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 

Mrs. Wilson's been reading...

4. As You Wish by Cary Elwes ***
I love the Princess Bride and Elwes tales of his experiences making the movie made for an enjoyable and diverting read.

5. Fonduing Fathers by Julie Hyzy ***
I love this Whitehouse Chef series. The story is that Oli is the head Chef at the Whitehouse and ends up getting mixed up in murder and crime solving in between serving amazing food to the US President. I didn't like this story as much as previous books in the series (I think because it wasn't in the White House so much and was less about cooking though it did tell you more about Oli and her partners back story) but it was still a fun read.

6. Quantum and Woody vol.1: The World's Worst Superhero Team by James Asmus and Tom Fowler ***
I liked this graphic novel, bits made me smile and I liked the two unlikely heroes. Two brothers get zapped and find themselves with superpowers but it's not all happy families. I would happily read more of the series.

7. Supernatural: Bobby Singer's Guide to Hunting by David Reed ***
Set around season 5 its a entertaining read for a fan of the show. It sees Bobby losing his memory due to some attack he can't remember, as he tries to work out what happened he is trying to get as much information about his life and knowledge on paper while he still has any.

8. Wonder Woman/Superman vol.1: Power Couple by Charles Soule and Tony Daniel *
This is one of this years Stan Lee Excelsior books. The story see Wonder Woman and Superman in a romantic relationship facing off against the gods, aliens and other things bent on destroying Earth. I wasn't crazy about this imagining of the famous pair as a couple, I rather liked the idea that they mixed with us regular plebs. What bugged most was reference to action in other series in the All New 52 leaving me with the feeling I missed a page of text. The All New 52 series has changed the back stories of characters and Wonder Woman has had a pretty big change but obviously that isn't covered here, I don't think it should have been, but the odd throw away line referencing things like that she is now the god of war did leave me unclear about what the heck had happened. I think this comic collection would read better if read along with the All New Wonder Woman and Superman comics.

9. Calvin and Hobbes: Weirdos From Another Planet by Bill Watterson *****
I adore Calvin and Hobbes and this could well be my favourite of the comic strip collections. The short strips about a boy and his toy tiger sound simple but they are wonderful. I loved reading this again as a mum, it opens up a whole new layer to the strips I'd missed as a kid.

10. 1411 QI Facts to Knock You Sideways by John Lloyd and John Mitchinson ***
As always a quite interesting read, it's a bunch of facts that you may or may not have known. I read it as an ebook as a filler for when I had a few minutes free.

11. The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexis ***
It is a collection of short stories which follow a few key people on a Native American reservation, often their lives cross over, impacting on each other. It is an interesting read and reveals the reality of a culture and community often neglected in fiction.

12. I Told You I was Ill: The Last Words of the Rich and Famous by Maria Pritchard **
This was a fun bathroom read. It is exactly what you'd expect from the title with some interesting additional trivia on the very wide mix of people quoted.

13. Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen ****
I loved this memoir. It was interesting not just as you followed Maya try and follow a 1950s teen popularity guide but also to see the wider world she inhabited - makes JYHS seem like a very safe place!

Laura's been reading...

Allegiant by Veronica Roth ****
In this book Tris escapes her city and sees what the world is really like. I thought it was quite a good book, yet I still missed hearing more thoughts from Tris and Tobias.

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins ****
It's a love story of a girl who goes to a boarding school in France. There are a few ups and downs as she finally gets together with the boy she's forever had a crush on. It was a good book as a distraction from depressing book, but it was a bit of a predictable story. Still really cute though!

More Than This by Patrick Ness *****
The story is about a boy who dies and enters another world, but doesn't know if it's the afterlife or even hell. It's a beautiful, philosophical book, and I really liked it, as in every story I have recently read, the main character always dies, but this book didn't need a plot twist like that to make it a good story. Really loved it! Very recommended.

Mrs Hart's been reading...

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson - which is tragic but beautiful 

Second Life by S J Watson - truly awful 

Cosmic by Frank Cotterell Boyce - good for young teens, not me! 

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler - marvelous 

Half a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - which is beautiful

Mrs Benson's been reading...

The Legacy of Elizabeth Pringle by Kirsty Wark.

I would award this book 2 stars. It was disappointing for I admire Kirsty Wark and expected greater things from her. The novel explores the lives of 2 women. Elizabeth  bequeaths her house on Arran to someone who once admired her house and wanted to buy it. (How believable is that?) Alternating chapters detail the events of Elizabeth's life and that of Martha, the daughter of the woman who inherits. Elizabeth's life is interesting up to a point and then I just lost interest. Maratha's life reads like Mills and Boon. Arran is well depicted.

"The City of Ashes" by Cassandra Clare

The "Mortal Instruments" series has been very popular with our readers. This is the second of six bestselling books in the series. Have a look at the author's website for more excellent information about the Mortal Instruments and read our pupil review here:
"The City Of Ashes" is the second book in the Mortal Instrument series by Cassandra Clare. In this book, Jace has been kicked out of the Institute because he is suspected of being a spy for Valentine. Even though Clary is with Simon, she still can't get over the fact that she and Jace are still in love.
 I enjoyed this book because it was a lot more mysterious than the first book.I would recommend this book if you have seen the film and enjoyed it and I would recommend seeing the film if you enjoyed the book.
By Clary S.