Showing category "Book Reviews" (Show all posts)

"THE ROOM ABOVE" BY LAURA HERGANE

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, October 30, 2018, In : Book Reviews 




Laura is a wonderful writer, in her own way; you can tell the use of language is of huge importance to her, and is more the point than any other aspect of her writing – she uses interesting prose for its own sake.  Laura is of Eastern European origin, and the English transcription of her work perhaps still needs some work.  Don’t get me wrong – clearly highly educated, she has a hugely proficient, eloquent vocabulary, and her grammar is of the highest standard; only, perhaps, her phrasi...


Continue reading ...
 

"LEGENDS OF PERSIA" BY JENNIFER MACAIRE

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, October 24, 2018, In : Book Reviews 




I was quite critical of the first instalment of the Alexander series, so did try to read Jennifer’s review copy of the first sequel with an open mind.  She is something of an oxymoron, in that she is an extremely talented author, with a fantastic writing style and an undeniable knowledge of not only her subject, but her craft, yet her choice of storyline and genre is at best a little immature, and at worst somewhat offensive.

As a semi-fictional account of the life of Alexander the Great a...


Continue reading ...
 

"MERMAIDS ARE REAL: THE MYSTIQ PRONG" by BO WU

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, October 12, 2018, In : Book Reviews 




This vivid and colourfully descriptive book goes straight into full-scale fantastical with very little warning.  Telling the tale of Benji, a thirteen-year-old boy who finds out he is, in fact, a mermaid/man, it seems two-parts children’s book to one-part grown-up.  Personally, I feel it is much better in its mature moments, because the story, once it starts to form, is a pretty good one – and an important one at that.

Wu is clearly passionate about the life in our oceans, and the messag...


Continue reading ...
 

"MASTERMINDS INCORPORATED: AN APPOINTMENT WITH FEAR" BY CHAD LEE ERWAY

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, September 17, 2018, In : Book Reviews 




Wow!  The 5-star books just keep on coming!

This is a great book for kids and adults alike.  This fun horror-adventure was the perfect use of my time, and just the right amount of it, too; I couldn’t put it down, and read the whole thing in one sitting.  You can tell immediately an author who has fun with his work, and Chad clearly does that.  Entertaining and creative, with some genuinely quite scary moments, this is a book I would recommend very highly to middle-school kids and young-at-he...


Continue reading ...
 

"THE DOG THIEF AND OTHER STORIES" BY JILL KEARNEY

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, September 5, 2018, In : Book Reviews 




Jill is a wonderful author, articulate and engaging, with a prose which is so calming as to be almost hypnotic.  Her slow-burning short tales and novella are not actioners, nor even particularly dramatic, but they are engrossing and charming.  With a strong element of emotional morality and an even stronger one of melancholy, all feature a prominent animal welfare message.  Jill’s writing is gritty and real, with no attempts at any kind of sensationalism.  They are also, at times, infuriati...


Continue reading ...
 

"THE REVOLUTIONARY YOUTH" BY JOHN SIMPSON

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, August 30, 2018, In : Book Reviews 



In some ways paradoxically, this is an excellent book, not very well presented, by a fantastic author.  The first-person mock autobiographical prose in this work of fiction is so authentic that it must be either genuine biography, or incredibly well-researched by John Simpson.  He deserves a huge amount of credit for creating a real gritty slice-of-life tale, so vivid you feel that you are there living it with the anti-hero, Tommy.  There is no issue with the language, but rather the editing ...


Continue reading ...
 

"WINNING WITH DATA: CRM AND ANALYTICS FOR THE BUSINESS OF SPORTS"

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, August 24, 2018, In : Book Reviews 

This is an incredibly relevant book which, although primarily based in the sports business, can certainly be applied to most industries in the modern, data-driven world.  In fact, for large parts, the sports aspect feels notably incidental; “Winning with Data…” is, in fact, much more than this: a must-have business guide, written by what is clearly a top professional in her field.  Fiona has a pedigree of the business side of sports; she is clearly highly connected, and I was left in li...


Continue reading ...
 

"FATHER DIVINE'S BIKES" BY STEVE BASSETT

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, August 19, 2018, In : Book Reviews 



“Father Divine’s Bikes” is a fantastically written and utterly enthralling book by a very talented author.  It is at its best when a slice-of-life cultural expose, and for the most part this is what it is.  Set in wartime 1940s New Jersey, it portrays a melting pot of immigrant culture, with all the racial segregation, paranoia and employment resentment which comes with that.  The racial language is raw and offensive – there is certainly no whitewashed rewriting of history here, and t...


Continue reading ...
 

"THE ROAD TO ALEXANDER" BY JENNIFER MACAIRE

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, August 14, 2018, In : Book Reviews 


“The Road to Alexander” is one of the strangest books I have ever been asked to review, in that it is possibly the most contrary.  Ordinarily, I love books which cross genres, if done well, and this book certainly does that.  It doesn’t take itself too seriously – at least, surely it can’t – and seems, for the most part, to have its tongue buried very firmly in its cheek. 

The premise is an interesting one: a time-travelling journalist from the future returns to the 4th century ...


Continue reading ...
 

"47 HOURS: THE COUP THAT SHOOK THE AMERICAS" BY CLINCHANDHILL

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, August 10, 2018, In : Book Reviews 



Without doubt, Clinchandhill is an excellent writer and “47 Hours…” is a work of immense quality, right from the very first line.  The author’s grasp and narration of political history and Latin American political culture is insightful and/or incredibly well researched, and you suspect that this book was a long time in the creation – the outcome was definitely worth the investment.  I am left in little doubt that Clinchandhill has had first-hand experience of the country in which th...


Continue reading ...
 

"MY GROANS POUR OUT LIKE WATER" by Frances Bloom

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, July 31, 2018, In : Book Reviews 



Poetry is a unique expression of art, and the perfect medium for bereavement therapy, in the respect that the author can pour random words of helplessness and despair onto the page without order, as chaotic in prose as it is in their mind.  “My Groans Pour Out Like Water” is actually a hugely appropriate title for this book, the “groans” in reference being Frances’s groans of pain and misery. 

Although there is something more than a little voyeuristic about reading this extremely ...


Continue reading ...
 

"FEAST OF SAPPHIRES" BY MATT NAGIN

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, July 27, 2018, In : Book Reviews 

A prolific collection of poetry by a hugely creative author.  These poems, although short, are very bittersweet, and they yell “quality”, from beginning to end.  I do enjoy reviewing poetry from time to time, and it is fair to say that this collection is of my favourites to date – I liked it a lot. 

There is an underlying theme – not in terms of the subject matter, but in general overall mood and context: there is anger, cynicism and despair in this work.  Be prepared, the writing i...


Continue reading ...
 

"THE WAREHOUSE TOUR" BY K.A. CUMMINS

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, July 1, 2018, In : Book Reviews 




You know immediately within the first couple of paragraphs that this is standard cliched horror – or at least you think you do.  By the next paragraphs, it is also clearly obvious that it is classic YA or even teen fare, with the usual stereotypes of the popular girl and the high-school jock – basically all the things many horror fans like to see.  But this is where the similarities abruptly end. 

The first half of this book is atmospheric and gripping, with a nail-biting sense of menac...


Continue reading ...
 

"SPARROWHAWK ON THE HORIZON" BY A. SCHOLTE

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, June 19, 2018, In : Book Reviews 



The moment you begin reading “Sparrowhawk on the Horizon”, you know immediately it is an undeniable work of quality.  Scholte is an articulate, educated and highly professional author, who evidently spent ten years researching and creating this book; her diligence shows. 

Her informative semi-factual account of the birth of the Americas Cup is a homage to the time – a period of innovative ship-building, in the years following the Industrial Revolution – and provides a deep insight i...


Continue reading ...
 

"LIONS, LEOPARDS AND STORMS... OH MY!" BY HEATHER L. BEAL

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, In : Book Reviews 




This is the second I have read of Heather’s lovely, heartfelt educational books for early-grade kids, after “Tummy Rumble Quake”, and it is part of the same weather-related safety series (which also includes “Elephant Wind”).  Very similar in vein, I did feel that this book was in some ways more accomplished, yet simultaneously lacked the quality of content of the first.  It features the same group of friends and, as before, the same beautifully colourful illustrations, which are fu...


Continue reading ...
 

"AQUILA: CAN SILVANUS ESCAPE THAT GOD?" BY VINCE ROCKSTON

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, June 1, 2018, In : Book Reviews 



I’ll be honest, “Aquila…” is far from the action adventure I was expecting, and I would strongly advise that to fully enjoy this book, the reader needs to understand what it is about.  In this respect, I would say that the blurb is a touch misleading - there is no action element, and in some ways a huge aspect of historical non-fiction.  I won’t say I was disappointed, because as soon as it become clear what Rockston’s tale is (about midway), I developed a whole new respect for it...


Continue reading ...
 

"THE ROVING MIND: A MODERN APPROACH TO COGNITIVE ENHANCEMENT" by Anthony Simola

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Saturday, May 26, 2018, In : Book Reviews 

There are two aspects to this fantastic book by Anthony Simola, however, neither of them are really what I was expecting.  When I think of cognitive enhancement, I imagine a range of behavioural and decision-making techniques, such as CBT, and while Simola does touch on methods to enhance one’s own cognitive skills via pure psychology, it is a brief excursion from the real theme of this book, which is enhancing intelligence by artificial means, such as medication and advanced technology.  I...


Continue reading ...
 

"GOD: CHALLENGES FROM PHILOSOPHY AND SCIENCE" By Lynne Renoir

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, May 16, 2018, In : Book Reviews 





If you are expecting an entertaining theological debate, or easy-reading brain-fodder, this is not the book for you.  What it appears, in fact (at least, the first half), is the publication of Dr. Renoir’s dissertation - a completely academic book, which would serve as a very useful study tool, rather than bedtime reading.  While she is an incredibly well-educated and highly eloquent author, the majority of readers will probably not be equipped to read and absorb such an academic style of w...

Continue reading ...
 

"NO ONE LISTENS" By Lady Byrd

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, April 8, 2018, In : Book Reviews 

I enjoy books of poetry, and I enjoyed this intense and personal collection from Lady Byrd. With a theme of love and a need to be heard, “No-One Listens” is clearly a very profound therapy for the perhaps troubled author, and suggests an underlying trauma. It does feel a tad voyeuristic, as though we are privy to Lady Byrd’s heart and mind, as well as her private demons.

She expresses herself frankly and creatively. With its self-contained assortment of fonts and formats, this collecti...


Continue reading ...
 

"JUST ANOTHER GIRL'S STORY: A MEMOIR ON FINDING REDEMPTION" By Laura Eckert

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, April 6, 2018, In : Book Reviews 


People write books for a variety of reasons – sometimes they have a lesson to teach, or a message to share, sometimes it is to make money, and sometimes for their own therapy. In Laura’s case, you get the distinct impression throughout that therapy is her reason; however, as you start to reach the final chapters of “Just Another Girl’s Story...” , you come to realize that the “redemption” to which she refers in the title, she is assuming from spreading her pro-life mess...


Continue reading ...
 

"THE NIGHT ALPHABET" By David Donachie

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, April 1, 2018, In : Book Reviews 





My second 5-star review in a week!

I love short stories, and I was delighted to be sent “The Night Alphabet”, which is a collection of wonderfully compact coffee-break tales, each based (albeit tenuously) on a theme beginning with the corresponding letter of the alphabet. They are truly enthralling, grabbing you straight away with the heartbreaking story of an angel living amongst us, which has a very current socio-moral message.

David Donachie is an incredibly creative writer, weaving hi...

Continue reading ...
 

"GOODBYE BUTTERFLIES: THE 5-DAY STAGE-FRIGHT SOLUTION" By Dr. David Lee Fish

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, March 26, 2018, In : Book Reviews 


This is a very interesting and surprisingly entertaining self-help book, by an articulate and highly qualified author. Dr. Fish is not, as you might think from reading this book, a psychology professional, but, instead, a music industry one. Still, if reading this book assured me of one thing, it is that he more than possesses the credentials to write it. The book is touted as a “stage-fright solution”, and it certainly does offer this, but I feel a more appropriate title for this book w...

Continue reading ...
 

"FISH FARM" By Walt Sautter

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, In : Book Reviews 



This is a great little novella, gripping and entertaining, which I managed to read in one short evening.  “Fish Farm” is a wonderful cautionary thriller, written in an otherwise entertaining voice, with some really good setpieces – a well-told vigilante tale (and who doesn’t love one of those?) in the mould of “Death Wish” and “Harry Brown”.  The characters are interesting, with intriguing back-stories, and the story is simple yet enticing, with a great ending which I didn’t...


Continue reading ...
 

"CHANGE OF CHAOS" By Jacinta Jade

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, March 19, 2018, In : Book Reviews 


This book is a long, yet surprisingly easy to read first instalment, to what looks like a very promising YA saga. I have to admit, I gulped when I saw the word count – almost 150,000! – yet, those words flew by pretty quickly. Jacinta has a very appealing writing style, which draws you in and does not tax the brain a great deal; her characters seem likeable enough, and there are some promising elements. However, it is ultimately a tad disappointing, a fact probably compounded by its lengt...


Continue reading ...
 

"MY WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY..." By Andreas Michaelides

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, February 22, 2018, In : Book Reviews 





If you are expecting “My Weight Loss Journey...” to provide a fad diet to help you lose weight fast and easy, you will be disappointed. In fact, Andreas consciously chooses to dispel those two very words from your mindset, to his great credit. What this book actually is, right from the off, is more of a lesson than a ten-a-penny self-help guide. It is chocked full of good, honest advice; there are no tricks or agendas here - no lip service – just the hard truth: weight loss takes hard w...

Continue reading ...
 

"MALTHUS REVISITED: THE CUP OF WRATH" By Lin Wilder

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, February 19, 2018, In : Book Reviews 



The latest instalment in the Lindsey McCall series immediately feels as though you are still reading the same book.  Lin Wilder spends a good deal of time recapping “The Fragrance Shed By A Violet” and “A Price For Genius”, creating what can perhaps more accurately be considered a saga than a series.  Although the main plotlines do stand alone, as in this book, they seem of secondary importance to Lin than the subplots involving her favourite character ensemble, all of which find a ro...


Continue reading ...
 

"SONGS TO NEW YORK" by Myrtle Brooks

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, February 2, 2018, In : Book Reviews 




"Songs to New York” is a light-hearted and tender anthology of ten short stories, with overtly bountiful references to the author’s love affair with her home city – a quality which I, as a proud Londoner, relate to completely, and find more than a little endearing.

These sometimes mystical, sometimes fantastical, and always utterly charming tales are loaded with metaphors, commonly underpinned by two in particular: the city itself, as a breathing, living, warm and loving being, and the c...


Continue reading ...
 

"MONOLAND: THE SHIMMERING MIST" by E.A. Minin

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, January 22, 2018, In : Book Reviews 



I was delighted when Jevgenijs sent me this sequel to “Monoland: Into the Gray Horizon” – the second in the series – and have been anticipating its arrival for some time.  The first was one of the best, most imaginative books I have reviewed to date, and, in many ways, “The Shimmering Mist” is better.  It picks up at the very moment its predecessor ended, with Owen and Dizz facing imminent punishment by the justice system of their grey-scale afterlife Purgatory. 

More so than the...


Continue reading ...
 

"TUMMY RUMBLE QUAKE" by Heather L. Beal

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, January 21, 2018, In : Book Reviews 




I had a few minutes to spare, so I picked up this short educational children’s book, and it brought a smile to my face.  The concept is advice for young children in the event of an earthquake, in a fun way that they can easily remember, without being frightened.  My favourite thing about “Tummy Rumble Quake” is the clever way Heather explains the scientific cause of an earthquake – like a jigsaw puzzle, in which sometimes the pieces argue for space; I thought this was a great analogy ...


Continue reading ...
 

"ENDOHUMAN: LOVE vs. DUTY" BY NICK DREAM

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, In : Book Reviews 



“Endohuman Part One...” is a very strange book to review, in that it unexpectedly crosses genres in several respects. While this is ordinarily something I very much like to see, and the author deserves huge respect for constructing this imaginative story, I finished it with mixed feelings. 

The writing was very good, and I was enjoying the book a great deal, in spite of the fact that up to a point, pretty much half way, in fact, it seems your average YA fantasy, with all the usual elem...


Continue reading ...
 

"THE LUCKY WINNER" By Tomi Farrell

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, January 10, 2018, In : Book Reviews 



This crime thriller is entertaining and engrossing right from the off, at least in the first half – midway it appears to change genre and audience entirely. What began as a clever young-adult mystery, with all the usual character and plot cliches, develops in the final third, into pure, glossy pulp-fiction thriller, with all the far-fetched character development and Hollywood gloss. It initially strikes as YA for the main reason that most of the lead characters do seem to ...


Continue reading ...
 

"HAPPINESS IS JUST A PILL AWAY" by David Grad

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, December 20, 2017, In : Book Reviews 




This hugely impressive book is a very cynical, bittersweet and, at times, funny attack on the drudgery of the 9-5 day-to-day, compounding the constant disappointment of underachievement, in a society based on fallacy, superficiality and promise. A book which is easy to relate to in its hopelessness, and the motivation (or lack thereof) of its unnamed protagonist (/antagonist?).

There are laughs – including some real belly ones - but “Happiness Is Just A Pill Away” is not comedy,...


Continue reading ...
 

"UNDERSTANDING THE PATTERNS OF YOUR LIFE" By George Kouloukis

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, December 17, 2017, In : Book Reviews 





Initially I was expecting a self-help book, based on inward reflection and psychological therapy, but straight away I realized I was wrong, and what George Kouloukis’s book actually is is a mathematical theory, suggesting the existence of some natural global phenomenon which directly influences our luck in life, influencing good and bad “seasons” which change every 16-17 years.  In fairness to the author, the book’s blurb does explain this quite clearly.  Still, its content came as so...

Continue reading ...
 

"NEVER TOO LATE TO DIE" By Pablo Palazuelo

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, In : Book Reviews 




An exceptionally well-written thriller, about a group of retired service agents who decide to investigate the disappearance of a young woman, only to uncover a complex web of espionage and brutality. This character-based tale is intricate and vivid, and showcases wonderfully Pablo Palazuelo’s competencies as an author; he is certainly very high quality – talented, intelligent and stylish – and the translation of this book from his native Spanish to English is all-but flawless. T...

Continue reading ...
 

"I ONCE WAS LOST BUT NOW I'M FOUND" By Laura Koerber

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, November 27, 2017, In : Book Reviews 




This book is devastating, heartbreaking and guilt-inducing, yet ultimately endearing - it is also very difficult to read without inward reflection. Right at the very beginning, Laura Koerber makes the point that we all turn a blind eye to the worst animal cruelty atrocities, under the false assumption that we are powerless to help, and methodically then spends the next 150 pages dashing this fallacy; as a so-called “animal lover”, it made me feel ashamed at my lack of action. I don’t th...


Continue reading ...
 

"WHAT IS JUSTICE: A QUEST TO UNDERSTAND THE TRUTH" By T. Ajay Shankar

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Saturday, November 11, 2017, In : Book Reviews 




REVIEW PUBLISHED AT AUTHOR’S REQUEST.

I had half an hour or so to spare, so I thought I’d peruse “What is Justice?”, as one with a background and interest in this field.  It was sent to me as a short book, with the tagline “A Quest to Understand the Truth”.  In T. Ajay Shankar’s defence, I feel some of the unpleasant and actually quite rude reviews I’ve seen are a touch unfair, and it does sting a little seeing a fellow author treated to such harsh criticism.  That said, howe...


Continue reading ...
 

"THE RAT TUNNELS OF ISFAHAN" By Alejandro de Gutierre

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Saturday, November 11, 2017, In : Book Reviews 





Within just a few sentences of starting to read it became clear to me that this is a work of quality from a good, professional author.  The language, grammar and formatting are all close to perfect and, from the very first line, Alejandro draws the reader into a vivid and well-crafted tale.  The opening chapter is intriguing, horrifying and gripping, and I have to be honest: I read the whole thing from cover to cover in a very short space of time.  We are quickly personally enveloped in the p...

Continue reading ...
 

"Only Human - Act One: The Pooka's Tales: Speak of the Devil" By Leigh Holland

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, October 27, 2017, In : Book Reviews 




I wasn’t sure what to expect from “Only Human: Act 1…”; the blurb is a little mysterious, hinting at a humorous, perhaps satirical journey with an ambiguous protagonist.  In reality, the book is actually quite a bit darker than I expected – though this is always welcome for my tastes – playing on themes of demonology, Hell on Earth and the Devil.  The concept is that a strange, shape-shifting mythological creature called a “Twyleth Teg” (I still don’t know what that is) is b...


Continue reading ...
 

"THE WYNDHAM WEREWOLF" By Fallacious Rose

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, October 2, 2017, In : Book Reviews 


“The Wyndham Werewolf” is a collection of intriguing bedtime tales from the mysterious Fallacious Rose, an excellent author, as it turns out, with a great tongue and use of grammar – the book is copy-edited to perfection.

The short stories, downbeat and downplayed, yet strangely entrancing, are told in a soft yet menacing style.  Although not so on the surface, there is a sense of common theme running through them, though this may simply be the tone underlying them all.  Set in a sma...


Continue reading ...
 

"FINDING THE NARROW PATH" By Lin Wilder

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, September 24, 2017, In : Book Reviews 


This is the third of Lin Wilder’s books I’ve read, and the only non-fiction title, the first two being instalments 1 and 2 of her Lindsey McCall series.  It is the memoir of Lin’s own life and her diversion from, then return to religion.  Ironically, and somewhat surprisingly for me, it is the best I’ve read from her, without a shadow of doubt.  I may not be a believer to any degree, yet Lin’s biography had me spellbound, and I simply couldn’t put it down until midway (and even ...


Continue reading ...
 

"NOT EXACTLY SHAKESPEARE: THE SHORTEST BOOK YOU'LL EVER BE FORCED TO PRETEND TO HAVE READ" By Martin Freznell

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, September 18, 2017, In : Book Reviews 


I grabbed this one from my TBR list because it was short, and took my curiosity.  I wasn’t doing a cop-out – looking for an easy ride to shrink my review pile (honest) – it was more that the mysterious blurb sold me on this book.  What was it about?  Was it a short story, a funny monologue… a witty self-help guide?  I had literally no idea; all I knew was that it looked like a lot of fun, and something I could read with a cuppa.

What it actually was is the second of those three, mi...


Continue reading ...
 

"THE EYE OF NEFERTITI: A PHARAOH'S CAT NOVEL" By Maria Luisa Lang

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Saturday, September 16, 2017, In : Book Reviews 


Although I knew this book was the second in a series, I hadn’t read the first, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  It was very quickly clear (at least to me) that “The Eye of Nefertiti” is aimed at slightly older children – perhaps pre- or early-teen (though, if this is the case, it should be said that some of the language might be a touch coarse). 

Straight away this book is light-hearted and fun, tinged with a great harmless humour throughout. Although it is a sequel, it is ...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Fragrance Shed By A Violet: Murder In The Medical Center" by Lin Wilder

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, September 14, 2017, In : Book Reviews 

When you read Lin Wilder, you pretty much know what you are going to get: writing of the highest quality, from an incredibly learned professional author, and “The Fragrance Shed By A Violet…” falls firmly into this category.  I’ve recently read this and its sequel “Do you Solemnly Swear?  A Nation of Law: The Dark Side”, albeit in the wrong order, and have, on both occasions, been awestruck by the depth of Wilder’s knowledge.

Though, if I am to be ruthlessly honest, I have to a...


Continue reading ...
 

"SUPERI: REBORN" by Clint Thurmon and Christina Williams

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, August 22, 2017, In : Book Reviews 



The first impression of “Superi: Reborn” is that it is incredibly well-written, by a very skilled author (or two, in this case).  Even before the book has opened, the attention to detail is made clear, as is the passion the authors have for the world they have created, by the detailed map and character index provided – elements which are often hallmarks of the fantasy genre.

There is an immediate air of oppression in this book, and it is clear straight away that the world of Superi is on...


Continue reading ...
 

"CORROSIVE" by J. Kariuki

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, July 23, 2017, In : Book Reviews 



This novella grabbed my attention, not because of the cover (which, if I’m honest, could really do with a complete reboot), but because of the blurb – the author sells the story very well with his synopsizing of it, and it intrigued me.

I have to say I was well impressed – the story grabbed me instantly, from the outset a mixture of mystery and repulsion; I couldn’t wait to get from one scene to the next, if only just to find out more.  The book is incredibly well written and edite...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Fear" by Rae Louise

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, July 10, 2017, In : Book Reviews 


From very early on when reading this book, two things become immediately clear: first, this is a particularly formulaic horror book, and second, Rae knows her genre very well indeed.  It opens with a great, attention-grabbing, wince-inducing scene, which grips the reader firmly by the throat, in typical fashion, and, for those seeking a standard get-what-you-see supernatural horror thriller, it continues in the same vein relentlessly throughout.

“The Fear” is Rae Louise’s homage to the...


Continue reading ...
 

"Woodiss is Willing" by Henry Woodiss

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, May 28, 2017, In : Book Reviews 



Immediately when you start reading this book, it gives the impression of being a lot of fun – humorous, cheeky and entertaining, and straight away the author (who, confusingly, is not the editor who wrote the alluring foreword), displays a great degree of good, old-fashioned English sense of humour, from a time before it perished at the hands of political correctness; and this is very welcome.  The first quarter of the book reads like a “Carry On…” movie with a modern-day 18-certifica...


Continue reading ...
 

"Monoland: Into The Gray Horizon" by E.A. Minin

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, May 19, 2017, In : Book Reviews 




I was drawn to “Monoland: Into The Gray Horizon” by the cover and the premise: that of a young man trapped in a “land of grey”, immediately following the moment of his death.

“Monoland” is another name for Purgatory – it is neither Heaven or Hell, but a biblical world in between, which runs parallel to our own dimension, here on Earth.  The book deals with some interesting concepts: the feelings of love and loss, the realization that eternity is forever, and a being has to carv...


Continue reading ...
 

"DEVIL IN THE COUNTRYSIDE" by Cory Barclay

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, May 19, 2017, In : Book Reviews 




“Devil in the Countryside” is strange, in the respect that it deserves a huge amount of respect, while slightly disappointing in terms of its content.  By the blurb and the cover style, I was expecting a more conventional werewolf horror story; in fact, this was neither a werewolf tale as such, or part of the horror genre.  More accurate a description would be a Reformation-era whodunnit/political intrigue thriller, in the vein of “From Hell”, “The Name of the Rose”, or perhaps ...


Continue reading ...
 

"OFF THE GRID: LIVING BLIND WITHOUT THE INTERNET" BY ROBERT KINGETT

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, March 24, 2017, In : Book Reviews 




When I first picked up this book my initial presumption was that it was about how vitally important the internet is in the life of somebody with such a debilitating disability, and the struggles of life without it.  Of course, the immediate response to that of most people above a certain age is likely to be that blind people have always had to live without the internet, and it is only very recent times that have afforded the opportunity for the better quality of life it provides.  And while I...

Continue reading ...
 

"CHUCK THE ROOSTER LOSES HIS VOICE" BY SIGAL HABER

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, March 17, 2017, In : Book Reviews 



What a lovely, lovely book!

I was looking forward to reading "Chuck the Rooster Loses His Voice", as a markedly light-hearted change to the usual fare I'm offered as a reviewer, and I have to admit I loved every minute of it.  This is definitely a book I would buy for my own toddler, without hesitation - a great little 10-minute children's story, told in verse, about a group of farmyard friends who come together to devise an exciting way to help out the rooster when he falls ill.  Perfect fo...


Continue reading ...
 

"THE COMPLETE POETRY OF NORMAN A.J. BERISFORD" by Norman A.J. Berisford

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, In : Book Reviews 




Poetry can be a wonderful expression of art, if written well – if not, it can be infuriating.  Like classical music, when beautifully crafted, it is hard not to love.  This emotional collection, by Norman Berisford, is at times a sublime love ballad, at others a celebration of all things “life” – from the leaves on the ground to the sun, from grieving for a loved one, to God’s nature and Creation itself.  The odes and poems in this anthology vary in style from prose to verse, from b...


Continue reading ...
 

"THE DAY I MADE GOOD" By Michael Irwin

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, March 6, 2017, In : Book Reviews 




I’ve read alot from this author, and have come to the conclusion that he is a master of metaphors – the satisfying kind, which make one give a little smile and an understanding nod.  With a penchant for first person narration, he draws the reader immediately into the world of his characters, unsavoury, yet as normal as you or I – a world in which life can change in an instant.  Another trademark of Michael Irwin, apparent in this bite-sized cautionary tale of villains, blags and remorse...


Continue reading ...
 

"FIFTY EGG TIMER SHORT STORIES" By Richard Bunning

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, March 5, 2017, In : Book Reviews 




The concept of this collection is of 3-minute read flash fiction - the time it takes to boil an egg, or, more specifically, for an egg timer to run out.

These may be 3-minute reads (one or two maybe a little longer), but it is clear from very early on that their composition was far from brief – the author has put a huge amount of work into each one of these stories, and moulded them in a very unique style.  Although only an average of 750 words, each displays a particularly impressive know...


Continue reading ...
 

"A TRINITY OF WICKED TALES - VOLUME 1: JILTED LOVE!" By Kyla Ross

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, February 5, 2017, In : Book Reviews 


A satisfying trio of dark cautionary tales in the style of Richard Laymon, the 'Trinity...' is good, well-crafted horror, from an author who clearly spends alot of time indulging in the genre - the stories are familiar, the characters stereotypically deranged and deliciously twisted.

I really enjoyed these three tales - each has a great sense of atmosphere, satisfying dialogue and a range of personalities which we have come to expect in such shorts, and would not realistically be found anyw...


Continue reading ...
 

"NO QUARTER - DOMINIUM: VOLUME 1" by MJL Evans & GM O'Connor

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, January 25, 2017, In : Book Reviews 



I have to be honest, I felt a little cheated by this book. Obviously, I was aware at the time of reading that it was volume 1 of a 6-part series, but, from a simple viewpoint, it took a little while to start coming together, and then ended abruptly just as it looked as though it were about to.

Set in colonial-era Jamaica, this book opens in dramatic fashion (a shipwreck in a hurricane), and we are transported instantly into a world of slavery, cut-throat pirates and imperial elitism, promisi...


Continue reading ...
 
 

***
Historical Fiction


*****
Children's


*****
Drama


****
Drama


*****
Political Thriller


***
Short Stories


****
Poetry


****
Historical Fiction


***
Autobiography


****
Philosophy


****
Thriller


****
YA / Fantasy


****
Children's


***
Suspense/Thriller


***
Sci-Fi/Fantasy


***
Adventure


****
Horror


****
Short Stories


****
Crime Drama


*****
Poetry


*****
Children's


****
Documentary


****
Historical Thriller


****
Fantasy


****
Horror


***
Comedy


***
Horror


*****
Comedy-Drama


***
Fantasy


*****
Short Stories


***
Fantasy


*****
Business


***
Historical Fiction


***
Children's


*****
Poetry


***
Historical Fiction


*****
Science


***
Poetry


*****
Short Stories


*****
Self-Help


****
Fantasy


****
Self-Help


****
Short Stories


*****
Fantasy


***
Drama


****
Children's


****
Comedy


****
Biography


****
Short Stories


***
Supernatural


**
Documentary


****
Historical Fantasy


*****
Documentary


***½
Thriller


***
Non-Fiction


***
Crime Thriller

Website designed and created by MJV SERVICES, UNITED KINGDOM 2016 - all rights reserved.
*The author has established copyright for all work featured on this website.