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BROWSE BOOK REVIEWS:

"The Black Shade of White Justice" by Cattleya

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, February 27, 2020 In : Book Reviews 


This extremely long tale starts off with a real air of epic fantasy about it, as we parry back and forth between the Heavenly Kingdom of the angels and northern Spain, at the turn of the 13th century. As the celestial beings come into conflict, and some fall, there is the promise of mighty things to come in this 750-page odyssey. After the opening quarter, however, we find ourselves in modern-day London for the duration of the book, which is perhaps a touch disappointing (no less for me than ...


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"Catamaran Crossing" by Douglas Carl Fricke

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 In : Book Reviews 


This short, enjoyable memoir is a real gem.  Written with clear quality by an author with undoubted credentials to do so, we get to join Doug and his experienced sailor friends, crossing the Atlantic from the Canaries to Antigua, on their custom-built catamaran in the 1980s.  They are blessed for the first part of the journey to be joined by renowned boat designer John Shuttleworth, an expert in the field, who also writes a very welcome foreword to this book.  At times utterly tense, sometime...


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"Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive" by Joe Montaperto

Posted by Margaret Walker on Monday, February 24, 2020 In : Book Reviews 


Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive really is a funny memoir.  My congratulations to the author.

Set in the 1990s and related in a rolling comedian chant – ‘I wish I could stop this compulsive entertaining’ – Joe Montaperto is a comedian down on his luck.  His hair is falling out, he’s only earning enough to pay for the bus to work and he’s living with his parents, creating his own maudlin entertainment by watching 1960s reruns.

As he lurches through his thirties with chronic inso...


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"The Strawberry Road" by Ritch Gaiti

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 In : Book Reviews 


A beautifully written book, if not about anything specific, but then, simultaneously, about everything.  Ritch Gaiti takes us on one man’s hugely personal journey of enlightenment, across the unnamed wilderness and through his own spiritual realm.  For the most part, it is difficult to tell if the narrative of The Strawberry Road is a metaphor for his whole life journey, a particular life challenge the narrator is facing, or if he actually is simply walking, with no purpose but to see where...


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"Red Hail" by Jamie Killen

Posted by Margaret Walker on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 In : Book Reviews 


Galina, Arizona 1960. A town of economic hardship and racial tension experiences a mysterious storm of red hail, and out upon the mesa three children are spoken to by beings they can’t describe. Then follow four stages of an illness so inexplicable that even the local wildlife is affected.  But is the problem physical, spiritual, or something else entirely? Researchers in both 1960 and 2020 try to explain it as magic, curses, fungus, infections, illness, psychology, and finally aliens.But b...


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"Who's There?" by Dimas Rio

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, February 13, 2020 In : Book Reviews 


This atmospheric collection of short supernatural chillers is right up my street, and I loved every moment of reading it.  The five mysterious tales – which I personally think are suitable for adults and (probably more mature) kids alike – are thoroughly entertaining, and I read the whole book in one enjoyable sitting.

Rio writes beautifully, in a simple, eloquent and professionally elegant style.  His language is easily savoured and although English doesn’t appear to be his first lang...


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"Bullets and Bandages" by Robert J. Saniscalchi

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, February 6, 2020 In : Book Reviews 



Robert has clearly put a huge amount of work into this Vietnam war drama.  For somebody who never fought himself, but has written this book as a clear tribute to the brave men who fought and died, with help from his veteran brother, the research and passion he has applied to it is admirably on show for all to see.  I have read many Vietnam war memoirs, and I can truly say that this is as authentic an account as you will read from an author who was not present; the terminology, feelings of fea...


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"Boulder County" by Marc Krulewitch

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, January 31, 2020 In : Book Reviews 

In the beautiful forest hills of Boulder County, Colorado, Buddy cultivates weed on his conservation land.  Whilst the growing of weed is not illegal in the state, he is unlicensed and pays no tax… suffice also to say that he grows slightly more than the few plants permitted for personal use.  Now, whilst Buddy has never bothered anybody before with his lifelong hobby and livelihood, he is suddenly attracting all sorts of unwanted attention – the wrong kind - from Colorado’s neighbourin...


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"I Learned it From You" by Kevin Douglas Wright

Posted by Margaret Walker on Thursday, January 30, 2020 In : Book Reviews 


I Learned It From You is the book of the documentary of the same name designed to examine racism and racial segregation in the USA by interviewing six randomly selected men and women born between 1946 and 1953.  The participants were asked the same six questions, their answers revealing to Wright that racism exists only because it has been taught.

I am Australian and I found the stories of Maggie, Steven, Gloria, Margie, Miriam and Mike very enlightening.  Maggie’s situation, for example, ...


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"Golgotha" by Guy Portman

Posted by Margaret Walker on Thursday, January 23, 2020 In : Book Reviews 


Golgotha is the third book in Guy Portman's Necropolis trilogy. It is as dark and sociopathic, as only the British know how to be, and will be welcomed by fans of Necropolis and Sepultura.

Dyson Devereux works in London in the funeral industry.  However, whilst awaiting trial in the San Vittore Prison, Milan, he has been a prey of the possessive Alegra, femme fatale on steroids, with whom he had spent only a couple of nights prior to his incarceration.

Upon Dyson’s release, Alegra is dete...


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"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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Catamaran Crossing by Douglas Carl Fricke
*****
Memoir

Black Shade of White Justice by Cattleya
****
Fantasy/Romance

The Strawberry Road by Ritch Gaiti
****
Spiritual

Red Hail by Jamie Killen
****
Sci-fi/Mystery

Bullets and Bandages by Robert J. Saniscalchi
*****
War Fiction

Who's There? by Dimas Rio
*****
Short Stories

Beautiful Things by Eloise Kelly
****
Drama

Golgotha by Guy Portman
****
Dark Comedy

I Learned it From You by Kevin Douglas Wright
*****
Documentary

Boulder County by Marc Krulewitch
*****
Crime Drama

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

Bullets and Bandages by Robert J. Saniscalchi
*****
War Fiction

Nobody Gets Out of Catering Alive by Joe Montaperto
****
Comedy/Memoir

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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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