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PRECIOUS THING by Colette McBeth | Book Review

precious-thing-coverI don’t read mysteries. I don’t read thrillers. Years ago, I managed a bookshop. Part of my job involved running the mystery book club. I think my bosses added that task out of a sense of epic Schadenfreude because they knew that I would read just about anything BUT a mystery. My inability to read the genre comes, not from a sense of snobbery, but because I’m a giant ‘fraidy cat. I always understood Joey’s need to put books in the freezer on Friends - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qqaCby1lGw. A few months ago, I attempted to read The Shining Girls (Lauren Beukes, Mulholland Books 9780316216852). I made it to page 60, at which point I was so terrified of the time traveling serial killer appearing in my bedroom while I was gone that I couldn’t get up to pee. True story. All this to say, reading Precious Thing (Colette McBeth, Headline Books, 9781472205940) was a major stretch for me. And I loved every minute! The story of the friendship between Clara and Rachel, as told from Rachel’s point of view, gripped me in a way I didn’t expect. This is one of those ‘stay up until 3 am’ kind of books. You just want to read one more chapter. Just one. Well, maybe just one more. And then another. As their story unfolds, as you start to question what you’re reading, you’re pulled even deeper into the obsessive and dangerous dance between two very troubled girls sharing secrets you just don’t see coming. About a third of the way through, the penny started dropping for me and a cold sense of dread began creeping. Everything I believed up to that point wasn’t quite right. And everything that followed? Well, just go read it. Trust me.

There is a tendency in selling books to make comparisons to what’s come before. Precious Thing has been called the British Gone Girl. Not having read Gone Girl, I can’t comment on that, except to say, I think this stands on its own. Colette McBeth doesn’t need the comparison for you to pick up Precious Thing. I was hooked from the last sentence of the first page. And I’m still waiting for an answer to my question about the third line on the last page. If you’re like me, if you don’t read thrillers, you don’t read mysteries, make an exception this time. And make sure you have lots of coffee on-hand for the morning, because I promise some late nights reading just one more chapter.

precious-thing-coverPrecious Thing Colette McBeth 9781472205940 $22.99 CDN Paperback 9/10/2013 Headline

Read an excerpt!

Manda News Update | Cinnamon Toast and The End of the World Rave Review, DAVID AND GOLIATH Cover Reveal & Smashing China with Ann Shin

cinnamonIt's already JUNE, and we have so much to tell you. First off, Janet E. Cameron's incredible Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World (9781444743968) finally released in May (5/5/2013 to be exact). You can read an excerpt hereThe book is getting RAVE reviews across the country and on goodreads.com. The Globe and Mail called it, "a good summer read because a juicy coming-of-age story, especially one with a twist, fits well into a beach bag." They also wrote, "Cameron’s portrayal of 17-year-old Stephen Shulevitz is astonishingly good. There’s an alchemy here that not every writer who takes on a character so different from herself can achieve. She captures it all..." Click here to read the rest of the article and, if you want more of Cameron's writing, follow her twitter feed @ASimpleJan.

Father's Day is this weekend so we will be posting book and gift suggestions on our Facebook and twitter feed. Don't miss it! We'll have suggestions for the handyman Dad, the-I-don't-mess-around-in-the-garden Dad, the grill-master Dad, the super-sporty Dad and every Dad in between.

A couple of weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal revealed the cover for Malcolm Gladwell’s highly anticipated DAVID AND GOLIATH (9780316204361).

David and Goliath It's been 5 years since Outliers was published.  As you can imagine, we have been eagerly anticipating this book along with a million other readers!

Here's the synopsis from Hachette Book Group:

In DAVID AND GOLIATH, Malcolm Gladwell, with his unparalleled ability to grasp connections others miss, uncovers the hidden rules that shape the balance between the weak and the mighty, the powerful and the dispossessed. Gladwell examines the battlefields of Northern Ireland and Vietnam, takes us into the minds of cancer researchers and civil rights leaders, and digs into the dynamics of successful and unsuccessful classrooms-all in an attempt to demonstrate how fundamentally we misunderstand the true meaning of advantages and disadvantages. When is a traumatic childhood a good thing? When does a disability leave someone better off? Do you really want your child to go to the best school he or she can get into? Why are the childhoods of people at the top of one profession after another marked by deprivation and struggle? Drawing upon psychology, history, science, business, and politics, DAVID AND GOLIATH is a beautifully written book about the mighty leverage of the unconventional.

Read more at: http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/malcolm-gladwell/david-and-goliath/9780316204361/#desc.

Elsewhere, Ann Shin, the lovely, award-winning filmmaker and author of the book of poetry Family China (9781926829807 | Brick Books), is on tour. Leah McLaren of The Globe and Mail wrote, "Shin’s book, which she described in a recent interview as a collection of poems about “family, connections and destruction,” is an evocative, impressionistic collection, full of objects, images, scents and sounds from her early childhood on a five-acre farm in Langley, B.C." FamilyFor the book launch book, Ann smashed her family china at the Soho House and invited spectators to smash their own personal objects.  She told The Globe and Mail, "“It’s about breaking out of the confining narrative of our lives.”  Wish we had been there!

That's it for now. Follow us on twitter @MandaGroup and on Facebook for author updates, book trailers, and much more!

Looking Forward to Camp?

Do you remember your first experience at a camp? Maybe you had the best time of your life. Maybe you met your sweetheart at camp. Or maybe, like these kids, you absolutely hated it! ISBN: 9781419702792 Publisher: Abrams CAD $13.95 P.S. I still Hate It Here is all about kids at camp. This book contains a hilarious collection of letters, that kids actually wrote, to their families back home. Here's and excerpt from the book:

DEAR MOM, THIS IS AN EMERGENCY I NEED A NEW PEN MY OTHER ONE BROKE. AND A NEW LOCK AND MORE STAMPS. Signed your loveable son David The Great

Kids are great at saying just the right thing to make us laugh, and this book is no exception.

MANDAtory Reading 05-25-11

  Toddler 411 ($16.95; 9781889392387) is still going strong with a great review in Calgary's Child magazine!  These books are amazing gifts not only for new parents, but also for seasoned moms and dads who are interested in learning more about child development. 

David Ward, author of Between Two Ends ($19.95; 9780810997141), was in Toronto recently, attending ALOUD:  A Celebration for Young Readers at the Harbourfront Centre.  Ward read from his book, did a quick Q+A and signed books to the delight of many young fans. I attended the event and must say the spark he ignited in the room that afternoon was bright and infectious! The children hung on his every word which he spoke with a passion and excitement for reading and writing that was truly inspiring.  I was lucky enough to share a cab back to the airport with Ward after his event and we chatted about publishing, Toronto, and what is to become of books and the authors who write them.  As I pulled away from Terminal 3 after dropping Ward off I realized our conversation had left me with a lighter heart.   It is writers such as he and experiences such as these which remind me why I do what I do and love it so much.  David Ward believes in young imaginations, and champions the written (and typed) word.  Books, no matter the format will hail so long as individuals believe in their worth, and speak from the heart of their importance.  I truly encourage anyone who enjoys historical fiction to pick up this book - it is certainly worthy of your attention, and you'll want this one on your shelf (virtual or physical).

Diana Henry's beautiful cookbook Plenty ($34.99; 9781845335731) was mentioned in an article on slow roasting in the Times Colonist.  Diana was also intereviewed for a three page article in HELLO! Canada magazine which can be found on newstands now. 

Hilary Winston's My Boyfriend Wrote a Book About Me ($21.95; 9781402779794) was mentioned favourably in the National Post Ampersand Blog, and her interview with METRO was syndicated in the Calgary edition here this week.

Terence Conran has come out with two new books in his slight but beautiful ESSENTIAL series.  Children's Rooms ($24.00; 9781840915686) ran in the Toronto Star website last Saturday, and Color ($24.00; 9781840915730) will run in tomorrow's edition.

 Patti Smith 1969 - 1976 ($29.95; 9780810998322) was the inspiration for a style board on the FASHION magazine blog. Linn’s photographs of Smith focus on shifting influences and spotlight her profound relationships with various aritists. Linn has herein captured Smith like no one else, in the grainy atmosphere of a bygone New York.

Homemade Living: Home Dairy with Ashley English by Ashley English ($23.95; 9781600596278) was blogged about in the life section of the National Post website.  For Ashley's excellent root vegetable recipe from her equally informative sister title Keeping Bees With Ashley English check out our blog post on Foodlit.ca.

Sanjeev Kapoor's masterpiece How To Cook Indian ($35.95; 9781584799139) was the subject of a post on the popular food blog cookbooks 4 every kitchen.  Sanjeev's recent promotional trip to Toronto was a huge success, and his booksigning at Costco Canada will not be soon forgotten.  The man is as nice as his recipes are good, I assure you.

Mary McCartney's beautiful book of photography From Where I Stand ($42.00; 9780810996540) was written up in the style section of the Toronto Star. A brief photo gallery accompanied the piece and gave readers a brief glimpse of the talent they can expect from the other daughter. (what a family!)

Weber’s Time To Grill ($29.95; 9780376020604)was mentioned in the Toronto Sun (additional recipes to be excerpted this Saturday, and on occasion leading up to Father’s Day). A recipe from the book was also featured on Sweetspot, and the Urbanmoms blog who gave away a copy of the book as well.  Fire up your Q people, the images in this book are going to make your mouth water!

 At the age of forty-six, Jack Nicklaus was considered by some to be done as a championship golfer. Entering the 1986 Masters, most folks had written off the Golden Bear, but the winner of a record seventeen professional majors wasn’t done yet. After a slow start, Nicklaus got in the hunt during the weekend and played the final nine holes in a 6-under-par 30. He roared past a who’s who of top golfers that day to win his sixth Masters title—a record that still exists. Most experts agree that it was the most thrilling day of tournament golf ever played.  Intrigued? Check out the Globe and Mail for an excellent review, and better yet a copy of The 1986 Masters: How Jack Nicklaus Roared Back to Win ($27.50; 9780762777587) and relive for yourself the weekend that blew up the game of golf for sports fans around the globe.

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David Ward reading at Harbourfront, and book giveaway

Above is a clip of David Ward reading from his new book, Between Two Ends (Amulet; ISBN 9780810997141). The reading took place at the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto as part of ALOUD: A Celebration for Young Readers. This is part of Forest of Reading® Festival of Trees™, the largest children's literary event in Canada with over 8000 young readers attending from May 11-12, 2011. For more information on these hugely successful events please see here and here. Thank you to the event organizers and hosts, and David Ward himself! You were all so helpful and we really appreciate being able to get some video coverage.

Between Two Ends, by David WardWe're giving away a signed copy of Between Two Ends at YAgazine.ca, our website for young readers, so head over there now to enter!

David Ward was born in Montreal and grew up in Vancouver. He was an elementary school teacher for eleven years before completing his master's degree. He is the author of the Grassland trilogy and is a writer and university instructor in children's literature. He lives in Portland, Oregon, with his wife and their three children. Visit his website!

Amulet Books is an imprint of ABRAMS.

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MANDAtory Reading List 12.06.2010

The Globe and Mail published their selection of the year's most spectacular coffee-table books last Saturday - click on Gwenyth below to view the web version.   

 On another note, is it just me, or does the Globe Style section just keep getting better and better? 

Moving along, the Vancouver Sun also published a booklist on Saturday, but focused on the top 10 lifestyle tomes of the season.  It included Bunny Williams Scrapbook for Living, Miller's Costume Jewelry, and The World Atlas of Whisky.  I found the list spot on!

Trying to nail down clever drink ideas for an upcoming holiday shin-dig?  Impress your guests with these creative cocktail recipes put together by the folks at the Calgary Herald. My particular favourite is the Tequila Mockingbird adapted from Drinkology by James Waller.

Letty Halloran Flatt, author of Chocolate Snowball, was recently profiled on the CBC's Cookbook Club.  For those of you seeking that gem of a cookie for your holiday bake swap - look no further.  The Linzer Heart Cookie recipe was reproduced along with the interview.  These cookies are SO adorable.

The Canadian Living Craft Blog gave away a copy of The Farm Chicks Christmas last week!  If you're a crafter do yourself a favour and keep this site on your blog roll.  They give stuff away a lot.

And finally, for gift ideas for the food fanatic on your list, I suggest taking a  look at this list of the best cookbooks of the year compiled by The Montreal Gazette.  Our favourites from the list?  Plenty by Diana Henry and Rose Elliot's New Complete Vegetarian, your foodie friends will not be dissapointed.

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Manda Books in the News

The fabulous CBC food writer Shaun Smith has written a fascinating photo essay that includes two food books of ours that I felt compelled to share.  Foodie or not, I would recommend you all check out the photo gallery.  From the pleasant deception of a broccoli tree forest (from Food Landscapes by Carl Warner) to carefully placed fish heads bobbing in an English pie (from YUCK!: The Things People Eat by Neil Setchfield), I was equal parts delighted and horrified at what I saw here.  Click on the Brocoli Forest image and enjoy!