The Year in Reviews

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Happy New Year’s Eve! Once again, I decided to devote the last Friday of the year to a recap of all the book reviews I wrote in the past twelve months.

In January I reviewed Cliff Hays’s Aamrgan, a mind-bending work of philosophy. Then for vintage science-fiction month, I took on another book heavy on philosophy, Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. Then came a work by one of my favorite newly-discovered authors, C. Litka’s A Summer in Amber. The month finished up with J. Guenther’s dystopian A True Map of the City.

February I decided to go heavy on romance for Valentine’s Day, starting with Jill Weatherholt’s charming Second Chance Romance. Next up was Penelope’s Pleasure by Deborah Villegas. Taking a break from love stories, I also reviewed Doggerel, Sue Vincent’s collection of canine poetry, and Geoffrey Cooper’s medical thriller Bad Medicine. Then it was more romance with E.M Foner’s sci-fi rom-com Date Night on Union Station. After that came the first in Tammie Painter’s fantasy-comedy Cassie Black series, The Undead Mr. Tenpenny. I wrapped up the month with Geoff Lawson’s Boer war romance Forgiven and Peter Martuneac’s zombie dystopia His Name Was Zach.

March had to be Mars month, and I started it off with Litka’s wonderful Martian novella Keiree, followed by Ian Miller’s hard sci-fi novel of a Martian colony, Red Gold. Then came Jackie Hunter’s Lost in the Red Hills of Mars and Jodi Bowersox’s madcap comedy Mars Madness.

April started off with a venture farther from Earth with Jeremy L Jones’s sci-fi adventure Ruins of Empire: Saturnius Mons and then I turned my attention to H.R.R. Gorman’s magnificent, fantastical dystopian techno-thriller American Chimera. I followed that up with Vesa Turpeinen’s modern Western Bounty Hunter Stex and then the second installment in the Cassie Black trilogy, The Uncanny Raven Winston. I finished up with Sid Stark’s academic mystery Campus Confidential and for Walpurgis night reviewed my favorite Lovecraft story, The Haunter of the Dark.

Lovecraftianism continued into May with R. Walter Dutton’s Book of the Elder Wisdom, and then it was on to Richard Pastore’s comedic retelling of Greek myth, Perseus Kills His Grandfather. After that, I finished up the Cassie Black series with The Untangled Cassie Black and then made a return to sci-fi with Henry Vogel’s Fortune’s Fool.

June began with Lindy Moone’s The Harbinger of Gloom Street and Bill Fitts’s cozy campus mystery He Needed Killing. After that, it was time for another Litka book, Beneath the Lanterns, a romantic fantasy adventure, and Abby: Alone, the short prequel to the His Name Was Zach series.

July began with Alex Cross’s fantasy short story The Teddy Bear’s War and then one of my most eagerly anticipated reads of the year, Mark Paxson’s literary YA novel, The Dime. After that, the sci-fi spaceship adventure Fire Ant by Jonathan Brazee and The Fall of Alla Xul by Andrew Rakich finished up the month.

For August, I went back into Tom Williams’s Napoleonic spy adventure with Burke and the Bedouin. Next came a pair of literary fiction works: Zoe Keithley’s collection of poignant short stories 3/Chicago and Kevin Brennan’s Occasional SoulmatesI rounded out August with a return to Peter Martuneac’s zombie dystopia with Her Name Was Abby.

September was time another Litka book, the short sci-fi tale A Night on Isvalar. Then I reviewed Elizabeth Gauffreau’s literary historical novel Telling Sonny, Zachary Shatzer’s hilarious comedy The Goose Finder and finished off with the mystical and mysterious space opera The Dream God by Brendan M.P. Heard.

October is my favorite month, being Halloween month, and accordingly I reviewed various horror books. First up was Tom Williams’s tale of battling magicians, Dark Magic, followed by Seth Tucker’s homage to Victorian horror, Richard Rex and the Succubus of Whitechapel and M.D. Parker’s blend of military sci-fi and horror URP-113. I took a brief break to review Victor Godinez’s new techno-thriller The Doormen before returning to horror with Roberta Eaton Cheadle’s tale of a vengeful spirit, A Ghost and His Gold. I was delighted to cap the month off with Carrie Rubin’s latest Ben Oris book, The Bone Elixir, a perfect modern day Gothic story, complete with a haunted hotel and a demonic conspiracy.

November is not my favorite month, being not Halloween month, but it was eased by the light comedy of the fun-for-all-ages mystery McGorgol and Hockney at the Guano Island Hotel by Audrey Noah. I finished the “His Name Was Zach” series with Their Names Were Many, and then Geoffrey Cooper’s latest thriller, Ill Intent. That was followed up by another hilarious novella from Zachary Shatzer, The Story of John Warbly and the Crabcakes, America’s Favorite Band. I finished up with the epic fantasy by Rob J. Hayes, Never Die.

For December, I took the always dangerous step of reading a Star Wars book. It’s dangerous because nothing causes me to carry on at length quite like Star Wars. But I enjoyed Karen Traviss’s Republic Commando: Hard Contact. That was followed by the excellent ghost story The Last Photograph of John Buckley by T.J. Brown and the hilarious parody of romance novels, 9 Lovers for Emily Spankhammer, co-authored by Brown and Kaleesha Williams. Then I read Ian Fleming’s first James Bond novel Casino Royale and for Christmas reviewed the light-hearted holiday fantasy The Witch of the North Pole by Snow Eden.

And that, my friends, brings us to the present moment. You know, I got the idea for this whole review-a-week thing back in late 2019, and thought I’d give it a try in 2020. I frankly never expected I would do it for this long or have this much fun. It’s proven to be a great way not only to discover new books, but also to meet other writers and readers. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by the blog this year. All the best wishes to you for the new year.

Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to my fellow authors at Writers Supporting Writers, Mark, Audrey, Chuck, Lucinda, and Richard, with whom it has been my privilege to have many excellent discussions about writing this past year. Here’s to many more in 2022!


    1. Thank you. Yet, if I’m being honest, it’s never as many as I want. But, that’s why there’s always next year! 🙂

  1. Wow! I’m mega-impressed with the number of books you’ve read in one year!! I start off determined to read regularly… never lasts with my ability to get easily distracted 😂

    Looking forward to more of your reviews, they’re always good reads, especially when you do deep dives on topics you feel passionate about. 😊

    Wishing you a very Happy New Year and a fabulous 2022!

  2. Wow! I’m mega-impressed with the number of books you’ve read in one year! My best laid plans are usually scuppered by my ability to get easily distracted 😂

    Looking forward to reading more of your reviews, always good especially when you do deep dives on topics you’re passionate about 😊

    Wishing you a Very Happy New Year and a fabulous 2022!

    1. Thank you. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoy reading them. And a very Happy New Year to you as well! 🙂

  3. That is quite the collection of reviews! I was doing really well with reviews until October. Then, who knows what happened….is there such thing as reviewer’s block (like writer’s block)? Have fun reading your way through 2022!

    1. Thanks, Tammie! Yes, sometimes there can be reviewer’s block. Some books are tougher to review than others, too. Like right now I’m struggling to write one for Asimov’s “Foundation.” 😐

      Happy New Year! Looking forward to reading more of your books in 2022! 🙂

  4. I’m late, I’m late! I starred the notification for this article so I wouldn’t forget, but life kept getting in the way. 🙂 Of all the authors you’ve introduced me too over the course of these reviews, I think C.Litka may be my favourite. I’ve read many of the books you reviewed and ‘A Summer in Amber’ is my favourite. 🙂
    Hope you had a pleasant New Year and I wish all of us a better 2022. 🙂

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