Agent 21: Code Breaker by Chris Ryan

“Agent 21: Code Breaker” is about a boy called Zac Darke who gets trained to be a secret agent. After an unknown bomber causes an explosion in a station and kills many people, they start investigating the city to try and find out who the bomber is. Will Zac be able to break the cipher before the bomber strikes again? Pick the book up today to find out!

I thought that this book was really good because there was a lot of action in it. Chris Ryan is a really good writer because he knows how to engage the readers in the book. 

Mrs. Esplin's been reading...

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves - Karen Joy Fowler (enjoyed this,  Girl goes to visit her Grandparents and when she returns her sister is missing.  Very original twist in this book, thought provoking too).

​Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn (tension mounts and mounts throughout the book, ending totally unbelievable in my opinion, have not seen the film).

Wild - Cheryl Strayed  (autobiography of a woman who goes on the Pacific Crest trail in America to find herself in the mid 90s, I did go to see the film first.  Very interesting and well written account of a life in freefall before she finds herself while walking the trail)

The Woman in the Fifth - Douglas Kennedy (like both the books I have read of his.  This one is set in Paris and has a twist too)

The Boy Who never Was - Karen Perry  (Set in Tunisia and Dublin about a boy presumed dead in an earthquake in Tunisia and the guilt his father feels as he is out when the earthquake occurs.  Good study of parental guilt)

The Hive - Gill Hornby (Interesting study of a group of Primary school mothers on the PTA and their bitching and power struggles)

Animal Dreams - Terry Quinn (lovely illustrations and text)

To Love and To Cherish - Lyn Andrews (rubbish lovey dovey stuff set around the time of the Wall Street crash in 1929 my sister gave me, not recommended unless you like Mills and Boon.  Unfortunately when I start a book I feel obliged to go on until I finish).

Depths - Henning Mankell and The Ice Princess - Camilla Lacksberg (both these books are Swedish noir.  The first set at the start of WW1.  The second is set in the present day.  I like the feeling of isolation and space that pervades both these novels.)

Mrs.MacNeill's been reading...

Really enjoyed Peter May's Lewis Trilogy - BlackhouseLewisman, and The Chessmen. I think it was the fact I have been to these places on the islands and could visualise.  I like trilogies, following the characters through their lives. Finding out how life was, rituals and how people lived etc. I'd have never of guessed who the killer was in the first book - took me by surprise.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn- I struggled with but persisted and it did get better, but felt it was all over the place in the beginning, very hard to follow the story line.

The Adventure of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey - boys in ASD wanted this and enjoyed it, I liked it too as it was full of boys imagination and their humor.

Bloodline by Lynda La Plant - very good. There are lots of characters but she interacts with them much better than gone girl woman. The thrill of what will happen next keeps you reading i.e who dunit !

Blue Skies by Fleur MacDonald - a story which is filled with drama, romance, mystery and friendship. It is a tale to be inspirational. 

The Twelfth Card by Jeffrey Deaver - thriller with Lincoln Rhyme in it. Fabulous I loved it. I have read a few of his though. Good how it has the historical part to it from American history re slavery and freemen.

Mrs Hart's been reading...

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie

My Lover's Lover - Maggie O'Farrell

The Shock of the Fall - Nathan Filer

Mrs. Williamson's been reading...

The Bolyen Inheritance, The King Maker's Daughter and The Changeling all by Philipa Gregory.

Home by Toni Morrison

Mr Holt's been reading...

Mystery in White by J Farjeon 
A reprint that made the Waterstones Christmas best sellers list.  Slightly dated, but an entertaining yarn.  A train is caught between snowdrifts. Some passengers jump off and look for shelter.  They arrive at a house. The fires are lit, the food is freshly prepared, but there is no one there... 

Gone by Michael Grant 
A popular teen read. A great premise - suddenly everyone over the age of 15 disappears and everyone left is trapped in a huge dome... A pretty gripping read, lots of characters and factions. Good build up of tension and sense of menace.  Borderline torture, though...

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
A historical novel about Thomas Cromwell, who rises from nothing to being Henry VIII's most trusted adviser. All the superlatives have already been written.  An extraordinary read.  We all know about Henry VIII and how he divorced his first wife because she didn't bear him a son, but have you thought about how this made every wife in the country feel?

Mr. Cruickshank's been reading...

Persona 4: Official Design Works - Atlus

This was an interesting look 'behind-the-scenes' of one of my all-time favourite video games. The book documents the development of all the characters in the game and includes interviews with key members of the development team to illustrate their thoughts and feelings as time progressed. It also gives a fantastic insight as to the development process behind video games, including snippets of planning documents and timelines. Recommended for fans of video games!

Persona 3: Official Design Works - Atlus

Having read the Persona 4 equivalent, I was somewhat disappointed by this book. It didn't go into anywhere near as much depth as the other book, and only featured commentary from the then-head of Koei games, who wasn't actually involved in the 'day-to-day' development of the game. Read it if you're a fan of the game, otherwise, give this one a miss.
The Forth Bridge: A Picture History – Sheila MacKay

This book detailed the construction of the Forth Rail Bridge from it's beginnings as a crude hand-drawn document, through its opening in 1890, right up to the seemingly constant need for repainting.  The book has given me a renewed respect for the engineers of the age, especially as it's road counterpart has barely lasted 50 years before needing a replacement. It includes documents and quotes from people involved in the design and construction of the bridge, aswell as tributes from famous engineers of today. Well worth a read!
Grand Prix Battlegrounds – Christopher Hilton

As a Formula One nut, I was always going to like this book, so you may want to take this review with a pinch of salt. Grand Prix battlegrounds details the history of Grand Prix racetracks, from the first event at Silverstone back in 1950, right through to the ultra-modern, high-tech circuits of today. It also includes a section on 'dead tracks', circuits which have fallen into disrepair or those which are no longer used for racing. Of particular interest to me were the sections on the Monza oval and the old circuit at Hockenheim in Germany. Cannot recommend it enough to Formula One fans, however, general interest readers may find it heavy going in parts.

Tales of Xillia, Milla's Story – Namco Bandai & hu-ko

The Tales series is by far my favourite modern series of videogames, so when I learned that it had been turned into a comic series, I had to give it a read. Unfortunately, the comic follows the in-game storyline to the letter, so I was a little disappointed by it. Perhaps I was expecting too much, but I had hoped for more detailed storylines, or an epilogue of sorts. Though this was still a good read, it is aimed more at people who have not played the games before, rather than long-term fans like myself.

Mr. Toman's been reading...

Andrew Rae - Moonhead and the Music Machine 4/5 

David Almond - Skellig 4/5 

Thomas Pynchon - Vineland 5/5 

Bryan Talbot - The Tale of One Bad Rat 5/5 

Barry Gifford - Wild at Heart 4/5

Mrs. Benson's been reading...

Diary of an Ordinary Woman by Margaret Forester. I'd give this 3 stars. It was a very interesting story about the life of an unusual woman and her family from the 1st World War right up to modern times. She'd written her diary over 94 years. Although very interesting I was disappointed when the story just stopped when she became unable to write. Ends weren't tied up or answers given in the way an author might have done in an novel.

I don't know what to award The Dark Road by Ma Jian. It is an extremely interesting  story about a peasant family in China who are trying to escape the powers of the One Child Policy Police. I suspect much of what is written is true so it is a shocking tale and some of the imagery it conjures up is gruesome and disgusting. The author's books are permanently  banned  in China.

Mrs. Lindsay's been reading...

L is for Lawless by Sue Grafton - brilliant series of books featuring detective Kinsey Milhone who lives alone and gets into lots of interesting situations!

Getting Things Done by Roger Black - a practical book to help you work smarter.

The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling - weird!  Did not like much but pushed through to the end.

Silkworm by Robert Galbraith.  Brilliant and you would not know the writer was JK Rowling as the text is so different.

One Step Behind by Henning Mankell - always gory and always good!

Milly Molly Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley - cos it reminds me of being 8 and makes me smile!

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simpson - so so funny!!

A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks 

Paris - the City Guide - cos I yearn to go back and walk through the "Jardin de Luxembourg"!!

Chinese Food Made Easy by Ching-He Huang as it inpires me at least once a week and often twice a week!

Chloe's been reading...

Black Widow Volume 1: The Finely Woven Thread by Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto *****
Natasha Romanov - badass spy, trying to redeem the things she was made to do while brainwashed. I

The Elite - Kiera Cass **
Second in The Selection trilogy. The first book was fluffy but this one put me off the series. Too much trying to add plot twists and a bit stupid. Shame.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins ****
End of the 'Anna & the French Kiss' trilogy - it's fluffy and cute and set mostly in Paris.

Grant's been reading...

Carrie by Stephen King ****

It is about a girl named Carrie White, her mother is extremely religious and locks her in a prayer closet when she's been bad. As well as this she is bullied by the people in her school. She soon discovers that she has psychic powers which she first uses to her own benefit but soon uses them to get revenge against her mother and classmates.

I liked the book because of Stephen King's gripping descriptions and his confidence in describing the horrors and feeling of Carrie's physic ability.

Ms Dewar's been reading...

The Lie – Helen Dunmore** 
Writerly writer writing about the First World War, but others have done it better. 

Northanger Abbey – Val MacDiarmid 
One of a series of updates of Jane Austen – insubstantial – Catherine Morland’s Gothic novels become modern day vampires but the complexities of marriage among the upper classes doesn't translate easily to the present day setting 

A Room with  a View – EM Forster 
Set in 1908 Lucy is a New Woman learning to break through Edwardian convention and be true to herself in an atmosphere of repression and overwrought emotion .  

More Dandy Gilvers;

Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses - Catriona McPherson 
Dandy as a teacher in a girl’s school – quite touching in a very silly way 

Bury Her Deep – Catriona McPherson 
Set among witches in Fife – as silly as it sounds 

The Winter Ground – Catriona McPherson  
A resting circus is an excellent setting 

After the Armistice Ball – Catriona McPherson 
First in the series and the tone is not quite even  

The Burry Man’s Day – Catriona McPherson 
I was amazed that I’d never heard of the Burry Man – set in South Queensferry and very good fun 

Dandy Gilver and the Reek of Red Herrings – Catriona McPherson 
Set among the fisherfolk of Gaimrie in the North East – lots of local and historical  interest although the most ridiculous plot yet involving taxidermy and a dissected corpse in a herring barrel 

Love Story with Murders  - Harry Bingham  
A police procedural with a detective who for one is not a middle aged male divorcee - Fiona Griffiths is young. Welsh & mentally ill. Well written and tightly plotted – not that common in crime thriller 

Dead Girl Walking – Christopher Brookmyre 
Really disappointing installment of  the long running Jack Parlabane series–  a thriller which needs three chapters of exposition at the end really needed a better plot. His recent Jasmine Sharp novels are much better. 

Black Eyed Blonde - Benjamin Black  
Atmospheric pastiche   Philip Marlowe novel – very well done, no false notes 

The House of Silk – Anthony Horowitz 
Pastiche of Sherlock Holmes is suitably dark but  not as convincing as the Moriarty book  

After I’m Gone – Laura Lippmann 
Shifts in time between the 1960s, 1980s and present day Baltimore can’t help disguise a duff plot  (woman disappears – no one cares)  an uninvolving cast and an extremely clich├ęd cop character 

The Way of the Panda – Henry Nicholls 
China’s political animal – an overview of panda history, biology and use as a diplomatic bargaining chip. Interesting but feels like a magazine article with heavy padding. 

 To Rise again at a Decent Hour – Joshua Ferris 
 book about an insomniac dentist , but  funnier and more insightful than that sounds 


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