The Rise and Fall of Derek Cowell by Valerie Sherrard

, the high-school years. Especially the Junior grades when you are still finding your way around a new academic setting, while at the same time discovering your own way in life. When the opposite sex gets thrown into the mix, and it can be a very confusing time for a young thirteen-year-old lad like Derek Cowell. Valerie Sherrard’s latest Young Adult (YA) title takes a humorous look at an otherwise average self-described “see-through” teen as he becomes quite popular after unintentionally photo-bombing a group selfie of his sister and her friends.…

I Am Herod by Richard Kemick (Guest Review by Chris Benjamin)

memoir had a lot of LOL moments, and considerable depth too. I have never been that much of a spiritual searcher myself. I think I am comfortable enough with my own pseudo-scientific-magical interpretation of the universe, which seems to accommodate any and all new information, that I have never shared Richard Kemick’s need to put faith in any stories that sound to me like ancient fiction.…

Bill Arnott’s Beat: World Poetry

was making my way across town. Town being Vancouver, BC. We have to say that as there’s another one, a perfectly pleasant American one, its pleasantness being its proximity to Vancouver, BC. I was to be the guest on World Poetry Café, an unassuming FM radio program with a shockingly large listenership – one-hundred-thirty-three countries, at last count. When I arrived at the station, Victor, the venerable sound man, said in a Barry White basso profundo, “We just got Sweden.…

Bill Arnott’s Beat: Independents’ Day

bookstores shouldn’t exist. Brick-and-mortar bibliophile havens are retail models waiting to be business school case studies, “Why These Can’t Work.” TV narcissi could bleat indefinitely as to why they’d never invest in such ventures. But they do exist. And despite every reason why they shouldn’t, they thrive.

I was in one of these doomed locales, its interior walls a swathe of indigenous authors, poetry, and every stripe of an LGBTQ2S writers’ rainbow – a showcase of all that’s good in the world of books.…

The Transaction by Guglielmo D’Izzia

cannot be easy to write humorous fiction, although it does seem to come naturally to some. In the television world, they have writing teams, but in the sequestered world of the writer, it’s all on them to produce a work that is not only funny but interesting as well, that tells a story. The Transaction is such a story and from all appearances, Mr.…

The Sign on My Father’s House by Tom Moore

As you can see from the cover picture above, the sign on top of the house reads “GOD DAM SMALLWOOD.” Incorrect spelling notwithstanding, this sign that Felix Ryan’s father has erected on top of their house in the small outport of Curlew, Newfoundland is a bold statement.  Premier Joey Smallwood is revered as a near-deity amongst a large percentage of the Newfoundland population back in the 1960s when the story begins.…

Even Weirder Than Before by Susie Taylor

I have grown to dislike the overused term “coming of age” but that’s how many reviewers will describe Susie Taylor’s Even Weirder Than Before (2019, Breakwater Books), a chronicle of Daisy Radcliffe’s life journey from Grade 8 through the end of high school in the late 80s/early 90s. Fast-paced, it hits all the highs and lows of the teen years: boring classes, romances, school plays, house parties (and drinking too much), teen pregnancies and more.…

A Philosopher, a Psychologist, and an Extraterrestrial Walk into a Chocolate Bar by Jass Richards

Jass Richards (AKA Peg Tittle, see Just…Think About It) is back with another exceptional book that entertains and informs as she mixes feminism, critical thinking and current social issues with humour to produce a story about two 40-year-old women, Jane and Spike who set out on a road trip from Toronto to Paris (!) in search of chocolate. (Chocoholics will love this story).

Bad Ideas by Missy Marston

is 1976, and in Eastern Ontario, alongside the St. Lawrence River a man named Ken Carter (AKA The Mad Canadian) intends to jump the St. Lawrence River in a rocket-powered Lincoln Continental. The event was encircled by hoopla and mired in inevitable delays. Even Evel Knievel said it couldn’t be done. This actual event is the basis for Missy Marston’s new novel, Bad Ideas, published by ECW Press*.…

An Exile’s Perfect Letter by Larry Mathews

intelligent humour seems to be in short supply these days, especially when we could all use a little of it in our lives given the depressing dross served up as so-called “news.” An Exile’s Perfect Letter (2018, Breakwater Books) fills that need, particularly for those of us Boomers nearing retirement age like Professor Hugh Norman is. He’s sixty-two and has three more years to go.…

Deli Meat by Tom Halford

At one point in Deli Meat (2018, Crooked Cat Books), Bree Arms tells her husband Todd that she is reading a book called, um, Deli Meat. She tells him it “is weird as hell and twice as strange,” which is a good summing up of the book itself. It was a very delightful type of weirdness and strangeness that I found between the blood-red covers of author Tom Halford’s first book.…

Bag of Hammers by Edward Riche

I‘ve always been a fan of good satire. Back in the late 70’s and 80’s I read National Lampoon magazine monthly, watched Saturday Night Live and SCTV weekly. Read Doonesbury and Bloom County Babylon daily. Then came This Hour Has 22 Minutes on CBC. This show introduced me to East Coast humour and satire, specifically that of Newfoundland origins.

Although I’ve never been there (yet), the island of Newfoundland appears to me as a distinct society, as much as Quebec certainly does.…

Grandpa Pike’s Outhouse Reader by Grandpa Pike

Laurie Blackwood Pike, a.k.a. Grandpa Pike, is the author of Grandpa Pike’s Outhouse Reader (2017, Flanker Press). Grandpa Pike grew up out in the country in Newfoundland, and later in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, when outhouses were common and reading material took the form of old Eaton’s catalogues or the Family Herald. While these printed materials have long since faded into history, many people still read in the washroom, and Grandpa Pike now adds his own contribution to modern bathroom literature. …

This is the Cat by Berni Stapleton

Stapleton is a Newfoundland- Labrador writer and performer. She is a past recipient of the WANL award for best work in non-fiction for her contribution to the book They Let Down Baskets. Her short stories and essays have appeared in Riddle Fence and The Newfoundland Quarterly. She is a recent recipient of the Ambassador of Tourism Award from Hospitality NL.…

The Minted by Will McClelland

Quebec author Will McClelland has published his debut novel, The Minted (2016, Blue Leaf Press) to some impressive reviews. Quill & Quire noted: “The Minted is nothing like the CanLit with which we are all so familiar.” In his acknowledgements, Mr McClelland confesses: “This book is very much a product of “my first fine careless frenzy” and, as such, writing it almost killed me.”