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{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Andrew Sharp
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|isbn=1471196615
|title=The Chef, the Bird and the Blessing
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|title=Iced
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|author=Felix Francis
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|rating=4.5
 +
|genre=Thrillers
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|summary=Miles Pussett used to be a Steeplechase jockey but those days are past and he now gets his thrills from hurling head-first down the three-quarter-mile Cresta Run, occasionally reaching eighty miles an hour.  He was in St Moritz the same weekend as White Turf - that's high-class horseracing on the frozen lake and against his better judgement he gets talked into helping with the saddling of the horses.  It's seven years since he put horseracing behind him and he swore that he'd never go back to it.  But when he sees that something suspicious is going on, Miles can't help but look for answers, even when it puts him in danger.
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=147228612X
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|title=The Late Train to Gipsy Hill
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|author=Alan Johnson
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|rating=4.5
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|genre=Thrillers
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|summary=We all know people like Gary Nelson, although we probably haven't taken much notice of them.  They live quiet, uneventful lives and stay mostly under the radar.  In a city like London, that's quite easy - and even Gary's three flatmates largely ignore him.  The highlight of his day is watching a beautiful young woman apply her makeup as she goes to work on the train each morning: he'd love to ask her for a date but he doesn't have the courage. Then, on his homeward commute, Arina speaks to him and asks for his help.  Before long he finds himself on the run from mobsters, Russian secret agents and the Metropolitan police.
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{{Frontpage
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|author=Claire McGowan
 +
|title=I Know You
 
|rating=4
 
|rating=4
|genre=General Fiction
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|genre=Thrillers
|summary= Chef Mlantushi - Mozzy to his employer - is, in his mind, the head chef of a safari business catering to VIP guests in an unnamed African country. Mozzy is earnest and dedicated to his task and he puts all of himself into creating fine cuisine dishes for the guests at BOD-W safaris but his dream is to become the head chef of a restaurant in London or a big American city. Even to win a Michelin star. He is thwarted in this ambition by his boss, Mr Bin (Ben to you and me) who incurs Mozzy's disapproval for his scruffy ways, his uninterest in his guests and - shock, horror - his allowing of bush animals into the house.
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|summary=''Then:'' Casey returns from a walk with the baby, Carson, and comes across three bodies, almost a whole family taken down.
|isbn=B09926MK8H
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''Now:'' Rachel is out for a walk with her dog, Brandy, when she comes across a body in the woods.
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|isbn=1542019974
 
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{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Alex Foulkes
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|isbn=1529148251
|title=Rules for Vampires
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|title=Misfits: A Personal Manifesto
|rating=4.5
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|author=Michaela Coel
|genre=Confident Readers
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|rating=5
|summary= Eleonore Von Motteberg (or 'Leo' for short) is a Vampire. She drinks blood, she sleeps during the day, and she can Grimwalk (turning into a flock of bats to travel around, although not all of them remember to come back). Pretty cool stuff. Now, on the night of her hundredth birthnight, she has to go out and hunt her first human. However, instead she ends up killing two humans by accident and burning down an orphanage. Oops! And to make things worse, the ghosts of one of the orphans and the evil master of the orphanage come back to haunt her. So, not only does Leo have to team up with the friendly ghost Minna to stop the ghost of the Orphanmaster before he becomes unstoppably powerful, she has to do it all while hiding it from her family. Did I mention vampires and ghosts hate each other? Yeah, there's a reason why there are rules for vampires…
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|genre=Politics and Society
|isbn=147119955X
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|summary=''How am I able to be so transparent on paper about rape, malpractice and poverty, yet still compartmentalise?  It's as though I were telling the truth whilst simultaneously running away from it.''
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Before you start reading ''Misfits'' you need to be in a certain frame of mind. You're not going to read a book of essays or a self-help book. You're going to read writing which was inspired by Michaela Coel's 2018 MacTaggart Lecture to professionals within the television industry at the Edinburgh TV Festival.  You might be ''reading'' the book but you need to ''listen'' to the words as though you're in the lecture theatre. The disjointedness will fade away and you'll be carried on a cloud of exquisite writing.
 
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{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Tori Bovalino
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|isbn=0008433631
|title=The Devil Makes Three
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|title=Next of Kin
|rating=4.5
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|author=Kia Abdullah
|genre=Teens
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|rating=5
|summary= Working all summer in her boarding school's library is the last thing Tess Matheson wants to do — especially when she gets a request for over a hundred books that she has to deliver herself. What makes it worse is the man who requested the books: Mr Birch. The boarding school's headmaster, and a man Tess hates. As a petty act of revenge for making her find and deliver such a large request, Tess sticks post-it notes on each of the books, scribbled with the ugliest insults she can think of. They're never meant to reach him, of course. Her plan is to get her anger out like this, and then take them all off before delivering them. No harm done… Or it would be, if someone hadn't delivered them for her.
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|genre=Thrillers
|isbn=1789098130
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|summary=It was the sort of thing that happened every day, although not to Leila Syed. She'd never driven her nephew, Max, to school before but his father, Andrew Hanson, had rung her in a panic. He was supposed to be taking Max to school but he'd been called into work and the delay in getting there could lead to financial losses. As the school was only five minutes out of Leila's way, could she drop him off?  Of course, she could and a sleeping Max was duly strapped into the back of her car. On the way Leila took a phone call - there was panic at her work too, with a problem which could put a multi-million-pound contract at risk.
 
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{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|isbn= B09BG8V3Q6
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|author= Justine Avery and Naday Meldova
|title= Who Needs Nappies? Not Me! (Everybody Potties!)
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|title=Everybody Toots! (Everybody Potties!)
|author= Justine Avery and Seema Amjad
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|rating=4
|rating=4.5
 
 
|genre=For Sharing
 
|genre=For Sharing
|summary= ''Who Needs Nappies? Not Me!'' is the latest release in the ''Everybody Potties!'' series from Justine Avery. This series of fun picture books aims to take the pain out of potty training children and replace it with some fun. It's a worthy aim, as any frustrated parent will tell you.  .
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|summary= Toots, trumps, farts. Whatever your word for them, find us a child that doesn't find them irresistibly funny. Funny to talk about and joke about, that is. But horribly embarrassing if you let one go at the wrong time. In class, say, when everyone will hear it and everyone will laugh. At you. Justine Avery's latest entry in her ''Everybody Potties!'' series takes aim at any shame associated with tooting and gently and calmly, with the familiar humour attached, explains that tooting is perfectly normal. Everybody does it: ''Everybody Toots''!
}}
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|isbn= B09C2RVJ2W
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}}  
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|isbn=B098FFFBH9
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|isbn=1784165263
|title=Snowcub
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|title=Invite Me In
|author=Graham Fulbright
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|author=Emma Curtis
 
|rating=4.5
 
|rating=4.5
|genre=Literary Fiction
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|genre=Crime
|summary=Fourteen-year-old Rachel is her school's animal rights project leader and she and her friend are producing a competition entry to highlight the way in which human beings exploit the animal worldShe gets a great deal of support from her family: father Pip Harrison, a lecturer at Imperial College, London, mother Kate and her twin, NickKate runs the family business, a toy shop called Cornucopia in Putney, which is where we'll meet Rachel's main (if unsuspected) source of information: five soft toys.
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|summary=Martin Curran's wife, Eliza knew that she had to be home to make his lunch for one o'clock on the dot, despite the fact that she was actually painting one of their properties prior to it being letIf she didn't get home, there would be trouble.  There was some excuse: Martin was a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair, but don't be too quick to be understandingHe was also a very unpleasant person: he once told Eliza ''you're good at being a disappointment''.  All this was in Eliza's mind when she first met Dan Jones who arrived, unannounced, at the flat just as Eliza was about to leave: he wanted the lease of flat 2, 42 Linden Road and he was desperate to get in before it was advertised as being available.
 
}}
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author= Angharad Walker
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|isbn=1784742775
|title= The Ash House
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|title=A Change of Circumstance (Simon Serrailler)
|rating= 5
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|author=Susan Hill
|genre= Confident Readers
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|rating=5
|summary= A new boy arrives at The Ash House. He doesn't know his name, or why he is there but he is used to the system, used to different places and different faces. He meets Dom who names him Sol and sets out to teach him the rules of The Ash House. These rules centre on a variety of Nicenesses set out by the absent Headmaster. All children must remember their Niceness and complete their chores, working as a hive in the smouldering shadows of The Ash House. But soon their easy peace is shattered by the arrival of the Doctor. By the end of the story, lives will be changed forever and The Ash House will never be the same again.
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|genre=Crime
|isbn=1912626977
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|summary=Drugs hadn't really been that much of a problem in Lafferton and Detective Superintendent Simon Serrailler had thought of drugs ops as a bit of a waste of time. They still were, to a great extent, but Serrailler knew that something had to be done. Children as young as nine were being recruited to transport the drugs and the operation running the county lines was tight. A mule might know the name (although it probably wouldn't be the correct one) of the person who was running him but he certainly wouldn't know anything about those higher up in the organisation. The police might catch a few of the runners but they'd never get anywhere near those higher up.
 
}}
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Yancey Williams
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|isbn=B09FS89KX9
|title=Crosshairs of the Devil
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|title=Fall On Me
|rating=4.5
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|author=Penelope Potts
|genre=Literary Fiction
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|rating=3.5
|summary=Award-winning crime writer Eddie Jablonski is getting on in years and, despite his strenuous objections and thanks to his daughter, finds himself living - or imprisoned, from Eddie's point of view - in room 315 of the Garden of Eden nursing home, with only a trusty nursing aide, Jenkins, for palatable company. Nothing is going to keep Eddie from his stock-in-trade of writing though, so here, for his readers, are his wanderings through his life's work.
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|genre=Women's Fiction
|isbn=0986031658
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|summary=Life should have been good for Hollie:  She was just going into the final year of her veterinary degree and - three years later - was still working at BB's diner.  Bob - the owner - regarded her fondly: he was a good boss.  Hollie had moved in with her boyfriend, Marcus: her mother thought he was great and he was doing well in his career. Hollie wasn't quite so certain though: Marcus wanted to control her and most of all he wanted her to leave her job at the diner.  Then there was the fact that he would be violent, both to her and to other people.
}}  
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}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Philip Reeve
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|author=John Gwynne
|title=Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep
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|title=The Shadow Of The Gods
 
|rating=5
 
|rating=5
|genre=Confident Readers
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|genre=Fantasy
|summary=In a word, rich. There is certainly an abundance of riches in this story set on a peculiar island called Wildsea, British but way west, beyond the Scillies. There are troll people on it, and sea-witches, and legends of the Dark family that has to keep watch for magical islands and their monster approaching from even further west, where no ship dare sail. The current Darks are the Watcher, Andrewe, who has to keep notes of activity from the Hidden Lands, his brother Will who lives in London with too much science in his head to worry about such local yokel superstitions, and Andrewe's foundling daughter, who washed up out of the sea one day eleven years ago. But when Andrewe Dark drowns himself, both his sullen brother and his curious ward are thrust into the world of protecting their island, like it or not.
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|summary=The Shadow Of The Gods is the first installment of the Bloodsworn Saga, set in the era of the Vikings in the shadow of Ragnarok, when the Gods have battled and their bones lie scattered for all to see. This story is the ultimate in High Fantasy, and John Gwynne certainly does justice to the genre, with mythical creatures, archaic language and battles galore. This is a thick book, with an intricate plot and fascinating characters that are woven together to create a wonderfully realistic and gritty world in which our heroes must do battle.
|isbn=1788452372
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|isbn=0356514218
 
}}
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Erling Kagge
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|isbn=B09HTWX47X
|title=Walking: One Step At A Time
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|title=Endless Obsession
|rating=5
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|author=Dai Henley
|genre= Lifestyle
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|rating=4
|summary= Those who have read my reviews before will know that how much I loved a book is evidenced by the number of pages with corners turned, so let me start this one with an apology to the Norfolk Library Service: sorry! I forgot it was your book not mine. In my defence, I will say that as a reader of this type of book there is something connective about noting where prior readers were inspired (provided it is subtle – I'll allow creased corners, but not scribbles – for the latter we must buy our own copy – which I am about to do as soon as I have finished telling you why).
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|genre=Crime
 
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|summary=It's some years since we last caught up with Andy Flood, formerly a DCI in the Met but now a well-respected private investigator. He's married to Laura, formerly his DS in the Murder Squad but now working in a forensics laboratory.  Flood's daughters, Gemma and Pippa, have flown the nest, Pippa to Australia, from where she has very little contact with the family, and Gemma to married life. She's had mental problems since she was abducted many years ago but Andy and Laura hope that married life will provide the support she needs.  Flood's business is going well and that was why he felt able to turn down the case of Lisa Black.
Erligg Kagge is a Norwegian explorer who has walked to the South Pole, the North Pole and the summit of Everest. He knows a thing or two about walking. However, this isn't a travelogue about any of those epic journeys, it is instead a thoughtful exploration of what it means to walk. It is a plenitude of unnumbered essays about walking. There is no 'contents' page and I haven't counted. In small format paperback, each essay is only a few pages long. Perhaps then, better thought of as a meditation rather than an essay.
 
|isbn=0241357705
 
 
}}
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Ian Mark and Louis Ghibault
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|author=Peter Papathanasiou
|title=Monster Hunting For Beginners
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|title=The Stoning
|rating=4.5
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|rating=3.5
|genre=Confident Readers
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|genre=Thrillers
|summary=Meet Jack. Now Jack knows very little about being fearless and nimble and quick, for he's a slight boy, and although he wants for danger and peril and interesting things his dad refuses to let him out of his sight. That's because Jack's mother knew all about monsters, and look what happened to her – she died. Luckily or unluckily then, depending on your point of view, a giant ogre will threaten his aunt when Jack's father also goes AWOL, Jack will fluke the ogre's death, a dwarfish wizard-type will make him an apprentice monster hunter, and he'll be given a book that tells him all he needs to know about the perils he always wanted closer contact with. The book's name? ''Monster Hunting for Beginners''...
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|summary=In a town sleazy enough to make sh*tholes elsewhere look glamorous in comparison, a teacher has been transported across town at night in a shopping trolley, and she's been taped to a tree and she's had rocks bowled at her as if she were the world's tallest cricket stumps. When she's discovered by the town gossip everyone, including the local cops, are quite confident the culprit has come from the immigrant detention centre the place is reluctantly home to. An arson attack on that shows the feeling – and it's only fair, is the general opinion, for the occupants are often setting their own fires in protest at their conditions. Cue the arrival of George Manolis, a higher rank from the city, to sort everything out. Because such an aggrieved, insular community is really going to welcome a Greek-heritaged city boy laying down the law...
|isbn=0755501942
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|isbn=1529416973
 
}}
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Keith Gray
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|isbn=B08Z8BMZ7H
|title=The Climbers
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|title=The Mystery of Healing
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|author=A P McGrath
 
|rating=4
 
|rating=4
|genre=Confident Readers
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|genre=Crime (Historical)
|summary=Sully is the best tree climber in the village. He has what's known amongst the kids as 'reach'. But what happens when a new kid shows up in town? A new kid, called Nottingham, who clambers up some of the hardest trees with ease? Suddenly Sully is worried that his status is being threatened, and not only that, that his chance to name the final, unnamed big tree in the park by being the first to conquer it, might be snatched from his hands. How can Sully stop Nottingham? And will it cost him his best friend, or maybe even all of his friends, to do so?
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|summary=We meet Solon in Pergamon in the second century of the common era and he's the physician on duty at the munus - the games put on for the amusement of the populace. The remuneration isn't high but the work gives the doctor a feeling of virtue and hones his skills: Solon ''wants'' the warriors to live. It's quite a spectacle: the magistri are the charge hands and when we first see them, they're sprinkling gold dust onto the lions' manes to make them look more impressive.  The sagitarii are the archers and the beastiarii are the condemned criminals who are going to fight for their lives with the wild animals.  Today, it's the crocodiles.
|isbn=1781129991
 
 
}}
 
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{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Emma Carroll
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|author=Kate DiCamillo and Sophie Blackall
|title=The Week at World's End
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|title=The Beatryce Prophecy
|rating=4
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|rating=5
 
|genre=Confident Readers
 
|genre=Confident Readers
|summary=First, the title. We're in World's End Close, a mediocre set of houses, where Stevie (Vie to her friends) finds fun only with the family dog and with the boy over the road. But we could also be at World's End, because something taking a great chunk of the fun away is the fact that the Cuban Missile Crisis is kicking off. The Soviet boats are getting blockaded as America tries to reduce the risk of nuclear missiles offshore, and not much else is able to make the news. That said, Vie has news of her own – Anna, a secretive young woman hiding in their coal shed. Anna has, in no short time, taken a strong interest in the American airforce base behind the Close, said she'd locate something she wanted and leave, failed to leave, and implied her life was at risk. But surely this bit of intrigue has got nothing to do with what the Cold War is doing miles away?
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|summary=''Stories have joy and surprises in them'', we are told here. And none more so than in this wondrous story, which feels an instant classic with the freshness and the agelessness it has in equal proportion. We start with a group of monks, the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing, and the demonic goat that loves nothing more than upending, trampling on and biting the poor Brothers. Things change drastically when the beast takes a totally maternal approach to a homeless girl, one who has survived some trauma that has blocked her past from her memory. Elsewhere sits a King in his castle, desperate to find the girl, for it is prophesied that a young child can unseat the throne and cause great change. Who foretold that revolution but the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing?  But how can a simple, amnesiac lass ever prove a threat to anyone?
|isbn=0571364438
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|isbn=1529500893
 
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{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Tom de Freston
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|isbn=B09FFJF8YS
|title=Julia and the Shark
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|title=You Can't Wear Panties! (No More Nappies!)
|rating=4
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|author=Justine Avery and Kate Zhoidik
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|rating=3.5
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|genre=For Sharing
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|summary=''For the big, grownup girls out there, the potty masters in training, "You Can't Wear Panties!" is a cry (the big-girl kind!) of toilet triumph and persevering panty pride.''
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And so it is! This latest book from Justine Avery celebrates a little girl's final goodbye to nappies and pull-ups and graduation to "proper" pants by following her around as she proudly explains to her dog, her cat, her stuffed rabbit and her baby sibling that ''she'' can wear super-duper proper pants, while they cannot. Neither can the flowers, nor the fish, nor the birds. Boy's certainly can't. She's a big girl now and she wants everyone to know it!
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|author=Nick Lake and Emily Gravett
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|title=Locked Out Lily
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|rating=4.5
 
|genre=Confident Readers
 
|genre=Confident Readers
|summary=Julia, our pre-teen heroine, has been packed off with her parents and their cat from the family home in SW England to be lighthousekeepers for a summer, in the far NE of the Scottish islands.  Here be Vikings, that kind of Scottish island. Dad is going to be automating the lantern, which is his specialist thing, while mum will be leaving her career in algae behind to hunt the elusive Greenland shark.  And Julia, well, she will be homesick and alone – until she suddenly finds company one night.
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|summary=Lily is, or was, or has been, very ill, and to give her parents relief she's been told to stay with her grandma for a few days. The parents need the relief as Lily's baby sibling is just about to be born – a child Lily swears she hates already and wants nothing to do with. But on tracking back home for word of her parents (and her plush toy so she can sleep) she finds stony-eyed simulacra of her parents, and the babe-in-arms, already installed. These devilish interlopers need to be ousted to get the family back intact, even if it's not the family Lily wants – and all she has to help her in the task are some talking animals – Crow, Mole, Mouse and Snake.
|isbn=1510107789
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|isbn=1471194833
 
}}
 
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{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Freya Sampson
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|author=Greg James and Chris Smith
|title=The Last Library
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|title=The Great Dream Robbery
|rating=4
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|rating=5
|genre=General Fiction
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|genre=Confident Readers
|summary=I am always a little nervous to start a story about a library, since I am a librarian. I always grit my teeth slightly at the thought of the incoming cardigan-wearing, hair in a bun, cat-owning, glasses on a chain stereotypes! In this story, the main character, June, does put her hair in a bun, and she does own a cat (called Alan Bennett), and she has barely any friends and spends her evenings eating the same Chinese takeaway meal once a week whilst reading books alone! But I didn't immediately throw the book out of the window, because I found I was interested in June, and why she lived as she did. Her mum used to be a librarian at the village library, but when she got sick, June gave up on going to University and stayed at home to take care of her mum, as well as taking on a job as library assistant at the local library. And even though her mum sadly died some years ago, she is still working there, still eating her mum's favourite takeaway meal, and still reading her mum's old books. June is stuck, but little does she know, everything in her life is about the change.
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|summary=Maya's father is a professor who invented an amazing dream machine. But something went wrong, and now he can't wake up. Or at least, that's what Maya has been told.  In a rather strange dream one night Maya makes a new friend, and discovers that the only way to save her dad may be by being asleep. Cue one madcap action adventure story where dreams and reality collide...really...and there's everything from llamas and bananas, dream machines made from hairdresser cast-offs, to a talking cat called Bin Bag!
|isbn=183877369X
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|isbn=024147051X
 
}}
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|isbn=0008370982
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|isbn=1800464495
|title=Rock Paper Scissors
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|title= 100 Ways in 100 Days to Teach Your Baby Maths: Support All Areas of Your Baby’s Development by Nurturing a Love of Maths
|author=Alice Feeney
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|author=Emma Smith
 
|rating=4.5
 
|rating=4.5
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|genre=Children's Non-Fiction
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|summary=''Babies seem to be born with an amazing number sense: understanding shapes in the womb, being aware of quantities at seven hours old, assessing probability at six months old, and comprehending addition and subtraction at nine months old.''
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Did you know this? I didn't! How about:
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''Maths ability on entry to school is a strong predictor of later achievement, double that of literacy skills.''
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I didn't know this either! I think most parents are aware that giving your children a good start in literacy - reading stories, teaching pen grips, singing rhymes - gives children a solid foundation when they start school. But do we think the same way about maths, beyond counting? I don't think we do, in part because so many of us are afraid of maths. But why are we? Most of us use maths in daily life without realising and it follows that giving our children a similar pre-school grounding will be just as beneficial.
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}}
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{{Frontpage
 +
|author=Robert Peston
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|title=The Whistleblower
 +
|rating=3
 
|genre=Thrillers
 
|genre=Thrillers
|summary=Amelia Wright is forty-two and it was the staff raffle at Battersea Dogs Home that gave her a weekend away in a converted chapel in Scotland.  Her husband, Adam, isn't so keen on the idea. Like Amelia, he knows that their marriage has been under strain: he's a screenwriter and he's never shy of making it clear to Amelia that he'd prefer to spend time with the novels he's hoping to adapt than with her.  Amelia's annoyed that he never enquires about how her day has been - and working with the dogs, many of whom have been abused, is never easy.  Still - she's won the weekend away, even if it does mean driving for eight hours in her 1978 Morris Minor Traveller with Adam beside her in the passenger seat - and then doing the same thing to come back a couple of days later.
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|summary=I'm not the first to point out how fitting it is for Robert Peston to write a political thriller, so I'll move on quickly – but this won't be winning any awards for originality. It's an interesting plot with a good pace, but it does very little to differentiate itself and I suspect before much time has passed I'll have forgotten a lot of it.  
}}
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|isbn=1838775242
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}}  
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Doug Johnstone
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|isbn=1529379385
|title=The Great Silence
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|title=The Madness of Crowds (Chief Inspector Gamache)
|rating=4
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|author=Louise Penny
 +
|rating=4.5
 
|genre=Crime
 
|genre=Crime
|summary=For those who, like me, haven't come across the Skelfs before, I'll risk a quick synopsis of who's who – although Johnstone does a good job of bringing the backstory in without being heavy handed about it. Skelf isn't some fantastic creature, though it sounds as though it ought to be, it is merely the surname of a family of undertakers. Undertakers and private investigators. Dorothy is the matriarch – Californian by birth and instinct, she married a scot and ended up helping to run the Edinburgh undertaking firm that had been in the family for generations. Recently widowed and now involved with a black Swedish police officer. Swedish by nationality. Scottish police. Daughter Jenny, 46, is haunted by her still-living husband – a violent escaped prisoner. And grand-daughter is about to graduate with a first-class physics degree and join the academic staff next term.
+
|summary=In the Canadian village of Three Pines, we're post-pandemic: the scars are still there but life is starting to get back to normal. The villagers are beginning to return to the Bistro and the Auberge. They're visiting each other's homes and having friends and relatives to stay.  A young Sudanese woman who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize is one such visitor and she soon proves that not all saints are necessarily pleasant people to be around - a bit like Vincent Gilbert, known in the village as the Asshole Saint.
|isbn=1913193837
 
 
}}
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|isbn=1901514978
+
|isbn= B09F4CTKJR
|title=There's a Problem With Dad
+
|title= Flights for Freedom
|author=Carlos Alba
+
|author= Steven Burgauer
 
|rating=4.5
 
|rating=4.5
|genre=General Fiction
+
|genre=Historical Fiction
|summary=Life is different for George Lovelace and he can't really understand why.  He's always done everything he ought to: steady worker, husband and father - and a father who was always there for school plays and sports days. So why is he never quite in tune with those around him?  Why does he upset people?  Why is someone with such a ''good'' mind unable to progress at work or to relate to his colleagues?  Why does he make so many breath-taking gaffes?  It's almost become a cliche these days to suggest that someone who is a little different is 'on the spectrum', but George Lovelace has all the symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome: high-functioning autism.
+
|summary=It's the later stages of World War I and the United States has just entered the conflict. Petrol Petronus is a young American who has signed up and joined the 17 Aero Squadron. This company was the first US Aero Squadron to be trained in Canada, the first to be attached to the RAF and the first to be sent into the skies to fight the Germans in active combat. But before that can happen, Petrol has to master flying the notoriously difficult but majestic Sopwith Camel.
 
}}
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Louise Candlish
+
|isbn=183885410X
|title=The Heights
+
|title=The Dark Remains
|rating=4.5
+
|author=William McIlvanney and Ian Rankin
|genre=Thrillers
+
|rating=3.5
|summary=Ellen doesn't expect to see Kieran that day. She's on site, visiting a client for a lighting consultation when she spies him in a building across the way. There are lots of things, lots of people, you might see when you look out across London, but this isn't one Ellen expected that day or in fact any other day. Why? Because Kieran has been dead for over two years, and Ellen knows this for a fact, because she had a hand in his murder.
+
|genre=Crime
|isbn=1471183483
+
|summary=Bobby Carter was a lawyer and consigliere to one of the major crime families in nineteen seventies Glasgow.  DC Jack Laidlaw is on the CID team charged with the investigation. I say ''on the team'' but Laidlaw never really seems to be a part of it. He does his own thing, goes his own way and ''The Dark Remains'' uncovers the truth of why Bobby Carter's body was found behind one of Glasgow's seedier pubs.
 
}}
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|isbn=0008421714
+
|isbn=1942410255
|title=Mrs March
+
|title=Tokyo Zangyo (Detective Hiroshi)
|author=Virginia Feito
+
|author=Michael Pronko
 
|rating=4.5
 
|rating=4.5
|genre=Literary Fiction
+
|genre=Crime
|summary=The problem began just after the publication of George March's most successful novel to date.  Everyone but Mrs March (we know her first name only on the last page) seemed to either be reading it or had already done soEvery day Mrs March went to the local patisserie to buy olive bread but on that particular morning, Patricia asked, as she was wrapping the bread, ''but isn't this the first time he's based a character on you?''  She mentioned that Johanna, the principal character had 'her mannerisms''Perhaps this would not have mattered, except for the fact that Johanna is the whore of Nantes - ''a weak, plain, detestable, pathetic, unloved, unloveable wretch.''
+
|summary=''Zangyo: overtime work, often unpaid''
 +
 
 +
It's the culture, isn't it?  The hours for which you're paid are really just a statement of the minimum you'll be required to do: you'll work more hours to get the job done and done to the satisfaction of bullies like Shigeru OnizukaWhen he was found dead in front of Senden Central's headquarters in Tokyo there was nothing in the way of regret or grief, even from his family, but there was a mild curiosity as to whether he'd jumped from the roof of the building or been assisted in his descentGossip revolves around the fact that he left the roof at the exact same spot that an employee, Mayu Yamase, had committed suicide some three years earlier. She'd accused Onizuka of bullying her and forcing her to work an unreasonable amount of overtime.
 
}}
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=John Boyne
+
|isbn=0241425425
|title=The Echo Chamber
+
|title=The Man Who Died Twice
|rating=5
+
|author=Richard Osman
|genre=General Fiction
+
|rating=4.5
|summary=Meet George Cleverley. He is self-defined as "one of the few television personalities over the age of fifty without a criminal record". He starts this book a bit worried when his mistress tells him she's carrying his child, but then his author wife is getting her kicks with the Ukrainian partner "Strictly Come Dancing" paired her with. They have three children, who are a sad-sack with absolutely no social skills whatsoever, a girl who hangs around with a virtue-signalling, keyboard warrior "wokester" who wants to save the world's homeless with out-of-date food, and a fit young lad doing the gay hustle thing. Add in a few other characters – therapists, lawyers, random transgender types – that all have two very different connections to his life, and you have something that suggests an almost farcical approach to the modern world. What suggests the farcical approach even more, however, is the fact this is bloody funny.
+
|genre=Crime
|isbn=0857526219
+
|summary=Elizabeth Best was a little surprised when she received the letter. It came from a man whose body she had helped to pull from the Thames and who had never existed but then this is the sort of conundrum which retired spies have to deal with on a regular basis. When she visits the sender of the letter (he's moved into the Cooper's Chase Retirement Village) it comes as no surprise that it's someone with whom she has a long professional history - and who used to be her husband.  He's made a bad mistake - something to do with a mask being removed within the range of a CCTV camera on a raid, a missing twenty-million pounds in diamonds and a few death threats. He's now in hiding with a young woman called Polly, who's his MI5 handler as well as being an incompetent waitress.
 
}}
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|isbn=0241989094
+
|author=Andrew Sharp
|title=The Perfect Life
+
|title=The Chef, the Bird and the Blessing
|author=Nuala Ellwood
 
 
|rating=4
 
|rating=4
|genre=Thrillers
+
|genre=General Fiction
|summary=In August 2018 we meet a young woman called Imogen and she's viewing a house in Goring-on-Thames and telling the estate agent about her three children, Lavender, Freddie and Barclay.  The boys are a bit of a handful which is why she's making this trip on her own.  The house would be perfect for them.
+
|summary= Chef Mlantushi - Mozzy to his employer - is, in his mind, the head chef of a safari business catering to VIP guests in an unnamed African country. Mozzy is earnest and dedicated to his task and he puts all of himself into creating fine cuisine dishes for the guests at BOD-W safaris but his dream is to become the head chef of a restaurant in London or a big American city. Even to win a Michelin star. He is thwarted in this ambition by his boss, Mr Bin (Ben to you and me) who incurs Mozzy's disapproval for his scruffy ways, his uninterest in his guests and - shock, horror - his allowing of bush animals into the house.
 
+
|isbn=B09926MK8H
It's the same month but now we're in Wimbledon and we encounter the same young woman, only this time she's job hunting and living in her sister, Georgie's, spare room, where she's been since she broke up with her boyfriend, Connor.
 
 
}}
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Darren Shan
+
|author=Alex Foulkes
|title=Archibald Lox and the Slides of Bon Repell: Archibald Lox series, Volume 2, book 2 of 3
+
|title=Rules for Vampires
 
|rating=4.5
 
|rating=4.5
 
|genre=Confident Readers
 
|genre=Confident Readers
|summary=So. Having done the impossible and unpicked the lock to the Forgotten Crypt, from which the Departed communicate with the Merge, Archie now has ''grop'' to think about. But before that, soirees. Soirees! Archie, much to Inez's amusement, doesn't even know what one of those is. But he manages to come through the fancy party unscathed, even after an uncomfortable encounter with Kurtis, whose fledgling romance with Inez was crushed in the first volume of this series.  
+
|summary= Eleonore Von Motteberg (or 'Leo' for short) is a Vampire. She drinks blood, she sleeps during the day, and she can Grimwalk (turning into a flock of bats to travel around, although not all of them remember to come back). Pretty cool stuff. Now, on the night of her hundredth birthnight, she has to go out and hunt her first human. However, instead she ends up killing two humans by accident and burning down an orphanage. Oops! And to make things worse, the ghosts of one of the orphans and the evil master of the orphanage come back to haunt her. So, not only does Leo have to team up with the friendly ghost Minna to stop the ghost of the Orphanmaster before he becomes unstoppably powerful, she has to do it all while hiding it from her family. Did I mention vampires and ghosts hate each other? Yeah, there's a reason why there are rules for vampires…
|isbn=B093J9TF73
+
|isbn=147119955X
 
}}
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|isbn=B07GZ81J7C
+
|author=Tori Bovalino
|title=When Fred the Snake Got Squished and Mended
+
|title=The Devil Makes Three
|author=Peter Cotton
 
 
|rating=4.5
 
|rating=4.5
|genre=For Sharing
+
|genre=Teens
|summary=Meet Fred.  Well, actually, you're going to be meeting Fred-Fred for reasons which will become all too obvious very quickly. But I'm getting ahead of myself: I'd better tell you a bit more about Fred. Fred is a snake and even those of us who have a phobia about snakes are going to warm to him. He arrived as a present in a box with holes so that he could breathe and immediately became part of the family, to the extent that they would take Fred out with them when they went out for a walk. And that was where the problem started.  Fred didn't have any road sense.  Or brakes.
+
|summary= Working all summer in her boarding school's library is the last thing Tess Matheson wants to do — especially when she gets a request for over a hundred books that she has to deliver herself. What makes it worse is the man who requested the books: Mr Birch. The boarding school's headmaster, and a man Tess hates. As a petty act of revenge for making her find and deliver such a large request, Tess sticks post-it notes on each of the books, scribbled with the ugliest insults she can think of. They're never meant to reach him, of course. Her plan is to get her anger out like this, and then take them all off before delivering them. No harm done… Or it would be, if someone hadn't delivered them for her.
 +
|isbn=1789098130
 
}}
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author= Justine Avery and Naday Meldova
+
|isbn= B09BG8V3Q6
|title= Everybody Pees! (Everybody Potties!)
+
|title= Who Needs Nappies? Not Me! (Everybody Potties!)
|rating=4
+
|author= Justine Avery and Seema Amjad
 +
|rating=4.5
 
|genre=For Sharing
 
|genre=For Sharing
|summary= Can potty training ever be joyous? It often isn't, as any parent will tell you. But really, why shouldn't it be? We all have to learn about our bodily functions just as we have to learn about everything else when we are small. Why shouldn't potty training be as much fun as, say, learning about why the sun and the moon take turns in the sky?
+
|summary= ''Who Needs Nappies? Not Me!'' is the latest release in the ''Everybody Potties!'' series from Justine Avery. This series of fun picture books aims to take the pain out of potty training children and replace it with some fun. It's a worthy aim, as any frustrated parent will tell you. .
|isbn= B098BJZYHH
 
 
}}
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|isbn=1787634493
+
|isbn=B098FFFBH9
|title=All Her Fault
+
|title=Snowcub
|author=Andrea Mara
+
|author=Graham Fulbright
 
|rating=4.5
 
|rating=4.5
|genre=Thrillers
+
|genre=Literary Fiction
|summary=It had seemed like one of those serendipitous events which sometimes happenMarissa Irvine had been hoping that the opportunity would arise for her son, Milo, to go on a play date.  She was concerned that he didn't have any friends at his new school.  Milo would go home from Kerryglen National School in an affluent Dublin suburb with his classmate Jacob - and Marissa would pick him up from 14 Tudor Grove a little laterWhat could be better?  Only, when Marissa arrived at the house, expecting to meet Jacob's mother, Jenny, the door was answered by Esther, who didn't know Jenny or Jacob.  The phone number she'd been given for Jenny was not recognised.  Milo had disappeared.  And so had Jenny's nanny.
+
|summary=Fourteen-year-old Rachel is her school's animal rights project leader and she and her friend are producing a competition entry to highlight the way in which human beings exploit the animal worldShe gets a great deal of support from her family: father Pip Harrison, a lecturer at Imperial College, London, mother Kate and her twin, NickKate runs the family business, a toy shop called Cornucopia in Putney, which is where we'll meet Rachel's main (if unsuspected) source of information: five soft toys.
 
}}
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Claire North
+
|author= Angharad Walker
|title=Notes from the Burning Age
+
|title= The Ash House
|rating=4
+
|rating= 5
|genre=Science Fiction
+
|genre= Confident Readers
|summary=At its core ''Notes From the Burning Age'' by Claire North is a spy thriller, with as many double crosses, interrogations and night time escapes as Le Carre or Fleming. However, as with the best novels, it wears many masks and its most affecting one is that of a new and timely genre, cli-fi, or climate change fiction. North's novel tells of a world devastated by climate change where humans have been forced to start anew and live alongside nature without any of the modern and corrupting "luxuries" (read: fossil fuels, weapons of mass destruction, intensive farming). There is a growing unhappiness with this limiting world, and one group, the Brotherhood, aims to master these processes no matter the cost to the Earth.
+
|summary= A new boy arrives at The Ash House. He doesn't know his name, or why he is there but he is used to the system, used to different places and different faces. He meets Dom who names him Sol and sets out to teach him the rules of The Ash House. These rules centre on a variety of Nicenesses set out by the absent Headmaster. All children must remember their Niceness and complete their chores, working as a hive in the smouldering shadows of The Ash House. But soon their easy peace is shattered by the arrival of the Doctor. By the end of the story, lives will be changed forever and The Ash House will never be the same again.
|isbn=0356514757
+
|isbn=1912626977
 
}}
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Eva Bjorg Aegisdottir and Victoria Cribb (translator)
+
|author=Yancey Williams
|title=Girls Who Lie
+
|title=Crosshairs of the Devil
|rating=3
 
|genre=Thrillers
 
|summary=You might be forgiven for thinking that all the dark corners of Iceland have featured in their noirish thrillers and crime books before now.  You think, seeing on the map that we're set in Akranes, and finding it's only twenty kilometres from the capital city, that this author is clutching at the few final straws left.  However just because the book aims for the usual small-town feel, it's not just in Akranes that our interests lie.  Six months ago a woman failed to turn up for her date evening, and was never seen again.  This left a teenaged girl not at all disappointed that she could now live permanently with the couple who had given her foster care before her mother had asked for the girl back, and a couple of delighted adopters.  But it left our three detectives at a quandary – mobile phone use was at a high level until it stopped all of a sudden, in one place, the woman's car was found miles away in a second place, and now, after six months, the body has been discovered, in a third, even more remote place.  Meanwhile, this narrative is interrupted by a confessional monologue from a mother who found herself with heavy post-natal depression, and very little maternal feeling in her body.  Is the assumption that is so easy for the reader to make the right one?
 
|isbn=191319373X
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
|isbn=B0925KS87N
 
|title=Dead Man's Grave (DS Max Craigie)
 
|author=Neil Lancaster
 
|rating=4
 
|genre=Crime
 
|summary=Tam Hardie had been determined to find the grave - and it took some finding - in an overgrown old cemetery.  It was a strange thing for Scotland's premier criminal to do, but Tam was getting old and there were things he wanted to do.  Only, his family didn't hear from him again after he'd said that he'd found the grave - the one which said that it shouldn't be opened - and his three sons began to worry.  Tam Junior, Frankie and Dave wouldn't normally go to the police but they weren't certain where their father had been and they were worried.
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
|author=Emily Critchley
 
|title=The Tiny Gestures of Small Flowers
 
|rating=3
 
|genre=General Fiction
 
|summary= The Tiny Gestures of Small Flowers had all the hallmarks of something good. I was intrigued by the plot, liked the design of the book, and thought the author's work sounded interesting. From the outset it all looked incredibly promising. So what on earth went wrong here?
 
|isbn= 1911427091
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
|author=Sarah Langan
 
|title=Good Neighbours
 
 
|rating=4.5
 
|rating=4.5
|genre=Thrillers
+
|genre=Literary Fiction
|summary= If you're of a certain vintage, it's hard to read the words ''Good Neighbours'' without adding a sing-song ''that's when Good Neighbours…become…good friends''. Maple Street is no Ramsay Street, though, Arlo and Gertie live a world apart from the Melbourne suburbs. They're one of 18 households on the crescent, quite new arrivals having moved in a year earlier. They're not quite like all the other families (he's an ex rocker, she's a former beauty queen) but they've made some friends and their kids have settled in, and it's all going ok. Until it isn't. One hot, clammy, sticky, sweaty summer, a sinkhole opens up in the park across the way. It's a revolting mess of dirt and chaos, but for the residents of Maple Street, the worst is yet to come.
+
|summary=Award-winning crime writer Eddie Jablonski is getting on in years and, despite his strenuous objections and thanks to his daughter, finds himself living - or imprisoned, from Eddie's point of view - in room 315 of the Garden of Eden nursing home, with only a trusty nursing aide, Jenkins, for palatable company. Nothing is going to keep Eddie from his stock-in-trade of writing though, so here, for his readers, are his wanderings through his life's work.
|isbn=1789098211
+
|isbn=0986031658
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
|author=Lisa Thompson
 
|title=The Small Things
 
|rating=5
 
|genre=Confident Readers
 
|summary=Although Anna has friends at school, she feels like she never really fits in. Her family don't have enough money to let her do after school activities, and so she feels like her life at home is boring in comparison to theirs. When a new girl joins her class, Anna is asked to partner her, but things are complicated because the new girl, Ellie, is unwell and so can't attend school in person. Instead, she joins in with the class by using a robot. Can Anna overcome the challenge of making friends with someone through a robot, and is she even interesting enough to be a good friend to Ellie?
 
|isbn=1781129649
 
}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
|isbn=0008350388
 
|title=We Need to Talk About Money
 
|author=Otegha Uwagba
 
|rating=5
 
|genre=Politics and Society
 
|summary=''To be a dark-skinned Black woman is to be seen as less desirable, less hireable, less intelligent and ultimately less valuable than my light-skinned counterparts...''  ''We Need to Talk About Money'' by Otegha Uwagba
 
 
 
''0.7% of English Literature GCSE students in England study a book by a writer of colour while only 7% study a book by a woman.''  ''The Bookseller'' 29 June 2021
 
 
 
Otegha Uwagba came to the UK from Kenya when she was five years old.  Her sisters were seven and nine.  It was her mother who came first, with her father joining them later.  The family was hard-working, principled and determined that their children would have the best education possible.  There was always a painful awareness of money although this did not translate into a shortage of anything: it was simply carefully harvested.  When Otegha was ten the family acquired a car.  For Otegha, education meant a scholarship to a private school in London and then a place at New College, Oxford.
 
 
}}
 
}}

Latest revision as of 12:51, 21 October 2021

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1471196615.jpg

Review of

Iced by Felix Francis

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

Miles Pussett used to be a Steeplechase jockey but those days are past and he now gets his thrills from hurling head-first down the three-quarter-mile Cresta Run, occasionally reaching eighty miles an hour. He was in St Moritz the same weekend as White Turf - that's high-class horseracing on the frozen lake and against his better judgement he gets talked into helping with the saddling of the horses. It's seven years since he put horseracing behind him and he swore that he'd never go back to it. But when he sees that something suspicious is going on, Miles can't help but look for answers, even when it puts him in danger. Full Review

147228612X.jpg

Review of

The Late Train to Gipsy Hill by Alan Johnson

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

We all know people like Gary Nelson, although we probably haven't taken much notice of them. They live quiet, uneventful lives and stay mostly under the radar. In a city like London, that's quite easy - and even Gary's three flatmates largely ignore him. The highlight of his day is watching a beautiful young woman apply her makeup as she goes to work on the train each morning: he'd love to ask her for a date but he doesn't have the courage. Then, on his homeward commute, Arina speaks to him and asks for his help. Before long he finds himself on the run from mobsters, Russian secret agents and the Metropolitan police. Full Review

1542019974.jpg

Review of

I Know You by Claire McGowan

4star.jpg Thrillers

Then: Casey returns from a walk with the baby, Carson, and comes across three bodies, almost a whole family taken down.

Now: Rachel is out for a walk with her dog, Brandy, when she comes across a body in the woods. Full Review

1529148251.jpg

Review of

Misfits: A Personal Manifesto by Michaela Coel

5star.jpg Politics and Society

How am I able to be so transparent on paper about rape, malpractice and poverty, yet still compartmentalise? It's as though I were telling the truth whilst simultaneously running away from it.

Before you start reading Misfits you need to be in a certain frame of mind. You're not going to read a book of essays or a self-help book. You're going to read writing which was inspired by Michaela Coel's 2018 MacTaggart Lecture to professionals within the television industry at the Edinburgh TV Festival. You might be reading the book but you need to listen to the words as though you're in the lecture theatre. The disjointedness will fade away and you'll be carried on a cloud of exquisite writing. Full Review

0008433631.jpg

Review of

Next of Kin by Kia Abdullah

5star.jpg Thrillers

It was the sort of thing that happened every day, although not to Leila Syed. She'd never driven her nephew, Max, to school before but his father, Andrew Hanson, had rung her in a panic. He was supposed to be taking Max to school but he'd been called into work and the delay in getting there could lead to financial losses. As the school was only five minutes out of Leila's way, could she drop him off? Of course, she could and a sleeping Max was duly strapped into the back of her car. On the way Leila took a phone call - there was panic at her work too, with a problem which could put a multi-million-pound contract at risk. Full Review

B09C2RVJ2W.jpg

Review of

Everybody Toots! (Everybody Potties!) by Justine Avery and Naday Meldova

4star.jpg For Sharing

Toots, trumps, farts. Whatever your word for them, find us a child that doesn't find them irresistibly funny. Funny to talk about and joke about, that is. But horribly embarrassing if you let one go at the wrong time. In class, say, when everyone will hear it and everyone will laugh. At you. Justine Avery's latest entry in her Everybody Potties! series takes aim at any shame associated with tooting and gently and calmly, with the familiar humour attached, explains that tooting is perfectly normal. Everybody does it: Everybody Toots! Full Review

1784165263.jpg

Review of

Invite Me In by Emma Curtis

4.5star.jpg Crime

Martin Curran's wife, Eliza knew that she had to be home to make his lunch for one o'clock on the dot, despite the fact that she was actually painting one of their properties prior to it being let. If she didn't get home, there would be trouble. There was some excuse: Martin was a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair, but don't be too quick to be understanding. He was also a very unpleasant person: he once told Eliza you're good at being a disappointment. All this was in Eliza's mind when she first met Dan Jones who arrived, unannounced, at the flat just as Eliza was about to leave: he wanted the lease of flat 2, 42 Linden Road and he was desperate to get in before it was advertised as being available. Full Review

1784742775.jpg

Review of

A Change of Circumstance (Simon Serrailler) by Susan Hill

5star.jpg Crime

Drugs hadn't really been that much of a problem in Lafferton and Detective Superintendent Simon Serrailler had thought of drugs ops as a bit of a waste of time. They still were, to a great extent, but Serrailler knew that something had to be done. Children as young as nine were being recruited to transport the drugs and the operation running the county lines was tight. A mule might know the name (although it probably wouldn't be the correct one) of the person who was running him but he certainly wouldn't know anything about those higher up in the organisation. The police might catch a few of the runners but they'd never get anywhere near those higher up. Full Review

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Review of

Fall On Me by Penelope Potts

3.5star.jpg Women's Fiction

Life should have been good for Hollie: She was just going into the final year of her veterinary degree and - three years later - was still working at BB's diner. Bob - the owner - regarded her fondly: he was a good boss. Hollie had moved in with her boyfriend, Marcus: her mother thought he was great and he was doing well in his career. Hollie wasn't quite so certain though: Marcus wanted to control her and most of all he wanted her to leave her job at the diner. Then there was the fact that he would be violent, both to her and to other people. Full Review

0356514218.jpg

Review of

The Shadow Of The Gods by John Gwynne

5star.jpg Fantasy

The Shadow Of The Gods is the first installment of the Bloodsworn Saga, set in the era of the Vikings in the shadow of Ragnarok, when the Gods have battled and their bones lie scattered for all to see. This story is the ultimate in High Fantasy, and John Gwynne certainly does justice to the genre, with mythical creatures, archaic language and battles galore. This is a thick book, with an intricate plot and fascinating characters that are woven together to create a wonderfully realistic and gritty world in which our heroes must do battle. Full Review

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Review of

Endless Obsession by Dai Henley

4star.jpg Crime

It's some years since we last caught up with Andy Flood, formerly a DCI in the Met but now a well-respected private investigator. He's married to Laura, formerly his DS in the Murder Squad but now working in a forensics laboratory. Flood's daughters, Gemma and Pippa, have flown the nest, Pippa to Australia, from where she has very little contact with the family, and Gemma to married life. She's had mental problems since she was abducted many years ago but Andy and Laura hope that married life will provide the support she needs. Flood's business is going well and that was why he felt able to turn down the case of Lisa Black. Full Review

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Review of

The Stoning by Peter Papathanasiou

3.5star.jpg Thrillers

In a town sleazy enough to make sh*tholes elsewhere look glamorous in comparison, a teacher has been transported across town at night in a shopping trolley, and she's been taped to a tree and she's had rocks bowled at her as if she were the world's tallest cricket stumps. When she's discovered by the town gossip everyone, including the local cops, are quite confident the culprit has come from the immigrant detention centre the place is reluctantly home to. An arson attack on that shows the feeling – and it's only fair, is the general opinion, for the occupants are often setting their own fires in protest at their conditions. Cue the arrival of George Manolis, a higher rank from the city, to sort everything out. Because such an aggrieved, insular community is really going to welcome a Greek-heritaged city boy laying down the law... Full Review

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Review of

The Mystery of Healing by A P McGrath

4star.jpg Crime (Historical)

We meet Solon in Pergamon in the second century of the common era and he's the physician on duty at the munus - the games put on for the amusement of the populace. The remuneration isn't high but the work gives the doctor a feeling of virtue and hones his skills: Solon wants the warriors to live. It's quite a spectacle: the magistri are the charge hands and when we first see them, they're sprinkling gold dust onto the lions' manes to make them look more impressive. The sagitarii are the archers and the beastiarii are the condemned criminals who are going to fight for their lives with the wild animals. Today, it's the crocodiles. Full Review

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Review of

The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo and Sophie Blackall

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Stories have joy and surprises in them, we are told here. And none more so than in this wondrous story, which feels an instant classic with the freshness and the agelessness it has in equal proportion. We start with a group of monks, the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing, and the demonic goat that loves nothing more than upending, trampling on and biting the poor Brothers. Things change drastically when the beast takes a totally maternal approach to a homeless girl, one who has survived some trauma that has blocked her past from her memory. Elsewhere sits a King in his castle, desperate to find the girl, for it is prophesied that a young child can unseat the throne and cause great change. Who foretold that revolution but the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing? But how can a simple, amnesiac lass ever prove a threat to anyone? Full Review

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Review of

You Can't Wear Panties! (No More Nappies!) by Justine Avery and Kate Zhoidik

3.5star.jpg For Sharing

For the big, grownup girls out there, the potty masters in training, "You Can't Wear Panties!" is a cry (the big-girl kind!) of toilet triumph and persevering panty pride.


And so it is! This latest book from Justine Avery celebrates a little girl's final goodbye to nappies and pull-ups and graduation to "proper" pants by following her around as she proudly explains to her dog, her cat, her stuffed rabbit and her baby sibling that she can wear super-duper proper pants, while they cannot. Neither can the flowers, nor the fish, nor the birds. Boy's certainly can't. She's a big girl now and she wants everyone to know it! Full Review

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Review of

Locked Out Lily by Nick Lake and Emily Gravett

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Lily is, or was, or has been, very ill, and to give her parents relief she's been told to stay with her grandma for a few days. The parents need the relief as Lily's baby sibling is just about to be born – a child Lily swears she hates already and wants nothing to do with. But on tracking back home for word of her parents (and her plush toy so she can sleep) she finds stony-eyed simulacra of her parents, and the babe-in-arms, already installed. These devilish interlopers need to be ousted to get the family back intact, even if it's not the family Lily wants – and all she has to help her in the task are some talking animals – Crow, Mole, Mouse and Snake. Full Review

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Review of

The Great Dream Robbery by Greg James and Chris Smith

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Maya's father is a professor who invented an amazing dream machine. But something went wrong, and now he can't wake up. Or at least, that's what Maya has been told. In a rather strange dream one night Maya makes a new friend, and discovers that the only way to save her dad may be by being asleep. Cue one madcap action adventure story where dreams and reality collide...really...and there's everything from llamas and bananas, dream machines made from hairdresser cast-offs, to a talking cat called Bin Bag! Full Review

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Review of

100 Ways in 100 Days to Teach Your Baby Maths: Support All Areas of Your Baby’s Development by Nurturing a Love of Maths by Emma Smith

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Babies seem to be born with an amazing number sense: understanding shapes in the womb, being aware of quantities at seven hours old, assessing probability at six months old, and comprehending addition and subtraction at nine months old.

Did you know this? I didn't! How about:

Maths ability on entry to school is a strong predictor of later achievement, double that of literacy skills.

I didn't know this either! I think most parents are aware that giving your children a good start in literacy - reading stories, teaching pen grips, singing rhymes - gives children a solid foundation when they start school. But do we think the same way about maths, beyond counting? I don't think we do, in part because so many of us are afraid of maths. But why are we? Most of us use maths in daily life without realising and it follows that giving our children a similar pre-school grounding will be just as beneficial. Full Review

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Review of

The Whistleblower by Robert Peston

3star.jpg Thrillers

I'm not the first to point out how fitting it is for Robert Peston to write a political thriller, so I'll move on quickly – but this won't be winning any awards for originality. It's an interesting plot with a good pace, but it does very little to differentiate itself and I suspect before much time has passed I'll have forgotten a lot of it. Full Review

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Review of

The Madness of Crowds (Chief Inspector Gamache) by Louise Penny

4.5star.jpg Crime

In the Canadian village of Three Pines, we're post-pandemic: the scars are still there but life is starting to get back to normal. The villagers are beginning to return to the Bistro and the Auberge. They're visiting each other's homes and having friends and relatives to stay. A young Sudanese woman who has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize is one such visitor and she soon proves that not all saints are necessarily pleasant people to be around - a bit like Vincent Gilbert, known in the village as the Asshole Saint. Full Review

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Review of

Flights for Freedom by Steven Burgauer

4.5star.jpg Historical Fiction

It's the later stages of World War I and the United States has just entered the conflict. Petrol Petronus is a young American who has signed up and joined the 17 Aero Squadron. This company was the first US Aero Squadron to be trained in Canada, the first to be attached to the RAF and the first to be sent into the skies to fight the Germans in active combat. But before that can happen, Petrol has to master flying the notoriously difficult but majestic Sopwith Camel. Full Review

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Review of

The Dark Remains by William McIlvanney and Ian Rankin

3.5star.jpg Crime

Bobby Carter was a lawyer and consigliere to one of the major crime families in nineteen seventies Glasgow. DC Jack Laidlaw is on the CID team charged with the investigation. I say on the team but Laidlaw never really seems to be a part of it. He does his own thing, goes his own way and The Dark Remains uncovers the truth of why Bobby Carter's body was found behind one of Glasgow's seedier pubs. Full Review

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Review of

Tokyo Zangyo (Detective Hiroshi) by Michael Pronko

4.5star.jpg Crime

Zangyo: overtime work, often unpaid

It's the culture, isn't it? The hours for which you're paid are really just a statement of the minimum you'll be required to do: you'll work more hours to get the job done and done to the satisfaction of bullies like Shigeru Onizuka. When he was found dead in front of Senden Central's headquarters in Tokyo there was nothing in the way of regret or grief, even from his family, but there was a mild curiosity as to whether he'd jumped from the roof of the building or been assisted in his descent. Gossip revolves around the fact that he left the roof at the exact same spot that an employee, Mayu Yamase, had committed suicide some three years earlier. She'd accused Onizuka of bullying her and forcing her to work an unreasonable amount of overtime. Full Review

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Review of

The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

4.5star.jpg Crime

Elizabeth Best was a little surprised when she received the letter. It came from a man whose body she had helped to pull from the Thames and who had never existed but then this is the sort of conundrum which retired spies have to deal with on a regular basis. When she visits the sender of the letter (he's moved into the Cooper's Chase Retirement Village) it comes as no surprise that it's someone with whom she has a long professional history - and who used to be her husband. He's made a bad mistake - something to do with a mask being removed within the range of a CCTV camera on a raid, a missing twenty-million pounds in diamonds and a few death threats. He's now in hiding with a young woman called Polly, who's his MI5 handler as well as being an incompetent waitress. Full Review

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Review of

The Chef, the Bird and the Blessing by Andrew Sharp

4star.jpg General Fiction

Chef Mlantushi - Mozzy to his employer - is, in his mind, the head chef of a safari business catering to VIP guests in an unnamed African country. Mozzy is earnest and dedicated to his task and he puts all of himself into creating fine cuisine dishes for the guests at BOD-W safaris but his dream is to become the head chef of a restaurant in London or a big American city. Even to win a Michelin star. He is thwarted in this ambition by his boss, Mr Bin (Ben to you and me) who incurs Mozzy's disapproval for his scruffy ways, his uninterest in his guests and - shock, horror - his allowing of bush animals into the house. Full Review

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Review of

Rules for Vampires by Alex Foulkes

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Eleonore Von Motteberg (or 'Leo' for short) is a Vampire. She drinks blood, she sleeps during the day, and she can Grimwalk (turning into a flock of bats to travel around, although not all of them remember to come back). Pretty cool stuff. Now, on the night of her hundredth birthnight, she has to go out and hunt her first human. However, instead she ends up killing two humans by accident and burning down an orphanage. Oops! And to make things worse, the ghosts of one of the orphans and the evil master of the orphanage come back to haunt her. So, not only does Leo have to team up with the friendly ghost Minna to stop the ghost of the Orphanmaster before he becomes unstoppably powerful, she has to do it all while hiding it from her family. Did I mention vampires and ghosts hate each other? Yeah, there's a reason why there are rules for vampires… Full Review

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Review of

The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino

4.5star.jpg Teens

Working all summer in her boarding school's library is the last thing Tess Matheson wants to do — especially when she gets a request for over a hundred books that she has to deliver herself. What makes it worse is the man who requested the books: Mr Birch. The boarding school's headmaster, and a man Tess hates. As a petty act of revenge for making her find and deliver such a large request, Tess sticks post-it notes on each of the books, scribbled with the ugliest insults she can think of. They're never meant to reach him, of course. Her plan is to get her anger out like this, and then take them all off before delivering them. No harm done… Or it would be, if someone hadn't delivered them for her. Full Review

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Review of

Who Needs Nappies? Not Me! (Everybody Potties!) by Justine Avery and Seema Amjad

4.5star.jpg For Sharing

Who Needs Nappies? Not Me! is the latest release in the Everybody Potties! series from Justine Avery. This series of fun picture books aims to take the pain out of potty training children and replace it with some fun. It's a worthy aim, as any frustrated parent will tell you. . Full Review

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Review of

Snowcub by Graham Fulbright

4.5star.jpg Literary Fiction

Fourteen-year-old Rachel is her school's animal rights project leader and she and her friend are producing a competition entry to highlight the way in which human beings exploit the animal world. She gets a great deal of support from her family: father Pip Harrison, a lecturer at Imperial College, London, mother Kate and her twin, Nick. Kate runs the family business, a toy shop called Cornucopia in Putney, which is where we'll meet Rachel's main (if unsuspected) source of information: five soft toys. Full Review

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Review of

The Ash House by Angharad Walker

5star.jpg Confident Readers

A new boy arrives at The Ash House. He doesn't know his name, or why he is there but he is used to the system, used to different places and different faces. He meets Dom who names him Sol and sets out to teach him the rules of The Ash House. These rules centre on a variety of Nicenesses set out by the absent Headmaster. All children must remember their Niceness and complete their chores, working as a hive in the smouldering shadows of The Ash House. But soon their easy peace is shattered by the arrival of the Doctor. By the end of the story, lives will be changed forever and The Ash House will never be the same again. Full Review

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Review of

Crosshairs of the Devil by Yancey Williams

4.5star.jpg Literary Fiction

Award-winning crime writer Eddie Jablonski is getting on in years and, despite his strenuous objections and thanks to his daughter, finds himself living - or imprisoned, from Eddie's point of view - in room 315 of the Garden of Eden nursing home, with only a trusty nursing aide, Jenkins, for palatable company. Nothing is going to keep Eddie from his stock-in-trade of writing though, so here, for his readers, are his wanderings through his life's work. Full Review