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, the prolific and award-winning Saskatchewan writer has penned Baba Sophie’s Ukrainian Cookbook. I’ve previously reviewed Mutala’s excellent children’s books and poetry, and I know that from the words to the design, production to the print, this would be a quality book and downright practical too (and I need all the help I can get). The Sophie of the title is Mutala’s mother, Sophie Marie (née Dubyk) Mutala…

Race to Finish
Millenium Marketing / 25 March 2022

Race to Finishby Marion MutalaPublished by Millennium MarketingReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$19.99 ISBN 9-781777-371319 Marion Mutala is a literary machine, with sixteen published books and more on the way. I’ve previously reviewed two of her children’s books—Grateful and the 175-page, multi-story achievement, Baba’s Babushka. The Saskatchewan writer’s latest title, Race to Finish, is a poetry collection, dedicated to the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG); the First Nations children buried in unmarked, residential school graves across Canada; and the Black Lives Matter movement. It begins with a foreword by artist Kevin L. Peeace, who relays the experience of presenting in an elementary school and being asked by a young student: “What was it like being at the residential school?” Peeace also provided the compelling black and white cover drawing of a bisected face: one half representing the bricks and tears of the residential school experience, the other representative of his peoples’ connection to the land and familial love—at least that’s my interpretation. Mutala’s poems champion racial equality, gratitude, positivity, and God, as well as personal experience, ie: “the old wooden cookstove on the/farm when I was a child” (from “Reminds Me”). Not every poem is rosy, however. In…

Mechanic’s Wife, The
Millenium Marketing / 28 July 2021

The Mechanic’s Wifeby Marion MutalaPublished by Millennium MarketingReview by Toby A. Welch$14.95 ISBN 9781777371302 The cover of The Mechanic’s Wife is what initially drew me in. Illustrated by Olha Tkachenko, it is a vibrant illustration of two women with an older model blue GTO between them. Things get even better once you crack the book open. We immediately delve into the life of DD, a Ukrainian detective based in Saskatoon. Her backstory is fully fleshed out in a way that makes it impossible to do anything but continue reading. The meat of this book is the story of Dwayne and Marianne. Married almost two decades, one of them isn’t thrilled with the life they have built together. Let’s just say some things happen, bringing DD, the leading criminal investigator in Canada at the time of the story, and Raunchy, her associate, into their lives. The two tackle the case of what really took place between Dwayne and Marianne.  On a side note, it’s hard not to like DD’s quirky sidekick, Raunchy. He is endlessly entertaining and provides another level to the story. Fun characters like Raunchy make any book a better read.  Author Marion Mutala is a resident of Saskatoon….