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Book Bites: 24 April 2016

The Secrets of HappinessThe Secrets of Happiness
Lucy Diamond (Macmillan)
****
Becca and Rachel are step-sisters who cannot stand each other due to their respective perceptions of the marriage that made them stepsisters. When Rachel has a crisis at home, Becca unwillingly steps in to help. Together they discover new things about themselves and each other and eventually find the meaning of true sisterhood. This is an easy-to-read, feel-good novel, with true-to-life characters and situations that make the book a pleasure from start to finish. There are a few surprises but none so unpredictable as to be jarring. – Noluthando Ncube @beautysdaughter

The Other Mrs WalkerThe Other Mrs Walker
Mary Paulson-Ellis (Mantle Books)
****
A dark and beguiling debut novel that transports the reader between the seedy underworld of wartorn London and the comfortable present life of Edinburgh. Margaret Penny is a middle-aged woman with kleptomaniac tendencies and a love of oranges who returns to Edinburgh after 30 years. On the other side of the city, an old woman with similar interests dies alone in her flat. Margaret takes on the job of finding the woman’s identity and family so that she can be laid to rest, but instead finds a family history that is peppered with secrets, thievery, the Ten Commandments, oranges and rum. Hilarious and tragic. – Annetjie van Wynegaard @Annetjievw

100 Things They Don't Want You to Know100 Things They Don’t Want You to Know
Daniel Smith (Quercus)
**
Despite great excitement at the idea of discovering the secrets of the unknown, 100 Things They Don’t Want You to Know was misleading and disappointing. The topics are listed but remain unanswered, making one wonder about the actual purpose of the book. There are no further explanations for Stonehenge or who Jack the Ripper really was. While the volume is filled with lovely imagery, its shallow investigations create a feeling of disinterest and haste. – Samantha Gibb @samantha_gibb

The Steel KissThe Steel Kiss
Jeffery Deaver (Hodder & Stoughton)
***
Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs forensic series never gets boring – there’s always the clever twist you didn’t expect. And the enemy is always more dangerous and more of a genius than in the previous books. This time it’s a tall, beanpole of a maniac who loves to kill people in whatever brutal way he can. Oh, and Amelia is mad at Lincoln for quitting the force and leaving her to deal with the scum all by herself. – Jennifer Platt @Jenniferdplatt

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