Category: Book Reviews

Book Reviews

A review of Waiting for You at Midnight by Vicki Salloum

Salloum bravely brings the reader into her fictional psychological and experienced discomfort zone. We follow Arabella into crowded AA meetings, observing frightening declarations, addiction denials and relationship failures. We watch as her broken heart bleeds, and all the while continually hope and pray for Arabella’s redemption. 

A review of Rail by Kai Carlson-Wee

Kai Carlson-Wee’s debut book Rail embarks on a never-ending journey that montages places in his life, from a freight train to apartments to highways to skate parks to the rolling hills of the prairie to a dumpster. At the heart of the narrative, Carlson-Wee discusses life on the road, spiritual poverty, addiction, liminal spaces, and the erasure of America’s past.

A review of The Things We Can’t Undo by Gabrielle Reid

Reid’s informative depiction of one such episode should become essential reading within the national high school curriculum and would also provide a great foundation for supervised classroom discussion groups exploring these issues and the consequences of such actions.

A review of sing out when you want me by Kerri Shying

sing out when you want me is a powerful collection which reads easily but continues to reveal secrets and expand outward with each re-reading.  The mostly short poems stay with you, becoming little charms against all of our inevitable deteriorations. It is all about “keeping going” which, in the face of pain, poverty, confinement, medical visits, the poking and prodding of life itself, becomes a heroic, transcendent act

A review of The Murderer’s Maid by Erika Mailman

Fans of historical fiction (especially those based on true events) will likely enjoyThe Murderer’s Maid.  Mailman clearly did her research—she included some of the documented incidents that are now part of the Borden family lore, and creates an interesting secondary storyline that weaves together the past and present into a compelling read.

A review of A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising by Raymond A. Villareal

There is never a dull moment throughout Villareal’s novel. I’m not generally the type of reader who’s into vampires, but this novel is on a completely different foundation. Villareal’s detailed portrayals will be very familiar to readers. His gloamings are out there now – they are those celebrities and political leaders that we worship and imitate. This is a book with wide-reaching appeal, which is going to be very very big.  You heard it here first. 

A review of Little Gods by Jenny Ackland

Ackland handles these themes carefully and subtly – never overstating or diagnosing Thistle or Audra, or giving us too many answers in the mystery, but treating all of the characters with a kind of tender acceptance that is unconditional. Mysteries remain. Time moves forward. Memory is entirely unreliable, but the clues it leaves us are all we have. Little Gods is a poetic book full of beauty, loss, and resilience, exploring what remains in our lives as we move past our pivotal transitions and crises.

A review of Beatific Toast by Anna Forsyth

Beatific Toast is a poetry collection that is as rich with silence and music as it is with semantical meaning.  Though the book is only fifty nine pages long – chapbook size – there is a lot of ground covered, with poetry open enough to encourage and reward multiple re-readings. These are poems are charged by sound, by light, by colour and scent, inviting the reader to join in, to participate, not just by reading the work but by moving with it.

A review of The Water Rabbits by Paul Tarragó

The Water Rabbits exposes the limitations of the review process to an embarrassing extent. It is entirely artificial to read this book from cover to cover more or less in one sitting. It is doubly artificial then to sit down and think of things to say about it. The Water Rabbits needs to be read in small doses; indeed, its stories, dialogues and occasional poems and photographs are arranged in small doses. Sense needs to be made of each individually before the collection can be grasped as a whole.

A review of How It Is: Selected Poems by Neil Shepard

And savored these poems should be. Shepard is an exceptional and emphatic writer, with a sharp eye for the telling detail, for landscapes both real and emotional, and for hearing the music in words, as well as in the sounds of the natural world. It’s not just the way his poems and his birds sing, but his poems can startle the senses of the reader with their rich scents as well.