The Bookbag

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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 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. Ewritingservice.com is the custom writing service thousands of students trust all over the world. My Homework Done is your best choice among those websites that do homework for you.

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Scrambled Eggs Super by Dr Seuss

4.5star.jpg Emerging Readers

Peter T. Hooper doesn't mean to show off, but he is very good at cooking. Some would say he is The Best capital T, capital B. And his signature dish is scrambled eggs. You might think that's quite an easy dish, one with which it's a little hard to showcase one's prowess, but not so. For Peter T. Hooper, what makes his scrambled eggs so super is the choice of egg itself, and he will go out of his way to procure the best of the best from whatever nest. Full review...

The Christopher Robin Collection by A A Milne and E H Shepard

5star.jpg Confident Readers

The Christopher Robin Collection is a compilation of stories and poems and what not, from A. A. Milne's original works, so it's a new book but with existing content, perfect for re-remembering as Owl might say, but equally good for discovering for the very first time, just like Pooh and the North Pole (Discovered by Pooh…Pooh found it). Full review...

The Marches by Rory Stewart

5star.jpg Travel

The Observer quote on the front of the paperback edition of Stewart's latest book observes This is travel writing at its finest. Perhaps, but to call it travel writing is to totally under-sell it. This is erudition at its finest. Stewart has the background to do this: he had an international upbringing and followed his father in both the Army and the Foreign Office, and then (to his father's, bemusement, shall we say) became an MP. Oh, and he walked 6,000 miles across Afghanistan in 2002. A walk along the Scottish borders should be a doddle by comparison. Full review...

The Snow Lion by Jim Helmore and Richard Jones

5star.jpg For Sharing

Caro and her mother arrive at their new home in darkness. Once inside, the house is white, bare and empty. Caro wishes that she has someone to play with and feels a little lost and small. Then one day she hears a noise and a gentle voice asking to play. She has a new friend and a very special one. The Snow Lion has appeared as if by magic to help Caro learn how to make friends of her own and maybe find the courage she has been hiding inside. Full review...

Press Out and Decorate: Unicorns by Kate McLelland

4star.jpg Crafts

It's the weekend and I've been indulging myself. There's something about a unicorn which appeals to me and a little bit of research into a book of press-out unicorns, clouds and rainbows seemed like the ideal way to spend a Saturday morning. You get twenty designs in the book and they're all decorated with pink foil: even if you don't want to add any further colouring they're still going to look great, but because the pages are a substantial card you have the opportunity to use crayons, felt tips or even paints to add your own personal touch. Full review...

All I Want For Christmas by Rachel Bright

4.5star.jpg For Sharing

All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, filed down to a normal size. We all want different things on the 25th December; some ask for world peace, whilst others ask for something more achievable like a Tamagotchi. Whatever you want, is it really the true meaning of the season? All I Want For Christmas by Rachel Bright is a nice reminder that the real reason for Chrimbo is not gift giving, but the opportunity to spend time with loved ones. Full review...

Everybody Feels Angry! by Moira Butterfield and Holly Sterling

5star.jpg For Sharing

Children don't deal easily with the emotions which flood the brain - and then chaos ensues. You can try discussing the problem before it happens or immediately afterwards, but children don't appreciate the abstract either. What you need is a specific example, an occasion which they'll readily recognise and can then see how the emotion boils up and explodes. Moira Butterfield has produced a series of books, illustrated by Holly Sterling, which take a couple of times when an emotion takes everything over. One applies to a girl and one to a boy and we see how the situations resolve themselves. Full review...

Wonders Beyond Numbers: A Brief History of All Things Mathematical by Johnny Ball

5star.jpg Popular Science

Like many people of a certain age, I have fond memories of tuning in to watch Johnny Ball enthusiastically extolling the virtues of maths and science; succeeding where our schoolteachers had failed and actually making these subjects fun. Although decades have passed since those classic TV shows, his latest book proves that he has lost none of his passion and enthusiasm for his subject. Full review...

The Ten Golden Rules of Leadership by Elizabeth Fox and Martin le Comte

5star.jpg Business and Finance

Would you like to know how to lead? I don't mean 'manage' with all its implications of 'managing a situation', but to be the person who is out there, in front, inspiring, developing and motivating those who follow you? Does it sound complicated and rather daunting? Do you wonder if you're really up to the job and whether or not you can cope? Are you perhaps worried about what you've taken on? You need some simple rules which will form the framework of your leadership and which will serve you well no matter what and who you are leading. Full review...

The Best Bear in All the World by Paul Bright, Brian Sibley, Jeanne Willis, Kate Saunders and Mark Burgess

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Winnie the Pooh is a classic, and sometimes classics should be left untouched by the hands of time. After all, can you improve on perfection? With A.A. Milne no longer with us, there are limited options for continuing the stories of Pooh, Piglet, Rabbit and the gang, but in this authorised sequel the show must and indeed does go on, with four new tales about the bear with very little brain. Full review...

Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair by Heidi Swain

5star.jpg Women's Fiction

Having just discovered author Heidi Swain and her series of novels featuring the residents of Wynbridge, I couldn't wait to read this book and it certainly didn't disappoint being every bit as good as the previous book. Yet again Heidi Swain has managed to combine an original mix of characters with a feel-good storyline to create a totally compelling read. But, don't worry if you haven't read any of the other instalments as each one focuses on a different lead character and story so it really won't matter. Full review...

Jojo's Guide to the Sweet Life by Jojo Siwa

5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

JoJo with the Bow Bow has written a Book Book! And without meaning to sound like my expectations were low, it was surprisingly good. I say this because we know JoJo as the girl from Dance Moms with the outspoken mother (well, one of the outspoken mothers) who is known for her dancing and the big bows she wears, more than for her brains. And yet this book shows us another side, a side in which she is an articulate, insightful and intelligent young woman. Full review...

The Treatment by C L Taylor

4.5star.jpg Teens

When Drew's brother is once again expelled from school, and sent away to a special reform school, Drew doesn't really care. She has enough of her own troubles to deal with. But then one day she is followed home from school by a mysterious doctor, who claims to have a sinister message from her brother, begging Drew to help him because the school is not a reform school, and actually all the children there are being brainwashed. Full review...

21 Doors to Happiness: Life Through Travel Experiences and Meditation by Chit Dubey

4star.jpg Lifestyle

I know that I'm not alone in having been brought up to achieve, to look down on those who had different (lesser, it would have been said) aims, but there comes a point in life when you wonder about the point of it all. Do you need to keep on achieving, and if so, why? Many years ago I had a light-bulb moment when I realised that achieving more, having more money, more material possessions didn't make me happy - and surely the point of it all was to be happy? Superficially that sounds very simple: live a life doing only what you want to do and pleasing yourself, but that doesn't bring happiness either. Chit Dubey believes that happiness is inside you and you just need to delve a little deeper to find it. Full review...

I Contain Multitudes: the microbes within us and a grander view of life by Ed Yong

5star.jpg Popular Science

The world you know is a lie. There is no such thing as good or bad microbes. Sickness and health are all far more complex than we thought. Things designed to save us may kill us and things we think would kill us may save us. Welcome to the modern study of Microbes. Full review...

The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

5star.jpg Teens

The Beast is an Animal, but what does that make Alys? Alys was only seven when her village was set upon by the Soul Eaters, she was the only one to see them. Alys and the other orphans are sent to the neighbouring village but this place is not like home. In the strange village of Defaid people are pious, they say that Alys's village must have been in league with the Beast, that they drew the Soul Eaters in. People in Defaid are suspicious, and they are particularly suspicious of Alys, though she never tells a soul what she has seen. Despite it's piety and it devotion to the ways of the Shepherd, Defaid feels the Soul Eaters creeping ever closer, luring them with their singing. Alys does not like Defaid or its residents and she does not belong there, Alys knows the danger of the Soul Eaters but she is drawn to them. As she grows older and the danger grows greater, the dark question grows larger in Alys's mind, is she bad like them? Full review...

Revelation Ch:25 - A Letter To The Churches From The 24th Elder by Edward K Micheal

1.5star.jpg Autobiography

Edward K Michael has taken the brave step of laying out his spiritual journey for all to see. It is a deeply personal book and he's honest enough - genuine enough - to wonder if he would have taken a different path if he had known then what he knows now, but he's generous enough too to hope that people will find comfort in the supernatural manifestations he has seen. Before you begin reading you will need to accept that the book seems to have been written without editorial intervention: you are hearing the real man speak and what you will read is very close to stream of consciousness. Full review...

Exodus by Julie Bertagna

4star.jpg Teens

Exodus is a book which, though fifteen years old, strikes some horrifying truths about the world we live in right at this moment. Set in a world ravaged by global warming and melting ice-caps, this is the story of the last inhabitants of an island called Wing, who set sail in search of a new life once Wing is sunk under the rising tide. It turns out to be a much wilder story than you'd thing, and one which dredges up so many interesting questions. Full review...

The World of Lore, Volume 1: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke

4.5star.jpg Reference

Every country, every town, every village has a folktale – a story passed down through generations that often focuses on the dark and unexplained. No matter how the modern world moves on, there's a still a part of everyone that is vulnerable to a good tale. From ghosts to werewolves, by way of wendigos and elves, author Aaron Mahnke delivers the reader legends from all over the world, whilst examining how they've become part of our collective imaginations, still striking fear into the hearts of many of us today. Full review...

Marty's Master by Suzanne Elizabeth Reed

3.5star.jpg Crime

Margaret was nervous about going for the walk around the lake on her own, convinced until the very last moment that her husband would relent and go with her. She made it to the Blue Forge Club House where her friend Laura worked behind the bar, relieved that she'd managed to leave the drunken man who was Marty's master and some other suspicious-looking men behind her. Laura looked uneasy: her dead sister's widower, Avel, had remarried and his new wife, Elena, was in the clubhouse with Avel's children - three teenage girls and a boy who was little more than a toddler. Elena didn't look in the least pleased to be there and despite Avel's promises to pick them up, he was nowhere to be seen. Full review...

The Ugly Five by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

4star.jpg For Sharing

Creating a popular character is a double edged sword; one side is buckets of cold hard cash, the other is people demanding that you trot out the same old stuff. Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler created the behemoth that is The Gruffalo and you could forgive them for producing countless books in this series, but they do not. Anyone who is a fan of the pairing will already know that their other work is also excellent; just ask Superworm or Room on the Broom. This is an established author/illustrator partnership and any new outing from them is exciting. Even if that is an outing about really ugly animals. Full review...

Stupendous Science by Rob Beattie and Sam Peet

5star.jpg Popular Science

Education should be fun. We learn best when we are engaged with practical, enjoyable tasks. That's the secret behind the experiments in Stupendous Science. They have the fun element, the 'wow factor,' and most importantly, can be easily replicated with items that are readily available in the home. Each experiment teaches an important scientific concept; essentially teaching through play. Full review...

The Snow Angel by Lauren St John

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Makena was born and raised in the city of Nairobi but she dreams of mountains, in particular Mount Kenya. When her father takes her on her first real exploration of the mountain, and she gets a brief glimpse of a strange sparkling fox, Makena thinks life can't get any better. Within weeks, however, her perfect world is shattered. Makena finds herself scratching out an existence in the city slums. She contracts cholera and almost dies. Luckily a pair of young charity workers are led to her by a fleeting image of a fox and offer her a new start and a trip to the Scottish Highlands. But will Makena be able to accept their kindness? Full review...

The Taking of K-129: The Most Daring Covert Operation in History by Josh Dean

5star.jpg History

In February 1968 the Soviet nuclear missile submarine K-129 left the port of Petropavlovsk on the Kamchatka peninsula with a crew of 98 submariners. The captain and executive officers were experienced: the only factor giving cause for concern was that the crew had only recently returned to base and were expecting a longer break and were only back at sea because two sister ships had experienced mechanical problems and were unfit for combat controls. The Division Commander complained that the decision was cruel and potentially reckless. He would be proved right - but not publicly - as K-129 went down with all hands in March 1968. It was a while before the sSoviet navy realised that it had lost one of its submarines and despite an extensive search they couldn't find it. Full review...

Invisible Pleasures by R Pollard

4.5star.jpg Autobiography

Roger Pollard has lived and loved to the full, and this memoir is a fine living testimony to both. Full review...

I Want to Go First by Richard Byrne

4star.jpg For Sharing

It's so not fair! Why should Elphie go last, just because he's the littlest? This is a question which will speak to the heart of many young children, especially those with siblings: the smallest bedroom, hand-me-down books that have been read and reread till their edges are frayed . . . but don't worry, Elphie has found the solution. Only thing is, he's going to need the reader's help to achieve his goal. Full review...

Paradise Girl by Phill Featherstone

3.5star.jpg Teens

Kerryl lives far away from the urban twenty-first century on a remote Yorkshire farm. The farm is high up on a hill and it's a family endeavour - grandparents, mother, Kerryl. There's a market town below but Kerryl's family is concentrated on the farm and the hard but beautiful living associated with it. Kerryl, though, is a fiercely bright girl - she's won a place at Cambridge University and is looking forward to going. She loves poetry. Full review...

Not Yet Dark by Simon P Clark

4.5star.jpg Teens

Philippa and Danny have been friends since they were tiny. But now, at fifteen and into the unforgiving world of adolescence, there are stresses and pressures. Danny has some new friends in the rugby team and they are full of the obnoxious, somewhat sexist, bravado of the jock world. They make jokes about Philippa and she doesn't like it. She gets angry when Danny doesn't shut them down. And, if she's truthful, she's a tiny bit jealous of the time Danny spends with them. For his part, Danny feels a bit suffocated by this. Full review...

The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed

4.5star.jpg Teens

Amy Reed’s The Nowhere Girls is another timely novel that aims to educate young women about feminism- a very hot political topic at the moment. It sees Grace, Erin and Rosina- three extremely socially awkward teenagers- unite to create a movement, known as The Nowhere Girls, which will challenge the sexist culture at their school. In the process, they hope to get justice for Lucy, a local girl who was forced to leave town as a result of the abuse she received after truthfully accusing three of her male peers of gang rape. Full review...

Ghosts of Empire by George Mann

4star.jpg Science Fiction

Taking on a band of undead Mummies will take it out of the best of us and a holiday may be needed. If you are from New York there are not many other cities worldwide that could impress you, but London is one of them. Surely, a nice visit to England, far from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, will help you to relax. It is not as if Russian Tsarists are on the loose with magical powers or the events are conspiring to raise the sleeping power of Albion from its slumber. Is it? Full review...