Farewell WordPress!

Dear Readers,

One of our goals for 2013 is to make our book news more readily available and accessible to you. In order to achieve this, we’ve decided to move our blog to Tumblr. We hope you will follow us to our new digital home at simonschusterca.tumblr.com. Thank you for your continued support and Happy Reading!


Simon & Schuster Canada


Cooking with Rachael Ray and the Cake Boss

UPDATE: Thanks for participating. This giveaway is now closed.
Congratulations to Louise, Sandra, Rizwana, Terry, and Jolyn!

I hope it’s no secret that we at Simon & Schuster Canada are foodies.
If you follow us on Instagram, you’ve no doubt seen the bevy of desserts that roll through our kitchen.

We love to host potlucks, rummage through each other’s snack drawers, and have cheese tastings with goodies from St. Lawrence Market. When we’re not discussing books, we’re discussing where and what to eat.


But food is only delicious if you have someone else to share it with. And I’m a firm believer that the family that eats together stays together. So keeping with the holiday spirit, we’re giving away 5 cookbook sets of Rachael Ray’s My Year in Meals and Buddy Valastro’s Cooking Italian with the Cake Boss to help bring great food into your homes. 


To enter, tell us what your favourite home cooked meal is in the comments section. We’ll draw five random winners on Friday, December 21, 2012. Happy holidays, and happy eating!


Book Blogger Spotlight: Beyond Books

We’re excited to bring you our December Book Blogger Spotlight! This is where we chat with one of our bloggers, ask them to share some of their favorite authors, the books they can’t live without, and find out how they came to book blogging.

This month, we bring you our chat with Cat from Beyond Books. You can follow her on Twitter @CatHealy.



What made you want to start a book blog?

I’ve actually been blogging since 2004 and I used to post about books I loved on my personal blog. Back in July 2007 I followed the lead of a close friend of mine and began blogging about books in a separate space. I never thought I’d be able to keep up with a second blog and I was sure that it would just end up gathering dust. Though here I am over 5 years later and I tend to blog more often on Beyond Books than on my personal blog!

What’s your favourite reading spot?

I generally curl up on the couch in my living room, wrapped up in a blanket with one of my two dogs snoring away beside me. Not the most exciting of reading spots, but it’s certainly comfortable!

Your favourite book in the last year?

I’m going to feel super guilty for mentioning books that aren’t from S&S Canada, but I adored The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesy, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Cinder by Marissa Meyer and (and I promise this isn’t just to relieve my guilt!) Fever by Lauren DiStefano (The Chemical Garden Trilogy is one of my favourite Dystopian series ever!)

Favourite book of all time?

Polgara the Sorceress by David & Leigh Eddings. My copy is so well-read and loved it’s about to fall apart.

Favourite author?

I have quite a few but those I am quick to push on others are: Kate Forsyth (Australian author), R.J. Anderson, Sarah Addison Allen, Kim Harrison.

Favourite movie adaptation of a book?

Oh dear, I’m afraid movie adaptations just make me so angry! This might not be original, but I do love the Harry Potter films. I think letting the author have full creatve control over the movie helped big time. Mostly I am so disappointed by movie adaptations I feel like the air has been knocked out of my lungs. I try not to watch movie adaptations if I can help it.

What do you do when you’re not working on your blog?

I am an administrative assistant to a Dean in a University. I am also a wife to a wonderfully patient man and a “mum” to two Finnish Lapphund dogs. Although my first dream of becoming a rock star isn’t going as planned, I am trying to make my second dream of working and living with books a reality. I might not have the money to own my own bookstore but I am currently taking Publishing courses* to try and move out of my academic administration career into a new one where I can live, breathe and work with BOOKS.

*Though I have to admit, being a student again after 15 years is daunting and exhausting. Working full time and schooling part time means a lot less time to do things like read and blog. Woe is me!


Do you seek reader engagement on your blog? If so, how does this affect your ideas about books and authors?

I love when people leave comments on my posts, but I don’t actively seek discussion. Since I tend to run my blog as a book journal rather than a review blog and I rarely participate in promotional events like blog tours or post book trailers, I  suppose the answer to this question is no, in that case. Although I still feel a little sad if a post doesn’t get comments, but nothing is better than “great book, check out my blog?” 😉

Do you read other blogs? Which ones?

Oh my gosh! I read TOO MANY blogs! (Blog reading has also suffered due to my shiny new scholarly activity! My google reader is showing me scary numbers of unread posts!) These days I tend to check quickly on a handful of blogs that I know will give me great new book ideas like –www.booksandotherthoughts.com; sassymonkeyreads.ca; goodbooksandgoodwine.com; thestorysiren.com; and charlotteslibrary.blogspot.ca. These are my “quick and dirty” blog checks because I have always found great recommendations there!

How has your blog developed or changed since you first started?

I don’t think I have changed much in 5 years, with the exception of having a larger readership and the fact that I now make an occasional video blog post. I have always blogged the same way – in the order in which I read the books (I’m very OCD that way) and I am always completely honest in my opinions. I will not promote a book I have not read and loved myself and I don’t exactly review the book so much as I blog about what happened as I read the book and why I might have read that book. I buy a ton of books every month (much to my husband’s chagrin) and the first time I received an email from a publisher asking if I’d like to review a book, I thought I had won the lottery! I have never really received many review books and now I accept even fewer (due to limited free time these days) so I guess in that aspect my blog has changed a little.

I have always held to the belief that as long as I find this fun, I will continue to do it. So far blogging has been fun and I have made sure it never feels like something I HAVE to do. Staying true to myself and blogging the way I do has managed to keep this entire process fun and cathartic to me. I don’t see myself stopping blogging any time soon. 😉

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.

Memoir Mondays: BRAIN ON FIRE

Imagine waking up strapped to a strange hospital bed. You are alone, and you cannot move or speak. You’re wearing a wristband that says you are a flight risk, and you are told you are violent, dangerously unstable, and prone to hallucinations. No one knows what’s wrong with you—least of all yourself.

This terrifying experience marked the beginning of Susannah Cahalan’s real life “month of madness,” during which she would become a shell of her former self, spiraling downward into acute psychosis and a state of near-catatonia. A team of doctors spent a million of dollars worth of tests in a desperate search for a diagnosis–all of which came back negative. The medical field was baffled by her case, and ultimately came to the (wrong) conclusion that she was schizophrenic and needed to be institutionalized in a psychiatric ward.

It took one doctor (nicknamed Dr. House for his uncanny diagnostic skills) to save Susannah. Using a brilliant (and shockingly simple) diagnostic technique, Dr. Souhel Najar proved that Calahan’s psychotic behaviour was caused by an inflammation of the brain: her body was attacking her brain in a rare and often fatal form of autoimmune disease, called Anti-NDMA Autoimmune Encephilitis.

In Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness, Susannah Cahalan provides the reader with far more than a simply riveting read and a crackling medical mystery. This is a powerful account of one woman’s struggle to recapture her identity and to rediscover herself among the fragments left behind. Using all her considerable journalistic skills, and building from hospital records and surveillance video, interviews with family and friends, and excerpts from the deeply moving journal her father kept during her illness, Susannah pieces together the story of her “lost month” to write an unforgettable memoir about memory and identity, faith and love. It is an important, profoundly compelling tale of survival and perseverance that is destined to become a classic.

Learn more about Brain on Fire.

Visit Susannah’s website.

Watch her discuss Brain on Fire below: