As well as writing books, Michael is an avid reader and would like to share the books which he has enjoyed.  By clicking on the cover, you can read Michael’s review and also find a link to Amazon.

Aranya by Marc Secchia


5 stars – A thoroughly enjoyable dragon ride

‘Aranya’, the first book in the Shapeshifter Dragons series is an imaginative tale, full of battle and heroism, romance and betrayal. Set on a world of Sky Islands, it tells the story of a princess given up as hostage in surrender. Sent to the Sylakian prison tower, she meets Zip, a Remoyan princess who is also a prison hostage. The two forge a friendship that transforms themselves and the world around them.


I found the story to be well written and conceived, with enough twists in the plot to keep you guessing where the author is going with the story. Aranya and Zip are enthralling as main characters and the dialogue between them, which forms a large part of the story, is excellent, witty and intelligent as the author explores how two former enemies can become the best of friends.

Throw in the minor characters who help them along the way, the main villain in the plot who is suitably evil and the romantic interest for Aranya, who is a commander in the Sylakian army but is torn between his duty and his honour.

Overall, I found this difficult to put down, wanting to carry on reading even when I had prior engagements to go to and I will certainly be putting book two on my wish list.


Pulled by Becca J Campbell


4 stars – A fast paced introduction

“Pulled” is an interesting short read that introduces the reader to the “Flawed” universe. I have assumed this is written as a prequel to a future story, “Pulled” introduces the eight year old Juniper, a girl with the ability to be physically transported to the location of other ‘Uniques’, other people with special abilities.


The story is fast flowing, which at twenty eight pages it needs to be, but you are drawn into the plight of the young girl who has been in and out of foster homes due to her ability. It was an enjoyable short read and is billed as a standalone story so you do not need to have read any of the other “Flawed” stories, which I have not…yet.

A nice introduction to the author’s other books which I will now be taking an interest in.

Forever Boy by Lita Burke


4 stars – More please

I received a free copy of Forever Boy in exchange for an honest, non-reciprocal review and boy, was I pleased that I did.

I’ll admit that I had never heard of Clockpunk, or Steampunk, before reading this story but now that I have, it has opened up a whole new genre of reading for me to look forward to.

The story in itself was well written and constructed with likeable characters and a fast flowing plot, but for me it finished just as it really should have gotten going. I am hoping that this is the first book in an ongoing series as I could see this one as the ‘pilot’ episode introducing you to the characters where episodes two onwards gets to the meat of adventures.

Overall an enjoyable read and I will be keeping my eye out for a hopefully second release in the series.

The Proposition by Vardan Partamyan


5 stars – Funny and well worth a read

This is an enthralling, sardonically funny tale of man versus the Devil as a down and out, long term liar is given the chance to be granted a wish by the Devil. All he has to do is race him to the harbour, some five miles or so away and he wins. If he loses, the Devil gets his eternal soul. As Louis ventures through his nine levels of personal hell, the constant monologue of description of his feelings and thoughts are at times laugh out loud material. In fact, I was attracting some very strange looks on the bus as I sat reading my kindle.

At 47 pages of Kindle viewing, it is a story that you will find yourself unable to put down and easily readable in one sitting, which is what I did.

Thoroughly recommendable to all readers who like the supernatural with a twist that caught me unawares, I will definitely be looking into other books that this author has written.

Rescue One: Breaking Point by Michael Gardner


5 stars – Loved it!

This is an enthralling, sardonically funny tale of man versus the Devil as a down and out, long term liar is given the chance to be granted a wish by the Devil. All he has to do is race him to the harbour, some five miles or so away and he wins. If he loses, the Devil gets his eternal soul. As Louis ventures through his nine levels of personal hell, the constant monologue of description of his feelings and thoughts are at times laugh out loud material. In fact, I was attracting some very strange looks on the bus as I sat reading my kindle.

At 47 pages of Kindle viewing, it is a story that you will find yourself unable to put down and easily readable in one sitting, which is what I did.

Thoroughly recommendable to all readers who like the supernatural with a twist that caught me unawares, I will definitely be looking into other books that this author has written.

The Sleeping Pool by P. Zoro


4 stars – Hooked from the start

This is not my normal genre of reading but I was pulled into the story within the first few pages and found it difficult to stop reading when it was time to turn off the light. The author’s descriptive talents are excellent and you can easily imagine that you are there, in Zimbabwe, next to the pool or in the caves beneath.

Ms Zoro creates a wonderful cast of characters, all of them believable, as the battle for the boardroom takes a dramatic twist into a battle for life.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to those readers who like a little bit of magic in their suspense thrillers.


Ephraim’s Curious Device by Lita Burke


4 stars – A solid Clock punk fantasy story and a very good sequel to the first book

I was introduced to the genre of Clockpunk through Ms Burke's first book Forever Boy and so I was delighted when I received a copy of the sequel in exchange for my honest, non-reciprocal review.

The story is longer than Forever Boy, coming in at around double the length, which allowed the author to take me on a longer journey within her magical world. We are re-introduced to Kadmeion and Sir Bright, along with the cyanthrope Furgo and meet a host of new creatures and characters along the way.

The plot itself is a simple but effective one. Something is taken from the main characters and held hostage and in exchange, they have to discover Ephraim's Curious Device. They set off on a journey that takes in several widely different magical locations and they battle to overcome the problems caused not only by the creatures living there but also the Goons sent to protect them. Imagine the village idiot and then make him dumber. That's a Goon!

The narrative is mostly good, although personally I found in parts that the sentences were broken and too short. Not a grammatical error at all, just a different style of writing than I am used to reading. The descriptions of the locations are excellent, leaving you with the images that you need without going overboard but for me, what worked the best was the interaction between Sir Bright and his travelling companions. The conversations flowed well and were just enough that you could imagine being part of their group, trapsing along on the quest, listening to the banter back and forth.

All in all this is a solid fantasy book and a very good sequel to the first.

My Warp Speed Mind by Donalisa Helsley


5 stars – A very worthwhile read for anyone affected by ADHD

Although I do not have a child myself, I was intrigued by how parents can help and cope a child with ADHD. I was a little unsure what to expect from the book, but was pleasantly surprised to find that it was aimed at teaching a child about ADHD and how to cope, while giving parents and other adults key indicators and exercises to help them.

The tale about Drake and his experience was very informative with just the right amount of humour mixed in that it should keep your child's interest.

A very worthwhile book for anyone who is affected by ADHD.

Dragonfire by David Rose


4 stars – Quick fire fun action

This short story is a quick paced action book based around the Hartman siblings, who's company run the online game Dragonfire. This is a game where you transpose your human self inside the game, but while there are safety measures in place to protect you, things can go wrong.

It is an intriguing read as the author meshes in the idea of the game, the differing characters of the "real" world with the computer world and in my opinion, would work well if he ever decided to turn it into a full length novel.

The Bully Book compiled by Alisha Paige


My poems “Friend” and “My New Phone” are included within the book.

It was my honour to be asked by Alisha if I would contribute to a collection of stories that she was compiling to raise the profile of the anti-bullying campaign that she is involved in.


Unfortunately there are a lot of true stories within the book, from children to adults, all telling their stories of the bullying and abuse that they endured and suffered.