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BROWSE BOOK REVIEWS:

"Beautiful Things" by Eloise Kelly

Posted by Margaret Walker on Sunday, January 19, 2020 In : Book Reviews 

Thank you for sending me this lovely book. Quite honestly, I don’t know why it hasn’t been snapped up by a mainstream publisher. I have just finished ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’ (2 million copies sold), but I enjoyed ‘Beautiful Things’ more. It’s warmer, more human and believable. It contains valuable insights into mental health issues. In my opinion it would reach more people. The differences between the two are probably that Eleanor Oliphant gets you in immediately, ...


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"Tomthunkit's Theory of the Universe" by Tomthunkit

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 In : Book Reviews 

This book is a lot of fun… to an extent.  Insofar as it only means to be, up to a certain point, before it has a very, very serious umbrella message.  Beautifully presented, it addresses literally everything about the story of mankind, our role in the world, and our future role in it.  Up until the last quarter’s sermon, I don’t think Tom takes it particularly seriously.

Tom has a theory on everything, and that’s all this book really is, in the main.  He does his research, of course,...


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"The Eden Complex" by Elise Leise

Posted by Margaret Walker on Monday, January 13, 2020 In : Book Reviews 


It took me longer to review the novella than to read it! 

It is nicely edited. I found two small typos in the entire MS.

The ideas of power, desire and human aspirations are quite exciting and, although the vignettes that comprise this novella are evocative, the author could, if she liked, flesh out the characters. That would help the reader because, for such a short novel, there are a lot of characters.

The briefness of the vignettes creates tension and drama. It is dramatic and elegantly...


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"Bottomless Cups" by Joel Bresler

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, January 6, 2020 In : Book Reviews 


Sharp, dry humour penetrates every word and line of this subtle, cosy comedy.  Not big on storyline or drama, this is rather witty monologue and dialogue, telling the life story of a group of elderly men and women who have been friends since childhood and – for two of them in particular – share their experiences and musings of life over countless cups of coffee, in some of the Big Apple’s finest coffee shops and delis.  The comic banter bounces back and forth without respite, while Ray ...


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"Stronger Than Blood" by Allan Mason

Posted by Margaret Walker on Sunday, January 5, 2020 In : Book Reviews 



Stronger than Blood by Allan Mason is a complex thriller, devised with considerable imagination, and cleverly written. The author has a firm grasp of the world of electronic manipulation that we live in and a wonderfully warped sense of humour. He has used these skills to morph the present American political system into a new order all too believably.

USA, 2055. Albert Woods lives in Washington in a world of absolute government control. His personal life is overseen by Victor, the interactiv...


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"From Doctor to Guinea Pig" by Angelique D.

Posted by Margaret Walker on Friday, January 3, 2020 In : Book Reviews 



Absolutely riveting. Written by his wife in a vibrant Greek style, From Doctor to Guinea-pig is the story of Alex, a Greek doctor in Zaire in Central Africa, gifted and generous, who contracts HIV. There are a lot of twists and turns to this story. Alex is not a typical AIDS patient.   

The author has the gift of making the little things in life absorbing to her readers. With honesty, compassion and humour, she has written a beautiful tribute to a remarkable man. 

Trained in the university ...


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"Non-Obvious Megatrends" by Rohit Bhargava

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, December 31, 2019 In : Book Reviews 



I found this book a somewhat strange one to review – not because of its subject or writing, but because the author opted to send me selected extracts rather than the full book; overall, I estimate I was missing at least half, and have been left to write my review based in the 100 or so pages I received.  Still, nevertheless, I believe I have got the gist, and have surprisingly only found myself choosing to omit one star from my maximum rating for it, which is some testament to its quality. ...


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"Bucket Showers and Baby Goats" by Christine Brown

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, December 10, 2019 In : Book Reviews 

I recently reviewed another book set in the Volta region, and the contrast between the two couldn’t be any more different.  If I’m being honest, Christine’s description of Ghana doesn’t sell the place to me at all – but, of course, I am being obtuse, because a travel guide was never her intention with Bucket Showers and Baby Goats; the book sets out to highlight the plight of a poverty-stricken and under-educated nation.  And, this she does extremely well.  One thing which is consis...


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"Freedom's Light" by Robert J. Saniscalchi

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, December 6, 2019 In : Book Reviews 


I’ve read three books from this author now, and all are tagged as “Rob and Tex” adventures, which, in this case, to some extent, is a touch confusing, because despite sharing the names, the characters of Freedom’s Light are not the same characters of the first two books – at least, apparently not.  Set over thirty years later than Bullets and Bandages, Rob Marrino is now once again a young man, and part of a Special Forces unit sent to fight the Taliban in Iraq, following the 2001 W...


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"Promises to the Fallen" by Glyn Haynie

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, December 2, 2019 In : Book Reviews 


This is the third I have read from the consistently brilliant Glyn Haynie, and it is a remarkable change in direction from him, as he moves away from his trademark Vietnam memoir format, into fiction.  Glyn has proven to be every bit as superb a fiction author as he is when sharing his non-fiction autobiography series.  Still on the familiar ground of the Vietnam war, this time Glyn has crafted a riveting, poignant, detailed and hugely authentic story of a young man’s tour of duty in 1969: ...


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"An Unwanted and Unwilling Hero" by E. Gourm

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, November 21, 2019 In : Book Reviews 

This philosophical and dialogue-driven medieval fantasy immediately opens on a puzzling situation, which is always a great way to start a book, as our initially unnamed hero awakens in a strange place, with no memory of who he is or how he got there.  One thing which is very soon clear is that he is from a time and culture vastly different to the dark ages he now finds himself in, though he has no recollection of how he acquired the hugely impressive combat skills which he is very soon requir...


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"The Girl in the Scarlet Chair" by Janice Tremayne

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, November 21, 2019


This untaxing, easy read is a pretty entertaining way to fill a few hours.  The story is a simple one, yet intriguing and engaging right from the outset, the cosy mystery of the scarlet chair keeping me attentive enough to read the book in one sitting.  This is a warm and affectionate paranormal romance for young adults, and whilst the supernatural qualities of the chair are indeed somewhat malevolent, they are generally more mystical and superstitious than particularly dark.  Almost metaphor...


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"Four Calling Burds" by Vincent Meis

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, November 21, 2019 In : Book Reviews 

Great fun and hugely entertaining, this light-hearted, humorous LGBTQ family drama is a very easy read.  As four siblings gather following the death of their mother, each gradually reveals a little more about the trials and tribulations of their own personal lives.  Not otherwise given much of an opportunity previously to bond, they are brought together more profoundly when two of them are kidnapped whilst on holiday in Mexico, whilst the other two work together to raise the ransom money.

Wh...


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"His Most Italian City" by Margaret Walker

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, November 17, 2019 In : Book Reviews 


This book is not just entertaining, interesting, well-written and professionally crafted, it is also educational and enlightening, with regards to a period of European history which is perhaps often overlooked.  Set in 1928, in the aftermath of the first world war, Istria has fallen under the ownership of a now Fascist-run Italy, the land wielded and occupied with ruthless complicity by Mussolini.  The formerly Croatian citizens now find themselves being naturalized by Italy’s ethnic cleans...


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"Freedom, Sex and a Meat Cleaver" by Sherman Miles

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, November 13, 2019 In : Book Reviews 

Engrossing, entertaining and utterly easy to read, I had no problem at all getting lost in these exciting, fun tales.  Chronicling the adventures of a young American soldier, discharged following the end of the Vietnam war, who decides to return to South East Asia, to live and travel, these short stories are based loosely on the real life exploits of the author, as well as stories he has heard and people he met.  This collection of anecdotes forms the whole, overall story of his months in, pr...


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"The Apple" by Devashish Sardana

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, November 8, 2019 In : Book Reviews 


Ancient and modern cultures collide in this brilliant, engrossing book, as a millennia-old nomadic island tribe protect the sacred Garden of Eden and the apple of eternal life, from ruthless big pharma, who want to harvest its life-preserving qualities for profit.

This ultimately quite sad indictment of modern society is a book of two halves, the first an intrepid, fantastically mythical quest for the ancient artefact, with shades of Indiana Jones meeting the creatures of Sinbad.  The second...


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"The Intelligence Factor" by Mike Logsdon

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, November 7, 2019 In : Book Reviews 

It is refreshing to read a Dystopian tale in which the freedom fighters are as evil as the regime they are trying to overthrow, and Logsdon’s book certainly leaves no blurred lines about the decency of either its “antagonists” or its “protagonists”.  This liberally action-packed thriller, set just a few years from now, portrays the origins and ideologies of both a draconian dictatorship and a shockingly violent and destructive terrorist group, whilst one decent federal agent tries t...


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"Black Volta" by Pete K.J.

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, November 4, 2019 In : Book Reviews 


This superbly written fiction tells the interwoven tales of two people who travel to Ghana from different parts of North and South America, for very different reasons – one a Ghanaian emigrant, the other with a very intriguing reason to return to a country he once lived in.  As the tale develops, both start to reveal gripping and promising backstories, and as the possibilities begin to take shape, a degree of tension grows beneath the surface; I found myself utterly gripped.  That said, the...


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"Destiny's War Part 1: Saladin's Secret" by Pyram King

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Saturday, November 2, 2019 In : Book Reviews 

I love reading about turn of the 20th century British military camaraderie – the stiff upper lip and “golden age of cricket”, and Pyram King’s language in this respect is a delight.  It feels authentic and quintessentially English.  This short book – the first in a series – is adapted fiction from the real diaries of Francis Marion Jäger, an American journalist sent to Syria in World War One, to join the British forces fighting against the Turks and Arab mercenaries of the Ottoma...


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"Were We Awake" by L.M. Brown

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, October 31, 2019 In : Book Reviews 


A wonderful collection of understated, yet profoundly compelling slice-of-life stories, by an author I am very fond of.  Lorna’s writing is lovely to read, creatively crafted in alluring prose.  Be warned though, it can be a little bleak – reminiscent of a grey, rainy day, and there is little respite from a permeating feeling of sadness and melancholy.  But, this is not necessarily a bad thing; it is ultimately warm comfort – reading her work brings to mind a feeling of home; hot tomato...


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"Payback: Tales of Love, Hate and Revenge" by Steve Bassett

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, October 29, 2019 In : Book Reviews 


Unlike its more journalistic predecessor in the series Father Divine’s Bikes, there is a more discernible air of ‘forties noir pulp fiction about this book.  Whilst its prequel focused heavily on cultural differences and animosities, this is more story led, with a greater role on crime fiction, and more prominence given to two of its resuming lead characters, detectives Nick Cisco and Kevin McClosky.  Other than this, the intertwined stories, subplots and backstories have only the most su...


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"The Seven Gifts Within Us" by The Sailor

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, October 20, 2019 In : Book Reviews 

Right from the very first moment I started reading The Seven Gifts Within Us, I felt a huge smile growing on my face, and it didn’t go away for the duration; this book is an utter delight.  I was expecting a sermon about faith, but this isn’t that; it is so much more.  It is a sermon of sorts, but far more universally applicable than to be simply applied to people of faith; all readers, if they are human, can take guidance from the overall message in this book.  The seven gifts are reveal...


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"Do We Have A Center?: 2016, 2020 and the Challenge of the Trump Presidency" by Walter Frank

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, October 18, 2019 In : Book Reviews 



In this incredibly hard-worked account by a passionate political commentator, the “center” to which Walter refers is the moderate, rational ground between the left and right political wings.  The question of its continued existence is one which has become more prominent in recent years, in many countries, but perhaps none more so than the United States, following the election campaign and subsequent election of one of the most divisive presidents in living memory: Donald Trump. 

I admit,...


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"Almost Persuaded" by Nigel C. Ferguson

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, October 9, 2019 In : Book Reviews 

I found this to be a somewhat surprising book, in that it taught me a lot about New Zealand and, in particular, its devastating drug-culture.  This eye-opening indictment was perhaps a little saddening, in the respect that it hits home reading that nowhere is safe from the scourge of class-A drugs – specifically in the case of this book, meth-addiction.  Incredibly well-sourced and researched, the fiction is perhaps by the bye, as Almost Persuaded focuses primarily on the country’s cultur...


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"Wacky on the Junk" by Kathy Varner

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, September 23, 2019 In : Book Reviews 

This short, profound memoir is an honest and candid account of a young woman’s recollection of coming of age, against a culture backdrop of lacking direction and recreational drug use.  To the despair of her parents, as a troublesome teen, Kathy Varner has no plans other than to hang out, get high and see her favourite live bands.  The book is very matter-of-fact, with a punchy narrative, as Kathy describes how she simply allowed life to happen to her, whilst not knowing how and when to say...


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"East of Lincoln" by Harlin Hailey

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Saturday, September 21, 2019 In : Book Reviews 

This bleakly unsettling, yet triumphantly entertaining L.A.-dream-turned-sour tale, laced with sharp, very black – and sometimes side-splitting – comedy, is a real welcome interjection to the noir genre.  Addressing a subject which is vastly overlooked in our society: the scrapheap of middle-age – an age which takes everything from you, one piece at a time, it is very coarse and sour, and very, very good.

Set in the early-current decade – the post-recession Obama years – East of Li...


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"Choose A Reality... Any Reality" by Emmanuel Morfoboss

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, September 15, 2019 In : Book Reviews 


This short study explores and examines the multi-layered facets of human behaviour and cognitive decision-making, as if they are a very element of the physical make-up of our universe, which is a somewhat confusing, if interesting subject to get our heads around.

Using explanations of ancient philosophy, right through quantum physics and the construction of the cosmos itself, Emmanuel attempts to explain how our own differing perceptions of reality are really what directly contribute to the ...


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"Sour Blood" by Elizabeth Hamilton-Smyth

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, September 13, 2019 In : Book Reviews 


A fun crime thriller, this tale of embezzlement, extortion and murder is formulaic and, overall, pretty entertaining, if not entirely novel.  The author knows her financial markets, and there is a real air of British reality about it, though its usual suspects line-up of gamblers, loan sharks and hit men perhaps feels a little out of place in the otherwise everyday setting.  Elizabeth portrays the capital as a den of brewing trouble, L.A. style - the rougher areas of Brixton and Manchester’...


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"World Football Domination - Volume 1: The Virtual Talent Scout" by Anthony Ranieri

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Saturday, September 7, 2019 In : Book Reviews 


Anthony Ranieri is a lovely author, incredibly eloquent, eager and inoffensive.  Furthermore, it is so refreshing to read a book set in the future, which focuses more on the sci-fi than on burdening its reader with doom and dystopia, its characters happy and ambitious.  The final product is a short novella about the use of technology in the business of football, set in the year 2050.

Ranieri is undoubtedly a passionate and well-experienced football fan and professional, and this shows in the...


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"Beyond The Prison Of Beliefs: Where Science Meets Spirit" by A.A. Lotfy

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, September 2, 2019 In : Book Reviews 


If I am being truthful, it took me a very long time to find my feet when reading this book.  Once I did, however, I sailed through it, reading it in two easy sittings.  It is superbly written, and Lotfy is an extremely professional author – evidently well-educated and academic, yet philosophical. 

I already knew what the book was about, and it did indeed go on to confirm the blurb.  But, the confusion for me, I felt, was in the structure.  For the sum of its parts, Beyond the Prison of Bel...


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Stronger than Blood by Allan Mason
***½
Sci-fi

Bottomless Cups by Joel Bresler
***
Comedy

Non Obvious Megatrends by Rohit Bhargava
****
Non-Fiction

From Doctor to Guinea Pig by Angelique D.
*****
Biography

Freedom's Light by Robert J. Saniscalchi
***
Action Thriller

Bucket Showers and Baby Goats by Christine Brown
****
Travel Memoir

Four Calling Burds by Vincent Meis
****
LGBTQ / Drama

Promises to the Fallen by Glyn Haynie
*****
War Fiction

An Unwanted and Unwilling Hero by E. Gourm
****
Historical Fantasy

The Girl in the Scarlet Chair by Janice TRemayne
****
Paranormal / YA

Freedom Sex and a Meat Cleaver by Sherman Miles
*****
Travel Memoir

Freedom Sex and a Meat Cleaver by Sherman Miles
****
Historical Fiction

The Intelligence Factor by Mike Logsdon
***
Sci Fi / Action

The Apple by Devashish Sardana
****
Action / Adventure

Destiny's War by Pyram King
****
Historical Fiction

Black Volta by PEte K.J.
****
Drama

Payback by Steve Bassett
***
Noir Fiction

Were We Awake by L.M. Brown
****
Short Stories

Almost Persuaded by Nigel C. Ferguson
****
Crime Thriller

Do We Have A Center by Walter Frank
*****
Politics

World Football Domination
****
Sci-Fi

Sour Blood
***
Crime Thriller

Beware of the Thought Bubbles
*****
Children's

Beyond The Prison Of Beliefs
****
Science/Religion

Rocky Mountain Noir
***
Comedy

Rocky Mountain Noir
***
Science Fiction

Foster Care To Millionaire
****
Memoir

Flow Like A River
*****
Thriller

Secrets To Being Amazing
****
Self-Help

13 Dark Tales: Collection Two
****
Short Stories

The Wooden Man
*****
Children's

Count It All Joy
*****
Drama

Myth Agent
****
Fantasy

Voice of the Sword
***
Fantasy

No Quarter: Dominium
***
Adventure

A Trinity of Wicked Tales
****
Horror


****
Short Stories

The Day I Made Good
****
Crime Drama

Complete Poetry of Norman AJ Berisford
*****
Poetry

Chuck the Rooster Loses His Voice
*****
Children's

Living Blind Without the Internet
****
Documentary

Devil in the Countryside
****
Historical Thriller

Monoland: Into the Gray Horizon
****
Fantasy

Corrosive
****
Horror

Woodiss is Willing
***
Comedy

The Fear
***
Horror

Superi: Reborn
*****
Fantasy

Murder in the Medical Center
***
Drama

The Eye of Nefertiti
****
Children's

Not Exactly Shakespeare
****
Comedy

Finding the Narrow Path
****
Biography

The Wyndham Werewolf
****
Short Stories

Only Human
***
Supernatural

What is Justice
**
Documentary

The Rat Tunnels of Isfahan
****
Historical Fantasy

I Once Was Lost But Now I'm Found
*****
Documentary

Never Too Late To Die
***½
Thriller

Understanding the Patterns of Your Life
***
Non-Fiction

Happiness is Just a Pill Away
*****
Comedy-Drama

The Lucky Winner
***
Crime Thriller

Endohuman
***
Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Tummy Rumble Quake
****
Children's

Monoland: The Shimmering Mist
****
Fantasy

Goodbye Butterfiles
*****
Psychology

Treading the Uneven Road
****
Short Stories

The Cuckoo Colloquium
****
Comedy

When I Turned Nineteen
*****
War Memoir

Fortuna and the Scapegrace
****
Comedy

Gnosis
***
Young Adult

Buy or Die
***
Satire

Faithful Servants
****
Drama

Ghost Dog
***
Crime Adventure

Looper
****
Drama

The Sinister Urge
**
Drama

Read to Succeed
*****
Self Improvement

Gone to the Dogs
*****
Comedy-Drama

Die Back
****
Fantasy

Finding My Platoon Brothers
*****
War Memoir

Delivering Virtue
****
Comedy

The Room Above
***
Fantasy

Written By Blood: Conviction
****
Action

The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder
****
Poetry

I Have Demons
****
Short Stories

Victoria's Voice
****
Real Life

The Revolutionary Youth
*****
Drama

The Dog Thief
*****
Short Stories

Appointment With Fear
*****
Children's

Mermaids Are Real
***
Fantasy

Legends of Persia
***
Historical Fiction

My Groans Pour Out Like Water
*****
Poetry

47 Hours
*****
Political Thriller

The Road to Alexander
***
Historical Fiction

Father Divine's Bikes
****
Drama

Winning With Data
*****
Business

Aquila
****
Historical Fiction

Lions, Leopards and Storms, oh my!
***
Children's

Sparrowhawk on the Horizon
***
Historical Fiction

The Warehouse Tour
***
Short Stories

Feast of Sapphires
****
Poetry

The Night Alphabet
*****
Short Stories

Just Another Girl's Story
***
Autobiography

No-one Listens
***
Poetry

The Roving Mind
*****
Science

Malthus Revisited
***
Suspense/Thriller

My Weight Loss Journey
****
Self-Help

Change of Chaos
****
YA / Fantasy

Fish Farm
****
Thriller

Songs to New York
****
Short Stories

I Claudia
*****
Historical Fiction

God: Challenges From Philosphy and Science
****
Philosophy

The Friar's Lantern
*****
Role Play

Crazy About Kurt
****
Comedy

Dark Cure
****
Action

Translucent Boy
***
Sci-Fi Fantasy

Dart by Dale Renton
****
Sci-fi Fantasy

Monoland: Beyond the Monochrome
*****
Fantasy

Choose a Reality by Emmanuel Morfoboss
***
Self-Help

Wacky on the Junk by Kathy Varner
****
Memoir

The Eden Complex by Elise Leise
***½
Sci-Fi / Fantasy

Tomthunkit's Theory of the Universe
***
Political / Non-fiction

Beautiful Things by Eloise Kelly
****
Drama

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To help with the backlog, you may find your book has been reviewed by one of my literary friends or colleagues.

GUEST REVIEWER:
Profession: 
Casual teacher; Special Education. 
Qualifications:  
Science degree, Diplomas in Education and Professional Communication. Edited Masters Athletics magazine for three years. 
MARGARET WALKER
Publications:  
One novel, His Most Italian City, published by Penmore Press and half a dozen published short stories.
Author Matt McAvoy
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