The Scarborough Scribblersare a writing group to be reckoned with. Their new anthology, Impromptu, shows the power of the hive mind at its best. To backtrack: the Scarborough Scribblers are a group of writers that meet in Toronto’s Albert Campbell Library to write. The anthologies are the brainchild of their organizer and facilitator, Maria Samurin, former librarian at the site. Impromptu is the second anthology put together by this dynamic group.
As the title suggests, the stories in Impromptu are the result of a series of writing prompts the group executes during their meetings. The plot and voice of each story is as diverse as their authors. Though it is hard to pick a favourite, of particular note were “In Defence of Eden” by Margaret Abela, for the sheer poetry of her prose and “KitshcyArt” by Brenda Dow, for creating the character of Constable-slash-artist Kitchener. “Spiders from Mars” by Larry Kosowan is an interesting take on the sci-fi, alien genre. Lastly, “A Chance Meeting” by Betty Stewart is a sort of “meet cute” love story that takes place in large part in Toronto’s transit system. Especially enjoyable are the short poems interspersed between the prose.
I was fortunate enough to have caught facilitator and author Maria Samurin in a talk she gave at the Bathurst Clark Resource Library for theirauthor’s series. In it, Maria said the group spent hours editing each other’s work, and the results of that exercise really shows in their final product.
What’s next for the group? Maria says they plan to write a collaborative novel, for which they are currently in the planning stages.
You can pick up a copy of Impromptu by the Scarborough Scribblers from theirwebsite for free. Also available is their first anthology, Library Reflections.
Heather Beck’s Frostbitten, is an entertaining addition to the YA werewolf paranormal romance canon. In Frostbitten, seventeen year old Anastasia is sent to her grandparents when her mother can no longer control her behaviour. It is there, in Cedar Falls, Anastasia meets Frost, a young man adopted as a baby by her grandfather’s business rival. For Anastasia and Frost, it’s love at first sight. Life for Anastasia is complicated what with Anastasia being the new girl at school and brushing the popular kids the wrong way while trying to win her grandfather’s approval. She finds solace in fellow outsider, Frost’s embrace. After neighbours are mauled by what Anastasia thinks is a cougar, she soon learns there’s a dark secret in Cedar Falls’ past, one that is soon to come to the fore. And she and Frost will be thrown right into the middle of it.
I liked Beck’s werewolf tale. The story was fast-paced, and the characters are differentiated. Beck’s story keeps true to the rules popular culture tells us must govern this supernatural being, which is somewhat comforting, especially for a newbie to the genre like me. There are other similarities to be had with romances of the genre, most notably that the main characters fall fast and hard for each other, which is the problem I have with the genre (not necessarily with Frostbitten), and why I’m not a fan of the genre. Beyond this necessary trope, Beck handles the relationship well.
In the end, Frostbitten is a captivating read that, given a bit of polishing, won’t disappoint it’s young adult readers.
Mamabear gives this book
Note: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.