Conspiracy
7 Springs Books / 20 October 2020

Conspiracyby Ruth ChorneyPublished by 7 Springs BooksReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$20.00 ISBN 978-0-9939757-7-6 At just 170 pages, Ruth Chorney’s Conspiracy is on the slim side for a novel, but let me assure you that there’s loads of tantalizing literary meat in the Kelvington, SK writer’s latest book, and I devoured the convincing story in one pleasant sitting. Chorney’s already got four children’s books and one other “Deer Creek” (Buried) novel under her belt, as well as anthology and magazine publications, so she comes to this story with plenty of publishing experience and it shows in the streamlined writing. She’s got a strong handle on pacing, plot (it zooms), physical descriptions – she’s especially good at describing northeastern Saskatchewan’s rural landscapes and the seasonal business of farming – and dialogue. What’s more, she truly captures the culture of rural life in “The Land of Living Skies,” through word, deed, and community activities. The story revolves around the musician, dreamer, and former world traveler, Joel Weston. Five years earlier he’d married Krissy, a Saskatchewan farmer’s spoiled daughter and agronomist with Nu-Ag, and Joel’s now running Krissy’s aged father’s cattle (“forty head of Simmentals”) and grain operation. “What Krissy wants, Krissy gets” is…

Healthy Aging Naturally
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 16 October 2020

Healthy Aging Naturally: Proven Strategies for Disability-free Longevityby Felix Veloso, M.D.Published by YNWPReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$18.88 ISBN 9-781988-783604 The 2019 UN World Population Prospect report suggested that by 2050, 25% of the North American and European populations may be 65 or older. Clearly, now’s the time to address what an aging population will mean for society, and how those of us approaching our “golden years” can live happier and healthier lives as we age. University of Saskatchewan professor, author, and neurologist, Dr. Felix Veloso, brings more than 40 years of expertise to the subject, and I found his well-researched book, Healthy Aging Naturally: Proven Strategies for Disability-free Longevity, full of vital information and interesting statistics. Furthermore, he’s wisely structured his book with a conversational through-thread – between “Dr. Ferurojo” and patient “Anita Tykinlee” – so readers feel they are actually part of a story. Tykinlee asks the questions we might ask if we were in a doctor’s office, concerned about our own or an aging loved one’s health, and Ferurojo/Veloso does an exceptional job of answering her questions in an easy-to-understand, conversational style while also organically inserting the scientific facts – and quoting numerous studies from around the globe…

Day I Lost My Bear In Cypress Hills, The
M Larson Books / 16 October 2020

The Day I Lost My Bear in Cypress Hills: Adventures of the Barnyard BoysWritten by M Larson, Illustrated by Kaustuv BrahmachariPublished by M Larson BooksReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$13.99 ISBN 978-1-7753218-5-9 Melanie Larson’s children’s book, The Day I Lost My Bear in Cypress Hills (Adventures of the Barnyard Boys), is a simply told and colourfully illustrated day-in-the-life story of five-year-old Finn and his family. Finn wakes at his grandparents’ log cabin in Cypress Hills, raring to begin an adventurous day with activities that range from swimming lessons to rock climbing. As the title reveals, the enthusiastic boy loses his treasured “stuffie” during the day, and he “[needs] his bear to sleep!” The book features large-font text and bright images – the illustrator nailed Cypress Hills, with its distinctive evergreens (including Lodgepole pines) featured on nearly every image. I suggest that this upbeat story be read to and by youngsters for its vibrant celebration of the great outdoors, and its display of how much fun can be had doing things that don’t require anything but an imagination. Particularly now, during a global pandemic, it’s so beneficial for children of all ages to discover how it’s the little things – like going…

Radiant Life, A
University of Regina Press / 8 October 2020

A Radiant Life: The Honourable Sylvia Fedoruk, Scientist, Sports Icon, and Stateswomanby Merle MassiePublished University of Regina PressReview by Keith Foster$34.95 ISBN 978-0889777330 As twelve-year-old Sylvia Fedoruk watched their majesties King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on their 1939 cross-Canada tour, she thought this would be the closest she’d ever get to royalty. How mistaken she was. Nearly fifty years later she was sworn in as the Queen’s representative, becoming Saskatchewan’s first female lieutenant-governor. Merle Massie’s lively biography, A Radiant Life, offers an intimate look at the life and career of Sylvia Fedoruk. In her preface, Massie describes Sylvia as someone who “sang lustily, laughed uproariously and often, and believed that life was for living.” Instead of using her subject’s surname, Massie uses her first name throughout. Sylvia, after all, sounds much more personal. Right away, readers get to know her on a personal level and instantly feel closer to her. Sylvia attended one-room schools east of Yorkton, SK., where her father taught. To avoid being called “teacher’s pet,” Sylvia endeavoured not only to perform well, but to outperform. She did. She averaged at least two scholarships every year throughout high school and university. A sports enthusiast, Sylvia excelled at…

Reclaiming Tom Longboat
University of Regina Press / 8 October 2020

Reclaiming Tom Longboat: Indigenous Self-Determination in Canadian Sportby Janice ForsythPublished by University of Regina PressReview by Elena Bentley$27.95 ISBN 9780889777286 Although the famed Onondaga athlete features in the title, Tom Longboat (Cogwagee) is not the focus of Janice Forsyth’s new book, Reclaiming Tom Longboat: Indigenous Self-Determination in Canadian Sport; rather, it is the Tom Longboat Awards that serve as the focal point for which Forsyth’s expert examination of Indigenous sport in Canada revolves. For over five decades, the Tom Longboat Awards have been subject to the various political agendas of the organizations between which it has passed hands. Conceived of by Jan Eisenhardt and Indian Affairs in 1951, Forsyth explains that the Awards were “no mere accident of history. Nor were they the consequence of serendipity, [or] of the right people coming together at the right time without political intent.” The Awards were a purposeful attempt made by the Federal Government to quantify and regulate Indigenous bodies through encouraging participation in mainstream sport. Throughout the 70s and 80s as Indigenous leaders became more politically active, they, too, realized the “symbolic value of sport” and used the Awards as “an opportunity to broadcast messages about the significance of self-determination” and “cultural…

Burned-Out Healer, The
Wood Dragon Books / 8 October 2020

The Burned-Out Healer: A Path to Trauma Release and Reconnection to Selfby Jacquie BaloghPublished by Wood Dragon BooksReviewed by Michelle Shaw$19.99 ISBN 978-1-989078-23-5 In The Burned-Out Healer, Calgary-based hypnotherapist Jacquie Balogh shares her journey from burnout towards spiritual and physical harmony and provides a practical roadmap for others to recognize and address their own energetic exhaustion. Jacquie has been involved in healing for most of her life. Even as a child, she says, she had a special knack for reading people, for knowing things about them she had no realistic way of knowing. “I was able to see things around them such as auras and visitors from another realm. I was able to decipher what those things meant and help people along their journey by sharing this knowledge with them.” Jacquie naturally gravitated towards a career that would involve helping others and became a licensed practical nurse, which initially she thoroughly enjoyed. But after fifteen years she was disillusioned, she says, with a system that seemed to focus more on bureaucracy than healing. She decided to train in other avenues of healing such as reiki, tarot, mediumship and hypnotherapy, incorporating her knowledge into her own healing work. But even though…

None of the Above
University of Regina Press / 7 October 2020

None of the Above: Nonreligious Identity in the US and Canadaby Joel Thiessen and Sarah Wilkins-LaflammePublished by University of Regina PressReview by Toby A. Welch$34.95 ISBN 9780889777460 Once a decade a book comes along that you didn’t realize that you needed to read. This is that book! None of the Above is about “religious nones” – people who claim that they do not belong to any religion. This is the fastest growing religious tradition in Canada and the US. Statistically speaking, religious nones tend to be younger than their religious counterparts and more males than females make up the group. Religious nones also tend to be born in Canada versus foreign born.  This book is meaty, not something you take to the cottage for some light reading. It covers both Canada and the US in its quest to comprehend religious identity. It is rarely a single trigger that leads to someone becoming a religious none. Even things like political positioning and charitable practices play a role in religious views.  An interesting detail came up in this book. While religious nones don’t belong to an organized religion, a fair number of them believe in spirituality. Only 13% of religious nones in…