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Book Reviews2017-11-04T02:03:39+00:00

Lining Up

Lining Up Book Cover Lining Up
Kevin Bergin
Draft 2 Digital

This is a snapshot from my childhood. I am never sure of my age so I placed it at seven in the story but it's somewhere between five and nine.

I grew up in an idyllic place between the Sussex Downs and the Sea and for me it was hell and torment. The journey has taken me from severe sexual abuse to drug addiction, starting at thirteen and finishing at twenty four.

In London, I discovered computers and spent a few years designing Arcade games for which I wrote a series of books. Then I met a Melbourne lass and we came to Melbourne to live; my beautiful daughter was born shortly after and I started a computer software company which was very successful until I relapsed in 1994.

After another eleven years I asked for help. By then I was broken in spirit, mind and body but this time as I got well I looked at the underlying issues. I came out of denial and sought a therapist to help me unravel the abuse. I had no idea that would be such a journey.

Now I am whole, I know who I am and understand what happened to me.  I have a beautiful Grandson who is 4 ¾ years old, and is being raised with care attention and love by his parents.

The trauma I experienced has not gone, but how I am with it has changed. The boy who was sexually abused is part of me again, vibrant and alive, no longer cowering in fear and together we are making a beautiful life.

We love writing, take photographs, designing software, singing and dancing like nobody is watching.

I love the creative process. Whenever I sit down to write there is that voice that tells me I have so many other things to do and then, "What's the point you're not good enough." Those messages from my family and my childhood environment have been carried in my body and repeated in my life until I turned around to face them and got the help I needed. So when I hear that voice now my inner child and I say thanks, then sit down and write. I am so amazed and enthralled at how much I love writing. Just as I am now. My editor asked me to write a blurb and instead I have written a story.

Thanks for reading.  See you Soon.

Silent Corner

The Silent Corner Book Cover The Silent Corner
Dean Koontz

""I very much need to be dead." These are the chilling words left behind by a man who had everything to live for--but took his own life. In the void that remains stands his widow, Jane, surrounded by questions destined to go unanswered . . . unless she does what all the grief, fear, confusion, and fury inside of her demands: find the truth, no matter what"--

From the start of the story Dean Koontz turns a simple but sad suicide into a whole other world and we follow Jane as she tracks down her husbands suicide and all of the others acrossthe country. Amazing writing and perfect timing, just enough to keep me glued to the page.

Another book from Dean Koontz that I couldn’t and didn’t put down.

What’s next? Can it get any better? The characters would have to leap of the page and start acting in front of me, which is not a bad idea for this book, a movie that is.

Many thanks to the author / Publisher and Netgalley for the advance digital copy. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.

The Marines’, Lost Squadron

The lost squadron Book Cover The lost squadron
David Hayes
Hyperion Books
November 1, 1994

A lavishly illustrated work records the amazing reclamation of a fleet of American World War II warplanes buried in ice in Greenland since the war and recovered by two amateur aviation enthusiasts. 35,000 first printing.

Mark Carlson writes a fast paced well thought out account of this tragedy.

Many thanks to the author / Publisher and Netgalley for the advance digital copy. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.

Mark of Fire

Mark of Fire Book Cover Mark of Fire
The Endarian Prophecy
Richard Phillips
Fiction, Fantasy

Lorness Carol, coming of age in the kingdom of her warlord father, Lord Rafel, aspires to wield magic. But she’s also unknowingly become the obsession of Kragan, an avenging wielder as old as evil itself. He’s waited centuries to find and kill the female prophesied as the only human empowered to destroy him. However, dispatching the king’s assassin, Blade, to Rafel’s Keep, ends in treason. For Blade arrives not with a weapon but rather a warning for the woman he’s known and loved since he was a child. With a price on his head, Blade flees—as Carol and her family are urged away on their own desperate route of escape.

Now, traversing the lawless western borderlands, Carol struggles to understand the uncanny magic she possesses and must learn to master. Though separated, Carol and Blade are still united—not only by the darkness pursuing them both but by a quest toward destiny, revenge, and the revelations of an ancient prophecy that signal the ultimate war between good and evil.


Arrrrrrgh, its finished. No. I was so engrossed in this book I never saw the end coming. Yes I know I must have realised at some level. This book needs a warning, “So good will leave you panting for more”. And who let me read this book before the sequel is released? Now I walk around with the possible next part of the adventure in my head.

Just how I love my books, fast and furious and plenty left to my imagination rather than being led and fed.

All of the characters are well developed and soon tend to lope about your lounge and kitchen. I also love the bear cub. Carol and Arn are the two main characters, the story swings around them. Arn is my favourite and we get to hear and see and feel much of the story through him.

Hendrix The Illustrated Story

Hendrix Book Cover Hendrix
Gillian G. Gaar, Jaan Uhelszki,
Voyageur Press (MN)

Coinciding with what would have been Jimi Hendrix's 75th year on this mortal coil, this (incredibly) is the first full-blown illustrated gift book exploring the life and career of the man most consider the greatest rock guitarist of all time. Hendrix enjoyed the international limelight for less than four years, but his innovative and imaginative interpretations of blues and rock continue to inspire guitarists and music lovers across ages and genre. Inside, Seattle-based music journalist Gillian Gaar examines the guitarist’s upbringing, his service as an Army paratrooper, his role as a sideman on the chitlin’ circuit, his exile in the UK, and his eventual reemergence in the US and the fame that followed until his untimely death in 1970. Featuring design as lavish as Hendrix’s music and carefully curated photography, posters, picture sleeves, and other assorted memorabilia, this is the ultimate Hendrix book experience.

Many great shots of Hendrix. Great for me as I saw him live many times. Notably at Sussex University in the 60’s not long after Chas Chandler had brought him across from New York and once at Bath Festival and Isle of Wight Festival in the early 70’s.

Even so I learnt things I didn’t know about Jimi like backing all those soul and Tamla Motown bands. Also that not only was he in the army but he played guitar in an army band, now that really blows my mind.I love how accurate the meeting of Jimmi and Chas was, Chas says, “I thought immediately he was the best guitarist I’d ever seen,” he later recalled. “You just sat there and thought to yourself, ‘This is ridiculous—why hasn’t anybody signed this guy up?’”

I met Chas later when he was working with my brother and he had a lot of stories to tell, but often when speaking of Jimi it was with sadness or a sense of regret.

If you’re a Hendrix fan or love the history of Rock then the visual and written history portrayed here is second to none.

Kevin Bergin

The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner Book Cover The Kite Runner
Khaled Hosseini
Bloomsbury Pub Limited

Twelve-year-old Amir is desperate to win the approval of his father and resolves to win the local kite-fighting tournament, to prove that he has the makings of a man. His loyal friend Hassan promises to help him - for he always helps Amir - but this is 1970s Afghanistan and Hassan is merely a low-caste servant who is jeered at in the street, although Amir still feels jealous of his natural courage and the place he holds in his father's heart. But neither of the boys could foresee what would happen to Hassan on the afternoon of the tournament, which was to shatter their lives. After the Russians invade and the family is forced to flee to America, Amir realises that one day he must return, to find the one thing that his new world cannot grant him: redemption.

Fantastic Story. So much detail and most of it either beautiful or interesting, often both. I was carried across the planet and placed in Kabul. Moving well, told story, everyone said I would cry. I didn't until the last few pages, the closing of the story and the opening of another and my pages became like paper mâché.

A Thousand splendid Suns

A Thousand Splendid Suns Book Cover A Thousand Splendid Suns
Khaled Hosseini
Bloomsbury Publishing

Mariam is only fifteen when she is sent to Kabul to marry the troubled and bitter Rasheed, who is thirty years her senior. Nearly two decades later, in a climate of growing unrest, tragedy strikes fifteen-year-old Laila, who must leave her home and join Mariam's unhappy household. Laila and Mariam are to find consolation in each other, their friendship to grow as deep as the bond between sisters, as strong as the ties between mother and daughter. With the passing of time comes Taliban rule over Afghanistan, the streets of Kabul loud with the sound of gunfire and bombs, life a desperate struggle against starvation, brutality and fear, the women's endurance tested beyond their worst imaginings. Yet love can move a person to act in unexpected ways, lead them to overcome the most daunting obstacles with a startling heroism. In the end it is love that triumphs over death and destruction. A Thousand Splendid Sunsis an unforgettable portrait of a wounded country and a deeply moving story of family and friendship. It is a beautiful, heart-wrenching story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely bond and an indestructible love.

I should have reviewed this earlier. Another brilliant book, heart rendering and detailing the lives of women in Afghanistan.

Collateral Risk

Collateral Risk Book Cover Collateral Risk
Gwenan Haines
The Wild Rose Press Inc
October 18, 2017

After losing her sister to a serial killer years earlier, scientist Mia Lindgren survives by focusing on the most dangerous viruses known to man. She’s become adept at shutting herself off from human contact—until her lab partner drowns under suspicious circumstances. Forced to accept the assistance of Nick Doyle, an FBI counter-terrorism expert on leave, she soon realizes someone at the Institute is involved in a deadly deception. As she and Nick race to find a killer who will stop at nothing to accomplish his version of Armageddon, they can’t ignore their own chemistry. But can Mia truly put the past to rest?

Bioterrorism at its best. It’s a thriller, very detailed, which makes the pace a bit slow at times. According to other gossip this is actually possible today. I enjoyed the storyline and would happily pick up one of her books again. Great characters. If you’re an addict or an alcoholic, I would ignore the jibes about AA and therapy. Recovery takes a lot more than 30 days in a rehab, in fact it never ends.

Many thanks to the author, to Publisher Wild Roads Press and to Netgalley for the advance digital copy. Opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own


Coming Clean

Coming Clean Book Cover Coming Clean
Leonard Ottone
Biography & Autobiography
November 17, 2016

At 14, Leonard Ottone became a ward of the state. At 28 he learned how to read and write from fellow inmates at Pentridge Prison. During years of therapy he gained insight into his addictions and criminal behaviour. And now he is coming clean to readers of this raw and brutal account of redemption


I read Leonard’s book in two sittings, could not put it down. What a gutsy raw and courageous book you have written. I have known Leonard for nearly 13 years and am also a drug addict in recovery. We come from different countries, different backgrounds and still there are so many similarities. I am certain other addicts will recognise their own addict voice in Leonards story and the insanity of doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result.

Leonard’s portrays his journey across countries and across time from a three year old until now and is a walk through both the hell of addiction and the heaven of recovery and life, being alive.

Coming Clean lends credence to that truth, ‘there is always hope’. The book is well thought out and written and I can hear Leonards voice as I turn the pages. For those peeking out from active addiction, works like this are gold, easy to access and written so we get it. It was great for me as well, pulls me up and makes me look at what’s important in my life. Like Leonard that is family first.

Someone said that the book made them laugh and cry and it took me there as well. Walking through Leonard’s journey was also a walk through my own.

Thanks Leonard, it was a privilege to read and review your book and I am looking forward to more. You have inspired me to finish editing my book, ‘Another Day’ and get it published. I know you will keep doing the great work with Vicdor

This book is a great read and a must for addicts and for all of those around them.

Kevin Bergin

The Wind in His Heart

The Wind in His Heart Book Cover The Wind in His Heart
Charles de Lint
Triskell Press
19th September 2017

De Lint's first adult fantasy novel in 8 years weaves a rich tapestry of story with classic CdL elegance. Young Thomas Corn Eyes sees into the otherworld, but all he wants to do is get off the rez. Steve Cole escaped from his rock star life to disappear into the desert and mountains. Fifteen-year-old barrio kid Sadie Higgins has been discarded once too often. Blogger Leah Hardin needs to leave Newford, come to terms with the loss of her best friend, and actually engage with her life. When these lives collide in the Hierro Maderas Mountains, they must struggle to escape their messy pasts and find a way to carve a future for themselves.
They don’t just have to learn how to survive. They have to learn how to fly.

Oh No, what now? I tend to find a book I love by an author I have never read before and then bring read. I haven’t read all of Charles de Lint’s work but most of it.

So on two levels what to read next and how to follow this book. I loved the stories and the characters and the way that it all winds along on different paths and then merges.

I will miss Steve, Morago, Aggie, Thomas, Calico, Reuben, Ruby, Leah and all of the other characters.

This story hits on a personal note for me as I see many of the changes I am going through echoed here, particularly by Steve.

I finished reading 3 minutes ago and my first thought was, “how can I ever write something as brilliant as that”, followed closely by, “everything I write has merit and value”.

I’m looking for that place in the desert to be.

Thanks Charles


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