Breakaway
Coteau Books / 12 April 2013

Breakaway By Maureen Ulrich Published by Coteau Books Review by Karen Lawson $12.95 ISBN 978-1-55050-512-2 She shoots! She Scores! Maureen Ulrich has scored a hat trick with her latest young adult fiction book called Breakaway. This is the last book in the “Jessie Mac Series.” We first met the heroine, Jessie, in the novel Power Plays. We got to know her better in the second book in the series, Face Off. It is like being reacquainted with an old friend as we once again connect with Jessie and follow her as she matures into a young woman. Breakaway continues Jessie’s journey from a young teen to her final year in high school. She is now playing AAA hockey, which is not only highly competitive, but also the most advanced level of minor girls’ hockey. In addition to her contribution as a team player, she is also the Captain, which creates more responsibility and stress. Jessie’s athletic goals often compete with her personal life, especially her love life. She finds it difficult to stay focused on hockey when she is torn between her first love, Mark and two other romantic interests, Liam and Evan. Jessie is on the cusp between adolescence…

SuperMom and the Big Baby
DriverWorks Ink / 28 February 2013

Supermom and the Big Baby by Dave Driver Published by DriverWorks Ink Review by Karen Lawson ISBN 978-1-927570-01-2 Sometimes the idea for a story comes from an unusual source. According to author, Dave Driver, the inspiration for his children’s book came from his wife, Kelli, who regularly talks in her sleep. After being regularly wakened at night by her nocturnal chattering, Dave had a brainstorm and decided to create a story based on her nonsensical ramblings. The result is a lighthearted book entitled Supermom and the Big Baby. The author includes his whole family in his story but the star of the tale is his baby son, Easton. Easton has an argument with his big brother, Cooper, and then grows and grows and doesn’t stop growing. He soon takes over the neighbourhood and is on the loose. The Driver family must figure out how to get their baby back and reduced to normal size. It doesn’t take long before Easton is running amok and terrorizing the neighbourhood. Neighbours try and help corral the giant baby but ultimately it is up to Supermom aka Kelli to save the day and rescue her enormous son and shrink him back to normal size….

Love, Loss, and Other Oddities
Saskatchewan Romance Writers / 26 February 2013

Love, Loss and Other Oddities by Saskatchewan Romance Writers Review by Karen Lawson $16.95 ISBN 978-0-9878337-0-9 Thanks to the Saskatchewan Romance Writers, romance is alive and well in Saskatchewan. In celebration of twenty-five years as a writing group, its members decided to compile their best stories. The result is an entertaining and diverse collection entitled Love, Loss and Other Oddities. There are seventeen talented writers involved in the compilation of this anthology. The stories included in Love, Loss and Other Oddities are as diverse and different as the writers themselves. But there are two things that all the contributors have in common: they all love to write in the romantic vein and they are all residents of Saskatchewan. Romance is a huge genre that encompasses many different components. This book covers every aspect of romance and love. It is a potpourri of love stories. There is everything from historical romance to contemporary romance. It also includes urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Some stories are lighthearted. Several are touching and sad. Many of the stories focus on young love. Some deal with characters that are facing middle and old age. Some look at the sweetness of a new relationship. Others zero…

Annie’s Bright Idea
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 2 November 2011

Annie’s Bright Idea by Audrhea Lande and Jenny Prest Review by Karen Lawson Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing ISBN 978-1-894431-54-5 $14.95 Sometimes you do not have to look very hard to find the magic of Christmas. You can often find it between the pages of a simple story. You will definitely find it when you open a special children’s book called Annie’s Bright Idea. Audrhea Lande and Jenny Prest have merged their writing and artistic talents and created a delightful Christmas tale. Annie’s Bright Idea is more than just another Christmas story. It is exactly what the subtitle states on the cover – “A Christmastime Adventure”. Annie’s Bright Idea is set in Winnipeg, during the Depression. The Christmas season has arrived and nine year old Annie and her little sister Olga can’t wait to see Santa and tell him what they want for Christmas. Annie and Olga decide on this particular Saturday to make the trek from their home on the outskirts of the city to the downtown where Santa awaits. Santa resides at the iconic retail establishment that once proudly sat at the core of every downtown in every major city in Canada – Eaton’s. Eaton’s was known…

Molly’s Cue
Coteau Books / 12 October 2011

Molly’s Cue by Alison Acheson Published by Coteau Books Review by Karen Lawson $12.95 ISBN 978-1-55050430-9 Molly Gumley believes that it is her destiny to become an actor. Now that she has begun high school, she is enthusiastically and confidently pursues her dream by getting immersed in drama class and school theatrical productions. Molly has been inspired by her adored grandmother to perform since she was a little girl. Now, her dear Grand is gone, and Molly feels she must carry on the dream that they shared. But her confidence is soon shaken as the reality of being on stage hits her. She is confused and feels like a failure and a disappointment to her family. Molly turns to her eccentric best friend Candace and her new friends Julian and Caleb for support. They help her to figure out why she is suddenly so afraid to follow the path she was once so sure of. Eventually, they guide her in a new direction that will fulfill her in a way that she has never dreamed of. Alison Acheson has penned a realistic and down to earth young adult novel called Molly’s Cue and created likeable personalities that the reader immediately…

Face Off
Coteau Books / 27 July 2011

Face Off by Maureen Ulrich Published by Coteau Books for Teens Review by Karen Lawson $12.95 ISBN 978-1-55050-452-1 After the success of her first teen hockey novel, Power Plays, Maureen Ulrich has once again scored big with her second hockey novel called Face Off. Set in Estevan, SK, this story follows the next chapter in the life of Jessie MacIntyre, who was the main character in Power Plays. The author is no stranger to the classroom or the hockey rink, as she has had many years of experience in both environments. Ulrich knows her subject matter and her audience well and the result is a contemporary story that captures the reality of high school life and all the trials and tribulations that go with it. Jessie is a likeable and typical prairie teenager who is still grappling with fitting in to a new school. Her friends and teammates are strong willed young women with a wide array of different personalities and problems. The author has created a colourful cast of characters, most of which were introduced in Power Plays. On the surface, this book appears to be about girls’ hockey and the competitive spirit that fuels the sport. But Face…

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 –…

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,…

Linger
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 18 February 2011

Linger by Marny Duncan-Cary and illustrated by Megan Mansbridge Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Karen Lawson $12.95 ISBN 978-1-894431-10-1 Linger is the first collaborative effort by Marny Duncan-Cary and Megan Mansbridge. Duncan-Cary is song writer and singer from Lumsden and Mansbridge is an accomplished artist. Together they are a winning combination and have created a gem of a book. Although it is a child’s picture book, Linger is one of those heartstring-tugging classics that everyone falls in love with. The first day of school is an emotional milestone. It is full of excitement and anticipation but also apprehension as your child takes her first flight from the nest. What mother hasn’t shed a tear to see her baby climb the steps of the big orange school bus for the first time and watch it disappear down the road? Duncan-Cary explains why she wrote this book in the foreword; she shares how difficult it was to realize and to acknowledge that her child was becoming independent and was growing up. Duncan-Cary was so overwhelmed by her emotions on that warm, autumn day when her youngest daughter started school that she went home and wrote the song Linger. The…

The Leadership Formula
Dakota Publishing / 18 January 2011

The Leadership Formula by Terry Tuharsky Review by Karen Lawson Published by Dakota Publishing $20.00 ISBN 978-0-9865959-0-5 The Leadership Formula is a must have reference guide for anyone who wants to become a more effective leader. It incorporates a vast array of ideas, suggestions, and knowledge. Terry Tuharsky is a business consultant and writer who lives in Regina. His successful business career has given him the necessary credentials to write a book full of valuable information. His own personal success is reflected in the wealth of information he imparts to his readers. The Leadership Formula outlines leadership in a matter of fact, step by step way. The first part of the book is devoted to the subject of universal politics and how they are part of our culture and community. In order to become a successful leader, it is imperative that one understands how the politics of any organization work. Anyone from an employee climbing the career ladder to the CEO of a company or organization can utilize this knowledge and use it to become a more productive and effective leader. The Leadership Formula is a serious book about a serious topic but there are elements of humour scattered throughout…