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“The Tyro” (Dreamwalkers of Larreta Book 1) by Carol Holland Marsh

The story is a fascinating one, exploring what freedoms can be found when the spirit is freed to roam beyond the fetters of flesh. The inhabited parts of Larreta, home to ‘the dreamwalkers’ are Utopian, looking “like Earth, but without its imperfections.” Benevolent alien life-forms maintain a perfect environment in which dreamwalkers can explore past lives, wrestle with personal demons free of the constraints that normally shackle earthbound existence and progress along their individual paths until they find another dreamwalker with whom they can become enjoined in the ‘tantrea’ (the perfect union of two souls). Yet here too, almost inevitably,...

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“One Dyke Cozy” by Rhani D’Chae

This is Ms D’Chae’s best work to date. Funny, sad, sincere, honest, utterly believable, beautifully written, you will find it hard to put down. It tells the story of her relationship with her best friend Shy, whom she met when Shy and her family moved in next door. They were in their eighth year at the time, and were ‘besties’ thereafter until disease ended Shy’s life all too soon in comparatively early adulthood. The honesty can be raw, but is always on the money. “Had we never met, I truly believe I would’ve lived, grown old, and died as a...

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The Poisoned Rock by Robert Daws

This is an assured and polished piece of work by a very competent writer who is a master of the genre. Robert Daws has such an intimate knowledge of ‘the Rock’ and a number of venues in Southern Spain that he is able almost effortlessly to gain credibility for his narrative with a wealth of incidental detail – streets, key buildings, cafes, squares, alleys ... The story is satisfyingly complex, involving not only the minutiae of a modern-day police investigation into a number of murders but also weaving in the strategic importance of Gibraltar, its history and culture and the...

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Abandoned by TimWalker

This is a promising start to what should be an engrossing series. Those who enjoy dramatizations of history, especially those with a particular interest in the turbulent fifth-century history of a pretty far-flung Northern outpost of the Roman Empire en route to becoming The British Isles, will find much to hold their interest in this short first novel in the Light in the Dark Ages series. When the Roman garrisons made an orderly withdrawal from their province of ‘Britannia’ in 409-410 to help defend their home city against marauding armies of Goths getting ever nearer to the gates of Rome, the island...

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The Power of Six by Nick Rossis

This is an entertaining collection of 6 + 1 (= 7) short stories that is soon read and enjoyed. The stories for the most part are well-written, witty and perceptive. Well written: “I stood before one of the paintings, studying a stern-looking lady, grim enough to grant plausibility to Arak’s fears.” Witty: “Just what I needed, to be a chainsaw short of a splatter movie.” Perceptive: “The psychologist diagnosed me with depression, but I knew it was just a case of nothing mattering anymore.” The English was also correct in a manner after my own heart: “None of them was...

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Jessica: The Autobiography of an Infant by Jeffrey Von Glahn Ph.D

This is a powerful, and at times uncomfortable, account of the relationship between a psychologist and his client over a long period of unusually intensive psychotherapy. The book is entirely about Jessica, and the psychologist’s sympathies are unequivocally with his client, to the extent that he “never doubted for an instant that she was giving me an exact account of how she had felt from start to finish of her experience.” I did find myself doubting the accuracy of the ‘memories’ of her earliest experiences, though I didn’t doubt for an instance that Jessica thought she was giving an exact...

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The Dragon Scale Lute by J.C. Kang

J.C. Kang has presented us with a beautifully written and intricately detailed account of a fascinating fantasy world with its roots in a culture in some ways very different from our own, and in other ways chillingly similar. This is a world with three moons and kinds of magic you may never have come across before. The political intrigues and Machiavellian machinations are all too familiar, however, as we get deeper into the struggles either to acquire absolute power or to free oneself from its tyranny. There is convincing detail aplenty in this intricately woven tale, side by side with...

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‘City of Light’ by Steve Griffin

This is a fantastic tale, “interwoven with the fabric of our mundane reality.” There was a great deal about this book that I liked very much. The descriptions of Kashi were detailed and convincing, clearly at one time having been part of the fabric of the author’s mundane reality: he had been there, and in this tale he takes his readers with him. I loved the olive billboard, “filled mostly with Hindi script but ending in a picture of a packet of crisps and an English caption: “Bitos – Full of snack and cracky Fun!” There were many well-paced passages of...

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‘Awash in Talent’ by Jessica Knauss

“It reads like fiction, and I feel challenged to add up all the clues.” This is a marvellous book: fiercely intelligent, highly perceptive and beautifully written. Jessica Knauss is certainly awash in writing talent. I was gripped throughout by her protagonists, and quite surprised to discover that the author is not in fact a practising psychotherapist with a degree in psychology. I was not, however, surprised to discover her long involvement in the writing and editing of literary fiction. That was evident on every page. The book consists of first-person narratives by two women and one teenage girl. They are writing...

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‘Dangerous People’ by Lesley Hayes

“Life the way it really is – messy and paradoxical and rife with ambiguity.” This is the fourth book by this author that I have read, and I am convinced that she is a major literary talent whose novels deserve to be ranked alongside the greatest novelists this country has ever produced. There are trenchant remarks worthy of Martin Amis – “Osborne had been known to clear rooms with the stench of his sarcasm”. There are shrewd observations worthy of Jane Austen: “Although not much older, Lewis had been practising middle age for the last ten years at least.” She...

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