Margaret Atwood devotees, meet your new favorite author

Ronlyn Domingue is the critically and commercially acclaimed author of The Mercy of Thin Air.

She returns in March 2013 with The Mapmaker’s War which is already receiving some fantastic advance praise.

mapmaker's war

Here’s a little bit about the book…

In an ancient time, in a far-away land, a young woman named Aoife is allowed a rare apprenticeship to become her kingdom’s mapmaker, tasked with charting the entire domain. Traveling beyond its borders, she finds a secretive people who live in peace, among great wealth. They claim to protect a mythic treasure, one connected to the creation of the world. When Aoife reports their existence to her kingdom, the community is targeted as a threat. Attempting to warn them of imminent danger. Aoife is exiled for treason and finds refuge among the very people who had been declared her enemy. With them, she begins a new life surrounded by kindness, equality, and cooperation. But within herself, Aoife has no peace. She cannot share the grief she feels for the home and children she left behind. She cannot bear the warrior scars of the man she comes to love. And when she gives birth to their gifted daughter, Aoife cannot avoid what the child forces her to confront about her past and its truth.

This is a mesmerizing and utterly original adventure about love and loss–and the redemptive power of the human spirit.

Take a look at some the wonderful advance praise below.

“Journey to the heart of a fairy-tale land with doomed queens, epic quests, and enemy kingdoms in The Mapmaker’s War. Ronlyn Domingue’s jewel of a book has a big canvas, memorable characters, and intimate storytelling. You will be swept away by this otherworldly tale that charts the all-too-human territory between heartbreak and hope.”-Deborah Harkness, New York Times bestselling author of A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night

The Mapmakers War is an extraordinary tale of a woman’s courage in an ancient Utopian world. Domingue has taken on the herculean task of inventing a new legend, and the result is a remarkable novel at once absorbing and heart wrenching, but above all mesmerizing!”
M.J. Rose, internationally bestselling author of Seduction

“A map can make sense out of the seen world. But it can also evoke greed. And what of a map of the heart? Legend, allegory, fantasy—this second novel by Domingue entwines genres to cast a spell upon its reader…. A curious, thought-provoking story about how the heart’s terrain bears charting, too.”
Kirkus Reviews

“What a stunning, original book this is—restrained and sensual, cerebral and lush, always blazingly intelligent, epic and expansive, yet filled with the most precisely and lovingly observed details. This is one of the best books I’ve read in years. Reminiscent of Margaret Atwood’s best work and yet wholly its own, The Mapmaker’s War evokes one of its heroine’s fantastic, world-defining maps: giving lines to human landscapes as old as myth, seemingly for the first time. You won’t be able to put this book down, and it will take you somewhere you’ve never been, leaving you transformed.”
Carolyn Turgeon, author of Mermaid and The Fairest of Them All

The Mapmaker’s War evokes not mere fantasy, but the real magic I found as a child, reading by flashlight under a blanket. As then, the story takes me by the hand to exotic lands and noble people. As it proceeds, I’m reminded of myself as a teen-age girl, chafing under the restrictions of an established order. Further on, I’m lead into adulthood. The story keeps me under its spell, but it fills with adult contradictions, with experiences of betrayal and regret, with sex and self-knowledge, with the reality of evil, and all the while, yes, the same old magic. But the magic has matured, now, redeemed by love and wisdom.”
Ava Leavell Haymon, author of Why the House Is Made of Gingerbread: Poems, Winner of the MIAL 2011 Prize for Poetry

“With an original voice, Ronlyn Domingue takes us into a land of strange truths and raw beauty. Writing against contemporary norms, she dares to forge into new territory even as she takes us into an ancient world. To the place of a red dragon and warm desire. A world full of love, and hate, and recompense. Domingue has a rare eye for the honest word and a heart willing to travel where the story leads. The Mapmaker’s War offers us the chance to reflect on both our sins and saving graces and to believe in the possibility of a future that holds kindness and understanding as key. This novel is a celebration of brave women and men, of expansive vision, and ultimately, of a humanity not easily denied.”
River Jordan, nationally bestselling author of Praying for Strangers and The Miracle of Mercy Land

I have a few ARCs available. Send me an email at anneliese.grosfeld@simonandschuster.ca if you’d like a copy. First come, first served.

Win a meet & greet with Buddy!

We are super excited to welcome TLC’s beloved Cake Boss,  Buddy Valastro, back to Toronto for a special signing! Not only is he a master baker, he’s also a great cook—the boss of his home kitchen as well as of his famous bakery, Carlo’s Bake Shop. Buddy’s new cookbook, Cooking Italian with the Cake Boss is packed with 100 delicious Italian- American recipes from Spaghetti Marinara to Veal Saltimbocca.

Are you a Cake Boss superfan? Dying to meet Buddy in the flesh? Enter to win our Cake Boss sweepstakes and be one of 3 lucky winners to get a personal meet & greet with Buddy before his signing on Nov 10th, 2012 in Toronto. You’ll get a copy of his new book and can even bring a friend! Contest ends November 8th.

Book Club Pick: Rin Tin Tin

About a week ago, I offhandedly mentioned to my mother that I had just started reading the new paperback Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend and, despite the fact that I’d never heard of the dog before, I was really enjoying it. I have never known my mother to be at a loss for words, but for once, she was suddenly and surprisingly silent. When I asked if everything was ok, she simply responded “I loved watching Rin Tin Tin. Your grandfather, my dad, did too. It was something special that we shared.”

Since finishing the book, I have heard dozens of similar stories about Rin Tin Tin and the unique ways that he touched so many different people’s lives. Susan Orlean’s book vividly explores this connection that generations of people have shared, not only with Rin Tin Tin, but with all of the animals that we choose to share our lives with. This is a book that literally bursts with discussion topics, making it the obvious choice for this week’s book club recommendation.

In Rin Tin Tin: The Life and The Legend, Susan Orlean masterfully traces the journey of Rin Tin Tin from a puppy on a French battlefield to an international brand, a set of ideals, and a legacy that has passed down from generation to generation. The narrative delves into the history of dogs in the military, obedience training and animal domestication, shifting social mores, film and television history, all while keeping a steady hold on the personal stories of Rinty and the people who loved and trained him.

Lee Duncan, a young American soldier, first stumbled across the newborn Rin Tin Tin in a bombed out animal shelter in the fields of France. Lee took Rinty back to America, and, through a twisting path of luck and devotion, Rin Tin Tin became a Hollywood icon. The idea of Rin Tin Tin grew from the values embodied by a single dog in silent films into something much bigger than Lee had perhaps imagined—into an idea, an emotion, a character residing in national and international consciousness.

Simon & Schuster has prepared a fantastic Reading Group Guide to help focus book club discussion, and here are some of the questions that I now can’t help think about every time I see someone walking their dog or discussing their pets:

  • What do you think of the notion that it is fundamentally strange for human beings to have pets in the first place? What do you think it is that draws us to the animals that we love so much?
  • Since reading the book, has it changed the way you think about: the power of movies? the roles that animals have played in human warfare? your own personal relationship to animals?
  • Do you think that anything or anyone can ever last forever?

Visit Susan Orlean’s website.

Follow Susan on Twitter. (Named one of the top Twitter feeds by Time magazine!)

Explore the Rin Tin Tin feed on YouTube.

Win up to ten copies of Rin Tin Tin for your book club!

Kate Morton is back! And you could win!!!

Have you ever read one of those novels that stays with long after you finish the last page? If you’re familiar with Australian author Kate Morton, then you’ve definitely experienced this feeling.

The first Kate Morton novel I read was The Distant Hours. I was lucky enough to attend a lunch with Kate Morton when she was in town and I was able to ask her all the burning questions I had about why she ended the story the way she did, how she came up with the characters etc.

Also, isn’t she just lovely?

It’s been two years since we’ve had a new novel from Kate and I am SO excited that she is back this fall with The Secret Keeper. I’m about a 1/3 of the way through it and trust me, it does not disappoint. The opening sequence alone was enough to suck me in for all 496 pages!

Kate once again writes in her signature style spanning multiple time periods telling the story from more than one point of view. The story moves from the 1960’s to the 1940’s and then to present day. Here’s a quick synopsis for you:

After witnessing a shocking crime in her youth that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Laurel, fifty years later, must come to terms with the secret history of her family. The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams, the lengths people go to fulfill them, and the consequences they can have. It is a story of lovers, friends, dreamers, and schemers told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world.

And just because we love our readers SO much we are giving you the opportunity to win a Kate Morton library of books!! Visit www.thesecretkeeper.ca to enter, read an excerpt, download Secret Keeper wallpaper and more! And don’t forget to check out Kate’s Canadian tour dates! She will be in Canada October 18-20. All details can be found at www.thesecretkeeper.ca.

 

Visit www.katemorton.com for more info about the author and her other novels.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey

UPDATE: Thanks for participating. This contest is now closed. Congratulations to Justin M., our grand prize winner.

I have never played hockey myself, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a big part of my life growing up. You see, I had two brothers, one older and one younger, and both played pee wee hockey. As a child I used to have to get up at some ungodly hour on Saturdays, sleep-eat my bowl of Cheerios and head to the hockey arena with my dad and brothers. I’m sure I probably didn’t really know what was going on, except for the fact that I knew once we got to the rink I would get hot chocolate. I would sip my steaming hot chocolate and cheer on my brothers. Whenever my dad hooted or hollered, I did. Looking back now, I cherish this one on one time I got with my dad. Hockey isn’t just a sport, it’s an activity that is associated with memories, feelings and a sense of community and it really does bring people together in many ways.

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey is full of fun, heartwarming and inspiring stories for hockey fans and families. Family-oriented stories from everyday hockey players and fans, as well as revealing personal stories from NHLers and hockey insiders, will captivate readers.

Do you have an inspirational, amusing, or encouraging hockey-related story to share? It could be a story about: your first pair of skates, the street where you played ball hockey, tickets to a memorable game, or any thing that makes you think of our favourite national sport. We want to read it!

In 100 words or less, tell us your hockey story to win a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey and a $100 gift certificate to Sports Chek to go towards your next pair of skates.

Email your story to audrey@simonandschuster.ca (with the subject line: Hooked on Hockey) or leave it as a comment here and we will draw a winning story on November 1. We’ll also select 5 runners-up who will receive a copy of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hooked on Hockey. 

Contest is open to Canada only (excluding Quebec). By submitting a story you have agreed to our Official Rules, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.