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<metadesc>Book review site, with books from most walks of literary life; fiction, biography, crime, cookery and children's books plus author interviews and top tens.</metadesc>
 
<metadesc>Book review site, with books from most walks of literary life; fiction, biography, crime, cookery and children's books plus author interviews and top tens.</metadesc>
 
<h1 id="mf-title">The Bookbag</h1>
 
<h1 id="mf-title">The Bookbag</h1>
Hello from The Bookbag, a site featuring books from all the many walks of literary life - [[:Category:Fiction|fiction]], [[:Category:Biography|biography]], [[:Category:Crime|crime]], [[:Category:Cookery|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 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 [[:Category:Interviews|author interviews]], and all sorts of [[:Category:Lists|top tens]] - all of which you can find on our [[features]] page. If you're stuck for something to read, check out the [[Book Recommendations|recommendations]] page.
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Hello from The Bookbag, a site featuring books from all the many walks of literary life - [[:Category:Fiction|fiction]], [[:Category:Biography|biography]], [[:Category:Crime|crime]], [[:Category:Cookery|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 [[:Category:Interviews|author interviews]], and all sorts of [[:Category:Lists|top tens]] - all of which you can find on our [[features]] page. If you're stuck for something to read, check out the [[Book Recommendations|recommendations]] page.
  
 
There are currently '''{{PAGESINCATEGORY:Reviews}}''' reviews at TheBookbag.
 
There are currently '''{{PAGESINCATEGORY:Reviews}}''' reviews at TheBookbag.
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===[[Bold Lies (DI Kelly Porter 5) by Rachel Lynch]]===
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===[[Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
  
It was the smell which announced the presence of the body in the wheelhouse of a boat and identification wasn't going to be easy as the man was stark nakedThere were all the signs of a brutal, cold-blooded execution but gradually the man was traced back to Allendale House, the estate of the former Lord Allendale, and then to London, where two more bodies, naked, in a staged setting in a garage, were discoveredSenior Investigating Officer DI Kelly Porter had to go to London and was shocked to discover that the SIO for ''that'' case was DCI Matt Carter, her manipulative and untrustworthy ex-loverIt was going to be anything but easy to work alongside Matt the Tw...  Ah, well let's not go there. [[Bold Lies (DI Kelly Porter 5) by Rachel Lynch|Full Review]]
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Simon Barnes had his first taste of beer in 1976 when he was just six years oldOver the years it would become a habit and then a needBy 2016 and with a wife and child of his own he was a functioning alcoholic - a fact known by everybody except SimonHe's concentrating on wanting another child to complete his family. His wife, Daisy, isn't worriedThey took a long time to conceive Millie, who's perfect in every way, so why tempt fate?  Simon's not inclined to let matters rest though and it's at a fertility clinic that he receives the news that will change all their lives: he's sterile. [[Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Special Delivery by Jonathan Meres]]===
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===[[Can You Draw the Dragosaur? by Peter Lynas and Charlie Roberts]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Dyslexia Friendly|Dyslexia Friendly]], [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crafts|Crafts]], [[:Category:Emerging Readers|Emerging Readers]]
  
How do you explain to children about dementia? Injuries or illnesses are obvious, but when the problem is the brain which isn't functioning quite as it used to it isn't as easy to graspFrank was a normal nine year old and like many nine year olds what he wanted was a new bikeHe'd had his for about seventy-eight years and he didn't want to raise the seat any moreMum pointed out that it wasn't his birthday or Christmas any time soon and bikes cost a lot of money, which didn't grow on trees.  His sister Lottie had a solution: Frank could help her with her paper round.  Frank agreed despite thinking that it would take him a thousand years to save up the money for a bike AND he had to get up at six o'clock in the morning. [[Special Delivery by Jonathan Meres|Full Review]]
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You're going to get a hint of what this book's about very quickly.  When you see the title page, you'll find out what the book's called and that it's been written by Peter LynasThen we move on to who has done the illustration - and there's a gap.  ''You'' are going to put your name thereIt's ''your'' responsibility to provide the pictures for this book about one of the largest creatures ever to roam the earth. There's some help available, but your name is on the title page - and you have work to do! [[Can You Draw the Dragosaur? by Peter Lynas and Charlie Roberts|Full Review]]
  
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===[[The Spectacular Revenge of Suzi Sims by Vivian French]]===
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===[[A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie]]===
 
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Dyslexia Friendly|Dyslexia Friendly]], [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Fantasy|Fantasy]]
 
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Suzi Simms loved running and it was her ambition to win the 100 metres race on sports day at the end of term - and that was next week. We're going to read about what happened in her diary, although there's a warning that we really shouldn't be reading it, particularly as it's about Barbie Meek.  To say that the two girls don't get on at all well is a bit of an understatement. Suzi wouldn't actually do anything about it, but Barbie is a troublemaker and she wants to win the 100 metres race too - by fair means or foul. [[The Spectacular Revenge of Suzi Sims by Vivian French|Full Review]]
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The chimneys of industry rise over Adua and the world seethes with new opportunities. But old scores run deep as ever. On the blood-soaked borders of Angland, Leo dan Brock struggles to win fame on the battlefield, and defeat the marauding armies of Stour Nightfall. He hopes for help from the crown. But King Jezal's son, the feckless Prince Orso, is a man who specialises in disappointments. Savine dan Glokta - socialite, investor, and daughter of the most feared man in the Union - plans to claw her way to the top of the slag-heap of society by any means necessary. But the slums boil over with a rage that all the money in the world cannot control. The age of the machine dawns, but the age of magic refuses to die. With the help of the mad hillwoman Isern-i-Phail, Rikke struggles to control the blessing, or the curse, of the Long Eye. Glimpsing the future is one thing, but with the guiding hand of the First of the Magi still pulling the strings, changing it will be quite another . . .[[A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie|Full Review]]
  
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===[[The Adventures of Harry Stevenson by Ali Pye]]===
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===[[Bunny by Peter Lynas and Clare Lindley]]===
  
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:For Sharing|For Sharing]]
  
Meet Harry StevensonHe's a typical guinea pig, except he's perhaps a bit more ginger than normal.  And more lazy than usual.  And his appetite is possibly bigger than the norm.  Apart from that he's a regular guinea pigBut the stories in which he features are nothing likeIn the first one here, the lad who owns and looks after him is being forced to move house.  It should be a simple journey for Harry, safe in his cage from all the predators that watching nature documentaries have put into his imagination, but he gets distracted and – shock horror – left behind.  It takes some bravura slapstick and a charming contrivance for him to be found againIn the second, for we get two full-length stories in this volume, there's a party being held to get the lad used to his new schoolmates, and Harry used to life in a garden hutch.  And one more wonderful conceit that drives high drama. [[The Adventures of Harry Stevenson by Ali Pye|Full Review]]
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You might have seen Bunny on the beach where he livedLike many beaches it was full of sand and Bunny didn't like sand, not least because it got between his toes and ''scratched''.  What he really liked was juicy green grassAll the other rabbits lived on the top of the cliff, where Bunny could see a lot of tasty-looking grassBut the cliff was very high. [[Bunny by Peter Lynas and Clare Lindley|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Miracle Creek by Angie Kim]]===
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===[[Why We Quilt by Thomas Knauer]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crafts|Crafts]]
  
The Yoo family originated in Seoul.  Yoo Young and her daughter Meh-hee came on ahead of the father of the family, Yoo Pak, as a couple in Baltimore offered to provide accommodation for Young and Meh-hee in exchange for assistance in their grocery store.  What Young had not appreciated was that she was to work from 6 a.m. until midnight, seven days a weekFor years she hardly saw her daughter except when the Kangs brought Meh-hee to see her at the storeMeh-hee became Mary and struggled at school: her fellow pupils were no exceptions to the rule that children can be cruel and Mary was an easy target. [[Miracle Creek by Angie Kim|Full Review]]
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I've often wondered about the story that patchwork quilting began as a way for women (and myth would have it that it was always women) to make an extra blanket out of material which would otherwise go to wasteThis undoubtedly ''did'' happen but when you think about it, you need an awful lot of material to make a quilt and the time could have been better spent if all that was required was beddingLike Thomas Knauer I've come to the conclusion that it began as an art and has largely continued down that same road with fluctuations in popularity over the years. [[Why We Quilt by Thomas Knauer|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Velocity Weapon by Megan E O'Keefe]]===
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Science Fiction]]
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The last thing Sanda remembers is her gunship exploding. She expected to be recovered by salvage-medics and to awaken in friendly hands, patched-up and ready to rejoin the fight. Instead she wakes up 230 years later, on a deserted enemy starship called The Light of Berossus - or, as he prefers to call himself, 'Bero'. Bero tells Sanda the war is lost. That the entire star system is dead. But is that the full story? After all, in the vastness of space, anything is possible . . .  [[Velocity Weapon by Megan E O'Keefe|Full Review]]
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===[[The Lying Room by Nicci French]]===
  
===[[The Chessmaster's Secret by Mary Parker]]===
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]], [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]  
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When we meet Neve Connolly it's pretty obvious that she has something to hide.  She crept into the house after midnight, carefully putting her clothes into the washing machine and she can't wait to get husband Fletcher and children Mabel, Connor and Rory off on their various ways the next morning when she gets a text telling her to come to the flat.  He has a few hours to spare and can't wait to see her.  Only, when she gets to the flat she finds Saul Stevenson, her boss and lover, dead on the floor.  The hammer that's been used on his brain is at his side. [[The Lying Room by Nicci French|Full Review]]
  
Belle and Joe travel to London in 1944, towards the end of World War II. Orphaned evacuees, they haven't had a good time of it - especially Joe, who is a sensitive child and was badly bullied. Meeting them is Uncle Griff, a kindly man, but one without much money. He is more than happy to have the children stay during the school holidays. Uncle Griff owns the ''Shop of Mechanical Marvels'' and the children love all the old things it contains. Uncle Griff hopes to restore it to profitability and bring some wonder back into London's bombed out streets.  [[The Chessmaster's Secret by Mary Parker|Full Review]]
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===[[The Art of Noticing: Rediscover What Really Matters to You by Rob Walker]]===
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===[[Madeleine Goes to the Moon by Peter Lynas and Charlie Roberts]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Lifestyle|Lifestyle]]
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:For Sharing|For Sharing]]
  
The curse put on reviewers is that we get to read through a book which is really better dipped into, or read gradually and thoughts allowed to be provoked. And so it was with ''The Art of Noticing''.  It's a simple premise: the pace of modern life and rapidity of technological advances means that we are constantly overwhelmed and distracted.  Rob Walker wants us to be able to steal our attention back. He gives us his thoughts on various areas of our lives and then provides 131 exercises to help us recover our attention. [[The Art of Noticing: Rediscover What Really Matters to You by Rob Walker|Full Review]]
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Madeleine is a very lucky girl: in her room she has all a girl could ask for in the way of toys, books, games and dollies. She's a very lucky girl in another way too: she has imagination and everything in her room can be used to take her on adventures. She spends all day there: Dad thinks that she likes to be alone, but Madeleine's not alone on all the trips she takes. We'll find out that yesterday she was told to tidy her room, but instead of doing that she went to the moon. [[Madeleine Goes to the Moon by Peter Lynas and Charlie Roberts|Full Review]]
  
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===[[The Playground Murders by Lesley Thomson]]===
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===[[The Dutch House by Ann Patchett]]===
  
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Literary Fiction|Literary Fiction]]
  
Rachel Cater was having an affair with her boss, Chris Philips, an auctioneer.  It was, she told her mother, love at first sightHer mother was more sceptical and wondered why, if it had been love at first sight, it had taken him so long to do anything about itStill, more than anything, she wanted her daughter to be happyThat was what Rachel wanted too and it was why she went to the Philips' family home, determined to have it all out in the openInstead she was stabbed fifteen times.  Her lover was convicted of her murder. [[The Playground Murders by Lesley Thomson|Full Review]]
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When we first meet Danny and his elder sister, Maeve Conroy, they're both living at The Dutch House with their parents and under the gaze of the portraits of the former owners whose oil paintings still hang on the wallsIt's a strange family dynamic: Cyril Conroy is distant and the closest Danny seems to come to him is when he goes out with him on a Saturday collecting rents from properties the family ownsElna Conroy is loving, but absent increasingly often until the point comes when the children are told that she will not be returningIn other circumstances this might have affected Maeve and Danny deeply, but their primary relationship is with each otherIt's a bond which only death will break. [[The Dutch House by Ann Patchett|Full Review]]
  
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===[[The Very Rude Toytoise by Peter Lynas and Andy S Gray]]===
  
===[[The Billion Pound Lie by Bill Dare]]===
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:For Sharing|For Sharing]]
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
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It was one of those blissful days in the forest.  Mrs Rabbit was collecting carrots because she wanted to make a cake.  Mrs Blue Bird was gathering twigs to build a nest.  Mrs Spider was busily spinning a web to catch juicy flies.  Mrs Squirrel was piling up acorns.  And Mr Bear sat comfortably in a chair, fishing for lunch.  What could be better?  And then... [[The Very Rude Toytoise by Peter Lynas and Andy S Gray|Full Review]]
  
Can you imagine what it would be like to win a billion pounds? The UK's biggest ever lottery winners were a couple from Ayrshire, who won a £161 million EuroMillions jackpot a few years ago. That's so much money that it landed them on the Sunday Times Rich List of the UK's thousand most wealthy people. So a billion pounds. That's a lot, right? Can you imagine it?  What would you do? Would you try to remain anonymous? And, if you did, how would this affect your relationships with your nearest and dearest? What it would be like? How could you keep your friends and family from knowing that you were now one of the richest people in the country? [[The Billion Pound Lie by Bill Dare|Full Review]]
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===[[Across the Void by S K Vaughn]]===
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===[[Recipe for Making a Snowman by Peter Lynas and Rosie Alabaster]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Science Fiction|Science Fiction]]
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:For Sharing|For Sharing]]
  
Sea epics? So 20th century. Try a space epic. [[Across the Void by S K Vaughn|Full Review]]
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Who knew it? You can even get a recipe book which tells you how to make a snowman - and there's no cooking involved!  Mum, Dad and the two children are absolutely meticulous though: they're going to get everything right, even down to doing some mining to get the coal for the eyes, searching through the bits 'n bobs jar for buttons for the snowman's coat and picking out the perfect piece of headgear. There's quite a choice available, but the family decide on the bobble hat, presumably to keep the snowman warm.  The moth-eaten pair of mittens simply won't do and a pair with purple and pink stripes are chosen. [[Recipe for Making a Snowman by Peter Lynas and Rosie Alabaster|Full Review]]
  
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===[[The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity McLean]]===
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===[[War and Love: A family's testament of anguish, endurance and devotion in occupied Amsterdam by Melanie Martin]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]], [[:Category:General Fiction|General Fiction]]
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:History|History]], [[:Category:Biography|Biography]]
  
When Tikka Molloy was eleven and one-sixth years old, the Van Apfel sisters disappeared. In the long hot summer of 1992, in an isolated suburb of Australia surrounded by Bushland, the girls vanished during the school's Showstopper concert at the riverside amphitheatre. Did they run away? Were they taken? While the search for the sisters united the small community, they were never found. Returning home years later, Tikka must make sense of that strange moment in time – of the summer that shaped her, and the girls she never forgot. [[The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity McLean|Full Review]]
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Melanie Martin read about what happened to Dutch Jews in occupied Amsterdam during World War II and was entranced by what she discovered, particularly in ''The Diary of Ann Frank'' but then realised that her own family's stories were equally fascinating. A hundred and seven thousand Jews were deported from the city during the war years, but only five thousand survived and Martin could not understand how this could be allowed to happen in a country with liberal values who were resistant to German occupation. Most people believed that the occupation could never happen: even those who thought that the Germans might reach the city were convinced that they would soon be pushed back, that the Amsterdammers would never allow what happened to escalate in the way that it did, but initial protests melted away as the organisers became more circumspect.  It's an atrocity on a vast scale, but made up of tens of thousands of individual tragedies. [[War and Love: A family's testament of anguish, endurance and devotion in occupied Amsterdam by Melanie Martin|Full Review]]
  
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===[[The Dragon in the Library by Louie Stowell and Davide Ortu (Illustrator)]]===
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===[[Snowflake, AZ by Marcus Sedgwick]]===
  
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It is the start of the summer holidays and Kit has plans. These plans involve climbing trees, getting muddy and being outside. Her friends, Josh and Alita, on the other hand want to go to the library. Kit hates reading and can't see the point of books at all but is very reluctantly persuaded to go with the others to the local library. Once there the children meet the librarian and Kit makes an incredible discovery; the librarian is a wizard! Even more incredibly, Kit is a wizard too and she and her friends have an important task. They must save the library…and save the world! [[The Dragon in the Library by Louie Stowell and Davide Ortu (Illustrator)|Full Review]]
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This is a deep, interesting read unlike any book I've read in quite some time. The novel's story follows a young man named Ash in the process of joining a community of sick people in the curiously named town of Snowflake, Arizona. These people are sick, but it's not a sickness you've heard of. Instead, they're environmentally ill – affected by household chemicals and fabrics, pesticides, static electricity, and radiation – and their only ''cure'' is to stay in the town away from the real world. Though it's about a real place, the people in it are fictional. It really is a place apart, quite literally cut off from the outside world – people are even required to decontaminate themselves thoroughly before becoming fully integrated. [[Snowflake, AZ by Marcus Sedgwick|Full Review]]
  
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===[[All That's Dead (Logan McRae 12) by Stuart MacBride]]===
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===[[Brightfall by Jaime Lee Moyer]]===
  
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It seemed like a good idea.  Logan 'Lazarus' McRae was back at work after a year off sick.  He'd been stabbed in the line of duty and recovery had been slow: he still had some pain.  His first case was to be a simple one - just to ease him back into work - but it turned out to be anything but. Professor Wilson, a high-profile anti-independence campaigner has gone missing, apparently abducted from his home, but nothing was left behind except some bloodstains.  In much the same way that Brexit is dividing people south of the border, there's going to be a war between the pro- and anti-independence factions in Scotland - and the police are not above being involved. [[All That's Dead (Logan McRae 12) by Stuart MacBride|Full Review]]
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Robin Hood is gone – denouncing both his former life and his love Marian, and retreating to a monastery – although no-one knows quite what led him to abandon all that he had built. Marion's life since has been relatively quiet - but when her friends start dying, Marion is tasked by Father Tuck to break the curse surrounding them and to save their lives. Setting off with a soldier, a Fey Lord and a sullen Robin Hood, she becomes tangled in a maze of betrayals, complicated relationships, and a vicious struggle for the throne…[[Brightfall by Jaime Lee Moyer|Full Review]]
  
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===[[The Last Stage by Louise Voss]]===
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===[[The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt]]===
  
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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If you were looking back to when it began you'd have to say that it was before 1995. Meredith Vincent (that wasn't her name then) had gone to Greenham Common on her seventeenth birthday, dressed as a teddy bear, to protest about nuclear weapons. It was whilst she was there that she met Samantha, fell head over heels in love with her and went to live in a squat in London, leaving behind her A levels, her recently-widowed mother - and her twin brother, Pete, to look after her.  Samantha was there occasionally but Meredith was drawn into forming a band with the boys from the squat and against all the odds Cohen went on to become a sensation and it wasn't long before Meredith was living in a mansion rather than the squat. [[The Last Stage by Louise Voss|Full Review]]
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''The Nightjar'' is an unusual and exciting story. Alice Wyndham lives a normal life in London until she finds a box on her doorstep one morning and her life begins to unravel, fast. From that very moment, her life is flooded with magic, loss, expectation and particularly, betrayal. As everything around her shifts, all that she knows, all that she thinks she knows, must change. Who can she trust? Who must she trust? Who will she trust? More importantly, can she even trust herself? [[The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Wild Child: Growing Up a Nomad by Ian Mathie]]===
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===[[American Royals by Katharine McGee]]===
  
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For Ian Mathie fans there is good and bad news. Ian has come up with the missing link in his narrative, the story of a very unusual childhood (yes, the very years that made him the amazing man he became). The bad – well it's hardly news two years later – is that the book is published posthumously. As always, it's beautifully written, with many exciting moments. What I most enjoyed was the feeling that many of the questions in Ian Mathie's later books are answered in ''Wild Child'' with a satisfying clunk. Seemingly all that's now left in the drawer is unpublishable. [[Wild Child: Growing Up a Nomad by Ian Mathie|Full Review]]
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Two and a half centuries ago, America won the Revolutionary War and General George Washington was offered the crown. Today, the House of Washington still sit on the thrown with Princess Beatrice next in line. Beatrice's whole life has been building up to her ruling the United States and the time for her reign is imminent. [[American Royals by Katharine McGee|Full Review]]
  
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===[[The Body in the Castle Well (A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel) by Martin Walker]]===
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===[[Dead Flowers (Dr Sian Love) by Nicola Monaghan]]===
  
 
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Claudia Muller was an American, studying art history and being mentored by an eminent French art historian and Resistance war hero in Limeuil in Perigord.  She was beautiful, wore designer clothes and was well-liked by everyone.  She didn't parade her wealth, or her father's White House connectionsIn fact, her closest friend was a man recently released from prison.  So when she left a lecture saying that she felt ill, and her body was later found at the bottom of the castle well it seemed that the likeliest explanation was that this had been a dreadful accident with the only people to blame being the builders who had left the well unsealed. [[The Body in the Castle Well (A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel) by Martin Walker|Full Review]]
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It was more than a little bit of a surprise to Dr Sian Love (and the rest of the relatives) when her uncle Bobby left her his home - a former pub called The Loggerheads in the Narrow Marsh area of NottinghamThen it was a shock when she found two bodies in the cellar before she'd even got settled in - and managed to break a bone in her foot in the course of making the discovery.  They'd been there for some time, but who - exactly - were the man and the woman, wrapped in each other's arms?  Having spent ten years on the Murder Squad, ending up as a DCI she knows what's going to happen next, but she's not prepared for quite how personal it's all going to get. [[Dead Flowers (Dr Sian Love) by Nicola Monaghan|Full Review]]
  
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===[[The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri]]===
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===[[Some Places More Than Others by Renee Watson]]===
  
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Here in the West, we see news reports about immigrants on a regular basis – some media welcoming them, some scaremongering about them. But all of those stories are written by journalists – almost always western, and almost always, no matter how deep the investigative journalism they carry out, outsiders to the world and the situations that refugees find themselves in. It's rare that we find out the journeys from the refugees themselves – and this is a rare opportunity to do that, in this intelligent, powerful and moving work by Dina Nayeri -someone who was born in the middle of a revolution in Iran, fleeing to America as a ten-year-old.[[The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri|Full Review]]
 
  
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Amara's twelfth birthday is coming up and she wants nothing more for it than a trip to New York to meet her father's side of the family. But her father hasn't spoken to Amara's grandfather for many years - Amara doesn't know why - and both her parents are resistant to the idea. But Amara is nothing if not persistent and a school family history project provides her with the perfect wedge. Eventually, her parents give in and off she goes... with a secret mission from her mother: to bring her father and Grandpa Earl back together again.  [[Some Places More Than Others by Renee Watson|Full Review]]
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===[[Lakes of Mars by Merritt Graves]]===
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Aaron Sheridan doesn't want to live anymore. His entire family is dead by his own hand, killed in a shuttle crash. 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... [[Lakes of Mars by Merritt Graves|Full Review]]
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===[[Coming of Age by Danny Ryan]]===
  
The body of a nine-year-old boy was found at the bottom of a well which had been sealed for two hundred years - but the boy had only been dead for less than two days and there was no sign of how the body had got into the well. The owners of the property are adamant that the well was sealed when they went to open it, but DI Ben Westphall would be entitled to have his doubts. Belle McIntosh holds some strange views, particularly about the way that the government is controlling everyone through drugs which are added to the water supply which led to her wanting to reinstate the well. Her wife, Catriona Napier, is more moderate, but doesn't seem to have a lot of knowledge about what's going on on the fa [[Boy in the Well (DI Westphall 2) by Douglas Lindsay|Full Review]]
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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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''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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===[[Lighthouse of the Netherworlds by Maxwell N Andrews]]===
  
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Muriel Hinkley was walking her dog when she found the body on a quiet country lane, just south of ExmoorShe didn’t recognise him - no one would for a long time as it was obvious that he’d been the victim of a hit-and-runHe had no face - most of it was smeared on the road and when D I Jan Talantire came to look at the body she realised that there was absolutely nothing on him which would allow for identificationAll the labels had been cut out of his clothes and there was no wallet and no phone.  Hi was Mister Nobody.  [[The Body in the Mist by Nick Louth|Full Review]]
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The phrase about never trusting a book by its cover is something I put on a par with comments about MarmiteYou're supposed to love it or hate it and I'm halfway between, and likewise the old adage is halfway trueFrom 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 plantThat 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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===[[The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory]]===
  
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It's strange how the worst of days can start in such an ordinary, mundane way.  And so it was for Anna McDonald as she sorted out gym kit and packed lunches for her two daughtersIt didn't begin to go wrong until she opened the door to her best friend, Estelle and realised that her husband was at the top of the stairs, dressed as though for a holiday rather than the work clothes she'd been expecting - and he was carrying a suitcaseHe and Estelle were leaving together - and they were taking Anna's two daughters with them. There was another problem which neither Hamish nor Estelle knew about. Anna wasn't actually Anna McDonald.  She was Sophie Bukaran, the woman who had been involved in the rape case against four footballers. [[Conviction by Denise Mina|Full Review]]
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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 dyingOne 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 watchOne bombshell outside, then, and two inside... [[The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory|Full Review]]
  
 
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Latest revision as of 09:05, 18 September 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 15,264 reviews at TheBookbag.

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Reviews of the Best New Books

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Read the latest features.

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Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks

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

Simon Barnes had his first taste of beer in 1976 when he was just six years old. Over the years it would become a habit and then a need. By 2016 and with a wife and child of his own he was a functioning alcoholic - a fact known by everybody except Simon. He's concentrating on wanting another child to complete his family. His wife, Daisy, isn't worried. They took a long time to conceive Millie, who's perfect in every way, so why tempt fate? Simon's not inclined to let matters rest though and it's at a fertility clinic that he receives the news that will change all their lives: he's sterile. Full Review

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Can You Draw the Dragosaur? by Peter Lynas and Charlie Roberts

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crafts, Emerging Readers

You're going to get a hint of what this book's about very quickly. When you see the title page, you'll find out what the book's called and that it's been written by Peter Lynas. Then we move on to who has done the illustration - and there's a gap. You are going to put your name there. It's your responsibility to provide the pictures for this book about one of the largest creatures ever to roam the earth. There's some help available, but your name is on the title page - and you have work to do! Full Review

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A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie

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

The chimneys of industry rise over Adua and the world seethes with new opportunities. But old scores run deep as ever. On the blood-soaked borders of Angland, Leo dan Brock struggles to win fame on the battlefield, and defeat the marauding armies of Stour Nightfall. He hopes for help from the crown. But King Jezal's son, the feckless Prince Orso, is a man who specialises in disappointments. Savine dan Glokta - socialite, investor, and daughter of the most feared man in the Union - plans to claw her way to the top of the slag-heap of society by any means necessary. But the slums boil over with a rage that all the money in the world cannot control. The age of the machine dawns, but the age of magic refuses to die. With the help of the mad hillwoman Isern-i-Phail, Rikke struggles to control the blessing, or the curse, of the Long Eye. Glimpsing the future is one thing, but with the guiding hand of the First of the Magi still pulling the strings, changing it will be quite another . . .Full Review

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Bunny by Peter Lynas and Clare Lindley

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

You might have seen Bunny on the beach where he lived. Like many beaches it was full of sand and Bunny didn't like sand, not least because it got between his toes and scratched. What he really liked was juicy green grass. All the other rabbits lived on the top of the cliff, where Bunny could see a lot of tasty-looking grass. But the cliff was very high. Full Review

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Why We Quilt by Thomas Knauer

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

I've often wondered about the story that patchwork quilting began as a way for women (and myth would have it that it was always women) to make an extra blanket out of material which would otherwise go to waste. This undoubtedly did happen but when you think about it, you need an awful lot of material to make a quilt and the time could have been better spent if all that was required was bedding. Like Thomas Knauer I've come to the conclusion that it began as an art and has largely continued down that same road with fluctuations in popularity over the years. Full Review

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The Lying Room by Nicci French

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

When we meet Neve Connolly it's pretty obvious that she has something to hide. She crept into the house after midnight, carefully putting her clothes into the washing machine and she can't wait to get husband Fletcher and children Mabel, Connor and Rory off on their various ways the next morning when she gets a text telling her to come to the flat. He has a few hours to spare and can't wait to see her. Only, when she gets to the flat she finds Saul Stevenson, her boss and lover, dead on the floor. The hammer that's been used on his brain is at his side. Full Review

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Madeleine Goes to the Moon by Peter Lynas and Charlie Roberts

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

Madeleine is a very lucky girl: in her room she has all a girl could ask for in the way of toys, books, games and dollies. She's a very lucky girl in another way too: she has imagination and everything in her room can be used to take her on adventures. She spends all day there: Dad thinks that she likes to be alone, but Madeleine's not alone on all the trips she takes. We'll find out that yesterday she was told to tidy her room, but instead of doing that she went to the moon. Full Review

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The Dutch House by Ann Patchett

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

When we first meet Danny and his elder sister, Maeve Conroy, they're both living at The Dutch House with their parents and under the gaze of the portraits of the former owners whose oil paintings still hang on the walls. It's a strange family dynamic: Cyril Conroy is distant and the closest Danny seems to come to him is when he goes out with him on a Saturday collecting rents from properties the family owns. Elna Conroy is loving, but absent increasingly often until the point comes when the children are told that she will not be returning. In other circumstances this might have affected Maeve and Danny deeply, but their primary relationship is with each other. It's a bond which only death will break. Full Review

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The Very Rude Toytoise by Peter Lynas and Andy S Gray

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

It was one of those blissful days in the forest. Mrs Rabbit was collecting carrots because she wanted to make a cake. Mrs Blue Bird was gathering twigs to build a nest. Mrs Spider was busily spinning a web to catch juicy flies. Mrs Squirrel was piling up acorns. And Mr Bear sat comfortably in a chair, fishing for lunch. What could be better? And then... Full Review

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Recipe for Making a Snowman by Peter Lynas and Rosie Alabaster

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

Who knew it? You can even get a recipe book which tells you how to make a snowman - and there's no cooking involved! Mum, Dad and the two children are absolutely meticulous though: they're going to get everything right, even down to doing some mining to get the coal for the eyes, searching through the bits 'n bobs jar for buttons for the snowman's coat and picking out the perfect piece of headgear. There's quite a choice available, but the family decide on the bobble hat, presumably to keep the snowman warm. The moth-eaten pair of mittens simply won't do and a pair with purple and pink stripes are chosen. Full Review

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War and Love: A family's testament of anguish, endurance and devotion in occupied Amsterdam by Melanie Martin

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews History, Biography

Melanie Martin read about what happened to Dutch Jews in occupied Amsterdam during World War II and was entranced by what she discovered, particularly in The Diary of Ann Frank but then realised that her own family's stories were equally fascinating. A hundred and seven thousand Jews were deported from the city during the war years, but only five thousand survived and Martin could not understand how this could be allowed to happen in a country with liberal values who were resistant to German occupation. Most people believed that the occupation could never happen: even those who thought that the Germans might reach the city were convinced that they would soon be pushed back, that the Amsterdammers would never allow what happened to escalate in the way that it did, but initial protests melted away as the organisers became more circumspect. It's an atrocity on a vast scale, but made up of tens of thousands of individual tragedies. Full Review

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Snowflake, AZ by Marcus Sedgwick

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

This is a deep, interesting read unlike any book I've read in quite some time. The novel's story follows a young man named Ash in the process of joining a community of sick people in the curiously named town of Snowflake, Arizona. These people are sick, but it's not a sickness you've heard of. Instead, they're environmentally ill – affected by household chemicals and fabrics, pesticides, static electricity, and radiation – and their only cure is to stay in the town away from the real world. Though it's about a real place, the people in it are fictional. It really is a place apart, quite literally cut off from the outside world – people are even required to decontaminate themselves thoroughly before becoming fully integrated. Full Review

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Brightfall by Jaime Lee Moyer

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

Robin Hood is gone – denouncing both his former life and his love Marian, and retreating to a monastery – although no-one knows quite what led him to abandon all that he had built. Marion's life since has been relatively quiet - but when her friends start dying, Marion is tasked by Father Tuck to break the curse surrounding them and to save their lives. Setting off with a soldier, a Fey Lord and a sullen Robin Hood, she becomes tangled in a maze of betrayals, complicated relationships, and a vicious struggle for the throne…Full Review

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The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt

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

The Nightjar is an unusual and exciting story. Alice Wyndham lives a normal life in London until she finds a box on her doorstep one morning and her life begins to unravel, fast. From that very moment, her life is flooded with magic, loss, expectation and particularly, betrayal. As everything around her shifts, all that she knows, all that she thinks she knows, must change. Who can she trust? Who must she trust? Who will she trust? More importantly, can she even trust herself? Full Review

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American Royals by Katharine McGee

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

Two and a half centuries ago, America won the Revolutionary War and General George Washington was offered the crown. Today, the House of Washington still sit on the thrown with Princess Beatrice next in line. Beatrice's whole life has been building up to her ruling the United States and the time for her reign is imminent. Full Review

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Dead Flowers (Dr Sian Love) by Nicola Monaghan

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

It was more than a little bit of a surprise to Dr Sian Love (and the rest of the relatives) when her uncle Bobby left her his home - a former pub called The Loggerheads in the Narrow Marsh area of Nottingham. Then it was a shock when she found two bodies in the cellar before she'd even got settled in - and managed to break a bone in her foot in the course of making the discovery. They'd been there for some time, but who - exactly - were the man and the woman, wrapped in each other's arms? Having spent ten years on the Murder Squad, ending up as a DCI she knows what's going to happen next, but she's not prepared for quite how personal it's all going to get. Full Review

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Some Places More Than Others by Renee Watson

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


Amara's twelfth birthday is coming up and she wants nothing more for it than a trip to New York to meet her father's side of the family. But her father hasn't spoken to Amara's grandfather for many years - Amara doesn't know why - and both her parents are resistant to the idea. But Amara is nothing if not persistent and a school family history project provides her with the perfect wedge. Eventually, her parents give in and off she goes... with a secret mission from her mother: to bring her father and Grandpa Earl back together again. Full Review

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Lakes of Mars by Merritt Graves

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

Aaron Sheridan doesn't want to live anymore. His entire family is dead by his own hand, killed in a shuttle crash. 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... Full Review

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Coming of Age by Danny Ryan

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

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...


This a memoir from someone you have never heard of - but will feel like you have. Full Review

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Lighthouse of the Netherworlds by Maxwell N Andrews

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Teens, Fantasy, Confident Readers

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? Full Review

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The Rabbit Girls by Anna Ellory

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

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... Full Review