Twist of the Blade
Coteau Books / 11 December 2014

Twist of the Blade Published by Coteau Books Review by Courtney Bates-Hardy $14.95 ISBN 978-1-55050-599-3 Twist of the Blade is the second book in Edward Willett’s Shards of Excalibur series, a clever and modern adaptation of the legends of King Arthur. Ariane Forsythe has inherited the magical power of the Lady of the Lake, along with a quest: she must find the five broken pieces of the sword of Excalibur before the evil reincarnation of Merlin, Rex Major, gets his hands on it. If Rex Major gains control of Excalibur, he’ll have the power to wage war on Earth and the world of Faerie. With the help of her friend, Wally, Ariane has retrieved one piece of the sword, but now she must find the second piece quickly. She thinks it’s somewhere in France but she’ll have to find a way to get herself and Wally across the ocean first. Things get complicated as Wally begins to suspect that Ariane’s power is changing her. Ariane isn’t sure if she needs Wally anymore and begins pushing him away. Rex Major has a plan to get to the second shard and his power over technology is only helping him act upon it….

Confessions of a Dance Mom
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 11 December 2014

Confessions of a Dance Mom by Alison R. Montgomery Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $16.95 ISBN 978-1-927756-28-7 Saskatonian Alison R. Montgomery recently published Confessions of a Dance Mom, and simply put, I love this book. From the outside, it’s an honest, naturally-voiced retrospective of the author’s son’s journey from a child with an interest in dance to his employment with the prestigious Stuttgarter Ballett. But it’s much more. It’s a compelling story about family, and a strong treatise on dedication, pride, loss, and letting go. Maternal love is at the heart of this beautifully designed and well-written testimony. Interesting, then, that my out-of-province daughter was visiting days before I began this book. She saw it on my desk, and said: “Alison was one of my high school teachers.” Of course. I hadn’t made the connection, but then I also remembered Montgomery, and my daughter and I recalled the tragic loss of her elder son, who died at 24 while mountain-climbing in BC. This is important, because that early loss forms the bass-line in this story: a mother fully supports her now only child’s rise from Brenda’s School of Baton and Dance in Saskatoon to…

Song of the Sword
Coteau Books / 11 December 2014

Song of the Sword by Edward Willett Published by Coteau Books Review by Alison Slowski $14.95 ISBN 9781550505801 Song of the Sword: Shards of Excalibur Book One opens a door for readers to a new teen fantasy. Fifteen-year-old Ariane Forsythe is tired of being shunted back and forth through foster care after being abandoned by her mother two years previously. She is frustrated by being bounced from school to school because of her recent history of getting in fights with bullies. Things start to look up for her, however, when she comes under the protective wing of her Aunt Phyllis, who had been battling cancer in the hospital during Ariane’s stays in various foster homes. But things get complicated, when, in between worrying about being bullied and harassed by girls at her new school, Ariane inherits a brand new power. A power that was first bequeathed to her mother, but her mother rejected and was declared mentally insane. This is the power of the Lady of the Lake from Arthurian legend. Ariane learns to control her new power as she embraces her inheritance of being the Lady of the Lake. Only Wally, her new friend, can mitigate the potential disasters…

Seasons of Plenty
Doreen M. Bleich / 11 December 2014

Seasons of Plenty by Doreen M. Bleich Review by Justin Dittrick ISBN 978-0-9731167-1-7 $25 Doreen M. Bleich’s Seasons of Plenty offers a wide assortment of recipe ideas for cooks of all skill levels. This cookbook offers appetizers, soups, salads, entrees, desserts, dressings, and sauces that will please palettes, and satisfy the heartiest appetites. Organized around the holidays, it presents many meal options that are economical and require surprisingly little preparation, allowing the cook to prepare the meal and return to guests, who can look forward to a homey, balanced dish that will amaze for how easy it all seemed. These recipes are simple without ever being bland, while evoking a sense of comforting familiarity, as only home-cooked offerings can. In the age of the internet, this is also a much-needed cookbook of ideas, methods, and variations. Inspired offerings are not always easy to find in search engine queries. Bleich offers cooks the certitude that every meal will taste inspired by tradition, yet honed from years of experience in the kitchen. At a cursory glance, the impression given is that this cookbook contains a meal for any occasion, from afternoon teas to potlucks to full-blown family dinners. The holiday theme does…