Difference between revisions of "The Bookbag"

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===[[Her Final Confession (Detective Josie Quinn Book 4) by Lisa Regan]]===
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===[[When Spring Comes to the DMZ by Uk-Bae Lee]]===
  
[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:For Sharing|For Sharing]], [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
  
Detective Josie Quinn is no longer Chief of Police, but in many ways that's something of a relief, although it does mean that she doesn't quite have the autonomy that she had.  It also means that the other detectives have a habit of calling her 'boss'. IT's the autonomy bit that strikes home though when she has to watch a fellow officer being arrested for a cold-blooded murder, but what other conclusion can you come to when the officer goes missing, her vehicle and phone are off the radar and there's the body of a young man in her driveway?  Josie Quinn can't believe that Gretchen - the woman she brought onto the Denton police force - could be guilty of such a crime, but she and Noah Fraley are not going to have much time to prove that Gretchen is innocent, and Gretchen doesn't seem inclined to help them. [[Her Final Confession (Detective Josie Quinn Book 4) by Lisa Regan|Full Review]]
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There is a place on this earth that, at the time of writing, is resplendent with life. In the spring seals gambol in the river – not venturing too far, for fear of being slashed open on the razor wire the humans have put in place. In the autumn, salmon come upstream, looking doleful as well they might, for they will spawn and die, if they reach their birthing grounds. Mountain goats gambol prettily among the hills – if the landmines men left behind do not prevent them from doing so. This is a snapshot of life in the DMZ, the demilitarized zone between the two countries with Korea in their name, and it's the world's least welcome wildlife sanctuary. [[When Spring Comes to the DMZ by Uk-Bae Lee|Full Review]]
  
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===[[The Woods Murder by Roy Lewis]]===
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===[[M for Mammy by Eleanor O'Reilly]]===
  
[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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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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[[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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The Augustts are, like all families, a bit complicated. A loving irish family, their love binds them together – but all express that in very different ways. However, when misfortune strikes the family they are forced to work together in order to understand each other again, as with a family as complicated as the Augustts it's not always what is spoken that makes the most sense. Things are shaken up further when Granny Mae-Anne moves in and takes charge. Full of stern words and common sense, she's a force of nature who must try her hardest to hold the family together. [[M for Mammy by Eleanor O'Reilly|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Salvation by Peter F Hamilton]]===
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===[[Time and How to Spend It: The 7 Rules for Richer, Happier Days by James Wallman]]===
  
[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Science Fiction|Science Fiction]]
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Lifestyle|Lifestyle]]
  
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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Most things you can replace, but one of the things which you simply can't replace is time. Even though we know this, we fail to use what we have wiselyWe have more leisure time, but that's not how it feels: a high value is put on how we spend our working hours, but there's a low value on leisureUnfortunately we now know how to work and not how to ''live'': we need to ''learn'' how to spend our leisure time wisely and James Wallman has taken on the onerous task of teaching us how to do this. [[Time and How to Spend It: The 7 Rules for Richer, Happier Days by James Wallman|Full Review]]
  
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===[[House of Glass by Susan Fletcher]]===
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===[[Eiffel's Tower for Young People by Jill Jonnes]]===
  
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Literary Fiction|Literary Fiction]], [[:Category:Historical Fiction|Historical Fiction]]
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Children's Non-Fiction|Children's Non-Fiction]]
  
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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Brash and elegant, sophisticated, controversial and vibrant, the 1889 World's Fair in Paris encompassed the best, the worst and the beautiful from many countries and cultures. The French Republic laid out model villages from all their colonies, put on art shows, dance performances, food festivals and concerts to stun the senses. And towering above it all, the most popular and the most hated monument to French accomplishment and daring – the Eiffel Tower. [[Eiffel's Tower for Young People by Jill Jonnes|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Under the Ice (DCI Jansen) by Rachael Blok]]===
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===[[The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew by Milly Johnson]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Women's Fiction|Women's Fiction]]
  
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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I liked this book. Whilst not necessarily a page-turner, this was a thoroughly enjoyable heart-warming read from the Queen of chick lit, Milly Johnson. [[The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew by Milly Johnson|Full Review]]
  
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===[[The Light Between Worlds by Laura Weymouth]]===
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===[[Keep Walking Rhona Beech by Kate Tough]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Teens|Teens]]
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:General Fiction|General Fiction]], [[:Category:Women's Fiction|Women's Fiction]]
  
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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Life has just hidden behind a corner and stuck a foot out as Rhona Beech came past. She and Mark had been together for nine years and it was beginning to feel ''settled''. Then Mark announced that he'd got a job in Canada and he was going whether Rhona wanted to come with him or not.  The ''not'' bit of the sentence was the way it worked out and Rhona was left on her own. Well, she wasn't completely on her own: she had friends and family, but it's not the same as having that special someone in your life, that someone who makes you part of a couple.  So Rhona had to start again, rejoining a world that bore little resemblance to the one she'd left nine years ago - and there's a lot of difference between being in the middle of your twenties and the middle of your thirties. [[Keep Walking Rhona Beech by Kate Tough|Full Review]]
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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===[[Heartlands (D I Jessie Blake) by Kerry Watts]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
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[[image:3.5star.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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The story had begun some twenty years earlier when two boys raped and killed Sophie NichollJack Mackay was - on the face of it - from a decent family, but he was the ringleader.  Daniel Simpson was a follower, but he still raped Sophie and he could have stopped what happened but didn't.  Sophie's body was found in a shallow grave by an enthusiastic cocker spaniel a few days later and the boys were arrested, tried and sentenced to five years in a young offenders institution. There were those who thought that the sentence was too lenient, even for fifteen-year-old boys and Sophie's elder brother, Tom, was one of these.  He wasn't going to let the matter rest. [[Heartlands (D I Jessie Blake) by Kerry Watts|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Only the Ocean by Natasha Carthew ]]===
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===[[The Boy Who Flew by Fleur Hitchcock]]===
  
[[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:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]  
  
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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Athan Wilde earns some money to supplement his family's meagre income by working for Mr Chen who is both mentor and friend. Mr Chen's wonderful imagination and sense of the future has led him to create some fantastic inventions for making life easier and work less back breaking. His latest endeavour is something on an entirely different level, however - it's a.... ''flying machine''! Imagine that!  [[The Boy Who Flew by Fleur Hitchcock|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Two Dark Reigns by Kendare Blake]]===
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Teens|Teens]], [[:Category:Fantasy|Fantasy]]
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''You cannot put on a costume and become something else. You are a queen of Fennbirn island.''
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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 Savage Shore by David Hewson]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:General Fiction|General Fiction]]
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
  
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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Reggio, in Calabria. It's a strange place, closer to Africa than Rome as Emmanuel kept reminding himself.  He was an illegal immigrant and like most of his kind he was simply looking for a way to earn a decent living with a little dignity.  Back in Nigeria he was an independent man and now he is no better than the monkey who sits in a cage on the bar he tends. The area is ruled by the Mafia.  Further afield there are the Camorra and the Cosa Nostra, but here it's the 'Ndrangheta and the local boss is known as Lo Spettro - the ghost - as he's rarely seen, but he's one of the Bergamotti clan, but even that's not their real name. [[The Savage Shore by David Hewson|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Gentleman Jack (DI Yates 7) by Christina James]]===
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===[[No Way Out by Cara Hunter]]===
  
[[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:Crime|Crime]]
  
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 was the end of the Christmas holidays and Felix House in an elite area of Oxford was on fireTwo children were dragged from the inferno: one, a toddler, was pronounced dead at the scene and the other, a boy on the cusp of his teens, died in hospital some days laterBut where were the parents?  Were their bodies in what remained of the house and which was being steadily cleared, or had they left the children at home alone?  For DI Adam Fawley it's one of his most disturbing cases.  He's still not got over the death of ''his'' son and there's every sign that his marriage is on the rocksFor his team it's just a heartbreaking, exhausting case. [[No Way Out by Cara Hunter|Full Review]]
  
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===[[A Clean Death by Adriaan Verheul]]===
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===[[Women of Westminster: The MPs Who Changed Politics by Rachel Reeves]]===
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]], [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Politics and Society|Politics and Society]]
  
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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''Women in Westminster have changed the culture of politics and the perception of what women can do''
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''Women of Westminster: The MPs Who Changed Politics'' chronicles the battles the 491 women who have been elected over the course of the past century have fought and highlights their victories. It is remarkable that the history of female Members of Parliament began in 1918, the same year in which women were first given the right to vote but a decade before all women were given suffrage on equal terms with men. Although Constance de Markievicz was the first female elected to Parliament, it was only in 1919 that Nancy Astor became the first women to take her seat in the House of Commons and pave the way for women of the future. It was not long after in 1924 that the first female MP, Margaret Bondfield, was appointed into a cabinet position and since then women MPs have endeavoured to fight gender inequality and campaign for female rights. Within 100 years there has been a gradual revolution of change in politics and to date Britain has been led by two female Prime Ministers. However, such great landmarks have overshadowed the other female MPs whose early achievements, which have paved the way for subsequent women politicians, are consistently overlooked. In ''Women of Westminster: The MPs Who Changed Politics'' Rachel Reeves brings the forgotten stories into the spotlight to document the history of British female political history from 1919 to 2019. [[Women of Westminster: The MPs Who Changed Politics by Rachel Reeves|Full Review]]
  
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===[[The Chemical Detectiveby Fiona Erskine]]===
  
===[[Beyond Thought by Chris Dhladhla]]===
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
 
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Lifestyle|Lifestyle]]
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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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Dr Jaq Silver is a brilliant scientist with a healthy social life who loves her work and life. Whilst she is haunted by her past she won't let it define her. When she becomes entangled in a mystery, a mystery that could tie to some of the most horrific weapons on Earth, she doesn't hesitate and jumps straight in. We follow Jaq as she travels the world digging deeper and deeper into a rabbit-hole of intrigue and betrayal, never compromising and always seeking the truth. From the ski slopes of Eastern Europe, to the sunny climes of Portugal and even making a visit to that most glamourous of locations… rainy Teeside… this is a true thriller. [[The Chemical Detectiveby Fiona Erskine|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Equator by Antonin Varenne and Sam Taylor (translator)]]===
  
[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Historical Fiction|Historical Fiction]], [[:Category:Literary Fiction|Literary Fiction]], [[:Category:General Fiction|General Fiction]]
  
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 agoHe'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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It strikes me that nobody can speak well of the Wild West outside the walls of a theme parkOur agent to see how bad it was here is Pete Ferguson, who bristles at the indignity of white man against Native 'Indian', who spends days being physically sick while indulging in a buffalo hunt, and who hates the way man – and woman, of course – can turn against fellow man at the bat of an eyelidBut this book is about so much more than the 1870s USA, and the attendant problems with gold rushes, pioneer spirits and racial genocideHe finds himself trying to find this book's version of Utopia, namely the Equator, where everything is upside down, people walk on their heads with rocks in their pockets to keep them on the ground to counter the anti-gravity, and where, who knows, things might actually be better.  But that equator is a long way away – and there's a whole adventure full of Mexico and Latin America between him and it… [[Equator by Antonin Varenne and Sam Taylor (translator)|Full Review]]
  
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===[[Tales of Love and Disability by Laura Solomon]]===
 
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Short Stories|Short Stories]]
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===[[All the Invisible Things by Orlagh Collins]]===
  
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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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Teens|Teens]]  
  
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===[[A Snapshot of Murder (Kate Shackleton Mysteries) by Frances Brody]]===
 
 
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime (Historical)|Crime (Historical)]]
 
  
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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Vetty, her dad, and her little sister are about to move back to London and Vetty can't wait. The family has been staying with Aunt Wendy since the death of Vetty's mother several years ago. With the girls older and Aunt Wendy getting married, it's time to get back to their lives. Vetty, mostly, is looking forward to reconnecting with Pez. She and he were inseparable - spending all their time together and knowing each other inside out, without the need for words. Vetty could do with a friend like that right now, as her inner feelings of difference get ever stronger...  [[All the Invisible Things by Orlagh Collins|Full Review]]
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===[[The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl and Don Bartlett (translator)]]===
  
===[[The Afterwards by A F Harrold and Emily Gravett]]===
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[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime (Historical)|Crime (Historical)]]
  
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]  
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Nazi-occupied Oslo, 1942. There, I've given the game away. For in a book that centres around a murder, I've told you who did it – the Nazis, surely? Well, that certainly has to remain to be seen in this volume, which splits its time between one of war, when a young woman sees her father arrested, and their store condemned as Jewish, and rushes to her best friend to help – not knowing she will never see her alive again, and the late 1960s, when great consternation is being felt. In this timeline, a maverick agent is back in town, one who might have been fingered for murdering that female victim, even though she and he lived together with their baby as a young family, except he was thought by all to have died in the War… [[The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl and Don Bartlett (translator)|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 Department of Sensitive Crimes by Alexander McCall Smith]]===
  
===[[Santa Goes on Strike by Jem Vanston]]===
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:General Fiction|General Fiction]]
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:For Sharing|For Sharing]]
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Long-time followers of The Bookbag will know I'm a die-hard fan of AMS.  So you can imagine my excitement at reading a brand new book in a brand new series, described by the author himself as Scandi Blanc (as opposed to Scandi Noir)!  Here we meet a new detective named Ulf Varg, who works in the Department for Sensitive Crimes, solving those crimes that perhaps fall outside the usual police parameters.  This particular book deals with crimes including someone who is stabbed in the knee, the disappearance of an imaginary boyfriend, and a case of potential werewolves.  They're the crimes that perhaps nobody else would bother to deal with, and I rather enjoyed them, especially the stabbing where you find that actually, you identify with the person who committed the crime, rather than the victim. [[The Department of Sensitive Crimes by Alexander McCall Smith|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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===[[The Rose, the Night, and the Mirror by Mark Lingane]]===
 
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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:Science Fiction|Science Fiction]]  
  
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]], [[:Category:Teens|Teens]]  
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Julian's family are getting pretty fed up with his perma-student status. They feel that the maths PHD candidate should start earning some money. To that end, they have managed to find him a job tutoring the children of a highly regarded politician. Julian bowls up at their strange, austere mansion with little in the way of expectation. Victor, the politician is not at home. But Esis, his wife, is. A beautiful but isolated woman, Esis shows little interest in her children and not much more in Julian. She directs him towards his room, the library in which he will teach the children, and the kitchen, whose chefbot will provide him with food.  [[The Rose, the Night, and the Mirror by Mark Lingane|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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===[[Into the River by Mark Brandi]]===
  
===[[The Truth Pixie by Matt Haig and Chris Mould]]===
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]], [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
  
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]], [[:Category:For Sharing|For Sharing]]
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Two boys, Ben and Fab, are growing up in a small town in Northern Australia in the late 80's. They do all the normal things that boys of that age do - go yabbying (fishing), play cricket, fight their battles at school and think about girls.  Their family lives are different; Ben comes from a happy home, whilst Fab is the son of Italian immigrants who clearly have little money, and has a father who is very violent. Yet despite their differences, they are fiercely loyal to each other.  So far, so normal.  But with the arrival of a new neighbour for Ben, a man called Ronnie, things begin to change.  Ronnie wants Ben to come over to do some odd jobs for him, and both Ben and Fab are increasingly uncomfortable about this. [[Into the River by Mark Brandi|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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Latest revision as of 13:12, 20 March 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 15,116 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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When Spring Comes to the DMZ by Uk-Bae Lee

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

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

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M for Mammy by Eleanor O'Reilly

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

The Augustts are, like all families, a bit complicated. A loving irish family, their love binds them together – but all express that in very different ways. However, when misfortune strikes the family they are forced to work together in order to understand each other again, as with a family as complicated as the Augustts it's not always what is spoken that makes the most sense. Things are shaken up further when Granny Mae-Anne moves in and takes charge. Full of stern words and common sense, she's a force of nature who must try her hardest to hold the family together. Full Review

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Time and How to Spend It: The 7 Rules for Richer, Happier Days by James Wallman

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

Most things you can replace, but one of the things which you simply can't replace is time. Even though we know this, we fail to use what we have wisely. We have more leisure time, but that's not how it feels: a high value is put on how we spend our working hours, but there's a low value on leisure. Unfortunately we now know how to work and not how to live: we need to learn how to spend our leisure time wisely and James Wallman has taken on the onerous task of teaching us how to do this. Full Review

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Eiffel's Tower for Young People by Jill Jonnes

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Children's Non-Fiction

Brash and elegant, sophisticated, controversial and vibrant, the 1889 World's Fair in Paris encompassed the best, the worst and the beautiful from many countries and cultures. The French Republic laid out model villages from all their colonies, put on art shows, dance performances, food festivals and concerts to stun the senses. And towering above it all, the most popular and the most hated monument to French accomplishment and daring – the Eiffel Tower. Full Review

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The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew by Milly Johnson

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Women's Fiction

I liked this book. Whilst not necessarily a page-turner, this was a thoroughly enjoyable heart-warming read from the Queen of chick lit, Milly Johnson. Full Review

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Keep Walking Rhona Beech by Kate Tough

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Life has just hidden behind a corner and stuck a foot out as Rhona Beech came past. She and Mark had been together for nine years and it was beginning to feel settled. Then Mark announced that he'd got a job in Canada and he was going whether Rhona wanted to come with him or not. The not bit of the sentence was the way it worked out and Rhona was left on her own. Well, she wasn't completely on her own: she had friends and family, but it's not the same as having that special someone in your life, that someone who makes you part of a couple. So Rhona had to start again, rejoining a world that bore little resemblance to the one she'd left nine years ago - and there's a lot of difference between being in the middle of your twenties and the middle of your thirties. Full Review

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Heartlands (D I Jessie Blake) by Kerry Watts

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

The story had begun some twenty years earlier when two boys raped and killed Sophie Nicholl. Jack Mackay was - on the face of it - from a decent family, but he was the ringleader. Daniel Simpson was a follower, but he still raped Sophie and he could have stopped what happened but didn't. Sophie's body was found in a shallow grave by an enthusiastic cocker spaniel a few days later and the boys were arrested, tried and sentenced to five years in a young offenders institution. There were those who thought that the sentence was too lenient, even for fifteen-year-old boys and Sophie's elder brother, Tom, was one of these. He wasn't going to let the matter rest. Full Review

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The Boy Who Flew by Fleur Hitchcock

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


Athan Wilde earns some money to supplement his family's meagre income by working for Mr Chen who is both mentor and friend. Mr Chen's wonderful imagination and sense of the future has led him to create some fantastic inventions for making life easier and work less back breaking. His latest endeavour is something on an entirely different level, however - it's a.... flying machine! Imagine that! Full Review

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The Savage Shore by David Hewson

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

Reggio, in Calabria. It's a strange place, closer to Africa than Rome as Emmanuel kept reminding himself. He was an illegal immigrant and like most of his kind he was simply looking for a way to earn a decent living with a little dignity. Back in Nigeria he was an independent man and now he is no better than the monkey who sits in a cage on the bar he tends. The area is ruled by the Mafia. Further afield there are the Camorra and the Cosa Nostra, but here it's the 'Ndrangheta and the local boss is known as Lo Spettro - the ghost - as he's rarely seen, but he's one of the Bergamotti clan, but even that's not their real name. Full Review

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No Way Out by Cara Hunter

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

It was the end of the Christmas holidays and Felix House in an elite area of Oxford was on fire. Two children were dragged from the inferno: one, a toddler, was pronounced dead at the scene and the other, a boy on the cusp of his teens, died in hospital some days later. But where were the parents? Were their bodies in what remained of the house and which was being steadily cleared, or had they left the children at home alone? For DI Adam Fawley it's one of his most disturbing cases. He's still not got over the death of his son and there's every sign that his marriage is on the rocks. For his team it's just a heartbreaking, exhausting case. Full Review

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Women of Westminster: The MPs Who Changed Politics by Rachel Reeves

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

Women in Westminster have changed the culture of politics and the perception of what women can do

Women of Westminster: The MPs Who Changed Politics chronicles the battles the 491 women who have been elected over the course of the past century have fought and highlights their victories. It is remarkable that the history of female Members of Parliament began in 1918, the same year in which women were first given the right to vote but a decade before all women were given suffrage on equal terms with men. Although Constance de Markievicz was the first female elected to Parliament, it was only in 1919 that Nancy Astor became the first women to take her seat in the House of Commons and pave the way for women of the future. It was not long after in 1924 that the first female MP, Margaret Bondfield, was appointed into a cabinet position and since then women MPs have endeavoured to fight gender inequality and campaign for female rights. Within 100 years there has been a gradual revolution of change in politics and to date Britain has been led by two female Prime Ministers. However, such great landmarks have overshadowed the other female MPs whose early achievements, which have paved the way for subsequent women politicians, are consistently overlooked. In Women of Westminster: The MPs Who Changed Politics Rachel Reeves brings the forgotten stories into the spotlight to document the history of British female political history from 1919 to 2019. Full Review

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The Chemical Detectiveby Fiona Erskine

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

Dr Jaq Silver is a brilliant scientist with a healthy social life who loves her work and life. Whilst she is haunted by her past she won't let it define her. When she becomes entangled in a mystery, a mystery that could tie to some of the most horrific weapons on Earth, she doesn't hesitate and jumps straight in. We follow Jaq as she travels the world digging deeper and deeper into a rabbit-hole of intrigue and betrayal, never compromising and always seeking the truth. From the ski slopes of Eastern Europe, to the sunny climes of Portugal and even making a visit to that most glamourous of locations… rainy Teeside… this is a true thriller. Full Review

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Equator by Antonin Varenne and Sam Taylor (translator)

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

It strikes me that nobody can speak well of the Wild West outside the walls of a theme park. Our agent to see how bad it was here is Pete Ferguson, who bristles at the indignity of white man against Native 'Indian', who spends days being physically sick while indulging in a buffalo hunt, and who hates the way man – and woman, of course – can turn against fellow man at the bat of an eyelid. But this book is about so much more than the 1870s USA, and the attendant problems with gold rushes, pioneer spirits and racial genocide. He finds himself trying to find this book's version of Utopia, namely the Equator, where everything is upside down, people walk on their heads with rocks in their pockets to keep them on the ground to counter the anti-gravity, and where, who knows, things might actually be better. But that equator is a long way away – and there's a whole adventure full of Mexico and Latin America between him and it… Full Review

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All the Invisible Things by Orlagh Collins

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


Vetty, her dad, and her little sister are about to move back to London and Vetty can't wait. The family has been staying with Aunt Wendy since the death of Vetty's mother several years ago. With the girls older and Aunt Wendy getting married, it's time to get back to their lives. Vetty, mostly, is looking forward to reconnecting with Pez. She and he were inseparable - spending all their time together and knowing each other inside out, without the need for words. Vetty could do with a friend like that right now, as her inner feelings of difference get ever stronger... Full Review

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The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl and Don Bartlett (translator)

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

Nazi-occupied Oslo, 1942. There, I've given the game away. For in a book that centres around a murder, I've told you who did it – the Nazis, surely? Well, that certainly has to remain to be seen in this volume, which splits its time between one of war, when a young woman sees her father arrested, and their store condemned as Jewish, and rushes to her best friend to help – not knowing she will never see her alive again, and the late 1960s, when great consternation is being felt. In this timeline, a maverick agent is back in town, one who might have been fingered for murdering that female victim, even though she and he lived together with their baby as a young family, except he was thought by all to have died in the War… Full Review

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The Department of Sensitive Crimes by Alexander McCall Smith

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

Long-time followers of The Bookbag will know I'm a die-hard fan of AMS. So you can imagine my excitement at reading a brand new book in a brand new series, described by the author himself as Scandi Blanc (as opposed to Scandi Noir)! Here we meet a new detective named Ulf Varg, who works in the Department for Sensitive Crimes, solving those crimes that perhaps fall outside the usual police parameters. This particular book deals with crimes including someone who is stabbed in the knee, the disappearance of an imaginary boyfriend, and a case of potential werewolves. They're the crimes that perhaps nobody else would bother to deal with, and I rather enjoyed them, especially the stabbing where you find that actually, you identify with the person who committed the crime, rather than the victim. Full Review

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The Rose, the Night, and the Mirror by Mark Lingane

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

Julian's family are getting pretty fed up with his perma-student status. They feel that the maths PHD candidate should start earning some money. To that end, they have managed to find him a job tutoring the children of a highly regarded politician. Julian bowls up at their strange, austere mansion with little in the way of expectation. Victor, the politician is not at home. But Esis, his wife, is. A beautiful but isolated woman, Esis shows little interest in her children and not much more in Julian. She directs him towards his room, the library in which he will teach the children, and the kitchen, whose chefbot will provide him with food. Full Review

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Into the River by Mark Brandi

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

Two boys, Ben and Fab, are growing up in a small town in Northern Australia in the late 80's. They do all the normal things that boys of that age do - go yabbying (fishing), play cricket, fight their battles at school and think about girls. Their family lives are different; Ben comes from a happy home, whilst Fab is the son of Italian immigrants who clearly have little money, and has a father who is very violent. Yet despite their differences, they are fiercely loyal to each other. So far, so normal. But with the arrival of a new neighbour for Ben, a man called Ronnie, things begin to change. Ronnie wants Ben to come over to do some odd jobs for him, and both Ben and Fab are increasingly uncomfortable about this. Full Review