Longhorns & Outlaws
Coteau Books / 26 August 2009

Longhorns & Outlaws by Linda Aksomitis Published by Coteau Books for Kids Review by Sandy Bonny $ 8.95 ISBN 978-1-55050-378-4 After losing his Dutch immigrant parents and sister to the Galveston TX Hurricane of 1900, twelve-year-old Lucas finds solace in his friends, his school work, and his favourite books – Wild West detective stories where ‘Pinkerton Agents’ track and capture outlaws. Then Lucas’s sixteen-year-old brother Gil shows up fresh off a cattle drive and Lucas is suddenly thrust into learning the ins and outs of being a cowboy. Having heard of an uncle living in Canada, Gil signs the boys on with the J Bar J Ranch, a cattle outfit driving two thousand ‘beeves’ north through Montana to Saskatchewan along the Lewis and Clark trail. Greenhorn Lucas and his reluctant Nez Perce roan, Ebenezer, have a lot to teach each other, and their mishaps ‘riding drag’ behind the cattle are good entertainment. Watching the cowboys work and listening to their stories about the geography and history of the West, Lucas, who had never ‘thought about learning any other way than from books and in a schoolroom,’ comes to a grudging realization that Gil, who can’t read or write, has still…

Love and Laughter: A Healing Journey
C. Fenwick Consulting / 19 August 2009

Love and Laughter: A Healing Journey by Catherine Ripplinger Fenwick Printed by St. Peter’s Press Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $21.95 ISBN 1-896971-34-2 The last time I was in McNally Robinson in Saskatoon, I happened past the self-help section and was amazed at its size. I was thinking about this as I read “Crises are part of the human condition …” in the introduction to Catherine Ripplinger Fenwick’s Love and Laughter: A Healing Journey. The book, an expansion on her popular 2004 title, “Healing With Humour,” is in part “a psychological and spiritual first aid kit.” Inside it the Regina author, therapist, and educator offers anecdotes, quotations, poetry, prayers, jokes, affirmations, activities, cartoons, strategies, and information on making humour and hope part of daily life, which results in a healthier and more joyful existence. It is both a “work-book and a play-book,” and for those who need a lift, it could be just what the doctor ordered. After a breast cancer diagnosis in 1990, Ripplinger Fenwick set out on her lifelong goal to write a book, recognizing the importance “healthy humour and hope” would play in her healing journey. She maintains that laughter is important because it “enriches all aspects…

The Serpent’s Veil
Thistledown Press / 12 August 2009

The Serpent’s Veil by Maggi Feehan Published by Thistledown Press Review by Judith Silverthorne $18.95 ISBN 978-1-897235-56-0 Constance Stubbington wakes up in a hospital in London, England in 1899 after being thrown from a horse. The severe implications of her medical condition are withheld from her, as are the whereabouts of her father. In fact, she doesn’t recall much of her life at first, though there seem to be hints that she has spent some of her time in India during the time of colonialism. So begins Maggi Feehan’s intriguing first novel, The Serpent’s Veil. As this tale unfolds, Constance experiences a series of flashbacks and dreams. She sometimes shares these with Ank Maguire, her Irish surgeon’s assistant, whom she comes to trust. They also discover they share a spiritual connection that sometimes gives them positive insights and sometimes seems to cause problems. Constance has especially strong intuitions, which help her unravel ten years of her personal journey as she pieces her life together while still in hospital. They both have former lives and family traditions that haunt them. As they come to terms with these, they find that entering the world of intuition help transform them. This also brings…

Dinosaur Blackout
Coteau Books / 6 August 2009

Dinosaur Blackout by Judith Silverthorne Published by Coteau Books Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $8.95 ISBN 978-1-55050-375-3 It’s unusual to begin the fourth novel in a series without having read the three previous. Would the book stand on its own, I wondered? Or would it be like arriving late to a party and feeling lost? I needn’t have worried. Judith Silverthorne, the award-winning Regina author of “Dinosaur Blackout,” has created a time-travel adventure for juvenile readers that definitely pulls its own weight. The rich story concerns young Daniel, who lives on a farm in Saskatchewan’s Frenchman River Valley near Eastend, home of the T.rex Discovery Centre. Daniel’s a budding paleontologist and a great kid. He helps his parents with chores; has forgiven the delinquent and bullying Nelwin brothers; cares for his toddling sister; assists tourists who visit the quarry’s archaeological dig-site and campground; and is a sensitive friend to elderly neighbour\paleontologist Ole Pederson. Daniel enjoys “the best of all worlds … living the rural life and being able to dig for dinosaur bones.” The boy has learned how to use prehistoric foliage to travel back to the Cretaceous Period, where dinosaurs like the Stygimoloch – a fossil of which was…