Autumn Wind

“Autumn Wind” by Eusebio L. Koh Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Karen Lawson $14.95 ISBN 978-1-894431-45-3 Eusebio L. Koh spent many years ensconced within the walls of academia. He is a former university professor who taught Mathematics at the University of Regina. After retiring, his passion for writing snowballed into a desire to share his thoughts and ideas. He received positive feedback from his first book, Like the Mimosa , and he was inspired to write a second book. This latest offering is called Autumn Wind, and like his first book, it is a collection of short stories, poems and essays. The poems and stories are touching and heartwarming. Koh chooses subjects that are dear to his heart and are easy for the reader to relate to and identify with. From the simple joy of picking Saskatoon berries, to the deep love for his grandson, the author taps into his sensitive side and reveals a part of himself through his expressive language and his ability to tell a story that flows effortlessly. Koh shares his emotions and feelings in an honest, open way. He has that special gift that makes a writer endearing to his readers –…

Raising Orion
Thistledown Press / 29 June 2011

Raising Orion by Lesley Choyce Published by Thistledown Press Ltd Review by Cindy Wilson $19.95 978-1-897235-80-5 For those who believe in mystical events, miracles, and the endless possibilities of what can be achieved when you truly believe, Raising Orion is the book for you. If you are very skeptical about how one person’s mind can touch the mind of another, causing wondrous results, this is also the book for you. Molly grew up as the only child of a lighthouse keeper on a remote island near Halifax, Nova Scotia. Having no classmates or playmates, she developed a tremendous rapport with nature. As a young child she began resurrecting seemingly dead birds and small animals. When she was twelve her father was caught at sea in an October storm. He was thrown from his dory by a ten foot wave. As his lungs filled with sea water he sank to the harbour floor. At home on the island, Molly knows exactly when this happens. Amazingly, her father is found alive on shore the next morning. That same morning Molly awakes to find her bedroom rug soaked through with a clear fluid, “as if she had drunk a great volume of water…

Ghost Messages
Coteau Books / 29 June 2011

Ghost Messages by Jacqueline Guest Published by Coteau Books for Kids Review by Jessica Bickford $8.95 13:9781550504583 Ailish O’Connor is like any other thirteen year old girl living in Ireland in 1865, except she has what her father calls the “fey gift”. Ailish can see into your soul with the touch of her hand. She uses her gift to keep her and her father fed, telling fortunes that most think are a “penny’s entertainment” until her Da brings Rufus Dalton to their wagon. Ailish feels his darkness, but doesn’t know just how evil he is until she wakes up to find her father near death, and their one precious possession, a golden figurine which was to be their future, stolen. In Jacqueline Guest’s newest juvenile fiction Ghost Messages, a young girl is faced with a ship-full of trouble and will do anything to ensure the future of her and her father. This includes sneaking on to the Great Eastern as it departs Ireland for its mission to lay the first transatlantic telegraph cable between Europe and North America, cutting her long hair, donning trousers, and putting in her labour as a cabin boy. Luckily she meets David Jones, who is…

A Eulogy For the Buoyant
JackPine Press / 22 June 2011

A Eulogy for the Buoyant by Zachari Logan Published by JackPine Press Review by Kris Brandhagen $30 978-0-9865426-2-6 From the title, a reader already knows that Zachari Logan’s A Eulogy for the Buoyant will be a book about death. It is a little book in a black paper bag, on the front of which has been stenciled the title. Modestly covered with a blank sheet of Mylar, hand bound in a thick black paper cover, inscribed, ‘for Dad’ in red pencil crayon, the book is a sandwich of drawing paper and thin rice paper with text that shows through to the studious graphite illustrations of branches and flowers. There is an elegy for a lover, a self, and a home. In a voice directed to the dead, which makes it seem more personal, less introspective, Logan explores grief in a numbered exploration called “Burgundy: 1-17” : 2People here amuse themselves, to deal with the loneliness of obscurity. Debating the timeliness of winter how breath loses contagion when February catches it. Christmas presents, tombs housing the memories of Christmas two months dead. Philosophising loss until it is little more than apprehension— and the assumption is, normality follows. Rich in language and…

Vidh, a Book of Mourning
Hagios Press / 15 June 2011

Vidh, A Book Of Mourning by Phyliss Nakonechny Published by Hagios Press Review by Sharon Adam $18.95 978-1-926710-06-8 Following the death of her husband, Phyliss Nakonechny devoted much of her time to the pursuit of understanding grief and grieving. She asked the question “what does it mean to be a widow?” and came away empty-handed. What she learned is the stark, utterly personal nature of such a quest. However, she discovered a few signposts along the way which she now shares in hope of helping others through their own journey. The first thing Phyllis found was a simple word: Vidh. Vidh is known as the ancient Sanskrit word for widow and widowhood. However, Vidh has a second meaning stemming from ancient India that few know: it also expresses notions of “apart, lacking, and empty.” Not a misery memoir, but a voice for every woman who will become a widow, Nakonechny’s book also provides an insight for men who are left behind. Death and dying are two entirely different things. When your spouse is dying, there are still moments of tenderness, intimacy and the sense of the person being there. In death there is nothing but memory. Everything that was physical…

Lonely Luna

Lonely Luna by Majid Damircheli Illustrated by Wendy Siemens Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Kris Brandhagen $14.95 978-1-894431-59-0. Lonely Luna written by Majid Damircheli with illustrations by Wendy Siemens is about a little girl who moves from a warm climate to a cold one. It is a story that successfully conveys some of the trials and hardship that may occur within a family, and specifically with children, when making such a grand adjustment in place, weather, language, family relations, and culture shock. As Luna experiences winter for the first time, Damircheli establishes a nice rhythm of repetition, using epithets to teach about snow being “white like milk” and “cold as ice”. Because of the weather, the neighboring children don’t go out to play, and Luna only gazes out the window at the empty neighborhood, hence the title Lonely Luna. Luna is seriously out of her element in terms of temperature, but also in terms of language. She seems to be, hmm, eight? She can’t understand at school, and so doesn’t make friends there either. To the moon and the sun, in turn, she wishes for a friend. Siemens includes an illustration that shows three figurines, the sun,…

Katie Be Quiet
Coteau Books / 8 June 2011

Katie Be Quiet by Darcy Tamayose Published by Coteau Books Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $18.95 ISBN 978-1-55959-390-6 Thirteen-year-old Katie Bean has much to process. She and her mother have moved to a “sleepy prairie town,” she is the target of school bullies, and “Her body [is] going through weird changes.” Her mother is preoccupied with her unusual new job – “drawing up plans for Constantine’s lavender farm” – and thus has zero time for Katie. These issues are difficult enough, but what’s truly devastating is the fact that Katie’s eccentric musician-composer father recently died “in his sleep,” and Katie’s grieving in solitude. Her only friend is her father’s piano. There is, however, a strange new development in her young life: the voice that “[keeps] shushing her.” Is she going crazy? So begins the juvenile novel, Katie Be Quiet, the second book by Lethbridge writer Darcy Tamayose. The “new kid not fitting in” scenario is common among books for young readers, but Tamayose’s book stands out for its complex mystery, its intermingling of youth and adult characters – including a rude man from Paris and his poodle-doting wife who’ve come to manage the lavender farm’s tea room – and for…

Make A Rabbit
Polka Dot Press / 8 June 2011

Make a Rabbit by Mary-Ann Kirkby Review by Karen Lawson Published by Polka Dot Press $18.95 ISBN 978-0-9783405-2-0 Make a Rabbit is a delightful children’s book that will capture your heart from the first page. The first look at the title may have you reaching for scissors and glue but no, Make a Rabbit is not a children’s craft book. The term is a Hutterite expression that gently and delicately explains the rite of passage that every toddler goes through when he is ready to leave the world of diapers behind. Mary-Ann Kirkby first reflected on life within a Hutterite colony in her memoir entitled I am Hutterite. In her children’s book, Make a Rabbit, she has used a Hutterite colony as her setting and tackled an issue that all parents can relate to as their baby makes the transition from baby to toddler. As a former member of the Hutterite community, Kirkby understands her subject matter well and uses her knowledge of their culture to teach her readers about this special group of people that are an important part of our prairie history. Eddy Hofer is a lovable, rambunctious, curious, child. He is loved not only by his parents,…

The Kayak
Thistledown Press / 8 June 2011

The Kayak by Debbie Spring Published by Thistledown Press Review by Marie Powell Mendenhall $12.95 ISBN: 978-1-897235-71-3 Debbie Spring launches the action of her juvenile novel, The Kayak, in the opening chapters, when Teresa is kayaking around the islands of Georgian Bay. She notices a wind surfer in trouble, and manages a daring rescue, pulling him to shore by rope. Once on shore, though, Teresa’s father comes and lifts her from her kayak into her wheelchair. That doesn’t bother Jamie, who asks her to a campfire with his friends. In spite of the manipulations of his former girlfriend, Kat, Jamie tells Teresa: “There’s something special about you and I want to find out.” Written in the first person, the book’s style helps readers connect with Teresa: “The choppy waves rise and fall. My kayak bobs like a cork in the swirling waters of Georgian Bay. I love it. I feel wild and free… I am one with the kayak. The blue boat is an extension of my legs. I can do anything: I can go anywhere. Totally independent. Totally in control of my life. It’s so different back at shore.” Teresa easily solves the conflicts that arise in her life….

What We Miss
Thistledown Press / 1 June 2011

What We Miss by Glen Sorestad Published by Thistledown Press Review by Andréa Ledding $17.95 ISBN 978-1-897235-75-1 Glen Sorestad, first Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan, infuses his twentieth book of poetry with a strong sense of place combined with gentle wonder. Readers are guided through a landscape both urban and rural, populated with memory, observation, humanity, and the inanimate – personable postcards from the everyday, to be savoured page by page. The book is like a walk with a longstanding companion, sharing thoughtful interior and exterior observations. Many poems contain first-person narrative, creating a tone of intimacy – poem as memoir, poet as friend and mentor , poetry as a fleeting encounter on a remote trail. Divided into three sections, each grouping begins with a quote from another author or public persona, and a journey through season, nature, weather, and a cast of companions – from a robin with “gaudy orange breast/spinning a small sun at us” to “umbrella sky a boundless blue” above, to an old man and his dog encountered daily in a shared walking path ritual. Of particular delight is the third and final section which powerfully mines poetic memory – decades-past childhood in rural Saskatchewan brought effectively…

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