The bean trees by Barbara Kingsolver

the bean treesTouching and heartfelt debut novel from the author who would go on to be known for writing The Lacuna and The Poisonwood Bible.

Plucky Taylor Greer grows up poor in rural Kentucky with two goals: to avoid pregnancy and to get away. She succeeds on both counts when she buys an old car and heads west. But midway across the country motherhood catches up with her when she becomes the guardian of an abandoned baby girl she calls Turtle. In Tuscon they encounter an extraordinary array of people, and with their help, Taylor builds herself and her sweet, stunned child a life.


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Be careful what you wish for by Jeffrey Archer

Be carefulThis is the 4th volume in The Clifton Chronicles, following the fortunes & misfortunes of the Barrington Shipping Company.

All the usual ingredients, family life, people who want to do them down, murder, mayhem, people supporting them, lurching from one crisis to the next. Well worked plot that brings all the elements together well.

As usual we are left on a cliffhanger – hurry up & publish the next volume!


Reserve Be careful what you wish for

The Monogram Murders by Sophie Hannah

Monogram murdersHercule Poirot is back! Well most of him anyway, some things about him seemed a bit odd. Must be hard for Sophie Hannah to get all his little ways right first time though.

Started to read with trepidation in case it wasn’t anywhere near the usual standard, but soon got hooked into a story well told.

Hercule Poirot’s quiet supper in a London coffee house is interrupted when a young woman confides to him that she is about to be murdered, but doesn’t want her murderer found. There are murders (or suicide) to solve, each person having a cufflink put in their mouths.

We are introduced to a new side-kick for Poirot in the form of Inspector Catchpool. Just like with Hastings, Poirot wants Catchpool to think for himself, not too successfully at times.

Good plot with a denouement at the end to explain all, although I’d worked some of it out already, just as many Poirot followers will.

Will be looking out for the next Poirot book.


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Divas and Door Slammers by Charlie Taylor

Divas and Door SlammersLots of practical, sensible advice for parents of teenagers; useful for when the ‘reptile’ in all of us threatens to take over.


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Costa Book Awards Shortlists

The 2014 Costa book awards shortlists have been announced.


The categories are:

Costa Novel Award

Costa First Novel Award

Costa Biography Award

Costa Poetry Award

Costa Children’s Book Award

Follow this link to see all the shortlisted books.

Are any of your favourites from this year included?

If so send a review to & we’ll blog it.

Research by Philip Kerr

ResearchIf you want to write a murder mystery, you have to do some research…

John Houston is the richest writer in the world, a book factory publishing many bestsellers a year – so many that he can’t possibly write them himself. He has a team that feeds off his talent; ghost writers, agents, publishers. So when he decides to take a year out to write something of quality, a novel that will win prizes and critical acclaim, a lot of people stand to lose their livelihoods.

Now Houston, the prime suspect in his wife’s murder, has disappeared. He owns a boat and has a pilot’s licence – he could be anywhere and there are many who’d like to find him. First there’s the police. If he’s innocent, why did he flee? Then again, maybe he was set up by one of his enemies.

An interesting idea, cleverly done, although this is more about the lengths to which some colleagues would go manipulate each other rather than a straight forward police procedural.


Request a copy here


Lionel Asbo by Martin Amis

Lionel AsboA very sharp satire of the England that certain papers would have us believe we live in. I found it very funny  – but also in places so tense I found it difficult to read. Certainly great entertainment – as long as one doesn’t take it too seriously!

‘Why aren’t you out smashing windows? It’s not healthy’ Lionel Asbo – a very violent but not very successful criminal – has always looked out for his nephew, Desmond Pepperdine. He gives him fatherly advice (carry a knife) and introduces him to the joys of Internet porn. Des, on the other hand, desires nothing more than books, a girl to love and to steer clear of Uncle Li’s psychotic pitbulls, Joe and Jeff. Lionel is going about his morning duties in a London prison when he learns that he has just won ?139,999,999.50 on the National Lottery. This is not necessarily good news for Des who has a secret that could unleash his uncle’s implacable vengeance.

Reserve your copy here.

Damage by Felix Francis

DamageFelix is a natural, following in his father’s footsteps.

Just as much action, excitement, & blind alleys.

Jeff Hinkley, undercover investigator for the British Horseracing Authority, is looking into the shady activities of a racehorse trainer. When following the trainer at Cheltenham Racecourse he sees him commit murder.

What has brought him to do this?

This is the beginning of multi-weaved plot which keeps you reading from start to finish.

Who can Jeff trust? Who is being devious behind his back.

There is family stuff mixed in too which makes it a well-rounded story.


Reserve Damage

Books into film for 2015

Norfolk Library and Information Service:

Thanks to Leeds Libraries for doing all the work on this!

Originally posted on Leeds Reads:

The Scorpio Races

Here’s some books that are being made into films, not released till next year so time to read the novel first!

The Spook’s Apprentice”  by Joseph Delaney - The film’s called “Seventh Son” and tells the magical adventures of Tom Ward (Ben Barnes), apprentice to the Spook (Jeff Bridges). Released February 6th.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James – A lot of people have read the book already and you know what it’s about. Stars Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey, Dakota Johnson as Anastasia Steele. Release is Feb. 13th in time for Valentine’s Day

Insurgent, by Veronica Roth – The sequel to “Divergent”, . “Insurgent” continues the story of Tris Prior and her struggle against the Factions in a post-apocalyptic future. Released on March 20.

 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs – The eccentric bestseller sees a boy set out to find out whether…

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The Wildflower Path by Sarah Harrison

Wildflower PathThis is the final book in the series about the Tennant, Kingsley & Drake families, following on from The Flowers of the Field & A Flower That’s Free.

The first two were Published in the 1980’s while this one is 2013, so it’s a good job there’s a family tree at the front of the book to remind me who is who.

It includes all the usual family stuff, love, hate, lies, deceit, angst, happiness.

All told in a marvellous way that keeps you reading. I felt that I was involved in the story, that they were my family & I wanted the best for them.

Would suggest people read the 3 books in order to get full value & hours of pleasure.


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