as boring as he previously thought. As the passengers begin to turn on each other, Hal vows to get to the bottom of the mystery…before the train gets to the end of the line. Full Review

0008275246.jpg

Perfect Kill (D I Callanach) by Helen Fields

4star.jpg Crime

When Maggie Campbell realised that her son, Bart, was missing he was already 200 miles away and just waking from a chemically-induced sleep. Maggie knew straight away that something was wrong. Bart might be twenty but he was considerate of his mother and wouldn't have stayed out all night without letting her know. Besides, he didn't have his phone with him and he wouldn't have gone far without that. It's not long before Bart realises that he's alone, trapped in a shipping container and on his way to France, where his fate has already been decided. Full Review

0349003297.jpg

What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel

4star.jpg Women's Fiction

Doing something when you're scared is braver than doing something when you're not

When Mike Parker's girlfriend comes into school with a black eye, claiming he gave it to her, her whole world is tipped upside down. Her relationship has just ended and now she's the talk of the school. Mike was the most popular boy in school who was always so in love with her, everyone knew that, so why did he do what he did? Some people believe her and some don't, but one thing is for sure, this isn't going to blow over any time soon. Full Review

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Demelza and the Spectre Detectors by Holly Rivers

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Demelza Clock is a scientist, often staying up late to work on her various gadgets, much to her Grandma Maeve's irritation. However, she has also inherited a certain set of skills that are not especially scientific: Spectre Detecting, the ability to summon the ghosts of the recently deceased. Under the guidance of her Grandma Maeve, Demelza begins to master her newfound skills. However, there is a mysterious individual on the prowl, kidnapping young Spectre Detectors. It's up to Demelza and her best friend Percy to get to the bottom of this... Full Review

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The Lantern Men (Dr Ruth Galloway) by Elly Griffiths

5star.jpg Crime

Everything has changed for Dr Ruth Galloway. She's no longer providing assistance to the police and isn't even working at the University of North Norfolk. She's lecturing at Cambridge and has moved from her beloved Saltmarsh cottage to live with Dr Frank Barker in Cambridge. Her daughter, Katie, has settled into school better than she could ever have hoped and life is looking good. Settled. She can't help thinking about Harry Nelson, Katie's father, because Katie sees him regularly and there's a close relationship with his family. You might almost think that Ruth's life is settling down. Full Review

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A Bit of a Stretch: The Diaries of a Prisoner by Chris Atkins

5star.jpg Politics and Society

Documentary filmmakers don't usually get the run of establishments within the Mountbatten-Windsor Hotel Group, but after getting involved in an illegal tax scheme to fund his latest film, Chris Atkins was invited for a five-year stay. The first nine months were spent in HMP Wandsworth, which is probably the oldest, largest and most dysfunctional prison in Europe. Full Review

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A Queen In Hiding by Sarah Kozloff

3star.jpg Fantasy

World-building is the backbone by which fantasy novels live and die. And what a pleasure, then, to get a novel with world-building you actually want to delve into. Sarah Kozloff's debut novel presents a startlingly rich and layered world, with a complex history of connecting nations that seems certain to have more to tap, and the characters are interesting – if a little underdeveloped. But it's a world I could – and did – eagerly buy into, and the struggle of each Queen to discover and hone her magical talent felt very real and very apt. Full Review

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Learn to Love: Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life by Dr Thomas Jordan

4.5star.jpg Lifestyle

Learn to Love: Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life is a book about love relationships rather than a book about love. The two greatest emotions are love and grief and love is the opposite of grief: if you love, Dr Thomas Jordan tells us, you will inevitably grieve. Your love relationships begin the moment you're born and end only when you die. Whilst we all come into the world hoping to give and receive love there are many people for whom love is not quite so simple. Some people suffer multiple disappointments - sometimes repeating the same mistakes - and this eventually becomes resignation. For people who are making the same mistakes repeatedly, self-preservation, in the form of resignation is a necessity. Full Review

1471185605.jpg

Deep State by Chris Hauty

3star.jpg Thrillers

Hayley Chill is a fighter. She is every kind of fighter, and well-trained in most of them. She's army infantry and she boxes for fun – and she wins. Always. She wins because she is focussed. She works hard, mentally and physically, and she knows how to deal with the pain. She is not so much cold as controlled. This fight is against someone she is not expected to beat. And she is being watched. Full Review

0356513777.jpg

The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H G Parry

4star.jpg General Fiction

Brothers Rob and Charley have struggled to see eye to eye for years - Rob a sensible lawyer who exists in the "normal" world - and Charley a man who is blessed with an ability he can't fully control - one which allows him to bring literary characters into the real world. After years of protecting Charley, Rob wants to discharge his duties and leave Charley to his own devices - but circumstances soon take choices out of both their hands. As literary characters begin to appear everywhere, it soon becomes clear that someone out there shares Charley's powers and intends to use them for nefarious gains. Rob and Charley must team up to stop the madness - in a battle to win before they, the characters and the world reach The End… Full Review

1444776185.jpg

Haven't they Grown by Sophie Hannah

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

It was when Beth Leeson was ferrying her son, Ben, to a football match that she found herself on Wyddial Lane in Hemingford Abbots. Actually, It's a little disingenuous to say 'found herself' as Beth had made a deliberate detour on the grounds that she didn't find herself in this neck of the woods very often and she was curious to see where a family who'd come into money had lived before they'd all lost contact twelve years ago. And it might have gone no further than that had Beth not seen a car draw up and her friend Flora get out along with two children she called Thomas and Emily. Beth remembered the names well - but these children were about three and five and Flora's children - Thomas and Emily - would now be fifteen and seventeen. Full Review

1529123763.jpg

Miss Austen by Gill Hornby

5star.jpg Historical Fiction

It's long been known that Cassandra Austen burned most of the letters which she and other members of the extensive Austen family had exchanged with or about her sister Jane. What is not known is why she did this and at this stage - more than two hundred years after Jane's death - a definitive answer is unlikely to forthcoming. Gill Hornby has provided us with some possible answers in a book that proved to be far more emotionally complex than I was expecting. Full Review

1838770275.jpg

Hitler's Secret by Rory Clements

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

So, Hitler had a secret? Two, if you include the reproductive detail mentioned in a certain sing-song aspersion. But this is a secret that is counter to that, and in fact is a secret that Hitler himself doesn't even know about. His neice, Geli Raubal, the attractive young woman he seemed to be very close to in the early 1930s, had had his daughter behind his back. Protected under a false identity ever since, the girl is completely ignorant of her past, and the truth is a very rare thing. Martin Bormann, the 'gatekeeper' to Hitler and his right hand man, knows – and is desperately intent on wiping the slate clean and removing all connected with her existence from the Reich. So it's down to Tom Wilde, an American history professor at Oxbridge, to go in and extract her, in this most shadowy race against time. Full Review

0241985110.jpg

All the Rage (D I Fawley) by Cara Hunter

4.5star.jpg Crime

A very beautiful, but extremely distressed teenage girl was picked up by a minicab driver on the outskirts of Oxford. She didn't want to go to the police station or the hospital: she just wanted to be taken home. The driver wasn't so certain though - and after dropping the girl at home he went to the police, which is why DI Adam Fawley found himself talking to Faith Appleford and her mother. Both were adamant that this was nothing more than an April Fool's joke which had gone wrong. No crime had been committed and Faith didn't want to take the matter any further. Fawley and his team weren't prepared to leave it at that and they began investigating. What they found strange was that Faith Appleford didn't seem to have much of a history. Full Review