The Love of Summer author Sarah Thompson sat down this week to give her thoughts, reviews, and recommendations on some fellow indie and small press titles.
Since today is International Women’s Day, I [Jeff Slade] thought I’d use my voice to promote the voices of female authors who I’ve found both inspiring and entertaining in equal turns.
So I compiled a list of ten books/authors, five non-local and five local, which you’ll find below. Go and check any (or all!) of them out and you won’t be disappointed!
Jacobi Street is a uniquely dark and twisted tale woven by the extremely talented Matthew LeDrew. The main characters are easily relatable and you feel attached to them right from the beginning. The relationships and interactions of the main characters never feel forced or out of character while still remaining complex and natural at the same time. LeDrew has a natural talent for this type of character development and this talent has shined brightly in Jacobi Street.
LeDrew has done an astonishing job establishing the atmosphere of Jacobi Street by bringing the street itself to life. Jacobi Street will instantly be pictured by the reader and they will feel like they have been there before. Every city has a “Jacobi Street” and LeDrew draws the reader into the story by allowing us to picture ourselves in the back alley of The Menagerie looking at one of Sloan’s paintings.
The story at first allows the reader to get settled in and feel like we have just moved into a artist paradise on Jacobi Street. The story revolves around Bob, a struggling artist who works at The Menagerie. While at first glance Jacobi Street appears to be a beautiful place to live be we quickly discover that Jacobi Street is located in one of the darkest corners of the Engen universe. The mood instantly takes a shift towards the dark and mysterious nature, and this is where LeDrew ignites the readers interest. From the moment a mysterious painting enters The Menagerie, LeDrew starts to accelerate the tempo of the story and he does not let his foot off the gas even when we reach the end of this dark path.
While remaining true his unique talents that have spawned his own genre of horror, LeDrew has shown his growth and devotion to story telling. This will arguably be the darkest story from the Engen universe but even after ten years of writing LeDrew is still able to paint a horrifying tale with his writing.
The Governor’s Daughter is a 2017 period detective thriller from newcomer Sambath Meas. It was published by Red Empress Publishing, a full-service publisher that began in early 2017 offering traditional and new services for our authors to help them succeed and stand out in an ever-changing market. This is the first novel in a planned series by Meas, called The Mysteries of Colonial Cambodia.
This book is part Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes and part Jane Austen, and for those who aren’t sure if that’s high praise or not: it is very, very high praise. The book takes the conventions (and the tropes) of the ‘female-lead period-piece’ sub genre and turns it on its head by putting the protagonist, Anjali Chinak, in a traditionally male role (for the time period) as private investigator. Continue reading The Governor’s Daughter by Sambath Meas | Other Indie
“Fantasy from the Rock” is a collection of short stories from authors who love telling folklores about humans, fairies, trolls, dwarves, elves, witches, and fortunetellers. There are a few stories that don’t quite fit, nevertheless; due to their strangeness, they still fall into this fantasy genre. What they all have in common, however, is their entertainment value. The authors are experienced writers and storytellers and obviously, they love their craft. Many of the stories reveal moral lessons, which folklores of ancient time had often taught us. Like human beings, magical creatures have their negative and positive sides. They’re flawed just like us human beings. Those who allow evil and negative spiritual forces to dominate them threaten other beings as well as the environment in which they live and share with others. My favorite stories are the ones with moral lessons. Thankfully, many are teeming with them. Continue reading Fantasy from the Rock Review by Sambath Meas!
Well, that certainly was a lot of fantasy over the last few months! Time for a palate cleanser I think, and I can’t think of a better way than with some military-grade science fiction.
The Rogue Commodore is the first novel in The Martian War series by prolific author Kenneth Tam. Tam has been writing since 2001 and has published nearly sixty books with Iceberg Publishing, currently based in Edmonton but with strong ties to Newfoundland and Newfoundland culture. Under the Iceberg banner, Tam has four series: the now-complete Equations series, the Martian War series, the His Majesty’s New World series, and The Champions series. He has also a contributed to the Wes Prewer’s creator-owned series Seas of Sand, also from Iceberg. Continue reading The Rogue Commodore by Kenneth Tam | Other Indie
Vampires, Werewolves, and Witches live in harmony with humans, although the majority of humans don’t realize it. Liesel Andrews is a pre-med student who can see supernatural beings for what they truly are, making her the perfect choice to work at the local supernatural hospital. However, her busy-yet-mundane life gets interrupted when she’s called upon to investigate a mysterious illness affecting the vampire community.
Labonté adds to the pre-existing mythology of vampires, giving it some new blood (pun intended), and adding a level of curiosity to the virus (just… how?). As the first installment, Going Viral sets up the world and introduces key characters, giving you enough information to understand what’s going on, while leaving enough unanswered questions to keep you curious. Continue reading Supernatural Causes by Amanda Labonté | Review by Ali House
Figured I’d get the biased part out of the way. Usually when reviewing a new series I’d start off telling you what I know about it going in, and this is the same… it’s just we’ll realize I’m a little one-sided on this very soon.
I’ve spent a little time on Shakespeare. I will say that, on the subject of Shakespeare, I like the comedies more than the tragedies or the historicals, but that’s really just a matter of personal taste. I will also gladly state that I don’t particularly like reading Shakespeare. It wasn’t meant to be read. Shakespeare wrote them to be performed, and you can’t tell me that if he’d realized they were going to be required reading a hundred years later he wouldn’t have made different choices. I love interpretations of the work, however… just about all interpretations. I like adaptations that take place in a historically-correct time period, I like adaptations that take place in modern times, I like other work that borrow from it like Gargoyles… I like it all.
So that’s the genre, what about the comic in particular? Well I know the writer, Conor McCreery. We met at the first Hal Con back in 2011 and played tag during my book launch of Infinity. That’s literal tag. McCreery is a kid at heart in all the best ways, and we’ve been thorns in each other’s sides every year since. I like Conor, so I’m going to say right now I am biased but will try to be fair. Continue reading Kill Shakespeare, IDW | Other Indie
A Quest of Heroes is a 2012 high fantasy novel written and published by Morgan Rice. This is the first novel in The Sorcerer’s Ring fantasy series by Rice, which has produced sixteen sequels to date, with her latest entry, The Gift of Battle, having followed in November 2014.
This book takes its cues from the works that cemented the “heroes journey” storytelling technique into the modern culture. There are shades of Tolkien and George RR Martin noticed and appreciated, but more importantly there are elements of the authors which inspired them: there are strong hints of influences of the epic Greek poems, strong hints of affection for the Odyssey, and iconography like the Dynasty Sword allude to Arthurian legends and folklore. There is a lot to unpack with this book from even just a meta-textual perspective, so much so that I’m genuinely shocked it hasn’t gotten more critical attention than it has: it’s a gold mine of world-building lovingly pieced together from fragments of the epic fantasy worlds that came before it, from an author who recognizes how those elements can fit together to make something fresh and new. Continue reading A Quest of Heroes by Morgan Rice | Other Indie
Making Family is a 2016 contemporary Newfoundland novel by debut author Jennifer White and self-published via the Smashwords print-on-demand service. It tells the story of Rose, a lonely old woman who comes home one day to find a distraught teenager named Hannah, who claims to be her granddaughter, sitting on her front porch. Set in Newfoundland, this is a story of strong women. Hannah seeks out Rose when the unthinkable happens to her and she needs somewhere to turn. Her mother is unreachable and Hannah really needs a woman to talk to. Rose sets out to help her through a difficult time, but worries that Hannah will want nothing to do with her once she learns about the past – after all, it’s the reason Hannah, her father, and brother never knew that Rose was still alive. Continue reading Making Family by Jennifer White | Other Indie