Want to follow my reviews?  Follow the Facebook page.
BROWSE BOOK REVIEWS:

Showing category "Book Reviews" (Show all posts)

"Control: The Foundation of Life" by Lance Packer

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, September 24, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


An extremely well written, well presented and professional study textbook, in which Lance – clearly a very knowledgeable author and academic mind – presents what amounts to a vast and comprehensive thesis on the subject of control.  He uses all the basic schools of psychology, sociology and even philosophy and biology, to give as detailed an explanation as he can – and suffice to say it is an admirable feat, which he achieves well.  It is fair to say that he leaves no stone unturned in ...


Continue reading ...
 

"Misery of a Halfling" by Serge Sanin

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, September 21, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


I have to be honest, when I first saw the blurb for this book, my heart sank at the thought of yet another otherworld, magical fantasy.  But, while this book is kind of that, and certainly seems to plummet in that direction in the second half, for the first half of the book I was actually very surprised to see that it was nothing of the sort.  What it is, in fact, is a cynical, sardonic and at times very funny satire on day to day life in the office workplace, and an excuse for Sanin to pick ...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Iron Lady" by Daniel Fellows

Posted by Margaret Walker on Monday, September 21, 2020, In : Book Reviews 



The Iron Lady is an entertaining young adult thriller that does not stop moving.

Agatha Freeman is not your average grandma. She loves her grandchildren but has a secret history of espionage that she keeps well away from them up in the cupboard with the cake mix. But criminal minds have long memories and sooner or later, if you have a history of fighting evil, your past will catch up with you. Age, as it is often said, is no barrier. As Agatha’s comfortable retirement is brutally interrupt...


Continue reading ...
 

"Death Unexpected" by Galen Barbour

Posted by Margaret Walker on Sunday, September 13, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


Fans of medical dramas will line up to buy this book and, if they don’t, they should.  The author writes with authority and I suggest must be a doctor, but the information is not difficult for the layman to understand.  Alongside the medicine is the excellent characterization and the novelist’s savoury intimation that something sinister has indeed infiltrated the life of the young woman lying motionless in a hospital bed.

Patricia Harding is 28 and works for a legal firm. Benjie is her g...


Continue reading ...
 

" All the Bay's Clams and All the Bay's Men" by John Bauer

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, September 13, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


I’m becoming a big fan of John Bauer’s writing, and this acerbic coming-of-age drama is another good one from him.  He is a sharp author, with a great professional style and a wry sense of humour.  The interaction between the characters is entertaining and nostalgia-inducing; you remember talking that way with your buddies at their age (boys, that is; girls I can’t really speak for).  More than that, though, Bauer has a knack of creating lead characters with multiple layers of humanity,...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Interesting Detective" by David Alexander Brown

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, September 6, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


An interesting book and a novel premise.  This entire novella takes place in a police interview, its whole story unfolding through the main character’s narrative.  I’m not sure how much of Brown’s bio is intended to be serious, and how much tongue-in-cheek, as he would seem to suggest that much of the unnamed first-person character is based on his own personality and indeed his own experiences – not too much, I hope, because while the protagonist is indeed interesting, I wouldn’t ca...


Continue reading ...
 

"Burn Me Out" by Brandon Barrows

Posted by Margaret Walker on Sunday, September 6, 2020, In : Book Reviews 

I initially thought that Burn Me Out was just another mafia-type novel but, as Barrows drew me skilfully into his story, I realized it promised something much more.

Al Vacarro is a hit man for Eddie Castella, the Italian crime boss who runs the local neighbourhood. Gang warfare, extortion and murder are all in a day’s work and his young family know only his pseudo-job as Vice President of Operations Castella Shipping & Transport. Al’s back story is rich with emotion, from the adolescent ...


Continue reading ...
 

"Woods: I" by J. Rodin

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, September 6, 2020, In : Book Reviews 

Hmm…  I was really enjoying this atmospheric and gripping short story, increasingly eager to discover its poor protagonist’s backstory and fate – perhaps this was the reason I was left feeling so short-changed at the end.  Whilst it may not be to everyone’s tastes, I have to say that I rather liked Rodin’s present tense, reciprocal internal dialogue-style; the melancholy and morose oppressiveness are chilling yet warming at the same time.  And, although the overall premise is no rea...


Continue reading ...
 

"Strange Karma" by Willow Healy

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, September 1, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


To tell the truth, my review of Strange Karma is somewhat of a contrary one.  This is actually a pretty good book, yet strangely I struggled with large parts of it, finding it a little difficult at times to get into and stay with the story.  Not that it was particularly complicated, rather convoluted perhaps, as a woman traces the steps of her great-grandfather, decades earlier, into the mountains of Tibet, whilst in possession of a valuable gemstone; unbeknown to her, she is being tracked by...


Continue reading ...
 

"Sudan: Escape From Voi" by Ted Walde

Posted by Margaret Walker on Tuesday, August 25, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


Interesting and original, clever and at times almost comedic, SUDAN, Escape from Voi by Ted Walde is the story of Tawa Haridi, an independent researcher in the field of biomedical engineering who hopes to strengthen the Northern White Rhinoceros in order to protect it from poaching. Unfortunately, his cutting-edge technology has attracted the attention of the Pwani Republican Movement, a paramilitary organization that is planning to secede from Kenya. The very research that is designed to cre...


Continue reading ...
 

"Vanish by Dawn" by J.D. Wells

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Saturday, August 22, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


Sharp and clever, the more you read this witty social commentary, the deeper and more numerous its insightful layers develop; by the end, you find yourself nodding in approval at the way it went.

As a man seeks psychiatric help to unravel the profoundly interesting psychotic episodes he is experiencing, he begins to become increasingly aware of the myriad mental health issues affecting each and every person around him – some mildly reactive; some severely symptomatic.  Gradually, his own e...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Resurrection of Boraichee" by William Natale

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, August 17, 2020, In : Book Reviews 

Offbeat and clever, there is something soap-like about this fly-on-the-wall tragi-comic drama as, in what appears to be an effort to teach him loyalty and devotion, a womanizing English Lit professor is reincarnated as the world’s most articulate dog.  Through the dog’s perceptive eyes and sharp narration, we watch unfold the tale of the American anti-dream; an otherwise good-hearted and decent family blighted by hard drug addiction and mental illness.  A generally well-written book, with...


Continue reading ...
 

"Justice Without Mercy" by R.L. Burgess

Posted by Margaret Walker on Friday, August 14, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


Questions of love and morality feature prominently in this dystopian thriller, in a city where the National Eugenics Centre receives praise for engineering a human with perfect emotional restraint, couples face Reconditioning Therapy for falling in love, and a mysterious terrorist named Zac Zevalon seems hell bent on the destruction of state property. The Liberalists have won power over the Purists, and their agent Mercy is an Enforcer, a genetically modified female working with the State Sec...


Continue reading ...
 

"Hinterland" by Lorna Brown

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, August 9, 2020, In : Book Reviews 



Slow burning and hugely atmospheric, Lorna’s work always simmers below the surface, with an intensity which grows and engulfs the reader; this thought-provoking composition is no different.  With a palpable feeling of menace growing gradually throughout, there is also an element of mysterious ambiguity, in this tale of a man with a history of violence struggling to raise his wayward daughter, whilst protecting her from the dark truth about her mentally ill mother.  Be warned, it is as bleak...


Continue reading ...
 

"Restless" by Jedidiah Appiah

Posted by Margaret Walker on Sunday, August 2, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


Jedidiah Appiah confesses to being restless by nature and he has written a very effective book about restlessness from God’s perspective, using examples of the men and women from scripture.

The Book of Genesis, where he begins, is a wonderful collection of real human dramas and, if you haven’t read it, then I can guarantee that within its pages you will find in abundance the agonies we have all suffered, the mistakes we’ve all made, and the regrets we’ve all had. In chapter 25 we mee...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Ultra Betrayal" by Glenn Dyer

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, August 2, 2020, In : Book Reviews 

Dyer is a good, professional author and this World War Two espionage thriller is a work of quality, research and attention to detail.  Based largely on factual events, The Ultra Betrayal tells the story of a Bletchley cryptologist who appears to have gone rogue, and is pursued by American and British MI6 agents before he can sell crucial intelligence to the Germans – information of such value it could change the whole outcome of the war.  It is a slow burner, with huge swathes of simmering ...


Continue reading ...
 

"IHVJ: The Love Code" by Foster Grant

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, July 26, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


Sharp, acerbic and incredibly clever, what initially starts off as a cynical and sarcastically funny satire starts to very gradually – and with perfect timing – develop into something much more profoundly layered.  In a story which is possibly true (?) – or, perhaps in part – Grant is a well-known T.V. journalist, who is also approached to gain information about public figures by the national intelligence services.  Set at the end of the ’90s, then in the intervening years, there wa...


Continue reading ...
 

"Revenge is Coming" by Glyn Haynie

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, July 26, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


I’ve been fortunate enough to read some great books over the years, as well as some superb series, but it is not often one witnesses an anomaly such as this: a trilogy which produces three works of genuine quality;  Glyn Haynie concludes his Promises… Vietnam War trilogy with this more outright thriller – and it is another cracker.

Ten years on from Return to the Madness, Eddie is still haunted by nightmares of his traumatic tours of duty, and still vowing revenge against his cruel cap...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Lightning Horse" by N.L. Holmes

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, July 21, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


N.L. Holmes is an outstanding writer of pedigree and quality.  Her historical fiction is authentic and well-researched, as she paints landscapes and locations onto the page like an artist, putting the reader right there in the story, and able to experience her portrayal of history with all five senses.  She is also a master at crafting layered, well-developed characters, who are simultaneously endearing and human, as well as being awe-inspiring and powerful.  Her action scenes – whilst very...


Continue reading ...
 

"Why is Everything Closed?" by Lauren Patterson

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


A beautifully designed book with a huge chunk of style, you can see that Lauren has put enormous work and passion into this ambitious and heartfelt project.  It is fun, bright and colourful, and arguably the real star is the stunning computer-generated animation, of which it is packed full in abundance.  The storyline is creative and highly informative; I always enjoy seeing illustrated children’s books delivering important, educational information in a vivid and entertaining way, particula...


Continue reading ...
 

"Tabernacle" by Marc Cavella

Posted by Margaret Walker on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


I think this novel was too subtle for me.  As I read it, I developed an idea that I should have come to it with some prior knowledge, and that this might have helped me.  Perhaps my problem is that I’m not American.

Edward Jones/Troy/Joey/Emmitt is never formerly introduced under any of these names but has a successful background in life insurance sales and is a proficient con artist.  He is hired to research the possible shortcomings (hopefully pornographic) of a respectable Mormon school...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Liminal Lands" by Robyn Sheldon

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, July 12, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


This beautifully written memoir is part autobiography, part spiritual journey by the author.  With something of a fragmented timeline throughout, much of the book reflects Robyn’s viewpoint of her own life in general, particularly the darkest moments, and ultimately turns them into fuel for her personal motivational parable.  There is a bitterness eating away at this author, as there are in many who choose the spiritual path, and I do hope that her spiritual journey has helped her to come t...


Continue reading ...
 

"Nobody Would Listen" by R.A. Merrill

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

I read Nobody Would Listen all afternoon and finished it the same evening. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything like it. A remarkable story.

‘Reflecting on my childhood is a heart-wrenching experience,’ writes Merrill.

My first thoughts were that R A Merrill might be Shakespeare in disguise, sitting in an old English pub watching fights, listening to family stories, reflecting on tragedies, dozing in its smoke and intoxication, because it is very hard to read this autobiography wit...


Continue reading ...
 

"Reborn" by T.M. Parris

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, July 5, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


If you like good mild suspense, in any genre, I suggest taking a look at this gripping tale of international espionage, as an ambitious young MI6 spook tracks a former British agent across Hong Kong, China and Tibet for reasons she is not privy to.  As well as being an engaging political thriller which draws heavily from the reality of Chinese atrocities against the monks of Tibet, there is ample mystery in the tale and enough moral ambiguity in the behaviour and respective backstories of the...


Continue reading ...
 

"Thryke: The Man That Nobody Knew" by Simon Gary

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, In : Book Reviews 

Another tremendous book from Simon Gary, and in this prequel to the wonderful Gone to the Dogs he has really honed his craft in character development; Thryke is a masterclass.  Not reaching out for some of the hilarity or bawdy laughs of its predecessor, this instalment is a much more subtle, poignant comedy, with greater focus on the genuinely moving emotive elements of …Dogs: sadness, happiness, romance and a life of rural innocence.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a great fan of Cornelius ...


Continue reading ...
 

"A Prince Who Destroyed My Life" by Asia Jamil

Posted by Margaret Walker on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


A Prince Who Destroyed My Life is an academic study of the effects of child marriage on women in Pakistan, but it is also the story of a young girl trapped by the rigid cultural practices of her society. Discussion questions are posed at the end of relevant chapters and the work concludes by investigating female abortion and infanticide and, following that, sexuality and sexual orientation within contemporary Pakistani society. The reader is introduced to Paghonda, a beautiful village girl, a...


Continue reading ...
 

"Lucifer's Star" by C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, In : Book Reviews 

This interesting and exciting thriller is pure sci-fi, and certainly seems to be Phipps’s forte.  It is gripping, has a good storyline, infused with just the right amount of darkness and a large stroke of light-hearted character interaction.  A simple tale, about a noble-blood galactic pilot turned freedom fighter when his world surrenders to the galaxy’s ultimate power, who finds himself fighting alongside his enemies years later.  Whilst not an unfamiliar story, of course, this book is ...


Continue reading ...
 

"Straight Outta Fangton" by C.T. Phipps

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, June 23, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


For the most part, this is a fun and entertaining vampire action-comedy, which crosses Blade with What We Do in the Shadows, and I enjoyed reading it, gliding through the book with enormous ease.  Phipps has created some great characters, including villains, to get your teeth into (excuse the pun), and a pretty novel storyline, in which the elder vampires are some sort of all-powerful Illuminati – the one-percenters – who, like the rest are happy to commit genocide to further their corpor...


Continue reading ...
 

"Killer Instincts" by Anna Lee Rose

Posted by Margaret Walker on Tuesday, June 23, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


Killer Instincts by Anna Lee Rose is the story of Hanna the virgin sex slave and Jake the caring hitman. For the most part, it was a lot of fun. Sex and crime sell books – and I won’t deny that this is what the author is doing here - but she has not lost her essential humanity (at least, I don’t think so). Booze, drugs and a Bacchanalian lifestyle haven’t dampened Hanna’s enthusiasm for sex either, and Jake shows his compassionate side by flashbacks to a lost love and a sister he fi...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Irregular Inquests of Professor Peppercorn" by Brennan McMahon

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, June 18, 2020, In : Book Reviews 

I do enjoy poetry, and for me there are three things which make it: intelligent, witty and creative prose; elegant presentation; and engaging narrative.  Whilst this book is not quite the finished article, it does tick these boxes for the most part, and it is a very enjoyable, pleasant and cosy way to spend a (very brief) bit of time.  The six rhyming, interconnected narratives are intriguing and edgy.

As a reader, making the most of poetry can only be done in the right conditions – like c...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Perfection of Fish" by J.S. Morrison

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, June 17, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


I must confess to struggling with this book somewhat.  With an ensemble cast of characters, and different strands of a connected storyline, I admit that I spent much of the read lost and trying to play catch-up.  I saw it through, of course, because I was keen to see where this otherwise intriguing, dark, absurd and occasionally disturbing tale was leading.  It is, in fact, a very clever, if simple overall story, in which two misogynistic zealots set out to genetically create a subservient gl...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Surgeon's Obol" by Arthur Williams

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, June 14, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


This wryly comic and academically enlightening look at the professional day-to-day in the working life of a hospital surgery intern, based on real-life stories and experiences, is a real treat, if a little hard to stomach at times – as is the nature of this type of book: i.e. medical profession fly-on-the-wall.  There are a lot of this extremely popular and growing genre coming into print these days, and although I have to say they really don’t appeal to me personally (as someone married ...


Continue reading ...
 

"Bird in a Snare" by N.L. Holmes

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


In 13th century Egypt, a king’s envoy and loving family man is sent to investigate the assassination of a hapiru leader, discovering a deadly and treacherous plot.  So begins a fine book which combines the splendour and vivid opulence of ancient Egypt with the more conventional cosy mystery genre.  Indeed, in the afterword Holmes (an appropriate name, perhaps) reveals plans for additions to the series, and this is reinforced by the book’s tagline “A Lord Hani Mystery”.  Perhaps in som...


Continue reading ...
 

"As Maryam's Tree Stood Witness" by Ali Kasem

Posted by Margaret Walker on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


This book had it all for me: love, romance, exotic culture, tragedy, mystery, and relationships. I finished it in a day and highly recommend it.

Salem is a member of a Yemeni family cursed by generational honour killings. That this blood revenge between clans commenced before he was born and has taken the life of an innocent sister does not make things any safer for him, and he is forced in 1966 to find refuge and make a new home for himself in Birmingham in the UK. Here he falls in love wit...


Continue reading ...
 

"Suicide Squeeze" by Steve Hagood

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, June 7, 2020, In : Book Reviews 

What starts off as a Jane Doe body mystery gradually increases in tension and menace, in this gripping, lighthearted semi-action detective thriller.  With a seedy underbelly emerging to the victim’s life, and the progressive sense of a bigger and more organized threat on the horizon, Suicide Squeeze is formula three-act action, in the mould of Hollywood blockbusters – the type starring Mel Gibson, Will Smith and Bruce Willis – if perhaps a little lighter on the action than may be expect...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Magdalene Deception" by Gary McAvoy

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, June 7, 2020, In : Book Reviews 

Exquisitely written and highly entertaining, The Magdalene Deception is an investigative mystery in a very similar vein to The DaVinci Code, as a young, ambitious priest from New York starts a dream job as a Vatican digital archivist.  In the course of his work he finds an ancient artefact which threatens the entire Catholic Church and sends him on an ominous quest, along with a feisty journalist investigating the Vatican’s corrupt complicity in the possession of Nazi gold, cruelly looted a...


Continue reading ...
 

"Dr. Insomniac" by Samatha Polisetti

Posted by Margaret Walker on Sunday, June 7, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


Sometimes soul-searching and often gruesome, Dr. Insomniac is one of those medical memoirs of which you swear you’ll just devour one more chapter late at night until, before you know it, dawn is peeping through the curtains.  It’s short but memorable.  Samatha Polisetti manages to pack a lifetime of adventures into a few chapters, from the perspective of a young doctor in India working in many branches of medicine.  The gender bias in the medical hierarchy and in the country in general is...


Continue reading ...
 

"A Sparrow Alone" by mim Eichmann

Posted by Margaret Walker on Thursday, June 4, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


A Sparrow Alone
 is the story of sixteen-year-old Hannah Owens, a girl caught in the social turmoil of Cripple Creek, Colorado, a gold-mining town in the 1890s.  It’s a man’s world and the establishments that cater to the men of the district operate under colourful names like Golden Peacock, Crapper Jack’s, the Mikado and the Old Homestead where Hannah is employed for a time as seamstress, washer woman and part-time singer.

I found the novel an interesting historical read, the product o...


Continue reading ...
 

"A Nation Interrupted" by Kevin McDonald

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Saturday, May 30, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


An outstanding book by Kevin McDonald, and a work of numerous tremendous qualities, from an author who is highly educated in his subject matter, as well as superbly eloquent.  McDonald undoubtedly knows his local, geo-political and military history, and whilst the factual elements of the story are presented well and worth reading about on their own, he conspicuously manages to achieve what others frequently attempt and fall short at: presenting a highly plausible alternative history timeline,...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Best Week that Never Happened" by Dallas Woodburn

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Saturday, May 23, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


An incredibly melancholy, yet ultimately heartwarming tale about death… and about truly living.  The “reveal”, shortly before midway, is of course entirely obvious right from the off, but a twisty tale is not the point of this lovely book; Dallas has created a moody, heartfelt and emotional journey, with something of an air of mystery in the first half.  After this, the book becomes more of a full-blown fantasy for romanticists – by fantasy, think Mills and Book, not Frank Herbert.

T...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Dead Don't Sleep" by Steven Max Russo

Posted by Margaret Walker on Saturday, May 23, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


Review by Margaret –

I remember from my childhood the National Service Advertisements calling up our young men to fight in Vietnam.  I remember the anti-war demonstrations, and I know the psychological scars Australians still carry from fighting.  So, when I read Steven Max Russo’s The Dead Don’t Sleep, it came as no surprise to learn that his Vietnam veterans have a few hang-ups as well.  Hard drinking, tough talk and drug use abound, and the three perpetrators as well as the protagon...


Continue reading ...
 

"Lying Beneath" by Kevin Moran

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, May 15, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


This sci-fi mystery thriller from Kevin Moran has all the feel of a Young Adult book about it, though I suspect the main characters are slightly older than that, primarily because of the nature of their relationship, and the fact that one of them has a military background.  It is pretty interesting and entertaining book, and though not particularly outstanding in any way, I do like this author’s articulate and engaging writing style; he had me hooked, and I read the whole thing over the spa...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Shepherd God" by Matt Taylor

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, May 14, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


This superb, simple parable is a real gem.  Tremendously dark, gripping and vivid, it tells an age old tale of good versus evil, seduction by sin and God’s wrath; the story is unabashedly biblical in context and a cautionary tale in its purest form – and, with strength in its simplicity, it is outstanding. 

Set in the always ominous early days of the New World – specifically early-1800s Massachusetts, in which witchcraft and the worship of dark arts were reviled and summarily dealt wit...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Servant Leader's Manifesto" by Omar L. Harris

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, May 13, 2020, In : Book Reviews 

This is, quite simply, a hugely professional business strategy publication, by a highly proficient author.  Servant leadership, in a nutshell, is the art of good people management skills, which are essential in modern business and, as anyone with any degree of business sense or even just common sense will tell you, creates an infinitely more productive and engaged workforce.  Valuing employees and giving them input, and a psychological or even actual stake in the company’s future, is undoub...


Continue reading ...
 

"Think. Laugh. Cry in 100 Pages" by William Baga

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, In : Book Reviews 

William says in the preface to this little gem that he adheres to no particular format or type when he writes, and that is absolutely true of what follows.  Quirky, punchy and interesting, the three very short tales in this book are simply the author’s imagination poured onto the page.  That’s not to say that he isn’t a particularly professional author – he is, and a very good one, to boot – he just chooses not to form his work into the moulds of the usual expectations and conventio...


Continue reading ...
 

"Photography for Well-Being 1" by Lee Aspland

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, May 8, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


Although obviously a book which promotes the benefits of photography to help achieve wellbeing, I would definitely say that there is much more focus on the former part than the latter.  It was perhaps a touch surprising to find this book far heavier on the practical than the spiritual or therapeutic; I would go as far as to say that this is probably 80% practical guide to amateur photography, if written by an author clearly in touch with the practice of mindfulness.  In this respect, Lee does...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Corral Ring" by Thomas Richards

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, May 8, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


Whenever I am sent a historical fantasy with “Volume 1” in its title, my heart sinks a little.  This genre is particularly characterized by long word counts and abrupt, unfulfilling endings.  But, in this book’s case, while it certainly does have the former, the latter is thankfully avoided by this tremendously good author.  Yes, it is part of a saga, and yes, it is long and wordy, but it is also self-contained in its own right, feeling like more of a chronicle from the series, with thr...


Continue reading ...
 

"Island Boy" by Mark Bulahao

Posted by Margaret Walker on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


I enjoyed this book. The author, Mark Bulahao, is an artist and has the ability to see the small details in every scene that I would miss. In the story of Paco he impresses me with the importance of these little things. He weaves a tale for me in order that I might pay attention to a less dominant voice in a culture that itself is less dominant in our western world.

Paco is nineteen and yearns to be free. He is ‘an awkward fellow’ physically, the product of his father’s waywardness, ...


Continue reading ...
 

"Let Yourself Be" by C.J. Lacsican

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, May 4, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


I wouldn’t call this a therapeutic self-help guide, as perhaps the book’s title and associated blurb might suggest, but rather in fact a therapeutic memoir, written for the benefit of the author.  Clearly with a truly shocking, devastating trauma in her childhood, CJ has, throughout her life, found her own ways to cope, starting with forgiveness (for what, exactly, I’ll leave to the author to share), and this book, I suspect, is more of the same – written at the stage she is now at, i...


Continue reading ...
 

"No Pianos, Pets or Foreigners" by Joe Palermo

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, May 3, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


Surprisingly, and perhaps a touch disappointingly, there is nothing in Joe’s book about the beautiful country and natural environment of Japan in this book.  What it focuses on, in fact, is the people; it is a glimpse into their everyday lives and the culture within their homes, workplaces and shared settings.  This is not a tourist guide for holidaymakers, so don’t be under that illusion; there are no recommended sights to see or traveller advice – it is simply what it is: a matter-of-...


Continue reading ...
 

"Call Numbers" by Syntell Smith

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, May 3, 2020, In : Book Reviews 

Not at all what I was expecting, Call Numbers is a surprisingly gritty, and I have to say a particularly angry book, with all of its somewhat disagreeable characters displaying a level of aggression and antagonism which occasionally took me aback, and seemed strangely out of context with the book’s supposedly tranquil, library workplace setting.  That is not to say it is not a good book – it is, and very well written by an undoubtedly good author – I’m just not sure what the intended ...


Continue reading ...
 

"Raven" by Sue Loh

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, April 26, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


Easy reading and inoffensive in any respect, this YA tale is no more or less than a modern-day, tech-arena Famous Five-style mystery, about an elite, teenage group of cyber-security gurus who investigate when their employer’s biggest client is targeted by an ominous, highly sophisticated hacker.  Whilst this may not sound like the most dramatic or action-packed storyline, it actually gets pretty exciting, and gripping, too.  Sue Loh clearly knows her subject, and is obviously something of a...


Continue reading ...
 

"Not Pregnant" by Karina Savaryna

Posted by Margaret Walker on Sunday, April 26, 2020, In : Book Reviews 

If I hadn’t started this book only very late one evening, I would have finished it in a single reading. Not Pregnant by Karina Savaryna is an expression of the grief of every woman in every century who has longed for a child. Like the mother of the Jewish prophet Samuel, she is ‘a woman sorely troubled’, speaking out of her great anxiety and distress. The book is intense and unrelenting but it is also as gripping and expressive as Shakespeare. Having begun to read, one is drawn in. The ...


Continue reading ...
 

"Hotel Inspire" by Douglas Warren

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


Henry Harris is about to be awakened.  He has passed his entire twenty-nine years in his parents’ comfortable apartment in Manhattan, devoid of relationships, other than with books.  But his passion for creating poetry proves his salvation, when he bravely decides to leave his front door for the first time in his life, to attend a summer writers’ retreat at the Hôtel Inspiré, a guesthouse in the south of France, in a mountain village devoid of infrastructure.

As a special education tea...


Continue reading ...
 

"How to Get the Best From Life" by Luis Pisoni and Aurora Mazzoldi

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, April 23, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


This is a nice book and a lovely sentiment, as the authors use their long life experience to provide practical cognitive solutions to our dealing with everyday problems and insecurities.  Looking at the book’s extensive footnotes and other appendix information, they don’t appear to be psychologists or experts in any particular psychiatric field, though their knowledge and approach does seem to hint at a wealth of counselling experience – I don’t know this for sure, though, and it woul...


Continue reading ...
 

"A Heart on the River" by John Bauer

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, April 19, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


This author knows his stuff, and this is a high-quality work – hugely entertaining and instantly engaging.  I was hooked right from the off, and this didn’t fade; in fact, the more I read, the more eager I was to find out where this unusual tale was heading.

Alternating two parallel timelines, it accompanies a grieving, middle-aged U.S. State worker, back for Xmas from working in Afghanistan, who finds himself immediately hospitalized for a DVT the moment he lands in the U.S.  As he recu...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Body in the Hole" by Jonathan B. Zeitlin

Posted by Margaret Walker on Friday, April 17, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


Yvgeny Yedynak is an undertaker with panache.  He employs a gravedigger the police mistake for a zombie, carries the finger of his dead father in his pocket and drives a hearse called Cerberus, in Greek mythology the dog who guards the gates of Hades.  He is selectively honest and sees no harm in pawning anything of value remaining on a corpse once the relatives have surrendered it for burial. However, when he discovers the headless and handless body of an elderly man in one of his freshly-du...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Final Weekend: A Stoned Tale" by Neal Cassidy

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


This is one of those books which isn’t really about anything (though, the ending is genuinely staggering).  Set over the course of a weekend, it tells, from a multi-person viewpoint, of the everyday lives of a group of young twenty-somethings – and a few peripheral others – who appear to live for nothing but smoking weed, drinking shots and getting laid.  Despite its excellent writing, it didn’t really appeal to me; in fact, in the main, I think this book is probably more suited to an...


Continue reading ...
 

"Return to the Madness" by Glyn Haynie

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, April 8, 2020, In : Book Reviews 

Another day, another excellent Vietnam war book from Glyn.  A direct sequel to Promises to the Fallen, this instalment kicks off immediately following the tense ending to its predecessor as, much to his new wife’s horror, Eddie is to return to the jungles of Quang Ngai for his second tour of duty.  This time, however, his experience values him much more highly, and he is selected for a small, novel search and rescue unit.  His new adventures will reunite him with old friends, and introduce ...


Continue reading ...
 

"Resilience During the Pandemic" by Nick Arnett

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, April 5, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


For a book clearly rushed out extraordinary quickly, the author has actually done a tremendous job.  Sure, it needs tidying up for layout and Arnett has missed more than a handful of errors in his haste, but a sincere hats off to him for the remarkable achievement of this inspirational and comprehensive (surprisingly the latter, given the low word count) advice guide.

Arnett is the kind of person you want with you in a nuclear bunker; he has a positive spin and well-being solution for every ...


Continue reading ...
 

"Ivy is a Weed" by Robert M. Roseth

Posted by Margaret Walker on Monday, March 30, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


If you’ve ever wondered how academics justify their existence, then Ivy is a Weed by Robert M. Roseth is the murder mystery for you.  Set within a university in the Pacific Northwest of the USA, the novel is sophisticated yet still on planet Earth, and the plotting is as finely crafted as any novel I have read by well-known crime writers.  One cares about the protagonist Mike Woodsen, university reporter turned amateur sleuth, so it is a rewarding journey taken with him to investigate his s...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Power of Music and the ADHD Brain" by Luz Galindo

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


This interesting, entertaining book is a very enjoyable way to kill an hour or two.  Written by an ADHD sufferer, its very simple format tells us first about the condition, then about the healing power of music generally, before finally combining the two topics in its third part, to suggest how music can help those affected by ADHD to manage their mental health.  I, for one, was in no doubt about this suggestion before I even picked the book up, so Luz had no need to convince me.  Music is un...


Continue reading ...
 

"Will and Mysteria: Two Inseparable Yogis" by Christa Reynolds

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, March 16, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


However you feel about yoga, or your opinion of the whole spiritual energy concept generally, sometimes a good story is just a good story.  In this motivational life-help book, yoga teacher Christa presents both.  She is an experienced, inspirational professional, and also a creative writer with a flair for language which could appeal to adults, teens and even very young readers alike.  As well as encouraging the reader to learn more about the arts of breathing she refers to – and helpfully...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Latecomers" by Rich Marcello

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, March 15, 2020, In : Book Reviews 



I won’t lie, this slow, moody and incredibly melancholy book was a little bit of a struggle for me.  Don’t get me wrong, it is very well written and Marcello is undoubtedly extremely good quality; I am in no doubt that if you are a fan of this type of book, genre and writing style, you will love it.  The good reviews are well-merited, but I think this is more for me a matter of personal taste.  It is incredibly slow and poignant, which I don’t have a problem with, of course, but in such...


Continue reading ...
 

"Monsters Inside" by Ric Rae

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, March 15, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


How to describe this book?  Absurd, depraved, dark, gritty, bonkers and at times utterly delicious.  For the most part, though, it is crude, grotesque and unpleasant.  Not that those qualities are enough to put me off or mar my enjoyment of a book in any way (and I do enjoy my horror); though, I do think it is fair to say that sci-fi-horror hybrid Monsters Inside was not really my cup of tea.

This graphic and bizarre novella, told from a multi-person viewpoint, is definitely a book which wil...


Continue reading ...
 

"Turning on the Christmas Lights" by Nellie Woods

Posted by Margaret Walker on Friday, March 13, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


Enchanting, heartwarming and downright quirky tales.

This author is observant, compassionate and her stories engage the reader. However, I would encourage her to be a bolder writer.  The stories were interesting and any one of them could have been further developed to get inside the heads of the characters and hook the reader with a really satisfying emotional experience. Take risks with language; break rules; develop an original style that readers will recognize as uniquely Nellie Woods and...


Continue reading ...
 

"Butterfly Lake" by Robert J. Saniscalchi

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, March 9, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


I have been fortunate enough to read all of Robert’s books in the “Rob and Tex” series, helping him work on one or two of them, and this is certainly one of the better ones.  Without the gung-ho action of Freedom’s Light, or the profound wartime trauma of Bullets and Bandages, Butterfly Lake is perhaps a more understated and subtle piece of work, and this certainly suits it.  Set in the beauty and tranquillity of the Pennsylvania mountains, which Rob clearly loves, there is more an ai...


Continue reading ...
 

"Our Teenage Years: Growing Up in a Small Town in the Eighties" by T.J. Wray

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, March 9, 2020, In : Book Reviews 

At first glance, this book comes across as your average, happy-memories, reminiscent memoir, with friends, drink, girls, cars and all the usual fare – and, that it most definitely is.  However, as you read on, and indeed between the lines, you realize there is more to it, and more to its author – perhaps even he is unaware of it.  Your admiration only grows for T.J., his general attitude and his strength of character.  Sure, his life was ordinary, but his childhood was far from what one w...


Continue reading ...
 

"Lady Father" by Rev. Susan Bowman

Posted by Margaret Walker on Thursday, March 5, 2020, In : Book Reviews 


Jesus said: ‘Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.’

My first thought when I read this story about the woman caught in adultery was: Where is the man?  It is true, as the Reverend Susan Bowman discovered, that if you are one: a man, and two: not ordained, then you can get away with a great deal.  If you are a woman priest, then you are toast.

I come from Sydney, Australia, the home of the ‘S’ word: women’s ‘submission’ to men in the Anglican (aka Episcopal) Church.  ...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Soloist" by Donald Gates

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, March 2, 2020, In : Book Reviews 



Donald Gates is a fine espionage author with an enviable knowledge and an admirable work ethic, and The Soloist is no less than a gripping, interesting, exciting thriller, which lingers more on the cerebral than the action, and relies on the intelligence of its reader - which is always a good thing, and something I take as a compliment, as the reader.  In the vein of Frederick Forsyth, the antagonist is the lead character, and a very cool, callous one he is at that, going about his business w...


Continue reading ...
 

"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 ...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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, ...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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, ...


Continue reading ...
 

"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,...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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 ...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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 ...


Continue reading ...
 

"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. ...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"Freedom's Light" by Robert J. Saniscalchi

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



I’ve read and helped out on several books from this author now, and all are tagged as “Rob and Tex” adventures.  Still, 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 World Trade Center attack.  And, why not?  This is fiction; if James Bond and Jack Ryan can transcend time and generational progress, there is no reason why Rob and Tex can’t, too. 

...

Continue reading ...
 

"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: ...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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,...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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 ...


Continue reading ...
 

"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’...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"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...


Continue reading ...
 

"Beware Of The Thought Bubbles" by Ross Libby

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, August 29, 2019, In : Book Reviews 


Absolutely superb.

I loved this collection of poems entirely, without exception.  Ross is a fantastic, melodic linguist, who writes what I consider to be the perfect poems for kids – some with subtle moral messages, some educational, but mostly just plain fun.  They are all quite lovely, rhyming simply yet eloquently, with a vocabulary enviable to most “grown up” writing.  Ross creates poems about marriage; about animals; about fruit; about bank robbers; about bubble gum… in fact, an...


Continue reading ...
 

"The Wooden Man" by James W. Truax

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, August 28, 2019, In : Book Reviews 


There are so many words to describe “The Wooden Man”: dark, disturbing and wonderfully engrossing are but a few.  James Truax is a fine author, and he doesn’t just present one interesting story in this self-contained tale, but several.  This extremely creative and completely absorbing novella presents as a fable for kids – yet, at the same time it grows darker, and at times genuinely more frightening, with each turn of the page.

When eight-year-old Gabe finds himself lost in the wood...


Continue reading ...
 

"Count It All Joy" by Mitchell Allen

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, August 23, 2019, In : Book Reviews 


Such a wonderful book – thought-provoking, poignant and utterly compelling, Mitchell’s opus re-enters the life of asocial, intelligent Luke, in five-year instalments.  Whilst initially showing signs of a presence on the disorder spectrum, as the book proceeds through his life, you find yourself starting to wonder if Luke is really all that unusual, or is it modern life, in all its mundane absurdity, which is the problem?  Without a specific storyline, we join Luke at the age of six, and w...


Continue reading ...
 

"Voice Of The Sword" by John Paul Catton

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, August 19, 2019, In : Book Reviews 



Not sure quite what to make of this book by John Paul Catton.  Whilst on the one hand it is an extremely knowledgeable and well-researched work into ancient Japanese history and mythology, on the other, the huge YA aspect of this book overpowers it in many ways.  Targeted very firmly at a teenage audience, I feel that the characters are too adolescent to appeal to anybody much older.  Yet, at the same time, Catton is clearly a mature author with an in-depth understanding of Japan, presumably ...


Continue reading ...
 

"Myth Agent" by L.A. MacFadden

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, August 11, 2019, In : Book Reviews 


“Myth Agent” is a lot of fun, and MacFadden’s quality is apparent right from very early on; an incredibly engaging and intriguing book, which is perfectly written by an author with a wonderful narrative voice.  This inoffensive and universal tale of time-travel is gripping, with a small streak of unidentifiable menace running beneath it, which grows very subtly in tension, eloquently setting up the reader’s anticipation by its midway point.  With its increasingly dark undertone, MacFa...


Continue reading ...
 

"Thirteen Dark Tales: Collection Two" by Michael R. Martin

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, August 5, 2019, In : Book Reviews 


Martin’s collection of tales is both gripping and entertaining, and he does his readers a huge justice by encouraging them to use their imagination.  These thirteen stories are not really horror, as such, but they are certainly dark, with more of an air of mystery and suspense about them than anything else.  Happily, there is more than a small slice of the olde English gothic or occult influence in some of the tales, which I personally am a big fan of.  Overall, I found the collection enter...


Continue reading ...
 

"Secrets To Being Amazing: What Confident People Don't Do" by Denise Wijayaratne

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Saturday, July 27, 2019, In : Book Reviews 


This short book is a self-help guide which could and probably should be designed to easily fit into a pocket or handbag, or downloaded onto a phone for easy access.  Rather than a pioneering psychology manual, it is rather a series of affirmations intended to help the insecure and those lacking in self-esteem to feel better about themselves at a moment’s notice.  Denise admits, right from the foreword, that she is one of those people, her confidence having been undermined by her mother at a...


Continue reading ...
 

"From Foster Care To Millionaire" by Cody McLain

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, July 26, 2019, In : Book Reviews 


Beautifully written and utterly engaging, right from the off, Cody’s intense attention to detail is visible throughout this book.  Whilst I have read a lot of memoirs, many of which project an increasingly bitter adulthood onto childhood trauma and don’t particularly have the desired effect of instilling empathy on the reader, Cody’s is the exact opposite of this – a tale of someone who suffered as a child, and overcame it to take control of his life.  In this boy’s case, I feel utt...


Continue reading ...
 

"Flow Like A River" by Mark Guillerman

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, July 24, 2019, In : Book Reviews 


A fantastic book, by an author who is both understated yet imposing in literary stature, “Flow Like A River” is a work of unexpected quality.  Absolutely a book of two halves, the first is a bit of a slow burner, which serves well to develop its endearing and interestingly layered characters; neither overly dramatic or offensive in any way, this easy-going read was engaging from the off.  There is little need for histrionics in this book, nor for gripping violence – the menace of the an...


Continue reading ...
 

"We Have Met The Enemy" by Felicia Watson

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, July 15, 2019, In : Book Reviews 




Although set in the 31st century, I think it is fair to say that the science fiction element of “We Have Met The Enemy” seems somewhat incidental, as this book relies so heavily on its soapy backstory, there could really have been anything going on in real time, and the outcome would have probably been the same. 

Indeed, whilst Felicia actually has a really good sci-fi imagination, the genre does not appear to be the primary objective of her writing.  Rather, family melodrama is the most...


Continue reading ...
 

"Rocky Mountain Noir" by Peter Learn

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, July 15, 2019, In : Book Reviews 


A very dialogue driven and bizarre comedy, with that instantly recognizable quirky, dry Canadian humour, a lot of which is so deadpan it may go over the heads of some Stateside.  “Rocky Mountain Noir” pays heart on sleeve homage to the detective pulp of Mickey Spillane, but does so with its tongue so deep in its cheek it borders on spoof.

Fast-paced and talky, this book is a fusion of pulp, action and outright slapstick, laced with a few moments so laugh out loud funny they had me cracki...


Continue reading ...
 

"Dart" by Dale Renton

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, July 9, 2019, In : Book Reviews 


At first sight this sci-fi action fantasy hybrid seems to be similar to many others, but in reality it is quite a distance better than the average.  Set on a  terraformed planet, 600 years from now, “Dart” has not only the very current cautionary messages about the environment and the fears of mass migration, it also handles, rather intelligently, the growing concerns about potential dangers of A.I. in future, taking a more “HAL” approach to it, than “Terminator”.  That doesn’t ...


Continue reading ...
 

"THE TRANSLUCENT BOY AND THE CAT WHO RAN OUT OF TIME" by Tom Hoffman

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, In : Book Reviews 

I was sent this book as a free review copy, and as I read – because I tend not to read blurb before my review reads – it became immediately clear that this was the second in a series.  Because I had also not read the first instalment, this fact did give me a few problems, in terms of context, setting and character backstory; I had to piece much of this together myself.  There were even aspects – such as the era in which it is set – which I didn’t realize until right near the end; fo...


Continue reading ...
 

"DARK CURE" BY CAMERON K. MOORE

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, June 18, 2019, In : Book Reviews 


“Dark Cure” is not really what I was expecting, but the surprise was a rather welcome one.  Whilst I was anticipating some sort of medical-corporate legal thriller, this is actually a fully-fledged actioner, somewhere between “Die Hard” and “Universal Soldier”, though with a great deal more maturity; the more fun part of me couldn’t have been more pleased!  Not to say that this book isn’t to be taken seriously: Cameron K. Moore is the real deal – a highly professional author...


Continue reading ...
 

"THE SINISTER URGE" BY FRANCES NEWTON

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, June 17, 2019, In : Book Reviews 



Review published at author's request.
I’ll be honest, I was curious to read this book, in part because of some of the harshly critical reviews it has received. And, in truth, it is perhaps not as bad as some of them suggest, if you can get past its biggest flaw, which, for me, was the flippant, tongue-in-cheek way in which the author depicts the somewhat repugnant subject of consensual incest. Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t find the subject matter particularly disturbing in any way, more s...


Continue reading ...
 

"LOOPER" BY MICHAEL CONLON

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, June 10, 2019, In : Book Reviews 



“Looper” is not quite what I was expecting, but rather a pretty laid-back, inoffensive affair, telling the tale of a teenager who spend his 1980 summer break caddying on a pro golf course.  Although the tagline suggests this is a “coming of age” tale, I think perhaps the main character Ford is a couple of years too young to be described as that.  There are none of the usual puerile high-jinks which often accompany such a genre, and to be honest that is refreshing; Ford and his friends...


Continue reading ...
 

"MONOLAND: BEYOND THE MONOCHROME" BY E.A. MININ

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, May 26, 2019, In : Book Reviews 



I have been fortunate enough to get first peek at all three books in Minin’s excellent “Monoland” trilogy, and as a collective piece of work, the premise and story are interesting and well crafted.  Bringing a sense of full circle and completeness, “Beyond the Monochrome” is a creative and satisfying end to this mind-bending fantasy saga; in my opinion, it is also the best book of the three.

With the world in the grip of nuclear war, the grey afterlife stepping stone of Monoland is...


Continue reading ...
 

"CRAZY ABOUT KURT" BY WILL LINK

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, In : Book Reviews 



Will Link is a brilliant author, who a fantastic use of language (both description and dialogue), which will easily relate to younger and older adults alike.  While some of his subject matter may be a little coarse for the former, just remember that it is their age group this refers to, and they know it better than our nostalgic view of it.  Older readers can reminisce about the days of their youth, while the youngers can laugh at the commonalities between us, which still characterize their g...


Continue reading ...
 

"THE FRIAR'S LANTERN" by Greg Hickey

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Friday, May 17, 2019, In : Book Reviews 



Greg Hickey is a wonderfully gifted author, and “The Friar’s Lantern” is extremely articulate and well-written.  Add to this that the author is also, evidently, a talented mathematician and sociologist, and you might have some idea of what to expect from this entertaining, engrossing first person role-play challenge.  Be warned, though, if you are expecting action, or the excitement of the Fighting Fantasy series, this is not what you will find; in this respect, perhaps the book’s tit...


Continue reading ...
 

"GHOST DOG" BY TIM WHITE

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, May 12, 2019, In : Book Reviews 



“Ghost Dog” is a pretty entertaining, gripping crime adventure story, with a short enough word count to fit in over an evening or two.  Tim White is a pleasant and engaging author to read, though, although - for the most part - well-written in good, articulate English, his language may be a touch simplistic in nature for some; if you are expecting a dark and downbeat crime drama, you will not get that with “Ghost Dog”.  Instead, it is a quickly paced and very dialogue-driven small-tow...


Continue reading ...
 

"FAITHFUL SERVANTS" BY MARC CURTIS LITTLE

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, In : Book Reviews 


Interlaced with a significant proportion of fact, “Faithful Servants” is a superbly written, enlightening and objective fictional account of one teenage boy’s resolution to integrate the ethnically divided population of New Jersey in the 1960s, against the backdrop of an explosive racial equality movement, which was described by some as “rioting” and others as “rebellion”.  In spite of many who want nothing more than to prolong the historical segregation of black and white commu...


Continue reading ...
 

"GNOSIS" BY RICK HALL

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, April 29, 2019, In : Book Reviews 


“Gnosis” is generally entertaining and well-written by Rick Hall, even if, for my tastes, there aren’t things about it which particularly stand out.  It falls very firmly in the young-adult / sci-fi / fantasy camp and features all the usual formulaic elements of this contemporary cross-genre: the resourceful but unwitting teen heroine, with psychic abilities bordering on superpowers and shady government figures in pursuit, to either kill her or harness her ability.  The author himself, ...


Continue reading ...
 

"BUY OR DIE" by Theodor Ventskevitch

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, In : Book Reviews 

In this obscure, yet wonderfully poetic metaphor, Theodor’s writing is artistic, warm and endearing, despite “Buy or Die”s darkly comic, somewhat disturbing subject.  Although the author’s English is perfectly crafted, I suspect much of the true prose has been lost a little in translation.  Yet, even in the resulting form it has an attractive, creative voice all of its own, and once I was able to level with his dry wit and surreal depiction, I started to enjoy reading it.

Set in a fr...


Continue reading ...
 

"I, CLAUDIA" BY LIN WILDER

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, April 4, 2019, In : Book Reviews 



Lin Wilder is a tremendously good author, on the highest tiers of quality, and with her books, you are always treated to a masterclass in author research for fiction.  “I, Claudia” revels in this, giving Lin the perfect vehicle to apply this trade – and “trade” is the perfect word to describe Lin’s work, as she goes about her business of historical research with the thoroughness of a data analyst.  Additionally, if you were in any doubt about the credibility, she readily reference...


Continue reading ...
 

"FORTUNA AND THE SCAPEGRACE" BY BRIAN KINDALL

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, March 28, 2019, In : Book Reviews 

There is a wonderful, melodious tone of voice to Brian Kindall’s writing – his language is always classical and sometimes sublime – the nineteenth-century San Francisco prospectors’ era effortlessly permeates every carefully chose word and sentence and his knowledge of American historical setting appears almost innate, as he places you, vividly at every scene.  In a nutshell, he is a tremendously talented author.

But, as with most creative talents, there is a flaw on the flip-side.  ...


Continue reading ...
 

"WHEN I TURNED NINETEEN" BY GLYN HAYNIE

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, March 24, 2019, In : Book Reviews 



Glyn Haynie is a superb author, with whom I am already acquainted, having read and reviewed the follow-up: “Finding My Platoon Brothers”.  One thing which struck me when reading this book, compared to his reminiscences in the sequel, is that his humanity appears much deeper nowadays, than then at 19 – though perhaps this comes with age; perhaps reflection.  I couldn’t help thinking that very quickly into his tour of duty (weeks, maybe) he appeared already to be desensitizing to the ho...


Continue reading ...
 

"THE CUCKOO COLLOQUIUM" BY MICHAEL A. GRECO

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, In : Book Reviews 



Michael Greco is a good, professional author and a brilliant writer, with a real flair for offbeat comedy, which borders on the farcical.  But, you definitely have to immerse yourself in his wavelength, pretty quickly, because “The Cuckoo Colloquium” is very busy; he has a tendency to jump around a lot, making it quite difficult to keep track of what is going on from one moment to the next.  Once you get used to this, you realize that he is really very clever at writing with an ensemble c...


Continue reading ...
 

"TREADING THE UNEVEN ROAD" by Lorna Brown

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, In : Book Reviews 


Lorna is a lovely author, with a calm, easy tone, which makes you feel relaxed and deeply involved at the same time.  Her prose is delightful and you can almost hear the soft lull of her voice in it.  Her short tales, about little more than slices in the lives of ordinary, working class folk in a variety of Irish locales, are bleak, sombre and thick with melancholy, yet warm and comforting simultaneously.  Told from the different viewpoints of a various range of characters, there is yet somet...

Continue reading ...
 

"Delivering Virtue" by Brian Kindall

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, In : Book Reviews 



Reading “Delivering Virtue” can probably best be described as an “experience”. What begins as a genuinely amusing and light-hearted read starts to change tone as it progresses, into something potentially much darker and more macabre. The real star of this book is Brian Kindall himself. He is, quite simply, a tremendous writer – and a fantastic wordsmith – with prose which flows like poetry; the language he uses throughout feels authentically frontier, is genuinely quite stunning, ...


Continue reading ...
 

"Finding My Platoon Brothers" by Glyn Haynie

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



Instantly, even before starting the book, and then reading the introductory matter, the poignancy of this book strikes you, and you know immediately it is going to be an affecting read, compounded not only by the terrible trauma these poor young boys (little more than children, in many cases) experienced in the Vietnam war, but, perhaps in some ways more upsettingly, by the disgraceful injustice of vilification by their own country, upon their return.  To draw a positive, though, these experi...


Continue reading ...
 

"DIE BACK" by Richard Hacker

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


Nicely written by a good quality, professional author, this fantasy is more a time-travelling actioner, which is exciting and engaging.  Richard Hacker has a good knowledge of history, and has done his research very well, but, gladly, doesn’t overplay it – the focus of this book is the formula, with its 3 acts, its heroes, love interest and a ruthless super-villain, who craves no less than total domination of the space-time continuum. 

The story is a good, interesting one; the ability o...


Continue reading ...
 

"Gone to the Dogs" by Simon Gary

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, January 24, 2019, In : Book Reviews 



Very quickly when you start reading this book, the author’s affection for the era and its naivety come pouring through.  I didn’t know what to expect, realizing that the sitcom to which it refers - despite Simon Gary’s misleading foreword and blurb – is actually a fictional one, as are all the characters therein; though, clearly based on an element of reality and, by the looks of it, some industry experience on Gary’s part.  With its nods toward the “Carry On” movie style, and s...


Continue reading ...
 

"READ TO SUCCEED" by Stan Skrabut

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Saturday, January 12, 2019, In : Book Reviews 



As somebody who reads prolifically in the course of my work, the title and tagline of Stan Skrabut’s “Read to Succeed” struck a particularly resounding chord with me, and I was very eager to find out more from what I assumed was a study into the nurturing power of reading as exercise for your brain; reinforcement of my own belief that reading increases ones wit, intellect, wisdom, logic and general capacity to improve one’s character.  This book does all that and more – it is incred...


Continue reading ...
 

"Victoria's Voice: Our Daughter's Dying Wish To Share Her Diary And Save Lives From Drugs" by David and Jackie Siegel

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Monday, January 7, 2019, In : Book Reviews 



“Victoria’s Voice” is a tragic account of teenage depression and self-destruction, more tragic still because the tale is so common as to seem familiar, even though in reality the world Victoria occupied was probably a million miles from the majority of our own.  It seems very clear, right from the opening paragraphs, that Victoria was another sad victim of the American dream’s flipside, with all the artifice and superficiality that goes with that life of luxury; her death was one of m...


Continue reading ...
 

"I HAVE DEMONS" BY CHRISTOPHER ADAM

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Thursday, December 27, 2018, In : Book Reviews 




Adam is an extremely articulate author, who is flawless with grammar and very easy to read; I absorbed the whole of this trio of tales in one sitting.

Set in both rural and urban Canada, the stories are short and relatable slice-of-life snippets, character-based, without any real sense of drama; the basis of the book seems to be a metaphorical one. Moreso, the tales have an unexpected air of bleakness about them - forlorn and almost foreboding. In the foreword, Adam hints at a common theme,...


Continue reading ...
 

"THE DAY MY KISSES TASTED LIKE DISORDER" By Emmanuella Hristova

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Sunday, November 25, 2018, In : Book Reviews 



Through truly heartfelt, gut-wrenching poetry, Emmanuella tells the deeply personal story of the rise and fall of a relationship, against the backdrop of the devastating sadness of loss.  She is a lovely poet, who feels every word, not so much writing them as sobbing, then eventually roaring them onto the page.  Written like a journal, its entries in prose, you do find yourself suspecting this book is the direct publication of a genuine diary this author composed.  Whilst feeling somewhat voy...


Continue reading ...
 

"WRITTEN BY BLOOD PART ONE: CONVICTION" by Dwayne Gill

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




I’m always a touch wary when reading a book, the title of which includes the words “part one”, having been left hanging on many occasions by infuriating and sometimes ridiculous cliffhangers.
  However, this is not one of those books, I’m pleased to say; I don’t think I’m spoiling it in any way by saying that “Conviction” is satisfyingly self-contained, whilst leaving a tantalising hint at the bigger picture of the series generally – as Marcene says: “A storm is coming”, ...

Continue reading ...
 

"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 ...
 

"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 elements:...


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 ca...


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 ...
 
 
Burn Me Out by Brandon Barrows
****½
Crime Thriller

Control: The Foundation of Life by Lance Packer
****
Reference

Misery of a Halfling by Serge Sanin
***
Comedy

The Iron Lady by Daniel Fellows
****
Thriller

Death Unexpected by Galen Barbour
****
Medical Thriller

All the Bay's Clams and All the Bay's Men by John Bauer
****
Drama

The Interesting Detective by David Alexander Brown
***
Mystery

Woods by J. Rodin
***
Mystery

Money Bags by Michael G. Browne
***
Comedy-Thriller

Strange Karma by Willow Healy
***½
Thriller

Hinterland by Lorna Brown
****
Drama

Justice Without Mercy by R.L. Burgess
***½
Sci-fi

Restless by Jedidiah Appiah
*****
Faith / Motivation

Ultra Betrayal by Glenn Dyer
****
Espionage

IHVJ: The Love Code by Foster Grant
*****
Thriller

Revenge is Coming by Glyn Haynie
*****
Action Thriller

Why is Everything Closed? by Lauren Patterson
****
Children's

The Lightning Horse by N.L. Holmes
****
Historical Fiction

Nobody Would Listen by R.A. Merrill
*****
Autobiography

The Liminal Lands by Robyn Sheldon
****
Spiritual Memoir

Thryke by Simon Gary
*****
Comedy

Reborn by T.M. Parris
****
Spy Thriller

Lucifer's Star by C.T. Phipps and Michael Suttkus
***½
Sci-fi

A Prince Who Destroyed My Life by Asia Jamil
*****
Non-Fiction

Straight Outta Fangton by C.T. Phipps
***
Action/Comedy

Killer Instincts by Anna Lee Rose
***
Romance/Thriller

The Surgeon's Obol by Arthur Williams
****
Comedy/Medical

The Perfection of Fish by J.S. Morrison
***
Comedy/Offbeat

Bird in a Snare by N.L. Holmes
****
Historical Fiction

as Maryam's Tree Stood Witness by Ali Kasem
*****
Family Drama

A Sparrow Alone by Mim Eichmann
****
Historical Fiction

Suicide Squeeze by Steve Hagood
****
Action

Dr. Insomniac by Samatha Polisetti
****
Memoir

The Magdalene Deception by Gary McAvoy
****½
Mystery

Lying Beneath by Kevin Moran
***
Mystery Thriller

A Nation Interrupted by Kevin McDonald
*****
Thriller

The Best Week that Never Happened by Dallas Woodburn
****
Romance

The Dead Don't Sleep by Steven Max Russo
***½
Action

Think Laugh Cry by William Baga
****
Short Stories

The Shepherd God by Matt Taylor
*****
Historical Fiction

On the Wrong Side of God by Harry Boyd
****½
Non-fiction

Servant Leader's Manifesto by Omar L. Harris
*****
Business

Photography for Well-Being 1 by Lee Aspland
****
Photography

The Corral Ring by Thomas Richards
*****
Historical Fantasy

Call Numbers by Syntell Smith
***
Drama

No Pianos, Pets or Foreigners by Joe Palermo
***
Memoir

Raven by Sue Loh
****
Mystery

Not Pregnant by Karina Savaryna
*****
Memoir

How to Get the Best From Life by Luis Pisoni and Aurora Mazzoldi
***
Self-Help

Hotel Inspire by Douglas Warren
***
Drama

Return to the Madness by Glyn Haynie
*****
War / Action

The Final Weekend by Neal Cassidy
***
Comedy

Ivy is a Weed by Robert M. Roseth
****
Crime Thriller

Resilience During the Pandemic by Nick Arnett
*****
Motivational

Will and Mysteria by Christa Reynolds
****
Self-Help/Spiritual

The Power of Music and the ADHD Brain by Luz Galindo
****
Psychology

The Latecomers by Rich Marcello
***
Drama

Monsters Inside by Ric Rae
***
Sci-fi / Horror

Butterfly Lake by Robert J. Saniscalchi
****
Action

Our Teenage Years by T.J. Wray
****
Memoir

The Soloist by Donald Gates
****
Espionage

Lady Father by Rev. Susan Bowman
****
Memoir

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 Irregular Inquests of Professor Peppercorn by Brennan McMahon
****
Poetry

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

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

Turning on the Christmas Lights by Nellie Woods
****
Short Stories

The Body in the Hole by Jonathan B. Zeitlin
****
Crime / Mystery

A Heart on the River by John Bauer
****
Comedy Drama

Let Yourself Be by CJ Lacsican
****
Memoir / Self-Help

Island Boy by Mark Bulahao
****
Drama

The Resurrection of Boraichee by William Natale
***
Comedy-Drama

Vanish by Dawn by J.D. Wells
****
Comedy-Drama

Tags

-s-morrison 1990s a-a-lotfy a-scholte abortion abuse academic action addiction adhd adventure africa african-culture afterlife age agents ajay-shankar alcoholism alejandro-de-gutierre alexander-the-great ali-kasem allan-mason alphabet alternative alternative-history amateur-photography america american american-comedy american-country american-graffiti american-history american-politics ancient ancient-egypt ancient-history angelique-d angels animal-abuse animal-rescue animal-welfare anna-lee-rose anthology anthony-michaelides anthony-ranieri anti-hero anxiety apocalyptic arabian arabs arthur-williams asia asia-jamil atlantis atmospheric aurora-mazzoldi australia autobiography bereavement big-pharma biography bittersweet bizarre black-comedy bleak blind bo-wu boats books borneo brain brandon-barrows brennan-mcmahon brian-kindall british british-empire buddy business business-strategy c-t-phipps cameron-k-moore caper catholic cats cattleya chad-lee-erway challenge child-bride childhood childhood-trauma children's childrens-books chiller china christ christa-reynolds christian christianity christina-williams christine-brown christopher-adam church civil-rights civil-war cj-lacsican climate clinchandhill clint-thurmon codebreakers cody-mclain coffee-break collection colonialism comedy coming concentration-camp conspiracy contemporary coronavirus corporate-america corporate-crime cory-barclay coup creation creatures crime criminal-justice crm cruelty culture cynical dale-renton dallas-woodburn daniel-fellows dark dark-comedy dark-theme data data-analytics david-alexander-brown david-donachie david-grad david-lee-fish death demons denise-wijayaratne detective devashish-sardana devil-worship diary dictatorship diet dimas-rio disability diversity doctor dog-rescue dogs donald-gates donald-trump douglas-carl-fricke douglas-warren drama drug-abuse drug-addiction drugs dwayne-gill dystopia dystopian e-gourm ea-minin earthquake ecological educational egyptian elderly election elise-leise elizabeth-hamilton-smyth eloise-kelly emergency emmanuel-morfoboss emmanuella-hristova emotional empire environmental epic erotic erotica espionage evolution fable fairy-tale fairytale faith fallacious-rose family family-drama fantasy fascist felicia-watson fertility fiction fiona-green first-world-war flash-fiction football formula foster-care foster-grant frances-bloom frances-newton friendship frontier funny future futuristic galen-barbour gangster gangsters gary-mcavoy george-dalrymple george-koloukis ghana glenn-dyer glyn-haynie gm-o'connor god gods golf gory greg-hickey grief guy-portman harlin-hailey harry-boyd hate health health-and-fitness heartbreaking heather-beal heavens henry-woodiss high-school historical historical-fiction history hitler hiv holistic holocaust honour honour-killing horror human-interest humanities humou humour illustrated immigrants incest india inspiration inspirational intelligence international internet ira ireland irish irish-stories italy j-d-wells j-kariuki j-rodin jacinta-jade james-w-truax jamie-killen janice-tremayne japan japanese jedidiah-appiah jennifer-macaire jesus jesus-christ jewish jill-kearney joe-montaperto joe-palermo joel-bresler john-bauer john-paul-catton john-simpson jonathan-b-zeitlin journal jungle justice ka-cummins karina-savaryna kathy-varner kenya kevin-douglas-wright kevin-mcdonald kevin-moran ku-klux-klan kurt-cobain kyla-ross l-a-macfadden l-m-brown la-noir lady-byrd lance-packer laura-eckert laura-hergane laura-koerber lauren-patterson lee-aspland legend legendary leigh-holland lgbt lgbtq life lin-wilder lindsay-mccall lindsey-mccall lorna-brown loss love-story luis-pisoni luz-galindo lynne-renoir mafia magical-realism management marc-cavella marc-curtis-little margaret-walker maria-luisa-lang marine-life mark-bulahao mark-guillerman mark-krulewitch marriage martin-freznell mary-magdalene mathematics matt-nagin matt-taylor medical medical-drama medical-profession medicine medieval melancholy melodrama memoir mental-health mental-illness mermaids metaphorical metaphysical mi6 michael-a.-greco michael-conlon michael-g-browne michael-irwin michael-r-martin middle-east mike-logsdon military mim-eichmann mind mindfulness mitchell-allen mjl-evans monoland monologue motivation motivational mountaineering moving music myrtle-brooks mystery myth mythical mythology n-l-holmes narrative native-american natural-disaster navy nazi nazi-germany neal-cassidy nellie-woods new-age new-jersey new-york nick-arnett nick-dream nigel-c-ferguson nirvana noir non-fction non-fiction norman-aj-berisford northern-ireland novella nutrition observations occupation of offbeat old-testament omar-l-harris oppression organized-crime otherworld outback pablo-palazuelo pakistan pandemic parable paranormal perception persia personal-development pete-k-j peter-learm pharaoh philosophical philosophy photography pirates platoon poetry poignant political political-thriller politics pop-culture pregnancy prison pro-life psychology pulp pulp-fiction purgatory puzzle pyram-king quantum-physics r-a-merrill r-l-burgess race racial racism rae-louise rainforest reading real-life reality redemption reference regime relationship relationships religion religious religious-history remorse revenge reverend revolutionary ric-rae rich-marcello richard-bunning richard-hacker rick-hall ritch-gaiti robert-j-saniscalchi robert-kingett robert-m-roseth robyn-sheldon rohit-bhargava role-play roman romance romania romantic ross-libby rural sailing sailors samatha-polisetti satanism satire sci-fi science science-fiction scientist scotland screenplay seafaring second-world-war self-confidence self-esteem self-help serge-sanin series sex sexual sexual-harassment sherman-miles short-stories sigal-haber simon-gary sitcom slavery sleuth slice-of-life smalltown-life social-science society sociopath soldier space space-opera special-forces spiritual sports spy spy-thriller stage-fright stan-skrabut steve-bassett steve-hagood steven-max-russo stress study sue-loh suicide superhero supernatural superstition surgeon surreal susan-bowman suspense swashbuckling syntell-smith t-j-wray t-m-parris teamwork technology ted-walde teen teenage teenager terrorist terrorists texas textbook thailand the-sailor the-troubles theodor theological theology theory therapeutic therapy thomas-richards thriller tibet tim time-travel tom-hoffman tomi-farrell tomthunkit torture tough-guy tragedy travel trilogy true-story tv-shows twenty-something ukraine undersea vampire venezuela ventskevitch verse veteran vietnam vietnam-war vigilante vince-rockston vincent-meis violent virus volunteer walt-sautter walter-frank war war-memoir weight-loss well-being wellbeing werewolf western white wildlife will-link william-baga william-natale willow-healy witchcraft women womens-fiction womens-history world-war-two yemen yoga yorkshire young-adult youth zaire
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
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.