Simon Likes

With summer just around the corner, there’s no better time to reread some of your favourite books. We asked our charming staff at Simon & Schuster Canada to share some of their top picks with you. Next up, Marketing Assistant Loretta suggests Lawless (previously titled The Wettest County in the World) by Matt Bondurant.

The first paragraph in this book brings us to the trigger end of a .22 rifle, peering straight down the barrel and into the eye of a sow. Jack Bondurant shoots, splashing a bullet into the animal and sending his rifle into the mud. Jack’s struggle to kill the beast is ended by his older brother’s knife, dragged in one clean cut across the sow’s neck. “Hot blood smoked in the calcified winter air. Jack crouched on the ground like a muddy toad, cradling the rifle and watching the stream of crimson like liquid fire. He was eight years old,” writes Bondurant.

This book is based on the true story of three brothers who make their living bootlegging during prohibition. We follow them into the hills and down the dark county roads as they stand against law and man. The author, Matt Bondurant based the story on the experience of his grandfather and granduncles. It’s strong and it’s dark and it’s going to be released as a movie by John Hillcoat, with a screenplay by Nick Cave, the same pair from The Proposition. Our movie tie-in edition releases this July.

Arnold Schwarzenegger needs your help!

Total Recall

Arnold Schwarzenegger invites you, his fans, to join him on Facebook, Twitter,and Pinterest and help him pick out a back cover for his upcoming memoir, Total Recall: My Unbeliveably True Life Story! As you know, Arnold has had three drastically different careers in his life. It’s hard to choose just one back cover image to represent him so he is planning to feature three images on his back cover to represent his career in bodybuilding, his acting career, and his time as the Governor of California. If he picks your picture, he will thank you in his book. How cool is that?

He wants the perfect image for the bodybuilding fans, the greatest movie shot from his movies, and an exciting photo from his time in office. Read a personal note from Arnold.

Which image will you choose?

The Kings of Cool: A Prequel to Savages

For those of you who loved The New York Times bestselling Savages, Don Winslow brings us the story of what happened before that with The Kings of Cool coming out in June. Coinciding this release, Savages comes to life in a movie with an all-star cast in July, boasting the names and faces of John Travolta, Blake Lively, Benecio Del Toro, Uma Thurman, Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson and Salma Hayek, under the direction of Oliver Stone.

In Savages, O and her two boyfriends, Ben and Chon, live glamourous lives as marijuana packagers in southern California. Things take a sharp turn when Ben and Chon refuse a Mexican Baja Cartel who wants a cut of their premium grade product. The cartel kidnaps O, sending Ben and Chon on a wild chase who, fuelled by love, will do anything to get her back. With such a stellar cast and talented director behind it, I couldn’t be more excited for this summer blockbuster to hit the big screen, bringing to life Winslow’s high octane thrill ride. Prepare yourself for the movie by reading the novel!

Now in The Kings of Cool, Winslow gives us the story before Savages, delving into the families, histories and events that shaped the lives of O, Ben and Chon, and made them who they are in Savages. The twists, turns and tension are back in this powerful prequel to what everyone’s sure to be buzzing about this summer.

Click here for an excerpt from Savages, a book that Stephen King calls, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid on autoload.” You can also find out more about the highly-anticipated film and watch the trailer here.

Meet Jodi Picoult in person!

Are you a Jodi Picoult fan? Then you’ll be excited about this contest!

To celebrate the release of Jodi’s new novel Lone Wolf we’re giving you the chance to get up close and personal with the author herself.

You could win:
1 of 2 GRAND PRIZES (for GTA residents only)
• Two tickets to the Jodi Picoult event on March 13th
• A pre-event meet and greet for you and a friend 
• A complete Jodi Picoult library of books including her newest novel Lone Wolf 

Don’t live in the GTA? Don’t worry! You’re still eligible to win 1 of 3 nationwide prize packs:
• A complete Jodi Picoult library of books
• A signed copy of her newest novel Lone Wolf

CLICK HERE TO ENTER. Contest closes February 29th

Meet Jodi Picoult
Date: Tuesday, March 13th 
Location:The Church of the Redeemer, 162 Bloor St. West, Toronto, ON
Time: 7:00pm
For more info and to purchase tickets click here. Tickets are only $5.00!

Here’s a little bit about Lone Wolf

In the wild, when a wolf knows its time is over, when it knows it is of no more use to its pack, it may sometimes choose to slip away. Dying apart from its family, it stays proud and true to its nature. Humans aren’t so lucky.

Luke Warren has spent his life researching wolves. He has written about them, studied their habits intensively, and even lived with them for extended periods of time. In many ways, Luke understands wolf dynamics better than those of his own family. His wife, Georgie, has left him, finally giving up on their lonely marriage. His son, Edward, twenty-four, fled six years ago, leaving behind a shattered relationship with his father. Edward understands that some things cannot be fixed, though memories of his domineering father still inflict pain. Then comes a frantic phone call: Luke has been gravely injured in a car accident with Edward’s younger sister, Cara.

Suddenly everything changes: Edward must return home to face the father he walked out on at age eighteen. He and Cara have to decide their father’s fate together. Though there’s no easy answer, questions abound: What secrets have Edward and his sister kept from each other? What hidden motives inform their need to let their father die . . . or to try to keep him alive? What would Luke himself want? How can any family member make such a decision in the face of guilt, pain, or both? And most importantly, to what extent have they all forgotten what a wolf never forgets: that each member of a pack needs the others, and that sometimes survival means sacrifice?

Another tour de force by Picoult, Lone Wolf brilliantly describes the nature of a family: the love, protection, and strength it can offer—and the price we might have to pay for those gifts. What happens when the hope that should sustain a family is the very thing tearing it apart?

Get a sneak peek at the recording of the audio book

Read an excerpt

Visit Jodi’s website

Get the reading group guide

The Placebo Effect

What would you do if you had the gift of being able to detect whether or not people were telling the truth? Would you use it to your advantage or would you keep your secret hidden? What if your secret power was potentially causing harm to those you loved?

These are the issues faced by Decker Roberts in David Rotenberg’s new novel The Placebo Effect, first in The Junction Chronicles series.

Here’s a little bit more about the book…

Decker Roberts has the dangerous gift of detecting the truth. For years this talent has proven to be a lucrative sideline to his acting teaching. Only his closest friends know, and he keeps his identity secret from the companies that pay him to tell them if the people they are planning to hire are truthful.

But Decker’s carefully compartmentalized life suddenly starts to fall apart. His house burns down, his credit cards are cancelled, his bank loan is called and his studio is condemned. He realizes that he must have heard something in one of his ‘truth telling’ sessions that someone didn’t want him to know.

Decker has to go on the run and figure out what he’s being targeted. There’s also a government agent hunting him who seems to know absolutely everything about Decker Roberts’ identities, real and false–and other people of “his kind.”

How will Decker find out which truth is endangering his life? Who betrayed him and revealed all his secrets? Decker needs to find answers quickly, before knowing the truth turns from a gift into a deadly curse.

The topic of synaesthesia is dealt with in this book. It is something I’d heard of but never really understood until now. It lends a very interesting, very real quality to some of the more fantastical things that happen.

In addition to being an author, David Rotenberg is also a director and acting teacher and is the Artistic Director of the internationally renowned Professional Actors Lab. The roster of his students reads like a who’s who in ranks of Canadian actors, including Scott Speedman, Rachel McAdams, James McGowan, Polly Shannon, David Hirsh, Jonas Chernick and Shawn Doyle. You will notice the theme of acting and acting methods also feature prominently in the novel.

Here are what people are saying about The Placebo Effect

“I think it’s fantastic. Right, taut, lean, exciting, thrilling, really.” -Jurgen Gothe, CBC host & newspaper columnist

“…great storytelling, juicy characters, and a wonderful theatricality.” -Marc Routh, Broadway producer

“Kept me on my toes and awaiting the next turn of events.” – Erin Karpluk, actress and star of “Being Erica”

You can visit for more info about the author, his other books, and to read an excerpt. There’s also a reading group guide available here.

We are hosting a blogger tour for David and The Placebo Effect starting January 16th. Check out the following blogs on their corresponding dates for exclusive Q&A’s with the author and reviews.

Canadian Authors-Jan 16

Mysteries and More-Jan 18

BookBound-Jan 20

Workaday Reads-Jan 25

Beyond Books-Jan 27

Wicked Little Pixie-Jan 30

Wagging the Fox-Feb 1

The Crazy Bookworm-Feb 3

Serendipitous Readings-Feb 6

Purple Jelly Bean Chair Reviews-Feb 7

The Placebo Effect is in stores February 7th.