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{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Patti Smith
+
|author=Rory Clements
|title=Year of the Monkey
+
|title=Hitler's Secret
|rating=4
+
|rating=3.5
|genre=Biography
+
|genre=Thrillers
|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 solititude, 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.  
+
|summary=So, Hitler had a secret?  Two, if you include the reproductive detail mentioned in a certain sing-song aspersion.  But this is a secret that is counter to that, and in fact is a secret that Hitler himself doesn't even know about.  His neice, Geli Raubal, the attractive young woman he seemed to be very close to in the early 1930s, had had his daughter behind his back.  Protected under a false identity ever since, the girl is completely ignorant of her past, and the truth is a very rare thing.  Martin Bormann, the 'gatekeeper' to Hitler and his right hand man, knows – and is desperately intent on wiping the slate clean and removing all connected with her existence from the Reich.  So it's down to Tom Wilde, an American history professor at Oxbridge, to go in and extract her, in this most shadowy race against time.
|isbn=1526614758
+
|isbn=1838770275
 
}}
 
}}
 
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Margaret Atwood
+
|isbn=0241985110
|title=The Testaments
+
|title=All the Rage (D I Fawley)
 +
|author=Cara Hunter
 
|rating=4.5
 
|rating=4.5
|genre=Dystopian Fiction
+
|genre=Crime
|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...
+
|summary=A very beautiful, but extremely distressed teenage girl was picked up by a minicab driver on the outskirts of Oxford.  She didn't want to go to the police station or the hospital: she just wanted to be taken home. The driver wasn't so certain though - and after dropping the girl at home he went to the police, which is why DI Adam Fawley found himself talking to Faith Appleford and her mother.  Both were adamant that this was nothing more than an April Fool's joke which had gone wrong. No crime had been committed and Faith didn't want to take the matter any further.  Fawley and his team weren't prepared to leave it at that and they began investigating. What they found strange was that Faith Appleford didn't seem to have much of a history.
|isbn=1784742325
+
 
}}
 
}}
 
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Anne Boden
+
|isbn=1529400279
|title=The Money Revolution
+
|title=Six Wicked Reasons
|rating=4
+
|author=Jo Spain
|genre= Business and Finance
+
|rating=4.5
|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.
+
|genre=Crime
|isbn=1789660610
+
|summary=It was early summer 2018 and Adam Latimer returned home to Spanish Cove after an absence of ten years.  The family had thought him dead - in fact, that's what the private detective his mother had insisted upon had told them. He was cagey about exactly where he'd been but he seemed content, if not happy, to be home.  What brought him? Well, nine years ago his mother died and he'd seen the ''in memoriam'' in the paper: this was the first he'd heard about what had happened. His three sisters and two brothers had mixed feelings about his return, but his father is delighted.  In fact, he's determined to have a party.  Only, with Frazer Latimer, what happens has to be about him. He has an announcement to make - it's nine years since Kathleen died and he's been lonely.  He's met Ana, a Polish immigrant, and they're getting married.
 
}}
 
}}
 
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|isbn=147117316X
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|author=Penny Chrimes
|title=Guilty Not Guilty
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|title=Tiger Heart
|author=Felix Francis
+
 
|rating=4.5
 
|rating=4.5
 +
|genre=Confident Readers
 +
|summary=''Fly never meant to end up in the cage with a man-eating tiger. She just saw her chance to skedaddle, and she took it. And even when the cloud of soot cleared and she saw the golden eyes of a killer staring into hers, she still didn't turn round and climb back up the chimney straightaway. 'Cos there was worse waiting for her back on the roof.''What an opener! And there's plenty more to come!|isbn=1510107045
 +
}}
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{{Frontpage
 +
|author=Tanya Landman
 +
|title=Jane Eyre: a Retelling
 +
|rating=5
 +
|genre=Teens
 +
|summary=A young woman, fresh from living with horrid relatives who could care less about her, and years in a dreary school, moves into Thornfield Hall with only one intent – to have something like the life she wants – and with only one job, to tutor a young half-French girl, whose father is almost always absent.  When he does turn up he seems to be dark, brooding and troubled – but that's nothing compared to the darker, more broody and even more troubled secret in the house.  Yes, if you know Jane Eyre then you know the rest – but if you don't, for whatever reason, this is a wonderful book to turn to.
 +
|isbn=1781129126
 +
}}
 +
{{Frontpage
 +
|author= T R Hendrick
 +
|title= What if They Knew
 +
|rating= 4
 +
|genre= General Fiction
 +
|summary= It's 2025. Underneath a lodge in the Blue Mountain resort in Pennsylvania, is a secret facility. Here, Dr Benton and his team are making some critical scientific advances on behalf of the Benefactor, their anonymous funder. Already, the team have succeeded in teleporting small primates from one place to another. But, unbeknownst to the Benefactor, Dr Benton has also coded for another type of teleportation altogether - travel through time. And he's ready to test. If successful, Benton has a very specific use for his technology in mind
 +
|isbn=1734277211
 +
}}
 +
{{Frontpage
 +
|author= Catherine Steadman
 +
|title= Mr Nobody
 +
|rating= 4
 +
|genre= Thrillers
 +
|summary= Don't you just hate it when people are multi-talented? Author Catherine Steadman is both a successful actress and writer, with this her second novel. I think in a way her acting background shows in her writing as to my mind the 'fight scene' at the end was somewhat unrealistic – you know the kind where the hero has been hurt so many times that it's virtually impossible they'd still be alive let alone able to fight off an attacker. The story also unfolded at a steady pace throughout until the ending which felt overstuffed in a frenetic bid to wrap everything up in the last few chapters. It was almost as if the author wanted to keep the suspense until the last possible moment (which I liked) but then was somewhat left with too much to do in the closing stages.
 +
|isbn=1984890646
 +
}}
 +
{{Frontpage
 +
|isbn=1473681847
 +
|title=In Her Eyes
 +
|author=Sarah Alderson
 +
|rating=5
 
|genre=Thrillers
 
|genre=Thrillers
|summary=The Honourable William Herbert Millgate Gordon-Russell (Bill Russell to those who knew him well) was acting as a volunteer steward at Warwick Racecourse when he was told of the violent death of his much-loved wife. It would get worse though: the successful insurance actuary would be accused of killing her and hounded by the media.  Then  he would lose his job and his home.  His best friends would turn against him, as they came to believe him guilty of the murder. Yet there was no really compelling evidence that he was guilty.
+
|summary=Ava lives a charmed life, but those things sometimes rub other people up the wrong way. One evening she returns from a night out with a friend, and before she can finish her bedtime routine, her home, and her life, are under attack: masked men have broken in and are demanding money from her husband, while her young daughter cowers beside him. In the scuffle than ensues, Ava is hurt, badly. When she wakes up in hospital she can barely remember what happened, but she knows it was life-changing. With her daughter still fighting for her life in a room down the corridor, Ava has a lot to contend with as she tries to recover, wills her daughter to recover, and attempts to piece together what happened and why.
 
}}
 
}}
 +
{{Frontpage
 +
|author=Leigh Bardugo, Louise Simonson and Kit Seaton
 +
|title=Wonder Woman: Warbringer: The Graphic Novel
 +
|rating=3
 +
|genre=Teens
 +
|summary=Diana, being unique on her island, is the victim of a lot of taunts, and claims of nepotism.  It's only her unique status, and her mother being Queen, that has her with any standing at all, her naysayers declare – even though she has clearly fought to be a strong young woman.  Perhaps too strong for the island, however – for every Wonder Woman origin story has her quickly leaving home for the World of Men, and this Diana is the heroine of yet another Wonder Woman origin story.  A shipwreck disturbs her leading performance in a running race, but the survivor she drags from the waters is only going to disturb a lot more...
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|isbn=1401282555
 +
}}
 +
{{Frontpage
 +
|isbn=1786075695
 +
|title=When the Dead Come Calling (Burrowhead Mysteries 1)
 +
|author=Helen Sedgwick
 +
|rating=5
 +
|genre=Crime
 +
|summary=It began with the discovery of a body under the swings in the children's playground.  It was Dr Alexis Crosse and he was found by PC Simon Hunter, who loved him deeply, but who had reason to mistrust him.  Crosse was a psychotherapist who grew up in Greece, but such professions are misunderstood in Burrowhead (along with foreigners), a community which regards anyone not born and brought up there as an outsider.  DI Georgie Strachan is an outsider - you've only got to look at her skin to realise that, and her husband, Fergus, well, he's a little strange too, not entirely ''here''.
 +
}}
 +
{{Frontpage
 +
|author=Alastair Chisholm
 +
|title=Orion Lost
 +
|rating=4.5
 +
|genre=Confident Readers
 +
|summary=Thirteen-year-old Beth and her parents board the transport ship Orion ready for a new life on Eos Five. Their new home is still being terra-formed and life there isn't going to be easy, but it ''is'' going to be a fresh start. As Beth's mum puts it, ''There's a future waiting for us. A chance to make our own decisions, create our own lives.''
 +
|isbn=1788005929
 +
}}
 +
{{Frontpage
 +
|isbn=0753553236
 +
|title=Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything
 +
|author=B J Fogg
 +
|rating=5
 +
|genre=Lifestyle
 +
|summary=Go on, admit it - you're not quite perfect.  You still have those odd, quirky, even loveable (to you) habits that seem to annoy other people.  Other people, of course, are sorely afflicted with some dreadful flaws which they could so easily correct, if only they would make just a little bit of effort.  Or put another way, I get cross with myself because I forget to do things or do some actions more than I should and no matter how I try to make what seem to be quite monumental changes I never quite seem to get to grips with the concepts.  I constantly fail and then I get cross with myself for failing.  Lack of willpower is another burden to add to the list.
 +
}}
 +
{{Frontpage
 +
|author= B T Keaton
 +
|title= Transference
 +
|rating= 4
 +
|genre= Science Fiction
 +
|summary= Barrabus Madzimure is about to die, stranded on a mining planet millions of light-years from home, executed for high crimes against the Church, the ruling body of Earth. Except he's not Barrabus Madzimure, he's Thaniel Kilraven in Barrabus Madzimure's body. Such is the magic of Transference, the ability to transplant a person's soul or consciousness into a different body - and a power that the Church has exclusive control over. As if Thaniel doesn't have enough things to worry about, a Church employee named Corvus has arrived from Earth to interrogate him. All Thaniel wants is to see his family again, and he'll stop at nothing to accomplish this, but the Church isn't going to give in without a hell of a fight...
 +
|isbn=B082WPHTHH
 +
}}
 +
{{Frontpage
 +
|author=Christine Brown
 +
|title=Bucket Showers and Baby Goats: Volunteering in West Africa
 +
|rating=4.5
 +
|genre=Travel
 +
|summary=In the summer of 2008, this book's author was spending her days working in an office job in the USA while spending her nights dreaming about being somewhere else, doing something else. Long story short, she ended up volunteering in Ghana, West Africa. Now coincidentally, in the summer of 2010, this review's author was spending ''her'' days working in an office job (albeit in the UK) while spending ''her'' nights dreaming about being somewhere else, doing something else, and ''she'' ended up just 3 countries away, volunteering in Sierra Leone, West Africa. So you can see why, when this book came up, said reviewer was delighted to have the opportunity to read and critique it.
 +
|isbn=171024299X
 +
}}
 +
{{Frontpage
 +
|author=Mark Lingane
 +
|title=Degrade (Tesla Expansion)
 +
|rating=4
 +
|genre=Teens
 +
|summary= ''Degrade'' opens as it means to go on - with inyerface, banging action. Poor Arid, alone in the desert since his parents were killed, has a narrow escape as two mega-rigs fight it out and his is pretty much destroyed. He finds himself rescued by the mysterious-but-fascinating Ella and onboard the ''Moonlight'' under the suspicious eyes of its leader, Queen Bea. Bea's eyes flash with recognition when he tells her his name - Arid Geiger - but before he can find out why that is, there's an assassination attempt and Arid is under suspicion and imprisoned. An escape facilitated by Ella - Queen Bea's daughter - sees Arid and her other daughter, Frey, stranded in the desert...
 +
|isbn= 099461649X
 +
}}
 +
{{Frontpage
 +
|isbn=B07XLM3SM6
 +
|title=Murder at the Dolphin Hotel
 +
|author=Helena Dixon
 +
|rating=4
 +
|genre=Crime (Historical)
 +
|summary=Elowed Underhay was just twenty-seven when she disappeared from Dartmouth in June 1916, leaving her daughter, Kitty, in the care of her grandmother.  A great deal of money had been spent to find out what happened to her and the conclusion was that she was dead, mainly because there was no evidence to suggest otherwise.  Kitty has come to terms with this and in 1933 she was running the Dolphin Hotel in Dartmouth with her grandmother when her grandmother had to leave to look after her sister who was ill.  She was reluctant to leave Kitty in charge - and Kitty could not understand why.  She's always coped with the mix of holidaymakers, boating people and the naval college on the edge of town before - and she's done every job in the hotel.  And she particularly cannot understand why her grandmother's friends have been roped in to keep an eye on things ''and'' why Captain Matthew Bryant has been hired to take charge of security at the hotel.
 +
}}
 +
{{Frontpage
 +
|author=Seishi Yokomizo and Louise Heal Kawai (translator)
 +
|title=The Honjin Murders
 +
|rating=4
 +
|genre=Crime
 +
|summary=To many readers, the phrase 'locked room murder mystery' is enough to make the book one to read; preferably quantified by the words 'clever' or 'good'.  For those who need more, here is the extra background – we're in rural Japan in the 1930s.  The oldest son of an esteemed family is belatedly getting married, although the whole affair is really not as ostentatious as it might be – hardly anybody has turned up, what with it being arranged at great haste.  She only has an uncle representing her family, for one thing.  Either way, the celebrations have gone ahead as planned, only for the wedded couple to be slashed to death in their private annexe before the sun rises on their marriage.  What with a man missing parts of his fingers being in the neighbourhood, and some mysterious use of a traditional musical instrument at the time of the crime, this case has a lot of the peculiar about it.
 +
|isbn=1782275002
 +
}}
 +
{{Frontpage
 +
|author=Cixin Liu
 +
|title=Death's End
 +
|rating=5
 +
|genre=Science Fiction
 +
|summary= If I'd been paying more attention when I picked this book up, I would have put it back on the shelf.  Not because I didn't want to read it, but because I'd have figured out that it was the final part of a trilogy. Coming in partway through a saga is never the easiest thing to do and it's particularly true in science fiction because without knowing the back-story there are not just people whose names mean nothing to you (when it's assumed they will) but there are whole concepts that you won't understand.  This latter is particularly true of Cixin Liu's work – his range is phenomenal.  George R R Martin, who knows a thing or two about world-creation, described it as ''a unique blend of scientific and philosophical speculation, conspiracy theory and cosmology''.  All of that and more.
 +
|isbn=1784971650
 +
}}
 +
{{Frontpage
 +
|isbn=1780894511
 +
|title=Die Alone
 +
|author=Simon Kernick
 +
|rating=4
 +
|genre=Thrillers
 +
|summary=Ray Mason is in prison awaiting trial for murder and he's in the vulnerable prisoner unit: as a cop, he's something of a target, but the unit is not as secure as the inmates would have hoped and Mason is injured in a riot.  On his way to hospital he's broken free by armed men and an offer is made to him.  He's to assassinate the man who is likely to become the country's next prime minister and he'll then be given a new identity so that he can start afresh abroad.  His captors say that they're MI6, but Mason has his doubts.  His choices are limited though and he has personal reasons to believe that it would be better if Alastair Sheridan was dead.
 +
}}
 +
{{Frontpage
 +
|author=Akwaeke Emezi
 +
|title=Pet
 +
|rating=4.5
 +
|genre=Teens
 +
|summary=The people of the town Lucille believe that all the monsters are gone.  Their children are raised to understand that they were saved by the angels, those who rid the town of evil, and there are no monsters anymore.  But one day, Jam accidentally cuts herself and bleeds a little onto one of her mother's paintings.  The blood awakens a bizarre, terrifying-looking creature named Pet, who somehow comes to life and declares that it is here to hunt the monster.  Though Jam tries to convince it that all the monsters are gone, Pet is certain that there is one, still, and that the monster is hiding in the home of her best friend, Redemption.
 +
|isbn=0571355110
 +
}}
 +
{{Frontpage
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|isbn=1686751680
 +
|title=My Mummy does weird things / Maman fait des choses bizarres
 +
|author=Amelie Julien and Gustyawan
 +
|rating=4
 +
|genre=For Sharing
 +
|summary=Which child doesn't think that their mother is, well, ''weird''?  It might be that in the morning their mother doesn't like speaking much when every self-respecting child knows that that is when you're at your brightest with lots to say?  ''Why'' then does Mummy stick her fingers in her ears?  Then there's doing yoga in front of the television, which could be worrying if it wasn't so funny. We won't go into too much detail about what goes on in the bathroom and the colour changes which have occurred when Mummy emerges and frankly, the less said the better about her reactions to your artistic efforts on the wall.  I mean, what else would you use paint for?
 +
}}
 +
{{Frontpage
 +
|author=Justine Avery and Liuba Syrotiuk
 +
|title=What Wonders Do You See... When You Dream?
 +
|rating=4
 +
|genre=For Sharing
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|summary=''The day has ended''<br>
 +
''Hasn't it been splendid?'' <br>
 +
''But now, it's time, to be sure'' <br>
 +
''For an entirely different adventure'' <br>
  
 +
I hope you haven't forgotten how it feels to be much too excited for bed. If you're a parent at least, you'll know how it is to persuade an excited small person that yes, it is in fact time for bed. ''What Wonders DoYou See...'' sets out to cater to these children. Instead of trying to persuade them that night time is a calm time, it takes a slightly different tack. It tells them that sleep is actually an exciting time: a time of dreams in which imagination takes over and has no limit. But the trick in accessing this wonderful and exciting world is to get calm and relaxed first so that you can easily fall asleep and open the door to it. 
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|isbn=194812422X   
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}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|isbn=1908745819
+
|author=Michael Harris
|title=Surfacing
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|title=Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World
|author=Kathleen Jamie
+
 
|rating=5
 
|rating=5
|genre=History
+
|genre=Lifestyle
|summary=Sometimes when people suggest that you read a certain book, they tell you ''this one has your name on it''. Mostly we take them at their word, or not, but rarely do we ask them why they thought so, unless it turns out that we didn't like the book. That's a rare experience. People who are sensitive to hearing a book calling your name, rarely get it wrong. In this case I was told whyThe blurb speaks of the author considering ''an older, less tethered sense of herself.'' Older. Less tethered. That's not a bad description of where I am. Add to that my love of the natural world, of those aspects of the poetic and lyrical that are about style not form, and substance most of all, about connection. Of course this book had my name on it.  It was written for me. It would have found its way to me eventually.  I am pleased to have it fall onto my path so quickly.
+
|summary= This is not the book I was expecting it to be. For some reason I expected it to be another self-help manual on how to find calm, how to step outside the mainstream, but it is not that at allInstead of telling us how it is more about the ''why''. Harries examines how we're eroding solitude, which used to be a natural part of our human life, and why that matters.   Of course, he talks about how some people have found solitude and what has come of that, and eventually in the final chapter he talks about his own experience of having deliberately sought it out, but mostly he wanders down the alleys and by-ways that his thinking about this lost art led him.
 +
|isbn=1847947662
 
}}
 
}}
 
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===[[Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks]]===
 
 
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|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. [[Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks|Full Review]]
 
 
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===[[Can You Draw the Dragosaur? by Peter Lynas and Charlie Roberts]]===
 
 
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crafts|Crafts]], [[:Category:Emerging Readers|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! [[Can You Draw the Dragosaur? by Peter Lynas and Charlie Roberts|Full Review]]
 
 
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===[[A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie]]===
 
 
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Fantasy|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 . . .[[A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie|Full Review]]
 
 
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===[[Bunny by Peter Lynas and Clare Lindley]]===
 
 
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:For Sharing|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. [[Bunny by Peter Lynas and Clare Lindley|Full Review]]
 
 
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===[[Why We Quilt by Thomas Knauer]]===
 
 
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crafts|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. [[Why We Quilt by Thomas Knauer|Full Review]]
 
 
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===[[The Lying Room by Nicci French]]===
 
 
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]], [[:Category:Thrillers|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. [[The Lying Room by Nicci French|Full Review]]
 
 
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===[[Madeleine Goes to the Moon by Peter Lynas and Charlie Roberts]]===
 
 
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:For Sharing|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. [[Madeleine Goes to the Moon by Peter Lynas and Charlie Roberts|Full Review]]
 
 
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===[[The Dutch House by Ann Patchett]]===
 
 
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Literary Fiction|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. [[The Dutch House by Ann Patchett|Full Review]]
 
 
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===[[The Very Rude Toytoise by Peter Lynas and Andy S Gray]]===
 
 
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:For Sharing|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... [[The Very Rude Toytoise by Peter Lynas and Andy S Gray|Full Review]]
 
 
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===[[Recipe for Making a Snowman by Peter Lynas and Rosie Alabaster]]===
 
 
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:For Sharing|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. [[Recipe for Making a Snowman by Peter Lynas and Rosie Alabaster|Full Review]]
 
 
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===[[War and Love: A family's testament of anguish, endurance and devotion in occupied Amsterdam by Melanie Martin]]===
 
 
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:History|History]], [[:Category:Biography|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. [[War and Love: A family's testament of anguish, endurance and devotion in occupied Amsterdam by Melanie Martin|Full Review]]
 
 
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===[[Snowflake, AZ by Marcus Sedgwick]]===
 
 
[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Literary Fiction|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. [[Snowflake, AZ by Marcus Sedgwick|Full Review]]
 
 
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===[[Brightfall by Jaime Lee Moyer]]===
 
 
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Fantasy|Fantasy]], [[:Category:Historical Fiction|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…[[Brightfall by Jaime Lee Moyer|Full Review]]
 
 
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===[[The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt]]===
 
 
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Fantasy|Fantasy]], [[:Category:Literary Fiction|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? [[The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt|Full Review]]
 
 
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===[[American Royals by Katharine McGee]]===
 
 
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:General Fiction|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. [[American Royals by Katharine McGee|Full Review]]
 
 
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===[[Dead Flowers (Dr Sian Love) by Nicola Monaghan]]===
 
 
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|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. [[Dead Flowers (Dr Sian Love) by Nicola Monaghan|Full Review]]
 
 
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Latest revision as of 10:12, 21 January 2020

The Bookbag

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

There are currently 15,335 reviews at TheBookbag.

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Hitler's Secret by Rory Clements

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

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

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All the Rage (D I Fawley) by Cara Hunter

4.5star.jpg Crime

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

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Six Wicked Reasons by Jo Spain

4.5star.jpg Crime

It was early summer 2018 and Adam Latimer returned home to Spanish Cove after an absence of ten years. The family had thought him dead - in fact, that's what the private detective his mother had insisted upon had told them. He was cagey about exactly where he'd been but he seemed content, if not happy, to be home. What brought him? Well, nine years ago his mother died and he'd seen the in memoriam in the paper: this was the first he'd heard about what had happened. His three sisters and two brothers had mixed feelings about his return, but his father is delighted. In fact, he's determined to have a party. Only, with Frazer Latimer, what happens has to be about him. He has an announcement to make - it's nine years since Kathleen died and he's been lonely. He's met Ana, a Polish immigrant, and they're getting married. Full Review

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Tiger Heart by Penny Chrimes

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Fly never meant to end up in the cage with a man-eating tiger. She just saw her chance to skedaddle, and she took it. And even when the cloud of soot cleared and she saw the golden eyes of a killer staring into hers, she still didn't turn round and climb back up the chimney straightaway. 'Cos there was worse waiting for her back on the roof.What an opener! And there's plenty more to come! Full Review

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Jane Eyre: a Retelling by Tanya Landman

5star.jpg Teens

A young woman, fresh from living with horrid relatives who could care less about her, and years in a dreary school, moves into Thornfield Hall with only one intent – to have something like the life she wants – and with only one job, to tutor a young half-French girl, whose father is almost always absent. When he does turn up he seems to be dark, brooding and troubled – but that's nothing compared to the darker, more broody and even more troubled secret in the house. Yes, if you know Jane Eyre then you know the rest – but if you don't, for whatever reason, this is a wonderful book to turn to. Full Review

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What if They Knew by T R Hendrick

4star.jpg General Fiction

It's 2025. Underneath a lodge in the Blue Mountain resort in Pennsylvania, is a secret facility. Here, Dr Benton and his team are making some critical scientific advances on behalf of the Benefactor, their anonymous funder. Already, the team have succeeded in teleporting small primates from one place to another. But, unbeknownst to the Benefactor, Dr Benton has also coded for another type of teleportation altogether - travel through time. And he's ready to test. If successful, Benton has a very specific use for his technology in mind Full Review

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Mr Nobody by Catherine Steadman

4star.jpg Thrillers

Don't you just hate it when people are multi-talented? Author Catherine Steadman is both a successful actress and writer, with this her second novel. I think in a way her acting background shows in her writing as to my mind the 'fight scene' at the end was somewhat unrealistic – you know the kind where the hero has been hurt so many times that it's virtually impossible they'd still be alive let alone able to fight off an attacker. The story also unfolded at a steady pace throughout until the ending which felt overstuffed in a frenetic bid to wrap everything up in the last few chapters. It was almost as if the author wanted to keep the suspense until the last possible moment (which I liked) but then was somewhat left with too much to do in the closing stages. Full Review

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In Her Eyes by Sarah Alderson

5star.jpg Thrillers

Ava lives a charmed life, but those things sometimes rub other people up the wrong way. One evening she returns from a night out with a friend, and before she can finish her bedtime routine, her home, and her life, are under attack: masked men have broken in and are demanding money from her husband, while her young daughter cowers beside him. In the scuffle than ensues, Ava is hurt, badly. When she wakes up in hospital she can barely remember what happened, but she knows it was life-changing. With her daughter still fighting for her life in a room down the corridor, Ava has a lot to contend with as she tries to recover, wills her daughter to recover, and attempts to piece together what happened and why. Full Review

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Wonder Woman: Warbringer: The Graphic Novel by Leigh Bardugo, Louise Simonson and Kit Seaton

3star.jpg Teens

Diana, being unique on her island, is the victim of a lot of taunts, and claims of nepotism. It's only her unique status, and her mother being Queen, that has her with any standing at all, her naysayers declare – even though she has clearly fought to be a strong young woman. Perhaps too strong for the island, however – for every Wonder Woman origin story has her quickly leaving home for the World of Men, and this Diana is the heroine of yet another Wonder Woman origin story. A shipwreck disturbs her leading performance in a running race, but the survivor she drags from the waters is only going to disturb a lot more... Full Review

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When the Dead Come Calling (Burrowhead Mysteries 1) by Helen Sedgwick

5star.jpg Crime

It began with the discovery of a body under the swings in the children's playground. It was Dr Alexis Crosse and he was found by PC Simon Hunter, who loved him deeply, but who had reason to mistrust him. Crosse was a psychotherapist who grew up in Greece, but such professions are misunderstood in Burrowhead (along with foreigners), a community which regards anyone not born and brought up there as an outsider. DI Georgie Strachan is an outsider - you've only got to look at her skin to realise that, and her husband, Fergus, well, he's a little strange too, not entirely here. Full Review

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Orion Lost by Alastair Chisholm

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Thirteen-year-old Beth and her parents board the transport ship Orion ready for a new life on Eos Five. Their new home is still being terra-formed and life there isn't going to be easy, but it is going to be a fresh start. As Beth's mum puts it, There's a future waiting for us. A chance to make our own decisions, create our own lives. Full Review

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Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything by B J Fogg

5star.jpg Lifestyle

Go on, admit it - you're not quite perfect. You still have those odd, quirky, even loveable (to you) habits that seem to annoy other people. Other people, of course, are sorely afflicted with some dreadful flaws which they could so easily correct, if only they would make just a little bit of effort. Or put another way, I get cross with myself because I forget to do things or do some actions more than I should and no matter how I try to make what seem to be quite monumental changes I never quite seem to get to grips with the concepts. I constantly fail and then I get cross with myself for failing. Lack of willpower is another burden to add to the list. Full Review

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Transference by B T Keaton

4star.jpg Science Fiction

Barrabus Madzimure is about to die, stranded on a mining planet millions of light-years from home, executed for high crimes against the Church, the ruling body of Earth. Except he's not Barrabus Madzimure, he's Thaniel Kilraven in Barrabus Madzimure's body. Such is the magic of Transference, the ability to transplant a person's soul or consciousness into a different body - and a power that the Church has exclusive control over. As if Thaniel doesn't have enough things to worry about, a Church employee named Corvus has arrived from Earth to interrogate him. All Thaniel wants is to see his family again, and he'll stop at nothing to accomplish this, but the Church isn't going to give in without a hell of a fight... Full Review

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Bucket Showers and Baby Goats: Volunteering in West Africa by Christine Brown

4.5star.jpg Travel

In the summer of 2008, this book's author was spending her days working in an office job in the USA while spending her nights dreaming about being somewhere else, doing something else. Long story short, she ended up volunteering in Ghana, West Africa. Now coincidentally, in the summer of 2010, this review's author was spending her days working in an office job (albeit in the UK) while spending her nights dreaming about being somewhere else, doing something else, and she ended up just 3 countries away, volunteering in Sierra Leone, West Africa. So you can see why, when this book came up, said reviewer was delighted to have the opportunity to read and critique it. Full Review

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Degrade (Tesla Expansion) by Mark Lingane

4star.jpg Teens

Degrade opens as it means to go on - with inyerface, banging action. Poor Arid, alone in the desert since his parents were killed, has a narrow escape as two mega-rigs fight it out and his is pretty much destroyed. He finds himself rescued by the mysterious-but-fascinating Ella and onboard the Moonlight under the suspicious eyes of its leader, Queen Bea. Bea's eyes flash with recognition when he tells her his name - Arid Geiger - but before he can find out why that is, there's an assassination attempt and Arid is under suspicion and imprisoned. An escape facilitated by Ella - Queen Bea's daughter - sees Arid and her other daughter, Frey, stranded in the desert... Full Review

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Murder at the Dolphin Hotel by Helena Dixon

4star.jpg Crime (Historical)

Elowed Underhay was just twenty-seven when she disappeared from Dartmouth in June 1916, leaving her daughter, Kitty, in the care of her grandmother. A great deal of money had been spent to find out what happened to her and the conclusion was that she was dead, mainly because there was no evidence to suggest otherwise. Kitty has come to terms with this and in 1933 she was running the Dolphin Hotel in Dartmouth with her grandmother when her grandmother had to leave to look after her sister who was ill. She was reluctant to leave Kitty in charge - and Kitty could not understand why. She's always coped with the mix of holidaymakers, boating people and the naval college on the edge of town before - and she's done every job in the hotel. And she particularly cannot understand why her grandmother's friends have been roped in to keep an eye on things and why Captain Matthew Bryant has been hired to take charge of security at the hotel. Full Review

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The Honjin Murders by Seishi Yokomizo and Louise Heal Kawai (translator)

4star.jpg Crime

To many readers, the phrase 'locked room murder mystery' is enough to make the book one to read; preferably quantified by the words 'clever' or 'good'. For those who need more, here is the extra background – we're in rural Japan in the 1930s. The oldest son of an esteemed family is belatedly getting married, although the whole affair is really not as ostentatious as it might be – hardly anybody has turned up, what with it being arranged at great haste. She only has an uncle representing her family, for one thing. Either way, the celebrations have gone ahead as planned, only for the wedded couple to be slashed to death in their private annexe before the sun rises on their marriage. What with a man missing parts of his fingers being in the neighbourhood, and some mysterious use of a traditional musical instrument at the time of the crime, this case has a lot of the peculiar about it. Full Review

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Death's End by Cixin Liu

5star.jpg Science Fiction

If I'd been paying more attention when I picked this book up, I would have put it back on the shelf. Not because I didn't want to read it, but because I'd have figured out that it was the final part of a trilogy. Coming in partway through a saga is never the easiest thing to do and it's particularly true in science fiction because without knowing the back-story there are not just people whose names mean nothing to you (when it's assumed they will) but there are whole concepts that you won't understand. This latter is particularly true of Cixin Liu's work – his range is phenomenal. George R R Martin, who knows a thing or two about world-creation, described it as a unique blend of scientific and philosophical speculation, conspiracy theory and cosmology. All of that and more. Full Review

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Die Alone by Simon Kernick

4star.jpg Thrillers

Ray Mason is in prison awaiting trial for murder and he's in the vulnerable prisoner unit: as a cop, he's something of a target, but the unit is not as secure as the inmates would have hoped and Mason is injured in a riot. On his way to hospital he's broken free by armed men and an offer is made to him. He's to assassinate the man who is likely to become the country's next prime minister and he'll then be given a new identity so that he can start afresh abroad. His captors say that they're MI6, but Mason has his doubts. His choices are limited though and he has personal reasons to believe that it would be better if Alastair Sheridan was dead. Full Review

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Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

4.5star.jpg Teens

The people of the town Lucille believe that all the monsters are gone. Their children are raised to understand that they were saved by the angels, those who rid the town of evil, and there are no monsters anymore. But one day, Jam accidentally cuts herself and bleeds a little onto one of her mother's paintings. The blood awakens a bizarre, terrifying-looking creature named Pet, who somehow comes to life and declares that it is here to hunt the monster. Though Jam tries to convince it that all the monsters are gone, Pet is certain that there is one, still, and that the monster is hiding in the home of her best friend, Redemption. Full Review

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My Mummy does weird things / Maman fait des choses bizarres by Amelie Julien and Gustyawan

4star.jpg For Sharing

Which child doesn't think that their mother is, well, weird? It might be that in the morning their mother doesn't like speaking much when every self-respecting child knows that that is when you're at your brightest with lots to say? Why then does Mummy stick her fingers in her ears? Then there's doing yoga in front of the television, which could be worrying if it wasn't so funny. We won't go into too much detail about what goes on in the bathroom and the colour changes which have occurred when Mummy emerges and frankly, the less said the better about her reactions to your artistic efforts on the wall. I mean, what else would you use paint for? Full Review

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What Wonders Do You See... When You Dream? by Justine Avery and Liuba Syrotiuk

4star.jpg For Sharing

The day has ended
Hasn't it been splendid?
But now, it's time, to be sure
For an entirely different adventure

I hope you haven't forgotten how it feels to be much too excited for bed. If you're a parent at least, you'll know how it is to persuade an excited small person that yes, it is in fact time for bed. What Wonders DoYou See... sets out to cater to these children. Instead of trying to persuade them that night time is a calm time, it takes a slightly different tack. It tells them that sleep is actually an exciting time: a time of dreams in which imagination takes over and has no limit. But the trick in accessing this wonderful and exciting world is to get calm and relaxed first so that you can easily fall asleep and open the door to it. Full Review

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Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World by Michael Harris

5star.jpg Lifestyle

This is not the book I was expecting it to be. For some reason I expected it to be another self-help manual on how to find calm, how to step outside the mainstream, but it is not that at all. Instead of telling us how it is more about the why. Harries examines how we're eroding solitude, which used to be a natural part of our human life, and why that matters. Of course, he talks about how some people have found solitude and what has come of that, and eventually in the final chapter he talks about his own experience of having deliberately sought it out, but mostly he wanders down the alleys and by-ways that his thinking about this lost art led him. Full Review