Difference between revisions of "Book Reviews From The Bookbag"

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'''Read [[:Category:Features|the latest features]].''' <!-- INSERT NEW REVIEWS BELOW HERE-->
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{{Frontpage
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|author= A K Larkwood
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|title= The Unspoken Name
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|rating= 4
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|genre= Fantasy
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|summary= What does it mean to betray someone? What if that someone is a god? Csorwe has been raised knowing that she would be sacrificed to her god on her fourteenth birthday, yet when the opportunity arises, she chooses to abandon everything she knows and flee with her life. Who can blame her? Her god's reach is limited and Csorwe intends to stay far beyond it, yet fate is a funny thing and when circumstances bring her back within the reach of her god Csorwe learns that her god remembers her, and blames her very much indeed.
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|isbn=1250238900
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{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
 
|author= M G Leonard and Sam Sedgman
 
|author= M G Leonard and Sam Sedgman
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|genre=Crime
 
|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''.
 
|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
 
 
}}
 
}}

Revision as of 08:20, 11 February 2020

The Bookbag

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

There are currently 15,424 reviews at TheBookbag.

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Read the latest features.

1250238900.jpg

The Unspoken Name by A K Larkwood

4star.jpg Fantasy

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

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The Highland Falcon Thief by M G Leonard and Sam Sedgman

5star.jpg Confident Readers

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

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Perfect Kill (D I Callanach) by Helen Fields

4star.jpg Crime

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

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What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel

4star.jpg Women's Fiction

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

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

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Demelza and the Spectre Detectors by Holly Rivers

5star.jpg Confident Readers

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

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The Lantern Men (Dr Ruth Galloway) by Elly Griffiths

5star.jpg Crime

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

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

5star.jpg Politics and Society

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

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A Queen In Hiding by Sarah Kozloff

3star.jpg Fantasy

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

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

4.5star.jpg Lifestyle

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

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Deep State by Chris Hauty

3star.jpg Thrillers

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

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The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H G Parry

4star.jpg General Fiction

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

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Haven't they Grown by Sophie Hannah

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

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

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Miss Austen by Gill Hornby

5star.jpg Historical Fiction

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

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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

1786075695.jpg

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