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Lead stories from SPR’s ever-growing independent book portal

Review: My Kill Play: When a Virus Hijacked the Roller Derby by Tim Patten

★★★★ My Kill Play: When a Virus Hijacked the Roller Derby by Tim Patten

Roller derby, in its modern form, has been a cult phenomenon across the world. A thrilling and dangerous sport, it has evolved from childhood pastime to a spectacular arena of courage and cunning on-wheels. My Kill Play: When A Virus Hijacked the Roller Derby is a personal account of author Tim Patten’s experiences with the sport, as childhood hobbyist to professional, and the way his life and those around him changed throughout the late 20th Century during one of the most infamous first-world medical crises of the past forty years.…

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Review: The Diary of an Immortal (1945-1959) by David J. Castello

★★★★ The Diary of an Immortal by David Castello

In The Diary of an Immortal, author David J. Castello shows his skills as a wordsmith and creates an unforgettable narrative that looks at immortality from every possible side.

As a main character, readers can hardly ask for more from Steven Ronson, who begins as a hapless but heroic young man who stumbles upon something unimaginable – a formula that allows him to live forever.…

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Review: Detention Land (Book 1) by Susan Orion

★★★★ Detention Land (Book 1) by Susan Orion

Detention Land by Susan Orion is a wholly unique and affecting young adult novel about Roger Prism, who’s trapped in a prison of his own making. Roger keeps acting out at school, including drawing his teacher on a blackboard in permanent ink, which lands him in the strange zone dubbed Detention Land, in which a woman’s voice behind the wall probes Roger about his misdeeds.…

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Review: God, Grace, Dumb Luck by Phloyd Knucklez

★★★★ God, Grace, Dumb Luck by Phloyd Knucklez

In God, Grace, Dumb Luck, Phloyd Knucklez writes self-deprecating urban prose that explores the connections between his experiences with women, and snapshots of life in short story form with down-on-their-luck characters.

In a way, this is a difficult book to read because it’s not entirely clear if the writer understands how deeply depressed he is, even if his expectations for life are so low as to wear his distress and apathy as a badge of honor.…

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Review: Of Endings and Beginnings by Robert Speigel

★★★★ Of Endings and Beginnings: A Memoir of Discovery and Transformation by Robert Speigel

Understanding why we behave, feel, react and survive the way we do has been a subject of fascination since the dawn of self-awareness. The endless debate of nurture vs. nature, research into the essence of being human, and concerns of destiny and fate have always intrigued our species.…

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Review: Awakening: Bloodline Book One by Tiera Rice

★★★★½ Awakening: Bloodline Book One

Tapping into the paranormal and vampire market has been the goal for many YA and fiction writers in recent years, and while the genre feels full to bursting, certain gems stand out, like Awakening from Tiera Rice. The first book of the Bloodline series, this novel creates two gripping tales for readers to enjoy, separated by 600 years, but linked by mysterious and ancient powers.…

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