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<metadesc>Book review site, with books from most walks of literary life; fiction, biography, crime, cookery and children's books plus author interviews and top tens.</metadesc>
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<metadesc>Expert, full book reviews from most walks of literary life; fiction, non-fiction, children's books & self-published books plus author interviews & top tens.</metadesc>
<h1 id="mf-title">The Bookbag</h1>
 
Hello from The Bookbag, a site featuring books from all the many walks of literary life - [[:Category:Fiction|fiction]], [[:Category:Biography|biography]], [[:Category:Crime|crime]], [[:Category:Cookery|cookery]] and anything else that takes our fancy. At Bookbag Towers the bookbag sits at the side of the desk. It's the bag we take to the library, the charity shop and the bookshop. Sometimes it holds the latest releases, but at other times there'll be old favourites, books for the children, books for the home. They're sometimes our own books or books from the local library. They're often books sent to us by publishers and we promise to tell you exactly what we think about them. You might not want to read through a full review, so we'll give you a quick review which summarises what we felt about the book and tells you whether or not we think you should buy or borrow it. There are also lots of [[:Category:Interviews|author interviews]], and all sorts of [[:Category:Lists|top tens]] - all of which you can find on our [[features]] page. If you're stuck for something to read, check out the [[Book Recommendations|recommendations]] page.
 
  
There are currently '''{{PAGESINCATEGORY:Reviews}}''' reviews at TheBookbag.
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Reviews by readers from all the many walks of literary life. With author interviews, features and top tens. You'll be sure to find something you'll want to read here. Dig in!
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Find us on [[File:facebook.gif|link=https://www.facebook.com/TheBookbagCoUk|alt=Facebook]] Facebook,  [[File:twitter.gif|link=http://twitter.com/TheBookbag|alt=Follow us on Twitter]], Twitter and
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There are currently '''{{PAGESINCATEGORY: Reviews}}''' reviews at TheBookbag.
  
 
Want to find out more [[About Us|about us]]? __NOTOC__
 
Want to find out more [[About Us|about us]]? __NOTOC__
  
==Reviews of the Best New Books==
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==The Best New Books==
  
 
'''Read [[:Category:New Reviews|new reviews by category]]. '''<br>
 
'''Read [[:Category:New Reviews|new reviews by category]]. '''<br>
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'''Read [[:Category:Features|the latest features]].''' <!-- INSERT NEW REVIEWS BELOW HERE-->
 
'''Read [[:Category:Features|the latest features]].''' <!-- INSERT NEW REVIEWS BELOW HERE-->
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Patti Smith
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|author=Antony Wootten
|title=Year of the Monkey
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|title=Season of the Mammoth (BigShorts)
 
|rating=4
 
|rating=4
|genre=Biography
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|genre=Confident Readers
|summary=On the coast of Santa Cruz, Patti Smith enters the lunar year of the monkey - one packed with mischief, sorrow, and unexpected moments. In a stranger's words, ''Anything is possible: after all, it's the year of the monkey''. As Smith wanders the coast of Santa Cruz in solititude, she reflects on a year that brings huge shifts in her life - loss and aging are faced head on, as it the shifting political waters in America.  
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|summary= Tannash and her brother Geb are waiting in great excitement for the hunting party led by their uncle to return. They're hoping for a feast of mammoth meat. Geb longs for the day he can join his uncle Gagba and the other warriors on a hunting party and take part in their deeds of derring-do. But their father, the leader of the village, thinks that they also need an education; that knowledge is power.
|isbn=1526614758
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|isbn=1939269679
 
}}
 
}}
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{{Frontpage
 +
|author= Laura Lam and Elizabeth May
 +
|title= Seven Devils
 +
|rating= 4
 +
|genre= Science Fiction
 +
|summary= Eris is one of the foremost operatives of the Novantae, a resistance movement fighting against the ruthlessly expansionist Tholosian Empire – an Empire she was destined to inherit in her past life as Princess Discordia, whom everyone believed has been dead for years. Clo, an ace pilot for the Novantae, has a mission: hijack a Tholosian spacecraft to gather information vital to the war effort. Although she's less than pleased to discover that her former friend Eris is her partner on this mission. Things get more interesting as the mission commences; aboard the ship are three defectors with a secret that could potentially cripple the Empire. Eris's brother Damocles, the runner-up heir to the Empire, is plotting to disrupt peace talks between Tholos and the last of the free alien species. It's a race against time as the rebels move to put a stop Damocles' plans, with millions of lives hanging in the balance…
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|isbn=1473231140
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|author=Non Pratt
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|title=Every Little Piece of My Heart
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|rating=4
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|genre=Teens
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|summary= Freya was a beautiful, popular and complex girl, loved by many and seemingly stable in her existence as a queen bee 16-year-old student, complete with best friend and the promise of the end of GCSEs just months away. But one day, on January 1st, she just... left. No explanation. No warning. No goodbye. No one heard from her since. A once active social profile left deserted. So, when her best friend Sophie receives a mysterious parcel from her 5 months after, she expects it to contain answers of some kind, but is surprised to find the parcel contains another layer addressed to a complete stranger, and then another layer to another person and another, each containing an item unique to them and Freya, connecting 4 strangers through her mystery and the promise of 'treasure' at the end of it all. With each parcel, a new layer of the story and of Freya is unwrapped - and painful truths come to light that threaten to break bonds, both new and old. Can what's been broken be fixed? And why did Freya leave?
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|isbn=1406366943
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=178089922X
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|title=Invisible Girl
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|author=Lisa Jewell
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|rating=5
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|genre=Thrillers
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|summary=''When you wear a hood, you're invisible.''
  
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Saffyre Maddox is seventeen-years-old and beautiful.  By her own admission, she's a bit of a boffin, doing and enjoying maths, physics and biology at A level.  Life hasn't been easy for her: most people who have been close to her have died and she's now living with her Uncle Aaron in an eighth-floor flat.  Something ''really, really bad happened'' to her when she was ten and she self-harmed for a long time.  Aaron organised psychological help and for three years Roan Fours was her therapist.  He gently unpeeled the layers of her psyche, but somehow managed to miss that 'something really, really bad'.  When the therapy ended Saffyre felt cast adrift, but she retained an interest in Roan.
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=1838951067
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|title=The Nothing Man
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|author=Catherine Ryan Howard
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|rating=5
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|genre=Thrillers
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|summary=When we first meet Jim Doyle, he's about to get a shock.  He's security at a supermarket and he's watching a woman who is acting suspiciously.  She has a book tucked under her arm and he wonders if she's planning to pay for it.  Suddenly it drops to the floor with the spine splayed upwards.  ''Nothing Man'' by Eve Black, is the title.  Why is Jim shocked?  Well, Jim was - ''is'' - the Nothing Man who, until eighteen years ago raped and killed.  The author of the book was twelve years old when Jim raped her mother, and then killed her, her father and her seven-year-old sister, Anna.
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|author=Christina Hammonds Reed
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|title=The Black Kids
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|rating=4.5
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|genre=Teens
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|summary=Christina Hammonds Reed's debut novel is set against the backdrop of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, a reaction to the absolution of four police officers for beating a black man, Rodney King, nearly to death. Told from the perspective of Ashley Bennett, the novel follows her evolution from a silent bystander when confronted with matters of race, to a woman finding her voice and embracing her heritage.
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|isbn=1471188191
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}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Margaret Atwood
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|isbn=0751567426
|title=The Testaments
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|title=The Wicked Sister
 +
|author=Karen Dionne
 
|rating=4.5
 
|rating=4.5
|genre=Dystopian Fiction
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|genre=Thrillers
|summary= Finally! Almost forty years on, we have a sequel to  [[The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood|The Handmaid's Tale]]. I don't want to tell you too much about the plot because it's a novel that is entirely plot driven. Suffice it to say that ''The Testaments'' takes place fifteen years later, fifteen years after Offred gets into a van, not knowing what will happen next. It's told by three narrators: Aunt Lydia, who is secretly writing her memoirs in Ardua Hall; Agnes, a girl brought up in Gilead with the expectation she will marry a commander; Daisy, a rebellious teenage girl in Canada who knows of Gilead only from school lessons and its Pearl Girl missionaries who occasionally call into the store owned by her parents...
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|summary=When we first meet Rachel Cunningham she's an inpatient at the Newberry Regional Mental Health Center in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. She's twenty-six and has been there for fifteen years, convinced that she accidentally killed her mother when she was eleven-years-old and that her father then took the gun and killed himself.  Her sister, Diana, just twenty-years-old, was left at the family home, a lodge in the Upper Peninsula wilderness.  Rachel's very bright and although she's a voluntary patient at the Mental Health Center she remains there, feeling that this is what she deserves.  Perhaps, though, the circumstances are not as she remembers.
|isbn=1784742325
 
 
}}
 
}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=1506909442
 +
|title=The Worst Dogs: A Progressive Murder-Mystery
 +
|author=Matthew de Lacey Davidson
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|rating=4
 +
|genre=Crime
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|summary=''The greatest hatred, like the greatest virtue and the worst dogs, is silent.''
  
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The title of this enjoyable crime procedural, is from German romantic writer Jean Paul. But who are the worst dogs in de Lacey Davidson's latest novel and for whom is the hatred? This mystery will last all the way to the very last and carefully plotted pages but you will be thinking about unwarranted hatred all the way through. It sounds uncomfortable - but it isn't: it's honest.
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|author=Rob Baker
 +
|title=Toubab Tales: The Joys and Trials of Expat Life in Africa
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|rating=4
 +
|genre=Travel
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|summary=''"Go to Mali," they said. "The music is amazing," they said. "And you get ten hours of sunshine every day." So I did.''
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Rob Baker is an ethnomusicologist. ''A what?'' I hear you cry. Well, an ethnomusicologist studies music in relation to culture, so rather like a folklorist studies the oral and written story traditions relating to a culture.
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|isbn=B089CSNFT7
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}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|author=Anne Boden
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|author=James Patterson
|title=The Money Revolution
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|title=Hawk: A Maximum Ride Novel
 
|rating=4
 
|rating=4
|genre= Business and Finance
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|genre=Teens
|summary= Money is changing. It might not be in the ways you think. We’re not suddenly getting a 3p or £3 coin (and have you ever even found a country that offers anything different to the 1, 2, 5 model?) We’re getting a lot more digital with payments, which seems to suit most people apart from charity collectors and the homeless on the street, but although this book has the subtitle that includes the word ‘’digital’’, it’s not really about this either. Instead it’s about the ‘’management’’ of your finances, and how to take control.
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|summary=Hawk has been waiting on the same street corner, every day, for years.  She is waiting for her parents to come and get her. They left her there when she was just tiny, and although she's almost certain that they are never coming back for her, she continues to head back there each day, just in case.  Hawk isn't your ordinary street urchin though...she has wings, and can fly!  Since she was abandoned she's been living with a group of other children, all with interesting characteristics of their own and together they've made their own family.  But now the city is seemingly even more troubled than usual, there's a mysterious child-killer who has been brought to the prison next door to where the children live, and then one day Hawk comes home to find her family has been taken away. Where have they been taken, and can Hawk rescue them before it's too late?
|isbn=1789660610
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|isbn=1529120004
 
}}
 
}}
 
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|isbn=147117316X
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|isbn=1785765698
|title=Guilty Not Guilty
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|title=Shed No Tears
|author=Felix Francis
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|author=Caz Frear
 
|rating=4.5
 
|rating=4.5
 +
|genre=Crime
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|summary=In November 2012 Christopher Masters, the man who would become known as 'the roommate killer', strangled three women in a fortnight.  When he was arrested he admitted the killings.  A fourth death was attributed to him - that of Holly Kemp - and on occasions, Masters admitted to the killing, then he denied it - then admitted it, then denied it.  He played with the police, but there was sufficient evidence on the first three killings to put him away for a long time and the CPS were not convinced about the Holly Kemp case.  There was no body and once Masters was murdered in prison, no hope of progressing the case further.
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}}
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{{Frontpage
 +
|isbn=1473682401
 +
|title=The Turning Tide (Dandy Gilver)
 +
|author=Catriona McPherson
 +
|rating=4
 +
|genre=Crime (Historical)
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|summary=Those who were with us at the end of [[A Step So Grave (Dandy Gilver) by Catriona McPherson|A Step So Grave]] will remember that Donald was engaged to Mallory Dunnoch.  They're now married and Mallory is having twins.  When they arrive no one can doubt the charms of Lavinia Dahlia Cherry and her brother, Edward Hugh Lachlan Gilver.  There are two drawbacks: they're noisy and they're staying with Dandy and Hugh.  Dandy and her detective partner, Alec Osborne, had not taken up the chance to look into a problem at the Cramond ferry when it was offered to them twice before, but suddenly the possibility of being out of the house at Gilverton seems irresistible.
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=B07WWSCGVS
 +
|title=The Lies You Told
 +
|author=Harriet Tyce
 +
|rating=5
 
|genre=Thrillers
 
|genre=Thrillers
|summary=The Honourable William Herbert Millgate Gordon-Russell (Bill Russell to those who knew him well) was acting as a volunteer steward at Warwick Racecourse when he was told of the violent death of his much-loved wife.  It would get worse though: the successful insurance actuary would be accused of killing her and hounded by the mediaThen  he would lose his job and his homeHis best friends would turn against him, as they came to believe him guilty of the murder.  Yet there was no really compelling evidence that he was guilty.
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|summary=Year six student Robin Spence isn't happy about having to start a new school.  She's left the school she loved in New York and now she's going to Ashams in North London.  It's very upmarket; places are rare as hens' teeth and as the pupils have all been there ''forever'', they have their established groups.  Robin's going to be an outsider.  And why is this happening?  Well, over a matter of a few days her parents' marriage fell apartAndrew Spence is staying in New York - he works for a securities firm - and her mother, Sadie Roper, has come back to London to pick up her practice as a criminal barristerThat's easier said than done when you've been out of the market place - and the country - for more than ten years.
 
}}
 
}}
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{{Frontpage
 +
|isbn=1408712415
 +
|title=Cry Baby
 +
|author=Mark Billingham
 +
|rating=4.5
 +
|genre=Crime
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|summary=It's June 1996 and football's European Championships are about to start in London.  DS Tom Thorne is having a nightmare and it's one he has regularly.  It relates to a case from ten years earlier when he ''knew'' that a man was guilty, but didn't take any action until the man's wife and three children had been murdered and the man had killed himself.
  
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Cat Coyne and Maria Ashton are with their sons Kieron and Josh.  It's a happy combination in that the boys are devoted to each other and - despite differences in the where and how they live - the women are best friends.  The boys are seven-year-old and they play on the swings in the park and then dash off to play hide and seek in Highgate Wood.  Josh was the one doing the hiding - but he returned tearfully to the women: Kieron never came to find him and now he can't find Kieron.
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}}
 
{{Frontpage
 
{{Frontpage
|isbn=1908745819
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|isbn=B08CHJLNBS
|title=Surfacing
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|title=Capturing Emilia
|author=Kathleen Jamie
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|author=Brooke Adams
|rating=5
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|rating=3
|genre=History
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|genre=Women's Fiction
|summary=Sometimes when people suggest that you read a certain book, they tell you ''this one has your name on it''. Mostly we take them at their word, or not, but rarely do we ask them why they thought so, unless it turns out that we didn't like the book. That's a rare experience. People who are sensitive to hearing a book calling your name, rarely get it wrong. In this case I was told whyThe blurb speaks of the author considering ''an older, less tethered sense of herself.''  Older. Less tethered. That's not a bad description of where I am. Add to that my love of the natural world, of those aspects of the poetic and lyrical that are about style not form, and substance most of all, about connection. Of course this book had my name on it.  It was written for me. It would have found its way to me eventually. I am pleased to have it fall onto my path so quickly.
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|summary=He's Charles Devereaux, thirty-eight and a partner at Wickham Jones, the Mayfair letting agents.  She's Emilia, twenty-nine, librarian and archivist in the heritage library next door.  Emilia has read [[The Secret by Rhonda Byrne|The Secret]] but she's moved on from new age books like that, which leave you dependent on someone else's philosophies, to something a little deeperCharles is more of a [[Personal by Lee Child|Jack Reacher]] man himself, but, above all, he's shocked that Emilia reads ''The Guardian''. They're obviously not at all compatible, so why can Charles not get this woman out of his mind? She's not his usual type at all: it's obvious to his friendsAnd given that Emilia regularly feels repulsed by Charles's superficiality, why does she feel drawn to him? The relationship's obviously a non-starter, isn't it?
 
}}
 
}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=1504321383
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|title=Single, Again, and Again, and Again
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|author=Louisa Pateman
 +
|rating=4.5
 +
|genre=Autobiography
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|summary=''You can't be happy and fulfilled on your own.  You are not complete until you find a man''.
  
{|class-"wikitable" cellpadding="15"
+
This was what Louisa Pateman was brought up to believe.  It wasn't unkind: it was simply the adults in her life advising her as to what they thought would be best for her.  It was reinforced by all those fairy tales where the girl (she's usually fairly young) is rescued by the handsome prince who then marries her so that they can live happily ever after.  Few girls are lucky enough to be brought up ''without'' the expectation that they will marry and have children.  It was a belief and it would be many years before Louisa would conclude that ''a belief is a choice''.
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|isbn=1787301435
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|title=Dark Waters
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|author=G R Halliday
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|rating=4
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|genre=Crime
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|summary=Twenty-two-year-old Annabelle Whittaker made her second mistake when she opted to drive down the private road in Glen Turrit.  It was a long road through some breath-taking scenery and she could push the car to its limits without fear of being caught speeding.  When the blond child stepped out in front of her she instinctively jerked the steering wheel and hit a tree.  When she came round after the accident she couldn't work out where she was, but it obviously wasn't a conventional hospital.  She'd made her first mistake some time ago, although the realisation wouldn't be obvious to her for a long time.  She'd made it when she chose to have her father buy her a pale blue BMW M4.
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|author=Suzanne Collins
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|title=The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes
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|rating=4.5
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|genre=Teens
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|summary= Coriolanus Snow is refined, charming, and one of the only surviving members of the affluent Snow family. But their world was destroyed by the war. Their riches gone, his parents dead - and yet the facade must be maintained. As the 10th Hunger Games begins, Coriolanus and other students of the Academy become the first Mentors of the tributes in the games. This is his chance to prove himself to the world and secure his place in the Capitol for good. But when he is assigned a tribute with no hope - a girl from District 12 - he thinks all chances of winning (both for her and for him) are gone. But Lucy Gray Baird proves herself to be a spark in his world, in a way he could never have imagined. As the Games commence, Lucy Gray fights for her life in the arena - but behind the scenes, in the sly, complex and strangely dangerous world of the Capitol, Coriolanus is fighting for his life too. Will she survive the Games? Will he? And what happens then?
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|isbn=0702300179
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|author=Sakinu Ahronglong
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|title=Hunter School
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|rating=4.5
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|genre=Autobiography
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|summary= The flyleaf to this little collection tells us that it is a work of fiction. That's possibly misleading.  I am not sure whether it is "fiction" in the sense that Ahronglong made it all up, or whether it is as the blurb goes on to say ''recollections, folklore and autobiographical stories''.  It feels like the latter. It feels like the stories he tells about his experiences as a child, as an adolescent, as an adult are real and true.  But memory is a fickle thing, and maybe poetic licence has taken over here and there and maybe calling it fiction means that its safer and therefore more people will read it.  More people should.
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|isbn=1999791282
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|author=Kat Ellis
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|title=Harrow Lake
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|rating=4.5
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|genre=Teens
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|summary=When we first meet 17-year-old Lola, daughter to legendary horror movie director Nolan Nox, she is saying goodbye to New York City - by sneaking out and stealing from its residents. But when she is found by her father's assistant and forced to come home, she arrives to find an unlocked door, a trail of blood, and her father dying in his study. And so, while he recovers, she is sent off to live with her grandmother in Harrow Lake, the small 1920s town in Indiana that served as the location for the film that made her parents famous. But something about this place isn't right. There's a darkness inside the people here. Secrets about her mother and dark tales of the town's cannibal monster 'Mister Jitters' fill every corner, and disturbing happenings plague Lola. But with every passing hour, secrets long buried come painfully to light and she begins to think that these stories may not be stories at all, and something very real and sinister lurks in Harrow Lake.
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|isbn=0241397049
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|author= Helly Acton
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|title= The Shelf
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|rating= 4
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|genre= Women's Fiction
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|summary= When we meet Amy, she's in a relationship with Jamie. You can't really call it a partnership, because things tend to get done on his terms, but she's sticking around because she hopes she can change him. Ah, yes. Haven't we all been there? Things are looking up when he tells her to pack for a surprise trip. Could this be it? Is he ''finally'' going to get down on one knee? Was the work (and the wait) worth it?
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|isbn=1838770879
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}}
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{{Frontpage
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|author= Justine Avery and Daria Yudina
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|title= This Book Wants to Make You Laugh (Living Book)
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|rating= 4
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|genre= For Sharing
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|summary=This Living Book is on a mission. What's the mission? To make you laugh! I can't think of many better missions than that, can you? Let's see how it does...
  
<!-- Adele Parks -->
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.... well, it opens up with a terrible joke. A groany joke, an eye-roll joke. The joke isn't very funny but it is funny to see how enthusiastic and how generously this book wants to make you laugh - ''Oh, I'm terrible at jokes. Some books are so good at them. I always wanted to help someone laugh.''  
|-
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|isbn= 194812453X
| style="width: 10%; vertical-align: top; text-align: center;"|
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}}
[[image:0008284660.jpg|link=http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0008284660/ref=nosim?tag=thebookbag-21]]
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{{Frontpage
 
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|isbn=1529402271
 
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|title=Murder on the Moorland (Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mysteries)
| style="vertical-align: top; text-align: left;"|
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|author=Helen Cox
===[[Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks]]===
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|rating=3.5
 
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|genre=Crime
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
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|summary=DI Malcolm Halloran and Kitt Hartley's relationship is developing nicely: they're even into a spot of bandage now, although the details are (mercifully) scantAfter a night of passion Halloran is called away in the early hours of the morning.  There's been a murder in Irendale, where Halloran used to live and where his wife, Kamala, was strangled five years agoThere are sufficient details of the current murder to make Halloran suspect that the man who murdered his wife - and others - is in some way involved, despite being in prison. The DI heads off to speak to Jeremy Kerr.
 
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}}
Simon Barnes had his first taste of beer in 1976 when he was just six years old.  Over the years it would become a habit and then a need. By 2016 and with a wife and child of his own he was a functioning alcoholic - a fact known by everybody except Simon. He's concentrating on wanting another child to complete his family.  His wife, Daisy, isn't worried.  They took a long time to conceive Millie, who's perfect in every way, so why tempt fate?  Simon's not inclined to let matters rest though and it's at a fertility clinic that he receives the news that will change all their lives: he's sterile. [[Lies Lies Lies by Adele Parks|Full Review]]
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{{Frontpage
 
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|author= Mark Dawson
<!-- Peter Lynas and Charlie Roberts -->
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|title= The Cleaner
|-
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|rating= 4
| style="width: 10%; vertical-align: top; text-align: center;"|
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|genre= Thrillers
[[image:099334030X.jpg|link=http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/099334030X/ref=nosim?tag=thebookbag-21]]
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|summary= Ruthless and coldly competent, John Milton is one of the British government's best assets – a contract killer with lethal instincts. Now, after ten years, he wants out. But his job isn't one you can just walk away from…
 
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|isbn=178739462X
 
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}}
| style="vertical-align: top; text-align: left;"|
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{{Frontpage
===[[Can You Draw the Dragosaur? by Peter Lynas and Charlie Roberts]]===
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|author=Angela Mack
 
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|title=I Am Unworthy
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crafts|Crafts]], [[:Category:Emerging Readers|Emerging Readers]]
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|rating=4
 
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|genre=Teens
You're going to get a hint of what this book's about very quickly.  When you see the title page, you'll find out what the book's called and that it's been written by Peter LynasThen we move on to who has done the illustration - and there's a gap.  ''You'' are going to put your name there.  It's ''your'' responsibility to provide the pictures for this book about one of the largest creatures ever to roam the earth.  There's some help available, but your name is on the title page - and you have work to do! [[Can You Draw the Dragosaur? by Peter Lynas and Charlie Roberts|Full Review]]
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|summary= Isabel is determined to start fresh. Start again. Sixth form will be different. Her tormentor doesn't go to Gilleford Secondary School anymore. She can escape the hurt, the fear, and the person she became. Josh is determined to keep going, even through the rage, the pain, and using his fists to solve any problem or situation. But he has secrets that threaten to tear him and his brothers apart. When Josh and Isabel's worlds collide, can they make their relationship work? Can they both finally be happy? Or will Josh's time run out?
 
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|author=Laura Imai Messina
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|title=The Phone Box at the End of the World
   
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|rating=5
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|genre=Literary Fiction
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|summary= In the northeast of Japan, in Inwate Prefecture a man installed a telephone box in his garden.  ''Inside there is an old black, telephone, disconnected, that carries voices into the wind.'' It is a real place, a necessary place, and I am pleased to see the IMPORTANT NOTE that the author attaches to her story, that the place is not a tourist destination, it is a sacred place, a place that must be left to those who really need it.
===[[A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie]]===
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[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Fantasy|Fantasy]]
 
 
The chimneys of industry rise over Adua and the world seethes with new opportunities. But old scores run deep as ever. On the blood-soaked borders of Angland, Leo dan Brock struggles to win fame on the battlefield, and defeat the marauding armies of Stour Nightfall. He hopes for help from the crown. But King Jezal's son, the feckless Prince Orso, is a man who specialises in disappointments. Savine dan Glokta - socialite, investor, and daughter of the most feared man in the Union - plans to claw her way to the top of the slag-heap of society by any means necessary. But the slums boil over with a rage that all the money in the world cannot control. The age of the machine dawns, but the age of magic refuses to die. With the help of the mad hillwoman Isern-i-Phail, Rikke struggles to control the blessing, or the curse, of the Long Eye. Glimpsing the future is one thing, but with the guiding hand of the First of the Magi still pulling the strings, changing it will be quite another . . .[[A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie|Full Review]]
 
 
 
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===[[Bunny by Peter Lynas and Clare Lindley]]===
 
 
 
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:For Sharing|For Sharing]]
 
 
 
You might have seen Bunny on the beach where he lived.  Like many beaches it was full of sand and Bunny didn't like sand, not least because it got between his toes and ''scratched''. What he really liked was juicy green grass. All the other rabbits lived on the top of the cliff, where Bunny could see a lot of tasty-looking grass.  But the cliff was very high. [[Bunny by Peter Lynas and Clare Lindley|Full Review]]
 
 
 
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===[[Why We Quilt by Thomas Knauer]]===
 
 
 
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crafts|Crafts]]
 
 
 
I've often wondered about the story that patchwork quilting began as a way for women (and myth would have it that it was always women) to make an extra blanket out of material which would otherwise go to waste.  This undoubtedly ''did'' happen but when you think about it, you need an awful lot of material to make a quilt and the time could have been better spent if all that was required was bedding.  Like Thomas Knauer I've come to the conclusion that it began as an art and has largely continued down that same road with fluctuations in popularity over the years. [[Why We Quilt by Thomas Knauer|Full Review]]
 
 
 
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===[[The Lying Room by Nicci French]]===
 
 
 
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]], [[:Category:Thrillers|Thrillers]]
 
 
 
When we meet Neve Connolly it's pretty obvious that she has something to hide. She crept into the house after midnight, carefully putting her clothes into the washing machine and she can't wait to get husband Fletcher and children Mabel, Connor and Rory off on their various ways the next morning when she gets a text telling her to come to the flat.  He has a few hours to spare and can't wait to see her.  Only, when she gets to the flat she finds Saul Stevenson, her boss and lover, dead on the floor.  The hammer that's been used on his brain is at his side. [[The Lying Room by Nicci French|Full Review]]
 
 
 
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===[[Madeleine Goes to the Moon by Peter Lynas and Charlie Roberts]]===
 
 
 
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:For Sharing|For Sharing]]
 
 
 
Madeleine is a very lucky girl: in her room she has all a girl could ask for in the way of toys, books, games and dollies. She's a very lucky girl in another way too: she has imagination and everything in her room can be used to take her on adventures. She spends all day there: Dad thinks that she likes to be alone, but Madeleine's not alone on all the trips she takes. We'll find out that yesterday she was told to tidy her room, but instead of doing that she went to the moon. [[Madeleine Goes to the Moon by Peter Lynas and Charlie Roberts|Full Review]]
 
 
 
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===[[The Dutch House by Ann Patchett]]===
 
 
 
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Literary Fiction|Literary Fiction]]
 
 
 
When we first meet Danny and his elder sister, Maeve Conroy, they're both living at The Dutch House with their parents and under the gaze of the portraits of the former owners whose oil paintings still hang on the walls.  It's a strange family dynamic: Cyril Conroy is distant and the closest Danny seems to come to him is when he goes out with him on a Saturday collecting rents from properties the family owns.  Elna Conroy is loving, but absent increasingly often until the point comes when the children are told that she will not be returning.  In other circumstances this might have affected Maeve and Danny deeply, but their primary relationship is with each other.  It's a bond which only death will break. [[The Dutch House by Ann Patchett|Full Review]]
 
 
 
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===[[The Very Rude Toytoise by Peter Lynas and Andy S Gray]]===
 
 
 
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:For Sharing|For Sharing]]
 
 
 
It was one of those blissful days in the forest.  Mrs Rabbit was collecting carrots because she wanted to make a cake.  Mrs Blue Bird was gathering twigs to build a nest.  Mrs Spider was busily spinning a web to catch juicy flies.  Mrs Squirrel was piling up acorns.  And Mr Bear sat comfortably in a chair, fishing for lunch.  What could be better?  And then... [[The Very Rude Toytoise by Peter Lynas and Andy S Gray|Full Review]]
 
 
 
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===[[Recipe for Making a Snowman by Peter Lynas and Rosie Alabaster]]===
 
 
 
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:For Sharing|For Sharing]]
 
 
 
Who knew it?  You can even get a recipe book which tells you how to make a snowman - and there's no cooking involved!  Mum, Dad and the two children are absolutely meticulous though: they're going to get everything right, even down to doing some mining to get the coal for the eyes, searching through the bits 'n bobs jar for buttons for the snowman's coat and picking out the perfect piece of headgear.  There's quite a choice available, but the family decide on the bobble hat, presumably to keep the snowman warm.  The moth-eaten pair of mittens simply won't do and a pair with purple and pink stripes are chosen. [[Recipe for Making a Snowman by Peter Lynas and Rosie Alabaster|Full Review]]
 
 
 
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===[[War and Love: A family's testament of anguish, endurance and devotion in occupied Amsterdam by Melanie Martin]]===
 
 
 
[[image:5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:History|History]], [[:Category:Biography|Biography]]
 
 
 
Melanie Martin read about what happened to Dutch Jews in occupied Amsterdam during World War II and was entranced by what she discovered, particularly in ''The Diary of Ann Frank'' but then realised that her own family's stories were equally fascinating. A hundred and seven thousand Jews were deported from the city during the war years, but only five thousand survived and Martin could not understand how this could be allowed to happen in a country with liberal values who were resistant to German occupation.  Most people believed that the occupation could never happen: even those who thought that the Germans might reach the city were convinced that they would soon be pushed back, that the Amsterdammers would never allow what happened to escalate in the way that it did, but initial protests melted away as the organisers became more circumspectIt's an atrocity on a vast scale, but made up of tens of thousands of individual tragedies. [[War and Love: A family's testament of anguish, endurance and devotion in occupied Amsterdam by Melanie Martin|Full Review]]
 
 
 
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===[[Snowflake, AZ by Marcus Sedgwick]]===
 
 
 
[[image:3.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Literary Fiction|Literary Fiction]]
 
 
 
This is a deep, interesting read unlike any book I've read in quite some time. The novel's story follows a young man named Ash in the process of joining a community of sick people in the curiously named town of Snowflake, Arizona. These people are sick, but it's not a sickness you've heard of. Instead, they're environmentally ill – affected by household chemicals and fabrics, pesticides, static electricity, and radiation – and their only ''cure'' is to stay in the town away from the real world. Though it's about a real place, the people in it are fictional. It really is a place apart, quite literally cut off from the outside world – people are even required to decontaminate themselves thoroughly before becoming fully integrated. [[Snowflake, AZ by Marcus Sedgwick|Full Review]]
 
 
 
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===[[Brightfall by Jaime Lee Moyer]]===
 
 
 
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Fantasy|Fantasy]], [[:Category:Historical Fiction|Historical Fiction]]
 
 
 
Robin Hood is gone – denouncing both his former life and his love Marian, and retreating to a monastery – although no-one knows quite what led him to abandon all that he had built. Marion's life since has been relatively quiet - but when her friends start dying, Marion is tasked by Father Tuck to break the curse surrounding them and to save their lives. Setting off with a soldier, a Fey Lord and a sullen Robin Hood, she becomes tangled in a maze of betrayals, complicated relationships, and a vicious struggle for the throne…[[Brightfall by Jaime Lee Moyer|Full Review]]
 
 
 
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===[[The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt]]===
 
 
 
[[image:4.5star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Fantasy|Fantasy]], [[:Category:Literary Fiction|Literary Fiction]]
 
 
 
''The Nightjar'' is an unusual and exciting story. Alice Wyndham lives a normal life in London until she finds a box on her doorstep one morning and her life begins to unravel, fast. From that very moment, her life is flooded with magic, loss, expectation and particularly, betrayal. As everything around her shifts, all that she knows, all that she thinks she knows, must change. Who can she trust? Who must she trust? Who will she trust? More importantly, can she even trust herself? [[The Nightjar by Deborah Hewitt|Full Review]]
 
 
 
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===[[American Royals by Katharine McGee]]===
 
 
 
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:General Fiction|General Fiction]]
 
 
 
Two and a half centuries ago, America won the Revolutionary War and General George Washington was offered the crown. Today, the House of Washington still sit on the thrown with Princess Beatrice next in line. Beatrice's whole life has been building up to her ruling the United States and the time for her reign is imminent. [[American Royals by Katharine McGee|Full Review]]
 
 
 
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===[[Dead Flowers (Dr Sian Love) by Nicola Monaghan]]===
 
 
 
[[image:4star.jpg|link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews]] [[:Category:Crime|Crime]]
 
 
 
It was more than a little bit of a surprise to Dr Sian Love (and the rest of the relatives) when her uncle Bobby left her his home - a former pub called The Loggerheads in the Narrow Marsh area of Nottingham.  Then it was a shock when she found two bodies in the cellar before she'd even got settled in - and managed to break a bone in her foot in the course of making the discovery.  They'd been there for some time, but who - exactly - were the man and the woman, wrapped in each other's arms?  Having spent ten years on the Murder Squad, ending up as a DCI she knows what's going to happen next, but she's not prepared for quite how personal it's all going to get. [[Dead Flowers (Dr Sian Love) by Nicola Monaghan|Full Review]]
 
 
 
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Latest revision as of 13:23, 10 August 2020

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Review of

Season of the Mammoth (BigShorts) by Antony Wootten

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Tannash and her brother Geb are waiting in great excitement for the hunting party led by their uncle to return. They're hoping for a feast of mammoth meat. Geb longs for the day he can join his uncle Gagba and the other warriors on a hunting party and take part in their deeds of derring-do. But their father, the leader of the village, thinks that they also need an education; that knowledge is power. Full Review

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Review of

Seven Devils by Laura Lam and Elizabeth May

4star.jpg Science Fiction

Eris is one of the foremost operatives of the Novantae, a resistance movement fighting against the ruthlessly expansionist Tholosian Empire – an Empire she was destined to inherit in her past life as Princess Discordia, whom everyone believed has been dead for years. Clo, an ace pilot for the Novantae, has a mission: hijack a Tholosian spacecraft to gather information vital to the war effort. Although she's less than pleased to discover that her former friend Eris is her partner on this mission. Things get more interesting as the mission commences; aboard the ship are three defectors with a secret that could potentially cripple the Empire. Eris's brother Damocles, the runner-up heir to the Empire, is plotting to disrupt peace talks between Tholos and the last of the free alien species. It's a race against time as the rebels move to put a stop Damocles' plans, with millions of lives hanging in the balance… Full Review

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Review of

Every Little Piece of My Heart by Non Pratt

4star.jpg Teens

Freya was a beautiful, popular and complex girl, loved by many and seemingly stable in her existence as a queen bee 16-year-old student, complete with best friend and the promise of the end of GCSEs just months away. But one day, on January 1st, she just... left. No explanation. No warning. No goodbye. No one heard from her since. A once active social profile left deserted. So, when her best friend Sophie receives a mysterious parcel from her 5 months after, she expects it to contain answers of some kind, but is surprised to find the parcel contains another layer addressed to a complete stranger, and then another layer to another person and another, each containing an item unique to them and Freya, connecting 4 strangers through her mystery and the promise of 'treasure' at the end of it all. With each parcel, a new layer of the story and of Freya is unwrapped - and painful truths come to light that threaten to break bonds, both new and old. Can what's been broken be fixed? And why did Freya leave? Full Review

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Review of

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

5star.jpg Thrillers

When you wear a hood, you're invisible.

Saffyre Maddox is seventeen-years-old and beautiful. By her own admission, she's a bit of a boffin, doing and enjoying maths, physics and biology at A level. Life hasn't been easy for her: most people who have been close to her have died and she's now living with her Uncle Aaron in an eighth-floor flat. Something really, really bad happened to her when she was ten and she self-harmed for a long time. Aaron organised psychological help and for three years Roan Fours was her therapist. He gently unpeeled the layers of her psyche, but somehow managed to miss that 'something really, really bad'. When the therapy ended Saffyre felt cast adrift, but she retained an interest in Roan. Full Review

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Review of

The Nothing Man by Catherine Ryan Howard

5star.jpg Thrillers

When we first meet Jim Doyle, he's about to get a shock. He's security at a supermarket and he's watching a woman who is acting suspiciously. She has a book tucked under her arm and he wonders if she's planning to pay for it. Suddenly it drops to the floor with the spine splayed upwards. Nothing Man by Eve Black, is the title. Why is Jim shocked? Well, Jim was - is - the Nothing Man who, until eighteen years ago raped and killed. The author of the book was twelve years old when Jim raped her mother, and then killed her, her father and her seven-year-old sister, Anna. Full Review

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Review of

The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed

4.5star.jpg Teens

Christina Hammonds Reed's debut novel is set against the backdrop of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, a reaction to the absolution of four police officers for beating a black man, Rodney King, nearly to death. Told from the perspective of Ashley Bennett, the novel follows her evolution from a silent bystander when confronted with matters of race, to a woman finding her voice and embracing her heritage. Full Review

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Review of

The Wicked Sister by Karen Dionne

4.5star.jpg Thrillers

When we first meet Rachel Cunningham she's an inpatient at the Newberry Regional Mental Health Center in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. She's twenty-six and has been there for fifteen years, convinced that she accidentally killed her mother when she was eleven-years-old and that her father then took the gun and killed himself. Her sister, Diana, just twenty-years-old, was left at the family home, a lodge in the Upper Peninsula wilderness. Rachel's very bright and although she's a voluntary patient at the Mental Health Center she remains there, feeling that this is what she deserves. Perhaps, though, the circumstances are not as she remembers. Full Review

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Review of

The Worst Dogs: A Progressive Murder-Mystery by Matthew de Lacey Davidson

4star.jpg Crime

The greatest hatred, like the greatest virtue and the worst dogs, is silent.

The title of this enjoyable crime procedural, is from German romantic writer Jean Paul. But who are the worst dogs in de Lacey Davidson's latest novel and for whom is the hatred? This mystery will last all the way to the very last and carefully plotted pages but you will be thinking about unwarranted hatred all the way through. It sounds uncomfortable - but it isn't: it's honest. Full Review

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Review of

Toubab Tales: The Joys and Trials of Expat Life in Africa by Rob Baker

4star.jpg Travel

"Go to Mali," they said. "The music is amazing," they said. "And you get ten hours of sunshine every day." So I did.

Rob Baker is an ethnomusicologist. A what? I hear you cry. Well, an ethnomusicologist studies music in relation to culture, so rather like a folklorist studies the oral and written story traditions relating to a culture. Full Review

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Review of

Hawk: A Maximum Ride Novel by James Patterson

4star.jpg Teens

Hawk has been waiting on the same street corner, every day, for years. She is waiting for her parents to come and get her. They left her there when she was just tiny, and although she's almost certain that they are never coming back for her, she continues to head back there each day, just in case. Hawk isn't your ordinary street urchin though...she has wings, and can fly! Since she was abandoned she's been living with a group of other children, all with interesting characteristics of their own and together they've made their own family. But now the city is seemingly even more troubled than usual, there's a mysterious child-killer who has been brought to the prison next door to where the children live, and then one day Hawk comes home to find her family has been taken away. Where have they been taken, and can Hawk rescue them before it's too late? Full Review

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Review of

Shed No Tears by Caz Frear

4.5star.jpg Crime

In November 2012 Christopher Masters, the man who would become known as 'the roommate killer', strangled three women in a fortnight. When he was arrested he admitted the killings. A fourth death was attributed to him - that of Holly Kemp - and on occasions, Masters admitted to the killing, then he denied it - then admitted it, then denied it. He played with the police, but there was sufficient evidence on the first three killings to put him away for a long time and the CPS were not convinced about the Holly Kemp case. There was no body and once Masters was murdered in prison, no hope of progressing the case further. Full Review

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Review of

The Turning Tide (Dandy Gilver) by Catriona McPherson

4star.jpg Crime (Historical)

Those who were with us at the end of A Step So Grave will remember that Donald was engaged to Mallory Dunnoch. They're now married and Mallory is having twins. When they arrive no one can doubt the charms of Lavinia Dahlia Cherry and her brother, Edward Hugh Lachlan Gilver. There are two drawbacks: they're noisy and they're staying with Dandy and Hugh. Dandy and her detective partner, Alec Osborne, had not taken up the chance to look into a problem at the Cramond ferry when it was offered to them twice before, but suddenly the possibility of being out of the house at Gilverton seems irresistible. Full Review

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Review of

The Lies You Told by Harriet Tyce

5star.jpg Thrillers

Year six student Robin Spence isn't happy about having to start a new school. She's left the school she loved in New York and now she's going to Ashams in North London. It's very upmarket; places are rare as hens' teeth and as the pupils have all been there forever, they have their established groups. Robin's going to be an outsider. And why is this happening? Well, over a matter of a few days her parents' marriage fell apart. Andrew Spence is staying in New York - he works for a securities firm - and her mother, Sadie Roper, has come back to London to pick up her practice as a criminal barrister. That's easier said than done when you've been out of the market place - and the country - for more than ten years. Full Review

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Review of

Cry Baby by Mark Billingham

4.5star.jpg Crime

It's June 1996 and football's European Championships are about to start in London. DS Tom Thorne is having a nightmare and it's one he has regularly. It relates to a case from ten years earlier when he knew that a man was guilty, but didn't take any action until the man's wife and three children had been murdered and the man had killed himself.

Cat Coyne and Maria Ashton are with their sons Kieron and Josh. It's a happy combination in that the boys are devoted to each other and - despite differences in the where and how they live - the women are best friends. The boys are seven-year-old and they play on the swings in the park and then dash off to play hide and seek in Highgate Wood. Josh was the one doing the hiding - but he returned tearfully to the women: Kieron never came to find him and now he can't find Kieron. Full Review

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Review of

Capturing Emilia by Brooke Adams

3star.jpg Women's Fiction

He's Charles Devereaux, thirty-eight and a partner at Wickham Jones, the Mayfair letting agents. She's Emilia, twenty-nine, librarian and archivist in the heritage library next door. Emilia has read The Secret but she's moved on from new age books like that, which leave you dependent on someone else's philosophies, to something a little deeper. Charles is more of a Jack Reacher man himself, but, above all, he's shocked that Emilia reads The Guardian. They're obviously not at all compatible, so why can Charles not get this woman out of his mind? She's not his usual type at all: it's obvious to his friends. And given that Emilia regularly feels repulsed by Charles's superficiality, why does she feel drawn to him? The relationship's obviously a non-starter, isn't it? Full Review

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Review of

Single, Again, and Again, and Again by Louisa Pateman

4.5star.jpg Autobiography

You can't be happy and fulfilled on your own. You are not complete until you find a man.

This was what Louisa Pateman was brought up to believe. It wasn't unkind: it was simply the adults in her life advising her as to what they thought would be best for her. It was reinforced by all those fairy tales where the girl (she's usually fairly young) is rescued by the handsome prince who then marries her so that they can live happily ever after. Few girls are lucky enough to be brought up without the expectation that they will marry and have children. It was a belief and it would be many years before Louisa would conclude that a belief is a choice. Full Review

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Review of

Dark Waters by G R Halliday

4star.jpg Crime

Twenty-two-year-old Annabelle Whittaker made her second mistake when she opted to drive down the private road in Glen Turrit. It was a long road through some breath-taking scenery and she could push the car to its limits without fear of being caught speeding. When the blond child stepped out in front of her she instinctively jerked the steering wheel and hit a tree. When she came round after the accident she couldn't work out where she was, but it obviously wasn't a conventional hospital. She'd made her first mistake some time ago, although the realisation wouldn't be obvious to her for a long time. She'd made it when she chose to have her father buy her a pale blue BMW M4. Full Review

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Review of

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

4.5star.jpg Teens

Coriolanus Snow is refined, charming, and one of the only surviving members of the affluent Snow family. But their world was destroyed by the war. Their riches gone, his parents dead - and yet the facade must be maintained. As the 10th Hunger Games begins, Coriolanus and other students of the Academy become the first Mentors of the tributes in the games. This is his chance to prove himself to the world and secure his place in the Capitol for good. But when he is assigned a tribute with no hope - a girl from District 12 - he thinks all chances of winning (both for her and for him) are gone. But Lucy Gray Baird proves herself to be a spark in his world, in a way he could never have imagined. As the Games commence, Lucy Gray fights for her life in the arena - but behind the scenes, in the sly, complex and strangely dangerous world of the Capitol, Coriolanus is fighting for his life too. Will she survive the Games? Will he? And what happens then? Full Review

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Review of

Hunter School by Sakinu Ahronglong

4.5star.jpg Autobiography

The flyleaf to this little collection tells us that it is a work of fiction. That's possibly misleading. I am not sure whether it is "fiction" in the sense that Ahronglong made it all up, or whether it is as the blurb goes on to say recollections, folklore and autobiographical stories. It feels like the latter. It feels like the stories he tells about his experiences as a child, as an adolescent, as an adult are real and true. But memory is a fickle thing, and maybe poetic licence has taken over here and there and maybe calling it fiction means that its safer and therefore more people will read it. More people should. Full Review

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Review of

Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

4.5star.jpg Teens

When we first meet 17-year-old Lola, daughter to legendary horror movie director Nolan Nox, she is saying goodbye to New York City - by sneaking out and stealing from its residents. But when she is found by her father's assistant and forced to come home, she arrives to find an unlocked door, a trail of blood, and her father dying in his study. And so, while he recovers, she is sent off to live with her grandmother in Harrow Lake, the small 1920s town in Indiana that served as the location for the film that made her parents famous. But something about this place isn't right. There's a darkness inside the people here. Secrets about her mother and dark tales of the town's cannibal monster 'Mister Jitters' fill every corner, and disturbing happenings plague Lola. But with every passing hour, secrets long buried come painfully to light and she begins to think that these stories may not be stories at all, and something very real and sinister lurks in Harrow Lake. Full Review

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Review of

The Shelf by Helly Acton

4star.jpg Women's Fiction

When we meet Amy, she's in a relationship with Jamie. You can't really call it a partnership, because things tend to get done on his terms, but she's sticking around because she hopes she can change him. Ah, yes. Haven't we all been there? Things are looking up when he tells her to pack for a surprise trip. Could this be it? Is he finally going to get down on one knee? Was the work (and the wait) worth it? Full Review

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Review of

This Book Wants to Make You Laugh (Living Book) by Justine Avery and Daria Yudina

4star.jpg For Sharing

This Living Book is on a mission. What's the mission? To make you laugh! I can't think of many better missions than that, can you? Let's see how it does...

.... well, it opens up with a terrible joke. A groany joke, an eye-roll joke. The joke isn't very funny but it is funny to see how enthusiastic and how generously this book wants to make you laugh - Oh, I'm terrible at jokes. Some books are so good at them. I always wanted to help someone laugh. Full Review

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Review of

Murder on the Moorland (Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mysteries) by Helen Cox

3.5star.jpg Crime

DI Malcolm Halloran and Kitt Hartley's relationship is developing nicely: they're even into a spot of bandage now, although the details are (mercifully) scant. After a night of passion Halloran is called away in the early hours of the morning. There's been a murder in Irendale, where Halloran used to live and where his wife, Kamala, was strangled five years ago. There are sufficient details of the current murder to make Halloran suspect that the man who murdered his wife - and others - is in some way involved, despite being in prison. The DI heads off to speak to Jeremy Kerr. Full Review

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Review of

The Cleaner by Mark Dawson

4star.jpg Thrillers

Ruthless and coldly competent, John Milton is one of the British government's best assets – a contract killer with lethal instincts. Now, after ten years, he wants out. But his job isn't one you can just walk away from… Full Review

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Review of

I Am Unworthy by Angela Mack

4star.jpg Teens

Isabel is determined to start fresh. Start again. Sixth form will be different. Her tormentor doesn't go to Gilleford Secondary School anymore. She can escape the hurt, the fear, and the person she became. Josh is determined to keep going, even through the rage, the pain, and using his fists to solve any problem or situation. But he has secrets that threaten to tear him and his brothers apart. When Josh and Isabel's worlds collide, can they make their relationship work? Can they both finally be happy? Or will Josh's time run out? Full Review

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Review of

The Phone Box at the End of the World by Laura Imai Messina

5star.jpg Literary Fiction

In the northeast of Japan, in Inwate Prefecture a man installed a telephone box in his garden. Inside there is an old black, telephone, disconnected, that carries voices into the wind. It is a real place, a necessary place, and I am pleased to see the IMPORTANT NOTE that the author attaches to her story, that the place is not a tourist destination, it is a sacred place, a place that must be left to those who really need it. Full Review