May wrap up, PYPERMAYNIA and Contest

Hello, my find furry friends!

Today is the last day of May, which also means it’s the last day of the unofficial Canadian month long celebration of my favourite author Andrew Pyper.  This month I attempted (and failed) to read his other books I haven’t read yet!  I managed to get two done…

The Homecoming (see link for review)


The Trade Mission (see link for review)

I also was able to interview the man himself!

{Guest Interview} PYPER-MAY-NIA continues as Steve Stred talks to the man himself, award winning author Andrew Pyper.

This was a total thrill and something I’ll cherish for the rest of time.

I still plan on reading the other three Pyper books I didn’t read in May coming up, so watch for those reviews!

May Wrap Up;

I’ve never done a monthly wrap up before, mainly because I do all of my reading on my Kindle, so I can’t post a picture of my book stack.  So instead, here’s the books I read 🙂

We Sold Our Souls, Netherkind, Artemis-One-Zero-Five, The Homecoming, Ex Nihilo, Mr. Sticks, The Hungry Ones, Let’s Go Play At the Adams’, and The Trade Mission.

It’s odd to say this – but I only read 9 books, which is a really slow month for me.  I currently am reading Impossible James, The Silence, The Targeter and Cydonia, so those will all be finished up by the end of next week.


I was recently featured over on Sonora Writes, talking about writing The Stranger and just some general horror stuff!  If you missed that, check it here;

Ask the Author: A Q&A with Steve Stred


Which leads me into;

The Stranger

The Stranger arrives TOMORROW!!! HOLY HELL!

Thank you to the 24 folks who purchased the limited edition hardcovers.  That was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done.  25 total were printed, one of those bad boys are mine!


For full details check this link;

{Giveaway} Your chance to win an extremely limited edition copy of The Stranger by Steve Stred.

Winner will be announced tomorrow!

The Stranger ebook is available for pre-order still – it will arrive tomorrow, but the paperbacks are now also live!


What I’m jamming;

This one is gonna be super varied haha!

Chadwick St. John did the artwork for The Stranger.  He also did the artwork for the new Darkthrone album, which drops today!  The artwork he has done for their release is also stunning.  Check out the first two videos released for the album.



Above & Beyond feat. Armin Van Buuren – Show Me Love

If you’ve followed along you know my love of Above & Beyond.  I enjoy the energy they bring and the positive message.  They are also my son’s favourite group and every time I hear them I think of him.  This new song is fantastic and if it doesn’t make you tap your toes and smile then listen to it again!


Collective Soul – Right as Rain

Collective Soul have been a band I’ve loved since I first heard Shine when it was released way back when.  Solid Hard Rock with a bit more musicality than the standard fare, they’ll always be one of my favs.  I saw them in Abbotsford about 15 years ago and really need to see them live again.  This is their newest track off of their next album and Ed Roland and crew deliver again!


What’s happening in life;

May was a busy month.  At the start of the month my mother-in-law moved down to Edmonton from Fort Mac and it’s been fantastic having her so close.  Auryn loves it as well.  I grew up with my Poppa and Nanny just down the street from us and I’m so happy he’ll be able to grow up with (for now) one of his grandparents so close.

Speaking about Poppa – at the end of June we’ll be travelling back to Nakusp/Burton area to attend his memorial.  He passed away at the end of 2018 but it was decided to postpone his memorial until the Summer, allowing people to make it and not have to worry about winter travel.  Auryn met Poppa a few times.  Yesterday my wife showed me something really amazing – Auryn was able to pick out Poppa in a photo and even called him Poppa!  Blown away.

As for Mr. Man, we attempted to have him to outdoor soccer this month.  He really had enjoyed indoor soccer over the winter, but alas outdoor soccer wasn’t to be.  The lure of the playground next to the field was too much for him and so we went to two sessions and that will be it.  We will see if it is something he wants to try again next year!

Finally in closing – the only other thing happening here is once again Alberta is on fire.  Currently there are 28 significant fires burning in the province.  Here in Edmonton we are under an air quality advisory.  Last night the air quality level reached a level of 72 on a scale of 1-10.

Take a look at some video footage;

And some pictures;

We aren’t in any risk from the fires burning, just affected currently by the air quality, which reached levels seen typically in Beijing.

The loss of houses and land is significant already and it’s just going to get worse before it gets better once again this year.  Here’s thinking of the safety and health to all of those impacted and to those fighting the fires.


Until next week!


Book Review: The Trade Mission

The Trade Mission – Andrew Pyper


As most of you have seen, I’ve been celebrating all things Andrew Pyper this May – dubbing it PYPERMAYNIA.  I started the month off by reading his latest The Homecoming which was a stunning work of family tension and psychological thrills.  It catapulted itself into my favourite book position and one I’m actually considering re-reading, which is something I very, very rarely do.

My ambition was to read The Homecoming, The Trade Mission, The Killing Circle, The Guardians and Kiss Me, his short story collection.  Sadly, I have failed you all, as in the month of May I read The Homecoming and last night finished The Trade Mission.  I’ll still be reading the other three here in short order, I’d just hoped to get through all five.

In May, Andrew also kindly agreed to a short interview and it was one of my literary highlights to ask him some of the burning questions I had clanging around my head.  I cheekily even asked him two more questions via DM that he amazingly answered, but all in all, I’m super happy about PYPERMAYNIA and I hope some others were able to add his books to their TBR or even read some of his work.

Now, as for The Trade Mission – this was a book I’d had on my TBR for a little while.  I’m a sucker for all things ‘Lost World’ sounding.  Whether it’s the Amazon rain forest, a forgotten island, Dyatlov Pass or something just set in Siberia, then I’m game.  The synopsis is one that would always grab my attention – a group of Canadian entrepreneurs have travelled to South America trying to increase interest in their start up business.  While there they go on a sight-seeing trip up one of the numerous rivers.  After a celebratory party one night they are kidnapped by unknown assailants and from there it becomes a tale of survival.

The story is told from the point of view of 38 year old translator Liz Crossman.  The other main characters are the two faces of the business Wallace and Bates as well as 50 something Barry and another co-worker Lydia.  I can’t honestly say I remember what Barry and Lydia’s jobs were but enjoyed both characters immensely.

The opening to the story in my opinion is a decent set up for what the business is and why they are down in South America, but ultimately wished it was a tad shorter.  The true grit in this tale is Pyper’s psychological journey once the characters are captured.

The jungle itself is one of the biggest antagonists in this story.  They are in the middle of nowhere with the only source of travel being on the river, which itself plays host to a number of animals wanting to turn them into a snack.

The survival aspect and tale in this story is top notch.  From their capture through to the ending I enjoyed watching each characters descent into turmoil and madness.  It should be noted that at the same time of reading this, I was also reading The Silence by Tim Lebbon and Let’s Go Play At the Adams’ by Mendal Johnson.  While I haven’t finished The Silence yet, I did finish Let’s Go Play and this trio of stories all play with the mental aspect of survival as well as what happens when the odds are turned against you.  They worked well to heighten each other and I really lucked out into each working off of one another.

Overall this is another exciting entry into Pyper’s bibliography and one I’m glad I finally got to read.  I’m looking forward to finishing off the rest of his work and will await the announcement of his next release!

4/5 stars to a gripping tale of survival that takes place in a world where everything is out to kill you.



Part 4: Dim the Sun & The Girl Who Hid in the Trees

Less than a week to go until The Stranger arrives!

Today makes the conclusion of the four part retrospective on my previous releases over at Kendall Reviews.  For Part 4 we discussed Dim the Sun and The Girl Who Hid in the Trees!

{Interview} The Stranger (Part 4): My chat with Steve Stred concludes by talking about Dim The Sun & The Girl Who Hid In The Trees.

Also – don’t forget to enter the contest to try and win one of the super limited all-black Hardcover editions of The Stranger.

Contest ends on Friday, winner announced Saturday!

{Giveaway} Your chance to win an extremely limited edition copy of The Stranger by Steve Stred.


The Stranger – Black Hardcover Edition

Over on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook I just shared a picture (with my son who was very excited to be in the picture, showing off his superman shirt!) of what YOU could win in an upcoming contest!  This is a super limited The Stranger all black, gloss hardcover.  They are gorgeous.  Here’s the pic with it beside the limited Hardcover of The Stranger (which are now all gone and sold out! Thank you so much!)


Now, I won’t give any info on how you can win it, but I will give a little bit of details on this limited.

I decided first to do a limited hardcover as a thanks for all the folks who’ve supported me and those who always message and ask about me ever doing a hardcover.

As an Indie Author, hardcovers are scary.  We have to fund this up front etc.  That’s why so many Indie Author’s choose to go with Amazon for releasing our books, as the physical paperbacks are print at purchase.  So we have no upfront expenses or overhead.  So for The Stranger, which has more stunning artwork plus mixes into a few of my other works, I thought it would be a possibility.  I spoke a bit about my hesitation about doing them with David Sodergren (his newest Night Shoot is now out and is absolutely glorious; and he said it would be cool to do it and offer an exclusive short story to make it a bit more attractive.  I thought that was a fantastic idea so I crafted a really neat ‘bridge’ story that those who bought the hardcover will really dig.

I started researching printers and it became quickly apparent that there were only a few options that would work.  With one printer I also saw a few of the various print products they had and was intrigued.  So I messaged my pal Gavin at Kendall Reviews and said I was thinking about doing a super limited version and would he be interested in partnering for a giveaway for one and he was on board.

This all black one features a high gloss cover, full black wrap.  It says The Stranger on the front and The Stranger on the spine.  On the back is the required ISBN.  That’s it.  I kept this super minimal, it doesn’t even feature my name.

On the inside is the cover art, as well as the limited signing sheet.  There are only 5 of these in existence.  I made two special extra ones for my nephews, but they have a slight change, just for them.  So you will win one of only 5 in existence.

It features the limited hardcover foreword, the regular book foreword, The Tooth Collector lead in story, The Stranger novel, the afterword, a bonus afterword, the super limited short story I mentioned earlier and it also features my first interview I did over at Kendall Reviews.  I still think it’s one of my best interviews and while me and Gavin had interacted a bunch behind the scenes at that point, I think it was then that we really solidified our friendship.  I believe I joined the KR reviews team shortly after and of writing this post, I’ve had 73 reviews featured on his site.  I’m hoping to finish 2019 off at 120 featured reviews on his site.  We’ll see how it goes!

So there you have it.  5 copies ever created.  One can be yours.  Full details will be announced on Friday on Kendall Reviews.  I know you’ll have questions, but they’ll all be answered.

But to give you a heads up, because I want you all to be as excited about winning this as I am that it even exists;

  • the contest will be open Internationally
  • the contest will run on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.



A whole swack of stuff!

Hey-o!!! Happy Victoria Day long weekend!  At least those who celebrate it.  Up here in the great white north, we get Monday off, so a three day weekend is just what I need.

*Just a quick note – next week there will NOT be a regular blog post.  The reason being is on Friday, May 24th in conjunction with Kendall Reviews, we’ll be announcing a really fantastic, unique contest for the upcoming The Stranger release on June 1st, 2019! *

So what’s been going on over here?

I’m still in the middle of all things Andrew Pyper!  I finished reading The Homecoming, which was stellar and I’m now currently about 10% into The Trade Mission.  The book is laying out the groundwork for what’s to come so far and I’m excited to see how this plays out.  Very cool!

If you haven’t, please consider reading one of his books this month (I know you have at least one in your TBR! and join in the celebration using the hashtag #pypermaynia)

The first round of The Stranger limited hardcovers are being mailed today and tomorrow.  Half today and half tomorrow.  To be frank, the Canada Post I use is amazing because the lady that works there hates the company – so she always tries to make everything as cheap as possible!  But she’s also a bit slower, so I’m going to break it up into two mailing sessions as I don’t want to be at the post office for four hours tonight after work!

If you want a hardcover, please get in touch, asap!  I have three more available!

What I’m reading:

Other than The Trade Mission, I have two other books on the go;

Mr. Sticks – Jeffrey Hale.  I’m 75% done with this and I would’ve finished last night if I wasn’t so tired.  It’s really well done and I’m looking forward to how this plays out!

Cydonia – Michael Mohar.  This book coming along has made me smile.  If you go to my ‘Review Requests’ section of this site, you’ll see my main mandate is reading and reviewing books that for one reason or another are not getting any reviews or not gaining any traction.  I’m by no means an influencer, but if one person reads my review and buys the book, I’ve done my job.  Michael contacted me about reviewing his Sci-Fi release and while I’m only just beginning to start the journey, it’s been a fun read so far.  Mars based tension.

The Trade Mission – Andrew Pyper.  Really digging the lead-in for this book.  I typically don’t put too much importance into the books overall rating on Goodreads, but I find it interesting to see that this one sits at 3.14/5.  So far for me it’s reading closer to a 4/5 so we’ll see!

What I’m working on;

Lots of stuff.  Usually I’d go into more detail but I recently was interviewed by fellow author Sonora Taylor and I answered that question with pretty much everything going on.  So watch for that interview to come out – think closer to end of the month!

What I’m listening to;

These last two weeks has been a surreal experience.  So music wise, I’ve bounced between happy tunes and aggressive tunes.

Here’s four that I really enjoyed!

The Machinist – The Sound of Shame.

New band to me, but they crush and love the heaviness!


Eric Prydz – Generate.

I love most of the stuff Prydz does and this is probably my fav tune from him, tied with Everyday.  Wish the video was longer.


Corrosion of Conformity – Albatross

Some good old COC for your Friday listening pleasure.  I feel like they frequently get overlooked when people discuss bands that always deliver on album and live.


Fear Factory – Replica

This was one of my first experiences with Fear Factory, hearing this song on Much Loud and it still kicks ass today.


What’s up in real life?

More of the same here.  Our weekend forecast is a mixed bag so we’re hoping to be able to get out and explore a bit.  We don’t mind rain but to a degree.  Not a fun experience to go for a hike with a toddler if we’re all soaking wet for a few hours!

He is in soccer again.  Last week was a total failure as it was a non-parent aided program.  He did great at the start and even went and sat with the group, but once the lady started singing wheels on the bus he was out of there.

We’ve dropped him back down to a parent assisted group, so we’ll see if this works better for him!

Hope all is well with you folks.

Watch for part 3 of my interviews with Gavin next week as I continue to look back at my previous releases.  Next weeks is featuring Wagon Buddy and YURI.

Then of course, Friday will be contest announcement time!



The Homecoming Review! – PYPERMAYNIA!!!

If you’ve followed me on any of my social media platforms – you’ve seen me rave about Andrew Pyper and how he’s my fav author.  If you haven’t – well… uh… he is!

I’ve read a number of his works and as I’ve said before, something about the way he writes connects and resonates on a different wave length for me.

As I’ve made my way through prior releases, each one has etched itself into my mental library.  It started by discovering The Demonologist, then I read The Damned and The Lost Girls.  When I read The Wildfire Season, I sat stunned when it was done.  There were so many personal connections that I felt like the story had been written specifically for me.  It vaulted to my fav read by my fav author.

Then I read The Only Child.  Someone had asked me if I’d read it and I said ‘yup’ all confident, then realized I had it confused with The Lost Girls.  So I snagged it, read it and was blown out of the water.

Pyper has a gift with using minimal words for maximum description.  His prose flows so easily off the page that you are immediately sucked into the story and you begin to root for the characters almost from word one.

The Only Child had my favourite opening line of anything I’ve ever read.  I didn’t expect it to be topped, and The Homecoming didn’t.  But the opening chapter.  Hells bells.  Pyper goes straight to the jugular here and then its full throttle until the horrifying, heart breaking ending.

The Homecoming is one of the more unique tales I’ve read, but that’s with most Pyper books.  Nothing is what it seems.  Go read the synopsis of The Only Child as an example for that.  His stories are complicated wrapped with technical aspects told with simple words.  It’s the hallmark of a deft story teller but also a confident writer.

The premise is pretty straight forward – the often absent father, who lived a mysterious life, dies.  His family is summoned to a sprawling piece of property in the Pacific Northwest where they find out that they will each receive a sizeable inheritance, but it comes with a catch.  They must live at the property for the next thirty days, no contact with the outside world, no cell phones, no TV, no internet.  No leaving the property.  If they do they will be disqualified from their inheritance.

The property and house they’ve been brought to, is called Belfontain and the three grown children all have memories of the place – whether it’s actually being brought there when they were little or through stories they remember their dad telling them, the place has a fairy tale quality to it.

Pyper’s description of Belfontain actually reminds me of Blaylock Mansion near Nelson, BC.  I grew up near Nelson and that mansion and property always had an air of mystery about it.  If you’ve never seen it before, check it out –

Now, I’ll keep this review completely spoiler free, but within the first 20% of this book Pyper takes that simple premise and completely throws it out the window.  More surprises from the father’s past make appearances, the dread and horror grow and Pyper keeps you guessing right up to the very end.

This book has elements of Frankenstein, A Clockwork Orange, The Island of Doctor Moreau and that’s just scratching the surface.

At the end of the day, this book was phenomenal and I would have read it in one sitting if time would have allowed.

I think even though Andrew Pyper is my favourite author, I read his work more critically than any of the other authors I love, because I have elevated my standards for what I expect of his writing.  That sounds unfair, but I don’t think it is.  I also know now, having read six of his books that I don’t expect to be disappointed.

I can’t say that Pyper has gotten better with each release he’s had, I would instead describe it as getting bolder, greater.  There’s a quote floating around that says; “Pyper may be the next Stephen King.”  I’ll second that but with two caveats.  First – Pyper’s work is never bloated or overly detailed for page counts.  The Homecoming is listed at 368 pages but reading it you feel like it could easily have been only 100.  Every single word has a purpose and the story flows so freely and easily that you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve read in such a short time.  The second is I’ve never read a Pyper book where I finished and went ‘huh?’ at the ending.  Many people say King struggles to end his books, and I’ve come across that a few times, but never with Pyper.  They always end purposefully.  (Side note – Mr. Pyper, if you are reading this, feel free to write a 1000 page book.  I’d read it!)

This is one review where I could go on and on, but I’ll wrap it up here.  This was my first read for my PYPER-MAY-NIA celebration and tonight I’ll be starting The Trade Mission.  When I reviewed The Only Child I said I put off reading it after I got it because I didn’t want it to end and not have a new Pyper book to jump into.  To have The Trade Mission, The Gaurdians, The Killing Circle and Kiss Me lined up after brings a smile to my face.

In closing – I’m elated to read that The Homecoming is being adapted for TV.  I’ve fallen out of love with watching TV but this will be one show I’ll make an effort to see.  And for those at home keeping score or wondering – I can confidently say that The Homecoming has become my favourite Pyper release.

Overall – Steve’s top five fav books – 1) The Homecoming 2) The Only Child 3) The Wildfire Season 4) The Art of Racing in the Rain 5) The Neverending Story.

This is a must read for all fans of the horror/thriller/suspense and was an easy book to score 5/5.