Difference between revisions of "Book Reviews From The Bookbag"

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'''Read [[:Category:New Reviews|new reviews by category]]. '''<br>
 
'''Read [[:Category:New Reviews|new reviews by category]]. '''<br>
  
'''Read [[:Category:Features|the latest features]].'''
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'''Read [[:Category:Features|the latest features]].''' <!-- INSERT NEW REVIEWS BELOW HERE-->
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=1925820025
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|title=Once, I was Loved
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|author=Belinda Landsberry
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|rating=4
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|genre=For Sharing
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|summary=Tock, the toy rabbit, is in a box of toys going to the charity shop.  He realises that he's not wanted any more, but muses that it wasn't always this way.  ''Once'', he says, ''I was loved''.  And he tells us of all the children who have loved him over the years.
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{{Frontpage
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|author= Karina Sainz Borgo and Elizabeth Bryer (translator)
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|title= It Would Be Night in Caracas
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|rating= 4
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|genre= Literary Fiction
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|summary=  ''It Would Be Night in Caracas'' illuminates the everyday horrors of modern day Venezuela. It begins with the death of Adelaida Falcon's mother and chronicles Adelaida's coming to terms with her new solitude in this world and her attempts to escape it. Danger stalks the shadows and, in a society where the establishment is crumbling, who can you turn to?
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|isbn=0062936867
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=0349423067
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|title=The Body on the Train (Kate Shackleton Mysteries)
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|author=Frances Brody
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|rating=4.5
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|genre=Crime (Historical)
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|summary=From Christmas to Easter a train ran from Leeds City Station to King’s Cross, arriving before dawn so that the forced rhubarb it carried could be taken to Covent Garden. In early March 1929 one of the porters who was unloading the boxes discovered the body of a man, stripped naked and with no means of identification.  Scotland Yard hit a dead end and called on the services of Kate Shackleton in the hope that her knowledge and connections in Yorkshire would give them the lead they needed.  Kate immediately found herself hamstrung: Commander Woodhead remembered her as a child and could not come to terms with the fact that she was now a woman experienced in dealing with murder.  He was reluctant to give her all the information which the police held.
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|author= Stephen Baxter
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|title= World Engines: Destroyer
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|rating= 4
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|genre= Science Fiction
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|summary= Hundreds of years in the future, on a stagnating and almost empty Earth, a space shuttle pilot from the early days of the 21st century is awoken from the cryogenic sleep he entered after a devastating accident. As he comes to terms with this new world, he begins to realise that their history does not match what he remembers - and that only he may be able to stop the coming catastrophe destined to destroy the planet. Until he meets a young woman who seems to have a drive of her own, and a plan...
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|isbn=1473223172
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=1406389331
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|title=In the Key  of Code
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|author=Aimee Lucido
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|rating=4
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|genre=Confident Readers
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|summary=Emmy is moving with her parents halfway across America, to follow her father's dreams of a big break in his music career. She leaves behind her friends and her school in Wisconsin, and moves to California, knowing only what she has heard in songs. Her struggle to settle into her new life, make friends and feel happy and confident again, is agonisingly told in a way we can all relate to. There are many new opportunities and setbacks, taking the reader on a rollercoaster of emotions, but it isn't until Emmy joins a coding class using computer language that she begins to feel she might have a chance to feel like she truly belongs.
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=1529402255
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|title=A Body in the Bookshop (Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mysteries)
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|author=Helen Cox
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|rating=3.5
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|genre=Crime
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|summary= Evie Bowes is very conscious of the scars on her face.  They were acquired when she was rescued from a car in the River Ouse by Inspector Halloran.  She’d been suspected of the murder of her boyfriend, Owen, and in the process of clearing her name she and her best friend, Kitt Hartley developed a taste for detection.  Kitt developed a taste for Inspector Halloran Too, but they’re taking it slowly.  Well, sort of slowly.
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{{Frontpage
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|author= Alexandra Christo
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|title= Into the Crooked Place
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|rating= 4
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|genre= Teens
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|summary= In a world thriving with black magic, four young crooks embark on a quest to take down their criminal leader after they discover the plot behind his dangerous new magic.
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|isbn=1250318378
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|author=Kathlaine C Gill and D Clark Gill
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|title=Madness Between Light and Dark
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|rating=3.5
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|genre=Fantasy
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|summary=It's 1912, and at New Hope Sanatorium, Christine Agnes Tupper is fast growing up. Abandoned there by parents who were ashamed of her hunchback, she's nevertheless grown up to an intelligent girl with a good heart. Her encounters with the inhabitants of the asylum swiftly take her on a fascinating, thrilling and sometimes terrifying journey of self discovery, allowing Agnes to prove that, even with a twisted spine, her heart is in the right place!
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|isbn=1641110708
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=190874572X
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|title=Letters from Tove
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|author=Tove Jansson (Author), Boel Westin (Editor), Helen Svensson (Editor), Sarah Death (Translator)
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|rating=5
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|genre=Autobiography
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|summary=Back at the beginning of the century I went on holiday to Nepal. I met a wonderful Finnish woman and we became sort of friends. I can't remember if it was on that holiday or a later one that Paula told me I really had to read Tove Jansson.  I do know that it was four years later that I finally acquired an English translation of The Summer Book, and that I eagerly awaited the ''Sort Of'' translations of the rest of Jansson's work and devoured them as soon as I could get my hands on them.
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=1784742783
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|title=The Benefit of Hindsight (Simon Serrailler)
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|author=Susan Hill
[[image:194927201X.jpg|link=http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/194927201X/ref=nosim?tag=thebookbag-21]]
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|rating=5
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|genre=Crime
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|summary=A superficial look would suggest to you that Simon Serrailer has been lucky and - all things considered - his life is as good as it could be. He's back at work after a long break to recuperate from the violent incident which cost him his arm and almost his life.  When he's not at work he's spending his time in the cathedral roof drawing the medieval angels which are being restored. There's talk of an exhibition of his drawings.  Lafferton seems to be quite settled as far as crime is concerned until one night when two local men open their front door to a couple seeking shelter.  It's the usual story of a broken-down car, and a phone which won't make a call. The man are generous and welcoming and have no suspicions that the couple are simply there to plan a robberyIt's a serious error of judgement in the course of this investigation which will throw Simon Serrailler's future into doubt.
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===[[Lakes of Mars by Merritt Graves]]===
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Science Fiction|Science Fiction]]
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Aaron Sheridan doesn’t want to live anymore. His entire family had just died in a shuttle crash and he’d been the one flying it. Unable to deal with the guilt, he signs up for the Fleet expecting a fatal deployment to the Rim War, but instead ends up at their most prestigious command school, Corinth Station. Initially, he’s detached from the brutality of his instructors and the Machiavellian tactics of the other students there, but after he sticks up for his only friend he makes himself a target of the most feared cadet on the station, Caelus Erik. Unsure of whom to trust and worried that anything he does will make others on his flight team targets as well, Aaron retreats deeper and deeper inside himself. However, when he discovers that officer training is not the station’s only purpose, it becomes increasingly clear that risking everything is the safest thing he can do[[Lakes of Mars by Merritt Graves|Full Review]]
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=140638853X
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|title=Somebody Give This Heart a Pen
[[image:191280493X.jpg|link=http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/191280493X/ref=nosim?tag=thebookbag-21
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|author=Sophia Thakur
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|rating=5
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|genre=Anthologies
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|summary=Sophia Thakur's debut anthology is a collection of poems that are all unique, whether in relation to their style, length or theme. The collection is split into four sections, titled 'grow','wait','break'and 'grow again', guiding you through a process which is one of the foundations that the anthology is built on. Each section begins with a foregrounded title page containing various small pieces of writing, ranging from a quote by a Nigerian playwright, to African proverbs. This provides a nice introduction to the section before you are immersed into the beautifully written and eloquent poems that Thakur has clearly put her heart and soul into.
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}}
  
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=1910989460
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|title=Flember: The Secret Book
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|author=Jamie Smart
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|rating=5
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|genre=Confident Readers
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|summary=A mysterious island. A strange and mystical power called Flember. A boy-inventor called Dev, who uncovers a long forgotten secret. And a giant, red robot bear?! The sleepy village of Eden is about to descend into hilarious chaos - can disastrous Dev save his brand new best friend? Find out in this fully illustrated mad-cap adventure.
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=0241355222
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|title=Frostheart
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|author=Jamie Littler
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|rating=5
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|genre=Confident Readers
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|summary=Way out in the furthest part of the known world, a tiny stronghold exists all on its own, cut off from the rest of human-kin by monsters that lurk beneath the Snow Sea. There, a little boy called Ash waits for the return of his parents, singing a forbidden lullaby to remind him of them... and doing his best to avoid his very, VERY grumpy yeti guardian, Tobu. But life is about to get a whole lot more crazy-adventurous for Ash. When a brave rescue attempt reveals he has amazing magical powers, he's whisked aboard the Frostheart, a sleigh packed full of daring explorers who could use his help. But can they help him find his family?
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}}
  
===[[Coming of Age by Danny Ryan]]===
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=1913101037
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|title=The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone
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|author=Jaclyn Moriarty
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|rating=5
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|genre=Confident Readers
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|summary=Bronte doesn't miss her parents, and she's not particularly sad when she learns of their terrible fate at the hands of pirates. And why should she be? After all, they just dumped her on Aunt Isabelle (without even asking if it would be a convenient arrangement for either party) when she was a baby. They swanned off to have adventures, and never once came back to check if their only child was healthy and happy.
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Autobiography|Autobiography]]
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=1401280048
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|title=Batman: Nightwalker: The Graphic Novel
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|author=Marie Lu, Stuart Moore and Chris Wildgoose
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|rating=4
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|genre=Teens
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|summary=The young man called Bruce Wayne is a very noticeable one – he can hardly go anywhere without people – bystanders, paparazzi, and suchlike – reminding him he's a billionaire at the age of eighteen.  Feeling rather stuck with the legacy he's inherited from his murdered parents, he wants to do charitable deeds.  But one night, when he speeds off in his posh new car in pursuit of a criminal, he goes too far as far as the authorities are concerned, and gets given the most unlikely stretch of community service instead – cleaning in the home for violent criminals that is Arkham Asylum.  There he learns of some other people who also allege charitable intent – the Nightwalkers, a gang who steal any ten-figure bank account contents they can, and murder the owner.  Can he get close to one of them and get the truth of their schemes, or will the manipulative Madeleine be a step too far for the young do-gooder?
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''He began writing novels and poetry at the age of twelve, but it was to take him a further forty-eight years to realise that he wasn’t very good at either. Consistently unpublished for all that time, he remains a shining example of hope over experience...''
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=B07W4MNBSG
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|title=Be Careful Who You Marry
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|author=Lizzy Mumfrey
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|rating=4
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|genre=General Fiction
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|summary=It was coming up to Halloween in 1987 and a group of sixth-form schoolgirls wondered what they would be doing when they were fifty.  When you're only seventeen that seems positively ancient, but Liz was convinced that ''your entire life depends on who you marry''.  The only eligible boys were the Young Farmers and the idea of living in a farmhouse and having a couple of children called Will and Olly appealed to Charlotte, or perhaps William and Oliver if you were Elizabeth who was determined to marry the rather superior Patrick Shepley-Botham.  The place to start their search was obviously the Young Farmers' Halloween disco that weekend. There was just one problem - there were too many Elizabeths in the class.
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{{Frontpage
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|author=Michael J Malone
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|title=In The Absence of Miracles
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|rating=4
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|genre=Thrillers
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|summary=John Docherty's mother has been taken into a nursing home following a massive stroke. It is thought unlikely that she will ever be able to live independently again.  Faced with having to sell the family home in order to pay for her nursing care, Docherty starts the clear out.  In the attic he finds a childhood picture of himself, holding a toddler – a toddler he knows nothing about.  He also finds a blood-stained shoe.
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|isbn=191237479X
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=0692853545
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|title=The Things We Do
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|author=Kay Pfaltz
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|rating=4
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|genre=Thrillers
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|summary=It's 2015 and Dr Eleanor Hartley is a prison psychologist at the state penitentiary and she knows that her next patient is not going to be easy.  'Jane Doe' has been convicted of the murder of two men - one a police officer.  She pleaded guilty and since then has been silent: even her identity is in doubt.  She was carrying identification as Jane Dunlap when she was arrested, but it's been proved to be false.  There seem to be no family or friends who are missing her.  Eleanor's task is to get Jane talking, to find out why a seemingly normal young woman would murder two men.
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}}
  
''This a memoir from someone you have never heard of - but will feel like you have.'' [[Coming of Age by Danny Ryan|Full Review]]
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{{Frontpage
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|author=Patti Smith
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|title=Year of the Monkey
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|rating=4
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|genre=Biography
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|summary=On the coast of Santa Cruz, Patti Smith enters the lunar year of the monkey - one packed with mischief, sorrow, and unexpected moments. In a stranger's words, ''Anything is possible: after all, it's the year of the monkey''. As Smith wanders the coast of Santa Cruz in solitude, she reflects on a year that brings huge shifts in her life - loss and aging are faced head on, as it the shifting political waters in America.
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|isbn=1526614758
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}}
  
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{{Frontpage
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|author=Margaret Atwood
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|title=The Testaments
[[image:1983376353.jpg|link=http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1983376353/ref=nosim?tag=thebookbag-21]]
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|rating=4.5
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|genre=Dystopian Fiction
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|summary= Finally! Almost forty years on, we have a sequel to  [[The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood|The Handmaid's Tale]]. I don't want to tell you too much about the plot because it's a novel that is entirely plot driven. Suffice it to say that ''The Testaments'' takes place fifteen years later, fifteen years after Offred gets into a van, not knowing what will happen next. It's told by three narrators: Aunt Lydia, who is secretly writing her memoirs in Ardua Hall; Agnes, a girl brought up in Gilead with the expectation she will marry a commander; Daisy, a rebellious teenage girl in Canada who knows of Gilead only from school lessons and its Pearl Girl missionaries who occasionally call into the store owned by her parents...
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|isbn=1784742325
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}}
  
 
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{{Frontpage
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|author=Anne Boden
===[[Lighthouse of the Netherworlds by Maxwell N Andrews]]===
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|title=The Money Revolution
 
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|rating=4
[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Teens|Teens]], [[:Category:Fantasy|Fantasy]], [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
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|genre= Business and Finance
 
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|summary= Money is changing. It might not be in the ways you think. We’re not suddenly getting a 3p or £3 coin (and have you ever even found a country that offers anything different to the 1, 2, 5 model?) We’re getting a lot more digital with payments, which seems to suit most people apart from charity collectors and the homeless on the street, but although this book has the subtitle that includes the word ‘’digital’’, it’s not really about this either. Instead it’s about the ‘’management’’ of your finances, and how to take control.
The phrase about never trusting a book by its cover is something I put on a par with comments about Marmite.  You're supposed to love it or hate it and I'm halfway between, and likewise the old adage is halfway true.  From the cover of this I had a child-friendly fantasy, what with that name and that attractive artwork of an attractive girl reaching for an attractive water plant.  That was only built on by the initial fictionalised quotes, with their non-standard spelling, as if texts of scripture in this book's world predated our standardised literacy.  But why was I two chapters in and just finding more and more characters, both human and animal, and more and more flashbacks, and no proof that this was what I'd bought in for? [[Lighthouse of the Netherworlds by Maxwell N Andrews|Full Review]]
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|isbn=1789660610
 
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}}
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[[image:1542007232.jpg|link=http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1542007232/ref=nosim?tag=thebookbag-21]]
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===[[The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory]]===
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[[image:3star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:General Fiction|General Fiction]], [[:Category:Historical Fiction|Historical Fiction]]
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Berlin, 1989.  Miriam is in the middle of a city freshly united, with the Wall newly broken down and people able to cross at liberty for the first time in decades.  She is in the middle of such euphoria, but cannot feel it, for she has not left her father's apartment in weeks, nursing him as he lies dying.  One standard bed-bath, however, is very different, when he gasps the name ''Frieda'' that she does not recognise – and she sees for the first time ever a tattoo for his camp inmate identity under his watch.  One bombshell outside, then, and two inside.  And inside her father, Henryk, what is going on, as he has a first person narrative alternating with her story?  What will we find happened, as he remembers back to the real Frieda, a young woman that shook him to the core when he was her literature professor?  That's right, more bombshells… [[The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory|Full Review]]
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[[image:0954899520.jpg|link=http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0954899520/ref=nosim?tag=thebookbag-21]]
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===[[A Winter Book by Tove Jansson]]===
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Literary Fiction|Literary Fiction]], [[:Category:Short Stories|Short Stories]]
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Tove Jansson's worldwide fame lasts on the Moomin books, written in the 1940s and later becoming television characters of the simplicity, naivety and sheer 'goodness' that would later produce flowerpot men or teletubbies. Simple drawings, simple stories, simple goodness. What is often forgotten outside of her native Finland is that she was a serious writer…that she wrote for adults as well as children…and that she had a feeling for the natural world and the simple life that not only informed those child-like trolls but went far beyond any fantasy of how the world might be. [[A Winter Book by Tove Jansson|Full Review]]
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===[[The Collective by Lindsey Whitlock]]===
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[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Teens|Teens]]
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''Illinois Territory, Collective Homesteads of America.''  Some people live in sunken houses, buried into hillsides to disguise how large their property is at times of austerity.  Others are called Foresters, for they live and work in trees. When the small area the Foresters live in is placed under compulsory purchase, the residents are given a pitiful amount to clear out before they get manfully cleared out.  Our hero, Elwyn, has just left the trees for the Hills, to live with an uncle and learn their ways – he's just of age to decide things for himself, and he has decided to see how the other half lives... [[The Collective by Lindsey Whitlock|Full Review]]
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<!-- Andre Pronovost -->
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===[[The Man Who Killed Hitler by Andre Pronovost]]===
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[[image:3star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Historical Fiction|Historical Fiction]]
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Germany is split.  Some of her is in favour of Hitler and the Nazis, but much isn't.  Some of her is stuck to the east fighting the Soviets, but some will soon have to be on the other front, against the Americans coming into the continent to put things right as they see it.  Finding out that the war to the east isn't working, due to Hitler's tactical ineptitude and inability to heed advice, some people reckon Stalin is five seasons away from being in Berlin.  The only way to shore things up, and repair the splits, is to kill Hitler, and luckily the Baron Nicholas is the man to do it.  He's aristocratic enough, he knows enough people in industry, society and other circles of power, so once he's succeeded he might be able to keep a German presence in Europe.  But will he still be able to keep the "predatory American capitalists" and the blatantly communist Soviets from meeting in the middle? [[The Man Who Killed Hitler by Andre Pronovost|Full Review]]
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===[[The Long Call (Two Rivers) by Ann Cleeves]]===
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]], [[:Category:LGBT Fiction|LGBT Fiction]]
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When we first meet DI Matthew Venn he's at his father's funeral, although 'at' rather overstates the proximity.  He sees everyone - his mother and the preacher included from a distance - but he doesn't go it.  He wouldn't be welcome.  Those attending are part of the Barum Brethren and the teenage Matthew was thrown out when he told the congregation how wrong they were in their beliefs.  It coincided with him leaving university and joining the police force.  The announcement of Matthew's marriage to Jonathan Church was in the local paper and whilst he doesn't know if his father saw it, he can't imagine that it will have gone down well. [[The Long Call (Two Rivers) by Ann Cleeves|Full Review]]
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[[image:0241351391.jpg|link=http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0241351391/ref=nosim?tag=thebookbag-21]]
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===[[Max Kowalski Didn't Mean It by Susie Day]]===
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
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When Max’s dad finds himself in a spot of hot water, he disappears for a few days, leaving Max in charge of his three younger sisters, Thelma, Louise and Ripley.  Max has no problem with stepping up to fill his dad’s shoes and be the man in charge, but when his dad still doesn’t come home, he starts to panic that interfering grown ups will realise that the children are home-alone, and that they will step in and separate the family.  So Max takes his sisters to Wales, to hide out in a friend’s cottage.  It won’t be for long, surely?  Because his dad wouldn’t miss Christmas, would he?  [[Max Kowalski Didn't Mean It by Susie Day|Full Review]]
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<!--Merritt Graves -->
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[[image:1949272028.jpg|link=http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1949272028/ref=nosim?tag=thebookbag-21]]
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===[[Sunlight 24 by Merritt Graves]]===
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category: Science Fiction|Science Fiction]]
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If the game wasn’t fair before, it’s definitely not fair now. Or so thinks Dorian Waters, part of the ever-expanding portion of humanity who can’t afford the nano-implant and genetic augmentation regimen known as Revision. And because he can’t afford Revision, he can’t get into college, he can’t get a job. And when he sees the brilliant and mesmerizing Lena for the first time, he knows he doesn’t have a chance with her, either. And so, Dorian robs a house with his best friend, Ethan. Then they do it again. They’re able to keep at it until they have enough money saved up for their first Revision. Their initial choices in self-enhancement start impacting their future choices, which in turn impact their future Revision––on and on in a downward spiral of self-destruction... [[Sunlight 24 by Merritt Graves|Full Review]]
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===[[Drowned Lives by Stephen Booth]]===
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[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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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. [[Drowned Lives by Stephen Booth|Full Review]]
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===[[Financial Accounting Essentials You Always Wanted To Know: 4th Edition by Kalpesh Ashar]]===
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''Financial Accounting Essentials You Always Wanted to Know ''gives people without an accounting background, who have risen in a company, the knowledge to understand the accounts which show how the company is doing.  The book begins by looking at why financial accounting systems are necessary, then moves on to give an excellent overview of the types of accounting systems which will be encountered and the terms used.  We then look in detail at the balance sheet, the income statement and the statement of cash flows.  If you understand these three sections on a set of accounts they will tell you a story.  You will understand the company (or indeed any other business) but if you don't understand what's there you will be missing vital clues as to whether or not the company is thriving. [[Financial Accounting Essentials You Always Wanted To Know: 4th Edition by Kalpesh Ashar|Full Review]]
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===[[Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh]]===
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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… [[Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass by Mariko Tamaki and Steve Pugh|Full Review]]
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===[[The Summer Book by Tove Jansson]]===
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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. [[The Summer Book by Tove Jansson|Full Review]]
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===[[The Dirty Dozen (Jane Tennison 5) by Lynda La Plante]]===
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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. [[The Dirty Dozen (Jane Tennison 5) by Lynda La Plante|Full Review]]
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===[[The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman]]===
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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? [[The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman|Full Review]]
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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. [[We Are The Dead by Mike Shackle|Full Review]]
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===[[Cost Accounting & Management Essentials You Always Wanted To Know by Vibrant Publishers]]===
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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! [[Cost Accounting & Management Essentials You Always Wanted To Know by Vibrant Publishers|Full Review]]
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===[[A Dance of Cranes by Steve Burrows]]===
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]], [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
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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. [[A Dance of Cranes by Steve Burrows|Full Review]]
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===[[The Triumph of the Spider Monkey by Joyce Carol Oates]]===
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]], [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]], [[:Category:General Fiction|General Fiction]]
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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''. [[The Triumph of the Spider Monkey by Joyce Carol Oates|Full Review]]
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===[[The Last Spell Breather by Julie Pike]]===
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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. [[The Last Spell Breather by Julie Pike|Full Review]]
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Revision as of 13:04, 22 October 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 15,297 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.

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Once, I was Loved by Belinda Landsberry

4star.jpg For Sharing

Tock, the toy rabbit, is in a box of toys going to the charity shop. He realises that he's not wanted any more, but muses that it wasn't always this way. Once, he says, I was loved. And he tells us of all the children who have loved him over the years. Full Review

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It Would Be Night in Caracas by Karina Sainz Borgo and Elizabeth Bryer (translator)

4star.jpg Literary Fiction

It Would Be Night in Caracas illuminates the everyday horrors of modern day Venezuela. It begins with the death of Adelaida Falcon's mother and chronicles Adelaida's coming to terms with her new solitude in this world and her attempts to escape it. Danger stalks the shadows and, in a society where the establishment is crumbling, who can you turn to? Full Review

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The Body on the Train (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody

4.5star.jpg Crime (Historical)

From Christmas to Easter a train ran from Leeds City Station to King’s Cross, arriving before dawn so that the forced rhubarb it carried could be taken to Covent Garden. In early March 1929 one of the porters who was unloading the boxes discovered the body of a man, stripped naked and with no means of identification. Scotland Yard hit a dead end and called on the services of Kate Shackleton in the hope that her knowledge and connections in Yorkshire would give them the lead they needed. Kate immediately found herself hamstrung: Commander Woodhead remembered her as a child and could not come to terms with the fact that she was now a woman experienced in dealing with murder. He was reluctant to give her all the information which the police held. Full Review

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World Engines: Destroyer by Stephen Baxter

4star.jpg Science Fiction

Hundreds of years in the future, on a stagnating and almost empty Earth, a space shuttle pilot from the early days of the 21st century is awoken from the cryogenic sleep he entered after a devastating accident. As he comes to terms with this new world, he begins to realise that their history does not match what he remembers - and that only he may be able to stop the coming catastrophe destined to destroy the planet. Until he meets a young woman who seems to have a drive of her own, and a plan... Full Review

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In the Key of Code by Aimee Lucido

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Emmy is moving with her parents halfway across America, to follow her father's dreams of a big break in his music career. She leaves behind her friends and her school in Wisconsin, and moves to California, knowing only what she has heard in songs. Her struggle to settle into her new life, make friends and feel happy and confident again, is agonisingly told in a way we can all relate to. There are many new opportunities and setbacks, taking the reader on a rollercoaster of emotions, but it isn't until Emmy joins a coding class using computer language that she begins to feel she might have a chance to feel like she truly belongs. Full Review

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A Body in the Bookshop (Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mysteries) by Helen Cox

3.5star.jpg Crime

Evie Bowes is very conscious of the scars on her face. They were acquired when she was rescued from a car in the River Ouse by Inspector Halloran. She’d been suspected of the murder of her boyfriend, Owen, and in the process of clearing her name she and her best friend, Kitt Hartley developed a taste for detection. Kitt developed a taste for Inspector Halloran Too, but they’re taking it slowly. Well, sort of slowly. Full Review

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Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo

4star.jpg Teens

In a world thriving with black magic, four young crooks embark on a quest to take down their criminal leader after they discover the plot behind his dangerous new magic. Full Review

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Madness Between Light and Dark by Kathlaine C Gill and D Clark Gill

3.5star.jpg Fantasy

It's 1912, and at New Hope Sanatorium, Christine Agnes Tupper is fast growing up. Abandoned there by parents who were ashamed of her hunchback, she's nevertheless grown up to an intelligent girl with a good heart. Her encounters with the inhabitants of the asylum swiftly take her on a fascinating, thrilling and sometimes terrifying journey of self discovery, allowing Agnes to prove that, even with a twisted spine, her heart is in the right place! Full Review

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Letters from Tove by Tove Jansson (Author), Boel Westin (Editor), Helen Svensson (Editor), Sarah Death (Translator)

5star.jpg Autobiography

Back at the beginning of the century I went on holiday to Nepal. I met a wonderful Finnish woman and we became sort of friends. I can't remember if it was on that holiday or a later one that Paula told me I really had to read Tove Jansson. I do know that it was four years later that I finally acquired an English translation of The Summer Book, and that I eagerly awaited the Sort Of translations of the rest of Jansson's work and devoured them as soon as I could get my hands on them. Full Review

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The Benefit of Hindsight (Simon Serrailler) by Susan Hill

5star.jpg Crime

A superficial look would suggest to you that Simon Serrailer has been lucky and - all things considered - his life is as good as it could be. He's back at work after a long break to recuperate from the violent incident which cost him his arm and almost his life. When he's not at work he's spending his time in the cathedral roof drawing the medieval angels which are being restored. There's talk of an exhibition of his drawings. Lafferton seems to be quite settled as far as crime is concerned until one night when two local men open their front door to a couple seeking shelter. It's the usual story of a broken-down car, and a phone which won't make a call. The man are generous and welcoming and have no suspicions that the couple are simply there to plan a robbery. It's a serious error of judgement in the course of this investigation which will throw Simon Serrailler's future into doubt. Full Review

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Somebody Give This Heart a Pen by Sophia Thakur

5star.jpg Anthologies

Sophia Thakur's debut anthology is a collection of poems that are all unique, whether in relation to their style, length or theme. The collection is split into four sections, titled 'grow','wait','break'and 'grow again', guiding you through a process which is one of the foundations that the anthology is built on. Each section begins with a foregrounded title page containing various small pieces of writing, ranging from a quote by a Nigerian playwright, to African proverbs. This provides a nice introduction to the section before you are immersed into the beautifully written and eloquent poems that Thakur has clearly put her heart and soul into. Full Review

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Flember: The Secret Book by Jamie Smart

5star.jpg Confident Readers

A mysterious island. A strange and mystical power called Flember. A boy-inventor called Dev, who uncovers a long forgotten secret. And a giant, red robot bear?! The sleepy village of Eden is about to descend into hilarious chaos - can disastrous Dev save his brand new best friend? Find out in this fully illustrated mad-cap adventure. Full Review

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Frostheart by Jamie Littler

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Way out in the furthest part of the known world, a tiny stronghold exists all on its own, cut off from the rest of human-kin by monsters that lurk beneath the Snow Sea. There, a little boy called Ash waits for the return of his parents, singing a forbidden lullaby to remind him of them... and doing his best to avoid his very, VERY grumpy yeti guardian, Tobu. But life is about to get a whole lot more crazy-adventurous for Ash. When a brave rescue attempt reveals he has amazing magical powers, he's whisked aboard the Frostheart, a sleigh packed full of daring explorers who could use his help. But can they help him find his family? Full Review

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The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone by Jaclyn Moriarty

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Bronte doesn't miss her parents, and she's not particularly sad when she learns of their terrible fate at the hands of pirates. And why should she be? After all, they just dumped her on Aunt Isabelle (without even asking if it would be a convenient arrangement for either party) when she was a baby. They swanned off to have adventures, and never once came back to check if their only child was healthy and happy. Full Review

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Batman: Nightwalker: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu, Stuart Moore and Chris Wildgoose

4star.jpg Teens

The young man called Bruce Wayne is a very noticeable one – he can hardly go anywhere without people – bystanders, paparazzi, and suchlike – reminding him he's a billionaire at the age of eighteen. Feeling rather stuck with the legacy he's inherited from his murdered parents, he wants to do charitable deeds. But one night, when he speeds off in his posh new car in pursuit of a criminal, he goes too far as far as the authorities are concerned, and gets given the most unlikely stretch of community service instead – cleaning in the home for violent criminals that is Arkham Asylum. There he learns of some other people who also allege charitable intent – the Nightwalkers, a gang who steal any ten-figure bank account contents they can, and murder the owner. Can he get close to one of them and get the truth of their schemes, or will the manipulative Madeleine be a step too far for the young do-gooder? Full Review

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Be Careful Who You Marry by Lizzy Mumfrey

4star.jpg General Fiction

It was coming up to Halloween in 1987 and a group of sixth-form schoolgirls wondered what they would be doing when they were fifty. When you're only seventeen that seems positively ancient, but Liz was convinced that your entire life depends on who you marry. The only eligible boys were the Young Farmers and the idea of living in a farmhouse and having a couple of children called Will and Olly appealed to Charlotte, or perhaps William and Oliver if you were Elizabeth who was determined to marry the rather superior Patrick Shepley-Botham. The place to start their search was obviously the Young Farmers' Halloween disco that weekend. There was just one problem - there were too many Elizabeths in the class. Full Review

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In The Absence of Miracles by Michael J Malone

4star.jpg Thrillers

John Docherty's mother has been taken into a nursing home following a massive stroke. It is thought unlikely that she will ever be able to live independently again. Faced with having to sell the family home in order to pay for her nursing care, Docherty starts the clear out. In the attic he finds a childhood picture of himself, holding a toddler – a toddler he knows nothing about. He also finds a blood-stained shoe. Full Review

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The Things We Do by Kay Pfaltz

4star.jpg Thrillers

It's 2015 and Dr Eleanor Hartley is a prison psychologist at the state penitentiary and she knows that her next patient is not going to be easy. 'Jane Doe' has been convicted of the murder of two men - one a police officer. She pleaded guilty and since then has been silent: even her identity is in doubt. She was carrying identification as Jane Dunlap when she was arrested, but it's been proved to be false. There seem to be no family or friends who are missing her. Eleanor's task is to get Jane talking, to find out why a seemingly normal young woman would murder two men. Full Review

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Year of the Monkey by Patti Smith

4star.jpg Biography

On the coast of Santa Cruz, Patti Smith enters the lunar year of the monkey - one packed with mischief, sorrow, and unexpected moments. In a stranger's words, Anything is possible: after all, it's the year of the monkey. As Smith wanders the coast of Santa Cruz in solitude, she reflects on a year that brings huge shifts in her life - loss and aging are faced head on, as it the shifting political waters in America. Full Review

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The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

4.5star.jpg Dystopian Fiction

Finally! Almost forty years on, we have a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale. I don't want to tell you too much about the plot because it's a novel that is entirely plot driven. Suffice it to say that The Testaments takes place fifteen years later, fifteen years after Offred gets into a van, not knowing what will happen next. It's told by three narrators: Aunt Lydia, who is secretly writing her memoirs in Ardua Hall; Agnes, a girl brought up in Gilead with the expectation she will marry a commander; Daisy, a rebellious teenage girl in Canada who knows of Gilead only from school lessons and its Pearl Girl missionaries who occasionally call into the store owned by her parents... Full Review

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The Money Revolution by Anne Boden

4star.jpg Business and Finance

Money is changing. It might not be in the ways you think. We’re not suddenly getting a 3p or £3 coin (and have you ever even found a country that offers anything different to the 1, 2, 5 model?) We’re getting a lot more digital with payments, which seems to suit most people apart from charity collectors and the homeless on the street, but although this book has the subtitle that includes the word ‘’digital’’, it’s not really about this either. Instead it’s about the ‘’management’’ of your finances, and how to take control. Full Review

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