Dark August by Katie Tallo

At the beginning of Dark August, 20-year-old Augusta “Gus” Monet learns that her great-grandmother Rose has died. The death of her only blood relative galvanizes Gus to take charge of her meandering life. She ditches her petty criminal boyfriend Lars and heads back to the small Ontario town where she spent part of her childhood. Gus’s parents were police officers.

Her father died when she was very small.…

Summer Feet by Sheree Fitch, Pictures by Carolyn Fisher

Wherever you are this summer of 2020, with COVID swirling around and many needing comfort, what better than to pick up a book that reminds you of summers past? Sheree Fitch’s delightfully playful language would be a treat to read to young ones – after all, Summer Feet is a children’s book. Not being either a child or having a willing one nearby, I read it aloud to myself several times, revisiting the exuberance of summers past.…

Buried: A Novel by Ruth Chorney

It seems that the majority of Canada’s writers live either on our East or West Coasts or in Southern Ontario. A recent call for mid-western Canadian writers turned up a few names, Ruth Chorney’s among them. Ms. Chorney lives in Kelvington, Saskatchewan, and Buried is her self-published book. (Ms. Chorney has also written a guest review for The Miramichi Reader here.)…

Access Point by Tom Gabbay

Not since I picked up a copy of The Exorcist by WP Blatty, have I read another book in one sitting but Access Point kept me glued to my seat until I reached the last page in this psychological thriller. This author is new to me and I can assure you, I’ll be looking for his other work.

The story opens with Ula Miskin, a neurological researcher, who makes an amazing breakthrough mating the human brain with technology.…

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.…

Cheap Thrills: A Novel by David Kloepfer

Thrills takes place over the course of a single weekend, beginning with the incessantly stoned Ethan and his roommate Phil discovering the body of their weed dealer in a Vancouver alley alongside a box of porno magazines and crime noir paperbacks. Tasked by his eccentric boss with locating the money the dealer had been carrying, gang member Wynne Duncan is led to the two roommates.

No Girls Allowed by Natalie Corbett Sampson

No Girls Allowed, by Natalie Corbett Sampson, follows ten-year-old Tina Marie Forbes and her family as they fight for her right to play hockey. The Forbes family moves from Toronto to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and are excited to get settled in the town. Early on, Tina reflects, “all you need to do to make friends is play sports. Join a team and there’s a bunch of them ready to meet .…

Good Mothers Don’t by Laura Best

illness. It would appear that the mental illness trope never seems to wear out. Is it because we who are able are fascinated by those with a mental disability? Or do we see more than a few of our own thoughts and mis/perceptions in the bringing to light the depths of madness the human brain is capable of? Whatever the reason, I never tire of seeing how an author — using fiction — unravels the tangled up thoughts of a mentally ill person.…

On the Edge by Lesley Strutt

Ontario author Lesley Strutt’s novel On the Edge is part of Inanna Publication’s Young Feminist Series, and is an adventurous read for all ages, especially for those who like sailing stories. Fourteen-year-old Emma (short for Emerald) is living an overly-restrictive life on her Aunt and Uncle’s farm near Kingston, Ontario. For mysterious reasons. her mother handed over care of her to them when Emma was only a little girl.…

Send More Tourists…the Last Ones Were Delicious by Tracey Waddleton

, Breakwater Books the publisher of Tracey Waddleton’s debut collection of short fiction tweeted a Goodreads review:

I thought that was a pretty good description of Send More Tourists… and aside from the odd ‘Barbie head’ there are a lot of great ‘cookies’ in this collection, too. While some reviewers think that the humorous title befits this book, I think there is a darker side to many of the stories (which I was attracted to), for the reader is immediately introduced to the ubiquitous creature under the bed/in the closet in ‘It Lunged.’…

Everything in This House Breaks (Stories) by Sandra Bunting

Church resident poet and author Sandra Bunting has released her second book of short stories, Everything in This House Breaks. Her first collection, The Effect of Frost on Southern Vines was published in 2016, so I have been waiting for something new from Ms. Bunting for some time. There are 21 stories in this collection and they range in length from a few pages to about twenty.…

Frying Plantain by Zalika Reid-Benta (Guest Post)

Note: For the past three summers, Naomi of the Consumed by Ink book review blog and I have been swapping a book review. This year I reviewed The Afrikaner by Arianna Dagnino for her site, and she has written a review of the critically-acclaimed book by Jamaican-Canadian author Zalika Reid-Benta, Frying Plantain (2019, House of Anansi Press)*. Naomi writes from Truro, Nova Scotia and reviews a broader range of CanLit than I do, although we sometimes review the same book, which is always interesting!…

Operation Vanished by Helen C. Escott

Helen C. Escott’s Operation Vanished follows closely on the heels of her bestselling Atlantic Canadian thriller Operation Wormwood (2018, Flanker Press). While that book dealt with an investigation by the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, Operation Vanished has the RCMP investigating some unsolved abductions and murders of women back in the 1950s. Heading up the investigative team is RCMP Corporal Gail McNaughton, whose own father is a retired career Mountie.…

Melba’s Wash by Reesa Steinman Brotherton

Grand Manan Island is part of the province of New Brunswick and has a population of just over 2,000 (as of 2016). It is also the setting for Melba’s Wash by Reesa Steinman Brotherton, who was born in New Brunswick, and whose own story slightly follows that of Esther, the main protagonist.

It’s difficult to summarize the storyline of Melba’s Wash.…