Pick up one of these locally written books and hit the beach before summer is over
1. "Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk" by Danielle Krysa
Consider this one a toolbox for artists looking to avoid the rut of self-doubt, the dangers of jealousy, and the paralyzation of writer's block. As Krysa explains on her similarly themed website, raw emotion can be used as fuel to push yourself. (“That’s when the transformation from jealousy to inspiration starts to happen,” she says.) Most importantly, as the title suggests, you'll get practical advice on how to deal with the harshest critic of all: that voice in your head.
2. "Walking to Japan" by Derek Youngs & Carolyn Affleck Youngs
Derek Youngs recounts the literal journey of a lifetime, a lifetime in which he walked over 25,000 miles in about 25 different countries, relying on fate and the kindness of strangers to supply shelter and food during his myriad excursions. Along the way, he picked up the moniker of Peace Walker, a man who espoused that personal peace "is a process, not a destination," and other nuggets of truth as he let go of what defined him and simply put one foot in front of the other. Derek died suddenly in his Victoria home in 2011 prior to the completion of this book, but his widow/co-author Carolyn Affleck was on hand to finish his story, which is infused with his unique wisdom, infectious personality and flare for life.
3. "Beyoncé Smells Like Unicorns" by Josh Murray
Murray, a former senior editor of American Idol Magazine and author of American Idol: The Journey to Stardom, encapsulates the lives of celebrities, more specifically the divas of today: RiRi, Gaga and Mimi, and offers fans insight into their lives behind the scenes. Murray describes the book as being “perfect for a lazy day at the beach or a long-haul voyage—light, breezy and full of escapist fun.”
4. "Stand Fast" by Kaylea Cross
Vancouver's own Kaylea Cross delivers book three of her DEA FAST series. If you missed one and two, no worries: they each weave separate, standalone tales of of action, intrigue and romance within the DEA's Foreign-deployed Advisory and Support Team. This one centres on Special Agent Jaliya Rabani, a fiercely independent operative who, in spite of herself, begins to let down her guard when she meets marine Zaid Khan while deployed in Afghanistan. Their feelings must be put on hold when the "faceless enemy" they're hunting turns out to be an all-too-familiar face.
5. "Strange Things Done" by Elle Wild
Become entangled in the twisted small-town tale of Jo Silver, a newcomer to Dawson City, Yukon, who puts his journalism skills to work looking into the alleged suicide of a local politician. He soon discovers there's more to the story of the death—and the story of the town itself. But, in the course of his investigation, Jo turns himself into a suspect. Author Elle Wild does her province proud with this book, picking up the Best First Novel trophy at the 2017 Arthur Ellis Award for Excellence in Crime Writing.
6. "The Skeleton Tree" by Iain Lawrence
Twelve-year-old Chris accompanies his uncle on a sailing adventure from Alaska to B.C., only to be stranded in Alaska after their boat sinks. Another boy named Frank is the only other survivor, and while the two don't exactly get along, they have to put their clashing personalities to the side and come together to find food, shelter and a new way of life. As the book's tagline explains, "Only the wild survive."
7. "A Disappearance in Damascus: A Story of Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War" by Deborah Campbell
An adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia, Campbell has won several National Magazine Awards and has seen her work published in over 11 countries. A Disappearance in Damascus is about her life in the titular city, where she worked as a journalist alongside Ahlam, an Iraqi woman who was her mentor and would come to change her life. This riveting non-fiction tale focuses in on a time when Ahlam vanished, and Campbell made it her mission to find her friend. Set against the backdrop of the Syrian Civil War, the book also offers a snapshot of the horrors and hardships of that Middle East conflict from someone who had to fight her way through them to rescue a dear friend.
8. "The Conjoined" by Jen Sookfong
A uniquely enthralling mystery, The Conjoined opens on a social worker named Jessica Campbell, who, while sorting through her recently deceased mother’s belongings, unearths the bodies of two teen girls. It's a discovery that shatters not only her memory of her mother, but the life she thought she'd led, the person she believes herself to be. Resolving to get to the truth, she remembers two foster kids from Vancouver's Chinatown who stayed with her family decades ago, and then vanished. And so it is that Jessica sets out on a complicated, heartbreaking path to the truth about her mother, herself and her city.
9. "The Heaviness of Things That Float" by Jennifer Manuel
An award-winning writer and longtime activist on Aboriginal issues, Manuel puts her first-hand knowledge of life on a West Coast reserve to good use in this novel, which revolves around Bernadette, who's lived her life as a pillar of just such a community. With no family to speak of and about to retire from her job as a nurse and tribe confidante, she's feeling unmoored. But when the closest thing she has to a child of her own up and vanishes, it triggers an unexpected emotional reckoning the ripples through the tribe.
10. "Blood on the Beach" by Sarah N. Harvey & Robin Stevenson
When eight troubled teens are shipped off to sort through their issues via a wilderness retreat, they soon find anger issues and drug abuse take a back seat to survival as one of them goes missing and their adult chaperones are, one by one, felled by a mysterious illness. Soon enough, it's clear there's a killer among them, but is it a stranger or one of their own? Find out by giving Blood on the Beach a read!
11. "Blood, Sweat and Fear" by Eve Lazarus
A fascinating true crime story takes us back to Vancouver during the first half of the 20th century. John Vance, a man not undeservedly nicknamed "Canada's Sherlock Holmes," was the police department's first forensic scientist—at a time when forensic science was in its infancy. Cold Case Vancouver author Eve Lazarus fill us in on Vance's vastly ahead-of-his-time exploits in ballistics, explosives and blood analysis, which earned him plenty of headlines and the wrath of an underworld that set out to permanently silence this recurring star witness. Vance also had to contend with his own police department, riddled as it was with corruption.