Rue Des Rosiersby Rhea TregebovPublished by Coteau BooksReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$24.95 ISBN 9-781550-506990 Rue Des Rosiers by Vancouverite Rhea Tregebov is not just an exemplary novel, it’s also an important book that examines anti-Semitism and empathetically puts faces on the victims and aggressors, and my hope is that the novel receives the major attention it warrants. In this richly-layered story, multi-genre author Tregebov introdu...

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The Literary History of Saskatchewan: Volume 3 – Advancesedited by David Carpenter and Kelly-Anne RiessPublished by Coteau BooksReview by Keith Foster$29.95 ISBN 978-1-55050-954-0 The Literary History of Saskatchewan: Volume 3 – Advances is Coteau Books’ third and final volume analyzing Saskatchewan’s proud literary tradition. Compiling and assessing a literary history of the province isn’t easy, especially when that history...

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Murder at the St. Aliceby Becky CitraPublished by Coteau BooksReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$14.95 ISBN 9-781550-509625 Do you know a teen who would enjoy British Columbia-based historical fiction and a mystery in the same book? Then the novel Murder at the St. Alice by prolific YA writer Becky Citra is worth a look. BC’s Citra has written more than twenty books, including her well-received The Griffin of Darkwood, and a time travel series. I...

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Rescue in the Rockiesby Rita FeutlPublished by Coteau Books (UPDATE JULY 2021: Rescue in the Rockies has been re-released by NeWest Press)Review by Shelley A. Leedahl$12.95 ISBN 9-781550-509489 I’m both surprised and saddened that until reading A Rescue in the Rockies, I was unfamiliar with Edmonton writer Rita Feutl’s titles for children and young adults. Surprised, because this is a writer at the top of her game, and saddened, becau...

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Baggageby Wendy PhillipsPublished by Coteau BooksReviewed by Ben Charles$14.95 ISBN 9781550509700 Baggage, written by Wendy Phillips and published by Coteau Books is a fantastic teen read that covers dark themes with the seriousness that fits the subject matter and a narrative device that is relevant to young readers. The story is set in British Columbia and begins at the Vancouver airport as a young, unidentified foreign boy is found near Intern...

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Trial by Winterby Anne PattonPublished by Coteau BooksReview by Michelle Shaw$10.95 ISBN 9781550509786 I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live in a sod house in Saskatchewan during a winter blizzard. Now, thanks to Anne Patton, I have an inkling. Trial by Winter is the third and final story in Anne Patton’s Barr Colony Adventure Series. It’s 1903 and the Bolton family have built a sod house on their land in the North-West Territo...

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Wide Openby D. M. DitsonPublished by Coteau BooksReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$24.95 ISBN 9-781550-509663 Sure it’s a cliché, but I had a hard time putting this book down. Welcome to the literary world, D.M. Ditson, with your intimate, hard-hitting, and honest portrayal of matters that are not easy to share. First book? Could have fooled me. Sexual abuse, Fundamentalist Christianity, mental health issues, black-out drinking, and a dysfuncti...

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Death by Dinosaur by Jacqueline Guest Published by Coteau Books Review by Amanda Zimmerman $14.95 ISBN 978-1-55050-943-4 Jacqueline Guest, bestselling author of Belle of Batoche, masterfully weaves her knowledge of Drumheller AB into a mystery sure to keep young readers wondering to the very last chapter. Sam Stellar, a fourteen year old spy enthusiast, and her tech loving friend Paige, are looking forward to spending their summer at th...

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Sedley by Chelsea Coupal Published by Coteau Books Review by Ben Charles ISBN 9781550509410 $17.95 Sedley, written by Chelsea Coupal, is a delightful and insightful reflection of life in small-town Saskatchewan that had me smiling from the first page to the last. This collection of poems that Coupal has so masterfully penned is a wonderful commentary of the author’s life and experiences growing up in the town of Sedley, SK, a small village loca...

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breathing at dusk by Beth Goobie Published by Coteau Books Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $17.95 ISBN 9-781550-509151 Beth Goobie, poet and fiction writer, is her own hard act to follow. With twenty-five books – including the Governor General-nominated young adult novel Mission Impossible – preceding her latest title, readers have come to expect work that sets the bar high in terms of both content and technique. In breathing at dusk, Go...

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Your Very Own

JackPine Press / 22 June 2022
Your Very Ownby John NymanPublished by JackPine PressReview by Elena Bentley$30.00 ISBN 9781927035443 As soon as I saw Your Very Own by John Nyman, I knew I had to read it. Because what 80s and 90s kid didn’t love reading the Choose Your Own Adventure series? I certainly did. Now, as an adult, I also love erasure poetry, and this chapbook published by JackPine Press is a delightful combination of both. Nyman, a visual poet and erasurist with a PhD in theory and criticism, calls himself “a theorist posing as an artist.” For those unfamiliar with erasure (sometimes called whiteout or blackout poetry), it’s a form of poetry where the poet or visual artist removes certain words from the original work; thus, producing a new poem. Your Very Own uses as its source text Choose Your Own Adventure #43: Grand Canyon Odyssey (1985) by Jay Lei...

Baba Sophie’s Ukrainian Cookbook

Millenium Marketing / 22 June 2022
Baba Sophie’s Ukrainian CookbookWritten by Marion Mutala, Illustrated by Wendy SiemensPublished by Millennium MarketingReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$24.95 ISBN 9781777371333 I’m no great wonder in the kitchen– if I am cooking, I usually turn to the internet for recipes. Recently, however, I’ve started buying cookbooks. Two reasons for this: firstly, each time I click on a recipe online, I have to wade through paragraphs of unnecessary text (i.e. “My uncle Bob just loves these blackberry muffins”) before the author even gets to the ingredients; and secondly, I just love actual books, and seeing the recipe on a printed page – often beside a photograph of whatever I’m attempting to make – feels like the right tact. Thus, I was duly pleased when Marion Mutala’s latest book arrived in my mailbox because this time, th...

Mind the Gap

Wood Dragon Books / 22 June 2022
Mind the Gap: Navigating Your Leadership Journeyby Doug Forsdick, Keri Schwebius, and Heather ThomsonPublished by Wood Dragon BooksReview by Toby A. Welch$19.99 ISBN 9781989078846 Like the title spells out, Mind the Gap covers how to become a more effective leader, but it is much more than that. It is geared towards leadership in the workplace, but those not interested in career leadership advice will also get valuable information from the pages. Additionally, employees will find the information helpful as they contemplate workplace situations. This book is divided into four areas of leadership: ‘focus on you’, ‘plot the course and steer the way’, ‘maneuver within your organization’, and ‘continue the journey’. We read about the differences between managers and leaders, the role your values ...

Carrying the Burden of Peace

Carrying the Burden of Peaceby Sam McKegneyPublished by University of Regina PressReviewed by Madonna Hamel$34.95 ISBN 9780889777934 From the first sentence of his book, Carrying the Burden of Peace, author Sam McKegney poses questions big enough for all of us to embrace, questions asking for new ways to scrutinize our world: “Can a critical examination of Indigenous masculinities be an honour song?” he asks. Can it “celebrate rather pathologize”? How do we hold institutions accountable and yet still “validate and affirm” the people who need validating and affirming? How do we entertain change without “fixing new terms of engagement”? His most pressing question: “Can an examination of Indigenous masculinities be an embodied enterprise?” Makes me think: If it can’t we are al...

Finding Izzy

Wood Dragon Books / 22 June 2022
Finding Izzyby Sheryl DohertyPublished by Wood Dragon BooksReview by Toby A. Welch$18.99 ISBN 9781989078662 Finding Izzy is a dense book, almost 300 pages with a small font. But that is a great thing for the readers – it gives the author enough space to flesh out an engrossing story that pulls you in from page one.  Speaking of page one, that is where the action begins. In the opening scene, the main character, Izzy, wakes up in a hospital with no idea who she is. She sees a news story on TV about missing Indigenous women and is convinced she is one of them. She shares her theory with the two police officers who are trying to figure out who she is; they aren’t convinced she’s right. Once discharged from the hospital, Izzy is taken to a temporary emergency home in North Vancouver as Family Services believes she is under 18. ...

Synaptic

Synapticby Alison CalderPublished by University of Regina PressReview by Elena Bentley$19.95 ISBN 9780889778610 “[L]et me reverse your gaze, turn / the microscope upon the viewer.” It’s clear from the beginning of Alison Calder’s incredible third book of poetry, Synaptic, we are being asked “to think about the way we perceive and the ways in which we seek to know ourselves and others.” To find answers, Calder starts by exploring the field of neuroscience. “Connectomics,” the book’s first section, concerns itself primarily with the neuroscientific ways humans attempt to know themselves, or more importantly, the lengths to which humans will go to know themselves. Footnotes accompany each poem in this section, and the language is quite simple. Both the footnotes and straightforward diction allow the poems to be easily under...

German Settlements in Saskatchewan

German Settlements In Saskatchewanby Alan B. AndersonPublished by Saskatchewan German Council Inc.Review by Madonna Hamel$20.00 ISBN 9780969401674 Growing up I heard stories about my grandmother’s job as the postmistress of Krupp and of the acres of sunflowers planted by German farmers surrounding my grandparent’s land just North of Fox Valley. When my sister and I went looking for Krupp we found no evidence of it, although someone speculated that a large feed bin was once the old post office. I could have used this meticulously researched history of the province’s settlements in my searches. It would have explained to me that many of the Russian-German settlements spanning an expansive territory bordered by Medicine Hat, Leader and Maple Creek, including my French-Canadian-Metis-Scottish-American grandparents farm, had ...

Shoot Out

Wood Dragon Books / 25 May 2022
Shoot Out (Jessie Mac Hockey Series)by Maureen UlrichPublished by Wood Dragon BooksReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$18.99 ISBN 9-781989-078648 In 2009 I reviewed Maureen Ulrich’s YA novel Power Plays—the first title in her Jessie Mac Hockey Series—and all these years later it’s been a pleasure to read her fourth and final book in this action-packed series. As with the earlier books, Shoot Out concerns hockey: 14-year-old protagonist Courtney’s debut with a U15 boys’ team (Moose) in Estevan, and her 19-year-old sister Jessie’s second season with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies Women’s team in Saskatoon. Ulrich’s successfully “passes” the spotlight back and forth between these two athletic characters: the siblings’ narratives alternate throughout this adeptly-written novel. Interestingly, Ulrich’s melded real-li...

Stroke of Grace, A

Wood Dragon Books / 25 May 2022
A Stroke of Grace: A Guide to Understanding and Living With an Acquired Brain Injuryby Julianne HeagyPublished by Wood Dragon BooksReview by Toby A. Welch$19.99 ISBN 9781989078891 This powerful book is a must-add for your to-read list! In a nutshell, Assiniboia-based writer Julianne Heagy suffered a life-changing stroke on her 31st wedding anniversary. This compelling read shares her story. Heagy doesn’t sugarcoat anything in this memoir; she includes all the grisly details.  I appreciate how this book is broken up chronologically. Heagy had her stroke on May 21, 2019, and A Stroke of Grace details one month per chapter. Once Heagy passes the one year anniversary of her stroke, the chapters morph into approximately yearly quarters. This layout allows for a seamless flow of the book with no distracting timeline jumping. While taking...

Shifting Baseline Syndrome

Shifting Baseline Syndromeby Aaron KreuterPublished by University of Regina PressReview by Elena Bentley$19.95 ISBN 9780889778542 Can anyone alive remember a time without TV? Not many people can. Soon enough, no one will remember a time without it. TVs and screens of every size will become part of our collective memory—things that have always just been—and we’ll forget how things were. The “name […] for this forgetting” is “Shifting Baseline Syndrome,” which is also the title of Aaron Kreuter’s second book of poetry. In this collection, Kreuter, with a unique blend of directness and sardonic wit, shows us how “[t]elevision is just another name for the Anthropocene.” Although we’re seeing a growing trend of climate change and doomsday poetry, Shifting Baseline Syndrome stands out because of its ingenious use of the ...

Featured Reviews

Your Very Own
JackPine Press / 22 June 2022

Your Very Ownby John NymanPublished by JackPine PressReview by Elena Bentley$30.00 ISBN 9781927035443 As soon as I saw Your Very Own by John Nyman, I knew I had to read it. Because what 80s and 90s kid didn’t love reading the Choose Your Own Adventure series? I certainly did. Now, as an adult, I also love erasure poetry, and this chapbook published by JackPine Press is a delightful combination of both. Nyman, a visual poet and erasuri...

Baba Sophie’s Ukrainian Cookbook
Millenium Marketing / 22 June 2022

Baba Sophie’s Ukrainian CookbookWritten by Marion Mutala, Illustrated by Wendy SiemensPublished by Millennium MarketingReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$24.95 ISBN 9781777371333 I’m no great wonder in the kitchen– if I am cooking, I usually turn to the internet for recipes. Recently, however, I’ve started buying cookbooks. Two reasons for this: firstly, each time I click on a recipe online, I have to wade through paragraphs of unnece...

Mind the Gap
Wood Dragon Books / 22 June 2022

Mind the Gap: Navigating Your Leadership Journeyby Doug Forsdick, Keri Schwebius, and Heather ThomsonPublished by Wood Dragon BooksReview by Toby A. Welch$19.99 ISBN 9781989078846 Like the title spells out, Mind the Gap covers how to become a more effective leader, but it is much more than that. It is geared towards leadership in the workplace, but those not interested in career leadership advice will also get valuable information from ...

Carrying the Burden of Peace

Carrying the Burden of Peaceby Sam McKegneyPublished by University of Regina PressReviewed by Madonna Hamel$34.95 ISBN 9780889777934 From the first sentence of his book, Carrying the Burden of Peace, author Sam McKegney poses questions big enough for all of us to embrace, questions asking for new ways to scrutinize our world: “Can a critical examination of Indigenous masculinities be an honour song?” he asks. Can it “c...

Finding Izzy
Wood Dragon Books / 22 June 2022

Finding Izzyby Sheryl DohertyPublished by Wood Dragon BooksReview by Toby A. Welch$18.99 ISBN 9781989078662 Finding Izzy is a dense book, almost 300 pages with a small font. But that is a great thing for the readers – it gives the author enough space to flesh out an engrossing story that pulls you in from page one.  Speaking of page one, that is where the action begins. In the opening scene, the main character, Izzy, wakes up...

Synaptic

Synapticby Alison CalderPublished by University of Regina PressReview by Elena Bentley$19.95 ISBN 9780889778610 “[L]et me reverse your gaze, turn / the microscope upon the viewer.” It’s clear from the beginning of Alison Calder’s incredible third book of poetry, Synaptic, we are being asked “to think about the way we perceive and the ways in which we seek to know ourselves and others.” To find answers, Calder starts by explo...

German Settlements in Saskatchewan

German Settlements In Saskatchewanby Alan B. AndersonPublished by Saskatchewan German Council Inc.Review by Madonna Hamel$20.00 ISBN 9780969401674 Growing up I heard stories about my grandmother’s job as the postmistress of Krupp and of the acres of sunflowers planted by German farmers surrounding my grandparent’s land just North of Fox Valley. When my sister and I went looking for Krupp we found no evidence of it, although ...

Shoot Out
Wood Dragon Books / 25 May 2022

Shoot Out (Jessie Mac Hockey Series)by Maureen UlrichPublished by Wood Dragon BooksReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$18.99 ISBN 9-781989-078648 In 2009 I reviewed Maureen Ulrich’s YA novel Power Plays—the first title in her Jessie Mac Hockey Series—and all these years later it’s been a pleasure to read her fourth and final book in this action-packed series. As with the earlier books, Shoot Out concerns hockey: 14-year-old protagonist...

Stroke of Grace, A
Wood Dragon Books / 25 May 2022

A Stroke of Grace: A Guide to Understanding and Living With an Acquired Brain Injuryby Julianne HeagyPublished by Wood Dragon BooksReview by Toby A. Welch$19.99 ISBN 9781989078891 This powerful book is a must-add for your to-read list! In a nutshell, Assiniboia-based writer Julianne Heagy suffered a life-changing stroke on her 31st wedding anniversary. This compelling read shares her story. Heagy doesn’t sugarcoat anything in this mem...

Shifting Baseline Syndrome

Shifting Baseline Syndromeby Aaron KreuterPublished by University of Regina PressReview by Elena Bentley$19.95 ISBN 9780889778542 Can anyone alive remember a time without TV? Not many people can. Soon enough, no one will remember a time without it. TVs and screens of every size will become part of our collective memory—things that have always just been—and we’ll forget how things were. The “name […] for this forgetting” is ...