Silencing Rebecca
Thistledown Press / 18 January 2023

Silencing Rebeccaby Nikki VogelPublished by Thistledown PressReview by Toby A. Welch$18.95 ISBN 9781771872263 Silencing Rebecca is a fantastic book that jumps right into the action with a claustrophobic scene that has us questioning what the heck is going on with the main character. The book then goes on to answer that intriguing question. The story of Rebecca, a teenager transplanted from Toronto to Edmonton, starts predictably. She struggles with the upheaval of moving to a new place and starting at a new school, something most of us can relate to. But things quickly take an unexpected turn when Rebecca morphs into a golem.  I had no idea what a golem was. I vaguely remembered hearing the word in an X-Files tv show episode. But that was in the late 90s and my memory was drawing a blank. Vogel described a golem as an ugly monster, a mythical clay creature straight out of Jewish folklore. Still feeling clueless, I had to find out more. Enter Google. Stories of golems go back centuries. While golems started in Jewish mythology, they have morphed into popular culture in Dungeons & Dragons, Pokémon, and many more places. Currently golems are considered robots that operate through…

Day Petunia Had Piglets in the Strawberry Patch, The
M Larson Books / 18 January 2023

The Day Petunia Had Piglets in the Strawberry Patch (Adventures of the Barnyard Boys, Book 3)by M Larson, Illustrated by FX and Color StudioPublished by M Larson BooksReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$13.99 ISBN 978-1-7780956-2-7 How delightful to read The Day Petunia Had Piglets in the Strawberry Patch, the third illustrated children’s book in The Adventures of the Barnyard Boys Book Series by rural Saskatchewan writer and environmental consultant Melanie Larson. This glossy-covered and colourfully-illustrated softcover once again features six-year-old narrator Finn and his brothers Owen and Dez, and reveals a happy family in an enviable rural country setting—ah, those bright, sweeping prairie skies—amid a menagerie of farm animals. As with her previous titles, Larson’s subtle humour emanates from easy-to-read pages in this well-produced book, and some details in the full-bleed illustrations also amuse. The boys’ latest adventure concerns searching the farmyard for their adopted pig, Petunia. Petunia’s no ordinary hog … she’s a Kunekune pig: “She has a very short snout and feeds on grass, like a cow or horse.” On page one, readers learn that Petunia formerly lived at a petting zoo, but “Her owners couldn’t keep her anymore because she was getting too big.” Kudos to Larson: I…

Dysfunctional Regulatory Bodies
Cameron Narratives / 18 January 2023

Dysfunctional Regulatory Bodies: Scarecrows and Stupidityby D.R. CameronPublished by Cameron NarrativesReview by Toby A. Welch$24.99 ISBN 9781738687701 Dysfunctional Regulatory Bodies is a work of satirical fiction. That’s a new genre for me so I needed to get the lowdown. It turns out that satirical fiction is loosely defined as a work that ridicules a specific topic in order to provoke readers to change their thoughts and/or opinions on the topic. That works for me – bring it on!  I was clueless when I dove into this book so I was grateful for the preface that Cameron included before chapter one. I highly recommend you don’t skip the preface as it gives you a solid explanation of the treat that you are in for in the pages ahead.  The layout of this book makes it a joy to read. It’s broken up into short chapters, which I love. The font isn’t large but it’s not small either – my eyes were grateful. The frequent use of bullet points is aesthetically pleasing, breaking up the pages into easily digestible chunks.  Each chapter begins with dysfunctionality questions for you to keep in mind as you read the next few pages. I found them…