Sunday, January 26, 2020

Book Review: Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline (thriller, fantasy)

Empire of Wild by Cherie Dimaline is a cautionary folk tale about corporate greed for Aboriginal land.

Story question:  What challenges do Aboriginal men (and boys) face?

Buy this Book

Published by Random House Canada
a division of Penguin Random House Canada
Published in 2019

Struggling financially, Victor tells his wife Joan that he's going to sell some of their land. But the land is sacred to Joan and she refuses to let him. Victor storms out of the house and remains gone for a year. Where did he go? Did the rogarou get him?

What is a rogarou?
'They were men turned into beasts' (p. 190)
"He was the threat from a hundred stories by those old enough to remember the tales.' (p. 3)
How do you become a rogarou?
' "Being attached by a rogarou, mistreating women, betraying your people." ' (p. 69)
What does a rogarou do?
'the rogarou is doomed to eat the people, to wander the roads leading us into temptation.' (p. 221)
How do you defend yourself against a rogarou?
' "You put salt [bone] around your house and... no ragarou, can come in." (p. 147) 
The ace of spades ' "makes the rogarou weak, gives you a chance to get away to try to switch him back." ' (p. 76)
If you make a rogarou bleed he'll remember that he was a man and you may be able to switch him back.

Empire of Wild is an engaging story, cleverly written. One of the subplots doesn't end with the plot. This makes the story haunting as readers are left to resolve the subplot on their own. This also gives the author a way back into the story if she wishes to write a sequel. Which, you know, I'm hoping...

Cherie Dimaline talks about Empire of Wild and... (podcast)

Cherie Dimaline talks about Canada Reads (podcast)

Stories to share in February...

February 2:  short story

I try my hand at writing horror--inspired by owning an old home

February 9:  book review
Be My Love
Kit Pearson
(middle grade)

set on a small island, during the 1950's, Be My Love is about secrets hidden and secrets shared, and it's about personal truths discovered.

February 16:  book review
The Painted Girls
Cathy Marie Buchanan
(historical fiction)

provides glimpses into the relationship between two sisters growing up in the slums of Paris, France during the late 1800's

February 23:  short story collection
Stories of My Life

a collection of short stories inspired by my life

Sharing my Author Journey...

January in BC has been full of rain.

Thoughts on a rainy day...

Sunday, January 19, 2020

From 2012 to 2019: a collection of book reviews by Leanne Dyck

photo by ldyck

Your favourite book based on how many page views the book review received.

If you click the title the link will take you to my book review. If you click the publisher it will take you to their web site.


The Sentimentalist
Johanna Shibrub
psychological fiction
Douglas & McIntyre
won the 2010 Scotiabank Giller Prize

a daughter gets to know her father


Half-Blood Blues
Esi Edugyan
historical fiction
Dundurn Press
won the 2011 Scotiabank Giller Prize

set in Paris during 1940, a jazz musician is arrested by the Nazis


Indian Horse
Richard Wagamese
historical fiction
Douglas & McIntyre
won the Blurt Award for First Nations, Metis and Inuit Literature in 2013

an aboriginal hockey player journeys back through his life 


The Robber Bride
Margaret Atwood
literary fiction
McClelland & Stewart
an imprint of Penguin Random House

three women's three-decade troubled relationship with a woman named Zenia


Paula Weston
young adult fantasy
Tundra Books
an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada

the fourth and final book in the Rephaim series


Holly Goldberg Sloan
middle grade
Dial Books for Young Readers
Penguin Young Readers Group

about a short girl in the big adult world of theater


The Birth House
Ami McKay
historical fiction
Vintage Canada
a division of Random House Canada

chronicles Dora Rare's life as she learns the ancient healing science of midwifery

note:  what's the difference between a division and an imprint?
Bookjobs defines division as a branch of a publishing company and imprint as the identifying name of a specific line of books


A Wake for the Dreamland
Laurel Deedrick-Mayne
historical fiction
Friesen Press

about the faithfulness and devotion of enduring friendship

What will you read this year?

I have enticing suggestions. For example...

Next Sunday evening...

Empire of Wild
Cherie Dimaline

Will Joan find her husband? Where did he go? Did the rogarou get him? What is a rogarou?

"snow" by ldyck

Sharing my author journey...

I've been working on expanding a manuscript that I've been working on for a while. It's a collection of knitting-themed

Sunday, January 12, 2020

The Call of the Wild by Jack London (adventure)

Update:  Read this review and then go see the movie--release date February 21 (Canada). Yeah, the movie. I know... I just found out about it. 


Read Roger Ebert's review and buy the book.

The Call of the Wild is about weathering through life transitions and learning how to be the master of your own destiny.

Buy the Book

serialized in the summer of 1903 by The Saturday Evening Post
later that year the manuscript was purchased by MacMillan Publishers
my copy was published in 1964 by The MacMillan Company of Canada
The MacMillan Company of Canada was founded in 1905 and ceased to exist in 2002

Set in Yukon, Canada in 1897, The Call of the Wild is a story about a dog. Buck is a four-year-old St. Bernard Collie cross. (Buck was inspired by a real dog) Though other dogs live on Judge Miller's estate in Santa Clara Valley--two lap dogs and a pack of fox terriers--Buck is the king 'over all creeping, crawling, flying things..., humans included.' (p. 3)

Buck would have lived out his days as a pampered pup--as his father and mother had done--had it not been for a gambling debt. To pay the debt, Buck is sold to a dog breaker.
'The almost perpetually frozen roads necessitated the use of dog-teams and sleighs for travel, and with the rush of gold came a demand for dogs that the native Alaskan huskies could not fill. The practice of importing dogs from the south to fill this ever-growing demand was resorted to--hence the fate that befell poor Buck.'
-Linton D. Read, Vice-Principal Moira Secondary School, Belleville, Ontario
The Call of the Wild is about a southerner managing to survive and thrive in the north-- the harsh, unforgiving north. Due to Buck's determination and self-respect, we fall in love with him. Though others may doubt him, though others may bully him, Buck knows what he is capable of.
'His muscles became hard as iron and he grew calloous to all ordinary pain... He could eat anything, and [extract]...the last least particle of nutriment [from it to build] into the toughest and stoutest of tissues. Sight and scent became remarkably keen, while his hearing developed such acuteness that in his sleep he heard the faintest sound and knew whether it heralded peace or peril...
And not only did he learn by experience, but instincts long dead became alive again.' (p. 23-24)
The Call of the Wild is, at times, an in-your-face brutal story and the writing is dated in the treatment of minorities and women, but, in spite of these deficiencies, this short novel (108 pages) is an entertaining and inspiring read.


About the Author...

John Griffith London was famous for writing 'romantic, exciting adventures with vividly realistic 

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Vessel by Leanne Dyck (poem)

'view from Mayne Island' photo by ldyck


You are a vessel

Pour out 
what no longer serves you

Pour out 
Examine it
Release it

Pour in

Let your light shine
for yourself
for others
for the world

Live in joy

Next Sunday evening...

Sunday, January 5th
book review:  The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Buck awakens from his pampered life to live a challenging yet far more fulfilling life in the wild.

Sharing my author journey...

You caught me in the middle of reworking a manuscript