Difference between revisions of "The Bookbag"

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===[[Confessions of a Recovering MP by Nick de Bois]]===
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===[[Toffee by Sarah Crossan]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Politics and Society|Politics and Society]]  
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Teens|Teens]]
I should warn you in advance: this may not be the best time for me to review the memoir of a Tory MP. Not only am I a left-of-centre - to put it mildly - voter and so probably have next to no points of political agreement with Nick de Bois, but I, along with everyone else, am currently subject to the debacle of parliament, government and Brexit, a dog and pony show currently revealing in hideous technicolour the absolute dearth of competent leadership among our political classes. And yes, opposition parties: I'm looking at you as well. You're just as useless.
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Sigh.
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''I am not who I say I am,''
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''and Marla isn't who she thinks she is. '' 
  
Desperate cry into the void over. Sorry about that.
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''I am a girl trying to forget.''
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''She is a woman trying to remember.''
  
At least Nick de Bois made me laugh! [[ Confessions of a Recovering MP by Nick de Bois  |Full Review]]
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Allison has finally had enough and has run away from home. The burning red weal on her face provides a clue to why. She's on her way to Bude to find Kelly-Anne, who was the first to run away from home, but Kelly-Anne isn't answering her phone. Night is closing in and so Allison takes refuge in a shed in the garden of what looks to be an empty house. But the house isn't empty. Marla lives in it and Marla doesn't remember things very well. She mistakes Allison for her friend, Toffee. And because Allison doesn't much want to be Allison any more and because Marla is so happy to see Toffee - why shouldn't Allison ''become'' Toffee? [[Toffee by Sarah Crossan|Full Review]]
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===[[In The Shadow of Heroes by Nicholas Bowling]]===
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
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Life as a slave in ancient Rome could be harsh and degrading, but Cadmus has it much easier than most. Taken into the household of the scholar Tullus when he was a baby, his keenness to learn and his excellent memory have made him invaluable to his master, who treats him more like a secretary and perhaps even a member of the family, rather than a despised, barely human creature. [[In The Shadow of Heroes by Nicholas Bowling|Full Review]]
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===[[Little Darlings by Melanie Golding]]===
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
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Lauren Tranter and her husband have just welcomed the arrival of children – twin boys, who they decide to name Riley and Morgan. But something's wrong. While everyone else is celebrating, Lauren starts to worry – that someone out there is coming to take her children away, and if she looks away for even a second, they'll strike… [[Little Darlings by Melanie Golding|Full Review]]
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===[[Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige and Stephen Byrne]]===
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===[[I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney]]===
  
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Graphic Novels|Graphic Novels]], [[:Category:Teens|Teens]], [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
  
Meet MeraShe's the latest in a line of young women intent on fighting against their intended destiny for one only they can see for themselvesHer father, the king of Xebel, sees some cotton wool and a hunky man in an arranged marriage as her future – after all, Mera's mother, the territory's warrior queen, is long deadMera doesn't fancy the cosseting or the fella involved at all, and is in fact trying to get Xebel out from under the cosh of Atlantean power, for Xebel's royalty are merely puppets of Atlantean masters.  So when she overhears her father request that her intended goes to the world of us air-breathing humans, and kill the Atlantis heir, she rushes off to get the quest (and the promised throne) all for herselfBut of course, she has no idea what kind of person she will meet, and how hard it will be to get the job done… [[Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige and Stephen Byrne|Full Review]]
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Aimee Sinclair is just on the edge of making it big time as an actorRight now she's the sort of person whom you think you know but can't quite remember where from, but that's all about to changeThat's a little worrying for Aimee as life has changed for her before and she knows that she's not really Aimee Sinclair, she's Ciara: Aimee is simply the name she was forced to take when she was snatched as a childThat's not at the front of her mind though when she comes home one day and finds that her husband, Ben Bailey, has disappearedDisappeared completely.  Along with considerable funds from their current account [[I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Poster Boy by N J Crosskey]]===
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===[[Liberation Square by Gareth Rubin]]===
  
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Dystopian Fiction|Dystopian Fiction]], [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]], [[:Category:Historical Fiction|Historical Fiction]], [[:Category:General Fiction|General Fiction]]
  
I first read 1984 in school, in the late seventies when 1984 still seemed like a long time in the future. It came and went quickly enough.  Some of us may have breathed a sigh of relief that Orwell's nightmare had not (quite) come to pass.  Others, I think, were out there already working on making sure that all he got wrong was the date. Crosskey hasn't put a date on the nightmare.  If she had, I suspect it would not be as far in the future are 1984 was when I first read Orwell.  If she had, I suspect it might hardly be in the future at all. A lot of what happens in ''Poster Boy'' is already happening.  Sadly. Frighteningly. In the blurb, Christina Racher says "…but keep it far from anyone who might be tempted to turn its fiction into reality".   My only response to that is:  too late! [[Poster Boy by N J Crosskey|Full Review]]
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In an alternate 1952, Soviet Troops control British Streets. After D-Day goes horribly wrong, Britain is first occupied by Nazi Germany – only to be rescued by Russian soldiers from the East, and Americans from the west. Dividing the nation between them, London soon finds itself split in two, a wall running through it like a scar. When Jane Cawson's husband is arrested for the murder of his former wife, Jane is determined to clear his name. In doing so, Jane follows a trail of corruption that leads her right to the highest levels of the state – and soon finds herself desperate to stay one step ahead of the murderous secret police… [[Liberation Square by Gareth Rubin|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Critical Incidents by Lucie Whitehouse]]===
 
  
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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===[[Not My Fault by Cath Howe]]===
  
When you reach a certain stage in life the phrase 'going home' when it refers to your childhood home is best if it means a short and hopefully harmonious visit.  The woman who used to be DCI Robin Lyons, but was now just Robin Lyons, went home with her thirteen-year-old daughter after she was dismissed from the Met.  She was going home to the room which she'd had as a child: she would have the bottom bunk and Elena - Lennie to those who knew her well - would have the top bunk.  The room was redolent of the time she'd shared the room with her brother Luke - and they weren't good memories. [[Critical Incidents by Lucie Whitehouse|Full Review]]
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]  
  
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''Maya and Rose won't talk to each other. Even though they are sisters. Not since the accident. Maya is turning wild and Rose doesn't know what to do. And now Maya and Rose have to go away together on a week-long school trip. Will the trip fix their sibling bond... or break it for good?''  [[Not My Fault by Cath Howe|Full Review]]
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===[[A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine]]===
 
  
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Science Fiction|Science Fiction]]
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===[[We Are Blood And Thunder by Kesia Lupo]]===
  
The problem with Martine's fiction debut is that she makes the two commonest errors in SF writing: she tries to be too clever and she wants her fictional languages to be complex and rich and errs on the side of making them unpronounceable by most readers. I can see why she does both, but it's a disappointment because they're the blocks against which the brilliance of the book stumbles. [[A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine|Full Review]]
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Teens|Teens]]
  
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''In a sealed-off city, a young woman, Lena, is running for her life. She has been sentenced to death and her only way to survive is to trust those she has been brought up to fear - those with magic.''
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''On the other side of the locked gates is a masked lady, Constance, determined to find a way back in. Years ago she escaped before her own powers were discovered. But now she won't hide who she is any longer.''
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So, Lena is a cryptling - a low caste individual living in the city of Duke's Forest.[[We Are Blood And Thunder by Kesia Lupo|Full Review]]
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===[[When Spring Comes to the DMZ by Uk-Bae Lee]]===
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===[[Things in Jars by Jess Kidd]]===
  
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:For Sharing|For Sharing]], [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime (Historical)|Crime (Historical)]]
  
There is a place on this earth that, at the time of writing, is resplendent with life. In the spring seals gambol in the river – not venturing too far, for fear of being slashed open on the razor wire the humans have put in place. In the autumn, salmon come upstream, looking doleful as well they might, for they will spawn and die, if they reach their birthing grounds. Mountain goats gambol prettily among the hills – if the landmines men left behind do not prevent them from doing so. This is a snapshot of life in the DMZ, the demilitarized zone between the two countries with Korea in their name, and it's the world's least welcome wildlife sanctuary. [[When Spring Comes to the DMZ by Uk-Bae Lee|Full Review]]
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A child has gone missing. The detective asked to take on the case is still struggling with the shame and frustration left by a previous case, where the child was not found in time. Hardly original themes for a private eye thriller. And yet . . . take another look. This detective is a woman, and the setting is Victorian London, with all the rich and colourful paradoxes of that era: technical and scientific progress jostling for space beside superstition and a fascination with the bizarre and the downright hideous. And before you're more than a couple of pages in, you realise just how much more unusual our heroine is than you expected. Bridie Devine may dress in half-mourning, with a widow's cap and stout, shiny boots, but the tobacco she smokes in her pipe (my dear, what an utterly ''fast'' thing for a lady to do!) is mixed with a nugget of something, well, let's say recreational, created by her chemist friend Prudhoe. The fact that it's actually meant to cure bronchial problems is by the by. Her housemaid, being seven foot tall, is also somewhat remarkable. And then, of course, there's the ghost. Ruby Doyle, world famous tattooed boxer (deceased) accompanies Bridie all through her investigation, and it's clear he has a soft spot for the determined young woman. If he really exists, that is. [[Things in Jars by Jess Kidd|Full Review]]
  
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===[[M for Mammy by Eleanor O'Reilly]]===
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===[[Beneath the World, A Sea by Chris Beckett]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:General Fiction|General Fiction]]
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[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Science Fiction|Science Fiction]]
  
The Augustts are, like all families, a bit complicated. A loving irish family, their love binds them together – but all express that in very different ways. However, when misfortune strikes the family they are forced to work together in order to understand each other again, as with a family as complicated as the Augustts it's not always what is spoken that makes the most sense. Things are shaken up further when Granny Mae-Anne moves in and takes charge. Full of stern words and common sense, she's a force of nature who must try her hardest to hold the family together. [[M for Mammy by Eleanor O'Reilly|Full Review]]
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South America, 1990. Ben Ronson, a British police officer, arrives in a mysterious forest to investigate a spate of killings of Duendes. These silent, vaguely humanoid creatures - with long limbs and black button eyes - have a strange psychic effect on people, unleashing the subconscious and exposing their innermost thoughts and fears. Ben becomes fascinated by the Duendes, but the closer he gets, the more he begins to unravel, with terrifying results... [[Beneath the World, A Sea by Chris Beckett|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Time and How to Spend It: The 7 Rules for Richer, Happier Days by James Wallman]]===
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===[[Where the Dead Fall (DI Ridpath, Book 2) by M J Lee]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Lifestyle|Lifestyle]]
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
  
Most things you can replace, but one of the things which you simply can't replace is time. Even though we know this, we fail to use what we have wiselyWe have more leisure time, but that's not how it feels: a high value is put on how we spend our working hours, but there's a low value on leisureUnfortunately we now know how to work and not how to ''live'': we need to ''learn'' how to spend our leisure time wisely and James Wallman has taken on the onerous task of teaching us how to do this. [[Time and How to Spend It: The 7 Rules for Richer, Happier Days by James Wallman|Full Review]]
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It really shouldn't have happenedDI Ridpath, conscious that his relationship with his wife and child is hanging by a thread, is off to collect them at his mother-in-law's house for an evening out.  Traffic was heavy on the M60 (a match at Old Trafford wasn't helping) but it was moving steadily.  Then a man wearing only a pair of blue boxers dashed out into the traffic, briefly put his hands on Ridpath's car then ran into the path of an articulated lorry.  The driver had no chance of stopping and the naked man was killed instantly.  Glancing to the hard shoulder Ridpath glimpsed a man with a gunThis was now a crime scene and the resulting seventeen-mile tail back of traffic would be the least of Ridpath's worries, although no one would let him forget about it in a hurry. [[Where the Dead Fall (DI Ridpath, Book 2) by M J Lee|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Eiffel's Tower for Young People by Jill Jonnes]]===
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===[[A Perfect Explanation by Eleanor Anstruther]]===
  
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Children's Non-Fiction|Children's Non-Fiction]]
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Literary Fiction|Literary Fiction]], [[:Category:Historical Fiction|Historical Fiction]]
  
Brash and elegant, sophisticated, controversial and vibrant, the 1889 World's Fair in Paris encompassed the best, the worst and the beautiful from many countries and cultures. The French Republic laid out model villages from all their colonies, put on art shows, dance performances, food festivals and concerts to stun the senses. And towering above it all, the most popular and the most hated monument to French accomplishment and daring – the Eiffel Tower. [[Eiffel's Tower for Young People by Jill Jonnes|Full Review]]
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Enid Campbell was a woman who, on the face of it, had everything. Leading the life of an aristocrat – full of inherited wealth and splendour, glamourous locales and high expectations. Only Enid's life has been plagued by mental illness – undiagnosed, untreated and threatening both Enid and those close to her. After losing custody of her children, Enid sells her son to her sister for £500 – but is this an act of greed, or an act of desperation? Exploring the true story of her own grandmother, Eleanor Anstruther has found the perfect subject for an explosive, moving and beautifully well written debut. [[A Perfect Explanation by Eleanor Anstruther|Full Review]]
  
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===[[The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew by Milly Johnson]]===
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===[[55 by James Delargy]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Women's Fiction|Women's Fiction]]
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]], [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
  
I liked this book. Whilst not necessarily a page-turner, this was a thoroughly enjoyable heart-warming read from the Queen of chick lit, Milly Johnson. [[The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew by Milly Johnson|Full Review]]
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Two men enter a police station, both tell the same story; they were kidnapped and narrowly escaped the clutches of a man who intended to kill them. As they escaped they ran through a graveyard and they were not the first victim. The stories match, the evidence is compelling and each man blames the other. Now the question is, who is guilty? [[55 by James Delargy|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Keep Walking Rhona Beech by Kate Tough]]===
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===[[Lord Of All the Dead by Javier Cercas and Anne McLean (translator)]]===
  
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:General Fiction|General Fiction]], [[:Category:Women's Fiction|Women's Fiction]]
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:History|History]], [[:Category:Biography|Biography]]
  
Life has just hidden behind a corner and stuck a foot out as Rhona Beech came past.  She and Mark had been together for nine years and it was beginning to feel ''settled''.  Then Mark announced that he'd got a job in Canada and he was going whether Rhona wanted to come with him or not.  The ''not'' bit of the sentence was the way it worked out and Rhona was left on her own. Well, she wasn't completely on her own: she had friends and family, but it's not the same as having that special someone in your life, that someone who makes you part of a couple. So Rhona had to start again, rejoining a world that bore little resemblance to the one she'd left nine years ago - and there's a lot of difference between being in the middle of your twenties and the middle of your thirties. [[Keep Walking Rhona Beech by Kate Tough|Full Review]]
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''Lord Of All the Dead'' is a journey to uncover the author's lost ancestor's life and death. Cercas is searching for the meaning behind his great uncle's death in the Spanish Civil War. Manuel Mena, Cercas' great uncle, is the figure who looms large over the book. He died relatively young whilst fighting for Francisco Franco's forces. Cercas ruminates on why his uncle fought for this dictator. The question at the centre of this book is whether it is possible for his great uncle to be a hero whilst having fought for the wrong side. [[Lord Of All the Dead by Javier Cercas and Anne McLean (translator)|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Heartlands (D I Jessie Blake) by Kerry Watts]]===
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===[[Super Sons: The PolarShield Project by Ridley Pearson and Ile Gonzalez]]===
  
[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Graphic Novels|Graphic Novels]], [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
  
The story had begun some twenty years earlier when two boys raped and killed Sophie Nicholl.  Jack Mackay was - on the face of it - from a decent family, but he was the ringleader. Daniel Simpson was a follower, but he still raped Sophie and he could have stopped what happened but didn't.  Sophie's body was found in a shallow grave by an enthusiastic cocker spaniel a few days later and the boys were arrested, tried and sentenced to five years in a young offenders institution.  There were those who thought that the sentence was too lenient, even for fifteen-year-old boys and Sophie's elder brother, Tom, was one of these. He wasn't going to let the matter rest. [[Heartlands (D I Jessie Blake) by Kerry Watts|Full Review]]
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It's the near future, and every coastal city – including Metropolis – is in need of a huge flood barrier, built on its coast by Wayne Enterprises. But the rising sea levels have put even those constructions under threat, forcing many people to relocate in America's biggest exodus for decades. Superman is helping out, of course – first he was patching up the dams, but now he's mining the asteroid belt for a rare dust that's perfect for blocking the solar energy from making further polar ice melt. Inland, in Wyndermere, the refugees from the coast are suffering bigotry and intolerance for being newcomers, but something else is much worse. A major bout of food poisoning is hitting the city. But it can't possibly have anything to do with what looks like sabotage of the flood barriers and the efforts to correct the climate, can it? Four young children begin to piece together clues that it can… [[Super Sons: The PolarShield Project by Ridley Pearson and Ile Gonzalez|Full Review]]
  
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===[[The Boy Who Flew by Fleur Hitchcock]]===
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===[[Confessions of a Recovering MP by Nick de Bois]]===
  
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]  
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I should warn you in advance: this may not be the best time for me to review the memoir of a Tory MP. Not only am I a left-of-centre - to put it mildly - voter and so probably have next to no points of political agreement with Nick de Bois, but I, along with everyone else, am currently subject to the debacle of parliament, government and Brexit, a dog and pony show currently revealing in hideous technicolour the absolute dearth of competent leadership among our political classes. And yes, opposition parties: I'm looking at you as well. You're just as useless.
  
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Sigh.
  
Athan Wilde earns some money to supplement his family's meagre income by working for Mr Chen who is both mentor and friend. Mr Chen's wonderful imagination and sense of the future has led him to create some fantastic inventions for making life easier and work less back breaking. His latest endeavour is something on an entirely different level, however - it's a.... ''flying machine''! Imagine that!  [[The Boy Who Flew by Fleur Hitchcock|Full Review]]
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Desperate cry into the void over. Sorry about that.
  
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At least Nick de Bois made me laugh! [[ Confessions of a Recovering MP by Nick de Bois  |Full Review]] 
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===[[Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige and Stephen Byrne]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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Reggio, in CalabriaIt's a strange place, closer to Africa than Rome as Emmanuel kept reminding himself.  He was an illegal immigrant and like most of his kind he was simply looking for a way to earn a decent living with a little dignityBack in Nigeria he was an independent man and now he is no better than the monkey who sits in a cage on the bar he tends.  The area is ruled by the MafiaFurther afield there are the Camorra and the Cosa Nostra, but here it's the 'Ndrangheta and the local boss is known as Lo Spettro - the ghost - as he's rarely seen, but he's one of the Bergamotti clan, but even that's not their real name. [[The Savage Shore by David Hewson|Full Review]]
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Meet MeraShe's the latest in a line of young women intent on fighting against their intended destiny for one only they can see for themselvesHer father, the king of Xebel, sees some cotton wool and a hunky man in an arranged marriage as her future – after all, Mera's mother, the territory's warrior queen, is long deadMera doesn't fancy the cosseting or the fella involved at all, and is in fact trying to get Xebel out from under the cosh of Atlantean power, for Xebel's royalty are merely puppets of Atlantean masters.  So when she overhears her father request that her intended goes to the world of us air-breathing humans, and kill the Atlantis heir, she rushes off to get the quest (and the promised throne) all for herself. But of course, she has no idea what kind of person she will meet, and how hard it will be to get the job done… [[Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige and Stephen Byrne|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Poster Boy by N J Crosskey]]===
  
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Dystopian Fiction|Dystopian Fiction]], [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
  
It was the end of the Christmas holidays and Felix House in an elite area of Oxford was on fireTwo children were dragged from the inferno: one, a toddler, was pronounced dead at the scene and the other, a boy on the cusp of his teens, died in hospital some days laterBut where were the parents?  Were their bodies in what remained of the house and which was being steadily cleared, or had they left the children at home alone?  For DI Adam Fawley it's one of his most disturbing casesHe's still not got over the death of ''his'' son and there's every sign that his marriage is on the rocksFor his team it's just a heartbreaking, exhausting case. [[No Way Out by Cara Hunter|Full Review]]
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I first read 1984 in school, in the late seventies when 1984 still seemed like a long time in the future.  It came and went quickly enough.  Some of us may have breathed a sigh of relief that Orwell's nightmare had not (quite) come to passOthers, I think, were out there already working on making sure that all he got wrong was the date.  Crosskey hasn't put a date on the nightmareIf she had, I suspect it would not be as far in the future are 1984 was when I first read Orwell.  If she had, I suspect it might hardly be in the future at allA lot of what happens in ''Poster Boy'' is already happeningSadly. Frighteningly. In the blurb, Christina Racher says "…but keep it far from anyone who might be tempted to turn its fiction into reality".   My only response to that is:  too late! [[Poster Boy by N J Crosskey|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Critical Incidents by Lucie Whitehouse]]===
  
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
  
''Women in Westminster have changed the culture of politics and the perception of what women can do''
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When you reach a certain stage in life the phrase 'going home' when it refers to your childhood home is best if it means a short and hopefully harmonious visit. The woman who used to be DCI Robin Lyons, but was now just Robin Lyons, went home with her thirteen-year-old daughter after she was dismissed from the Met. She was going home to the room which she'd had as a child: she would have the bottom bunk and Elena - Lennie to those who knew her well - would have the top bunk. The room was redolent of the time she'd shared the room with her brother Luke - and they weren't good memories. [[Critical Incidents by Lucie Whitehouse|Full Review]]
   
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''Women of Westminster: The MPs Who Changed Politics'' chronicles the battles the 491 women who have been elected over the course of the past century have fought and highlights their victories. It is remarkable that the history of female Members of Parliament began in 1918, the same year in which women were first given the right to vote but a decade before all women were given suffrage on equal terms with men. Although Constance de Markievicz was the first female elected to Parliament, it was only in 1919 that Nancy Astor became the first women to take her seat in the House of Commons and pave the way for women of the future. It was not long after in 1924 that the first female MP, Margaret Bondfield, was appointed into a cabinet position and since then women MPs have endeavoured to fight gender inequality and campaign for female rights. Within 100 years there has been a gradual revolution of change in politics and to date Britain has been led by two female Prime Ministers. However, such great landmarks have overshadowed the other female MPs whose early achievements, which have paved the way for subsequent women politicians, are consistently overlooked. In ''Women of Westminster: The MPs Who Changed Politics'' Rachel Reeves brings the forgotten stories into the spotlight to document the history of British female political history from 1919 to 2019. [[Women of Westminster: The MPs Who Changed Politics by Rachel Reeves|Full Review]]
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===[[A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine]]===
  
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Dr Jaq Silver is a brilliant scientist with a healthy social life who loves her work and life. Whilst she is haunted by her past she won't let it define her. When she becomes entangled in a mystery, a mystery that could tie to some of the most horrific weapons on Earth, she doesn't hesitate and jumps straight in. We follow Jaq as she travels the world digging deeper and deeper into a rabbit-hole of intrigue and betrayal, never compromising and always seeking the truth. From the ski slopes of Eastern Europe, to the sunny climes of Portugal and even making a visit to that most glamourous of locations… rainy Teeside… this is a true thriller. [[The Chemical Detectiveby Fiona Erskine|Full Review]]
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The problem with Martine's fiction debut is that she makes the two commonest errors in SF writing:  she tries to be too clever and she wants her fictional languages to be complex and rich and errs on the side of making them unpronounceable by most readers. I can see why she does both, but it's a disappointment because they're the blocks against which the brilliance of the book stumbles. [[A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine|Full Review]]
  
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===[[When Spring Comes to the DMZ by Uk-Bae Lee]]===
  
[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Historical Fiction|Historical Fiction]], [[:Category:Literary Fiction|Literary Fiction]], [[:Category:General Fiction|General Fiction]]
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:For Sharing|For Sharing]], [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
  
It strikes me that nobody can speak well of the Wild West outside the walls of a theme park.  Our agent to see how bad it was here is Pete Ferguson, who bristles at the indignity of white man against Native 'Indian', who spends days being physically sick while indulging in a buffalo hunt, and who hates the way man and woman, of course – can turn against fellow man at the bat of an eyelid. But this book is about so much more than the 1870s USA, and the attendant problems with gold rushes, pioneer spirits and racial genocide. He finds himself trying to find this book's version of Utopia, namely the Equator, where everything is upside down, people walk on their heads with rocks in their pockets to keep them on the ground to counter the anti-gravity, and where, who knows, things might actually be better.  But that equator is a long way away – and there's a whole adventure full of Mexico and Latin America between him and it… [[Equator by Antonin Varenne and Sam Taylor (translator)|Full Review]]
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There is a place on this earth that, at the time of writing, is resplendent with life. In the spring seals gambol in the river not venturing too far, for fear of being slashed open on the razor wire the humans have put in place. In the autumn, salmon come upstream, looking doleful as well they might, for they will spawn and die, if they reach their birthing grounds. Mountain goats gambol prettily among the hills – if the landmines men left behind do not prevent them from doing so. This is a snapshot of life in the DMZ, the demilitarized zone between the two countries with Korea in their name, and it's the world's least welcome wildlife sanctuary. [[When Spring Comes to the DMZ by Uk-Bae Lee|Full Review]]
  
 
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Revision as of 15:08, 20 April 2019

The Bookbag

Hello from The Bookbag, a site featuring books from all the many walks of literary life - fiction, biography, crime, cookery and anything else that takes our fancy. At Bookbag Towers the bookbag sits at the side of the desk. It's the bag we take to the library 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 15,176 reviews at TheBookbag.

Want to find out more about us?

Reviews of the Best New Books

Read new reviews by category.

Read the latest features.

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Toffee by Sarah Crossan

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

I am not who I say I am, and Marla isn't who she thinks she is.

I am a girl trying to forget. She is a woman trying to remember.

Allison has finally had enough and has run away from home. The burning red weal on her face provides a clue to why. She's on her way to Bude to find Kelly-Anne, who was the first to run away from home, but Kelly-Anne isn't answering her phone. Night is closing in and so Allison takes refuge in a shed in the garden of what looks to be an empty house. But the house isn't empty. Marla lives in it and Marla doesn't remember things very well. She mistakes Allison for her friend, Toffee. And because Allison doesn't much want to be Allison any more and because Marla is so happy to see Toffee - why shouldn't Allison become Toffee? Full Review

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In The Shadow of Heroes by Nicholas Bowling

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers

Life as a slave in ancient Rome could be harsh and degrading, but Cadmus has it much easier than most. Taken into the household of the scholar Tullus when he was a baby, his keenness to learn and his excellent memory have made him invaluable to his master, who treats him more like a secretary and perhaps even a member of the family, rather than a despised, barely human creature. Full Review

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Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Thrillers Lauren Tranter and her husband have just welcomed the arrival of children – twin boys, who they decide to name Riley and Morgan. But something's wrong. While everyone else is celebrating, Lauren starts to worry – that someone out there is coming to take her children away, and if she looks away for even a second, they'll strike… Full Review

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I Know Who You Are by Alice Feeney

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

Aimee Sinclair is just on the edge of making it big time as an actor. Right now she's the sort of person whom you think you know but can't quite remember where from, but that's all about to change. That's a little worrying for Aimee as life has changed for her before and she knows that she's not really Aimee Sinclair, she's Ciara: Aimee is simply the name she was forced to take when she was snatched as a child. That's not at the front of her mind though when she comes home one day and finds that her husband, Ben Bailey, has disappeared. Disappeared completely. Along with considerable funds from their current account Full Review

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Liberation Square by Gareth Rubin

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

In an alternate 1952, Soviet Troops control British Streets. After D-Day goes horribly wrong, Britain is first occupied by Nazi Germany – only to be rescued by Russian soldiers from the East, and Americans from the west. Dividing the nation between them, London soon finds itself split in two, a wall running through it like a scar. When Jane Cawson's husband is arrested for the murder of his former wife, Jane is determined to clear his name. In doing so, Jane follows a trail of corruption that leads her right to the highest levels of the state – and soon finds herself desperate to stay one step ahead of the murderous secret police… Full Review

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Not My Fault by Cath Howe

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers

Maya and Rose won't talk to each other. Even though they are sisters. Not since the accident. Maya is turning wild and Rose doesn't know what to do. And now Maya and Rose have to go away together on a week-long school trip. Will the trip fix their sibling bond... or break it for good? Full Review

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We Are Blood And Thunder by Kesia Lupo

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


In a sealed-off city, a young woman, Lena, is running for her life. She has been sentenced to death and her only way to survive is to trust those she has been brought up to fear - those with magic.

On the other side of the locked gates is a masked lady, Constance, determined to find a way back in. Years ago she escaped before her own powers were discovered. But now she won't hide who she is any longer.

So, Lena is a cryptling - a low caste individual living in the city of Duke's Forest.Full Review

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Things in Jars by Jess Kidd

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Crime (Historical)

A child has gone missing. The detective asked to take on the case is still struggling with the shame and frustration left by a previous case, where the child was not found in time. Hardly original themes for a private eye thriller. And yet . . . take another look. This detective is a woman, and the setting is Victorian London, with all the rich and colourful paradoxes of that era: technical and scientific progress jostling for space beside superstition and a fascination with the bizarre and the downright hideous. And before you're more than a couple of pages in, you realise just how much more unusual our heroine is than you expected. Bridie Devine may dress in half-mourning, with a widow's cap and stout, shiny boots, but the tobacco she smokes in her pipe (my dear, what an utterly fast thing for a lady to do!) is mixed with a nugget of something, well, let's say recreational, created by her chemist friend Prudhoe. The fact that it's actually meant to cure bronchial problems is by the by. Her housemaid, being seven foot tall, is also somewhat remarkable. And then, of course, there's the ghost. Ruby Doyle, world famous tattooed boxer (deceased) accompanies Bridie all through her investigation, and it's clear he has a soft spot for the determined young woman. If he really exists, that is. Full Review

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Beneath the World, A Sea by Chris Beckett

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

South America, 1990. Ben Ronson, a British police officer, arrives in a mysterious forest to investigate a spate of killings of Duendes. These silent, vaguely humanoid creatures - with long limbs and black button eyes - have a strange psychic effect on people, unleashing the subconscious and exposing their innermost thoughts and fears. Ben becomes fascinated by the Duendes, but the closer he gets, the more he begins to unravel, with terrifying results... Full Review

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Where the Dead Fall (DI Ridpath, Book 2) by M J Lee

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

It really shouldn't have happened. DI Ridpath, conscious that his relationship with his wife and child is hanging by a thread, is off to collect them at his mother-in-law's house for an evening out. Traffic was heavy on the M60 (a match at Old Trafford wasn't helping) but it was moving steadily. Then a man wearing only a pair of blue boxers dashed out into the traffic, briefly put his hands on Ridpath's car then ran into the path of an articulated lorry. The driver had no chance of stopping and the naked man was killed instantly. Glancing to the hard shoulder Ridpath glimpsed a man with a gun. This was now a crime scene and the resulting seventeen-mile tail back of traffic would be the least of Ridpath's worries, although no one would let him forget about it in a hurry. Full Review

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A Perfect Explanation by Eleanor Anstruther

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

Enid Campbell was a woman who, on the face of it, had everything. Leading the life of an aristocrat – full of inherited wealth and splendour, glamourous locales and high expectations. Only Enid's life has been plagued by mental illness – undiagnosed, untreated and threatening both Enid and those close to her. After losing custody of her children, Enid sells her son to her sister for £500 – but is this an act of greed, or an act of desperation? Exploring the true story of her own grandmother, Eleanor Anstruther has found the perfect subject for an explosive, moving and beautifully well written debut. Full Review

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55 by James Delargy

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

Two men enter a police station, both tell the same story; they were kidnapped and narrowly escaped the clutches of a man who intended to kill them. As they escaped they ran through a graveyard and they were not the first victim. The stories match, the evidence is compelling and each man blames the other. Now the question is, who is guilty? Full Review

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Lord Of All the Dead by Javier Cercas and Anne McLean (translator)

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

Lord Of All the Dead is a journey to uncover the author's lost ancestor's life and death. Cercas is searching for the meaning behind his great uncle's death in the Spanish Civil War. Manuel Mena, Cercas' great uncle, is the figure who looms large over the book. He died relatively young whilst fighting for Francisco Franco's forces. Cercas ruminates on why his uncle fought for this dictator. The question at the centre of this book is whether it is possible for his great uncle to be a hero whilst having fought for the wrong side. Full Review

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Super Sons: The PolarShield Project by Ridley Pearson and Ile Gonzalez

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Graphic Novels, Confident Readers

It's the near future, and every coastal city – including Metropolis – is in need of a huge flood barrier, built on its coast by Wayne Enterprises. But the rising sea levels have put even those constructions under threat, forcing many people to relocate in America's biggest exodus for decades. Superman is helping out, of course – first he was patching up the dams, but now he's mining the asteroid belt for a rare dust that's perfect for blocking the solar energy from making further polar ice melt. Inland, in Wyndermere, the refugees from the coast are suffering bigotry and intolerance for being newcomers, but something else is much worse. A major bout of food poisoning is hitting the city. But it can't possibly have anything to do with what looks like sabotage of the flood barriers and the efforts to correct the climate, can it? Four young children begin to piece together clues that it can… Full Review

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Confessions of a Recovering MP by Nick de Bois

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Politics and Society

I should warn you in advance: this may not be the best time for me to review the memoir of a Tory MP. Not only am I a left-of-centre - to put it mildly - voter and so probably have next to no points of political agreement with Nick de Bois, but I, along with everyone else, am currently subject to the debacle of parliament, government and Brexit, a dog and pony show currently revealing in hideous technicolour the absolute dearth of competent leadership among our political classes. And yes, opposition parties: I'm looking at you as well. You're just as useless.

Sigh.

Desperate cry into the void over. Sorry about that.

At least Nick de Bois made me laugh! Full Review

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Mera: Tidebreaker by Danielle Paige and Stephen Byrne

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

Meet Mera. She's the latest in a line of young women intent on fighting against their intended destiny for one only they can see for themselves. Her father, the king of Xebel, sees some cotton wool and a hunky man in an arranged marriage as her future – after all, Mera's mother, the territory's warrior queen, is long dead. Mera doesn't fancy the cosseting or the fella involved at all, and is in fact trying to get Xebel out from under the cosh of Atlantean power, for Xebel's royalty are merely puppets of Atlantean masters. So when she overhears her father request that her intended goes to the world of us air-breathing humans, and kill the Atlantis heir, she rushes off to get the quest (and the promised throne) all for herself. But of course, she has no idea what kind of person she will meet, and how hard it will be to get the job done… Full Review

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Poster Boy by N J Crosskey

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Dystopian Fiction, Thrillers

I first read 1984 in school, in the late seventies when 1984 still seemed like a long time in the future. It came and went quickly enough. Some of us may have breathed a sigh of relief that Orwell's nightmare had not (quite) come to pass. Others, I think, were out there already working on making sure that all he got wrong was the date. Crosskey hasn't put a date on the nightmare. If she had, I suspect it would not be as far in the future are 1984 was when I first read Orwell. If she had, I suspect it might hardly be in the future at all. A lot of what happens in Poster Boy is already happening. Sadly. Frighteningly. In the blurb, Christina Racher says "…but keep it far from anyone who might be tempted to turn its fiction into reality". My only response to that is: too late! Full Review

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Critical Incidents by Lucie Whitehouse

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

When you reach a certain stage in life the phrase 'going home' when it refers to your childhood home is best if it means a short and hopefully harmonious visit. The woman who used to be DCI Robin Lyons, but was now just Robin Lyons, went home with her thirteen-year-old daughter after she was dismissed from the Met. She was going home to the room which she'd had as a child: she would have the bottom bunk and Elena - Lennie to those who knew her well - would have the top bunk. The room was redolent of the time she'd shared the room with her brother Luke - and they weren't good memories. Full Review

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A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

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

The problem with Martine's fiction debut is that she makes the two commonest errors in SF writing: she tries to be too clever and she wants her fictional languages to be complex and rich and errs on the side of making them unpronounceable by most readers. I can see why she does both, but it's a disappointment because they're the blocks against which the brilliance of the book stumbles. Full Review

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When Spring Comes to the DMZ by Uk-Bae Lee

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews For Sharing, Confident Readers

There is a place on this earth that, at the time of writing, is resplendent with life. In the spring seals gambol in the river – not venturing too far, for fear of being slashed open on the razor wire the humans have put in place. In the autumn, salmon come upstream, looking doleful as well they might, for they will spawn and die, if they reach their birthing grounds. Mountain goats gambol prettily among the hills – if the landmines men left behind do not prevent them from doing so. This is a snapshot of life in the DMZ, the demilitarized zone between the two countries with Korea in their name, and it's the world's least welcome wildlife sanctuary. Full Review