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Praise for Jean Hanff Korelitz’s You Should Have Known | HBG

Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. Devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice, her days are full of familiar things: she lives in the very New York apartment in which she was raised, and sends Henry to the school she herself once attended. Dismayed by the ways in which women delude themselves, Grace is also the author of a book You Should Have Known, in which she cautions women to really hear what men are trying to tell them. But weeks before the book is published a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only an ongoing chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster, and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself. 9781455599493“Tempt the gods with smug self-righteousness and they will deliver a windfall of tragedy, as witness in Jean Hanff Korelitz’s rollickingly good literary thriller…Korelitz writes intimately and engagingly about a social strata few are privy to, but the ugliness is very familiar.” - Vanity Fair

“This consuming, expertly plotted thriller moves along at a slow burn, building up to shocking revelations about Grace’s past and ending with a satisfying twist on her former relationship mantra; ‘doubt can be a gift’” - People

“An unputdownably deft vivisection of Manhattan’s upper social strata.” -

“A savvy psychological thriller.” - Huffington Post

“This excellent literary mystery by the author of 2009’s Admission unfolds with authentic detail in a rarified contemporary Manhattan.” - Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review


Publisher: Grand Central Publishing Price: $29.00 CAN Pages: 448 Physical Dimensions: 6" x 9" ISBN-13: 9781455599493 On Sale Date: 03/18/2014

Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems

With key matchups between the USA and Canada this week, hockey has been top of mind both north and south of the border. Fans from either nation are either cheering their respective teams to victory or provide compelling excuses for why things went wrong. In either case, the memory of these olympic matchups will not fade for at least a few days. But for those of us that are disappointed in the end, it may prove a good idea to take a more philosophical view of what transpired rather than let emotions rule the day.

Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems by Randall Maggs provides the perfect jumping off point for such ruminations. Brick Books has provided hockey fans of all loyalties with an insightful collection of poetry focused on a hockey legend that has played for multiple teams on both sides of the border. When talking about Sawchuk, there is no need to mince words. He is simply one of, if not the, greatest goalies of all time. His 103 career shutouts was a record that stood for 39 years and most thought would never be broken.

Night Work sheds light on the enigma that is Terry Sawchuk who Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail calls the “...[D]arkest most troubled figure in the history of the national game.” Brunt goes on to heap praise on the collection, saying it “...[M]ay be the truest hockey book ever written.” If truth can be measured by the emotions a book dregs up in a reader, then I could not agree more.

The unique format of this book is like no other hockey title I have come across, and if sheer blissful escape are what you’re after then this is the books for you. Reading this book will cause any hockey fan to lose themselves for hours at a time in a swirl of deep, rich imagery that you can almost smell. Night Work is magical a piece of art that will leave you thinking about so much more than just the Olympic results.



Entertainment Weekly calls YOU SHOULD HAVE KNOWN “The Thriller We’re Already Obsessed With”!!

“This excellent literary mystery [unfolds] with authentic detail in a rarefied contemporary Manhattan. . . intriguing and beautiful.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Jason Bourne meets Martha Stewart in another of Korelitz’s woman-of-a-certain-age-in-crisis dramas. The author's 2009 novel, Admission, is now a film starring Tina Fey. Well, not quite Jason Bourne. But Grace Reinhart Sachs is almost as resourceful…Korelitz writes with clarity and an unusual sense of completeness; she doesn’t overdescribe, but neither does she let much of anything go by without observing it, which slows an already deliberately paced narrative. She is also an ascended master of the psychologically fraught situation, of which Grace experiences many as she stumbles on but then rises above the wreckage of her life. A smart, leisurely study of midlife angst.” Kirkus Reviews

About the Book

Grace Reinhart Sachs is living the only life she ever wanted for herself. Devoted to her husband, a pediatric oncologist at a major cancer hospital, their young son Henry, and the patients she sees in her therapy practice, her days are full of familiar things: she lives in the very New York apartment in which she was raised, and sends Henry to the school she herself once attended. Dismayed by the ways in which women delude themselves, Grace is also the author of a book You Should Have Known, in which she cautions women to really hear what men are trying to tell them. But weeks before the book is published a chasm opens in her own life: a violent death, a missing husband, and, in the place of a man Grace thought she knew, only an ongoing chain of terrible revelations. Left behind in the wake of a spreading and very public disaster, and horrified by the ways in which she has failed to heed her own advice, Grace must dismantle one life and create another for her child and herself.

Read more:!

WE LOVE EACH OTHER | New York Times Book Review

We all know "find love before V-DAY" is at the bottom of your February to-do list. Nobody wants to spend their precision time looking for a date when there's a million other things to do like watch figure skaters dance on ice (OLYMPIC time, people). That's why this Valentine's Day we're highlighting books for kids because they actually enjoy receiving candy in kitschy heart shaped boxes and, as The New York Times wrote, "mimicking the conventions of courtship without suffering its uncertainties."  Valentine's Day is also the perfect holiday for children because it offers them another opportunity to learn about love in all its various shapes and forms. And, of course, the best way to teach children is through books. Below you'll find a few of our favorites as well as two titles recently highlighted in The New York Times Book Review:

We Love Each Other, by the Brilliant illustrator Yusuke Yonezu, is a clever and charming board book with an upbeat theme and a special surprise on the last page. The book features birds, elephants, rabbits, turtles and kittens celebrating love and togetherness. Kids will enjoy the bold and colorful illustrations that reveal a surprise beneath the flap on every page.

WE LOVE EACH OTHER Written and illustrated by Yusuke Yonezu Minedition (Independent Publishers Group) 9789888240562 $10.95 Board book Ages 1 to 4

Love You More Than Anything, a picture book by Anna Harber Freeman and illustrated by Jed Henry, is all about telling children how much their parents love them.  This rhyming read-aloud assures kids—in so many ways—that they're loved more than anything in the world. Readers follow an adorable chipmunk family for a fun outing at the park, a special homemade cake after dinner, and a snuggle before bedtime—and all the while mom and dad find dozens of ways, big and small, to give their children the affection and security they crave. Sarah Harrison Smith of The New York Times Book Review wrote, "Sprightly rather than soppy, “Love You More Than Anything” reminds readers that having fun together is one of the best ways families can show their love, whatever the day."

LOVE YOU MORE THAN ANYTHING By Anna Harber Freeman Illustrated by Jed Henry Sterling Publishing 9781454900214 $9.95 Picture book Ages 3 to 7

For more on these two titles, read The New York Times Book Review feature "Love for the Littlest, Yusuke Yonezu’s ‘We Love Each Other,’ and More" on their website.

In this favorite Hello Kitty story, Hello Kitty explores what love and friendship mean as she tries to find the perfect gift for her special friend Dear Daniel. After all of her friends offer suggestions that don’t seem quite right, Hello Kitty finally has an idea for something very special that she hopes Dear Daniel will love. Includes bonus Valentine’s Day cards.

HELLO KITTY HELLO LOVE By Sanrio Abrams Books 9781419712494 $7.99 Picture Book Ages 3 to 8

Learn the names of six animals and their sounds as friendly farm animals say hello to each other on each spread. Featuring sturdy tabs to turn and a die-cut handle built right into the book, this is the perfect story for little ones to read together with parents or flip through on their very own.

This new book in the I Love Learning series teaches simple concepts while reminding little ones how much they are cherished through Sandra Magsamen's signature heartfelt text and cozy, hand-stitched illustration style. Readers will *love* learning about animal sounds!

BAA, MOO, I LOVE YOU By Sandra Magsaman Little, Brown for Young Readers 9780316133586 $8.99 Board Book Ages 0 to 3

Ten little fingers, ten little toes Two little ears and one little nose. Two warm cheeks, all rosy and bright A kiss and a cuddle to say goodnight. An exuberant and heartwarming book about the arrival of a new baby from the creators of I Love My Mummy and I Love My Daddy. One little boy discovers all the wonderful things about his new little sibling is this joyful top-to-toe celebration of babies. A warm-hearted, celebratory book that's perfect for sharing when welcoming a new baby to the family. From the bestselling author Giles Andreae, whose rhyming text perfectly captures the joyful exuberance of young children, and the award-winning Emma Dodd, whose cheerful colours and irrepressible illustrations delight children and their parents everywhere.

I LOVE YOU BABY By Emma Dodd & Giles Andreae HUK Kids 9781408327494 $16.99 Picture Book Ages 0 to 5


Coach Your Team to Success!

This is going to be an exciting year for soccer fans! Footy lovers across the world will gather around televisions this summer to take in the World Cup live from Brazil. And, as if that wasn't enough for soccer fans in the GTA, Toronto FC has just made a big splash in MLS by bringing in three big-name players. After the additions of Dwayne De Rosario, Michael Bradley, and Jermaine Defoe, this could be a great year for the Toronto club. With all this new talent on the roster,TFC fans like myself are anxiously awaiting to see how coach Ryan Nelson will handle the task. Of course, if he finds himself in trouble he can always pick up a copy of Hamlyn'sHow to Coach a Soccer Team by Tony Carr.

Tony Carr, Director of Youth Development at the West Ham United'syouth academy, is often cited as one of the best youth soccer coaches in England, and he covers all of the bases in this book. It is a must have for any aspiring soccer coach.

Easy to navigate, the book is broken into seven sections:

1) Getting Organized 2) Ball Skills 3) Team Play 4) Goalkeeping - The Basics 5) Set Plays 6) Solving Problems 7) Small Sided Games

Each section has a simple layout and features full-colour pictures and easy to follow diagrams; so easy in fact, they made me think even I could coach a soccer team (and that's saying something)!

That said, this book is perfect for coaches of all skill levels. New coaches might want to read all the chapters in one go to get a solid overview before coaching their first squad, while seasoned coaches can jump to specific sections to help them freshen up their practices with a new drill or perhaps ease the mood with some lighthearted ball play.

And who knows – with a World Cup, and a (hopefully) banner season from TFC on the horizon – there might be a spike in youth soccer enrollment. If that's the case, teams will need coaches and one of them could be you.

In the book's forward, professional footballer, and ex-student of Carr, Rio Ferdinand says that "Good footballers in well-organized teams win matches and championships. And it's inspiring coaches that help get them there."

Let this book help you get your team there!

                                     --How to Coach a Soccer Team releases this April --

Steve Martin Offers a Cure for Post Holiday Stress

Ahhh, the holidays; a time for fun, good cheer, and merriment for all. It’s a time for people to recharge their batteries and come back to work refreshed and ready to take on a new year. Or, if your holidays were like mine, a time to drive from get together to get together through terrible weather on a marathon visiting session that ends up being too much family in too little time. I love my family as much as the next person but seven days straight left me feeling like McCauley Culkin at the beginning of Home Alone. I found myself wanting to say to them, “I don't want to see you again for the rest of my whole life. And I don't want to see anybody else either.” Okay, maybe I wasn’t that wound up, but I was definitely haunted by images of my family for days.

At the end of it all, I was left with a single day to wind down before getting back to the normal routine. But how would I spend that day? Easy – relaxing with a good book that doesn’t demand deep thought. The book I picked up was The Ten, Make That Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make That Ten. The tweets of Steve Martin from Grand Central Publishing.

If laughter truly is the best medicine and you need treatment, this is the book for you. This book, just as the title suggests, is a collection of Steve Martin’s Twitter posts. Unlike some tweeters (who shall remain nameless) Martin’s tweets do not revolve around shoe shopping, feuding with other celebrities, or posting way too many selfies. Instead, his tweets are pure, unfiltered Martin gold. This is not Steve Martin reading from a script, but Martin delivering his own thoughts without compromise. And man, are they funny! My favourite of his tweets are those where Martin appears to be tweeting from jury duty:

REPORT FROM JURY DUTY: Other Jurors are stupid. They don’t believe in “hexes.” Plus they want me to put my magazines away.

Or those where he tweets about the Martin invented character Creepy Guy:

Creepy Guy

Creepy Guy here fixing basement. Odd that he has to tie me up to do it.

But aside from his own tweets, Martin also trades tweets with his followers, and some of those directed at him are as funny as his own. One follower tweeted:

@youcatastrophe: “I think I’m the only person in the world that truly understands you and gets your humour. That’re not very funny.”

The fact that Martin included this tweet in the collection just goes to show what a great sense of humour he has.

Needless to say, after finishing this book the thoughts of unrest and bitterness about the hectic nature of my holidays were replaced with feelings of contentment and serenity. I only wish that it were a bit longer. Reading it is a lot like eating popcorn: easily consumed, deliciously enjoyable and gone before you know it! Luckily, once this book is finished you can follow Martin on twitter and get your daily dose of medicine. Happy New Year!

Click this link to follow Steve Martin on twitter.

LIBRARY JOURNAL REVIEW: Le Livre Blanc by Anne Sophie Pic

It was only a couple hours ago that you were biting into your lunch wondering if you were ever going to eat a sandwich that tasted as good as it looks on The Food Network; in Bon Appetit Magazine; on; or in one of the many cookbooks currently occupying your kitchen. Wonder on, because your sandwich is never going to taste as good as it looks on TV, in a magazine, in cookbook or even on a 20-something’s blog. Tough love, we know, but sometimes you need to hear the truth so that you can stop worrying and start celebrating the people who CAN and DO create meals that look like a Picasso painting on your plate and taste like fireworks just had a Canada Day party in your mouth.

One of these people we speak of is the incredibly talented, three Michelin star chef ANNE SOPHIE PIC, who recently released her cookbook LE LIVRE BLANC with Quayside Publishing Group.

There are dishes in her cookbook you will never be able to make, let alone eat (unless you're traveling to France and then we should talk, and, by talk, we mean let's be best friends), but you can ogle, drool and swoon over the beautiful spreads. That's half the fun! LE LIVRE BLAC is a cookbook that transforms everyday dishes into extraordinary works of art that both inspire and amaze.

Don’t believe us? Well, believe Library Journal, because they have explained her allure quite succinctly: "Let’s face it—when most of us think about cooking, we don’t imagine filling a bowl of frothy green tea broth with artfully arranged boiled leeks, marinated anchovies, and wafer-thin coins of caviar-topped melba toast. Most readers will never cook from this title, but browsing its visually breathtaking contents, they will understand why Pic, the fourth female chef ever to win three Michelin stars, deserves her reputation. Some haute cuisine cookbooks have explicit instructions; this one does not. The recipes at the back of the book assume considerable knowledge and skill. VERDICT highly recommended for professional collections and aspirational cooks interested in elegant plating and presentation."

Do you need us to break it down some more? No. Good. Now go buy the book.


Johnny Cash: The Life by Robert Hilburn | MACLEAN'S Review

Johnny Cash This past week MACLEAN'S reviewer Martin Patriquin eloquently contemplates the multifarious nature of Johnny Cash in Robert Hilburn's new biography. Here's a snippet from the article but you can read the entire review at

“Cash could make any song sound like it was pouring from his own guts, even if he hadn’t written it. We find out why in a pitch-perfect nugget typical of Hilburn’s brilliant Cash biography. Sincerity is country music’s greatest compliment, something Cash learned from his idol, country singer Jimmy Rodgers. “As Cash listened to Rodgers’s records, he identified with the man who had grown up in hard times and found in music both a comfort and a personal salvation,” Hilburn writes.

The Johnny Cash that Hilburn meticulously sketches is exactly this type of man—with an added caveat. Music was Cash’s comfort and salvation, but it also turned the shy, God-fearing boy from Kingsland, Ark., into an explosive, pill-popping, alcoholic womanizer who teetered on the edge of self-inflicted oblivion for much of his life.

There are already over 50 titles written about or by Cash, yet Hilburn’s work is a standout if only because of his access to the man. As a music critic, Hilburn followed Cash’s career from the late ’60s onward; as a friend, he was close to Cash in his dying days. He writes about the relationship between Cash and the latter’s second wife, June Carter, formed as it was in adultery, fuelled by music, misery and at times drugs, and punctuated by separation and longing. And yet this tornado-like union is brought to a scene of peaceful heartbreak by Hilburn, who documents the last moments of Carter’s life in a hospital, with Cash by her side. You might have to put the book down for a moment.”

The definitive biography of an American legend

In Johnny Cash: The Life, Robert Hilburn conveys the unvarnished truth about a musical icon whose colorful career stretched from his days at Sun Records with Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis to the remarkable creative last hurrah, at age sixty-nine, that resulted in the brave, moving "Hurt" video. As music critic for the Los Angeles Times, Hilburn knew Cash well throughout his life: he was the only music journalist at the legendary Folsom Prison concert in 1968, and he interviewed Cash and his wife June Carter for the final time just months before their deaths in 2003. Hilburn's rich reporting shows the remarkable highs and deep lows that followed and haunted Cash in equal measure. A man of great faith and humbling addiction, Cash aimed for more than another hit on the jukebox; he wanted to use his music to lift people's spirits and help promote what he felt was the best of the American spirit.

Drawing upon his personal experience with Cash and a trove of never-before-seen material from the singer's inner circle, Hilburn creates an utterly compelling, deeply human portrait of one of the most iconic figures in modern popular culture - not only a towering figure in country music, but also a seminal influence in rock, whose personal life was far more troubled, and whose musical and lyrical artistry much more profound, than even his most devoted fans ever realized.

  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Price: $35.00 CAN
  • Pages: 688
  • Physical Dimensions: 6" x 9-1/4"
  • ISBN-13: 9780316194754
  • On Sale Date: 10/29/2013

MY BASMATI BAT MITZVAH Named Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2013

Paula J. Freedman's young adult novel MY BASMATI BAT MITZVAH has been named a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2013:

"The latest spunky heroine of South Asian–Jewish heritage to grace middle-grade fiction, Tara Feinstein, 12, charms readers from the get-go in this strong, funny debut." Kirkus Reviews, starred review


Other Praise for My Basmati Bat Mitzvah "Tara’s inquisitiveness, openness, and determination to chart her own path stand out in this warm story of family, faith and the ways people are unique yet intertwined." —Publishers Weekly

"This story will have resonance for many children of many faiths at the cusp of religious adulthood." —Booklist

"As she makes her way through these challenges, she learns a great deal about friendship, family, and heritage. Freedman handles the ethnic and religious diversity of Tara’s family and friends with a light touch, but doesn’t shrink from exploring some of the complexities of a dual heritage." —School Library Journal

About the book During the fall leading up to her bat mitzvah, Tara (Hindi for “star”) Feinstein has a lot more than her Torah portion on her mind. Between Hebrew school and study sessions with the rabbi, there doesn’t seem to be enough time to hang out with her best friend Ben-O—who might also be her boyfriend—and her other best friend, Rebecca, who’s getting a little too cozy with the snotty Sheila Rosenberg. Not to mention working on her robotics project with the class clown Ryan Berger, or figuring out what to do with a priceless heirloom sari that she accidentally ruined. Amid all this drama, Tara considers how to balance her Indian and Jewish identities and what it means to have a bat mitzvah while questioning her faith. With the cross-cultural charm of Bend It Like Beckham, this delightful debut novel is a classic coming-of-age story and young romance with universal appeal.

About the author Paula J. Freedman has another career in digital media, making websites for a well-known children’s publisher, a TV network, and assorted others. She’s pretty much the same person she was in middle school, only nicer and with less acne. She lives with her husband and two parrots in New York City.

Visit Abrams Books at for more details.

REALITY BOY | Winter 2013-2014 Kids' Indie Next List Top Ten

Exciting news: REALITY BOY by A.S. King has been chosen as a Top Ten title featured on the Winter 2013-2014 Kids' Indie Next List!


* "Heart-pounding and heartbreaking...This is no fairy-tale romance, but a compulsively readable portrait of two imperfect teens learning to trust each other." - Kirkus Reviews

* "This is a story about healing, and although Gerald stumbles as he takes his first steps, his candor invites sympathy from the first page." -Publishers Weekly

* "King’s trademarks–attuned first-person narrative, convincing dialogue, realistic language, and fitting quirkiness–connect effectively in this disturbing, yet hopeful novel." -School Library Journal

About the Book In this fearless portrayal of a boy on the edge, highly acclaimed Printz Honor author A.S. King explores the desperate reality of a former child "star" struggling to break free of his anger.

Gerald Faust started feeling angry even before his mother invited a reality TV crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later, he's still haunted by his rage-filled youth--which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle--and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school. No one cares that Gerald has tried to learn to control himself; they're all just waiting for him to snap. And he's starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that...until he chooses to create possibilities for himself that he never knew he deserved.

Read more at 

Reality BoyPublisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Price: $20.00 CAN Pages: 368 Physical Dimensions: 5-1/2" x 8-1/4" ISBN-13: 9780316222709 On Sale Date: 10/22/2013

Join Spero Lucas on his Latest Case in The Double

The job seems simple enough: retrieve the valuable painting--"The Double"--Grace Kinkaid's ex-boyfriend stole from her. It's the sort of thing Spero Lucas specializes in: finding what's missing, and doing it quietly. But Grace wants more. She wants Lucas to find the man who humiliated her--a violent career criminal with a small gang of brutal thugs at his beck and call.

Lucas is a man who knows how to get what he wants, whether it's a thief on the run--or a married woman. In the midst of a steamy, passionate love affair that he knows can't last, in pursuit of a dangerous man who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, Lucas is forced to decide what kind of man he is--and how far he'll go to get what he wants.

George Pelecanos came through town the other day on a publicity tour for his new novel The Double (9780316078399). Between TV and print interview appointments he found time to come by the Manda offices and talk to us about the book and what went into writing it.

Sitting around the table, one thing that we all agreed upon was how real this book feels. This is in part due to the fact that Pelecanos is a native of Washington DC, the same city that the book is set in. Gone are the typical descriptions of large ivory buildings gleaming in the sun, and plots about insider politics running rampant everywhere. In their place are descriptions of a Washington not often seen on TV, or read about in books; a different side of a city that readers might think they know. They get to see a Washington conveyed through and brought to life by Pelecanos' acute familiarity. They also see a different side of investigator Spero Lucas, a character that time and time again, they might think that they know. That it is difficult to guess what the P.I. is going to do next is definitely another reason why this book feels so real. Pelecanos is not dealing in cliches, and readers are treated to a real character moving through and working in a real city.

Perhaps this is why Stephen King has told Entertainment Weekly that Pelecanos is "Perhaps the greatest living American crime writer." It could also be the fact that Pelecanos doesn't milk his characters simply because he knows people will read them. If he has nowhere else to go with a character he retires them and moves on. In the case of Lucas, Pelecanos seems as interested in him as the reader is, and it certainly keeps things interesting. Lucas is not your typical hero, and this is not your typical crime novel. At times disturbing, at others erotic, and always exciting, this is one novel that will leave you wanting more. Hopefully Pelecanos doesn't tire of Lucas before we do!

If readers are interested in following Spero Lucas from the start, he first appears in George Pelecanos' The Cut.

"It's astonishing all the good stuff Pelecanos can pack into one unpretentious book: meaty substance, multiple story lines, vital characters, choice dialogue and all those descriptive details ... that make the story so rich." (New York Times).

"Pelecanos' work has antecedents in the books and films of Richard Stark (Donald Westlake), John D. MacDonald, Elmore Leonard and Don Siegel but also a spooky magic all his own - thanks to the utter believability he maintains."  (Wall Street Journal).

Forest of Reading Awards

Congratulations to authors K. L. Armstrong & M.A. Marr on the nomination of Loki’s Wolves for the Ontario Library Association’s 2014 Forest of Reading Red Maple Award!

Armstrong_Lokis WolvesHC c

The Red Maple Award is is given to the best fiction books for readers ages 12 -15 as selected by Ontario's young readers.

Read more at:


Praise for Loki's Wolves:

"Norse mythology brought to life with engaging contemporary characters and future volumes that promise explosive action; ideal for Percy Jackson fans who want to branch out." (Kirkus Reviews).

"Loki's Wolves brings Norse mythology to the modern world...The background and explanation of the legends are clear and a natural fit to the story and dialogue, bringing life to lesser-known Norse mythology...Recommended for those who enjoyed Rick Riordan's 'Percy Jackson and the Olympians' series." (School Library Journal).

"This smart, fast-paced, action-packed novel...offers readers a solid adventure story that still manages not to skimp on character...An excellent what-to-read-next for Percy Jackson fans, this novel will also please young readers of Marvel's Thor and myth-lovers already familiar with Norse lore..." (Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books).

A Study In Scarlet : A Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novel

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Ian Edginton and I.N.J. Culbard. STERLING, $19.50 (9781402770821)

If, like myself, you are pining for the return of everyone’s favourite mystery solving duo in the third series of the BBC’s SHERLOCK, the wait may be getting to you. Luckily for us there are ways to temper the sense of withdrawal we’re feeling. One way is to turn to the original stories but not every television viewer will go in for that. If only there was a way to consume the adventures of Watson and Holmes in a form as visual and engaging as the series we all love without having to travel forward in time (It doesn’t work; I’ve tried).

Enter: A Study in Scarlet: A Sherlock Holmes Graphic Novel brought to us by Sterling Publishing. This book is every bit as visual and engaging as SHERLOCK but pays closer attention to the original stories. It is a reader’s chance to get Sherlock Holmes’ origin story very close to the way it was originally intended but in a beautifully drawn imagining courtesy of artist I.N.J. Culbard. Ian Edginton’s attention to detail in the writing is also wonderful and many panels seem to have jumped right out of the pages of the original novel.

Comic book fans with no interest in Holmes will also find themselves lost in this book as it provides them with a much needed break from the typical superhero narratives: a break which they might not realize they need until they’ve taken it. A perfect blending of classic fiction and the graphic novel, this book could be the jumping off point for many comic fans to find a love of classic literature or, conversely, for fans of classic literature to find a love of comic books.

For readers who enjoy this and are eager for more, it will come as good news that, besides two more Shherlock Holmes entries, Sterling has given the graphic novel treatment to classics like Jekyl and Hyde, A Tale of Two Cities, and even Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment.

Happy Reading!

Terrific Reviews for Alan Weisman's COUNTDOWN

“Spirited descriptions, a firm grasp of complex material, and a bomb defuser’s steady precision make for a riveting read….Weisman’s cogent and forthright global inquiry, a major work, delineates how education, women’s equality, and family planning can curb poverty, thirst, hunger, and environmental destruction. Rigorous and provoking.” Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)

“In Countdown, Alan Weisman, a journalist probing whether a sustainable balance between nature and the human population can be achieved, offers a key message to guide future action. He says that no matter what environmental, environmental, ecological, or social problem we face, it will be easier to solve with fewer people….Weisman’s book…offers hope.” Hania Zlotnik, Nature

“Countdown is [Weisman’s] bold, troubling, and often inspiring search for ways to save ourselves.” Julia Holmes, Men’s Journal

“This is not a jeremiad but a realistic, vividly detailed exploration of the greatest problem facing our species.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Provocative and sobering, this vividly reported book raises profound concerns about our future.” Publishers Weekly (starred review)


COUNTDOWN: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?

By Alan Weisman

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Price: $31.00 CAN

Pages: 528

Dimensions: 6" x 9-1/4"

ISBN-13: 9780316097758

On Sale Date: 09/24/2013




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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 - 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!

Book Review: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown | Little Brown

I blame The Lost Boys, as I’m sure does every straight woman raised in the 80s. If it hadn’t been for that vampire gateway-drug, I probably never would’ve picked up a single Anne Rice book. I think without The Lost Boys, we wouldn’t have Twilight Moms… for most of those women? 1987 was a formative year. I was just entering my own adolescent angst period, and I blame my love of vampire novels (and angsty teenage stories) entirely on The Lost Boys. Have a thing for tormented bad boys? Check! Do you like the pretty boys who just want to fit in and make you happy? Check! All-night parties and angst-filled declarations of love your thing? CHECK! Really, the vampire novel is the ultimate expression of teenage emotion. Imagine, then, my excitement when I learned that Holly Black, mistress of all things dark and cool YA, had written a teen vampire novel: The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (Little Brown, 9780316213103 $21.00). The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Be warned: these are not your cuddly sparkly vampires. While they most definitely live up to the vampire lore and tradition of lush, lavish, over-the-top glamorous lives, these are ruthless and (of course!) tormented creatures who don’t exhibit Edward’s restraint when it comes to the blood-lust. In a place not far from our own, vampirism is an infection that can be held off if the bitten victim does not consume human blood for 88 days. At least it can in theory—no one’s ever seen it happen. When Tana is one of two survivors of an attack on a teenage house party, she and her ex-boyfriend Aidan (who is Cold, or infected) head to the nearest Coldtown (a ghetto where all vampires are legally required to live, which attracts Colds and humans alike) with a ‘rescued’ vampire in tow. The vampire is Tana’s ticket out—she will turn in her charming and annoying ex, along with the vampire as bounty and thereby earn herself a marker to get back out.  What follows is a gripping story with plenty of humour and self-awareness as we watch Tana try to balance doing so many right things that you know she’s going to fail. The culmination of events happens at the most gorgeous and self-indulgent of vampire parties and it is replete with the required jewels, gowns, blood and gore. There had better be a sequel, and fast, because I have questions and I need tormented vampire answers!!!

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown (The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, #1)

After Alice ...

Splintered by A.G. Howard (Abrams, 1419704281)  is a mesmerizing YA novel that just came out on January 1st and is a fantastic read! It is along the lines of Michael Buckley's The Sisters Grimm series. Both a tribute to and a continuation of Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, (available from Dover Publications, 0486416585) Howard plays with the dark undertones in Carroll’s novels and draws inspiration from his real life muse, Alice Lidell.

better splintered

Howard's debut novel produces a hatter who is just a bit madder, a Moth King who spouts red herrings and flies on gossamer wings,  and a Wonderland that is macabre but grand, alluring but perhaps just a sleight of hand. You’ll be drawn into the story by nostalgia, but you’ll soon fall head over heels down the rabbit hole, eagerly navigating the plots surprising twists and turns.

Alyssa Gardner is your typical skateboarding, rainbow-hair-extension-wearing, sixteen year old girl... except that she is Alice Lidell’s great, great, great granddaughter and her mother is in an insane asylum. Alyssa is concerned that she has inherited the family curse – hearing talking plants and insects can make you a bit paranoid after all. She follows her delusions through the looking glass to save her mother from madness by breaking the curse and fixing everything Alice once put amok. Upon arrival in Wonderland, she discovers that her over-protective crush, Jeb, has followed her on this adventure, and she must rely on the alluring but devious King Morpheus, to guide her on a magical mission.

At its heart, Splintered is a quirky coming-of-age story with a vivacious cast of characters.  Alyssa must grapple with the challenges of growing up which is confusing when you can’t decide who you trust, if you like the good boy or the bad boy, or even who you are.  In the end, will Alice be able to break the curse, fix Wonderland, and get herself and Jeb back home … with their heads still intact?

bk-CarrollBestOfLewisCarrollNot only is this story enchanting and whimsical, but it inspired me to read The Best of Lewis Carroll (Book Sales, 0785813268)  - some of my all time favourites - all over again. Howard's descriptions are vivid and draw on Steampunk, Gothic, and Tim Burton imagery, and her Splintered Pinterest boards are gorgeous!



A Monday Morning Post

Happy Monday everyone! Here's a book that I just finished and couldn't wait to rave about:

Monday Mornings by Sanjay Gupta ISBN 9780446583855 $27.99 CAD, Grand Central Publishing

For those of you that don't know: Sanjay Gupta is a neurosurgeon and CNN's multiple Emmy award winning chief medical correspondent. This novel takes place at a Michigan hospital and revolves around Monday mornings: the time when the hospital has Morbidity & Mortality Meetings, in which doctors are held accountable and must explain mistakes they have made. Sound a little cold and gloomy? Just the opposite: this book is heartfelt, the characters are sympathetic and relatable, and you won't want to put it down.

On that note: have an easy and stress-free Monday morning, and pick up this book as soon as you have a chance!

Boy of Bone is a feast for the senses

I used to read a magazine published until about 2001 by the New York Academy of Sciences called 'The Sciences'. It was just a thin popular science mag but it had thoughtful, well-written articles about far-ranging subjects in each volume. One of the very best things about this multi-award-winning publication was the art that graced every cover and which accompanied each article. It gave the magazine a very distinctive - some have called it "high-brow" - look. To me, it was food for the mind and for the soul, thoughtfully curated and written, and mailed out to me every month. Until now, I haven't seen anything that struck me in quite the same way as 'The Sciences' always did. Thanks to this book, I now feel renewed in a way that I didn't really know I was missing.

Boy of Bone isn't just a book of short-stories, it's a beautiful combination of art and prose. Each of the stories - all written by author K. R. Sands - was inspired by an exhibit in the Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. This museum houses a large collection of medical specimens and oddities, around 12 of which Sands has spun remarkable tales starring real people (including Dr. Thomas Dent Mutter, the museum's eponymous benefactor; Marie Curie and Marcel Duchamp; and the senors Bunuel and Dali). The stories are arranged chronologically as you read through the book; even taking us to the year 2020 by the end.

Boy of Bone was a joy to read, to hold and to look at. All of the stories were surprising; none was disappointing (but The Pump Twin is my favourite; only by the slimmest of margins). If you can get hold of this book, you won't be disappointed.

Boy of Bone | Siman Media Works, April 2012 | 9780983582724 $26.50 CAN



If there was one book that set our office abuzz this fall, it had to be When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman.  I was  halfway through the book when it dawned on me that it was really something special.  Family, friendship (Jenny Penny will break your heart), relationships of all shapes and sizes are examined and flushed out and made vulnerable before she patches them up to give the reader a renewed sense of hope. The book examines many tragedies (heartbreak, loss of innocence, death, estrangement) all with an eccentric twist that captivates and keeps you reading.  Winman writes with a simple elegance, a light hand that never feels contrived.  I admittedly shed a few tears, but had just as many laughs (out loud - she is funny) and cannot wait for this debut author to come out with another. 

If you're looking for a book to give your mom, best friend, or favourite colleague this holiday season, let it be When God Was a Rabbit.  And if you have a spare moment, leave us a comment below, or like our post on Facebook to win your very own signed copy.

Click HERE for an intimate interview with Manda's Chris Hickey in discussion with the author, Sarah Winman.

When God Was a Rabbit, by Sarah Winman / $24.99, ISBN: 9780755379293 / Hachette Book Group