Difference between revisions of "The Bookbag"

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===[[The Woods Murder by Roy Lewis]]===
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===[[Rumblestar (The Unmapped Chronicles) by Abi Elphinstone]]===
  
[[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:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
  
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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Rumblestar follows the haphazard adventures of the anxious 11-year-old Casper Tock who timetables his every movement, makes countless to do lists and is hounded by wealthy bullies with the absurdly humorous and appropriate names of Candida Cashmere Jumps and Leopold Splattercash. He stumbles across a magic portal by accident just like Lucy of Narnia fame, meets a feisty girl troubled by her past and is plunged into a perilous quest. In a kingdom where the dark mythological forces of Midnights threaten the weather Marvels (equated here to the miracle of nature) conjured by magical creatures, only unlikely heroes can battle against evil. [[Rumblestar (The Unmapped Chronicles]) by Abi Elphinstone|Full Review]]
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===[[Murder at the Manor Hotel (Melissa Craig 4) by Betty Rowlands]]===
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[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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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 pantomime. It wasn't a traditional panto, but a spoof for the birthday party of a local millionaire, to be held on Halloween.  It'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 hotel.  Well, they were until one member of the cast turns up dead in the cellar at the bottom of a steep flight of stairs. What 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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===[[Salvation by Peter F Hamilton]]===
 
  
[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Science Fiction|Science Fiction]]
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===[[The Evil Occupants of Easingdale Castle by Ray Filby]]===
  
Apparently the term ''space opera'' was coined in 1941 as a pejorative.  It 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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===[[House of Glass by Susan Fletcher]]===
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Literary Fiction|Literary Fiction]], [[:Category:Historical Fiction|Historical Fiction]]
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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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Jason likes chess. He's pretty good at it too - a level eight on his computer programme, with level ten being Grand Master level. He's also good at systems, having contributed to the relational database that has streamlined his school's administration.  Jason's school, Easingdale Comprehensive, is very big on technology and its head, Mr Johnston, is keen to involve his pupils wherever they show promise. So Jason's friends have also helped out. Liz is great with hardware and helped with the school's card reader system. Becky has a flair for software and has recommended lots of curriculum-enhancing apps. And Bill is a talented programmer... [[The Evil Occupants of Easingdale Castle by Ray Filby|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Under the Ice (DCI Jansen) by Rachael Blok]]===
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===[[Stone Cold Heart by Caz Frear]]===
  
 
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
 
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
  
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 lakeDCI 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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DC Cat Kinsella is back at the Met after a secondment to the London Mayor's Office: the hours were good but the job was boringShe's grateful to be back with the old team - her partner DS Luigi Parnell, boss DCI Kate Steele and DC Rénee Akwa. She's still not prepared to say anything about the identity of her boyfriend: the knowledge that she's in a relationship with Aiden Doyle, the brother of a murder victim and moreover a murder with which her father might have had some involvement could finish her career. Kinsella and Parnell are called to the discovery of the body of a young woman: Naomi Lockhart was Australian, just twenty-two years old and her body was discovered by her flat mate, Kieran Drake, an ex-offender. [[Stone Cold Heart by Caz Frear|Full Review]]
  
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===[[The Light Between Worlds by Laura Weymouth]]===
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===[[Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Teens|Teens]]
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
  
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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Despite Dorothy Koomson regularly being suggested as an author I might like, ie people who like this author also like Dorothy Koomson, I have never read her before. Having done so I can totally see why she's the bestselling author of fifteen books. [[Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson|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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===[[The Boy Who Fell (Inspector Tom Reynolds) by Jo Spain]]===
  
[[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:Crime|Crime]]
  
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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There were six friends: four men and two women.  They're all about eighteen and they've known each other since they started schoolBoth girls - Hazel Brophy and Charlotte Burke - have been in relationships with one of the boys, but Charlotte was determined that it would not be sexual. Hazel's views were so dramatically opposite that you wondered how they could be friends.  They were all partying in a derelict house when Luke Connelly was pushed to his death from a third floor window and Daniel Konaté Jones was charged with rape and murder. Daniel was loosely associated with the group but never felt himself one of them.  He didn't come from a wealthy background, is of mixed race and openly gay.  Targets don't come much easier than that, except for one thing. [[The Boy Who Fell (Inspector Tom Reynolds) by Jo Spain|Full Review]]
 
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===[[Only the Ocean by Natasha Carthew ]]===
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===[[Disbelieved: Skin and Bone CSIs by Beth Webb]]===
  
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Teens|Teens]]  
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Teens|Teens]]  
  
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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Anelise - Annie - has been living with her cousin Joe and her aunt, an eminent forensic scientist, since her mum died and her naturalist father went abroad on a research trip. So she does wonder sometimes whether the minor premonitions she has - who's on the other end of the ringing phone, or at the door when there's a knock - are in her imagination. But to foresee a serious accident and then for it to actually happen? And the dreadful headaches. Something's going on. Luckily for Annie, Joe is convinced and also willing to help. So they start to investigate the accident... [[Disbelieved: Skin and Bone CSIs by Beth Webb|Full Review]]
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===[[Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake]]===
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===[[Joe Country (Jackson Lamb 6) by Mick Herron]]===
  
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Teens|Teens]], [[:Category:Fantasy|Fantasy]]
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[[image: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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I'd like to say that all the old crew are in Slough House but the rate of natural (or unnatural) wastage is such as to have Health and Safety worried.  Roderick Ho's there though, narcissistic as ever, and so's Louisa Guy. She's getting over the death of Min Harper to the extent that she's not ''too'' concerned when she gets a phone call from Clare Harper, Min's wife. River Cartwright has got death on his mind too, but in his case it's the impending demise of his beloved grandfather and former spook, the OB. Diana Taverner has taken over from Claude Whelan as First Desk at Regent Park and she's going to make changes: one of the first is a shock. An argument with Emma Flyte sees the head dog departing the service.  Meanwhile at Slough House, Catherine Standish is buying booze again, Jackson Lamb is offensive as ever and Shirley Dander and J K Coe do their best to remain unnoticed, the latter by saying nothing. [[Joe Country (Jackson Lamb 6) by Mick Herron|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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===[[Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain, Jane Aitken (translator) and Emily Boyce (translator)]]===
  
[[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:General Fiction|General 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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Vintage 1954 starts by thrusting several completely different characters upon us, before deciding to run with them and formulate a plot. So we have an American biker, just landing in Paris but unfortunately not with the wife who shared his dream of visiting the city together. We have a goth girl who everyone recognises from an American crime show, but actually is a humble restorer of antiques. We have a cocktail barman, infatuated with the goth girl. We also have a man ruling the roost over a whole suite of individual apartments fabricated from the Haussmann-era mansion his family once owned. Finally something conspires to get them together, and drinking from the same bottle of a rare 1954 red wine. Only, one of them has a bizarre incidence in his family history that also features the same plonk – where a grandfather imbibed, and walked out the door one rainy morning, never to be seen again. But of course nobody will be doing any disappearing now, though – will they? [[Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain, Jane Aitken (translator) and Emily Boyce (translator)|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Gentleman Jack (DI Yates 7) by Christina James]]===
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===[[The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind by Jackson Ford]]===
  
[[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:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
  
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 next.  It'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 assaulted. Yates 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 Robinson. They'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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As the title suggests, this book is all about a girl, Teagan Frost, who has psychokinesis. Forced to secretly work for the government along with a few unique (and shady) individuals, Teagan has to use her power for unimaginable tasks. All of this whilst under the pretence of working for a moving-company. After her latest job goes wrong and her and the team escape by the skin of their teeth, Teagan finds herself as a murder suspect when the victim is found in such a way that only she could have committed the crime. The rest of the story unfolds in a fast-paced race against time to clear Teagan's name and find out exactly what has happened. Is it possible that someone with a gift like Teagan's has managed to fly under the radar? [[The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind by Jackson Ford|Full Review]]
  
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===[[A Clean Death by Adriaan Verheul]]===
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===[[The Suffering of Strangers by Caro Ramsay]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]], [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
  
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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Roberta (please call her 'Bobby') Chisholm is sleep deprived. Six-week-old Sholto doesn't ''ever'' seem to sleep, so Bobby's like a robot.  There's a little light on the horizon, though: her husband James is up for a new job, which could mean quite a bit more money.  When he rings to tell her that he's got it he's obviously over the moon and tells Bobby to go to the local shop and get a bottle of champagne so that they can celebrate. For once Sholto has dropped off to sleep and when Bobby gets to the shop she's reluctant to disturb him: surely there won't be a problem if she dashes into the shop to get the bubbly?  She can keep an eye on the car through the shop window, but when she comes out, the car has gone... [[The Suffering of Strangers by Caro Ramsay|Full Review]]
  
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===[[The Longest Night of Charlie Noon by Christopher Edge]]===
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category: Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
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''If you go into the woods, Old Crony will get you.'' Secrets, spies or maybe even a monster... What lies in the heart of the wood? Charlie, Dizzy and Johnny are determined to discover the truth, but when night falls without warning they find themselves trapped in a nightmare. Lost in the woods, strange dangers and impossible puzzles lurk in the shadows. As time plays tricks, can Charlie solve this mystery and find a way out of the woods? But what if this night never ends...? [[The Longest Night of Charlie Noon by Christopher Edge|Full Review]]
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===[[Bold Lies (DI Kelly Porter 5) by Rachel Lynch]]===
  
===[[Beyond Thought by Chris Dhladhla]]===
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Lifestyle|Lifestyle]]
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It was the smell which announced the presence of the body in the wheelhouse of a boat and identification wasn't going to be easy as the man was stark naked.  There were all the signs of a brutal, cold-blooded execution but gradually the man was traced back to Allendale House, the estate of the former Lord Allendale, and then to London, where two more bodies, naked, in a staged setting in a garage, were discovered.  Senior Investigating Officer DI Kelly Porter had to go to London and was shocked to discover that the SIO for ''that'' case was DCI Matt Carter, her manipulative and untrustworthy ex-lover.  It was going to be anything but easy to work alongside Matt the Tw...  Ah, well let's not go there. [[Bold Lies (DI Kelly Porter 5) by Rachel Lynch|Full Review]]
  
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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===[[Where the Truth Lies (DI Ridpath) by M J Lee]]===
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===[[Special Delivery by Jonathan Meres]]===
  
[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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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 stayPerhaps 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 Officer.  If 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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How do you explain to children about dementia? Injuries or illnesses are obvious, but when the problem is the brain which isn't functioning quite as it used to it isn't as easy to grasp.  Frank was a normal nine year old and like many nine year olds what he wanted was a new bike.  He'd had his for about seventy-eight years and he didn't want to raise the seat any moreMum pointed out that it wasn't his birthday or Christmas any time soon and bikes cost a lot of money, which didn't grow on trees. His sister Lottie had a solution: Frank could help her with her paper roundFrank agreed despite thinking that it would take him a thousand years to save up the money for a bike AND he had to get up at six o'clock in the morning. [[Special Delivery by Jonathan Meres|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Tales of Love and Disability by Laura Solomon]]===
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Short Stories|Short Stories]]
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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 moreThere 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 piecesI'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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Suzi Simms loved running and it was her ambition to win the 100 metres race on sports day at the end of term - and that was next weekWe're going to read about what happened in her diary, although there's a warning that we really shouldn't be reading it, particularly as it's about Barbie MeekTo say that the two girls don't get on at all well is a bit of an understatement.  Suzi wouldn't actually do anything about it, but Barbie is a troublemaker and she wants to win the 100 metres race too - by fair means or foul. [[The Spectacular Revenge of Suzi Sims by Vivian French|Full Review]]
  
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===[[A Snapshot of Murder (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody]]===
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===[[The Adventures of Harry Stevenson by Ali Pye]]===
  
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime (Historical)|Crime (Historical)]]
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Even detectives need a break and for Kate Shackleton, photography gives her the mental relaxation which she needsWhen 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 eventWhat 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 wrongOr could it? [[A Snapshot of Murder (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody|Full Review]]
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Meet Harry Stevenson.  He's a typical guinea pig, except he's perhaps a bit more ginger than normal.  And more lazy than usual.  And his appetite is possibly bigger than the norm.  Apart from that he's a regular guinea pig.  But the stories in which he features are nothing likeIn the first one here, the lad who owns and looks after him is being forced to move house.  It should be a simple journey for Harry, safe in his cage from all the predators that watching nature documentaries have put into his imagination, but he gets distracted and – shock horror – left behindIt takes some bravura slapstick and a charming contrivance for him to be found again.  In the second, for we get two full-length stories in this volume, there's a party being held to get the lad used to his new schoolmates, and Harry used to life in a garden hutchAnd one more wonderful conceit that drives high drama. [[The Adventures of Harry Stevenson by Ali Pye|Full Review]]
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===[[Miracle Creek by Angie Kim]]===
  
===[[The Afterwards by A F Harrold and Emily Gravett]]===
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
  
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]  
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The Yoo family originated in Seoul. Yoo Young and her daughter Meh-hee came on ahead of the father of the family, Yoo Pak, as a couple in Baltimore offered to provide accommodation for Young and Meh-hee in exchange for assistance in their grocery store.  What Young had not appreciated was that she was to work from 6 a.m. until midnight, seven days a week.  For years she hardly saw her daughter except when the Kangs brought Meh-hee to see her at the store.  Meh-hee became Mary and struggled at school: her fellow pupils were no exceptions to the rule that children can be cruel and Mary was an easy target. [[Miracle Creek by Angie Kim|Full Review]]
  
''Tell them what The Afterwards is about, they said.''<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 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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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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===[[Velocity Weapon by Megan E O'Keefe]]===
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The last thing Sanda remembers is her gunship exploding. She expected to be recovered by salvage-medics and to awaken in friendly hands, patched-up and ready to rejoin the fight. Instead she wakes up 230 years later, on a deserted enemy starship called The Light of Berossus - or, as he prefers to call himself, 'Bero'. Bero tells Sanda the war is lost. That the entire star system is dead. But is that the full story? After all, in the vastness of space, anything is possible . . .  [[Velocity Weapon by Megan E O'Keefe|Full Review]]
  
===[[Santa Goes on Strike by Jem Vanston]]===
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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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Belle and Joe travel to London in 1944, towards the end of World War II. Orphaned evacuees, they haven't had a good time of it - especially Joe, who is a sensitive child and was badly bullied. Meeting them is Uncle Griff, a kindly man, but one without much money. He is more than happy to have the children stay during the school holidays. Uncle Griff owns the ''Shop of Mechanical Marvels'' and the children love all the old things it contains. Uncle Griff hopes to restore it to profitability and bring some wonder back into London's bombed out streets.  [[The Chessmaster's Secret by Mary Parker|Full Review]]
  
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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===[[The Art of Noticing: Rediscover What Really Matters to You by Rob Walker]]===
  
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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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===[[The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig and Chris Mould]]===
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The curse put on reviewers is that we get to read through a book which is really better dipped into, or read gradually and thoughts allowed to be provoked. And so it was with ''The Art of Noticing''.  It's a simple premise: the pace of modern life and rapidity of technological advances means that we are constantly overwhelmed and distracted. Rob Walker wants us to be able to steal our attention back.  He gives us his thoughts on various areas of our lives and then provides 131 exercises to help us recover our attention. [[The Art of Noticing: Rediscover What Really Matters to You by Rob Walker|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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===[[The Playground Murders by Lesley Thomson]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:General Fiction|General Fiction]], [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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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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Rachel Cater was having an affair with her boss, Chris Philips, an auctioneer. It was, she told her mother, love at first sight.  Her mother was more sceptical and wondered why, if it had been love at first sight, it had taken him so long to do anything about it. Still, more than anything, she wanted her daughter to be happy.  That was what Rachel wanted too and it was why she went to the Philips' family home, determined to have it all out in the open.  Instead she was stabbed fifteen times.  Her lover was convicted of her murder. [[The Playground Murders by Lesley Thomson|Full Review]]
  
 
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Latest revision as of 14:42, 25 June 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 15,186 reviews at TheBookbag.

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Reviews of the Best New Books

Read new reviews by category.

Read the latest features.

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Rumblestar (The Unmapped Chronicles) by Abi Elphinstone

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

Rumblestar follows the haphazard adventures of the anxious 11-year-old Casper Tock who timetables his every movement, makes countless to do lists and is hounded by wealthy bullies with the absurdly humorous and appropriate names of Candida Cashmere Jumps and Leopold Splattercash. He stumbles across a magic portal by accident just like Lucy of Narnia fame, meets a feisty girl troubled by her past and is plunged into a perilous quest. In a kingdom where the dark mythological forces of Midnights threaten the weather Marvels (equated here to the miracle of nature) conjured by magical creatures, only unlikely heroes can battle against evil. [[Rumblestar (The Unmapped Chronicles]) by Abi Elphinstone|Full Review]]

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The Evil Occupants of Easingdale Castle by Ray Filby

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

Jason likes chess. He's pretty good at it too - a level eight on his computer programme, with level ten being Grand Master level. He's also good at systems, having contributed to the relational database that has streamlined his school's administration. Jason's school, Easingdale Comprehensive, is very big on technology and its head, Mr Johnston, is keen to involve his pupils wherever they show promise. So Jason's friends have also helped out. Liz is great with hardware and helped with the school's card reader system. Becky has a flair for software and has recommended lots of curriculum-enhancing apps. And Bill is a talented programmer... Full Review

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Stone Cold Heart by Caz Frear

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

DC Cat Kinsella is back at the Met after a secondment to the London Mayor's Office: the hours were good but the job was boring. She's grateful to be back with the old team - her partner DS Luigi Parnell, boss DCI Kate Steele and DC Rénee Akwa. She's still not prepared to say anything about the identity of her boyfriend: the knowledge that she's in a relationship with Aiden Doyle, the brother of a murder victim and moreover a murder with which her father might have had some involvement could finish her career. Kinsella and Parnell are called to the discovery of the body of a young woman: Naomi Lockhart was Australian, just twenty-two years old and her body was discovered by her flat mate, Kieran Drake, an ex-offender. Full Review

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Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson

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

Despite Dorothy Koomson regularly being suggested as an author I might like, ie people who like this author also like Dorothy Koomson, I have never read her before. Having done so I can totally see why she's the bestselling author of fifteen books. Full Review

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The Boy Who Fell (Inspector Tom Reynolds) by Jo Spain

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

There were six friends: four men and two women. They're all about eighteen and they've known each other since they started school. Both girls - Hazel Brophy and Charlotte Burke - have been in relationships with one of the boys, but Charlotte was determined that it would not be sexual. Hazel's views were so dramatically opposite that you wondered how they could be friends. They were all partying in a derelict house when Luke Connelly was pushed to his death from a third floor window and Daniel Konaté Jones was charged with rape and murder. Daniel was loosely associated with the group but never felt himself one of them. He didn't come from a wealthy background, is of mixed race and openly gay. Targets don't come much easier than that, except for one thing. Full Review

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Disbelieved: Skin and Bone CSIs by Beth Webb

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

Anelise - Annie - has been living with her cousin Joe and her aunt, an eminent forensic scientist, since her mum died and her naturalist father went abroad on a research trip. So she does wonder sometimes whether the minor premonitions she has - who's on the other end of the ringing phone, or at the door when there's a knock - are in her imagination. But to foresee a serious accident and then for it to actually happen? And the dreadful headaches. Something's going on. Luckily for Annie, Joe is convinced and also willing to help. So they start to investigate the accident... Full Review

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Joe Country (Jackson Lamb 6) by Mick Herron

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

I'd like to say that all the old crew are in Slough House but the rate of natural (or unnatural) wastage is such as to have Health and Safety worried. Roderick Ho's there though, narcissistic as ever, and so's Louisa Guy. She's getting over the death of Min Harper to the extent that she's not too concerned when she gets a phone call from Clare Harper, Min's wife. River Cartwright has got death on his mind too, but in his case it's the impending demise of his beloved grandfather and former spook, the OB. Diana Taverner has taken over from Claude Whelan as First Desk at Regent Park and she's going to make changes: one of the first is a shock. An argument with Emma Flyte sees the head dog departing the service. Meanwhile at Slough House, Catherine Standish is buying booze again, Jackson Lamb is offensive as ever and Shirley Dander and J K Coe do their best to remain unnoticed, the latter by saying nothing. Full Review

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Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain, Jane Aitken (translator) and Emily Boyce (translator)

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

Vintage 1954 starts by thrusting several completely different characters upon us, before deciding to run with them and formulate a plot. So we have an American biker, just landing in Paris but unfortunately not with the wife who shared his dream of visiting the city together. We have a goth girl who everyone recognises from an American crime show, but actually is a humble restorer of antiques. We have a cocktail barman, infatuated with the goth girl. We also have a man ruling the roost over a whole suite of individual apartments fabricated from the Haussmann-era mansion his family once owned. Finally something conspires to get them together, and drinking from the same bottle of a rare 1954 red wine. Only, one of them has a bizarre incidence in his family history that also features the same plonk – where a grandfather imbibed, and walked out the door one rainy morning, never to be seen again. But of course nobody will be doing any disappearing now, though – will they? Full Review

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The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind by Jackson Ford

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

As the title suggests, this book is all about a girl, Teagan Frost, who has psychokinesis. Forced to secretly work for the government along with a few unique (and shady) individuals, Teagan has to use her power for unimaginable tasks. All of this whilst under the pretence of working for a moving-company. After her latest job goes wrong and her and the team escape by the skin of their teeth, Teagan finds herself as a murder suspect when the victim is found in such a way that only she could have committed the crime. The rest of the story unfolds in a fast-paced race against time to clear Teagan's name and find out exactly what has happened. Is it possible that someone with a gift like Teagan's has managed to fly under the radar? Full Review

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The Suffering of Strangers by Caro Ramsay

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

Roberta (please call her 'Bobby') Chisholm is sleep deprived. Six-week-old Sholto doesn't ever seem to sleep, so Bobby's like a robot. There's a little light on the horizon, though: her husband James is up for a new job, which could mean quite a bit more money. When he rings to tell her that he's got it he's obviously over the moon and tells Bobby to go to the local shop and get a bottle of champagne so that they can celebrate. For once Sholto has dropped off to sleep and when Bobby gets to the shop she's reluctant to disturb him: surely there won't be a problem if she dashes into the shop to get the bubbly? She can keep an eye on the car through the shop window, but when she comes out, the car has gone... Full Review

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The Longest Night of Charlie Noon by Christopher Edge

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

If you go into the woods, Old Crony will get you. Secrets, spies or maybe even a monster... What lies in the heart of the wood? Charlie, Dizzy and Johnny are determined to discover the truth, but when night falls without warning they find themselves trapped in a nightmare. Lost in the woods, strange dangers and impossible puzzles lurk in the shadows. As time plays tricks, can Charlie solve this mystery and find a way out of the woods? But what if this night never ends...? Full Review

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Bold Lies (DI Kelly Porter 5) by Rachel Lynch

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

It was the smell which announced the presence of the body in the wheelhouse of a boat and identification wasn't going to be easy as the man was stark naked. There were all the signs of a brutal, cold-blooded execution but gradually the man was traced back to Allendale House, the estate of the former Lord Allendale, and then to London, where two more bodies, naked, in a staged setting in a garage, were discovered. Senior Investigating Officer DI Kelly Porter had to go to London and was shocked to discover that the SIO for that case was DCI Matt Carter, her manipulative and untrustworthy ex-lover. It was going to be anything but easy to work alongside Matt the Tw... Ah, well let's not go there. Full Review

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Special Delivery by Jonathan Meres

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Dyslexia Friendly, Confident Readers

How do you explain to children about dementia? Injuries or illnesses are obvious, but when the problem is the brain which isn't functioning quite as it used to it isn't as easy to grasp. Frank was a normal nine year old and like many nine year olds what he wanted was a new bike. He'd had his for about seventy-eight years and he didn't want to raise the seat any more. Mum pointed out that it wasn't his birthday or Christmas any time soon and bikes cost a lot of money, which didn't grow on trees. His sister Lottie had a solution: Frank could help her with her paper round. Frank agreed despite thinking that it would take him a thousand years to save up the money for a bike AND he had to get up at six o'clock in the morning. Full Review

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The Spectacular Revenge of Suzi Sims by Vivian French

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Dyslexia Friendly, Confident Readers

Suzi Simms loved running and it was her ambition to win the 100 metres race on sports day at the end of term - and that was next week. We're going to read about what happened in her diary, although there's a warning that we really shouldn't be reading it, particularly as it's about Barbie Meek. To say that the two girls don't get on at all well is a bit of an understatement. Suzi wouldn't actually do anything about it, but Barbie is a troublemaker and she wants to win the 100 metres race too - by fair means or foul. Full Review

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The Adventures of Harry Stevenson by Ali Pye

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

Meet Harry Stevenson. He's a typical guinea pig, except he's perhaps a bit more ginger than normal. And more lazy than usual. And his appetite is possibly bigger than the norm. Apart from that he's a regular guinea pig. But the stories in which he features are nothing like. In the first one here, the lad who owns and looks after him is being forced to move house. It should be a simple journey for Harry, safe in his cage from all the predators that watching nature documentaries have put into his imagination, but he gets distracted and – shock horror – left behind. It takes some bravura slapstick and a charming contrivance for him to be found again. In the second, for we get two full-length stories in this volume, there's a party being held to get the lad used to his new schoolmates, and Harry used to life in a garden hutch. And one more wonderful conceit that drives high drama. Full Review

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Miracle Creek by Angie Kim

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

The Yoo family originated in Seoul. Yoo Young and her daughter Meh-hee came on ahead of the father of the family, Yoo Pak, as a couple in Baltimore offered to provide accommodation for Young and Meh-hee in exchange for assistance in their grocery store. What Young had not appreciated was that she was to work from 6 a.m. until midnight, seven days a week. For years she hardly saw her daughter except when the Kangs brought Meh-hee to see her at the store. Meh-hee became Mary and struggled at school: her fellow pupils were no exceptions to the rule that children can be cruel and Mary was an easy target. Full Review

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Velocity Weapon by Megan E O'Keefe

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

The last thing Sanda remembers is her gunship exploding. She expected to be recovered by salvage-medics and to awaken in friendly hands, patched-up and ready to rejoin the fight. Instead she wakes up 230 years later, on a deserted enemy starship called The Light of Berossus - or, as he prefers to call himself, 'Bero'. Bero tells Sanda the war is lost. That the entire star system is dead. But is that the full story? After all, in the vastness of space, anything is possible . . . Full Review

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The Chessmaster's Secret by Mary Parker

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

Belle and Joe travel to London in 1944, towards the end of World War II. Orphaned evacuees, they haven't had a good time of it - especially Joe, who is a sensitive child and was badly bullied. Meeting them is Uncle Griff, a kindly man, but one without much money. He is more than happy to have the children stay during the school holidays. Uncle Griff owns the Shop of Mechanical Marvels and the children love all the old things it contains. Uncle Griff hopes to restore it to profitability and bring some wonder back into London's bombed out streets. Full Review

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The Art of Noticing: Rediscover What Really Matters to You by Rob Walker

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

The curse put on reviewers is that we get to read through a book which is really better dipped into, or read gradually and thoughts allowed to be provoked. And so it was with The Art of Noticing. It's a simple premise: the pace of modern life and rapidity of technological advances means that we are constantly overwhelmed and distracted. Rob Walker wants us to be able to steal our attention back. He gives us his thoughts on various areas of our lives and then provides 131 exercises to help us recover our attention. Full Review

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The Playground Murders by Lesley Thomson

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

Rachel Cater was having an affair with her boss, Chris Philips, an auctioneer. It was, she told her mother, love at first sight. Her mother was more sceptical and wondered why, if it had been love at first sight, it had taken him so long to do anything about it. Still, more than anything, she wanted her daughter to be happy. That was what Rachel wanted too and it was why she went to the Philips' family home, determined to have it all out in the open. Instead she was stabbed fifteen times. Her lover was convicted of her murder. Full Review