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. First up, Marketing Associate Anneliese suggests Johnny Be Good by Paige Toon.

Paige Toon is Australian and grew up in Australia, England and America. Her books are chick lit at their best, complete with sparkly covers!

In Johnny Be Good, Meg moves from England to L.A. to be PA (personal assistant) to rock superstar Johnny Jefferson. She is adamant not to fall for him, but who’re we kidding, with a killer body and Brad Pitt-like good looks, Meg is a goner. Despite warnings from Johnny’s best friend Christian and others, it isn’t long until Meg falls head over heels for the bad boy. We follow Meg as she alternately suppresses and gives in to her feelings for Johnny. What was most interesting was the bird’s eye view into what really goes in in the world of a rock star, the drinking, the partying, the drugs, the women. This is a fun, light beach read that you can whiz through in a weekend. And don’t worry about the ending…there is a sequel!

Read an excerpt from the book.

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.

These Girls and a blog tour

You know those authors that you just immediately fall in love with? I can’t help but gush a bit about Sarah Pekkanen and her books. She candidly and tenderly explores the relationships that are so central to women’s lives. In her first novel, Opposite of Me, she delved into the bond between sisters, in Skipping A Beat she pulled back the veil on a trouble marriage and now in These Girls Sarah examines the unique tensions and saving graces of female friendship.

Here’s a little bit more about the book:

Cate, Renee, and Abby have come to New York for very different reasons, and in a bustling city of millions, they are linked together through circumstance and chance.

Cate has just been named the features editor of Gloss, a high-end lifestyle magazine. It’s a professional coup, but her new job comes with more complications than Cate ever anticipated.

Her roommate Renee will do anything to nab the plum job of beauty editor at Gloss. But snide comments about Renee’s weight send her into an emotional tailspin. Soon she is taking black market diet pills—despite the racing heartbeat and trembling hands that signal she’s heading for real danger.

Then there’s Abby, whom they take in as a third roommate. Once a joyful graduate student working as a nanny part-time, she abruptly fled a seemingly happy life in the D.C. suburbs. No one knows what shattered Abby—or why she left everything she once loved behind.

Pekkanen’s most compelling, true-to-life novel yet tells the story of three very different women as they navigate the complications of careers and love—and find the lifeline they need in each other.

We were lucky enough to set up a blog tour for Sarah with some of our book bloggers. Take at look at the interviews below to find out more about These Girls and Sarah.

The Book Chick, Mommy’s Reading Too, Lavender Lines, Bookshipper, Be Nice or Leave, Book Drunkard and Bibliobabes.

Browse inside the book.

Get the reading group guide.

You can find Sarah on Facebook and Twitter or visit her at her website

Ten Reasons Why Books Make the Best Gifts (well, after puppies and private islands)

1)      Because other than those sparkly pencils and key chains with peoples’ names on them, books are one of the best gifts that you can find a uniquely suited one for every person on your list

2)      Because you don’t need to poke holes in the box so the book can breathe

3)      Because they are easier to wrap than a football or bicycle

4)      Because you can do all of your shopping in one spot

5)      Because you don’t have to feed them, plug them in, or put batteries in them

6)      Because “They have whole worlds inside them, and it’s much cheaper to buy somebody a book than it is to buy them the whole world.” –Neil Gaiman

7)      Because you can even find one for the person who has everything

8)      Because they never come in the wrong colour, size or style

9)      Because they don’t need to be assembled

10)   Because it shows the recipient that you took the time to think about who they are and what they are interested in

So what’s the trick? Picking the right book. Luckily for you, I have some suggestions for everyone on your holiday gift list.

For the Hockey Lover

Double Overtime

Double Overtime by Stephen Cole

Full of fun facts, crazy yet true stories, and chalk full pictures, this book is for every hockey fan of every team (even if you the gift-buyer don’t know anything about hockey!)

For the (New) Baker

 Baking with the Cake Boss

Baking with the Cake Boss by Buddy Valastro

Buddy, from TLC’s smash hit Cake Boss, is back with another book. For the novice baker, this book starts with the basics of baking – the simple yet noble sugar cookie – and advances to fantastically intricate themed cakes for home-baking pros.  This is one gift that both the recipient and the giver are bound to benefit from!

For the Extraordinary Women in Your Life

 The Dovekeepers

The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman

Strong, brave, resourceful, sensuous, caring, and giving – these are just some of the used words to describe the women of The Dovekeepers. A masterpiece that was five years in the making, the author of Practical Magic tells the beautiful and harrowing tale of four Jewish women in 70 C.E. Masada, Israel.

For Lovers of  iAnything

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs – the man who changed the world, whether we like it or not. Walter Isaacson’s biography, the only authorized biography of the Apple co-founder and innovator, tells the story of this intense personality whose drive for perfection can be seen in every one of his products and serves as a rollercoaster tale of ambition, obsessions, compulsion, creativity and innovation.

For Your Daughter, Niece or Little Sister

Dork Diaries Box Set

Dork Diaries Box Set by Rachel Renee Russell

This super popular series chronicles the oh-so-fabulous life of Nikki Maxwell as she navigates the halls of middle school, mean girls, BFF drama and first crushes. These spunky, funny, and relatable books are perfect for tween girl readers (and best of all, they are PG-rated so you don’t have to worry about your 11-year old niece reading vampire/immortal love scenes!).

For Almost Anyone (really, who doesn’t read Stephen King?)


11/22/63 by Stephen King

The incredible Stephen King is back in a brand new way. In 11/22/63, King tells the ultimate “What If?” story. What if you could go back in time and change history? King’s suspenseful and riveting tale of time travel to one of America’s most epic periods in history will have readers on the edge of their seats until the last page is turned.

The New YA Must-Have

 Clockwork Prince

Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

With so many YA vampire/werewolf/warlock/immortal, etc, etc, etc books out there, it’s hard for the discerning gift-giver to know which one to choose for the teen on their list. Well look no further – Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series left young women begging for another adventure to go on, bad-boy to drool over, and smart, brave girl to read about, and with the second of the Infernal Devices series, Clare delivers.

For the 20-something Student

5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides)

 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides) by Matthew Inman

Perfect for the quirky-humored, google-searching  20-something, 5 Very Good Reasons to Punch a Dolphin in the Mouth (And Other Useful Guides) offers up 4 Reasons to Carry a Shovel at All Times, 6 Types of Crappy Hugs, 8 Ways to Tell if Your Loved One Plans to Eat You, 17 Things Worth Knowing About Your Cat, and 20 Things Worth Knowing About Beer.

Literary Non-Fiction

Rin Tin Tin

Rin Tin Tin by Susan Orlean

If you can’t get someone a puppy for Christmas, get this book instead. Rin Tin Tin has been getting rave reviews and for good reason. Whether you love dogs, old Hollywood, the entrepreneurs behind entertainment, biographies, history, or just a wonderfully written story, Rin Tin Tin delivers.

For the Book Club Lover

The Lady of the Rivers

The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory

Witchcraft, royalty, betrayal and passion, The Lady of the Rivers delivers it all. This book, to be enjoyed in front of a fireplace and with a cup of tea, is sure to keep your favorite aunt, sister or friend company this holiday season.

Brain Food

Grand Pursuit

Grand Pursuit by Sylvia Nasar

In this epic yet readable narrative modern economics, Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind, tells the of how activist thinkers like Marx, Sydney Fisher, Irving Fisher, and Milton Friedman transformed not just the Western world, but the entire planet.

The New Children’s Classic

The Man in the Moon

 The Man in the Moon by William Joyce

“Meet the very first guardian of childhood, MiM, the Man in the Moon.” A beautiful and tender story of love, adventure, and enchantment, The Man in the Moon, will capture hearts both young and old.

The Rum Diary

Famous for his dangling cigarette, excessive drinking habits, intense lifestyle and phenomenal writing, Hunter S. Thompson was one of the most respected journalists of our time.  His edgy stories appeared in various publications and his autobiographical novel, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was immortalized by Johnny Depp in the 1998 film based on the book.

Now, even years after Thompson took his own life, his books are still impacting our society.  His novel The Rum Diary was written in the sixties, though only published many years later.  Though the novel is labeled as a fictitious account of a man named Paul Kemp, a freelance journalist, thrust into a word of corruption and deceit after meeting a mysterious and seductive woman, Thompson never wrote without a little hint of himself.

Last Friday, the film adaptation of The Rum Diary was released into theatres.  Johnny Depp once again plays the protagonist, dishing out a stunning tribute to Thompson and his work.

Now, as book lovers, we all know the cardinal rule: read the book before the movie!  The new movie tie-in edition is now in stores with a handsome Depp on the cover.  Read, laugh, pick your jaw up off the floor and head to see the film adaptation.  Once you do, comment and let me know what you thought!