Tag Archives: Reviews

Jeff Slade’s International Women’s Day Picks

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!

Continue reading Jeff Slade’s International Women’s Day Picks

Livin’ on the Edge: Engen’s Dystopia from the Rock | Jon Dobbin’s Blog

“There’s somethin’ wrong with the world today/ I don’t know what it is” crooned Steven Tyler of Aerosmith in the band’s seminal 90’s hit Livin’ on the Edge. Those opening lines, a cry against the changing and harsh world, are as true today as they were in that almost 30 year gone decade. Turning on the news, reading a Facebook article, or, perhaps, tuning into the Twitterverse will tell you “somethin’ ain’t right.” And while that’s concerning, even downright scary, the art that is produced in these times of hardship is often beautiful, uplifting, and a call-to-action. It tells us to make a change or else. The writers and editors of Engen’s collection of short stories, Dystopia From the Rock, have certainly embodied this movement. Continue reading Livin’ on the Edge: Engen’s Dystopia from the Rock | Jon Dobbin’s Blog

Great reviews keep coming in for Jacobi Street!

Great reviews keep coming in for Jacobi Street, the August release from Matthew LeDrew! The Youtube channel Coates and Jackets did an excellent piece on it (above), and a reader named Jeff wrote the following insightful piece on Goodreads on October 30 2017:

Full disclosure: I’ve never read anything in the Engen Universe before, nor anything by Matthew Ledrew for that matter, save for his three entries in Sci-Fi From The Rock (2016). Also, my only interactions with the author were observing him at the last few The Most Dysfunctional Writing Panel Ever panels at Sci-Fi On The Rock (and I hope he’s recovered from his laryngitis).

Given all the above, I was a tad trepidatious going into this offering; would I be lost without prior EU knowledge? Can this guy really write an interesting horror story?

The answers to those questions are a resounding no and absolutely, respectively. Continue reading Great reviews keep coming in for Jacobi Street!

The reviews are in: Jacobi Street looks amazing!

webCopies are ordered and will first be available at Avalon Expo, along with a simultaneous digital release for those who just can’t wait, but the early reviews for Jacobi Street are  coming and have blown our expectations out of the water! But don’t take out word for it: look and see!

“Jacobi Street paints a vivid picture of everyday life in a bohemian neighborhood. By the time you realize everything isn’t what it seems, it’ll be too late to put the book down. While it might not be the place to settle down, Jacobi Street is definitely worth the visit.”
— Amanda Labonté, Call of the Sea

Continue reading The reviews are in: Jacobi Street looks amazing!

Supernatural Causes by Amanda Labonté | Review by Ali House

020Fans of True Blood*, the Anita Blake series**, and other stories with tall, dark, and devastatingly handsome vampires, should definitely pick up Supernatural Causes by Amanda Labonté.

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

Fantasy from the Rock review by Matthew Daniels

Matthew Daniels, from the rock author“Fantasy had its beginnings in mythology and, by extension, religion. In addition to faith, though, fantasy also challenges belief. This collection is very much in tune with both of these sides of fantasy. Social order, tradition, the world and our place in it, humanity, daily life, even the nature of stories — beliefs about all of these are challenged in Fantasy from the Rock. So celebrate the fairies and other miracles you find in its pages, but look for the challenges and reversals. It’s enlightening, and a great deal of fun” — Matthew Daniels, author of Healer’s Hoards and Living and Learning.

A Quest of Heroes by Morgan Rice | 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

Cinders review by Amanda Labonté

Cinders - novel“Set in the extreme heat of a Los Angeles summer, Cinders fairly sizzles with mystery and crime drama. With great attention to detail, Matthew LeDrew tells a tale that deals not only with good and evil, but also the gray area in between. Weaving through multiple perspectives, the story culminates in a satisfying conclusion that leaves the reader wanting more from these characters. A great addition to any thriller library.”


Amanda LabonteAmanda Labonté lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland, where she gets much of the inspiration for the characters and places about which she writes. Though she knew she wanted to be a writer since the eighth grade, it was many years before she finally walked into a creative writing class and found a new home. As the co-owner of an educational business and mother of two she spends much of her day with kids of all ages. They give her some of the best reading recommendations.

Standing Tall, A Daughter’s Gift by Jacqui Tam | Other Indie

1926817524A Daughter’s Gift is a 2010/12 (depending on the edition) IPPY Award-winning memoir written by the acclaimed and accomplished Jacqui Tam. It chronicles the life of her father, Richard Joseph Barron, and his struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as she and her family’s coming to terms with it. It is unique in that it can be read as a memoir from two points of view: both as Tam’s account of her father’s illness and as a posthumous memoir of the man himself, preserving the memories of this great man in a way his illness, sadly, prevented him from doing.

Tam writes: Richard Joseph Barron had sailed the world over, fought in war, and returned home to Newfoundland to raise three children with his beloved wife. His life had been full of adventure, and he shared his stories without malice or ego, whenever he was asked. Until they were stolen from his memory. When ‘Dick’ Barron fought Alzheimer’s, awareness of the disease was still limited. He knew that he was forgetting, but not why. His family knew that he was disappearing, but not how. Yet beneath the shadow of that slow tragedy, the spirit of his life was not lost. Emerging from the darkness, his daughter learned an important truth: what the mind forgets, the soul remembers.

Continue reading Standing Tall, A Daughter’s Gift by Jacqui Tam | Other Indie