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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Culture in the Kitchen

Culture in the Kitchen: Recipes from a Multicultural Cooking Seriesby Saskatchewan German CouncilPublished by Saskatchewan German CouncilReview by Toby A. Welch$25.00 ISBN 9780969401698 What the Saskatchewan German Council undertook with this labour-of-love book is to be applauded! Culture in the Kitchen: Recipes from a Multicultural Cooking Series is a cookbook that is broken into 13 chapters, each one focused on the meshing of German food with food from another country or culture. (For example: Germany meets China, Germany meets Ukraine, Germany meets Saskatchewan – you get the picture.)  The true test of any cookbook is its recipes so I gave a bunch of them a try. From the Germany meets Brazil chapter, the arroz carreteiro (wagoner’s rice) was delicious! It tasted similar to a red beans and rice dish that is on my regular ...

Stay

Shadowpaw Press / 27 July 2022
Stayby Katherine LawrencePublished by Shadowpaw Press RepriseReview by Toby A. Welch$12.95 ISBN 9781989398371 What an intriguing book! Geared for young adult readers, Stay tells the story of what Millie, an 11-year-old girl, is going through in her complicated world. Millie’s parents are struggling in their lives and she is an observer to their turmoil. Her closest confidante is her twin brother, Billy, who was born deceased. It is fascinating to tag along with Millie as she journeys through the pre-teen phase in her life.  Millie is an enchanting main character that I quickly fell in love with. She is precocious and daring, I will give her that. She reads her mother’s racy texts and makes no apologies for doing so. She loves chocolate more than anything in the world. Missing her dad after he moved out of the family home, she dot...

Go

Radiant Press / 27 July 2022
Goby Shelley A. LeedahlPublished by Radiant PressReview by Elena Bentley$20.00 ISBN 9781989274675 How often do we find a book of poetry in which a poet generously invites us in, like a long-time friend, to sit down and catch up? Not often. But in Go, Shelley A. Leedahl’s beautifully crafted fifth collection of poetry, the decades “dissolve / as mysteriously as mist” as Leedahl describes a life spent untethered to person or place and the loneliness that accompanies it. Friends give you all the important details, and so does Go: the messiness of lovers, the grief of losing a parent, the seemingly insignificant significance of gladiolus, salmonberries, and bald eagles. Go is open and honest in a way I’ve rarely experienced in a collection of poems. And I appreciate that Leedahl doesn’t sugar-coat or romanticize loneliness: “I may...

Shimmers of Light

Thistledown Press / 26 July 2022
Shimmers of Light: New and Selected Poemsby Robert CurriePublished by Thistledown PressReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$24.95 ISBN 978-1-77187-218-8 Multi-genre Moose Jaw writer Robert Currie has been an integral contributor to the Saskatchewan literary scene for as far back as I can remember, and I’ve been reading – and enjoying – his poetry and stories across the decades. Currie’s also worked hard behind the scenes as an educator, Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild board member, and founding board member of the Saskatchewan Festival of Words. He’s also headed the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild. In short, Currie’s earned his Saskatchewan Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Arts. I’m so pleased that Thistledown Press has released a “Best Of” collection of Currie’s poems. Shimmers of Light: New and Selec...

Conserving the Legacy

Nature Saskatchewan / 12 July 2022
Conserving the Legacy: Wildlife Conservation in Saskatchewan 1905-2005by G. Wayne PepperPublished by Nature SaskatchewanReview by Toby A. Welch$34.95 ISBN 9780921104360 Conserving the Legacy is a physically powerful book. Weighing in at just shy of a hefty one kilogram, it packs a wallop. It is a pleasure to hold. And that is all before you get past the beautiful cover image of a male sharp-tailed grouse sparring. Once inside, it is clear that a massive amount of time, effort, and planning went into this book. It contains a tremendous volume of information detailing how wildlife was maintained during the first century of our province’s history.  In an era when anyone can toss a few random facts together, throw a dozen pages online for sale and call it a book, this piece of work stands out. It rings in at close to 400 awesome and co...

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. ...

Featured Reviews

Culture in the Kitchen

Culture in the Kitchen: Recipes from a Multicultural Cooking Seriesby Saskatchewan German CouncilPublished by Saskatchewan German CouncilReview by Toby A. Welch$25.00 ISBN 9780969401698 What the Saskatchewan German Council undertook with this labour-of-love book is to be applauded! Culture in the Kitchen: Recipes from a Multicultural Cooking Series is a cookbook that is broken into 13 chapters, each one focused on the meshing of German ...

Stay
Shadowpaw Press / 27 July 2022

Stayby Katherine LawrencePublished by Shadowpaw Press RepriseReview by Toby A. Welch$12.95 ISBN 9781989398371 What an intriguing book! Geared for young adult readers, Stay tells the story of what Millie, an 11-year-old girl, is going through in her complicated world. Millie’s parents are struggling in their lives and she is an observer to their turmoil. Her closest confidante is her twin brother, Billy, who was born deceased. It is fa...