A Certain Grace by Binnie Brennan

Every night before turning out the lights, I do a little reading. Last night I finished A Certain Grace (2012, Quattro) by Halifax author Binnie Brennan. I quickly came to the conclusion that I shouldn’t read short stories before bed, especially the type that Ms. Brennan writes. Oh, not that they are scary in any way. I can sleep quite easily after reading H.P. Lovecraft! No, her short stories are of the type that keep the wheels turning in the mind long after you put the book down.… Continue reading

Oatcakes and Courage by Joyce Grant-Smith

Oatcakes and Courage (2013, Quattro) by Joyce Grant-Smith was the 2013 co-winner of the Ken Klonsky Novella Contest. It’s 125 pages are filled with the tense, realistic story of a small ship (the Hector) of Scottish migrants bound for Pictou, Nova Scotia in 1773.

Synopsis

Among the passengers is Anne Grant, who is escaping a marriage arranged by her father to a man she does not love or is even attracted to.… Continue reading

Three Million Acres of Flame by Valerie Sherrard

Three Million Acres of Flame (2007, Dundurn Press) is a historical novel by Miramichi author Valerie Sherrard. It tells the story of young Skye Haverill and her family and friends against the backdrop of the Great Miramichi Fire of 1825, one of the largest forest fires ever recorded in North American history.

Synopsis

Fourteen year old Skye Haverill and her family are living near Newcastle, on the north side of the Miramichi River when, on October 7th, a large forest fire advances on the community overtaking homes, livestock and humans as the extremely dry conditions that summer assist in the rapid spread of the fire.… Continue reading

Random Acts by Valerie Sherrard

This young adult story concerns three ‘quintessential almost thirteen-year-olds’ Zoey, Jenna and Bean who, after scarfing down a huge meal of pizza, garlic cheese fingers, Caesar salad, a dozen buffalo wings (which eventually get the blame), two litres of Pepsi and a tub of ice cream decide to do anonymous random acts of kindness to others after learning about a similar club being started by a rival schoolmate.… Continue reading

Lunenburg by Keith Baker

Lunenburg (2015, Vagrant Press) is a Canadian reprint of a UK novel previously released in 2000. It is a detective/mystery novel which originally begins in 1970 outside Lunenburg, but ends in Halifax in the year 2000. Keith Baker is a UK novelist and has written three other thrillers published by Headline in the UK.  I recently reviewed another thriller What Kills Good Men by David Hood.… Continue reading

What Kills Good Men by David Hood

Any work of fiction that begins with a drunken vagrant talking to a bloated one-eyed corpse certainly has my attention, and that is the way What Kills Good Men (Vagrant Press, 2015) begins. It is the Halifax waterfront in the year 1899. The fledgling Dominion of Canada has sent troops to fight for the British Empire in the Boer War. The American Civil war is still fresh in people’s minds.… Continue reading

Driftwood by Valerie Sherrard

I came across Valerie Sherrard’s name when I performed an Internet search for “Miramichi Authors”. Here, right in Miramichi was a well-published, short-listed author that had somehow flown under my radar. Perhaps this is due to the fact that Ms. Sherrard writes novels for middle graders and young adults. Being well out of that demographic, and having no children of that age likely didn’t help either.… Continue reading