COMING EVENT – Attend the Toronto Book Launch of THE TORONTO BOOK OF THE DEAD on Friday, September 15th at 7.30pm – FREE ADMISSION 

Friday, September 15, 2017 – 7:30 PM

Book Launch: Toronto Lit Up

Spacing Store

401 Richmond Street West
Toronto M5V 3A8

Cost: FREE

IFOA and Dundurn Press invite you to the release of The Toronto Book of The Dead by Adam Bunch as part of the Toronto Lit Up book launch series.


“Toronto has witnessed countless lives lived and lost as it grew from a muddy little frontier town into a booming metropolis of concrete and glass. The Toronto Book of the Dead tells the tale of the ever-changing city through the lives and deaths of those who made it their final resting place.”




Toronto Lit Up is a three year initiative, spearheaded by the Toronto Arts Council and IFOA, designed to spotlight Toronto’s writers and empower local artists with career-building opportunities.

toronto-lit-up-logo-magenta-2Toronto Arts CouncilPrint


  • Adam Bunch

    Adam Bunch

    Adam Bunch is the creator of The Toronto Dreams Project, and has written about the history of the city for Spacing Magazine, Torontoist and the Huffington Post. In 2012, he earned an honourable mention for a Governor General’s History Award. Adam lives in Toronto.


COMPANY TOWN is one of Best DYSTOPIAN FICTION books published in the past few years. This is a MUST BUY. I give COMPANY TOWN 6 out of 5 Stars. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟





Length: 285 PAGES      

Publisher: TOR BOOKS  

ISBN: 978-0-7653-9887-1 

Price: $14.99 USD / $20.99 CDN

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 


I purchased this book at Chapters from a display of books by Canadian authors. I was (and still am) thrilled to find a Canadian author writing Dystopian Science Fiction.

 I read A LOT of books and there are a ton of dystopian titles on the market. Some are just okay, most are pretty good and then there are the exceptional few that are so well written the author’s world comes to life and you never want the story to end. COMPANY TOWN is one such book.

Not only is it easy to envision the setting – an entire city filled with people just trying to survive on what was once an oil rig and was never meant for long-term habitation, but MADELINE ASHBY has created an entirely new world history.

In my opinion she is a literary genius. I realize that is a HUGE claim, but once you read COMPANY TOWN, I am fairly certain you will agree.

I do not want to give away any parts of the plot or the setting, but I do want to get across to anyone reading this review that YOU NEED TO BUY THIS BOOK and YOU WILL BE HAPPY THAT YOU DID.

With a carefully constructed plot, characters you can’t help but feel for, and incredible world-building, author Madeline Ashby has written a tale that is a warning to us all about caring for our environment and all those who live in it.

The most terrifying aspect of COMPANY TOWN is that it might become  a reality if no changes are made to how we are all currently living. This book should be required reading for every man, woman and child (over the age of 16.) It is quite simply a MUST READ. I rate it as 5 out of 5 Stars. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 

Photo Credit: Kayleigh McCollum Photography

Madeline Ashby is a science fiction writer, futurist, speaker, and immigrant living in Toronto. She writes a column for the Ottawa Citizen. She is represented by Anne McDermid & Associates, and Jason Richman at UTA.       

She has worked with Intel Labs, the Institute for the Future, SciFutures, Nesta, Data & Society, The Atlantic Council, the ASU Center for Science and the Imagination, and others. Her short fiction has appeared in Nature, FLURB, Tesseracts, Imaginarium, and Escape Pod. Her other essays and criticism have appeared at BoingBoing, io9, WorldChanging, Creators Project, Arcfinity,, MISC Magazine, FutureNow, and elsewhere.      

To learn more about this amazing Canadian author, visit the following links:






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5 Stars for THE GOLD EATERS by Ronald Wright – BOOK REVIEW



Author: Ronald Wright

Type of Book: Softcover Advanced Uncorrected and Unpublished Proof

Length: 384 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Canadian Release Date: September 22, 2015

U.S. Release Date: November 3, 2015

Hardcover Price: $28.95

Publisher: A Hamish Hamilton hardcover from Penguin Canada Books Inc.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I was the lucky winner of an advance uncorrected and unpublished proof from the Goodreads Giveaway program. This program is a wonderful way to discover new authors and soon to be released books. Winning books is a great way to expand your library and to read titles that intrigue you, but that you may have overlooked if not for the giveaway.

The word “epic” is consistently overused in the world of fiction. Many books which claim to be “epic tales” are not worthy of that claim. THE GOLD EATERS by Ronald Wright is truly an epic historical novel. It outlines true events from sixteenth century Peru and weaves them together with fictitious characters. This achieves the effect of bringing personalization to the long ago timeline and draws the reader into the tale.

The story begins with a Peruvian boy named Waman who is on the cusp of manhood. He lives what seems to me, an idyllic existence in a tiny fishing village in Northern Peru.

Waman is like every other teenager throughout history. He seeks independence and adventure, as well as the ability to prove that he is old enough to make his own life choices.

When he decides to leave home to seek his future upon the sea, he visualizes a life filled with adventure, much like the life in the stories he has heard all his life from his grandfather. Little does Waman know that the adventure he seeks will be found and will be much more difficult to endure than he ever could have imagined. In fact, it quite possibly might be than he can handle.

On his very first sea voyage, Waman ends up captured by a Spanish sea captain who is seeking the fabled land of Peru. He plans to use Waman as a forced interpreter.

Chained and kept in the bowels of the Spanish ship, Waman immediately regrets following his rash impulse to run away from his boring, but safe life in Little River village.

The story may begin with a simple Peruvian villager, but that young man soon finds his fate tied not only to the Spaniards, but also to the Inca (King) of Peru as well as his descendants.

Ronald Wright’s descriptions of the sixteen century Peruvian landscape and their amazing social structure are simply stunning. It is impossible to read this book and not have vivid pictures appear in the reader’s mind.

I was utterly fascinated by the details of how the Peruvians were able to rule over such a vast geographic area and yet ensure that everyone had enough to eat and poverty simply did not exist. One has to wonder what this amazing civilization might have accomplished had the Spanish never invaded and brought with them the plague of smallpox.

This book is a MUST READ and is destined to be a bestseller.

I am ashamed to admit that before reading THE GOLD EATERS, I had not read any of Ronald Wright’s previous books. After discovering his amazing ability to weave fact and fiction into a compelling and fascinating tale, I plan to read any and all of his books as soon as possible.

I rate THE GOLD EATERS as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



Historian, novelist, and essayist Ronald Wright is the award-winning author of ten books of fiction and nonfiction published in 16 languages and more than 40 countries.

Much of his work explores the relationships between past and present, peoples and power, other cultures and our own.

A Short History of Progress, in which he examines humankind’s increasingly precarious “experiment” with civilization, was the best-selling book in the 50-year history of the prestigious CBC Massey Lecture Series, winning the Libris Award for Nonfiction Book of the Year. Martin Scorsese’s Surviving Progress, a documentary film based on the book and produced by Cinémaginaire, Mark Achbar, and other members of The Corporation team, premiered in fall 2011 (see News).
Wright’s first novel, A Scientific Romance, a nightmare future of our making, won Britain’s David Higham Prize for Fiction and was chosen a book of the year by the New York Times, the Sunday Times, the Mail on Sunday, and the Globe & Mail. His other bestsellers include Time Among the Maya and Stolen Continents, a history of the Americas since Columbus which won the Gordon Montador Award and was chosen a book of the year by the Independent and the Sunday Times.
Wright contributes criticism to the Times Literary Supplement, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other publications. He has also written and presented documentaries for radio and television on both sides of the Atlantic. His 2008 history, What Is America?, was a No.1 bestseller and finalist for the B.C. Book Prize.
Born in England to Canadian and British parents, Wright read archaeology and anthropology at Cambridge University and has been awarded two honorary doctorates. He spent many years in Mexico and South America, Africa, and the South Seas, travelling for his books, taking part in anthropological research, and recording indigenous music. While in Peru he also wrote Lonely Planet’s first Quechua (Inca) phrasebook.
Wright lives on Canada’s West Coast. His latest novel, The Gold Eaters, is published by Hamish Hamilton/Penguin Canada and Riverhead/Penguin USA in fall 2015. Three of his earlier works are also newly available in Penguin Modern Classics.

To learn more about this author visit

Purchase Links:

5 Stars for THE PRISON BOOK CLUB by Ann Walmsley

Cover image obtained from

Cover image obtained from


Author: Ann Walmsley

Type of Book: Hardcover

Genre: Non-Fiction

Length: 279 pages

Release Date: September 22, 2015

Publisher: Viking – A Division of Penguin/Random House Publishing

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free ARC (Advance Review Copy) in hardcover of this book through the Goodreads Giveaway program. A review is not a requirement of receiving the book, but it is appreciated.

There are several factors that drew me to this book. Firstly, the author, Ann Walmsley, is Canadian and I love to read books written by my fellow Canadians. Secondly, this book is non-fiction and the subject matter intrigued me.

There is something about prison life that fascinates people. In the past few years a number of new prison-based television series (both fictitious and factual) have been created. Netflix has created a series called “Orange is the New Black” which takes place in a fictional U.S. woman’s prison. New Zealand’s “Wentworth” is similar to “OITNB.” There are also several new documentary/reality shows aired on channels such as A&E including “Behind Bars – Rookie Year” which chronicles the challenges new prison guards face when first beginning their jobs.

Before reading “The Prison Book Club” I was guilty of thinking of book clubs as the milieu of the middle or upper classes. I had never given a thought to the fact that people in prison would want to take part in such a club. Of course I am aware that reading takes place in prison since it is a way for inmates to pass the time. However, I had a hard time picturing inmates of different religions and different races putting aside their prejudices to get together to discuss literature. To me, this idea seemed to be fraught with pitfalls that would ultimately lead to it’s failure.

As I read this book I was surprised to read the responses of the inmates to the various books they read. Some of the reactions were insightful and intelligent.

I understand the goal of the prison book clubs is to foster empathy in the inmates through the reading of literary fiction. I was surprised to find that many of the books that were chosen were books that I had also read and enjoyed. Before reading “The Prison Book Club” I had a hard time picturing hardened criminals sitting together to discuss books in an intelligent and meaningful way. Now that I have finished reading the book, I am able to admit that it was my preconceptions that had skewed my view of what a prison book club would be like. This book has shattered those preconceptions and opened my eyes to the possibility that something as simple as reading and discussing a book can have a profound effect on those who are incarcerated.

I admit that throughout the book I was waiting for something violent to happen to the author, either during the book club meetings or during her one-on-one interviews with the participants. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case.

I think anyone who loves a good read will enjoy and be able to relate to this book. It is also interesting to compare my own experiences while reading with those of the prisoners.

This book will open your eyes to the fact that while there are some people in jail who are probably irredeemable, that is not the case for every inmate. No matter what crime a person has committed or why they did so, these men are still people with valid opinions and who deserve a chance to enrich their lives through reading.

There is one other thing that readers will take from this gripping book: the desire to either join or start a book club of their own.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

To find out more about this book or to preorder it before it’s release on September 22, 2015 go to:


Author photo obtained from

Author photo obtained from

Ann Walmsley is a magazine journalist whose work has appeared in The Globe and Mail and Maclean’s.

She is the recipient of four National Magazine Awards, a Canadian Business Journalism Award and two International Regional Magazine Awards.

Ann founded her first book club at age nine. She lives in Toronto with her family.

“The Prison Book Club” is her first book.

To learn more about her visit or follow her on Twitter @annpwalmsley

AIN’T NO GRAVE by S.A. Softley – 5 Star BOOK REVIEW

Cover Image obtained from www.softley

Cover Image obtained from http://www.softley

The Penance of Leather: Book One

Author: S.A. Softley

Type of Book: eBook

Length: 260 pages

Genre: Fiction – Suspense

Release Date: August 1, 2015

Publisher: Book Baby

ISBN: 9781483557144

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

** Advisory: This book contains mature themed, occasional violence, sexuality and language that may offend some readers. It is intended for audiences ages 16+

You can see the trailer for AIN’T NO GRAVE here:

While on what should have been a short and uneventful flight, a man becomes violently ill. When he stops breathing, CPR is administered but the attempt at resuscitation proves to be futile.

The pilot announces that the plane will be making an emergency landing. It is at this point that everything seems to go wrong; REALLY wrong.

“… only comes in flashes; images; feelings. I remember a piercing scream… I remember the searing heat that spread slowly… After that, everything went dark.”

When consciousness returns to the main character in the story, he realizes he is no longer on the plane. His clean shaven face has mysteriously grown a full beard and hunger gnaws at him. He also realizes he is in a hospital and he seems to be all alone.

Exiting the hospital he discovers that he is in a small Canadian town. Despite its normal outward appearance, the town is completely silent and seems to have been abandoned in the middle of a regular day. “Looking up and down the road, I couldn’t see movement anywhere.”

He needs to figure out what happened and exactly what he is going to do about it.

He quickly realizes that something is really wrong. He seems to be the only person left alive.

S.A. Softley has created a page-turner that is a distinctly unique take on the post-apocalyptic/zombie genre. When I first started reading and the main character woke up in a hospital, I had visions of a complete rip-off of “The Walking Dead.” This, thankfully, could not be farther from the truth.

The main character is unique. As readers learn more about him they begin to empathize with his situation. When he meets up with the old man the story takes an interesting and unexpected twist. In fact, I was taken completely by surprise; which does not happen very often.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

AIN’T NO GRAVE is the first book in The Penance of Leather Series and is such a great story that I was surprised to discover that it was the author’s first novel. I am very much looking forward to the next book.

Lovers of post-apocalyptic and zombie novels will fall in love with S.A. Softley’s terrific new series.

Buy a copy of AIN’T NO GRAVE today. You will not be disappointed.

I highly recommend this book and feel that it deserves a 5 Star rating. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


“As in so many horror movies, the implication of the monster is always more frightening.”

“I silently cursed my family for my stunted emotions. My father had never expressed a feeling other than displeasure in his life as far as I could tell and my mother had wandered through life with blinders on, forcefully unaware that she’d married an asshole.”

“I’d had longer relationships with disposable razors than with most people.”

“My gaze fell in horror to the grotesque and peeling shape that hung between his legs. Few things could bring as much sympathetic dread to a man as the sight of damage to that most valued of organs.”


Author image obtained from

Author image obtained from

S. A. Softley lives in Calgary Alberta, Canada with his wonderful wife. He is a teacher and musician with a number of album and writing credits to his name. When he is not teaching, playing music, reading or writing; he enjoys travelling and seeking out new experiences and adventures. Softley is a perpetual learner and graduate of the University of Calgary. To learn more, visit


Just a quick note to let you know that Circumcised at Seventeen: A Previously Uncut Comedy will be on sale for $0.99 from August 11th to August 13th.


This is what some

of you are saying

A great book; will

appeal to a

large audience – Amie

I laughed very often

and even out loud –


Left me giggling long

after I finished – Ruth

This is a very cute and

funny book – Alysia

A fun book for teens

and adults – Nancy

This is hilarious and

fun reading – Jane

Tell your friends

Get your copy now at…

Amazon, iBooks, Nook, Kobo, and Google Play

Copyright © 2015 Brian Robert Smith. All rights reserved.


Cover image obtained from

Cover image obtained from


Author: M.I. Lastman

Type of Book: Autographed Paperback

Length: 322 pages

Genre: Fiction, Apocalyptic, Environmental

Publisher: Friesen Press

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free autographed copy of this book from the author through one of my Goodreads groups.

** This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Not only is the story riveting and the characters believable, but it is also terrifyingly plausible, and maybe even inevitable. This is a MUST READ for every adult whether or not they are fans of the post-apocalyptic genre or not.


This book is written as a memoir that Jim Easom is writing and plans to leave for future generations to find so that they will know what happened to their ancestors.

When seventy-two year old Jim Easom awakens in his bedroom feeling sore and desperately thirsty, he is surprised to find that he is alone.

As he slowly regains his strength over the span of several days, Jim realizes that it is not just his wife and grown sons that are nowhere to be found … its his entire neighborhood, and maybe more, much more.

Realization dawns that he may be the sole survivor of the horrible pandemic that has swept through all of North America.

Jim spends some time roaming around his native province before setting out to cross the country. His journey begins in Southern Ontario, Canada and his ultimate destination is the Northwest Territories. He hoped that by traveling as far north as the land will allow, that he will find other survivors and ultimately build a new home.

He does not find much in the way of other people, but he does end up finding and adopting a sheltie puppy. He also, strangely enough, ends up befriending a thirteen year old girl.

Both the dog and the girl have experienced suffering and unfortunately they have not left that suffering behind.

The unlikely group travel together as they try to come to terms with their new reality.

Wow! Right? This book sounds terrific! And, it is a riveting read. But, it is also much more than just a story. It is a warning.

Why do I say that? In what way is this book a warning? Well, that is actually an easily answered question.

This book is so terrifyingly believable and oh so plausible that it will raise goosebumps on the arms of it’s readers.

The post-apocalyptic genre is full of books with doomsday scenarios and stories of “apocalypse by zombie” infestations which no one actually takes seriously. Those books are popular due to shock value and due to the fact that no one believes that those scenarios will ever actually happen. They are “safe” post-apocalyptic fiction, meant for pure entertainment.

ROCKY MOUNTAIN LOCUST (Opus 1) is far from the same thing. This book is a clear warning to us all. This COULD ACTUALLY HAPPEN. And, it could happen any day now.

Lest potential readers think this book is too serious, let me reassure you. This book is chock full of wit and is interspersed with bits of humor. Even the author’s choice of pseudonym “M.I. Lastman” is a play on words meaning “Am I the last man?” Humor also presents itself in the name of the stores that Jim visits in the book. The expensive menswear store is called , “Gottbucks” and the superstore that has popped up all over suburbia in the province of Ontario which everyone knows the name of, is called “Plundermart” in the book. There are many more examples in the book of the author’s sarcastic sense of humor, but you will need to read it in order to discover them for yourself.

This book needs to be read by as many people as possible. Not only is it extremely entertaining, but the message/warning it contains is important.

The author has a gift for description. For example: “… I drove through a world that, as I’ve said, looked not at all like the Hollywood imaginings of the post-apocalyptic world. There was nothing particularly threatening out there, and the deep calm was eerie.”

Some may wonder why the author chose to call his book “Rocky Mountain Locust”, but that is explained in the following quote from the book: “… the world was in sorry shape, awaiting something sinister. So Nature simply said ‘Enough,’ as it had in the past with other plagues, and shut us down. Think of the … Rocky Mountain locust. At the height of its infestation, that species must have numbered tens of trillions of individuals… The infestation of locusts mysteriously suddenly collapsed …”

ROCKY MOUNTAIN LOCUST would be a great choice for a Book Club read. There are so many different topics that come up when reading this book that a book club could easily spend multiple meetings imagediscussing this one book.

This book should be added to the MUST READ list of every intelligent adult. I give this book a rating of 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐



“Nature must have resented our attempts to take over its role in evolution. A new bug with 100% lethality and 100% transmissibility among humans was her solution to the problem…”

“But I don’t regret the loss of measured time. I find the reckoning of days, nights, and seasons more than sufficient.”

“… the economy has always come first among humans, way ahead of ethics, way ahead of god, maybe even ahead of sex.”

“Next I went looking for a gun – a shotgun if possible… The selection would be nothing like as satisfying as you could find at a walk-in weapons fair south of the [Canadian] border – no switchblades, no assault rifles, no submachine guns. In suitably enlightened states such as Texas, the lunatic fringe (more a blanket than a fringe) of American citizenry argued that we had a universal, inalienable right to own guns. Why? – so we could protect ourselves from everybody else’s guns, and from those hordes of marauding animals, which along with miscellaneous ‘Slant-Eyes and Muslims,’ seemed about to break into the sanctity of our homes the moment we left the front door open.”

“Even as it had become increasingly obvious over the last few years that the United States was, in all but name, at civil war, the National Rifle Association, generously funded by the lucrative American arms industry, continued to devote it’s considerable lobbying and advertising power to safeguarding the right to own guns – bring on the Columbines, the Virginia Techs, and the Newtowns – bring on those black American boys with an average life expectancy of eighteen. Yeehaw, you shoot’em, cowboy!”

After raiding a high-end menswear store and helping himself to ridiculously expensive clothing, Jim plans to wear the designer clothes and burn them after they are no longer useful.
“Next morning, I got from the Honda a pair of colourful and expensive Armani shorts and some Birkenstock sandals looted from Gottbuck’s. Before ‘the Death’ if you purchased designer clothes, or designer anything at a high-end shop, you might have the satisfaction of paying one hundred times what the same product would have cost from the big box of the world’s most nonexclusive, most destructive, and ugly merchandiser, Plundermart.”

“Soon after the weather changed; snow began to melt and icicles dripped steadily. Then came … perfect hoar frost weather. Jenny … had never seen a real hoar frost… These events are extravagantly beautiful. On the golf course there was a light dusting of snow that sparkled in the sun like ten trillion fleeting diamonds. Each solitary tree, according to the intricate drapery of its species, became an infinitely detailed, unique snow-and-ice sculpture. The loght etched improbable gray shadows over pristine and featureless, lauzuline white fairways, framed by a cloudless, sapphire blue sky… This is such a thing unto itself that it beggars description.”

(From the author’s website)

“M.I. Lastman is a retired music professor and professional musician who includes enjoying the natural world, travel, and rhetoric among his hobbies. He has published many articles in the academic press and released a number of commercially available CDs. He continues to compose music and perform. Living with his wife in southern Ontario, he is working on the first book of a planned non-fiction trilogy that is a call to action on environmental degradation. You hold in your hand opus one from another project, his first novel. He expects that there will be no need for opus three with his initials reversed. After all, who would read the work of I. M. Lastman?”

To learn more visit


I had the distinct pleasure of meeting this author and his wife and enjoyed a lively discussion with them about a variety of topics. It is unfortunate that they live so far from me. It is becoming increasingly difficult to meet people with whom an intelligent conversation can be had. Despite our age difference I felt a kindred meeting of minds with these two wonderful people immediately upon meeting them.


You can order a hardcover or paperback (or eBook) version of this book online at

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MiNRS by Kevin Sylvester – ARC BOOK REVIEW – Release Date September 2015

MiNRS Cover Art


Author: Kevin Sylvester

Type of Book: ARC Paperback

Length: 338 pages

Genre: Middle Grade Fiction – Ages 8-12, Grades 3-7

Release Date: September 22, 2015

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy) of this book through the Goodreads First Reads program.

This book may be targeted at kids ages 8-12 but adults and young adults will enjoy the story as well.

Earth was on the brink of destruction. Perses, a small planetoid was on a collision course with Earth. People thought that they were all going to die. But, Hans Melming came up with an idea that saved Earth from annihilation.

Once disaster was averted, it turned out that Perses could sustain life and also had an abundance of minerals, nutrients and precious metals that Earth needed. So, Melming Mining was born.

Christopher Nichols, Elena Rosales, and their families were among the first to sign up to live, work, and colonize the planet of Perses.

A small number of people lived and worked on Perses and life there was pretty good. Christopher was both proud and excited to be part of what was being called the “Great Mission.”

For the first time ever the planet was set to experience a two month long communications blackout between the colony and Earth. The colonists were ready for it and even planned a party for all the colonists at the onset of the blackout.

They had thought of everything, or so they thought. On the night of the blackout, everyone is attending the party when suddenly bombs start to fall all around them. They are under attack.

There are only a handful of people who survive the attack and they are all kids. They hide in the maze of mining tunnels located deep under the planet’s surface. But, can they survive the two month blackout? and can they find a way to contact Earth once the blackout ends?

This book is an action-packed thrill ride suitable for everyone ages 9 and over.

There are several things I like about MiNRS.

1. I love the title. “MiNRS” can stand for both “miners” for the job of mining the necessary materials, and for “minors” since all of the survivors are under the age of 16.

2. The cover of this book is terrific. It gives off the exact vibe of this story. It draws the eye and makes you want to pick up this book to see what it is about. The cover was designed by Sonia Chaghatzbanian.

3. I like that this book is not all sunshine and roses. People die. People get injured. The kids sometimes fight amongst themselves. Best of all, the kids (even Christopher, their leader) make mistakes. Too many books seem unrealistic because the kids act perfectly, band together seamlessly and make all the right decisions. MiNRS is much more realistic. The kids are scared and they are all traumatized (to varying degrees) by the attack on the colony and the death of their parents.

4. I love that this book has a moral to the story. In fact, there are several morals that can be learned by reading MiNRS.

5. I also like the fact that this book addresses the problem of Earth’s finite resources. If the Earth had not depleted it’s own resources, they would never have had to turn to another planet to find the materials that Earth so desperately needs.

8. I like the fact that this book is over 300 pages in length. When buying a book I like to know I am getting value for more money.

7. I also enjoyed the ending. It neatly wraps up the storyline and just when you think everything is resolved the author throws a curveball and sets up the next book in the series.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I give it a 5 out of 5 stars rating. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I will definitely be on the lookout for the second book in the MiNRS series.

REMINDER: Mark your calendars for the release of MiNRS on September 22, 2015.


MINRS Author Pic Kevin Sylvester

Kevin Sylvester is a writer and illustrator who lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

His books: Neil Flambe and the Marco Polo Murders won the 2011 Silver Birch award for Fiction. Neil Flambe and the Aztec Abduction was runner-up in 2012. Neil Flambe and the Crusader’s Curse was up for the 2013 Silver Birch. His picture book Splinters was nominated for the 2012 Blue Spruce! Cathy Rondina and Kevin Sylvester won the Silver Birch for Non-Fiction in 2012 for Don’t Touch that Toad. His book Gold Medal for Weird won the 2009 Silver Birch for Non-Fiction.

He has also been a broadcaster with CBC Radio in Canada for many years.

To find out more about him visit



CROSSFIRE – Omega Group Book One

Author: Andrea Domanski

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Melissa Chatwood

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal Fiction

Length: 5 hours, 29 minutes

Release Date: March 3, 2015

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

I was not sure what to expect from this audiobook. The descriptive blurb intrigued me and I decided to give it a chance. I am glad I did. I enjoyed the mixture of genres that are included in this book.

This book combines paranormal fiction with science fiction and mystery all in a Young Adult friendly novel.

Mirissa Colson’s mother left for work one morning, twelve years ago, and never returned.

Now, on Mirissa’s eighteenth birthday, a package arrives from her mother. Mirissa is of course both intrigued and repelled. Does she really want anything from the woman who so callously left her husband and six year old daughter?

What Mirissa discovers is that she is not just an average teenager, in fact she is descended from an ancient line of Amazon women and it is her destiny to fight and defeat evil.

Mirissa’s gift was an Amazon ring. Her mother sent it to her and now must learn what her powers are and exactly what the ring can do.

Of course, no story would be complete without the requisite bad guy. In CROSSFIRE the bad guy is an evil genius.

There are battles, teen angst, Amazon warriors, good versus evil elements and of course a budding romance. What more can readers want?

CROSSFIRE is a young adult novel. There are many elements to the story that listeners will enjoy. There is a bad guy who is set to take over the world and it is Mirissa’s destiny to stop him.

Melissa Chatwood narrates this book with evident skill. There are a lot of characters in this book and it would have been easy for listeners to become confused, but Melissa navigates through the characters with ease. The listener is able to immerse herself in the story. I give the narration 5 out of 5 stars.

I rate this audiobook as 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐



Born and raised near Toronto, Canada, Andrea Domanski moved south to get away from the snow and cold when she was 24 years old. She now lives in Savannah, Georgia with her husband, Mark, their two children, and their Golden Doodle.

After selling her business in 2012, Andrea focused her energies on raising her two children and finding a new career path that excited her. It wasn’t long before she decided that writing a novel – something she’d always wanted to do – would be her next big adventure.




Author: Jaq C. Reed

Type of Book: eBook

Genre: Dystopian Young Adult Fiction

Length: 278 pages

Release Date: April 30, 2015

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

* Eerily plausible

* Terrifyingly realistic

* Horrifyingly inevitable?

This is a shining example of dystopian fiction that readers will instantly identify with.

Rampant wastefulness, overpopulation, pollution and a depletion of the world’s food supply led to chaos, starvation and disease. Much of the world’s population has died.

Visionaries hoping to save mankind and to preserve human life set about building an enormous domed structure that would be able to feed and house as many people as possible. Once built, those that took part in it’s design and construction, along with their families were allowed to live inside it’s protected environment.

Jaq C. Reed has invented a dystopian future where mankind lives inside this domed utopia. The dome protects them from the punishing sunshine and poisonous rains that fall on all unprotected lands.

Babies are no longer born naturally. New “models” (the name they use to refer to children) are created in a lab. This ensures that each model has no genetic defects or predispositions to sickness or disease.

The crime rate is zero, the disease rate is zero, obesity and malnourishment have been eliminated; life is perfect. Or is it?

Each citizen’s path in life is determined by their “code.” No matter what color your code is, you must follow that color’s predetermined path. If you are coded “yellow” your life is that of a “cleaner”; green makes you a “carer” and blue means you work in food preparation and distribution. The only people whose lives are not determined solely by their code are the grays and reds. They are the Governance. They set the rules and even determine what and how much each citizen is required to eat on a daily basis. Nothing is left to chance. People’s lives are regulated right down to the tiniest detail.

But, has the Governance gone too far? When the Governor announces that everyone’s code clock will terminate at age forty rather than the accustomed to age of fifty, people seem stunned but they accept the decree meekly. They know of no other way to react. In fact, meekness and docility is purposely added to their genetic code before they are even born.

Felix is a gray. His father is the Governor. Ara is a yellow. They met as children and became friends despite the risks.

At the age of seventeen people are assigned a genetically appropriate mate. Ara and Felix know that they can never be mated to each other.

As Ara discovers more about the world she lives in, she begins to question everything she has ever been taught. She also begins to question if she really knows the people around her.

The main question is: what can she do about it?

This book is like an amalgamation of John Wyndham’s book “The Chrysalids” with the movies: Logan’s Run and Soylent Green. But that description does not really do THE UNGOVERNED justice. This book is an engrossing read with realistically flawed characters and a plot that will keep you reading long into the night.

Aside from the fact that this is quite simply a terrific story, it can also be seen as a warning of what may come to pass.

Just like in the book, present day scientists are genetically modifying the crops we grow and the animals we raise for food are being injected with hormones, steroids, antibiotics and other substances. In the book this type of genetic engineering resulted in people becoming ill from eating these products. Who is to say that this will not happen to our world?

People are choosing which of their embryos to allow to be born, often based on the desired sex of the baby. This type of selective reproduction could easily become rampant and more and more “designer babies” will be born.
It is not so unbelievable that people will want to eliminate all so-called “defects” from their unborn babies.

In the book over-mining has destabilized the earth’s surface. This is already happening.

I could go on and on, but I think I have made my point.

A story, a warning, a prediction of the future? You must decide for yourself!

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars.⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

(Description and photo obtained from

Jaq C. Reed

Jaquie Reed grew up in Burriss, a far off place in rural Northern Ontario which instilled the love of the Natural World from an early age. She attended Ryerson University, and went on to have 3 lovely but somewhat feral children and also cohabitates with a blind greyhound and a very fat cat. She now resides in Ajax, Canada. She can often be found walking the shores of Lake Ontario and looking for shapes in the clouds. Jaquie endorses outspoken protection of the Environment and is a cheerleader to those that stand the front lines of valuing our planet and living things on it. Her favorite colors are Indigo Blue and the Color of the Moon.