This year’s resolution: Count on Yourself

While weight loss and healthy eating tend to be mainstays on everyone’s new year’s resolution list, more and more of us are making resolutions about our finances. We want to be better informed and to make better decisions about our money.

Count on Yourself by Canadian expert Alison Griffiths, the host of MAXED OUT and personal finance columnist for the Toronto Star and Metro, is the perfect place to start.

Does the word “investment” make your head hurt? Are you afraid to look at your RRSPs?

Are you worried that you’ll have to eat cat food instead of caviar when you retire?

Count On Yourself gives you easy-to-follow, prescriptive advice on how to take charge of your money.

Learn how to get organized. See how fees hamstring your investments. Discover the perfect low-fee, low-maintenance portfolio that lets you sleep at night.

This book provides easy, prescriptive advice on:

  • Debt and credit
  • RRSPs, RESPs and other investment accounts
  • Your plan for the future
  • Retirement planning
  • Raising money smart kids
  • How to survive in the sandwich generation

Check out Alison’s investment tips for students, young professionals, new parents and retirees.

Tips for students:

Tips for young professionals:

Tips for new parents:

Tips for retirees:

Join Alison in Toronto and Vancouver as she shows us how to take control of our finances. She will explore our attitudes toward money and the obstacles that stop us from being our own financial boss. When it comes to YOUR money there’s no one better to count on than yourself.

Location: Indigospirit First Canadian Place
Date: Tuesday, January 24
Time: 12:30pm

Location: Toronto Reference Library in the Beeton Auditorium (789 Yonge St, Toronto)
Date: Wednesday, January 25
Time: 6:30- 8:00pm

Location: Indigo, 2505 Granville Street, Vancouver, British Columbia
Date: Saturday, January 28, 2012
Time: 12:00pm until 3:00pm

Don’t forget to enter our contest to win a personal consultation with Alison Griffiths.

Visit Alison at,  on Facebook or follow her on Twitter 

In a galaxy far, far away…

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away .. a book by Princess Leia floated into the atmosphere..

Okay, well it wasn’t that long ago and not that far away, but on Wednesday, my current book was feeling a bit too heavy and I needed a one night break.  Walking past a shelf by the office kitchen, I stopped to browse the back of Carrie Fisher’s autobiography Wishful Drinking – a mere 162-paged hilarious book full of pictures and (as per the flap copy suggested) “the crazy truth that is her life”.  Not only am I not a huge Star Wars person, but I hardly knew anything about Carrie Fisher and who she was.  Now, however, I am quite the expert.

This book was insane, sad and hilarious, all tied up in two little buns!  I was caught laughing out loud  multiple times on the subway and definitely got a few of those looks (yeah, you know exactly what I’m talking about).  Regardless, I’m pretty sure I can make you want to read this in a few small points:

1. Carrie is the product of Hollywood’s Sweethearts gone wrong.  Actress Debbie Reynolds (from Singing in the Rain) and crooner Eddie Fisher were married just long enough to have two kids before a tragic accident lead to Eddie leaving Debbie for Elizabeth Taylor (who also happened to be a close friend)!  Trust me, this story is a twisted one.

2. Carrie addresses what it was like (and the awkward situations arising from) being the most fantasized-about woman for nerds worldwide.

“Oh my God!  I thought about you every day from when I was twelve to when I was twenty-two.”
And instead of asking what happened at twenty-two, I said, “Every day?”
He shrugged and said, “Well, four times a day.”
Welcome to the land of too much information.

3. Her father accidentally eats his own (wildly expensive) hearing aids!  Now this story was the one that had me howling on the subway.  A detailed account of how this came to be is the perfect way to bring you back to life after the crowded, mind-numbing half hour subway ride to and from work.

4. Her mother bought her and her grandmother a very specific erotic toy for Christmas!  The rational of why it is the perfect stocking stuffer is definitely worth a read.  Christmas IS coming!  Just joking..

5. Even through all her crazy stories, Carrie is a warm person.  Her pride in her daughter, one of the only things she thinks she did truly well, is extremely touching.  She is honest about all the insane events that occurred in her life and open about the fact that, although she knows it is different from the lives of most people, it was all she ever knew.

If you loved this, you will love the book, and thankfully her second memoir, Shockaholic  (detailing her experiences with electro-shock therapy) is in stores now!  I will most definitely be grabbing one of those for myself!

Carrie’s book is also a one woman show that aired on HBO!

Music memoirs top wish lists

If you visit your local bookstore this fall one thing you might notice is the plethora of music memoirs on the shelves; Not just from Simon & Schuster, but other publisher’s as well. Random House just published Jann Arden’s Falling Backwards, HarperCollins has Justin Bieber’s First Step 2 Forever and Penguin released Randy Bachman’s Vinyl Tap Stories back in September. There truly is something out there for every type of music fan. Here’s a quick rundown of what S&S has to offer the music lover on your Christmas list!

Pearl Jam Twenty by Pearl Jam

Published in celebration of Pearl Jam’s twentieth anniversary and in conjunction with Cameron Crowe’s definitive documentary film and soundtrack of the same name, PEARL JAM TWENTY is an aesthetically stunning and definitive chronicle of their two decades as a band—by the band itself. This book is a veritable treasure trove of behind-the-scenes anecdotes, rare archival memorabilia, and the band’s personal photos, tour notes, and drawings. Told with wit and insight in the band members’ own words, and assembled by veteran music writer Jonathan Cohen with Mark Wilkerson—and including a foreword by Cameron Crowe along with original interviews with legends and contemporaries like Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, and Dave Grohl—this intimate work provides an in-depth look at a group of musicians who through defying convention established themselves as “the greatest American rock band ever.”

Watch the trailer

It’s So Easy by Duff McKagan

In It’s So Easy, Duff recounts GN’R’s unlikely trajectory to a string of multiplatinum albums, sold-out stadium concerts, and global acclaim. But that kind of glory can take its toll, and it did—ultimately—on Duff, as well as on the band itself. As GN’R began to splinter, Duff felt that he himself was done, too. But his near death as a direct result of alcoholism proved to be his watershed, the turning point that led to his unique path to sobriety and the unexpected choices he has made for himself since. In a voice that is as honest as it is indelibly his own, Duff—one of rock’s smartest and most articulate personalities—takes readers on his harrowing journey through the dark heart of one of the most notorious bands in rock-and-roll history and out the other side.

Read an excerpt (warning: contains graphic content)

Watch Duff talk about addiction and recovery


No Regrets by Ace Frehley

For KISS fans, Ace offers a rare behind-the-makeup look at the band’s legendary origins, including the lightning-bolt logo he designed and the outfits his mother sewed. He talks about the unspoken division within the band—he and Peter Criss versus Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons—because the other two didn’t “party every day.” Ace also reveals the inside story behind his turbulent breakup with KISS, their triumphant reunion a decade later, and his smash solo career. Along the way, he shares wild stories about dancing at Studio 54 with “The Bionic Woman,” working as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix, and bar-flying all night with John Belushi. In the end, he comes to terms with his highly publicized descent into alcohol, drugs, and self-destruction—ultimately managing to conquer his demons and come out on top.

Browse inside the book

Diary of a Player by Brad Paisley

This book is the very personal story of how Brad Paisley came of age as a musician and a man. Focusing on what it means to play the guitar and how he found his voice through a series of guitars, the book will also share what he has learned about life along the way. Beginning with his own very personal love letter to the guitar and what the instrument has meant in his life as a way to find his voice in the world, the book then moves into a musical, but personal, diary. Brad tells the story of his own musical passion, while writing loving salutes and sharing memorable tales about all the great players in country, blues, and rock & roll who have inspired him over the years.

Browse inside the book

Philippa Gregory’s new novel and your chance to win!

We are so excited for the upcoming release of Philippa’s newest novel The Lady of the Rivers. And we are even more excited that she is coming to Toronto for her only Canadian tour stop! In celebration of her new book and event we are giving you the chance to win some Philippa Gregory themed tea-for-two prize packs. You could be enjoying high tea at the Windsor Arms Hotel or brewing up something tasty at home with a starter kit from DAVIDsTEA.

Click here for all the contest details!

The Lady of the Rivers tells the story of Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford and mother of the white queen. Full of passion, danger and witchcraft, this is the remarkable story of a woman who navigated a treacherous path through the battle lines in the Wars of the Roses.

We’ve enlisted eleven of our book bloggers to read and review the book before it goes on sale on October 18th. The blog tour starts on October 3rd until October 17th. Check back daily to see what these bloggers had to say!

Oct 3 – Gobshites and Eejits

Oct 4 – Starmetal Oak Book blog

Oct 5 – Hooked On Books

Oct 6 – A&C Book Junkies

Oct 7 – Books and Brands

Oct 9/10 – History and Women and Historical Novel Review

Oct 11 – Melanie’s Book Addiction

Oct 12 – My Bookish Fairytale

Oct 13 – Rayment’s Readings, Rants and Ramblings

Oct 14 – My Ever Expanding Library

Oct 17 – Book Drunkard

Philippa Gregory will be in Toronto on November 1st at St Barnabas Church on the Danforth at 7pm for a reading and signing. Tickets are $5 through or $8 at the door. For more information click here.

Read an excerpt

Philippa Gregory tells the story of Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford

Visit for more about Philippa and her books.

The Lost Angel

New York Times bestselling author Javier Sierra returns with a heart pounding, apocalyptic thriller about mankinds most ancient desireand the modern evil some will unleash to obtain it.

“Every religion has a story for how our species came to mix with yours and was doomed to this planet. We are the sons of exiles. Cursed. Even man condemned us, blaming us for all the evils of the world. On the one hand you worshiped us, these beings who brought knowledge from the heavens. But you also feared us for what we might want in return. . . .”

In approximately seventy-two hours, a little-known Middle Eastern terrorist group plans to bring about the end of the world. Convinced that they are the descendants of angels, they believe they are on the verge of at last being returned to heaven. Central to their plan is the kidnapping of Martin Faber, an undercover American scientist whose research has led him to an extraordinary secret.

Martin’s only hope for survival is his young wife, Julia Alvarez—a woman born with a rare psychic gift. But she must find the courage to save her husband, all while running from religious extremists and clandestine government agencies.

Sierra takes readers on an adventure across the world, from the summit of Mount Ararat to the high desert of New Mexico, from the monuments of Washington, DC, to the medieval city of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Sierra spent years investigating scientific and historical mysteries related to mankind’s efforts to engage directly with the Almighty.

The Lost Angel bears all the hallmarks of Sierra’s erudite yet fast-paced brand of storytelling, combining historical fact and fiction with dazzling narrative feats.

Javier Sierra talks about the inspiration behind The Lost Angel

Visit for videos, excerpts and more!

The Lost Angel is in stores October 4th