I AM SHARING MY BIRTHDAY WITH A TINY LITTLE PLACE CALLED CANADA, SO I DECIDED TO CELEBRATE WITH THE NATION BY SHOWCASING MY FAVOURITE CANADIAN WRITERS ON THIS BLOG TODAY.
FIRST UP MURIELLE CYR,
“Turtle Wish” by Murielle Cyr is a magic children’s picture book about a little turtle and its early life.After hatching it makes its way into the water and tries to find its family and home.
I love this beautiful story and I adored reading a children’s book that deals with something so simple and precious as a turtle instead of relying on gadgets and superpowers to entertain.
I felt overwhelmed for the little Turtle and its desperate search.
In times when all of us are so removed from nature and entire species are being extinct it is refreshing and warming to come across such a marvellous book.
What is more: the pictures are incredibly endearing, well in sync with the writing which is addressed to children in a very accessible and understandable tone.
I really love this book and if my nieces spoke English I would send it to them.
Thank you Murielle for working on awareness as well as entertainment. The book is lovingly dedicated to children without family and to people with a big enough heart to stop their cars and help a turtle across the road.
Next up Maureen Fisher
“Fur Ball Fever” by Maureen Fisher caught my attention because I am a dog owner and I loved the idea of an entertaining crime read that involves dogs. I have to say that in that sub-genre the book is easily the best I have come across.
Grace owns Murphy, a slightly naughty dog but it is a client’s dog that has gone missing. She recruits her ex Nick to help to locate the dog. Foul play is supected since the missing dog won awards and the investigation leads to some marvellously written situations and characters.
The screwball comedy and chemistry between the main leads is amazing and really funny but the book is full of other hilarious, colourful and memorable characters. Grace’s aunt Beth was one of my favourites, but any dog owner will recognise and enjoy the odd suspects of the often competitive world of dog shows. I breed dogs and have had my share of odd encounters with people like that and many of the scenes in Fisher’s book rang more than true to me.
There is also an entertaining ‘kinky’ subplot in the story; the romance part of the story is steamy in parts but not distractingly so.
I hate to use the often over-used review phrase but the book was a real page turner for me and made me read on when I should have been doing other things. It is that good.
Well written, amusing and full of life this is an excellent fun read that should find a lot of fans, not just amongst dog owners. I hope there will be a sequel.
Next up Eden Baylee
“Stranger at Sunset” by Eden Baylee is a fantastic read. A group of strangers and acquaintances spend a week together in a holiday resort in Jamaica after a tropical storm has recently devastated parts of it. One of those guests has given the resort a terrible write up in a travel magazine, another is an egotistic self-declared ‘alpha’ male, there are a few couples and house staff and then there is our heroine psychologist Kate.
The atmosphere is loaded with tension between the owner and the reviewer as well as between some of guests, there is plenty of sexual chemistry and the air is also full of secrets, plans and deceits. The focus of the narrative shifts to let us into the minds and thoughts of the well-chosen and perfectly fleshed out characters. They are all multi-dimensional and I ended up feeling for even the less likable ones because of the insights into their pasts or backgrounds. Kate as the trained psychologist is a great character who, with a razor sharp ability to dissect and analyse them, brings further dimensions to our perception and understanding of the cast.
The writing establishes and carries forward an excellent sense of expectation from page one, where a brief and ominous episode with binoculars already whets our curiosity. Atmospheric, stylish and confident Baylee feeds us the story day by day until some big events do take place. I do not wish to spoil the experience by hinting at what is going to happen, only that I thoroughly enjoyed the story and was genuinely surprised by the way everything developed.
I read some of Baylee’s erotic writing which has much more depth than the genre normally calls for and “Stranger at Sunset” is no exception. A psychological thriller of literary quality.
“I Can See You” by Joss Landry is both beautiful and haunting. It carefully handles the grim subjects of child abuse and child abduction, letting us witness the plot through the eyes of ten year old Emma, a girl who has nightmarish premonitions and visions of the culprit.
However, not everything in the book is dark and terrifying at all. Emma is a lovely and good hearted girl who is learning how to handle her psychic ‘gift’ and how to separate her imagination from truth. She serves as great, innocent and pure perspective, which adds some gravity to the terror, but fortunately we also see the nicer sides of her social and family life in this book. This part of the book feels like great teen fiction and is reminiscent of the greatness of The Lovely Bones – only with the added bonus that Emma is unharmed and can help the police for real.
The police investigation is another well done part. Landry has created two interesting detectives that make a great team. A school teacher – and ex-lover of one of the detectives – comes to their aid and adds spice and chemistry to this rich book.
The opening dream sequence is an instant pull into the story, a great set up that continues to cast its shadow over the story while Landry established the rest of the well-chosen set of characters. I must admit I am a bit of a sucker for psychic detective stories but I almost forgot about all that over the intense emotions that the book stirred in me. Landry has handled this difficult subject with style and good taste. I hope Emma will return as the lead character in another book.
This is a gripping thriller, intense and powerful but never over-done. Young adults will find it as appealing as older readers. Parental Guidance however is advised.
Next up M. Joseph Murphy
“Beyond the Black Sea” by M. Joseph Murphy is the second in his powerful and imaginative Activation Series. cover
Wisdom is an immortal who leads a group of youngsters with supernatural powers against the evil Council of Peacocks. Besides planet Earth there is also Maghe Sihre, portals between the worlds and a pocket dimension by the Black Sea in Turkey. The plot is highly evolved but the main action revolves around Travis, a normal earthling and cousin to one of Wisdom’s group. He becomes a pawn in the game between good and evil and the plan to activate the Verdenstab, a device that will change the world as we know it.
It is hard not to be in awe of this book that so effortlessly combines so many great ideas. Murphy delivers classic scifi and fantasy fare, amongst others there are time travel, dimensional portals, dragon-like fire-breathing reptiles called Wypera, djinns, demons and even talk of Atlantis and Greek mythology.
The characters are real and not boring infallible super heroes. The youngsters bring in an enjoyable tongue-in-cheek element by talking about contemporary Earth TV culture which makes this novel even more fun to read. I am sure I missed quite a few insider references for regulars of the genre, but what I picked up is an immense love for the genre that permeates the writing and makes this very enjoyable.
With some fast paced action and suspense the story runs along effortlessly as plotlines follow Travis on one hand and Wisdom’s group on the other in a race against time.
There are also some deeper and thoughtful concepts in this book, such as reality, belief and our perception of it that show that this is all well thought-through writing and not just mindless pulp fiction (although the philosophical edge does not get in the way of the action).
This book raises the bar set by its predecessor by adding plenty of new ideas and plot devices in an already highly original and imaginative blend. If you are looking for a repetitive and formulaic style or a one-trick pony writer you have so come to the wrong place. An exemplary piece of science fiction
Then the lovely Selena Robins
“What a Girl Wants” by Selena Robins is a very entertaining romantic comedy with some very strong language and some explicit sex talk and scenes.
It follows the flirtations between Maddie and Alex, two colleagues on a work assignment in Hawaii.
Although they have been friends for years Maddie decides to seduce Alex, which at first does not go well. Told from both perspectives the book allows us to understand both characters’ perception of the often hilarious scenes and the misunderstandings and complications that follow.
Not a huge fan of romance I was pleasantly surprised by the fresh approach the author took, not taking the story too seriously, yet coming up with some well plotted turns and twists to make this engaging and interesting beyond the ‘will-they-won’t-they’.
The inner dialogue that runs along some of the scenes is insightful in some scenes and outright funny in many others. Robins has only chosen great literary quotes to introduce the chapters which adds to the often ironic tone of the book.
With great pace and good writing skills Robins has made this a very enjoyable fun book that easily stands out from some of the more generic and unoriginal helpings in the genre.
I would definitely recommend it to fans of the genre and those who would like try.
My amazing dear friend Karena Marie
“The Happy Spinster” by Karena Marie takes a refreshing and delightful approach to both erotic fiction and female characterisation.
Starting with an excellent clarification of what a “spinster” actually is, the author claims the right for unattached women to be as “non-starved of sex” as is allowed their male counterparts in the societal views.
Her female characters are confident,realistic and fun-filled women with standards yet without pretence. I immediately loved their fresh attitude.
The story concerns mainly Tawny, a woman from Montreal, as she sexually encounters Troy from Texas. They are having great sex and a great time. Although I am not a big fan of erotica I found those scenes well written and much better than many I have read, mainly because they were quite naturally embedded in the rest of the story and were not trying to be shocking or boundary breaking. Realistic with some original ideas and written with great passion they are sexy and pleasant to read.
The ending is excellent and in my view puts the author in a different league of writers, it is impossible to talk about it without spoiling it for you. With her talent Karena Marie has the potential for a long career ahead of her, both in erotica and in other fiction, should she chose to go there.
And coming later this week:
Sorry to all I have forgotten (bound to be someone obvious…)
and then to all the closet Canadians…