The Bookbag

From TheBookbag
Jump to: navigation, search

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 14,957 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.


The Syndicate by Guy Bolton

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

Set in Post War America, with a society finding its feet again, this thriller weaves its way through the glitz of Hollywood, the dirt of Mob rule and the birth of an American institution. Whilst most of this book is set in Hollywood the whole story sits in the shadow of the birth of Las Vegas. We open with the murder of a high level Mob boss and when the Police and FBI refuse to properly investigate, his associates decide to bring in their own detective. Retired legend, Jonathon Craine, only wanted a quiet life away from the Studios, the Police, and most of all The Mob but they wouldn't let him have that. From the shocking start to the dramatic conclusion this is a great and compelling read. Full Review


The Sisters of the Winter Wood by Rena Rossner

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

Raised in a small village surrounded by woodland on the border of Moldova and Ukraine, sisters Liba and Laya have lived a sheltered life - although there are whispers of troubling times ahead for Jews. When their grandfather takes ill, their parents must leave the sisters behind while they travel to his sickbed, but life for Liba and Laya is about to drastically change. Before their parents leave, Liba discovers that the fairy tales she heard as a child are in fact true as she learns that her Tati can turn in to a bear and her Mami in to a swan. Liba must carry this secret in order to help protect her sister, but the arrival of a mysterious group of men in the village carries more danger as Laya is dragged under their spell. Both sisters must stick together if they are to survive what is happening around them and they soon realise that their new-found magical heritage may be what saves them. Full Review


Sweep: The Story of a Girl and her Monster by Jonathan Auxier

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

Nan is a climber, the best chimney sweep in London. She is growing fast, so what will happen to her when she gets too big to climb, when people realise she is a girl? Everything changes, when she is stuck in a chimney, set on fire, and saved by a golem. A story of outcasts, and friendships, told through two tales, the girl and the sweep, and the girl and her monster. Both intertwined beautifully, so that you have a fairy tale within a fairy tale. Moments of sadness slip easily into glorious happiness, then swiftly into heart-breaking tragedy. This is a heart-warming and engaging read for both young and old. Full Review


Come and Find Me (DI Marnie Rome Book 5) by Sarah Hilary

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

There's no reason to think that Lara Chorley and Ruth Hull have anything in common, other than a rather strange infatuation with writing to Michael Vokey, a sadistic inmate of Cloverton Prison. They crave his attention and can't believe that he's as evil as his trial suggests. It might not have become important was it not for the riot at the prison, which ended up with Vokey killing two inmates, blinding and maiming more - and escaping under cover of the smoke from the fire he caused. Not surprisingly staff and inmates at Cloverton are unwilling to talk about where they think Vokey might be hiding out - they have wives, children and friends who might be at risk. Full Review


Dead End (D I Kelly Porter) by Rachel Lynch

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

The seventh earl of Lowesdale was found hanging in his study by his teenage grandson, Zachary. Initially everyone assumed that the nonagenarian, hard-partying aristocrat had finally realised that the glories of his youth were long past and had decided to take the quick way out. When forensics discovered signs of foul play DI Kelly Porter was called in. It's not the only problem she has though: two young hikers have gone missing on the fells near Ullswater and she is in charge of the search. When they're not found within a couple of days her team uncover links to two other unsolved disappearances - and the girls all look startlingly similar. Full Review


O Joy for me! by Keir Davidson

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Art, Biography, Travel, Reference

Oh Joy for me! gives Coleridge credit for being the first person to walk the mountains alone, not because he had to for work, as a miner, quarryman, shepherd or pack-horse driver, but because he wanted to for pleasure and adventure. His rapturous encounters with their natural beauty, and its literary consequences, changed our view of the world. Full Review


The Ember Blade by Chris Wooding

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

A land under occupation. A legendary sword. A young man's journey to find his destiny. Aren has lived by the rules all his life. He's never questioned it; that's just the way things are. But then his father is executed for treason, and he and his best friend Cade are thrown into a prison mine, doomed to work until they drop. Unless they can somehow break free . . But what lies beyond the prison walls is more terrifying still. Rescued by a man who hates him yet is oath-bound to protect him, pursued by inhuman forces, Aren slowly accepts that everything he knew about his world was a lie. The rules are not there to protect him, or his people, but to enslave them. A revolution is brewing, and Aren is being drawn into it, whether he likes it or not. The key to the revolution is the Ember Blade. The sword of kings, the Excalibur of his people. Only with the Ember Blade in hand can their people be inspired to rise up . . . but it's locked in an impenetrable vault in the most heavily guarded fortress in the land. All they have to do now is steal it... Full Review


Crisis by Felix Francis

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

By training Harrison Foster is a lawyer, but he's working as a crisis manager for a London firm. He was called to Newmarket after a fire in a stable killed six very valuable horses, including the Derby favourite. On the surface it looked like a simple fire, but it wasn't long before Harrison discovered that all was not as it seemed, not least because there were human remains along with the charred bodies of the horses. As all the staff were accounted for, who was the human victim? Harrison was completely new to the world of thoroughbred racing: in fact he knew little about horses and positively disliked them. Full Review


Rosewater by Tade Thompson

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

Rosewater is a town on the edge. A community formed around the edges of a mysterious alien biodome, its residents comprise the hopeful, the hungry and the helpless - people eager for a glimpse inside the dome or a taste of its rumoured healing powers. Kaaro is a government agent with a criminal past. He has seen inside the biodome, and doesn't care to again - but when something begins killing off others like himself, Kaaro must defy his masters to search for an answer, facing his dark history and coming to a realisation about a horrifying future. Full Review


Charlesgate Confidential by Scott Von Doviak

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

In 1946 a gang of criminals pull off an audacious art heist, making off with priceless works of art from a Boston Museum. These missing art works are never found. In 1988, a student finds himself caught up in the mystery of the missing art and hot on the trail of the multi-million-dollar reward. In 2014, the art is still missing and now dead bodies are turning up at the eponymous Charlesgate, filled with alumni celebrating their 25th reunion. As the body count rises, will we discover the truth behind the art theft decades earlier? Full Review


The Turn of Midnight by Minette Walters

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

At the beginning of 1349 there is a glimmer of a hope that the ravages of the Black Death might be passing. In Devilish in Dorset the population is well, because of Lady Anne's strict rules about quarantine, which are regarded as heresy as they go against the strict rules of the church, but their stores of food are dwindling and they know that when they are exhausted they will have no choice but to leave. What will they find on the outside? Are they the only survivors? Full Review


We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix

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

The night manager of a Best Western, Kris Pulaski is washed up and unhappy. Few know of her past as guitarist of 90's Heavy Metal band Dürt Würk – a band once tipped for greatness, but destined to obscurity after lead singer Terry Hunt embarked on a solo career, rocketing to stardom as Koffin. When a shocking act of violence turns Kris's life upside down – she is forced to look back to a past she has tried to forget – and to a deal Hunt made that may have sabotaged more than just the band. In a journey that will take Kris from a dusty hotel to a hellish music festival, she's determined to face the man who ruined her life. But with dark forces rising and threatening everything Kris holds dear, will Kris be able to defeat the odds? Or will Hell truly be unleashed on the Earth…? Full Review


A Tiding of Magpies: A Birder Murder Mystery by Steve Burrows

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

DCI Domenic Jejeune's most celebrated case was his rescue of the Home Secretary's daughter when she was kidnapped. It's always been his deep regret that he failed to rescue the man who was kidnapped with her and this has all resurfaced now that the case is being reviewed. Long-buried secrets are bound to come to light, even though the officer reviewing the case, DC Desdemona Gill, is a fan of his to the extent that it's almost embarrassing. The review isn't the only problem he has though: a body has been found on some waste ground, but it's so badly burned that identification is difficult - and made more difficult by the indecision of the Medical Examiner. Full Review


The Darkness Around Her by Neil White

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

Lizzie Barnsley was escaping from her abusive boyfriend when she was murdered on the canal towpath on New Year's Eve. It obviously wasn't the boyfriend as he was still being held by Lizzie's friends at the pub, but before long Peter Box was arrested and charged. He'd sought treatment at the local hospital for an injury to his head which was the same shape as the heel of Lizzie's shoe - and her blood was on the shoe. Dan Grant was called in to represent Box, but there's a problem. Box won't talk - won't talk to the police or to Grant, so how is he to represent the man? And had Box killed Lizzie? It was obvious that he hadn't known her - so why would he kill her? Full Review


Blue Sky Black by John Connors

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

When Tom Allenby, the 14 year-old boy who can control the elements, sees metal objects and cars rising into the air one night he knows he is facing a powerful enemy. The trail leads to stolen magnetic stones, sinister experiments in an old country house and a village hiding a secret. As each of his friends faces challenges of their own, can Tom fight a force which knows all about them?

Of course he can! Full Review


Landslide by Melissa Leet

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

The area where Jill and Susie lived wasn't highly populated so it was fortunate that they became such good friends, despite the fact that Susie was a year older than Jill. Susie lived with her mother, an alcoholic, and Jill lived with her mother, who dedicated herself to her garden. Jill's father was Jay Tutle, the photographer, but he spent much of his time working away - often for months on end. In reality there was little difference between the two families: Mrs Smith's alcoholism caused serious illness whilst Susie was still young. Joy and tragedy would visit Jill's home. Landslide is the story of how what happened determined the course of Jill's life and how great tragedy can breed resilience and hope. Full Review


The House Across the Street by Lesley Pearse

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

Have you ever found yourself staring out the window slightly longer than needed to see what your neighbours are up to? This is a common occurrence for Katy Speed who regularly watches 'The House Across the Street' as a frequent stream of women are brought there in the same black hummer and seen leaving a short while later. Although slightly unusual, not much is said aside from your typical neighbourhood gossip, that is until Katy is woken up in the early hours one morning to find out that the same house has been burnt to the ground, along with the woman who lives there. This situation is made a whole lot worse for Katy when her father is arrested for starting the fire. What follows is an engrossing depiction of Katy's quest to prove her father's innocence whilst dealing with her unbearable mother and ultimately having the safety of many people's lives in her hands. Full Review


A Gathering of Ghosts by Karen Maitland

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

Witchcraft, the supernatural and the will to survive at all costs collide in a story that never shies away from the darker side of human nature. The land is unhappy, the old spirits want revenge and famine is kindling a resurgence of the old faith. As fear rises, it is increasingly difficult for Prioress Johanne to ignore that something rotten has taken root. The sacred well is tainted, its healing waters run red with blood and strangers are blowing in on a wind of change. Full Review


The Monsters We Deserve by Marcus Sedgwick

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

Two hundred years ago, bad weather, bad company (well, the kind that is also mad, and dangerous to know), a spooky reading list and a few chance topics of discussion all led a young woman to start writing her first, and definitely her most famous ever, book. The narrator of this novel has brought himself to a remote Alpine building, in the centre of that first novel's world, to revisit it in honour of its bicentenary. He hates it, for he sees it as badly written and with some unwelcome biases. He seems to only be there and doing this for the publisher to whom he addresses a lot of the script we read. But what if some greater force wanted him there too? Full Review


The Relentless Tide (DCI Daley) by Denzil Meyrick

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

The site was rumoured to have been the home of Viking warlord Somerled so the discovery by Professor Francombe and her team of archaeologists of the graves of three women initially caused great excitement, which rapidly turned to horror when they realised that the women had died just over twenty years ago. The graves would bring some closure though - these were the bodies of the three missing victims of the 'Midweek Murderer' who operated in Glasgow in the early to mid nineties. It was also an opportunity for DCI Jim Daley to confront a failure in his past. He'd been on the original case and the murderer had never been found. He'd also lost a close friend and made some enemies, one of whom would return to taunt him when Police Scotland's Cold Case Unit arrived on the scene. Full Review