Review of ‘The Mad Days of March’

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Terry March is something of a non-entity. Married to a woman who can’t cook and who also sleeps around, his sex life consists of . . . well, nothing, and their relationship consists of her lambasting him at every opportunity, when she’s not out having fun.

     Life begins to change when Terry helps an old man dump a blood-stained carpet into the recycling bin, then he meets a women at the pub who can’t get her electric lights to work and when he shows her how easy it is, she offers to ‘reward’ him but he turns her down.

     If this sounds like a crazy story, that’s because it is. Philip Catshill’s The Mad Days of March is a murder mystery, madcap romp, and a mind-boggling tale of one man’s miserable, messed-up life during a maniacal month of March. Told almost tongue in cheek, this story will grab you by the curiosity and squeeze until you moan, and then make you explode with mad mirth.  Catshill knows how to give the reader a roller coaster ride on anticipation and keep that reader interested until the ride comes to a gliding stop.

     A fun read that should not be missed. I was provided with a complimentary copy for review. I give it five stars.

Review of ‘Accidents Happen’

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When Tabitha tries to help an injured boy, an advertising sign falls and kills her. Mort, a soul collector comes to get a soul, only, it’s the boy, not Tabitha, who was supposed to die. In the kerfuffle that follows Tabitha and Mort’s souls switch bodies, leading to cosmic confusion. Tabitha must now wait for Death to sort things out with the higher powers. She’s assigned to take over Mort’s soul collecting duties, guided by Cooper, another soul in limbo, until her fate is decided, and what follows is mirth and madness on an ethereal scale.


Accidents Happen by Sharon Karaa is a madcap, other-worldly adventure that follows Tabitha and Cooper through a series of misadventures that lead to some interesting conclusions. A thoroughly entertaining story, marred only by a few confusing character name switches (which I assume were errors not caught in editing) and the description of Tabitha as an orphan despite the prominent role her mother plays in the story.


I received a complimentary copy of this book. I give it three and a half stars.

Review of ‘The Legend of Ron Anejo’

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In The Legend of Ron Anejo by Ed Teja, we really don’t know who the narrator is until he meets the title character, vagabond sailor, Ron Anejo. After buying a boat and setting sail for the sunny Caribbean, the narrator, begins running into all sorts of trouble. He ends up on a small island, forced to sell his boat and find another way to sustain himself. It’s there he meets Anejo, who immediately pulls him into his erratic orbit, setting off a series of adventures that could be a long-running TV series, a kind of buccaneering version of ‘Gilligan’s Island.’

Punchy dialogue, graphic descriptions of just about everything, and escapades coming out the ying-yang, this is a book that will have you chuckling almost from the first page. From hapless day charters to a clumsy attempt at smuggling, our heroes (or, perhaps better, anti-heroes) never miss an opportunity to snatch defeat from the snapping jaws of victory, and entertain the heck out of you in the process.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review. Thank you for the opportunity, Ed Teja. Oh, yes, and I give it five stars.

Review of ‘Just Different Devils’

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A sassy, irreverent Texan, Hetta Coffey lives on the edge of legality on a boat in Mexico. When she’s offered a mysterious charter, she talks her best friend Jan into coming along for the ride. The two soon find themselves face to face with Hetta’s bete noir, Nacho, a man for whom she has conflicting feelings. He’s up to something, but they can’t figure out what. Oh, and there are missing mariners, oysters full of pearls, a murderous giant squid, an amorous dolphin, and a sexy kilt-wearing Scot making Hetta’s life even more complicated than it normally is.

Just Different Devils by Jinx Schwartz is funny, provided you can laugh when dismembered corpses are being described in gruesome detail. Well, maybe not so much detail, but what is described is gruesome. And, did I mention that while you fight to keep from spewing your lunch, you’ll be laughing your hind end off? You will, I promise. Hetta is my kind of hero, heroine, or whatever the proper term is. She lives life to the fullest, takes no prisoners, and makes no apologies. Yay, Hetta!

Loved this book, and I’m willing to bet that, unless you’re brain dead and totally without a funny bone, you will too.

I give it four and a half stars.

Review of ‘C is for Cookies’

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Hansel and Gretel are like a lot of millennials, adult, but still living with their parents. When their father finally becomes frustrated with their stay-at-home status, he insists that they find jobs, so they become long-haul truckers. Their first job is delivering a load of cookies to a location that’s not on any maps, where they find that they’ve stumbled into a life or death situation, and the thing they have to watch out for is the cookies.

C is for Cookies by Marc Richard is a humorous take on the old fairy tale that is definitely not for children. Rib-tickling and scary all at the same time.

Another five-star alphabet-for-adults book.

Review of ‘A is for Adam’

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So, you think you know the story of Adam and Eve? Well, think again, or better, read A is for Adam by Marc Richard. A really funny take on Genesis that will have you rolling on the floor, laughing your fig leaf off.

Adam is alone in Eden, busily naming things and wondering about two things: the tree with the strange fruit that God has warned him not to eat, and the goat walking on two legs who has eaten the fruit, and except for his unusual form of locomotion seems to have suffered no ill effects. Then, a rib is taken and Adam is given a companion, Eve, and that’s when the fun really begins.

Unless you’re a biblical literalist, you can’t help but enjoy reading this book.

I give it a solid five stars.

Review of ‘Uninvited Quests’

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Lucan, an aspiring squire, and Manuel, an aspiring knight, are on a mission to slay the Dargonqueen, when Wort, the prickleberry winemaker diverts them on a search for a mythical sword. Brae is a half-human paladin on an apology tour for a once evil god—only, she’s not sure about the formerly part—when she, too, is diverted by Wort. The three come together in a cave of slime, oozy, dangers, and Manuel gets himself killed—twice before the death finally takes—leaving Brae and Lucan to complete the original quest.

Uninvited Quests by Lex Wilson is just what its subtitle suggests, a comedic fantasy adventure that turns fantasy novels on their ears and will have you laughing so hard you’re likely to fall into the slime. I don’t know what hallucinogenic substance the author ingested before sitting down to write this, but if he’ll send me the address of the supplier, I’ll take a couple of pounds.

A really, really enjoyable read. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I give it five stars.

Review of ‘A Town Like Ours’

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Jack Wilcon is a wannabe movie producer; not that he’s interested in making great films, he just wants to get that one mega-hit out there to make himself a ton of money. His problem is that he really knows nothing about movie making. He talks a good game, but depends more on his listeners being even more ignorant than he is. When a shlocky film he’s trying to produce flops, Maybelle, his part-time receptionist, one-time lover, and long-time friend, suggests he apply for a job advertised in Variety for a producer to make a community film in the tiny town of Coddington St. George in Australia. Reluctantly, he does, and through his usual chicanery, gets the job. And, boy, does he get the job – or rather, one might say, he gets jobbed. Jack ends up in the middle of small-town politics and internecine squabbling, and as usual, he’s without a clue.


A Town Like Ours by Alexander Cade is a droll look at big-city con men, small town hypocrites, and the fireworks that occur when they intersect. Cade has created an amazing, and amazingly flawed, cast of characters; impossible to love, but hard to turn away from. It’s kind of like the reaction of motorists driving past the scene of an accident—they can’t resist slowing down to see if there’s any gore evident. The author has played expertly on that human tendency. Without feeling a shred of sympathy for Jack, for instance, you can’t help but wonder what will happen to him next.


It you’ve ever lived in, or even visited for longer than a day, a small town, you will recognize Coddington St. George, no matter where in the world you’re from. It is like any small town desperately clinging to existence by a frayed gossamer thread, trying to preserve a past that was never all that great, cope with a present that is oppressive, and fearing a future that’s unknown.


This is a book that, once you start reading, is hard to put down. The pace varies, which is a good thing, because you’ll need the occasional break to recover from laughing at Jack’s misfortunes. Of course, with this book, bathroom breaks are not optional—yeah, in places it’ll make you laugh that hard.

A final note; in many stories like this, the endings are usually kind of left up in the air. Cade, though, has done a masterful job of lacing up loose ends. Don’t miss this one.

Review of ‘700 Jokes, Brainteasers, Tongue Twisters, Knock Knock Jokes For Kids’

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Do you need an ab workout, but don’t want to do a lot of crunches and get all sweaty? You might try laughing. This little book, which takes about an hour to read if you take it slow—and, I recommend raking it slow—will give your abs a great workout. Although the title says that it’s for kids, an old graybeard like me will still find it amusing enough to get a good ab tightening. In fact, I’m not sure that everything in this book is really appropriate doe kids, not the younger ones anyway. Do they really need to know that an intergluteal cleft is a butt crack? Maybe I’m a bit of a prude due to my age, but this is not a factoid I’m likely to share with my grandchildren. This is a truly funny book, though, and the brainteasers will exercise your mind as well as your body.

Even the author’s name, Justin Jelly, is funny.

A nice addition to your book list; it’s just too bad it’s not also in paperback. I give it five stars.

Review of ‘One Shot’

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Jack Shot is a young man without a care in the world. He has a job as a bartender, lives in one room above the bar, and his biggest challenge is whether or not to let his beautiful co-worker know that he has the hots for her. Then, his life takes a left turn and is never the same. A poem he wrote for his co-worker has changed into an enigmatic riddle. When the riddle later is shown to correspond to real life events, Jack finds that he’s somehow been tapped to be made privy to future events, which he must stop, or people will die. As the mystery deepens, he finds that he must confront demons of his past to stop the most horrific event, and he only gets one shot at it.

One Shot by Brian Gates is, in a word, entertaining and amusing—no, wait, that’s three words, or two if you ignore the ‘and.’ Confused? This story will do that to you. Funny and frightening in turn, it’ll keep your interest right up to the last word of the last page (actually, the period, which is the last thing in the book). Gates knows how to pique your interest and keep you guessing—and reading.

Received a free copy of this book. Loved it.

For some strange reason, I was unable to post a review on–something about possible strange review behavior. Not sure what’s happening, but hope it won’t affect availability of what I found to be a thoroughly entertaining read.

I give it five stars.

Review of ‘Stop Licking That’

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Stop Licking That by Karin Mitchell is a hilarious, but ultimately truthful and useful look at the insanity of parenting. Anyone who has raised children will instantly identify with the situations she so humorously describes, and find the list of strange tips, tricks, and oddball facts at the end as useful as they are entertaining. If you’re a parent, or about to become one for the first time, you will absolutely enjoy this book.

I give it five stars.

Review of ‘Oddjobs’

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Mythical beings, demons and demi-gods really, have taken over earth, and at some unannounced future date will pull the plug on humanity. The British, being British, are determined that the end of the earth will at least be orderly. A special government organization has the task of seeing to the paperwork and other bureaucratic actions to achieve that. Morag Murray is assigned to the consulate in Birmingham as a new field operative, but she has a problem; in her previous job, she offended earth’s new masters, and is now marked for immediate death. While dealing with murderous starfish, a strange old woman with cats, and new colleagues who are anything but normal, she has to try and avoid her own inevitable death.

Oddjobs by Heide Goody and Iain Grant is a rib-tickling, heart-pounding book that I have a hard time categorizing. Is it fantasy or is it science fiction? After reading it, I’m still unable to decide. What I can say, though, is that it’s funny; funny and scary at the same time. The characters in this (unimaginable?) dystopian future are believable, even the aliens, because they behave in a consistent manner, they talk like people we’ve all encountered at one point or other in our lives, and the action flows, if not exactly in a linear manner, in a way that makes sense under the circumstances that the authors so skillfully describe.

If you want a tickle and a tingle all wrapped in one package, read this book. I give it five stars.

Review of ‘Jammed’

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Charlie Cooper is not your everyday, average detective. In fact, she’s not a detective at all. She’s a 29-year-old, underpaid precinct secretary working for the Boston PD, with a ton of bills, a ratty car, and a nonexistent love life. Then, her boss asks her to go back to her hometown of Springston and snoop about to see if she can find out how her small town is tied up with a major Boston drug case.
Back home, she has to deal with her nutty family, a couple of wacky sidekicks, and a drop-dead-gorgeous undercover Springston cop who gets on her nerves—oh, and with someone who is trying to kill her.
Jammed by Deany Ray is a deliriously funny mystery with a wacky main character that you will fall in love with. Like war, which is hours of boredom interrupted occasionally by seconds of chaos and panic, this book is pages and pages of wackiness and humor, broken up with a few pages here and there of spine-tingling action.
If you like a laugh along with your mystery, give this one a try. I give it four stars.

My Writing Office

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A real writer can work anywhere

Don’t Wait for the Muse

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Writers who wait around for the muse often get nothing written.

Review of ‘The Alphabet Books’

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I received a free copy of Marc Richard’s The Alphabet Books, which included the letters A through C. I wasn’t sure what to expect, except that it would be a very nontraditional take on some well-known tales. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised at the experience.

‘A is for Adam’ is a hilarious (and irreverent) take on the creation story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, the Fall when they disobeyed instructions not to eat the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and the aftermath. If you’re the pious type, you’ll probably not want to read this story. It will surely offend you. If, on the other hand, you appreciate good satire and fantastic writing, read on.

‘B is for Bear’ is the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears reimagined as an encounter between a mob family and a conniving blackmailer.

The final story in this trilogy, ‘C is for Cookie’, has Hansel and Gretel as long-haul truckers delivering a load of strange cookies to a witchy baker who lives in a house made of all kinds of sweets.

Unless your funny bone has been surgically removed, you’ll be unable to resist laughing as you read this trilogy of funky fairy tales brought to you by an author who had to have been nibbling at some of the witch’s cookies as he wrote.

Funny, fabulously funny, from the first page to the last.

I give this one five stars plus!

Review of ‘Banana Hammock’

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Until I got Banana Hammock: A ‘Write Your Own Damn Story’ Adventure by J.A. Konrath and Jack Kilborn, I’d never read an interactive e-book. To their credit, the authors warn readers to read the description before reading the book, because you just might ‘hate it.’

Well, I read the description, where they mention up front that there a lot of gored oxen and disrespected sacred cows in this book, and it goes where the reader decides to go rather than in a straight line. Wow, was that an understatement!

The story starts with hapless PI Harry McGlade being hired by an Amish woman who suspects her husband of cheating on her. From that point (which, by the way, is the beginning of the ox-goring) this book definitely does not go in a straight line, but in lopsided circles, depending upon the link you chose at the end of the chapter. Like a mountain trail, it has switchbacks, loops, and detours all over the place. Even if you take notes, if you’re not careful, you’ll get lost, which I did around chapter 4—or was it 3—I really don’t remember, and my notes make absolutely no sense.

I finally gave up after ten or twelve forays to the pages denoted by the links, and decided to just read it straight through. Did it come to a satisfactory conclusion? Well, to be honest, I’m not sure. It sort of depends upon why you read. Since this was billed from the start as NOT a straight forward mystery, I just assumed the authors wanted you to enjoy your haphazard journey into their warped minds and twisted senses of humor.

Well, I did that, so I guess, in the end, it was a worthwhile journey. Sort of like a roller coaster ride; you go up, you do down, you loop a few times, and you end up back where you started, a bit breathless, and wondering why you got on the darn thing in the first place, all the time, itching to get back in line for another ride.

If you’re the prissy type who feels that certain types of humor are off limits, then you definitely should NOT read this book. If you like to be amazed, entertained, and tickled, then by all means, do what I did, and read it TODAY!

Heck, I give the authors five stars just for the entertainment.

Review of ‘What If?’

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What would happen if the earth and everything on it stopped spinning, but the atmosphere kept moving? Sound like a stupid question? It is, but it’s just the kind of question Web comic, Randall Munroe, answers on a regular basis. In What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions Munroe uses science, math, and computers to answer some of the most absurd questions you could ever imagine, such as, ‘if your cells stopped dividing, how long would you live?’

Munroe mixes science and humor, illustrated with his signature stick figure cartoons, to answer some of the least profound questions of our age. You might not want to know the answers to some of the questions—a lot of them end in catastrophic results—but, I promise, you’ll get a few good chuckles out of reading this book.

I received a free copy of What If? 

I laughed so hard I almost wet myself reading some of the answers. I give Munroe five stares for this book.

Review of ‘Unwanted Dead or Alive’

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Buck Hawkins and Dobie Garrett are cowboys who work for a kind boss on the Singletree Ranch in the Texas Panhandle. When a crooked banker steals the ranch and frames them for rustling and horse stealing, they go on the run. Unable to find work, and wanted by the law, they decide they might as well become outlaws. Unfortunately, they know nothing about being desperadoes, and things just keep going from bad to worse. Then, they meet Marylou Kowalski during a bumbled attempt at robbing a stage, and at gunpoint, she forces them to kidnap her and then makes herself part of their ‘outlaw’ gang. Under her tutelage, they decide to go for one big score, rob the bank run by the crooked banker and hightail it to Mexico.

The idea of the western as comedy is not the usual way one looks at the genre. Except for Blazing Saddles, which was a funny, but only so-so movie, and The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight, I don’t recall it really being done well.  Until, that is, I read Unwanted Dead or Alive by Gene Shelton. This book’s has some serious (pun intended) movie potential. As Buck and Dobie flub one attempt of thieving after another, I found myself laughing so hard I almost wet my pants, or as Dobie would say, ‘peeing my jeans.’ It was just that funny. And, by that, I don’t mean in a contrived way. This was written in an authentic style, but it was seriously funny, and is probably a more credible depiction of the Old West than the vast majority of stuff that’s been written about the golden age of the cowboy.

This is a book that will appeal to both western and humor fans. I received it as a gift.

I give it five stars!

Review of ‘Innocent in Las Vegas’

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Tiffany Black is a blackjack dealer in Las Vegas, but she wants to leave that job and become a PI. She’s on the verge of having enough supervised hours to get her license when an old ‘friend’ asks  her to investigate the murder of her husband, a well-known casino owner, and in the process prove that the ‘friend’ didn’t do it.

Innocent in Las Vegas by A.R. Winters is a delightful entrant into the category of hilariously funny PI fiction. Evocative of Janet Ivanovich’s Stephanie Plum, Tiffany Black is a character to keep an eye out for. Between her weakness for cupcakes and her inability to stay out of trouble, she’ll have you laughing until you choke. The author has a fine eye for detail and crisp dialogue.

I give this really funny book five stars.