Difference between revisions of "The Bookbag"

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===[[The Woods Murder by Roy Lewis]]===
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===[[Bitter Edge (D I Kelly Porter) by Rachel Lynch]]===
  
[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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The girl had once been a promising athlete, but injury and then addiction to prescription painkillers changed her completely.  Eventually she was driven to commit suicide in the most gruesome way - by throwing herself off a cliff in the Lake District. It worried DI Kelly Porter, but she had no reason to investigate, although several of her cases keep bringing her back to the girl's school and a darker story emerged.  One of the pupils goes missing at the local fair: her best friend is the girl who has accused a teacher of luring her to his flat and then sexually assaulting her.  It seems that the teacher also has paedophilia on his computer, but the downloading eerily coincides with the girl's visit to his flat.  What is going on, but - most importantly - where is Faith? [[Bitter Edge (D I Kelly Porter) by Rachel Lynch|Full Review]]
  
Jenny Carson was just nine years old when she was murdered whilst taking a shortcut through Kenton Woods.  Her father blamed lawyer Charles Lendon for her death - not that he thought he was physically responsible, but because Lendon had refused to allow the local children to use his driveway as a shortcut to school, forcing them to cut through the woods if they were late.  Lendon wasn't a popular man - he would say that lawyers never are - partly because of his attitudes, but his incessant womanising had made him a lot of enemies.  When Lendon was murdered a couple of months after Jenny's death, there was no shortage of suspects. [[The Woods Murder by Roy Lewis|Full Review]]
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===[[Murder at the Manor Hotel (Melissa Craig 4) by Betty Rowlands]]===
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===[[Dead Memories (D I Kim Stone) by Angela Marsons]]===
  
[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
  
Melissa Craig should have been getting on with writing her latest mystery novel but she'd been sidetracked into working on the script for a pantomimeIt wasn't a traditional panto, but a spoof for the birthday party of a local millionaire, to be held on HalloweenIt's got all the hallmarks of a mystery ''and'' a pantomime and it looks as though cast and audience are all in for a good time with the rehearsals being held in a luxury hotelWell, they were until one member of the cast turns up dead in the cellar at the bottom of a steep flight of stairsWhat was he doing there and why is the hotel manager acting so strangely? [[Murder at the Manor Hotel (Melissa Craig 4) by Betty Rowlands|Full Review]]
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Someone is recreating every traumatic event in Kim Stone's past, starting with the death of her twin when she was six years oldSome of the events, or at least the details of them, are not public knowledge, but whoever is behind this has a wealth of information and is using it to evil intentThat might seem bad enough, but the brutal truth of the matter is that people - innocent people - are dying so that these dramas can be recreatedStone probably - well, certainly - shouldn't be on the case, but who has better knowledge of what happened to her than she does?  If her boss can just turn a blind eye to the effect it's having on her for long enough, she can sort it out..Or can she? [[Dead Memories (D I Kim Stone) by Angela Marsons|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Salvation by Peter F Hamilton]]===
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===[[Out of the Dark by Gregg Hurwitz]]===
  
[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Science Fiction|Science Fiction]]
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
  
Apparently the term ''space opera'' was coined in 1941 as a pejorativeIt was borrowed not from the high-brow musical art form, but from the common or garden 'soap opera'. It related to a particular kind of science fiction which the coiner (one Wilson Tucker) described as a ''hacky, grinding, stinking, outworn, spaceship yarn''.  It would be fifty years later before the term started to be re-appropriated to cover – if still the same themes of distant futures, military conflict, heroism and a simplistic set of values – more literary, more expansive works.   The term is now taken as compliment. [[Salvation by Peter F Hamilton|Full Review]]
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1997Evan Smoak is 19 years old ''trained up, mission ready. And yet untested.'' He's in a foreign city on an officially unofficial mission, which he executes with all the impeccable training that his youth belies. Evan Smoak is Orphan X. [[Out of the Dark by Gregg Hurwitz|Full Review]]
  
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===[[House of Glass by Susan Fletcher]]===
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===[[Watching You by Lisa Jewell]]===
  
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Literary Fiction|Literary Fiction]], [[:Category:Historical Fiction|Historical Fiction]]
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
  
Clara suffered from ''Osteogenesis imperfecta'': these days it would probably be called brittle bone disease and whilst there is still no cure, treatments have advanced. At the beginning of the twentieth century it meant that Clara was confined to her home, living life through a window and the tales her mother, Charlotte, brought home. Both became far too knowledgeable about bones and the sounds they made on breaking. Charlotte would ''list bones like continents''. Clara would only escape the house after her mother's death - of a tumour at the age of thirty nine - and in her wanderings discovered Kew Gardens. Her growing knowledge of tropical plants led to the offer of a job stocking a newly-built glass house at Shadowbrook in Gloucestershire. [[House of Glass by Susan Fletcher|Full Review]]
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A teenage boy spies on a teenage girl from his bedroom window. Down the road, a woman is convinced she knows a man in the village and that he is following her. Meanwhile, a young woman has moved back home after some time abroad, and develops a fascination with her new neighbour. The man's wife, meanwhile, engages the services of the young woman's husband in some work around the house. Oh, and that teenage boy? He's her son. And the woman with the conspiracy theories? She's the mother of the girl he's spying on. Plus, the man she thinks is out to get her is the woman's husband (and is also the new headteacher at her daughter's school). Whichever way you look at it, there's a lot of watching going on in this book. [[Watching You by Lisa Jewell|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Under the Ice (DCI Jansen) by Rachael Blok]]===
 
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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===[[Fish Seeking Bicycle by Kate Cooch]]===
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It's eleven days to Christmas and the cathedral city of St Albans is looking particularly festive with a covering of snow, but this belies the atmosphere: the body of a young girl has been found frozen in the local lake.  DCI Jansen's only lead comes from Jenny Brennan - but can you put any credence on statements made by the sleep-deprived mother of a four month old child, particularly one who claims to have seen visions?  Can you believe her statements that she's been sleep-walking in the middle of the night when she find evidence that the police have missed?  When another girl goes missing the tiny city is in melt-down and for Jenny it all seems close to home. Far too close to home. [[Under the Ice (DCI Jansen) by Rachael Blok|Full Review]]
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This novel is set about a hundred years into the future. The world has been decimated by nuclear conflict and what's left of the old United States is run from Center City. Women run this world and it is very proud of having defeated the old patriarchy. Men must behave appropriately and deferentially at all times and, if they don't, are medicalised to keep their baser instincts under control. And if that doesn't work, they're sent to work camps, away from open society, or even worse: expelled to the wilderness beyond the Central Authority's borders.   [[Fish Seeking Bicycle by Kate Cooch|Full Review]]
  
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===[[The Light Between Worlds by Laura Weymouth]]===
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===[[Home Workout for Beginners: 6 Week Fitness Program with Fat Burning Workouts for Long Term Weight Loss by James Atkinson]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Teens|Teens]]
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Lifestyle|Lifestyle]]
  
Five years ago Evelyn, Philippa and James Hapwell escaped to the safety of their air raid shelter as bombs fell all around the streets of London. In the terrifying darkness waiting for their parents to join them, Evelyn prayed to be anywhere else.  
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James Atkinson has all the qualifications which you need in a workout instructor and he looks the part. He's been actively involved in the health and fitness arena for more than twenty years and he spent nine years as a member of 9 Parachute Regiment, Royal Engineers.  He has another qualification which means a lot to me: he's been on the other side. There was a time when he was overweight and not particularly strong.  As a child he was slow to develop.  This means that he ''understands'' what it's like and he knows how his clients feel: it's much more helpful than the twenty-something who was born super-fit and with an attitude problem. [[Home Workout for Beginners: 6 Week Fitness Program with Fat Burning Workouts for Long Term Weight Loss by James Atkinson|Full Review]]
A plea that was answered by The Woodlands. One moment in grey London and the next surrounded by a rich green forest, the three children were transported from one world trapped in war, to another on the brink of its own. [[The Light Between Worlds by Laura Weymouth|Full Review]]
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===[[Clownfish by Alan Durant]]===
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===[[Live Forever Manual: Science, ethics and companies behind the new anti-aging treatments by Adrian Cull]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Lifestyle|Lifestyle]], [[:Category:Popular Science|Popular Science]]
  
When Dak's dad dies very suddenly, from a heart attack, Dak is left feeling lost and aloneHis mum is lost inside her own grief, struggling to take care of herself, let alone care for Dak, and so he escapes to the local aquarium - somewhere that both he and his dad had loved.  But then he discovers that actually, his dad has turned into a clownfish and is living at the local aquarium!  What will Dak do when the aquarium's future is in question, and he may potentially lose his dad all over again? [[Clownfish by Alan Durant|Full Review]]
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For many years now I've (half) joked that I intended to live forever and that so far, it was working out OK.  Time has passed though and although I'm a great deal fitter and healthier than most people of my age there were a few nagging health problems which were tipping my life out of balanceIt was time to look for a new approach and as so often happens, the reviewing gods brought me the book I needed.  ''Live Forever Manual: Science, ethics and companies behind the new anti-aging treatments'' seemed like the answer to my problems - only you get so much more than just 101 tips. [[Live Forever Manual: Science, ethics and companies behind the new anti-aging treatments by Adrian Cull|Full Review]]
  
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===[[The City In The Middle Of The Night by Charlie Jane Anders]]===
  
===[[Only the Ocean by Natasha Carthew ]]===
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[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Science Fiction|Science Fiction]]
  
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Teens|Teens]]  
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January is a dying planet. It wasn't exactly pleasant to begin with. One half is scorching sunlight, pure, blazing heat, and totally uninhabitable. The other half is pure darkness and ice, where a creature can freeze to death in seconds, and totally uninhabitable. In the middle is a brief twilight that is barely survivable. Life is a knife-edge, stray too close to one side you die, to close to the other, you die and yet the heat from the sun and the water from the ice are necessary for life. Life for the inhabitants of January is long, and hard, and arduous, will anything ever change? [[The City In The Middle Of The Night by Charlie Jane Anders|Full Review]]
  
Kel Crow lives with a heart defect that could kill her at any time. Her only hope is to escape the floodridden, waterlogged Cornish world she lives in, to leave her drug-running family far behind, and get to America with enough money for an operation. She has a plan: stowaway on a ship, kidnap a rich girl, exchange the girl for enough money for the journey to America and the surgery that will change her life.  [[Only the Ocean by Natasha Carthew |Full Review]]
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===[[Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake]]===
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===[[Exit Day: Brexit; An Assassin Stalks the Prime Minister by David Laws]]===
  
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Teens|Teens]], [[:Category:Fantasy|Fantasy]]
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[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
  
''You cannot put on a costume and become something else. You are a queen of Fennbirn island.''
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At the time of my writing this, there is one thing uniting Britain, and this is hatred of 'Brexit'. Not just Brexit, but use of the word 'Brexit'. Yes, people hate the people that instigated it then disappeared, and/or the people who just can't seem to get their fingers out and complete it, but they also hate the use of the word. This biggest turn-off has made people who have never so much as tutted in their life slam down their tea-cups in high dudgeon and leave the room until it's safe to return, when all mention of it has subsided.  I mention this in relation to this book because it is partly about Brexit, but because it too seems to get to the actual Brexiting in a very protracted manner. Just as we have to wade through dirges from Europe to get anywhere, it seems, so the reader of this book has to get through a lot from Europe before the title's theme really arises.  Here, at least though, the author's delaying tactics are much more forgiveable. [[Exit Day: Brexit; An Assassin Stalks the Prime Minister by David Laws|Full Review]]
   
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Following on from [[Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake|Three Dark Crowns]] and its sequel [[One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake|One Dark Throne]], in ''Two Dark Reigns'' each of the Goddess' daughters have their own battles to fight. All her life, Katharine has dreamed of being the great Queen the island of Fennbirn deserves. Having won the crown though, she is facing trial after difficult trial and murmurs of dissent and revolution grow louder on the streets each and every day. And without evidence of her sisters' death does anyone but herself and the old queens buried under her skin, believe she is the one true Queen? [[Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake|Full Review]]
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===[[A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult]]===
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===[[The Hidden by Mary Chamberlain]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:General Fiction|General Fiction]]
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Literary Fiction|Literary Fiction]], [[:Category:Historical Fiction|Historical Fiction]]
  
The Center is the last remaining abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi and is the source of great controversy when it comes to the Pro-Life versus Pro-Choice debate. It is at The Center where one man, George Goddard, takes it upon himself to get revenge for the loss of his grandchild, in the form of a mass-shooting. What arises is a novel that details the lives of the remaining hostages, as well as other characters central to the story. One of these characters is Hugh McElroy, a hostage negotiator called in to help deflate the situation, who soon discovers that his sister and daughter, Wren, happened to be at the clinic that day. [[A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult|Full Review]]
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When Barbara Hummel arrives, determined to identify the mysterious woman whose photograph she has found among her mother's possessions, Dora and Joe find their worlds upended – and are swiftly forced to confront their pasts. Revisiting their time on the Channel Islands during World War II, Dora remembers a time when she concealed her Jewish identity, and Joe, a Catholic Priest, remembers a time when he hid something very different. In this story of love, loss and betrayal, it remains to be seen whether a speck of light can diffuse the darkest shadows of war… [[The Hidden by Mary Chamberlain|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Gentleman Jack (DI Yates 7) by Christina James]]===
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===[[Painting Snails by Stephen John Hartley]]===
  
[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Autobiography|Autobiography]], [[:Category:Lifestyle|Lifestyle]]
  
The investigation into the thefts of farm machinery has been going on for months and it's getting DI Tim Yates down: he can't see where to go nextIt's almost a relief when Jack Fovargue, agricultural entrepreneur and local celebrity is assaulted in the street, but no one can understand why Fovargue is so reluctant to help the police with their enquiries, or to press charges, particularly when a police officer was also assaultedYates is then diverted into the investigation which followed the discovery of the headless body of a woman in a canal near Lincoln: it's an interesting case but the downside is that the senior investigating officer is DI Michael RobinsonThey're contemporaries but Robinson is bumptious and inclined to taking credit for other people's efforts. [[Gentleman Jack (DI Yates 7) by Christina James|Full Review]]
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It's very difficult to classify ''Painting Snails'': originally I thought that as it's loosely based around a year on an allotment it would be a lifestyle book, but you're not going to get advice on what to plant when and where for the best resultsThe answer would be something along the lines of 'try it and see'.  Then I considered popular science as Stephen Hartley failed his A levels, did an engineering apprenticeship, became a busker, finally got into medical school and is now an A&E consultant (part time).  I found out that there's an awful lot more to what goes on in a Major Trauma Centre than you'll ever glean from ''Casualty'', but that isn't really what the book's aboutThere's a lot about rock & roll, which seems to be the real passion of Hartley's life, but it didn't actually fit into the entertainment genre either.  Did we have a category for 'doing the impossible the hard way'?  Yep - that's the oneIt's autobiography. [[Painting Snails by Stephen John Hartley|Full Review]]
  
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===[[A Clean Death by Adriaan Verheul]]===
 
  
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===[[The Haven: Book 1 by Simon Lelic]]===
  
Three very different men meet in the jungle, led there by fate. Davey sees conspiracies everywhere, Oliver seeks answers about the death of his father, and Captain Christmas leads a community of armed men, women and children, hidden far from justice in the forest. As the three men are brought together, the events could cause each to lose something of consequence: maybe illusion, maybe conviction, and maybe, just maybe, life itself… [[A Clean Death by Adriaan Verheul|Full Review]]
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
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When Ollie and Nancy, the police officer tasked with guarding our young hero, are abducted in the middle of the night, things take a dangerous turn. Rescued by Dodge, Ollie is taken to the Haven, a secret underground community based in a network of underground tunnels that the London above ground knows nothing about. Here, children work together to battle great evils. And there is an immediate enemy to fight. Ollie would have been the hundredth victim of Maddy Sikes had he not been rescued. And Maddy intends to destroy the city.  [[The Haven: Book 1 by Simon Lelic|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Beyond Thought by Chris Dhladhla]]===
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===[[The Things That are Lost by Alan Kennedy]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Lifestyle|Lifestyle]]
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:General Fiction|General Fiction]]  
  
Have you ever felt trapped by your own thoughts? That your mind is so busy processing what's going on in the world around you that you just can't catch a moment and simply ''be''? Or that the outside world just won't stop pressing in upon an inner life that you'd like to be more peaceful? [[Beyond Thought by Chris Dhladhla|Full Review]]
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The final novel in Alan Kennedy's WW2 trilogy sees Captain Alex Vere taken off active duty and banished to Scotland, providing trade craft spy training. It's stifling and suffocating and feels as much like a prison to Alex as anything the Germans would provide. And where is Justine? Alex hasn't seen her since he went to ''that'' disastrous meeting with John Cabot, instigator of the disinformation campaign, and returned to find her missing. A failed mission is one thing but no Justine is quite another. Alex can't get Justine out of his head. Has she left the service? Does she know too much? Is she even still alive?  [[The Things That are Lost by Alan Kennedy|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Where the Truth Lies (DI Ridpath) by M J Lee]]===
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===[[Song of the Dead (DI Westphall) by Douglas Lindsay]]===
  
 
[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
 
[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
  
DI Thomas Ridpath - call him Ridpath as he doesn't think Tom or Thomas suits him - looked to have a promising future in CID until he was forced to take extended sick leave nine months ago.  He's back, but the word ''cancer'' leaves people doubting how well you really are, or are going to stay.  Perhaps it would be better if he quietly retired? His wife, Polly, would like to see him in a desk jobRidpath would like to be back in front-line policing, but all that's available to him is a secondment for three months as Coroner's OfficerIf that's how it's got to be, then he'll do the best job he can. [[Where the Truth Lies (DI Ridpath) by M J Lee|Full Review]]
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A man walked into a police station in Estonia.  He told a tale of having been held prisoner, used as a donor for organ harvesting and sperm donation.  X-rays and medical examination bear out this part of his story, but this man, or the man he says he is - John Baden - died twelve years ago. His body was identified by his partner, Emily King and by his parents - and then the body was buriedSo, who is this man?  DI Ben Westphall is sent to Estonia because of his background in MI6, but that brings some baggage with it tooWestphall cannot, will not, get on a plane.  His last experience of flight was more than enough for one lifetime. [[Song of the Dead (DI Westphall) by Douglas Lindsay|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Tales of Love and Disability by Laura Solomon]]===
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===[[A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Short Stories|Short Stories]]
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Teens|Teens]]
  
I've always believed that less-able writers produce longer books: it takes a great deal of skill and talent to write a short story which holds the reader and keeps them coming back for more. There are far too many collections of short stories which are all too easy to put down and forget after you've read a couple of pieces. I've recently read a couple of novellas by Laura Solomon - [[Marsha's Deal by Laura Solomon|Marsha's Deal]] and [[Hell's Unveiling by Laura Solomon|Hell's Unveiling]] and enjoyed them, so I was intrigued to see what she could do with an even shorter form. [[Tales of Love and Disability by Laura Solomon|Full Review]]
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''No Widdershins girl has ever been able to leave Crowstone. If we do, we'll die by the next sunset. ''
  
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''A Pinch of Magic'' follows three sisters – Betty, Fliss and Charlie – who have lived on the isle of Crowstone, infamous for its surrounding marshes and the neighbouring inescapable prison, for their entire lives. The middle sister, Betty, has longed for adventure for as long as she can remember and she is determined that nothing and no-one will prevent her from seeing everything that the world has to offer. But in setting out to do just that, she and her sisters discover a deadly curse which has haunted their family for generations. From their ancestors, as well as a lifetime trapped on Crowstone, they have each inherited a magical object – an old carpet bag, a set of wooden nesting dolls and an antique handheld mirror – all of which are more than meets the eye and could possibly be the key to their problem. [[A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison|Full Review]]
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===[[A Snapshot of Murder (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody]]===
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Even detectives need a break and for Kate Shackleton, photography gives her the mental relaxation which she needs.  When the local Photographic Society proposed an outing, Kate was keen to take the opportunity to visit Haworth and Stanbury, not least because the deeds of the Brontë Parsonage are being handed over so that it can become a museum and her parents will be there for the event.  What could be better than seeing her family, witnessing a momentous event and having the opportunity to take photographs of the setting for ''Wuthering Heights''?  Nothing could go wrong.  Or could it? [[A Snapshot of Murder (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody|Full Review]]
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===[[Never Tell by Lisa Gardner]]===
  
===[[The Afterwards by A F Harrold and Emily Gravett]]===
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]], [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
  
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Evie Carter's husband was shot dead in his own home and she was found with the gun in her hands.  Was this a domestic dispute which had got out of hand?  Was it pregnancy hormones running rampant?  Detective D D Warren recognised Evie immediately.  It might have been sixteen years ago, but there's no mistaking the teenager who had accidentally shot and killed her father: 'a tragic accident' everyone said, as there was no doubt about the love the two had for each other. D D had no worries at the time, but just how many gun accidents can one woman have - or is Evie about to get away with murder again? [[Never Tell by Lisa Gardner|Full Review]]
  
''Tell them what The Afterwards is about, they said.''<br>
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''Hopefully you know this, but...''<br>
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''It's a book with friendship in it.''<br>
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''It's a book with death in it.''<br>
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''It's a book with betrayal in it.''<br>
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''It's a book with love in it.''<br>
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''It's a book with a cat in it.''<br>
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''That's what I know.''<br>
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''That's what I can tell you.''<br>
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''That'll do me.''
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To be honest, I'd be surprised if that wouldn't do you, too.[[The Afterwards by A F Harrold and Emily Gravett|Full Review]]
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===[[The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder]]===
  
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After a big blow-up fight with her mum, Emily is left alone with her dad. Her mum has gone away on some strange job (even though Emily didn't think her mum even ''had'' a job) and so she is not quite sure what is going on.  Things turn even stranger still when her dad goes off to find her mum, and then doesn't come back.  She heads out to investigate and discovers a strange, secret world called the Midnight Hour, which seems to be London during Victorian times, and is full of magical beings (and monsters!)  What were her parents doing here?  And will she be able to find them and rescue them, so her life can go back to normal? [[The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder|Full Review]]
  
 
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Something's gone horribly wrong. It's Christmas Eve and everything is very busy in Santa's grotto. The presents are all ready and waiting to be loaded onto the sleigh and the reindeer are itching to get going. But Santa? Santa is just not in the mood. He is tired of delivering the latest toys to children who only play with them for five minutes. He wishes people would remember what Christmas is really about - a time for families to come together for love and friendship and goodwill to one another. [[Santa Goes on Strike by Jem Vanston|Full Review]]
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===[[Gallowstree Lane by Kate London]]===
  
===[[The Coming of the Spirits by Rob Keeley]]===
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
 
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In Victorian England, young Edward Fitzberranger is about to be infected with scarlet fever and die. Further back still in time, Sir Francis Fitzberranger is about to marry Tina, the love of his life. In the modern day, Henry and Luke are getting on with life. And in an alternate timeline, Ellie is working for a resistance movement and struggling under a Britain ruled by the Nazis...  [[The Coming of the Spirits by Rob Keeley|Full Review]]
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===[[Snowglobe by Amy Wilson]]===
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]], [[:Category:Teens|Teens]]  
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Spencer was just fifteen years old when he stepped out into a London Street and asked a complete stranger for help, begging him not to let him die. The stranger was an off-duty paramedic but even his skills were insufficient to save Spence.  Just one of those things you might, think.  Tragic, but teenage boys seem to be getting stabbed on the streets of London all the time.  His friend Ryan was with Spence when he was stabbed.  It was Ryan who called the ambulance on the paramedic's instruction, sobbing as he held the phone.  But Ryan wasn't prepared to accept that it was just one of those things.  He wanted revenge. [[Gallowstree Lane by Kate London|Full Review]]
  
Jago doesn't like Clementine. He knows there is something different about her and he doesn't like it. And he never lets her forget it. Clementine knows she's different too, and that the difference is magic. And as much as she tries to ignore it, Clementine's magic is getting stronger. So when Jago's bullying gets too much, it's not really surprising that Clem loses control of it and gets herself suspended from school.  [[Snowglobe by Amy Wilson|Full Review]]
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===[[How to Lose a Country: The 7 Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship by Ece Temelkuran]]===
  
===[[The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig and Chris Mould]]===
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Politics and Society|Politics and Society]], [[:Category:Autobiography|Autobiography]], [[:Category:History|History]]
  
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]], [[:Category:For Sharing|For Sharing]]
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A little while ago a friend asked me if I thought that we were living through what in years to come would be discussed by A level history students when faced with the question ''Discuss the factors which led to...''  I agreed that she was right and wasn't certain whether it was a good or bad thing that we didn't know what all 'this' was leading to. I think now that I do know.  We are in danger of losing democracy and whilst it's a flawed system I can't think of a better one, particularly as the 'benevolent dictator' is as rare as hen's teeth. [[How to Lose a Country: The 7 Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship by Ece Temelkuran|Full Review]]
 
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Poor old Truth Pixie. She's cursed! She can't speak unless it's to tell the truth. You might think this is a good thing because telling lies is bad, right? But sometimes the truth isn't nice and sometimes a white lie is okay and sometimes it's better to say nothing at all. You might not want to attract the attention of the school bully by calling him mean and nasty, for example, or you might not want to tell someone that you think their brand new haircut looks awful.  [[The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig and Chris Mould|Full Review]]
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===[[A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:General Fiction|General Fiction]], [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Teens|Teens]], [[:Category:General Fiction|General Fiction]]
  
Dr Jess Castle, the self proclaimed failure of the prestigious Castle family has returned home to the sleepy, idyllic chocolate box town of Castle Kidbury. Rather than being delighted, her family are suspicious, especially her father, the judge. Luckily for Jess, she doesn't have to try too hard to dodge her family's suspicions as a series of gruesome local murders are taking place and that's all anyone is talking about. Jess accidentally finds herself in the thick of the investigation, and to her delight finds that she can actually be useful. But with the small population dwindling and the sense of danger moving ever closer to home, has Jess made a grave mistake getting involved? [[Jess Castle and the Eyeballs of Death by M B Vincent|Full Review]]
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''They needed someone to blame, and I was the only available scapegoat. Their daughter was my best friend. Playing the scapegoat was the least I could do under the circumstances.'' Seventeen year old Hannah Gold was born mature – or so her parents tell her. She has dined in fancy restaurants, explored the most sophisticated corners of the globe and lived a life of luxury. [[A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel|Full Review]]
  
 
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Latest revision as of 09:16, 20 February 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 15,087 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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Bitter Edge (D I Kelly Porter) by Rachel Lynch

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

The girl had once been a promising athlete, but injury and then addiction to prescription painkillers changed her completely. Eventually she was driven to commit suicide in the most gruesome way - by throwing herself off a cliff in the Lake District. It worried DI Kelly Porter, but she had no reason to investigate, although several of her cases keep bringing her back to the girl's school and a darker story emerged. One of the pupils goes missing at the local fair: her best friend is the girl who has accused a teacher of luring her to his flat and then sexually assaulting her. It seems that the teacher also has paedophilia on his computer, but the downloading eerily coincides with the girl's visit to his flat. What is going on, but - most importantly - where is Faith? Full Review

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Dead Memories (D I Kim Stone) by Angela Marsons

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

Someone is recreating every traumatic event in Kim Stone's past, starting with the death of her twin when she was six years old. Some of the events, or at least the details of them, are not public knowledge, but whoever is behind this has a wealth of information and is using it to evil intent. That might seem bad enough, but the brutal truth of the matter is that people - innocent people - are dying so that these dramas can be recreated. Stone probably - well, certainly - shouldn't be on the case, but who has better knowledge of what happened to her than she does? If her boss can just turn a blind eye to the effect it's having on her for long enough, she can sort it out... Or can she? Full Review

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Out of the Dark by Gregg Hurwitz

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

1997. Evan Smoak is 19 years old trained up, mission ready. And yet untested. He's in a foreign city on an officially unofficial mission, which he executes with all the impeccable training that his youth belies. Evan Smoak is Orphan X. Full Review

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Watching You by Lisa Jewell

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

A teenage boy spies on a teenage girl from his bedroom window. Down the road, a woman is convinced she knows a man in the village and that he is following her. Meanwhile, a young woman has moved back home after some time abroad, and develops a fascination with her new neighbour. The man's wife, meanwhile, engages the services of the young woman's husband in some work around the house. Oh, and that teenage boy? He's her son. And the woman with the conspiracy theories? She's the mother of the girl he's spying on. Plus, the man she thinks is out to get her is the woman's husband (and is also the new headteacher at her daughter's school). Whichever way you look at it, there's a lot of watching going on in this book. Full Review

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Fish Seeking Bicycle by Kate Cooch

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

This novel is set about a hundred years into the future. The world has been decimated by nuclear conflict and what's left of the old United States is run from Center City. Women run this world and it is very proud of having defeated the old patriarchy. Men must behave appropriately and deferentially at all times and, if they don't, are medicalised to keep their baser instincts under control. And if that doesn't work, they're sent to work camps, away from open society, or even worse: expelled to the wilderness beyond the Central Authority's borders. Full Review

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Home Workout for Beginners: 6 Week Fitness Program with Fat Burning Workouts for Long Term Weight Loss by James Atkinson

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

James Atkinson has all the qualifications which you need in a workout instructor and he looks the part. He's been actively involved in the health and fitness arena for more than twenty years and he spent nine years as a member of 9 Parachute Regiment, Royal Engineers. He has another qualification which means a lot to me: he's been on the other side. There was a time when he was overweight and not particularly strong. As a child he was slow to develop. This means that he understands what it's like and he knows how his clients feel: it's much more helpful than the twenty-something who was born super-fit and with an attitude problem. Full Review

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Live Forever Manual: Science, ethics and companies behind the new anti-aging treatments by Adrian Cull

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Lifestyle, Popular Science

For many years now I've (half) joked that I intended to live forever and that so far, it was working out OK. Time has passed though and although I'm a great deal fitter and healthier than most people of my age there were a few nagging health problems which were tipping my life out of balance. It was time to look for a new approach and as so often happens, the reviewing gods brought me the book I needed. Live Forever Manual: Science, ethics and companies behind the new anti-aging treatments seemed like the answer to my problems - only you get so much more than just 101 tips. Full Review

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The City In The Middle Of The Night by Charlie Jane Anders

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

January is a dying planet. It wasn't exactly pleasant to begin with. One half is scorching sunlight, pure, blazing heat, and totally uninhabitable. The other half is pure darkness and ice, where a creature can freeze to death in seconds, and totally uninhabitable. In the middle is a brief twilight that is barely survivable. Life is a knife-edge, stray too close to one side you die, to close to the other, you die and yet the heat from the sun and the water from the ice are necessary for life. Life for the inhabitants of January is long, and hard, and arduous, will anything ever change? Full Review

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Exit Day: Brexit; An Assassin Stalks the Prime Minister by David Laws

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

At the time of my writing this, there is one thing uniting Britain, and this is hatred of 'Brexit'. Not just Brexit, but use of the word 'Brexit'. Yes, people hate the people that instigated it then disappeared, and/or the people who just can't seem to get their fingers out and complete it, but they also hate the use of the word. This biggest turn-off has made people who have never so much as tutted in their life slam down their tea-cups in high dudgeon and leave the room until it's safe to return, when all mention of it has subsided. I mention this in relation to this book because it is partly about Brexit, but because it too seems to get to the actual Brexiting in a very protracted manner. Just as we have to wade through dirges from Europe to get anywhere, it seems, so the reader of this book has to get through a lot from Europe before the title's theme really arises. Here, at least though, the author's delaying tactics are much more forgiveable. Full Review

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The Hidden by Mary Chamberlain

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

When Barbara Hummel arrives, determined to identify the mysterious woman whose photograph she has found among her mother's possessions, Dora and Joe find their worlds upended – and are swiftly forced to confront their pasts. Revisiting their time on the Channel Islands during World War II, Dora remembers a time when she concealed her Jewish identity, and Joe, a Catholic Priest, remembers a time when he hid something very different. In this story of love, loss and betrayal, it remains to be seen whether a speck of light can diffuse the darkest shadows of war… Full Review

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Painting Snails by Stephen John Hartley

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

It's very difficult to classify Painting Snails: originally I thought that as it's loosely based around a year on an allotment it would be a lifestyle book, but you're not going to get advice on what to plant when and where for the best results. The answer would be something along the lines of 'try it and see'. Then I considered popular science as Stephen Hartley failed his A levels, did an engineering apprenticeship, became a busker, finally got into medical school and is now an A&E consultant (part time). I found out that there's an awful lot more to what goes on in a Major Trauma Centre than you'll ever glean from Casualty, but that isn't really what the book's about. There's a lot about rock & roll, which seems to be the real passion of Hartley's life, but it didn't actually fit into the entertainment genre either. Did we have a category for 'doing the impossible the hard way'? Yep - that's the one. It's autobiography. Full Review

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The Haven: Book 1 by Simon Lelic

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

When Ollie and Nancy, the police officer tasked with guarding our young hero, are abducted in the middle of the night, things take a dangerous turn. Rescued by Dodge, Ollie is taken to the Haven, a secret underground community based in a network of underground tunnels that the London above ground knows nothing about. Here, children work together to battle great evils. And there is an immediate enemy to fight. Ollie would have been the hundredth victim of Maddy Sikes had he not been rescued. And Maddy intends to destroy the city. Full Review

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The Things That are Lost by Alan Kennedy

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

The final novel in Alan Kennedy's WW2 trilogy sees Captain Alex Vere taken off active duty and banished to Scotland, providing trade craft spy training. It's stifling and suffocating and feels as much like a prison to Alex as anything the Germans would provide. And where is Justine? Alex hasn't seen her since he went to that disastrous meeting with John Cabot, instigator of the disinformation campaign, and returned to find her missing. A failed mission is one thing but no Justine is quite another. Alex can't get Justine out of his head. Has she left the service? Does she know too much? Is she even still alive? Full Review

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Song of the Dead (DI Westphall) by Douglas Lindsay

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

A man walked into a police station in Estonia. He told a tale of having been held prisoner, used as a donor for organ harvesting and sperm donation. X-rays and medical examination bear out this part of his story, but this man, or the man he says he is - John Baden - died twelve years ago. His body was identified by his partner, Emily King and by his parents - and then the body was buried. So, who is this man? DI Ben Westphall is sent to Estonia because of his background in MI6, but that brings some baggage with it too. Westphall cannot, will not, get on a plane. His last experience of flight was more than enough for one lifetime. Full Review

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A Pinch of Magic by Michelle Harrison

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

No Widdershins girl has ever been able to leave Crowstone. If we do, we'll die by the next sunset.

A Pinch of Magic follows three sisters – Betty, Fliss and Charlie – who have lived on the isle of Crowstone, infamous for its surrounding marshes and the neighbouring inescapable prison, for their entire lives. The middle sister, Betty, has longed for adventure for as long as she can remember and she is determined that nothing and no-one will prevent her from seeing everything that the world has to offer. But in setting out to do just that, she and her sisters discover a deadly curse which has haunted their family for generations. From their ancestors, as well as a lifetime trapped on Crowstone, they have each inherited a magical object – an old carpet bag, a set of wooden nesting dolls and an antique handheld mirror – all of which are more than meets the eye and could possibly be the key to their problem. Full Review

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Never Tell by Lisa Gardner

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

Evie Carter's husband was shot dead in his own home and she was found with the gun in her hands. Was this a domestic dispute which had got out of hand? Was it pregnancy hormones running rampant? Detective D D Warren recognised Evie immediately. It might have been sixteen years ago, but there's no mistaking the teenager who had accidentally shot and killed her father: 'a tragic accident' everyone said, as there was no doubt about the love the two had for each other. D D had no worries at the time, but just how many gun accidents can one woman have - or is Evie about to get away with murder again? Full Review

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The Midnight Hour by Benjamin Read and Laura Trinder

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

After a big blow-up fight with her mum, Emily is left alone with her dad. Her mum has gone away on some strange job (even though Emily didn't think her mum even had a job) and so she is not quite sure what is going on. Things turn even stranger still when her dad goes off to find her mum, and then doesn't come back. She heads out to investigate and discovers a strange, secret world called the Midnight Hour, which seems to be London during Victorian times, and is full of magical beings (and monsters!) What were her parents doing here? And will she be able to find them and rescue them, so her life can go back to normal? Full Review

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Gallowstree Lane by Kate London

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

Spencer was just fifteen years old when he stepped out into a London Street and asked a complete stranger for help, begging him not to let him die. The stranger was an off-duty paramedic but even his skills were insufficient to save Spence. Just one of those things you might, think. Tragic, but teenage boys seem to be getting stabbed on the streets of London all the time. His friend Ryan was with Spence when he was stabbed. It was Ryan who called the ambulance on the paramedic's instruction, sobbing as he held the phone. But Ryan wasn't prepared to accept that it was just one of those things. He wanted revenge. Full Review

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How to Lose a Country: The 7 Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship by Ece Temelkuran

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

A little while ago a friend asked me if I thought that we were living through what in years to come would be discussed by A level history students when faced with the question Discuss the factors which led to... I agreed that she was right and wasn't certain whether it was a good or bad thing that we didn't know what all 'this' was leading to. I think now that I do know. We are in danger of losing democracy and whilst it's a flawed system I can't think of a better one, particularly as the 'benevolent dictator' is as rare as hen's teeth. Full Review

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A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel

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

They needed someone to blame, and I was the only available scapegoat. Their daughter was my best friend. Playing the scapegoat was the least I could do under the circumstances. Seventeen year old Hannah Gold was born mature – or so her parents tell her. She has dined in fancy restaurants, explored the most sophisticated corners of the globe and lived a life of luxury. Full Review