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<metadesc>Book review site, with books from most walks of literary life; fiction, biography, crime, cookery and children's books plus author interviews and top tens.</metadesc>
 
<metadesc>Book review site, with books from most walks of literary life; fiction, biography, crime, cookery and children's books plus author interviews and top tens.</metadesc>
 
<h1 id="mf-title">The Bookbag</h1>
 
<h1 id="mf-title">The Bookbag</h1>
Hello from The Bookbag, a site featuring books from all the many walks of literary life - [[:Category:Fiction|fiction]], [[:Category:Biography|biography]], [[:Category:Crime|crime]], [[:Category:Cookery|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 [[:Category:Interviews|author interviews]], and all sorts of [[:Category:Lists|top tens]] - all of which you can find on our [[features]] page. If you're stuck for something to read, check out the [[Book Recommendations|recommendations]] page.
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Hello from The Bookbag, a site featuring books from all the many walks of literary life - [[:Category:Fiction|fiction]], [[:Category:Biography|biography]], [[:Category:Crime|crime]], [[:Category:Cookery|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, the charity shop 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 [[:Category:Interviews|author interviews]], and all sorts of [[:Category:Lists|top tens]] - all of which you can find on our [[features]] page. If you're stuck for something to read, check out the [[Book Recommendations|recommendations]] page.
  
 
There are currently '''{{PAGESINCATEGORY:Reviews}}''' reviews at TheBookbag.
 
There are currently '''{{PAGESINCATEGORY:Reviews}}''' reviews at TheBookbag.
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'''Read [[:Category:New Reviews|new reviews by category]]. '''<br>
 
'''Read [[:Category:New Reviews|new reviews by category]]. '''<br>
  
'''Read [[:Category:Features|the latest features]].'''
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'''Read [[:Category:Features|the latest features]].''' <!-- INSERT NEW REVIEWS BELOW HERE-->
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{{Frontpage
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|author= Katie Fforde
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|title= A Springtime Affair
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|rating= 4
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|genre= Women's Fiction
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|summary= I've wanted to read author Katie Fforde for ages and this was pretty much exactly what I was expecting - a warm, cosy read focused on romance, family and friendships.  This provided two romances for the price of one, but it was actually the family element as opposed to the romance that I really enjoyed.
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|isbn=1780897561
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=1838593187
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|title=Guess What I Found in the Playground!
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|author=Victoria Thompson
 +
|rating=4.5
 +
|genre=For Sharing
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|summary=Tilly is excited.  She's just come dashing out of the classroom, pigtails flapping behind her and a big grin on her face.  Dad's come to collect her and her brother and he ''has'' to try to guess what she found in the playground today, although she concedes that he will never guess.  Dad wants to know how school was, but ''obviously'' that's not important.  Could Tilly have found more collectable things for her scrap box?  (Isn't that so much more sensible than a scrap ''book''?)  Well, actually, Tilly did find exciting stuff.  There are sequins, glittered paper and all sorts of other things in her pocket, but that's not what she wants Dad to guess.
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|author= Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed
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|title= Yes No Maybe So
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|rating= 4
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|genre= Teens
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|summary= ''We might give it our all and crash and burn. But we might win. We might actually change things. And that maybe makes it still worth going for, don't you think?''
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Jaime has been spending his summer helping his cousin with campaigning in time for a special election. When his mother encourages him to go canvassing, he can't think of anything worse. However, Jaime has always wanted to be a politician and decides there is no time like the present to conquer his fear of speaking to the public.
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Maya is a Pakistani-American Muslim girl who is having the worst summer of her life. Her parents are going through a separation, she has zero plans for the summer to help take her mind off things and her only close friend is permanently busy. To help occupy her, her parents offer to buy her a car if she agrees to go canvassing.
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The pair could possibly be the worst canvassing duo in history, as neither of them really want to be there, but as the campaign goes on they discover that they care, a lot, about the election - and maybe even about each other?
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|isbn=1471184668
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|author=Gregg Hurwitz
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|title=Into The Fire
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|rating=5
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|genre=Thrillers
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|summary= Grant Merriweather is a forensic accountant.  Or rather, was.  He was brought into an ER room after an alleged car crash, his friend pleading with the medics to keep him alive.  He was needed alive just long enough to give up a name.  His cousin, Max.
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|isbn=0718185501
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=1529124395
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|title=When You See Me
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|author=Lisa Gardner
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|rating=4
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|genre=Crime
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|summary=For Janet and Chuck, it was a hiking break in the Appalachians in Georgia and pure chance that Chuck went off the beaten track to find a stick.  What he found was a human bone and SSA Kimberley Quincy was called in, along with Sergeant D D Warren.  Both women were experienced in this type of rather gruesome work but they also called on the services of Keith Edgar, a computer analyst, and Flora Dane who brought something unique to the table.  Flora had been kidnapped and held for 472 days by the notorious killer, Jacob Ness.  If Ness had anything to do with the current discoveries then what Flora had to say could be invaluable.
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=1529009677
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|title=A Window Breaks
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|author=C M Ewan
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|rating=3.5
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|genre=Thrillers
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|summary=Tom Sullivan and his wife Rachel are having problems.  It's not just the usual growing apart after more than a decade of marriage.  Their son, Michael, was killed in a car crash some months before: he was driving his father's Audi and at sixteen wasn't legally entitled to drive.  Not only did he kill himself when the car rammed into a tree, but he also killed his girlfriend, fifteen-year-old Fiona Connor.  Tom can't think about Michael without a sense of shame and guilt.  Rachel is broken, but she wants to forgive Michael.  To give some space, Tom's moved out of the family home, but stresses to his thirteen-year-old daughter, Holly, that it is only a trial separation.
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=0241985153
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|title=The House on the Lake
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|author=Nuala Ellwood
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|rating=3.5
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|genre=Thrillers
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|summary=We know that something has gone wrong - badly wrong - when the woman who was alone in the house is taken away by the police, but it's going to be a while before we learn exactly what has happened.
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|author=Struan Murray and Manuel Sumberac (illustrator)
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|title=Orphans of the Tide
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|rating=5
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|genre=Confident Readers
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|summary= In the last city on Earth, anyone can be the vessel of The Enemy - the god who drowned the world - who has come to wreak havoc on the last of humanity. When a mysterious boy is pulled from the corpse of a whale, the citizens immediately believe him to be the Vessel - all except for young Ellie Lancaster, a girl inventor. As the ruthless Inquisition prepares to execute the boy, Ellie must prove that he is innocent - even if it means revealing her deepest, darkest secrets....
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|isbn=0241384435
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=0008297169
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|title=The Guest List
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|author=Lucy Foley
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|rating=4.5
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|genre=Crime
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|summary=The boat trip out to Inis Amploir, off the Irish coast, might have been enough to put some guests off, but it was the wedding of the year.  Will Slater (television personality, if not yet a celebrity) was to marry Jules Keegan, online magazine publisher, in the ruined chapel on the island.  The bride's sister, Olivia, would be her only bridesmaid and the wedding planner and chef are Aoife and her husband, Freddy.  They gave a huge discount to get the couple to the island, but surely it would be worth it for the publicity?
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=B07ZGL6B1B
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|title=In Plain Sight (D I Clare Mackay)
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|author=Marion Todd
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|rating=4.5
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|genre=Crime
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|summary=It was a coincidence that Detective Sergeant Chris West and DI Clare Mackay were at the beach when the baby was stolen.  They were there for the fun run and their attention was taken by the NEFEW protesters who tried to disrupt the race.  They're against the planned McIntosh Water bottled water plant to be constructed on Priory Marsh and the firm is sponsoring the fun run.  It was Lisa Mitchell's scream which stopped everything.  Her daughter, six-month-old Abi, had been taken from her pram whilst no one was looking.  It's a major incident when ''any'' child is abducted but Abi needs regular medication because of a heart problem: without it, she might have only forty-eight hours to live.
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=1471180921
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|title=Firewatching
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|author=Russ Thomas
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|rating=5
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|genre=Crime
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|summary=Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler is in the Cold Cas Review Unit at South Yorkshire Police and there are those who think that he's lucky to be there, given that he decked a superior officer.  He's there because Tyler came off worse in the exchange - there's a scar on his face to prove it - and the superior officer was forced to take early retirement.  There's a suggestion too that Tyler's godmother (she's on the force too) has looked after him and that his current boss is keen to have a tame gay to put on the town hall steps come Pride.  Either way, he's there, but without anything really interesting to get his teeth into.
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|author= A K Larkwood
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|title= The Unspoken Name
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|rating= 4
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|genre= Fantasy
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|summary= What does it mean to betray someone? What if that someone is a god? Csorwe has been raised knowing that she would be sacrificed to her god on her fourteenth birthday, yet when the opportunity arises, she chooses to abandon everything she knows and flee with her life. Who can blame her? Her god's reach is limited and Csorwe intends to stay far beyond it, yet fate is a funny thing and when circumstances bring her back within the reach of her god Csorwe learns that her god remembers her, and blames her very much indeed.
 +
|isbn=1250238900
 +
}}
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{{Frontpage
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|author= M G Leonard and Sam Sedgman
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|title= The Highland Falcon Thief
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|rating= 5
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|genre= Confident Readers
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|summary= Harrison Beck, or Hal as he prefers to be called, isn't exactly pleased when his parents send him off with his uncle Nat, a travel writer, on a long train journey. Although, this isn't any old train; this is the Highland Falcon, the royal train, and this is its last ever journey before it gets sent to a museum. A number of high-society figures, including film stars, millionaires and aristocrats, will be on this train, so it is quite the event on the social calendar. However, when an expensive brooch is stolen, Hal realises that maybe this trip won't be as boring as he previously thought. As the passengers begin to turn on each other, Hal vows to get to the bottom of the mystery…before the train gets to the end of the line.
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|isbn=1529013062
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=0008275246
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|title=Perfect Kill (D I Callanach)
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|author=Helen Fields
 +
|rating=4
 +
|genre=Crime
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|summary=When Maggie Campbell realised that her son, Bart, was missing he was already 200 miles away and just waking from a chemically-induced sleep.  Maggie knew straight away that something was wrong.  Bart might be twenty but he was considerate of his mother and wouldn't have stayed out all night without letting her know.  Besides, he didn't have his phone with him and he wouldn't have gone far without that.  It's not long before Bart realises that he's alone, trapped in a shipping container and on his way to France, where his fate has already been decided.
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|author= Alyssa Sheinmel
 +
|title= What Kind of Girl
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|rating= 4
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|genre= Women's Fiction
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|summary= '' Doing something when you're scared is braver than doing something when you're not''
  
{|class-"wikitable" cellpadding="15" <!-- INSERT NEW REVIEWS BELOW HERE-->
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When Mike Parker's girlfriend comes into school with a black eye, claiming he gave it to her, her whole world is tipped upside down. Her relationship has just ended and now she's the talk of the school. Mike was the most popular boy in school who was always so in love with her, everyone knew that, so why did he do what he did? Some people believe her and some don't, but one thing is for sure, this isn't going to blow over any time soon.
<!-- Rachel Lynch -->
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|isbn=0349003297
|-
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}}
| style="width: 10%; vertical-align: top; text-align: center;"|
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{{Frontpage
[[image:B07P1T8H6J.jpg|link=http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07P1T8H6J/ref=nosim?tag=thebookbag-21]]
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|author= Holly Rivers
 
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|title= Demelza and the Spectre Detectors
 
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|rating= 5
| style="vertical-align: top; text-align: left;"|
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|genre= Confident Readers
===[[Bold Lies (DI Kelly Porter 5) by Rachel Lynch]]===
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|summary= Demelza Clock is a scientist, often staying up late to work on her various gadgets, much to her Grandma Maeve's irritation. However, she has also inherited a certain set of skills that are not especially scientific: Spectre Detecting, the ability to summon the ghosts of the recently deceased. Under the guidance of her Grandma Maeve, Demelza begins to master her newfound skills. However, there is a mysterious individual on the prowl, kidnapping young Spectre Detectors. It's up to Demelza and her best friend Percy to get to the bottom of this...
 
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|isbn=1912626039
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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}}
 
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{{Frontpage
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]]
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|isbn=1787477533
 
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|title=The Lantern Men (Dr Ruth Galloway)
<!-- Jonathan Meres -->
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|author=Elly Griffiths
|-
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|rating=5
| style="width: 10%; vertical-align: top; text-align: center;"|
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|genre=Crime
[[image:1781128693.jpg|link=http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1781128693/ref=nosim?tag=thebookbag-21]]
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|summary=Everything has changed for Dr Ruth GallowayShe's no longer providing assistance to the police and isn't even working at the University of North NorfolkShe's lecturing at Cambridge and has moved from her beloved Saltmarsh cottage to live with Dr Frank Barker in CambridgeHer daughter, Katie, has settled into school better than she could ever have hoped and life is looking goodSettledShe can't help thinking about Harry Nelson, Katie's father, because Katie sees him regularly and there's a close relationship with his familyYou might ''almost'' think that Ruth's life is settling down.
 
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}}
 
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{{Frontpage
| style="vertical-align: top; text-align: left;"|
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|isbn=183895015X
===[[Special Delivery by Jonathan Meres]]===
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|title=A Bit of a Stretch: The Diaries of a Prisoner
 
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|author=Chris Atkins
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Dyslexia Friendly|Dyslexia Friendly]], [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
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|rating=5
 
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|genre=Politics and Society
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. [[Special Delivery by Jonathan Meres|Full Review]]
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|summary=Documentary filmmakers don't usually get the run of establishments within the Mountbatten-Windsor Hotel Group, but after getting involved in an illegal tax scheme to fund his latest film, Chris Atkins was invited for a five-year stayThe first nine months were spent in HMP Wandsworth, which is probably the oldest, largest and most dysfunctional prison in Europe.
 
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}}
<!-- Vivian French -->
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{{Frontpage
|-
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|isbn=1250168546
| style="width: 10%; vertical-align: top; text-align: center;"|
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|author=Sarah Kozloff
[[image:1781128707.jpg|link=http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1781128707/ref=nosim?tag=thebookbag-21]]
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|title=A Queen In Hiding
 
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|rating=3
 
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|genre=Fantasy
| style="vertical-align: top; text-align: left;"|
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|summary= World-building is the backbone by which fantasy novels live and die. And what a pleasure, then, to get a novel with world-building you actually want to delve into. Sarah Kozloff's debut novel presents a startlingly rich and layered world, with a complex history of connecting nations that seems certain to have more to tap, and the characters are interesting – if a little underdeveloped. But it's a world I could – and did – eagerly buy into, and the struggle of each Queen to discover and hone her magical talent felt very real and very apt.
===[[The Spectacular Revenge of Suzi Sims by Vivian French]]===
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}}
 
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{{Frontpage
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Dyslexia Friendly|Dyslexia Friendly]], [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
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|isbn=1543987877
 
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|title=Learn to Love: Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life
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. [[The Spectacular Revenge of Suzi Sims by Vivian French|Full Review]]
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|author=Dr Thomas Jordan
 
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|rating=4.5
<!-- Pye -->
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|genre=Lifestyle
|-
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|summary=''Learn to Love: Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life'' is a book about love relationships rather than a book about love. The two greatest emotions are love and grief and love is the opposite of grief: ''if you love'', Dr Thomas Jordan tells us, ''you will inevitably grieve''.  Your love relationships begin the moment you're born and end only when you dieWhilst we all come into the world hoping to give and receive love there are many people for whom love is not quite so simpleSome people suffer multiple disappointments - sometimes repeating the same mistakes - and this eventually becomes resignationFor people who are making the same mistakes repeatedly, self-preservation, in the form of resignation is a necessity.
| style="width: 10%; vertical-align: top; text-align: center;"|
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}}
[[image:1471170233.jpg|link=http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1471170233/ref=nosim?tag=thebookbag-21]]
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{{Frontpage
 
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|author=Chris Hauty
 
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|title=Deep State
| style="vertical-align: top; text-align: left;"|
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|rating=3
===[[The Adventures of Harry Stevenson by Ali Pye]]===
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|genre=Thrillers
 
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|summary= Hayley Chill is a fighter. She is every kind of fighter, and well-trained in most of them. She's army infantry and she boxes for fun – and she wins. Always. She wins because she is focussed. She works hard, mentally and physically, and she knows how to deal with the pain. She is not so much cold as controlled. This fight is against someone she is not expected to beat.  And she is being watched.
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
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|isbn=1471185605
 
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}}
Meet Harry StevensonHe'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 normApart 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 houseIt 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 againIn 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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{{Frontpage
 
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|author=H G Parry
<!-- Angie Kim -->
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|title=The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep
|-
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|rating=4
| style="width: 10%; vertical-align: top; text-align: center;"|
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|genre=General Fiction
[[image:1529374944.jpg|link=http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1529374944/ref=nosim?tag=thebookbag-21]]
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|summary=Brothers Rob and Charley have struggled to see eye to eye for years - Rob a sensible lawyer who exists in the "normal" world - and Charley a man who is blessed with an ability he can't fully control - one which allows him to bring literary characters into the real world. After years of protecting Charley, Rob wants to discharge his duties and leave Charley to his own devices - but circumstances soon take choices out of both their hands. As literary characters begin to appear everywhere, it soon becomes clear that someone out there shares Charley's powers and intends to use them for nefarious gains. Rob and Charley must team up to stop the madness - in a battle to win before they, the characters and the world reach The End…
 
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|isbn=0356513777
 
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}}
| style="vertical-align: top; text-align: left;"|
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{{Frontpage
===[[Miracle Creek by Angie Kim]]===
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|isbn=1444776185
 
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|title=Haven't they Grown
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
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|author=Sophie Hannah
 
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|rating=4.5
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 storeMeh-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]]
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|genre=Thrillers
 
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|summary=It was when Beth Leeson was ferrying her son, Ben, to a football match that she found herself on Wyddial Lane in Hemingford AbbotsActually, It's a little disingenuous to say 'found herself' as Beth had made a deliberate detour on the grounds that she didn't find herself in this neck of the woods very often and she was curious to see where a family who'd come into money had lived before they'd all lost contact twelve years ago.  And it might have gone no further than that had Beth not seen a car draw up and her friend Flora get out along with two children she called Thomas and EmilyBeth remembered the names well - but these children were about three and five and Flora's children - Thomas and Emily - would now be fifteen and seventeen.
<!-- Megan E O'Keefe -->
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}}
|-
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| style="width: 10%; vertical-align: top; text-align: center;"|
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[[image:0356512223.jpg|link=http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0356512223/ref=nosim?tag=thebookbag-21]]
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===[[Velocity Weapon by Megan E O'Keefe]]===
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Science Fiction]]
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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]]
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<!-- Parker -->
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|-
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[[image:1789018269.jpg|link=http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1789018269/ref=nosim?tag=thebookbag-21
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]]
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===[[The Chessmaster's Secret by Mary Parker]]===
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]]
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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]]
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===[[The Art of Noticing: Rediscover What Really Matters to You by Rob Walker]]===
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Lifestyle|Lifestyle]]
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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 distractedRob 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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===[[The Playground Murders by Lesley Thomson]]===
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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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 itStill, more than anything, she wanted her daughter to be happyThat 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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===[[The Billion Pound Lie by Bill Dare]]===
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
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Can you imagine what it would be like to win a billion pounds? The UK's biggest ever lottery winners were a couple from Ayrshire, who won a £161 million EuroMillions jackpot a few years ago. That's so much money that it landed them on the Sunday Times Rich List of the UK's thousand most wealthy people. So a billion pounds. That's a lot, right? Can you imagine it?  What would you do? Would you try to remain anonymous? And, if you did, how would this affect your relationships with your nearest and dearest? What it would be like? How could you keep your friends and family from knowing that you were now one of the richest people in the country? [[The Billion Pound Lie by Bill Dare|Full Review]]
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===[[Across the Void by S K Vaughn]]===
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Science Fiction|Science Fiction]]
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Sea epics? So 20th century. Try a space epic. [[Across the Void by S K Vaughn|Full Review]]
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===[[The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity McLean]]===
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When Tikka Molloy was eleven and one-sixth years old, the Van Apfel sisters disappeared. In the long hot summer of 1992, in an isolated suburb of Australia surrounded by Bushland, the girls vanished during the school's Showstopper concert at the riverside amphitheatre. Did they run away? Were they taken? While the search for the sisters united the small community, they were never found. Returning home years later, Tikka must make sense of that strange moment in time of the summer that shaped her, and the girls she never forgot. [[The Van Apfel Girls are Gone by Felicity McLean|Full Review]]
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===[[The Dragon in the Library by Louie Stowell and Davide Ortu (Illustrator)]]===
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[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Confident Readers|Confident Readers]], [[:Category:Emerging Readers|Emerging Readers]]
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It is the start of the summer holidays and Kit has plans. These plans involve climbing trees, getting muddy and being outside. Her friends, Josh and Alita, on the other hand want to go to the library. Kit hates reading and can't see the point of books at all but is very reluctantly persuaded to go with the others to the local library. Once there the children meet the librarian and Kit makes an incredible discovery; the librarian is a wizard! Even more incredibly, Kit is a wizard too and she and her friends have an important task. They must save the library…and save the world! [[The Dragon in the Library by Louie Stowell and Davide Ortu (Illustrator)|Full Review]]
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===[[All That's Dead (Logan McRae 12) by Stuart MacBride]]===
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It seemed like a good idea.  Logan 'Lazarus' McRae was back at work after a year off sick.  He'd been stabbed in the line of duty and recovery had been slow: he still had some pain.  His first case was to be a simple one - just to ease him back into work - but it turned out to be anything but.  Professor Wilson, a high-profile anti-independence campaigner has gone missing, apparently abducted from his home, but nothing was left behind except some bloodstains.  In much the same way that Brexit is dividing people south of the border, there's going to be a war between the pro- and anti-independence factions in Scotland - and the police are not above being involved. [[All That's Dead (Logan McRae 12) by Stuart MacBride|Full Review]]
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===[[The Last Stage by Louise Voss]]===
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If you were looking back to when it began you'd have to say that it was before 1995.  Meredith Vincent (that wasn't her name then) had gone to Greenham Common on her seventeenth birthday, dressed as a teddy bear, to protest about nuclear weapons.  It was whilst she was there that she met Samantha, fell head over heels in love with her and went to live in a squat in London, leaving behind her A levels, her recently-widowed mother - and her twin brother, Pete, to look after her.  Samantha was there occasionally but Meredith was drawn into forming a band with the boys from the squat and against all the odds Cohen went on to become a sensation and it wasn't long before Meredith was living in a mansion rather than the squat. [[The Last Stage by Louise Voss|Full Review]]
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===[[Wild Child: Growing Up a Nomad by Ian Mathie]]===
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For Ian Mathie fans there is good and bad news. Ian has come up with the missing link in his narrative, the story of a very unusual childhood (yes, the very years that made him the amazing man he became). The bad – well it's hardly news two years later – is that the book is published posthumously. As always, it's beautifully written, with many exciting moments. What I most enjoyed was the feeling that many of the questions in Ian Mathie's later books are answered in ''Wild Child'' with a satisfying clunk. Seemingly all that's now left in the drawer is unpublishable. [[Wild Child: Growing Up a Nomad by Ian Mathie|Full Review]]
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===[[The Body in the Castle Well (A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel) by Martin Walker]]===
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[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
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Claudia Muller was an American, studying art history and being mentored by an eminent French art historian and Resistance war hero in Limeuil in Perigord.  She was beautiful, wore designer clothes and was well-liked by everyone. She didn't parade her wealth, or her father's White House connections.  In fact, her closest friend was a man recently released from prison.  So when she left a lecture saying that she felt ill, and her body was later found at the bottom of the castle well it seemed that the likeliest explanation was that this had been a dreadful accident with the only people to blame being the builders who had left the well unsealed. [[The Body in the Castle Well (A Bruno, Chief of Police Novel) by Martin Walker|Full Review]]
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===[[The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri]]===
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Here in the West, we see news reports about immigrants on a regular basis – some media welcoming them, some scaremongering about them. But all of those stories are written by journalists – almost always western, and almost always, no matter how deep the investigative journalism they carry out, outsiders to the world and the situations that refugees find themselves in. It's rare that we find out the journeys from the refugees themselves – and this is a rare opportunity to do that, in this intelligent, powerful and moving work by Dina Nayeri -someone who was born in the middle of a revolution in Iran, fleeing to America as a ten-year-old.[[The Ungrateful Refugee by Dina Nayeri|Full Review]]
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===[[Boy in the Well (DI Westphall 2) by Douglas Lindsay]]===
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The body of a nine-year-old boy was found at the bottom of a well which had been sealed for two hundred years - but the boy had only been dead for less than two days and there was no sign of how the body had got into the well. The owners of the property are adamant that the well was sealed when they went to open it, but DI Ben Westphall would be entitled to have his doubts. Belle McIntosh holds some strange views, particularly about the way that the government is controlling everyone through drugs which are added to the water supply which led to her wanting to reinstate the well. Her wife, Catriona Napier, is more moderate, but doesn't seem to have a lot of knowledge about what's going on on the fa [[Boy in the Well (DI Westphall 2) by Douglas Lindsay|Full Review]]
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===[[The Body in the Mist by Nick Louth]]===
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Muriel Hinkley was walking her dog when she found the body on a quiet country lane, just south of ExmoorShe didn’t recognise him - no one would for a long time as it was obvious that he’d been the victim of a hit-and-run.  He had no face - most of it was smeared on the road and when D I Jan Talantire came to look at the body she realised that there was absolutely nothing on him which would allow for identification.  All the labels had been cut out of his clothes and there was no wallet and no phone.  Hi was Mister Nobody.  [[The Body in the Mist by Nick Louth|Full Review]]
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===[[Conviction by Denise Mina]]===
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It's strange how the worst of days can start in such an ordinary, mundane way.  And so it was for Anna McDonald as she sorted out gym kit and packed lunches for her two daughtersIt didn't begin to go wrong until she opened the door to her best friend, Estelle and realised that her husband was at the top of the stairs, dressed as though for a holiday rather than the work clothes she'd been expecting - and he was carrying a suitcase.  He and Estelle were leaving together - and they were taking Anna's two daughters with them. There was another problem which neither Hamish nor Estelle knew about.  Anna wasn't actually Anna McDonald.  She was Sophie Bukaran, the woman who had been involved in the rape case against four footballers. [[Conviction by Denise Mina|Full Review]]
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Latest revision as of 08:42, 20 February 2020

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, the charity shop 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 15,356 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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A Springtime Affair by Katie Fforde

4star.jpg Women's Fiction

I've wanted to read author Katie Fforde for ages and this was pretty much exactly what I was expecting - a warm, cosy read focused on romance, family and friendships. This provided two romances for the price of one, but it was actually the family element as opposed to the romance that I really enjoyed. Full Review

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Guess What I Found in the Playground! by Victoria Thompson

4.5star.jpg For Sharing

Tilly is excited. She's just come dashing out of the classroom, pigtails flapping behind her and a big grin on her face. Dad's come to collect her and her brother and he has to try to guess what she found in the playground today, although she concedes that he will never guess. Dad wants to know how school was, but obviously that's not important. Could Tilly have found more collectable things for her scrap box? (Isn't that so much more sensible than a scrap book?) Well, actually, Tilly did find exciting stuff. There are sequins, glittered paper and all sorts of other things in her pocket, but that's not what she wants Dad to guess. Full Review

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Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

4star.jpg Teens

We might give it our all and crash and burn. But we might win. We might actually change things. And that maybe makes it still worth going for, don't you think? Jaime has been spending his summer helping his cousin with campaigning in time for a special election. When his mother encourages him to go canvassing, he can't think of anything worse. However, Jaime has always wanted to be a politician and decides there is no time like the present to conquer his fear of speaking to the public. Maya is a Pakistani-American Muslim girl who is having the worst summer of her life. Her parents are going through a separation, she has zero plans for the summer to help take her mind off things and her only close friend is permanently busy. To help occupy her, her parents offer to buy her a car if she agrees to go canvassing. The pair could possibly be the worst canvassing duo in history, as neither of them really want to be there, but as the campaign goes on they discover that they care, a lot, about the election - and maybe even about each other? Full Review

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Into The Fire by Gregg Hurwitz

5star.jpg Thrillers

Grant Merriweather is a forensic accountant. Or rather, was. He was brought into an ER room after an alleged car crash, his friend pleading with the medics to keep him alive. He was needed alive just long enough to give up a name. His cousin, Max. Full Review

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When You See Me by Lisa Gardner

4star.jpg Crime

For Janet and Chuck, it was a hiking break in the Appalachians in Georgia and pure chance that Chuck went off the beaten track to find a stick. What he found was a human bone and SSA Kimberley Quincy was called in, along with Sergeant D D Warren. Both women were experienced in this type of rather gruesome work but they also called on the services of Keith Edgar, a computer analyst, and Flora Dane who brought something unique to the table. Flora had been kidnapped and held for 472 days by the notorious killer, Jacob Ness. If Ness had anything to do with the current discoveries then what Flora had to say could be invaluable. Full Review

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A Window Breaks by C M Ewan

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

Tom Sullivan and his wife Rachel are having problems. It's not just the usual growing apart after more than a decade of marriage. Their son, Michael, was killed in a car crash some months before: he was driving his father's Audi and at sixteen wasn't legally entitled to drive. Not only did he kill himself when the car rammed into a tree, but he also killed his girlfriend, fifteen-year-old Fiona Connor. Tom can't think about Michael without a sense of shame and guilt. Rachel is broken, but she wants to forgive Michael. To give some space, Tom's moved out of the family home, but stresses to his thirteen-year-old daughter, Holly, that it is only a trial separation. Full Review

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The House on the Lake by Nuala Ellwood

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

We know that something has gone wrong - badly wrong - when the woman who was alone in the house is taken away by the police, but it's going to be a while before we learn exactly what has happened. Full Review

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Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray and Manuel Sumberac (illustrator)

5star.jpg Confident Readers

In the last city on Earth, anyone can be the vessel of The Enemy - the god who drowned the world - who has come to wreak havoc on the last of humanity. When a mysterious boy is pulled from the corpse of a whale, the citizens immediately believe him to be the Vessel - all except for young Ellie Lancaster, a girl inventor. As the ruthless Inquisition prepares to execute the boy, Ellie must prove that he is innocent - even if it means revealing her deepest, darkest secrets.... Full Review

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The Guest List by Lucy Foley

4.5star.jpg Crime

The boat trip out to Inis Amploir, off the Irish coast, might have been enough to put some guests off, but it was the wedding of the year. Will Slater (television personality, if not yet a celebrity) was to marry Jules Keegan, online magazine publisher, in the ruined chapel on the island. The bride's sister, Olivia, would be her only bridesmaid and the wedding planner and chef are Aoife and her husband, Freddy. They gave a huge discount to get the couple to the island, but surely it would be worth it for the publicity? Full Review

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In Plain Sight (D I Clare Mackay) by Marion Todd

4.5star.jpg Crime

It was a coincidence that Detective Sergeant Chris West and DI Clare Mackay were at the beach when the baby was stolen. They were there for the fun run and their attention was taken by the NEFEW protesters who tried to disrupt the race. They're against the planned McIntosh Water bottled water plant to be constructed on Priory Marsh and the firm is sponsoring the fun run. It was Lisa Mitchell's scream which stopped everything. Her daughter, six-month-old Abi, had been taken from her pram whilst no one was looking. It's a major incident when any child is abducted but Abi needs regular medication because of a heart problem: without it, she might have only forty-eight hours to live. Full Review

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Firewatching by Russ Thomas

5star.jpg Crime

Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler is in the Cold Cas Review Unit at South Yorkshire Police and there are those who think that he's lucky to be there, given that he decked a superior officer. He's there because Tyler came off worse in the exchange - there's a scar on his face to prove it - and the superior officer was forced to take early retirement. There's a suggestion too that Tyler's godmother (she's on the force too) has looked after him and that his current boss is keen to have a tame gay to put on the town hall steps come Pride. Either way, he's there, but without anything really interesting to get his teeth into. Full Review

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The Unspoken Name by A K Larkwood

4star.jpg Fantasy

What does it mean to betray someone? What if that someone is a god? Csorwe has been raised knowing that she would be sacrificed to her god on her fourteenth birthday, yet when the opportunity arises, she chooses to abandon everything she knows and flee with her life. Who can blame her? Her god's reach is limited and Csorwe intends to stay far beyond it, yet fate is a funny thing and when circumstances bring her back within the reach of her god Csorwe learns that her god remembers her, and blames her very much indeed. Full Review

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The Highland Falcon Thief by M G Leonard and Sam Sedgman

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Harrison Beck, or Hal as he prefers to be called, isn't exactly pleased when his parents send him off with his uncle Nat, a travel writer, on a long train journey. Although, this isn't any old train; this is the Highland Falcon, the royal train, and this is its last ever journey before it gets sent to a museum. A number of high-society figures, including film stars, millionaires and aristocrats, will be on this train, so it is quite the event on the social calendar. However, when an expensive brooch is stolen, Hal realises that maybe this trip won't be as boring as he previously thought. As the passengers begin to turn on each other, Hal vows to get to the bottom of the mystery…before the train gets to the end of the line. Full Review

0008275246.jpg

Perfect Kill (D I Callanach) by Helen Fields

4star.jpg Crime

When Maggie Campbell realised that her son, Bart, was missing he was already 200 miles away and just waking from a chemically-induced sleep. Maggie knew straight away that something was wrong. Bart might be twenty but he was considerate of his mother and wouldn't have stayed out all night without letting her know. Besides, he didn't have his phone with him and he wouldn't have gone far without that. It's not long before Bart realises that he's alone, trapped in a shipping container and on his way to France, where his fate has already been decided. Full Review

0349003297.jpg

What Kind of Girl by Alyssa Sheinmel

4star.jpg Women's Fiction

Doing something when you're scared is braver than doing something when you're not

When Mike Parker's girlfriend comes into school with a black eye, claiming he gave it to her, her whole world is tipped upside down. Her relationship has just ended and now she's the talk of the school. Mike was the most popular boy in school who was always so in love with her, everyone knew that, so why did he do what he did? Some people believe her and some don't, but one thing is for sure, this isn't going to blow over any time soon. Full Review

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Demelza and the Spectre Detectors by Holly Rivers

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Demelza Clock is a scientist, often staying up late to work on her various gadgets, much to her Grandma Maeve's irritation. However, she has also inherited a certain set of skills that are not especially scientific: Spectre Detecting, the ability to summon the ghosts of the recently deceased. Under the guidance of her Grandma Maeve, Demelza begins to master her newfound skills. However, there is a mysterious individual on the prowl, kidnapping young Spectre Detectors. It's up to Demelza and her best friend Percy to get to the bottom of this... Full Review

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The Lantern Men (Dr Ruth Galloway) by Elly Griffiths

5star.jpg Crime

Everything has changed for Dr Ruth Galloway. She's no longer providing assistance to the police and isn't even working at the University of North Norfolk. She's lecturing at Cambridge and has moved from her beloved Saltmarsh cottage to live with Dr Frank Barker in Cambridge. Her daughter, Katie, has settled into school better than she could ever have hoped and life is looking good. Settled. She can't help thinking about Harry Nelson, Katie's father, because Katie sees him regularly and there's a close relationship with his family. You might almost think that Ruth's life is settling down. Full Review

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A Bit of a Stretch: The Diaries of a Prisoner by Chris Atkins

5star.jpg Politics and Society

Documentary filmmakers don't usually get the run of establishments within the Mountbatten-Windsor Hotel Group, but after getting involved in an illegal tax scheme to fund his latest film, Chris Atkins was invited for a five-year stay. The first nine months were spent in HMP Wandsworth, which is probably the oldest, largest and most dysfunctional prison in Europe. Full Review

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A Queen In Hiding by Sarah Kozloff

3star.jpg Fantasy

World-building is the backbone by which fantasy novels live and die. And what a pleasure, then, to get a novel with world-building you actually want to delve into. Sarah Kozloff's debut novel presents a startlingly rich and layered world, with a complex history of connecting nations that seems certain to have more to tap, and the characters are interesting – if a little underdeveloped. But it's a world I could – and did – eagerly buy into, and the struggle of each Queen to discover and hone her magical talent felt very real and very apt. Full Review

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Learn to Love: Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life by Dr Thomas Jordan

4.5star.jpg Lifestyle

Learn to Love: Guide to Healing Your Disappointing Love Life is a book about love relationships rather than a book about love. The two greatest emotions are love and grief and love is the opposite of grief: if you love, Dr Thomas Jordan tells us, you will inevitably grieve. Your love relationships begin the moment you're born and end only when you die. Whilst we all come into the world hoping to give and receive love there are many people for whom love is not quite so simple. Some people suffer multiple disappointments - sometimes repeating the same mistakes - and this eventually becomes resignation. For people who are making the same mistakes repeatedly, self-preservation, in the form of resignation is a necessity. Full Review

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Deep State by Chris Hauty

3star.jpg Thrillers

Hayley Chill is a fighter. She is every kind of fighter, and well-trained in most of them. She's army infantry and she boxes for fun – and she wins. Always. She wins because she is focussed. She works hard, mentally and physically, and she knows how to deal with the pain. She is not so much cold as controlled. This fight is against someone she is not expected to beat. And she is being watched. Full Review

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The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep by H G Parry

4star.jpg General Fiction

Brothers Rob and Charley have struggled to see eye to eye for years - Rob a sensible lawyer who exists in the "normal" world - and Charley a man who is blessed with an ability he can't fully control - one which allows him to bring literary characters into the real world. After years of protecting Charley, Rob wants to discharge his duties and leave Charley to his own devices - but circumstances soon take choices out of both their hands. As literary characters begin to appear everywhere, it soon becomes clear that someone out there shares Charley's powers and intends to use them for nefarious gains. Rob and Charley must team up to stop the madness - in a battle to win before they, the characters and the world reach The End… Full Review

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Haven't they Grown by Sophie Hannah

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

It was when Beth Leeson was ferrying her son, Ben, to a football match that she found herself on Wyddial Lane in Hemingford Abbots. Actually, It's a little disingenuous to say 'found herself' as Beth had made a deliberate detour on the grounds that she didn't find herself in this neck of the woods very often and she was curious to see where a family who'd come into money had lived before they'd all lost contact twelve years ago. And it might have gone no further than that had Beth not seen a car draw up and her friend Flora get out along with two children she called Thomas and Emily. Beth remembered the names well - but these children were about three and five and Flora's children - Thomas and Emily - would now be fifteen and seventeen. Full Review