Difference between revisions of "Book Reviews From The Bookbag"

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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=1472255798
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|title=The Bad Fire (Bob Skinner)
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|author=Quintin Jardine
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|rating=4.5
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|genre=Crime
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|summary=Nine years ago local councillor Marcia Brown took her own life after being accused of shoplifting from a local supermarket. It's always been assumed that she couldn't live with the shame. People were surprised that she committed suicide just before the court case when she had been adamant that she would fight to clear her name. She said that she'd been set up because she was hot on the trail of corruption in the council. Her ex-husband has contacted Alex Skinner, Solicitor Advocate as well as retired Police Constable Bob Skinner's daughter, and asked that she look into clearing Brown's name: it's something which he feels that he has to do in memory of his son who was murdered recently.
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{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
 
|isbn=B07X6GLQ3Q
 
|isbn=B07X6GLQ3Q
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|genre=Crime
 
|genre=Crime
 
|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 robbery.  It's a serious error of judgement in the course of this investigation which will throw Simon Serrailler's future into doubt.
 
|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 robbery.  It's a serious error of judgement in the course of this investigation which will throw Simon Serrailler's future into doubt.
}}
 
 
{{Frontpage
 
|isbn=140638853X
 
|title=Somebody Give This Heart a Pen
 
|author=Sophia Thakur
 
|rating=5
 
|genre=Anthologies
 
|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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Revision as of 11:05, 1 November 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 15,302 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.

1472255798.jpg

The Bad Fire (Bob Skinner) by Quintin Jardine

4.5star.jpg Crime

Nine years ago local councillor Marcia Brown took her own life after being accused of shoplifting from a local supermarket. It's always been assumed that she couldn't live with the shame. People were surprised that she committed suicide just before the court case when she had been adamant that she would fight to clear her name. She said that she'd been set up because she was hot on the trail of corruption in the council. Her ex-husband has contacted Alex Skinner, Solicitor Advocate as well as retired Police Constable Bob Skinner's daughter, and asked that she look into clearing Brown's name: it's something which he feels that he has to do in memory of his son who was murdered recently. Full Review

B07X6GLQ3Q.jpg

See Them Run by Marion Todd

4star.jpg Crime

D I Clare Mackay is still relatively new to St Andrew's: she was previously at Maryhill Rd station in Glasgow. She's left quite a lot behind including a relationship that wasn't going anywhere after Tom failed to support her when the chips were down. She also left a nasty situation, of her own making but not her fault, and St Andrew's is a fresh start. Not long into the job she's faced with a hit and run death and there's little doubt that it wasn't accidental - the card with the number five suggests murder. Andy Robb was married to Sandra. You could say that they had an open marriage but there seemed to be a lot of the 'open' and very little of the 'marriage' left - on both sides, but would she want him dead? Full Review

1786540991.jpg

The Impossible Boy by Ben Brooks

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Oleg and Emma entered their den to find a cardboard spaceship standing where they usually sat. Slowly, the front door opened. Smoke billowed out. And out stepped a boy, dressed in a long coat with an even longer scarf, wound around his neck.


"My name's Sebastian Cole," the boy said, "But you already know that."

And indeed they do. Ever since the summer, when their friend Sarah's mother had moved her away, Oleg and Emma have been unable to find a new friend to take her place. Full Review

1447281357.jpg

Salvation Lost by Peter F Hamilton

4star.jpg Science Fiction

In the twenty-third century, humanity is enjoying a comparative utopia. Yet life on Earth is about to change, forever. Feriton Kane's investigative team has discovered the worst threat ever to face mankind – and we've almost no time to fight back. The supposedly benign Olyix plan to harvest humanity, in order to carry us to their god at the end of the universe. And as their agents conclude schemes down on earth, vast warships converge above to gather this cargo. Some factions push for humanity to flee, to live in hiding amongst the stars – although only a chosen few would make it out in time. But others refuse to break before the storm. As disaster looms, animosities must be set aside to focus on just one goal: wiping this enemy from the face of creation. Even if it means preparing for a future this generation will never see. Full Review

1471186393.jpg

Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott

4.5star.jpg Historical Fiction

May 1921. Edie receives a photograph through the post. There is no letter or note with it. There is nothing written on the back of the photograph. It is a picture of her husband, Francis. Francis has been missing for four years. Technically, he has been "missing, believed killed" but that is not something that a young widow can believe. She hangs on the word 'missing', disbelieving the word killed. Full Review

1783784350.jpg

This Golden Fleece: A Journey Through Britain's Knitted History by Esther Rutter

5star.jpg History

It was December and Esther Rutter was stuck in her office job, writing to people she'd never met and preparing spreadsheets. The job frustrated her and even her knitting did not soothe her mind. January was going to be a time for making changes and she decided that she would travel the length and breadth of the British Isles with occasional forays abroad, discovering and telling the story of wool's history and how it had made and changed the landscape. She'd grown up on a sheep farm in Suffolk - a free range child on the farm - and learned to spin, knit and weave from her mother and her mother's friend. This was in her blood. Full Review

1401286208.jpg

Black Canary: Ignite by Meg Cabot and Cara McGee

3.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Meet Dinah Lance. Frustrated that her policeman father will not allow her to try and follow in his footsteps, and seemingly lumbered with being a cheerleader at school, she is desperate to find her voice. But it's actually more a case of her voice finding her, as when she gets frustrated or plain dissed at school her vocal outcry can shatter glass better than any opera singer. You could almost call it a weapon, or a power. But in order for her to call herself a superhero, there has to be a whole path of steps for her to take – one of which will be into her past… Full Review

1789017977.jpg

Ronnie and Hilda's Romance: Towards a New Life after World War II by Wendy Williams

4star.jpg History

Ronnie Williams was the son of Thomas Henry Williams (known as Harry) and Ethel Wall. There's some doubt as to whether or not they were ever married or even Harry's birthdate: he claimed to have been born in 1863, but he was already many years older than Ethel and he might well have shaved a few years off his age. For a while the family was quite well-to-do but disaster struck in the 1929 Depression and five-year-old Ronnie had to adjust to a very different lifestyle. One thing he did inherit from his father was his need to be well-turned-out and this would stay with him throughout his life. He joined the army at eighteen in 1942. Full Review

1542015421.jpg

The Royal Baths Murder by J R Ellis

3.5star.jpg Crime

When Damian Penrose was murdered there was no shortage of suspects: he was a deeply unpleasant man. In fact the only surprising thing was that there wasn't more of a queue waiting to do the dirty deed. What was a bit of a headline maker was that Penrose was a crime writer and that he was strangled in the midst of Harrogate's crime writing festival. He went for a swim at the Royal Baths and never returned, his body being found by the receptionist. DCI Jim Oldroyd was the man tasked with investigating the crime. It would not be the only death, and it was only because of the quick actions of his sergeant, Andy Carter, that Oldroyd's was not one of them. Full Review

1789091934.jpg

Blood Sugar by Daniel Kraus

4star.jpg General Fiction

This is a difficult read. And not because of the dark subject matter – that'll come later – but because of the way in which it's told. This might put a lot of readers off, and to be honest it'd be hard to blame them. Kraus tells the story in a distinctive voice unlike any other I've read; an erratic dialect with heavy and frequent slang. The immediate effect is disorientating and distracting, and it takes some time to feel natural. It's a struggle to acclimatise to Jody's voice, to get acquainted with his mannerisms, but the story wouldn't be the same without it, and somehow it works. It shouldn't, but it does. Full Review

1789016770.jpg

Copernicus! What Have You Done?: ...and Other Interesting Questions by Don Behrend

4.5star.jpg Trivia

Hello! Would this review be okay if I simply said I LOVED THIS GLORIOUS LITTLE BOOK AND SO WILL YOU. FIN?! Because I did. And you will. Full Review

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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

0062936867.jpg

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

0349423067.jpg

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

1473223172.jpg

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

1406389331.jpg

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

1529402255.jpg

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

1250318378.jpg

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

1641110708.jpg

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

190874572X.jpg

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

1784742783.jpg

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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